It would be unfair for the Cyrodiil mage should Vilkas invited her for 'The Hunt' as it is, for she had no proper knowledge of her own lineage as a result of her city upbringing. The younger girl hailed from Imperial City , which prompted Njada baptizing her 'city-bred' in mockery, who came to Skyrim in order to join the Mages College in Winterhold. Her plan went awry when she crossed the border as she barely escaped from getting a free shave from an Imperial headsman, burnt into charred remains as dreaded black dragon decided to interrupt rebel execution, flattened under rubble when the said dragon smashed every building utilizing arcane fire rain, and shredded into pieces by a cave bear. In the end she ended up joining the Companions which is equal to Fighters Guild in Cyrodiil, only it reveres its tradition and honor more than the Imperial counterpart.
Although hand-joining conducted in temple of Mara was more popular than the traditional Nord custom, the old ways were preserved in the Companions' custom. Often prospecting couples went on a hunt together in a pair, hunting for a great bounty and bringing the remains as proof of their united endeavor. Official joining in Mara's presence usually comes after that. Jorrvaskr main hall housed countless trophies brought after past hunts: troll skeletons, wolf fur, mammoth tusk, giant bone, and some alien disfigured beings called Chaurus. Obviously, these pairs knew of each others' intention when one invited the others.
Vilkas had no difficulty in considering their hunting material, for no other bounty should be appropriate in courting Dovahkiin aside from dragons themselves. Though ever since the dread black dragon of legend had been defeated, flying lizards were less frequently sighted. Despite that, he had heard news of a certain blue scaled dragon flying around Eastmarch, guarding a certain draconian ruins of sort situated amongst hot springs. The trophy was ready for the taking and the elder wolf was confident with his skills although the Cyrodiil mage might do most of the work with her Shouts. Vilkas had to be honest that he fancied watching the girl spitting out fiery breaths. Last time she did that was when the two were fighting a group of necromancers on a marking stone overlooking Whiterun. Poor sods burned to death. Utilizing Shouts left her extremely thirsty, which was why her leather water skin was always filled to the brim and she'd fill it whenever possible.
Strolling around the mead hall restlessly, oblivious to the fact that residents of the hall were watching the elder wolf, Vilkas considered how should he progress with the invitation. He considered waiting and imparting the knowledge little by little, but at a loss as how to do so without giving away his cause. The elder wolf scratched his head roughly, messing his hair in the process. That's when he felt fingertips tapping his shoulder pads. Even without looking at the proprietor he knew by heart who did such from the pattern of the tap and the gentle force applied. It was the dragonborn herself with a concerned look in her face, her wheat blond hair glittered under morning sunlight breaching through windows. Oh how he wanted to just snatch her away and be done with it but he suppressed such desire and forced himself to abide by the protocol.
"Something wrong? You seemed…well, disoriented could not do justice" the girl said in sincere concerned voice. Her hand was still on Vilkas's furred shoulder pads. A golden ring with slight red enchantment glitter circled around her index finger. The girl was wearing her violet mage robe, embroidery on the poncho showed her interest in Restoration school. She had just come home from Mages College in Winterhold. Apparently her research brought her back to Whiterun hold. Despite having defeated Alduin, she continued her research on dragons and related Word of Power. Dragon Tongue. Should she visit Whiterun, that meant Farengar the court wizard had found a promising lead.
Fighting an urge to hold the slender hand, Vilkas turned around facing his chosen one. Trying to keep his composure in check which was a grand feat itself. The elder wolf crossed his arms and observed the girl's shoulder, sincerely praying to the Gods his face did not give away. "Better worry about yourself, girl. You're wounded yourself". He spoke the truth as the girl was attacked by a pack of wolves on her way down to Whiterun. She was focused in gathering herbs that she didn't realize the attack until too late. The canines suffered her fire wall afterwards. She used her remaining magicka to keep her wound closed and strutted to Whiterun where the local guard hurried and helped her reaching Jorrvaskr.
"I'm fine. The wound's closed. Danica cured it well. She' s a better healer than I am, as you can see" the mage turned around on one leg showing her returning vigor. Violet trappings danced around, following the girl's twirl suit. Braided hair swayed about in the gust her own movement created. Testing Vilkas' patience without realizing it. The guard aiding dragonborn when she returned to Whiterun covered in blood was sensible enough to carry her to Kynareth's temple where Danica Pure-spring heal the sick and wounded daily. The Kynareth priestess acting as local healer worked right away at the gushing wound. With her high understanding of Restoration school and restorative herbs, the healer was able to close Dragonborn's wound quickly. Fortunately some of the herbs the Cyrodiil mage gathered was those of restorative property. The guard then rushed to Jorrvaskr and informed the first Companion he met. Suffice to say, Vilkas was the first one rushing to the temple and found the girl feverish.
"You should stop scaring m…us like that, do you always have to come home wounded?" Vilkas voiced his displeasure at Dovahkiin's manner of homecoming. Always with a wound or two to heal or getting chased by wildlife with her running out of magicka or summoning a large dragon into Dragonsreach. He remembered the court wizard was too ecstatic for his own good until the crimson dragon spat fire at him. Somehow it didn't stop him from returning and chatted up the larger creature. Point was, danger followed the dragonborn. Or perhaps latched itself upon her back.
