Hey y'all! I've been working on this story for awhile (since early May), and I finally decided to post it. This story is quite a read so I've added some spacers to help out my friends on mobile. For those interested in knowing, I plan on releasing a build soon to go along with the story as I'm currently in the write-up phase now. Be sure to leave feedback and a like! As always, Talos Guide You!
“Look at you...” The hooded man peered into the wagon, his hands gripping onto the metal bars of the cage. His companion, a heavy set women held a torch for him to examine the contents. Both of them were clad in the generic fur armor that I had seen so many of the bandits in that area wear, but they were set apart in other ways. Their weaponry was a shiny silver and radiated a heat that I could feel even from the opposite end of the wagon. Their helms were made of tough fur, bone, and an elongated wolf snout. The way they looked over the woman in the cage in front of me was sickening. They were the Silver-Hands our captor wouldn't shut up about.
The bandit that escorted the wagon spoke up, his drunken voice like a shout across the silent snow-covered hills, “Got that one outside Whiterun. Thinkin' she's one of 'em Companions. My boss said he's seen her with 'em a couple times.”
“Is that so?” The Silver-Hand woman slipped her arm through the bars to cast the torch inside. As she did so, I watched the captive woman slide as far back into the cage as her restraints would let her. Her breathing quickened and I was sure I heard a cry leave her lips as she stared back at them. She was scared, and rightfully so, but her terror seemed to do nothing but excite the barbarians more. “She's going to cry! Some Companion, eh? It won't take much to break this one.”
Her name was Dahlia. I didn't know her before we found ourselves within adjacent cages, but ceaseless traveling and mutual fear gave us reason to talk. Well, she did most of the talking, but I didn't mind it. She was a warrior and knew how to kill with bow and sword, but her passions lied in art, music, and life. She was a bard initially, but joined the Companions when she realized she wanted to protect people rather than entertain them. She guarded life viciously, from the highest of Jarls to the sickest of lowlifes. The Companion was probably the gentlest soul I had ever come into contact with.
I think that was why I couldn't stop myself from snarling at her aggressors. I was always one to sulk in the shadows and wait. I tried to avoid trouble; I never went out of my way for anyone. Yet there was something about that woman that I wanted to protect. Dahlia was young, naive, and by-the-Eight far too blameless for anything those Silver-Hands had in store for her. “Daedra-hunters” they called themselves, but they were no mightier than the bandits in the bowels of Swindler's Den! Even the Vigilants killed quickly, but these monsters had no such honor. Their eyes betrayed the sick machinations of their thoughts. I couldn't contain myself from shouting at them when they reached into her cell, “Don't touch her!”
The Silver-Hands pulled back from the bars at my sudden outbreak, the sounds of my chain restraints going taunt likely scaring them just as much as my demand. If I had been any stronger, I would have broken the chains that wrapped around my wrists and secured me to the floor. I had just enough slack to stand, but I was fighting for inches. “What in Oblivion-!” The male had moved several feet away from the wagon, but returned when he realized I was just as secured as Dahlia. He scoffed as he leaned against the bars again, staring at me as I tried my hardest to get closer to the terrified woman in front of me. “You didn't say you had two of them.”
The drunk bandit shook his head. “Nah, she ain't for you. That one's the only werewolf. The one in the back I'm gonna' take to the Dawnguard.” My eyes narrowed as the man as he continued, “You don't gotta worry about neither of 'em. The vampire's blood-starved and sun-burned and the werewolf's too scared to fight back.”
“That so?” The Silver-Hands looked at one another, exchanging knowing glances. The woman asked, “Why don't we take the vampire?” I couldn't help the growl that bubbled from my throat. Those vampire hunters and their traitorous harlot scout were always a pain in my side, but I didn't think they would stoop so low to barter with thieves and murderers. Still, they were the lesser of two evils. At least with them, I had a chance to bargain my freedom.
The bandit scratched his beard. “Thought you lot only did the wolves? Eh, well, The Dawnguard is willing to pay me twice as much for her than for your werewolf...” He smirked slightly, the only thought on his mind money and mead. He didn't care about what the Silver-Hands would do to us, just like the Silver-Hands didn't care how he obtained us. They were a disgusting trio and I could think of nothing that would please me more than tearing into their throats.
