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The Secret of Nirn

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“Lorelai! Remember to take the dogs out before you seal yourself in your room to play that damn game, if they pee on the carpet you’re the one who will clean it!”

“I know mom, go to work already.”

“I’ll be home around nine, try to be productive while I’m gone.”

The door slammed closed and Lorelai was left alone with her two golden retrievers sitting at her feet, the only two creatures that she knew never judged her. She bent down to pet her favorite companions and grabbed the leashes from the hook by the back door.

“Come on boys, let’s get this over with.”

She made sure the collars were tight and that the leash was hooked properly before opening the back door and jogging outside with her dogs in tow. After about thirty minutes Lorelai returned home with two plastic bags full of re-purposed dog food from the night before, she threw them in the outside trash and then locked the back door.

“Okay. Time for my favorite game, come on guys you can lay on the bed while play.”

The dogs bounded up the steps and immediately found a spot to occupy on her queen sized mattress, she laughed as they shut their eyes to sleep as she picked her favorite game from her disc rack and powered on her Xbox one. The normal home screen appeared and she wasted no time inserting the game and waiting for it to launch, she grabbed her control and flopped down onto her bean bag as she waited for the main menu to load.

“What shall I do today? I could try to do those agent of Mara quests I’ve read about on the forums, but my bloodthirsty wood elf isn’t one for love and compassion. I don’t really wanna attempt to bond with anymore Daedric Princes either though, I miss the simplicity of the main quest. I could find Kaidan and do some of his quest, but I did that a few playthroughs ago with my Khajit archer. I can’t forget about Inigo, that cat is literally the best friend I’ve ever had.”

She looked at the screen as the chanting started to play, the smoke fogged over the menu screen and the crumbling Imperial symbol hovered before her. She scrolled down to load her last save game but hesitated to push the accept button.

 “Fuck it.”

She scrolled back up to new game and pressed play, she watched the opening sequence and heard Ralof’s voice wake her character. She sighed as she looked at the modded nord, those body and facial textures really do make a difference.

“Maybe I’ll build a male nord this time, I’ll make the perfect nord warrior. Manly,tough, and handsome too. The perfect son of this snow covered, war ridden, and prideful province.”

After about an hour of customizing her character to look like her ideal man she paused at the naming screen, she went over some names that she liked in her head but none of them fit her beautiful creation. He had shoulder length dirty blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, but she made his complexion darker that what a normal nord would be. He looked like a surfer if she thought about it, but sadly the name Kyle or Chad wouldn’t feel right in the Old Norse realm of Skyrim.

“Naming him Thor is too obvious, hmmm. I think Caden would suit him nicely though, then I can get him to save Kaidan and Inigo and those three can wander the province kicking ass and taking names.”

Right when she pressed enter her console crashed and her screen went dark, she groaned in aggravation as she set her controller on the ground.

“Damn it! I spent a good hour making that piece of eye candy, well maybe the amount of mods I have downloaded caused the crash. Hopefully that new profile autosaved, time to reboot.”

But as she kneeled next to her now powered down game console she saw that the Xbox symbol was now a shade of green and blinking, that was new.

“Please tell me I didn’t fry the circuit board, I really don’t want to buy a new system.”

When she reached her hand out to touch the light she felt a shock coarse through her body, then she felt her body levitate off the ground. She panicked as more pain shot through her arm until she finally lost consciousness. She felt a dull pain in her arms as she felt the soft blankets beneath her, she sat up with her eyes still shut as she rubbed her shoulders and stretched.

“What the fuck was that? Did I just get electrocuted? Damn.”

When she finally opened her eyes she saw that she was sitting in an unfamiliar room, the walls were made of lumber and the smell of stew permeated the air. She looked around in a panic as she realized she knew exactly where she was.

“I must be dreaming, that or the shock killed me...this is Breezehome.”

Just as she recognized the building she was in the door leading into her solitary room was opened, she whipped her head towards the small opening and her mouth dropped open. Standing there in Dragonbone armour was her newest creation, but how was that possible she just made him.

“Finally you’re awake, you scared me for a bit there friend.”

She was speechless as Caden pulled up a chair and sat at her bedside, she brought her knees up to her chest and hugged them tightly. This couldn’t be happening, I must be dead. Caden noticed her nervous position and scooted back from the bed to give his new guest some room to breathe. The woman was just lying out in the middle of the plains outside of Whiterun, if he hadn’t been out hunting no one may have found her. She was dressed in really odd clothing though, nothing like any he had seen across Skyrim anyway. She was cute though, her golden brown hair was braided down her back and her eyes were a deep sea green. Her build was small though, like she hadn’t fought a day in her life. Maybe she was from Cyrodiil?

“Um, can you speak?”

Lorelai didn’t know what to say, she pinched herself and she hissed at the pain. So this was really happening, she was somehow stuck in Skyrim. Great.

“Are you alright?”

She still hadn’t either of his questions, but what could she say? She was dressed in a tank top and sweatpants, she no doubt stuck out like a sore thumb. She had to say something though, he was staring at her and it as making her uncomfortable, she put her chin on her knees and sighed.

“I’m fine I guess..”

“So you can speak, care to explain why you were lying unconscious in the plains outside Whiterun?”

“That’s where you found me?”

“Yes…. Do you not remember?”

“N-not exactly…”

“I see, well I was out hunting and saw you sprawled out in the brush. I thought you were dead at first, until I noticed the shallow breathing.”

“Damn, well thank you for rescuing me…”

“No thanks needed friend, if I didn’t help a woman in need I couldn’t-”

“Call yourself a nord?”

“Uh…..”

“Sorry, I’ve just heard that line before. Sounds good coming from you though, truly fitting of the Dragonborn I guess.”

“You know who I am?”

“Yes I do, I know all about your journey to defeat Alduin and bring peace to Skyrim. I know it all.”

“I see, but how? I know word only travels so far.”

“I guess you could say I’m a fan, a very dedicated fan at that.”

“Uh huh.”

She turned away from her rescuer and observed her surroundings, she was in the master bedroom and sitting in Caden’s bed. That means just outside the front door was the city of Whiterun, one of the best trading hubs in the whole province. She knew that city like the back of her hand, but she dreaded actually leaving the safety of this little house.

“Are you hungry? My housecarl makes a great venison stew, or we have some bread and cheese if you want that instead.”

“Lydia…”

“You know her? Maybe she could shed some light on-”

“No!”

“No?”

“I uh… haven’t actually met her… in person that is.”

“So how do you know her name?”

“Well with her being the Dragonborn’s housecarl it’s hard not to hear of her, right?”

“I suppose. Do you still want that stew?”

“Sure.”

“Do you want to join us downstairs?”

“Okay.”

She got off the bed and Caden held the door open for her, she then slowly walked down the rickety ladder leading to the main floor. She saw Lydia in her steel armour standing over the small cooking pit in the center of the room, she was pretty in came but in person she was beautiful. Not her first choice for a follower but nice to come home to after a long time away, a true friend. Lydia’s warm brown eyes met hers and Lorelai turned away to avoid being caught staring.

“Lydia. Our guest here will be joining us for lunch.”

“Of course my Thane, I made extra.”

“Thank you.”

Lorelai gratefully accepted the wooden bowl that was offered to her, she seated herself at the far side of the room away from Caden and Lydia. She had terrible social anxiety and this strange circumstance was no exception, what was she going to do? Caden came over to her and sat down beside her with his own food, she eyed him warily as he sat down.

“I know you're scared, but know that we won’t hurt you. It seems like you’ve been through a lot and the last thing I want to do is make you uncomfortable, but if you can tell me anything about where you came from I can try to get you back.”

“My home is far away from Skyrim, you could never reach it. I don’t even know how to get back, I’m stuck here until I figure it out.”

“You have no ties to Skyrim at all? Surely something brought you here in the first place. Family? Work?”

Lorelai had nothing to say, if she told him the truth he would think she was crazy. She had no idea how to explain herself, if anything brought her here it would be him. After all this occurred after she finished creating her new character, that brought another question to mind.

“You’ve defeated Alduin right?”

“Yes, a few months ago.”

So the main quest was already finished, so what was the point of her being here? Good thing I’m not the Dragonborn, I couldn’t handle the pressure. Caden looked at her as he silently ate his serving of stew, Lydia finished her meal and prepared to head into the market to buy some more provisions. Before she left the small house she turned back to Lorelai and looked her up and down, taking in her strange clothes.

“My Thane?”

“Yes?”

“I have some spare dresses in my room, maybe our guest would want a more suitable outfit. It would be better if she didn’t draw attention to herself until she remembers how to return home or until she figures out what happened to her.”

“Thank you Lydia, you can take the rest of the day for yourself if you wish. I know that you’ve been wanting to return to Dragonsreach for sometime now.”

“But the shopping..”

“I can do it, maybe I’ll take my new friend here with me. What is your name?”

“Lorelai…”

“I’ll take Lorelai with me, some walking will do her good.”

Lydia nodded and said she would return tomorrow afternoon, Lorelai finished her meal and then Caden showed her to Lydia’s room. He left her to change and she calmly sifted through the clothes Lydia owned, she recognized some of the normal townspeople clothes from her numerous playthroughs. They all felt coarse and scratchy, but what did she expect? Silk? No, Skyrim was a harsh province and she knew that fashion was not the first thing on their minds.

She grabbed a simple blue dress similar to the one she often saw Ysolda wearing around the marketplace, it hung a little loose in some areas but fit her nonetheless. Lydia had more muscle than She did so the sleeves were a little baggy, but her chest filled it out nicely and held the dress in place. She emerged from the room and found a pair of womens boots outside her door, she slipped them on and they fit perfectly. After descending the stairs once more she saw that Caden had changed from his armour to simple town clothes as well, they fit him nicely. A simple tunic and vest paired with some cotton pants and fur boots, he had also pulled his hair back into a sort of bun.

“That look suits you well, ready to go?”

“I’m kinda nervous, you see I’m not good with crowds..”

“Whiterun is fine, and with the Companions helping the guards this place is one of the safest cities in Skyrim.”

“Be that as it may, I still don’t like this. I have problems with just one on one conversation, I shut down in crowds.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, it just happens. I didn’t go out much back home, I sealed myself away in my room most days.”

“That’s no way to live my friend, don’t worry I’ll be with you.”

“Hmmm.”

Caden sensed her fear and walked over to her side taking her hand in his, she was startled by the sudden gesture and moved her eyes rapidly back and forth between their interlocked hands and Caden’s eyes. He then placed her hand on his arm and she blushed, he smiled at her and they walked towards the front door. As they emerged from the home she was blinded by the sunlight, then the smell of smoke and wildflowers flooded her senses. She looked over to see Adrianne working hard on a new sword, and she saw Braith run by chasing after Lars for his allowance just like in the game.

“Welcome to Whiterun.”

“Hmph, it’s nice to see it in person. Truly breathtaking.”

They walked arm in arm towards the stalls and shops, Lorelai felt better having Caden with her but she still felt like everyone was staring at her. Then she felt Caden jolt forward as someone slapped him on the back with force, she squeaked and hid behind him for protection from whatever threat came upon them. She felt Caden chuckle and peeked around to see Farkas standing there scratching his head, he was bigger in person.

“I didn’t mean to scare her, timid little thing isn’t she.”

“It’s fine brother, she was already nervous before you came along.”

“Who is she? A lover?”

Caden eyed her as she came out of hiding, she was looking Farkas over and he was surprised at her open appraisal of his friend.

“No, not a lover. A new friend, I found her on the plains early this morning during my hunt, she just woke up an hour ago. She has no memory of how she got here, or how to get back to her home.”

“Damn, well what is she gonna do for shelter?”

That was a good question, Lorelai hadn’t even thought about that herself. She had no combat skills or spells to offer anyone, she was useless in this world and she doubted that her knowledge of video games and the best place to get take out from would be of use here. She was going to be a burden on everyone here and if she left the safety of the city she would surely die, death is not an option here I need to get home.

“Well I figured she could stay with me until she regains some of her memories, if she remembers where she was before I found her that would be a good starting point.”

“Always the humble protector huh? Well is she any good with a sword? We could let her join the Companions if she is worthy, you are the Harbinger after all.”

Lorelai looked at Farkas with wide eyes before turning to Caden with curious eyes.

“You’re the leader of the Companions too? But that means Kodlak is already dead, you cured him first though right?”

Caden was shocked that she knew of Kodlak’s lycanthropy in the first place, he looked to Farkas and he was skeptical of the woman as much as he was. He needed answers, he could be helping an Imperial spy for all her knew. He looked back to Lorelai and put a hand on her shoulder.

“We should talk elsewhere, come.”

Lorelai curse herself for speaking about the quest line, she was a stranger to them and she already knew so much. They led her to Jorrvaskr and escorted her into the Harbinger’s quarters, they called in the rest of the circle and locked the door behind them. Aela, Vilkas, Farkas, and Caden now stood in front of her with their arms crossed over their chests.

“Lorelai, you need to explain how you knew about Kodlak and our secret. Now.”

“You won’t believe me….”

“Try me.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai finished telling Caden and the rest of the circle how she ended up in Skyrim and she saw the disbelief instantly cloud their features, she knew they wouldn’t believe her. She told them about how in her world Skyrim was an amazing game which she loved with a passion, she also tried to explain how she knew about the Circle’s secret but before she could Aela stopped her.

“You don’t expect us to actually believe this do you?”

Lorelai rolled her eyes and rested her chin in her hand.

“I told you that you wouldn’t, but what reason do I have to lie to you?”

“You could be a spy for the Silver Hand, I know that Vilkas and Caden tried to wipe them out but I’ve heard whispers of a few members stirring up trouble again.”

“You really think I would align myself with the assholes that killed one of my favorite NPC’s? I would have easily laid down my life for Kodlak, he didn’t deserve to die like that!”

Aela was taken back at the sudden shouting from the woman before her, Lorelai had loved Kodlak in the game. He was the best father figure she had ever encountered, when her first Dragonborn came back from killing the witches of Glenmoril she was heartbroken to see that the hall had been attacked.by the Silver Hand. She banished the memory from her mind and turned back to her interrogators, she felt so uncomfortable in this setting but knew she had to stand her ground if she even wanted a chance for them to believe her story.

“Listen, you can doubt me or say I’m a spy or whatever. But I have the highest respect for the Companions, I didn’t really agree with the whole werewolf thing to advance the story line but I liked it anyway. Are we done here?”

Caden was impressed that she stood her ground against Aela but he didn’t know if her fully believed the whole ‘I’m from another world’ story Lorelai had just told them. Maybe he could make her prove it? He approached her and squatted down to look her in the eyes, she shifted in her seat a little but made eye contact with him.

“So Lorelai, if this is true than you should be able to tell me you should be able to tell me about the Blades and their organization here in Skyrim.”

“Hmph. I wouldn’t call it much of an organization, more like a couple of assholes blinded by their own hate that they forgot to serve their true purpose in the grand scheme of things.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well Delphine acts like your friend and Esbern is cool and provides great lore from the past Blades. However, after Delphine learns about Paarthurnax and his true identity she drops your ass and says that you need to kill the one...friend… that actually gave you a majority of direction during the whole main quest. From what I’ve read from the tomes I found in Sky Haven temple, the Blades were suppose to support and guard the Dragonborn no matter what. Delphine was just so stubborn about everything she failed in the end, I get that she might have been worried about the Thalmor but-”

“That’s enough.”

Lorelai shut her mouth as Caden cut her off, he stood up and paced around the room rubbing his neck. How could she know them personally? Let alone the fact they wanted him to kill Paarthurnax in exchange for further help, Delphine told him that while they were alone after finishing that damn peace council. Was it all really true? The world he grew up in was just a damn game? Vilkas still wasn’t convinced and approached Lorelai next as Caden pondered her answer, he looked over the strange woman and notice barely any muscle definition.

“So, what did you like most about Kodlak?”

This question caught Lorelai off guard, instead of questioning her actual story he asked what she thought of the late Harbinger. She smiled a little and folded her arms across her chest as she leaned back in her chair, she had loved meeting Kodlak over and over again through her playthroughs. She often stopped playing the quest line in order for him to live throughout the main quest line, she often pretended that one of her nord Dragonborns was Kodlak’s daughter.

“Kodlak had so many great qualities, he had so much wisdom and I wish I good have met him in person. Vilkas, you always found comfort in Kodlak’s words right? I did too, he always looked towards a solution. Whether it was dealing with the Silver Hand and Skjor’s death, or curing his lycanthropy. He always persevered,it was nice seeing him every time I logged into my game. When I read his journal, as the Dragonborn, it made me cry. We were destined to meet and he knew that I was destined for greatness, something I have a hard time believing in the real world. But in here, I could be anything I wanted.”

Vilkas listened to her talk about Kodlak and he knew that her words were genuine, Caden had stopped pacing to listen as well when she started speaking of Kodlak’s journal. She knew what he had written, so it was true. Vilkas seemed to like talking to Lorelai about the lore behind some of Skyrim’s leaders, the conversation kinda derailed from there. Then Lorelai froze and realized she was hiding her phone in the band of her underwear, turns out pockets weren’t exactly in fashion in Skyrim, she had taken it out from the pocket of her sweat pants when she changed. Why hadn’t she just showed them her phone? She timidly reached into the slit at the side of her dress and removed her phone, she held it out to Caden and he came closer to view the strange box.

“What’s this?”

“It’s called a phone, I don’t know why I didn’t just show you this.”

“What does it do?”

“Well if you hit this button it brings up the lock screen, then I type in my code and it brings you to the home screen. It’s how we communicate in my world.”

“How?”

“It’s called texting, it’s like writing a letter but instead of paying someone to deliver it the person gets it instantly and can reply faster.”

“Huh. Impressive. Well I guess we have enough proof to verify your story, but we can’t just go around telling anyone who asks that you’re from this other world. People will throw you in prison for being insane, so we will just say you can see into the future like Olava. It’s uncommon but not unheard of, easier to conceal it that way.”

“How many people do you intend for me to meet? Just being here with the four of you is making me uneasy.”

Vilkas looked away from the weird device to the shy woman in front of him, he shook his head in disbelief and put a hand on her bare shoulder.

“You were talking perfectly with me about Kodlak, you just have to find the common ground with someone.”

“Hmph. Easier said than done, back in my world I’m not exactly popular. I know so much about games and different forums, back home I’m just an antisocial nerd. It’s been that way ever since I was little.”

“Well, I don’t know what a nerd is, but you seem like a very genuine person. I think once you get used to it here you can change, besides until you find a way back you have no choice but to adapt.”

“Ugh don’t remind me.”

“Have you ever fought in your life? You lack the basic muscle definition that we normally see in people your age… how old are you exactly? Surely not more than twenty.”

“I just turned twenty-one, so..”

“And you have no fighting experience?”

“Fighting is kinda frowned upon in my world, it’s not unheard of, but it isn’t necessary for survival.”

“Interesting. Well that is your first step to adapting to our way of life.”

“What?”

“We will teach you how to defend yourself, then you can decide where to go from there.”

“I have zero stamina, I sucked ass in gym..”

“Gym?”

“It’s basically training, only with rude ass teenagers that bean you in the head with a hard rubber dodge ball.”

“What’s a dodge ball?”

“That’s not important, just trust me when I said it hurt like hell.”

Vilkas nodded but then he turned to Caden and put his hands on his hips, Caden looked at him curiously and folded his arms across his chest.

“Why are you looking at me like that Vilkas?”

“You need to get her some armour before we train, safety first and all that. I doubt she has a coin to her name, she being from a different world and all.”

“Ah, yeah you have a point brother. Lorelai, what kind of armour do you want?”

Lorelai looked from Vilkas to Caden at a loss for words, she had no idea what kind of armour she would be most comfortable in. She never thought she would be faced with that decision, she shrugged her shoulders and the men shook their heads. Vilkas made her stand and he circled her figure multiple times like a vulture, Lorelai felt so self-conscious she was beginning to get nauseous.

“Is the circling necessary? I don’t like it when people stare at me…”

“Apologies, but I need to assess your body type. You have a decent amount of meat on your bones, but very little physical strength.”

“Well like I said there's not really a reason to fight..”

“You need to learn, life here is a struggle and you need to learn to at least defend yourself. Better yet take down an enemy.”

Lorelai looked horrified at the thought of potentially killing someone, although she reasoned that if it was necessary in order to live she might be able to do it. After Vilkas finished his evaluation he said that leather armour would suit her best, considering how its light but durable all the same. Lorelai smiled at the armour choice and rubbed her hands together.

“Do you mean I get to wear thieves guild armour?! It looks so good in game and all the pouches seem handy.”

Caden shook his head at the mention of the Thieves Guild, he had tried to make Brynjolf see reason so many times. Mercer was an asshole and a snake. Brynjolf tried to explain that Caden just didn’t know Mercer as well as he did, Caden only did a few favors for him and all of a sudden he was thrown into a major job. Which he still hadn’t completed, he scouted that damn honey farm and it was just to risky. He was by no means stealthy, but that aside he had a set of leather armour from the Guild. He hadn’t even worn it but he knew it would be too big for Lorelai without alterations, maybe Adrianne could refit it?

“I have a set of Thieves Guild leather armour back at my house, if I take it to Adrianne she could probably refit it to your size. It’ll cost a pretty sum though, but you need the protection and its no big deal.”

“Are you sure Caden? I don’t have anything to pay you back with, I don't know if I ever will…”

“You learning how to properly defend yourself would be enough for me, besides I don’t think I’m gonna need that armour anyway.”

“Why? Haven’t you finished the Thieves Guild quests?”

“I did a couple of favours for one of the top thieves and now he wants me to ransack some damn bee farm outside Riften, must’ve of been at least three dozen mercenaries lurking about. Plus their leader is an arsehole and I don;t trust him.”

“You shouldn’t…”

“What do you know of the Thieves Guild?”

“Everything, that was one of the first factions I ever joined when I first started playing the game. Sneaking around and stealth arching people made me feel like a bad ass ghost! Plus getting to here Brynjolf’s voice wasn’t terrible.”

“You know that silver tongued bastard?”

“Not personally, but he’s not as bad as you think. He ends up being a real genuine guy in my opinion, after all the shit with Mercer-”

“What do you know of that milk drinker?”

“That he’s a back stabbing dog, but no one will believe what I know about him. However I know how to obtain that information in game, but you’d have to do the quests. They are tricky and may involve devoting yourself to a certain Daedric Prince…”

Caden looked her over once more, having her around to tell him about certain jobs could be useful. But before he even suggests she help him on his adventures she needs to train, but with who.

“Lorelai?”

“Yeah?”

“Who do you want to train with? We all have different skills-”

“Well Aela has amazing archery skills, but Vilkas knows a lot about one handed weapons and shield usage. And even though I love Farkas his specialty is two handed weapons, they are a little too much for me to handle I bet.”

The three Companions looked shocked, she knew their specialties and she had never met them. She truly was from another world, Caden just laughed as she kept spurting off facts about different members of the honored company. Then Lorelai noticed she was rambling and shut down, she knew that no one wanted to hear her drone on about a pointless video game. Her family and past friends made that clear from the very start. Caden noticed the light leave her eyes and walked over to put a hand on the woman’s shoulder, she shrunk back away from his touch and played with the sleeves of her dress.

“Why did you stop talking?”

“I know you guys don’t care about this stuff. It can get annoying-”

“It was actually pretty amazing.”

“Huh?”

“Well you already know so much about us but we know nothing about you, makes for an interesting friendship. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“We’re friends?”

“Sure, it’d be nice to see a new face around the hall. Plus I think you have potential, Kodlak taught me to trust my instincts. I think you were sent here for a reason, but before we do anything I want you to be ready for a fight.”

“I’ll train with Aela, I took some archery lessons back in my world for a short time when I went through a phase. Turns out one can only become Katniss Everdeen with years of training.”

“Who is Katniss Everdeen?”

“Uh….. that’s not important.”

“Alright, well lets head back home for today and get that armour to Adrianne before she closes the smithy. She’ll need your measurements in order to re-fabricate the armour.”

“Alright. Um, it was nice to meet you three...for what it’s worth you guys are incredible people and top notch warriors.”

The three smiled and the twins nudged each other as they watched the Harbinger lead his new ward out of the bowels of the hall and back out into the open air. When the Gildergreen came into view Lorelai smiled brightly, Caden noticed and looked at the newly revived tree.

“So you got the sap from that spriggan riddled cave, it’s even more beautiful in person.”

“Yeah, that quest was worth it in the end. Even though I was picking twigs out of my hair for days.”

“Long hair suits you though Caden, especially with the bone structure in your face.”

Caden looked at her with a smile and gently pushed her shoulder, she stumbled a little before Caden’s hand reach out and stabilized her.

“Sorry, I guess I don’t know my own strength.”

“Nah it’s cool, I just need to be tougher. Physically anyway.”

Caden furrowed his brow at that comment but sensed her mood shift from her previous happy countenance to a rather cold nature. He let it slide and pulled her along to Breezehome, he got all the armour pieces and took both Lorelai and the armour to his friend Adrianne. When he first set foot in the door he was met with a dagger being thrown at his head.

“You need to work on your aim Adrianne, usually you don’t miss by that much.”

“Hmph, one of these days it’ll be between the eyes.”

Lorelai stared slack jawed at the conversation, she hit Caden lightly on the shoulder causing him to turn around and face her.

“What the hell did you do to Adrianne? Why would she throw a dagger at you?”

“I may have sold her some low quality iron, but I had no idea how bad it was. I was just doing a favor for a traveler on the road, he needed to sell the last few ingots and I thought Adrianne would like the cheap materials. I didn’t know that it would cause her newly forged weapons to literally crumble.”

“What the hell dude?”

Caden shrugged and dumped the leather set on the counter before the angry Redgaurd, after apologizing to her he asked for the armour refitting and Adrianne agreed to help for a small fee of four hundred gold. Some of it was payback for the shitty material Caden had given her, serves him write. Never wrong a woman, they remember that shit for life. Adrianne took measurements of Lorelai and then said the armour should be ready in a couple days and to return later for a fitting, then the two unlikely friends left the shop and walked towards Breezehome. Then Lorelai heard a commotion from the tavern at the top of the small incline, the Bannered Mare seemed to be alight with fun and she kinda wanted to experience it.

“Wanna have dinner at the inn?”

“Can we?”

“Sure, Hulda promised me a discount the next time I ate there. I chopped a great deal of firewood for that privilege.”

“I gotta say it sounds fun up there.” “Come on, while you’re stuck here you might as well enjoy it.”

“Alright. Let’s go!”

Chapter Text

When Caden opened the door to the inn Lorelai was instantly greeted with the smell of alcohol and the sound of a lute playing, she timidly walked into the building and Caden followed closely behind her. She saw many people she recognized from the game, from Arcadia and Belethor to Mikael and Carlotta. So many familiar faces, as Lorelai looked around the lively inn Caden ordered two servings of vegetable stew and a couple flagons of mead. They found a table in the corner and ate while they listened to Mikael strum his instrument, even though Lorelai’s anxiety wasn’t allowing her to relax that much she still found herself enjoying the moment. Caden leaned back in his chair and sipped on his mead with a content expression, Lorelai sure was an interesting person.

“So Lorelai..”

“Yeah?”

She looked up from her nearly empty bowl of food and smiled slightly at her companion.

“What do you think of Whiterun?”

“I’ve always loved this city, so many friendly people and side quests. But the inn was always my favorite spot to relax, the music calmed me. I know all of these songs by heart, I often sing them myself when I feel down or stressed out.”

“You sing?”

“A little, back when I was still in school I was in a choir. Music always seemed to help me escape from my problems, that and Skyrim of course.”

“Why don’t you sing?”

“What?!”

“I’m sure Mikael wouldn’t mind, after the little conversation I had with him about harassing women he will do whatever I say, that or he’ll meet the end of my blade.”

“I-I don’t think I could…..”

“Why not?”

“All the people here-”

“Have no idea who you are or what you are capable of, they have no idea of your past life. Do something outside your comfort zone. You won’t regret it.”

She thought about Caden’s words and thought that maybe he was right, her social anxiety had always been a fall back back home. However, she was in a whole new world, no one here knew her or had any judgement about who she was. Maybe just this once she could do something different, be a stronger person. She looked to her nord companion another time and slightly nodded her head, he took their empty dishes back to Hulda and then grabbed the bard by the shoulder. After a few minutes of talking to him Mikael readily nodded his head and grabbed a spare chair to sit in, Caden motioned her to come over and she timidly walked to the front of the room where the bard usually stood.

She felt multiple eyes follow her as she let down her hair and unwound the braid it had been bound in, her long golden brown hair fell in loose waves around her shoulders and reaches the center of her back. When she reached the two men she smiled kindly at Mikael and thanked him for allowing her to sing, the bard returned her smile and Caden patted her shoulder.

“What sone do you want to sing?”

“Hmm, well which ones do you know?”

Ragnar the Red, Age of Oppression, Tale of Tongues, The Dragonborn Comes, and the Age of Aggression. But since the Stormcloaks took over Whiterun that one isn’t preferred if you know what I mean.”

She looked to Caden at that comment and decided to ask him about the war later when they went back to Breezehome, she went over the song choices and glanced at Caden with a smile on her face as she said her choice.

“I’ll sing The Dragonborn Comes, in honor of my friend here. He did save us after all.”

“Great choice!”

Caden looked surprised but took a seat right up front to support Lorelai, Mikael called for attention and introduced the surprise guest.

“Ladies and gentlemen! I have a special guest here to perform with me, she is a personal friend of our beloved hero the Dragonborn. And in his honor she has decided to sing The Dragonborn Comes, enjoy.”

Lorelai took some deep breaths before she heard the intro play, the song was mostly a cappella but the little lute intro was enough to ease her nerves. She gently closed her eyes and took a deep breath as the lute ended and her voice flowed forth.

Our hero, our hero, claims a warrior's heart.

I tell you, I tell you, the Dragonborn comes.

With a Voice wielding power of the ancient Nord art.

Caden was hypnotized by Lorelai’s voice, and as he looked around the room so was everyone else. She had said she could sing but he swore he was listening to the voice of a goddess, her voice was so calming and soft that it made his soul feel at ease. Mikael played softly to emphasize her voice, it was a great pairing. The soft chords from the lute made her voice standout even more, even though this particular piece was supposed to be vocals only with no instruments. He interest in this woman was only increasing. Then she opened her eyes to look at him, she smiled as she felt her confidence grow, maybe she could become stronger here in Skyrim.

Believe, believe, the Dragonborn comes.

It's an end to the evil, of all Skyrim's foes.

Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes.

For the darkness has passed, and the legend yet grows.

You'll know, You'll know the Dragonborn's come.

When her voice finally faded out the room was silent, then everyone started whistling and cheering at her performance. She blushed and did a little bow before turning to Mikael and thanking him again, but the poor bard was speechless at her performance and just nodded his head mindlessly. Multiple guards and townspeople tried to talk to her for the rest of the night, Caden kept most of them at bay though because he could sense how anxious they were making Lorelai. Finally they said goodnight to her new admirers and left the inn around midnight, she breathed in the cool night air and practically skipped down the steps before spinning in place once she reached the bottom.

“I can’t believe I did that! That was so fun!”

Caden laughed at her excitement and saw that same spark ignite once more in her eyes, her hair was still in those loose curls and she looked confident and beautiful. Once he reached the bottom of the steps he took her hand in his and smiled.

“Your voice was amazing, you truly have a gift. Everyone there was enraptured by you, including me.”

Lorelai’s eyes went wide as Caden complimented her singing, her hand felt so warm in his and she blushed once more. No one ever thought her voice was special, this feels nice. She felt confident for the first time in forever, maybe being stuck in Skyrim was just what she needed. Caden kept her hand in his as they walked slowly back to Breezehome, the cool night air gently blowing her hair back as they went. Once they entered the small house a sudden realization hit her, where would she sleep?

“Uh Caden?”

“Yes?”

“Where am I gonna sleep?”

He made eye contact and held her captive there with his piercing blue eyes, he started to lean in closer and she felt her stomach twist inside her. Just as he got close to her lips she turned her head away and Caden stopped moving, he noticed the blush on her cheeks but he retreated only a little before placing one hand on her chin and turning her head to face him once more.

“Why don’t you sleep in my bed with me...”

“Uh...C-caden I-I never really um…”

He sensed her anxiety raise again as she tried to formulate a sentence, then it clicked in his head why she was having such a hard time.

“You’re a virgin aren’t you lass?”

Her face turned a deeper shade of red as she nodded her head, he understood her hesitation and backed off completely. Her eyes went back to his and she saw compassion in his gaze, he ran a few of his fingers through her silky hair and then held her at arms length.

“You can take my bed, I’ll sleep in Lydia’s room.”

“Where will she sleep?”

“She won’t be back till morning, we will solve that problem when we come to it. Get to bed, you can use one of my tunics to sleep in if you wish. Goodnight Lorelai.”

“Goodnight Caden.”

She quickly ascended the steps and shut the doors to the master bedroom, she sorted through Caden’s dresser and found a simple over sized cotton tunic. She quickly stripped leaving her bra and panties on as she exchanged Lydia’s dress for Caden’s tunic. Then she dove under the covers and situated herself on the wooden bed, he smells like leather and sandalwood. Back downstairs Caden was sorting through some ingredients in the alchemy lab, he was trying to take his mind off a certain woman who was currently occupying his bed.

“A virgin huh? That’s hard to believe with her looks, maybe it has something to do with the ‘nerd’ thing she mentioned. I don’t see why that would stop someone from courting her, when she talks about her passions her eyes light up and she’s so beautiful. I’ll make her see that she is worth so much more than she thinks, one day at a time.”


The next morning Lorelai awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread wafting up through the floorboards, she leapt out of bed without thinking and rushed down stairs to see Caden already serving breakfast for the both of them. He had heard her run down the steps and come into the kitchen area, he didn’t however notice she was still in one of his tunics until he turned around to chuckle at her enthusiasm. The chuckle itself became stuck in his throat as he took in the sight of her wearing one of his tunics, the hem of the shirt barely reached her mid-thigh.

“Did you bake bread?”

“Uh...y-yeah um, did you want to change?”

Lorelai looked down at what she was wearing and instantly blushed, she apologized and ran back upstairs to throw on the dress she was wearing the day before. After a few minutes she came back downstairs with her hair braided and proper clothes, Caden had finished serving the food when she quietly sat down at the table. They ate in silence and then Lorelai offered to clean up, Caden said she didn’t have to but she insisted on doing something since she was staying at his place for free. So the whole day was spent with Lorelai cleaning the house while Caden looked on curiously, by the time she was satisfied with the way things looked it was time for supper. She realized she hadn’t stopped for lunch, oh well.

“There all done, have you ever dusted this place?”

“Dirt doesn’t really bother me, I always keep the kitchen clean though.”

“I noticed that, but you really should set aside some time for proper home care once in a while.”

“Uh-huh.”

They ate dinner together and when Lorelai finished she realized that Lydia had not returned all day, she grabbed her now empty bowl along with Caden’s and brought them over to the basin to wash.

“Where’s Lydia? I thought she said that she would be back?”

“I sent word to her about the living situation and told her to take some well deserved time off at the palace, she didn’t seem to mind. So from now on you can sleep in Lydia’s room and I can have my bed back.”

“Oh, alright.”

“And tomorrow when we are out getting your armour we are going to Belethor’s as well.”

“Why?”

“To get you some of your own clothes, Lydia’s don’t fit you properly.”

“I’m fine with them being a little loose, it’s comfy that way.”

“Consider it a gift for the song dedication last night, besides her clothes don’t do your body justice.”

Lorelai nearly dropped the bowl she had been cleaning when she heard the surprise compliment, she felt her cheeks warm but paid no mind to how her face looked right now. She chuckled awkwardly at the compliment instead.

“Quite the charmer aren’t you Caden, Your speech must be very well developed.”

“Uh thanks?”

She shook her head and finished the dishes before saying goodnight and heading to bed, in the morning they went straight to Adrianne’s for the fitting. After about an hour or two there the armour was done and Lorelai took it in her arms as Caden paid for the alterations, after they finished up at the smithy they dropped the armour of at Breezehome and went to Belethor’s. As soon as they walked in Belethor recognized Lorelai, his smile widened as they approached the counter.

“Welcome to Belethor’s general goods, welcome indeed…”

Caden rolled his eyes at Belethor’s forced silky tone, he pushed Lorelai behind him a little and made the small breton look at him in the eye.

“I need to get some clothes for my friend here, but any funny business and I’ll make sure you end up in a cell. Get it?”