The girl frowned at Vilkas' accusing words. So much for sympathizing with the snob of a senior, she thought. "Can't be helped now if I am so irresistible" Dovahkiin spoke such jest trying to lighten up the mood, oblivious that she had spoken the truth on Vilkas' part. How he wistfully longed to ravish the ivory lips, savoring the fair skin hidden underneath her violet garb, slender fingers and toes, finding her sensitive parts and…. Vilkas waved away such thought and was glad his wolf armor had knee length fur skirt.
Vilkas cleared his throat and decided to bear with it, he asked then "Are you free sometimes tomorrow? Or whenever"
"Nah… I've got tight schedule if you wanted to include me in hunting parties. My apologies, I know this is busy times with frequent vampire attacks and all, but Farengar keeps me busy with dragon related research. Those beings are flying around Tamriel now so we might want to gather as much information as we could. Come to think of it I might have to visit High Hrothgar if our research goes that way. He'd be thrilled meeting Paarthunax, I'm sure" The girl chucked as she imagining Farengar's face upon meeting the leader of Greybeards. Few know his true identity and fewer even had the chance to meeting the dragon. "If he survives the climb though, last time I was there I almost killed by a tr--- never mind" The girl stopped speaking since Vilkas looked at her with a raised eyebrow. He wasn't pleased, again.
"I heard the blades wanted Paarthunax dead, it it true?" Vilkas asked, trying to move the subject to a more pleasant one. He did not know that the leader of Greybeards was a dragon as Dovahkiin neglected from sharing sensitive information. "I'm not sure which is worse, dragons flying about Skyrim or Blades ... stabbing your back"
"Those blistering sods can try if they can. I am not assisting. I respect Paarthunax like a father. " Dovahkiin mused as she playfully twisting braided hair between her fingers, not noticing both Vilkas' pun and his groan for failing. The city-bred mage remembered slapping Delphine's face figuratively using her witty comments and FUSRODAH-ed her out of High Hrothgar. The blond haired girl was not pleased for having to work for her. When the innkeeper in disguise finished her purpose, Dovahkiin finally could bare her heart.
The last straw was Delphine declaring an ultimatum for not aiding Dovahkiin in defeating Alduin should she not kill Parthunaax. The woman was verily foolish through and through for uttering such affront in front of the Greybeards. The four Maester of Voice were displeased, performing their ultimate choir in response. Delphine was thrown out unceremoniously as she rolled down roughly down High Hrothgar stone ladder, while Esbern was treated better for he was fellow elderly. That was the last time Dovahkiin saw the pair. She had spared no time visiting whatever remained of the Blades in Sky Haven Temple as well, though she missed her history discussion with Esbern badly.
She must had delightful moments in High Hrothgar, Vilkas thought before pondering of her so called schedule. There would be no harm in letting her working along with Farengar. The Whiterun court mage had no interest in woman, for he was more interested in researching dragons related matter. His train of thought stopped abruptly as he heard the girl he adored so mentioned a name in her research group. The only name he wished not to hear, not ever.
"…Marcurio will be coming as well, it should be fun"
As she mentioned the blasted mage's name, the devil himself came in Jorrvaskr. Marcurio was a mage for hire domiciling in Riften, he usually stayed in Bee and Barb while waiting for a commission. Their first encounter was not exactly a fine one. A hunting party consisting of Vilkas himself, Athis, and Dovahkiin was assigned for a mission in Riften. A distressed client asked them to recover a family heirloom from a band of thieves hiding in nearby abandoned fortress. Marcurio was hired as he was familiar with local geography. The four of them embarked to the bandit's lair after quick introduction. He quickly proved to be a professional in both conduct and battle prowess, allowing Vilkas to overlook the Imperial's insufferable sass. In the end, the mages ended up blowing the whole fortress using arcane magic, almost burying the whole team alive in the process. Vilkas could still remember he had to dig out rubble and fallen beams for eternity, Athis whimpering besides him whilst the pair of spellcasters sat, laughing despite the severity of their situation.
Oddly enough Dovahkiin and that faulty of a mage became good friends afterwards. Often they'd explore ruins together alongside a Dunmer Mara priest should Vilkas wasn't there to assist her. Jarl Balgruuf willingly employed the two into Farengar's research team for their expertise in magical force. Both in battle prowess and scholarly knowledge.
To Vilkas' dismay, the Imperial mage wore Amulet of Mara round his neck! It was clear who was his intended target, though Dovahkiin made no comment about it but told Marcurio that Farengar had been impatiently waiting for them. She bid her farewells to Vilkas and went on her way with the other mage to Dragonsreach, a rather huge keep where Jarl Balgruuf and his court members reside. The elder wolf went out to training yard and started slashing away innocent training dummies, unleashing rage welling in his heart. Compared to his sheer strength added with anger, no straw dolls could match him. The rest of the Companions dared not approaching him for the rest of the day except for Kodlak.
"Sooo….who's the fortunate man?" Ria elbowed the dragonborn when she sat beside her during dinner later that evening. Njada on her other side was also interested. She joined in the conversation casually. Despite being natural enemies, Njada would not pass such intriguing issue at hand. Normal conversation during meals would be about sword technique, training and outings schedule, sometimes stories about commissions went awry, and less frequent politics in Skyrim. When topics deviate from their general course, it would certainly invite everyone's attention as they abandon common if not duller conversation.