The Silver-Hand woman stared at me for a long while as her partner whispered something to her. She nodded slowly, a look of devilry replacing her blank expression. “We might be able to get you a couple extra coins. It'll save you a trip to Riften too,” she purred to the slaver. His liquor caused him to fall blind to her forced charm and he took little time in considering the offer. With his nod the woman exclaimed, “Good! Let's head inside, out of this cold, and I'll get your payment. We might have some more ale lying around too.”
My eyes tracked the trio as they made their way back into the fort. Left in peace for a few moments, I felt whatever adrenaline fueled strength I had leave my limbs just as quickly as it filled them. I winced when my knees gave out under the weight of the chains and I hit the floorboards of the wagon. “Enoril?” Dahlia whispered as she heard me fall. I heard her chains rustle as she turned towards me, her face slightly obscured by the bars separating us. “Are you... Are you going to be okay?”
I frowned. Despite the situation she found herself in, she had the audacity to ask that. What gave her the right to concern herself with me when the people outside our cages looked at her as a starved wolf looks at a lamb? She was annoyingly selfless.“Worry about yourself,” I snarled in a tone much harsher than I intended. My eyes couldn't meet hers for several seconds as I immediately regretting snapping at her. When I did look at her, I saw her teary eyes looking back at me, completely unmoved by my irritability. I sighed heavily as I told her, “They're going to kill us in there.”
Dahlia kept her tone soft. “I know.”
Her response didn't satisfy me. I was afraid she didn't understand the gravity of the situation. “They're going to torture us and force us to tell them whatever they want to hear and then they'll kill us.”
“I know.” She repeated, just as softly. As I stared at her in disbelief, she simply sighed, sliding herself over to the corner of the cell and motioning me to do the same.
I abandoned my stubborn reluctance as I saw her callused, bruised, shaking hand slide through the bars. I moved over to her, giving her my own to try and calm her nerves. She was trying to appear composed for me,but I could sense her salty tears and silent sniffling. She looked over her shoulder towards the fort as I whispered, “You're going to have to do it. If you want to get out of here, you're going to have to transform and kill them.”
“I can't,” she responded in a near silent whisper. “I can't control myself. I could kill anyone. I can't risk it again. Not... Not after what happened in Whiterun.”
She never outright told me what happened; her guilt forced her to quiet every time she tried. I gathered that whatever ritual those Companions put her through hadn't gone well. She said they told her she hadn't done anything wrong, but she was terrified of shifting into a werewolf again. She told me it was like being locked away, able to hear and see and taste the world around you but unable to stop yourself from any lust of your heart. It didn't sound terrible to me, filled with the power to do what I pleased, but seeing as she was a much gentler soul, I understood why she wouldn't want so much blood on her hands.
There wasn't much I could think to say to her. I wanted to tell her how idiotic her mindset was and remind her that her life couldn't not be traded- not even compared to- the combined worth of those lowlifes in the fort. As I looked over at her, however, I was unable to deliver my harsh truth. Her chin rested on her knees that she had pulled to her chest. Her curly auburn hair hid her face from view, but I didn't need to see her expression to know she was considering her options. I squeezed her hand to get her attention before asking, “What's holding you back? There's no one here who deserves your mercy.”
“What about you?” She asked in a whimper. “You're here. I could hurt you.”
I frowned. “You're holding back because you don't want to hurt me?” Her eyes shifted away from me as she refused to respond. I drew a deep breath as I looked back towards the snowy hills that surrounded us. The half-moons peeked through the clouds above us, giving just enough light to see far into the tundra. We were nowhere near civilization. Besides her irrational fear of herself, I was truly the only thing stopping her from becoming the beast. That didn't sit right in my consciousness. “Dahlia...” I started, turning to look back at her. “Dahlia, look at me.”
“I can't do it... I can't kill you,” She responded, keeping her gaze away.
“Please,” I begged her. My tone must have caught her off guard. The woman slowly faced me, her hand squeezing mine for a moment. Under her warm, hazel gaze I allowed myself to smile confidently. “I can take care of myself, but you need to take care of yourself. Stop worrying and just do what you have to do, alright?”
