I: Lord, I have come unto thee to ask of favor for I have grown tired.
God: This has to do with Earth… I know.
I: You know what is happening, the things I have seen, without question.
God: Yes, child. The pain within you reaches me even now.
I: While claims could be made, that I can bare it no longer, the truth remains that I could for quite some time. Yes, it is admitted that I could carry on and do as you will, among men, but my disappointment with them, has soured my heart and I see more shadow than light in their realm.
God: But the light is there, regardless. Your kind is what breaths the flame, kindles man’s heart. You are my ember and eyes and yet, it remains that you are also my child, so speak as you will, as I listen.
I: It is… difficult and I confess being torn, because there are good men among them reaching out and climbing up from the cast shadows. For them I feel conviction that these must be saved and then I have hope for the stumbling. However, when I look upon those chained in darkness, their mouths covered by the enemy, their eyes shrouded willingly from your light, this is when I too stumble, for their numbers are many, but all counted, as you wished.
God: The darkness that envelops them at this point of time is great. For many ages it has been gaining velocity, moving ever faster and tightening it’s grip. Man has become separated not only from nature, but themselves. This is the era of fool’s deceit, where they tear themselves asunder and consume lies as if it were the sweetest fruit.
I: Lord, they are being deceived and made to cast their eyes aside at every offered distraction! And, Lord, they look! Few turn away and many consume the well named fool’s fruit. This, my Lord, is what tires me. The battle has been a long one and I know not how to save mankind with the fire of myself or my brethren, if they will not listen! So I have come to you in a moment of despair. For look here upon the Earth and see this blanket of shadow and lies, covering them, smothering the good with fear!
God: Then, we should stand with them, a little longer and shine our lantern through the mists that have enveloped their eyes and stopped their ears, for I will not let the shadow rebuild such as it has, again. What comes of this, is due to their free will and if it eases your heart, know that there will be men who stand at your side, that all your work has not been lost, nor wasted.
I: You say, ‘should’ indicating that I may walk away from them, if desired.
God: As I have not stopped them, so shall I not stop you if your desire is to leave them to your brethren.
I: No… I love you too much for that and will stand holding the light awhile longer.
God: Then so shall it be and it is not for much longer.
Please feel free to reblog or share elsewhere. I posted this to uplift and bring warmth to the heart during this twisted time in our history. It’s a worldwide fear based movement happening right now, from country to country. My honest heartfelt concern is people being mislead, in various directions, for there are a multitude, all with chains attached. So here is a small lantern to offer a glow in the darkness. Be safe by being wise. Stay free by your courage and let not fear ground you under it’s bootheel. Love to you all, no matter who you are, no matter where you are. Lyssa Dartaine, 2020
((Preface:: Don’t need to know? Skip down past the dotted line::
This is a fantasy tale, taking place in a different realm, far from Earth, far from science, which is forbidden and limited. There are two moons, Tamith and Auras. One turning of the moon or reference of ‘moon’, is related to a month’s time, not a day. Tamith is the moon these ‘months’ are measured by.
The Gods still walk amidst mortals here, moving their lives for the better and worse. There are a handful of races, none exactly the same as another.
Imarre are the thriving race of Atiis. Their faces, demeanor and bodies are similar to humans, while arms and legs are patterned with stripes of short fur, partitioned by bare skin, inbetween. They have long sleek tails and elven ears tufted with fur. Mostly their eye colors range from green to grey.
Daemons are not plainly evil, but are neither morally good. Some are free from the rule of the Gods, while others are in service to individual deity. Their appearance is mildly diverse, but mostly they remain shadowy dark humanoid beings, their abdomen leading to an aetheric serpentine tail, rather than legs. They are completely able to copulate with mortals and take solid form, but remain as energy most of the time.
Creation is the life force of all, including the Gods, but rarely takes action in the evolution and growth of its children, unless something has gone seriously awry.
Upon her stomach she lay, eyes closed to the night and the stars that were, surely, glittering outside the rooms small circle of a window. Despite that porthole to the outside, there was barely enough light to see the stuccoed walls or the brown stones of the smooth floor, leaving little choice but to rest. Even now, the air smelled faintly of aromatic incense, lulling her into peaceful relaxation and in the dark this was very much welcome.
Tomorrow she would have to work the fields and help bring in any available harvest, as it was the season. Then there would be lessons with Aurora, concerning temple etiquette. One day soon, she would be part of the assembly, and a better life it was than living on the streets, as the orphan she had been ages ago.
Drifting off to sleep she thought, lightly, upon the remaining days, until she turned twenty. There would be a ceremony a moon later, one few would speak about, which caused an underlying concern. Clutching her blanket, it was pulled up over bare shoulders as those stray worries were discarded, since it was pointless to mull, over nothing.
Once Suri was asleep Kheris slipped out of the shadows, parting the veil that kept him separated from the sight of mortals. Approaching the bed, he sat down next to the sleeping beauty, for she was at least this much, despite being an Imarre.
Bizarrely, he had watched her since childhood, having sensed a familiar energy within this fragile Wight, curiously growing attached, despite knowing it foolish. Here and now he traced, with a talon tipped finger, against the edge of a pointed ear, down it’s angle and over a soft lobe, then along her feminine jawline.
Rare for her kind, she was only dusted, very lightly, with silken amber stripes of fur upon arms and legs. Her tail-tip was tufted amber, the remaining fur short, sleek and black. In contrast, her skin held the tint of pale sands, making the dark striking of fur more vibrant. He liked that she were so bare and clean, being his own form lacked hair at all.
Instead, his kind were graced with fine tendrils of black shadows that crowned their heads, as if one had very long hair floating and writhing in a strange breeze. Really, he needed nothing more, than these strands of ebon shadow for a crown. No need for clothing or warmth or cold.
Reaching out, fingertips feathered over her shoulder, pulling the thin shift of a coverlet down. Scent, so very sweet and subtle emanated up into the air, heated by her body, by the pulsing of blood and life beneath skin. All things he could feign having, if desired, were he to make of himself a physical presence.
Desire beat within the core of his being and grew worse as each day passed, making the desire to reveal himself a kind of sweet torment. Yet, it had always been his choice to remain hidden. Were she to look upon him, see the darkness and shadows… possibly, there would be an end to this illusion he had created. Like with all mortals she would fear him… or worse, seek some gift of power. If that happened… in a moment of anger, he might be tempted to corrupt her for such a betrayal.
Anguished, he let his touch linger, pulling the coverlet further, gently, until the smooth ravine between her shoulder blades was revealed to his very keen eyes, despite the shadows in the chamber. To him, the night was lit up and more alive than any sunlit day. That and the sun vexed him, cursed him to weakness and so had to be avoided.
Pushing aside, his own concerns, he refocused upon restrained desire. Like all of the temple maidens she slept bare, for this season was hot, the air dry. In another turning of the moon, it would be true harvest, and she would be offered up as a sacrifice to Baa’thir, his brother.
Though the temple were dedicated to Allariel, Goddess of love and wealth, his brother held a contract on the lands, here. The price was a mortal sacrifice every ten ages or the lands harvested, by fire. More often than not, the mortals chose some unwitting virgin to submit to death, rather than lose their crops and houses. Baa’thir had always been amused by that and marginally, so had he, until recently. In the dark he whispered out the opinion currently on his mind. “Fools!”
Regardless, Suri being in this position, now, was his own doing. Eight ages ago, he had encouraged one of the priestesses, inside of dreams, to find this waif and bring her into temple life. At the time, she had been twelve, verging upon thirteen ages and he knew what was to come if he left her to the streets, as he should have done. Later as her beauty matured, lust replaced the confusion of his odd worry about a mortal, awakening him to an uncomfortable truth. Loneliness.
Driven by unwanted emotion, he bent low, hovering over her back with his mouth, kissing up the length of her spine, reaching the smooth meeting of neck and shoulder. Then he kissed the amber silk of long hair, plaited into a braid and inhaled the floral fragrance of a recent bath. Pleasure, slipped out of her body, in soft little sounds of want, that only encouraged him to hold tight, to one who was fully blossomed into adulthood.
Hugging her like this, from behind, arms about her waist, was sadly temporary. Already, he was slipping away as her sleep faded into waking. He could not endure seeing hate in her eyes, should they meet face to face in the dark.
Half asleep, Suri sat upright, bleary eyed, glancing around the sparsely furnished chamber, discovering only shadows and a familiar blue circle of light shining upon the stone floor. The moonlight from outside, offered enough glow to see she were alone, assuring that all had been a dream.
Distant, fading slowly, she could still feel the feint heat of firm kisses upon her skin… against her back. Partly, she remembered being held from behind, embraced lovingly. Biting her bottom lip, she lay back down and could not help but relive previous nights of the very same dream. It was happening more and more, the closer it came to the ritual.
Always, the incidents left her torn on whether she should say anything to Aurora. No one was allowed to touch her, until after the ceremony, only these dreams seemed brought on by isolation. Some heartfelt wish to be loved, when males were kept away from her at all times.
Frustrated, she felt her brow crinkle hating the loneliness of the past age. Aurora had been so strict and now was her only brief company. More and more the other Priestesses had distanced themselves, whispering to the Priests and nary passing her more than a furtive glance. It felt wrong, like they were afraid or hiding some awful truth about her past or future. Saddened and empty, she worked on sleeping again, seeking the freedom it offered, not wanting to embrace dark thoughts.
Waiting, in silence, rather than leave as he should have, Kheris let her fall into sleep, before venturing near. Hovering next to the small bed he tried to instill a cold heart within himself, make this not matter and simply leave this claustrophobic chamber. For a moment he held onto who he had been before finding her on the streets, but the effort was half-hearted . What he wanted lay before him and yet… it could lead to pain and humiliation.
Time was of essence, his very way of life, balancing upon a dire precipice. Either he must leave or intervene, but what then? Could he refrain from becoming angry if Suri found him repulsive? What if she could be made to desire his company… forget the implications of his form? Perhaps a test and if she passed Baa’thir could burn the place down, since Suri would be taken away from this place.
Smirking, he snaked closer, came low to her side and let his lips touch her own, then upon the next breath spiraled his essence down, through her body, forcing the union she may later come to resent.
For the second time that night, Suri woke, this time gasping, body shivering from the immense pain and fire within. Hands to her chest, she cried out, curling upon side, wordless, breathless and almost sure she were dying!
Aurora kept chambers nearby, for what Suri slept in had once been a personal storage chamber. Slamming into the chamber, she found the younger female shaking, upon side, tears streaming down a usually calm face. One that was so often oblivious to certain truths. This sight was unwanted, the expression pained, the younger female’s skin damp.
“What goes on here?!” By the Gods, this girl could not die, they needed her for the ceremony! All these ages invested into keeping the female untouched could not be wasted upon a sudden illness!
Touching moonlit forehead, cheeks and throat, Aurora played witness to the horrible fever and felt fear for the first time in ages, for it was a bad omen. “Your body is on fire!” Swallowing, nervous, she took her hands away, afraid to catch the sickness herself and also afraid to alert the rest of the temple. Instead she questioned Suri, a little too harshly. “What happened, what were you doing today?!”
Suri opened her eyes a moment to stare into the coppery green of Aurora’s and shook her head, as best she could, while pressed to a pillow. Everything had been normal that day, nothing out of the ordinary other than an all too familiar dream. Should she mention it?!
“Say nothing!” Kheris hissed the order from within, where only she could hear his voice. “Protect me and I will repay you, in time. Reveal me and we both shall find much pain.”
Protection was hardly required, but would she fail even this, being fearful of his voice, then there was no need to go further into their relationship and all this misery would be at an end… finally.
Eyes wide, Suri took a deep breath and almost cried out for help… to let Aurora know what she had just heard. Suddenly, the grip upon her body eased up, allowing each breath to come slower, less burdened. Within the recesses of her core, a strange power was shifting, making itself comfortable, like a snake in burrow. Confused, she struggled to think clearly and failed to say a word.
Frustrated and terrified for her people, Aurora demanded an explanation. “Suri, I must know! Should someone have made you ill we are all in a great deal of trouble! The others will be… just tell me!”
Shutting watery eyes against a frightened and angry Priestess, Aurora realized an already suspected truth. The priestess was not worried for her out of warmth or kindness. This was outright fear and anger! Partly, she wanted to believe it was the fever, causing an illusion, the impression to be wrong. Surely, Aurora cared a little about her, despite the fact she were street born!
“Mistake nothing, trust what you see. Now, relax before she calls for assistance…. or speak out and reveal me, if that is your wish.” Lingering near the surface of her thoughts, Kheris waited, giving her the chance to betray, to prove her mortal heart feeble. On the surface he wanted this failure and to watch her wither, freeing him from further need to care.
Who was this invading her thoughts?! Even as she questioned Aurora’s motives, this visitor knew every lingering suspicion. There was something frightening about such a sharing and yet, it was more concerning to look upon Aurora and know that her visitor was right! What she saw in the other Imarre was not fantasy. For the past few seasons she had tried to pretend nothing was wrong. Now… it were impossible.
With the pain ebbing, Suri drew in courage and chose to keep the secret that nestled inside. The others would never understand and she would be cast out this very night, if not worse, once they discovered the being speaking to her was male. Forcing calm, she spoke as if feeling better. “What I ate today…maybe it was unclean, as the pain is starting to ebb.”
Suri watched as Aurora tilted her head to the side, considering the situation with those studious and emotionless, coppery green eyes. An elegant hand, dainty, with pink painted claws reached out touching her forehead and after a moment the Priestess relaxed. Soon after, Aurora stood and turned to leave, sheltering her body beneath the blue coverlet she had entered the chamber robed within.
“Tomorrow, the healer will visit, to be sure all is well. With your fever seeming to cool so quickly, it seems you burned through whatever, briefly, took hold.” The words came hesitantly, but Suri really did seem to be breaking free of an apparent short moment of illness. Perhaps, Allariel had intervened, to save them all from the chaos of a fire.
Closing the door, Aurora pursed her lips and then padded down the hall toward her own room. Below, her toenails clicked upon the stone tiles, reminding her to file them in the morning. There were a few males of special interest she had to visit, which required looking her utmost best.
When sure Aurora had gone, Suri hugged herself tightly, wanting to cry. Whatever was inside of her had been right. There was no warmth or caring words offered, other than a promise that the healer would visit. At the most, Aurora was relieved and glad that the situation no longer appeared dire.
Why had she ignored this so long? They had never really accepted her, not even in the beginning and time had made the truth raw. Still… why keep an unwanted outcast around? It made no sense.
“Safety for so many ages, food and comfort under a secure roof, was gifted. Why notice false kindness when the price is leaving this behind?” Every now and then, while he spoke, Suri would fight his presence, yet, Kheris had need to remain, see this trial through.
“What of yourself, am I safe or in danger?” The question had been left for him to decipher from her thoughts, realizing she best not speak aloud, or Aurora would quickly return. For the time being, Suri needed to learn more about this strange one, hiding inside. Why had he come here?
“Not yet.” His answer had been unwelcome and ambiguous, since he neither confirmed or denied her safety or potential harm. Suri was afraid, but that was as it must be for the time. What he wanted was to push her limits and if she did not break, they could progress.
Curling up again, pulling her covering over shoulders, Suri found her lower lip with teeth and bit it gently, as another thought was sent his way. “Who are you?”
“A Daemon, who will walk with you for a while.” ….
They had been traveling together for months now. From one part of Skryim to the next they took on tasks from locals, all the while tracking the dragons terrorizing the holds. During this time Casavir had learned a great deal about the Dragonborn. Sharing stories over a campfire, sometimes talking into the early hours before dawn.
It had been his pleasure to travel along side this warrior to protect her from harm and heal wounds inflicted during their battles. Nothing had ever made him feel more alive than this time with her. She was so….beautiful, even if she were oblivious to that fact or even how he felt.
Since that night in Solitude, when too much had been said, a tight grip had been held on his feelings. Even now, when his mind wanted to turn toward passionate imagination, he held it at bay, by counting the many glittering stars in the heavens, while she slept peacefully nearby.
Being a Paladin, this simply was how things had been. There were tricks one used to turn lust away when it came knocking at the door but they did not always work. Biting the full of his bottom lip, a kiss seeped in, forming softly against his mouth. Warm breath fanned over his skin and he shivered before banishing the illusion.
Rolling over upon side, Casavir watched her sleep, like he had on many nights before. So delicate a blossom and yet powerful.
When sleep finally took him it was only a few short dreams before they were awake and traveling again.
Unlike the nights, the days here in the Rift were warm and a much welcome sight after having been in Windhelm for over a moon tracking bandits and taking that dragon bounty for it’s worth.
She was elated to be away from the frigid lands, even if this part of Skryim was full of bears and other creatures that anyone could have lived without running into. Still, there were reports of dragons here and it seemed to her, they congregated in the Rift, more than any other Hold. Not that she blamed them, it was simply more comfortable in this place.
Casting a worried look toward Casavir a grimace formed. “We should stay a few nights in Riften, instead of make camp. You look worse than I feel… Unrested.”
“No, My Lady. I am fine. We will travel on to the mining camp as you wished and seek out the dragon reported.” Would his mind not wander into forbidden territory, his sleep would come much more easily, but the longer they stayed together the more he longed to be a man. Yet, doubts filled him that she would ever see him that way and he could not speak of the matter without looking a fool.
Bothered by his weariness, she almost turned right there in the road and lead them to Riften, but he was so prideful that doing so would hurt more than heal. “Casavir…after this task, when we take down the dragon. I could use a few days rest and…perhaps some shopping?”
“I doubt Riften has the fine wares of Solitude, but whatever you desire, I will purchase.” His Lady looked upon him as if he had misunderstood, but that was not the case. They both earned enough from the holds to support their own needs. Doing this for her, made him feel good, as if somehow she were solely his Lady. Even if it were a lie.
Opening her mouth to deny the offer, she instead whispered a thank you, after staring into those soulful eyes of his for a little too long. That and if denied he would only purr at her in that deep voice until she broke down and agreed.
Paladin or not, he could make her skin burn with want and her thoughts linger upon what to do with that mouth of his, if given the chance. Only, that chance would never arrive. He was sworn to his order and one wrong move like that would cost her his friendship. “You are always looking after me. When all this is done, should we both survive, I will miss your company.”
“We survive or die together. As I told you when we first met, I will protect you until my last breath and I meant that.” Again, that brow of hers furrowed as if wanting to chastise him for offering up a life in place of her own and how he ached to touch a smooth female cheek, while promising never to leave.
Silent instead of obvious, he indicated with his head that they should move on down the trail. The sounds of water splashing became more vivid with each step. There were no doubt falls nearby and he could use a bath. “Should we fail to meet up with a dragon or even some other creature, let us stop at the falls for a short while.”
“That would be nice.” There was a bonus to his not being from Skyrim and a Paladin. When given the opportunity he would bathe and in turn that gave her the chance to do the same.
Letting him take the lead, her eyes flit from his dark silk hair down armored form and like a young maid she blushed at the idea of him bathing. Despite herself, she imagined him gorgeous, taut and completely able to please her body.
Glancing back Casavir noticed the gleam in her eyes and red stain of her cheeks, discovering himself suddenly jealous. That look, he knew it from the past, when… Shaking off the pain he turned around to continue on down the path, perhaps a little faster than he ought to have.
Gods! He had noticed and now marched on faster, fists balled up. Surely he could not read minds, but had realized by some sense or expression that her thoughts had been lustful. Rushing up along side, her hand almost grabbed his steel wrapped wrist, then dropped helplessly. How could she comfort someone who could not and would not be touched?
Forlorn, they walked on in silence, until reaching the mining camp. There the residents were quietly questioned about goings on in the area, leading them to a letter that needed delivered a little ways up the road.