"What fortunate man?" the blonde mage returned, completely oblivious with the implications as she knows nothing about Skyrim marriage custom. That being said, it was clear that Marcurio's endeavor was in vain. Vilkas breathed out in relief. Skjor scowled in dismay knowing Vilkas' attention focused more on the girls' gossiping instead of the increase in vampire attacks in various holds. The balding man looked at the occupier of the seat at his other side, it was Farkas. Conversations was overrated. He left his seat and joined Aela sitting on a bench in a far corner of the hall, plotting their next hunt.
"You've gotta…you don't know?" Njada voiced her surprise loudly that the whole hall's occupant turned their attention to the three girls. She looked apologetically to Skjor, glaring at her viciously. Njada returned her attention to Dovahkiin and continued, "Fine, I'll explain it to your refined head. It's our marriage custom in this province. If you're committed to marriage, you'd wear an amulet of Mara and approach your chosen partner. If they give their consent, then the marriage could be arranged"
"Interesting…and it could be just anyone?" considered the Imperial hailed mage, still failing to put two and two together. Drawing frustrated grunts from her friends.
"Well yes, as long as you did a good deed to impress them. I reckon half of Skyrim would want to court you. You're the Dragonborn after all. With defeating the black dragon who brought upon end of time and other things" Aela joined the conversation in Sjkor's dismay, leaving her seat by the balding man to join less husked company. "It's a harsh life in Skyrim, so spring and summer are very much appreciated, as short as they are"
"…wait you said, Amulet of Mara?" the Cyrodiil mage suddenly realized Marcurio was wearing one earlier in the day. He had been trying to stay in her line of sight and vying for her attention, which was out of his character. Njada and Ria nodded in agreement. Eyes widened in surprise, she continued in high pitched voice "By the Divines, is THAT what it means? No wonder he was so sad when we parted earlier"
"Going after him?. I think he's still staying in town" Aela asked if the fabled dragonborn would clear the misunderstanding with Marcurio, explaining her ignorance in local custom. Vilkas tensed at the question. Please don't chase him, please don’t chase him, he chanted desperately in silence. Farkas noticed his brother's lips moving about but said nothing.
"There is another custom for it" Kodlak suddenly added, raising his mug in the process. Bless the old man, Vilkas thought. "It is also considered a sacred union. Usually done before hand joining in Mara's presence. Unfortunately it is not widely practiced and the wilds are getting more dangerous. Especially with the civil war and dragon business we had...but his tradition is well preserved in the Companions…"
Dovahkiin raised her eyebrow, she had no idea why the topic turned to marriage custom. Before Kodlak could explain the process, Athis butted in the conversation, "So actually it goes like..." but went silent as Vilkas called Dovahkiin's name all of sudden. Everyone turned their attention to him. Aela looked at the elder wolf in expectation, followed with Skjor's disbelief for both knew what was about to come. Whilst Farkas did not quite follow what happened yet. Both Torvar and Athis sat at the edge of their seats, attention undivided despite having local brewery blurring both their sight and thought. There would be no going back, Vilkas thought. To Oblivion with it.
"There's a dragon flying around Eastmarch like it owns the place, care to join me in a dragon hunt?"
The whole hall went silent. Vilkas tightened his grip on his tankard of mead. Waiting for an answer from his beloved. The deed was done. He spoke his invitation despite her lack of understanding in Skyrim customs. He knew it would be unfair, but he won't pass up the chance or risk getting another suitor proposing his subject of affection. Dovahkiin on the other hand, was confused why the rest of Companions were also expecting her answer. It was only a dragon hunt they should be familiar with, she thought, why this one would pique their interest so. Then again none of them could Shout so defeating an overgrown lizard was a grand feat.
"Sure, fine by me. When are we going?" Jorrvaskr's occupants cheered at her answer. Aela and Njada elbowed her sides that she felt ticklish. Farkas grinned as he punched Vilkas' arm while his brother sighed in relief, slumping in his seat and slowly rested his back against the wooden chair. Kodlak tapped the elder wolf's shoulder in fatherly manner. "Uhh…why the ruckus?"
"Actually…" Athis started but ceased from explaining what the Cyrodiil mage did not notice when he felt Vilkas' fiery glare from the other side of the table. No one dared telling Dovahkiin the truth afterwards. The elder wolf beckoned the girl to sit by him and started planning their hunt. Farkas was not being sensible for joining in the discussion until Aela and Skjor dragged him away from the pair. Dinner continued as per usual arrangement afterwards, with Kodlak Whitemane beaming at the prospect of hand joining between a certain unlikely couple.
"So, you're going for a dragon hunt..." Farengar replied when Dovahkiin told him she would be unavailable for the next few days. He considered for a moment and found no objections for his part. After all, his assistant might bring dragon scales and bones for research purposes. Notes on dragon behavior, manners of their flight, hunting, and perhaps mating. Being stuck in Dragonsreach tending to ever worrying Jarl denied him the opportunity of seeing such a grand creature first hand. "Fine by me, as long as you bring some samples to examine. Where was it sighted?"
"Somewhere around Eastmarch. Said it litters around a draconic stone wall, the one with dragon tongue inscribed on it. If it's the very same ruins I explored months ago, then there's nothing new to be gained for I absorbed the knowledge stored within. But this is a curious matter, It seems that these dragons are drawn to such sites. Are they protecting it…or…" then the mage girl remembered she was not there to dally with research for she had enchantments to do. Shaking her head, the Cyrodiil mage reached for a burlap sack containing armor piece and trinkets. Some she bought at hefty price in Windhelm, some looted from unfortunate bandits and thieves unfortunate enough to be in her way.