Belethor’s smile disappeared and he straightened his spine, he hurried to gather all the dresses he had in stock and put them on the counter top. Lorelai sorted through them and picked a few that appeared to be her size, then she saw a set of skimpy tavern clothes. She picked them up as well and set them on her pile, that earned her a curious look from Caden but he remained quiet. Then she asked for some large cotton tunics of her own to sleep in, after putting all the new clothes in a pack Caden paid and they returned home.

Lorelai sorted out one drawer in the dresser in Lydia’s room for herself, then she tried on her armour and it fit like a glove. Even the once oversized boots fit perfectly after the alterations, she went downstairs to show off her outfit when she heard a voice other than Caden’s in the kitchen area. When she reached the table she saw that Vilkas and Farkas had stopped by, when the three nords saw her their mouths fell open. The leather armour hugged everyone of her curves perfectly, wide hips and a decent sized chest filled the leather armour well. The hood was down so her braid hung over her shoulder, she had her hands on her hips and eyed the men curiously.

“What are you two doing here?”

Vilkas was the first to snap out of it and then he coughed and rubbed the back of his neck, Caden was still admiring the view with Farkas.

“We came to discuss your training, Aela went on a last minute mission and won’t be available for a few days. So we wanted to see who your next choice was.”

“Oh, well I guess learning one handed stuff wouldn’t be so bad. Can you train me Vilkas?”

“Of course, but I’m a strict teacher.”

“I’ll try my best..”

Farkas looked disappointed that he wasn’t chosen for her instructor but he knew he could watch while she trained, Caden would be present also since he could offer what guidance he could as Harbinger. Farkas then seemed to remember something and turned his full attention to the small woman.

“Is it true that you can sing?”

Lorelai looked at him shyly and nodded her head as Farkas smiled, Vilkas also smiled as Caden rolled his eyes.

“How did you hear about that?”

“Well word travels fast boss, Saadia came up to the hall to visit me and talked about the stranger with the great voice. The person she described fit Lorelai perfectly, I’m sad I wasn’t there to see it.”

Caden shook his head and sigh as Lorelai laughed, she said that maybe she’d do it again next time they went to the inn. The twins then stayed for dinner and they all ate together talking about Lorelai’s training plans, they left an hour later and Caden was admiring Lorelai from a distance as she thumbed through a book she found on his bookshelf. He then remembered she had no weapons to train with, he ran up stairs to his weapons chest and grabbed a daedric dagger and matching sword for her to use. When he reappeared downstairs with weapons in hand Lorelai gasped and ran to his side to examine them.

“Wow, these are even cooler in person, they looked so badass in the game…”

“These are for you to use, I have Dragon bone weapons myself but these are lighter and I think you would use them well.”

“Really? These are for me?"

“Yes, take care of them.”

“I will.”

She took the set of weapons and traced the etchings with her fingers, so intricate yet so deadly. Before she realized what she was doing, she reached up and kissed Caden on the cheek before dashing upstairs to bed for the night. She shouted thank you down the steps and he heard her door close with a small thud, he stood there motionless as he touched his cheek with his own hand.

“The hell was that?!”

Chapter Text

For the next two weeks Lorelai’s time was dedicated to training with Vilkas up at Jorrvaskr, she was improving immensely in hand to hand combat as well as swordplay and archery. Lorelai was always a quick learner, so when it came to learning the ways of combat it was no exception. She and Vilkas spent a lot of time together and grew quite close, Caden was there as well and kept a close eye on their friendship. His own feelings were growing as well and he found himself growing jealous of those who trained Lorelai. Finally the day came where Caden felt she was ready to participate in a skirmish, to test her abilities and see if she could hold her own against a potential enemy.

“You want me to what?!”

“It’s time for you to be tested, you need to fight for real. So you are going to be sparing with Ria, its something we all had to do.”

“B-but-”

“It’s better to test your skills in a controlled situation rather than against a blood thirsty mercenary out in the world, you’ll be fine.”

Lorelai was nervous the whole time she practiced that morning, Ria looked as cool as a cucumber and excited for the fight. Vilkas had told her that she was improving nicely and that she could probably handle her weapons well enough to survive, but now she had to prove it. When the time came to spar she was shaking as she held a dagger in her right hand and her sword in the other, Ria was already in position holding her sword in her right hand and her shield in the other. They started to circle each other and Ria was studying Lorelai intensely waiting for her to break eye contact or misplace her foot, but Vilkas had taught her better than that.

Then Ria tried to ram Lorelai with her shield to knock her off balance, Lorelai tensed but ducked out of the way just in time. She adjusted her stance and then hooked her arm through one of Ria’s lifting her off the ground and sending the redguard over her shoulder and into the dirt. Ria hit the hard ground but got up again despite having the wind knocked out of her.

“Shit.”

Lorelai was counting on that one maneuver to keep Ria down, she underestimated the woman’s stamina and now she needed a plan B. Before she had time to think Ria charged at her again with her sword raised high in the air prepared for a strike, Lorelai held up her own sword to block it and she felt the impact of Ria’s sword vibrate down her own blade and into her arm causing her to hiss in pain. She grunted through the pain and used her foot to kick Ria off of her, when the woman stumbled back Lorelai followed her and wrestled her to the ground.

Ria was eventually pinned underneath her with Lorelai’s dagger pressed against her neck, the redguard surrendered and Lorelai took a breath of relief. She removed herself from her opponent and then helped Ria to stand, Ria congratulated her and then Caden came up behind her.

“Good work, although getting that close to your enemy can be dangerous for you as much as them. I’m proud of your progress though.”

“Thanks, Vilkas is a great teacher. So now what?”

“Well now that I know you can take care of yourself we are going to Riften, I think you have some info about the Thieves guild that Brynjolf should hear.”

“We’re going to Riften! I needed to go there anyway, the sooner the better actually now that I think about it.”

“Why? What business do you have in Riften Lorelai?”

“I have a friend in jail there that needs to be freed, just trust me on this one.”

“But you’ve never even been anywhere except Whiterun during your stay here, who could you possibly know that is in Riften jail?”

“A certain Khajiit is there, I’ll tell you about it on the way to Riften. When do we leave?”

“Uh...tomorrow morning, after breakfast. We should be able to take the carriage there.”

“Great!”

Lorelai was excited to finally leave Whiterun, she loved it there but she had friends she wanted to save. They had dinner at the mead hall and then headed home to prepare for the journey to Riften, Caden had given her a fur backpack to keep her provisions in and she filled it to the brim with health potions and dried food. She went directly to bed in order to get at least eight hours of sleep before the trek across Skyrim.

“Don’t worry Inigo, I’m on my way.”


The next day she and Caden each grabbed a hunk of cheese and some bread before heading to the stables, Lorelai burst through the front gates and jogged over to the scaffolding in order to look out over the plains. The tall grass swayed in the breeze and she saw elk in the distance, it was breathtaking. Caden came to stand beside her as he looked out over the plains he had traveled multiple times, it still amazed him.

“Skyrim is breathtaking, isn't it?”

“Especially in person, all these years I’ve seen in on a screen and now I can actually walk in the grass and travel the roads.”

“Let’s hurry up, I can see the carriage getting ready to leave.”

They walked down to the stables and Caden asked for a ride to Riften, Lorelai looked on as she recognized Bjorn’s voice and his little tidbit about the rift and the amazing forests that surrounded the crime ridden city. Once Caden paid the man they walked over to the back of the wagon and Caden threw their packs up into the cart and then held a hand out to Lorelai.

“What?”

“I’m gonna lift you up into the cart, come on.”

She put her hand in his and he pulled her close to his chest, he paused with her in his arms. Then his hands fell softly onto the curve of her hips, he breathed in her scent as he lifted her above his head and set her on one of the benches in the cart. After staying here for a week she already took on a new aroma, one of honey and juniper berries. He then hoisted himself up to sit beside her, he rested his arm on the edge of the cart behind her shoulders. She leaned back onto his arm and settled into her seat, the cart jolted forward and they were on their way to Riften.

By the time they reached the front gates of the city Lorelai was dizzy and nauseous, she thought that the ride would have been smoother than what it was. Caden had to carry her from the cart to the local inn, she was snuggled in his arms as he carried her princess style to The Bee and the Barb. He kicked the door open and those who were inside turned to see him carrying Lorelai, he walked up to the counter and asked Keerava for a room for the night.

“Ten gold. Is she sick or something?”

“Yeah.”

Keerava showed him upstairs and once he put Lorelai on the bed he paid Keerava and then followed her back downstairs to get dinner. Before he had met Brynjolf he was making headway in Riften by exposing the Skooma dealer and just doing odd jobs for the citizens, he got along well with the locals and then he decided to help Brynjolf. Planting the ring on Brand-Shei was less than honorable but he was released after a day in a cell. Then the debts came into play, he was good friends with two of the three targets and when he brought the issue to their attention he offered to pay it for them but they said it was their problem and willingly offered the sum. Healga was a different story, she was relentless about trading the coin for a night with Caden in her bed.

He had done a lot of dangerous things in his adventures but risking his health for a one-night stand was not one he preferred to chance. He threatened to expose her dibellan ways to everyone and even took her statue as collateral until she finally gave in and handed him a pouch full of coin. When Caden reached the main floor once more he signaled for Talen-Jei and the argonian happily walked over to him and shook his hand.

“It’s been a long time my friend, what brings you back here to us?”

“Personal business Talen, any new developments I should be aware of?”

“Not really, things have been quiet since you cleaned up some of the crime. Brynjolf has been waiting to see you again though, careful with that lot Caden.”

“I know Talen, don’t worry, I have a plan.”

“Can I get you anything?”

“Yes, some Velvet Lachance and two servings of salmon please.”

“Right away, but I must ask, who was the woman you carried upstairs?”

“A new friend, she fell ill on the way here.”

“I see, well I’ll get your food ready if you want to go check on her.”

“Thanks Talen, here is fifty gold it should cover it right?”

“Perfect.”

The argonian disappeared into the kitchens and Caden jogged back upstairs to check on Lorelai, he thought she would still be on the bed but when he opened the door, he saw her standing in some strange underclothes. She turned around when the door open and tried to cover herself with the furs that were on the bed.

“Don’t you knock?!”

“I thought you would be asleep or something since you didn’t feel well!”

“It was only motion sickness, once I was stationary I felt better. I was changing so I could go downstairs for dinner, please close the door!”

Caden quickly closed the door and stood guard outside until Lorelai emerged, he turned to apologize to her but his mouth hung open at her attire. She was wearing the skimpy tavern outfit that she had got at Belethor’s store, she looked insanely sexy. She had also let her hair down from her braid so her hair had those gorgeous waves like last time, she was stunning.

“Stop staring, haven’t you seen a woman before.”

“Not one like you.”

“Shut up, I figured I’d wear this once just to say I tried to look like I fit in. Let’s go eat I’m starving.”

Caden watched her take the lead and as she passed him by his eyes went to the leg slit that showed her entire leg, her skin looked so soft. He caught up to her and they descended the stairs together, when Lorelai reached the main room all eyes turned to her. She felt more self conscious than ever, maybe the outfit wasn’t such a good idea. She had just felt so confident lately that she wanted to try and match her clothes to that feeling, but maybe Riften wasn’t the best city to do it in.

“They’re staring at me, aren't they?”

“Of course, not often a woman of your beauty walks through here. Don’t worry I’m here to protect you.”

She rolled her eyes as she rested her hands on her hips, she put a hand on his chest and stretched to whisper in his ear.

“I have a dagger strapped to my thigh, I think I can handle anything that comes my way.”

“Where did this confidence come from?”

“Maybe you’re starting to rub off on me, like it?”

“It’s not bad.”

She smiled as he showed her to a table and Talen promptly brought them their food, the argonian lingered at their table in order to get any information he could about this new woman in the Dragonborn’s life.

“So you must be feeling better, Caden told me that his companion had fallen ill.”

“Thank you for the concern, but it was just motion sickness.”

“Ah I see, well I hope you like salmon and wine.”

“Is that Velvet Lachance?”

“Uh yes it is, have you been here before?”

“Oh, uh no but I’ve heard about the famous drinks you provide I think another one was called Cliff chaser of something.”

“Cliff Racer ma’am, but I’m glad to hear that the word about my drinks are circulating. I hope you enjoy it.”

Talen left them to their meals and Lorelai breathed a sigh of relief, she needs to control herself and not fan girl about everything she comes across.

“Nice save there Lorelai, way to think on your feet.”

“Sorry I know I need to be careful about what I say, I’m just excited to be able to try food from my favorite game.”

“Haha.”

“Ugh, shut up Caden.”

While they ate and teased each other a certain redhead walked into the inn, Brynjolf recognized Caden right away but the certain long haired lass he had never seen before. Time to do what he does best, get the dirt and plan accordingly.

“Good to see you’re alive lad, I was starting to wonder if you’d be back to finish what you started.”

Lorelai shivered at the sound of that voice, she knew who it was in an instant and by the look on Caden’s face it was the last person on earth he wanted to talk to. Brynjolf. The charismatic man had descended upon them and even worse took the open seat next to Lorelai, he threw his arm over the back of her chair without a second thought and Lorelai was dumbfounded. Brynjolf looked over at her with his emerald eyes and she felt her heart skip a beat, she had loved Brynjolf from the moment she met him in the game. His unique voice and his mysterious attitude were very intriguing, she had even installed the mod that allowed her to marry him and she wasted no time putting that to use.

“Who is this lovely lass? A lover?”

Caden grew tense at Brynjolf’s shameless display towards Lorelai, she seemed entranced by him though which angered him even more. He controlled his emotions though and relaxed his form in his seat similar to Brynjolf.

“Is that really any of your business Bryn? Last time I saw you the girl you were screwing was a certain fence for your merchandise. You want that info spreading around to Vekel?”

“Hmph, no need for hostility lad it was just a question. Besides we have work to discuss,”

“I know that Brynjolf, but can’t you see that you’re making her uncomfortable?”

When Brynjolf glanced at Lorelai he saw that she was shaking and looking directly at the wall to avoid his gaze, interesting. He grabbed her chin softly and turned her to face him, he put on a gentle exterior and smiled sweetly at her.

“Don’t be afraid lass, I wouldn’t dream of hurting you. Won’t you tell me your name lass?”

“L-Lorelai..”

“Interesting name, but it suits you. A beautiful name for a beautiful woman, so what is your relation to this man here?”

“U-uh we’re friends, he saved me when I was unconscious in the plains of Whiterun.”

“Quite the hero ain’t he?”

“Y-yeah he is.”

“Lucky man I’d say to stumble across you, such a pretty thing I would have saved her in a heartbeat as well Caden well done lad.”

She seemed to relax a little as Brynjold turned his attention back to Caden, his arm however was now wrapped around her shoulder. His thumb was tracing an invisible pattern on her bare shoulder, she felt her face heat up once more as he addressed Caden another time.

“Now then about your assignment..”

“Goldenglow is still impenetrable huh? How unfortunate for you Brynjolf, seems like you have some sort of curse on you.”

“Don’t get cheeky boy, you signed up for this when you planted that ring. Finish what you started.”

“Hmph. I scouted that place out Bryn, it’s crawling with mercenaries. You’re basically sending me on a suicide mission, and for what? To scare a landowner?”

“You know Maven wants this taken care of, if you make her wait any longer...Well I’d hate to see such talent go to waste.”

“Is that a threat Brynjolf?”

“Not at all lad, Maven is ruthless. Everyone knows not to cross her, she had connections with everyone even the Dark Brotherhood.”

“I see, well good thing I brought her along.”

“What does the lass have to do with this mission? She ain’t in our little family, she shouldn’t even be listening to this conversation.”

“She has a gift Brynjolf, ever heard of Olava in Whiterun?”

“The old crone that can see the future and past? What of her?”

“Well our lovely lady right there can also see into the future, and she has told me about some insight about this guild of yours.”

“Really? I’d like to hear this information, please explain lass, I’m all ears.”

Lorelai gulped as he turned to face her again only this time he was closer, so close in fact that she could inhale his scent. The smell of mead and some sort of metal, probably gold considering he deals in coin. She looked to Caden for guidance but he just nodded his head and remained silent, she took another deep breath and faced Brynjolf head on. She had to be careful about how she spoke with him, she didn’t want to mess up the quest line but she really didn’t feel like tagging along to Solitude in order to tail a lying argonian.

“You’re not gonna like my predictions….”

“I’ll decide that for myself lass, now spill.”

“Alright… just don't shoot the messenger.”

“What?”

“Nothing, let me start from the beginning…”

Chapter Text

Brynjolf was walking back from the Bee and Barb after talking with Caden and his new companion, she had told him an interesting bit of information about Mercer not to mention some details about certain members of the guild she had never met before. Caden had just let her take over the conversation and she had plainly said to not trust anything Mercer says or does, but Brynjolf had known Mercer for such a long time there was no way he would harm the guild. Especially after what happened to Gallus, no way Mercer would betray the very family he fought to lead. Once Brynjolf reached the secret entrance he felt a presence come up behind him, he spun around to see Caden there.

“What do you need Lad?”

“I’ll take the job, i’ll get what you need from Goldenglow. But I need you to do something for me in return.”

“Which is?”

“Look after Lorelai while I’m gone..”

“The lass? Can’t she fend for herself?”

“I would feel better if she was guarded, and she speaks highly of you for some reason.”

“The lass barely knows me, besides I have important business to attend to around the guild. I don’t have time to babysit your friend.”

“She knows a lot about your little organization Brynjolf, if I were you I’d want to keep an eye on her no matter what.”

Caden had a point, the girl did know a lot about a guild she had never been a part of. Brynjolf went over his options and groaned when he couldn’t find a good excuse to deny Caden’s request.

“Fine, I’ll watch her. You better not screw up this mission, it means a lot to both the client and the guild. Not to mention the safety of that pretty companion of yours.”

“Hmph, noted.”

Caden walked back to the inn as Brynjolf descended into the cistern, he had left Lorelai at the inn with Talen watching over her as to ensure her safety. When he returned he saw Lorelai sitting on the bar counter with a flushed face, she was happily chatting with the locals and showing a bit too much leg for his comfort. She was drunk…..great. He rushed over to Talen-Jei who was trying to calm the crowd, he grabbed the frustrates argonian and spun him around to look him in the eyes.

“I was gone for ten minutes, what in the name of Talos happened?”

“I’m not sure, I refilled her glass a couple times and then this happened. I guess she can’t really handle her alcohol…”

“Ugh, great.”

Caden pushed his way over to a very tipsy Lorelai and once she saw him she smiled widely.

“Caden! I missed you! Come sit with me, everyone here is soooo nice.”

“Uh-huh sure, Lorelai let’s go to bed…”

“But I’m having fuuun, don’t be such a buzzkill.”

“I don’t even know what that is, come on I wasn’t asking.”

Caden grabbed Lorelai’s waist and lifted her over his right shoulder, the crowd booed his actions but didn’t stop him. He trudged up the steps and once they were behind closed doors he set her down on her bed, she fell backwards on the furs and giggled to herself.

“That was fun, hehehe.”

“For you. I should’ve told Talen to not give you anymore wine, but I would have thought you had more self control.”

“Hehehe, you’re all fuzzy Caden.”

“You can’t even hold a conversation.”

“You’re so handsome, hehe and you’ve got a great ass.”

Caden’s eyes widened at that last comment, she was going insane right before his eyes. Who knew that wine could have such an effect on someone, but he had to focus on getting her ready for bed over all else. He shook his head as he approached Lorelai and made her sit on the edge of the bed, he then knelt down and removed her boots and set them in the corner. He then reached around her to unlace the back of the dress, unfortunately she was less than willing.

“No! Hehe that tickles, stop trying to take my dresh off.”

“Ugh, you have to get into your sleep clothes. Your speech is starting to slur and I want you comfortable before you pass out.”

“N-no! I’m frine….hehehe.”

Caden sighed as he realized he had to be rough with her, he quickly grabbed the hem of her dress and tugged it up and over her head in one swift motion. She giggled the whole time and fell backwards once more, Caden rolled his eyes and folded her dress before grabbing a tunic from her pack and turning back towards the drunk.

“Come on last step before bed..”

He looked down at her sprawled out on the bed, he hair falling in loose waves around her shoulders and her sea green eyes were clouded over in her drunken state. He let his eyes roam over her nearly naked figure, from her strange lacy breast wrap to her matching underwear. Was this what women of her world always wore? It looked itchy to him, although it did offer a great amount of cleavage, he shook his head back and forth as he reached down to sit her up once more. However before he could she reached up and yanked him down to fall beside her, he grunted at the impact while she laughed at his confusion.

“Hehe you fell down…”

“Because of you! Ugh just put the shirt on..”

She rolled over and straddled him instead, he was now underneath her as she swayed slightly on his hips. He groaned as he felt her move slightly against him, he dropped the shirt on the bed and took hold of her hips to steady her. This isn’t right, she’s drunk and this shouldn’t be happening. He tried to move her but she was not having it.

“Don’t you like me Caden?”

“What? What does that have to do with anything?”

“I’m pretty right? I’m attrashtive..”

“You mean attractive?”

“Yeah that!”

He sighed as he finally removed her from his lap and threw the tunic over her head covering her body, she pushed her arms through the fabric and swayed slightly on the bed as she hiccuped. He rubbed the back of his neck as he looked down on the poor girl, he made a mental note never to let her drink without him again if this was how she got.

“Time for bed Lorelai.”

He laid her down and tucked the furs around her, she soon fell asleep and he changed into his night clothes as well. Once his clothes were set aside and he locked the door he walked over to the open bed, but he paused at Lorelai’s bedside. She was fast asleep, he bent over to stroke her hair and tuck a few stray strands behind her ear. He kissed her forehead before finally climbing into his own bed for the night.

“She’s gonna be a handful, no more alcohol for her for at least a few weeks.”


Lorelai awoke the next morning with a slight headache, she groaned as she sat up in bed. She yawned as she glanced around the room to find she was the only one in it, then she looked to the bedside table and found a tankard of water with a note underneath it. She took a few swigs of water and then grabbed the note.

Lorelai,

I have gone on that job for Brynjolf, make sure to drink water and eat some food. I left you some coin to purchase some food from Talen-jei, Brynjolf has agreed to look after you in my absence. I should be back by tonight, be careful around Riften and try not to cause a commotion like last night. We will be talking about last night as well, we need to discuss your drinking habits. See you soon.

-Caden

Lorelai felt her anxiety grow as she tried to remember the night before, she remembered Caden leaving to talk to Brynjolf and then Talen-jei refilled her cup. After that it was kinda hazy, she remembered talking to some of the locals and then once Caden came back to the inn her mind went blank. She finished the water and then dressed in simple town clothes for the day, after pulling on a simple green cotton dress and her leather boots from before she trudged down stairs with coin purse in hand.

“You had quite the night eh lass?”

She squeaked at the sudden voice and turned to see Brynjolf waiting for her at the bottom of the steps, he was wearing his merchant clothes and munching on a sweet roll as he looked over her form.

“U-uh I guess, I don’t really remember much…”

“Not one for alcohol are ya?”

“N-not really, um Talen!”

The argonian pooped his head out of the kitchen and walked over to her side, he glared at Brynjolf before asking Lorelai what she wanted.

“Can I get some breakfast please, some bread and cheese would be more than enough. And maybe some milk as well..”

“Of course, take a seat and I’ll bring it out.”

The argonian disappeared and Lorelai moved to sit at an open table near the bar, Brynjolf followed her and sat down across from her. She avoided making eye contact as Talen brought her food and she paid him, she ate in silence as she felt Brnjolf’s eyes burning into her. She started becoming self conscious, she had pulled her hair back into a high ponytail but failed to brush it out to her liking. One can only do so much with her fingers, still she knew it didn’t look terrible. She finished her food and finally decided she couldn’t take the attention anymore.

“What!?”

Brynjolf chuckled at her nervous outburst, he folded his arms on the tale top in front of him and put on a flirty tone of voice.

“Just admiring your beauty lass, is that a crime?”

“No, but it’s uncomfortable so please stop…”

“Not one for compliments?”

“I-I’m just not used to them….”

“Shame, you’re a very beautiful girl.”

“T-thanks I guess….um can we go somewhere?”

“Quite bold I see.”

“N-no! Not like that, um I have stuff to do at the Riften jail….”

“What could you have business with there?”

“I need to talk to a friend, he doesn’t belong there and I intend to set him free.”

“I see, well I have connections with the guards so I can get you in but as for freeing someone that is on you.”

“I can handle it, lets go.”

Brynjolf offered Lorelai his arm and she hesitantly accepted, they walked through the marketplace and up to the keep. Brynjolf worked his magic with the guards once they were inside and then it was time for Lorelai to free her friend, she went into the confiscation room and reached into the broken lockbox. She retrieved the key to Inigo’s cell and happily jogged past Brynjolf and into the main room with the cells. She focused on the first cell to her left where a blue Khajiit sat all alone on a wooden stool, and there beside him was his trusty friend Mr. Dragonfly. She opened the cell door and calmly entered the room to sit across from the poor man, at her approach the Khajiit stiffened and addressed the newcomer.

“You’ve finally come to finish me off haven’t you? I must warn you that my newly found honor compels me to fight back..”

“I’m not here to fight you Inigo, I want you to come with me.”

“But I-I tried to kill you, I need to pay for my actions against you.”

“You’ve sealed yourself away in here for who knows how long my friend, you’ve done enough.”

“But…”

“If you insist on making things right than there is only one thing you can do Inigo.”

“I’ll do whatever it takes to repay my wrongdoings..”

“ You can travel with me, stand at my side and fight with me. Show that you are sorry through the blood of my enemies, fight with me.”

“You would have me travel by your side once more? Yes...yes! I will fight at your side and kill your enemies with my sword, nothing will harm you. I will spill the blood of those who wrong you.”

“Easy there buddy, let’s get you into some armour and stuff first. And don’t forget your book and Mr. Dragonfly.”

“Yes of course, thank you for this opportunity my friend.”

“Of course Inigo, I wouldn’t dare traverse Skyrim without you by my side.”

The strange blue Khajiit smiled widely as he sorted through the chest in his cell and gathered his belongings, he quickly put his armour on and strapped his bow to his back with his ebony sword at his side. Along with a quiver full of ebony arrows and Mr. Dragonfly attached to his belt, he came out of his cell to stand at Lorelai’s side. She looked over his steel armour and nodded in approval, maybe later on they could upgrade that for safety reasons but as of right now he looked perfect.

Brynjolf had been waiting outside the jail for the lass to reappear, all the while trying to think what person she could have been referring to. Maybe Sibbi? Nah, she seemed to have more self respect than to associate with that mess of a man, then he heard the door open behind him and the sound of her laughter. He turned to see Lorelai being followed by a very strangely colored Khajiit with steel armour, Brynjolf stared wide eyed at the cat and couldn’t imagine the relationship that little Lorelai held with this beast of a cat.

“I take it you found who you were looking for lass, care to explain the partnership?”

Lorelai smiled as she looped her arm through Inigo’s, this caused the poor khajiit to jump a little at her gentle touch but accept it all the same.

“That’s a long story Bryn, but for now let’s just say he’s a dear old friend. Right Inigo?”

“Uh sure…”

Brynjolf still couldn’t wrap his head around how she knew the cat but didn’t press for further details, they spent the rest of the day walking around Riften and talking to various vendors. Madesi even offered a very generous discount to Lorelai for an emerald necklace, seems like she caused quite the commotion last night. Lorelai still had little recollection of what it was she actually did or said that night but she wasn’t so sure if she wanted to find out. She turned down Madesi’s offer but continued to browse the wares of everyone that day, Inigo was keeping a close eye on his new companion as well.

Her enthusiasm about certain things were strange to him, but when he saw her smile he thought that if it made her happy he would find a way to be excited about it as well. Brynjolf had taken to watching them from his own booth, Lorelai certainly was special but he still didn’t know how to feel about the information she had shared with him about Mercer. Saying he was nothing more than a backstabber got on his nerves, but he could understand why Mercer could come off as less than welcoming to some people. While Brynjolf was deep in thought Lorelai came jogging up to him with wide eyes.

“Riften seems so much better in person, everyone seems so happy.”

“You can thank Caden for that, before he found me he spent a good amount of time ‘cleaning up’ the city. He even stopped a drug ring for the jarl, I think he has a house here as well.”

“Wait, are you saying he bought Honeyside and we spent last night in an inn?”

“He may not have furnished it yet, I don’t ask much about his personal life lass. You, however, I would be more than happy to get to know each other on a more personal level.”

Lorelai blushed and couldn’t find the right words to say when Inigo stepped up and stood between her and Brynjolf, while they were still in the prison Lorelai had told him of her social anxiety and to not take it personal if she distanced herself for any reason. He felt how uncomfortable she was so he thought he needed to step in for her.

“My friend doesn’t like that kind of attention, please refrain from talking like that to her.”

“Oh? And what do you know of her cat?”

“Enough to know that she is uncomfortable.”

Lorelai sensed the tense atmosphere and stepped between the men, she knew she had to make sure no fights occurred because one she didn’t want to go to prison and two she didn’t need anymore attention than what she already had.

“Inigo I-i’m fine, he just caught me off-guard. But Brynjolf, I would appreciate it if you kinda backed off the flirting a little bit..I’m not used to that attention so it makes me uncomfortable..”

The two looked over her with calculating gazes, she tried not to break eye contact with them as she stood her ground. Inigo sighed and put a gentle hand on Lorelai’s shoulder to show he understood, Brynjolf just rolled his eyes and surveyed the market. Lorelai turned to Brynjolf with curious eyes, when he noticed her staring he smiled and put his hands on his hips.

“Yes lass?”

“So Caden went to Goldenglow right?”

“Aye, are you worried for him?”

“Kind of, I just hope he gets out alright. There were so many mercenaries, I trust his judgement but it’s still dangerous ...”

Before Brynjolf could even respond the ground shook and Lorelai heard a large booming noise from over the city walls, once the ground stopped shaking she turned towards Brynjolf who was staring at her with concerned eyes.

“I take it that the noise we just heard was not normal.”

“Far from it lass, and it sounded like it came from Goldenglow.”

Chapter Text

While Lorelai was having the time of her life in Riften, Caden was swimming through the waters of Lake Honrich to get to that damned bee farm. The water was freezing and despite his best efforts to keep the water out of his armour, some water managed to get into his Dragonbone defense. When he reached the far shore on the small island he took note of where the bee hives were and how many mercenaries were in earshot of those hives. He only needed to burn three, that was what the client wanted and he aimed to please. So he climbed over some rocks and through a hole in the fence to reach the beehives on the other side, he called upon what little Destruction magic he knew and set fire to three defenseless hives.

The smoke billowed upward until a dark pillar took over the sky, he heard footsteps rushing forward and quickly dove back into the water to avoid detection. Then he swam his way to the back door of the main complex, after climbing his way up to said door he was caught off guard by one mercenary. He quickly drew his great sword and blocked the brunt of the attack, this bastard was strong but Caden had a trick up his sleeve.

“FUS RO DAH!”

The mercenary shot backwards off the island and into the water, the shout echoed all around and Caden thought he felt the ground shake. Then he realized the fault in his plans, he cursed himself for announcing his presence and quickly scrambled to break the lock on the door. After a few lockpicks he was finally inside and creeping through the seemingly empty hallways, he thought through what Brynjolf had told him of the property and what he was after once inside. He needed to get into Aringoth’s safe and that elf probably had the key on his person for safe keeping.

He needed to find Aringoth and then make his way downstairs to the basement in order to get the goods in the safe. After clearing out the first floor Caden ascended the steps and gained access to the second floor where he figured Aringoth was hiding out, sure enough after taking out a couple guards he came across a pair of double doors leading to what seemed to be a master bedroom. After unlocking the door he slid inside gently shutting the doors behind him, he stood at full height as he approached the frightened elf.

“Damn you! I knew I should have hired better guards, leave me be I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“Our client has said otherwise, why don’t you just hand over the keys to your safe and we can forget this ever happened.”

“If I give you that key I might as well slit my own throat.”

“What makes you so sure that I won’t…”

“Now now no need to get hostile, here take it. I’m a dead man anyway.”

When Aringoth threw the keys to Caden the poor bastard grabbed a dagger and slit his own throat, Caden stood there in shock as he saw the elf’s blood flow freely from the wound.

“Poor bastard.”

Caden stuffed the key in his pocket and turned towards the door, but a certain statue caught his eye. A large and ornate bee statue was just sitting on the bedside table, surely ol’ Delvin could find a home for this. He grabbed the statue and stuffed it in his pack before leaving the room. He crept back downstairs and into the basement, after sneaking past two useless guards he found his way through the dungeon like basement until he met another guard. He carefully snuck up behind the bastard and snapped his neck in one motion, he then walked over to the safe and opened it wide.

“Let’s see here, a few gems and a couple pouches of gold...oh? What’s this?”

Caden picked up a piece of parchment that was folded and placed among the regular occupants of the safe, he unfolded the paper and read through the lined on the document. After learning about the sale of the estate Caden figured out why the elf would rather take his own life rather than face their client or the person who now owned this property. But what of this symbol? He stuffed everything into his pack and then made his way over to the hatch in the corner of the room, he opened it and jumped down into a skeever infested sewer. After fighting off a number of those infected monsters he re-emerged from the sewer onto a far shore on the island, then he waded into the cool waters once more and swam for the docks of Riften. He was cold and soaked through by the time he reached the fishery, it was past noon by this point and he just wanted to give what he found to Brynjolf and relax.

“I wonder how Lorelai is doing..”

He walked into the city from the docks and saw Brynjolf standing at his stall, he tapped the redhead on the shoulder and the thief spun around to greet him with a smirk.

“Glad to see you back in one piece lad, how’d it go.”

“Well that elf killed himself after giving me the key to the safe, and after finding what was in the safe I understand why.”

Caden handed Brynjolf the bill of sale and the thief’s eyes scanned over the words, his features clouded over with confusion as he turned back to Caden.

“Aringoth sold Goldenglow, Maven will be less than pleased about that. Did you find anything else in the safe?”

“Yeah here.”

Caden handed him a heavy coin pouch that contained all he found in the safe, he refused his cut while claiming the guild needed it more than he did. Brynjolf didn’t argue as he pocketed the pouch and turned to his newest recruit once more.

“Does this symbol look familiar to you? Does it mean anything?”

“No, I have no clue.”

“Damn, well I’ll speak to Mercer about this and get back to you later.”

“ I'm  doing no more favors for you Bryn, this was it. Where is Lorelai?”

“At the temple.”

“Why is she there?”

“I don’t know, she went there with her new friend.”

“New friend?”

“Yeah, some male Khajiit. Quite special, they seemed to be getting along rather well…”

Caden didn’t stick around to hear the rest as he jogged towards the Temple of Mara, what on Nirn was Lorelai thinking? Going into a marriage temple with a random Khajiit, surely she was ill or something right?

"So the lass is his weakness, that's useful information. I better get this to Mercer."

Caden burst through the doors to see Lorelai arm in arm with a strange blue khajiit talking to a priest of Mara, he wasted no time stomping up to the couple and tearing Lorelai away from the cat and to his own side for protection.

“Touch her again and I will skin your hide cat!”

“C-caden?! Hey what the hell are you doing?”

“I can ask you the same thing! What in the name of Talos are you doing in the temple with a blue Khajiit that I’ve never seen before?!”

“T-this is Inigo, he’s the friend I told you about. He is friendly Caden, and you’re being an asshole. Now let me go!”

He released her from his grip and she rubbed her arm as she walked back to Inigo’s side, Inigo checked her over and made sure she was alright before flattening his ears and baring his teeth at Caden.

“You hurt my friend..”

“I’m fine Inigo, if anything he just scared me a bit. This is Caden he is the Dragonborn and the other person I am traveling with, I would appreciate it if you two got along.”

The men looked over each other trying to scope out their situation, each one had a duty to protect Lorelai and they wouldn’t share that duty easily. She anxiously looked back and forth between the boys as they glared at one another, then Caden turned to her with a calmer tone of voice.

“Why were you two in this temple?”

“I was curious about what it looked like in person, and since Brynjolf didn’t want to go I came with Inigo. Why?”

“When Brynjolf told me you were in the temple with a man I assumed-”

“Did you think I was getting married?!”

“I mean, you are in Mara’s temple. She is the goddess of love and compassion, she is the one that presides over all the marriages in Skyrim.”

“I’m not getting married anytime soon Caden, I was just curious and wanted to talk to the priests here.”

“Understood, well let’s get back to the inn.”

Just as Lorelai was about to follow him she remembered a conversation she had with Brynjolf.

“Wait!”

“What?”

“Brynjolf said you bought Honeyside, why can’t we go there?”

