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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The tale of Sapphire the Barbarian

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Wind rattled the trees, their branches tapping lightly on the dimmed-out window of the small cabin. The moon shone brightly, the light seeping through the gaps of the rotting wooden walls. Flames from the lit candles on the table danced across the room, illuminating the shadowy corners of the cabin. A soft sigh filled the room. The little girl frowned.

“Mama, this spell is too hard,” the small voice said in defeat, as her small fingers traced the pattern of a white bird, backed on a huge golden book.

“Have you tried, little bear?” her mother replied from a room over.

“Yes mama, I have, but I just can’t do it! It’s so hard, I’ll never be as good as you…”

“Then come and show me. Let’s see how you’re doing so far.” The little girl got up, leaving the book behind. She dragged her feet across the wood slowly, entering the backroom her mother was in. The room was illuminated by many candles, a shrine of a wolf loomed over the girl and her mother, offerings of flowers, food, gold and precious gems lay at its feet. The girl looked over to her mother, who was tending to a bloodied and injured sabre cat. Its mangled, golden-brown fur was covered in mud and dry blood. Its breathing was heavy, but steady. It made no attempt to attack the mother and daughter. The girl spoke.

“Mama, why does papa get mad when you bring these sick animals home?” she asked innocently. Her mother laughed, but there was no humour to it.

“Because, Sapphire, your father thinks it’s wrong. If an animal is sick or close to death, then it’s nature’s way. We shouldn’t help th em.”

“Oh… but I want to help them.” Sapphire said sadly, lowering her head.

“Then we’ll help them. Now come, show me how you’ve been doing.” Sapphire’s mother said with a warm smile. Sapphire looked at the sabre cat, its golden, predatory eyes staring back at her, pupils dilated, long yellow tusk like teeth, as sharp as any dagger glinting from the candles in the room. She took a few steps towards it and looked back to her mother, feeling somewhat uneasy. She nodded in reassurance, smile still warm and friendly. She got down onto her knees.

“Now, just like we practiced before. Hold your hands out,” Sapphire bent her arms out in front of her, her palms flat and fingers pointed. The beast stared still, wary and uncertain of what was going to happen. “Now, take a deep breath, feel the magic flow through you. Feel with your heart, care with your soul and you will be able to focus your feelings and help soothe the beast.” Sapphire nodded, sucking in air then exhaling. She closed her eyes, thoughts flooding through her mind of helping the injured animal, thoughts of making it better again. Suddenly, a dim, yet golden light began to form around Sapphire’s body, warping up and around her arms. The colours becoming more intense and vibrant. The brilliance of the light enveloped the sabre cat, golden ribbons twisting around its tangled limbs, wrapping around its body and treating its tender wounds. The sabre cat made a quite noise, almost like a purr and slowly closed its eyes, still breathing. The spell flickered and died down, the soft colours and golden ribbons fading away. “Oh, dear Hircine…, you have gotten very good…” her mother exclaimed softly.

“I have?”

“Yes, and I am very proud of you. The beast shall be better soon. Hircine would be so proud…” her mother’s voice trailed off, still awestruck from her young daughter’s achievement.

“Mama, who is this Hircine you always speak about?” Sapphire asked as she climbed into her mother’s arms.

“Well,” she began, scooping her up and leaving the room for the beast to sleep. “Hircine is the Daedric prince of the hunt, the father of man beasts. The animals you see around you, from the small, and timid rabbit to the huge and fearsome bear are all Hircine’s creations. There are some, like you and I,” she paused, putting Sapphire down into a small bed, fashioned from hay and chicken feathered pillows and a wolf-fur blanket. She wriggled into the comfort and warmth of the bed, lifting her arms up as her mother tucked the fur pelt around her. “There are some like us,” she continued, “who use their magic and devote their lives to healing and mothering his creations, whenever they are in need or trouble.” Sapphire looked over to the room where her and her mother had been.

“And… because we helped Hircine’s sabre cat, does that mean it will get… better?” she finished with a yawn, rubbing her eyes.

“It sure does, my little bear cub. Now, it’s time for some rest.” Her mother finished with a soft smile, wetting the ends of her fingers and carefully expelling the flames of the candles. The light died down very slowly. Her mother planted a soft, yet lingering kiss on Sapphire’s forehead and quietly left the room. The sudden moonlight poured in, but was quick to leave. Sapphire was left alone in the darkness. “Good night, mama, good night, papa… good night Mr sabre cat, and good night Hircine…” she whispered to the darkness of the silent, empty room, awareness and all conciseness draining from her as she slowly slipped into a deep sleep.

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Excerpt #1 “And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, that when brothers wage war come unfurled! Alduin, bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, with a hunger to swallow the world!”

……

Consciousness slowly came back to Sapphire as she awoke from her dream, she squeezed her eyes shut for a short moment, taking in and replaying what she saw of her younger self and her mother in her mind. Everything around her seemed to be distorted, sounds, sight, memory. She groaned, trying to focus and take on her surroundings. The fresh spring breeze of Skyrim brushed against her, the scent of fresh new Spring flowers and pine trees filled her nose, the sounds of horses snorting and trotting down the path and the nearby rivers and waterfalls crashing down with a roar rung through her ears. She looked around again. The first thing she could make out as her sight came back to her was a man, dressed in Imperial armour sitting in the front seat of the carriage and the wagons ahead. Sapphire frowned, a feeling sense of dread washing over her. She glanced down at her hands, her wrists bonded together by secure loops of frayed and scratchy rope. Her body itched, she wasn’t in the clothes she’d been in before she ended up in the carriage. She’d been fitted into a torn, sack material tunic, which was far too large for her, along with a pair of baggy trousers, finishing off her ragged outfit were a pair of leather footwraps, secured to her ankles with a tight bond of rope. Her backpack she had been carrying before she had been captured had also vanished. Her clouded memories of her capture slowly came rushing back. Men clad in silver and red armour, the tell-tale colours of the Legion, holding her down as they tied her wrists, the cold and damp mud in her face, the continuous loops of the same damned question being barked in her ears. The clamour of angry voices and the clang and crashing of swords and axes. Rushing, red, silver, blue and bronze from all directions.

"Dear Hircine, what happened? Where am I? Where… where is he? My brother…”

“Hey, you. You’re finally awake.”

