‘Where am I going…’
The Dragonborn walked casually through the subterranean tunnels of this ancient Dwemer ruin, in search of an Elder Scroll.
‘Of all the places for it to be in… It couldn’t be in someone’s library, no, it had to be part of another deathly descent into the unknown!’
Even though trouble waited for him down there, the Dovahkiin was armed to the teeth. A thick protective shell of dragon bones encased his body. A brown furry timber cloak covered his back. There was an even furrier, though white in color, part of this cloak surrounding his neck.
Should he be blistered by the outside wind, he would have that warm and trusty animal pelt to cover himself with. But he would first and foremost have his true Nord blood as a primary line of defense against the cold.
‘Much of these ruins look the same. It might be because of the ice covering a large part of them.’ The Dragonborn thought to himself as he continued down the hallways and corridors.
But he stopped in place as soon as he passed by a corner. Thankfully, the Dovahkiin had been stealth full enough to not alert the one up ahead.
She had her back turned to him, looking down at three corpses. Two of which were Falmer. The third being one of those Dwemer automatons. The ones that rise up from ball form and shoot bolts at you.
The Dragonborn quickly backed away behind the corner, only allowing his eyes to peek at the hostile up front. The woman seemed human, even Nordic, as revealed by the nature of her skin.
She was a relatively average sized woman, with black long hair that covered her back. Her body was already encased in armor of the same color. Spikes protruded from above her head; no doubt just part of her equipment.
His eyes went along her back side, noticing a severely large scythe hanging there. He followed the trim of the weapon, and unwillingly, his sight gazed upon the unthinkable.
It was too little covered, and too out into the open. The Dovahkiin shook his head a few times to stop his mind from wandering in places it probably should not.
But ugh… from behind, she seems like a work of art. Considering the corpses in front of her, she might make a good battle companion too.
Maybe he could convince her of accompanying him through those cold and lonely, Falmer infected ruins. Speaking of the temperature, isn’t she freezing at all?
It’s more than her butt that was left partly uncovered, though it wasn’t easy to discern exactly how much. And considering that the Dovahkiin was still feeling cold despite his armor and fur cape, the only conclusion left for the girl would be that she has a piece of equipment enchanted to ward off the cold.
‘If only I had something like that…’
He may be a Nord, but that does not make him immune to nature. Alfland was at this point buried in ice. And a damn cold ice this one was.
His instincts jolted right back into place as the Dragonborn noticed one very deviously well hidden detail. There was a tattoo on her back. The kind that stirs the ghosts out of their graves.
The woman raised a soul gem in her left hand, making it obviously clear for the Dragonborn to see it. That deed sealed the deal. She was a Daedra worshipper.
Her armor; she wore a black ebony set. It could have been any sort of ebony armor, but the symbol on her back and the general shape of the armor betrayed it as Daedric.
And if this woman indeed is a Daedra worshipper, then there is no point in trying to reason with her.
The Dragonborn jumped out of his corned and into plain sight. The collision of his feet with the ground alerted the woman, who responded by turning around and unsheathing her weapon at blinding speeds.
He too grasped unto his blade, a two handed great sword made of dragon bones, and held it pointed at her.
The two took a moment to analyses the situation. He showed up after her, and she was blocking his advance. The quest to find the Elder Scroll and learn Dragonrend had one more unexpected assailant halting its completion.
At this point it was clear that both of them are masters of combat. A novice would have long charged blindly into combat, not even bothering to analyze his or her foe.
This was no mere man who stood before her. And this was no mere woman that stood in his path.
Bones… Troll bones? Mammoth? Bear? Can’t be. Must be something bigger.
Daedric armor and a scythe. A weapon he was never before faced with. Getting past it could be tricky.
‘What a pretty face… too bad you chose the wrong side…’ The beauty of a priceless diamond was what rested upon her shoulders. But… saddened. As if burdened by something.
She would have made for an amazing wife…
Was it a trick? Was her beauty just a supernatural thing granted by one of the Daedric Lord’s to make The Dragonborn sympathize for her?
‘Standing around to think won’t get me through her.’ He charged at her.
This took the woman by surprise, and she raised her scythe to catch his falling blade. And though he pushed with all his might, she would not give in from the strain.