In truth Caden hadn’t been back to Riften since saving Esbern, he forgot about his property and housecarl he left here. He rubbed his neck as he thought about going to his house, he figured it couldn’t hurt although he had forgotten what amenities he fitted the house with.

“I guess we could, although I haven’t been there in months…”

“Thats a great excuse to see it then isn’t it?”

“I suppose-”

“Then let’s go, you can apologize to me and Inigo while we eat some dinner.”

Lorelai happily sauntered past him and Inigo followed closely behind, he brushed past Caden’s shoulder and side eyed him as he did so. The trio stopped by the inn to grab their belongings before heading to Caden’s residence for the night, once inside the small home they were greeted by the housecarl. Caden dismissed them for the next two days and they all settled into the house, some spare beds were downstairs along with the master bed up on the main floor. Caden offered the master bed to Lorelai and he and Inigo took the singles below, after everyone got situated in their accommodations they gathered in the kitchen to eat some dinner that the housecarl had prepared. They ate in tense silence as Inigo and Caden glared at each other, Lorelai was starting to get frustrated at their behavior and slammed her hands on the tabletop grabbing their attention.

“What is your damage guys?! You’ve literally done nothing to each other and you’re acting like you’re each other’s greatest enemy! You two probably have a lot more in common than you think, but you have to talk and at least act like friends.”

They looked at her and then back to each other, Inigo was the one to give in first hoping to gain some favour with his new friend.

“She is right, we have no reason to fight each other. My name is Inigo, I’ve known Lorelai for a while-”

“Actually Inigo we need to talk about that. I’m not who you think I am-”

“Nonsense friend, I remember your smell. Now let me talk to Caden.”

“But-”

“No buts, I am doing what you asked. Now then, my past is rather shaky and before I tell you it I prefer we were closer. I am here to defend Lorelai and take down all who oppose her, and now that I think about I would be more than happy to travel with the Dragonborn. You are the savior of Skyrim after all, thank you for saving us.”

Caden was impressed at the cat’s ability to be the bigger person, Caden didn’t want to be shown up by a cat so he pushed his pride aside and spoke calmly to his new travelling companion.

“Great to have you with us Inigo, I apologize for earlier it just caught me off guard. I was so used to protecting Lorelai that my instincts just kinda kicked in, I trust that you mean her no harm and hope we can move past this misunderstanding.”

“Of course my friend! I am eager to fight alongside you, I need to redeem myself after everything I’ve done.”

“Can I ask a question though?”

“What is it?”

“Why do you have a Dragonfly on your hip?”

Lorelai’s eyes sparkled at the mention of the cute little insect attached to Inigo’s hip, just as the blue Khajiit was about to speak Lorelai jumped in to retell the whole story.

“I love that story! One night Inigo was alone in the streets of Windhelm and he came across these two brothers that offered him shelter and food, they led him through a secret passage to a room in the walls of the city. When he got there he met a woman that the other men called Mother and then-”

She realized a little too late that Inigo had told her none of this and the poor cat was now looking at her with a mixture of fear and surprise, she put a hand over her mouth as she shrunk back into her chair wishing she knew how to shut up. Inigo put a hand on the table and leaned in close to Lorelai examining her face, how could she know that story?

“My friend, how do you know this story? When this happened I thought you were dead back at our campsite, how could you know?”

Lorelai looked from Inigo to Caden, she groaned as she felt her anxiety re-surface. Caden patted her on the back as he faced the Khajiit and prepared to tell him the story they made up about her powers, although before he could Lorelai stopped him and shook her head.

“Inigo I have to tell you something, but you might not believe me. You’ll actually think I’m crazy when you hear it..”

“My friend, I just want an explanation.”

“Alright, just don’t freak out alright.”

After explaining her story from the very beginning the three sat in silence as Inigo pondered what he just heard. He had been through weird situations himself so who was he to deny her story, he found it ridiculous that he was a ‘mod’ and failed to exist without it ‘installed’. He looked to Lorelai again and saw that she was nervously rubbing her hands together and waiting for his response to her tale, he grabbed her soft hands in his furry ones and looked her in the eyes.

“Do not worry my friend I believe you.”

“You do?”

“Yes, I have been through weird situations myself so who am I to deny your story? However, even though we don’t exist in your world without this ‘game’ it doesn’t matter anymore. You are here and this is real, there are real consequences and one of them could be death. But I will serve you while you are here and until you find a way home I will be your friend, we will fight together and I will make sure you live to see your home once more if that is what you wish.”

“Thank you Inigo, it means a lot that you believe me. Your understanding nature is what makes you my favorite mod in the whole community.”

“Thank you my friend, I will take that to heart.”

She smiled at Inigo before turning back to Caden and nodding her head in triumph, Caden rolled his eyes and smiled at his ward. They talked for the rest of the night and learned a great deal about Inigo and themselves in the process, after a few hours Lorelai yawned and went to bed. The men went down to their cots as well and got comfortable before blowing out the candle and trying to ease their minds from the trials of the day. Caden was restless and Inigo sensed it from his side of the room.

“What troubles you friend?"

“This whole situation with Lorelai, she is so naive and it worries me.”

“How so?”

“She only knows this world from a game in her own world, she thinks its fascinating being here and I understand her excitement. But her curiosity is going to get her in trouble if we aren’t careful.”

“This is true, but that is what she has us for right? We will protect her and make sure she is safe, let her have her fun while she can.”

“I suppose, but it still worries me what if-”

Before Caden could finish his sentence they heard Lorelai’s scream upstairs, but before they could get to her she was gone. The covers were pulled off the bed and a note was left in her place, Caden scrambled to pick up the note and read its contents. He felt his hand shake as he read through the words on the parchment, those bastards really had no morals when it came to asking for help. He handed the note to Inigo and as the Khajiit read Caden continued to fume in his rage.

“The Thieves Guild? They took her? Why?”

“Because Mercer is an asshole! She better not be hurt when we get down there, and if she is I swear on my honor as a nord that my blade will be the last thing they see.”

They quickly armed themselves and ran to the graveyard to use the secret entrance, once in the cistern they saw Brynjolf and Mercer waiting for them in the center of the room. Caden stood his ground and lowered his voice to a threatening level while readying his great sword.

“Where is she…”

Chapter Text

The cistern was filled with a tense silence as Caden and Inigo glared at Mercer, he had taken Lorelai and hidden her somewhere. Brynjolf was shifting on his feet nervously as he felt the anger from the opposite side of the room, why did he let Mercer talk him into this?

“I’m not going to ask again, where is Lorelai!”

Mercer just chuckled as he saw the Dragonborn become angrier and angrier, Brynjolf grew even more anxious when he saw the Khajiit reach for his ebony sword. He put a hand on Mercer’s shoulder and pleaded with nervous eyes.

“Just tell them what we want Mercer, then they can take the girl and leave.”

Mercer calmly looked at his second in command before nodding and putting his hands on his hips as he turned towards the newest member of their family.

“Caden, this was the only way to talk with you. No harm has come to your wench I assure you, just listen to me.”

Mercer’s gravelly voice made Caden all the more angry, how dare he call Lorelai a wench! Caden tried to restrain his anger as he felt Inigo gently clasp his shoulder and motion around the cistern with his other hand, Caden saw the other thieves start to form a circle like defense around the exits. Caden sighed as he reigned in his anger and stood straight in front of Mercer, he took a deep breath and spoke in a calm voice.

“What did you want Mercer?”

“Maven has requested to see you, after completing that business with Goldenglow she has a new assignment for you.”

“I don’t want it.”

“She asked for you personally, she is our best client and you will do as she asks. If you don’t Lorelai might just wake up in the bottom of the canal…”

“Don’t threaten her life Mercer, she has done nothing to harm you or the guild. She has no use to you, besides it’s not the way of the Thieves guild to kill the innocent..”

“If I think her knowledge of our members is to great that would be cause enough for me, Brynjolf has informed me that you favor her. No doubt she means a great deal to you, even I’ll admit she is rather vexing to look at..”

“Touch her and I swear to Talos..”

“Calm down rookie, just go talk to Maven and then come back with any information she gives you. When all is said and done Lorelai will be handed over to you freely.”

“I want her now, I’m not leaving until I see that she is safe and in safe hands. My friend here will stay while I sort things out with Maven, he will watch over her.”

“Hmph, you think I’m a fool?”

“No, but I know that the others would better serve you out on the streets doing what they do best, do you really want them looking after a defenseless woman?”

Mercer tried to see past Caden’s confidence but his resolve was weakening, the bastard had a point. He needed his underlings out and doing the jobs they were given, but allowing an armed stranger in the cistern was far beyond his comfort limit. Then he thought of an idea, he crossed his arms over his chest and looked Caden directly in the eyes.

“Your friend can stay and watch over the woman, but he has to leave all his weapons on my desk while he is here. Wouldn’t want them getting any ideas and trying to escape while you are getting your assignment now would we?”

Caden looked at Inigo and the faithful khajiit nodded his approval of the plan, Caden didn’t like it but as long as he knew Inigo was with Lorelai it wouldn’t matter. Inigo gave up all his weapons to the nearest thief and the hooded person laid the weapons on Mercer’s desk as discussed. Mercer nodded in approval and then snapped his fingers, soon Vex appeared with Lorelai walking in front of her. Caden saw Lorelai shaking with fear as she walked to the center of the cistern to stand by Brynjolf and Mercer, Mercer slung his arm over Lorelai’s shoulder and pulled her close to his torso. Caden's hand automatically made a fist as he saw the fear wash over Lorelai, then she saw Inigo and Caden standing across from them and she let out a shaky breath of relief.

“See, she’s fine. Our little Vex took good care of her, come on cat you can have her now.”

Inigo slowly made his way to the center of the room until he was an arms length away from Lorelai, he eyed Brynjolf out of the corner of his eye and glared at him in disapproval. Brynjolf tried to keep eye contact, but his guilty got the better of him and he turned away from Inigo as Mercer pushed Lorelai into the cat’s arms. Lorelai was shaking as Inigo held her in his arms, he ran his claws through her hair in a soothing motion but it didn’t seem to help much.

“It is alright now my friend, I am here for you.”

“T-thank you I-Inigo..”

Mercer rolled his eyes at the display and grabbed Inigo by the shoulder, Inigo growled subtly but allowed Mercer to send him in Vex’s direction so she could escort them back to the holding area. As Inigo and Lorelai disappeared from view Caden sent one last glare towards Brynjolf and Mercer before asking where he needed to meet Maven.

“She’ll be waiting in the inn, don’t keep her waiting. It is rather late and she no doubt wants to get to bed.”

“Hmph.”

Caden turned and exited the Cistern with haste, he ran to the Bee and Barb and burst through the door looking for Maven. He saw her man servant standing at the bottom of the steps so he assumed Maven was residing upstairs, Caden mentally prepared himself to talk to Maven and walked past Maul and up to his client. He saw her sitting off to one side in a chair sipping a chalice of Velvet Lachance, he calmly approached her and took the seat opposite of her.

“Finally, I’m not one for waiting. So you’re the one that completed the Goldenglow, Aringoth was quite brave defying me and selling his share to a random buyer. But I have another matter that needs tending to first, that is where you come in. Don’t screw this assignment up.”

“I’m the best at what I do, I’ll get the job done.”

“Hmm, I don’t know if you’re just confident or really stupid. Either way just make sure you do what you’re told and everything will be fine.”

“What exactly do you need me to do?”

“I need you to go to Whiterun and talk to my friend Mallus, he works at the Honningbrew Meadery. You see that local meadery has been getting a lot of attention lately and no matter how civil I try to be the owner doesn’t give me an inch to work with. I need you to go there and do what you do best.”

“What will I be doing?”

“Mallus will talk to you about the details when you get there, after you complete the job return here to me with any information you find. After that we will part ways as strangers, I bet your boss will have more work for you afterwards as well.”

“I see, well then I’ll get right on it.”

“See that you don’t disappoint me, I have ties to everyone in Skyrim. Even the Dark Brotherhood, if you understand my meaning.”

“Perfectly.”

“Good, now leave I want to rest.”

“Of course Maven.”

Caden left as instructed and returned to the Cistern to speak with Brynjolf and Mercer, once he arrived he found that the two thieves had not left their previous positions. He walked right up to them and explained where he would be going and who he was going to speak with. Brynjolf nodded along and understood the secretive nature of Maven and her contacts, Mercer said nothing and absorbed the mission as well as he could. When Caden was done speaking Brynjolf crossed his arms over his chest and spoke to his recruit.

“So Maven wants the competition to know their place? Seems simple enough, don’t forget to clear out everything that the owner has in order to get the information she seeks.”

“I know Brynjolf, I’ve done this before remember.”

“Aye, that you have Lad, that you have.”

“I want Lorelai and Inigo back now if you don’t mind, there is no way I am leaving them here while I go all the way back to Whiterun.”

Mercer had no need to keep the two any longer and he saw no harm in releasing them, if Caden wanted to skip out Maven would have him killed by the Dark Brotherhood and it wouldn’t phase Mercer in the slightest.

“Of course, Vex!”

Vex emerged once more with Inigo and Lorelai in front of her, once Lorelai saw Caden she ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck in a tight embrace. He felt her body press against his as he wrapped his arms around her waist in response to her hug, he set her down on the stone beneath them and put his arms around her shoulder holding her close to his body for protection.

“What a cute reunion, but don’t forget your job whelp. If you do it might just happen again, but with less kindness. Have I made myself clear?”

“Perfectly Mercer, I’ll be back with what I find.”

“Good, now get out of here.”

Inigo gathered his weapons from the desk and followed Caden and Lorelai from the cistern, once they were outside Lorelai turned to Caden and Inigo with worried eyes.

“I’m so sorry guys, I should have been stronger I-”

“Don’t you dare apologize for something those bastards did Lorelai, you were taken and we saved you. It’s all in the past now, calm down.”

“But if I had been quicker I could’ve-”

“Who took you?”

“Mercer, he broke in through the back door and then he jumped into the canal with me over his shoulder. Once we reached the Ragged Flagon he handed me off to Vex and he changed out of his wet armour into something dry to meet you. Vex offered me a towel and then left me to my own devices in the Flagon, I was scared but I knew that murder wasn’t their department.”

“That bastard, if he ever touches you again I swear-”

“Caden, I’m fine. Don’t get so worked up, we have a job to do for Maven and I know exactly how to help.”

“What makes you think you are coming with me on the mission?”

“I know the Thieves guild quests like the back of my hand, plus I know someone that can help us.”

“Who?”

“He’s a prisoner in an abandoned prison near Whiterun, we can save him and then do the job with ease.”

“How come everyone you know is a prisoner somewhere?”

“I don’t know, coincidence I guess. Please just trust me, why else did you have me train if I wouldn’t see any action!”

“Last time I checked you paled at the thought of killing someone.”

“A person, but I can kill skeevers.”

“Who said anything about skeevers?”

“I’ll tell you about it on the way to Kaidan, that’s his name by the way.”


 

Caden rolled his eyes as they walked back to Honeyside for the night, the next morning they set out for Whiterun on the first carriage. However they jumped off once they were close to the location of the abandoned prison where Kaidan was being held, once reaching the decrepit building Caden looked over the river at the last door leading into that damned tower. Everything was crumbling and the building itself looked like it would cave in at any moment, he looked to Lorelai who was dancing in place with anticipation.

“He’s in there?”

“Yup, along with about three Thalmor agents..”

“The Thalmor took him prisoner?”

“Yup, all because of a sword. He’ll tell you that when we get to him if you ask, but we need to get over there.”

“You wanna go into a crumbling prison filled with Thalmor? Not to mention that it’s probably flooded given the amount of water that is passing through this river and into the holes in the structure. How do you know he’s still alive?”

“Just trust me Caden, I’m going in and even if he isn’t there we can still loot the place for money.”

“Inigo help me out here.”

The blue Khajiit had been surveying the area and assessing the situation, he came up behind the pair and shrugged his shoulders.

“If Lorelai thinks we can save someone I think we should try, besides if the person is dead that means the Thalmor are gone and we can just look for valuables. I need to start saving money again, I see no downside of this.”

“What about being crushed by a building?”

“I think we will be fine as long as we stay away from support beams, let us go.”

“That’s why Inigo is my favorite.”

“Thank you my friend, I like you as well.”

Lorelai wasted no time traversing the tree to get down to the riverside and wade across the river to the door, Caden was close behind and Inigo brought up the rear. Once they reached the door Caden took point and pried the door open, they descended into the cold stone tower in a single file line with Lorelai in the middle. Once they reached the base of the tower Lorelai looked around to see the area to her left partially filled with water and a chest sitting open on a rock in the center of the shallow pool, she waded over to it and took a couple health potions and a small coin purse from it.

She walked back to her group and Caden pulled her down to a squat as he looked around the door to see a Thalmor sitting at the bottom of the small staircase, he motioned for Inigo to come forward with his bow and get in position. Inigo quickly made his way to the doorway and readied his arrow, taking a careful aim he took a couple of deep breaths before releasing the arrow from its place.

“ARGH!”

Lorelai heard the high elf call out in pain before she heard the sound of a body hitting the floor, she winced at the noise and buried her face in Caden’s armour covered shoulder.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m f-fine...let’s go.”

Lorelai stood up and raced past the guys into the place where the elf’s body was lying on the ground, as she stopped to look at the blood on the ground she failed to see another Thalmor coming up the next set of small stairs.

“Lorelai!”

She turned just in time to see the Thalmor raise a sword to cut her down, she quickly draw her own sword and blocked what she could of the attack. The impact caused her to stumble backwards and fall on her back, her sword skidded across the floor as the Thalmor cast a shield over them so Caden and Inigo couldn’t interfere. She saw Caden and Inigo on the other side of the blue sphere, then her attention was on the Thalmor once more as the elf stood above her. The bastard sneered at her as he knelt on the ground beside her playing with the sword in his hands, Lorelai was breathing hard as the elf leaned in close to her.

“Pretty little thing aren’t you? Shame you’ll be dead in a few seconds…”

“P-please don’t kill me we’ll leave..”

“Sshh, your cries fall on deaf ears darling. Prepare to-”

“UGH!”

Lorelai had drawn her dagger that she had hidden in her boot and shoved it through the elf’s ribs, the elf stopped talking and hissed in pain as his body fell beside her and the wall around them disappeared. Lorelai was still in shock from killing the man as Caden and Inigo rushed to her side, they made sure she wasn’t injured before Inigo gathered her weapons and handed them back to her. Caden was furious at her charging ahead and grabbed her by the shoulders.

“You told me that you knew this area like the back of your hand, you knew there was another Thalmor down those steps yet you charged off anyway!”

“I-I know, I’m sorry….”

“You could have died! This isn’t a game Lorelai. It’s real!”

“I-I know, I made a mistake alright! But he’s dead now and I-I’m fine so let’s go get Kaidan and get out of here.”

“I swear you’ll be the death of me…”

She put her dagger back in her boot and sheathed her sword before moving down to the holding cells, she saw Kaidan chained against the wall and her helping instinct took over. She ran for the key and quickly unlocked his cell door, she rushed to his side but he shrugged her off of him before hissing out a response.

“Get your hands of me! I swear when I get out of this I’ll kill you all!”

Lorelai had forgotten that Kaidan had not seen a friendly gesture in all his time here so she back off and talked to him first.

“I’m not here to hurt you, I want to help.”

“Eh? You, you aren’t with the Thalmor are you.”

“No, I came to save you.”

“Hmph, I’m not in good shape. Do you have a health potion or anything?”

“Yes, here.”

She held the potion up to Kaidan’s lips and he greedily drank it till the last drop left the bottle, his wounds sealed instantly and the blood dried up. Lorelai threw the bottle aside and unlocked his chains, Kaidan fell to the ground and took a deep breath as he rose to his feet.

“Thank you.”

“Anytime..”

“Can I ask one more favour of you?”

“Sure.”

“I need my sword that they took from me, my armour and the rest of my belongings are also here somewhere. Help me retrieve them and I will be in your debt.”

“Just point me in the direction we need to go.”

Chapter Text

Kaidan and Lorelai hung back as Caden charged into the last room with Inigo at his back, the last Thalmor fell in seconds. Kaidan followed Lorelai into the room and grabbed his sword from the back of the fallen Thalmor, he turned it over in his hands examining it for damage. Lorelai had gone over to the chest and sorted out Kaidan’s armour before bringing it over to him in her arms, she put it on the table before him and patted him on the shoulder before walking back to the chest to gather what loot she could find. Kaidan quickly threw on his armour and adjusted his sword on his back before rejoining the odd group, Lorelai looked over as he walked towards them and offered a warm smile.

“Do you have everything?”

“Aye, thanks to you.”

“Glad to be of service, my name is Lorelai. This is Inigo, he’s my best friend, and that sulking brute over there is Caden the Dragonborn.”

“Kaidan. I’m in your debt Lorelai.”

“Nah, it’s all good.”

“If you ever need a sword at you side I am here to protect you, Until I think my debt is repaid anyway.”

“You can tag along now if you want, we have a mission to complete in Whiterun.”

Caden groaned at the idle chit chat and stepped between Lorelai and Kaidan, the dark haired man looked over Caden with an annoyed gaze. Caden in turn folded his arms across his chest and face Kaidan head on.

“How do we know we can trust him Lorelai? What happened between you and the Thalmor?”

Kaidan rolled his eyes and took a similar stance to Caden’s before responding to the question sarcastically.

“Oh they had me over for High Tea, I was enjoying myself before you showed up kicking and screaming. I was knocked out at my campsite near Riverwood, they hauled me here and striped me down. Took my sword and said that I was being questioned, seems like the Thalmor will do anything to get what they want.”

“Hmph, I could have done without the sarcasm.”

Lorelai sensed the hostility and walked around Caden to stand between him and their newly rescued companion.

“I’m all for drama, but can you two test your manliness somewhere less decrepit? I think I hear more water rushing in and I don’t wanna drown today, come on Inigo and I are leaving.”

Surely enough after grabbing what was in the chest she hooked her arm with Inigo’s and they jogged off towards the exit, Caden rolled his eyes and followed after them with Kaidan close behind. Once they were outside and on the road towards Whiterun Kaidan fell in step beside Caden and Inigo as Lorelai took the lead and merrily skipped ahead of them.

“So my friend, that is some sword you have there. Strange carvings.”

Kaidan looked at the strangely colored Khajiit with calm eyes, the woman seemed to put a great deal of trust in this cat but he couldn’t be so open yet. He had been burned before, never again will he crave that much power.

“It was a gift from my mother before she died, I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.”

“Interesting, it is quite impressive. You are one for great swords like the Dragonborn.”

Kaidan turned to Caden at the mention of his title, was this basic nord really the legendary Dragonborn her had heard of during his recent travels?

“That strange woman did say you were the Dragonborn, never thought I would meet you in my travels. Is that Dragonbone armour?”

Caden nodded but didn’t say anything as he kept his focus on Lorelai who was a few feet ahead of them humming to herself, Kaidan followed his eyes to the woman in front of the trio.

“What’s her story anyway?”

Inigo put his paws behind his head as he sighed at the question, Lorelai hadn’t lied to him when he asked but it wasn't his place to tell others of her origins.

“It is better you ask her yourself friend, she tells it better..”

“I’m not your friend.”

“Ouch.”

They walked in silence all the way back to Whiterun, once they entered the city Caden told them to wait as his house as he got the details from Mallus at the inn. Lorelai said she wanted to spend her time in the market selling what she found, Inigo and Kaidan swore to keep her protected and they parted ways. Caden went off to get the details and Lorelai ran into Breezehome to change out of her thieves guild armour and into something more comfy. The boys stayed outside and surveyed the town while she was inside, Kaidan was mumbling something to himself and it was driving Inigo crazy.

“What is on your mind friend?”

“This city is horribly under guarded, the battlements are falling apart and there are no supporting defenses. They have the prime position in this idiotic war and they aren’t protecting it like they should.”

“I see, but not everyone’s minds are on the subject of defense.”

“They should be, especially with the war looming over the province.”

“I have never thought about that before.”

“Clearly.”

Lorelai re-emerged with a green town dress on and knee high leather boots, she also had a basket in hand with all the goods she intended to sell inside of it. Inigo smiled as she walked out of the house and Kaidan continued to look indifferent.

“That look suits you Lorelai, very nice.”

“Thanks Inigo, come on boys let’s do some shopping.”

Inigo and Kaidan followed Lorelai into Belethor’s shop, the breton smiled as she entered and eagerly waited for her at the counter.

“Welcome again! What can I do for you today?”

“I have some things to sell.”

“Perfect, let’s see what you’ve got.”

Lorelai put her basket on the counter and pulled out some magicka potions and random jeweled necklaces she had found in the chest where they had found Kaidan, as Lorelai bartered with Belethor Inigo glanced around the shop looking for anything that might be of use in their travels. He picked out a large leather tent and a couple bedrolls to tie onto his pack when they were traveling on foot and needed to make camp somewhere, rather to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. After getting paid for her wares Lorelai purchased a large tent herself and a bedroll, she also bought a quill with some ink and a blank leather journal. After everything was paid for Inigo and Lorelai found Kaidan sitting on a nearby bench near the exit.

“Do you need to buy anything Kaidan? I can lend you some coin.”

“No thanks, I’m fine at the moment.”

Lorelai nodded and the trio left the shop and headed for Breezehome, they dropped everything off and went out on the town again per Lorelai’s request.

“What are we doing now my friend?”

“I thought it would be nice to watch the sunset together, I know a place with the best view.”

They left the city and wandered out onto the wooden scaffolding near the front gates, Lorelai sat down so her feet dangled over the edge. She patted the seats next to her for Kaidan and Inigo to join her, Inigo readily sat next to her as Kaidan cautiously sat a few inches farther away than what Lorelai had offered. The three looked up just as the sun sank below the horizon, the sky changed from colors of orange and red to softer hues of pink and purple. Lorelai had always loved the graphics of Skyrim, so beautiful and tranquil. Then night fell and the stars appeared one by one, and last but not least the aurora appeared in the sky lighting everything up as it did so.

“It is truly beautiful my friend, very peaceful.”

“It really is, what do you think Kaidan.”

Kaidan looked over at Lorelai and saw the starlight dance in her sea green eyes, he allowed a small smile as he looked towards the heavens.

“I always loved the wilds of Skyrim, but the sky is also very inviting. Nothing compares to Skyrim, she’s as beautiful as she is dangerous.”

“Well said friend.”

Lorelai giggled at the dialogue, just like in the game. After a few minutes of stargazing they wandered back inside and into an empty house, Lorelai didn’t think it would take that long just to talk to Mallus about the mission. It only took mere seconds when she did it in game, she grabbed her daedric dagger from her room upstairs and hid it in her boot before gathering her friends and heading for the inn. When they entered they saw Caden exiting the backroom where Mallus was, okay so maybe it did take that long to get the details. Caden made his way over to them and looked down at Lorelai with tired eyes.

“Didn’t I tell you to wait at my house?”

“I got worried, it shouldn’t have taken that long…”

“Hmm, well since you’re all here lets get dinner.”

Caden ordered a round of mead and four bowls of venison stew, Inigo and Lorelai spoke while they ate as Caden and Kaidan looked around the inn and calmly sipped their mead. Kaidan tensed as Mikael made his way over to their table, he nudged Caden under the table but when Caden saw what the bard he shook his head.

“My lady, will you do me the honor of accompanying my lute once more?”

“Oh hi Mikael, since when are you a silver tongued poet?”

“I just want to hear your lovely voice again Lorelai.”

“Uh, well…”

Lorelai looked around her table and saw Caden looking at her with interest, Inigo looked curious and Kaidan still looked unimpressed by everything. She pushed aside her anxiety and thought about how happy she felt the last time she sang, she nodded her head and Mikael took her hand and led her to the front of the room. All the while she was met with whistles and cheers as she prepared to sing, instead of picking a song herself she put her hands on her hips and addressed the crowd.

“What do you want me to sing?”

Multiple responses greeted her ears and she tried to pick out the most popular choice, over everything else she focused on Caden and watched as he mouthed a single suggestion. She nodded and leaned over to whisper to Mikael, the bard grinned and began to play the soft chords that made up the interlude to Tale of the Tongues. As the lyrics came to her mind she swayed to the soft melody that greeted her ears, all the patrons turned to her in anticipation. Even Kaidan showed interest as her heard her soft silky voice flow forth from her lips.

Alduin’s wings, they did darken the sky. His roar fury's fire, and his scales sharpened scythes.

Men ran and they cowered, and they fought and they died. They burned and they bled as they issued their cries.

We need saviors to free us from Alduin's rage. Heroes on the field of this new war to wage.

And if Alduin wins, man is gone from this world. Lost in the shadow of the black wings unfurled.

But then came the Tongues on that terrible day. Steadfast as winter, they entered the fray.

And all heard the music of Alduin's doom. The sweet song of Skyrim, sky-shattering Thu'um.

And so the Tongues freed us from Alduin's rage. Gave the gift of the Voice, ushered in a new Age.

If Alduin is eternal, then eternity's done. For his story is over and the dragons are... gone.

Cheers met her ears as the lute faded out and the song came to an end, Lorelai smiled at the reaction from the crowd. So much joy and appreciation for her, she never received that back home, she was always looked over and picked last for everything but now she was the one who was shining. She allowed a couple happy tears to flow from her eyes but she quickly wiped them away and laughed as she looked over to her table and saw both Kaidan and Inigo’s mouths hanging open in surprise. Caden was all smiles as he stood up and walked over to her, he grabbed her waist and lifted her up and spun in place. She giggled as he twirled her around, then she saw Farkas and Vilkas out of the corner of her eye clapping and whistling at her performance.

“Come on Caden put me down!”

He finally set her back on the wooden floor and she skipped over to say hi to the twins, they talked happily and Caden retreated back to their table to drink another tankard of mead that Hulda had poured for him. Inigo patted Caden on his arm and brought the Dragonborn’s attention away from Lorelai and to the two stunned companions.

“She can sing?”

“Obviously, she’s good right?”

“Very, I sing a little myself. But I prefer to do so at the bard’s college, perhaps if we pass through Solitude we could stop and I can show you.”

“Sure Inigo, I think Lorelai would like that.”

Inigo smiled as he sipped his drink and tapped his foot to Mikael’s drum beats, then Caden turned to Kaidan who was now staring at Lorelai with interest. Caden waved a hand in front of the warriors face and Kaidan quickly snapped out of the trance he was in.

“Are you alright Kaidan?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

Inigo nudged his arm and the warrior looked at him with a cautious gaze.

“You were staring at Lorelai friend, most persistently.”

“Shut it cat.”

Lorelai bounded back over and happily sat in her chair between Kaidan and Inigo, Inigo praised her performance and technique and explained how he was one to sing and write his own songs. Lorelai knew this already but let the excited khajiit explain anyway, then the trio left the inn and began their walk back to Breezehome. Caden and Inigo were in the lead and talking up a storm about the Skyforge, Lorelai was walking beside Kaidan and thought she would try and talk to the rogue.

“How are you doing Kaidan?”

“I’m still sore from the prison but I’ll survive, how are you holding up?”

“I’ m good, glad to have you with us.”

“Glad to hear it. So what brings a girl like you to Skyrim, I tried asking the cat earlier but he said I should ask you.”

“His name is Inigo, and as for my story well you won’t believe it. I’ll tell you once we reach the house alright?”

“Alright.”

Once inside Lorelai told her tale another time, but this time both Caden and Inigo backed her up. Kaidan thought they had all gone mad but when he looked into Lorelai’s eyes he knew that she was telling the truth. He sighed as took a seat by the fireside and warmed his hands, Lorelai went to sit next to him and carefully put a hand on his arm.

“I understand if you want to leave Kaidan, we must sound crazy to you..”

“Aye, but I have a debt to fulfill and besides it didn’t feel like you were lying to me. I’ll stay until my debt is paid.”

“Thank you Kaidan, it means a lot to me that you’re staying.”

“Hmph, well despite the whole ‘I’m from a different world’ thing I don’t mind being here with you. Did you leave behind any family when you came here?”

“Yeah, they are far from Skyrim. They are safe though and probably don’t even realize I’m gone.”

“What family ignores a loved one going missing?”

“Mine….”

Without elaborating Lorelai said goodnight to everyone and went up to Lydia’s room for the night, Kaidan furrowed his brow at her answer and looked to Caden and Inigo but they looked just as confused as he did. Maybe she had as many demons following her around just like he did, maybe they had more in common than he thought. Soon the fire died down and everyone retired for the night, in the morning they would fulfill their mission and head back to Riften with what they found but is Lorelai ready to face the challenge ahead of her?

Chapter Text

Lorelai awoke early the next morning, her gaze wandered about the room until she finally sat up in bed and yawned. Today was the day they were going to the meadery, her first major quest in Skyrim. She felt energy overwhelm her body as she leapt out of bed and started putting her armour on, once she was satisfied with how everything fit she sat back down on her bed to pull her boots on. Then she combed through her hair with her fingers getting all the major knots out, how long had it been since her last bath? She pulled her hair back into a tight high ponytail, she adjusted her hood so it was out from underneath her hair and headed down stairs. She saw that Inigo and Kaidan were still asleep by the fire, Caden had purchased the alchemy lab instead of the kids room. The kids room would have at least provided beds for the others, maybe she can talk him into a remodel?

She tiptoed around them and grabbed some ingredients from Caden’s kitchen, she stoked the fire once more and grabbed a jug of water from the table. While she waited for the water to boil she minced up some carrots and potatoes, then she grabbed some dried herbs and a few strips of venison. She carefully seasoned the meat and then threw some bones into the now boiling water to begin her stock, good thing she took a few cooking classes in college. She dropped some dried garlic into the broth and then some elves ear as well, then she added her veggies and meat to the mix and watched over the pot stirring in every once in a while.

She heard a shuffle come from upstairs and figured Caden had woken up at last, then she looked to Kaidan and Inigo and also found them stirring from their slumber. She put some wooden bowls at the table along with spoons and tankards, she also put a sweet roll at each plate setting for a little treat. Inigo would appreciate the surprise, he loved sweet rolls. Soon Lorelai heard yawning and groaning as the warriors greeted the day, she had just finished pouring everyone some milk when Inigo popped his head up and looked into the pot over the fire.

“So this is what smells yummy, what are you making my friend?”

Lorelai laughed as Kaidan looked into the pit as well and nodded his head at the smell, before she could answer Caden came trotting down the steps and looked over the kitchen area with surprise in his features. Lorelai looked over the three now standing men and blushed a little bit, Caden and Kaidan only had cotton pants loosely hanging from their hips. Inigo had a tunic and breeches on thank god, but Lorelai let her gaze linger on the two shirtless men. Damn they were ripped, then Caden’s voice brought Lorelai to attention.

“Did you make breakfast Lorelai?”

“Y-yup, good morning!”

All the boys took a seat at the table as Lorelai lifted the pot from its place over the fire and served breakfast, the warriors inhaled the savory aroma of the stew in front of them eagerly. Inigo was already devouring his sweet roll when Lorelai sat down at the table.

“Well, let’s dig in! I hope you like it, it’s been awhile since I’ve made anything from scratch.”

Lorelai watched in anticipation as the men took the first bite of her stew, I hope I seasoned it well. She saw Caden smile at her and go in for seconds as Inigo scoffed his down as well, Kaidan ate calmly but in his head he was savoring each bite as much as he could.

“W-well? How do you like it?”

“It is very good my friend! Very tasty!”

Caden and Kaidan nodded their heads in agreement and continued to eat greedily, Lorelai smiled happily and ate her own food as well. It wasn’t bad considering she hadn’t cooked in quite some time, not since her last day of college. After breakfast Lorelai washed the dishes in a basin of water while she waited for the boys to get ready, Lorelai still had the image of Kaidan and Caden in her mind from earlier. Truly a sight to see, six packs and muscles everywhere she looked. She finished the dishes and the boys had reappeared by the fire, everyone looked battle ready in their armour with their weapons strapped to their bodies.

Lorelai grabbed her own sword and dagger from the weapon rack, she slid the dagger into the sheath on her thigh and then tied her sword to her waist. Caden looked over his makeshift company and Lorelai came to stand beside him, she looked happy to finally be going on an actual quest. Hopefully she can hold her own after all, she was trained by the best warriors he knew so that had to account for something in the end. She grabbed hold of his arm and looked at him with happy eyes, he smiled and addressed his new companions.

“Everyone ready?”

Kaidan gave a curt nod and Inigo rolled his shoulder before nodding his head as well, Lorelai practically shuddered with anticipation. They headed out for the meadery and Caden briefed them on the way, Lorelai had done this mission multiple times and she volunteered to do the talking.