"Who are you going with?" Marcurio asked her, his amulet of Mara was nowhere to be found. The girl felt a little bit guilty for not knowing, but then she always considered the older mage as an older brother. "I might be able to help"
"Well, Vilkas invited me for the hunt yesterday. If you're interested, you can come with us. The Companions could only deploy the two of us, the rest had their priority elsewhere. Ugh, by Talos... those guys"
Farengar's eyes opened wide as he heard the word 'the two of us', for as a Nord studying the old world he knew of the long forgotten tradition. He quickly realized the city-mage did not know the tradition considering her upbringing. The court mage couldn't blame her for her ignorance. Farengar quickly handed a stack of parchments into Marcurio's hands even before he could accept the offer, "Unfortunately, Marcurio will have to stay, look at these translation material. It has to be done before Sundas, these will give us better understanding of dragon's behavior. Enjoy your hunt, sister Nord"
"What is wrong with you people" the girl cursed as she approached the enchanting table, containing runes inscribed on it. They glimmer as the girl placed the equipments she wanted to enchant along side soul gems she procured from he journey down from Winterhold to Whiterun earlier. Recalling Vilkas' vague info on the dragon having blue scale, she decided on frost resist enchantments among other possibilities. Reds spits fire, greens electrocutes, blues breathe ice. Farengar observed as she added her enchantments onto armor pieces, he nodded acknowledging her growing capability in it.
"Not bad, not many enchanters could achieve such feat. Now let me add mine…" Farengar offered as he mastered the art of enchanting, capable of adding extra effect inside an armament and prolonging its effect in battle. "This is for Vilkas, yes? He should be battling in the front line, I assume? I'll add in more protective spells and a little bit of fire enchantment for the sword over here….done. You two are literally walking fortress when you adorn these gears"
"Should I be wary as of why you're this generous, Farengar? It's unusually like you" Marcurio commented, crossing his arms and raising one eyebrow, after putting stacks of parchments a flustered court mage dumped at him earlier onto wooden table serving as his work space.
"I'll explain later, damned Imperial" Farengar returned the comment, reminding himself Marcurio would not know the traditional Nord marriage custom as he was not Skyrim in origin, much like the younger maiden. He tossed some herbs to Marcurio and had him grind them before examining the property. Returning his attention to the oblivious young woman who's about to be proposed, he continued "…and what are you going to do now?When are you departing?"
"Morning, on the morrow. I suppose I could stay and help for the rest of the day"
"Good, spending too much time amongst hired muscle would not broaden your horizon on better issues than swinging swords and bashing shields. Anyway, about the theory you mentioned earlier…In case they are indeed protecting ruins related to their origin then…we should consider conducting thorough research on it. Pray tell, where else have you seen them in Skyrim" Farengar grabbed a feather pen and started making notes on his parchment. Blots of ink dropped on the parchment, he cursed. He preferred his papers neat, without blots of inks marring them. Alas their research was doomed to delays as Jarl Balgruuf entered the room in a good humor with Irileth in tow, he probably heard them talking about 'the Hunt' as he too, started giving advises.
On the other side of Whiterun hold's capital, Vilkas was procuring provision for a week worth of hunt. Although the two will patrol in Windhelm vicinity, there would be no telling if they could even spend the night in Eastmarch's capital after all. They might need to spend the night under stars. Winter was coming and he expected snow storms around the region. He had with him a parchment which contained list of supplies the two might need during their travel. Jerky, bread, apples, rolled beds, firestarter, healing potions, magicka potions, and antidotes. Vilkas grimaced at the prospect of stale bread for a whole week.
Whiterun market was bustling from both local and visiting merchants, offering both local produce and exotic imports. Despite intriguing choices the imported good had, Vilkas was there for produce such as dried meat and fruits he could bring during the course of the hunt. The elder wolf stopped by Anoriath, a wood elf who specialized in hunting local game, bringing fresh cuts of meat to his stall every day and literally supplier to fine establishments and houses in Whiterun. The Bosmer offered Vilkas best cuts from his game, when it was clear the Companion was there as a customer. Anorieth knew the warriors well, famous for their insatiable appetite for meat and mead. Normally it would be Tilma the haggard who seal the deal, although on occasions other members might do in her stead.
"Good for you to visit me today, Vilkas. Look at these beautiful beasts I hunted just this morning. We're talking about games today! No local domesticated beef or poultry! Got myself some fowls and nice rump of veal if you're interested. If you're bored with roasted meal, you can cook some stew instead. Shanks are especially good for these. I know they are tough but if you cook them right, they'll fall of the bone with slightest force...'
"Do you have dried meat at all? We might need to eat on the way. I'm sure you're accustomed to our modus operandi by now." Vilkas interjected Anoriath before he went on, suggesting every recipe in his arsenal. The elf has been a supplier for the Companion for years, and still he'd offer fresh meats instead of dried ones for hunting parties. As much as Vilkas enjoyed cooking, he had no time to spare that day for idle chatter. Or rather no mood for conversation. He had other issues to attend to, such as managing hunting groups and assigning tasks for the rest of the Companions so he could leave with eased mind. Skjor promised filling in the role should the hunt took longer than planned.
