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Close Encounters of the Bloody Kind

Chapter Text

 

It was hard to remember how I got here, I couldn’t remember what I was doing or where I was before waking up in a cart full of strangers. There were three of them in the cart with me, three men who were bound at the wrists and it also seemed as though one of the men was gagged.

How odd.

Looking down at my own hands, I noticed that I was bound as well.

Looks like I’ve done something I shouldn’t have… I thought to myself.

I peered at the three men who were seated around me, the two men sitting opposite me were chatting to each other off and on for a little while. The gagged man just kept his head down, not wanting to interact with anybody in the cart. I looked around and watched the world move past as we headed down the road. I decided to keep my mouth shut, I didn’t want to say or do anything that might get me in more trouble. I wouldn’t do anything that I knew would get be killed; I had to play it smart.

“Hey, you. You’re finally awake. You were trying to cross the border right? Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there.” The blonde man sitting across from me said. Well, at least now I know how I ended up bound and in rags but it doesn’t answer the main question, what was I doing trying to cross the border?

“Damn you Stormcloaks. Skyrim was fine until you came along. The Empire was nice and lazy. If they hadn’t been looking for you, I could’ve stolen that horse and been halfway to Hammerfell by now.” The dark haired man turned to look at me.

“You there, you and me, we shouldn’t be here. It’s the Stormcloaks the empire wants.” Said the dark haired man who was sitting opposite me. I had no idea what he was talking about, what the hell is a Stormcloak?

“We’re all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief.” The blonde man said. He looked like he was a guard or a soldier of sorts. The two men glared at each other before a guard on a horse behind us told them to shut up, pulling them out of their little bubble.

Ahhh, men.

Silence fell between the men in the cart, the sound of the carts wooden wheels against the uneven surface of the road filled the air.

“My name is Ralof,” Said the blonde man, “and this thief here is…”

“I’m Lokir, the pleasure is mine my lady” He nodded his head in my direction, a dark curl fell forward and rested against his forehead.

“What’s wrong with him, huh?” Lokir said, gesturing towards the gagged man beside me.

“Watch your tongue. You’re speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King.” Ralof said firmly.

What the fuck? Why was there a king on this cart? I was beyond confused.

“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 said, the fear becoming more noticeable in his voice.

“I don’t know”, Ralof said, “But Sovngarde awaits.”

I zoned out for the rest of the ride, looking around at the world around me. I noticed a signpost that was labeled Helgen. That must be where we’re headed.

“General Tullius, sir! The headsman is waiting!” A soldier yelled out, snapping me back into reality. I looked at Lokir and Ralof, they tried not to look fearful but it was obvious that they were scared.

“Good. Let’s get this over with.” The General said, he seemed to be fed up with this whole ordeal already. Couldn’t blame him though, beheading people was a bloody pain!

I looked over at Lokir and Ralof as we became closer to our final destination, he was whispering to himself. “Shor, Mara, Dibella, Kynareth, Akatosh. Divines, please help me!” He was praying, he was praying to the gods to save his life. It’s always the way, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in the gods, when you know you’re going to die, you will pray to anybody for help.

“Look at him, General Tullius, the Military Governor. And it looks like the Thamor are with him. Damn Elves. I bet they had something to do with this. 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. Funny, when I was a boy, Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe.” Ralof said as we moved through the town, the locals standing outside, watching the filthy criminals head towards death.

The cart came to a halt, Ulfric lifted his head for the first time and the four of us all looked at each other.

“Why are we stopping?” Lokir said with panic in his voice.

“Why do you think? End of the line. Let’s go. Shouldn’t keep the Gods waiting for us.” Ralof said calmly. Ulfric looked at the two men before giving me a sideways glance.

Lokir began to start breathing a little faster, his eyes darting around as if they were looking for something. One by one we stepped down from the cart and lined up in front of two soldiers, one of which was holding a scroll and the other was what looked to like the Captain.

“No! Wait! We’re not rebels!” Lokir shouted. His heart was beating so fast that you could almost hear it.

“Face your death with come courage, thief.” Ralof stood tall; he was prepared to die with honor.

“You’ve got to tell them! We weren’t with you! This is a mistake!” Lokir was gradually panicking more and more.

This isn’t going to end well…

The Captain stepped forward and addressed all of the prisoners, “Step towards to block when we call your name, one at a time.”

“The Empire loves their damn lists.” Ralof whispered to me, not taking his eyes of the Imperial soldiers in front of us.

The solider standing with the scroll began to read and check off names from the list that was printed on the parchment in front of him.

“Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm” Ulfric walked over towards the chopping block, standing in front of it with a few other prisoners.

“It’s been an honor Jarl Ulfric!” Ralof said to Ulfric while he walked away.

“Ralof of Riverwood. Lokir of Rorikstead.” I watched Ralof walk over and join the other prisoners but Lokir, he didn’t move. His breathing became faster and louder, his eyes darting around even more, beads of sweat dripped from his forehead and down his cheek.

“No! I’m not a rebel. You can’t do this!” He took off, running for the forest beyond the town gates.

“Halt!” The Captain yelled but Lokir kept running. “Archers!” All at once, the archers nocked their arrows, aimed and fired. Lokir hit the ground hard. One of the arrows hit the back of his neck and made a clean exit out of this throat.

Shit!

I knew that I needed another plan, I had to get out of here and running was not an option anymore.

“Wait. You there. Step Forward. Who are you?” The soldier pointed at me with his quill. I followed his order and stepped forward but remained silent.

I don’t know my name, how can I not know my name? What the hell happened to me? I began to think; I needed to come up with a name, fast.

“Speak prisoner!” The Captain demanded.

“Calanthe, my name is Calanthe.” I don’t know how I came up with it but it worked, .

“You’re not from around here? Where do you hail from stranger?” The soldier said with a raise of an eyebrow.

“I… I come from a place far from here, not many people know about it.” I said quietly.

“With hair that white and eyes that grey, you’re definitely a long way from home, I’ve never heard of anybody in Skyrim with such features like yours.” The Solider said, he meant it as a compliment, the slight smile reassured me of this.

The solider looked at his superior, “Captain, what should we do? She’s not on the list.”

“Forget the list. She goes to the block!” The captain pointed towards the rest of the prisoners, gesturing towards the executioner and his axe.

“By your orders, Captain. Follow the Captain, prisoner.” The solider went back to his list, making notes along side the names.

I followed the Captain and joined the rest of the prisoners, we stood there waiting for our time, waiting to be called to the block and to have our head separated from our shoulders.

General Tullius walked over to us and he stood directly in front of Ulfric, looking him in the eyes.

“Ulfric Stormcloak. Some here in Helgen called you a hero. But a Hero doesn’t use a power like The Voice to murder his King and usurp his throne.”

What the hell is The Voice? Did he just shout at the former king?

Ulfric simply grunted his response. Tullius took this as a chance to continue speaking his mind.

“You started this war, plunged Skyrim into chaos, and now the Empire is going to put you down and restore the peace.”