“I thought you weren’t one for crowds?”

“I know this mission though, I can copy the dialogue well enough. I can probably get him to pay us ahead of time as well, just gotta use some charm.”

“You can do it my friend!”

“Thanks Inigo, everyone look friendly but scary alright.”

Caden furrowed his brow at her statement and looked to Inigo and Kaidan to see if they wore similar expressions, which they did. Inigo gently touched Lorelai on the shoulder which brought their whole group to stop just outside of the meadery.

“How does one look both scary and friendly?”

“Well the armour makes you look scary by itself, but you need to show that you aim to help not harm. So smile and look approachable, he need to believe that we are here to help him of our own free will.”

Kaidan shook his head and looked around the area, not much to say about the small meadery. The Black-Briar's had by far a more superior establishment, why would Maven worry about such a small operation so far from Riften? Anyway as Inigo was questioning Lorelai’s logic Caden tapped Kaidan on the shoulder and turned the hunter around.

“What?”

“So what’s your story?”

“You ask that now?”

“Well Inigo and Lorelai are talking so why can’t we?”

“Listen Dragonborn let’s get this mission over with and back to an inn or something, then I’ll talk about my life alright?”

“Alright, well at least help me shut them up so we can get this over with.”

“Fine by me.”

Lorelai and Inigo were still debating the phase she had used when Kaidan and Caden descended upon them, Caden put a firm hand on Inigo’s shoulder while Kaidan gently took a hold of Lorelai’s shoulders and brought her back into his chest.

“W-what’s going on?”

Kaidan rolled his eyes and turned Lorelai around to face him directly, her wide and calm eyes stared back at him.

“You two are wasting time arguing, we need to get this mission over with and head back to the city. You can debate your word choice there, let’s just get this over with.”

“Y-you’re right sorry for holding everyone up..”

“Don’t worry about it alright? You meant no harm by it, head up and get in there and sweet talk this poor bastard.”

“Right!”

Lorelai perked up at Kaidan’s words and took the lead once more as the three men followed behind her, as soon as the group entered the tavern they were greeted with the smell of dead skeevers. Lorelai gagged at the smell and plugged her nose with her hand, this was one of the reasons she was glad the game didn’t come with interactive smell. She approached the counter where a very agitated man was wiping down the bar with a bucket of soap water, poor guy.

“Excuse me?”

The man turned to Lorelai with a sneer on his face, he threw his damp rag into the soap water and wiped his hands on the apron he wore.

“What do you want? Can’t you tell I’m busy! The Captain of the guard is supposed to do a testing here and I have a major infestation on my hands, I have no time for idle chit-chat!”

“You misunderstand, is there anything we can do to help you?”

“Why would you wanna help me?”

“We’re adventurers, that’s basically our job. Plus that guy over there is the Dragonborn, he’s pretty much destiny driven to help people ...”

“I thought he looked familiar, still I guess I could use the help. I’ll pay you for your services after the problem is taken care of. Here take this poison and plant it in the nest once you find it. My name is Sabjorn by the way, don’t forget your employer is easily agitated with failure if my assistant Mallus were anywhere to be found he could attest to my fragile temper.”

Lorelai took the bottle and tied it to her waist with a leather cord, she then turned back to the owner and smiled kindly.

“Now about that payment..”

“I already told you that you’ll get it when the pests are taken care of.”

“That’s not how we work though, surely you could give it to us in advance. After all you make such good money here and your mead is the best in the whole province, surely it couldn’t be that big of a deal for you. Right?”

Lorelai was not one for contact but she leaned on the counter and traced her fingers over Sabjorn’s partially sleeved arm, the man looked from his arm and into her gentle eyes. The color reminded him of the ocean on a clear day, but just like the ocean there were dangerous things lurking just below that calm exterior. He let a smile decorate his lips as he traced his own pattern onto Lorelai’s leather clad arm, thank god for armour.

“I suppose a fine lady like yourself isn’t one to go back on her word, here is the full payment with a couple extra for your kindness. I would also be pleased to welcome you back for the tasting later on today, perhaps after the captain leaves we can get better acquainted…”

“Maybe..”

Lorelai took the coin purse and they all started for the cellar doors, she was shivering with disgust when they were out of earshot from the slimy owner. Inigo patted her on the shoulder and Caden pat her hood covered head, she grinned at each of them as they descended the steps and into the infested cellar. They all crouched upon entry and Lorelai explained that there were three skeevers in the cellar, one straight ahead with the other two waiting in the tunnel. The boys dispatched them easily enough and they continued that process up until Lorelai realized they were approaching the final chamber, they had dodged many bear traps and skeevers to get to this point, not to mention the area of spiders Lorelai had forgotten about.

“Wait.”

“What is it?”

“Caden, did Mallus mention a crazy guy in the tunnels?”

“No...why?”

“Because there’s a crazy guy in the tunnels, he is making potions to mutate the skeevers. He has lightning spells and it sucks, plus the final room is filled with those mutated skeevers. Just be careful guys, don’t get bitten please.”

Caden nodded and he and the other men took the lead as they entered the final room, Caden and Kaidan charged forward towards the man while Lorelai and Inigo hung back to deal with the skeevers. She and Inigo did well with fended off the little beasts, granted Inigo got most of them while Lorelai killed three on her own. When Inigo and Lorelai were convinced that the skeevers were taken care of they hurried forward to where Caden and Kaidan were holding back magic attacks, they needed help so Lorelai told Inigo to ready his bow while she caused a distraction. Inigo did as he was told and as soon as Lorelai got into position she yelled to get the crazy guy’s attention.

“Hey asshole! You call yourself a nord?! No nord uses magic, I bet you can’t even lift a- AHH!”

Lorelai ducked as a blot of lightning flew past her head, she had taken the focus off of Caden and Kaidan with her insults, Inigo saw his opening and he took it. One of his ebony arrows found its home in the man’s chest effectively ending his life, Lorelai lifted herself off the ground as everyone gathered around the center of the cavern. Caden sheathed his sword and sent an annoyed glare at Lorelai.

“That was a stupid plan Lorelai, that bolt was too close for comfort.”

“But you two needed help, and I knew Inigo had my back. I was fine, now let’s get this poison into the nest and then head to the boilery.”

Lorelai poured half the bottle into the nest and then made her way to the brew house, the men followed after her reluctantly. Once they resurfaced Lorelai wasted no time in heading up to the vats and finding the correct batch to poison, she opened the lid and poured the remainder of the bottle into the mixture. She also looted the nearby chest pulling a coin purse out of it and making her way back downstairs.

“All done, let’s tell Sabjorn and watch the chaos unfold.”

They quickly made their way back to the main house and saw that the Captain was already there along with Mallus and Sabjorn, Lorelai approached the counter and told him of their success. He smiled and motioned for them to take a seat near Mallus while the tasting took place, the group did as they were told and Caden took a position by Mallus who looked less than pleased at the extra company. He leaned over and angrily whispered to Caden.

“What the hell? Who are they?”

“My associates, they were well qualified for the job and you wanted it done perfectly right? Well everything went according to plan, well almost.”

“What do you mean?”

“You neglected to tell me of the insane man in the tunnels raising skeevers! What in Talos’s name was that about huh?”

“Some details needed to be kept from you, would you have done the job if I had mentioned the possibility of a crazy person threatening your life?”

“Yes, because the guild and Maven threatened something worth more than my life you bastard. You’re lucky Maven needs you, because if she didn’t you’d be in Sovngarde right now.”

Lorelai was watching as the Captain began to choke and gag on his drink, then it all played out like the game. The Captain blamed Sabjorn for not meeting health standards and passed the business over to Mallus until further notice, then Mallus took over and Sabjorn was escorted from the building. Caden told Mallus they needed access to Sabjorn’s room and the pale man handed over the key to the room and Sabjorn’s dresser, Lorelai accompanied Caden upstairs as Kaidan and Inigo watched over things below. Once they got everything from the room Lorelai told Caden of a decanter behind the locked doors, he kicked down the weak doors and Lorelai rushed in and grabbed all the valuables she could including some necklaces and silver ingots along with the decanter.


 

The whole group left the meadery and retreated back to Whiterun, once inside the city’s wall they all relaxed. They dropped their loot off at Caden’s and Lorelai changed into simple clothes before they went to the inn for a late lunch, once they entered they saw that the place was totally empty due to the shops still being open in the market. They grabbed a table and Saadia took their order and disappeared into the kitchen, Caden wasted no time turning to Kaidan and asking his previous question once more.

“Well, we’re safe now Kaidan. Now what’s your story huh?”

Kaidan looked at him in annoyance before glancing at Lorelai who was looking at him with a sort of sadness in her eyes, like she already knew what had happened to him. Then he remembered that she probably did, that made him feel more vulnerable than ever. However, even though she probably knew what he had done and what he had been through she never said anything to the others about it, she waited until he was comfortable enough to talk about it. Lorelai gently put her hand on Kaidan’s shoulder and offered a weak smile, he found comfort in her smile for some reason.

“My past is nothing to be proud of, but it wasn’t all bad in the beginning. This sword was given to me by my mother after she died, I don’t even know my own race let alone if I have any family here to ask about it. If I do have living blood somewhere on this world I’ve never met them, I was raised by a nord though. Brynjar.”

“What happened?”

“Well, he trained me and taught me how to survive in this harsh world. He was my only family and I guess what he did he did it to protect me and prepare me for what was ahead of me.”

“Did he know your mother?”

“I’m not sure, he often told me what she was like. Strong, beautiful, smart, cunning, and very head strong. I like to think that she passed down most of those traits to me, but I’ll never know.”

“So what brought you to Skyrim?”

“That is a long story….”

Chapter Text

Kaidan looked around the small table at his new group and wondered if he should tell him his past, he still had a hard time trusting anyone but Lorelai seemed to understand him already and he hardly said anything. He took a deep breath and folded his arms on the table, he looked into his tankard full of ale and began his story.

“My mother died when I was very young, then I was taken in by a nord. Brynjar, he taught me everything I know today, hunting, trapping, tracking, and just surviving. He dragged me all over this damn continent, it always felt like he was running from something. Maybe he was trying to prepare me in case that threat ever caught up with us, but then he died. I never realized how bad his drinking had gotten, I had grown up around it after all. Healers said that he died from exposure, rather convenient if you ask me.”

Kaidan took a long drink from his tankard and Lorelai looked at him sadly, she already knew all of this but actually hearing the emotion flow from him in person made it all the worse. She put a hand on the arm that was holding the tankard and Kaidan slowly lowered it back down to the table before looking back to her with clouded eyes.

“You are a stronger person Kaidan, I know you’ve been through a lot and it isn’t fair. But just know that even though you feel alone in this world we are here to help you and fight beside you.”

Kaidan couldn’t believe the amount of love and compassion that flowed from this woman, was she truly this kind or was she just naive? Either way Kaidan felt like he didn’t care what it was in that moment, he realized it was nice to have someone worried about him for a change. He sighed and then faced the group once more.

“Well after Brynjar’s death I lost all connections I had to my past, well everything except for this sword. It was my mother’s and it’s all I have left to remember her or my people by, I was alone and ready to fend for myself. I traveled all over Tamriel collecting bounties and getting involved in matters that still follow me to this day, I won’t get into that right now. But then I was camped out near the lake close to Riverwood and that was where the Thalmor grabbed me.”

Caden listened in silence while Inigo felt Kaidan’s pain, Inigo had his past to come to terms with as well but he wasn’t ready. He admired how Kaidan had opened up, but then he remembered that he was among friends and he decided to at least share some of his past as well.

“Did you know I had a twin brother? His name was Fergus, we did everything together back in our village. We were orphaned and then taken in by a rather odd couple, our foster mother was a Khajiit but our father was an argonian. We grew up happy although I was often picked on for being blue, he had my back though and we fought side by side. We then traveled Tamriel together and made very fun memories, I found love and death and every time I came out differently. My story is no match for Kaidan’s, but I understand how it feels to be alone in this world.”

Inigo offered up a small smile to Kaidan and Lorelai noticed how much pain circulated in this group, she had her own problems back home but after hearing Kaidan and Inigo talk about their lives first hand made her problems seem like nothing. She had played through their stories multiple times but this time was different, they were real people now and their pasts were all too real for them and that was horrible. She hadn’t made up Caden’s backstory, that was one thing she was completely clueless about. She sighed as the time passed by, eventually everyone finished their drinks and they left for Breezehome. Inigo had taken the lead with Caden once more and Kaidan had fallen into step beside Lorelai, she was caught up in her thoughts when Kaidan’s hand gently brushed against hers.

“Kaidan?”

“I uh- just wanted to ask you something.”

“What’s on your mind?”

“I shared my past, but who were you before you came here?”

“I was just a college student, I was graduating early and about to start my career in game design. I was supposedly this great whiz kid and I even skipped a few grades, a sort of child prodigy and my parent’s spent every second they could spare taking me to different tutors or club meetings. I rarely talked to them though, I was pushed off on maids or nannies for most of my life. It’s nothing compared to your harsh past, but I do know what it feels like to be alone.”

“What about your family? Are they still alive?”

“Yeah, well mom is anyway. She’s a professor back in my world, a well paid one. She’s written a lot of books and we have a pretty good life I guess, or we did until dad died. After my father died, my mother stopped caring altogether and we barely talk to each other anymore. She’ll leave for work and I get left with the dogs and my video games, not that I mind, my dogs are my best friends and it was peaceful. But I do wish that things were different, but no one can change the past. All we can do is grow from it and hope to do better.”

“Well said, well you know family isn’t just people with the same blood.”

“Huh?”

“A family is made of people who care about each other and have your back no matter what, friends can be like your family too. Caden, Inigo, and I all care about you and have your back. We are like a family, a strange family but a family all the same. Right?”

Lorelai looked ahead at Caden and Inigo who were laughing about something Inigo had said, Lorelai realized that she had grown rather attached to her little group. She turned back to Kaidan and looped her arm through his and smiled up at the warrior.

“You’re right Kaidan, and family sticks together no matter what!”

Kaidan chuckled at her excitement and let her tug him along to Breezehome, they stayed up and talked around the fire for a little longer before Lorelai fell asleep on Inigo’s shoulder. She and Inigo were seated on the ground while Kaidan and Caden occupied the two chairs by the fire, Inigo smiled at his friend who was fast asleep and then caught the attention of the other two guys motioning for them to look. Caden laughed softly and shook his head, Kaidan smirked and Inigo carefully lifted Lorelai into his arms and carried her to her room and put her to bed. After Inigo tucked in Lorelai he closed her door and walked back downstairs where Kaidan and Caden were waiting, he yawned and stretched while the other men finished their bottles of mead.

“Our friend Lorelai was very tired, I’m thinking that we should all follow her example and sleep yes?”

Kaidan nodded and began stripping off his armour until nothing but a pair of breeches remained, Inigo followed suit as Caden said goodnight and went up to his room for bed. Inigo and Kaidan were lying on their bedrolls as the fire died down and a soft glow illuminated the room, soon everyone was fast asleep and all was quiet, until Lorelai had a nightmare and jolted awake.


 

She was breathing heavily as she looked around her cold room, usually when she had nightmares she grabbed the nearest dog and that gave her some comfort but they weren’t here. She went over her options in her head and came to one conclusion, she had to go to someone and ask for comfort. She shivered as she got out of her bed and tiptoed over to her door and opened it enough to look out into the loft area, she exited her room and then she peeked downstairs to find both Kaidan and Inigo sound asleep. She didn’t want to wake both of them up so Caden was her best bet, she snuck over to his door and crept inside shutting the heavy door behind her.

She walked over to his bed and sat on the edge of it, what was she thinking? What if he got the wrong idea? What if he thought she was weak because she let a nightmare get the best of her? While she was waging this internal war Caden felt the bed shift under her weight and he sat up in bed rubbing his eyes.

“Lorelai? What in Talos’s name are you doing? Are you alright?”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. Well I did but not like this um-”

“Are you okay?”

“Y-yes, um I had a nightmare and usually I have a dog or something to soothe me back to sleep but I don’t have that here so I was wondering….”

“You want to sleep in here?”

“Only if it’s alright with you, I mean I don’t want to intrude or make you think I’m just a girl that sneaks into a guys room to-”

“Lorelai, it’s alright. I get night terrors myself, come on and get under the furs you must be cold.”

“Y-y-yeah thanks..”

She buried herself in the furs and made sure to give Caden his space and not hog too much of the covers, Caden joined her under the furs and adjusted his sleeping position to accommodate a second body. Usually he slept in the center of the large bed but now he had to confine himself to one side, he didn’t want to make her nervous or uncomfortable by sharing the bed. After a few minutes he heard deep breaths come from Lorelai’s side of the bed and knew she was back asleep and content, he on the other hand felt his heart beating out of his chest with every breath he took. He had trouble getting back to sleep, but after a few more minutes he felt his mind start to slip back into that peaceful darkness. Before he could totally give himself over to sleep he felt small arms cling to his right arm, his eyes shot open to find Lorelai cuddled up to his side.

“This woman..”

She was fast asleep by his side, Caden tried to maneuver his arm away from her grip, but once he got his arm free she rolled over and her head landed on his chest with her right arm draped across his torso. He put his right arm around her shoulders and sighed in frustration, he eventually fell asleep in that position and the rest of the night was uneventful.


 

The next morning Lorelai stirred from her slumber with a groggy mind, she barely opened her eyes to look at her surroundings. Then she shot up to a sitting position as she remembered last night, she looked down at Caden who was still fast asleep at her side. She had cuddled up to him in her sleep, why couldn’t she have dealt with her nightmare like a normal person? She buried her face in her hands and shook her head, Caden had felt the bad move when she sat up and he slowly came out of his dreams.

“Lorelai? What’s wrong? Another nightmare?”

“Huh? Oh sorry, no I’m fine I hope I didn’t wake you.”

“You didn’t, do you feel better after sleeping in here last night?”

“Y-yes thank you, sorry if it wasn’t ideal for you..”

“Are you kidding?”

“Huh?”

“I had a fine woman in my bed, most people would call that lucky.”

“S-shut up Caden.”

Lorelai grabbed the nearest pillow and threw it at Caden in a playful rage, he caught the pillow and hit her with it in return. She quickly grabbed the other pillow on the bed and they took turns hitting each other, eventually Lorelai lost her pillow and lunged to grab Caden’s from his hands. He tugged it away from her reach and she almost fell off the bed, he quickly grabbed her arm and rolled over into the middle of the bed with her pinned underneath him. Their breathing was labored and now Caden was caging Lorelai beneath him, her face was flushed from flailing about earlier in the pillow fight.

“Are you alright Lorelai?”

“Uh-huh…”

They stared into each other’s eyes until Caden shifted his weight from both hands to only one of them as he brought the other up to move a strand of her golden brown hair away from her eyes, her eyes reminded him of the Sea of Ghosts, the same calming green that held mysteries that he wanted to uncover. Lorelai had never been in this kind of situation before, she had boyfriends in the past but she only had make out session before, not very good ones but at least she kinda knew what to do. She let Caden’s fingers slide down her cheek and neck until they came back up to graze her lips, her breathing had slowed to a calm pace while Caden’s had slightly intensified.

They had talked about her experience before and he didn’t know how far he should go, he didn’t want to hurt the bond they had already created as friends, but he couldn’t deny the feelings that were beginning to form for his new found friend. He found himself lowering his body until his lips were only inches from hers, he glanced up to her eyes to find them already closed. He took that as an open invitation and closed the distance between them, their lips met in a tender kiss. Lorelai put her hands on Caden’s neck and stroked the side if his chin with her thumbs, Caden’s lips felt rough against her silky ones.

She opened her mouth slightly and Caden slipped his tongue into her mouth slowly teasing her, she moaned into his kiss and they broke apart slightly to catch their breath. Lorelai’s soft green eyes were hooded with lust and Caden felt the feelings inside him grow at the sight.

“C-caden um, we should p-probably go get breakfast ...the others m-might suspect something.”

“Good point, you go change and head down first. I’ll wait here until I hear your voice from below…”

Lorelai nodded as Caden pressed one last kiss to her forehead before removing himself from her, she quickly got up and rushed back to her room to change into town clothes. After putting on a blue dress and her knee high boots she jogged downstairs to find Inigo setting the table and Kaidan stirring the pot over the fire.

“I’m going to end up burning this..”

“Do not worry my friend, it looks tasty!”

“Uh, thanks Inigo.”

Lorelai smiled at the conversation and made her presence known to her group mates.

“Good morning boys! What’s for breakfast?”

“Ah good morning my friend! We’ve found some venison and salmon, we cut it up and now we are making some yummy stew! Sadly we are out of sweet rolls at the moment..”

“We’ll buy some later Inigo, but it sure smells good down here! It’s nice to be able to smell the food for a change, I just have to assume it tastes good in the game. Thank you for getting it ready Kaidan!”

“Eh, its nothing. I just hope it doesn’t burn, I’m not usually one for cooking. I mostly just caught fish and roasted it over open flames when I camped at the lake.”

“It smells amazing, have some confidence mister hunter.”

“If you say so.”

Then Caden came downstairs in simple clothes as well, she avoided eye contact and instead went to stand by Kaidan’s side and talk to him about the plans for the day. Caden in turn went to talk to Inigo and help set the table and pour the milk for breakfast, everyone sat down to eat and they all talked happily. Caden allowed himself to glance at Lorelai every so often and admire her hair that she had left to fall in loose curls around her shoulders, after eating they all cleaned their dishes and went out into town for the day to stock up on potions and provisions before heading back to Riften to tell Maven of their success on the mission. While out in the city Lorelai found herself alone with Kaidan by the Gildergreen near the hall of the Companions, they had lost track of Inigo and Caden during their shopping excursion.

“Well I suppose that if we wait here under the tree the others will find us, take a seat friend.”

“You’re right Kaidan, plus this lets us admire the beauty that the city offers.”

Kaidan nodded and set his sword down against the bench before sitting, Lorelai looked at his long sword and noticed the Dragon runes decorating it.

“You know, I could translate those runes for you.”

“You can? How?”

“Well it’s in the dragon language, and besides the fact that I played your missions through a thousand times, I have come to learn how to identify certain words from all the hours I’ve logged on this game.”

“Well what does it say?!”

“It says; ‘Look to the bones of your enemies’. Really ominous huh?”

“The bones of my enemy? Well Brynjar said my blood descended from the Akaviri, but they had multiple enemies. The Thalmor, the Mythic Dawn, Dragons, anyone of them could hold answers to my past.”

“Well I know for a fact that Caden has infiltrated the Thalmor embassy and there were dossier’s inside, with luck he grabbed all of them and has them somewhere for us to find. We can ask when they find us.”

“Thank you Lorelai, you know it’s been a long time since I’ve had someone I could trust. Longer still before I could call them a friend, it’s nice having that now. It’s nice having you around.”

“Aww Kaidan! That’s so sweet!”

“Yeah well don’t get used to it, need to keep up the tough guy act around others. Wouldn’t want them to think I’ve gone soft, but I wanted you to know that I trust you and that I’ve got your back.”

“Until the debts paid off right?”

“Well…”

Before Kaidan could answer Inigo bounded up the steps and smiled when he saw his friends sitting beneath the Gildergreen.

“Caden! I have found them! Hehe, it was like playing hide and seek!”

Caden followed behind the khajiit and looked relieved when he saw that Lorelai was safe, but a pang of jealousy caught him off guard when he saw Kaidan sitting so close to her on the bench. They all headed home after a long today of shopping and packed their packs for the journey back to Riften in the morning, they all went to bed early so they could get as much sleep as possible for the journey ahead. Lorelai was lying on her back in her bed and staring up at the ceiling as she thought about the day’s events, she blushed as she thought back to the kiss she shared with Caden. What did it mean to him? Or more importantly, what did it mean to her?

Chapter Text

In the morning everyone ate breakfast together before making final adjustments to their travel packs, Lorelai was finishing up with hers as a knock at her door grabbed her attention. She got off the bed and walked over to open the heavy doors, she was greeted by Inigo’s smile as he glanced over her already armed form. She had dressed in her thieves guild armour and she had already strapped her sword and dagger to her hips.

“Are you ready to go my friend?”

“Yup, everything is packed and my tent and bedrolls are strapped to my pack as well. I can’t wait to make camp tonight!”

“I like your enthusiasm, but remember that the wilds are very dangerous. Remember to stay close by, do not wander far from the group.”

“I know Inigo, are you guys ready to go?”

“Yes, but you might want to put your hair up.”

“Why?”

“Because if we are walking the whole way like you wanted we will get sweaty.”

“Good point, can you tie it up for me?”

“I can try.”

Lorelai handed Inigo a piece of leather cord and turned her back to him, Inigo ran his claws gently through her hair and smoothed it back as he pulled it into a high ponytail. He secured it in place and made sure the leather cord was tied as tight as possible to keep her hair from falling. After he was satisfied he tapped Lorelai on the shoulder and she turned around happily.

“Thanks Inigo, you’re amazing as always!”

“I am honored you think so my friend, now let us go.”

Lorelai strapped her back to her shoulders and walked downstairs with a bounce in her step, Kaidan and Caden were in the middle of discussing the safest and quickest route to Riften when Lorelai stepped foot in the living room ready to go. Caden smiled warmly at her and Kaidan allowed a small smile to decorate his features as well, Lorelai was ready and willing to camp out for the night with little worry about the threat of the wild life that lurked.

“I see you’re as energetic as ever, ready for the journey?”

“I sure am! I’ve never gone camping before!”

Kaidan rolled his eyes and gently put a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him with happy eyes and that caused Kaidan to smile wider.

“I’ve spent a lot of time camping, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows lass.”

“But I’m with you guys, that has to count for something. Oh! Did you ask Caden about that dossier?”

“Uh no, I thought it could wait until we finished with this Maven business.”

Caden looked from Kaidan to Lorelai with confusion in his eyes, Lorelai rolled her eyes at the hunter and faced Caden.

“You infiltrated the Thalmor Embassy right?”

“Yeah, a long time ago before I defeated Alduin. Why?”

“Well on of your tasks were to gather any information that looked important right? So you grabbed the dossiers that were in the chest in Elenwen’s study and in the torture room correct?”

“You know, even though I know you are from another world and lived the life of the Dragonborn a thousand times, it still scares me that you know every detail of missions I’ve gone on and prefer not to remember. But yes, I have the dossiers in my bookshelf. Well I have the ones that Delphine didn’t want anyway, so I have the one on Ulfric, and a weird one about Akaviri settlements, not to mention one of the Thalmor’s thoughts on the Dragon crisis.”

Lorelai darted over to the bookshelf and grabbed the dossier for Kaidan, she handed it to him with a kind smile and Kaidan hastily flipped through it. After a few minutes of watching Kaidan read he looked up from the book with a glint of hope in his eyes, he closed the book and wrapped his arms around Lorelai and spun her around. Lorelai giggled at the action and clung tightly to Kaidan until he set her back on the floor, he pointed out a possible Akaviri settlement that could still be in good shape. And since they were heading towards the Rift anyway Caden said that they could investigate it on the way to Riften.

“Well now that Kai has some answers, let’s get going boys!”

Lorelai led the men out of the house and eventually out of Whiterun and on the road to Riften, most of the walk was filled with Lorelai’s laughter as she talked about Inigo’s life before he joined the group. All the antics that he got into as a child were very amusing, Kaidan and Caden took the lead and made sure that the way was clear for the others. After a while the group decided to break for lunch, they waited until a clearing came into view and Caden approved of the location. Lorelai had packed a few fruits to keep her energy up as the boys ate some kind of jerky from their packs, she wrinkled her nose at the smell but made no comment.

After lunch they were on the road again and the walk was starting to get to Lorelai, she never was one for physical activity but she wanted to experience what it would be like to walk the roads of Skyrim. The sun was just beginning to set as they reached the fork in the road that led uphill towards the rift, Lorelai was yawning at this point and leaning on Inigo for support as they walked. Caden glanced back to see Lorelai dragging her feet and thought that now would be a good time to stop and make camp, he and Kaidan spied an open area near the river and decided that it would be good enough for the night.

“Lorelai!”

“Hmm?”

“We found a spot to make camp, stay awake a little longer alright.”

“Yeah yeah, I know Caden..”

They quickly scouted the area while Inigo helped Lorelai set up her tent and bedroll before building the fire for the night, Caden and Kaidan returned to find Inigo and Lorelai boiling some water in order to start dinner. Kaidan had shot a few rabbits as well for fresh meat, he and the hunter skinned the little creatures while Inigo and Lorelai made a veggie stew to accompany the fresh kill. The boys also pitched their tents and laid out their bedrolls before coming back to the fire side.

“Stew is ready!”

Caden nodded his head as he set the meat over the fire to roast, they ate the stew first and then they each got a hunk of meat for the main course. After dinner they all sat around the fire and looked up at the night sky, Lorelai knew that the landscapes were incredible in game, but in person she was blown away by the amount of light that came from the sky. So many colors and constellations were visible, not like the city view she was used to. Inigo was softly humming to himself as Lorelai wandered over to the river side and sat on the shore, Caden left the fire to sit beside her on the ground near the water.

“It’s all so beautiful in person, way better than in the game.”

“Aye, it really is beautiful. Much like you.”

“Caden…”

“About the other night, I didn’t make you uncomfortable did I?”

“Well I-”

“My friends! Kaidan is wanting to tell us more of his story!”

“Alright Inigo, we’re coming.”

They both got up and went back to the rest of the group, Caden was a little frustrated that he didn’t get an answer but he guessed it could wait until later. Lorelai took a seat next to Kaidan and Caden sat on the ground in front of her with his back resting against her legs, Kaidan looked around the fire and cleared his throat before speaking.

“This situation reminded of the time I would travel with Brynjar, even though he dragged me all across Tamriel I had fun at every place we visited. But I mentioned before how he had problems with his drinking and even with skooma and moon sugar for a time, when I came of age he went out one night looking for something stronger and that’s when he died. You know that he died from ‘exposure’ but it was a sorry way to go. He should of died an old man surrounded by family, or on the battlefield fighting for what he believed in.”

“Kai, you know that he was sick. He had so much responsibility on his shoulders, some can handle it better than others…”

“I had a hard time coping after his death, I even picked up some of his less than respectable habits like moon sugar and drinking. Eventually I fell into a group of what I thought were band of outlaws, I came to find out they were more than that.”

“You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to Kaidan, I don’t even know how Inigo got you to agree to this in the first place.”

“I want to tell you, might as well own up to my past right? Anyway, they ended up being a cult that worshiped a daedric prince. Mehrunes Dagon. Overpowered bastard, I wanted to taste that power and it blinded me for a time. I even thought I found love among that rabble but it wasn’t real, they were called the Blooded Dawn. They were ruthless and would do anything to gain the power that Mehrunes offered to them, myself included. Then one night I decided I had enough and thought I could escape my oath unscathed, I tried to get that girl I loved to come with me but she died that night when a mutiny took place.”

Kaidan went silent after that, Caden and Inigo had no words for what they just heard from the hunter’s mouth. Lorelai knew his story and even she had trouble finding words to comfort the poor guy, instead she just put her head on his shoulder and sighed.

“Why did you want to tell us this Kai?”

“Well… it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this comfortable around anyone, especially a group of people. I felt like you should know my past, or what I can tell of it.”

“I see.”

“And I also have to ask you all something.”

“Which is?”

“Well, I know I owe a life debt to you and the others Lorelai, but lately I’ve found myself growing fond of you and everyone here. I just want- no I need to know that you feel the same. That you consider me as a friend, not just a mercenary for hire or a person who owes you a life.”

“Kaidan, I accepted you from the second I met you. I have never thought of you as anything other than a friend.”

Inigo happily nodded along to Lorelai’s declaration, Caden shook his head as he leaned back to look at the hunter.

“We all trust you Kaidan, if we didn’t I assure you that you’d be dead.”

“He is right my friend, besides Lorelai is a good judge of character. She would not hang around with bad people.”

Kaidan smirked at the group and thanked them for their acceptance, Lorelai yawned and then stretched her arms over her head.

“Well not that I don’t love the sharing circle, but I’m beat and we still have a lot of ground to cover in the morning if we want to find this Akaviri settlement before we head to Riften. So Imma hit the hay and see you guys in the morning, goodnight!”

The guys watched her retreat into her tent and close the flap, they all remained up for a little while longer before Caden took first watch and the other two went to sleep in their respective tents. As Caden looked around the small campsite he found himself stealing glances towards Lorelai’s darkened tent, he never got his answer but he sensed that she was just uncomfortable addressing the kiss rather than the actual kiss itself.

“Ugh, but how does she feel? I think we could be happy, but it is rather sudden…”

He then heard footsteps behind him and he turned around to see Inigo approaching him for the second watch, he relaxed as the friendly khajiit came to his side.

“I am ready to take over Caden, go get some rest.”

“Thank you Inigo, I need some time to myself.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yes, I just need to think about some things. Have a good watch.”

“Have a good rest my friend.”

Caden shuffled back to his tent but hesitated at the front of Lorelai’s he glanced at Inigo before lifting the flap and ducking inside her tent, he saw he fast asleep on the bedroll and that image brought him peace of mind. She was safe and asleep without a care in the world, he sat by her side and tucked a couple strands of hair behind her ears.

“What is she doing to me?”

Lorelai stirred from her sleep and opened her eyes just enough to see Caden’s face, she did a double take before sitting up in her bedroll and rubbing her eyes.

“W-why are you in my tent? Is something wrong?”

“Uh no everything is fine.”

“Then why?”

“Because I need to know.”

“Know what?”

“If I made you uncomfortable when we kissed.”

“U-um,w-well no it was u-um…”

“You’re stuttering.”

“Because I’m n-not good at this k-kinda thing….”

“Well what do you feel?”

“Do we have to do this now Caden?”

“It would be nice to know.”

“Then yes, you’re making me uncomfortable right now with this fucking question!”

“That’s not what I meant Lorelai.”

“Ugh, just go to your own tent and leave me a-”

Caden took her by surprise and closed his lips around her in a heated kiss, she squeaked in surprise and put her hands on his chest and pushed him off of her with all her might. He fell backwards as Lorelai breathed heavily in shock, he looked back to her and saw fear and sadness cross her features in that dimly lit tent.

“Get out.”

“Lorelai I’m sor-”

“Get the fuck out!”

Caden quickly left her tent and went inside his own one cursing his actions, why had he done that? Why couldn’t he have more control when he was with her? Lorelai was wide awake now and tracing her lips with her fingers, he had surprised her and she didn’t like how he handled the situation. She had fallen asleep in her armour, except for her boots, she needed some air. She slipped her boots back on and grabbed her dagger before leaving her tent and heading towards the person on watch, Inigo had switched with Kaidan and Lorelai timidly approached the hunter by the river.

“Kaidan?”

“Hmm? Lorelai? What are you doing awake?”

“I uh couldn’t sleep, do you mind if I stay here with you?”

“Fine by me, take a seat.”

Lorelai sat next to him on the banks of the river in silence, then she felt like she needed to talk so she turned to him with curious eyes.

“So you said you found love in that cult?”

“I thought it was love, but it wasn’t.”

“So you’ve never fallen in love?”

“No, not yet anyway. What about you?”

“I did once but it didn’t end well…”

“Want me to kill em?”

“Uhh…”

“Just kidding, well sort of.”

“Haha, so then what do you think of marriage?”

“I never really thought about it, it’s hard to imagine myself in that domestic setting. I don’t know if I’d be very good at it.”

“Nonsense, you’re fierce and loyal, you would make a great husband or boyfriend.”

“You think so? Well I’ll have to take your word for it, after all you haven’t been wrong yet.”

“I’m surprised you’re still available to be honest.”

“Must be my sparkling personality, or my quick wit-”

“Or your sarcastic comebacks..”

“Hmph, yeah that too.”

“Well, I think you have someone waiting for you out there Kai. You just need to find them.”

“Aye, I think you’re right Lorelai.”

She sighed as she looked over the horizon to see the sunrise, while hues of pink and light blue filled her vision Kaidan’s eyes wandered over Lorelai’s face and felt his heart skip a beat. She was a very special person, one that he needed to protect. He gently put a hand over hers and she slowly looked down at their hands, Lorelai’s hand was encased in Kaidan’s and she felt safe next to him. She looked back up and met his soft gaze, she found them moving closer until their lips met in a single soft but heated kiss. Kaidan’s other hand found its place on the back of Lorelai's neck and pulled her closer to him, her lips tasted like honey and she smelled of lavender. They parted and Lorelai looked at Kaidan through hooded eyes, what was she doing?

