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Rona's Story: The Truth Beneath the Rose

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An arrow spun through the air, shunting straight into the neck of its target, a particularly fat rabbit hidden in the brush. The ranger got up from his hidden position behind some thick shrubbery and stowed his bow away. He yawned and scratched at his short, wiry beard as he stepped through the trees and picked up his arrow with the prey still skewered on it. He yanked the animal off the arrow and slung it over his shoulder, adding it to the two pheasants he’d already caught.

The sun was slowly setting as he wound his way through the trees and back up the path towards the Ruins of Bthalft. He whistled sharply, calling for his closest traveling companion. A russet wolf appeared loping along through the trees, carrying his own kill in his bloodied maw, a mangled rabbit he’d already torn apart. The wolf was wearing enchanted leather armor, normally fitted for huskies, but a certain Orc and his lovely Breton wife had been kind enough to outfit him in the leathers, making sure they fit perfectly.

Together the two went up the stone steps to the old Dwemer ruins and he looked around. There didn’t appear to be any obvious entry into them. One thing caught his eye, however, a rough carving on one of the stone henges. The Akaviri symbol for the Dragonborn, shaped like a dragon’s head with an arrow pointing down. She’d already been there, same with the other two he’d visited in the Rift. Except this time, she’d written, No way in.

The last two had said, No scroll.

He wondered how recent it was, how long ago she’d been there. Had it been months? Days? Hours? He looked around and didn’t see any sign of a camp or anything that might have been disturbed in a long time by a human presence.

He sighed, dropping his travel pack onto the ground and started walking around the area, collecting some brush and small logs to make a fire with and proceeded to set up camp for the night. He laid out his bedroll and sat down, pulling his dagger from its sheath, stopping to look at it for a moment. He ran a finger over the smooth pearlescent side of it. It had been a gift from her, one he cherished, especially now that it had saved his life more than once.

It was well crafted dragon-bone forged in the fires of the Skyforge. Sturdy, sharp, reliable and very hard, but very light at the same time. He started to dress and clean the rabbit and pheasants while his wolf quietly gnawed on his own meal near the fire. His mind wandered as it always did, constantly thinking of her, wondering where she was and how she was fairing. Was she happy? Sad? Lonely? As lonely as him? He wondered.

The silence was absolutely soul crushing the first few weeks without her. He’d run so fast and far down that mountain, ignoring the Greybeards who were stunned to see him without her. He felt so hurt and angry then. He wanted to yell at her, to tell her it was wrong, it was all wrong. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

She’d said that to him once, when she blurted her love to him out of fear and anger. Now the tables had turned. He’d proposed and she’d said no and he knew deep down that it wasn’t because she didn’t want it, but because she was so damn determined to finish this godsforsaken journey of hers without him getting hurt. She did it to protect him. To save him. All because he’d actually died. He’d started to remember it too, going back to that ethereal paradise in his dreams, watching his brother’s soul be snatched up by the World Eater himself. He hated those nightmares and longed to hear her lullabies again, to soothe his mind and send him into peaceful slumber, something he hadn’t had the pleasure of experiencing for a long time.

He knew she left because she couldn’t live with herself knowing she was putting everyone she loved in life-threatening danger. Because the dragons would do whatever they could to kill those closest to her, but especially to kill him, in order to crush her will.

He’d raced down that mountain then, on the worst day of his life, but when he’d reached the bottom he didn’t know what to do or where to start. She’d flown off on Paarthurnax, a dragon. She could have been anywhere and she’d obviously planned this. Every step, every move was deliberate and calculated. They took the long way back and she feigned her joy for him, they made love and spent time in all of the most precious places to them. She was giving him her last. Every last laugh and smile and intimate touch, every beautiful waking moment she had for him because she was going to leave and she didn’t know how long it would be.

Then she took him up to that snowy, desolate peak, the Throat of the World and left him there, knowing that he would be forced to climb down the slow way. She was giving herself time to prepare for her departure, or at least time to cover her tracks. He took a guess then and decided to return to the farm, hoping with all his heart that she’d changed her mind and she’d be there waiting for him, ready to apologize for what she’d just done.

But instead he found Serlas and Illia, quietly enjoying a cup of tea, chatting away nonchalantly as though nothing terrible had just happened. When they saw Bishop burst in, disheveled and exhausted from lack of sleep after he rode nonstop a day and a half back, they were utterly surprised. And then Serlas noticed Rona wasn’t there and he’d asked with panic in his voice, “Where is she?”