Quick and with surprising dexterity, she slided the scythe out of block position and into a riposte. She had done so by pulling the blade back, getting out of the way of his sword, and pushing the read end of her weapon directly into his face.
Thankfully, she missed his eye, as that was clearly her target. Instead she hit the Dragonborn’s forehead in his attempt to dodge her attack.
This resulted in his helmet being tossed backwards, leaving his face revealed.
He is a man in his early twenties, same as her. They shared the same hair color, but his face had the remnants of a beard on it. There were claw marks up and down the left side of his face, some painted with ink, others gained in battle.
This ‘admiring’ lasted for but a second as the Dovahkiin swiftly bended low and slided his leg across the ice covered ground, colliding with both hers and knocking her flat on the ground.
This warrior had been too fast for the girl in his ‘getting up and pointing’ sword at her neck. She could not move her weapon, as his foot kept it in place.
Her eyes closed… Only for them to be opened again, to witness a miracle. The Dovahkiin went to pick up his helmet and place it back on his head. She took this time to get back up on her feet.
She charged this time, scythe swinging overhead to strike the Dragonborn. The narrow spacing and the weapons sheer size should have made it impossible for it to be swung there and in that form.
But the Dovahkiin was corrected as he noticed the ice not stopping the blade.
He moved his own sword to meet her weapon. In each weapon clash he would merely parry her blows and divert their direction. Each time taking a step back…
After a number of such wide and confused horizontal swings, she finally made the mistake of putting too much effort into her attack, that the weapon swung her around and distorted her flow.
She thought to continue her offense, but of course, her adversary wouldn’t just let this opportunity pass.
The Dovahkiin flung his shoulder into her back, sending her fling several feet further and causing her to drop the scythe.
She was now with her belly on the ground. In the next second, his sword sliced through the wind once more to make itself visible besides the girl’s face. Her life was once more in his hands.
Beaten and subdued twice by the same warrior in but less than a minute and a half. He is clearly a master swordsman, unlike her…
She turned back to face him, and he looked down on her defenseless state.
‘Who the heck comes into battle with an armor that does not cover all of the vitals?’ He could have done anything to her in that moment, strip her of armor and be like a savage animal. For her beauty…
It was what she waited for. That one act would be the death of him, for, unbeknownst to the Dragonborn, she had yet to reveal her hidden claws. Her gauntlets held such deadly weapons in its possession.
But he… had enough. She was no Daedric worshipper, nor any such invention. A Daedra is powerful, agile and ruthless. She was none of that. Her eyes did not have that ‘glint’ in them that the rest of the Dremora or any of their servants do. Not to mention her skin. It was a mere coincidence.
He pulled back again, and sheathed his sword. A thing that once more surprised the young girl.
Twice had she been spared. Twice had she learned from this warrior. And a third time, now, as he took off his warm fur cloak and gave it to her. By ‘gave’ he actually just let it fall over her body, covering most of it.
The Dovahkiin then proceeded to walk away, further down the ice tunnel and into the ancient Dwemer ruin. She looked down at this gift, and wondered. How could this man be so… naive, if anything. He refused to kill her twice, had the chance to abuse her, but instead he offered his cloak because he thinks she is cold…
The man shivered. “Burr, so cold.”
The Dragonborn had made his way through the ice blocks and found the ruin. Its guardians still roamed the halls, as he had discovered on other such expeditions, thus he knew what to expect.
Mechanical inventions which crawl like spiders, shoot lightning through soul gems, fold into a ball then come out shooting crossbow bolts at him.
He knew exactly how to deal with all of these. And as the Dovahkiin charged at the Dwemer sphere, its metallic figure rose up just in time for the Dragonborn’s great sword to slice through it with ease.
He moved fast in that small room, impaling Dwemer spiders right after dispatching the sphere.
His battle prowess was truly that of a master. Three guardians fell in a short span. The adrenaline rush filled him with heat. So much so that he was now sweating. Perhaps the Dwemer inventions pumping endlessly also contributed to the heat of the room.
At least it wasn’t as cold as in the tunnels. The Dovahkiin moved forward, opening doors, finding more corridors and looting something out of every chest on his way. Jewelry, enchanted equipment, they all fetch a high price on the market.