All was quiet when they were making their way out of camp, having learned nothing important, when the crack of a thunderous roar rattled the sky. The siren was that of a dragon and they both rushed out to greet it, while the people fled into the mining cave, which was probably the safest place.
Their battle was a long one. This dragon was not a fool and kept to the sky, only diving within range of arrows, long enough to blast icy breath along the ground, covering the land in shards of deadly cold. Then it would fly far out into the steam fields as if to recover energy for another attack. In the end, it cost them one flame atronach and nearly every last arrow, before the beast was too bloodied to continue the battle and yet they failed to kill it for it fled deeper within the marsh in a desperate attempt to live one more day.
Frustrated, the wooden heft of a bow was dropped, her arms aching suddenly now that the adrenaline of battle was fading. Before them the land was scarred with icy rifts that had torn through the soil. Trees were overturned at the root in some places. In all, it would take a few ages for the land to heal from that fight.
Apologetically, she sought Casavir who was out of breath as well, absentmindedly touching his arm, though it were sheathed in muddied armor and could feel nothing. “We will have to track it tomorrow. I know enough about this area, to not go out there in the night.”
Coming down upon his knees Casavir gave a wane nod, before clasping his side. The damn armor had failed to protect him completely. During the battle he had taken injury, either from debris or actual ice. “Help me get this armor off. I fear I may have something unpleasant in my side.”
Rushing to Casavir’s side, she began to work at the straps beneath the metal hinges and slots, more than a little frightened. He never went down like this and obviously continued the battle long after he ought to have retreated for healing. “Damn it Casavir! You are supposed to leave the field if your injuries get this bad!”
“We leave together, My Lady.” Shivering now, he lay back, letting her jerk his chest plate away and undo all the wrappings of leather and cloth coats beneath. Amusement was not to be had in this. Never had he imagined being disrobed by her due to misfortune, but it was probably the only way it were to ever happen.
By the time she had him undone, the pain had become strong enough that he were groaning, but that did not stop her from moving his hands and yanking the shard of dragon ice from his side. It was about six inches long and very thin. Probably a rogue bit of spray that shattered off and found it’s way through one of the few slits in his steel.
Tossing it aside, her hands went to the wound and she used what little skill she had with magic to send warmth and mending into the depth of the tear. It was strange to see it so red without blood, for the fluid had all been frozen.
The pain was still horrible, yet Casavir was in awe over how caring she was being, spending all her energy to see him healed. Taking hold of her hand, he stopped the effort and smiled. “Let me finish it. Save your energy in case we need it before finding camp.”
“Alright.” Scooting away, realizing it must have been her touching his bare flesh that caused the retreat, she let him take over the healing. After awhile, his breathing evened out while the pierced hole in his side diminished into the smallest of indentations.
When it came to mending, he was immeasurably better at it than herself, which was something she would have to look into resolving. After all, how could she protect him in the future, if this happened again in much worse of ways?
The sky was just a little bit darker, gathering a chill that was being exaggerated by all the ice around them. Even where he lay had spatters of frozen magic. Taking a breath he sat up, looking at the woman who had patiently sat there with him. Were they more than friends, he would take hold of her and…
Coming against him, despite knowing the end result would be anger and perhaps fleeing her company, she held him tight hating how cold his flesh felt against her palms. Embracing Casavir meant a lot to her, even though this would be the one and only time. Regardless, she had to let him know that there was love for him, somewhere in the world. “I know you will push me away and it is alright.”
Taken aback, Casavir sat there stunned for just a few breaths, before shaking his head and returning the embrace. “My Lady, I never planned on pushing you away.” Slowly he shifted her weight down, until she sat upon his lap and held her like the blossom she was to him. “More than anything, I have wanted to touch you. Make you mine.”
When she saw the blush upon his cheeks she knew what he said was true and not just a lie to keep the peace. “What of your vows?”
“Do you need me, My Lady?” A soft whispered, “yes”, met his ears and that was all he had needed to hear. “Then neither of us will worry and leave the reasoning and justification to the Gods.”
Testing the water, her mouth found his and pressed a kiss. Tender and sweet it was returned and this time, when Casavir shivered against her it seemed one of restrained need. “Come, there is enough light for us to bathe in the falls. Something I was thinking of before reaching the mining camp.”
Heat rising to his cheeks, Casavir let her stand, then followed after before dragging her back into his embrace. “You were thinking of me?” Warm palms caressed his chest causing him to purr out a desirous groan. “Then let us do as you desire, My Lady.” …………………………….
Kheris rest within Suri, nestled amidst her energies until evening drew it’s curtain over the violet skies. Now only the embrace of deep nightfall touched the land, it’s glittering stars and massive moon crowning the heavens above Atiis.
Slipping from Suri’s chamber, he passed beyond the walls and into the garden, that existed just beyond the small porthole of a window. Here, the air was touched with whispering scents of white iris and creamy roses. In the past, he might have stopped to cosset the petals, enjoy their velveteen texture upon the dark pads of fingertips, but tonight, tasks needed tending.
Were Suri and himself to wonder away from the temple, the weeds must first be pulled. Those weeds being guards walking the outer pathways to protect the Priests and Priestess’ of Lux. Truth be told, were Allariel watching over these people, they would not need guards and he would be forbidden entry by her will.
Gliding over the pathway, stretching arms above head, rolling his neck from side to side, he both relaxed and prepared. There were six keeping watch, for the temple was relatively small and the area isolated. After a few turns along the snaking walk, he came to the first Imarre, dressed in a uniform of white pantaloons and gray half-robe. The male wore the usual mark of the temple, as a silver swath of cloth, tied lowly about the waist and was obviously bored.
Well pleased, a smirk played at Kheris’ mouth as the guard was lost to meandering thoughts, mostly concerning a promise made to him by one of the Priestess’. Anything could have taken him by surprise, not just a Daemon.
Through the aether, Kheris reached out and lightly raked the tip of a claw against the male’s cheek, to which the other smacked the place as if to kill an insect. A breath later, the male was searching an empty palm for evidence of its death. Once more, shadowed behind his prey, four claws drew carefully down a clothed back, inciting fevered attention from someone who should have been keeping watch, not daydreaming.
Frantic heart pounding, the guard had spun upon a worn booted heel, and Kheris manifested in full, towering a few measures over the Imarre. All at once, fear engulfed the area, washing over Kheris as a welcomed wave of electrified energy. Nearly in a breath the Imarre was reaching for a worn ivory, sword hilt, while gray eyes revealed every blessed moment of terror. Kheris offered a grin, in return.
As for the sword, it were too late. Prepared, he had pulled the guard into constricting coils and compressed a large, claw graced, hand over a gasping mouth, which ended any chance of rescue. Then, in relative peace, he drew forth every last drop of anguish and fear, so as to feed.
In vibrant waves, the aetheric life force pulled free… the energy of the witless fool before him devoured. This was his wine, the spirit of mortals, their emotions and frailties, the very essence that animated their frail bodies.
When finished imbibing of what was easily taken, a lust for more bid him steal the guard’s life. Yet, it was the unwise recourse of a fool, not one as old as himself. No… he would free this one, allowing the Imarre time to recover, to be food again another day.
Dragging the limp form within coiled embrace, Kheris brought him to a bench, nestled between rose bushes, next to the gray stone wall. Discarding him upon the wooden frame, he passed on a command, willing this victim to choose oblivious sleep, rather than remember a nightmare. “Forget me, forget this night.”
Continuing the circuit, winding through the garden, Kheris found the others and quickly put them down. Even the two by the main entrance, around the front of the temple, were pulled from consciousness and left to dreams. The night’s tasks left him fully sated, relaxed, and ready to spend more time with a young female.
Unabashed, concerning the evenings game, he returned to Suri, finding her brushing amber silk tresses, in the pale candle glow of a small and sparse chamber. Despite her lack of material possessions, she always seemed fairly content, which soothed him for some reason. Wishing closeness, the distance was broken as he slid down at her side, just there, upon the floor, while she perched on the bed’s edge. “It is time. Are you ready?”
Suri stopped grooming and clenched the brush in her hands nervously, pressing it to the softly woven, blue gown, covering her lap. Instinctively, she knew Kheris had been away, rather than hiding within.
Now, he had returned with a gentle query and while hesitant, Suri, knew what answer she would give. “All right, but if we do not make it back before sunrise, I will be in a great deal of trouble. Outcast or not, this is all I have for a home.”
“There is more to life than Lux or this village. Yet, if this place is what you desire, I will not get in the way.” Rather than linger too long, allow this dove to ponder and possibly refuse, he took her hand for the first time. Of course, Suri jumped, to which he laughed.
Suri immediately regretted her reaction, upon hearing that deeply melodic laugh. Glancing the door, knowing Aurora may not be asleep, she grimaced and quietly cited him for being at fault. “I did not realize you could touch and it startled me, is all!”
Kheris leaned near to her dainty ear, brushing the silken tufted point with his breath and grinned, before playing in whispers. “Surely, you have read stories of my kind and are aware that we may be physically present?”
Honestly, Suri had not read anything about Daemon kind, having heard only a few tales from the Priests of Lux. That was, until they stopped speaking with her altogether. With a sigh, she admitted being uninformed. ” All I know comes from word of mouth stories. They never asked me to learn of your kind and I do not think it is a subject of study at Lux, either way. Besides, none of it has ever been… good.”
“Of the latter I have no doubt.” However, Daemons were a subject of knowing, at Lux! Kheris surely would have laughed were there not Imarre in nearby chambers. Instead, he began to raise up while tugging at her hand, bidding they leave. “Come, these others are asleep and while you were resting, I took care to clear the path so we might trespass in the wood itself.”
Clear the path? Suri was not sure she liked the sound of that, but dared not accuse him of evil. After all, Kheris had been kind and gentle with her, so why would he be violent with the guards outside? No, whatever other Daemon might have done, he was different… had to be different.
Kheris smiled, drifting over her surface thoughts, easily enough. There was growing trust on Suri’s part, which offered hope. As for the truth of what he were capable of… that would come in time and only when necessary.
They managed to traverse the temple quietly, with only the sounds of flickering flames meeting their ears and occasional snoring from behind closed, wooden, doors. Shadows of statues and pillars wavered and danced to the rhythm of the fires, but other than this, they were the only living beings, stirring, in the golden glow. The rest was all polished pottery, pale flowers, and colorfully depicted tapestries on cream stuccoed walls.
When they reached the great double doors, carved with, seemingly, infinite patterns of diamonds and tiny flowers, Suri felt her gut clench tight, fearing they would be caught. Even though Kheris told her the way was clear, fear choked her breath. Feeling for his hand, she glanced over to where he should be standing, finding only air, as usual. Then before her, one of the wooden doors began to creak open and she immediately thought of Aurora and the trouble to come!
Amused, as he often was with Suri, Kheris watched her recoil, as if she meant to run. However, all that lay on the other side of the door were two unconscious guards, a vast stone patio alight with fire bowls and garden flora, neatly groomed. Peaceably, he whispered for calm. “Shh, we are fine.”
Worried, Suri could not relax, needing to know if the men were still alive. Hurriedly, she made it to the first guard who was slumped against the wall and carefully checked if he were all right.
Clothed in white pantaloons and a half robe of faded gray, the familiar fellow Imarre was still breathing. However, he hardly looked comfortable, tilted in crooked slump, barely against the wall, his legs sprawled apart where he sat. The other guard was, nearly, in the same condition.
Kheris knew right away, she wanted to right the male, offer some kind of comfort, only, he cared little for the attention she wished to impart. These people wanted her for a blood price, nothing more! After a moment he grew calm, while making it plain they had to leave. “Let us go, Suri. They are well enough.”
A gentle caress upon right shoulder from Kheris’ fingers bid for attention, so she listened, coming to stand to accept the clasping of his hand on her own. Then they were treading the pathways, towards the garden, while her heart continued to embrace concern over the unconscious guards.
As they traveled, Kheris attempted to ease Suri, offering time in the garden, but nervous, she only refused. All he could do was hope her mood improved, once they reached the forest.
Leading the way through the winding stone pathways, that thread between high hedges and patches of fragrant flowers, he brought them to a small gate, already open. Here, he spoke in comforting tones, wishing her heart would not tarry on those Imarre. “They are not dead Suri, and will remember nothing tomorrow. So, please, try to enjoy this gift I am offering, and spend a little time with me.”
Outside the gate, leaves were crushing beneath her sandaled feet and occasionally she would step upon a twig or two. The wooden snap would break through the din of a million insects buzzing and humming in the night air, yet, they paid it no mind and kept walking, in apparent safety.
As for Kheris, he remained void to her eyes and made no sound of footstep, but she could still hear his breath and feel the touch of long warm fingers against her palm. For whatever reason, he had been kind, trying to offer this special gift and it was only right she accept with grace. Repenting of her fear, she tried to make amends. “You are right… I am not being grateful about the risks you took, so we might visit the forest.” Taking a breath she whispered apology… again. “I am sorry.”
Kheris felt the corner of his mouth lift into a slight smile, glad she was coming around to the idea of relaxing. This was not only a gift, but a way to secure her if possible, as his own. Attempting play, hoping she would continue to open up, he jested. “I suppose, if you were ‘truly’ grateful, you would grant me as much of your attention as I desire.”
Above the stars were glittering, bringing to mind, memories of her youth before temple life. Beside her, Kheris’ words danced playfully in the air. Unable to keep a smile at bay, a nervous laugh and nod followed, as she responded. “I know you are jesting, but yes, and you would deserve it for tonight. All this… the outside and starlight have been missing from my life, a long time.”
“Hmm. Jest or not, I am pleased you finally managed a moment of joy.” From his vantage in the mysts, that space where only the aether gifted could walk, Kheris watched her search the place he occupied. It was a brief effort and though he would like to trust revealing himself to her eyes, it felt too soon. However, while she were relaxed was the time to visit a special haven. They could be alone and talk freely, while embracing the evening.
Within a moment, he was behind her, hand over eyes in jest, for she could see right through them, of course. “Close your eyes. I want to take you quickly, to a sacred place in these woods.”
Suri was lifting her own hands, reaching for his large unseen fingers, feeling their shape, the way they overlapped with one another. Kheris was playing, she could hear it in the tone of his voice, despite the command. With a very slight nod she let him know it was clear. “All shut tight, now.”
Kheris leaned down, nearly, pressing a kiss to the crown of her silken head, only such affection may frighten, so he withheld the urge. Instead, he moved the both of them across the wood in the flash of a eye, to an exact point, a place he knew. The act cost energy, of course, but he was full and need not replenish for awhile.
Upon arrival, mist consumed the area in a spray of slow falling droplets of lazy dew, so minuscule that the area was taken with a feint haze. All consuming, his body bore the assault of the chill touch, but it was pleasant and welcome in this warm season. Nearby, was the frothy pool that gathered water from the thunderous falls within its bowl, so as to reflect the moonlight back up into the heavens. The scene was perfect with all the flora and trees hiding such beauty from the outside world.
To him, this place was a glorious cup that overflowed its bounty into the southern flowing river. It was a place of freedom and respite. Sharing it with Suri, was a token of his affection, for no other was brought here by his will. Unafraid to say as much, he spoke of it being a private treasure, as he set her free. “I pray you find joy and peace in this place, as I often have and that you will do me the favor of keeping it secret, as I share it with no one.”
Damp from the falling dust of cooling water droplets, Suri took a dizzy step forward, attention upon the waterfall, then up high towards the great moon Tamith. She could make out the outline of Auras, the smaller moon, hiding within sight of the mother. A great halo of light, blossomed outward around the greater moon, consuming the sky and Suri felt her heart skip with amazement. It was no wonder that Kheris came here to find peace, but with what power had he moved them so quickly?!
Even as she gasped in amazement, he slid into the cool waters of the pool at their feet and spoke of his haven. “At times, I come here to be alone. Gaze upon the moons and bathe. Pleases me that you find beauty here, as well.”
Spinning towards the sound of his voice, which was nearly muffled by the rush of the waterfall, Suri realized that Kheris had taken to the pool. Blessed by misted droplets of water, he glistened in the moonlight, as if part of the light, not shadow. True, he was not an Imarre, not even close and yet… he were beautiful to behold. Frightening, but… stunning… ghostly.
Sure he had not meant for that to happen, Suri cast her gaze back towards the waterfall, searching it over and guessing it were as tall as six Imarre. Whatever happened, the last thing needed was for such a gift to be ruined, by his realizing she had seen too much. Surely, he would dive below the water soon and wash away the mist, that revealed him!
Nipping her bottom lip, having scanned over the large trees and verdant bushes of the area, her curiosity won out and she glanced again at Kheris. There was a void in the waters, where his lower half was submerged, wading deeper into the pool. The rest of him remained somewhat revealed by the glittering mist.
The sight was strange, because she could make out taut muscle in the shape of his masculine torso just above the hole in the water. Biting her lower lip, Suri felt heat rush to her face and had to look away again, up towards the moon.
Daemon were described as monstrous in the stories she heard, with many arms, fangs, claws and lust for blood and death. Kheris seemed so different, that she began to wonder if he were a Daemon.
No matter what he was, Kheris remained out of her reach, likened to one of the stars in the sky. Sadly, unlike those in the heavens, he was shining in her life for a brief moment, until it were safe for him to leave this part of Atiis. Despite the brief time they had spent together, she would miss the company.
Passing his hand up into a swathe of tendrils, Kheris pushed them back into submission and realized in that moment, the water had betrayed his form. He was not a fool, had felt the mist gracing his body, but had been here in secret so often, that glancing dew upon his skin had become second place and easily dismissed.
One glance at Suri’s parted mouth and searching eyes, told him she had seen too much. Turning his gaze away, he nearly over reacted, rather than speak of the issue. “The water, it has revealed my form, in a fashion. Now, you appear… I suppose, dismayed. You are invited to deny it, however.”
Oh, no! He was hurt! Suri had not meant to seem afraid or disgusted! If anything, she was expressing disdain with her own lot in life, having been taken by her breath, due to his strange beauty. At least… when he was draped with glittering water, he was amazing to behold!
Edging near the water’s edge, lifting the hem of her cottony blue gown, just enough to keep the mud at bay, she attempted to make peace. “It is not like that, I promise! The mist and moonlight, lends a look to you… as if made of sparkling dust and the effect took me by surprise!”
Kheris looked at his own claw graced hand, that only dripped with water, but his forearms and chest held a subtle sparkle thanks to the moon. Perhaps from her angle it was far more impressive? Decidedly, he wanted her to prove no fear and held out his hand, making a bid. “Then come swim with me. Be at peace here, in these waters.”
“My gown… it will get wet and muddy! Also, the other’s will notice the smell and stains!” The excuse was valid, but weakly executed, sounding more like fear of a Daemon. Even without being able to clearly read expressions on his partially revealed face, she knew he was displeased.
“Leave your clothing over the bushes. There is no need of them here, same as there never was in your chamber. Besides, if they are offended by the scent of cleanliness… should you care?” Had Suri truly forgotten he had been with her nightly, as she slept unclothed? Kheris felt puzzled for the first time in untold ages. “Have I not already seen you, without?”
“Of course… you have… but…” Harried, she clenched her hands together and scanned the area for some privacy. There were only bushes to offer time to think, without turning Kheris’ thoughts towards anger. He was more sensitive about his appearance than she could have ever imagined! Still, he were obviously very male! How could she have been so careless as to lay unclothed and just assume he was merely aether?!
Kheris watched her linger a bit too long behind the full, leafy, cover of khari bushes and began to grow impatient. This was not a good sign, when he had hoped for strength of character. Finally, she began to disrobe, set her garments over the bushes, then pause a moment, before padding towards the water with bare feet, every toe clawed with small white nails. Even then, it was unsatisfying.