I was half expecting Tullius to start poking Ulfric in the chest while calling him a big meanie.

I’ve missed something big… SWEET FUCK!

A loud rumble came from the sky, making everybody jump out of their skin.

“What was that?” The soldier who checked us off the list earlier rushed over to the General and they both looked up, examining the sky.

“It was nothing. Carry on.” The General looked over towards the Captain and gave a single nod. This was it.

“Yes, General Tullius. Give them their last rites.” The Captain instructed the priestess. She was still looking up at the sky, lost in thought. The Captains order pulled her back into reality by giving her a little fright. The priestess walked over to and addressed all of the prisoners.

“As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessings of the Eight Divines upon you, for you are the salt and earth or Nirn, our beloved….”

“For the love of Talos! Shut up and lets get this over with!” Yelled a soldier who was dressed in the same uniform as Ralof.

Another Stormcloak? Seems as though they’re not popular around these parts.

The priestess was a little taken back by the mans demand, but she was polite enough and nodded politely.

“As you wish” She said and the solider walked over to the block, mumbling something along the way before kneeling down and resting his head on the cold block. I couldn’t look away, I watched as the executioner lifts his axe and swings. The strike was clean. The soldier’s head dropped and rolled onto the ground. You could see the expression on his face, his mouth open and eyes wide; it was the look of fear. His bloody body was still shaking when it was kicked off the block. It landed on the ground by his severed head.

I need to think, fast!

“You imperial bastards!” Another Stormcloak yelled, this caused many of the other prisoners to yell and spit profanity. I remained still, not wanting to bring attention to myself.

“Next, the foreigner!” The Captain looks at me, before another rumble came from the sky, this one was louder.

“There it is again! Did you hear that?” The soldier shouted at the Captain. She ignored him and the taking a quick peak at the sky.

The soldier nodded and turned to me, “To the block prisoner, nice and easy.”

I take a deep breath approach the block. The Captain pushed me down with her muddy boot, pressing me into the block with more force than necessary. I closed my eyes and waited for the strike. It never came.

End of Chapter One

Chapter Text

“What in Oblivion is that?”

What is going on now?

I opened my eyes to see everybody around me looking at the sky, fear painted on each of their faces. General Tullius was pointing at something that was off in the distance.

“Sentries! What do you see?” The Captain shouted at her soldiers.

“There! It’s in the clouds!”

I looked up. I couldn’t believe it…

Its... it’s a….

“DRAGON!” A Stormcloak soldier screamed, we were all frozen with fear.

The black beast lands on top of the watchtower and looks down at us before lifting his head into the sky and roaring.

It was almost as if he was shouting something into the heavens…

The Dragon roared and that’s when the sky changed. It went from a beautiful blue to a mixture of colours, the sky began to spin, creating a whirlpool and dropping flaming boulders to the ground below.

Holy fucking shit

He shouted again, this time it shook us all, blowing some people over, knocking them to the ground with force. I struggled to get my bearings, when your hands are bound and there’s a dragon knocking you around, it does make it a little challenging.

“Don’t just stand there! Kill that thing! Guards, get the towns people to safety!” Tullius shouted his orders and the guards went to work. The Archers started trying to shoot down the Dragon but his hide was too thick for the arrows to penetrate.

Ralof ran over to me and helped pull me to my feet, “Hey, foreigner! Get up! Come on, the Gods won’t give us another chance!”

He was right. We both sprinted over into the other tower next to the inn; I could hear the screams and cries of the men outside who were trying to fight off the Dragon as I ran to safety. Ralof and I made it into the tower; Ulfric was in there along with two other Stormcloak soldiers.

“Jarl Ulfric! What is that thing? Could the legends be true?” Ralof managed to get out between breaths.

“Legends don’t burn down villages.” Ulfric seemed calm when he spoke, “We need to move, now!” With that, we all ran up the stone stairs and headed to the top of the tower. A soldier ran in front of me, leading the way.

“We just need to move some of these rocks to clear th…” He wasn’t able to finish his sentence before the Dragon broke down the stone wall.

“Yol… Toor… Shul!” The Dragon shouted, burning the solider until he was no more than a pile of ash.

Those… those are words! I thought to myself, The Dragon said something…

“See the inn on the other side? Jump through the roof and keep going. We’ll follow you when we can!” Ralof said, giving a brief nod before turning to make his way back down the stairs.

“Ralof!” I shouted,

“She does speak!” He smiled, “What is it foreigner?”

“Stay safe.” I said and Ralof smiled again and made his way back down the stairs.

I could see the inn on the other side, it was a big jump but I could make it. I stepped back as far as I could to give myself as much of a running start as I could. I leapt off broken wall and fell onto the wooden floor of the inn.

“FUCK!” I winced as I landed a little close to the fire than I would have liked. Picking myself back up I ran to the end of the room and jumped down to the ground floor of the inn. I could see the solider from before, the same solider who checked my name off the list. He was shouting something, I ran over to him to try and help.

“Haming, you need to get over here. Now!”

“Yol… Toor… Shul!” The Dragon incinerated more men without a second thought. The soldier turned and saw me standing there.

“Still alive prisoner? Keep close to me if you want to stay that way. Gunnar, take care of the boy. I have to find General Tullius and join the defense.”

“Gods guide you, Hadvar!” Shouted Gunnar, taking the young boy and shielding him from the danger.

His name is Hadvar? Well at least I can die knowing his name now.

Hadvar and I ran across the now battleground and took cover against a wall. Sticking close to it, we waited for an opening, that was until the Dragon came and perched itself on the wall before turning the building in front of us into a raging inferno. Hadvar and I remained still, the Dragons head was now right in front of us.

Well, this is a little too close for comfort for my taste…

Hadvar held a finger to his lips, signaling for me to stay quiet. We waited until the Dragon took off before we made our move. Hadvar lead the way as we made our way through a burning house and down towards General Tullius. We almost reach him before he waves at us to head to Helgen Keep. We crossed paths with Ralof.

He’s still alive!

“Ralof! You damned traitor. Out of my way!” Shouted Hadvar as we made our way to the door of the keep.

“We’re escaping, Hadvar! You’re not stopping us this time!” Ralof ran in the opposite direction.

Hadvar and I took shelter in the keep where we took a moment to catch our breath. We were silent for a couple of minutes; I rested my weight against a wooden pole while Hadvar looked around the room for supplies.

“Fuck! The must be something here!” Hadvar growled in frustration, pulling open drawers and looking in cupboards for something. I noticed something through the gap in his armor. He was bleeding.

“Hadvar…”

“Not now, foreigner.”

“Hadvar!” I made my way over to him hoping he would take a moment to allow me to address the fact that he had an injury but he was still too focused on his search for the unknown object.

“I said, not now!” He snapped, turning around to face me. He didn’t scare me, not at all. He looked at me and I simply pointed with my bound hands to injured abdomen. He looked down at his wound and swore under his breath. He began to remove his armor and took a seat at the small table that was set up in the corner of the stone room.