Anorieth frowned, knowing who he was facing. The haggler, so the merchants called Vilkas. He had made quite a reputation in the other holds as well. The cunning wolf could half the offered price off merchants with just a glance. The elf shook his head and checked the shelf under his stall, he had made few pounds of dried meat sliced as thin as possible. He took them out and handed as much as the elder wolf wanted. He was astonished with the amount requested, "What game are you hunting? This is extremely too much, don’t you think?"
"A dragon" Vilkas answered honestly, receiving a pouch-ful of jerky and handed amount of septims equivalent for the trade. There was no need to inspect the goods as he had utmost trust towards the bosmer. He never failed delivering the best game there was to the Companions. Aroma of select spices lingered around Anoriath's stall was proof enough.
"My, my...no wonder. My brother had made few well crafted bows if you're interested. I don't think you can rely on your broad sword when fighting a flying dragon, no?" Anoriath leaned his elbows against his stall, bloodied from carcasses he had cut prior. A coy smile formed in his dark visage, suggesting for Vilkas to spend more money at his family's store. "I think he just crafted a very fine ebony bow, a commission for Riften's future Jarl but the brat never come to pick it up. Pretty sure he'd love to sell such craft to others who actually use his bow for greater purpose"
Vilkas pondered for a moment, recalling quite a comedic moment whence Dovahkiin lashed out at a certain young main in Riften's training yard for ordering her to fetch a sword in local smithy which was literally a stone's throw away from the keep. "I think I know who you're talking about. Lazy milk-drinker, that one. I'll consider it, Anoriath....and about that veal shank stew you were talking about..."
"Ha! I know you're coming around!" laughed Anoriath heartily, drawing attention from his market stall neighbor Fralia Grey-Mane. Stealing a glance at the bosmer before continuing her conversation with an equally baffled Ysolda.
The butcher made a good argument. The Companions' blacksmith might excel at crafting high quality armor and weapons, but not at bows which requires finesse and more delicate hands. Vilkas promptly visited Drunken Huntsman which sold hunting supplies for Whiterun hunters. Anoriath's brother welcomed Vilkas when he entered the shop, smell of foreign woods permeated the air around him. Knowing that the companion were hunting a game, he offered the best bow and arrows he could offer.
The two met at Whiterun gate the next morning, as both parties agreed prior. They prepared adequate supplies and equipments they needed for the hunt as only the two of them participating in. Dovahkiin was baffled at the lack of personnel in a dragon hunt. Vilkas would usually slap some more in, but he insisted the two of them were enough. The girl had asked the other Companions, but the rest claimed they had another urgent matter to attend to or pretended to be sick, classic excuse to avoid something they'd rather not involved in. What could be more dire than a dragon's attack, she questioned her friends' priority. Most of them only bid her good hunt and gave sketchy advises.
Winter morning air was dry and crisp, Akatosh granted the pair clear sky for their hunt allowing them to observe the sky better and allowed no hiding place behind the clouds. Despite the cold and dry weather, Vilkas could smell summer scent coming from Dovahkiin. The air around her smelled of dried summer spices giving away her alchemical work the day before. Vilkas had little knowledge of Alchemy but he loved the aroma such work gave to his beloved. Soon enough, the wolf Nord thought. He was in such good humor that he did not realize he was grinning.
The Cyrodiil mage looked at Vilkas spitefully as she was unnerved by her partner's expression at the time, "Your wolfish grin unnerve me"
As soon as she said those words, Vilkas returned to his usual calm visage. He then beckoned the girl to start the hunt. The two went out Whiterun and started covering treks to the direction of Eastmarch. Their journey there was uneventful save for some stray wolves and few inexperienced bandits. Both Vilkas and the mage girl did quick work on both. They had avoided giant's den and used dirt road leading to spring field south of Kynesgrove.
Dovahkiin had been there before when she did a quest for Danica Pure-spring months ago, although that moment felt like a lifetime ago. She had gone to Gildergreen's mother tree and drained some of it's sap in order to revive Whiterun's Gildergreen, or rather waking the tree up as Danica claimed the tree was only sleeping and applying the sap would act as an invigorator. It ended with her fleeing the sanctum in terror as angry spirits attacked her the moment her blade touched Gildergreen.
The air was hot and damp, steam permeating through the air right out of scalding stream. The two walked carefully amongst the springs as not to fall into it. Nords might have good resistance to cold, but they fared worse against heat. Upon ponds with more forgiving temperature were a few locals and hunters dipping, relaxing as they let comfortable warmth envelop their wasted bodies. Each of them stripped, wearing only small clothes to cover their sensitive areas. Some who noticed the pair passing by recognized Vilkas wolf armor, and proceeded to ask what their game was.
Vilkas used this chance to question the hunters, should they have seen a certain blue scaled dragon. Nobody would miss such a legendary creature, on sky or on land "Have you seen a dragon? We received report one flying around here. Blue scales, breathe ice" the elder wolf asked as he approached a rather intoxicated hunter dipping by the edges of the hot spring. Before the intoxicated hunters could answer the question air crippled around them, as they heard a dragon's shrieking through out the air. The pair looked at the sky, and saw blue scaled dragon flying overhead. Causing the witnesses to drop their jaw in awe. The dragon descended right in front of them and readied its frosty breath. Vilkas grinned in glee as his bounty voluntarily came down on him.