And with his expertize, he could squeeze out quite a bit of extra coin from each merchant. Especially from the female merchants, with his charms and all.
This is how the Dragonborn earned reputation and power. By raiding bandits, encampments, fortresses and claiming their treasures for himself. Both his skill and his wealth should be visible at this point. And still he looted most of what he set his eyes upon…
Old habits die hard. But so do the stubborn ancient machinery of the Dwemer.
The Dovahkiin woke up to a bolt hitting his back side. Though, his armor being too resilient for the bolt to have actually dealt any worthwhile damage.
He returned with a fury and swung his blade, cleaving through air and not hitting anything. There were two Dwemer spheres a few feet away, looking at him. They noticed the ineffectiveness of their bolts.
The warrior charged, and with one single motion ended their pathetic lac of life.
This zone was now cleared. The Dragonborn moved onto the next. A dangerous looking round staircase leading further down into the expected unknown. He could not see an end to how deep the staircase goes.
Only that a part of it fell, and blocked continuation further down.
‘I’ll just have to hope my Elder Scroll is on that level over there.’ Falmer could also be spotted along his way. It is an easy task to kill them. It is a near impossible feat to sneak past them, as, due to their loss of sight, have earned really keen hearing.
The Dragonborn could try sneaking, but a person wearing this much heavy armor is bound to produce a lot of noise. The Falmer will recognize him.
The fastest solution was to run alongside the staircase, kill any spiders in his way, jump down to the last accessible floor- since the rest were far beyond reach –kill the Falmer and then open the door way that will hopefully lead to where he needs to go.
After the long descent, the Dragonborn arrived at yet another mind boggling room. He saw ahead several broken Falmer corpses. There were Chaurus’s there too. Those annoying bug like over grown insects that spit at you finally got what they deserved.
They were crushed. As if stomped by something big, like, a giant. But there aren’t giants in Falmer infested Dwemer ruins. Maybe someone came before him and took the time to out straight flatten the Chaurus’s with a hammer.
Behind all of the broken corpses, there was an archway made of stone. Clearly that is through where the Dovahkiin should proceed.
‘What the heck was that?’ The noise seemed to have come from up front. But before going on, the Dragonborn turned around just to look behind.
As he expected, he found another staircase, leading up to what seemed to be… giant Dwemer crossbows? And a lever. He pulled it to discover that spikes emerged from the ground up front, where an archway lies so as to close the portcullis.
‘Oh, so that’s what it does.’ He pulled back the lever to open the path.
The Dragonborn took a minute longer to search through the two chests behind himself. One of which was sealed tight, so he had to pick its lock.
After finishing his looting, the Dovahkiin proceeded through the archway and up some more stairs. But he stopped. Mostly because he was stunned.
‘Giants do live down here…’
If it could be called that… That thing was made of Dwemer metal for sure. It was… it was even taller than a giant! The steam that pushed out of its shoulders were clearly the source of the noise from earlier.
A few feet away from this metal giant, laid another metallic machine, the same size, and probably form as this one.
‘Thankfully I won’t have to face the both of them.’ He drew his weapon with utmost silence. And just as loudly, walked towards the machine.
Bringing his sword overhead, the Dragonborn gathered his strength, and with all his might, landed a sneaky hit on the thing’s back.
The blade bounced back. The impact made the machinery bend forward slightly, as it felt the blow. Though… whatever measure of damage dealt, could not be considered.
‘Ugh-oh.’ Its upper half turned around to meet this assailant. Its inanimate face displayed no mood.
With the hammer in its right hand, it smacked the Dovahkiin, who barely managed to block it. Even partly blocked, it felt as if his dragon sword would break from the impact which sent even him flying.
Landing close to the other invention, it was quite clear by now that this thing was what slaughtered the Falmer and Chaurus’s down below.
‘That hurt…’ He struggled to get up, as that thing turned to face him.
In an instant, the machine was upon the warrior, slamming its hammer down on the Dovahkiin’s position, missing.
‘Like I’m just going to let you squash me. I’m no bug!’ He raised his weapon once more, hitting the guardian’s left arm, which was armed with an axe.
The machinery quickly shoved off his blade and turned to look down upon the Dragonborn. Shortly after, from its shoulder blasted a wave compressed steam, reducing much of the warrior’s visibility whilst also feeling unbearably hot.