The posture she held was stiff, arms over her chest and when she entered the water it was not near him, but at a distance. Drawing near, he took up her small curve of chin between his large claw tipped fingers. There was a need for truth, so he made her nervous eyes look and inhaled deeply of vibrant emotions, piercing her thoughts. “I see… now that you beheld my masculine nature, you feel shame over allowing me to view your body. Perhaps, fear I will want to taste of you in time?”
Heat rushed to her cheeks, for she was greatly shied and embarrassed by his words. While some of what he supposed was valid, she denied the rest with a forced move of her head, for he still held her chin in place. Worse, when he joined with her again to hide away, nothing would be secret. Shivering, feeling like a fool, she uttered a painful truth. “No, that is not true. I can clearly see you are above my station… that I would never be… of interest.”
“Worthiness, you consider such things when looking at me? That is your truth?” Water welled in the corners of her eyes and Kheris relaxed. Mortals, so often believed they were better than his kind. Morally sound or at least redeemed by the Gods. As for Suri, he knew she spoke truly and was warmed.
Running his thumb up over her lips, they stared at one another in silence for awhile, before he gave in and became truly visible in the pale moonlight. The act gave her reason to stammer, to scan him with those large eyes of green, cast in the dim of evening. “Tell me, do you feel unworthy now? When I am shadows and snaking tendrils, red eyes and claws… do you feel safe?”
Black tendrils drifted outward, touching her face, shoulders and neck, leaving her to simply watch the strands flow and sway around him, in a slow ghostly dance. While the length of snaking shadows crowned his head, likened to hair, it was anything, but, lifeless and was no longer given the illusion of glittering crystal from the mist.
Eyes of darkened red, emanated power, their almond-like slants defined, the keyhole pupil, nearly, the same color red as the rest of the sphere, being only a breath darker. There was no white or black, just searing aether and that one color.
For obvious reasons, his expression was severe, verging on angry. Unable to escape, she put attention upon his nose, visually traveling down the narrow bridge, to full black lips that held a slight sneer. There was a glint of white fangs amidst the ebony shadows of his parted mouth and she swallowed, before speaking, to the shadow. “You are angry and that scares me, but are still so much more than I am.”
“Speaks one, whom I feel is the rarest of flowers. A bit of light in my existence of walking between.” Leaning down, Kheris pressed his forehead to her own and breathed in her nervousness. After a time, he spoke softly, while the waterfall muffled everything else around them. “ Allow me the benefit of peace between us, as it was before you knew my form.Do not fear me.“
Nodding, against his brow, feeling warmth, which was welcome in the cool water, Suri shivered again, while visually tracing over his smooth high cheekbones and full lips. Scary or not, he was handsome. Also, warming her heart were Kheris’ gentle words. He said she were a rare flower… that she offered him light. None had ever spoken so tenderly before.
Despite the red eyes and shadow, he ever proved himself kind and beautiful. “I want peace too, Kheris. As for my panic, it is because… you are more male than I realized.”
Laughing, breaking the tenderness of the moment, Kheris teased her for being so blind. “My voice, it’s depth and intonations, did not indicate my alpha nature, the fact that I am male?”
“Yes, of course, but, I thought you were a spirit more than a physical being, and until you held my hand tonight, I… imagined you were, maybe, ball shaped.” Suri had barely finished speaking when his hands slid onto either side of her waist, beneath the water. The act left her flushed with hot cheeks, but he was only edging them deeper into the pool, it seemed.
Once they were deep enough, his flower had no choice, but, to start swimming, freeing her arms from the over protective embrace of self. Grinning, showing fangs, Kheris felt both satisfied and playful again. “Perhaps, I should have let you continue such foolish beliefs.“
Suri watched him dive under the water, saw the snaking of a massive black serpentine form play at the surface and then disappear. Kheris was likened to a giant serpent below the waist! Blushing and feeling a little nervous, she knew he was swimming circles around her beneath the water… in the moonlight. There was turbulence below and the feel of his streaming tendrils, feathering against her legs. When he came up, it was to press their foreheads together again, revealing how happy he had become. For some reason, it made her smile, too.
As always, Copy written material may not be redistributed in any way fashion or form, without my formal consent. Should you happen to see my work in any way altered and under another persons use, site, name, etc… please contact me. It’s easy to do and will remain a discreet procedure. The characters in this story are several years in the making, including their names. Any similarity with other characters or real life people is strictly, ironic happenstance and unintentional.
This is just a clip of a current writing project. Finally, getting back into blogging some of my work. And yes, I do realize, I must continue the other story too! 😉 No worries, I will get to it in time.
Anyway, a small, ‘lightly’ edited clip from my, ever and always, in progress story. Just remember it’s a little raw, but that’s Ok!
He was still looking out the window, possibly concerned and so she actually did come as requested, just past his bed, angling around the slow twitching of his floor length tail, with all it’s shining smooth scale. “Yes?”
“Twice, I have kissed you and received no relevant, verbal, complaint, so I am going to do it again. Understood?” Glancing over his shoulder, dropping his hand away from chin, Cael had come to a final decision. He would woo her and make it very difficult for Sul’var to share. Perhaps with his son, that bastard could manage to cling to Ravensara, but not if he found out she were breeding with an undesirable source.
They were so close and it only took Cael Rothe a moment to turn around and take her by the shoulders, scaring her momentarily. As a gasp escaped her mouth, he came down, pressing his full lips over her own, while her hands pushed at his muscled chest, hopelessly. It was when her wrists became entrapped by his large hands and they both moved away from the window, she imagined the worst, but he seemed to be done, dragging her off toward the table again. “Why do you keep doing that?!”
“Shh and sit down. We have work to do.” Shifting her stool out by the force of his tail, Cael waited, wondering if this would be enough to send her away from all of them. Not that he wished her to leave, just the opposite, but the female needed strength to survive their lusts and love. More importantly, he must wrench her free from Sul’var.
Ravensara glared at him, then managed to sit down and soon Cael Rothe was reading again, looking… smug and self assured. In that moment she hated him and realized, that unlike many of the Caethe she met, the Priest knew he were handsome if not pretty for a male. Lithe, wide shouldered, narrow of hip, amazingly lean, Cael was probably model quality, in terms of his own race and hardly a true Elder in age. He barely looked older than Valshaar. So why was he serving in the temple rather than the palace?
“Get that look off your face, or we will do it again.” Threat or not, she only glared harder, until his talon graced hand snatched up her chin, then she looked away, discontent. “Do you hate it that much? If, so, all you have to do is admit my touch disgusts you and it will never happen again.”
Taking in his countenance, the pale green eyes were no longer icy but worried, the question serious and she imagined that if she told him those kisses made her sick inside, even her lessons would be over. Only, the reason she became angry had to do with how quickly he dismissed her after a single, short lived, piece of affection. “I am upset because you touch and then pretend it never happened. You are demanding and arrogant!”
“Demanding, perhaps… but a great deal is expected of you. If you are worthy, then my affection will increase.” Rage, flickered within her dark pools, making him grin, so he snatched up her left wrist in one hand, dragging her off the stool and into his arms. “Scream as the Wight do and I will let you go. I promise.”
“Never!” Not only was Cael Rothe arrogant but a bully as well, and because she would not scream, he made her sit upon his lap while keeping that stupid fanged grin flashing beneath his glittering eyes. “We are done with lessons, so let me go!”
“Why?” Keeping her pinned against him, thick tail wrapped around her left shin, Cael caressed down her cheek with his free hand, almost daring her to fight. “I have never met anyone like you. So defiant and willful, even though I greatly outmatch you, in many ways. Admittedly, I rather enjoy the change.”
“You…” Narrowing her eyes, meaning to insult him, the words fell away. Khodel had mentioned on the first night, when Cael kissed her, that this fighting between the two of them was of romantic interest to this icy natured Caethe, and at the time, she imagined that madness. Yet, he was obviously pleased in this moment, his mouth moving closer, until their lips touched again.
Devouring her, drawing up the plump bottom lip of pink, Cael Rothe sucked upon it gently, then released, sighing. Soon he allowed both hands to tangle through her dark hair and pulled them together for another kiss. Sensational, erotic, he kept Ravensara in place upon his lap, tasting with probing tongue, the wet of her mouth, daring to play inside the darkness. Small hands clenched his robed shoulders tightly and muffled complaints were uttered out between breaths of air, but she refused to strike him, bite or scratch. “Strike me, if you wish it to end, Ravensara.”
Panting, drawing herself away from his mouth, Ravensara kept her hands upon his shoulders, to maintain a little distance, granting him disdain via a heated glare. Even with that, he enforced her capture, breathing just as heavily in the process. Lifting her right hand, she opened it, palm out, daring to strike and sadly faltered in the effort. Hesitating in the air, while scanning back and forth between two pale green eyes, which were no longer ice, but full of desire, she lost the will to harm him. Observing warm emotion, her hand fell away and she did not argue as their tongues entwined. At least, until her body ached with need and had grown wet with desire. “I… I need to go, right now!” This time, she was easily free, standing, stumbling away from him, backwards, toward the door. He had looked her up and down sniffing the air with flaring nostrils, aware of her body’s betrayal. Hand upon the latch, she popped the carved wood door open and fled for her own chamber and another bath. Cael Rothe could smell it, her heat!
After she had fled, Cael Rothe stood and began sniffing the air, remembering her panic and that… scent. Desire, she had desired him in those moments and had been fully ready to mate! Ka throbbing, he laughed quietly to himself, elated, then returned to his bedroom window, to gaze upon the beautiful temple gardens, below. “Ravensara… you should have never allowed that to happen, because, now I am going to have to punish you.”
As always, Copy written material may not be redistributed in any way fashion or form, without my formal consent. Should you happen to see my work in any way altered and under another persons use, site, name, etc… please contact me. It’s easy to do and will remain a discreet procedure. The characters in this story are several years in the making, including their names. Any similarity with other characters or real life people is strictly, ironic happenstance and unintentional.
So, here it is! After some thought and research (Liebster Award info Wordingwell), I tackled this post. First and foremost, I want to thank Anand for surprising me with this amazing gift. He has been helping many of us, as have many others. Without him and helpful comments from passers by, on getting my blog space in order, I doubt I would have been nominated now. Maybe waaay down the line, when I was not stumbling and crashing into Theme issues and page set up. 😉
Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
So here it is. The questions from Anand. Then further down my nominations.
What is life according to me? :: Well, a learning experience and if you want to get into my odd interpretations and beliefs, it’s a dream we are all participating in, with the hope of growing and becoming better than we were in the beginning of the journey.
What is your goal or mission in life, if any?:: Simply, to do the best I can at my dreams and try to enjoy the time I have here, with family and friends. To remain balanced, spiritually.
What quality you like most about yourself?:: That I like to create, whether art as pen and pencil or graphics, as well as writing. These things give me peace, without them I feel lost and depressed.
Who are your heroes or role models?:: Arch Angel Michael and Raphael. Yes, I believe in Angels, but I also feel they are in every religion, just being called by different names and have been there throughout all of our time. Can they be role models and heroes. Absolutely!
Which is your dream destination?:: I have a few. Would things settle down, I want to see Egypt. Then one of the great rainforests in South America, to walk up in the canopies. Also, I would love to visit India for the architecture and culture and probably Turkey, as well. Ok, so I want to travel all over. 😦
What do you prefer in life Peace or Success. Are they different for you. Why?:: Both, but I want them to be intertwined. Success at the loss of peace would be a crime. I need both together in order to be truly happy. Being miserable but successfully rich, is pointless.
What are your hobbies?:: Writing, reading, now blogging, art and recently 3D art.
Do you feel good about yourself, people around you and life in general?:: Usually, yes. I admit to ups and downs though. When a day jumps in that is less than pleasant, I have to catch up with myself, if that makes sense.
What is the importance of gratitude according to you, if any?:: Honestly, it is the thread that ties us all together. To be ungrateful to another who is there for you, offers kindness of word or deed, breeds bitterness. Share when you truly can and be thankful you have the ability to do so. Also. slowing down to smell the roses helps a lot. 😉
Nominations! Accept if you would like but it is not necessary. Also, if you have already been nominated and I failed to notice, just consider it a second vote of how wonderful you are.
See You Starside. Insightful and a self confessed introvert! Which makes me smile.
Seeking Romance. A youthful blog that covers cultural topics of romance and life. Personal perspectives that are sincere.
Goldencougarwolf at a Yooper Story: Enjoyable and insightful. I hope you all stop by.
Samsara:: A Sanskrit word, which means, “A wandering through”. Equivalent to the idea of life and death in a, nearly, constant rebirth cycle. The eventual hope is to achieve Nirvana or Moksha. Which I am not going to explain. Too much detail for a short post already gone long. 😉
Just an example of achievement of Moksha or Nirvana would be:: The Hindu Yoga traditions hold various beliefs on this, one being that Moksha may be achieved by love of Ishwar/God.
So, what is the point of this post? What does it have to do with my blog, which is romantic and dark story telling, perhaps a mystery or two?
Well, what is story telling if not the intricate wheel of beginning and ends, a characters story going from one to another and so on? All of our lives are stories, they have their ups and downs, imperfections, struggles and from it all we learn. Hopefully!
For me, I reach that place of creating ecstatically, and perhaps this is not the actual Nirvana of losing self to become one, no longer suffering the slings and arrows of mortality! Still, it is my own little bit of heaven, where my dreams come alive in word and others can read and perhaps enjoy a place distant from their own ‘wheel of life.’
Now, I was actually inspired, in full, by The Tea Party and their song Samsara. I recommend not watching the video, as with most bands these days, they get stuck with some odd visuals to go with their music. 😦
In Need of Reblog Material. <— Please visit Kathy Mays with interesting blog posts, that you might like to have her share over the next week. She will be on holiday, so will be sharing fellow bloggers material while away, to stay active.
Soon to come, should be fantastic pics of her trip to Spain! 😉
Finaly to finish off. Cathy Lynn Brooks is dedicating her blogging effort to a book about her daughter, which is a work of love. Then run over to, Catching My Drift. Full of fun, interesting and thought provoking reads by Pam Kirst.
Some time ago, I ran across a page that let you post, for Fun, a good deal of your writing and will calculate, based on your style and word choice…. What famous author you write like! Me, I achieved this badge:: Yes you get a code to put up an, I Write Like badge on your page!
I got Mary Shelley! I am pleased by that, none the less.
Stop by and take a huge chunk of your writing with you, all from one story or post though. Copy it into the box and hit Analyze. Get your badge too! LINK::: I Write Like!
Enjoy the rest of your week and feel free to check out my stories. Just be aware they are sometimes meant for mature audiences and not for everyone. But that is life!
I was discussing my version of writing tonight with a friend. One who has encouraged me to keep going with this blogging experience, rather than let it fall by the wayside.
For the sake of sharing, as I felt an importance to explain my writing… to myself and to anyone passing through this nook of dreams. So, I decided to share my response, publicly.
As to well thought out…. I used to sit for hours, re-reading every paragraph, looking for each and every mistake or what did not fit.
It’s funny, because what would happen was, my stories would never get completed. I spent all my time re-writing ‘everything’! The characters and plot would change their path so much that I forgot what my intention had been when first starting out.
Yes, I came up with some great ideas in the process, but lost so many wonderful things that had been written down already. With so much misdirection and confusion on what path to take my characters down, the projects and time were wasted.
So, I concluded, when starting this blog, that sometimes you should be like Scheherazade! She had to tell her stories on the spot and make them good, or die the next morning to her insane husband.
Now, that is what I do. I write it and proof read the base story and only change things I did not explain well enough or add in what I left out, in a writer’s haze.
Recently, I signed up for the blogging 101 course as I am new to blogging. My first assignment was an introduction, so here it is!
My initial reason for coming to WordPress was to blog my stories. Short or long, it did not matter, only that I wanted to build up the courage to share what I imagine and dream of, when writing.
Without an audience, it was easy to write, but I was always bothered by not getting out there and sharing these ideas and dreams. So, that said it is my Mission to maintain this blog, write my stories and hope that over time others will enjoy them as much as I do writing them! My characters mean a lot to me, as I am sure every author out there, becomes connected to their creations and loves them.
So all that said, enjoy, like, share, follow! I appreciate the visits to my tiny little corner of WordPress.
By dawns pink hues, Suri had a severe urge to sleep, but dared not succumb. Most of the night was spent pacing back and forth within the small chamber, terrified. With the Daemon using her as a shelter, it had been difficult to relax enough to give in to such a dire need. Truth was, she did not trust him, enough.
Seven or eight times, she nearly called out for Aurora, so as to tell the truth, but each time the desire was pushed aside. No, she feared being unjust when all he requested was a moment of shelter. Having been homeless, such needs were understood, but she were so tired and mistrustful that relaxing was impossible.
Eventually, when the sun fully shattered the night, he had begun to sing, softly, lowly, a comforting hymn. Unable to keep going under the spell of his voice, she relented and sat down upon the bed. Foreign, the words drifted through her mind like clouds, meaningless and yet welcome. Foolish and child-like, she had fallen into a peaceful dream, no longer able to resist. Then nothing mattered and he was the sky. A misty blanket of dark peace in her dreams, as the melody continued.
Time slipped by easily, until well past midday and in dream, Suri was lost as well, until the heat of the season became unbearable. Upon waking, tossing the coverlet aside, she had forgotten about her troubles. Then, the grogginess of sleep dissipated and she remembered everything, but could not feel the Daemon. Had he gone? Thinking it possible, she took time to bathe with a cloth and cool water, then dressed in a thin white gown.
After a time, Aurora disturbed her pointless worries by delivering tea and bread, giving strict orders that forbid her from departing the small chamber. That was fine. Suri was still tired and not feeling completely well enough to work on gathering any of the harvest, so she sat quietly for a long time, sipping tea in the shadows of the small chamber.
Left to silence, she wondered when the healer would visit. Aurora had mentioned he would come, before rushing away in haste. Obviously, this meant, the Priestess wanted to meet up with an admirer or two and held no worries about leaving her alone with the healer, despite the old Imarre being male. Truth was, he had always been cold to her… distant. None of which had to do with imagination. It was simple fact.
Lingering, like sour fruit upon the tongue, Suri had grown to feel mild jealousy over the romances of the Priestess. The knowledge of being wanted, was so obscure that she longed for it almost constantly, these days. So much so, her dreams were infected with false touch and feathering kisses. It hurt and saddened her all at once.
Hesitant, at first, needing to know, she pressed her own mind with a question, believing that is where the Daemon dwelt, somewhere in the unseen. “Are… you still there?” Earlier he had said nothing and actually seemed long departed. So why was she trying? Was she really this lonely?
Kheris said nothing. Currently, he was mulling over her discontent and jealousies. From within, their energies were entwined giving him access to a great deal. All the turmoil and emotions were raw… powerful, more than he ever felt from the outside and he were excellent at glimpsing someone’s mind without taking possession.
Hardly a fool nor an innocent, he understood the reasons behind such desires. She had been chained to the Priestess’ hand, as a sacrificial bride or fattened cow. The truth depended on one’s perspective.
What she craved was physical affection and the female knew not what actual love was or how to obtain it from males. The idea of her with another sickened him, despite it being where she belonged. The emotion was another indication of how far he had fallen. He wanted Suri, and would not suffer another male to get in the way.
Baa’thir was not an actual concern in that regard. That Daemon had no real claim to the unfortunate victims of the village. All this was a mere game from his brother’s perspective.
In a justified turn of fate, Allariel herself saw these people as unworthy, since only twice, had they refused to sacrifice one of their own, in all the ages his brother had held sway over the land.