The man’s voice caught her attention and she glanced over at him. He was a Nord in his early twenties, shoulder-length blond hair, adorned with a braid on one side, and stubble on his face. His muscular biceps bulged from the chain mail sleeves of his bronze and blue uniform; he, too, had his wrists bonded together by rope.

“You were trying to cross the border, right? Same as us, and that thief over there.” The Nord gestured to the man sat beside him. Sapphire stared.

“Damn you Stormcloaks!” the man shouted. He was scrawny, eyes tired and sunken, covered in thick clumps of mud, his red hair browned by the grime and dust that hung from his skinny frame. “Skyrim was fine until you came along. Empire was nice and lazy. If they hadn’t been looking for you, I could have stolen that horse and be half way to Hammerfell by now!”

“We’re all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief.” The Nord soldier retorted, the last word ‘thief’ being spat out in disgust. Sapphire twisted in her seat, observing the men in the carriage. She then realised there was another in the cart with them: a powerfully built Nord, looking as strong as a bear. His neatly groomed hair was a dark goldenrod colour. He wore a fur trimmed cloak, bracers secured around his wrists and a pair of fine boots. His face, obscured only by a thin braid falling across his face. He was rugged and chiselled; his light blue eyes were piercing. Not only were his large hands bonded together by rope, but a cloth gag covered his mouth too. Unlike the other men, who were arguing across from her, he was hunched over, eyes brooding and foreboding, gaze distant, shoulders slumped in defeat.

"Huh… I’m sure I know that face from somewhere… who is he?"

The thief suddenly tried to get Sapphire’s attention, tapping his feet against the wood of the carriage urgently. She turned to face him.

“Hey, you there, you and me. We shouldn’t be here. It’s these Stormcloaks the Empire wants.”

“Shut up back there!” the carriage driver shouted in annoyance.

“And what’s wrong with him, huh?” the thief asked, gesturing towards the silent man sat across from Sapphire.

“Hey! Watch your tongue! You’re speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King!” the Nord soldier barked at the thief, now glaring.

"Ulfric Stormcloak! I knew I knew him from somewhere! But if they’ve got Ulfric and all his soldiers…?"

“Ulfric? The Jarl of Windhelm? You’re the leader of the rebellion… but if they’ve captured you?! Oh gods, where are they taking us?!” Lokir shouted in a frantic panic.

“I don’t know where we’re going, but Sovngarde awaits…” the Nord soldier said grimly. Sapphire felt bile force its way into her throat, she swallowed, but couldn’t help feeling a little scared, uncertain of what fate would decide for her. Dizziness overcame her, as thousands of gruesome and grizzly thoughts surged through her mind. Sapphire usually wasn’t one to be phased by anything, but the uncertainties that lied ahead of her made her feel genuine fear.

“No, this can’t be happening. This isn’t happening!” Lokir wailed, fussing around desperately, the Nord soldier just stared at him and annoyance and stared. There was a short silence in the carriage before anyone spoke.

“Hey, what village are you from horse thief?” the Nord soldier finally spoke. Lokir glared at him defensively.

“Why do you care?”

“A Nord’s last thoughts should be of home.”

“Rorikstead… I’m—I’m from Rorikstead.” Lokir stammered. The carriage suddenly dipped as it drove down the cobbled road. Sapphire stared, a town composed of battlements and tall, stone towers, surrounded by a huge wall that hugged it snuggly.

“Shor, Mara, Diebella, Kynareth, Akatosh, divines, please, help me!” Lokir begged, to an empty sky. Imperial archers stood proudly on the walls, staring down at the Stormcloaks beneath them.

“General Tullius sir, the headsmen is waiting.” A soldier called as the carriage pulled into the town.

“Good, let’s get this over with.” He sighed.

The general was a tall and stocky man, dark skin and a traditional male Cyrodiilic hairstyle, short and cropped, greying with age. He was clad in a rather beautiful crimson and gold plated armour, leather Imperial bracers and boots secured to his wrists and feet. General Tullius sat atop his horse, talking in hushed voices to three other suspicious looking characters. Two were clad in ornamental golden gilded armour, a golden sword with a silver finish resting on both of their hips. The third one though, however, the one General Tullius appeared to be speaking to seemed to give off deeply unsettling vibes. Fully shadowed by a long, black robe embroidered with silver patterns and a hood that masked the character’s profile effectively. Sapphire could hardly make out any features, other than a pair of piercing, glowing golden eyes. As the cart tumbled past steadily, the three shady figures glared at Sapphire and the men in the cart with her. The hooded figure’s golden eyes met hers, an ugly glare and a warning. Sapphire turned away quickly and put her head down. The Nord soldier stared at the General and the suspicious characters he was quietly conversing with.

“Look at him, he sneered. “General Tullius, the Military Governor. And it looks like the Thalmor are with him. Damn Elves, I bet they had something to do with this!” he spat.

Sapphire noticed Ulfric too, was glaring, the dangerous stare and explosive face he gave to the hooded figure sent chills down her spine. The Nord soldier looked around the town as the cart was pulling into its final destination.

“This is Helgen. I used to be sweet on a girl from here. Wonder if Vilod is still making that mead with juniper berries mixed in.” his voice trailed off as he fell silent, staring up thoughtfully at the stone battlements. “Funny, when I was a boy, Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe…” he remarked solemnly.

Sapphire looked around the town, small stone and straw houses dotted all around them. As they passed by an inn, she noticed a family stood outside on the front porch, watching them. The owners maybe? A man, woman and a small boy no older than 10. The boy stared at the carts and the soldiers in them as they passed one by one.

“Who are they daddy? Where are they going?” the boy asked.

“You need to go inside, little cub.” His father replied shooting him and authoritative glare.

“Why? I want to watch the soldiers!” the boy protested, stomping his foot down.

“Inside the house, now!” his father shouted, pointing to the door. “Yes papa…” the boy sighed, hanging his head and heading inside.

Finally, the cart pulled up, sandwiching itself between the other dozen rows of carts that came before it.

“Woah, steady old girl!” the driver exclaimed as jerked back the horse to stop.

“Get these prisoners out of the cart, one at a time, move it!” a female voice suddenly shouted. Sapphire twisted her head to see who spoke. It was a woman, dressed in heavy steel Imperial armour. She wore an open coolus style helmet, lined with silver markings, finished by a straight steel crest. She rested her hands on her hips, glaring at all the rebel soldiers.

“Why are we stopping?” Lokir asked shakily as he watched the tide of blue and bronze rise from the other carts.