“How did this happen? I don’t remember getting cut.” He said as he lifted up the hem of his shirt to examine his wound. Hadvar was a little quieter now, the shock and pain from his injury finally setting in. I looked at him and slowly padded over to him, kneeling on the cold floor in front of him. He froze and moved his gaze to mine.

“What are you doing?” I didn’t respond. I took my ragged top in my hand and tried to tear off a strip but my bindings wouldn’t allow it.

“Here, let me.” Hadvar took his dagger and sliced the rope that was wrapped around my wrists. It felt so good to have them off, I could see the red imprints that would soon turn to bruises but pushed it out of my mind quickly. I went back to my top and tore a wide strip off. Hadvar’s eyebrows went straight up, the pain he was in was suddenly out of his mind. When I tore a strip off my rags, it exposed the bottom of my toned abdomen and the bottom of my breasts. This didn’t leave much to the imagination and Hadvar did not have an issue with it.

“This is going to hurt.” I said, grabbing the bottle of rum that was sitting on the table beside us and poured it onto his wound. Hadvar let out a pained cry but quickly gathered himself and tried to maintain a manly appearance.

“You’re not going to need to be stitched up, it’s a shallow cut.” I said as I stoop up and grabbed the hem of his shirt, lifting it over his head and resting it on the table. Hadvar protested a little but gave in when he knew that I was only trying to help him. His torso was firm and lean, he had a light dusting of chest hair that matched his thick, auburn hair. He had a couple of scars on his shoulders and stomach. I looked at them and Hadvar looked at me.

“Occupational hazard. The scars come with the job.” He gave me a small smile and I returned it and I knelt back down on the floor.

“You don’t talk much, do you?” I shook my head, not wanting Hadvar to ask questions about my past or who I was. I couldn’t answer questions I didn’t know the answer too. It was safer that I just didn’t say anything.

Hadvar took my chin and tilted my head up so I looked him in the eye. His hands were callused but gentle.

“I’m not going to hurt you, you don’t have to say anything you don’t want to but if we’re going to get out of here alive, you’re going to have to communicate with me.” His eyes were locked onto mine, he knew I was scared and something was up. I knew Hadvar was right, if we were to get out alive, we needed to work together.

“My name is Calanthe, that’s all you need to know. I should thank you, Hadvar. You saved my life. Thank you.” I said as I dressed Hadvar’s bloody wounds. He smiled.

“Thank me when we’re out of this place alive.” I looked back up at him and returned his smile. I tied off his bandages so that they were firm and would protect his injury. I stood up and handed Hadvar his shirt, he slipped it on and then put his armor on over the top, fastening it so it wouldn’t move.

“Thank you Calanthe. Now, there’s a way out of here through an underground tunnel, it should be smooth sailing but here, take this just in case. Stay behind me and only use this if you really need to.” I took the steel dagger in my right hand and kept it pointing downwards. Hadvar drew his sword and grabbed a torch from the wall before leading the way down the stone staircase and towards the tunnel that would lead us to safety.

We got lucky, only running into a couple of skeevers and some frostbite spiders, which Hadvar gladly took care of. We didn’t talk much on the way through the tunnel, other than when Hadvar asked if I was ok and when I asked him if there was anything else I could do to help.

“It’s alright, Calanthe. I can handle it.” He said, keeping his eyes on the dark tunnel ahead.

We pushed through and made it through safely, I couldn’t help but feel horrible for those who perished inside the gates of Helgen. Once we made it outside, we checked the skies and saw no sign of the Dragon, only what was left from its attack. The smell of smoke and burning flesh filled the air; Hadvar and I stood and watched as the remains of the town burnt off.

“We got lucky.” Hadvar sheathed his sword before he turned and sat on a nearby rock. Taking a moment to rest and catch his breath.

“All of those innocent people. Dead. Killed by a flying lizard!” I dropped to the ground and rolled onto my back, lying down to look at the sky. I couldn’t believe what just happened. First I can’t remember who I am or where I come from and the next minute I’m running away from a fire-breathing reptile.

“It’s not your fault, you weren’t even meant to be on that cart. Look,” Hadvar said as he came over to lie on the ground next to me. “Everybody in Tamriel thought the dragons had died out long ago, they were just a legend now but something has obviously changed, dragons are back and we cant stop that.” I wasn’t sure if he was telling me this or telling himself.

Hadvar sat up and looked at me, “Calanthe, go to Riverwood, my uncle is the blacksmith there, he will give you food, clothes, a place to rest up. When you’re ready, come to Solitude. I’ll be with the Imperial Soldiers in Solitude, so if you need to contact me for any reason, please send a letter. A courier will deliver it and I’ll come find you. You’re obviously new to Skyrim and I’d like to make sure that you’re safe.” Hadvar stood up and took my hands in his, helping me up off the ground.

“Here, it’s not much but it’ll help you, keep the dagger too, even if you don’t use it, it’ll remind you of me.” Hadvar gave me a wink and a sly grin and I couldn’t help but blush in return. We began our journey to Riverwood, thankfully it was just down the hill.

Hadvar didn’t stay for long, he took his uncles horse and set off for Solitude. Alvor and his wife made me feel at home, giving me some fresh clothes to wear and some food to suppress my hunger. I decided to stick around for a few days, gather my strength and help out where I could. Solitude would have to wait a little while longer, I needed to retrace my steps. I needed to find out who I was and why I was trying to get to Skyrim.

Chapter Text

“Take these, dear, can’t have you getting hungry on your journey.” Sigrid was Alvor’s wife and she was one of the most caring and welcoming people. She was helping me prepare for my trip by packing me a bag full of food, water and a few extra bits and pieces.

“Riften is a good place to start, it seems as though you may have come from that way and the towns folk are nice enough. Just stay away from the Thieves Guild and the Black-Briars, they’re trouble and you want to avoid getting into that.” Sigrid finished packing my knapsack and attached a bedroll on the front of it.

I had stayed with Alvor and Sigrid for 4 days after escaping Helgen with Hadvar. I helped out around the forge and did a few odd jobs around Riverwood to earn a little coin and to earn my keep. Sven at the Sleeping Giant Inn would continuously hit on me when I delivered fresh fish or firewood for Delphine and Orgnar.

What is it with bards and flirting, I mean seriously, you only know like 3 songs. Back the fuck up, lover boy!

Faendal was happy to show me the basics when it came to using a bow and arrow, I picked it up surprisingly fast. We ended up spending an afternoon fishing for salmon, shooting arrows into the river and pulling out many fish. It was fun and it made me some decent coin. At least I’ll be able to hunt for food while I make my way to Riften. I had made some wonderful friends in Riverwood and would definitely come back to see them again. First things first, find out who I am.

I swung the knapsack onto my back and adjusted it so it sat comfortably. Sigrid gave me some warmer clothes to wear on my journey. A tunic with a hood that were lined with bear fur and it had trousers to match. She also had some fur gloves in the back of the wardrobe that she insisted I took with me.