Instead of preparing stores of supplies, offsite, for the age of burning, they chose to kill to appease a Daemon. Allariel in turn left them unguided, refusing their offerings, letting them rot upon the temple altar. In truth, Lux Temple was nothing more than a house of harlots, pretending at being servants of the Goddess.
Casting aside the considerations of the moment, keeping a firm boundary between their two minds, he finally answered her nervous question. “Yes, I am here, Suri.”
All the hope she had of remaining unharmed by a Daemon vanished and yet, she were oddly relieved to hear his thoughts. Despite any fears, a polite query was made regarding how long he would be staying, as part of her wanted any form of companionship. “Will you be safe enough to leave soon… or not yet?”
“Say the word and I will depart. What I am terrifies you, makes your blood run cold, I suspect.” Carefully, with guile he implied what plans she might have, wishing to open a door of testing. “A romance is in bloom, perhaps, and I am in the way?”
Embarrassed, Suri discovered her head was shaking from side to side in denial, while wide eyes stared at the wall across from where she sat, since he was unseen. “Of course not!”
Stammering, still unbalanced by such assumptions, she attempted to explain, wanting to seem less concerned with herself and more worried about his situation. “It is forbidden for me to engage in… such things. Besides, I would not leave when you need help.”
“Forbidden to love, within Allariel’s service?” Expressing great concern, insinuating doubt he pushed again. “Over the entirety of Atiis, I have never heard of such restrictions set within the White Rose’s order.”
Defensive, Suri felt her face twist slightly, irritated that he sounded so doubtful, as if she were the liar! “It’s true! When they took me in…” Ceasing her attempt to explain, the past reminded her of actual fact. “Well… an age after they invited me here, there were agreements. I was to remain pure, untouched by males because of my past. They said I needed strict discipline.”
Kheris shifted his energy, throughout, purposely engaging her attention, wishing focus to linger upon his soul presence. In time, she would come to seek the sensation, were she to accept him, rather than fear. It would ensure a bond.
Eliciting regret, feeling none of it, he soon made a play at being sorrowful. “I see. So, it appears that I have made you unclean.” Continuing to express disheartned emotion, an apology was offered. “I pray you forgive my trespass. You must despise me and all that I am, for this unwanted sharing.”
Unable to keep silent, gasping from the sudden sensation from within, Suri felt him work to leave. In a breath his strong presence slipped away like the wind through leaves, allowing only a hollow emptiness to remain. Overwhelmed by his sorrow and the abandonment, her tongue offered absolute betrayal as it plead aloud. “Wait! I thought you needed to…”
Moving not an measure further, Kheris grinned, propped upon elbow at her bedside, his form relaxed. Remaining unseen and mostly insubstantial, she realized none of it and continued to pity. After awhile, he spoke quietly into the perfumed air between them, with thoughtful questions. “What of the pain I have caused? What of the lack of regard when I first came to you in the dark night? Should you not worry about yourself?”
Such queries and show of concern, left her shied and even more than that, she were warmed. Possibly, his kind had been cast wrongly in legend and because of that, she almost trusted him, rather than fear. Whispering, she dared to ask a question. “Why did you hide here, when there must be safer places?”
Now the answer to this, he had already planned out, knowing that eventually she would want to know. “My brother had claimed something I desire. Unfortunately, it lead me to seek shelter here, with you, inside the temple.”
“Then you stole something from him? Hardly seems very brotherly.” Immediately, she bit her tongue, regretting the judgement. After all it was none of her business how this Daemon handled his family relationships. Considering she had none of her own, made it more pointless.
All of her own memories of life before the village outside the temple were vague impressions, much of the past, lost to time. One day, she simply woke up in the woods, and wondered into these people’s lives. That fact left her apologizing. “That was a naive comment and I am sorry. I have no family and therefore no right to advise or judge your life. “
Kheris laughed softly, scanning her face, grinning from the unseen. “There is always possibility that we will be mended. That said, now that you know, would you help me or cast me out? The choice is yours, entirely.”
“Apologizing to him, seems to make more sense, than hiding… but… I can help… if you want.” Suddenly, Suri was awkwardly aware of giving more unwanted advice to a Daemon. Perhaps his brother was more than simply angry and he had to hide. “Likely, you know better though.”
“You are very unsure of yourself, are you not, dove?” Hand hovering near her cheek, he almost touched, let himself be felt if not seen, by her searching eyes. Stopping the gesture, he pulled away before it were too late, refusing to be rejected. “I need time, before coming to a resolution regarding this trouble I find myself entangled within.”
Of course, the trouble was his desire for this female. Audibly sighing, he came back to her situation, needing to work at ensnaring a nervous heart. So he spoke softly, eliciting concern upon every word. “Casting aside, my trouble, we need to consider your own. Should my remaining bring you harm, from other Imarre, there is no point in this discussion.”
“No! They would not… if you are careful and stay hidden, it should be alright.” Foolish and too eager, she barely hesitated before opening her mouth in an attempt to persuade him to stay, too noisily. Wincing, at her own overflow of emotion and neediness, she regretted the display, immediately.
Again, Kheris faced the overwhelming urge to touch, but reigned in the terrible need, choosing to merge their energies together, instead. Her breath caught upon his arrival and the emotions greeting him were a mixture of relief and fear. Rather than be alone, Suri chose to allow this union and he reveled in the innocence of the moment.
“Someone is coming, so best keep your tongue silent, in regards to our conversation.” The shuffling of feet had caught his attention, along with the chatter of a couple of Imarre, so it was time to play a new game. Soon the healer would arrive and what fun he would have with that old fool!
Damar pushed open the door to the, pitifully, small chamber and considered the urchin Aurora had summoned him to treat. Were it not for her wandering into their village ages ago, it would be one of their own to be sacrificed soon. Bidding one of Aurora’s underlings to wait outside, he entered and closed the door. To his own eyes, Suri looked out of breath but not near life’s end.
Refusing to be concerned, as for ages he had managed to feel nothing, he studied her for signs of illness a moment longer, then grimaced. Truth was, the waif would have been nothing more than a street urchin, selling her body at this very moment, outside of Allariel’s dominion, had they not shown pity. Now, it was best she be put to real use, by saving the rest of them from great losses. So, he would play his part and offer healing… if necessary.
Setting his green leather satchel down, Damar stretched the corded top open and retrieved a blue crystal rod. Several ages past, it had been enchanted by a Magus to flash different colors and intone sounds for specific illnesses and worked fairly well. “You look mildly ill, from bad food perhaps. Regardless, let’s get this done and over, as I have pressing matters to attend.” Snapping his fingers, wanting quick obedience, he urged haste. “Open up!”
Forlorn, having always dislike how callous the old Imarre was with her, Suri did as requested and let him put the crystal against her tongue. Momentarily it buzzed like a dying bee, made a popping noise which thumped against her tongue, then stopped.
Fishing it out of her mouth, Damar rolled the crystal around upon his weathered palm, becoming disturbed. The inside of the crystal had fractured, clean through. This irritated him to no end, as the Magus who enchanted it, had sworn it would last for dozens of ages!
That little bit of rock had cost him a good portion of his savings and now it was useless! Realizing this might, have been due to overuse, he retrieved another method. This one was just a simple pouch of herbs to place upon the skin. Her flesh would have varied reactions based on possible illnesses.
“We are going to leave this in place for awhile.” Lifting her arm, pressing it against the delicate flesh, he meant to go sit down and wait, but had no need, as the results were immediate. Before his eyes, young skin began to visibly sear as if being branded by a metal rod. “By the Gods!”
Damar snatched up the tied bundle, pressing his fingers against a burned ring of purpled flesh where the pouch had rest. Tremulous hands betrayed his fear not advanced age. Should the village discover this illness, there would be upheaval! Worse, no sane person would allow one of their own to be sacrificed after trusting the temple with this urchin!
Suri could clearly see how demoralized Damar had become. Usually snide and inconsiderate he was now speechless and terrified, his balding crown, becoming red and peppered with the feint gloss of sweat. Did he know what she hid inside?! If he did, this would end badly for her and likely the Daemon! They would burn her or worse!
A dire fate seemed possible, as she glanced down at where the pouch had rest. To her own eyes there seemed to be nothing amiss, and yet, Damar was clearly upset. Needing to know, she demanded answers and not with her usual hesitance. ” I know you do not like me, but at least tell me what is wrong!”
Bringing attention back to her, Damar dropped his mouth open a bit, before running sweaty palms down his robed chest, to dry them off. Shaking his head in denial, the accusation was dusted off, as he stepped away. “Do not be foolish! You simply need rest and perhaps imbibe some special teas, which I will have to… to make and return with!”
Yes, he was going to cover this up and as quickly as possible, until a way to treat her was discovered or they found a replacement. For now, all this must remain secret! Forcing some calm, he spoke of remedy. “Once I confer with Aurora, arrangements will be made for you to simply rest and recover for the next several days.”
After Damar’s hasty retreat, Suri pleaded with the Daemon for answers, in secret and worried thoughts. “Do you believe he knows?! About us, I mean?!”
“No. I made his little trinkets speak nonsense, so as to give you a break from this harassment.” They only had less than a moon to come together, since he refused to drag a mortal off, who would not desire his touch. Every little bit of time together was imperative and sacred. Should the others believe her ill, they would leave them alone, other than to attempt treatment before the due ritual.
“Should Damar tell them I am seriously ill, I will be locked in this room and completely isolated!” Already she were segregated from the people, rarely spoken with, except for the assignment of chores! “At least when I am well, there is the courtyard and occasional trips into the village with Aurora!”
“Your life is worth more than a passing moment in a temple courtyard and I will not allow you to be alone or confined to this chamber.” That was his truth and he meant to make a reality of the promise. “Trust me, Suri and allow this gift for helping when you had little reason. Let me offer you companionship while I can… before it is too late.”
Concerned by his words, Suri lay down and stared at the round window, more than halfway up the wall, while her heart raced with fear. They could expel her if believing she were incurable. Only, the Daemon was offering a friendship she had never known. Yet… what had he meant by, ‘while he can’?
Feeling his life might be in danger, she dared not question and instead asked about the promise to see them free of confinement. “We have no way out, at least not myself. They watch constantly to make sure I am not defiled and the window is too small to pass beyond.”
Kheris laughed softly and let his thoughts mingle with her own, brushing against her sorrow and pain, replacing it with the sensation of his own free spirit. “Trust me, I can take us both beyond these walls, if desired. More importantly, consider your own freedom, over the enslavement they have cast upon your being.”
“Wait… you want me to leave here, when I am so close to the ritual, near to being accepted?” The thought may be been genuine, but afterward she was assailed by a kind of embarrassed tremor. They both knew she would not be accepted, not really. Still, part of her wanted to blame his being a Daemon for her own doubts, as if he pushed them into her heart. Sadly, these concerns had been there well before they met.
“Hmm… we both know the truth, that they will not accept you, even then.” The best he could, Kheris embraced her with his energy, offering a comfort none had bothered to gift. “Tonight, when they have forgotten you, to dally in their own pleasures, we will seek peace within the woods. The freedom will be releasing for us both.”
Suri nodded, remaining unsure how he meant to accomplish that, but wanted to believe it were possible to walk, so easily, out the front door. Having eyes, always, upon her back had been harder to bear with the passing of time. “I have not visited the woods for so long.”
“Yes, I know this, Suri.” When their relationship began, he could have found another solution, other than homing her within the temple. Yet, at the time, he planned no further contact. Unfortunately, ages passed by and here he remained, transfixed by this female. At first he visited on occasion and eventually, as the ages passed at least once a moon, then… every day.
Biting her lower lip, Suri was beginning to realize that this Daemon could read a measure of her past, not only thoughts. Knowing almost nothing about him, she pried for at least a name. “You have never once mentioned your name.”
“Kheris.” Relaxing, he bade her to refresh, eat and drink, for they would leave once the Priestess Aurora finished her rounds that night. What he desired most was the day when Suri returned his affections, so they could turn their back upon this place and let the village pay a long overdue price. Oh, the fun his brother would have, then!
“Dragonborn…” A soft whispering in the still darkness.
Sitting up fast in bed, the left side of her head was tingling strangely, as if from within. That voice, so soft as to be undefined other than male, clung to her thoughts. Next to her the bed was empty and had been for longer than she could remember.
Sighing, exhausted from the tasks people had been throwing her way, in the hopes she would either die or succeed, heavy eyelids closed again. The bed felt so nice, even if it were a simple handcrafted thing, lined with hay and furs. Any inn beat the cold nights, outside.
Stretching, releasing the tension her strange dream caused, sleep finally took hold again, slowly lulling her away into the darkness.
“Dragonborn, come to me.” Whispers, very distant, very faint.
Startled awake and very sure that it was not simply her imagination, she sat up, pulling the warm furs tight against a nervous heartbeat. Someone was using strange means to get her attention, which meant it was time to find out who and why.
Thorn handed the hagraven the final bit of payment, a second Daedra’s heart and grimaced. “Are you sure this is what needs to be done?”
Nodding, the Hagraven shuffled away, placing the heart upon the altar. Later, she would use it for one end or another. Forcing her words, another directive was given, as had been handed down to her earlier that day. “Lord Hircine …..wants….this one. Ensure….it.”
“Tomorrow, I will return to repeat this spell, but, I expect our bargain be fulfilled.” Thorn tapped his chest with a thumb. “Give me full control over my transformations. I am sick of turning randomly and almost always at the least opportune times.”
Nodding, a taloned hand, weathered from more than simple age, shooed the blooded one away. “Go away!”
Sneering, Thorn left the darkened cave grotto, seeking out his men, who had all chosen to wait outside. Not that he could blame them. Hagravens were temperamental at the best of times. Still, any cost was worth gaining more power and better control over his wolf form. He wanted it to be an extension of himself, not a hazard that would one day see him dead.
Lars ran up to Thorn’s side and walked with him down the dark path, as his leader seemed hardly content. “Well? Tell us what happened, considering you came out of there alive, for a second time.”
Shrugging, Thorn spoke lightly of the deal he made. “My desire will be granted, but in return the Dragonborn must succumb to serving Lord Hircine, whether willing or not.”
From behind them both, Vince chuckled. “The Dragonborn is supposed to what? Just allow you to blood her?”
For a brief moment, Thorn wanted to backhand Vince, but thought better of it. Loyalty was more important than a moments temper lost. “We will capture her within a few days. The Hagraven is using a spell to lure the Dragonborn to me. Once we have her, I will blood the wench and be done with this entire ordeal.”
Ignoring Thorn’s mood, Lars offered some advice. “Might I suggest we drug the warrior. From what I have heard, one shout could put an end to a man.”
Scoffing, Thorn corrected his friend. “More she is just learning to wield the power. Yet, you may be right, that it would save us all some headache to just put the wench down.”
Vince was not completely satisfied by the plan, but nodded anyway. “How will you know which woman is the dragonborn. I doubt she is the only one to travel this way, if the plan works.”
“Probably some weather beaten crone, no more attractive than a hagraven. Either way, we will know as I already have a plan in mind.” Done with talking, Thorn lead them back to camp where they would drink awhile and enjoy the night. Perhaps he would even engage in some hunting. One last change in wild abandon could be fun.
(The following evening)
Whiterun, it was almost home. Here, she often found herself more relaxed than any other place in these frigid lands. Today, the weather was nice which meant the inn would feel even better than what she had come to expect lately.
Only after a hot meal inside the Bannered Mare and a thorough scrubbing with a bowl of hot water did she lay down. Tomorrow, Falkreath was on her list, so as to learn why the Jarl wanted to see her. Already, she suspected he had some task that needed done. One that would cost him too many town guards, who were probably all cousins or distant relatives, to precious to lose. Shutting out the bitterness sneaking into her heart, sleep finally took hold.
Beyond the point of midnight when the moons were high and bright, tired eyes flickered open to the touch of a hand upon her throat. The feeling had been so real, but alone inside the small rented chamber, it were only a dream. Wandering out onto the balcony, signs of life were limited to a small girl sleeping in the far corner of the tavern, confirming the conclusion.
The girl was familiar and little bit like herself, in that they were both outcasts in one way or another. Tomorrow, she would give the child some coin and bid her hide it well. For now, more sleep was required, even if another invisible touch reached out through the night to intimidate.
Whispering over the distance, Thorn gave the final invite, hoping it was enough to set in motion the Dragonborn’s journey. “Meet me in Falkreath.”
Daylight had come and with completely ruined sleep on her mind, Falkreath was sought out. Summoning her by letter had been plenty good, but to invade her dreams with magic was beyond reason. Once she got there, if the Jarl’s reasons were not amazingly good ones, no task would ever be done for him!
First she traveled by wagon and then by foot, having the driver drop her near a lake, hidden within a stand of trees. Once the area had been traversed and deemed somewhat safe, a real bath was had. The chill water reminded her of how much she missed having amenities and a place to heat the water before submerging into it. Regardless, this was better than nothing at all.
Leaning against a tree, Thorn remained out of sight, having only come up this far from Falkreath out of anxious waiting. The Hagraven had assured him that the Dragonborn would come, but finding this female bathing was a special prize in and of itself.
Reaching into his pouch he fiddled with the vial of liquid meant to knock the Dragonborn unconscious. Beside it was the bottle of Honningbrew mead.
The plan was simple enough. He and a few of the boys would pretend at being revelers, traveling the roads of Skyrim from one tavern to the next. Once the Dragonborn drank, which he would use every trick in the book to ensure, they would have their prey.
Flashes of smooth female skin, swimming in the lake pulled his thoughts, once more, away from the original plan. There was no other apparent companion with this foolish mouse and if he mixed the bottles now, he could have a plaything for awhile.
His ability to court was not the issue, for most women found him handsome. The problem was time and secrecy. Because of his true nature, that of a werewolf and bandit, he could not afford to trust anyone outside of his gang. They all shared the same gift, at least.
Popping the cork on both vial and mead, he mixed the two by shaking the contents slowly, all the while watching the waif, desiring to conquer and ride. Completely unaware, she was walking out of the water, showing him every sweet curve. “By the Gods, you are tempting.”
Tired, sleep almost claimed her there by the lake, as she dried off in the shattered sunlight. Warmth would seep in when the clouds cleared, then cool a few degrees after wind pushed drifts of puffed white heaven over the sun. Were it not for those vivid dreams invading any rest, she might have succumbed rather than move onward again.
Dressing, she decided to only wear her robes, the grey ones that were given to her when visiting the college in Winterhold. Mages were mostly an unwelcome lot in Skyrim, because they made the normal people of the land feel uncomfortable. Only, she was tired of giving way to what others always wanted.
Tense, Thorn sat upon a large boulder that rest beside the main road. Quietly, while she had dressed, his place was chosen far enough away from the lake. The mouse in question would hardly have reason to believe him a perverse spy, despite it being true.
When sight of a woman appeared upon the trail head not too far off, his heart started beating wildly. That walk…he knew it from the lake. Like a child about to get a sweetroll, he waited and waited, until finally just yards away from him, the vision slowed her step.
Blonde, handsome and out in the middle of nowhere spoke more than ill of the situation. Too many bandits had pulled this stunt with her in the past. It was only when he held up a bottle of honningbrew mead in salute to her, things started to make sense.
“Care to join me in a drink! Finest mead in all of Skyrim!” This close, she was beyond enchanting, even with those mage robes in the way. Of course, now that he knew she wielded magic, her hands needed to be bound once unconscious. “Honningbrew mead, my fair maid!”
Gods, it sounded so practiced and always had. Scanning the area she looked for his companions as revelers rarely traveled alone. “Where are your fellow revelers? Do not think I have ever run into one alone, not unless his companions had met unfortunate ends.”
Hmm, she was smart, reminding him of the original reason that Vince and Lars were meant to play revelers at his side in this venture. Well, at least this was not the Dragonborn, which meant he had some leeway to take her down by hand if necessary.