He backed off to get rid of the steam by turning his back to the machinery. That was a mistake on his part, but what could he have done in that situation? The hot smoke was too invasive.
The Dwemer automaton acted swiftly, closing in the distance and raising its hammer. The blow landed on the Dragonborn’s back of the head, successfully managing to knock him out despite the protection he wears.
*Slap, slap, slap* ‘Ugh… wha…’ *Slap*
The Dovahkiin woke up to some slapping… His helmet was removed and what he saw amazed him. The girl from before was there, though thankfully finished slapping him as he came back to his senses. Or did he?
“Ugh… you… what are… you… doing here…”
Another slap landed, straightening the Dragonborn and waking him up for good.
“HUH, WHAT?!” He snapped his head up a bit, finally realizing what had happened and the position he is in. Or… the position she is in.
Why would she stand atop him? The girl was, quite literally, sitting on his pressure plate. And not the plate of his armor.
One thing was clear; his cloak was wrapped around her neck, making her presence there more believable.
She rose up from atop him, and stepped off so that he too would rise.
The Dovahkiin remembered about the Dwemer machine and scrambled his head in all directions. There it stood, on the ground with a black scythe in its chest.
‘Woah…’ The girl somehow defeated the thing.
The Dragonborn’s weapon and his helmet laid on the ground, several feet away.
She stood waiting for a few seconds, for the Dovahkiin to pick up his weapon and… not equip his helmet. It would seem it’s damaged and in need of some repair. He merely placed its remains in a pouch.
Of course, she doesn’t know that he is the Dragonborn. What she sees him as right now is… certainly not a threat to her.
Sure, he bested her in combat, and even offered the girl his fur cape, which leads her to think he is merely a kind stranger.
The Dovahkiin was approached. Turning head to look, she offered his cloak back.
“Weren’t you cold back up above?” She shaked her head to indicate a ‘no’. Why she hadn’t spoken was beyond his understanding. Though hopefully she is not a mute. “Very well.”
A person with such a beautiful face is sure to have a cute voice as well, right? He took back his fur cape and placed it around his neck.
She seemed a bit saddened for some reason. Or maybe just lonely.
“Do you want to accompany me?” She jolted head in his direction, with a shining glimmer of light in her eyes. Her only response was to shake her head energetically up and down.
He smiled at that slightly hilarious form of ‘innocence’ and then looked at the Dwemer machinery. She managed to defeat it… Was her scythe stuck in the thing?
“Do you, need help here?” Again replied with a nod.
The Dragonborn responded by moving at her weapon, grasping it tightly and pulling it out, unsuccessfully.
He needed a different angle. He bended beneath its hilt and grasped it above his shoulder, then pushed with both his legs. It sprung from its position and it took the Dovahkiin ahead with it, making him stumble forward after releasing the weapon.
She moved to take it while he got up.
“Okay.” He looked up at the continuation of his, um, ‘their’ path. He wasn’t sure why she is down there in the first place though.
Could she also be after the Elder Scroll? No, that’d be impossible. Septimus couldn’t have just told another soul about the location of the Kel.
If she was a pillager, they’d probably have to split the loot. If she’s an adventurer, all is cool.
After finding yet another Dwemer machinery and inserting the attunement sphere given by Septimus, the two adventurers were capable of making their way down some more stairs.
They stood flabbergasted. The Dovahkiin was now very, very deep below the earth. That was an awfully long descent.
A gigantic underground city, or the ruins of one. The walls of this place were black, as many small diamonds or other things of that nature, embedded into the ceiling, lid up some of the surroundings.
There were gigantic glowing mushrooms decorating the place like trees in a forest, and even a waterfall!
Many Dwarven buildings lay about unoccupied, and they shall soon be the victims of pillaging.
The Dovahkiin had heard that this place is called Blackreach.
Snapping out of his trance, as he had made an instinct of, he looked ahead. Several Dwemer spheres made themselves visible.
‘Of course there’s got to be residents here too.’ One of them quickly aimed their crossbow and shot at the girl. Good thing the Dragonborn saw it coming, and pushed her shoulder so as to get her head out of the way of danger.