“You must stay warm, you’ll be walking close to the great mountain and it’ll be cold. If you can, stop at Ivarstead on your way to Riften. You’ll be able to stay at Vilemyr Inn and have a bed for the night as well as a hot meal.” I stood outside Alvor and Sigrid’s home; Sigrid had my face in her hands and was instructing me as though she was my worried mother. Alvor stood next to her, shaking his head.

“Sigrid, leave the girl alone, she’s a tough one, she’ll be ok.” Alvor said, giving me a wink, I grinned and watched as Alvor walked over to his forge.

“Calanthe, I was you to take this, I found it when I was a young lad and have never had to use it. It’s strong. Reminds me of you. It’s a Toussaint Steel Sword, it has a few base enchantments bound to it but if you need to you can always bind more to it. It’s a powerful weapon and I think it’s time it saw some action. Take care of it and it’ll take care of you.” Alvor handed me the beautiful blade and I examined it, the craftsmanship was incredible, it was lightweight and easy to handle. The blade was fine and tapered into a sharp point. It was amazing.

“Alvor… are you sure? This is a beautiful sword…” I was already in love with it but I wasn’t going to take it from him, not after all he and Sigrid had done for me.

“I won’t take it back, just promise me you will use it wisely and do not let it fall into the wrong hands. Take care of it.” I could tell that Alvor was a slightly upset with having to give up his blade, I vowed to him that I would treat it as if it were my child and that was enough to reassure Alvor that I would respect his sword.

We said out goodbyes and I headed off, back the way I came 4 days ago. Back to Helgen. Back to find the answers I need.

The blanket of smoke had disappeared from the skies above Helgen but the smell of burning bodies still lingered. It bought back unwanted memories from a time that wasn’t so long ago. I walked slowly through the leftover rubble of the town, stonewalls had crumbled down and the homes of the families were no more than a pile of ash.

I was meant to die here, I’m meant to be in Sovngarde…

I walked towards the gates on the other side of town but I stepped on something. Looking down at my foot, I lifted it up and saw a little doll. It had been burnt a little and was a little dirty. I picked it up and felt something tug at my heart.

Innocent lives… Lost… Too many lives…

I shrugged off my knapsack and tucked the little doll away, there was something about it, something about this little blackened doll that reminded me of something. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Great, another thing I can’t fucking remember!

Slipping my arms back through the straps of my knapsack, I made my way through the gates and headed down the path to Ivarstead.

The sun set quickly, and I still hadn’t found a place to camp for the night. I had covered a decent amount of ground already and I really wanted to keep going. I knew that it wouldn’t be a good idea to do so and sleep sounded like paradise right now.

I managed to stumble across a small cabin off the road so I decided to go have a look, maybe the owner would allow me to rest up for the rest of the night. I kept my dagger close to my body, just incase of attack.

“Hello…” I called out, approaching the hut slowly, looking around for any sign of life.

“Anyone here?” I reached the door and peered around the doorframe, the hut was empty. I didn’t put my dagger away just yet as the owner of the dark hut might not be far away. There was a notebook on the wooden end table by the side of the bed, I walked over and opened it to the last entry.

”Coming to this area was a brilliant decision! The local floras seem to have many useful properties that I've been able to utilize into new potions! Outside, the rich soil has allowed the cuttings I've collected to grow into fine and bountiful plants! This afternoon, I think I will journey out for more mushrooms, as my current supply is beginning to dwindle.
On a personal note, I have moved my alchemy work outside the shack. I find the midday air is a boon to my health, as well as inspirational to my work.”

This hut belonged to an alchemist, how fascinating

I closed the notebook and placed it back down on the end table. The sun had already set behind the mountains surrounding this valley; I shrugged off my knapsack and pulled out some of the food Sigrid packed. She had packed me a feast that was fit for the High King! Roasted rabbit haunches, baked potatoes, fresh apples and berries, braided garlic bread and even a couple of honeynut treats and a sweet roll to finish top it off, the woman really outdid herself! I couldn’t waste this food, I needed to be smart, I had no idea when I would be eating next after I finished this food. I sat on the bed and ate away at a rabbit haunch and a baked potato or two.

I must have been rather tired because I don’t remember falling asleep. Looking around the hut, I noticed that the alchemist had not returned.

How odd…

I decided to look around the hut and see what supplies I could take. I would leave the alchemist a note, telling him what I had taken and where he could find me. I wrote that I would reimburse him for the supplies I took with me. I managed to find a couple more apples, some fresh water, bandages and a couple of health potions. I packed up my things and slipped my knapsack back on before making my way to Ivarstead.

I made it to Ivarstead in a few hours, the journey was long and tiring but this wasn’t my final stop. Riften was my destination but I wasn’t going to make it there before sunset. I was staying in Ivarstead tonight and Sigrid would be pleased about that. I walked into Vilemyr Inn and was greeted by the warmth of a fire and the smell of fresh food.

“Welcome to the Vilemyr Inn, we have beds for weary, food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty, what’ll it be?” The barmaid said from behind the bar.

I walked up and took my knapsack off, resting it on the ground beside me.

“I’d like a room please.” I said as I placed 10 coins on the bar.

“Sure thing, it’s yours for a day, follow me, I’ll show you to your room” The barmaid lead me to a small room to the left of the bar.

“Let me know if there’s anything else you need.” With that, she smiled, closed the door and went back to work.

I placed my knapsack at the end of my bed and laid my head on the pillow of the bed. I was trying to work out what I was going to do once I reached Riften. I knew nobody there and had no job. Alvor showed me the basics of smithing and I could catch fish but I didn’t know what to expect when I reached Riften. All I do know is that Sigrid told me to avoid the Black-Briars and the Thieves Guild. I closed my eyes and drifted off into a welcome sleep.

I didn’t stay in Ivarstead for very long, I stayed long enough to pack up my things and to ask the Inn owner, Lynly Star-Sung, some questions about the prisoners from Helgen and to find out if I’ve come through here before.

“The couple of carts went through several days ago, they were accompanied by imperial soldiers, I didn’t get a good look at the prisoners, I’m sorry.” Lynly said from behind the bar she was leaning against.

“Is there anything else you can tell me? Did they come from here in Ivarstead?” I said, not trying to give too much away.

“They didn’t come from here though; I’d say your best bet would be talking to the Jarl in Riften or the Captain of the Guard there. Are you looking for somebody?”

“That obvious, huh? Yeah, I had a… friend, she wasn’t meant to be on that cart, she managed to get away and now I’m trying to find her.” I said, picking up my knapsack and shrugging it onto by back.

“What’s her name? We keep a book of everybody who’s stayed at the inn, I can have a look for you.” Lynly pulled out a giant book from underneath the bar and opened it. The front cover hit the top of the bar with a thud.

“Uhh… Well… she uses fake names where she goes, so she’s hard to track. She has hair like mine though, if that helps at all.” I said, I didn’t want to give away the fact that I was looking for myself, that would seem way too crazy! Besides, I still had no idea why I was on that cart and what I was doing in Skyrim. I needed to be cautious.