Pointing down the road toward Falkreath he made up a lie of sorts, as Vince and Lars were in that general direction. “Ha! Yes, they are ahead in Falkreath getting provisions.”
Indicating himself, thumb touching a broad chest, now covered in the usual farm clothes of a reveler, another lie was offered. “I have an aversion to graveyards. Do not need Arkay noticing me before it’s time. Right?!”
“I…I guess so.” This was the first time one of these guys spoke to her beyond ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ for another bottle of mead. For some reason she did not know how to handle the situation. “Does the meadery pay your kind to wander aimlessly, advertising their mead?”
Thorn felt his mouth drop open a little as he floundered for a new lie. Should he say yes or no?! “Were that true, doubt I could ever speak of it, sweet maid.” He chuckled while she seemed to be pondering the situation a little too deeply for his tastes. “Come, share a drink with me and keep my mind off of being out here in the wood alone.”
Guilted! She hated that, but it always seemed to work and this man was wildly attractive, which helped little. Probably a daedra in disguise! No, she shoved the ridiculous thought aside and held her hand out for the bottle he now pulled from a satchel. “I must visit the Jarl in Falkreath, so only a drink or two. Have to keep my wits about me.”
Curious, Thorn worried over her perusal of the bottle, hoping that a mage would not notice anything amiss with the contents. Distracting her with conversation, he reached out and pulled the cork for the waif. “Wants you to cast some love charm, I imagine.”
“What?” Shaking her head, a better explanation was given. “More than likely wants me to kill vampires or bandits, bothering his hold. At least, that is usually the case.”
Stupidly, Thorn guffawed, beyond amused by the idea. She was so soft and womanly that the idea seemed ridiculous. The flash of anger in her eyes shut him up, however, forcing him use a twisted tongue to get out of the situation.
Handing her the bottle back, an apology was quickly offered. “Please, excuse my laughter. It is just…you are… so young and feminine. Surely a Jarl would not endanger you with foolish games. Such a waste would be criminal.”
Embarrassingly, her cheeks heated as the flattery had been sweet. Looking him over she smiled and lifted the bottle to lips only stopping at a familiar noise of ancient bones moving.
“Damn it!” Thorn knew the sound as well and drew his sword turning only in time to be shoved out of the way. There had been a piercing whistle next to his left ear, followed by the unmistakable sound of a woman’s whimper of pain.
“Fus-ro!!” The shouts, they were always so harsh on her throat. Still, it was amusing to watch the undead puppet go flying backward into the air. Rushing forward while the creature was down, she removed it’s skull from bony shoulders with her own sword, then took off through the trees. The excitement made it easy to ignore the arrow protruding from below a bloodied right shoulder.
Stunned and unbelieving, Thorn stood there feeling stupid as if he were already stuck in were-form, oblivious to how things were actually proceeding for everyone else. Shaking it off, he chased after the woman. This was the Dragonborn?!
Once he found the waif she was in the midst of fighting a necromancer who was too busy dodging behind stones and trees to offer a fair fight. From time to time a shout would thunder over the area in an attempt to push the mage into the open.
Playing the hero, he did something unthinkable and used his unseen presence to take the necromancer from behind. In one swing of a heavy sword the Dunmer’s head came off and it was over. No more shouts, no more fighting and only a greatly confused bandit. “You! You are the Dragonborn?!”
Out of breath she nodded, tensing her hand on sword, waiting for what was surely to come. When anyone acted like that at finding out who she really was, things turned ugly and fast. “Do not make me fight you.”
Running a large hand down mouth and chin, Thorn nodded first and then almost immediately started shaking his head. “No…you saved me from an arrow in the face. Which, you seem to be wearing like a trophy.”
Maybe it was remorse or gratitude, possibly both, but he dropped his sword to offer peace then came near, reaching behind her and snapping the arrow head. Without warning, he jerked the wooden shaft out, tossing it aside. “I do not have a healing potion.”
“That…that is alright.” Gasping, reaching up she began mending it by hand, hoping the effort would be enough to at least stop the blood flow and heal the damaged tissue beneath flesh. Once more she found herself watching the man, wondering what exactly was so out of place about him. “You are too well built to be a reveler and too handsome.”
The beautiful warrior laughed after speaking so freely about her impression of him and he did not lie this time. “Because I am a bandit who thought you a mouse.”
Again, she laughed. “See, I thought that or a daedra.” Her shoulder was still hurting but right now was not the time to show weakness.
“Hircine…wants you. Sent me to intercept.” Not completely without honor, Thorn hoped to incite some anger and make her attack him. Would she do that, he could knock her unconscious quickly enough. They were standing close enough that not even a shout could make it in time to stop the assault.
Dropping her hand from shoulder, the shiny little ring stuck on her finger came to mind and she laughed. Seven or eight days ago, she had visited Falkreath and been drawn to the jail house. There a rather foolish promise had been given. “The ring. I never completed that stupid task for Him.”
“Ring?” A tiny bit of silver with a wolf’s head was flashed his way and Thorn grimaced, still unsure of her meaning. “What does it do?”
“Once, this apparently gave werewolves control over their transformations, now all it does is randomly change the bearer into one.” Passing by him, she sighed, wiping the blood from her hand onto robes, feeling disgusting already. The bath had been wasted too soon. “Tell Hircine, I will take care of it now.”
“With the ring cursing you into a beast, why have you waited to take care of the task?” When the Dragonborn refused to look at him, he laughed and spun the waif around to face him. That guilt in her eyes, he knew it from a long time ago. “You enjoy it, just like I do!”
Crushing against her lips were the thick velvet ones of the bandit, just as a denial had been attempted. Apparently the darkness in her heart aroused him a little too much.
Failing to struggle, tired and lonely, she let his mouth continue the assault, even when it discovered her exposed neck to gift the flesh there with hot breath. Erotic and needed, the sensation caused her to shiver, until the whispers began. Despite the passion behind the words given in secret, her heart froze. “It was you while I slept!”
Thorn chuckled. “Now I have you, as planned. Perhaps later tonight I will have my way with that sweet body of yours, but, first we are going to start your ‘forgotten’ task.” Jerking his sword up off the ground where it had been dropped, he sheathed it then waved her to his side. “Come.”
Irritated, the command was almost refused but Hircine would only send something worse than an Alpha werewolf and probably a lot more ugly than this bandit. One thing was made clear, however. “I am not sleeping with you… ever.”
“You will.” Glancing down at his side, he smiled at how much shorter than himself she were and so soft. It was pleasant and someday soon they would taste blood together and hunt…..
Arriving at their base camp near Falkreath had been amusing, since Vince and Lars made the mistake of believing the woman a new plaything. Hunger glittered within his companions eyes, which Thorn understood, but had to laugh when Vince offered the maid a honningbrew mead.
The Dragonborn lanced him with a dirty look which only made it more entertaining. “Stop, Vince. Pointless waste of time, since this is the Dragonborn.”
Sitting upon haunches near the fire, he prodded the flames with a nearby stick, glad to see that one of the boys had caught a few rabbits. Even now the savory smell of smoking meat made his mouth water. “Sit.”
Raising an eyebrow at the bandit who earlier admitted a name, during their walk to camp, she simply denied the order. For some reason this one believed her a servant or underling. “Thorn, I came to your camp as promised, but now it is time for me to see the Jarl.”
Standing Thorn was upon her in a breath, hand at the smooth nape of her neck and like a well trained horse the waif did not even flinch. “You think I will let you walk out of here to speak with that Jarl, having seen my face?!”
“Panic much?” Narrowing eyes she dared him to do anything else besides threaten, but he just stood there towering over her like some domineering animal. “Being one of Jarl Balgruf’s Thanes, I will get called out for ignoring this request from Falkreath. Either fight me or let me do my job.”
“Hahaha!” Thorn released the grip upon her throat and pushed the female away from him, thinking carefully before making a decision. “Vince, go with her and report everything you hear.”
“Me?!” Vince felt betrayed, but said nothing more.
Stuck with the task rather than face off with Thorn, he did as asked and walked straight into Falkreath with the one person they should have knocked the hell out, had some fun with and then blooded, as originally planned. Luckily for him, everyone seemed to know her and allowed them unquestioned passage right into the longhouse. In the end, the visit proved beyond useful.
Impatient, Thorn paced, discovering he could not sit still, while waiting for the worst to happen. Lars was in the same condition, since at any moment the town guard could come rushing into the abandoned camp. Worse, Vince’s flesh could be in the process of being flayed off, in order to learn where their actual base of operations had been tucked away. But, he had to know…could he trust her, even just a little?
Eventually, the casual footsteps approaching let him know all was well, for the wind carried Vince’s distincly, unwashed scent. Scanning the area as they came out of hiding, Thorn almost, immediately, snapped at his man once they were within earshot. “Where is she?!”
A little drunk but not a fool, Vince held his palms up in an attempt to calm Thorn. “After the Jarl had his talk, the housecarl took us over to the tavern to eat. We did not have to spend a septim!”
“Answer me!” When Vince got like this there was always bad news.
Giving up, Vince dropped his hands and just spat out the truth. “They offered her a room, the housecarl paid and… you can guess the rest.”
“What are you telling me, that she is laying with the Jarl’s housecarl right now?!” Fuming, Thorn wanted to tear apart the town, his gut twisting with a distantly familiar jealousy. Every last ounce of restraint was needed to keep him standing there in front of his men. That little witch was making him look the fool!
“No!” Backing up even further, until a rock almost sent him landing upon tired ass, Vince tried to ease the situation, looking to Lars, hoping for help. but the other looked as disturbed as himself. Their boss ‘wanted’ that female and not to share, like before.
“The housecarl was a woman and the Dragonborn seemed less than interested. She told me to tell you, that a free bed was better than the ground. Swore to meet us here in the morning!” Apparently it was enough, as Thorn started to ease up some, allowing their conversation to drift towards more profitable subjects.
(Several hours later in the middle of the night)
Thorn had left camp well after the other two were sleeping, seeking out Falkreath’s tavern. Slipping quietly into her room, after opening a few wrong doors, he stood at the foot of a comfortable bed. Hardly that of nobility but better than his camp could have offered.
Appearing almost perfect in the warm glow of candle light, she lay, unaware of being watched, making him wonder how she even still lived. The Dragonborn had too many enemies to just relax like this and should have never traveled alone, if too weak to stay alert.
Tilting his head one way and then the other, he sniffed the air, catching the sweet scent of flower oils, before tracking it to a now tepid bowl of washing water. Either she carried the extravagance or it had been a gift from either the housecarl or Jarl.
Picking up the cloth, lain out to dry, Thorn dropped it into the bowl and sighed before undressing. First he would wash and then take her to task beneath his body. Once it was over, all this anxiety and desire would be burned away, leaving him the man from a few days ago. They would do Hircine’s bidding and go their own separate ways or even kill each other. Either fate would be suitable, since he could not be seen acting this kind of fool again.
Gasping awake, a hand almost immediately covered her mouth, in the same all encompassing way that a heavy male body pressed her down into the hay stuffed, mattress. Too slowly, she thought to fight the attack, even as Thorn wedged a knee between her thighs. The bastard meant to take what she refused to give!
Mouth finding her neck, Thorn began a slow assault, kissing between tender bites, whispering lies about how she would want him soon enough. Straining muscles and ever clenching thighs against his hips, refused entrance, telling a different story. Unfortunately, she was tearing into his back with a free hand, as he had the other bound down against the bed. The sensation was not exactly pleasant, but tolerable enough to get the job done.
Retrieving her nails from his back, the large hand cuffing her mouth was pried at, but Thorn only pressed more firmly, which offered pain. Worse, if she kicked, male hips would move further down and finally reach their goal. For the first time in awhile, she felt sick and afraid, cursing herself for having saved a bandit!
The throbbing it grew maddening, his body already trained to desire such harsh conquering. Despite all this rejection, he could find a moments pleasure in forcing their union, if she would only weaken enough for him to break through!
Clenching the strap of her shift with teeth, Thorn slid it over an already bare shoulder, kissing and sucking the sweet tasting skin, when a muffled cry uttered against his hand. A usually cold heart constricted as he saw the purpled wound, remembering where it had come from.
Shattered, he pressed his forehead against her pillow, reminded of how she saved him, why he had refused to do this earlier. “Damn it woman!”
Without warning, she was rolled on top of Thorn. Large hands that once bound her defenses were now rubbing slowly down the curve of her lower back, as if to comfort. Hating him, a fist was balled to strike his muscled chest before she broke down into a weak, sobbing, little girl. “Bastard!”
“I still want you.” Again he was struck, but it was not very hard. Worse had come at the hands of others, from people who must have wished him dead more than the mouse. Eyes closed, he waited for another attack, something worse, perhaps a drawn blade or shouted curse, but she only cried, silently.
Wisdom told her to kill this man, not let him breath another moment, but foolishly, she was confused by the sudden change from cruel to kind. Warm palms continued to give long forgotten touch, taking the chill out of the small room. Hot breath fanned against her face, while beneath a tear soaked cheek, Thorns heart pounded out a strange song, keeping the silence of the night away.
Refusing to look up, she lay still, fingertips tense against his chest, words not forthcoming. Drawing his arms up, Thorn embraced this woman who seemed capable of ruining him and sighed. ” Were you ugly as a hagraven, all of this could have been avoided. Desiring to conquer and tame would be furthest from my mind.”
Tired, she was so tired. Everything he said now, just sounded like wind blowing. “Thorn… I am exhausted. Please…let me rest.” Stifling a yawn, tensing her jaw to hold it back, she relaxed against his naked body. “No one will let me.”
Thorn reached up, allowing himself to trace long fingers through her hair, letting the silk slide between each one and nodded. “Sleep then, but I am not leaving.”
Honestly, she did not care. His body was warm and her mind exhausted. “Fine.”
After she had succumbed to sleep, Thorn realized that he was laying with a woman without taking sexual pleasure. Disturbed, he worked at a tale to spin for the others, because it could not be known what had happened. Folding arms behind head, sure he could work something out, his own eyes shut, just as the door creaked open.
Lars stuck his head inside, saw Thorn in bed, buck naked and relaxed. Hushed, as the woman was sleeping soundly, he whispered. “We had to make sure your temper did not land you in the jail.”
Chuckling, Thorn felt around on the bed for the fur to cover himself and the waif, only to have Lars retrieve it from the floor and toss it over the both of them. Vince edged into the chamber at that point, but neither one of his men even acted as if they expected a go at the Dragonborn. “Spit it out. What is on the both of your minds?”
Vince took to the wooden chair by the door and sat down, his clothes damp. “We got it. Your not going to share this one, but at least let us stay here tonight.”
Indicating outside with a jerk of his head, Lars had to agree. “Going to be a bad storm and we would rather not walk back to camp, when it’s already dry and warm here.”
“The lot of you are spoiled.” Dropping the usual pretenses, Thorn let them stay, knowing that tomorrow wild stories about the Dragonborn’s appetite would fly all over Falkreath, once the inn keeper saw three men exiting her chamber. Amused by that, he easily fell into sleep……
After that night at the Dead Man’s Drink in Flakreath, Thorn had said almost nothing to the Dragonborn. Upon waking the next morning and finding her already gone from his side, realizations of how stupid he had been, became clear. The woman was completely opposite himself.
Three times since they started for Hircine’s hunt, the foolish female had taken on tasks for random strangers. Once she had managed to hand over gold, before he could stop her, to some farmers too weak to protect their land. At this very moment, she was inside a cave, while Vince, Lars and himself waited outside. Originally, he thought by refusing to join her that they would move on toward the hunt, but she only shrugged and went on inside the pit.
Lars watched the entrance intently, waiting for any sound or sign of the woman, whom he still could not believe was the Dragonborn. “After how interested in her you were, I am surprised, boss.”
Biting his tongue, Vince edged a little further away from both of them. Thorn could fool himself but not those actually close enough, to know the man. He still wanted the Dragonborn and Lars was not helping matters by pointing out the obvious.
Glaring, Thorn quickly switched his focus out toward the main road, down the hill a ways. In the distance a small troupe of men kept a military pace. Seemed an imperial patrol was going to pass by them soon. With the Dragonborn along, he somehow knew they would not question them too greatly. “I got what I wanted. It’s over now.”
That had been a lie. Lars was first in the chamber and saw the bedding disheveled, but signs of intercourse had been missing, including the scent of it in the air. For the first time, that he could remember, Thorn did not force a woman. He almost spoke again, but bit it back, seeing as Vince was too tense to endure an argument between them.
Clanging, Thorn could hear it distantly and smell blood, both old and fresh. The stench was unmistakably from a vampire den. They lived in worse conditions than most bandits and did not seem to care. Even werewolves had sense enough to live like men, most of the time.
A thu’um reverberated against his feet, telling him the stupid wench had actually gone deep enough to cause the ground to tremble. Dust and debris skittered down from the entrance itself, causing his jaw to clench with apprehension. Decidedly, he knew that Hircine was wasting his time. Turning her into a wolf would do nothing, since she was intent on killing herself. No one, who really wanted to live put themselves in danger like this.
At the base of the hill, the patrol had started to angle up the incline. Their leader was flagging his men to draw weapons. Thorn waved Vince and Lars down, whispering a command. “They have no idea who we are. Just relax, unless things take a turn.”
Vince gave a nod toward the cave. “Was her damn shouting that called their attention!”
“I know.” Honestly, he only hoped he knew. Yet, it was nearly night and he and his two boys could change should the need arise, and put an end to these imperials. What would the Dragonborn do, he wondered? Try to kill them for eating a few soldiers?
The ground shook again and this close up the incline, Farrin knew who was causing the tremors. When the six of them reached the cave, he simply nodded toward the three men and bypassed their cowardly asses. “Citizens.”
After the imperials had descended far enough into the darkness, Vince snorted. “Imperial bastards! Think they are so high and mighty.”
“More along the lines, they see us as cowards.” Some time ago, Lars had run with legion soldiers, doing tracking. Many of them were much like the Dragonborn. All about duty and honor, brainwashed by the empire to sacrifice life and limb.
Nails digging down into his palms, Thorn crossed his arms and refused to move an inch toward that cave. Proving himself anything but a coward, would do nothing in her eyes, anyway. “Let them all die in there.”
Laughter, hollowed out and echoing up through the darkness met his ears. He heard her talking, saying the name of one of the soldiers. Sounded like, Farrin, from this far away. Angling his head he tried to understand more of the conversation then immediately stopped after he noticed Lars smirking his way. “Think twice before saying a damn thing.”
Wanting it over with, so as to get back to his real bed at their fort, Vince put his foot down, for the first time that journey. “After this, no more stops, other than this task for…. well…Him. I want to go home, find a real wench and have some ale!”
Stepping out from the cave entrance, Farrin chuckled at the comment, then held his hand out into the darkness for the Dragonborn. “My Lady, these citizens do not seem to appreciate your beauty.”
Dirty, covered in webs, grime and even blood, her head shook as she came out of the dark, hand gripping Farrin’s, as it would have been impolite to refuse his offer. “Beauty is hardly what I would call my state at the moment. Besides, they are entitled to an opinion and will not be in my company much longer.”
Looking directly at Thorn, she felt the tension between them and knew it needed to end. “As your friend wishes, we will take care of that task next, then your men will be free. Until we meet again… at least.”
The tone in her words were anything but friendly. Thorn knew it for the threat it was. When they met again it would be at the behest of a Jarl or group of frightened peasants. Snorting, he turned away, refusing to give her the satisfaction of his anger. “Good. Then let us get going.”
Scratching the back of his head, Lars walked a little ways down the hill, actually frightened. That woman had just come out of a vampire den alive and before those soldiers could help kill anything. Surely, their small group would never be safe when all this was over. Thorn, had better win her, because, from the way it was looking, Hircine wanted the Dragonborn for her prime skills as a hunter and small group of bandits could not compete with that.