She now looked at the enemies awaiting them and grasped at her weapon. But the Dovahkiin already jumped into action, engaging the spheres. These ones were tricky to deal with, as they tended to stay clear of his blade while shooting bolts at him, in vain.
The girl watched him fight. It was one thing to face him, and another thing entirely to sit back and enjoy his masterful expertise. She was quite lucky to have been shown mercy. But there again, if it weren’t for her, he would now lay unconscious in the previous area.
This was the savagery he did not display when the two fought. Leaving the girl to believe he is much more than she initially anticipated.
Falmer! They showed up on the right side of the battle field, three in number. While he was distracted with the guardians, she would charge at the vermin.
One of them had a bow, pointing it at the girl as soon as she was sensed charging.
Hopping sideways so as to avoid the arrow was an easy task. She got into range, as the arrow went past her, and swinged at the first Falmer in her path. Cleaving through it with little effort; the scythe got stuck in the body.
The second one swung as soon as she would pull back. But, she instead pulled her weapon up to defend against the blow. The archer readied another arrow, as the girl kicked the other Falmer away.
The arrow missed as she unstuck the corpse off her scythe, swinging it in one motion to impale two enemies at once.
The deed was now done. She stood a moment to catch her breath, and looked at the Dragonborn. He too peered at her, having been given the chance of witnessing her do battle. The Dwemer spheres, long taken care of.
‘She covered my back. She might actually turn out to be trustworthy.’ “Let’s go.”
The environment was lid up by the radiant flowers and Nirnroots stretching across the landscape. It was a beautiful scenery, and the girl enjoyed gazing endlessly at all the pretty things there.
He didn’t bother rushing through Blackreach, because the scenery was quite something. That and the fact that mannerism just wouldn’t permit him to rush a gentle lady like this.
His adventures never seemed as alive as this right now. Having a cute face with him sure made things more pleasant.
If only there weren’t several more Falmer and Chauruses ahead for them to deal with…
They had decided to stop wandering about endlessly through that underground metropolis and head directly for what the Dragonborn came there for. He has yet to tell the girl about the Elder Scroll.
Following a surprisingly convenient placed stone road, the two made their way to what could be the room of studies.
‘Hopefully it’s here. I don’t want to go back into that maze named Blackreach.’
Ascending up some stairs, around a large round Dwemer invention, the two reached a sort of control mechanism.
Five buttons were aligned; to the right was a holder. The Dragonborn placed the Lexicon there, this allowing the two closest buttons to it to unlock.
This machinery was clearly a tool used for analyzing objects of various interests. Of course, it is possible this whole machine exists only for the purpose of studying the Kel.
This invention was composed of several lenses, hanging from the ceiling, and one large blob of crystal in the middle of them all. The girl took a seat whilst the Dragonborn was figuring out what to do.
He began pressing buttons, which in turn caused the metallic arms to move and twist, either encasing the blob with more crystal lenses, or just backing off.
After a series of confusing decision, the crystal blob finally came down and opened itself for the world to see. The two adventurers moved closer to inspect the contents within. It was a white canister, and, most likely the purpose of his journey there.
The Dovahkiin made sure to take the Runed Lexicon back, and later bring it to Septimus. For, only with the help of that old hermit did the two find this Kel.
“What is that?” That was the first time she spoke, fascinated by the object within the Dragonborn’s hands.
“It is a Kel. An Elder Scroll.”
“A Scroll?” She took it into her hands to gaze upon it more closely.
“Yes, well… I’d suggest not trying to tamper with it. I mean, we don’t even know much about it.”
She returned his Scroll. A batch of Dwemer spheres suddenly erupted from pipes along the walls.
“Ruth nii.” The Dragonborn had spoken, only for himself to understand as he quickly stored the Kel and took hold of his weapon.
The girl had already dispatched one of the spheres, but three more still remained.
The Dovahkiin charged at them.
Standing outside the ruins of Alfland, the Dragonborn wondered.
They had attained the Elder Scroll, the Kel, as Paarthunax calls it. All that was left was to return to the Throat of the World and learn Dragonrend so as to defeat Alduin.
Even whilst pondering such important quests, the Dovahkiin looked upon the girl, sleeping a few feet away under a Saber cat pelt in their shack.
