Skjor says I have the strength of Ysgramor, and my brother has his smarts. Skjor also says that Kodlak has Ysgramor’s way of inspiring loyalty and that if Ria would just agree to join the circle, she would have Ysgramor’s heart.
Ysgramor was a man, so he didn’t have breasts. But if he had, I’m sure Skjor would say that Aela has the Breasts of Ysgramor. As it is, he just compares her to the whole man himself. Aela is Ysgramor, he says. She has everything: the strength, the smarts, the heart, and the leadership. And the beast blood, of course, but Ysgramor didn’t have that, either.
Something deep inside me hates Aela more than I hate frostbite spiders.
~ * ~
Skjor gives away his body freely. It’s a product of the animal instincts of our beast forms, but it’s also just the way Skyrim is. Anybody you care about could be dead by nightfall, so there’s no sense in saving yourself for love or for marriage or for any one person. I don’t hate him for it. It’s normal. It’s what we all do.
Skjor has slept with everyone in Jorrvaskr at least once. Even Tilma, although that was on a night when he stumbled home smelling like he’d been a wolf only moments before and grabbed the first warm body he saw. I went to the Bannered Mare and drank enough spiced wine to drown a mammoth, but it wasn’t because of Skjor and Tilma. It was because I was in the mood to drink.
I woke up the next morning in Vilkas’s bed. Vilkas was already up and had all his armor on, and he looked over at me with pity in his eyes. He got my fist in his stupid face.
Later he told me that I was crying when I came stumbling in well after midnight and he let me have his bed because he didn’t feel like carrying me down to my own room. I don’t know why he said that. I would remember crying. I remember crying three times in my life. Once was when we were children and we were abandoned to die. Once was right after I joined the Circle, when I was cowering in a cave outside Whiterun standing over the corpse of a bandit I’d killed without even meaning to because I didn’t understand my own strength yet. And once was when Skjor and Aela went out to kill a giant and Aela came back alone.
That wasn’t because of Skjor, either. It was just the shock of losing one of the Companions. But it didn’t matter, because he came home and everyone was happy, and then he disappeared into Kodlak’s room and didn’t come out until morning. So I wasted those tears. I regret them sometimes.
~ * ~
Skjor isn’t a gentle lover. He uses his teeth like fangs and his fingernails like claws, and you don’t get out of a night with Skjor without bruises and scrapes and sore muscles. I used to let him have me. Sometimes at night when I’m alone in my bed, I have a sudden flashback to the way his hands moved on me and how it felt so good even though it shouldn’t have.
I stopped letting him have me when I started wanting to kiss him in the middle of it. It seemed like the smart thing to do. I may not have the smarts of Ysgramor, but at least I know when things are getting too complicated. In any case, Skjor didn’t seem to mind when I stopped sleeping with him.
I’m not even totally sure he notices that I’ve stopped. After all, Aela is everything that’s good about me with the added bonus of being a woman. And if it’s a man he wants, it’s pretty common knowledge that Athis is better in bed than the rest of us. He has plenty of options.
But I still remember the rustle of the straw underneath the animal hides and the groaning of the wood, and I remember the sweat and the skin and the way he panted into my ear while he leaned over my back. And even though he’s not the only one I’ve slept with, or even the only man I’ve slept with... somehow I just don’t remember the others like this.
~ * ~
I bought an Amulet of Mara and I wore it in front of him. He didn’t notice. Vilkas saw the amulet and laughed until his stomach hurt. Ria asked me to marry her, and she was only half-joking. But I don’t want Ria. I took off the amulet and hid it under my bed.
Aela asked me about it later. She got my fist, too.
~ * ~
Skjor sucks on his fingers when he’s done with a sweetroll. Every time he does it, I have to leave the room. Armor doesn’t hide everything. But one day I won’t leave. One day I’ll walk up to him and kiss him and drag him off to my bed and show him what it’s like to have Farkas as a lover and not just as a piece of tail.
There’s still time. There’s always time. And I’ll be here.