The Nord sighed heavily, leaning her head against the bars. “I don't know what I could do. I'm not myself. I can't...” Her voice trailed off as we heard the door to the fort open again. She quickly looked over her shoulder as the trio of jolly bandits made their way out the door. Her breathing quickened as soon as they began their approach, the two Silver-Hands dragging a set of chains behind them. “Enoril?!” Dahlia cried out my name in a tone that begged for guidance and protection.
At the sound, my body jolted. My hand slipped from hers as I forced myself to my feet. The chains around my wrists jingled at the movement but showed no signs of loosening. The sudden motion made me dizzier than I anticipated, but I managed to stay upright. My eyes tracked the bandits as they approached, but I spoke directly to the woman in front of me. “I'm serious. Do what you have to do. Don't worry about me or them or anyone else. This is your last chance at freedom.”
She stared up at me from the corner, her eyes threatening to overflow with tears again. “I-...” She stopped herself from responding when they reached her cell.
The bandit gave her a drunken grin. I could smell the fresh alcohol in his breath. His pouch of coins was nearly overflowing on his hip- the exchange for our freedom in a tiny little bag. As he took the keys from his other pocket and unlocked the door, he called out, “Last stop, lass!” Her bound hands gripped the bar behind her in vain as the male took hold of her ankle and pulled her towards him.
The shriek of fear from her chapped and bloody lips shot a sharp pain through my chest. I snarled and shouted, “Leave her alone!” I tried to step towards them, but once again, my body was too weak to hold myself up longer than a few seconds. I heard the Silver-Hands taunt me as my knees hit the floor, but I paid them no mind as stared at Dahlia. Through fatigued, panting breaths I mouthed to her, “Do it. Kill them.”
The woman's lip trembled as she watched me. She spoke no words, letting the shaking of her head speak volumes. She slid off the wagon, and the Silver-Hand woman grabbed her arm. There was a sizzling noise as the silver laced glove made contact with the lycan's skin. Dahlia winced, struggling to get out of the grasp as she was bound with the woman's solid, silver chains and drug away from the wagon. I trembled with anger and fear as she was taken against her will towards our eternal prison. My attention was drawn away as the man who enslaved us climbed back inside the wagon. He sauntered to the door that separated my cage from Dahlia's and fiddled with his keys a few moments.“Not that it's none of my business,” he slurred, “but whatcha gonna do with the Companion?”
“We'll get her to tell us about her friends in Whiterun first. It's been awhile since we've gotten our hands on one of them,” he chuckled darkly at the statement before continuing. “Then we'll see how long it takes for the beast blood to consume her.”
“Aye? Can ya do that?” The slaver lost count on his keys and started over again.
“Of course we can. Don't matter how tough they think they are, we've found ways to break them all.” He took such pride in that statement it made my stomach turn. I could imagine each treatment as he continued, “Burn 'em enough, break their bones, starve 'em, kill some of 'em... eventually they go insane and let their true selves show. They're just animals wearing human faces.”
“Liar,” I snarled at him, trying to force myself to my feet again. Unable, I resorted to spitting venom from afar. “You're the animals. She's never hurt anyone! She doesn't want to hurt anyone!”
The Silver-Hand looked past the male to stare at me. His smile remained just as sinister. “What about you? Have you ever killed anyone?” I felt my eyes narrow as he continued, “I see it in you. You would kill everyone here without a second thought. You're weak though, and that's fine by me. I'm just interested to see how long you last.”
“You have no idea what you're dealing with,” I hissed in response, feeling my lips tug into a grin. “I'm not weak. I'm biding my time. The moment you let your guard down, the moment you close your eyes, I'll enjoy ripping into your throat.”
He scoffed slightly, my bluff and attempt at intimidation having no effect on him. “I don't have experience with vampires, but I'm going to enjoy experimenting on you. Might just join the Dawnguard if I have enough fun.” I snarled at him as he gestured to Dahlia. “I know I can't get anything from you. You're a different breed of filth than the dog, but you're friends, right? As long as you're alive, I have something on the 'noble, loyal Companion'. I'm not going to kill you, because breaking you will break her.” With my faltering smile, he chuckled softly. “I'll let her be the one to finally put you down.”