Bishop took one pained look at the old elf and then ran into her room. There he found her old clothes, most notably her bright red day dress laying on the bed with an envelope sitting on top of it, his name handwritten on the front.

He recalled how much he was shaking as he picked up that envelope, how difficult it was just to open it and how much his heart hurt when he read it. He’d read that damn letter hundreds of times since. She’d written it before she knew he was going to propose, that much was obvious.

He sighed again as the crackle of the fire broke him from his reverie for a moment. He realized that he’d already finished cleaning the animals he’d caught so he started tossing the meat into the stew, letting it simmer. He sat back down on his bedroll and rifled through his pack until he found the letter, pulling it out to look at it. He had it memorized, since he’d read it at least once every night since she left. But he couldn’t help it. It was a piece of her. Her handwriting, her words. He stared at it and his eyes began their usual trace on the parchment from top to bottom;

My dearest Ranger,

If you are reading this now, then that means I went through with it. I left you up on the Throat of the World and for that I am deeply sorry. I agonized over my decision, never wanting it to come to this and I held out for as long as I could. But after seeing you die, after pulling your very soul from Sovngarde and holding your broken and crumpled body in my arms while you healed, I knew then that I could not do this to you anymore.

For too long you’ve been at risk staying with me. The dragons who hunt me also hunt you with the same murderous intentions. I refuse to watch you die again because of me. So I must go. I will continue to search for the Elder Scroll on my own. I already know that you will try to find me and I assure you, that you won’t. I’ve taken great precautions to mask everything about myself. I’m just another face in the crowd now.

I beg you not to risk yourself entering the Dwemer ruins. This is my responsibility. My journey. If you cannot wait for me, I’ll understand and I don’t expect you to.

But please remember that I love you with all my heart and I do this for you. To keep you safe. I never meant to hurt you.

I love you Bishop and I always will.

Forever yours,

Rona

It was short. Too short. He’d wanted it to be longer, for there to be more of an explanation. He kept asking ‘why?’, even though she’d very clearly elaborated on that. He couldn’t come to terms with it though.

Her father was nearly as distraught as him when he’d read it over. She’d been there, however briefly, and hadn’t even bothered to say goodbye to him or leave him a letter of his own. She was breaking off all ties, all contact with everyone to protect them.

He sighed deeply and wearily then neatly folded the letter back up and slid it into his pack. He laid back on his bedroll, throwing his arms up behind his head and stared up at the night sky. The aurora borealis was in full view and the stars were sparkling beautifully. Karnwyr loped over to him and laid down beside him.