“Sorry, I don’t really remember. If I hear anything or remember anything, I’ll send a message to The Bee and the Barb, your name is Calanthe? Correct?” Lynly asked as she made note of what we had just spoken about.

“That’s it! Thank you for your help and thanks for letting me stay here. It sure does beat sleeping on the forest floor.” We both laughed and with that, I headed towards the door to the Inn and as I opened it, Lynly Star-Sung yelled out that the Bee and the Barb were actually looking for a new barmaid/cook and to ask Talen-Jei and Keerava for some work. I waved my thanks and made my way down the road towards Riften.

Chapter Text

“Halt! Before I let you into Riften, you need to pay the visitors tax.” A guard said to me as I approached the gates of Riften. It didn’t feel right, why would they have a visitors tax? Lynly didn’t mention anything about it, nor did Alvor or Sigrid.

“What’s this tax for?” I folded my arms and waited for the guard to tell me what it was for. I didn’t have a lot of money to begin with but this sounded absolutely ridiculous.

“It’s for the privilege of entering the city. What does it matter.” The guard glanced over at the other and they both shifted uncomfortably.

I knew it, fucking greedy guards.

“This is obviously a shakedown.” I pointed out and they both looked at each other again. The other guard remained silent and looked away from the situation, not wanting to have anything to do with it.

“Alright, keep your voice down… You want everyone to hear you? I’ll let you in, just let me unlock the gate.” The guard turned from me and unlocked the gate. As I walked passed him I could tell he was irritated that I called bullshit on his attempt to get a few coins out of me for his own benefit. I looked forward and saw Riften for the very first time.

I saw people in the distance, busying themselves at the market like bees in a hive. Everybody was doing something. I walked further into the quant town; the smell of fresh fish caught my nose.

I was told that Riften was a fishing town and that if things didn’t work out at the tavern, there would surely be jobs available at the fishery.

As I made my way down the stone path, a man stepped in front of me, blocking my path. I’m not going to lie, he was built like a stone privy!

“I don’t know you. You in Riften lookin’ for trouble?” He said, his arms folded in front of his body and his eyes looking me up and down, sizing me up.

I knew I could hold my own and I wasn’t going to let some muscly asshole push me around. I had a job to do and nobody was going stop me from doing it.

“What’s it to you?” I mirrored his actions, folding my arms and looking him up and down.

He snickered,

“Don’t say something you’ll regret. Last thing the Black-Briars need is some loudmouth trying to meddle in their affairs.”

“Black-Briars? Never heard of them, never heard of you either. Who are you?”

“The Black-Briars have Riften in their pocket and the thieves’ guild watchin’ their back, so keep your nose out of their business. Me? I’m Maul. I watch the streets for 'em. If you need dirt on anythin', I'm your guy... but it'll cost you." Maul grinned a sly grin, he was actually rather handsome when he smiled but I wouldn’t let him know that.

“I’ll make sure I stay out of their way then, thanks for giving me the rundown on who’s the boss around here.” I said before saying my goodbye and making my way to the Bee and the Bard.

I held my head high as I walked into the tavern; it was busy, locals had gathered for a hot meal and an ale to wash it down. It was a wonderful and welcoming environment to have encountered. A few of the locals glanced at me as I made my way inside, a few even stared a little too long. Perhaps it was my white hair or maybe it was the long scar that sat across my cheek that drew their attention to me. I was different to them and they all knew it, however, it didn’t seem to phase them for long, before I knew it all of those who were busy looking me up and down went back to their ales and continued to gossip about their day.

“Welcome to the Bee and the Bard, if you’ve got the coin, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat.” The lizard woman who was stationed behind the bar motioned to the stool beside me and I sat myself down.

“What can I get you? Mead? Wine? Are you looking for a place to stay?” She grabbed a tankard and placed it on the bar in front of me and smiled. I was a little taken back by her appearance; I had never seen a humanoid lizard before. I managed to get my answer out and she began filling my mug with delicious mead.

“I’m new to town and I was by Lynly Star-Sung that you were hiring.” I said to the barkeep before taking a sip of my cool drink.

“We are looking for somebody who can help with it all, food, errands, lodgings, customers, etc. It’s a very hands on position and we want to make sure that whoever we hire is going to be capable of handling the workload.” The barkeep was polishing some tankards while she went over what the job would entitle and what would be required of me.

“I can assure you that I can do all of those things, I’m a hard worker and I love the feel of this place, it would be wonderful to work for you.” I couldn’t help but beam with excitement, I was expecting the position to have already been filled by the time I arrived in Riften but the Gods had favoured me.

“You start tomorrow! My name is Keerava and I run the tavern with my husband, Talen-Jei. If you need anything, please ask one of us, we will be happy to help.” Keerava said as she shook my hand things official, I had completely forgotten about my situation, I had forgotten that I was new to Riften and had nowhere to live.

“My name is Calanthe, I hope this isn’t too much but I have nowhere to stay, is there any chance I could stay here, at the tavern?” I prayed that I wasn’t pushing my luck but Keerava smiled and walked around the bar.

“Follow me.” She led the way and took me downstairs to the cellar where all the food and mead was kept. In the corner was a small room with a table and a bed. It was old and clearly hadn’t been used in a while but it was perfect. It was mine.

“It’s nothing much but its safe and warm, you have food and drink as well.” Keerava left me alone to unpack my belongings and get settled. She sent Talen-Jei down with another mead and some cheese and bread but I wasn’t able to enjoy them. I had fallen into a deep sleep too quickly and somehow, as I was drifting off, I knew that this rest was going to be necessary.

Chapter Text

“Oi, barmaid, bring me another mead, would ya! Make it snappy!” I was trying to work as fast as possible, the Bee and the Bard was full of customers wanting to drink, eat and be merry but it was hard to keep everyone happy at once. It was the only tavern in town, which made it a popular place for the townsfolk to gather after a long day. I approached the man who yelled at me before, he was still banging his tankard on the wooden table, signaling for more mead. I filled his cup and turned to tend to my other customers.

“Not so fast, how’s about you give me somethin’ to eat too? I wouldn’t mind a slice of that sweet arse.” The man grabbed me hard, hard enough to make me wince at the pain. I pulled free and spun around to look the filthy pig in the eye.

Dirty fuck!

“This “sweet arse” has better and more important things to do than to tickle your little snowberries.” I spat back, one part of me, the smug part, was cheering me on but the other part new I should’ve held my tongue.

“What did you just say to me? Do you not know your place? Fucking bitch!” He raised his hand and hit me. The back of his hand connected with my cheek with such force that it sent me falling to backwards onto the floor, landing at a man’s feet. The entire tavern went quiet.

“You alright there, lass?” The voice from above softly said to me, I didn’t reply, keeping my head down, I stayed on the floor. Fighting back would cause too much of a scene and I needed to keep a low profile. I also couldn’t lose this job. The stranger stepped over me and walked up to the man who put me on the ground.

What the…?

“Apologize to the girl.” The man said, my attacker looked at his mates and then fell into a fit of laughter.