Farrin took the bloodied bag from the Dragonborn’s free hand and looked inside, smirking. The remnants of a master vampire’s head lay nestled inside. “Legate Rikke will be greatly pleased. While I will remain impressed, since we had expected to clear their den, before you ever arrived.”
Running a gloved finger along the small curve of her chin, Farrin tossed the bag to his second in command and started down the hill. After a moment, not hearing her tread after him, he turned and held out a hand. “Come with me and rest, awhile. I would like to know what you have been up to lately. Besides, keeping company with those not worthy of it.”
Patting Lars on the shoulder as she passed him by, in favor of meeting up with Farrin, she completely ignored Thorn, who no doubt wanted to move on toward Bloated Man’s grotto. The bandit leader could play Alpha with his two companions, as far as she were concerned. “I need a bath, more than an ale, Farrin.”
Farrin smiled and took her hand once she had come close enough, thumbing the curious silver ring on her finger. Pointing over the horizon, he indicated where they would go next. “Over that ridge is our camp and a pond that feeds into the river. I’ll keep the men away so you can clean up and of course, you can share my tent, if you desire.”
Blushing, feeling very odd that he said that in front of Thorn, she glanced back at the trio of bandits. Lars looked distraught, Vince apprehensive and angry, while Thorn just seemed cold and empty.
Grinning, Farrin nodded at her companions, making sure to keep himself in fair light. “There is ale and some spare furs, if your lot wish to make camp, as well.”
“Come on boys.” Refusing the offer, without ever verbally declining, Thorn lead his men away from the cave. Tomorrow, she could meet them at the grotto and he would never have to look at her face again, afterward!
Even after they found a safe place to make camp, Thorn discovered he could not stop fuming or even pacing. Somewhere out there she was sharing time with that foot soldier and probably his tent. Another man was bedding his…
When Thorn started stripping down, tossing his leathers and weapons on the ground, Vince stood up, ready to do the same, Lars however, just sat there, despondent. “We hunt?”
“No, you two keep camp, I have something to take care of, once and for all.” Moving through the changes from man to beast quickly, Thorn let out a feral roar and took off through the stand of trees, leaping over fallen logs and rocks alike, until he hit the main road.
Scanning, left and then right, his eyes caught sight of the great moons above, which distracted and mesmerized for a few minutes too long. Shaking it off, he fought to keep concentration on the ground and the layout of the land. After awhile he found the hills the bastard had pointed toward when stealing the female.
That was right, wasn’t it? Before, as a man he knew exactly what was wrong, now the entire situation was a matter of confusion. Killing the men, that had been hammered into his thoughts before changing, but why was he going to kill her too? Gods, he could not remember!
Speeding away from the camp, having made her excuses and given gratitude to Farrin for a safe bath, Bloated Man’s grotto became her main concern. Well before morning, she could reach it and take care of everything without Thorn. They had discussed enough for her to know, all he really wanted was the ring. What still lingered on her mind was how sure the bandit had been, that all would be taken care of, in his favor.
Lifting himself like a man, onto two feet, Thorn drew in full breaths of the night air, chilling his lungs with each deep inhale. The smoke of campfires and men were not far off, which meant soon he could tear into the thief who took his…
Why could he not say it or think it? She was his, right?
Over the rise in the land, her tread followed the curve of the ground, until, she came down into one of the flat areas of the plain. Soon, she would reach the main road that lead beyond an old fort. Part of her wondered if it were full of forsworn or bandits. Were it the latter, was it associated with Thorn in anyway? Honestly, she was not looking forward to the day when they would meet again, because it would be one of their deaths.
Sweet flowers on the wind. That was his! Running hard, pounding over the land, he came into a grassland. just a few breaths from the camp of men. They were laughing, jovial, having a good time and probably with what he came for. All would die soon!
Attention easily deterred, he saw movement further along, within his reach. The beast in him wanted to take it down, wrend it, taste blood. Wind, drew over the land, traveling his way, bringing with it flowers and water on skin, revealing to him the identity of the shadow form. Without another thought, he ran for her, forgetting the men.
The gruff vocal grunts, accompanied by heavy thudding and panting were so familiar, that her heart began to thunder, almost immediately. First hand, she knew what damage a werewolf could accomplish in a few moments. Cursing her luck, having just bathed, a much used sword was drawn, so as to face the oncoming beast.
Massive, larger than any she had yet to face, it was coming fast over the ground. Regrettably, there was no time for summoning anything as a distraction, but she could set it alight.
Thorn heard the first utterance, saw the spew of flames coming his way and barely dodged the effort. Why was she attacking him?! Were they not both familiar with one another, both wolves?
For being so large, he was agile, having dodged her thu’um. That specific word could not be enlisted again, at least not for awhile. Already, her throat burned from the effort and magic behind the power. Doing the only thing possible, she drew her sword up to eye level, and got ready for what was to come. They would dodge and fight until she could handle another shout. “Get it over with!”
Standing upon back feet, Thorn tapped himself realizing she did not know him this way. Like this, his memories of being a man were always clouded by that of the beast. One side did not remember, clearly, what the other half knew.
“Thorn!” Bestial as the sound was and far from his man speak, he knew the words had come out clear enough for her to understand.
Nervous, she shifted her sword down, then back up in defense, extremely unsure about his intentions. Why had he rushed her like that? When he stepped from one foot to the other, tilting a large, grey, furred head, speaking once more who he was, the sword came down. “What are you doing here?! If Farrin and his men see you like this…!”
Large ears twisted back, his dagger teeth flashing in the glow of the moonlight, as a vicious sneer took hold of a once charming human face, now a vision of nightmares. Saying anything about the camp had been her mistake.
Those men, still needed to die! She reminded him of what had been the original goal.
Gods! He was going to attack the camp, if she didn’t stop him. When Farrin’s voice sounded out in the darkness, calling her name, the need to flee became more imperative. “Thorn! Let’s go, now!”
“Not…yet!” Releasing a feral roar, he let the men coming know a fight was to be had. One way or another he would kill that thief!
“I’m leaving without you, to the grotto, if you do not come now!” A lie, but she had to try and persuade the beast version of Thorn to run or they would actually have to kill one another. Allowing those men to die because of her mistake, could not happen.
Slashing his hand through the air, he growled, starting to remember reasons for being angry with her, specifically. Turning, he brought his muzzle right before her face, flashing fangs. “You are… Mine!”
An arrow pierced the night, spiking the ground at his feet so forcefully, that soil kicked up into the air, giving him a start.
Backing away, she knew room was needed to cast at him, if he would not listen, this one last time. A final bluff. “Only, if you run with me. Otherwise, I am free.”
Snatching her up, Thorn heard more arrows speed through the air, before they rained down around the both of them. That was enough to urge him to take off running, now that he claimed a prize.
Farrin stood at the top of the hill, staring down into the plain just below, as the beast carried off it’s prize . Every word that had left her mouth had been heard. At least by him. The others did not have his gift for hearing or knowledge of what ring the Dragonborn had been wearing.
At first, he had believed her unaware of what the trinket was, but now knew otherwise. The scent on the wind also told him who that wolf was. Seemed his Lady, could have handled a beast, after all. Flagging his men to return to camp, the hunt was ended for now. One day soon, he and the Dragonborn would have a nice little chat.
(Several hours later, near dawn)
Years ago, Thorn had held up in a shallow cave, within the snowy forests of Eastmarch and now brought her there for safe keeping. Promising herself to him, if they ran, was all it had taken to make him leave the camp alone. Pushing debris aside, he found the hidden tunnel that lead into the actual cave and then dragged his female along until able to shove her down the opening, before himself.
Turning to glare, only earned her a growl, so she kept moving onward, wishing her sword had not fallen in the fields after he had lunged to speed them away. All she had now was magic and her thu’um if things became anymore volatile. Thorn was angry and probably because she had made him run from his hunt and into the cold recesses of Ulfric’s lands.
At the bottom of the tunnel everything lay in darkness, so pitch black that she doubted even Thorn could see with his specialized sight. Hoping to help, a small ball of light was summoned in hand, then released to light up the hollow place, full of long forgotten furnishings. They were meager, but suitable for anyone in desperate need to hide from the winter cold.
Able to see her now and how tangled her mane was from the jostled ride into the winter lands, Thorn grabbed her, bringing the two of them together again. His heart could remember the warmth and softness from a time before, when they had lain together.
Held to a werewolf’s broad chest, she did not know whether to fight or flee, so simply stayed put, unmoving. Gentle, a large taloned hand began to stroke down her back, then would raise to repeat the process. At her stomach, she felt something prod, the pulse of it strong, excited. Swallowing, she knew what would come.
Wishing to end the touch before he tried to force something she could not stomach, hands pushed at his chest, feeling the tangles of thick fur against chilled palms. “Not like this… please. I could never handle you in this form.”
“Change… change with…me.” Nuzzling her silken hair, he whimpered very softly, wanting her to understand and keep the promise. “Your… promise.”
Eyes widening, it only took her a moment to realize where his addled wolf brain had heard a promise, but admitting the bluff while he was like this would be stupid! Thinking quickly, she spat out an actual truth, hoping it would be enough. “The choice is not mine. Hircine’s ring is cursed and only turns me by force.”
Drawing her away, Thorn could remember that now, then raked one of his own black claws over large palm and offered the pooling blood to her lips. “Drink.”
Red blood spilled forth from the wound, filling his palm slowly, but she could not or at least would not drink. Doing something that stupid would curse her beyond just the ring, which if they made it to the grotto, she would be rid of soon enough. “Thorn…the blood will not work fast enough for what you want to do! That kind of change….it would take awhile!”
Refusing him now was foolish. She was his, the blood a gift to make sure they were bonded in more ways than just man and woman. As wolves they would hunt and kill together, feel passion in more powerful ways. Despite the interference of his man form, he would take a mate.
Spinning her around, he clamped his hand over her mouth, not having to really struggle with the effort, as before. “I am… your Alpha!”
Even with both hands she could not pry away his massive grip and only when she opened her mouth, out of desperation for air, did he move long, clawed, fingers away from her nose. The heat of blood spilled onto her tongue, tasting violently bitter, but he would not stop the assault, until sure she had consumed enough.
Shocked, she stood alone now, while Thorn sat upon haunches, watching her, as if waiting for a change to magically occur. Blood stained her robes and felt sticky upon mouth and chin. Enraged, she opened her mouth, ready to send flames out upon breath, to punish him for the assault, but it was too late. Dizzied, heart pounding like thunder in her own ears, everything went black.
Not long after she had fainted from the blood changes, Thorn had been forced out of his were-form. A mortal body could only handle the beast for so long and then had to shift back. The only way he knew to extend the power, was by feeding on a living being and he had failed to do even that.
Shimmering and humming softly in the center of the long forgotten cave was a luminous ball of magic. Highlighted by it’s blue glow, was the Dragonborn. Her body lay crumpled on the floor, blood upon face, hands and clothes, reminding him of the dark pact, he had forced upon the woman.
This was Hircine’s will….
Upon knees, unclothed, he moved to gather her up and just sat there for awhile, holding the wreckage of her body, against his chest. How was it she could make him feel so guilty and vile? Over time, he had done many things, much worse than what had been inflicted upon this mouse. Now, things were changed, with his bestial self going rogue and… desiring a mate. For the first time, he remembered everything the other half had done and thought. Odd, that suddenly, a stronger connection existed.
Smelling her hair, he could still breathe flowers, despite all the blood and sweat. Exhaling, the hot gust, misted against the cold of the chamber, bringing his memories back to the first time he had lived here. This place was before he had become either a beast or a bandit. A beginning and an end.
Shivering, Thorn discovered himself hugging her tightly against his flesh, eased by the warmth, that wouldn’t last, if fire was not given to the frigid hiding place. After a moment, he remembered where things had been left and was glad to see it unchanged. Appeared that no one had bothered to disturbed his old home.
Leaving the Dragonborn where she was, he threw the old furs from the bed and heaved his weight down upon it to make sure it could withstand use. When it held, he fetched her up from the cold floor making a gift of the mattress. For now, he had to hurry and start a fire, while her spell held it’s light. Once it was gone, so was any good chance of getting either of them, decently, warm.
Sighing, eyes closed, warm damp cloth drew down her neck… then lower, over bare flesh. For a moment she imagined it normal, her head throbbing too much for quick thought. Opening eyes, Thorn met her gaze, looking a mix of apprehensive and lustful.
Reaching out, Thorn traced down her cheek with fingertips, but she turned away from him, eyes suddenly welling up with the pain he had brought. Tears had not mattered to him in a long while, but each time she shed them out of fear or pain, he broke and became somebody else. A fool who dared care for another.
Anger, sorrow, fear, they all welled up inside, choking her and making it almost impossible to breath. “Why?!”
“Because I…” He could not speak of either truth. The first was that Hircine desired her and the second truth contained his heart. Being no one of importance, beyond a worthless bandit and her a celebrated hero, left no real chance for them.
“Nevermind.” Standing, leaving the wooden chair beside the bed, he wondered away to lean against the far wall, near the entrance. Thankfully, he was no longer nude or his lust would have been revealed to an angry woman. After starting a meager fire, he had managed to find tattered clothes that no longer fit, then went out to uncover firewood. What had been left in the cave was useful, but only as starter kindling.
Out of the corner of an eye, Thorn noticed her draw the fur covering over head and hide away. If not for the constant snow storm outside, he would just leave and return to Lars and Vince. Sadly, the both of them had likely wandered into a local tavern, managing to take up with a few wenches. Probably, thought him dead, as well. Slash would try to take over the gang…
“The tracks lead here!” (Not too distant voices, carrying down into the cave.)
Stiff, Thorn unfolded his arms, mind racing at the possibility that the voices were anything but bandits. His kind, did not follow the tracks of anything underground. It was better to rob travelers and supply wagons, rather than chance going into random caves.
Glancing at the Dragonborn, discovering her still hiding, he pulled a forgotten axe from a nearby table and made ready. Would death take him, would she get up and fight, or was this her way of ending it all?
The voices whispered now, edging down into the tunnel, Thorn recently uncovered. What they spoke of, lead her to believe them vigilants of Stendarr. Should they have a cure for this curse, she might have attempted to talk, but the only remedy they ever offered anyone, was death. Refusing to move, to help Thorn, she continued to lay there and listen. He deserved their… mercy.
When the first one entered, Thorn tensed. They were not the usual vigilants in robes, but the armored bastards who used enchanted weapons to take down daedra and anything associated with them. Knowing by now, that the Dragonborn would not fight, preferring to die, he attempted a bluff, to save his own hide. “I have nothing for thieves here! “
Swinging an amulet, back and forth in the air, until it glowed, the vigilant nodded toward his companion. “Werewolf!”
There would be no discussion, Thorn knew that, having run into Stendarr’s lackey’s before. Only then, he had either been a beast or well armored. “Let’s go, then!”
The clanging of weapons and Thorn’s cursing incited her to lift the fur a bit. Her soul still hurt deep down, but did she really want to give up now to die? Without armour or weapon, these vigilants had a good chance of ending her, very quickly. There was not a lot of room in this hole, for dodging two people while managing to shout.
Briefly, Thorn glanced toward the bed, afraid that if he had looked too long, these assassin’s would notice her. It made him want to laugh, that even now he cared, when she would let him die!
Getting a good swing in, after barely dodging what looked to be a silver sword, shimmering with some painful enchantment, he forced one of the men back. All too quickly, the other leapt forward, barely grazing his left side. Regardless of how slight, the blade inflicted pain and Thorn stumbled back onto one knee, having to brace the next blow with the shaft of his axe.
Cracking. The wood of Thorn’s weapon had weakened from age, the metal rings along the pole were not enough to give it lasting strength. Tense, she fought to do nothing, wanting to let him die and be rid of the one who…
Opening himself, Thorn decided to take one of them down, before he went. With both at either side and no escape, there were few real alternatives, but to feign acceptance and then strike.
He was giving up! Only just having the dagger from one of the vigilants belts, did she witness Thorn open his arms and accept death. This had been desired, until facing the reality unfolding. Now, the borrowed dagger helped her bring one man to kneeling, as she stabbed it into the bend of his knee. Like this, all she had to do was tilt his head enough to spike the retrieved blade into tender throat and drag it beneath the rim of a steel helmet.
Swinging hard, arcing the blade, Thorn had used the distraction of one vigilant getting his throat slit, to kill the other in a very similar way. Not so evenly, the man’s head went spinning into the air, after one forceful strike. Head severed, the body crumpled, it’s weapons and magic charms useless. He hated vigilants!
Immediately, after it was all over, he laughed, breathlessly, and dropped the ancient weapon. Without saying anything, his tread lead around the fallen, so as to take her to himself. “Letting me die… would have been easy.”
Tenderness, like before was given and she could only rest her head against a broad chest and rough clothes, to listen. Within him, that thundering heartbeat was sounding out the excitement of battle, while his breath was heavy with relief.
Hands splaying over her bare back, Thorn felt a sudden jealously, in that a vigilant saw her naked. Of course, it had been his own doing. Had he just left her in those bloodied clothes, it would have been avoided. Then again, she may not be like this, in his arms, right now. “Are you hungry?”
Eyes widening, she shook her head against him, refusing to look, sure he meant those men as food. “Not like that.”
“When we hunt, perhaps. For now, I will get rid of the bodies, so we can sleep.” Pushing her off towards the bed, he began stripping off anything useful from the largest of the men, while retaining weapons and gold. Ignoring him, she worked at cleaning the blood off of herself, instead of sleeping, refilling the water several times. Rather than annoying, he found it beautiful and was beginning to understand the emotions of his beast, when it came to her. Obviously, as an Alpha, he would desire a strong mate and apparently one that smelled of flowers.
After Thorn had returned, doing who knew what, with the bodies, she watched him empty the bowl of water and refill it with fresh, guessing he must have melted some snow earlier, to have a stock of water in a once frozen cave. Quiet, no words passed between them, not even when he finished rinsing, to climb naked into the bed.
Frozen and damn tired, he pulled her close, days of tension starting to fade away as warmth seeped into cold muscle and bone. “Always so warm.”
Wanting to respond, her mouth opened, but nothing would come out. Part of her was still angry, but it had been her own choice to keep him from dying, for the second time. What in Oblivion was wrong with her, when around this man?
Finding her mouth with his own, Thorn kissed as tenderly as he knew how, only to find it twisting into a devouring need to taste, everything. Tongue, passing beyond the boundaries of her lips, he drew it out and then dived in again, enthralled by the sensation.
Rumbling, sounds of husky male pleasure filled her mouth, same as his lapping tongue continued to caress between lips. Soon enough he had moved on to tease her throat, raking teeth over flesh, only to suck on it a moment later. Eventually, Thorn was whispering erotic fantasies into her ear, things he meant to make her endure under both hands and body. All she could do was nod, giving him permission to take what he wanted, knowing that when she woke, he would be gone. It was probably the best end for them.
Both of her wrists in hand, Thorn pinned them at either side of her head as he mounted, to make claim. His knee met no resistance, so he spread her with the other, sliding down into place. Soft thighs embraced his hips in welcome and he thrust, eliciting the sweetest protest he had ever heard. With each new thrust she continued to complain, drawing the beast in him to the surface, growling… excited. Finally, she was feeding him!
His eyes lit like red pools of fire, the sound of him wanton and bestial. Every thrust was thick, penetrating to the very core of her feminine depths, feeling like a dark heaven, but his face was changing, just a little, which frightened. “Thorn! Please don’t!”