“Why do you think?” the Nord soldier questioned as he and Ulfric rose from their seats. “End of the line.” He finished grimly. Sapphire looked to the Nord soldier and she hobbled up slowly, worry in her eyes. “Come on,” he said offering a fake smile. “Shouldn’t keep the gods waiting for us.”

“No! wait! We’re not rebels!” Lokir babbled as they stepped off the cart one at a time.

“Face your death with some courage, thief.” The Nord soldier muttered. Sapphire stared at the sea of soldiers, lines forming in a circular formation around the General and a tall, beefy man dressed in black leather and chain, a large chopping axe at his side. Sapphire felt bile rising in her throat again. Images of her head being cleaved off, her limp body crumpled on the path, blood spurting from her neck, her family and friends not ever knowing that she had been killed in a cruel and unfair way.

"I don’t want to die like this, I can’t, they can’t do this! I didn’t do anything to these soldiers! Lokir is right, even if he is a thief, I’m sure public execution isn’t the punishment for stealing a horse, nor is it for crossing the border. Something isn’t right here. But I can’t say anything, can I? They won’t listen to me. I’m nobody to them…”

Sapphire was pulled from her thoughts by an impatient Imperial captain. “Step towards the block when we call your name. One at a time!” she barked. The captain appeared to be accompanied by another solider. He looked to be in his early 20’s, brown hair, rugged face and dark eyes. He held a small leather ledger in one hand and a quill in the other. The Nord soldier sighed.

“Empire loves the damned lists…” he muttered to himself.

“Ulfric Stormcloak. Jarl of Windhelm.” The Imperial said, examining Ulfric, then presumably scribbling down his name in the ledger.

“It has been an honour, Jarl Ulfric!” the Nord solider jeered as Ulfric walked away and into the line of soldiers awaiting their execution, his head held up high.

“Ralof of Riverwood,” the Imperial continued, the Nord solider giving a final smile to Sapphire as he joined the line. “Lokir of Rorikstead.” He finished. Lokir stepped forward and began to protest.

“No! I’m not a rebel. You can’t do this!” The thief suddenly broke into a sprint, darting past the captain and the dozens of soldiers, taking Sapphire and everyone else by surprise. “You’re not going to kill me!” he taunted, running as fast as his legs would carry him. “Archers!” the Imperial captain commanded. With the point of a finger, three Imperial soldiers readied their arrows against their bowstrings. All pulling the strings back and within one synchronised, swift motion, they let their arrows fly, each one piercing Lokir in the back. A strangled scream escaped his lips as he crumpled to the ground. Sapphire swallowed hard as she watched the soldiers carry the limp body away to a cart. “Anyone else feel like running?” the captain taunted, staring at the remaining and unresponsive crowd of rebel soldiers.

“Wait. You there. Step forward.” The Imperial ushered to Sapphire. Everyone’s eyes were now on her. She took two, very timid steps towards the Imperials, a questioning glance at her jailors. “Who are you?” he asked.

“My name is Sapphire,” she began. The soldier began to search through his ledger, ignoring the rest of the words that appeared to spill from Sapphire’s mouth.

“You from Daggerfall, Breton? Fleeing from some court intrigue?” he asked rhetorically. “Captain, what should we do? She’s not on the list.” He asked. The Imperial captain studied Sapphire’s face, crossing her arms as she made her judgement.

“No. Forget the list. She goes to the block.” Those words rang through Sapphire’s ears like a curse. Sentenced to death for a reason beyond what she knew.

“But I didn-!”

Sapphire attempted to protest, but to no avail. The Imperial closed his ledger and frowned apologetically at Sapphire. “By your orders, Captain. I’m sorry. We’ll make sure your remains are returned to High Rock. Follow the Captain, prisoner.” The Imperial gestured, the captain marching away. Sapphire shot him an angry glare and hung her head in defeat as she dragged her feet across the cobbles, following the captain slowly, and unwillingly.

“Ulfric Stormcloak.” A familiar voice began. Sapphire looked up to see General Tullius standing over Ulfric in a taunting, half-hearted victory pose. “Some here in Helgen call you a hero. But a hero doesn’t use a power like The Voice to murder his king and usurp his throne.” Sapphire could see Ulfric’s hands ball up into a fist, his face was angry and explosive, just like it was when he shot a glare at the hooded figure and its lackeys. A single muffled grunt was all the Jarl could manage from beneath his gag. “You started this war, plunged Skyrim into chaos, and now the Empire is going to put you down, and restore the peace.” Tullius finished, a small grin appearing on his face, knowing that he had won. Before the General could taunt the Jarl anymore, he was interrupted by a sudden, loud thundering roar in the distance. Everyone diverted their attention to the skies, soldiers and rebels alike giving each other confused and concerned stares. Sapphire raised an eyebrow at Ralof, who simply shrugged his shoulders with a puzzled look on his face.

“What was that?” asked one of the Imperials. General Tullius waved his hand dismissively.

“It’s nothing. Carry on.” he commanded.

“Yes, General Tullius!” the Imperial captain saluted as she turned to address a priestess, dressed in hooded orange and yellow robes. “Give them their last rites.” She spat. The priestess stepped forward and raised her arms skyward. As she began to speak, an impatient Stormcloak stepped forward, walking straight up to the chopping block.

“For the love of Talos, shut up and let’s get with other with.” He demanded.

“As you wish.” The priestess replied, sounding somewhat offended. “Come on, I haven’t got all morning!” the Stormcloak shouted as the Imperial captain brought him to his knees and pushed his head down onto the chopping block.

“My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials. Can you say the same?” he taunted as the Imperial headsmen raised his axe. Sapphire clenched her jaw and braced herself for the inevitable. With a grunt, the Imperial headsmen brought his axe down onto the Stormcloak’s neck, creating a clean cut straight through his flesh. His head dropped into a crate below, a fountain of crimson red blood spurting out all over the decapitated head and the cobbles below. The rebel’s limp body slumped to the ground, a pool of blood pooling around his body. A few gasps escaped the crowds of the civilians, the rebels however, were outraged at the death of one of their comrades.

“You Imperial bastards!” one Stormcloak shouted.

“Justice!” cried a villager.

“Death to the Stormcloaks!” cried another.

Sapphire was shocked, she’d killed people before when she had to, but she was always quick about it, never stayed around long enough to think about what she had done, only to loot their bodies of their gold and valuables, or when her father and herself would have to keep bandits away from their homestead. Though Sapphire was clearly shocked, she was quick to regain her composure.