The bandit shook his head as he muttered something about irony, but I didn't even hear him over the sound of my own heartbeat. Dahlia was nearly to the fort door, still struggling to free herself from her captor but refusing to use her whole strength. I was angry. At her, at them, at myself. They would beat and torture her as much as they wanted, but in the end I knew she would break because of me. I believed she could endure any pain they could give, but if anyone else was in danger she was weak. She couldn't be selfish for even a moment. She would become the thing she feared, and I couldn't do a thing to stop it.
The bandit finally opened the door and stepped inside. A swift kick knocked me face-first onto the floor. “Biding your time, huh?” The Silver-Hand taunted me from outside the wagon as the slaver pressed his knee into my back to hold me in place. I heard him chuckle at his client's joke as he unlocked my metal restraints, leaving me in just leather bindings. Whether he was truly an idiot or the drunkenness made him unaware was beyond me, but the leather straps, worn since the day he stole me, had become stretched and loosened.
He pulled me to my feet once more, slurring in my ear, “Let's getcha to your new home.” I saw Dahlia look back at me thought the bars of the wagon. There was a chance she could get free, so I had to take it. In response to her terrified expression, I simply gave her a smile and tugged at my binds. I felt a final surge of energy, as if the winds of Coldharbour themselves had entered my veins. I gathered enough strength to rip through the worn leather and didn't hesitate to attack the man responsible for our suffering.
The bandit was slow to react, more surprised than afraid, so I made his fault worthwhile. I launched myself at him, my hands finding his sword-arm and neck respectively. He shrieked in fear as we fell against the bars of the cage. With years of expert precision, my teeth sank deep into his neck, latching onto the large vessel of blood on his left side. The warm blood was a sharp contrast to the cold night air. Starving from days of travel, his alcohol filled blood was a sweet taste on my lips. I wanted nothing more than to drink him dry, but I was spurred to move on by the lingering Silver-Hand. The dying slaver was still shaking when I rose but a quick jerk of my hand produced a satisfying snap to end his suffering.
The Silver-Hand was caught by surprise as well, but he had more time to prepare himself. As I jumped off the wagon, I saw him drop the chain and reach for his silver dagger. He was too slow on the draw to land a fatal slash as I tackled him to the ground. The burning blade tore across my shoulder, barely slitting the skin. He shouted and screamed as I, a woman half his size, pinned him to the snow-ridden ground with strength he could never dream of possessing. I was my turn to smile, blood still dripping off my lips as I watched this monster squirm beneath me and beg for his life. My nails dug into his wrists and my palms felt every pulse of blood in the veins. It was satisfying to hold him there, soaking in his terror as he realized they were the last moments of his miserable life. I should have ended him there in that moment, but I hesitated when I heard Dahlia cry.
I turned to look towards the fort entrance. Across the snow, Dahlia was being choked in the left arm of the Silver-Hand. Despite holding her, the woman stared at me. It was only a moment later that I realized what she held in her right hand. Dahlia screamed for me to run right before I heard the sound of a bow string release. The thud of the crossbow string accompanied the sound of my ripping flesh. The bolt traveled clean through my abdomen. I couldn't breath for several seconds as I tried to process what had happened, but the Silver-Hands wouldn't allow me much time after that.
I felt the man beneath me shift enough to free his leg and drive his knee into my gut. Blood from the bolt wound splattered onto the snow as he did so, causing my breath to hitch again as I fell backwards. He wiped the blood that had dripped from my lips off his face before wadding up a fist. My hand raised in defense, but I wasn't able to stop the anger fueled assault. I scarcely remember the punches and kicks between my ebbing consciousness. Dahlia screamed at him and the other Silver-Hand taunted me, but the world was a blur. The pain was caused my vision to come and go and I couldn't breathe. I gave up trying to defend myself after bruised eyes, broken ribs, and what felt like an hour of relentless beating.
When the man stopped, I couldn't even move. I heard Dahlia sobbing, but couldn't even force myself to look her way. The Silver-Hand grabbed my throat, growling in frustration as the noise of my gurgled breathing met his ears. He drug me several feet, stopping when he grew close to his partner again. He was out of breath but anger clearly saturated his tone. “What do you want to do with her?”
The woman scoffed, “I don't know. You nearly beat her to death now. You should have just finished it.” She dropped her crossbow and looked down at me. Through my swollen eyes I saw her scowl in disgust. “Just kill her and leave her to the wolves. It's not like we lost any money. Ranvar is right there.” She gestured to the wagon.