“Shhh!” He had never felt like this! Every stroke inside of her offered up an erotic sensation of bliss and the further he let himself join with the wolf, the more intense the pleasure became. “You are mine! Remember!”
Screaming would not stop him and it was too late to fight. The only recourse was to allow his assault and pray he did not fully become a werewolf. Eventually, her fears faded, replaced with waves of pleasure and his quiet, breathy, laughter. Like it or not, Thorn’s ability to let the beast slip through, made the sex amazing.
Starved for more sensations, Thorn withdrew, kissing her deeply, letting their tongues entwine and taste one another. When done, he kissed his way down the length of her body, until reaching all the honey she had just spilled, devouring the liqueur, becoming drunk with lust.
Enslaved to the pleasure, she lay there shaking, praying he would not stop thrusting his tongue into such a secret place. Spreading her thighs a little further apart, she pushed up on the bed to sit, watching the way Thorns lips and tongue caressed and stroked, feeling as if she would do anything he wished, to keep this kind of passion.
Fingers tangled into his hair and Thorn grinned, very pleased by her wish for more. Wanting to torment, his mouth clamped over the center of her pleasure, that little excitable mound and began to suck. Hips tried to pull away, but he held on, forcing his woman to take more. Even when she begged him to stop, he would not. Finally, after a few soft nips with his teeth and strokes of tongue, she uttered some rather bold curses, submitting.
Long male fingers had jammed inside of her wet heat, as the orgasm tore through her body. Repeatedly, she felt her entrance tighten on the trio, even as he stretched them wide, to tease and torment. As a lover, he was cruel and yet, delicious. Realizing Thorn had yet to release his own hot seed, she begged. “Please, Thorn! Anything, if you will join with me, again!”
“As you desire!” Fangs pricked his tongue and he licked her entrance one last time, before invading it with a thundering shaft, penetrating hard, deep down. Were he to let go, the beast would take over and make her suffer until it exhausted, but she was not ready for such passion. Bringing them both together, he instead rode long enough to release his heat, then rolled over, out of breath, beside her on the bed. “There is so much more I want to do with you!”
Thorn’s face was already starting to smooth out, into the handsome one, first seen in the woods, near Falkreath. Between open lips, she watched fangs recede, red eyes fade and fine body hair dissipate. Holding him, nestling against his side, she nodded. What he had desired was to completely shift form, not hold it back, as he had this time. “I know, Thorn.”
A small hand traced over the scrape on his left side, from earlier. All the excitement had caused him to forget the injury, until now. Power left her palm and flowed over his side, banishing the mark and he smiled, pulling her tighter against himself. “Will you ever allow it?”
The way he spoke, made her believe that this shared passion might extend beyond one night. “Was my feeling… that tomorrow you would leave, having gotten this far.”
“How many times, does someone need reminded?” Jerking her chin he rolled enough to take her mouth passionately. “You are mine, now.” Thorn could see her doubts, yet could not care less. Over time, she would realize they were mated. Honestly, the doubts should have been his own, having avoided closeness for so long.
“Maybe. We’ll see.” That earned her a glare and then he started talking offhandedly about taking her hunting. Kissing his shoulder, she lay back and listened, eventually falling into sleep, once he covered them both in furs.
((Eight parts complete the story. Check them all out!))
After that night of passion with Thorn, she had slipped out of the cave, early the next morning. Just as dawn touched the sky, she was treading through heavy snow toward Whiterun.
Maybe it had been wrong to leave him like that, but she was afraid. Too much had been shared in such a short time and he was… not like herself. How could a bandit share her tasks ahead? Not that she expected anyone to track dragons and do the insane, such as hunting vampires.
Leaving him, would allow time for Thorn to rethink his position of wanting her as a mate. With luck, he would wake and realize, almost immediately, how foolish the idea had been. There were plenty of women out there and probably a host of them would lift a sword to pillage travelers, along side the bandit.
By mid-day, the path through frigid Eastmarch had run into the plains near Whiterun. Far in the distance she could see Dragonsreach, on the great hill of the city. Beyond would be Bloated Man’s grotto and Hircine’s task. Without Thorn along, she could finish the entire mess up and give the damn ring to Hircine. Should the Daedra want Thorn to have it, as apparently planned, then surely he would hand it over.
Thorn had awakened, chill despite the furs and feeling panicked. Hircine had visited in dream, almost irritated. The words were few, only a simple warning.
“Our prey escapes you!”
Tense, he had dressed in the armour stripped from the vigilant then worked to hide the cave entrance. Having done so once, proved beyond useful and someday, might again. Finished doing a rather hasty job, he tracked still visible footprints over the powdery white terrain, cursing under his breath. Why?! Why had she run?!
Pain inched it’s way into his heart and Thorn wanted blood, to kill, in order to fill the void she was leaving behind. Within, the beast was raging, wanting out to find it’s mate. Were the shadows of night covering the land, he would transform, hunt and devour the heart of the first unlucky bastard to cross his path! “Damn her!!”
Walking had never entered his mind. Once reaching the borders that left Eastmarch behind, for the warmer climate of Whiterun Hold, he had kept a fast pace, cutting through the land, rather than take the road. Doing so, offered more speed and a better chance at catching up to his woman. From the looks of things, she were heading toward the grotto. Foolish creature was going to fight alone.
Coming from behind Whiterun, through the plains, Thorn came within reach of the watchtower, just beyond the cities main gates. The smoke had lead him there, thick black clouds roiling up into the sky, men screaming in the distance. Running, he almost expected to find the war had broken open, beyond skirmishes. Instead, a sound so distinctive, that it was unmistakably a dragon, bellowed out from behind the stone monolith. The ground shook from it and a greater fire took hold of the land. A return thu’um sounded, cracking the sky and it began to rain. His heart sank.
Flight was no longer an option. That had been her first focus of the battle. Now the dragon was stuck to the earth, same as herself, making the fight a little more fair. Flames spewed forth, again, from a fanged maw, so large, it could swallow a man whole, forcing her to roll behind fallen tower stone. Nearby, lay a city guard, having succumbed to his injuries. There would be no saving him. A situation which happened far too often.
Leaning her head back against the rubble, she made a count of five, then summoned a flame atronach. Not very effective against this dragon, but enough to buy time and distraction. Another group of guards were on the way across the fields, making her feel a mixture of impressed and sick. No matter what, these people would defend their lands. Rushing around the stone, she ignored the distant noise of someone calling out her name.
“No!!” Too late to matter, Thorn had yelled, trying to stop her from rushing that titan of a monster. Forgetting all, his feet charged over scorched ground and around flames, until he was also at the dragon’s side, hefting blade up, slicing down scale and thick hide. The injury was minor, but got the bastards attention.
Taking the moment, her atronach already gone, a great horn came low enough for her to latch onto and lunge upward onto it’s thick neck. From here, it was only a matter of time before the battle was over. Maybe even before the man who had come to help died. Glancing, briefly, toward him, their familiar eyes met, anger flashing from Thorn to herself. Cursing under breath, terrified, attention was given to her foe, the sword finding its way beneath fine edges of thick scale. On the first try, the blade went through into it’s neck.
Bellowing in pain, the dragon lost all interest in him and began to wildly, throw its head back and forth. Grabbing the opportunity, Thorn tore into it’s side again, aiming better, like she had, by slipping under the scales with blade. Suddenly, he was not alone in the effort as Whiterun’s own rushed up, yelling profound curses and slinging blades.
The clanking was noisy, the roars from the monster, even more so. Above them, his prey was sawing a blade in and out of muscle and sinew, trying to reach the spine and eventually something snapped.
Finished! Down they both went, she holding onto a great horn, only rolling to the ground upon impact. Immediately standing, stumbling a little, she watched her kin closely and knew it was over when the soul left it’s body for her own. The rush of power was beautiful, a glorious feeling of energetic magics, that almost consumed her heart. A tiny bit of what she might have been in a different life, would awaken during these moments. Afterward, sorrow always remained. To be free with the dragons, rather than at war, would have been preferable.
Standing away, Thorn watched her take the soul, absorbing the dragon into herself, until all that lay before any of them were the waste of bones and scale. While the men burst out into cheering, rushing what was his, he simply allowed the celebration, rather than interfere. It amazed him that they would embrace as one of their own, a being who was only pretending.
Uncomfortable, but smiling, she nodded returning the over joyed embrace that some of the guard gave and even endured a few slaps on the back. Behind it all, attention was mostly on Thorn, who waited outside the group, alone. Being a criminal, he was likely nervous around all these guards, so she pointed him out. “Let’s not forget I had help!”
Dragged into the fray, Thorn found himself set upon, betrayed once again by his woman. Urged forward, into the group, he found that both of them were being lead straight for Whiterun and eventually to the tavern, where drinks were poured for a grand celebration. A few of these people, he recognized from the roads having robbed them in the past. Apparently, none remembered him and that was a relief. Probably, helped that he and the boys were always in helm or hood, during a heist.
Measuring her drink, afraid to completely let go, the night ended relatively well. Of course, Thorn had to be dealt with and then finding a place to sleep. Edging toward the door, she glanced behind, checking if he would follow or remain with the men who had held his attention all night. Despite how tense things had been, time and conversation had mellowed his mood, which meant comfort had finally enveloped the bandit, while around these guards.
Outside, the moons shone brightly, despite the charred smell in the air from the watchtower. Summoned rain had put the fires out and then blew away on the next winds, leaving behind the aurora of the starlit heavens. This was a perfect night to run wild, except she were exhausted and afraid to shift with Thorn’s blood inside her veins. What if things were uncontrolled, now that the curse were real and not from a trinket?
Thorn had come outside, excusing himself from the men who assumed he were just another follower of the Dragonborn. Apparently, she had gone through a few, with most of them retiring to stay alive and others actually following her until death took them. Was that why she ran from him? Clasping her shoulder he brought her attention away from the sky. “Do not run from me again.”
“The path I walk is not meant for you, Thorn. Best we part ways now, before the worst happens.” This man had enough to deal with. Vigilants hunting him for being of wolf blood and cities that would behead him for the crimes most of his kind committed against their residents. “Life will be mildly safer with your men.”
Spinning her around to face him, drew the attention of a few posted guards and Thorn knew, one wrong flick of blade would bring them to her defense. Bending low, he found her mouth and kissed deeply, sighing. Would his feet move toward the gate, he would have left, but only one desire existed and that was to be complete with her. “We hunt together now and someday you will accept and stop fighting me at every step taken. Eventually, I will see you bear me a child or two, as well.”
Laughing, her mouth was caught up in another kiss, silencing any amusement concerning Thorn’s ridiculous statement. Not once had she imagined him the sort to be a father, at least not the kind who stuck around to raise the child. When the kiss was over, the insult came out. “So, you expect me to give you children that you will never visit and fight these dragons?”
Grabbing her chin up, between thumb and finger, Thorn forced their gazes to touch, worn out from having chased down the waif, straight into battle. “I fought that dragon with you and never flinched, so do not insult me again. When all this is over, you will still be part of me and we will go home. I will have children from you and they will hunt with us.”
“Sounds… as if… you mean to continue on with me.” Miserable, he nodded in response, so she pushed up to meet his lips and offered a kiss, only to be devoured roughly. “Still angry about this morning?”
Flaring nostrils, he pulled them together, gritting his teeth. “I wanted to kill everything, when I was told you had gone.”
“Told?” Searching his eyes lead her to conclude that Hircine had been the informer. Why did it not truly surprise? Nodding, accepting the facts for what they were, she stood there on the steps before the tavern and just held onto Thorn awhile. “Like you, he is not going to let me go.”
“Probably not, being you are too proficient a hunter, who will not give up it’s prey.” Kissing the curve of her brow, he pleaded for bed. “Let us find a place to lay down for the night. I would take you hunting, but…”
Today had been long for them both and she was no more in the mood for hunting than Thorn. Dragging him down the road, toward a lone, empty house she popped the lock quickly, quietly. There were things she needed inside.
Once the door closed, Thorn embraced her and felt the relief wash over his tired bones. Briefly, he had imagined their chance lost, her too pure to follow his will. “So you are a little bit tarnished, after all, beyond the blood we, share.”
Smirking, having no way to cover up this trespass, she shrugged. “Usually, I stay at the inn, but sometimes want to be alone or store things I can not carry around.”
Pulling him along, they took the stairs up, where a forgotten bed had been left, by the last owner. Over time, she had placed a few rare trinkets and a lock chest, which held coin and jewels. “Tomorrow, I will go to the steward and buy the house, officially.”
Thorn took note of the chest at the end of the bed and kicked it with his booted foot. Coins shifted within, but the box did not move, even an inch. “How much is in there?!”
Laughing, she checked the wooden bath, relieved it still held water. “I do get paid for most of these tasks, you find pointless. Usually, double when I am sent after bandits, since I take what they have stolen.”
Sitting down on the bed, Thorn grunted. “Were we not lovers, then I suppose my own coin might have ended up in there one day.”
Undressing, she agreed that what he said held truth and then went on to clean off the dirt and grime of the day, which took awhile. Fighting dragons and road travel required a lot of water afterward.
While she groomed, Thorn loomed over her hoard until he could no longer stand it and found himself picking the lock. “You could give me the key.”
“Why?” Smiling, she let him fumble with chest, amused. Honestly, he could flee with every last coin she had, but something told her that would never happen. Not unless she utterly betrayed him. Departing the bath, to dry, her attention was locked upon his crouched over form. The image left her feeling curious and playful.
Distracted, only the touch of wet hair against his cheek turned attention, as she leaned near to kiss an ear, but Thorn would not respond just yet. He wanted to look inside this box first.
Fetching the key out of it’s hiding place, she reached around wide shoulders and handed it over, realizing two things. One, he was horrible at picking locks and another, that she would never get to sleep until his curiosity was satisfied.
Twisting the key, Thorn popped the lid up and whistled, then proceeded to condemn her foolishness. “You keep every coin you have in a house the Jarl could sell, when you are away?!”
Laying on her belly, facing Thorn, she snuggled down against the mattress and furs. “The house is safe. Jarl Balgruuf will not sell to strangers during war time and I have been offered this place. He only waits for me to come up with the coin.”
Raking his fingers through the gold, listening to it chink, Thorn could only shake his head. “There is more than enough here, I would imagine.”
“Which is why, tomorrow, I will purchase it. Especially, if you plan to keep me company.” Blushing, she remembered his wild nature in the cave, how he could not keep himself contained as they mated. “Sleeping with you at the inn would be… unwise.”
Raking over her with heated gaze, Thorn shut the chest and locked it tight, then playfully let the key find it’s way into a pocket, smirking. How had he been so consumed with that gold, when she lay there on her soft belly, naked? Tired or not, they would entwine with one another.
Shedding his armour, quick work was made of a bath. Were she not always so sure to clean up, he would have skipped the effort and just took what he wanted. By the time the days grime was washed away, his woman had drifted off, rolling onto back. Just for a moment or two, he loomed over the bed, staring down at her, twisted by both love and guilt. Maybe he was not the purest of men, but he would kill for her, in a heartbeat, and that had to count for something.
Startled awake, hands flew up, meeting heat and muscled chest. Familiar eyes glimmered down at her in the dark, while Thorn’s lips quirked with amusement over having frightened her. At this point, refusing the man would have been pointless, so she let him do what was desired and found herself rolled onto stomach, beneath him.
More than ready, Thorn lifted the curve of feminine hips up off the bed, dragging her to knees, then very slowly impaled her with the thick of his shaft. Breathy whimpers softly echoed against the walls, soon to be joined by his own groans of lust. “Perfect…”
Tangling fingers through the fur bedding, reveling in the sensation of Thorn’s forceful nature and thickness, she quickly became wet with desire, allowing the penetration to come easily, deeper. The sensation was amazing, his thrusts animal, bringing her to the point of pleading for more and he gave fully.
Tonight, Thorn refused to transform. It was the second time he would deny the beast within, who wished for nothing more than to feel it’s mate and make true claim. Yet, while he rode, his mouth kissed across her shoulder, to an ear, so that whispers might be shared, offering ideas of dark and sweet pleasures.
Completely immersed in the sensational pleasure he was giving, her head nodded, blindly agreeing to his lustful whispering. Deep down, beneath all the desire and want, she realized Thorn was preparing her for the inevitable. One day and likely very soon, he would refuse to remain a man and it would be the beast who would devour her body and do the riding. “Thorn!”
Contractions clenched his length and Thorn grinned, biting her shoulder tenderly, from behind. “My turn!”
The rest of their session was hardly gentle. He needed to release and so rode for that purpose alone, making sure his female offered up plaintive whimpers and cries, at each charge of his hips. Finally, he spent his seed, pouring it out and collapsing them both down into the bed.
Rolled over, into his embrace, sleep very quickly dragged her away into dreams, but not before hearing Thorn profess his love. Leaving her with a smile and a half whispered response of returned tenderness…….
Thorn rolled off of her, back pressing into the mattress. breathing heavily. At some point during the morning, the furs had ended up on the floor, but it was mid-day and he was hot from having repeatedly raked his woman.
Listening to labored breath, she placed a palm upon his chest, sliding it slowly across every taut muscle, feeling the sweat and heat emanate off his overworked body. A now familiar musk lay heavy in the room, something she would not have noticed before, but the wolf blood had become stronger, overwhelming, once muted senses. From now on, she would always know the scent of him and what it meant. This time, it was lust.
“We must hunt soon. Your need for devouring prey will become overwhelming, if we wait.” Darkness was beginning to linger within her eyes, telling him of the growing hunger. What let her run as a wolf, inside that ring, must not have been as overpowering as being an actual werewolf. “The dragonborn, should keep up appearances, so let me take you out tonight. I know where to go…what we can kill.”
This was the worst kind of love, because it held inside of it a lingering hate for him. Thorn had made her want to kill, just by speaking of the idea. Memories of tearing apart enemies, under the guise of Hircine’s ring filled her thoughts as did the taste of blood. Once she had been able to walk away, but now doubts existed. What if she killed someone cared for and worse, devoured them along side Thorn? “Please, don’t talk about it. Right now, I feel barely in control of that side. Worse, I could kill someone I once called friend, because of what you did.”
Rolling onto his side, Thorn pulled her close, kissing forehead and then soft feminine lips. “Trust me. All you need is a little blood, just a taste of venison and this will all pass.” He would not apologize for making her one with him. The only thing keeping his own beast sated, was the fact it now had a mate. With her near, the darker core of him felt tame and willing to finally be one being.
“Deer?” What was imagined were men, that Thorn would desire to do the worst in his hunting.
“For now, until you have better control and allow me to take you after more exciting game.” Deeper, more passionately, he kissed, until their tongues entwined, before pulling away to grin darkly. “Soon enough, I will devour your enemies, along side you, in the darkness.”
Attempting to move her head away from the next kiss only caused Thorn to become aggressive. Pinning her face between large hands, he forced their touch, kissing until she weakened and allowed him to consume her mouth freely. Perhaps, as a punishment, he remounted and began to thrust inside and foolishly, all she could manage was to hold onto his shoulders and listen to the sounds he made. Very low growls…tender bites upon throat.
Aching, fearful, he had decided to force submission to his lust, when she chose to refuse affection. Things could not return to how they had been. There was clarity now and amidst it all a possessive love for this woman.
Slowly, wanting her to see the gentleness he would impart, his movements were measured, the bites upon her neck brief and subtle. Kissing up to her left ear, he offered reason, quietly. “I am not the only one who desires our union and it is partly your own fault. Had you never put on that ring and shown him joy in the hunt…we would not be together.”
Shaking her head, to deny his claim, was close enough to a voiced lie, causing Thorn to laugh against her ear. A husky amused noise, full of pompous knowing, which she hated hearing and only because he was right. Had she not put the ring on or in the least hid during the forced changes. Instead, the excitement and freedom of that kind of animal prowess had seduced, much like Thorn himself. “I hate you!”