“No fucking way! The bitch had it coming!” He stated very clearly, the rest of the tavern looked towards the two gentlemen, waiting for one of them to throw the first punch.

“I heard and saw everything, you violated the lass, you struck her. You owe her a kind and sincere apology.” The stranger kept his cool but the other men just continued to laugh. The stranger laughed alongside them, a few of the patrons shared fearful glances at one another before looking back to the scene. The stranger stopped laughing and with one swift movement, he grabbed the other mans head and slammed it into the table, knocking over tankards and spilling mead everywhere.

“Now, do I need to ask you again?” He calmly said, the man yelled and squirmed but it was no use, the stranger’s hold was too strong.

“I’m sorry miss, you’ll have no trouble from me again, I swear!” The stranger held his head down for a few more seconds before throwing the man onto the ground. I had never seen a man become so afraid of another in such a short amount of time. This told me that the stranger, my rescuer, was somebody who wasn’t to be messed with, he was somebody that I would not like to see the bad side of.

“Calanthe! What is going on here?” Keerava stood above me with her hands on her hips and a furious look on her face.

Oh no, this isn’t going to end well.

“It’s nothing, just a little misunderstanding, that’s all.” I pulled myself to my feet and tried hard to prepare for her wrath. Keerava looked around the room, I followed her eyes and it was only then that I had realized that my rescuer has vanished. Keerava turned her gaze back to me and just stared.

“You no longer work here, I am keeping your last pay to cover damages, collect your things and leave.” Keerava walked off without giving me a proper chance to explain what happened. All the patrons sat still, not eat nor drinking, they just look on as I was publically humiliated.

I packed my belongings into my knapsack, there wasn’t much to pack anyway, I had nothing left. No coin to buy food or to rent a bed, no food to eat or to trade, I had the clothes on my back, my Toussaint Steel Sword that Alvor had given to me and some books.

Great, I can read and defend myself, all the while not being naked.

I swung my knapsack over my shoulder and left the Bee and the Bard behind. I had no idea where I could go or what I could do at this point. I had overheard that some of the beggars in Riften set up camp in the Ratway.

I guess that’s what I am now, a dirty street rat

The sun was setting and the air was getting a little too cold for comfort. I made my way down to the Ratway and made sure that I was on my guard. I wasn’t very big, sure I could handle myself but I still had to be careful. I walked blindly down the corridor for a minute or so until I saw something flickering ahead of me. It seemed to be a flame, maybe from a wall sconce or somebodies torch. I followed the glow of a flame down the cold, damn stairwell; I began to notice faint voices, they slowly became more noticeable and louder with each step I took. I rounded the corner and saw two men laughing and drinking together by a campfire.

“Are ye lost miss?” One of the men said, he had ash blonde hair and was tall, very tall and lean. Compared to his friend, he was most defenitly not the muscle in this friendship, however, he still seemed very strong and I was not game enough to test that theory. I did managed to feel a little safer when he didn’t move from his spot as he addressed me, he just stood in front of the fire, sipping on his ale.

“Ugh, no. I’m just looking for some friends, that’s all. I’ll be on my way.” I turned and began walking back the way I came.

“Why don’t ye come ‘n join us for an ale, we don’t bite.” The man said as the other man laughed into his tankard. He wasn’t as tall as his friend but he was strong, his arms were the size of both my legs together and made out of pure muscle. He, just like his friend, also had ash blonde hair. Other than that, the two men shared no similarities; I just knew that I did not want to be left alone with these men.

This isn’t going to end well…

“No thanks fella’s, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I was meant to meet them outside Bee and the Bard. You gentlemen have a lovely evening.” I quickened my pace as I walked back towards the entrance but it was no use. I heard the footsteps of the men as they chased after me, I began running, moving my legs as fast as I could to get away from them. As my hand reached for the door my body snapped back. Arms clung around my waist and pulled me away from safety.

“That’s not a very nice thing to do, miss. I think it’s time ye learned some manners, don’t you think so, Soren?” It was darker in this part of the Ratway, the light from the fire didn’t penetrate this far so it was hard to tell which of the men was Soren. I was only able to make out the silhouettes of the two men, it wasn’t much but it was enough for me to see what was coming my way.

I wriggled and squirmed, trying to break free from their hold but it was no use, they were both a lot stronger than I was. I managed to throw my head back, smacking it into the nose of one of the men. I fell to the floor as he bought his hands up to cradle his aching face. I tried to scurry away but it was no use, the other man grabbed my ankle and dragged me back towards them.

“Give it to ‘er Urik, teach the bitch some manners!” The man named Urik tossed me onto my back and began trying to expose my body. I fought back, slapping and scratching anywhere I could but that only got me so far.

“Grab ‘er hands n keep em still for me.” Urik said and Soren did just that, he kneeled above my head and pinned my hands down firmly. I continued to wriggle and fight but it was hard, too hard. I knew what was about to happen and the fear that was rising up inside me wasn’t helping my situation. My panic only gave my attackers more leverage, this wasn’t going to end well.

Urik ripped open my bodice, exposing my breasts, with rough hands, he began kneading them firming, it was painful but jerky movements were not enough to free me. Keeping one hand on my chest, Urik move his hand downwards, lifting my skirt to expose my womanhood. Without warning, he jammed two of his fingers inside of me; this caused me to scream bloody murder. The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced before, it was like somebody forcing dry pieces of splintery wood inside of me. I wanted it to stop.

Chapter Text

“What are ye waitin’ for Urik, fuck the whore and lets get outta ‘ere!”

“Let me enjoy this! I haven’t felt such soft pussy in years, she even tastes wonderful.” Urik continued running his fingers inside and out, occasionally bringing them to his nose and mouth for a smell and a taste. It was torture!

“Hurry up ye… FUCK!” Soren cried out as he got dragged backwards into the darkness, my hands were now free and I wasted no time jamming my fingers into Urik’s eyes.

Take that you disgusting pig!

“ARGH! You little BITCH!” He punched me square in the jaw. It fucking hurt but I welcomed this pain over the pain that I was experiencing before. I lifted my head but everything began to spin around me. I noticed a figure standing behind Urik, it was large and tall, perhaps Soren found his feet again, the thought of that terrified me. Urik’s fist came down once more, this time he punched me in the eye, knocking me out cold.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You risked a lot bringing her here, you know that right? She is nothing but trouble, I’m warning you now.” A male voice said softly, as though they were trying not to be overheard. My eyes were still closed and I wanted to keep them like that for a little while longer but my body protested, I opened my eyes and immediately closed them again.

“Was I clubbed by a giant?” I groaned, pain soared through my head, I tried to think about why I was so sore but everything was fuzzy. A familiar voice had stepped in, without opening my eyes, I knew exactly who it was.

“Don’t worry lass, you weren’t beaten by a giant, you did however get into a nasty scrap with a couple of local goons.”

I remember… I remember what happened

I sprang up so I was now sitting upright on the bed and opened my eyes, one was still rather swollen, as one would expect it to be after being punched in the face. Fear was stirring in my stomach making me feel ill.