“As fearless in death as he was in life.” Ralof remarked, staring at the headless body slumped on the cobbles.

“Next, the Breton!” the Imperial captain commanded, pointing a finger at Sapphire. Sapphire tried her best to remain her composure, however, her slow and hesitant shuffle towards the bloodied block somewhat gave her away. She stared at the bloody block, the head of the soldier before her staring up at her, wide eyed, mouth agape. She sucked in air, her last breath, exhaled and then got to her knees. The Imperial Captain pushed Sapphire down, her cheek against the fresh blood on the block. She began to sweat, she could almost feel the sharpness of the axe’s blade cutting across her neck, death’s icy grip creeping up to her shoulders, holding her down. A lump formed in her throat and she swallowed hard. It will all be over soon, it will all be over soon… The Imperial headsmen began to bring his axe up slowly, but before he could bring it down onto her neck, another thundering, warning outcry sounded. Just like earlier. The Imperial headsmen stopped his axe halfway and looked to the Imperial Captain with worry in his eyes. Before she could even retort, the ground shook below them, staggering the crowds of men and women. Then, from the clouds, A jagged creature dyed the colour of the darkest nights swooped over the mountains and dipped towards the town, ancient, battered wings splayed and a long, spiny tail trailing after it, maw agape and razor sharp. Sapphire didn't understand what was going on or how any of this was even real. It was as if her brain short-circuited and needed to be rebooted. Around her, time seemed to speed up while she was motionless in the middle of it all. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever think she would witness such a horrifying creature, nevertheless, at an execution!

“What in Oblivion is that?!” General Tullius barked, the sound of this sword withdrawing from its sheath.

“Sentries, what do you see?” The Imperial Captain asked.

“It’s in the clouds!” a soldier yelled, pointing the tip of his sword at the ebony winged beast.

“Dragon!” another shouted.

The weight of the dragon landing on the tower above Sapphire and the crowds of people shook the ground wildly, a thick cloud of dust kicked up. Its hooked claws stabbed into the tower as its blood red eyes glared down at the waves of people below it. The jagged scales that protected its body were nightmarish black, which seemed to absorb the light around it and convert it into darkness. Finishing the dragon’s menacing appearance were a pair of twisted, daemonic black horns which crowned its lizard-like head. The sounds of swords unsheathing and frightened cries of children and adults alike rung in Sapphire’s ears, she cringed at the sounds, the sound of fear enticing the dragon to expel its wrath further. And so, it did, its terrible maw open wide, another otherworldly screech leaving it, the force of the dragon’s fury sent the executioner flying into the carriages and wagons, his bones snapped as his limbs became tangled and disfigured, bent into unnatural shapes from the sheer force and impact, a shocked gasp being the last breath to leave his lips. At the dragon’s call, the sky ripped open, the normal earthy blue becoming a wicked, scorching orangey-red, purple shockwaves rippling across the nightmarish expanse. From inside the tear in the sky, hellfire rained from above, followed by a spectacular shower meteorites that smashed into the buildings, chunks of sharp rock breaking into smaller pieces on impact. Time seemed to stand still as she made eye contact with the dragon’s merciless eyes.

“Guards, get the townspeople to safety, we’re leaving!” General Tullius shouted from somewhere behind Sapphire. She seemed to be trapped in a trance when a familiar voice began to call out to her.

“Hey, Breton. Get up! Come on, the Gods won’t give us another chance!” it was Ralof! Sapphire was quickly pulled back to reality, a surge of adrenaline rushed through her, her body screamed for her to move, and it’s a good thing she did. As she scrambled to her feet and darted towards an already running Ralof, a meteor smashed into the executioner’s block, allowing Sapphire to escape with an inch of her life. Within a split second, Sapphire and Ralof squeezed themselves through the archway of a tower which Ulfric and a few injured Stormcloaks were taking refuge in. Ulfric slammed the door shut behind the two, baring it a wooden latch. Sapphire leaded up against the wall, her hands in her hair, breath heavy as she tried to process what happened.

“Jarl Ulfric! What is that thing? Could the legends be true?” Ralof questioned. Ulfric shot him a look as he cut through the soldier’s binds. “Legends don’t burn down villages.” He replied grimly. “We need to move, now!” he bellowed.

“Up through the tower, let’s go!” Ralof said urgently, motioning to Sapphire. Sapphire nodded and she scrambled desperately up the spiral staircase. As she ascended, she was met with a Stormcloak, who attempted to move a pile of rubble and debris to get to the next floor. Before Ralof and Sapphire could assist, the dragon smashed its head through the wall, the stone flying into the soldier with great force, trapping him below. The Breton and Nord retreated down the steps a little to avoid the dragon’s rage.

YOL TOOR SHUL

A fiery inferno erupted from the dragon’s jaws, scorching the rocks and the soldier below. With any luck, he had died from the initial impact of the wall, and had not been unlucky enough to be burnt alive instead. The dragon retreated, returning to deliver its fury on the rest of the village. Ralof pushed Sapphire back up the steps and towards the gaping hole in the tower that the dragon had made.

“See the inn on the other side? Jump through the roof and keep going! Go! We’ll follow when we can!” Ralof yelled over the roars of the dragon. Sapphire nodded and leaped into the scorching inn as Ralof instructed, molten hay and wood from the roof dropped down by Sapphire’s feet, almost catching her sack clothes on fire. She gasped and let out a few coughs as she took in a breath of smoky air, making her rush through the remains of the upstairs and down through a fissure in the floor. Managing to escape the burning inn unharmed, she ran out into the streets, only to witness the scorched and ruined town around her. Burnt corpses littered the streets, ashes and smoke smouldering from the flame engulfed buildings gave the air a heavy, smoky taste. Sapphire looked around desperately for someone, anybody, she didn’t care who, she just didn’t want to be alone in this gods forsaken town.

“Haming, you need to get over here. Now!” a voice called out. Sapphire looked around to find the source of the voice. Behind the shell of a house was an older man clad in rusty iron armour, along with the Imperial soldier, who had sentenced her to death alongside the Imperial captain. She sighed, though she did ask for anyone to be around. Besides, it’s not like he could arrest her when there was a dragon destroying the village. It was now or never she told herself. His help may be the difference between her living or dying, and she knew which she’d rather be. Alive. So, she ran to the Imperial’s side seeking help, however, he seemed to be focused on the little boy, the one she’d seen as she came into Helgen, standing over his father who was lying in the fetal position, half hugging his knees, half holding his chest in pain. The boy turned his back, tears in his eyes as he looked over at the Imperial, shell-shocked. Suddenly, the dragon swooped down and landed behind the boy and his father, staggering him and almost bringing him down to his knees.