“No, you love me.” Bracing slim wrists at either side of her head, he allowed himself to take her roughly, wanting to burn the fight out of her, break his mate into, finally, accepting what they were.
By the time they had finished, she lay shivering and knew it was not the passion and sex alone. Long fingers were caressing her cheek, Thorn’s gaze studying her eyes, lips quirking with a very slight smile, as if he were pleased by whatever was being seen. “We need to get out of here.”
“Not yet. Sleep awhile and when it is closer to dark, I will make sure we get out of Whiterun, well before you turn. Besides, the house is paid for, we might as well make good use of the place.” Embracing her, they both fell asleep and he only woke, because of noises downstairs.
“My Thane?!” Lydia set her things down, while one of the guards hefted the rest inside. Glancing around the sparse place, she was not quite sure what it was she should look after. Still, the dragonborn was not in town often, which meant the house would be mostly her own. It would be a nice change from all the banter and politics in Dragonsreach.
Jerking on his pants, Thorn grabbed up a blade and made down the stairs, while his female seemed slow to rouse. Unfamiliar were both face and voice, yet not too far behind the woman was a guard, whom he found familiar. Remembering the latter from the tavern, he made query. “What is going on here?”
Lydia waved the guard off, who seemed far too amused and confronted the man, who had chosen to ignore her in favor of another male. She hated that! Domineering bastards. “I am Lydia, the Thane’s housecarl.”
Nodding her head up toward the stairs, which he blocked, she made it very clear what was going to happen. “My room is up there, I imagine. So let me pass.”
The woman attempted to travel around him, but quick to move, Thorn blocked the way, smirking. “For all I know you are a thief or assassin.”
Wrapped in a fur, standing at the top of the stairs, she watched the two snarl at one another, both attempting to posture and assert who was the most dominant. Unfortunately, if a bet were made, concerning the two of them, Thorn would probably win. “Both of you stop and play nice!”
Were he a wolf, Thorn imagined his ears might have flattened at the command, let alone that a woman had issued the order. Flaring nostrils, he refused to move, just to spite both of them.
Taking one step down, she banged her fist on the wall, almost snarling. “Thorn! My head is pounding and you are playing games with my housecarl. Let her up the damn stairs!”
Chuckling, Thorn spun around and stormed up to his mate, snatching her into the air, bringing the curves of a fevered body against him. “Shhh. You are losing your temper, mouse.”
He had not called her that in days. Sighing, exasperated and aching from head to toe, she let him carry her back around the corner to their bed and lay for a few moments, knowing they must leave, now that Lydia arrived. She had not realized the housecarl would move in so quickly, otherwise a warning would have been given to Thorn.
Making a scene of it, Thorn jerked her covering free and slid above, ignoring the complaints and glare. Behind him he could hear the housecarl moving into the nearby room, muttering insults between teeth. Women like that normally did not bother him, but now that he had a mate there was reason to be wary. “You are mine.”
Had they not entwined with one another repeatedly, until both of them were spent, despite how angry she was with him? “I am still with you, despite everything.”
“Say it, tell me.” No one could be allowed to doubt his position, that they were mated. Not his men and not her servants.
Tired, she reached up and graced the side of his face with a soft caress. The words were not easy, it gave him power should she submit so fully. Then again, he was not going to let her off this bed, to rinse and dress, unless she gave exactly what was desired.
She was not going to say it?! Leaning down, he plied her lips with kisses, wishing that housecarl wench was not there with them. Alone, he could seduce and fill her with his lust, until she broke down. “Maybe I am not a good man, perhaps a little darker than you would want, but I love you.”
“A little?” Glancing toward the open doorway, she realized not a great deal of truth could be spoken openly. Thorn had undoubtedly raped, murdered, maimed and who knew what else, in his time as a bandit. Add in his being a bloodthirsty wolf… “Thorn.”
“Don’t say anything.” Leaving her, he got dressed and then went downstairs, while she rinsed off. Alone, he lingered near the door, fingers twitching over the handle. Finally, he pushed the door open and left.
After dressing, a moment was taken to speak with Lydia and give the housecarl instructions, also to let her know workers would arrive, over the next few days, to furnish the house. There was no longer a reason to keep the place so sparse, looking.
Nodding, Lydia, found herself glad to learn the house would be worked on and also that she was so soon to be left alone. Not unhappy to see the man gone, she still felt honor bound to tell the Dragonborn her partner had vanished. “While you were bathing, your… companion left.”
“Probably, just at the tavern, but thank you for the information. Also, I am unsure as to when I will be back, but will try to send a messenger when certain.” Gathering a satchel, coin and flask, she left the house and just for a second, almost started for the gate, but turned on heel and made for the Bannered Mare, instead.
Within the tavern were familiar faces, but not the one expected. Then stupidly, foolishly, she was wandering around the town, her fever getting worse, looking for the man she had so recently wanted rid of. Fearing the worst, she even slipped into the jails.
Stomach twisting with loss, she stood for a little too long, thinking on what to do. Would he have gone to Falkreath? To be honest, she had no idea where his base of operations was. Certainly, it had not been that little camp in the woods.
Beginning to grow hazy, dizzied, she dashed for the gate, knowing time was almost up. Would feet move fast enough, she could make the fields beyond Whiterun and hopefully have enough control over her beast, to just keep running, until some hapless deer got in the way.
Thorn had been walking across the countryside awhile now, cutting through the tall swaying grass and trees, toward home. Though only a few days had passed, he had been gone from the gang, too long. Hopefully, everything was still the same, but something told him a fight was coming. Slash had been wanting control, working to sew descent, thinking himself worthy of Alpha, by simply being a khajiit.
Taking a swig of ale, he continued to trod over the rough terrain, coming near one of the main roads. Would enough drink go down, he would forget how stupid he had been to love someone. The dragonborn never saw him as a mate, only a filthy beast. Even when he held her in the cave…there had been…
Gods, he could not remember clearly! Had she been afraid? Taking another drink, he bid the alcohol make him forget more, until there was only a cursed thief left, who loved no one.
“Boss!” Slash had sent Bane to watch the goings on in Whiterun, since a Khajiit could never enter through the main gate. He had been ordered to watch and report once their ‘boss’ decided to leave and how alive the dragonborn was afterward. Now, knowing she lived, it was going to be very easy to take over and lead them to better riches and more blood. Thorn had always been too careful, not giving them enough freedom to take what they had the strength to pillage.
Thorn turned at the sound, already aware of exactly who was speaking. There was fear in the air, drifting his way from Lars, who was at the back of the group, trying hard not to give away to the others, that his loyalties did not include killing their leader. Lars had always been the most loyal, Vince a close second, but that particular man was completely missing.
“Boys.” Taking another drink, he feigned ignorance of what was about to happen. “What brings you lot out here, instead of keeping an eye on things at the keep?”
With his eyes, Lars attempted to warn Thorn silently, to start running. At least in the confusion he could slip away and catch up with his boss, then inform him of everything that had gone awry several days ago. Oblivious, his old friend just stood there, taking another drink from a half empty bottle, waiting for the slaughter to come.
“Well, boss, we were a little concerned when Lars came back alone, telling us how things went wrong in your plan to gain more power, using the dragonborn.” Unfettered, cold eyes just stared back at him, as though Thorn could care less about this confrontation. Irritated, Slash got to the point, already, prepared to turn, as were the others. “Bane tells me you left her alive and what Lars said, leaves us all to believe you have gone soft and are no longer fit to lead!”
Tossing down the bottle, Thorn chuckled and pointed first at Bane and then Slash. “You and then you, die first. Both problems I should have ended a long time ago.”
Lars took a few steps back, hoping Thorn realized he would not fight him and also prayed that they were far enough from any witnesses, since the lot were shifting form, near a damn road! Wondering if this would be the day he finally died for taking the wrong path in life, he chose to openly side with Thorn and made the change. Two against four were at least better odds………………..
((8 Parts complete the story. Go check them out and I hope you all enjoy!))
Thorn lay in the field amidst the tall grass bleeding profusely from is left leg, nearby, Lars had fallen unconscious, gravely injured or so it seemed. Clearly, not too far away, he could hear a snide Thalmor taunting them, trying to draw out anyone still alive.
The battle had been fine at first, for a tooth and claw break down in his gang. His promise had been kept, Bane died and quickly, Sten escaped after Lars had taken a chunk out of his ribs, bringing bone out in shards. He doubted very much that the man would live once he shifted back into human form.
Everything had fallen apart when the dominion agents had joined the battle. No doubt, the sight of werewolves had spurred them into action, out of fear. Somewhere out there, Slash still lived, but his remaining companion had died. A man of no consequence to Thorn as he had, only, recently joined.
A roar sounded out, bestial and violent. Slash had always been stupid. First for bringing this fight on near a well traveled road and second for showing himself to these mages. Stealth and cunning were necessary to rend their flesh, without taking unnecessary injury. More than anything Thorn hated fire. His fur was too easily ignited when dry and the burns afterward were hard to heal.
Enraged, he lay there, upon side, listening to the shouting Altmer, their footsteps rushing across the ground, toward a new target. Tactically, he could now rush out and take down a few of them himself, using the other wolf as distraction, but the Khajiit could die by their hands. Any tactic that would lend him a chance to save Lars, was necessary.
Hiding there, he again looked over at Lars. Slash had done real harm, cutting with claw too near the throat. Regretting so much now, having been involved in building up his pack, he had let the wrong people live, rather than kill off the rogue members in his gang. Clear thought had not been his during those times. The man in him had interfered, holding onto pointless convictions, refusing to listen.
Staring up at the night sky, he watched the green aurora flashes, mix with ghostly reds and thought about his mate. Impatient, he had left her side, rather than wait out the storm. A little more time and she would have broken… loved him.
Cracking the din of curses and spell came a scream, followed by a single feral roar. One of the Altmer had gone down. That left two more and Slash. Angling ears he listened intently, attempting to ignore the growing numbness in his leg and the acrid smell of Lars’ blood spilling into the earth beside him. If he could get to a heart, even just one, it would offer Lars a fighting chance. That was, if he could get the other to wake.
That course of action, required revealing himself too soon, instead of trying to ambush the survivors when they came close. Rolling onto all fours he began to stand up, then quickly ducked down again, taking notice of a lithe form speed across the grasses. Rare, colored like the moon, it paused, standing on hind legs sniffing the air, watching the fight.
This new arrival was the last problem he needed while injured. The only thing that would chase the lone wolf off, was to show dominance, by fighting Slash, before the last Thalmor fell. Facing his target, it was simple enough to race through the grasses, toward the battle and take the man from behind. The death was clean and quick, startling Slash, who was now blinded at the right eye, from a well aimed blade.
The two lunged at each other and she stood there, unsure. Overwhelmed, by the need to find Thorn, she had not taken down any prey to feed upon, resulting in pain and confusion. Above, the sky seemed to be twisting, the ground swaying beneath feet. Following this path had lead to the scent of him, but also to a slew of spilled blood and she wanted it, almost more than helping Thorn.
White dashed by along the side of him and Slash noted the thick furred body, from the corner of his good eye. Nervously, he watched as the beast circled behind Thorn, as they fought, before vanishing again. The scent was strange and he was almost sure female, only there was too much blood and musk in the air to be sure.
Either it was from a pack or alone. Both he and Thorn were sundered, weakened and bloody. Easy kills for another group of wolves.
With one way out, he lunged hard at Thorn, pushing the other down and then fled westward. Reaching the mountain side should work, by climbing from rock to rock, proving him a waste of time. The act would leave his, once leader, as the most reasonable target.
The strange one ran, so she did too, chasing it across the road, over rocks and through trees, excited by the scent of fear emanating from another wolf. Unfortunately, the swaying land and throbbing ache in her head was giving the other a good lead, toward the mountain side.
Without even blinking, Thorn let Slash become the prey of another wolf, he needed to help Lars more than worry about who made the final kill. A back-draft of wind swirled Thalmor blood into the air along with feminine heat and his heart froze, realizing who had come.
Fractured in purpose, he wavered between chasing her down or trying to help Lars. Running up to his friend, clawed hand reached out to push against a blood soaked shoulder and he cried aloud, howling in pain.
Abandoning the chase, too clumsy and swayed by blood lust she, quickly, returned to where Thorn had last been. Even as her feet crossed the dirt road, she heard his howl, saw the shadowed form of what she knew was a dominion agent at his back.
The blade had slipped close to his spine, barely missing, but it burned like fire. Enchanted or silver, it did not matter, the wound was grievous, bringing him to knees, knowing another strike was bound to come, quickly.
Check the bodies! He knew that, had taught others the same rule! Sometimes, prey were smart enough to feign death and wait.
Before the next strike, she had pulled the Altmer back by the neck, bending him backwards, until his throat flashed in the moonlight, ending the cry of terror, even as it left his body.
Coming down upon his side, Thorn gazed up at her, all the white fur spattered with red blood, her maw a mess with the ichor. The sight was etheric…. beautiful.
((The following day in the woods))
Daylight trickled down from between twisting branches and birds chirped. Small shadows of tiny flying bodies, flit back and forth, fluttering, enjoying the new day. Sitting up, Thorn winced, deciding to lay back down again, shifting the burlap cover, back into place. Beneath him it was soft but scratchy, bits of hay slipping over bare skin, causing minor discomfort, but it was better this way, than on hard ground.
Drawing in a deep breath, he remembered some of the night before, but the Thalmor’s blade had rendered him in and out of consciousness. What lingered were small moments of being force fed the tender cuts of heart, warm and easy to swallow.
Following Thorn’s gaze to where Lars rest, still gravely wounded, despite all the healing and help, she sighed. Upon knees, she sat, watching him, realizing the pain expressed on that face was more than physical. Lars meant a lot to him. “I am sorry.”
Thorn turned to look at her, then back toward where his friend lay, near a stranger, who slumped in repose against a tree, apparently asleep. “Who is that?”
“Sinding. After I had given you both what I could from the fallen Thalmor, I sought out the grotto, hoping to engage Hircine for help.”
The day before they had parted on bad terms, leaving her skeptical on what to do or say. Thorn had left her alone, to turn and handle his ‘gift’ unaided. Blessed or lucky, she had been relatively the same as when wearing the ring, only more driven to kill than before.
Under his breath, Thorn cursed softly. “Hircine wanted him dead!”
Nodding, she glanced over at Sinding, who remained still, either fully asleep or simply listening. “Would I help kill the hunters invading his den, he promised to help with the both of you. The trade seemed worthwhile, so I accepted.”
That handsome face now racked with pain, blood and dirt, sneered, ready to verbally strike out at her for being foolish. Fingertips to his mouth, she stopped any efforts, before the swearing spilled out. “Hircine was amused, to put it mildly. Everything is fine now and you are here in the forest, with Lars, alive. When the both of you are well….hopefully, I will go.”
Snatching up her wrist, he pulled the hand gracing it, to his lips. “You tracked down where I had gone, killed and hand fed me their hearts. We belong together, now.”
“The same could be said of your friend Lars then, being I did, nearly, the same for him.” That grip of his became rough, forcing her to try and pull away.
Jerking her down against him, despite how much it hurt, he made one thing painfully clear. “You are mine! We are mated!”
Breath coming fast against her face, chest heaving beneath, she discovered herself transfixed by his eyes and not because they were brilliant, but the pain held within actually made her hurt too. “You left.”
Eyes shutting, he flared nostrils briefly, unable to deny how quickly he had given up. “Until you tracked me down, I thought I was the only one who wanted this, but no other, than a mate would do what you did.”
Tight, her heart was caged in an iron grip, placed there after losing too much, so quickly. Coming to Skyrim had changed her fortune, and in this case, by handing her a dark love to either accept or refuse. Hircine had said she was his servant now, yet, it had to be possible to walk away. All she had to do was leave Thorn here with Lars and find someone, a mage perhaps, to lift the curse.
Fingers spread through her hair, gently traveling over the length of it, caressing, bringing her cheek down against a heaving chest. He felt warm, maybe a little fevered, while inside a heartbeat reverberated, speaking of fears, that she would leave. “Thorn, I am no bandit. Wishing that I would fit into that world, does not make it happen. Surely, you know it is best to part ways and just forget.”
“As wolves we will only continue to seek each other out and I will not deny mating when it happens. Worse, I will become more vile as a man, than I ever could be as a wolf.” At her hip was a dagger, one bearing the markings of the Thalmor, much like the borrowed robes being worn. Reaching down, he pulled it from sheath to press into her palm, even as she sat up, startled. “Give us both peace. Kill me and go seek out a cure.”
“Thorn?!” Believing it a joke, she denied the request, laughing nervously.
“Damn it! Do this, just end me now, because if not, there will be little choice later! I will make you pay dearly for leaving me alone, when all I wanted was to hunt beside you, mouse!” Taking his gaze off of her, granting it instead to Lars, he waited, wondering if she would be stupid enough to let him live out of pity. Temporarily, he was distracted by how still Sinding was, sleeping through this madness.
Dagger in hand, she watched Thorn, solemnly. There was no game in this, he meant to hurt her if left alive. Probably by killing anyone she tried to care about or help. Lifting the dagger, she poised it against his throat, needing to escape Hircine, his servants and the darkness.
Giving her attention from the corner of an eye, Thorn nodded, very slightly. This was hardly how he had imagined dying, but he did not want to make love to her as the wolf, then turn around and kill everything close to her, as reprisal for abandoning his affection.
Warm hands slid up against her waist, holding on, waiting, and the sensation made her heart catch in throat, the pain and misery unbearable . Bringing the dagger down, she dropped the thing in the dirt, having failed herself in favor of loving this man. “You will never leave this life as his servant will you?”
“Deny, if you want to, that there is no joy and freedom in what we are. That the chase means nothing or the taste of your enemies fails to bring pleasure.” He swallowed, relieved to live but remained hurt by her struggle to abandon their union. “Does my love, at least, matter?”
“Yes.” Leaning over, she kissed him, once and then twice, finally letting go of the restrictions and apprehension. He was right. As the wolf she had done anything necessary to keep him alive, including tearing hearts from the hunters in the grotto to bring her lover. Going so far as to spare Sinding, in an alliance, spoke clearly of her love for Thorn.
Remembering her helper, she looked over at his tree and discovered Sinding gone, entirely. Lars, however, was watching the both of them, with a very hazy expression, obviously unsure as to where and why he was.
Relieved in more than a few ways, Thorn sighed, elated. “Then you are finally mine?”
“Against my better judgement, I am yours.” Planning would have to be done. His pack must be more discreet or simply disbanded. “Even so, we need to make some agreements about your gang.”
Lars dared not try to sit up. The smell of healing salve and an hot neck told him it would be unwise, but he did manage to speak. “Being most of us are…dead.”
Thorn kept her close, afraid to let go, just yet. “My involvement with you gave one of my members opportunity to revolt, which is what you interrupted, by Hircine’s grace, I would guess.” Sinding’s mysterious disappearance made him suspect there was even more to the story, but that part could stay buried for all he cared.
Grabbing her chin between fingers, he made a decision. “We will grow the pack again. I have ideas already on how to make it better and something you could live with.”
“Essentially, still bandits, I would guess.” His grin confirmed it and the confessed plan he offered was conniving, but she saw how it would be safer for all, to play mercenaries who just happened to show up, solving problems his men caused, in the first place. What he did not realize was, that after word spread of his clan, valid requests would start coming in about unrelated bandit activity. She would let him learn that lesson on his own, though.
Satisfied with the plan, Lars almost drifted off to sleep again and then blurted out what he had meant to tell Thorn. “Vince! We… need to retrieve him.”
((Part 8 Completed)) Enjoy and remember to subscribe!