“No!” I heard Dahlia cry out. “Please don't kill her! Please!” Her childish pleas fell on deaf ears. Her chains rattled as she tried desperately to get to me, but her human body was just too weak. The male pulled me to my knees, one hand lifting my chin to expose the soft, sun-burned skin of my throat while the other readied the knife. I wasn't even scared anymore. Even if I had failed, at least I couldn't be used to hurt Dahlia. I shut my eyes and simply gave up. The lycan however, was not content with my death. Dahlia gave a final demand, roaring into the night, "Stop!"
There was a shriek from the female Silver-Hand but I didn't have time to see what had happened before I was knocked backwards into the snow. I still struggled to breath, but the muffled and gurgling screams of the Silver-Hand duo drew a smile to my face. I heard the door open and someone screamed, “Werewolf!” but the following sounds of death that accompanied it were reassuring. Dahlia was safe. She could take care of herself and in a few hours go home. That eased my mind greatly.
My eyes tried to focus on the cloudy sky above me. While snow fell lightly, I could see parts in the clouds where Secunda and Masser were looking down at me. My pain began to tug on my consciousness as the moons called me to sleep, but I didn't see any reason to. If I were going to die, I wanted to at least enjoy the sights and sounds. Screams of agony accompanied the cries of foxes in the night. The blood staining the snow looked almost beautiful in the soft light of the moons. It was a lot to take in, but it was a good place for a final rest.
After moments of silence following the last death wail of a Silver-Hand, I heard the sounds of approaching footsteps and heavy panting. The sole survivor crossed the snow towards me, drawn to my labored breathing. The werewolf stood beside me, staring me down with hazel eyes. Her fur was the same color as her auburn hair, so there was no mistaking the lycan. “I knew you could...,” I managed to say between breaths. I didn't know if Dahlia was there or the beast had taken hold, but I turned my hand over in the snow. The lycan looked at it before placing her massive paw over my palm.
Relieved, I shut my eyes and told her, “There's a road… east… get home…" Try as I might, I couldn't say more than a few words at a time. The message seemed to be conveyed however, as Dahlia tried to get me to stand. When I shook my head in response, she growled softly, glaring at me for explanation. “I... I'm going to die… before we… get there….” She snarled, making me peek open my swollen eyes. It was hard to tell how she was feeling with her inhuman features. "Go…" The snarl she released caught me off guard, but the message was clear. She was determined to get me home, or at least to safety. Without any other warning, her claws wrapped around me. I didn't argue or move as she held me tightly in her arms; I didn't have the strength. She made sure I was secure in her grasp as she sniffed the air to get her bearings. She then turned west of the fort and darted down the hill.
I wasn't able to keep my eyes open for much longer as all of my senses began to dull. I grew numb to the pain and the cold, then the smell and taste of blood in my mouth faded as well. My vision was nothing more than blurred colors when I tried to open my eyes. Finally, I could hear the soft crunching of her footsteps fading. Her sad, lonely howl was the last noise to fill my ears.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I awoke to the sound of distant chattering. Fresh linens and heavy furs blanketed me as I laid in an equally comfortable bed. I enjoyed myself the luxury a few moments before realizing how out of place it was. The comfort of man-made necessities was something I hadn't had the pleasure to indulge in for years. My body tensed and I sat up in bed, finding myself face to face with three equally intimidating Nords. My breathing hitched as one of the men reached out towards me, but I found his touch soft. “Hey! You're okay! We're the good guys!”
I blinked in surprise at his friendly tone, but still found myself shying away. “Where am I?” I asked, sliding to the corner of the bed farthest from them. I adjusted the blankets as I realized I was wearing the bare minimum clothing. My body was clean of dirt and blood, and my burns were being treated with a salve of some kind. They had wrapped the worst of my wounds in clean linens as well.
“Jorvaskr,” the other male responded, his tone less inviting than his counterpart. “No sudden moves, alright vampire?”
“Hush Vilkas,” the third Nord spoke up. Her piercing eyes silenced her companion before she looked at me with a much kinder gaze. “Dahlia says we can trust her.”
At the name my chest tightened. “Dahlia? Is she here? Is she okay?”