“Kaidan, I’ve never really-”

“Don’t worry Lorelai, I don’t expect anything from you right now. Just know that I am here for you no matter what.”

“Thank you Kai.”

Chapter Text

They packed up camp that morning and traveled to the Akaviri location described in the dossier, after gallivanting through a skeleton riddled mine they reach the base of the summit. Lorelai had done very well protecting herself and fending off the skeletons at Kaidan’s side, then when they stopped to catch their breath she stood in front of her group and fixed them with a serious gaze.

“There will be a dragon up at the settlement, be ready.”

Caden’s eyebrows shot up and crossed his arms over his chest anxiously, even though he had taken down countless dragons including Alduin himself, he still felt the nerves get to him every time. Then a new concern took hold of his mind, he uncrossed his arms and placed his hands on his hips instead.

“If you say there's a dragon then you are staying here until we kill it.”

“Caden-”

“This is something I will not negotiate, you’ve never faced on in person and even though you’ve done well with defending yourself I still think you are better off right here.”

“But-”

Kaidan grabbed her shoulder softly and offered a small smile, she knew that Caden was right but he was the last person she wanted to listen to right now. Inigo stepped forward as well and looked Lorelai in the eyes.

“Please my friend, stay here until it is over. I promise to come get you myself when we kill that smelly lizard.”

Lorelai sighed as she realized that fighting them was pointless, she nodded in agreement and sat down on a barrel as the boys drew their weapons and charged out of the mine. Lorelai heard shouting and the roar of a dragon a few moments later and she felt her stomach jump into her throat. What if they got hurt? What if they can’t do it? Lorelai began pacing back and forth near the exit until she heard another roar as it ripped through the air. She couldn’t bear not seeing and knowing how the battle was going, she stopped in front of the exit and drew her own sword and dagger.

“This is stupid..”

She charged out of the mine and up the small incline where the battle was taking place, she laid down on her stomach at the top of the hill and peeked over at the battle. She saw the gigantic green monstrosity snapping its jaws at Caden and the group as they ran round striking different areas as often as they could without risking their lives. Inigo was firing arrow after arrow in hopes that he could find a weak point but the arrows just stuck in the beast’s scales, Kaidan and Caden were doing well in ripping the membrane of the wings to prevent the dragon from taking off though. Then the monster reared its head back and let loose a column of fire towards Kaidan and Lorelai screamed.

“LOOK OUT KAIDAN!”

The hunter dodged away from the fire just in time and then quickly glanced towards Lorelai in frustration as he charged in again to attack the beast, Caden also sent a look of disapproval her way as Inigo jogged over to her with his bow aimed at the dragon the whole way over to her.

“My friend, you shouldn’t be out here. We told you to remain in the mine!”

“But I was getting nervous, I wanted to know if you guys were okay!”

“We appreciate that thought, but if that beast gets a hold of you it will be very upsetting for all of us.”

“But Inigo-”

Lorelai.”

Lorelai froze as Inigo’s voice took on a tone of anger, she nodded her head and quickly turned to go back towards the mine. She was close to re-entering the mine when she heard Caden cry out in pain, she felt all reason leave her body as she charged back up the hill with her weapons drawn. She crested the hill at full speed and she saw Caden pinned down by one of the dragon’s wings, she felt anger and fear bubble up inside her as she ran towards the dragon with her sword raised. She heard both Inigo and Kaidan call for her to stop but their cries fell on deaf ears, she drove her sword into the beast’s side and hoisted herself up onto it’s back. The beast cried out in pain and the wing that was holding Caden to the ground lifted and he was able to escape, Caden rolled out of the way clutching his arm as he got away from the beast.

Lorelai was now on the dragon’s neck and she drove her dagger down into the scale covered flesh, she did this over and over with all of her might behind every motion. She soon hit a vital blood vessel and the dragon roared in pain as she sliced it open and the blood began to pour out of its neck and onto the ground. Her armour was covered in hot dragon blood as the beast finally sank to the ground in defeat, she was still straddling it’s neck as it started glowing and flaking away as the soul left the body and flowed towards Caden for consumption.

She sat there atop a pile of bones with her blood soaked dagger in her hands and her sword on the ground beside the skeleton. Soon the glow faded and she heard the heavy boot steps run towards her, she glanced up through her now disheveled and bloodstained hair to see the men in front of her with mixed expressions. Inigo seemed impressed and annoyed while Kaidan looked proud but anxious, Caden on the other hand looked enraged. She sheathed her dagger and dismounted the bones to pick up her sword and place it in its sheath as well at her side, she then pushed the hair out of her face and stared blankly at the warriors in front of her.

“What.”

Caden had no polite words to say, Kaidan and Inigo also hesitated to talk because they were impressed that Lorelai defeated the beast but angry because she disobeyed them and caused them to worry for her safety. When the boys remained silent Lorelai walked over to a large stone column and started to dig in the rubble around it, she soon found the hidden cache their and pulled up the Shamen ring along with a note with a crude map to a burial mound near Windhelm. She walked calmly back over to Kaidan and handed him the items to look over, Caden had walked towards the word wall and learned the new words of power from the crumbling wall. Kaidan’s eyes looked over the ring and the note and a small smile found its way onto his face, he still felt frustrated at Lorelai but this new clue was overwhelming his anger.

“So when it meant to search the bones of my enemies, it meant it literally.”

Lorelai only nodded as she walked over to the edge of the cliff and sat down to look out over the forest below them, the three men gathered by the word wall as they looked towards the small woman. They were relieved that she was alright but the whole action was uncalled for, or at least that is what Caden thought. Inigo sensed the anger coming from Caden and cleared his throat to speak.

“I know that Lorelai disobeyed your wishes Dragonborn, but she saved you. Her actions, though reckless and dangerous, saved your life.”

“I was fine.”

Kaidan rolled his eyes and slapped the proud nord on the back.

“She saved your arse and you know it Caden, I don’t approve of her actions either but I know she did it to protect you. Just be grateful that you are still breathing, she cares about all of us and that includes you.”

“She was so reckless! She could have died!”

“You could have died too. She saw you in trouble and stepped in to help, now I wouldn’t say it was smart-”

Smart!? HA!”

BUT, she wanted to help. We can’t be mad at her for that, to be honest I can’t stay mad at her.”

Kaidan left the angry nord to Inigo and went to sit beside Lorelai, the blood was drying and she felt it crust on her skin as she picked at the already dried patches on her face. Kaidan looked out over the forests and sighed, Lorelai looked over to him and he met her gaze with calm eyes.

“Quite the stunt you pulled, the Dragonborn is beyond riled.”

“Hmph, I can tell trust me.”

“Well, it’s over now. I don’t see the need to scold you about it.”

“Thanks Kai-”

“Caden is better at that anyway, he is gonna give you an earful for sure.”

“Ugh.”

“But would you look at this view…”

“It’s very nice. I like that you’re finally seeing the beauty Skyrim offers-”

“It’s a great vantage point, and if someone lined that mine we went through with decent traps this place could be impenetrable! I can see why the Akaviri settled here, they could see the enemy coming for miles! Why are you looking at me like that?”

“You’re adorable.”

“Adora-what? I’ve never been called that in my life! Adorable...hmph.”

“It’s not a bad thing.”

“It’s not a hunter thing.”

Lorelai giggled and rolled her eyes, Inigo came up and sat beside her as well as they looked over the cliff. Lorelai was worried she disappointed Inigo with her actions as she slowly turned to face the friendly khajiit.

“Inigo?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m sorry I didn’t listen...I just heard Caden scream and my heart stopped.”

“I understand your actions my friend, but it was dangerous for you to just charge into battle.”

“I realize that now, but I knew I had to do something to save Caden. To save everyone. You three are very important to me and I didn’t want anything to happen to you, I know I was reckless but I needed to do something.”

“I know.”

Inigo put an arm around her shoulders and hugged her tightly to show he understood her actions, then she felt a presence come up behind her and she knew she was in for it now.

“Caden-”

“Let me talk first.”

She winced as she stood up and faced the dragonborn fully, she shyly looked up into his blue eyes to see the fire in them. But it wasn’t as scary as she thought it would be, the fire was anger but something else.

“You are very reckless Lorelai, you charged into battle with no consideration for your life or well being. Then you mounted a live dragon and proceeded to ride it like it was a prize horse, you caused all of us to worry and feel helpless in a dangerous situation. And-”

Lorelai was wincing the whole time she was getting scolded and Caden noticed her meek stature as he gently put a hand on her cheek and lifted her gaze back up to meet his.

“You saved us. You saved me, I thank you for that lass. Truly.”

Lorelai smiled as she threw her arms around Caden and hugged him tightly, he returned the affection and took this opportunity to whisper in her ear.

“I am also sorry for last night, it won’t happen again I promise. I’m very sorry Lorelai.”

She nodded into his shoulder as she squeezed him tighter as she whispered back to him in almost mocking tones.

“You better be, cause if it ever happens again I’ll get Inigo and Kaidan to throw you into Lake Honrich.”

He chuckled as they parted and Lorelai turned to the rest of the group with a renewed sense of purpose. They left the summit and headed for Riften, the group entered the city around dusk and made for the inn. While Inigo and Kaidan stayed with Lorelai as she rented rooms Caden went upstairs to meet with Maven and show her what he had retrieved from the Honningbrew meadery. Maven seemed passive during the whole conversation and read over the letter with less enthusiasm than Caden thought she would. She ultimately told him to get this information to the guild and then gave him a dagger as she ended the conversation and left the inn.

“You're welcome…”

Caden sighed as he got up and went back to join his group, he noticed the stares Lorelai was getting due to her blood covered hair and armour. He went over to Talen-jei and paid for a bath for Lorelai, he then walked over to the group and addressed his friends.

“I have to stop by the guild right now, but Talen-jei is drawing a bath for you Lorelai and I expect you two to guard her with your lives. Especially after what happened last time we were here.”

Kaidan looked at Caden with confusion, he then turned to Lorelai and crossed his arms before speaking to her.

“What happened last time you were here?”

Lorelai was trying to find a way to explain the situation with the local guild but Inigo beat her to it.

“They kidnapped Lorelai to get to Caden, it was a very tense situation.”

“Inigo, ever heard of subtly?”

Inigo was about to respond to Lorelai’s question when he saw Kaidan take a protective stance, maybe he should have eased him into the story. Lorelai rolled her eyes and looked at Kaidan with calm eyes.

“I’m fine Kaidan, nothing happened. It was the only way Caden would return to the guild, it was only one person anyway and he’s an asshole so don’t even worry.”

“They kidnapped you Lorelai, that’s not what I call nothing.”

“But I’m fine now, and I have a bath waiting for me. I need to get the dragon blood out of my hair and armour..”

She rushed off to get a change of clothes from her pack and then met Talen-jei in front of the baths, he showed her where all the soaps and scents were and then he closed the door to give her privacy. Inigo and Kaidan took up their positions on either side of the door, Lorelai quickly stripped down and plunged himself into the steaming bath. She scrubbed her body with soap and then grabbed the honey scented oils from the shelf near the bath, she worked it through her hair and eventually worked through all the dried blood and knots. Then she grabbed the lavender scent and poured it over her body and relaxed into the warm water.

“This hit the spot, I can’t remember my last bath…”

After a few more minutes of enjoying the quiet she got out of the bath and looked around for a towel, after a couple minutes she still couldn’t find one and she started to panic. She had a choice to make, tell Inigo or tell Kaidan that she needed a towel.

“Inigo would be a less embarrassing choice, after all he has no interest in marriage. At least he didn’t in the game when she played…”

She grabbed her clean clothes to hold in front of her as she approached the door and opened it a small bit, she slipped her hand out and tapped her blue friend on his shoulder.

“Yes my friend?”

“Inigo, c-can you get me a t-towel please… there isn’t one in here..”

“Of course, give me a moment.”

Inigo left the door and then came back a couple moments later with a fur towel in his hand, Lorelai grabbed it and thanked him before hastily shutting the door to finish changing. Kaidan had no idea what had just happened as the door shut again and Inigo went back to keeping watch.

“What was that all about eh?”

“Lorelai needed a towel, she had none in there.”

Kaidan felt a small amount of heat rush into his cheeks as he thought of her standing there naked just behind the door, and she had even opened it a crack to talk to the khajiit. He shook the thoughts from his head as he caught sight of Inigo glancing over at him in concern.

“Are you feeling alright my friend?”

“Y-yeah why do you ask?”

“You are very red in your face, do you perhaps have a fever?”

“Shut it.”

Caden had spent a decent amount of time in the guild talking to Brynjolf about this argonian Mercer wanted him to find and interrogate, why did he keep agreeing to help that bastard? He liked Brynjolf and knew that he only wanted to get the guild back to where it was and someone was manipulating that, he wanted to protect his family and Caden knew that he had no part in taking Lorelai. When he re-entered the inn he found his friends sitting at a small table eating dinner and drinking one of Talen’s special drinks.

After a night of laughing and Lorelai realizing the reality of fighting a dragon they all retired for the night, Lorelai had rented two rooms for the group. One for her and one for the guys, she sprawled out onto her bed and sighed in contentment. She heard shuffling the hallway outside her room and laughed as she heard Kaidan and Caden bicker over who gets the floor and who gets the bed. Lorelai turned towards the window and gazed out over the walls and past the lake, Skyrim wasn’t as scary as she thought it would be.

Maybe it was thanks to her friends, maybe she was just getting braver. Then the window swung open as a person rolled into the room and onto her bed, hand fell over her mouth before she could scream or yell for help. Then a velvety voice greeted her ears and her shoulders relaxed.

“Easy now lass, I just want to talk to you. Won’t you hear a poor thief's excuse?”

She rolled her eyes as she removed Brynjolf’s hand from her mouth and lit the candle beside her bed, a soft glow illuminated Brynjolf’s face as well as her own.

“That depends, can you tell me why nords think breaking into my room is okay?”

“How many times has someone broken into your room?”

“Well there was Mercer, Caden, and now you. So three.”

“Sorry Lass.”

“Don’t worry about it. So, what can I help you with Brynjolf ?”

Chapter Text

“So Listen lass, I need you to make sure Caden completes this last mission.”

“What makes you think he’ll listen to me Brynjolf? He’s as stubborn as you are.”

“Aye, that he is, but he is good at what he does lass. And I thought since you have that skill of seeing the future you could make the job go a lot smoother, it would get done quicker as well.”

“You’ve always got an angle, quite fitting for a thief.”

“I prefer ‘businessman’ instead of thief lass, although I can think of a few things I would like to steal, your lips being one of them.”

“And a silver tongue to boot! A man after my own heart, but sadly even though your voice is very seductive you aren’t quite my type Bryn.”

“Ouch.”

“I’ll see what I can do for you though, Caden just needs to know the whole situation and I bet he’ll be on his way to Solitude in no time.”

“I appreciate your cooperation lass.”

“No problem, oh and do me one favour in return Brynjolf.”

“Anything in power lass.”

“Next time, knock.”

Brynjolf chuckled and nodded his head before pulling his hood up over his head and jumping back out the window her had entered, Lorelai giggled as she extinguished the candle and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep. The next morning Lorelai awoke to the sound of footsteps outside her door, she quickly got up and changed into her now clean thieves guild armour and packed up her bag before heading downstairs. She saw none of her friends down there and figured they were still sleeping, she walked up to the bar and smiled warmly at Keerava.

“Can I order breakfast please?”

Keerava was shocked at Lorelai’s polite nature, she had only known the thieves and barbarians that graced her inn. The scaly woman nodded her head and told her the food they had for the morning meal, Lorelai order four servings of what looked like porridge and four sweet rolls as well. Keerava accepted Lorelai’s coin and told her that it would be ready in a few minutes, Lorelai nodded and headed back up stairs to see what the boys were up to. She gently opened the door to their room and looked inside, she stifled a laugh as she saw Inigo curled in one bed and Kaidan sharing the other with Caden.

“ Looks like they decided to cuddle, I wish my phone hadn’t died this would’ve made an amazing picture..”

She snuck inside the room and sat on the edge of Inigo’s bed, he looked so peaceful and cute while he slept. She gently patted his head and stroked his ears, Inigo’s eyes shot open at the touch and he stared at Lorelai.

“Sorry Inigo, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Inigo smiled as he yawned and sat up in bed with his arms raised above his head, after he finished stretching he cracked his neck and shoulders before turning to Lorelai.

“It is no problem my friend, but in the future please tell me when you touch my ears. They are very sensitive.”

“I’ll ask from now on. I ordered breakfast already if you want to head down and grab a table while I wake the other two.”

“Alright, I will relax a while.”

Inigo threw on a cotton tunic to match his breeches and left the room in search of breakfast, Lorelai then moved to the other bed and knelt beside it. Kaidan was closest to her and she folded her arms carefully on the bed frame, soft and even breaths came from the hunter in front of her. She took her finger and softly trailed it down the bridge of his nose, he moaned in protest but she kept repeating her actions until his eyes finally cracked open and she greeted him with a warm smile.

“Morning sleeping beauty.”

“Lorelai? What the hell are you doing in our room?”

“I ordered breakfast and thought you would like to eat it while it was still warm, and I also got sweet rolls for everyone and if you don’t hurry Inigo might eat them.”

Kaidan sat up quickly and stomped off downstairs without putting a shirt over his still bare torso.

“If that cat touches my sweet roll I will skin him and make a new cloak of his fur!”

Lorelai giggled and then looked to the Dragonborn, he looked so peaceful. Lorelai thought back to the night he snuck into her tent and that sudden kiss that made her uncomfortable, he asked her about their first kiss and she honestly had no response for him at that time. She had created him after all, and even though he was her ideal man she didn’t know if she should begin a relationship with a fictional character. She would have to go home at some point, or that’s what she hoped anyway. She ran her fingers through his wavy blonde hair and smiled at the softness of it, even though Skyrim was such an unforgiving environment it was nice to know that Caden still cared about his hygiene. Caden slowly opened his eyes and the first thing he saw was Lorelai’s calm sea colored eyes, a very intriguing sight that had him under its spell in seconds.

“Morning Caden, sleep well?”

“Kaidan hogs the covers…”

“Hahaha, I bet he does. I ordered breakfast if you want to come eat with everyone else, Inigo might have already eaten your sweet roll though.”

“Ah, he does have an obsession for those damn things.”

“That he does, oh and I want to talk to you about the Solitude job Mercer gave you.”

“Why?”

“Don’t you want to know how it goes?”

“I suppose it couldn’t hurt to hear about this damn argonian Mercer wants me to scare.”

“Well he won’t even talk to you unless you steal a case of Firebrand wine from the blue palace, and even then unless you’re convincing he’ll still give you only half of the information you actually need.”

“So what’s the point of actually doing this mission?”

“Well I’m thinking about pickpocketing that oblivious contact of ours and just taking the deed up front with out shadowing him through out the entire fucking East Empire Trading dock.”

“I’m not much for pickpocketing, lockpicking is more my specialty…”

“Then be careful when tailing him, there are guards and bandits to deal with. I hope your sneaking is well developed.”

“Don’t worry Lori, I’ll be fine.”

“Did you just call me Lori?”

“A little nickname, like it?”

“Sure Caden, whatever makes you happy.”

Caden sat up in bed and then put one of his hands over Lorelai’s, she looked at his hand and then back up to meet his eyes. Caden wanted an answer so badly and Lorelai could sense it within him, she sighed and squeezed his hand as she took a deep breath.

“I know that you want an answer Caden, but I don’t know if I can commit to anything right now. Not until I’m sure there is no way home from here, until then I don’t know what will happen between us… I don’t want you waiting around for someone who might not even be here much longer.”

“Lori, you don’t understand.”

“Huh?”

“Even if it was just for a day I would still want to be with you and by your side no matter what, and if you don’t want commitment that’s fine. That doesn’t mean we can’t show affection for one another.”

“It just seems unfair to me thats all, I don't want to get your hopes up. Then there's the matter of my lack of experience in the whole romance field..”

“Don’t take you inexperience to heart Lori, lots of men crave an untouched woman. Unfortunately that is hard to find nowadays…”

“I’m not having this conversation with you Caden.”

“Then show me.”

Lorelai’s eyes went wide at Caden’s challenge and felt the heat rise into her cheeks, Caden slowly closed the distance between them giving Lorelai all the time she needed to turn away if she wanted to. Only she didn’t, she leaned in to meet his lips in a slow kiss, her lips felt so smooth and silky on his own that he found himself drowning in them. His arms circled her waist as he pulled her into his lap to deepen the kiss, she wrapped her arms around his neck and let him prod her mouth open with his tongue. She felt so safe in his arms and the kiss made her feel wanted and attractive, but she still had those thoughts nagging at her from the deepest reaches of her mind. After a few minutes of an intense make-out session Lorelai broke away from him and smiled shyly at the dragonborn, she ruffled his hair as she jumped off of him and straightened her armour.

“If we don’t get down there our breakfast will be ruined, and I want my food at least warm.”

“Hmph, whatever you desire Lori.”

She rolled her eyes and jogged downstairs to find Kaidan and Inigo already digging into their servings, she quickly did the same and grabbed her sweet roll with enthusiasm. Caden soon joined them and ate his food in a hurry, they discussed taking the carriage to Solitude with a stop in Morthal on the way. Lorelai was excited to see Solitude and maybe visit the Bards college while they were there, after breakfast they finished packing and then headed to the stables.


After a shaky ride to Morthal Lorelai was ready for relaxing in the inn, the bard got on her nerves but the poor orc was trying his best so she tolerated the noise. The next morning the group was in Solitude and Lorelai was amazed at the hustle of the city, Caden went off to the Blue palace to steal the wine ahead of time. This left Kaidan, Inigo, and Lorelai to wander about freely and see what the city had to offer.

“Oh look! A book vendor! Kaidan come with me!”

“I’m not one for books, although I have been wanting to improve my knowledge of such things…”

“Perfect excuse then right? Inigo do you wanna come with?”

“No thank you, I will go up to the Fletcher and get some new arrows I am running low.”

“Alright, we’ll meet you back at the inn like Caden said.”

Inigo headed up to the Fletcher and Kaidan was pulled towards the book stand by Lorelai, as Lorelai sifted through multiple copies of classics she often read through in game her hands fell upon some poems that came with Kaidan’s mod. The works of Lord Byron, timeless love poems for the stoic hunter. She purchased the leather bound books and happily showed her haul to Kaidan.

“These are so good, and I can’t wait to read them.”

“Poems? You don't strike me as that kind of person.”

“I have my reasons Kai, do you need anything while we’re in the market?”

“Actually I want to talk to you privately, that is if you don’t mind.”

“U-uh, sure.”

“Here come with me Lorelai.”

Kaidan took hold of her hand and led her up a guard tower to a bridge, they stood at the edge and looked out over the city. It was pretty amazing but Lorelai’s heart was pounding so much that she barely noticed the scenery.

“I have something for you, a sort of charm.”

“What is it?”

“Here.”

Kaidan handed her a necklace that had a hard stone like substance hanging from it, the chain was a simple braided piece of leather with lavender woven into it for decoration. She knew what it was and her heart skipped a beat, she had triggered Kaidan’s romance dialogue and she didn't even have an Amulet of Mara yet. Kaidan looked on nervously as Lorelai turned the necklace over in her hands and traced the etchings on it with her fingertips.

“I made it from the bones of that dragon you killed back on Northwind Summit, it was a bit tougher to work with but it turned out alright. I have a special talent for scrimshaw, dragon bone is tougher than a horker tusk though.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“I’m glad you liked it, after all I had you in mind when I...uh well you know.”

“Are you going to finish that sentence Kai?”

“Eh, it’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”

“I can tell it’s bothering you Kai, you aren't that mysterious.”

“Well, ever since I met you I’ve felt a strong connection to you. Not just as a mercenary for hire but as a man, I care for you a lot Lorelai and I just wanted to show you how much…”

“Aww, thank you Kaidan. Can you put it on me?”

“Yeah, of course…”

Kaidan took the necklace from Lorelai and draped it around her neck before tying it behind her, he made sure the knot was secure and then let his hands fall onto her shoulders. Lorelai turned to thank him, but the words never left her mouth. His warm eyes sucked her in and she felt the true intention behind the necklace, she smiled and brought a hand up to cup his face. He was such a caring person and she knew that he would give his life for her in a heartbeat, but so would Caden.

“Thank you Kaidan, you’re very thoughtful..”

“Don’t mention it love.”

“L-love?”

“Aye..”

She felt Kaidan’s hands fall onto her hips as she closed the distance between them, their lips met in a passionate kiss as her hands pressed against Kaidan’s armour clad chest. She felt the heat rush into her body and a shiver ran up her spine at the feeling, she let herself relax into the kiss and Kaidan took that as an okay to go further. He parted her lips with his tongue and she moaned into his lips, this felt so right but at the same time she felt a voice in the back of her head calling to her and telling her how wrong this all was. It wasn’t fair to Caden or Kaidan, she needed to pick one but at the same time she hesitated to see either one as anything more than a friend. 

Down below Caden was walking back with a case of the wine in hand for the sneaky argonian hiding out in The Winking Skeever, he let his gaze wander around the city as he made his way back towards the front gates. Then his eyes stopped on a couple kissing on a bridge over the city, as he squinted against the sun he saw their faces and his heart stopped.

“So, that’s how it's gonna be then? What does he have that I don’t eh? Well I’ll just prove to her who the best man is, Lorelai will choose me…”

He continued on his way to the inn and spied Inigo coming back from the Fletcher with a new quiver full of ebony arrows, when Inigo saw Caden he jogged over and smiled to greet him.

“Well done my friend, that argonian will surely be impressed.”

“Let’s hope so, have you seen Lorelai and Kaidan?”

“They were in the market last I saw them, Lorelai bought some books..”

“Hmph, well let’s wait for them at the inn, I have a bone to pick with an argonian. Keep an eye out for Lorelai and Kaidan, I want to talk to them as soon as possible.”

“Why?”

“I need to make my stance on a certain matter known to them, let’s just say things are about to get a lot more intense in this group Inigo.”

“Sounds interesting my friend, I can’t wait to see what happens!”

“You and me both Inigo, come on let’s go.”

They headed back to the Inn and Caden handed the case to Inigo for safekeeping until he needed it. He walked over to the shifty looking argonian and crossed his arms in front of his chest, Gulum-Ei seemed less than impressed with Caden but the dragonborn saw the man’s tail quiver.

“Well well, what do we have here? You’re from the guild aren’t you? I can smell the sewer on you, I thought I told Mercer that I had everything under control.”

“Well he seemed to think otherwise, I’m here to talk to you about a bee farm, Goldenglow.”

“I don’t deal in bee farms, not my specialty. I have no idea what you’re talking about-”

“I think you should start talking Gajel-Li…”

The argonian stilled at the mention of his alias, Caden raised an eyebrow at the argonian and the man shifted in his seat. Check mate.

“Well now let’s not be hasty I might remember something.”

“Very good.”

“But I hope you don;t expect to get something for nothing.”

“What do you want?”

“In the palace there is a case of wine I have been eyeing, I have a buyer all lined up an everything. I just need the wine brought here to me-”

Caden snapped his fingers and Inigo rushed forward with the case of wine in his hands, Caden grabbed a bottle and held it in front of the speechless argonian.

“You mean this wine friend?”

“U-um..”

“Now why don’t you start talking, I’m not in a good mood so I suggest you tell me whatever you know. Now.”

Chapter Text

Caden had spent a decent amount of time interrogating the shifty argonian, he eventually offered up the information Caden wanted and even the bill of sale for Goldenglow estate. The lizard made himself scarce and begged Caden to make sure Mercer knew he would never cross the guild again, Caden read the paper and noticed the same symbol from the Goldenglow estate. And that name Galum-Ei had said seemed familiar, Karliah. After a few minutes the door to the inn opened and Kaidan strolled through with Lorelai right behind him, she was wearing an odd looking talisman and he assumed Kaidan gave it to her because she was not one for jewelry. Inigo happily walked over to Lorelai and Kaidan while Caden hung back at a table sipping his mead calmly.

“Hello my friends! We were waiting for you to return, what were you doing?”

Lorelai felt a certain heat rise into her face but calmed herself before smiling at her blue friend and hooking her arm through his, they strolled over to the counter while Kaidan took a seat at the table next to a less than happy Caden.

“So, did that argonian co-operate?”

“Yeah.”

“So we can go back to the Rift?”

“Yeah.”

“Glad to hear it, I’m not one for the city. But I do remember a cave I use to play in when I was younger, it was around this area of Skyrim. Maybe if we have time we could find it, I think Lorelai would like to see it.”

“Maybe.”

Kaidan felt the tension coming from Caden and decided to remain quiet until Lorelai and Inigo joined them, but those two were chatting at the counter as they waited to be served.

“So what did you buy Lorelai?”

“I found some poetry books that I really enjoy, they were really cheap too!”

“That is good news, did you also buy that talisman?”

“Oh, n-no Kaidan gave this to me. He made it from the bones of that dragon we killed.”

“It is very well made, the detail work is very pretty as well!”

“I thought so too. Inigo you said that you found love once right?”

“I thought it was love, but as it turned out she was not the most loyal of partners. It was when I was part of a bandit group, she was very attractive but I was more committed to her than she was too me.”

“Sorry to hear that, you’re a very loyal friend Inigo. Not to mention a great man in general.”

“Thank you my friend! But why do you ask?”

“I have some problems…”

“Love problems?”

“Yeah…”

“With Kaidan or Caden?”

“Uh, w-what makes you think that they are-”

“I am not blind my friend, I may act oblivious but I can sense when something is wrong with the group. So what happened?”

“I just don’t know what to do. I’m afraid to start a relationship with one of them because what if I find a way home and have to leave them here? What’ll happen if I choose one of them and the other hates me forever?! What if-”

“Easy there my friend, deep breaths.”

“I’m just so anxious Inigo, I don’t want to hurt anyone because of my indifference.”

“I understand your hesitation, but you have to take their feelings into account as well. It is unfair to string them along and give them false hope.”

“I know.”

“Also, when or if you find your way home it will be up to you to decide whether or not to actually leave us behind here. I would be happy if you stayed in Skyrim with us, but you do need to choose.”

“But I don’t want to hurt-”

“They are grown ups, they will deal with whatever decision you make. I have no doubt that one will be upset at your choice, but they will get over it I promise.”

“Thanks Inigo, this is why you’re my favorite mod.”

“That means a lot to me Lorelai, know that I will always be here for you. But what is a mod?”

"I'll explain later."

Lorelai put her head on Inigo’s shoulder and sighed, then the barkeep came over and Lorelai ordered four bottles of mead and she and Inigo carried their boon back to the very silent table. Lorelai sensed the tension as well and let her eyes wander from Caden to Kaidan, she then glanced to Inigo whose ears had become pinned back on account of the uneasy atmosphere.

“So Caden, did you get the document you needed?”

“Yeah.”

“Did he tell you about Karliah?”

“Yeah.”

“Well I should tell you that Karliah is innocent, but Mercer will make you-”

“I saw.”

Lorelai’s heart skipped a couple beats as her eyes flicked towards Kaidan before turning back to look at Caden, he saw them. She felt her heart rate increase as she tried to find an excuse but Kaidan chimed in before she could answer.

“Saw us? You mean on the bridge? What about it?”

“She’s mine hunter, you best look elsewhere for a bed partner.”

“I don’t see a ring on her finger or your name carved into her skin, she’s fair game as far as I’m concerned.”

“Watch your tongue friend, wouldn’t want it cut off now would we?”

“Think you could take me on huh? Why don't we test that theory dragonborn.”

Lorelai felt the atmosphere shift from uncertainty to one of hostility as Caden and Kaidan stared daggers at each other, she looked between the two of them nervously and then both men stood up and made their way outside the inn. Inigo and Lorelai were hot on their tails as they rushed after them, by the time they got outside the two warriors were already circling one another and throwing punches.

“You don’t deserve her you ignorant hunter, what makes you think you could protect her more than I could?!”

“I’ve survived years on my own, you have the title of Dragonborn but all I see is an egotistical asshole that never gets turned down!”

“I’ll carve you into pieces!”

“Bring it on!”

Just as they were about to close the distance between them Lorelai ran into the middle of the fight and stood her ground, the men stopped but didn’t lower their hands. Caden growled in frustration and Kaidan sighed in annoyance when their way to each other was blocked.

“Get out of the way Lorelai, I need to teach this nord a lesson!”

“Both of you need to chill the fuck out, this is not how respectable people act!”

“Get away lass, this hunter needs to learn his place in the world.”

“No! I’m not moving! You both need to calm down and act like adults!”

Inigo jumped in as well taking his place next to Lorelai, she thanked him for the extra support and stood a little straighter with him at her side.

“I don't belong to anyone! And as of right now I don’t want to even talk to you two let alone be in a relationship! You two are acting like idiots and everyone is staring at us, grow the fuck up!”

When the two warriors heard her words their hands fell to their sides and looked at her with confusion, then Caden took a step towards her with sorrow in his eyes.

“Are you saying you don’t care for either of us?”

Lorelai was seething with anger as she faced the dragonborn with her arms crossed in front of her chest.

“No I don’t, you wanted my answer Caden and now you have it. You two need to grow up, until that happens nothing between us will progress. I expected better from both of you, I’m sorry I put you through this emotional rollercoaster but now that I see what I avoided...I don’t really want a deeper relationship with either of you.”

She grasped the talisman around her neck as she said this, she glanced towards Kaidan to see the look of defeat in his eyes. She felt bad for yelling at them but they were drawing so much attention, she just shook her head and headed back inside the inn. Inigo was left outside with Kaidan and Caden standing silently in the open walkway. Inigo felt bad for the men but he was glad Lorelai finally set them straight, the khajiit turned to the nords and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Is this what you wanted? Are you happy now? She had no idea what to do, and now you have your answer because you were too impatient to give her space and take a step back. When you realize what you’ve lost I’m sure she would be ready to accept an apology and talk things out like she originally wanted.”

Caden and Kaidan watched as Inigo went inside as well and they were left alone outside, they looked at each other and all hostility had vanished. They realized what they had done and they both sighed in defeat. They closed the distance between them and calmly shook hands.

“Sorry Kaidan, I let my emotions control me…”

“Aye that happened to me as well. But I can’t blame you Lorelai is a very special woman.”

“She is, but now we screwed it up. Inigo is right, we need to step back and give her space. She has been through a lot.”

“Let’s go apologize, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

They walked past a small group of on-lookers and into the inn once more, they saw Lorelai at a table with her head in her hands and Inigo sitting next to her trying to talk to her about what happened. They walked over to the table and when Lorelai saw them she shook her head and got up from the table, she walked over to the counter and rented a room for the night. She then went upstairs and sealed herself away in the room leaving the men on the lower floor, Inigo shook his head as he looked towards Lorelai’s room.

“She knows that she put you into this situation, and she is sorry. However, she thought you two were better than this. She never thought you two would resort to fighting each other, she views us as her family after all and she hated seeing you two go at each other.”

Kaidan and Caden felt defeated as they looked towards the upstairs part of the inn, they ordered a few rounds of mead and before they realized it they were quite tipsy. Inigo shook his head and herded the drunkards towards their rented room, after making sure they were safe inside he left to go check on Lorelai in her separate room. He approached the door and knocked softly on the wood, when he didn’t hear anything he sighed and knocked again.

“Lorelai? It’s me Inigo, do you want to talk? Speak to me..”

He heard footsteps coming towards him and soon the door opened to reveal a very tired looking Lorelai, she offered a weak smile as she leaned against the door frame.

“I’m not really up for talking right now Inigo, thanks for checking on me though.”

“No problem it is what friends do! Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, but can you do something for me?”

“Of course.”

“Go get the documents that Caden got from Gulum-Ei, I want to look over them.”

“Why?”

“I just want to see if they are similar to the ones in the game version, please?”

“Alright, one moment.”

He went back and sorted through Caden’s pack and came out with the documents Lorelai wanted, he made his way back to her and handed her the bill of sale happily.

“Thanks Inigo.”

“Anytime friend, have a good rest.”

“You too…”

She closed the door and listened for Inigo to enter his room once more, she knew the other two were drunk because she heard them from downstairs. Inigo would be occupied by them all night, perfect. She quickly changed into her guild armour and then packed her belongings up before creeping out of her room and out of the inn, she left the city as the sun sank below the horizon. She made it to the carriage and paid a hefty sum to the carriage driver for an overnight trip to Riften, the man looked at her like she was insane but accepted her gold and soon they were on their way back to Riften. She was long gone by the time the boys were roused from their slumber.


 When the sun rose the next morning Kaidan and Caden were suffering from headaches due to their binge drinking and Inigo was shaking his head at their stupidity.