“Haming! Now!” the Imperial called urgently. Haming ran as fast as his little legs would carry him. The older man grabbed him by the shoulders and attempted to comfort him as he looked over his shoulder to his father. Sapphire felt empathy for Haming. She knew the pain of losing a beloved family member all too well. Poor kid.

YOL TOOR SHUL

Fire erupted from the dragon’s mouth, no remorse in its eyes as the flames engulfing Haming’s father flickered against his ebony scales as he burnt him to a crisp. The older man turned him away as he sobbed weakly into the crook of his neck. The Imperial turned to Sapphire in astonishment, dust and debris clouding over them as the dragon took to the sky.

“You’re still alive, prisoner? Well, stay close to me if you want to stay that way,” he said, ushering her close to his side. “Gunnar, take care of the boy. I have to find General Tullius and join their defence.” He finished.

“Gods guide you, Hadvar.” Gunnar croaked as he and Haming disappeared into the smoke and fires of the ruined town for safety.

"Ah, so Hadvar is the name of my jailor, who I suppose is now, my saviour. I shouldn’t get too used to his name, he did sentence me to death for no reason after all. Besides, I must find Ralof. I hope he’s okay."

Sapphire and Hadvar made a brisk, yet stealthy run to a half-collapsed wall. Hadvar looked up for a moment, noticing the dragon was about to land above them. “Damnit! Stay close to the wall!” he shouted to Sapphire. Sapphire backed up against the wall, the dragon landing and perching itself on the wall above them. Its ebony wings cast over her and Hadvar, just inches away from their faces.

YOL TOOR SHUL

A blast of fire expelled from its deathly maw, scorching flames leaping onto a crowd of Imperials, licking their bare skin and burning through their armour, marking them with the dragon’s fiery wrath. The Imperials scattered, leaving General Tullius and a few other soldiers a little less protected as the flames consumed them. The dragon withdrew from the wall, allowing Sapphire and Hadvar to pass through one of the burnt houses. Hadvar ran straight to General Tullius, leaving Sapphire to be exposed by the dragon. Sapphire grunted in annoyance as she ran into an open courtyard, Tullius yelling for his soldiers to get to the keep. “Wait up prisoner!” Hadvar suddenly called from behind her. Sapphire looked around frantically for the Stormcloaks. To her comfort, a now ragged and someone singed Ralof emerged from behind a fallen wall.

“Ralof!” she called out, running towards him. He waved to her with a smile, carefully approaching her. “Where are the others?” Sapphire asked alarmed. But before Ralof could even answer her, his somewhat ‘happy’ face twisted into a poisonous glare. He drew two iron war axes frim his hips, brandishing them aggressively as he stepped in front of Sapphire.

“Ralof! You damned traitor. Out of my way!” Hadvar yelled out, the metal of his sword grinding against his sheath with an ugly metallic noise.

“We’re escaping, Hadvar. You’re not stopping us this time.” Ralof growled.

“Fine. I hope that dragon takes you all to Sovngarde.” Hadvar yelled bitterly. Ralof rolled his eyes and ran to the door of the keep, Sapphire following him close behind. She noticed as she glanced over her shoulder that the dragon was now hovering over Hadvar, shooting him a deathly glare.

“HIN SIL FEN NAHKIP BAHLOKI!”

The dragon swooped down, its talons outstretched wide, aiming for a defending Hadvar… She looked away quickly and the two entered the keep quickly, deadbolting the door behind them. The main chamber was huge and circular with two large gates on the east and west walls, a single small table pushed up against the back wall. Sapphire breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, a time to rest and catch their breaths. Ralof walked over to a fallen Stormcloak who was slumped against the wall. He checked his pulse. No response. He sighed. “We’ll meet again in Sovngarde, brother.” he whispered to the soldier. Ralof quickly regained his composure and turned to Sapphire as he used one of his axes to slice through the bonds around her wrists. “That thing was a dragon, no doubt. Just like the children's stories and the legends. The harbingers of the end times.” He informed, still in disbelief of the events that had just transpired. A slow nod was the only thing Sapphire could manage as she rubbed the red sores around her wrists, her nose wrinkled and she cringed, feeling the tender skin beneath her fingers. Those Imperials weren’t fooling around when they were making sure that their prisoners weren’t able to fight back if they resisted. They made sure the rope was tight! Ralof stared at the soldier for a few moments before he spoke again. “You’d better take Gunjar’s gear. He won’t be needing it anymore.” He gestured to the dead Stormcloak. Sapphire was on him like flies to rotting food. She hastily unbuckled the clasps and straps on the light blue and bronze cuirass, tearing it from his body carelessly, quickly stripping her body of the ragged ensemble. She didn’t even care if Ralof was looking, all she could think about was slipping into some protective gear and arming herself, no doubt there would be trouble. After all, there was no way this place was going to be magically empty, this was a military town, so Imperials were bound to be in the bowels of this place.

“What do you think happened to Hadvar?” Sapphire questioned as she finished fitting the cuirass together and fitting her feet into a pair of snug fur boots, as Ralof inspected the room for a way out.

“I’m not sure. Best not to dwell on it. We need to find a way out.” He said urgently. Ralof tried one of the gates, but it didn’t budge. “Ah, this one is locked. Let’s see about that gate.” He said in annoyance as she approached the other, shaking it lightly. “Damn. No way to open it from our side.” He muttered.

“So, we’re trapped in here then?” Sapphire sneered.

Suddenly, loud footsteps sounded out through the halls and into the chamber. Two figured emerged from the darkness of the poorly lit hall and the Nord-Breton duo shot each other a knowing look and backed up at either side of the wall, brandishing their weapons in anticipation.

“Come on soldier, keep moving!” a familiar voice barked out, the footsteps now feet away from where they were hiding.

“Imperials.” Ralof mouthed, Sapphire nodding back as she readied her axe above her head.