“Aye,” Vilkas grumbled, “she's getting a well deserved rest. Aela and Farkas said they found her near a farm in The Pale. She's a little frost-bitten and shaken up, but it's nothing that won't heal.” He leaned back against the closed door, crossing his arms over his chest as he stared at me. “She's the only reason you're here, got that? If I had gotten to Dahlia first, I'd have left you in the snow.”
My eyes narrowed and I started to speak, but the woman, Aela, came to my defense. “Then it's a good thing it wasn't up to you. If you're scared of a single vampire in a mead hall full of warriors, you must not have any faith in our abilities.” The man huffed and she addressed me again, “You're safe here until you're well enough to leave. Dahlia says you saved her life, and for that we owe you.”
“She saved mine it seems,” I responded, wincing as I moved too quickly. The pain in my body had numbed, but it was still a reminder of what had happened. I was going to be in rough shape for awhile, but I had dealt with worse. I carefully moved to the edge of the bed, taking a deep breath as I asked, “Could I see Dahlia?”
“Did you not hear me? I said she was getting some rest.” Vilkas grumbled at me, but Farkas started to get to his feet.
“I'll see if she feels like getting up,” he told me, walking to his twin. With silent glances, the two communicated in a language I didn't understand. After a moment, Vilkas gave in with a sigh. Farkas chuckled and headed out the door. “It'll be just a minute.”
As the door shut, I looked down at my hands. They were still tinted red- a reminder of all the blood I spilled. The Companions seemed to notice it too. Aela spoke before her friend could. “Is it hard dealing with being, well, you?”
I looked up at her, not even trying to hide my annoyance. “I suppose as hard as it is being you.” She smirked at my remark but Vilkas didn't seem as amused. I continued, “I can control myself to a degree. I get hungry often, but I've gone weeks without eating before I couldn't take it anymore. When I get starved, I don't have a preference how I feed.”
“So you're dangerous?” Vilkas scoffed, glaring at Aela. “You heard it straight from that thing's mouth.”
“'That thing' has a name,” I snarled at him. “I'm just as dangerous as you. A curse from a Daedric Prince. You just have the luxury of hiding in plain sight."
"Speaking of," Alea cut in before the conversation could become more heated, "we never caught your name. I take it you've gathered I'm Aela, the watchdog over there is Vilkas, and his ice-brain brother is Farkas."
I nodded, starting to respond before I heard the door open. Vilkas reluctantly stepped aside to let his brother and the familiar red-head into the quickly crowding room. "Enoril!" Dahlia cried hurrying to the bed and tackling me in a hug. I winced but rather than swat her away like I instinctively wanted to do, I found myself wanting to hug her back. "Are you okay? I was so worried!"
"I'll be fine in a few days," I told her withdrawing slightly to look her over. She was burned and bruised from the Silver-Hands rough treatment, and significantly thinner than the Nords behind her, but I knew she would make a full recovery as well. I couldn't help but smile a moment. "We're safe now, right?"
Dahlia nodded in reassurance. "We're safe. I'm sorry we couldn't be sooner." She sighed heavily, almost looking embarrassed. I realized she was referring to not shifting sooner.
While it was true we could have saved ourselves a few days, and the pain of the Silver-Hands harassment, I wasn't angry at her. She was right to fear the beast inside her. After witnessing it in its purest form, I knew why she was hesitant. Had she not been in control of herself, I wouldn't have been around to testify to its power. "You did it eventually. That's all that matters." I responded simply, shifting my gaze away. "Now you know you can control it."
"We knew from the beginning," Aela cut in. "We all lost ourselves our first transformation, Dahlia. It gets easier the more you do it."
Farkas chuckled, "I took out half the city guard." He grinned has he crossed his massive arms, the grinding of metal on metal making me cringe. "It took Aela and Skjor a whole night to track me down, and the whole next day to clean up the mess I made."
"That's not something to brag about," Vilkas grumbled. His eyes shifted to me. "We might give the vampire some ideas."
Dahlia frowned in response as I scoffed. "Trust me, if I wanted to take out the guard, it would have already been done." The Companion was pushing the limits how far my patience could stretch. My skin crawled when I looked at him and I began thinking about how much his blood must have tasted like venison. I knew I would need to leave soon.