Bishop started stroking the wolf’s fur and asked, “What do you think boy? You think she’s looking at these same stars right now? Probably,” he smiled a little to himself at the thought and his heart twist a bit, feeling that aching pang of loneliness from being without her.

~~~

A young woman stared dully at a dirty brown spot on the stone ceiling. A spot where there’d been water damage. It was shaped kind of like a bear she thought… or maybe a sabre-cat. Her long white-blonde hair, which curled down the middle of her back was a bit tangled from her earlier scuffle with the town guards and her warm amber eyes glowed in the dim firelight cast off by the few torches held in sconces along the walls.

She was sitting against a similar water damaged stone wall, fully dressed in her form fitting leather armor, a set made for her by a close family friend. She had on a very warm light brown, fur-trimmed wrap, which draped around her shoulders and fell down to the back of her legs. The wrap she’d bought herself because she often struggled to stay warm in Skyrim’s frigid climate. It also served as a hood which she could use to conceal herself with.

Granted, it hadn’t done its job very well this time around, or many of the others for that matter. She was a very poor thief indeed.

The sound of rattling metal on the bars startled her and she looked over at a poor, raggedy man running an old tankard against the steel bars of the jail they were sitting in. He howled, “WHERE’S MUH SOUP!? IT’S DINNAH AND UHM HUNGRY!”

One of the guards, a Redguard man, sitting at a table across the way looked up from a book he was reading and sighed, “Quit your bellyachin’ Urfen. We were just about to let you out anyhow, looks like you served your time.” He got up, walked over to the jail, took a key to the door and started to unlock it.

Urfen, an incredibly old and disheveled Nord man dressed in rags looked utterly dejected by that notion and simpered, “But uhm still hungry.”

The guard flung the door open and said, “So go get to begging like always then.”

Urfen’s lower lip trembled and the guard just looked at him with half-lidded eyes, “We’re not feeding you today Urfen. Move along. And don’t even think about stealing any food, because if you get tossed back in here again you’re still not getting anything.”

The Nord scowled at him and then slowly walked off, defeated. The young woman looked up at the guard and gave him a hopeful smile as he held the door open. He glanced at her and then said, “Nope. Still got two days left on your stay here Jill.”

She sighed, thudding her head back against the wall and asked, “Can you at least give me something to read? I’m bored out of my mind in here.”

“Two hours and bored already, eh?” He smirked at her as he shut the steel door with a light clang. He leaned against the bars on his side, crossing his arms and asked, “What were you even thinking trying to steal from Jorgen and Lami anyhow?”

She shrugged and said, “Girl’s gotta eat.”

He scoffed at her, “You know, last time you were here you took down an entire vampire’s nest and saved our town. Why on Nirn would you ever stoop so low as to start thieving? You’d make a better mercenary from what I’ve seen, not to mention an honest living.”

She turned her face away from him and after a moment she heard his footsteps as he retreated back to his desk across the way.

They’d never understand why she was a mercenary turned thief and she’d never bother to tell them anyways. Her reasons were her own and she’d promised herself that she’d never involve another soul on her journey. Not ever.

After her first two disastrous and nearly-lethal adventures into two separate Dwemer ruins in the Rift, she realized that her skills with lockpicking and sneaking were sorely lacking, and in those places, filled with traps, locked doors, locked chests and of course with plenty of Falmer lurking about, she really needed to hone those skills.

Normally she stole for the Thieves Guild, bringing them coin and making some for herself to get by on, in this particular case, however, it had been personal. There was a very specific hilt for a very specific dagger she was desperate to get her hands on. She already had two out of the three pieces she needed to complete the thing and the last piece was so damn close, right there in Morthal in an old lumberjack’s home.

She’d taken up the job for an Imperial man living out in Dawnstar, who said he was opening a museum to educate visitors about his ancestors, members of the Mythic Dawn Cult. After learning more about the Razor and hearing about its powerful enchantment she claimed to be a treasure hunter and offered to search for and bring him the pieces in exchange for coin.

She figured with a blade like that, her journey would be significantly easier, at least, killing things like the Falmer would be easier and she missed having a decent dagger, having given her own to her younger brother ages ago.

She’d considered going to Whiterun and having Eorland forge her a dragon-bone dagger, but she couldn’t risk it. She had a feeling, even with the changes in her hair and eyes she was far too recognizable, at least up close. She couldn’t very well change her height and she wasn’t terribly good at disguising her voice either.

She sat there in that damp, dreary jail, and started thinking about everyone she’d been missing. She wanted to see her little brother and the Companions, she longed to visit her father and enjoy his home brewed jazbay tea while they chatted in the comforts of the cottage but most of all she wanted to see him. She traced the wolf carving on the ring on her finger as she sat there getting lost in her thoughts and fond old memories.

Her heart ached every day without him. She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since she left, because she either dreamed about leaving him at the Throat of the World or watched him die over and over again in her nightmares. It was a constant reminder of why she’d left and why she couldn’t go back. But how she yearned for his touch, for his comfort, to hold him in her arms and have him hold her back. The loneliness was beyond description.

The guard came back over with a small tray in hand and asked, “That you humming over here?”

She looked up at him, not even realizing that she had been humming the entire time, “Ah yeah… sorry about that.”

He smirked at her, “It’s kind of nice.” He unlocked the jail door and set the plate of food down on the ground and closed it up again, “Dinner’s served.”

She looked over at the tray and frowned. There was a tankard of dirty looking water, a piece of stale bread and a small bowl of lukewarm stew, which a fly had crash landed into.

“Beggars can’t be choosers Jill. Eat up.”

She sighed and relented, grabbing the tray and bit into the hard bread. Before he got a chance to walk away she said, “Hey, Kellen, if you’ve got a lute laying around I can play and sing you some songs." He glanced back at her and looked skeptical. Then she said with a laugh, “I promise not to smash it to pieces and use it as a weapon. Besides, I have magic, I could have used that ages ago if I really wanted to.”

He chuckled, “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that so I don’t have to bind your arms. Alright, I’ll see if I’ve got one laying around.”

He left and she picked the fly out of her stew before sipping on it. She’d finish her time there, and clear her bounty. But she was still damn determined to get that hilt. She’d tried to steal it in broad daylight, thinking it’d be easier with no one home. But she’d been caught while fussing with the lock and her invisibility wore off. This time she’d sneak in under the cover of night.

And after that she’d make the trip back to Dawnstar to collect her reward for that piece and take care of a few jobs she was supposed to be running for the Guild. On the way was a Dwemer ruin she’d been hoping to explore. Although she didn’t feel quite ready to take the plunge inside it, she’d at least scout it out, determine what might be involved in getting in.

She’d definitely be prepared the next time she did go into one by stocking up on potions, buying a ton of lock picks and she would bring plenty of fresh food and water because if it was anything like the other two, she’d be down there for a few days at least. But first she needed that dagger repaired and she hoped that the museum proprietor knew how to fix it. If he did manage to repair it, well… she’d have to turn right around and steal it from him.

She smirked as she wiped up the last of her stew with the hard bread. She’d changed so much over the last six months. She hardly recognized herself anymore.