After the two had surfaced from the underground dwelling, they had discovered that night already settled upon Skyrim. And considering how tired they were from all the fighting, he had decided to quickly scrap some wood and pelts from nearby shacks to rebuild, or at least cover the one they were in right now.
It was chilly within, but at least the wind didn’t blow. He had given his timber fur cloak for the girl to set on the ground and sleep. They did not take off their armor, as they were still atop a mountain without a heat source.
A fire could not be started in the shack, as there was not enough fire wood, and to prevent a potential flaming death. The Kel had been hidden underneath his sleeping spot, beneath a few layers of snow.
If they are to be pillaged in the night, and if neither of them is to wake up, the Scroll would at least be well hidden. But if they were to be murdered in their sleep, it would also mean that the Kel could be lost eternally under the ice, for, nobody knew it was there except him.
But the girl, why is she there? She couldn’t have been more than twenty. Why does she risk her youth exploring deathly tombs in the middle of nowhere?
Was she like him? An unfortunate soul who suffered a great loss at some tragic time? She clearly didn’t take extreme pleasure in hacking the life out of her foes. The lust for blood is not the cause.
Then what is motivating her? Doesn’t she have a family who worries for her? Or perhaps it’s her family that’s causing her to go out in search of treasure to maintain it? Where does she live anyway?
‘What is her name, even?’
The Dragonborn walked through the streets of Whiterun. Four days had passed since he and the girl parted ways, and two days since he learned Dragonrend and had his bout with Alduin at the ‘Time Wound’.
Unfortunately, the World-Eater managed to escape. Paarthunax had informed the Dovahkiin of Alduin’s retreat to Sovngarde. Where the cursed dragon would no doubt regain his strength and gain new power. Their next battle would be much tougher.
‘Sovngarde… It really exists…’
He was in the market of Whiterun. There were many thoughts going through the Dragonborn’s mind at that time. So many in fact, that he stumbled into a person while walking.
“Oh, sorr-” He stood stunned. It was ‘her’. The girl he encountered on his way to get an Elder Scroll.
“Hei!” Her voice seemed pretty pissed. “I was talking to you! Do you just walk with your head in the clouds all the time?”
So she can be open and talkative to strangers too… and the sound of her voice was like a clear blessing.
“Sorry. My mind is so blistered with problems right now… Oh, hei, what are you doing in Whiterun?”
“I live here. In the temple of Kynareth to be precise. What are YOU, doing here?”
“I’m the one who’s got to deal with the dragons.” Her eyes widened a bit at the sound of this.
“So… what? You can kill a dragon? I’d like to see you do it.”
He sighed. It’d be troublesome if this girl still has the mentality of a child who needs to see to believe.
“Isn’t my armor proof enough?” She looked at it from top to bottom, but still didn’t believe it one hundred percent.
“So what are you doing in Whiterun?”
“I frequently come here to sell valuables. Armors, weapons, jewels. All kinds of things. After I’m done here, would you care to accompany me again?”
“On what errand?”
“On whatever job I get from the Jarl’s steward. He is rather good at pointing me in the general direction of bandits or giants to take care of and earn coin.”
“Only if we split the profit half ways.”
“Sounds good to me.”
They made their way up through the cloud district and into Dragonsreach. She chose to wait at the door while the Dragonborn went up to the Jarl, to hear some unsavory talk.
The girl waited for five minutes, before seeing him approach.
“What is it with that tone? Something unpleasant?”
They exited the building and made their way to the stables while having a conversation. But not before she stopped in the market just to buy several apples.
“Bleak Falls Barrow has been occupied by bandits. We need to clear it out.”
“Money in exchange for their life.” She said with a mouthful of apples.
“It would appear so. Say, why don’t I know your name yet?”
“Just because-” She swallowed the apples. “-it’s a secret.”
They were at the stables. The Dragonborn’s horse was covered in dragon bone armor, making for a matching combination with the Dovahkiin.
The girl, who climbed up on the back of the horse, behind the man, shared her name after a small amount of pestering.
“Say, Hikari, what do you think of Whiterun?” It was wondrous how the horse managed to lift its own armor, the Dragonborn, and the girl. Like, like how many pounds must that have been?