“What happened to them?” I looked to my, now two time, rescuer and hoped, I hoped that those men suffered.

“They’ll no longer be a problem… not to anyone.” My rescuer said firmly. I had no idea what he did but I know one thing, I know that it wasn’t a pleasant experience for my attackers.

“Thank you… Again, I seem to keep finding myself amongst trouble and you seem to come in and save the day. I appreciate it, thank you.” I was slightly embarrassed about the situations that I had got myself into, I wanted to be taken seriously, I couldn’t do that when I had a leather-clad savior swooping in to save me from everything. Still, I was beyond grateful that he was there, that he stepped in when he saw that I couldn’t.

“What do you mean again? Do you mean that you’ve pulled this stupid girl out of more than one sticky situation? What’s gotten into you Brynjolf? You’re not normally like this.” Another man approached us, his voice sounded similar to the one I heard earlier.

“Aye, but somebody had to do something. No offence to the lass but she isn’t skilled in defending herself.” Brynjolf explained, I simply sat there and watched the two men bicker quietly to themselves. I decided that I had to step in.

“Ugh, sorry but where exactly are we and how did I get here?” I tried to stand but began swaying so I sat back down. Brynjolf rushed over and handed me a tankard of water, he instructed me to drink slowly and to get up once I felt ready.

“You’re in the secret hideaway of Skyrim’s greatest thieves.” Brynjolf smiled a contagious smile but it was quickly replaced by an irritated look after his colleague snapped.

“Don’t tell her that, she cannot be trusted!”

“Settle down Mercer, she’s not going to tell anybody, in fact, I think she could be good for business. Once she’s had a bit of training, of course.” Brynjolf grinned at me. I wasn’t sure what kind of “training” would be required for thieving; I mean all you really need to do is take stuff without getting caught. Right?

Mercer pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration, “I… fine! But she is your responsibility, she fucks up and you pay the price.” Mercer walked off in frustration, I continued to just sit on the bed and wait for Brynjolf to tell me what the hell just happened.

“Welcome to the Thieves Guild… ugh…”

“Calanthe, my name is Calanthe.” Brynjolf smiled at me again, he tested my name for himself a few times.

“Calanthe… I like it, it suits you. Now, follow me, there are some things I need to show you and some people you need to meet.” I stood up, having collected myself, and followed Brynjolf to see the Thieves Guild for myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The guild was impressive, it was a large, open space hidden directly under the streets of Riften, it was incredible! Brynjolf introduced me to all of the members, well most of them, we avoided Mercer, the Guild Master, he didn’t seem to be too fond of me. Delvin and Vex were very welcoming, Delvin seemed to like to joke about and Vex, well she seemed to like to focus on the jobs. Tonilia was a little standoffish but gave me some old guild armor to wear instead of my now torn dress.

Sapphire was cool, we got along well, Cynric, Viper and Niruin were all experts in their field. Cynric was a former jailbreaker, he insisted on telling me some stories from his days before the guild. Brynjolf had to drag me away because he just kept talking. Viper the Fleet was the guilds professional pickpocket, turns out that there is a lot more to thieving than not getting caught. He promised to show me a few tricks that would help get me started. Niruin was an amazing archer, we spend a few minutes shooting targets together, he helped me work on my form and also gave me a few pointers.

Lastly there was Rune and Thrynn, Thrynn was straight to the point, the guild was important to him and he wanted to see it grow and return it to its former glory. The final person Brynjolf introduced me to was Rune. Rune was a gentle and kind soul, he told me about how he was found on the shore near Solitude and was given the name Rune after the man who found him found a small, smooth rune stone in his pocket. Sadly, he has no idea what it means and has been looking for an answer all his life.

The guild was filled with people from many different places, from very different backgrounds and yet they all had one thing in common. They were good at thieving. Brynjolf bought me a drink at the Ragged Flagon and asked me how I’m going after it all.

“I’m still processing it but it’s great! You’re all a bunch of outcasts who managed to find where you belong, I just hope that I belong here too.” I couldn’t help but feel upset about not remembering anything prior to Helgan. I just hoped that working with the guild would help me to figure out who I was and where the hell I came from.

Chapter Text

“Lock picking requires you to be focused, to be calm, for your actions to be smooth and gentle. It isn’t easy but once you learn how to do it, no lock with stand a chance against you and your pick.” Vex was giving me a lesson today on lockpicking, the guild had a couple of facilities that were great for training. Vex and I were in a room that was filled with different chests and containers for lockpicking, straw dummies for training attack and an obstacle course for sneak training. Vex was the guilds master lockpicker and was happy to give me a few lessons.

“I hate seeing amateur thieves trying to pick locks wrong, that’s why you’re going to do it right. You won’t get caught and you won’t break your picks, trust me, it’s very easy to do.” She crouched down beside me and pulled out her pick, with the flick of her wrist, the lock was open in less than a heartbeat.

“Wow, that’s impressive, how did you learn how to do this?” I was amazed by her skill, I had never seen anything like it before.

“My family wasn’t the most privileged, we were poor and could barely put food on the table. My father was a locksmith and mother was busy trying to look after my younger siblings and I. When my mother passed away, it hit my father very hard. I had to step up and help as much as I could. One day, I was out in the forest near Falkreath when a carriage dropped a chest on the road. They never went back for it so I swooped in and claimed it for myself.” Vex tucked her lockpicks away and sat on the ground, I followed suit and continued listening to her story.

“I had seen plenty of thieves before and thought that it couldn’t be that hard. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to opening that lock. I took the chest home and my father caught me trying to pick the lock with knifes, nails and anything that I could cram into that lock. He sat me down and said “If you’re going to do something, you do it right!” He pulled out a pin from my hair and bent it, he showed me how to pick the lock correctly and that’s how I learnt, my own father was a master locksmith and it never crossed my mind that be would also be a master lockpick too. I ended up using my new skill for the wrong reasons and once my father found out, he kicked me out of home.”

The look on Vex’s face was heartbreaking; she missed her family and sharing her story with me only made her miss them more. Vex jumped to her feet and strolled out of the room. I assumed that this meant that training was over for the day.

 

I headed to the Flagon for something to eat, I was the only one there so I sat at the table in the corner and picked at my bread.

“Hello Lass, is this seat taken?” Brynjolf’s voice appeared out of nowhere, I didn’t even hear in approach. I looked up at him and managed to babble something.

“Ugh, yes. I mean no! I mean… Hi Brynjolf.” I laughed nervously before taking a big gulp of my ale.

Well done, idiot!

Brynjolf simply let out a chuckle and sat down next to me, close enough for me to feel as though he could hear my heart racing.

“Are you settling in well? How are you finding the guild so far?” He asked, leaning in like he was eagerly awaiting my response.

“Things are going good, I’m learning lots and it’s just nice to be somewhere where I feel as though I belong.”

“Where are you from Calanthe? You’re a mystery to me.” I could feel Brynjolf’s eyes on me but I refused to meet them

“It’s… it’s hard to explain.”

“I have time.”