~~~

Bishop finished eating his supper and packed his dishware back up. He tried to keep everything in his camp neat and tidy, stowed away and ready to move again in a moment’s notice. He never knew when a dragon would appear and he’d learned to be ready for it.

He yawned, laying back on his bedroll and closed his eyes, hoping that for once he’d have a dreamless sleep. He didn’t have much of a chance to nod off though when he heard the sound of a lute playing.

(The Song is The Rains of Castamere by Malukah)

Bishop grumbled loudly from his bedroll and rolled over. Eira was seated by the fire, translucent as ever and playing a lute as she sang some old tavern song. He sighed, rolling his eyes and looked right at her and said, “Really? Right now? You couldn’t have done this a little earlier before I started to nod off?”

She simply smiled at him as she sang, giving him that mysterious look she always did. For six months he’d suffered this woman haunting his footsteps. There were times when she was wispy and faded like now and others when she was nearly a solid person walking along with him. Sometimes she would sing and even fight alongside him.

He had a strange feeling it was Rona’s doing. That she’d set this ghost of a woman on him, to keep an eye out for him or something. There were times he appreciated her presence, like when she helped fend off bandits, predators and dragons, but other times like now, when he just wanted to sleep, she drove him mad.

He scowled at her and stuck his fingers in his ears. She had a beautiful voice, certainly, but it was nothing compared to Rona’s soft, elegant voice and he really was in no mood for the fiery red-head’s crooning at that moment.

She continued and he sat upright, getting up and stomped over to her, “Would you just stop already!?” He roared throwing his hands out, “You’re going to attract predators damn it! You know if you’re going to channel your inner voice or whatever, at least sing a little more like her! I’d much rather hear her voice, at least then I could sleep!”

He swiped a hand at her but it simply went through her ethereal form and she just grinned at him. He growled again and turned around to slump back down onto his bedroll trying his damndest to ignore the woman.

Finally, she stopped and he sighed, closing his eyes again, attempting to drift off once more. Then again her lute started up.

(The Song is Rains of Castamere by Erutan)

He grumbled loudly and took a blanket, yanking it over his head and pressed a hand to his ear, trying to drown her out. But then he heard a new voice, one that made his skin prickle and his heart race.

"Who are you, the young lord said, that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat, that's all the truth I know
A coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours."

It had been ages since he’d heard that sweet sound. Instinctively he rolled over and started looking all around for any sign of her as her beautiful voice echoed around the campsite, but all he saw was Eira, seated by the fire, smiling at him.

The fire though, it glowed golden embers. It was Rona’s fire. Her beautiful, wonderful golden fire. He sat up then and moved closer to it, crawling on his hands and knees and just stared into it. The sound was coming from the fire and then he saw a faded image of her beautiful face in the flames, ghostly and ethereal, he could barely discern her features, but he knew it was her. She was singing with a soft smile on her face. Singing that same song that Eira just sang, because the two were connected.

He looked up at the fiery red-head and breathed, “Where is she?”

Eira just looked at him. She said nothing. She never said anything unless she was singing. He turned away from her, looking back into the fire and just stared hard at Rona, drinking in the image of her. It had been so long since he’d seen her, he couldn’t believe how easy it was to forget the way someone looked until he saw her again.

She still had those three discernable scars on her left cheek, a gift from a frost troll up on the Seven Thousand Steps. He watched as her lovely lashes beat over her eyes and her perfect lips moved, parting with each word as she serenaded him through the fire. Her hair looked longer, and it was parted differently. He couldn’t see the color of her hair or eyes though because everything looked ghostly and golden from his view. But he had the strongest feeling she’d changed them. She had to have, meaning to disappear as she did.