Wall of fire rose as the overgrown lizard unleashed snow storm from its jaw, rendering the freezing wind ineffective. Dovahkiin returned its Shout by then, spitting out breath of fire out of her more slender frame. Vilkas drew his broadsword, charging towards the azure beast with a war cry that could match even Tsun's. Warrior of true mettle guarding dragon bone bridge leading towards Sovngarde's Hall of Valor. Hunters and other visitors grabbed their belongings before fleeing the scene. Braver souls tried shooting arrows at the dragon, but Vilkas bellowed at them to leave the vicinity. They took his advice to the word excluding the curses.
The dragon flew away after the Dragonborn breathed fire on it, leaving both Vilkas and Dovahkiin in dismay. The two tried chasing it, alas no land dwellers could do to close the distance between them and sky ruler. In less than a minute, the dragon managed to shake them off and retreated beyond the mountains. Vilkas cursed. Dovahkiin could launch a Sky Rend shout to prevent the overgrown lizard from flying off but alas she was exhausted after the last. She quickly collapsed onto the ground , reaching for her water skin. Popping off the lid and sloshed her throat in one gulp. The girl coughed hard as her throat and insides burned. She had mistaken her water skin for her hip flask where she keep her stock of Black-briar mead.
"Oh by the Divines, how could I mistook metalwork for leather?!" The girl cursed as she threw away her hip flask. Vilkas took it from the dusty ground and tossed it back to the girl. Her visage turned bright red.
"Never should have kept those around with you're being lightweight, girl" Vilkas reprimanded her. He felt guilty the second the mage glared at him, showing her usual 'keep quiet, not your business' angered expression. Seeing her expression, Vilkas realized he leashed out his frustration to the wheat haired maiden. He shouldn't have. The Companions' second adviser proceeded to kneel beside the exhausted mage, offering his hand to assist her "My apologies, I should not have…"
"Don't. You're being creepy. You've been like that since this morning" said Dovahkiin before falling head first to Vilkas' shoulder pads. The two stayed that way for a while. Despite having fights often and not exactly good relationships, the two often spent time together after supper. Whereas they used the empty halls of Jorrvaskr for their nocturnal meet. They were used to sitting in that position with book in hand, saying nothing but read. They'd sometimes discuss things they read and the two were comfortable in that manner. It was like their mockery and jabs exchange during the day were nothing at all.
Vilkas thought that the hunt should not fail whatever happened but with their bounty flew away there's nothing he could do. The ebony maned Nord could not stand the thought returning to Jorrvaskr empty handed, their heads hung low. Dragonborn's golden-wheat hair brushed against his bare neck, the aroma of charred hair and herbs mixed well. We will succeed, the elder wolf thought. Casually pressing his cheek against fields of gold nesting upon his shoulders.
The girl reached for her pocket, taking out her copy of Skyrim map. Countless doodles and notes written upon it in hastily written hand writing, some bordering on illegible scrawls. Behind the parchment was lists of Nordic ruins and stone walls she had found and copies of draconic runes she had found and learnt. Vilkas mused, they should go to Morrowind for a trip someday. Dovahkiin pondered on where the dragon's next destination. She ran her fingers on the map, her head still rested in the crook of Vilkas' neck, staying awake was a grand task already.
She considered for a moment then pointed on a draconic ruins icon she drew on her map. The ruins was nearby, if they decided to cross the mountains. "If my theory is correct, these dragons will litter around draconic ruins guarding them. Since we chased him off this place, it should be moving to the next. Judging from the direction where it went before, it should be going there…" It was Shearpoint by south east of Windhelm. "Not my favorite place in the world. Remember we fought an ancient dragon and a bloody dragon priest at the same time? I hope the bones stay still this time around"
"We should not lose heart then" Vilkas said, his fingers played amongst golden wheat and casually kissed the girl's forehead. An affection he rarely showed to anyone but his brother and the dragonborn. The first time he did that to the girl, her cheeks turned crimson and screaming it was inappropriate. It might be a Cyrodiil custom he did not know.
True enough, the girl mumbled in her sleep, "…what did you do that…for, dumbass" Vilkas did not care of her protests as he once again pressed his lips against her cheek in pure affection.
"I tell you…I tell you, the dragon born comes…" the sound of the local bard singing woke the Dragonborn. Her vision blurry as if she was underwater and her head felt like it was perpetually spinning like dwemer cogwheel. The Cyrodiil mage laid on a bed in an inn somewhere. She expected to wake up on her bed roll somewhere in the middle of nowhere with pesky hangover and even peskier elder wolf smirking at her. Mocking her carelessness as he had always and to be. Probably with grilled rabbit or wolf for dinner…or worse, skeevers. She grimaced at the prospect and rubbed her eyes trying to clear her vision in vain.
The girl blinked then looked at a blurry figure sitting beside her. Knowing who he was, the blonde mage expected triumphant smirk and sarcastic commentary launched at her. To her surprise the man did neither. When the girl's vision cleared, what she saw was concerned face of Vilkas. He realized the girl had woken then but waited for her to recover first and foremost. Dragonborn silently wailed as she shifted her position with her front pressing against the bedding. Her head felt like it was nailed by thousands of needles or pounded by steel hammer. "To Oblivion with those…alcohol" she murmured, her voice muffled as her face buried in the soft pillows.
