I stood before the crude marking of the grave, eyes to the ground and narrowed in sorrow and grief. I still couldn’t believe he was gone; he, mom, and my brother.
What I hated most about it was me.
I put them there for what other way was there?
Why would you allow such a thing to happen Akatosh? I asked myself. Why didn’t you put a stop to it?! Tears began to flow down my cheeks unable to hold back anymore. “I’m so sorry mom, dad, little brother… I’m so sorry I…” A tender hand brushed against my scales lovingly caressing my anguish away and wiping the tear from existence. “I’m so sorry I killed you all…”
I would never get over that haunting, damning reality.
“Xian,” Serana said turning my head towards her, “I hate admitting it too, but there was no other choice.” She looked like she was about to cry after that statement.
“I know,” I answered after a long pause. The waterfall, though normally loud, appeared to be silent today of all days. Dayspring Canyon, the place where the Dawnguard make their headquarters, was a good place, a lovely place. “They would have loved this place.”
“They would have loved the man you matured into. He would be proud of his son.” Serana knelt before the center stone marking. “Talz-Ei would love the man you’ve become.”
“Thank you,” I said before wrapping her into an embrace. My body was still recovering from the intense battle with Harkon several months ago, just before the turning of the new year. So many injuries, so much blood lose, dying. “He’d love you, too, you know. The woman who is my everything, who makes me happy, feel loved.”
She was the one to break the hug.
“Go on then Silver. You need to, you told me.”
Serana helped me down into a sitting position before giving me some privacy. That woman did so much for me in the past and she continued to. I don’t deserve you, my vampire. Reaching behind me I took the bundles of flowers and place them mom’s grave, then Xai’s, and finally dad’s.
This was the first time really speaking with him since running away from home. The last conversation we had was our talking about me leaving home to ply my hunting skills for trade in Cyrodill.
“Hey dad,” I spoke softly feeling strange talking to a headstone. “It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it? I uh… I suppose first things first.” I took a deep breath holding back more tears. “I’m sorry for running away like a bad son.” What else should I say? It normal to feel awkward and stupid for talking to an inanimate object? To a cor-
Stop it Xian. He is still your father. “I… I put all that archery training you gave me to good use. Made a name for myself. In Cyrodill and Skyrim. Though a bit more infamous than you’d have liked,” I chuckled a bit. “But I won’t give you the dirty details.”
I told him some things that happened after leaving. How I became a bounty hunter, came to be in Skyrim, my rise to power as the Dragonborn and how I met Serana.
“Dragonborn… The magnitude of that title, I don’t have any idea how you’d react that the man you sired have dragon blood in his veins. Maybe you’d poke fun at yourself saying you’re too virile.” I laughed again. “And mom slapping you for saying such a vulgar thing.”
“I have a godson, did you know that? Tol-Ki, his name is. Green with brown scales, the perfect camouflage. Tol would remind you of me and Xai.” I smiled weakly and closed my eyes. “Two little shits in one boy. Your feathers would be gone dad, but I know you. You’d say it was time for them to anyhow.”
Silence festered between us like an unwanted house guest. The only problem was that I wanted to keep talking and not leave them. I wasn’t ready to head out for more healing treatments.
“Silver?” came the concerned voice of my vampire as she walked towards us. “You alright? It got quiet and I was worried.”
“Uhh no, nono. Everything’s fine.” I smiled to her, offering my hand. “Would you like to say hello?”
That grin of hers, always warm and full of life. “Of course I would like to,” she replied taking my hand and sitting beside me. “Hello Talz-Ei, I’m Serana Volkihar. It’s… good to meet you. And your wife and son.”
“The woman I was telling you about. She may be a vampire but we both know that doesn’t define anyone. If she should be defined by anything it should be her making not such a hardass, taking everything either too seriously or too jokingly.” My fingers wriggled their way into the dirt. “She kept me from making such a stupid, stupid mistake in Whiterun. From taking my own life.”
Her arms wrapped around my neck like a blanket and pulled me towards her. “That was a dark time Xi. Very dark. I want to say anyone else would have tried the same…”
“But would they have gone through with it like I almost did? What if you, Sotek and Aela didn’t-”
“Shh, you know thinking on that will only make you feel sorry and fill you with regret.” Serana’s lips graced my head making me feel warm.
“As you see, dad,” I resumed after a pause, “she keeps me sane.”
“I try,” she jested. “He’s a lot of work but I don’t mind it.”
We shared a brief kiss, savoring the quiet for a moment before bringing out foreheads together. “I love this woman as much as you loved mom. You raised me right in that regard.”
“Thank you for that, Talz-Ei. Nothing short of gentlemanly behavior from Silver.” She smiled softly at the stone and placed a hand on the mound of dirt that was a bit more elevated than the rest. “I wish you could see him now.”
And so we stayed there, unable to think of what to say to him, or mom and Xai, and held each other with the sun at our backs. It felt good to know that it was still there in the sky, that Harkon ultimately failed to bring forth Vyrthur’s Tyranny of the Sun prophecy. Serana made sure of that.
The world went dark as I fell asleep and did not even realize it. Formless, weightless and free I drifted deeper and deeper into the rest I seemingly so desperately required. By the time I woke up hours had passed by when it only felt a few minutes went by.
“What…?” My eyes slowly worked their magic to regain their focus eventually showing me laying on top of Serana, using her as a make-shift pillow. “Sorry,” I apologized.
“Don’t be,” she answered as her fingers toyed with the white feathers on my head. “You needed that too, it seems.”
“Maybe the treatments take more out of me than anticipated.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time you said that.”
I chortled at her remark. “You are not wrong Serana.”
She looked up to the sky gazing at the moon that was Secunda, its beautiful white light bathing the world below. “I regret to inform you that it’s time to head back. You’re late for more healing as it is.”
“I know,” came my response. She helped me to my feet still a touch wobbly even months after so much pain. “The limp will stick for a while unfortunately but at least I’m breathing again.”
“Don’t you ever go and die on me again, understand?” she said with mock anger. That twinkle in her eye, always mischievous with a backup plan. Letting me know she was kidding.
“Your wish is mine to grant, my lady,” I smiled knowingly.
“Then shall we?” She gestured towards Fort Dawnguard, its marble shining in the moonlight like a beacon.
“Yeah, we shall.” Hand in hand we headed for the possibly fuming Imperial that was Florentius as his healing magics exceeded Serana’s own by a shit ton. Arkay had given him much knowledge over the years in Restoration and it showed. Man could heal nearly anything.
Before departing for the night, however, Serana allowed me one final thing to say. Claws gently touched the engraved stone of my father, following the etching of his name.
“I miss you dad. Miss and love you. Rest in peace.”