“Get this gate open, now!” the voice commanded. A few incoherent mumbles came from the second, chains rattling, levers clicking, gears turning and grinding together blocking out his speech. The gate rose quickly and the Imperials stepped out slowly into the circular chamber, their swords drawn and ready. Sapphire noted that one of the Imperials was the captain who had sentenced her to death alongside Hadvar. Ralof pointed his axe at the solider and then his other at the captain. Sapphire stood slowly, and suddenly flew at the Imperial captain in a fury, catching her and the soldier by surprise. With a slash into her back, the captain stumbled forwards, Ralof charging in and slashing at the soldier with great power. The Imperial tried to defend himself with his sword, which proved futile for him as the Nord struck him in the kneecap, forcing the soldier to drop his sword as he fell to his knees, clutching it and staring in horror as the blood gushed out through the gaps in his fingers, allowing him to finish him off with one cleave to the head. The Imperial slumped to the floor, dead, brain matter clinging to the head of his axe. Ralof looked back to Sapphire, who, to his surprise, seemed to be handling herself very well. The Imperial captain was a formidable opponent though, as she could defend herself against Sapphire’s fury, managing to give her some nasty cuts in return. As the captain crossed her sword to block her attacks, Sapphire intercepted and incorporated a fatal blow. She struck at the naked area above the joining of her arm and shoulder with a wicked slash, blood pouring out of the huge gash. The captain let out a sharp scream of pain as Sapphire hacked away at her arm, severing the tendons and flesh viciously until it was hanging, the sword in her hand falling to the floor with a loud metallic clatter. Ralof was stunned at her prowess in battle. Never had he ever seen in all his years of being a Stormcloak such a fierce woman, nevertheless a Breton (who typically relied on magic) to attack so viciously and ferociously with such barbarity that even a Nord would be amazed at. Ralof could do nothing but stand back and watch as she severed the captain’s arm off, hacking and slashing furiously at any openings in her armour as she could find. Finally, as the captain could take no more, Sapphire pushed her to the wall and held her in place, her axe against her neck, the blade pressed against her bare skin.

“D-do… it. Do it!” the captain growled through gritted teeth, glaring intensely at the Breton. She did not hesitate. With one swift moment as the Captain cursed the Stormcloak name under her last breaths, Sapphire slid the head of the axe across her neck, an ocean of crimson squirting out and spraying her pale face and neck as she gurgled her curses until she finally fell silent. The Breton released her grip as she wiped the blood the best she could from her face and eyes. She stood and turned to a now, stunned and slightly disturbed Ralof, which made her smile from ear to ear.

“Bet you wasn’t expecting that, was you?” she quizzed, sounding almost proud of herself. Ralof stuttered as he tried to find the words to respond.

“How… I… You?! Who taught you how to do that? Your skills in combat are- “

“Unmatched? Amazing? Unbelievable? Shocking?” she interrupted. All Ralof could do was nod, his mouth slightly ajar.

“Well,” she began as she searched the pockets of the dead Captain for any loot she could carry. “My father taught me. He was a mercenary, back when we lived in High Rock. He taught me how to fight from a young age, taught me tactics, where to strike an enemy, how to catch them off guard and hit them where it really hurts. Picked up my very first sword when I was eight and I haven’t looked back on it since, saved our lives many times. But that’s all you need to know.” As she finished her looting, she picked up a single iron key and presented it to Ralof. “Could be the way out of here.” She mused. Ralof stared at the key and to the gate as he thought of what Sapphire had told him and what he could say next.

“Try it.” He said simply.

Sapphire fitted the key into the lock and turned it. The lock clicked and with a gentle push, the gate swung open. She and Ralof stepped into the room, a spiral staircase leading down further into the keep.

“That’s it. Let’s get out of here before the dragon brings the whole tower down on our heads.” He warned as he stepped quickly, but cautiously down the steps. As they descended further and reached the bottom, they were met with a long, wide hallway. Stepping into the light, appeared to be a band of Stormcloaks, their unmistakeable blue and bronze armour giving them away. Ralof called out and stepped forwards and as he did, the muffled roar of the dragon outside sounded out, the hall and the ceiling above them shook wildly causing the two to stumble as chunks of stone collapsed into a huge pile of rubble, kicking up a huge dust cloud which dispersed quickly, revealing the path to the Stormcloaks now inaccessible.

“Damn. That dragon doesn’t give up easy.” Ralof muttered. Sapphire suddenly tapped the Nord on the shoulder and pressed a finger against her lips, pointing to a door back up the hall. She could hear voices, males by the sound of it talking in shaky and frantic tones.

“Imperials.” She whispered, creeping to the door, opening it slowly, watching through a gap. Ralof towered above her, also watching. One man, clad in heavy Imperial officer armour was pacing around impatiently whist the other was searching around the room in cupboards and baskets, presumably for supplies and hoping for a quick getaway.

“How do you want to play this? Element of surprise?” she whispered tactfully.

“Maybe. However, we could just run in there and strike them down. I doubt they’d be expecting that.” He countered.

“Alright.” She withdrew her axe and put one hand on her door.

“In three, we charge.” Ralof suggested.

3… 2… 1…

Sapphire and Ralof stormed the room, a war cry roared from Ralof as he dashed towards the Imperial officer, his axes slashing away into his back. Sapphire lunged past to the other, her hand quickly smothering a now struggling Imperial as he desperately tried to reach for his sword. The Breton was faster than he was, though and she quickly put an end to him as she dragged her axe across his neck, blood spraying out everywhere. The officer, now enraged at the death of his friend dived towards Sapphire, swinging his sword wildly as he edged closer to her. She took a step back as he got closer, she studied him, looking for a place to snag him whist he swung his sword at her. Ralof quickly intervened, delivering a sharp blow to the head with a heavy cast-iron pot which knocked the officer off course. Sapphire shot an appreciative stare at the Nord as she raced to deliver a multitude of attacks, Ralof alongside her. It didn’t take long for the duo to finish the officer off, and they managed to come out of the battle with no cuts, unlike the battle before.

“Looks like a storeroom.” Sapphire observed.

“Yeah, see if you can find some potions, or anything useful.” Ralof breathed as he wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. As they both searched the room, an outburst of sudden, angry voices sounded out below them. The Nord looked to the Breton and she nodded, pocketing a few red and green coloured bottles she picked out from a barrel. The two rushed out the storeroom and down a set of stairs. As they approached a hallway, a Stormcloak was suddenly blasted into the wall by a vicious bolt of lightning.