“This is why my father told me not to drink, it also reminds me of the time I got drunk and woke up the next day with a shaved tail and an ear full of goat cheese..”

Kaidan rolled his eyes as he sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes, Caden groaned as he stood up and walked over to the basin in the corner of the room and splashed cold water on his face. They eventually made their way downstairs and order breakfast for themselves and Lorelai, they noticed that she had not come downstairs yet and Inigo went to go check on her. He jogged up the steps and gently knocked on her door, after he received no response he knocked harder.

“Lorelai? It is time for breakfast! I got you a sweet roll!”

He still received no answer and he felt that something was wrong, he knocked harder and with a sense of urgency.

"Lorelai!?"

Caden and Kaidan had gotten curious and come upstairs to see what was taking so long, when they saw the khajiit banging on the door they shared a look of confusion.

“What’s wrong Inigo? Don’t tell me that Lorelai is still angry with us.”

Kaidan sighed as he stretched and cracked his neck.

“Why do women hold grudges? You’d think we murdered the emperor with the way she’s treating us.”

Inigo ignored them as he continued to bang on the door, he felt his stomach drop as he came to the realization. She wasn’t in there, she was gone. He burst through the door hoping he was wrong, the others were right behind him asking him what the hell was wrong but when they stepped inside they knew why he was so panicked. Lorelai was nowhere to be seen, her bed had never been touched and her pack and armour were also missing. No note was left for them to find, it was like she never existed in the room at all. Inigo felt helpless as he sat on the edge of the bed and put his head in his hands.

“I knew something was wrong, I shouldn’t have given her those documents..”

Caden was still in shock at Lorelai’s disappearance but turned to Inigo for answers, Kaidan was still looking for any traces of a break in or kidnapping but found none.

“What documents?”

“She asked for the papers you obtained from that argonian, she said she wanted to compare them to the ones she saw in the game… I thought it would cheer her up to see the differences so I went through your things and gave them to her. Now shes gone and we have no idea where she is..”

Kaidan shook his head and tried to put the pieces together, why would she take the documents and leave by herself? Why would she do this knowing how dangerous the province is? Caden couldn’t figure it out either, but he had a hunch.

“Our best bet is Riften, that is where Brynjolf is and he wanted the documents. We should start there, hurry and get ready we need to make up for lost time.”


Meanwhile Lorelai had spent all night, and most of the morning, in the wagon on her way back to Riften. She finally reached the city gates around ten in the morning, she stomped through the gates and down into the ratway on her way to the Ragged Flagon. Once she entered the nearly abandoned bar she walked right up to Vekel and asked to see Brynjolf, she was getting varying looks of shock and disbelief at her return to the guild that kidnapped her. Vekel went back and found Brynjolf in the cistern, when the red haired man saw him coming he knew something was up because Vekel rarely came into the cistern.

“Is everything alright Vekel?”

“A woman is here to see you.”

“A woman? Hmmm, tell her that if she is looking for a commitment that I am the last thing she want-”

“It’s the person Mercer brought here before, I believe her name is Lorelai?”

As soon as he heard that name he jogged out of the cistern and into the Ragged Flagon, he spotted the lass on the wooden outcrop near the water and came up behind her.

“What are you doing down here lass?”

“I have what you need, Gulum-Ei co-operated and I have the information he seeks.”

“What about Caden?”

“He's far away from here, I need to speak to Mercer.”

“Lass you aren’t in the guild-”

“I know about Karliah, this all goes back to her.”

“Karliah? Impossible, come on Mercer will want to talk to you. But careful about what you say.”

“Just take me to him Bryn, I have a mission to accomplish.”

Chapter Text

Brynjolf led Lorelai into the cistern and up to Mercer who was standing at the desk looking over some documents, the guild master looked up from his papers and his eyebrows rose in shock at the sight of Lorelai.

“What is this about Brynjolf?”

“The lass had the Information from Gulum-Ei, she also said something about Karliah…”

Mercer tensed as he looked from Brynjolf to Lorelai in disbelief, he sensed a feeling of dread come over him but he put on a brave face and crossed his arms over his chest as he turned to the small woman.

“Leave us Brynjolf.”

“Aye.”

Brynjolf slowly walked away and into the training area, Mercer then fixed his gaze on Lorelai who looked rather calm considering she was standing in a room full of cut throats and thieves. He came around his desk and leaned against it as he looked her over, she had gotten hold of thieves guild armour but he wasn’t quite sure how.

“What do you know of Karliah?”

“That she once belonged to the guild and had something to do with the murder of your predecessor, I want to help you bring her down…”

“Oh really?”

“Here I have the bill of sale with the same symbol, I know where Karliah is as well.”

“And where, prey tell, is that?”

“Where the end began.”

Mercer knew exactly what that meant, Karliah was hiding out in Snow Veil Sanctum, an old nordic ruin outside of Winterhold. It seemed like she didn’t know the truth though, maybe he could kill two birds with one stone. Shame that such a pretty creature had to die, but Brynjolf told him of her power to see the future and he couldn’t risk her realizing the truth.

“I know what that means, she is at a ruin called Snow Veil Sanctum, it was where she murdered Gallus in cold blood. We are going there and we are going to kill her and avenge him.”

“We?”

“Yes, you are coming with me. Now.”

After a day and a half of riding in a carriage Lorelai was less than pleased to head back out again so soon, but she knew the boys were definitely on their way here to find her. She sighed and followed Mercer back out of the guild and out to the stables, he bribed the driver and then they were off to Winterhold.


Meanwhile the guys walked to Morthal and hitched a ride from the carriage there and were on their way to Riften, they had just gotten into the Rift when Caden started to consider the worst possible outcome. What if she had been kidnapped again? What if Mercer or someone hurt her while she was alone? Why had he been such an idiot? Kaidan had a similar thought process and kept running his fingers through his hair nervously as they approached the city of Riften around sundown. Caden wasted no time going to the little cemetery behind the temple and entering the cistern through the secret entrance.

“Brynjolf!!”

Caden was stomping through each room in the cistern looking for the silver tongued rogue, he finally found him in the Ragged Flagon talking to Delvin and Vex about some contract they had gotten. The trio approached the thief and when Brynjolf saw the look on Caden’s face he knew that the Dragonborn had words for him.

“Where is she?”

“Easy lad, I can explain.”

“Where is Lorelai? Have you seen her? Where’s Mercer?”

“Lorelai came here earlier today and gave Mercer the information you got from that argonian, then they left soon after for Winterhold.”

“Why Winterhold?”

“Mercer went after Karliah, she murdered the last guild master and he wants revenge. The lass went with him, she seemed suspicious about the whole situation though.”

“She said Karliah is innocent.”

“What?”

“You know she can see the future as well as some of the past right?”

“Yes.”

“Well she knows Karliah is innocent, she told me that when I got the information from Gulum-Ei.”

“But Mercer-”

“Is a lying bastard!”

“What proof do you have of this?”

“None, just trust in Lorelai. But she hasn’t been wrong yet, we fought before she could tell me the reason for her claim.”

Brynjolf looked conflicted and didn’t know what to say to the distraught nord in front of him, his companions seemed rather worried as well. Mercer had barely said two words to him before leaving with Lorelai, Brynjolf had no idea where they were headed once they got to that decrepit city but he hoped that the lass was wrong and came back alive from this mission.


Mercer and Lorelai had came upon the ruins of Snow Veil Sanctum and saw Karliah’s camp off to one side, just like in the game, Mercer killed her horse and then walked back over to Lorelai.

“Karliah is inside, with her horse dead she has no escape route. Take the lead.”

“Me? Why?”

“Cause I said so.”

“I’m not good at fighting Mercer, I’ll get you killed.”

“Just go, I’ll have your back and you get mine.”

“Uh-huh.”

Lorelai knew what was waiting ahead of them in that damn ruin, but she had to play along to make sure Mercer didn’t suspect that she knew of Karliah’s innocence. After Mercer unlocked the entrance they dove deep into the old ruin, Lorelai avoided the traps easily enough and after fighting a couple draugr she and Mercer were soon in the hall of stories with a puzzle door blocking their route forward. Lorelai was covered in sweat and dust from her fights with the undead, damn zombie fuckers are a pain in the ass to kill. Mercer was standing in front of the puzzle door with a confident look on his face.

“Ah, the infamous nordic puzzle doors. These things are supposedly impossible to open without the matching claw, Karliah has probably done away with it by now though so that means we’re on our own. I don’t know what the big fuss is though, these doors have a weakness if you know how to exploit it.”

Sure enough the rings lined up and the door lowered into the ground to reveal a large cavern like room, the room where Lorelai knew Karliah was waiting to shoot Mercer with a poisoned arrow. Mercer motioned for Lorelai to head in first and she hesitated, how could she avoid being shot with an arrow and then stabbed by this asshole.

“Come on we have to get to her, what are you waiting for?”

“Can’t you go in first? I need to catch my breath after fighting that last group of draugr…”

“Grow up, let’s move. Take the lead like I told you to.”

“But-”

“Now!”

Lorelai sighed as she prepared herself to be shot with an arrow, she walked a few steps inside the room before she heard the bowstring release and a sharp pain in her stomach.

“UGH!”

Lorelai cried out at the pain and then she felt her eyes grow heavy as she sunk down to the floor, her vision blurred as she watched Mercer walk in the room and meet Karliah on the steps ahead. The conversation was hazy and Lorelai couldn’t focus enough to hear the exact words that were said between the two veteran thieves, she saw Karliah drink the invisibility potion and disappear before Mercer came over and knelt beside her.

“Well well, looks like history does repeat itself after all. Just like Gallus this tomb with become your final resting place, and I can be rid of you once and for all. Shame though, you were such a beautiful woman. One that I would have loved to have in bed, pity you met Caden first.”

She felt Mercer’s hands trail along her body and touch her ass and chest before cradling her face, she felt violated but she couldn’t move a muscle in her entire body. Mercer’s hands roamed her body still until he closed the distance between them and placed a lingering kiss on her cold lips, she moaned in protest but Mercer only grinned in response. He stood up and readied his weapons as he stood above her mockingly.

“I’ll give Brynjolf your regards.”

Then she felt a burning pain in her side as Mercer’s sword plunged into her body, she felt the warmth of her blood begin to trickle out of the wound as she finally fell unconscious as Mercer walked away unharmed.

She felt her body being dragged across the stone and then out into the snow as the chilling breeze washed over her pale face, the pain was still very present but her voice wasn't working and her body wouldn’t move. She looked like she was dead and she felt like death would be the favorable choice after the pain she was experiencing, after a day of lying unconscious under the care of Karliah Lorelai opened her eyes and looked around the tent she was occupying.

“Easy, easy don’t push yourself. You’ve lost a lot of blood and the poison may still be in your bloodstream, here drink this.”

Lorelai let Karliah lift her head and pour a liquid into her mouth, it kinda tasted like cough medicine and she swallowed it quickly to avoid the after taste. Lorelai still felt very disoriented and nauseous, then her hand fell to her side and she felt he wound Mercer had left on her body. Karliah had done what she could, but Lorelai would still have a large scar from the incident.

“You shot me…”

“I’m sorry, but I wanted to shoot Mercer. I made a quick decision to get you out of the way. My arrow saved your life.”

“I know...the arrow was coated…. with a unique poison right?”

“How did you..”

“I’ll explain l-later, but I need to get word to my friends…”

“I can’t let you contact the guild..”

“I’m not in the guild, my friend is but he doesn't care for it... I need them to come here to get me…”

“If you aren’t in the guild then why were you hunting me with Mercer?”

“Because I wanted you to get your revenge, I thought I could trick him into going in first but he wouldn’t. I know you’re innocent Karliah, you didn’t kill Gallus Mercer did..”

“How do you know all of this?”

“I have special abilities ...please take me to an inn… I need to write to Caden…”

“Caden? The Dragonborn?”

“Y-you know him?”

“Who doesn’t? He saved this frozen province, he’s in the thieves guild?”

“N-not actively...just to finish Mercer off…”

Lorelai felt her conscious begin to slip again and then she fell into that dreamless darkness, Karliah continued to watch over her for another day until she saw a cart coming up the road with three strangers in it. She ran over to the road and flagged it down, once the carriage stopped it’s occupants looked at her with disinterest. She didn’t know if they would help but they looked strong, but that Khajiit was a very strange color.

“My friend is injured, please help me get her to Winterhold.”

“We are on urgent business elf, surely your friend could walk down the road a ways.”

Karliah’s eyes went to the man with the red war paint on his face, his voice sounded tired and off putting like he had lost several days of sleep. The calm elf shook her head in haste as she turned towards the blonde headed nord who had not looked at her since she flagged down the cart.

“Please, she needs warmth and I am running low on health potions for her. She was injured in the ruin and I fear she might die if she isn’t moved. Please…”

The nord finally faced her and his eyes widened as he recognized the armour of the thieves guild leaders, this must be Karliah. He jumped out of the cart and took the elf by the shoulders and looked her dead in the eyes with a high level of intensity.

“Are you Karliah?”

“That depends, do I know you?”

“Where’s Mercer?”

Karliah was at a loss for words but she didn’t know how to handle her current situation, what if these men were undercover for the guild? Then the Khajiit jumped out of the wagon as well and pried Caden off of the poor dark elf.

“Excuse my friend he is anxious to find our companion, we suspect she came here with Mercer to find you. Her name is Lorelai, have you seen her?”

“Fate must be on her side, follow me.”

The three men had hope return to their faces as they followed the elf to a small tent off the main road a way, then she stopped outside of the tent and turned to the men with sadness in her eyes.

“I told you my friend needed help, I think my friend is this Lorelai you seek..”

Karliah lifted the flap to the tent and the warriors peered inside to see a pale and unconscious Lorelai lying on a fur bedroll, Caden rushed in to be at her side and looked over her body. The top of her armour had been removed and Caden’s eyes fell on the two wounds, an arrow wound to her stomach that was nearly gone and a rather deep and fresh cut to her side that was crudely stitched to prevent infection.

“W-what happened?”

“Mercer. He brought her here to kill her, I’m not sure why she seems like an ordinary human to me. I saved her life with the arrow I hit her with, otherwise she would have bled out from the wound Mercer inflicted on her. He stabbed her after violating her body, she has suffered a lot and now we need to get her to the inn in Winter-”

“What do you mean violated.”

“I watched from the shadows as mercer touched her body all over before kissing her lips, I would’ve helped her sooner but if I had I would have been in a similar condition and we’d both be dead in that ruin.”

“Bastard.”

Caden wrapped Lorelai in some furs before picking her up and carried her out of the tent, she felt lighter than he remembered.

“How long has she been unconscious?”

“A couple days, I haven’t been able to feed her anything except health potions. I’ll gather her things while you get her to the wagon.”

Caden nodded and jogged towards the wagon while Inigo and Kaidan helped Karliah gather everything and make sure the camp was destroyed, the group soon arrived in Winterhold and rented rooms at the Frozen Hearth inn. Lorelai was still unconscious as she laid on the wooden bed, the guys never left her side as Kaarliah talked with her friend Enthir about Gallus journal. Another day passed and Lorelai finally woke up feeling better than she had previously, she looked around the room and realized she was in the Frozen Hearth.

“I’m in Winterhold? But how?”

She looked over to see the guys asleep on the floor or in the chairs occupying her room, she smiled weakly as she relaxed into her furs. Somehow they had found her and they were together again, but where was Karliah? As if she had heard Lorelai’s question the dark elf appeared in the doorway and smiled warmly at her.

“Are you feeling better?”

“Much, could I trouble you for some soup?”

“Of course.”

Karliah left and then returned a few moments later with a warm bowl of potato soup with a slice of bread, she sat on the edge of the bed and helped Lorelai sit up to eat her food. The guys started waking up as well and when their eyes fell on Lorelai they all let out a sigh of relief to see that she was awake and eating.

“Good morning guys.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai spent the next few days regaining her strength and telling Karliah about what Mercer had done to the guild and his betrayal to Nocturnal, Karliah was speechless when she learned of Mercer’s treason and she was ready to take him down once and for all.

“But how do you know all of this? About the nightingales? About Nocturnal?”

“I have a special gift for seeing the past and future, trust me when I say I want him dead as much as you do. With this information we can head to the guild and skip the dwemer museum shit in Markarth.”

“What?”

“Gallus’s journal was encoded right? Written in ancient dwemer?”

“Yes…”

“Well I know what it says, it tells of Mercer’s betrayal and how he’s been stealing from the guild ever since he took over. We can head straight back to the guild and hopefully catch Mercer before he gets to his destination.”

“I will speak to Enthir about this and see if he can copy down what you said so that we have proof, get some rest.”

Karliah left her side and Lorelai sighed as she felt a throb of pain in her side, damn Mercer and his enchanted sword. Then Lorelai heard a small knock on the door and she turned to see her three friends smiling at her.

“Hey guys..”

They hadn’t really spoken since she woke up and she had a feeling Caden was not happy with her disappearance, they filed into her room and took their places by her bedside. Caden and Kaidan opted for the two chairs while Inigo sat on her bed and held her hand in his.

“It is good to see you awake again Lorelai, I missed you my friend.”

“I missed you too Inigo, and I’m sorry. To all of you, I left without warning and left you no clue as to where I was. And on top of it I almost died because I was foolish, I really am sorry.”

She looked around the group to see faces of understanding and forgiveness, then Caden and Kaidan scooted closer and put their hands on her bed.

“We are sorry as well love, we didn’t mean to get you all riled up. We were jealous of each other and we understand why you were mad at us back in Solitude.”

“Aye, we are sorry Lori. But that doesn’t mean we’re gonna give up on you. Just saying.”

Lorelai laughed as Inigo rolled his eyes, Lorelai remained in bed for one more day before she decided she had enough of lying around the inn. She put on fresh clothes and walked out into the main area to join her friends for lunch, her legs were shaky due to her bed rest but she eventually made it to her doorway and looked over the silent inn. She saw Karliah talking to Enthir in hushed tones over Gallus’s journal, then she saw her friends talking and laughing at their own table while they sipped on tankards full of mead. She waddled her way over there and once Inigo saw her he rushed to her side to steady her, she welcomed his help and slowly made her way to the table. Kaidan offered up his seat because it was closer and Lorelai gratefully sat down.

“Feels good to be up and about now, my side still hurts though.”

“You should still be in bed my friend, for at least one more day I think.”

“I’m fine Inigo, Karliah did a good job stitching me up and giving me health potions. I think I just need to walk around more, we need to leave as soon as possible if we want to get to Mercer.”

“You need rest Lori, you’ve done well despite your current condition. Plus you aren’t even in the thieves guild, this is for Karliah and I to deal with.”

“Are you saying that you’re actually going to help the guild? I thought you wanted nothing to do with them Caden.”

“I don’t, but when Mercer tried to kill you, it became my problem. I intend to rid the world of Mercer Frey, his blood will drip from my sword.”

“But-”

“Lorelai. I need to take him down, for both you and the guild.”

Lorelai nodded her head and took a drink from the tankard Inigo had offered her, she couldn’t stop Caden from going in this alone. She would kave Kaidan and Inigo with her while Caden went off with Karliah to face the guild and ultimately pledge himself to Nocturnal in order to defeat Mercer. The rest of the day was quiet and Lorelai decided that she wanted to explore Winterhold before dinner, but as she made to get up from the table Kaidan pulled her back down.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“I want to go outside, please.”

“You can barely walk love, you need to take it easy.”

“But I’ve never seen Winterhold in person, I know half of it is at the bottom of the Sea of Ghosts, but I want to see the college and maybe buy something to remember the place by.”

“Then I’m going with you, Caden needs to stay here and speak with Karliah about their plan and Inigo said he wanted to take a nap. Besides, you need a cloak and I’m the only one that brought one.”

Kaidan went into his room for a moment before returning with a cloak made of white fur, Kaidan wrapped it around her shoulders and then helped her to stand. They slowly made their way out of the inn and into the cold city, the sun reflected off the snow in a blinding light which caused Lorelai to wince. After her eyes adjusted she and Kaidan walked into the road and made their way to the bridge that led to the college, her eyes widened as she looked towards the magnificent building.

“Wow, it’s amazing. I can feel the magic pulsing through the air, truly amazing!”

“I never thought I’d be within ten feet of this damn place.”

“What do you have against magic?”

“It’s not the magic, it’s the people who wield it.”

“Did you know a magic user?”

“More than I care to admit.”

“Not all magic is bad though Kai, it can heal and protect as well.”

“I know that, but I just think that if the Divines intended for us to use magic we should be glowing or something..”

“Uh-huh.”

“Forget about it, let’s get back inside I don’t want you catching a cold.”

“I’m fine Kai.”

“I can see you shiver from here love, stay close I’ll keep you warm. Let’s get back, Caden will murder me if he thinks I’m gaining more ground with you than he is.”

“Ugh, men…”

Lorelai shook her head as she and Kaidan went back to the inn, once inside Lorelai sat in front of the fire and warmed her cold body. Caden was just exiting the basement when she warmed back up, he made eye contact with her and quickly walked over to her side. Lorelai smiled and reached her hand up to grab Caden’s, she had caused him so much distress and it wasn’t fair.

“I am truly sorry Caden,I had a plan but it didn’t work…”

Caden sighed at her apology and pulled up a chair to sit beside her, he enclosed her hand in his and looked her in the eyes.

“Lori, I don’t know exactly why you did what you did, but it’s in the past now and there is nothing we can do but look to the future. Mercer is going down as soon as possible and then the guild will be better off and we can move on from this, just promise me you won’t leave the group again.”

“I’ll try not to.”

“Lorelai.”

“Alright alright, I promise. Happy?”

“Ecstatic.”

“I don’t know if I like you and Kaidan being so sarcastic, maybe I’ll spend more time with Inigo.”

Caden chuckled as he kissed the back of Lorelai’s hand, she rolled her eyes and retracted her hand from his reach. She heard the bard start playing the lute and she welcomed the melody into her heart, it was the music used in The Age of Oppression. Lorelai hummed along to the tune and Caden listened to her silently, then as if a bolt of lightning had struck her Lorelai sat up straight in her chair and turned to Caden with intense eyes.

“Did you take part in the Civil War yet?”

“Yes, I joined Ulfric and his men to take back my homeland from the Empire. Why?”

“Just curious, why did you join the Stormcloaks?”

“Because I believe in the cause, Skyrim and her people should be able to worship whatever God they want without prosecution. Tullius was nothing but a puppet of the Thalmor, we took Solitude and now the people are stronger than ever.”

“Are they? How are you so sure?”

“What do you mean?”

“The Stormcloaks claimed to be the true sons and daughters of Skyrim, but you forget that many nords were sided with the Empire. Brother fought brother, doesn’t that make you sad?”

“They brought it on themselves though, they knew what they were getting into when they pledged to the Empire or the Stormcloaks. It was war after all.”

“But it was so uncalled for, so much blood was spilled. So many orphans were created, families were separated and mothers lost their children. That was something I hated about the Civil War quests, no matter how I tried to satisfy each side or hold a peace council everything was doomed to chaos.”

“I see what you mean, but you forget that this isn’t a game now Lorelai. Surely they had wars in your world.”

“They do, but most of them are senseless and unprovoked. Pride and greed are often the root of many of them, Ulfric shares in that aspect.”

“What makes you say that?”

“He killed the last High King, granted it was all legit because he challenged him in the old ways, but still it was murder. Elisif was widowed and now she is under the thumb of the man that killed her husband, don’t you find that sad? She had no justice for her loved one, now she has to serve the man who caused her so much pain and agony. I doubt she wants to live in such a world, but what choice does she have?”

“Elisif has little knowledge of the basic political climates, she is clueless. Ulfric is just hoping to keep her from allowing the Thalmor any more footholds in Skyrim, why are you bringing this up now?”

“No reason, but the songs are mixed up. At least the titles are.”

“What?”

“The Stormcloaks weren’t oppressed in my eyes, they were just impatient and brash. The Imperials fought for a kingdom that had not failed them, if anything they were oppressed by the Thalmor and the nords alike. Aggression is subjective, each side fought for what they believed in but in the end it didn’t matter.”

“You’re full of opinions today aren’t you?”

“I always have opinions, I just choose to keep them to myself.”

“I see, can I get you anything?”

“No, I just want to sit here for a little bit longer. When do we leave?”

“Well Karliah and I are setting out tomorrow, but you are staying here for another day before joining us in Riften.”

“What! Why?”

“Because I said so, and because you need more time to rest. We will go first and explain things to the guild, then you can join us and we can go from there.”

“But Karliah will make you a Nightingale!”

“What?”

“That’s how the quest goes, after explaining everything to Brynjolf you will meet Karliah at a standing stone. She’ll lead you into Nightingale hall and make you pledge your soul to Nocturnal!”

“Why would she make me do that?”

“Because she thinks it is the only way to beat Mercer, but there has to be another way! You can’t pledge yourself to a daedric prince!”

“Calm down Lori, don’t shout so loud. Why wouldn’t Karliah tell me about this?”

“Because she doesn’t want anyone knowing the Nightingales are dying out, she and Mercer are the last ones and if Mercer dies she will be the only one left. If she gives you over to Nocturnal she will get favour with her, but you shouldn’t have to pledge your soul to a damn daedra!”

“Shh, don’t worry Lori I won’t do anything of the sort until you are with me. We can think about it together when the time comes alright?”

“A-alright, but you have to promise me!”

“I promise Lori, why would I lie to you?”

“I don’t know, I guess I’m just used to people going back on their word. I don’t want you to be like all the others back in my world, I want you to be an honest person Caden, one that I can always depend on and trust.”

“I’ll try to be that for you Lori, but if it truly is the only way to beat Mercer I will have little choice. I will avenge you and Gallus, Mercer hurt the wrong person.”

Lorelai nodded as Caden left her side to go find Karliah once more, maybe that elf could shed some light on what he just learned. Inigo soon emerged from his room and yawned, looks like sleeping beauty id finally awake.

“Inigo! Over here!”

“There you are my friend, how are you feeling?”

“Fine, how was your nap?”

“It was wonderful! I dreamed I was in a field full of sweet rolls, such a wonderful and sticky dream.”


The next morning Caden and Karliah set out for Riften and didn’t look back, they took the carriage all day and most of the night until they reached the crime filled city. They wasted no time going through the Ratway and into the Ragged Flagon, they saw no signs of Delvin or Vex and assumed they were already waiting in the cistern. Karliah grabbed hold of Caden’s arm before they crossed the sewer.

“I don’t know what is waiting for us once we enter the cistern, but we need to stay calm no matter what. Just let me do the talking, are you ready?”

“Yes, let’s get this over with.”

They proceeded through the bar where Vekel eyed Caden suspiciously and into the secret hallway behind the closet, after taking a few deep breaths Karliah opened the door to the cistern and they walked calmly into the tense room. Caden saw Brynjolf standing there with Delvin and Vex at his side, each of them holding a dagger and looking like they were ready to kill anybody that tried to get past them. Brynjolf’s rough voice cut through the air like a knife, Caden could sense the fear beneath the bravado though.

“You better have a damn good reason to be here with that murderer!”

Karliah raised her hands and showed that she meant no harm to the guild or the people within.

“Brynjolf please lower your weapon, I mean you no harm. I came here to tell you about Mercer, how he has betrayed you all.”

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe you lass, what proof do you have of this?”

“I have Gallus’s journal, its all in here Brynjolf. Mercer had been stealing from right under you noses.”

Brynjolf snatched the small leather book from Karliah and hastily flipped through it’s translated contents, his face showed a mixture of emotions and then he looked back to the dark elf.

“No, no it can’t be. I’ve known Mercer for so long.”

“It’s true Brynjolf, every word.”

“There is only one way to find out, Delvin I need your key to the vault.”

The older man looked completely lost in this mess, he sheathed his dagger and crossed his arms as he followed Brynjolf to the vault.

“What’s goin’ on ‘ere? What did that book say?”

“It says that Mercer had been stealing from the guild for years now, even when Gallus was still in charge.”

Vex rolled her eyes and shook her head in anger.

“That’s impossible, that door has the best locks money can buy. There is no way that he could pick the locks.”

Karliah sighed as they reached the entrance to the vault.

“He didn’t have to pick them…”

Delvin looked from Brynjolf to Karliah, what in Nirn was going on?

“What is she talkin’ about?”

“Just use your key Delv.”

The man did as told but the door still didn’t budge, then Brynjolf used his own key and the tumbler’s turned and the doors swung open. Brynjolf’s jaw dropped as his hand clenched into a fist.

“I can’t believe it! It’s gone, everything is gone!”

Chapter Text

Caden was crouching by the back gate of Mercer’s house, watching as Vald paced back and forth across the yard. Lorelai failed to mention the undercover mission to infiltrate Mercer’s house, although Caden didn’t feel like it would be that big of a deal to go in and find the plans and get back out. He approached the gate and caught Vald’s attention, the man came over to Caden and glared at him through the gate.

“What do you want milk drinker? You can’t get in here, now leave.”

“I’m here to give you a message from Mercer, but if you don’t want to hear what your boss wants…”

“O-oh wait a moment, what is your message friend?”

“He wants you in Solitude as soon as possible, I wouldn’t keep him waiting…”

“B-but I need to guard his house.”

“Why do you think I’m here? I’m your replacement, now get going before Mercer has both of our heads on a pike!”

“Of course, thank you friend I am in you debt. Here is the key.”

Vald unlocked the gate and handed Caden the key before jogging off towards the front gate, Caden shook his head and headed into the yard. He then looked up at the ramp mechanism, he grabbed a stone from the yard and hurled it upwards knocking the ramp loose. It came crashing down and Caden winced at the noise it made and hoped no guards heard it, he then climbed the walkway and entered the upper floor of Mercer’s house. After knocking out a couple mercenaries Caden took his time exploring the house and searching for any clues he could find, all the doors were barred and he couldn’t budge them no matter how hard he tried. Then he found his way to the dining room and picked up a small piece of parchment from the table, it was labeled ‘shopping list’. Caden quirked an eyebrow and unfolded the paper to read its contents.

  • Goat cheese
  • Black-Briar Reserve
  • Cauterizing Agent

“What in Talos’s name did he do with that cauterizing agent?! There must be something else in this damn house.”

He walked around opening every cabinet and closet before he found one that was completely empty, he ran his hand along the back panel and felt it give a little bit. He pushed hard and slid it to the side to reveal a secret passage into a basement, he descended into the stone room and opened an old wooden door. That door led him to a sewer like passage, after slowly making his way through the traps he found a secret study with a bowl full of gems occupying a desk.

He scooped up the gems and grabbed the plans laid on the desk, he also picked the lock on the weapons case and took the sword lying inside. Before leaving the small room he looked back towards the stone head of a thief also occupying the desk, he assumed it was valuable and grabbed it before leaving the area and jumping down the whole at the end of the passage.

“This is...the ratway, did he have a secret escape route this whole time?”

He quickly made his way back to the Ragged Flagon and into the cistern to give Brynjolf everything he found, well except the gems of course. Maybe he could get Madesi to set the sapphire he found into a silver chain for Lorelai, it would look pretty on her. He put the statue in front of Brynjolf along with the plans that Mercer had on his desk with his notes scribbled in the margins, Brynjolf took a look at the plans and his eyes went wide.

“He’s going after the eyes of the Falmer!?”

“What is that?”

“It was one of Gallus’s pet projects, but he never got around to sorting out the details. It’s really dangerous though, if Mercer gets away with this he’ll be set for life.”

“Then we stop him before he gets away, where is he headed?”

“Hold on a moment lad, Karliah wants to talk to us about something before we make any plans of our own. Follow me.”

Caden followed closely as Brynjolf walked to the center of the Cistern where Karliah was waiting for them, just as Lorelai said Karliah told them that they needed to meet her outside the city at an ancient standing stone the next day. Caden had talked to Karlaih about this but she said very little opting to keep some of the deal to herself in case Caden decided to tell Brynjolf about it. Brynjolf agreed to the meeting and the three parted to do what they wanted until the next day. Caden figured that Lorelai and the others would be in town by tonight and made his way to Honeyside to freshen up before meeting them.


Meanwhile, when Caden was talking to Brynjolf and Karliah, Inigo and Kaidan were helping Lorelai down from the carriage at the stables. Her side had healed for the most part and now only a scar showed what she had been through, they walked into the city and went straight to the inn. She smiled at Keerava when they passed her and Talen pulled out a chair for Lorelai when he noticed her limping a little bit.

“Are you alright land-strider?”

“Yeah, just a little sore from a battle. Can I have some Velvet Lachance?”

“Of course, and for you gentlemen?”

Kaidan made sure Lorelai was comfortable before turning to the argonian and ordering two Cliff- Racers for himself and Inigo, the khajiit also order a round of sweet rolls because he had a craving for them the moment they left Winterhold. The inn started to fill up as the evening got later, eventually Lorelai was conversing with most of the locals including Marcurio and the monk Maramal. She talked about the teaching of Mara with the poor priest and he gave her an Amulet of Mara in exchange for her kindness of listening to his words, she tried to give it back claiming she wasn’t in the market for marriage or that she had a purpose for the enchantment placed upon it.

The monk refused to take it back and exited the inn before she could argue about it further, she traced the etchings in the amulet and sighed. She loved the idea of marriage and having an honest and open relationship with a special person, but she was damaged and thought she could never allow herself to open up to someone that much.

“What is that in your hand my friend?”

“Oh Inigo, the monk gave m an Amulet of Mara in exchange for me listening to his sermon. I don’t know what to do with it, I’m not looking for marriage and I don’t have any talent for restoration so it’s kinda useless.”

“Not completely, it is very pretty and would look wonderful on you. You can always deny the marriage proposals, it makes a good accessory.”

“It is pretty, but I don’t think I can wear it. I’ll just keep it in my pack for safekeeping until I figure it out.”

Inigo nodded and left Lorelai’s side to talk to Keerava about renting two rooms for the night, the doors opened and a traveling bard walked in with a lute strapped to his back. He took one look at Lorelai and smiled, he walked over and took a seat next to her.

“Hello friend, are you Lorelai?”

“U-uh yes, how do you know my name?”

“My friend Mikael has told me of a beauty that has the voice of Lady Mara herself, you fit the description perfectly. Would you do me the honor of accompanying my lute with your beautiful voice?”

“I-I’m flattered but I’m not really in any shape to stand up in front of everyone and sing..”

“We can sit right here in these chairs friend, please just one song.”

“Alright, but only one song.”

“Thank you friend, now what would you like to sing.”

“Well everyone seems to be having a great time do how about a classic? Let’s sing Ragnar the Red.”

“Wonderful choice, truly a classic. It was the first song I learned you know.”

Before Kaidan or Inigo realized it Lorelai’s voice rang in their ears as a lute sounded through the inn, every patron stopped what they were doing and even Keerava and Talen-Jei stopped to listen to the small woman.

There once was a hero named Ragnar the Red, who came riding to Whiterun from ole Rorikstead! And the braggart did swagger and brandish his blade, as he told of bold battles and gold he had made! But then he went quiet, did Ragnar the Red, when he met the shieldmaiden Matilda who said...

Oh, you talk and you lie and you drink all our mead! Now I think it's high time that you lie down and bleed! And so then came the clashing and slashing of steel, as the brave lass Matilda charged in full of zeal! And the braggart named Ragnar was boastful no moooooree… when his ugly red head rolled around on the floor!

After the lute faded out applause filled the air and the bard bowed in appreciation towards Lorelai, she loved singing and she also loved that no one judged her here. Even if they did she discovered that she didn’t care, she was finally feeling confident about herself and felt in control for once in her life.

“Thank you my lady, your voice truly is magical.”

“T-thanks, but I’m sure there are those with a better voice.”

“Hardly, you are something special.”

The bard made to get up but Lorelai grabbed hold of his sleeve and he turned back towards her with wide eyes, she blushed as she pulled her hand back and cleared her throat.

“We can sing one more, i-if you don’t mind.”

“Of course my lady, which one did you have in mind?”

“I was actually just hoping you would provide some instrumental background for this next one.”

“But I need a tune..”

“I have a special song that I’ve been practicing, after the first verse I think a simple melody would fit easily enough.”

“I will follow your lead then.”

Lorelai had been learning the correct pronunciation of the main theme to Skyrim, the one spoken only in dovahzul. She had watched so many videos of people singing it and she finally felt like she got the words down before she was sucked into the game she had also learned the translated version and decided that translating it would be more beneficial to this crowd. Maybe she would sing it to Caden in the dragon language later, as if on cue Caden walked in wearing simple town clothes with his hair pulled back in a short ponytail. She smiled as Inigo and Kaidan motioned him over to where they were at the bar, he looked confused but then focused his attention on her as she smiled warmly at the three men.

Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honor is sworn, To keep evil forever at bay! And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph's shout, Dragonborn, for your blessing we pray! Hearken now, sons of snow, to an age, long ago, and the tale, boldly told, of the one! Who was kin to both wyrm, and the races of man, with a power to rival the sun!

And the Voice, he did wield, on that glorious field, when great Tamriel shuddered with war! Mighty Thu'um, like a blade, cut through enemies all, as the Dragonborn issued his roar! And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, that when brothers wage war come unfurled! Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, with a hunger to swallow the world! But a day, shall arise, when the dark dragon's lies, will be silenced forever and then! Fair Skyrim will be free from foul Alduin's maw, Dragonborn be the savior of men!

People had never heard that song before and they marveled at the melody coming from Lorelai’s mouth, so powerful and emotional. Caden loved hearing her voice and he felt like she was speaking directly to him, Kaidan smiled as the tune faded out and people whistled for Lorelai.

“That’s our girl, stopping hearts wherever she goes. She eve has the Dragonborn wrapped around her finger, although I’m not one to talk now am I?”

Caden pushed Kaidan’s shoulder and they all laughed as Lorelai thanked the bard again and let him leave, the trio rejoined the popular woman with mugs of mead in their hands. Inigo was all smiles as he sat next to Lorelai and passed her a goblet of Velvet Lachance.

“Your voice keeps improving my friend, it is like listening to a goddess!”

“Inigo, you’re making me blush…”

“But it is true! That song was different, I sensed your emotion in it though.”

“It was originally written in the dragon tongue, I can sing it in dovahzul as well.”

Caden’s eyebrows rose at her last statement, he put his mug down and focused all of his attention on Lorelai.

“You know how to read the Dragon language?”

“Not really, when I was back in my world I was able to watch other people sing that song in both the translated and untranslated versions. The language was so cool so I wanted to learn how to sing the song in its original form, it took me awhile but I finally got it down. Then I got sucked into the game, weird coincidence huh?”

“Impressive, you just keep getting more and more interesting Lori.”

“Trust me I’m not interesting, if anything I’m a pathetic nerd with the power to make people uncomfortable.”

“Lori..”

“I don’t want to talk about it, I’m actually kinda tired so I think I’m gonna turn in for the night.”

Inigo got up to help her but she shook her head and pushed him back into his seat.

“I can walk Inigo, I can make it upstairs with my pack. It’s still early anyway and I doubt you three are tired, if you need anything you know where I am.”

She grabbed her pack and waddled up the steps and into her room, the boys stared at the wooden steps hoping she would come back down. They knew that she had suffered something back in her world that traumatized her, but she wasn’t up for sharing it just yet. They knew her father had died and that her mother spent little to no time with her after that happened.

“Lorelai is hurting..”

“Yeah, every time we try to compliment her she shuts down. I wonder what happened to the lass..”

“Lori seems to be hiding something but we shouldn’t force her to tell us about it until she is ready, until that happens we can only offer our support from a distance.”

The men nodded in unison as they sipped on their drinks while worrying about their friend, Lorelai was up in her room brushing out her hair when she felt a breeze go through her room. She smiled as she closed her eyes and felt the bed creak under someone's weight, then she smelled the scent of honey and oak overwhelm her as she opened her eyes to greet her guest.

“Brynjolf, what did I say about breaking into my room?”

“I had to apologize to you lass, I had no idea Mercer would try and kill you.”

“You don’t need to apologize Bryn, I don’t blame you for anything that happened.”

“Still, I feel like I should have known somehow. How much of a liar and a cheat Mercer really was…”

“Bryn, don’t beat yourself up.”

Brynjolf grabbed Lorelai’s hand and squeezed it, it was as if he was looking for reassurance that she was actually alive and there in the room with him. She never thought in a million years that Brynjolf would be holding her hand and looking at her as if she was the most precious gem in the world. In the game he was more standoffish and business driven, but now that she was actually next to him and talking to him in real life he seemed like a very caring person. Lorelai moved one of her hands to cup Brynjolf’s cheek and turned his gaze from the ground back up to meet her soft sea green eyes, he looked so vulnerable and she knew that he felt betrayed from Mercer’s actions.

“You are a good guy Brynjolf, I believe that if you knew about any of this you would have gotten rid of Mercer long before you met me. You trusted him and that is your only crime, you full trusted somebody that you thought had your best interest at heart. I know how that feels, more than you know.”

“Lass, who hurt you?”

Lorelai sighed as she moved her thumb to stroke Brynjolf’s cheek, she wasn’t ready to share her past just yet but maybe talking about it would help her heal. She shook the thoughts from her mind as she smiled towards Brynjolf, the silver tongued nord knew she was hiding something but who wasn’t? He felt that she understood how he felt and that's all he needed to know in that moment, without thinking he closed the distance between them and sealed her lips with his own.

“Mmm!”

Lorelai was shocked at the action but found herself responding to his affection with enthusiasm, he tasted like mead and honey.

Chapter Text

Brynjolf’s hand fell perfectly on to the curves of Lorelai’s hips as his lips moved hungrily against her own, Lorelai’s arms in turn circled Brynjolf’s neck and pulled him closer to her body. His stubble scraped against her smooth skin as he moved his lips down her neck and towards her chest, she gently pushed him back and took deep breaths trying to still her rapidly beating heart.

“Sorry lass, got a little carried away there.”

“I-its fine Brynjolf, and if I’m being honest kissing you was kind of a dream come true. But the thing is I can’t give you what you want…”

“What I want? Lass that should be my line. I’m not one for commitment myself, but we can have fun together..”

“N-no I can’t Brynjolf, I’ve never really um…”

“Ah I get it, you’re a virgin aren’t you lass?”

Lorelai looked away from Brynjolf and nodded her head, he smirked and thought about how cute she looked when she blushed. Lorelai felt embarrassed but then she felt a hand gently touch her shoulder, she turned back to look at Brynjolf and meekly looked into his emerald eyes.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of lass, in fact I could show you quite a lovely time if you want me to…”

“But you said you aren’t one for commitment, I don’t want my first time to be meaningless.”

“I never said it would be meaningless lass, I don’t know when it started but I’ve grown rather attached to you. Even grown to care for you, when Mercer returned after your mission to Snow Veil Sanctum and told me you died...a piece of my heart broke lass.”

“But you barely know me.”

“I can read people really well lass, you are special. As for the rest, you’re kind and compassionate. Something a thief like me could never be..”

“That’s bullshit and you know it Bryn. You care for the guild like they were your own blood kin, you always make people feel welcome.”

“You have a way with you honeyed words lass, no wonder your lips tasted so delicious..”

“Silver tongued as always, but seriously Bryn I don’t know if I can go through with this.”

“Are you spoken for?”

“No, well I don’t think I am…”

“Ah I see, Caden and that other fellow have their eyes set on you don’t they. Not that I blame them, you’re quite a prize.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as she thought about Kaidan and Caden and how they would feel if they learned of her and Brynjolf, she felt close to both of them and knew that no matter who she picked it would hurt the other. But if she was with Brynjolf…

“So lass?”

“I-I don’t know what I’m doing Bryn, I’m totally inexperienced…”

“It’s alright lass, here come with me.”

“Where are we going?”

“I have a place where we can be alone, call it my own personal Sovngarde.”

“I’m wounded though, I can’t really walk that fast.”

“I’m gonna carry you lass.”

He scooped up Lorelai and jumped back out the window with her in his arms, he crept through the shadows until they were out of the city. She had no idea where they were going until she saw a small cabin on the shores of the lake, a small fire was burning outside showing that someone had been here recently. Brynjolf kicked the door open and walked inside, the fireplace inside was lit as well. Brynjolf set Lorelai down on the bed and went back to close and lock the door, Lorelai looked around the cabin and she was shocked at how simple it was in design.

“What is this place Bryn?”

“It’s a safe house for thieves, when they are out on the job they can stop and resupply here. I put the fire out outside, that let’s others know the area isn’t safe and they can move on to the next checkpoint.”

“It’s not safe!?”

“Not with you and I between the sheets..”

“Smooth.”

Brynjolf bolted the door shut and walked back over to the bed to sit beside Lorelai, the soft glow from the fire covered everything in a beautiful orange haze. Brynjolf’s eyes glowed in the dim light and they sucked her in, their lips met in a gentle kiss and Lorelai relaxed when she felt his hands find the curve of her hips. His lips were coarse against her own and she shivered at the sensation, Brynjolf felt her start to shake with nerves. He pulled away from her slightly to look into her eyes, he pulled one of her hands up and kissed her fingertips gently.

“Relax lass, I promise to be gentle..”

“O-okay..”

Brynjolf smiled as he resumed kissing Lorelai, her arm draped over his shoulders and her slowly eased her down onto the bed. Lorelai felt the furs cushion her body as Brynjolf pinned her arms above her head and slowly made his way from her lips to her neck, his stubble was tickling her skin and she squirmed underneath him. He smirked at the movement and slowly pressed his lips to her collarbone, she shuddered at the sensation and Brynjolf looked back up at her with hooded eyes.

“Are you alright lass?”

“Y-your stubble is tickling me.”

He chuckled as his hand trailed up and down her side, he pressed his lips to hers once more before he got off the bed and shed some of his clothing. He was still wearing his guild armour after all, he took off the cuirass, boots, and gloves so he was only wearing the thick leather trousers. She let her eyes roam his naked torso in appreciation, he had impressive muscle definition and a small trail of reddish brown hair going from his navel to somewhere below his waistline.

“Like what you see lass?”

“U-uh um w-well..”

Brynjolf took hold of Lorelai’s hand and tugged her upwards so that she was sitting once more, then he helped her stand in order to get her clothes off as well. She was in a simple town dress and boots, Brynjolf’s lips found hers again as he unlaced the back of her dress with his skilled hands. He broke the kiss in order to pull the fabric up and over her head exposing her lacy underwear, Brynjolf took a step back to admire her body and quirked an eyebrow at her strange undergarments.

“What are those lass?”

“What? O-oh its underwear, i-its what women are wearing in Cyrodiil…”

“Quite fancy, are you a noble?”

“Not technically…”

Brynjolf smiled as she blushed, the fabric of her undergarments was silky and it added to her already perfect beauty. He put one of his fingers to her mouth to silence her and snaked his arm around her to unfasten the clasp holding her bra together, Lorelai felt the band of her bra fall open and the straps fall around her shoulders. Brynjolf removed the fabric and tossed it aside as he took in her naked torso, she was stunning.

“Truly beautiful…”

“S-shut up..”

He kissed her again and she pulled him close to her body as she returned his affections, Bryn’s hands fell onto her waist and he felt the wound in her side that Mercer inflicted. It was a only a scar now but it was still very prominent on her soft flesh. He growled against her lips as she took a step back and rested his forehead against hers, she looked at him through lust filled eyes as they each caught their breath.

“I’m going to kill Mercer lass, I’ll make him pay for what he did to you and the guild..”

Lorelai smiled and hugged Brynjolf close, the thief took in the scent of her hair as he lifted her up and her legs wrapped around his waist. He set her down on the edge of the bed and knelt by her feet, he unlaced her boots and through them to the side as well. She only had her underwear on now as Brynjolf stood back up to tower over her, she timidly reached for the leather cord that was holding Brynjolf’s trousers closed.

She nervously untied it and Brynjolf pulled his trousers off and stepped out of them leaving them in a heap on the floor, he pushed her onto her back and caged her body beneath him. One of his hands started massaging her breast and teasing her nipples, his mouth started sucking and licking at her neck as Lorelai’s hands combed through Brynjolf’s hair. She moaned as he flicked and pulled at her erect nipples, the vibration of her throat let Brynjolf know that he was doing his part well.

“B-bryn..”

“Shh, it’s alright lass..”

She sighed as his hand fell to her side and stoked her hips, then he hooked his thumb under her panites and slowly pulled them down her legs and ultimately off of her body. She was now fully exposed and he drank in her image, her curves were perfect and she had a little bit of muscle as well from her time traversing through Skyrim with her friends. Her hair had fallen out of her normal braid into loose curls around her shoulders, the fire light illuminated her golden brown curls almost turning them completely gold. She looked like Lady Mara in that moment, or what Brynjolf believed the goddess of love and compassion would look like, she was breathtaking and for the moment she was his. His erection was very obvious at this point and Lorelai noticed it, she blushed as she looked from it up into Brynjolf’s emerald eyes.

“B-byrn?”

“Yes lass?”

“Sorry if I-I’m not good o-or…”

“Hush lass, let me take over from here.”

He guided her hand to his undergarments and helped her take them from his body, they both were completely naked now and Lorelai felt a warm sensation take over her body. She wasn’t sure what that new feeling was, was it anxiety? Excitement? Regret? She didn’t care in that moment, one of Brynjolf’s hands crept down her left leg massaging her skin in small circles as it moved.

Then he brought his hand up to her core and rubbed small circles around her clit, Lorelai gasped at the sensation and her hips bucked upwards at the feeling. Brynjolf smirked as he saw her folds start to become wetter with his every touch, he was only just beginning. After a few minutes Lorelai was moaning and moving her hips in time with Brynjolf’s movements, then Brynjolf stilled her hips with one hand and used the other to probe her insides with his fingers.

“A-ah Bryn…”

“Feel good lass?”

“HmmmMmm.”

“Good…”

He started pumping his fingers in and out of the small woman at a fast and even pace, Lorelai started to feel something build in her lower abdomen as Brynjolf’s fingers picked up speed. Her hands grasped at the furs beneath her as she threw her head back against the feather pillows near the headboard, just when she was on the verge of her climax Brynjolf withdrew his hand and left her wanting more. He kissed his way up her stomach to her lips gently massaging her breasts, her hands buried themselves in his red locks and pulled gently.

“Are you ready lass?”

She nodded her head slowly as Brynjolf positioned himself at her entrance, he noticed Lorelai’s worried glances and gently cupped her cheek with on of his hands.

“Trust in me lass, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you..ever.”

She slowly nodded and took some deep breaths as Brynjolf slowly inserted himself into her dripping core, Lorelai tensed as she felt her insides stretch to fit Brynjolf’s size.

“I know it hurts now, but it will be over soon.”

Once Brynjolf was fully sheathed inside of her he stayed there for a minute to let her adjust, once the pain subsided Lorelai’s hips actually started moving and sliding along Brynjolf’s shaft. He took that as an okay to start his movement, he stilled her movements as he began to withdraw himself from her and push back inside. He kept a pretty even pace until he felt her muscles constrict around him and cause his hips to go faster, her hands were on Brynjolf’s shoulders as her nails scratched as his skin.

“You’re so tight lass, I don’t know how long I can last…”

His thrusts became erratic as he neared his climax, his thumb started rubbing her clit once more and that one action sent her spiraling over the edge she screamed in pleasure as her climax washed over her. Brynjolf felt her walls squeeze around him and it took all of strength to pull out of her and release his own liquids over her stomach, he collapsed onto his side and wrapped an arm around her waist. Lorelai was breathing heavy as she looked at the ceiling, she felt Brynjolf’s arms squeeze her side and she turned to look at him.

“Are you alright lass?”

“Yes, I’m fine…”

“How was it? Your first time.”

“It was amazing, but I don’t think we should have done this…”

“Why?”

“Caden and Kaidan, if they find out..”

“Who’s gonna tell them?”

“I can’t lie Brynjolf…”

“I’m not asking you too lass, but if they don;t ask then you don’t have to tell them. It’s not lying if they don’t inquire about it lass, besides they’re adult they know how people are.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, just that people do what they want and act on impulse. That’s what we did lass, we acted on impulse..”

She sighed as she thought about her actions, she felt safe in Brynjolf’s arms but she knew that he was not one for commitment. This was a one night stand and nothing more, he claimed to care for her but for some reason she still felt dirty and used. She gripped his arm and pulled him closer to her body, he didn’t resist as he brought the furs up around them and brought her into his chest to keep her warm.

“You know that if I’m not back at the inn by sunrise Caden will throw a fit..”

“Aye, that I know lass. But one more hour couldn’t hurt, this feels nice having you in my arms.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as she cuddled closer to Brynjolf, after another hour they both got dressed and headed back to the inn. Lorelai’s legs felt weak after her first time so Brynjolf carried her like before, he entered through her window and set her on her bed. Before leaving he placed a kiss on each of her cheeks and her hand before jumping back out the window and heading back to the guild, Lorelai quickly tucked herself into bed and extinguished the candle. She stared up at the roof and thought about the night’s events, what had she done?


The next morning Lorelai slept in while the others were already downstairs and eating breakfast, Kaidan kept glancing up towards the second floor and Inigo kept perking his ears up in hopes that he would hear her moving around. Caden sighed as he took the last bit of his sweet roll, she was still there right?

“Inigo, go check on Lorelai.”

“Of course.”

Inigo quickly walked upstairs and knocked calmly on Lorelai’s door, he heard a moan from inside and sighed in relief that she was still there. He opened the door a little to peak inside, he was greeted with a lump of furs on the bed.

“Are you still sleeping? It is time to get up my friend, everyone is waiting for you downstairs. Caden said today was the day he was going to meet Karliah, didn’t you want to talk to him about that?”

The furs moved and Lorelai poked her head out from underneath, Inigo greeted her with a smile and she offered one in return. She agreed to get up and meet them near the bar, she was still in her clothes from last night and she needed to change and get Brynjolf’s scent off of her in case Caden or Kaidan smelled it. She splashed water over herself and threw on her thieves guild armour before grabbing her pack and weapons and heading downstairs to meet the guys. When she finally emerged Caden and Kaidan met her with smiles and offered her breakfast, she thanked them for waiting and quickly ate her meal before they all set out to the standing stone.

“Caden, Karliah will try to rope you into becoming a servant of Nocturnal. It’s your decision in the end but I don’t think it’s healthy for you to pledge yourself to a daedric prince, especially if you want to see sovngarde again like a true nord.”

“I know that Lorelai, I’m sure there is another way to get this done. But are you alright?”

“W-what do you mean?”

“You just seem different, like something changed in you. I can’t really describe it.”

“I just had a weird dream last night, I guess I went to bed a little too soon after eating dinner..”

She dismissed the topic and they walked the rest of the way in silence, once they reached the standing stone both Brynjolf and Karliah came into view. Brynjolf seemed both shocked and happy that Lorelai had come with Caden, but she avoided eye contact as Karliah addressed them.

“This stone symbolizes the very beginning of our order, follow me but leave the others outside.”

Lorelai stepped in front of Caden and crossed her arms over her chest, the dark elf looked at her in confusion as she turned towards the group once more.

“I’m going in with you, Caden isn’t going if I’m not..”

“Lorelai please.”

“I won't accept no as an answer Karliah, there has to be another way. I won’t let Caden take the oath unless I know for sure it is the only option.”

Karliah sighed as she nodded her head in defeat, Kaidan and Inigo stood watch outside as the others entered the ancient hall.

“Welcome to Nightingale Hall.”

Chapter Text

Brynjolf looked around the cave like entryway in confusion, Lorelai heard the dark elf chuckle before she playfully talked to the red head.

“What is it Brynjolf? I can practically hear your brow furrowing.”

“I just don’t understand lass, why me? I’m no priest and I’m certainly not religious.”

“It’s not about religion Brynjolf, it’s a business transaction. Cause and effect, this is what we value.”

“So what exactly are we doing her lass?”

“Getting the edge we need to defeat Mercer, but that requires a little deal.”

“What sort of deal?”

“Patience Brynjolf, first a gift from the shadows themselves.”

“Eh?”

“The armour stones, time to upgrade your gear.”

They proceed further into the hall and came across the three armour stones, Caden started to approach one but Lorelai held him back. She shook her head and Karliah and Brynjolf paused as well.

“Caden doesn’t wear light armour, I’ll take the armour.”

“I don’t care who takes it, it is simply a gift.”

Lorelai took Caden’s place and took the armour set from the pedestal, it looked way cooler in real life than in the game. Brynjolf and Karliah did the same and started to strip down to change, Lorelai hesitated but she got over it by imagining she was changing for gym class back in high school. Caden watched as she stripped down and changed from her thieves guild armour to her new one, she glanced his way but he quickly averted his eyes before she caught him staring. After she changed she left her hood and mask off as they followed Karliah into the next room, when the reached the center she stopped and faced the small group. Brynjolf was still adjusting his armour and mask before shaking his head and addressing the elf.

“Okay lass, you’ve got us in these get-ups. Now what?”

“Now we offer up our souls to Nocturnal in exchange for her guidance and protection through this mission, she already possesses my soul but my peace offering will be two new ones for her order.”

“Whoa there lass, this is pretty serious stuff here. Offering myself to a daedric prince was not on my to do list.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes and inserted herself into the conversation.

“There has to be another way, surely having the Dragonborn on your side is enough. Plus we have two more top notch warriors standing guard outside, there is no way Mercer can beat us. I don’t see a legit reason to offer up your souls to Nocturnal.”

“Mercer has defiled the Twilight Sepulcher, he took a priceless artifact and without Nocturnal's guidance or approval of our endeavors we can not possess it. Trust me if there was a way for them to avoid this I would have found it, this is what needs to happen in order for us to take Mercer down.”

Lorelai knew that he stole the Skeleton Key, but was there really no other way for Caden to avoid this? Then she realized that he hadn’t taken the armour, she did. She pulled the mask over her face and tugged the hood over her face before standing next to Karliah and Bryn.

“So you need two souls, that’s the deal right?”

“Yes, to complete the trinity I need two willing initiates.”

“Then I’ll take Caden’s place.”

Caden’s eyes widened in shock before he crossed his arms over his chest and fixed a glare at Lorelai. “And what makes you think I’ll let you?” “Because.” Lorelai pulled the chain at the entrance of the offering room and stepped beyond the barrier point, she stood there as both Brynjolf and Karliah passed unscathed. Then as Caden tried to enter he hit an invisible wall, he felt his stomach drop as Lorelai stood just out of his reach with her hands on her hips and a knowing smirk on her face.

“The armour is the key Caden, you can’t enter the space until you put it all on. This is my one chance to save you, it’s enough that you had to be a werewolf for the Companions-”

“I cured myself Lorelai! I’m sure there is a way-”

“There is no way out of this one! Trust me, I tried to find it in my playthroughs. This is real, I’m doing this so you can still be clean!”

“This is crazy, you aren’t even from this place. How are you so sure that Nocturnal will even accept your soul?”

“Because she’s a Daedric prince, they always want something.”

She turned away from Caden and took her place on one of the pedestals, Caden’s voice was muffled as Lorelai felt magic whip through the air as Karliah called upon the powerful being.

“Nocturnal! We call upon you for guidance. Hear my voice!”

After a few moments the room was filled with a soothing purple light, that was when a giant orc appeared and a melodious voice greeted Lorelai’s ears.

Ah, Karliah I was wondering when I’d hear from you again. Lose something did we?

“My lady, I humble myself before and ask for your forgiveness. I seek to make it right by going after Mercer and returning what he stole from you, I ask for your guidance and protection while we do so.”

And what pray tell do I get out of this?”

“I have two souls here that are ready to join our order, they are ready to offer themselves up in exchange for the power to take Mercer down.”

So its revenge you seek, interesting. I don’t understand Karliah, this deal is obviously in my favour. Especially with the woman over there, such a rare treasure indeed. A soul not of this world, a true prize for my taking.

“T-they want the same as I, to rid the world of Mercer Frey.”

I see, well then I see no reason to deny your request. I name you and your initiates Nightingales, your souls are now bound in my service in this life and the next. Now go and return what was stolen from me, and this time don’t disappoint me.

The light faded and the orb disappeared, Lorelai thought it was all over until she felt something start burning inside of her. She let out a cry of pain as she felt a part of her soul get ripped out of her body, she glanced over at Brynjolf and saw he was experiencing the same sensation. She heard Caden call out to her but she tuned him out as she gritted her teeth through the pain, the feeling soon went away she regained her focus and looked around the room. She saw every dark corner and within it a certain comfort she hadn’t felt before, she felt stealthier and more powerful than she had before. That’s when she heard Nocturnal’s voice a final time.

So you have the others fooled, but I know better. You are not of this world, you soul is very powerful though. Having you under my influence will prove to be ...Interesting.

“I serve no one, not even you Nocturnal.”

We shall see about that won’t we, we know how this turns out. I expect you to return the skeleton key, I will await you there.”

The voice vanished and Lorelai met her fellow Nightingales at the lower platform, Karliah and Brynjolf were looking at her through their hoods with curious eyes. Brynjolf got closer to her and unmasked himself before resting a hand on her hip.

“What did Nocturnal mean lass? Your soul isn’t from this world?”

“Beats me, how do I know.”

“I can tell you’re lying to me lass, I’m a thief remember?”

“You won’t believe me Bryn, just drop it for now okay?”

“Fine but we have different news to share with you.”

“Which is?”

“Well Karliah and I have been talking lass and we’ve decided that you would make a great guild master-”

“No.”

“Lass-”

“I am NOT qualified for that position Brynjolf, I know nothing about stealing or setting up a heist.”

“But you have knowledge of the future, we can use that to our advantage. I’ll be there helping you as well, we can...become closer.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as Brynjolf pulled her closer to his chest, she made eye contact with Caden and pushed Brynjolf away from her gently. She didn’t want to be guild master, but she also didn’t want the guild to suffer anymore.

“I won’t be guild master, but I will help you get the guild back on its feet again after all this Mercer shit is settled.”

“That’s not ideal but it’s a start.”

“Let’s just get this over with, that dwarven ruin is the last place I wanna go. It’s gonna be crawling with Falmer and they are terrifying, I also don’t like the idea of going up against ancient dwemer battle bots.”

“How many Falmer will there be lass?”

“Too many, make sure to bring lots of health potions and poison antidotes, those bastards are uncomfortably strong.”

“Aye, Karliah and I will meet you there tomorrow.”

“We’ll leave first thing in the morning, it shouldn’t take too long if we catch the first carriage at sunrise.”

“We leave tonight to scout out the area and make sure Mercer is trapped inside, we’ll meet again soon lass.”

“Be safe Bryn, you as well Karliah.”

“We will be lass.”

They made their way out of the chamber and past a very unhappy looking Caden, Lorelai stood alone in the center of the cavern dreading the lecture she would get from Caden. She groaned as she unmasked herself and exited the space, she kept her distance from Caden as they walked in silence from Nightingale hall out into the surrounding forests where Kaidan and Inigo were waiting for them.

“There you are my friends! You have new armour Lorelai, it suits you very well.”

Kaidan admired the tight fitting armour as well, how is it possible that her curves were even more noticeable in this armour than the last? The hunter looked to Caden and was taken aback by the anger he saw on his friends face, Inigo saw it as well and he also sensed the tension between Caden and Lorelai. Inigo pinned his ears back as he looked from Lorelai to Caden before clearing his throat.

“What exactly happened in there?”

“Lorelai pledged her soul to Nocturnal in my place…”

Kaidan’s eyes grew wide before he let a scowl cover his face as he looked to Lorelai.

“Why on Nirn would you pledge your soul to a damn Daedric Prince?!”

Lorelai clicked her tongue as she brushed past the judgemental nords, she was acting differently than she had before. Inigo felt something was wrong with her, maybe Nocturnal had more control over her than she knew. Caden wasn’t letting her get away that easily, he and Kaidan reached out to grab her arms and spin her back around to face them. They saw her sea green eyes turn darker for a second before returning to her natural color, she seemed darker than when she entered. Caden was too blinded by his momentary anger to see that though.

“Why did you do that Lori! Now you are doomed to her servitude, you shouldn’t have done that.”

“Aye he’s right love, pledging your soul to beings like that only leads to trouble! Now what are you gonna do when you have to go home? What if Nocturnal’s hold on you prevents you from actually going back to your world?”

“Seriously Lori this was the stupidest decision you could’ve made, what in the name of Talos made you think-”

“That I could fucking help!? Gee I don’t oh great and powerful Dragonborn, maybe because I fucking care about what happens to you and didn’t want your soul in the clutches of a psychotic Daedric prince?! And you Kaidan, you have no room to fucking lecture me on pledging myself to a daedra when you have sought out their power yourself. I’m so sick and tired of people telling what I can and can’t fucking do with my life, not you, not my mom, not anyone! I did what I did because I wanted to and if you don’t like it then leave me the fuck alone!”

She pulled her arms out of their grasp and stomped back to Riften leaving the three warriors in the clearing near Nightingale hall, silence fell over them as they tried to absorb the outburst that had just come from their petite friend. Then from out of the shadows Brynjolf appeared, he had hung back to try and talk to the lass about her past but he instead witnessed the first spark of anger that resided in his lass.

“She certainly has a fire to her, I must admit even I was scared of her for a second. The lass has changed, Nocturnal probably has something to do with that.”

Caden turned to meet the thief’s gaze and furrowed his brow, that outburst was totally out of character. Or at least he thought it was.

“What do you know of Nocturnal’s power Brynjolf? How can Lorelai break free from it?”

“I have no idea lad, I’m new to this myself but I don’t feel Nocturnal’s power like Lorelai does. Maybe it’s because her soul is special?”

“Special?”

“Were you not listening to Nocturnal when Karliah was speaking to her? Nocturnal said that Lorelai’s soul was special, it was from another world. Maybe that caused Nocturnal to put more focus on the lass rather than Karliah or myself, it’s just a theory but it’s the only one I’ve got.”

Inigo and Kaidan glanced at one another before looking to Caden for answers, Brynjolf sensed that they all knew something he didn’t and he didn’t like that one bit.

“What’s the lass’s story? What makes her so special? Eh?!”

Caden shook his head as he sighed and let his arms fall to his side, Brynjolf wasn’t one to easily be ignored. He stomped closer to the trio and glared at them, he needed to know what made Lorelai different, why she had these powers.

“What’s her story?!”

“You wouldn’t understand Brynjolf, hell I don’t even understand and I’m the one who saved her.”

“Just tell me, it can’t be that hard to comprehend.”

“Why do you care so much? You probably only want her for one thing, like with all the other women in this town. You see her as a bed warmer and that is sick.”

“Don’t tell me what I do and don’t feel lad, you have no idea.”

“What makes her different then huh? Why do you care so much?”

“Because she’s special, not just because she has powers. I felt it the moment I first spoke with her, she is different and I like different.”


Meanwhile Lorelai was back in the inn getting her stuff together and changing out of her Nightingale armour, once she changed back into normal clothes it was like a certain fog lifted from her mind. She shook the weird mist from her mind and grabbed her coin purse before head to Elgrim’s Elixirs down by the water way, after buying out Elgrim’s health potions and antidotes she returned to the inn to find her group sitting at a table in the corner looking dejected and miserable. She still didn’t feel like talking to them but for some reason she felt responsible for their current moods, she knew they had an argument about something in the clearing but she couldn’t remember what she said to them before returning to Riften.

She hurried upstairs and packed her potions before returning downstairs and approaching her friends, Inigo was the first one to see her and he offered her a small smile of reassurance.

“H-hey guys…”

“Hello my friend, are you feeling alright?”

“Y-yeah, it’s like when I took off the armour Nocturnal’s influence left as well. I don’t remember what I said to you guys in the clearing but I have a feeling it was less than appropriate, I hope I didn’t make you guys too mad.”

Caden and Kaidan were still silent as she stood there awkwardly, she looked to Inigo who was just offering a sad smile as he sipped on his mead. Had she really said something that bad?

“Guys?”

“Brynjolf knows my friend.”

“Knows what?”

“About you being from another world, we told him.”

“Okay? That’s not a big deal. Why are they-”

“Because he said something about you that shocked them…”

She froze in place, no. No, he couldn’t have told them what they did, not when she specifically said that she never wanted them to hear from someone other than herself. She felt her hands start shaking from her anxiety, she swallowed and crossed her arms over her chest to hide her hands from the guys.

“W-what did he s-say?”

“That since you were affected by Nocturnal in such a strong way that you might be her knew main focus, that you have more of her power residing in you rather than them because of you special soul.”

“O-oh…”

“Why are you so tense my friend?”

“I-I don’t know, but either way if it’s the armour that causes me to act like this then I’ll just go back to the hall and get my old guild armour.”

“Caden picked it up for you, he went back in after you left and he put in our room for safekeeping. Let’s eat I am starving.”

The rest of the night passed in silence as the group prepared to set out in the morning, Mercer’s life was coming to an end and Caden would make sure that both Lorelai and the guild were safe. He promised himself that after it was all over he would tell Lorelai how he felt, she needs to know his true intentions. Little did he know that Kaidan had similar plans.

Chapter Text

The next morning the group set out for Irkngthand, Lorelai wasn’t that happy to be heading into a Falmer infested ruin but it’s what they had to do. After a full day of traveling they finally reached the ruins by the late afternoon, they had made a pit stop in Windhelm to eat lunch and mentally prepare themselves for the mission, Lorelai knew that in the game followers couldn’t go inside but surely this didn’t apply in real life. After they cleared the courtyard of bandits the group stood outside the main door to the complex, Lorelai was wearing her Nightingale armour and she felt a certain pulse go through her body as she stared at the door. Inigo came up beside her and rested his hand on her shoulder, she turned to face him with curious eyes. He has been the only one to talk to her during the journey up to the ruins, Caden and Kaidan were still keeping to themselves and hanging back from her.

“Inigo?”

“Yes my friend?”

“Are they mad at me?”

“It is hard to say, they are upset with you pledging yourself to a daedric prince but after your little outburst they understand why you did it. If anything I say they are conflicted, we care about you and all of this seems too dangerous for you.”

“I see, well I think I need to talk to Caden alone.”

She turned around to speak to Kaidan and Caden, Inigo was still by her side and this provided her with a little peace of mind.

“I think we should split into teams of two, two of us will go in and meet Karliah and Brynjolf while the others meet us at the exit point. The exit is a cave known as Bronze Water Grotto, plus having two of us there will allow us to make sure Mercer doesn’t escape before we get a chance to kill him.”

“I think that is a good strategy my friend, what are the pairings?”

“Caden and I will go in to meet the others while you and Kaidan stake out the escape route, be careful though I don’t think Mercer will escape us but in case he does he will be very dangerous.”

“Don’t worry Lorelai I am sure Kaidan and I can handle it, we are trained warriors after all.”

Lorelai smiled and rolled her eyes as Inigo grabbed Kaidan’s shoulder and guided him towards the cave Lorelai marked on the map, the hunter glanced back over his shoulder at Lorelai as he left the area. Kaidan knew that this was dangerous but he also knew that she was ready for whatever was ahead of her, at the end of it all he would be waiting for her. Lorelai waited until Inigo and Kaidan were out of view before turning to Caden and putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Caden, we need to do this as stealthily as possible. This ruin is filled with those weird robots and I don’t think I can kill something that's metal, then once we meet up with Karliah and Brynjolf we talk about the Falmer. Okay?”

“I understand, I’ll take point.”

“Hey..”

“Hmm?”

“I-I’m sorry for what I said back in Riften, I know using Nocturnal influencing my actions is a bad excuse but-”

“Lori. You gave part of yourself to a Daedric prince, Nocturnal no doubt has her claws in you somehow. What bothers me is that I couldn’t protect you from it, that I let it happen instead of trying to reason with you.”

“But you did try to stop me Caden, you-”

“I could have tried harder! I watched you walk onto that pedestal and take the oath, I let you take the armour from the stone. I think part of me was relieved that my soul was still intact, a part of me was glad when you took the fall, this makes me feel like a bastard! I-”

“Caden! Stop it, I won’t let you talk about yourself like that.”

“But Lori…”

“I’m fine, we can work through this and after Mercer is taken care of then I never have to wear this armour again. I can go back to the original Thieves guild armour and things can be normal again, just don’t give up on this alright?”

“Alright Lori, let’s kill that son of a bitch and get back to our lives.”

Caden encased Lorelai’s hands in his own and squeezed slightly, she looked into Caden’s eyes and offered a small smile of encouragement. He cared for her so much that it hurt him, he would do this for her and then everything can go back to normal. She got up on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to one of Caden’s cheeks, he smiled at the action and they faced the door once more. Once inside Lorelai’s eyes widened at the sight of the massacre in front of them, so much blood was pooled around the center near a small fire. She grabbed a health potion from her bag as she remembered the bandit bleeding out at the top of the first set of steps, she ran to the man’s side to find him gasping for air.

“H-how ... H-how can shadows m-move like that…”

“Shhh, here drink this.”

Lorelai held the man’s head up as she poured the liquid into his mouth, she was relieved when she saw him swallow it and his wounds closed slightly.

“Caden, hand me another health potion.”

“Here.”

