A/N: So i originally shared this in the server for teldryn Tuesday, then half seriously brought up posting it here to finally contribute to the forge, and the others bullied encouraged me to do just that, this story was started on a whim, has no name, and is based purely on my playthrough (with some rp artistic license obviously) so it probably sucks but....can't back out now!
Once upon a time my family and I had everything, or, at least, everything a young dunmer child could think of. Wealth, prestige, a house bigger than my little legs could ever hope to explore, to my little mind we had everything back then and there was nothing more to life than working hard to ensure I made my family proud.
But that life is gone now, swallowed by the flames of the mountain, I tried to make a life in windhelm but that….didn’t work out. So I said to the soul cairn with Skyrim and the ‘gray quarter’ (as if that place was ever more than a glorified slum) and hopped on the first boat to Solstheim that I could, hoping the absence of a nord overlord might lead to a better life.
Boy was that idiotic
No matter how often I slept here I never felt rested, as if even in my sleep I was being worked to the bone, that was the downside to being a homeless noble all those fancy skills weren’t really worth much other than awe and fear. I mostly ran errands for the locals which made me enough for a few pints and a meal that was just shy of lukewarm before passing out in a cot upstairs….which i’m fairly sure the innkeeper gave me out of pity more than anything.
So yeah, Windhelm sucked and so did sucked and so did Solstheim, and lately a dangerous niggling thought and burrowed its way into my mind that I should take the coins that were mine and simply start walking east and make an attempt on one of those abandoned ancient nordic tombs, if i succeeded the money would enable me to have a future again….and if I failed then it wasn’t really my problem now was it?
Sure I was the sole survivor and heir to a noble house, but like, did anyone really give a shit about us anymore?
Before I could get too absorbed into this dangerously elegant solution I had come up with for my problems the door tinkled announcing the arrival of someone else. I didn’t even have to look up from my drink to guess who and almost instinctively I hid my smile into my mug.
“You have a dangerous look on your face,” I bit my lip to fight the surge of hormones that came everytime this dunmer opened his mouth, seriously, what the hell?
“What, my smile?” Snark. My one defense against any and all attempts to get close to me by nosy dunmer….unfortunately.
“No, not your lips but your eyes, did I ever tell you about this nord I once worked for….” I groaned before I could stop myself and set my mug down with a sigh.
“Yes Teldryn, I daresay i’ve heard about that Nord of yours a thousand times,” I replied flatly before turning in my seat to look him up and down.
Teldryn Sero, the closest thing I had to a friend in these wastelands, not that I really did the whole friend thing, but our lives had a strange way of….orbiting around each other and then making contact at the strangest moments.
How different, I wonder, did I look from the child covered in ash and blood that he picked up and carried without a word?
Was he happier now that he no longer had to bail me out of jail for getting caught picking pockets?
I always wondered these questions over the years I had known the mer but damn if I actually sucked it up and asked him. That would be an avenue to letting him in and I hadn’t survived this long on my own to make that mistake again, to open an avenue to let him get close. It only took once for him to finish the job he interrupted all those years ago.
His eyes met mine and for a moment I swear the dunmer could read me like a book, all my questions, my thoughts and fears, every secret I ever kept or lie I ever told in that moment he seemed to know it all somehow.
“I was thinking of going dungeon diving,” I had intended to keep my thoughts private lest someone else hear and try to steal my quarry but I had to distract him from that weird moment that passed between us.Make him forget every vulnerability he might have seen in me, especially my uncertainty when it came to him.
It worked, partially at least, even behind that mask I could see him do a double take.
“You? Dungeon diving?” the incredulity in his voice was insulting. Just because I didn’t work as a sellsword didn’t mean I was incapable of combat. Just that, before now, I was too worried about dying to risk my life like some reckless nord barbarian.
“You think my folks taught me knitting and how to be fashionable?” moment over and back to snark, it’s not that I did it intentionally but it just...sorta happened, like a defensive ward being triggered.
And Azura knows Teldryn had a habit of triggering all sorts of things in me.
“You never speak about your parents, you said they died the night I found you right?” I tried not to run, I really did, but the second he brought up that night I had to get up and gather my things lest the memories itching at the corners of my mind overwhelmed me, all those screams and roars and the scent of soot and lava and…
“Yes, and that's why I have to go grave robbing, when I get rich from it i’ll come back and hire you and we can go back to the mainland, kick some nords around or something,” Full damage control mode now as I wrapped my cloak around me and moved towards the door, no plan or direction, just head out there and start looking, Solstheim was full of old nordic tombs it wouldn’t be much trouble to find one.
The issue was fighting off the rieklings and the bandits with magic and no armour.
“What if i go with you now, we split the goods eighty twenty, if I make more than five hundred gold from the run i’m yours,”
You know I always read in stories about ‘words that make the blood run cold’ but I always thought it was an expression. Turns out that, no, that is a very real thing that I am very much in the grips of right now...until I forcefully take control back of my body temperature and spin on my heel with a glare.
“Since when do you risk your life with no coin up front?” I was hardly the first penniless wanderer, lots of Skaals or visitors from the mainland had shown up and tried to recruit the spellsword, he was open to negotiations, but never free or this ‘split the revenue’ schtick he was offering me right now.
“I quite enjoy you being alive, I know i’m well capable of keeping you that way, and if we make enough - which knowing nordic tombs I guarantee we will - this could give us both the excuse and funds necessary to escape this ashen wasteland,” I wasn’t sure where to even begin with this info. That Teldryn gave a shit if i lived, the assumption that he was strong enough to protect me, he was starting a glorified tab for me (which totally didn’t sound suspicious!)
“You don’t even know my gods damned name!” I didn’t have any reasonable justifications, it was a good if sketchy deal, but everything in me was begging me to say no, a companion after all these years would be the absolute end of my loner days….he’d see things, he’d learn things, and it would never be the same…..i’d never be the same.
“What is it?” curious or amused I couldn’t tell, couldn’t see his expression behind the mask, but he was obviously one of the two by his voice…..not annoyed like i’d been going for. Damn.
“Drelasa……” my own name felt foreign on my own tongue, I hadn’t said it in years. Not intentionally, just that, nobody had asked or cared….until now….and this stubborn Dunmer had to be different.
And was going to be the death of me.
“Well, Drelasa, shall we be off? Nordic ruins are hardly going to find and loot themselves,”