“Looks like our little Imperial friends are back.” Sapphire joked as she charged into battle. The Breton raced around the corner and flew down the stairs that descended into a torture room, littered with skeleton filled cages. A torturer and a soldier cornered another Stormcloak, a bolt of lightning crackled in the hand of the torturer whilst the other pointed his sword tauntingly at the cornered rebel. Sapphire was quick, she rushed in whist Ralof tended to the injured Stormcloak. The Imperials though, were faster this time. The torturer let lose his bolt of lightning and to his surprise, she seemed to be barely affected by it.

“I’m a Breton, mage. We can absorb incoming magic and your lightning is no exception.” She taunted, a wicked smile spreading across her face. “I too, can cast my own magic.” She challenged. With a flick of her wrist, a ball of fire erupted from her palm and exploding in a fiery inferno which engulfed the torturer, interrupting his lightning spell and lighting him on fire. Pained screeches left his mouth as the flames burnt away at his skin, producing a crackling noise and producing a horrible burning fleshy smell. The torturer fell to the floor as he clawed at his now raw face, skin peeling of and whittling away as the flames danced across his face, his fingernails cutting into his flesh causing blood to leak out and trickle down his burnt uniform, and the other Imperial soldier was clearly mortified, yet remained his composure and defended against a now attacking Sapphire. She let out a grunt as she poured all her stamina into one huge power attack causing him to stagger greatly, allowing her to deliver a few blows to the man, into which her new Stormcloak friends quickly intercepted and delivered the final finishing kills. One soldier rushed in, Sapphire kicked the Imperial in the gut and towards the Stormcloak, into which he brought his mighty battle-axe straight through the Imperials head, slicing him down the middle, his skull cracking like a walnut and his guts and entrails spilling out in a pile beneath him, blood and all. Sapphire thanked the Stormcloaks warmly but Ralof quickly chimed in.

“Was Jarl Ulfric with you?” he asked worriedly.

“No, I haven’t seen him since the dragon showed up.” The female Stormcloak responded. Sapphire searched around the room whist the Stormcloaks conversed, and to her delight, she found an iron shield, some gold and an iron mace. She smiled to herself as she brandished her new weapon of destruction.

“You done looting?” Ralof asked, a hint of disgust in his voice as she picked the room clean of valuables.

“Yeah, I’m done.” She grinned, brandishing her new mace and shield. Sapphire, Ralof and the two Stormcloaks delved further into the keep, dingy, dark and decrepit jail cells the deeper they got, which soon lead them into a clearing. There was a huge, gaping hole in the walls that seemed to cut into a cave system which could potentially be a way out. Makeshift braziers lit the way as Sapphire and her merry band trudged through the cave. Sapphire stopped abruptly, the sound of water flooding through her ears.

“This way seems good,” she said optimistically, a small smile forming on her face. “Where there’s a source of running water, there’s usually a way out. But we better not keep our guard down yet.” She reminded.

“Do you think there are any more Imperials down here?” Ralof chimed in.

“Could be. But even if there is, we all work together and bring them down as quickly as we can.” Sapphire stopped before she turned the corner, she clung to the side of the wall listened carefully.

“Orders are to wait until General Tullius arrives.” One voice sounded out.

“I’m not waiting to be killed by a dragon! We need to fall back.” Another replied angrily. The Breton turned back to the group of Nords and crouched down.

“Anyone have any ideas?” she asked.

“How many of them is there?” the female Stormcloak asked. Sapphire poked her head around the corner quickly, mumbled to herself then turned back to the group.

“I counted maybe 8 or 9. Either way, we’re outnumbered. However, I did see an oil lamp and a few Imperials stood below it, coincidentally she said with a smirk.

“Then you can light it on fire? You can shoot fireballs, can’t you?” Asked the male Stormcloak. Sapphire nodded, flicking her wrists, a small ball of fire burned in the palm of her hand.

“Okay, so you set them on fire, and we charge in and assault them, yeah?” Ralof asked.

“Yep. Now, let’s do this.” Sapphire crept forwards and stealthily edged her way into a dark spot in the room, Ralof and his Stormcloaks brandishing their weapons and locking on their targets. The Breton aimed her palm upwards to the oil lamp and whoosh! The fireball flew from her hand and exploded in a blazing inferno, the oil lamp erupting with fire and raining down on the small group of Imperials that were conversing below it. As the flames engulfed them, quickly burning them to a crisp, Ralof and the Stormcloaks dashed in, striking their foes down one by one. Arrows suddenly flew across the room, bouncing off the walls as the Imperial archers made attempts to take them down from a distance. Sapphire quickly leaped out from the shadows at a passing archer, who had moved in closer to get more range. With a quick bash to his skull with her new mace, he stumbled back, allowing Sapphire to kick him over the wooden railings and into a large square ditch of water below, where the Stormcloaks were finishing off the Imperials below. The Imperial she had pushed off landed with a thud, his head cracking open below as he rocks.

“I think that’s all of them.” Sapphire breathed, rubbing her hands together as she looked around the chamber. Ralof climbed the stairs and came to her side, noticing another passageway that lead out.

“Look, maybe that’s our exit. Let’s go ahead, see if the way is clear.” He informed, making his way to the hall. Sapphire walked beside him, but the Stormcloaks did not follow.

“We’re not going to go on. We’ll keep watch in case Ulfric comes through here. Talos guide the both of you.” The female Stormcloak said.

“It’s been good fighting alongside you. Goodbye, and may the gods be with you.” Sapphire beamed with sincerity, departing with a smile as she left the chamber and went deeper into the cave. Ralof stood on the end of a ledge, a waterfall crashing down with a mighty roar and stream of water running below, running down further into the cave. Not long to go now. As Sapphire approached him, the earth above them suddenly crumbled and the distant roar of the dragon could be heard. As the noise sounded out and shook the cave, the ceiling above from where the duo had come from caved in, rocks tumbling down and blocking anyone from coming through or getting out. Ralof stared at the pile of fallen rocks and sighed irritably.

“No going back that way now.” He mumbled, making haste as he climbed down the ledge, following the stream of water deeper into the cave. Sapphire dumped down and ran beside him.

“Looks like it ends over there. Look, the rocks have blocked the rest of the stream off.” She noted.

“We still have to push on. I hope the others find another way out.” He said, his voice trailing off as he detoured through a narrow passage cut out into the wall. “Through here.” He instructed.