Vilkas snorted but said nothing nonetheless as he too had his own pressing matter. He had expected for the both of them to be rid of the last barrier that separate the two by that time both physically and mentally. He longed to snake his way to ivory beneath the mages' robes, reveling in the smooth surface and devour the girl whole. He wondered what kind of sound she'd make when… "I'll go get some food for you"
The girl looked at the departing figure before she buried her face back into the pillows. A bard started singing in high pitch seconds after she did so. She remembered the voice then, it was the sorry excuse of a bard staying in Dawnstar. She begrudged the wench as she made a ridiculous attempt in singing 'Ragnar the Red'. The Cyrodiil mage was tempted to soul trap her and send the sorry bard into Soul Cairn for eternity. Cursing and wondering what she was doing in Windhelm instead helping out her father in the port town. She quickly snatched the pillow under her and covered her head and ears. It muffled the horrendous off key singing a little, but not more. The higher the pitch the worse her headache was.
Vilkas returned witnessing the Dragon born trashing about on her bed, grunting and moaning in pain. He wasn't sure he should be sympathizing or laughing at the girl suffering from hangover. Even mythical character could be so human. She is a human, Vilkas reminded himself. The dreadful song ended as abrupt as it began. Vilkas could hear thudding and crashing sound from the tavern upstairs, followed by cheers coming from other guests. He could only imagine some hot blooded locale punched the off-key wench for creating inharmonious melody. The girl went calmer and sighed out in relief, mouth curving into a weak grin knowing a certain poor bard's fate.
As gentler voice resumed singing, permeating the air with her soothing elven voice, Vilkas put their dinner on a wooden table available in their room. They had quite a large suit for a fair price even by Windhelm standard. One double bed in the middle of the room, a large wooden desk and chair on the other end. They even had wardrobe and chest available. Normally the room would go to people who could afford it, but the innkeeper was being generous. The two had been there before on a hunt and got involved into a serial murder case. In the end the two managed to unveil mystery behind the killing and capturing the infamous Butcher himself. Stores and taverns happily offered discount to any Companions member ever since. Local forces also forwarded more requests and commissions when their hands were tied.
Sniffing appetizing aroma, Dovahkiin left her pillowy fortress and devoured her dinner. Local blue cheese and a bowl of fowl soup alongside stale bread. Vilkas dipped his bread into the stew before eating it, denying the existence of such atrocity. The Dragonborn noticed she only get a glass of water instead of mead, while Vilkas enjoyed his ale. She frowned, Vilkas smiled seeing her doing so. She stilled her mouth from jabbing at her hunting partner, knowing she'd only invite sarcastic retort. The Cyrodiil mage looked down at her half empty bowl, spinning her spoon around thick brown broth, fishing for pieces of meat she missed scooping out before. Deliberately avoiding carrots floating about the soup's surface.
Another wooden spoon dipped into her bowl, scooping as much carrot as it allowed before it launched at Dragonborn. Wooden surface pressing against slits of her lips then. Unappetizing orange vegetable formed a small fortress upon wooden crater. Vilkas held the wooden spoon adamantly, clearly telling the intoxicated dragonborn to eat her hatred for carrots without saying a word. She complied then, opening her mouth and letting the elder wolf spoon-fed her. Grimacing from the earthy aroma and overly sweet flavor, the spellcaster swallowed them whole before gulping down her share of water.
"We should be able to finish our hunt tomorrow, if my predictions are correct" she said apologetically, feeling responsible for their dilemma at the moment. Had she used Skyrend instead of spitting fireballs, they'd have their trophy by the end of the day. Seeing his paramour in such a sorry state, he flicked his index finger against the spellcaster's forehead. Leaving a red spot right in the middle. "Ow, what's that for!"
"Don't you mind for letting the dragon escape, we simply didn't hit enough. Let's take it as a lesson and strife for better endeavor tomorrow" said the elder wolf as he refilled Dovahkiin's tankard with water. Adamant in not letting her drink any alcohol. " I have faith in you, we'll find our dragon on the morrow"
"You're awfully optimistic today, should I be wary?" questioned the dragonborn, shifting in her seat for a more comfortable position. Cursing the undeniable fact that she was a lightweight drinker. One sip of any type of alcohol or infused drinks would get her intoxicated in minutes. Vilkas didn't answer but simply smile, letting action spoke for itself. "Fine, be mysterious and an ass"
Another clear day without a speck of cloud which was rare in Skyrim. Good omen given by Akatosh himself. The two started their climb towards Shearpoint. In no time they had found their dragon, still recuperating from its' wounds. The frost dragon sensed the two coming and started flapping it's wings. The Dragonborn made no more mistake as she reserved her shouts for grounding the dragon. She shouted a curse Alduin dreaded so and soon enough the azure dragon ate dirt. Leaving a trail of unearthed soil, crashing against dragon priest's old coffin in the process. Vilkas rushed with his great sword in hand, fiery enchantment's dim glow trailing behind. He quickly aimed for the neck.
He advanced without fear as the dragon once again breathed frost upon him. Wall of light formed in front of the elder wolf then, protecting him from sinister snow storm. Knowing by heart the spellcaster Vilkas grew fond of was the one casting it, his lips curved into a smile. Then it widened into an ear to ear grin in sheer expectation. Skyforge steel buried deep into dragon's flesh, blood gushing out newly opened wound. It didn't take long before the dragon denied from flying within Tamriel skies for all eternity.