“I am thinking of leaving it behind.”
“The city is kind of getting old. I lived in the temple for several years now, but its starting to get old really fast. I like visiting other places. It’s why I’m an adventurer. Also, apples. If you’ll ever bother giving me a present, make it be apples.”
She was very damn specific in her wishes. Can’t imagine how her parents maintained her.
“And where would you go should you leave?”
“Hmm. How about Dawnstar? Or Falkreath?”
“It’s not a bad choice. Though, there are better places such as Solitude or-”
“Solitude might end up as a war zone. So I’d rather not.”
“I’d wager it has some of the best defenses in Skyrim. And some of the most soldiers at this door step. The war won’t get anywhere near it.”
“Speaking of which, do you participate in the civil war?”
“What? There are Dragons up and about in Skyrim. And you think I’ll waste time fighting a war? No, I don’t take part in it.”
“Was there a point to your question?”
“I hate Stormcloaks.”
“I’ll tell you one of my reasons. They attacked Whiterun.”
“Yes well, they failed to take it.”
“Only because I stopped them.”
“With your skill and wit, I don’t doubt you succeeded.”
“It angers me that those useless guards just stood there and watched me fight the battle on my own! Aren’t they supposed to be men?!”
‘Considering your looks and probably the pleasure you took slicing at Stormcloaks with that thing… They were stunned with fear. Even going as far as to think your some sort of Daedra.’
It seemed as Hikari views men as strong and courageous. Someone who doesn’t make her list, earns her hatred. But what did she think of him? She clearly doesn’t hate him.
“And that useless Jarl! Why did he refuse to let the Imperial’s garrison in his city?”
“Hei, hei, easy. There’s no point to this anger right now.” She sighed while calming down. “Say, want me to sing you a song in the dragon tongue?”
“Wh- The dragons have a language? And you speak it?”
“Yes, I learned it from the Greybeards when I was up on High Hrothgar.”
“Those old hermits still exist?”
“Yes. Why wouldn’t they?”
“How old are they? A few centuries old?”
“I’ll be honest, they do look that old. I’m surprised they can still move about just fine.”
“Hmm…” She had honed in the fact that he went to High Hrothgar. And there was a summon specifically for the Dovahkiin. And that he said ‘he is the one who’s supposed to take care of dragons’.
Hikari took a moment to let the though sink in. “Wait, YOU’RE the Dragonborn???”
The two dismounted the horse, as they arrived at their destination. Several bandits had spotted them, and already let arrows loose.
“You’re not afraid of a dusty old tomb now are you?” He talked to her; the arrows missing their targets by a great degree of concern.
“Not when I have the Dragonborn with me.”
“Well. I tend to keep those I consider friends alive.”
One of the bandits gathered courage, took up sword and shield, and charged at the Dovahkiin. His overhead swing missed as the bone plated warrior jumped aside, while still managing to sneak a fist through the bandit’s guard.
The Dragonborn’s left arm successfully connected with the bandit’s face, pushing and pushing until it forced the foe to fall on his back, knocked out.
Hikari had had the privilege of chopping an archer’s head off, while the third bandit ran inside. Probably to warn the others.
“One escaped. But no matter.”
“We going in now?”
“Yes, but we should be wary of traps or ambushes.” He took up the iron shield of that bandit. “You stay here until I call you.”
“Alright.” The Dovahkiin entered through the open stone doors, with his guard up.
So far, no one got the jump on him. No bandits, no traps; the place was rather empty and devoid of life.
‘It seemed they didn’t have the time to set this place up right.’ “It’s clear!” She approached as he tossed the shield away.
“Where are they?”
“Further inside. Let’s go!” He began sprinting through as quickly as possible.
Three Nords, a Bosmer and an Orsimer were taken by surprise as the Dragonborn plunge attacked through a wooden door and into one of the Nords, killing him on the spot.
“Y-You bastard!” The other two charged, mace and sword up high.
The Dovahkiin raised his blade, blocking the first assailant’s weapon and shoving him to the wall. Dodging the second bandit, the warrior kicked him in the opposite direction while moving to impale the Nord who had his back against the wall.
Quickly after, the third Nord had his head chopped off by a huge scythe, leaving the wood elf and the orc stunned.