I didn’t know how to get into it, I couldn’t just make up a story, at the end of the day, he would find out and that may not work out well for me. I couldn’t afford to make any enemies.

Or more enemies…

I lifted my eyes to see Brynjolf watching me closely and quietly, waiting for me to share my story, the story I didn’t know.

“Well, when I say it’s hard to explain, I mean that I don’t know where I come from.”

“What do you mean, lass?”

“I mean that a few days ago, I woke up in a cart headed to Helgan, I was to be executed alongside some men and I had no recollection of who I was, where I was from or how I ended up in Skyrim. I came to Riften to work but also to try and find any leads as to who I am.”

Brynjolf placed his hands on mine; it was only then that I realized that I was fidgeting with the cloth napkin that was sitting on the table.

“You have no idea how you ended up in Skyrim?”

“Not a clue, to make things worse, I have no leads either.”

Brynjolf went quiet for a moment before he stood up and presented his hand to me.

“I’m going to help you, lass. I’m going to help you find out who you are and where you’re from. Before we do that, I’m going to train you. If you had any particular skills previously, they may come through and help trigger a memory. Besides, it’ll be good for you to learn how to defend yourself and make some coin in the process.” Taking Brynjolf’s hand, I smiled.

“I’m in! Thank you Brynjolf, you’ve already given me so much and now you’re doing this. I cannot express my gratitude.”

“You don’t need too, lass. Just remember, no matter what, this place will always be your home.” Brynjolf led the way, my hand still in his, to one of the training rooms. He let go of my hand, walked over to the table and picked up two swords and handed me one.

“Ok lass, show me what you’ve got!”

Chapter Text

"Get up lass, your enemy won't wait for you to be ready." Brynjolf said as he stood over my sweaty and exhausted body.

"Just a minute, you're killing me here." I panted, trying to catch my breath but Brynjolf wasn't having a bar of it, he grabbed my arm and yanked me up onto my feet.

"Listen, it's a dark world out there, nothing is going to hold off until you say that you're good to fight. If they knock you down, they'll follow up with a killing strike." He swung his sword and I trip backwards, barely blocking the blow with my sword.

"Don't think for a second that it's all rainbows and happiness because it's not, you'll face thugs, warriors, wild animals, there will always be something standing between you and your goal. It's your job to knock them down and be the one who walks away as champion!" Brynjolf's swings were getting more forceful, I try to keep up but my counter strikes were getting weaker and weaker. Brynjolf hit hard and I stumbled, landing on my back and my sword landing on the floor beside me, he strides towards me fast and I crawl backwards until my back hits the cold, stone wall. I fumble with my training sword but it's too late, Brynjolf raises his arm to deliver the final hit and I raise my hands up to block the sword and close my eyes.

An intense pulse came from my body and I heard something crash against wood, opening my eyes I saw Brynjolf groaning on the other side of the room, surrounded by broken barrels and crates.

"Brynjolf? What... Are you ok?" I jumped up and raced over to help him up, the look on his face was that of pure shock.

"Calanthe... What was that?" He asked as he found his feet.

"I don't know, it's never happened to me before, I'm so sorry Bryn... are you ok?" I looked over Brynjolf, trying to see if I could find any damage but there was none, not physically anyway. He dusted himself off and stepped forward, I stepped back, giving him space. We stood in silence for a little while, I could almost hear the cogs in Brynjolf's head turning at an incredible speed.

"That... I've never seen anything like that before, I mean, I've heard of those who practice magic and I've heard a place in Winterhold that has something to do with that kind of stuff but by the gods lass, I've never actually seen it before." Brynjolf stepped past me and began pacing, any discomfort caused by him being thrown against the wall was now gone. He stopped and looked at me with a blank expression.

"Do not tell anybody about this, we don't want this getting out and the wrong people finding out, this stays between you and me until we figure out what it is and how to control it. We shall continue with training tomorrow and we will see what we can work out with this strange ability that you seem to have. I have some business to take care of, go have a break and talk to the other guild members, they should be able to give you some combat advise. I'll see you tomorrow." Brynjolf walked off, leaving me standing in the training room confused and exhausted.

I bathed in the cold water that collects in the cistern, thankfully it was somewhat clean and helped me wash away the intense training session that occurred earlier. I didn't stay in the water for too long, I didn't want to catch a chill, drying off, I dressed in my casual clothes and sat down at the small table that was by my bed and picked away at the food on my plate. I didn't feel like socialising at the Flagon just yet, my muscles were starting to get sore and didn't want to do anything except stay completely still and let my muscles heal. I still had a lot of training to do and I knew that tomorrow was going to be anything other than a walk in the park.

"Think of a sword as an extension of yourself, its part of you, it moves with you, you control what it does. They're not the lightest thing in the world but they will aid you when you're out there, we will get you trained in both single and double handed weapons, free hand, duel wielding and range, some of the others will give you guidance if you ask for it, today, we will train freehand, no weapons today." Brynjolf rolled a tall, round pillar towards me, it had smaller wooden sticks poking out of it from all angles.

"Here is your enemy, hit him." Brynjolf gestured to the pillar and I hit one of the sticks and nothing happened.

"Is this all I'm supposed to do? Hit some sticks?" He rolled his eyes and walked up to the pillar, hitting one of the sticks hard and fast. The pillar spun around and Brynjolf delivered a counter strike to another stick that was spinning towards him. He did this a few times, hitting the rotating pillar and showing his strength. After he stepped back, I moved forward to try again, hitting as hard as I could I caused the pillar to rotate, although, I was most definitely not ready for how fast it would spin back around. One of the sticks hit me in the arm, causing me to wince a little, I looked at Brynjolf who was standing there with a blank expression. Turning back to the pillar, I tried again and this time I successfully blocked the oncoming attack.

I slipped up a few times but I was getting the hang of it, I had sweat dripping down my forehead, my arms were burning, my hands were almost bleeding, I was finally doing it.

"Change your stance, Calanthe. Ground yourself, keep your foundation strong and sturdy." Brynjolf had been giving me advice and I trained, teaching me different stances, different techniques, I continued the flow, adjusting myself and my method only when he told me too.

"Brynjolf!" Mercer had entered the room, causing Bryn to take his attention off my training and for me to completely lose my focus, resulting in yet another stick the the arm.

"What is it Mercer?" Bryn crossed his arms as he replied, his body language was very different when he was around Mercer, either he was worried about fucking up in front of the boss or he really didn't like him.

I wouldn't blame him, Mercer is a creep!

"I need you to step away from your beautiful new apprentice and come with me, I need to go over some business stuff with you."

"You going to be ok if we finish for the day, lass? The sooner I get this sorted the better." Brynjolf said, gesturing to the back of Mercer's head when he referred to sorting "this" out.

"Totally fine, I'll finish up here and catch you later." I smiled and Bryn walked over towards Mercer.

"Oh, Calanthe, I have a question for you." Mercer said to me, a tiny and mischievous smirk tickled the corner of his mouth.

"Yes?" I kept my answer short and sweet, well, mostly short.

"How are your pickpocketing skills?"