"I should apologize" said Vilkas as the two tried salvaging whatever remained from the dead dragon. They managed to salvage few azure scales before flesh burned away, becoming intangible as its soul streamed into the Dragonborn. She was immersed in arcane knowledge she barely registered what her hunting partner just said. It took her a few moments to recover from ecstatic burst of information before her brain was ready to receive another stimulus. "Uh, what? You did not stand in my line of fire. I should be the one apologizing for Shouting at you"
"Oh that's fine. It was a new experience…"
The two shared awkward silence between them. Usually they'd share mockery and jabs yet for some unknown reason Vilkas was being quiet. The girl grew curious as she approached Vilkas, standing right in front of him disregarding private space. She tried looking at Vilkas' eyes then. The taller man tensed as he felt their noses accidentally brushed. "You've been strange since yesterday…fever?" Wheat haired maiden stood on toes, pressing her forehead against Vilkas. By the Divines she smelled of summer, the elder wolf thought. "Nope, nothing. Not any illness I know of and I'm no expert healer"
She unknowingly spoke the truth for Vilkas' part as only cure for the ailing man would be the Dragonborn herself. Vilkas suddenly grabbed the girls' hands right before she could retreat. The girl tensed from the pain and Vilkas loosened his grip, forgetting the dragon born was still a woman, and a mage with no physical constitution nonetheless. They looked at each other then, moments passing slowly, as if they were trapped in eternity. After summoning all courage, Vilkas answered her question, "To tell you the truth, you are the only one who could cure me of this blasted illness"
"Remember what Kodlak said about another courting custom? This whole…dragon hunt is it. A man will ask a woman of his choice and conduct a hunt together, testing each other's valor and courage. It is said that the stronger the bounty it is, the more blessed is their joining. Though usually the other party says its consent at the invitation…I must apologize for making you go through this when you know nothing about our tradition"
Dovahkiin's eyes opened wide in realization, "SO that was this all about?! So this is the Nord marriage custom everyone was talking about" She thought why none of her girl friends told her the truth then, but then again Vilkas probably had something to do with it. Or they simply wanted to keep it a secret to give maximum impact on the occasion. Recalling Farengar and Jarl Balgruuf were being uncharacteristically nice, flooding her with advice despite knowing her battle prowess. "What in the name of Oblivion…"
"It is…I apologize. If you would not give me your consent it will be…" Vilkas decided to let go of the girl's hand. Thinking that he had gone too far. But instead the girl caught his. Her next word turned Vilkas' world upside down.
"I'm…by no means is an ordinary mortal. You know that as you witnessed me absorbing my first dragon soul. I am pouty, have terrible mood swings, will probably bury myself in research and all that... and …and… a bad cook! By the Divines! What am I…I'm not…someone who might suit you well. Would you still have me then?" Vilkas was surprised discovering a new side from his chosen partner for life. Behind her confident academic disposition she was shy and bashful.
The elder wolf smiled, "Is this Cyrodiil custom? Telling significant others their shortcomings?"
"Not…exactly" Clearly the girl had a hard time keeping their eyes in contact. Her lips trembled and her cheeks blossomed bright pink. She was breaking off character but so did the elder wolf. He couldn't keep himself from smiling. It felt good knowing the woman he adored so felt the same way of him. Only she did better in hiding her heart.
"The answer should be obvious, no?" The moment he finished speaking a pair of arms cloaked in violet garment flung around Vilkas' neck, locked behind his nape, pulling him. Vilkas' lips met with the ivory he wanted so bad that Vaermina granted him in a cruel way through his dreams. It was real instead of intangible imaginary kiss they shared. Pressing the other's lips gently, adding little force each time as their kiss deepened. The elder wolf circled his arms around her waist , balancing her standing on toes. There'd be times where they will have to get rid of pesky armor and clothing, but it was enough for them at the time.
There's another pressing matter after all, such as hauling a dragon's skeletal head back to Jorrvaskr.
The Harbinger woke up then, finding no one laying besides him. The other end of his double bed was empty, cold, unoccupied. Groaning, the grayed elder wolf rose. Rubbing his temple, trying to figure out which one was the dream. The first one was. A knock upon his bedroom door, a familiar voice called 'Brother, it's time' . "Yes, I'll be there soon" said the elder wolf towards his twin. Knowing nothing of his plight. One he decided to keep for himself.
The Vampire Lord opened her eyes abruptly, sinister golden orbs saw the dreaded hall of Castle Volkihar. Sighing, silver haired eternal maiden placed her cheek on the back of her hand, cursing for falling asleep upon the throne. An apologetic face in front of her, uttering words stuck within her throat. Instead she said, 'I am the last to go' . "Let me see you off" said the former Whiterun Thane to her best friend. Never once she blamed her.
Cruel dreams. Unforgiving fate. Future denied. Regretful past.
Donning wolf armor, the elder twin appeared in front of the Companions. Ready for a battle remembered for ages to come.
Perpetual silence filled the once bustling hall. No one was there to worship and lick her boots. Waiting for a certain werewolf to come.
"It begins. The finale"
Current Residence: Roma , I wish...|
Favourite genre of music: classic, anime songs
Favourite style of art: Western, Chibi
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: Foobar
Wallpaper of choice: As long as it's not windows original
Favourite cartoon character: Ezio, Naja, Garrus, Vilkas
Personal Quote: SMILE makes the world goes around