The Elf, having destruction spells in both hands, began doubting his ability. The Orc though, he was prepared.
These two bandits slowly backed away against the portcullis, and the Orsimer reached for a lever. Pulling it, poisoned arrows rained down upon the adventurers.
One of them deflected as many as possible with his weapon, whilst the ones that weren’t blocked just ricocheted off of his armor.
The girl, she tried to avoid them as best as she could. The poison darts which hit the armor merely bounced off, but she had been unfortunate enough to be hit. Darts now sticked out of her left arm, two in number, and one just above her right lung. She fell on her knees.
It was ironical that the body parts not covered fell victim to poison darts.
Seeing this development, the Orc charged, his two handed axe cleaving above head level to reach its target. The Dragonborn hopped to the side, and plunged with his sword forward, impaling the orc and taking him down.
His elven friend wasted not one more moment and released sparks at the Dragonborn, who responded by lifting the orc’s body and throwing it towards the Bosmer.
‘I should have done that from the beginning.’ He had turned to look at the girl, in her helpless state.
Hikari, in her state of pain couldn’t resist, and as the poison burned through the flesh surrounding the darts, she felt her head falling…
…into the Dragonborn’s palm as he turned the girl around so as not to sit on the darts. She was unconscious.
The Dovahkiin carefully removed the poisonous tips, as her flesh kept on corroding, and grasped into his potions pouch to take out an antidote, which he then fed to Hikari.
Whatever good that will do, it will do. Thankfully, he always carried such vital assets with himself should the need ever arise.
This was a special potion he concocted in the laboratory of his home. Placing the girl’s head back down, he gathered light into his palm, and channeled it over her wounded flesh.
It was done. Her wounds were healed but she had not yet regained consciousness.
This was all a bit strange. The poison on these darts should be more than a few centuries old, and as a result, should not be as effective as they once were.
Maybe the bandits prioritized refreshing the traps with some recently made corrosive acid. For now, her wounds stabilized and healed.
Checking her breathing, the Dragonborn discovered it had slowed down significantly. This alerted him, because it meant a small amount of the acid made it to her lung.
His level of restoration spells heals mostly outside wounds, never really reaching deep inside. There was only one thing the Dragonborn could do for her now. He had to pray.
Yes, pray. Pray that Akatosh would help. Pray that He would have her receive His blessing.
“Akatosh, Lord of the Dov. Please, save her. Deem her worthy.”
Light came into view, as her eyes slid open. Hikari had been asleep for what seemed like a decade. She felt… older. The thing she experienced when she opened her eyes had left its mark upon the girl.
Her body laid down on the stone cold floor, and she stood gazing at it… Was… Was she dead? Had she become a spirit bound to wander through the un-life eternally like the draugr? Or was she something more?
All traces of color in the world seem to have vanished. Hikari couldn’t contain herself and let loose raindrops upon the floor. She had shed eyes. Not many can resist the thought that they are dead.
‘Why do I cry? It was bound to happen at some point…’
“That is true.”
She had looked up. Through her tear sinked eyes, she saw what could be merely a light bubble. That if, it hadn’t talked.
“-am I?” The girl had closed her eyes and brushed her tears away. “What do you want me to be?”
“Something nice, like, an apple…”
“I could be that. But how about you?”
“What could you be?”
“A dead person.”
“You aren’t dead yet.”
“Yeah… I’d wish…”
“It can be done if you want it strongly enough.” She had gazed at the light bubble more intensely now. “Do you want to continue living?”
“Of course I do! Who in their right mind would want to die?!” She had pointed her face at the floor, eyes closed, as she had almost shouted that last part.
“Then reveal to me your purpose. The Dragonborn over there-” She had opened her eyes to look at the Dovahkiin, who stood on his knees, praying, close to her body. “-has summoned me here because he does not wish you to die. Do YOU wish to die? Or to live?”
“Who… Who are you?”
“You would not believe it even if I told you.”
The girl jolted her head up, finally awake from the dream like sequence. She was back… She was… alive! That was proven true as the walls once more had color.
Looking to her left, ‘he’ waited. Though, too deep in prayer to notice the girl. His helmet laid on the floor.
Hikari had approached, wrapping her arm around his neck, and complemented his cheek with her own.