Word had started to spread quickly that the Dragonborn was dead shortly after she left. A rumor she no doubt spread herself. She’d done everything in her power to erase herself from existence, trying to evade him and possibly others like the Thalmor and the Dark Brotherhood. But still she left him messages, knowing he was searching, knowing he’d follow her footsteps.

She’d taken the map with her, the one he’d outlined with all the Dwemer ruins. He’d suggested they start in the Reach, but he suspected she’d start in the opposite direction just to try and throw him off. Two months gone by and he’d found her symbol and her words etched into the stone by the doors of the ruins of Mzulft and Kagrenzel. She’d already gone in and cleared both by the time he’d gotten there. But as he wandered through Skyrim checking all the other ruins he hadn’t found any other marks left by her.

Until now.

That’s when he realized that the ruins may have been more than she bargained for. She was biding her time, training herself no doubt. But where she was doing that, back then he had no idea, but now, finding this new mark after his second trip around Skyrim, visiting the Dwemer ruins… now he knew. She was somewhere in the Rift, hiding out there. She had to be. He started to suspect he knew exactly where too.

He watched the dancing golden flames as her song finished and she smiled at someone, even laughed a little. His heart wrenched at the sight. He wanted her to smile at him, to laugh with him, but she was happy and for that he was grateful. She deserved to be happy.

But then her image started to fade and the flames slowly turned orange and he impulsively reached a hand into the fire, trying to grab her, to stop her from fading. The fire turned hot again and he yanked his arm back with a painful growl as it licked at his skin.

(The music is Final Frontier by Thomas Bergersen)

His attentions were drawn immediately away from the pain in his hand and his heart, however, when he heard the loud roar of a dragon and then he felt the ever present rumbling of the ground as the creature soared over him. He got up immediately and grabbed his weapons, fully arming himself with his bow and arrows and his sword and shield. He whistled sharply for Karnwyr and ran down the steps, keeping his eyes trained on the beast as it started circling around the area.

He'd have to be quick, he didn’t have any shouts that could call the thing to him. He watched as the dragon landed, crashing down near a small farm on the edge of Lake Honrich near Riften. It was too perfect. It was exactly where he wanted it to be.

It started snapping at something in front of it and then he heard the telltale pained yowls of a man and the screams of others as the dragon caught its prey in its jaws. It snatched up what appeared to be the body of a man and devoured him whole into its fiery throat. Then it rounded on the others, roaring flames at them and lighting the farm and the fields alight with fire.

Bishop drew his bow as he got closer to it and bellowed, “ATTACK!” Karnwyr went full beast mode, barking viciously and raced into the fray. With his enchanted armor the fires didn’t even phase the wolf. He darted between the legs of the dragon and buried his canines straight into the soft underbelly of the beast as Bishop started lobbing arrows into its hide. It hissed and writhed in pain, but the wolf hung on tightly and the ranger wouldn’t let up on his volley.

When he got close enough he tossed his bow aside, slid his ebony shield over his left arm and yanked his steel and dragon-bone edged sword from its sheath. He rushed in, ready to kill just as he’d done so many times before. The dragon saw him coming though and roared another flurry of flames at him. The spellbreaker on his shield and the enchantments on his armor protected him well enough though and he easily pushed through the fires and made that creature’s mouth meet his sword. He got down low and swung upward, stabbing it straight through the underside of its jaws, piercing the flesh through the bottom and up into its skull. Its eye widened and stared, stunned at him, as they always did. He gave it a hateful glare in reply and slid his sword from its mouth, making its blood run.

The dragon seemed to gasp for a moment as it slumped down and then for good measure, Bishop grit his teeth and stabbed hard into the top of its head, square between its eyes, making sure it was dead. He watched as the light from the dragon’s eyes faded and he caught his breath, waiting hopefully.

But when nothing happened, when he only continued to stare down at the corpse of this godsforsaken cruel monster he roared, “FUCKING DAMN IT! DAMN IT ALL TO OBVLIVION!” He started lashing out at the corpse of the dragon, thrusting his sword into it over and over again angrily.

He hated these things more than he could ever express. They were the reason she was gone, the reason they couldn’t be together and yet they were the only way to find her.