As I rose from the bed, the air grew tense around us. Despite their best front, the wolves, save for Dahlia, really did have a certain fear for me. I was unpredictable. I was not merely some prey they watched, like those people on the streets below their mead hall. I was a hunter in my own right- one they didn't know well enough to leave alone. That was something I reveled in. Regardless, I ignored the leery glances from them as I grabbed what was left of my tattered, dirty robe and put it on over my bandages and burns.
Dahlia furrowed her brow as she watched me. "Where are you going?"
"To Riften, if I can make it there." My short response was unsatisfying to her, but I ignored her second question as I addressed the three other Nords. "While I appreciate what you've done, I think it's in everyone's best interest if I left sooner rather than later." I then turned back to the door to see Vilkas had refused to move. My fangs bared themselves as I snarled, "Move."
The Companion matched my glare, his hand reaching for his broadsword before we heard Aela growl, "Vilkas!" The male grumbled as he moved aside, his hand not letting go of the sword.
I quickly stepped outside the door, pausing a moment to find a way out. "Wait!" I heard Dahlia call, rushing through the door after me. I huffed, but waited for her to catch up to me before walking again. "You're going to leave? Just like that?"
"I don't get along with most people," I told her, "especially 'righteous' mercenary meatheads."
Dahlia frowned, pointing me towards the door to the upstairs. "You and I are alright though, right? We don't have any problems."
"You're different," I told her, sighing heavily. "We wouldn't have met if it weren't for those Silver-Hand. There's no reason we need to find ways to put up with each other anymore."
When I made it to the entrance, I opened it to see the fabled Gildergreen blooming in the midday sun. Just the thought of walking in the light made my already burnt skin crawl. I felt Dahlia's hand grab my shoulder before I could even step out, however. "What if they find you again?"
I started to dismiss the question as just a way for her to keep me there, but the look in her eyes told me differently. She was genuinely scared. Her green eyes were glossy as she held back tears. She didn't want me to go, but not because I was unpredictable but because the world was. "I've been doing this a long time." There was a solemnity in my voice that I hadn't expected. "If they find me again, I'll deal with them. If they don't find me, I'll find them. I'm not letting any of those monsters roam free any longer. I'll kill every last one."
"Alone?" I felt her gaze rest on me, but I couldn't meet it. I couldn't even answer. If I were to meet them again, alone, I stood no chance. I only made it away from them alive because of her. She hesitantly told me, "You don't have to be alone anymore. You can stay here."
I scoffed softly. "With the dogs downstairs?"
"With me," she responded, smiling softly. Her hand slowly released my shoulder. "You're the reason I'm alive just as much as I'm the reason you're alive. We helped each other, Enoril. We're together now whether you like it or not."
"You don't owe m-..."
"It's not about debt," she cut me off. "Would you want me to go back to them?" When I didn't answer, she continued, "You're strong and so am I, but we can do so much more if we work together. Just… stay here, please." After a moment of my consideration, she added, as if I needed more reason to stay, "... And Aela might know where some Silver-Hands are holed up. We might even get some gold for taking them out."
I finally looked over at her, unable to hide the smile tugging at my lips. She smiled back at me, just as sweetly. I sighed as I shook my head. "Fine, Dahlia. I'll stay." She squeaked in delight, but I quickly silenced her with my next statement. "On one condition…"
The Nord raised a brow, giving me a curious grin. "I should have known there'd be a catch. What is it?"
I shut the door, my eyes aglow as I purred, "We go after some Silver-Hands tonight."
Very cool Kendrix, I really enjoyed it. You have a very descriptive way of writing, felt like I was right there watching some of scenes play out. Visceral and gritty. But the interactions between the two mains have an almost light heartedness at times that provides a nice break from the severe situation they initially find themselves in. Dahlia has a innocence about her and Enoril seems to be far more calculated and icy. Their personalities bounce off each other quite well.
Also the Silver Hand wearing a Silver glove was a nice little nod to their namesake.
Great job can't wait to see what comes next :)
You caught that little bit about the Silver-Hand! I like to hide little bits of irony like that in my work. Also, I'm super glad you liked it Furrion. It was a bit of a read but I tried to keep it entertaining.
A long read just means more of your supurb writing to read.
It's a bit of a turn-off to some, I'm aware, but I feel like those that actually enjoy a longer read will appreciate it. I'll try to make some shorter pieces eventually. Haha.