The Nord and Breton slid through the narrow passage and into a large, poorly lit chamber. The only source of light being the brightness of the sun that seeped through the crevices of the cave’s roof. Sapphire squinted her eyes to the darker parts of the chamber. She observed a thin, white substance covering the earth below them. Getting down on one knee, she pulled a piece of it from the ground, feeling its silky yet tough texture thoughtfully between her finger and thumb. She searched through her mind of what the material could be, and to her horror, when she stared up, wrapped around the stalagmites hanging from the top of the cave, was the disfigured, decayed and oddly green coloured shape of a human, hanging upside-down and secured neatly to the jagged rock formations was the same silky white material. They were webs. Huge, white hulking egg sacks that seemed to twitch were glued to every corner of the walls and every space on the ceiling, bones of various animals and humans lay scattered around in a mass grave. Sapphire swallowed and she quickly made haste and alarm Ralof.

“We need to get out of here, now.” Sapphire whispered in an urgent tone.

“Why are you whispering? Is something the matter?” Ralof asked, his voice suddenly echoing as it bounced off the walls. Suddenly, a loud thud sounded from behind them. Sapphire and Ralof spun around almost simultaneously and to their dismay, the body of a very large, half-eaten, mangled and bloodied rat lay at their feet. Sapphire lit a ball of fire in her hands to light the room to see what was above them. Big mistake. Both stared up, and staring back at them were five large, hideous spiders. six hairy appendages on each, four large, black slanted eyes sunken into their spiked skulls, ridiculously large and jagged fangs for mouths and a huge thorax. A green liquid dripped from one of the spider’s fangs, dripping into a puddle by the duo’s feet. One by one, the spiders dropped to the floor, their fangs snapping, venomous juices dripping, a sharp hissing sound emitted from the largest one, and suddenly, they pounced. Sapphire let out a grunt as she held her shield up to her face, the weight of the smallest ones struggling to keep her on her feet. Sapphire spun to her side and began to bash the dog-sized spider into a wall, its hard-backed shell cracking each time it impacted against the rocks. Ralof sprinted to the other side of the chamber, the largest of the spiders scuttling after him. As Sapphire managed to kill the spider who had latched itself onto her shield, she summoned up a fire ball in her hand and shot it at the spiders. The inferno engulfed them, shrieks of pain left their ‘mouths’ as their delicate and unprotected skin crackled in the fire. Ralof hacked and slashed at the burning spiders, slicing their thoraxes and severing their legs. The fire made quick work of these spiders, thankfully. Ralof stared at the burning spiders around him in disgust and shivered.

“Hate them damn things. To many eyes, you know?” he muttered Sapphire.

“I think they eyes are the least scariest things about them. They’re literally as big as dogs and all you have to say about them is their eyes? Gods, we hardly ever see things like this in the caves in High Rock.”

“Oh yeah? What do you have then?” Ralof challenged.

“Goblins.” Sapphire snorted distastefully. Ralof and Sapphire chuckled to themselves as they made a quick haste from the spider’s lair. “Another big opening. And look, there’s that river.” Sapphire informed as she stepped into the large chasm. Ralof stood beside her and looked around for a moment whist she cleared the cobwebs from her hair and fixed one of the pleats at the side of her face. Suddenly, a smile peeled across the Nord’s face, his face lit up and he pointed over to the huge mouth of the cave.

“Over there! Look! There’s the way out! I knew we’d make it.” He mused.

“Finally.” Sapphire sighed. “I was getting bored of killing things.” She mumbled sarcastically.

“Wait,” Ralof abruptly whispered.

“Oh, what now?” Sapphire groaned in annoyance.

“Look, it’s a bear. She’s just ahead. You see her? I’d rather not tangle with her now. But, if you’re feeling lucky, you can take this bow. Might take her by surprise.” Ralof whispered, passing his bow and a quiver of arrows to her. Sapphire stared at the weapon and pushed it back to Ralof. Sapphire stared at the bear. It was large, blown and fluffy Huge black claws protruded from its huge paws. It snorted in its slumber, ears twitching as it dreamt.

“No, I think I’ve had my fair share of killing today. Let’s leave her be.” Sapphire muttered, crouching down and making a move to the farthest edge of the cave wall, Ralof following her lead. As soon as the duo got out of the sight of the bear, they both made a sprint for the cave mouth.

...

The sudden light from the afternoon sun almost blinded them, forcing them to shield their eyes as they attempted to adjust to the outside world. That fresh Skyrim breeze brushed passed Sapphire again, and the warm Spring sun warmed her body. She took in all the fresh air she could, inhaling sharply, the smell of fresh flowers and trees filled her nose, the sounds of birds singing their songs rang out through her ears. She looked around her, freshly fallen snow blanketed the mouth of the cave and stretched down the rugged mountain path and the forest of pine trees that towered above them, the lake in the far distance that sat at the feet of the far-off mountains rushed down the lakebed with a mighty roar. Ralof stretched his arms out and smiled at the comforting sight of the outdoors. Suddenly, a thundering roar sounded out overhead, echoing all over the mountains.

“Get down!” Ralof almost shouted as he dragged Sapphire down behind a rock.

Looking up to the sky, that same black dragon that had burnt Helgen to the ground flew overhead over to the mountains. Ralof waited a few moments before he was sure it was safe.

“There he goes. Looks like he’s gone for good this time. No way to know if anyone else made it out alive though. This place will be swarming with Imperials soon enough. We’d better clear out of here.” He breathed, walking down the snowy, rugged mountain path with haste. Sapphire pondered as she followed behind Ralof slowly.

"I’m glad we made it out of there alive… I owe this man my life. He didn’t have to help me, I was nobody to him, just a stranger who got mixed up in an ambush, yet he helped me anyways, and he stuck by my side as we went through Oblivion itself. I hope I’ll be able to repay him one day."

“My sister, Gerdur runs the mill in Riverwood, just up the road. I’m sure she’d help you out.” Ralof’s sudden cheery mood snapped her out from her thoughts.

“That’s where you live, isn’t it? It was what Hadvar said before we were going to get executed.” Sapphire recalled.

“Yes. It’s safe there. We have a blacksmith, a general goods store and an inn. It’s all you could ever ask for in a small village.” Ralof said fondly as he turned to Sapphire with a smile. Sapphire stared down the mountains and to a distant village sat snugly between the huge river that spanned the lands to its right and the tall, vast snowy mountains to the left. She looked back to Ralof with a grin.

“To Riverwood?” he asked.

“To Riverwood.” She beamed.

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Dragon tongue translation: Hin sil fen nahkip bahloki = Your soul will feed my hunger