It had happened only two other times when he defeated them. The first time was in the second month since she’d left, just outside Whiterun. He’d been visiting the Companions for a short while, seeing if any of them had heard from her, which of course they hadn't. Then they received word of a dragon spotted nearby the Battle-Born Farm. They all immediately rose to the occasion and set out to take the beast down, Bishop, Aela, Vilkas, Farkas, Freya, Qetesh, Bast and even a few of the kids, Nelkir and his friend joined them, granted they were told to stand by and observe from a safe distance only.

The minute the dragon breathed its last breath its body started to burn up and its soul whisked away going northeast towards Shearpoint Mountain. Bishop wasted no time, without saying a word to the Companions he rushed off, setting out to track her location from there. He’d found the bones of another dead dragon on top of that mountain and a word wall. She’d been there, but she was already gone by the time he arrived. That’s when he managed to track her back to the Rift and found evidence of her visits into Mzulft and Kagrenzel. And seeing the Akaviri symbols carved into the ruins he decided to make the trek across Skyrim to check them all.

And so he did, spending months trudging all across Skyrim checking each ruin for any more signs that she’d visited and killing all the dragons he could find along the way. He’d killed more dragons than he could count at that point and he’d become such a professional at it that word had started to spread about his skills. He really started to understand just how Rona felt, as he was becoming nearly as famous as the Dragonborn herself, with couriers finding him and presenting him with letters from Jarls and nobles offering him gold in exchange for taking care of the dragon pests in their holds and around their lands.

On the one hand, it was good to receive the letters, to easily learn where the dragons were in each hold and if they were near where he was tracking her, but on the other he found it incredibly irritating every time he was stopped by passersby and townsfolk along the roads and in the cities, seeking out his aid from the winged furies. He’d never wanted to become famous and he had no interest in killing the beasts to save anyone, it was only to try and find her.

It was Karnwyr that gave him away too, since word had spread that ‘Arrow the Dragonslayer’ worked with a russet wolf dressed in leather armor. He’d decided to stick with his alias from his time in Cyrodiil so that someday he could go back to just being Bishop, the lone ranger.

So he carried on then, as Arrow the Dragonslayer and took a few odd jobs here and there killing dragons when he could, hoping that soon enough one would burn up again and he could track her down once more. The second time it had happened was nearly a month ago, when he was wandering around the Reach near Karthwasten. He’d decided to take on a job to kill the dragon that had been hunting a little too close to the old mining village. That’s when he got lucky again.

That dragon burned up two days after he’d killed it. It was early morning when it happened and he was lucky enough to just be waking up for it, granted the burning sounds surely would have made him stir either way. He watched as its soul whisked up and off to the northwest, towards Dragontooth Crater. He followed it as quickly as he could and once again found signs she’d been there, another word wall and dragon bones. She was definitely continuing her training, trying to complete her knowledge of all the dragon shouts. He managed to track her all the way back to Markarth but lost her again.

Karnwyr’s nose just couldn’t handle the overpowering smells coming from the hot smelters and smoky forges being worked overtime in the city of silver mining. Still he’d searched all over the city looking for any sign of her to no avail. He began his travels once more from there, seeking out the nearby Dwemer Ruins to see if she might be there. When he found no Akaviri symbols, however, he left again, making to head back to the Rift.

Now he was there once more, so damn close to her, yet so far. He’d been so sure she was hiding out in Riften somewhere, maybe in the Ratway even. He grimaced at the thought of his beloved hunkering down and hiding out in that disgusting and awful place. He sincerely doubted she’d get in with the Thieves Guild, he could never imagine her sinking that low. But he just had to know. He had to find out somehow.

“Is it? Is it dead?” A man’s voice broke him from his reverie.

Bishop looked over at an old farmer and his wife as they stared nervously at the dead dragon literally collapsed in the middle of their farmland.

“Yeah, it’s dead,” Bishop said as he sheathed his sword and stowed his shield onto his back.

“It ate the town guard but… you killed it,” the farmer said with awe.

“Sure did,” Bishop said turning away from them.

“Wait,” the woman called, “Please, we’d like to thank you for saving us.”

“Oh you will,” Bishop said, “I just have to go collect my travel pack. I’ll be staying here for a few nights to keep an eye on the thing.”

They gaped at him and he turned back grinning roguishly at them, “You know, to make sure it doesn’t come back to life.”

The two of them looked horrified but Bishop just chuckled to himself and started to make the trip back to the Dwemer ruins to collect his camping equipment. He’d stay out on that farm for a few days and wait it out, hoping with all his heart that the damned dragon would finally burn up and its soul would lead him to her.