She made the man drink another bottle and soon his breathing became normal and he was able to sit up on his own, he looked from Lorelai to Caden in disbelief.

“T-thank you friends, I am in your debt.”

“Don’t mention it, just get out of here.”

“Aye, thank you again.”

The bandit got up and slowly walked out of the building, Lorelai and Caden then crept through the first few rooms until they came across a dwarven sphere, it was patrolling at the bottom of a staircase blocking their way forward. Caden told Lorelai to stay hidden while he leapt over the wall and surprised the machine, Caden shoved his greatsword straight through the mechanical nightmare and penetrated it’s core. The machine sputtered about for a few seconds before falling apart and ceasing all movement, Lorelai waited for Caden’s signal and then slowly crept her way down as well.


After sneaking through a couple more rooms Lorelai saw the lift and hurried towards it, once they both were on it she pulled the rusty mechanism and down they went. They both relaxed as the platform moved slowly along the tracks, it came to a halt after a couple minutes. Lorelai sighed in relief as she saw Karliah and Brynjolf already waiting there, she jogged off the lift and smiled at her friends.

“I’m so glad to see you two!”

“Miss me that much lass?”

“Ugh Bryn!”

Brynjolf chuckled as Karliah stepped forward and looked towards the new arrivals, Caden stepped forward as well and kept an eye on Brynjolf as he spoke to Karliah.

“About those thieves…”

“They were like that when we got here, Mercer seems to have gone crazy with power. Whatever awaits us beyond these doors will be treacherous, be cautious of your surroundings. I have no doubt in my mind that Mercer has set traps for us along the way.”

“Right, Lori, you stick close to me alright?”

“O-okay. But before you open that door I need to tell you something.”

“What?”

“Once you move that door a spike ball will fall down and hit you, so you know...don’t let it.”

Brynjolf knew now that she was not of this world, but he didn’t quite believe it. But after listening to both Nocturnal and Caden say it he was starting to see that it was indeed true. Sure enough when Caden opened the door and jumped back a spiked ball swung down from the ceiling, Karliah was impressed by Lorelai’s talent but since her face was covered by her mask it went unnoticed. They entered the first room and marveled at the beauty of the cavern in front of them, then Karliah caught sight of Mercer sneaking up behind a Falmer in the distance.

“Look it’s Mercer! Down there!”

“I’m on it lass. Damn this gate! There’s no way through we’ll have to go around.”

“He’s toying with us, he wants us to follow.”

“Aye, but we’ll be ready for him.”

They slowly made their way through the dark and damp ruin, Caden and Brynjolf killed tons of Falmer along the way while Lorelai and Karliah supported them. They eventually came to the chamber where they first saw Mercer and Lorelai looked towards the giant centurion that stood amidst the Falmer camp. Before she could suggest anything Caden and Brynjolf already charged into the camp and slaughtered the Falmer.

“Guys wait! Watch out for the-”

It was too late, the machine roared to life and steam poured out of it.

“FUCK!”

Lorelai dodged the steam pillar just in time, Caden ran for the centurion and severed it’s kneecaps. When the monstrosity fell Caden’s sword pierced it’s metal hide and hit the core inside, the machine stilled and the group stood triumphant among the bodies. They made their way up to the higher level and Lorelai shuddered as she looked at the spiders lurking near the door Mercer entered. After the boys disposed of them they went through the door into the cave system below the ruin, after clearing the Falmer hive and killing a few of their terrifying pets the group was at the final door.

“Mercer is right behind here guys, but before we go in-”

“That bastard dies!”

Caden charged in and Lorelai tried to stop him, they all ran inside and no sooner than they did Lorelai saw the ground break apart and Caden fall to the ground below with the rubble. “Caden!” Brynjolf held her back from jumping after him and she heard him groan from the ground.

“I’m fine Lori.”

Karliah secured the door as Brynjolf and Caden looked up at the statue to see Mercer plucking the last eye from the snow elf monument. Karliah armed herself and stood by Brynjolf’s side.

“He hasn’t noticed us yet, Brynjolf guard the door-”

“Oh Karliah, when will you learn that you can’t get the drop on me?”

The whole room shook as a wave of energy erupted from his body, Lorelai lost her footing and tumbled down from the pedestal and onto the ground where Caden was kneeling. The air was knocked out of her lungs and Caden was quick to rush to her side.

“Are you alright Lori?!”

“Yeah…”

She slowly got up and faced Mercer, Caden stood tall by her side as the traitor chuckled.

“So, you survived? Impressive, and you even offered your soul to Nocturnal. Don’t you understand? Nocturnal doesn’t care, not about me and not about you.” Lorelai rolled her eyes as she drew her weapons.

“This isn’t about Nocturnal Mercer, this is about the guild. This is about you trying to frame Karliah and kill me while you bled the guild dry!”

“So it’s revenge you want huh? Well then history will truly repeat itself and my blade will once again taste Nightingale blood!”

Another wave of energy erupted from Mercer as he turned invisible, a pipe burst and water started to flow into the barricaded room. Byrnjolf saw the water pouring in and he turned back to the door to secure an escape route, only the door had been blocked from the other side.

“It’s blocked there’s no way through!

” Mercer’s dark laugh echoed through the chamber as the room shook once more and a red fog encircled Brynjolf, before the redhead knew it his body was taken over by a force that was not his own. He started fighting Karliah and he felt a shiver go up his back as he realized that he could accidentally kill the poor elf.

“Brynjolf! Fight it, don’t let it control you.”

“I-I’m sorry lass I can’t stop it..”

Lorelai heard the clash of metal behind her and she knew the spell had taken affect, she then listened for Mercer’s footsteps and she saw the water move close by. She side rolled just as Mercer became visible and swung his weapon at her, Caden fended him off and the snake turned invisible once more.

“Come out and fight you coward!”

Lorelai waited and listen for Mercer to come for her again and sure enough he rushed at her and became visible, she blocked his attack with her sword and groaned against his strength. Caden came to her aid and pulled Mercer off of her by the collar of his armour. Mercer was thrown into the ever growing pool of water and then Caden stood protectively in front of Lorelai before calling upon his special power.

FUS RO DAH!

Mercer’s body was thrown against the statue, Lorelai heard bones snap and she looked away from his body lying against the cold lifeless statue. Caden slowly walked up to him and stood before Mercer with his greatsword in his hands, Mercer gasped for air as he stared up at the Dragonborn with fear in his eyes.

“You messed with the wrong nord friend.”

Caden then plunged his sword into Mercer’s chest, Mercer cried out in pain and then he went still. Brynjolf ceased his attack on Karliah and they both looked down on the scene from their vantage point, Lorelai came to stand beside Caden and gently touched his shoulder. She bent down and grabbed Mercer’s pack, she opened it to find both of the Eyes of the Falmer and the Skeleton key inside. She handed it to Caden to hold, before she could say anything else more pipes burst and water started pouring profusely into the room causing the water level to rise at an alarming rate.

Soon the water rose to meet the platform where Karliah and Brynjolf stood, they jumped in and swam over to wear Caden and Lorelai were now floating in the water.

“We’re going to die here aren’t we lass?!”

Lorelai shook her head calmly as they floated closer to the top of the cavern.

“We will live Bryn, just follow me and we’ll be alright.”

“But-”

“Just trust me Bryn.”

He kept silent as the water continued to rise, Lorelai led them over to the head of the snow elf and she pointed up at the outcrop of loose boulders.

“That is our way out, when the water reaches them they will fall and open an escape route to a cave near the lake.”

“I hope you’re right lass.”

“I know I’m right.”

Sure enough when the water rose above their head and hit the rocks they came loose and slowly sunk into the water beneath, Lorelai swam up and out of the water with the rest of her friends close behind. They ran through the cave until they saw the light come into view, Lorelai smiled as the outlines of her friends came into view as well. The group was cold and wet but she warmed at the sight of Inigo’s smile and Kaidan’s knowing smirk, she unmasked herself and charged into Inigo throwing her arms around him and squeezing him tightly.

“Whoa, are you alright my friend?”

“I’m just so glad it’s over, it’s all over Inigo.”

“I’m glad, but why are you wet?”

Before she could respond Brynjolf came up behind her and pulled her from Inigo’s hug and into his own.

“Because that damn cavern flooded! This lass is surely sent from a Divine, other world or not I am thankful to have her near us.”

“B-Bryn?!”

Caden rolled his eyes as he pulled Lorelai away from Brynjolf and to his side, he eyes the thief warily and threw Mercer’s pack at his feet.

“The key is in there, now we are finished and Lorelai is safe.”

Karliah finished wringing out her hood before she intervened and placed a hand on Lorelai’s shoulder.

“Not quite, Nocturnal needs that key returned and Lorelai is the only one that can do it.”

“You’re kidding.”

Lorelai stepped away from the group and looked at all of them sadly, she grabbed the key from the pack as if she was in a trance.

“Lass?”

“Love?”

“Lori?”

As soon as she grabbed the key a purple mist enveloped her body and she hovered above ground for a few moments, she had a tear form in her eye as she looked at everyone and offered a weak smile. Then a voice that was not her own spoke to the startled group, Nocturnal.

“Find her at the Twilight Sepulchre….”

“Lori..Wait!”

Her body vanished right before their eyes and they were left standing in the cave, Caden had no idea what had just happened but he knew that Nocturnal was to blame. He slowly turned t Karliah with anger and regret in his eyes, the elf took a couple steps back as she cowered beneath his intense glare.

“And where do we find this Twilight Sepulchre?”

Chapter Text

Lorelai’s body felt heavy as she slowly opened her eyes, she looked around the cavern she was now occupying. She quickly sat up and looked around in a panic, she knew this place and it wasn’t somewhere she to be alone in. She was standing at the entrance to Nocturnal’s temple, the Twilight Sepulcher. Lorelai shook with nerves as she got to her feet and looked around the cold and dark cave, then her eyes fell on the one companion she shared the room with. She knew who the ghost was but seeing him in person was creepy, she calmed her nerves before approaching the spectral guardian. The ghost took notice of her and quickly met her at the entrance to the Temple.

"I don't recognize you, but I sense that you're one of us. Who are you?"

“I’m a friend, Lorelai. And you are?”

She knew who he was, how could she not? After all her play throughs she remembered the sad sound in Karliah’s voice when she said her final farewell to this poor man, love could be cruel.

"The last of the Nightingale Sentinels, I'm afraid. I've defended the Sepulcher alone for what seems like an eternity."

“Loneliness is a tough burden to carry, but what about the others? Where are they other Nightingales that came before you?”

"We were betrayed by one of our own kind. In fact, I'm to blame for what's happened here."

“How is any of this your fault?”

"I was blinded. Blinded by dark treachery masquerading as friendship. Perhaps if I had been more vigilant, then Mercer Frey wouldn't have lured me to my fate and stolen the Skeleton Key."

“You’re Gallus, the last guild master.”

"I haven't heard that name in a long time. How do you know of me?"

“I have the key.”

"The Key! You have the Skeleton Key! I never thought I'd see it again. And Mercer Frey?"

“He is suffering his punishment in the Evergloam, he’s dead.”

"Then... it's over and my death wasn't in vain. I owe you a great deal, Nightingale."

“I did this to avenge the guild, and help my friends.”

"You've done the Guild a great deed. And although they may not show it, I'm certain they appreciate your sacrifices. My only regret is that you had to undertake this task alone.”

“But I didn’t do it alone, I had my friends with me the whole way. Karliah helped me as well…”

"Karliah... she's still alive? I feared she'd befallen the same fate, ending up a victim of Mercer's betrayal."

“She’d never let that happen knowing you needed to be avenged, in fact it would be more fitting to have you return the key.”

"Nothing would bring me more pride than to return the Key, but I'm afraid it's impossible. From the moment I arrived here, I've felt myself... well... dying."

“But your already dead, how can a ghost die?”

 

"The Sepulcher isn't merely a temple or a vault to house the Key. Within these walls is the Ebonmere... a conduit to Nocturnal's realm of Evergloam. When Mercer stole the Key, that conduit closed, severely limiting our ties to her."

“Then I guess I have to do this on my own…”

"I'm afraid so. I'm weakening, and I can feel myself slipping away. The years without restoration of my power have taken their toll. Whatever damage has been caused can only be corrected by following the Pilgrim's Path to the Ebonmere and replacing the Key."

“Great, well I don’t suppose you know of a secret passage or something to help me along the way? I’m not really all that comfortable with killing people, whether they’re already dead or not…”

"I wish I could help you, but I've been a prisoner in this very chamber for the last quarter century. The only possible help I've come across are the remains of some poor fellow who was trying to follow in your footsteps. Perhaps his journal can help?"

Lorelai looked over to the pile of bones near the edge of the cavern and groaned, she went over and collected the journal. She flipped through the pages before she grabbed the dead man’s pack and stuffed the journal inside she also through the key she had been holding into the bag as well, she put on the pack and then approached Gallus again. She felt the air grow colder as she neared the entrance to the Sepulchure, she took a deep breath in as she drew her weapons and calmly walked into the first chamber.

She remembered the first riddle from her play through and went over the outcomes in her head: Shadows of their former selves, sentinels of the dark. They wander ever more and deal swift death to defilers. Lorelai was about to face the past members of this deadly order, she only hoped she had enough stealth and weapons knowledge to survive this on her own.

“Nocturnal, if you’re listening I hope to god you see me through this considering you brought my sorry ass here without my permission.”

She received no reply as she expected and continued into the first trial, she crouched down low as she surveyed the cold room. She saw the purple figures moving slowly around the room, one to her left in an alchemy room and then one beneath her blocking the way forward. Before she moved forward she had a certain thought run through her mind: How the FUCK do I kill a ghost?!

She focused her mind as she grabbed her weapons from her sides, she crept over to the alchemy room and readied herself for a battle. She lunged at the being and she felt her sword pierce something, she locked eyes with her enemy to find the ghost already disappearing.

“What the hell…”

She watched as the being dissipated before her before she sheathed her sword, it was never that easy in the game. Maybe Nocturnal really was watching over her, she shivered at the thought that she might owe her life to a Daedric prince after all this was over. She sighed as she moved back out into the main chamber and crept down the steps to ambush the last spectral guardian, she slid her dagger out from her boot and ran it across the ghost’s throat effectively “killing” it and watching it evaporate. She shook her head as she headed into the next room for trial two.

“This is insane, I feel like eyes are everywhere…”

She came into a room almost completely filled with darkness, only glimmers of light shone through at certain places in the cavern. The next saying came into her mind, almost as if Nocturnal herself was warning her of the dangers ahead: Above all they stand, vigilance everlasting. Beholden to the murk yet contentious of the glow.

She walked among the shadows and watched for the tripwires that she knew were waiting for her trigger, she knew that if she touched the light she would burn and that wasn’t an option right now. After crossing the room without a problem she pushed open the wooden doors and walked into a winding hallway. Then the voice came to her another time when the statue of Nocturnal come into view: Offer what She desires most, but reject the material. For her greatest want is that which cannot be seen, felt or carried.

“At least I only have to pull a damn lever with this one..”

After pulling the two chains the hall was shrouded in darkness as a secret passageway opened behind the statue, she slithered behind the stone monument and into her next trial. Direct and yet indirect. The path to salvation a route of cunning with fortune betraying the foolish. She approached the single hallway with the door on the opposite side, she looked around the corridor and saw pressure plates dotting the floor.

“Whirlwind Sprint would come in handy, but I can’t use the voice…”

She gently tiptoed around the pressure plates and then she heard a rope snap and a huge ax came down across the hall, she groaned as she watched the sharp object sway back and forth.

“I forgot about the pendulum thing, now what?”

She felt a weird sense of bravery take over her as she took a few steps back from the object and waited for the perfect time, then she felt her body jerk forward and begin to run at full speed towards the obstacle. Her heart was racing and her mind was telling her to stop but when she got close enough she rolled under the ax and crashed into the wall on the other side.

“What the FUCK was that!? Damn it Nocturnal, at least give me a heads up before you do that shit!”

She stood up and dusted off her armour before turning and walking the rest of the way through the area with ease, then she heard that distant voice another time as she entered the inner sanctum of the Temple. The journey is complete, the Empress's embrace awaits the fallen. Hesitate not if you wish to gift her your eternal devotion. She paused as she saw the walkway come to a stop a few feet ahead of her, she sighed as she looked out over the edge of the walkway to see a pile of bones with a note lying next to them.

“Well I can’t jump down, I might break something. Let me just…”

She drew her sword and wedged it between two rocks that made up the side of the well, she then tested it’s strength before grabbing the hilt and lowering herself into the inescapable hole. She waited there in the middle of the small circle looking up at the little ray of light that was shining through the cracks in the rocks. She grabbed the key from her pack and held it tightly in her hands, then she felt her body levitate again as the room shifted and warped. What was once an empty well was now a dimly lit dungeon with a key hole in the middle of the room, she was at the end of the Pilgrim’s Path.

Her body was set down on the stone floor as her mind raced, she walked towards the keyhole and inserted the Skeleton Key into its rightful place . Then the room shook and the ground started to open up as Lorelai stumbled backwards to avoid being sucked into the newly created portal. The Ebonmere roared to life and then a cloaked figure rose from the shadow like darkness, Nocturnal was back at full strength and her new form proved that. Lorelai sighed in relief as Nocturnal’s smooth voice greeted her ears.

"My, my. What do we have here? It's been a number of years since I've set foot on your world. Or perhaps it's been moments. One tends to lose track. So... once again the Key has been stolen and a "champion" returns it to the Sepulcher. Now that Ebonmere has been restored, you stand before me awaiting your accolades; a pat on your head... a kiss on your cheek. What you fail to realize is your actions were expected and represent nothing more than the fulfillment of your agreement.”

Lorelai was only half listening to the matron of shadows when Karliah appeared inside the room as well, Lorelai was happy to finally see a familiar face after all the insane shit she just did for a damn daedric prince.

“Don't mistake my tone for displeasure, after all, you've obediently performed your duties to the letter. But we both know this has little to do with honor and oaths and loyalty. It's about the reward; the prize. Fear not. You'll have your trinkets, your desire for power, your hunger for wealth. I bid you to drink deeply from the Ebonmere, mortal. For this is where the Agent of Nocturnal is born. The Oath has been struck, the die has been cast and your fate awaits you in the Evergloam. Farewell, Nightingale. See to it the Key stays this time, won't you?"

The woman disappeared into the murky pool of shadows and Lorelai finally felt the power of Nocturnal leave her body, she sighed in relief as Karliah approached her happily.

"I'm glad you were able to bring the Key back safely. Nocturnal seemed quite pleased with your efforts."

“Pleased? She better be, she possessed my body and nearly got me killed trying to get that damn key back here! Plus she sounded so indifferent about the whole situation!”

"I wouldn't take that to heart. It's her way. Think of her as a scolding mother continually pushing you harder to be successful; outwardly sounding angry but silently content. I assure you, had she been displeased with you, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

“Good to know, now about what she said about becoming an Agent of Nocturnal…”

"The circles at the base of the Ebonmere imbue you with powers befitting a Nightingale Agent. The crescent moon represents the Agent of Shadow, the half moon for the Agent of Subterfuge and the full moon for the Agent of Strife."

“Right, well I guess becoming invisible every now and then could be a plus...which one was that again?”

"The Agent of Stealth is the master of remaining unseen. They are able to manipulate the darkness and use it to their advantage. On moonlit nights or in darkened rooms, this agent literally becomes invisible."

“Perfect.”

Lorelai stood on the Crescent moon emblem and felt power surge into her body, after a moment, the feeling subsided and she felt more relaxed than she had before. Lorelai turned back to Karliah with calm eyes, she took the elf’s hand in hers and she felt Karliah squeeze gently to show her thanks for all Lorelai had done.

“So now what?”

"Now, your life as a Nightingale begins. Should the need arise, you'll be summoned to the Sepulcher in order to defend it."

“And you?”

"The Guild has welcomed me back with open arms. I feel like a void in my life has finally been filled. I only hope that this isn't an ending to things, but actually the beginning."

“The beginning of what exactly?”

"Why, perhaps the greatest crime spree Skyrim's ever known. There are pockets brimming with coin and coffers overflowing with riches ripe for the picking. We may be Nightingales, but in our hearts we're still thieves and we're damn good at what we do."

Lorelai laughed as the elf’s enthusiasm to start her trade again, then Lorelai smiled as she grabbed Karliah’s shoulder and spun her around to face their new guest.Gallus.

"Karliah?"

"Gallus! I feared I would never see you again. I was afraid you'd become like the others."

"If it were not for the actions of this Nightingale, your fears would have come true. She honors us all."

"What will you do now, my love?"

"Nocturnal calls me to the Evergloam. My contract has been fulfilled."

"Will I ever see you again?"

"When your debt to Nocturnal has been paid, we'll embrace once again."

"Farewell, Gallus. Eyes open... walk with the shadows."

"Goodbye, Karliah."

Gallus’s gaze lingered on his lover a second longer before his body disappeared into the Ebonmere, Lorelai gently touched her shoulder and offered a warm smile for the sad thief.

“He’s in a better place now Karliah…”

"Gallus's Oath has been paid. His actions have satisfied the terms. Now his spirit becomes one with the Evergloam... the realm of perpetual twilight and the cradle of shadow. He's become one with the shadows. This is the greatest honor a Nightingale can possibly achieve. In death, he's become a part of that which we use to live."

“Yup, and he’ll always be beside you. I have one more question though..”

“Yes?”

“Where is Caden and the rest of the group?”

“They await us outside the cavern, well they await you more likely.”

“How upset did he seem?”

“Which one? They were all very frantic, even Brynjolf.”

“Great…”

Lorelai said her goodbyes to Karliah and hastily left the cavern, when she stepped out into the sun she was blinded by its light. After being kept in almost complete darkness for God knows how long she winced at the warmth the sun offered her, once her vision cleared she looked about the clearing. She saw smoke from a campfire nearby and headed towards it, as she neared the camp she heard Brynjolf’s voice along with the other’s chiming in as well.

She smiled at the sound, her friends were close to her again and now she felt that Nocturnal’s influence was no longer as strong as it was. She walked into camp and all eyes turned to her, her mask and hood were still covering her face though so Brynjolf approached her thinking she was Karliah.

“Karliah? What are you doing? Did you forget something?”

She stood silently there taking in Brynjolf’s appearance through her narrow eye slits, she was so happy it was all over.

“What’s wrong lass?...Don’t tell me that Lorelai is….”

Lorelai lowered her head and her shoulders started shaking, she them reached up and removed her mask still keeping her face towards the ground, she felt Brynjolf’s hand on her shoulder and she reached up to pull her hood down. She looked up into the redhead's eyes and offered a teary eyed smile, Brynjolf took a second to realize Lorelai was the one standing in front of him. Before she could speak, she heard the heavy footfalls of her friends rushing to her side. She felt multiple arms around her hugging her close, she let the tears flow and silent sobs wracked her body.

“I missed you guys so much, never let me do that dumb shit again!”

Chapter Text

“It was very creepy my friend, one moment you were fine and then the next you were levitating. Your voice changed as well, it was more seductive than usual.”

Lorelai spat out the mead she had been drinking, she coughed a little bit before wiping her mouth on her sleeve and facing Inigo with disbelieving eyes.

“My voice was seductive in the beginning? You sure it was me you were talking to?”

Inigo chuckled as she continued staring at him from her seat on the ground, Caden and Kaidan were beside her as well and traded looks at the cat’s comment. Caden winked at Kaidan and the hunter nodded in understanding, they both faced Lorelai and when she saw them shift out of the corner of her eye she became alert.

“What are you two up to?”

“Nothing Love, just admiring the view. Right Caden?”

“Right, I’m offended you thought we were up to something Lori.”

“I don’t trust you two at all, besides I think I’ve had enough excitement and tricks for a while. I’m just glad Nocturnal is satisfied and we can take it easy for awhile.”

Just when she finished her sentence the boys leaned in and placed a single kiss on each of her cheeks, she tensed and blushed when she realized what they had done. Brynjolf was still with them as well and he rolled his eyes at the action, Lorelai sighed in frustration and playfully elbowed each warrior in the ribs which caused them to grunt and chuckle.

“Can’t you two be more mature like Bryn? He’s being so good just sitting over there and sipping his drink.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m mature lass, although I do appear to be the most grown one here. After all, I taught you a couple things the other night-”

BRYN!

But it was to late, Caden and Kaidan already heard it and sent very curious looks towards the skilled thief, Lorelai was having an internal panic attack about how Brynjolf could respond to this question. Brynjolf could care less if the rest of the group knew of his night with Lorelai, but for some reason it mattered to the lass. Even though he was usually one for boasting about his sexual encounters he sighed as he looked to Lorelai with hopeful eyes, he saw hesitation in her fearful eyes. He stood up from his seat and calmly walked over to Lorelai, he took her hand in his and bent in to whisper in her ear.

“It’s better that they hear it sooner rather than later lass, honesty is important when you travel in groups. Like how I am with the guild, please lass don’t hide this.”

Lorelai sighed as she realized he was right, she actually should have told them sooner but the moment never seemed right. Caden and Kaidan had still received no answer, Lorelai took a deep breath and turned towards her fierce companions.

“I...We have to tell you guys something….”

“Aye, but before you do lass I think I should grab my sword and dagger from the tent.”

“Why?”

“So I can defend myself, I don’t feel like getting my heart ran through with a blade.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as she let out a long sigh before turning to face her friends once more, she saw both Kaidan and Caden with looks of worry on their faces.

“It all started when we arrived from Winterhold, that night I went to bed early…”


The group was silent as Lorelai and Brynjolf finished the story, Lorelai was stuttering during her explanation of that night so Brynjolf found family friendly terms to explain the night they shared at that lone cabin in the wilderness. Caden and Kaidan shared mixed expressions of anger and disbelief as they looked from the thief to their now blushing friend, Inigo was not fazed by the story because he had no such feelings for Lorelai. Lorelai had covered her face with her hands and was now peeking through her fingers to see how mad Caden and Kaidan were, they seemed more confused than anything though. Caden ran a hand through his hair and Kaidan threw his head up to look at the dimly lit sky, Caden crossed his arms over his chest and looked to the woman across from him.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you let him talk you into it Lori? You told me that you were not ready for such things, what made you change your mind?”

“To be honest, I’m not sure what it was. One moment Brynjolf and I were talking in my room at the inn and the next thing I knew we were at the cabin and it just happened, I know that it wasn’t fair for me to keep this from either of you. Especially when I knew both of you had some sort of feelings for me…”

Brynjolf looked shocked at Lorelai’s words and put his arm around her shoulders, he received less than happy looks from the two warriors but her couldn’t give a shit in that moment.

“Don’t be sorry for anything lass, since when are these two louts in charge of who you share your bed with?”

“Careful there thief, wouldn’t want a sword in your back…”

“What gives you the right to tell this lass how to live? Does it come with the title of dragonborn? The lass did what she did and now its in the past, can’t you move on and just live with it.”

Lorelai watched as Caden and Kaidan went silent and ultimately turned away from the conversation, Inigo wanted to chime in and help but he felt that his input would be irrelevant due to the topic. Lorelai felt like she had cheated on both of them and she knew that even though neither of them had a definite relationship that she still betrayed their trust, but then she heard that silky voice in her head once more.

“Brynjolf has a point, I shouldn’t feel ashamed for following my instincts and acting on impulse. I understand if you two are upset, but life is full of instances where you just have to have faith that things will work out. I don’t regret what I did with Brynjolf, but if you do, maybe I will take Bryn up on his offer and help run the guild.”

Caden’s head whipped back towards Lorelai at that statement, as he was about to say something Inigo stood up and walked to stand beside Lorelai.

“My friends, we have to grow up. This is not how honorable warriors act. Lorelai followed her instincts, I often did the same when I was alone. Even though a lot of bad came with it, some good also had as well. Like following my brother on our adventure or quitting skooma after years of abuse, another great example is agreeing to follow this group around and have grand adventures! Why do we let instances like these to separate us?”

Kaidan groaned as he brought his eyes to meet those of the three standing across from him.

“You don’t understand Inigo, Caden and I had feelings for Lorelai and the fact that someone got to her before we could is devastating. Especially when the person she decided to lay with was a rotten thief!”

Brynjolf chuckled at the insult and squeezed Lorelai tightly against his side, she looked up at the red head and saw he was trying to not quip back.

“Careful there lad, this rotten thief is ahead of you in this game of romance. At least I know I don’t own Lorelai, she is free to do as she pleases. I know that not until I tell her my true feelings and make things official she is free to seek out whoever she pleases, she is not a child.”

Kaidan huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, Caden just felt as though his chances with Lorelai were slipping away from him. He thought he was the one who would take her first time, but he was beaten by a thief with a silver tongue. Lorelai sighed as she looked over the group, the air was filled with mixed emotions but Brynjolf was right.

“I know I let you guys down, but Bryn is right. If you were only after me because you thought I was easy to control then you were wrong, and if you were after me because I was a virgin then its over. I know Inigo is with me because he wants to be and because he wants me safe and happy, I thought you two just wanted the same no matter how that happiness came about.”

“Lass, you are more than welcome to accompany me back to Riften. You know that you are wanted there for your talents, the guild is like family and we protect and support our family.”

“I know Bryn, and I really appreciate it. However, I’m going to leave this choice to the others.”

“What do you mean lass?”

“I mean that I’ll let them make the choice of leaving because they no longer wish to stay in the group with me, or we let this be water under the bridge and move on with our lives here. They have until morning to decide, until then I will be in my tent. I’m tired after the whole possession and death defying thing, plus the sun is setting and I’m done with this conversation. Goodnight.”

Lorelai removed herself from the area and sealed herself in a tent that the guys had set aside for her when she returned from Nocturnal’s errand, Brynjolf watched as she pulled the tent flaps tight and turned back to a couple of angry warriors. The poor thief tensed but not enough to make it noticeable by the others, he simply crossed his arms and prepared for what they had to throw at him.

“If you have anything to say now's the time, I’m feeling quite tired myself after everything.”

Caden looked from Brynjolf to Kaidan and back again before sighing and standing up, he calmly approached Brynjolf and extended a hand towards him. Brynjolf eyed him suspiciously but took his hand anyway to show that he was open to parting ways as unlikely friends.

“I’m not angry at you Brynjolf, I’m mad at myself for not telling her sooner. You’re right about her, and I hope that she finds happiness in the guild as a leader.”

“Wait, what? Are you actually telling me that you’re leaving the group because of this?”

“Just for a little while, I need to be alone with my thoughts.”

“Lad, you were the first person Lorelai trusted in Skyrim. Now you want to leave her over this?”

“Like I said it won’t be forever, I just need time. Plus where I’m going next is too dangerous for her right now.”

“And where exactly is that?”

“I’ve decided to enlist in the Dawnguard to help stop the Vampire crisis, I think it is what is best for her to leave her in your hands. Also I want you to give her this key, it is the key to my house in Riften. She can live there while she helps get the guild back on its feet, I’ll write a letter for you to give to my housecarl so she is protected. Goodnight.”

Caden left the fire side and walked into his tent and closed the flaps, Brynjolf was shocked at his answer but knew he could do nothing to change his mind. The thief was disappointed with the Caden’s choice and turned to Kaidan with a similar attitude.

“And what about you hunter? Are you going to leave the lass as well, after you told me that she saved you from the clutches of the Thalmor?”

Kaidan had lost the witty spark that usually rested behind his dark eyes, but he didn’t know if he could leave Lorelai in the hands of a common thief. He sighed as he stood up and approached Brynjolf with a neutral expression.

“I’ll be nearby, I’ve obtained enough coin in our travels to afford a small place outside Ivarstead. Even though I think it’s dangerous to leave Lorelai in you complete care, I think I need some time to think about my feelings. I know that if my heart truly wants to be with Lorelai I won’t be able to stay away for long, I’ll say my goodbyes in the morning with Caden.”

“Really? After all she did for you? You’d leave her after this one thing?!”

“You don’t understand Brynjolf, just let us be and we will return in time.”

“I just don’t get how you could do this to a woman who has done nothing but support your asses, she is trapped here and the people she trusts are just leaving her.”

“Goodnight Brynjolf.”

Kaidan then retreated to his tent as well and sealed himself inside, Inigo was still standing by Brynjolf’s side and the Khajiit put his hand on the man’s shoulder.

“I will always remain with Lorelai, she has done nothing but support me and listen to my stories. I will help you watch over her, do not worry everything will work out.”

“I just can’t stand the thought of them leaving the lass, she’s going to be heartbroken in the morning.”

“We will be there to help her through it, but shouldn’t we tell her to prepare her for it?” “I’ll do it, you go take your shift for patrols. Let me talk to the poor lass.”

“Alright my friend, good luck.”

Brynjolf watched Inigo go stand on the outskirts of the camp, at least the cat had a sense of loyalty. Brynjolf sighed as he went into his tent to change out of his own Nightingale armour into a simple tunic and cotton breeches, then he made his way over to Lorelai’s tent and called out to her.

“Lass? Are you awake?”

He heard rustling from inside the secluded area and soon Lorelai popped her head out to greet him.

“What is it Bryn?”

“We need to talk, mind if I come in?”

“Talk huh? Are we just talking or do have something else up your sleeve?”

“Although the thought of ravishing you like a wild beast crossed my mind I think the talk is all I need right now, although I am open to suggestions.”

Lorelai giggled as she welcomed Brynjolf into her tent and closed the flaps behind him, A single lantern illuminated the space inside. Lorelai sat on her bedroll while Brynjolf took a seat across from her on a pare slab of fur, hopefully the lass takes the news somewhat well.

“Now what do you want to talk about Bryn?”

“It’s about the others lass, specifically Caden and Kaidan.”

“Did they try to kill you when I left?”

“No, but-”

“Then I would just give them a few days to relax, the journey back to Riften should prove enough I think. They never hold grudges for too long, I’m sure that once we reach The Bee and Barb they will be talking and drinking like normal."

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that lass…”

“They aren’t mad at you Bryn, it’s me they have a problem with. But I think we can work past it if we just-”

“Lass!”

“What?”

“They aren’t coming back with us…”

Lorelai felt something crack inside her at that statement, surely she had heard him wrong. She felt her heart beat faster and she dug her nails into her palms to quell her anxiety, she looked into Brynjolf’s eyes and hoped he was joking.

“That’s not funny Bryn.”

“I’m sorry lass, it’s true. Caden and Kaidan told me that they will be leaving in the morning, they want to spend some time away from the group. They left you to me and Inigo, and Caden also offered you his house in Riften he gave me the key.”

“No...no they wouldn’t just leave me alone… not after everything we’ve gone through…”

“Lass..”

“Please Brynjolf, say its a joke. It’s not true… it can’t be.”

“I wish it was lass, I hated their choice but I couldn’t sway them.”

“B-but…”

Lorelai felt tears running down her face, were they really leaving her? Was sleeping with Brynjolf really that bad? She was just following her instincts and now she was losing friends because of it, she apologized and admitted her wrongs but they were leaving her anyway. She felt her blood run cold as her body started to shake a little from this unwanted news, Brynjolf hated seeing her like this and he felt that he could kill both Kaidan and Caden for what they were putting her through. He crawled over to her bed roll and wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug, she clung to Brynjolf like he was the only thing holding her down to earth. It was happening all over again, someone was leaving and it was all her fault.

“I’m not worth anything am I Bryn? Just another person for people to use and cast aside like trash.”

“Lass, don’t talk like that. It’s not true and you know it.”

“But it’s happened before, I try so hard to be the person that everyone can like or relate to. Then I make one wrong or unpopular decision and the world caves in, it’s always my fault because I’m worthless and never do enough.”

“Lorelai, you just saved the guild from certain doom. You did that out of the kindness of your heart, even when we kidnapped you to get to Caden you came back to help us and fix the problems we had.”

“It’s never enough Brynjolf, it never will be in their eyes. I’ll never live up to their expectations or be what they want me to be, I’ll never be enough…”

Brynjolf sensed that she wasn’t talking about the group with that last statement, that was the work of old wounds reopening and coming back to the surface. He pulled her tighter against his chest as a form of comfort, he didn’t know what those invisible wounds were but he knew that the lass was someplace dark and she was sinking lower as the seconds ticked by.

“But you are enough Lorelai, don’t let anyone tell you different. I could spend my whole life trying to convince you of your worth, I know Inigo could. You’ve been the strong and understanding one holding this group together, I think everyone messes up and you are no exception.”

“I shouldn’t be here Bryn, I shouldn’t be anywhere. I don’t belong and sometimes I think a swift blade to the chest would fix everyone’s problems, because I wouldn’t be here to cause them. I’ve been told that I’m not good enough, that I do everything wrong, that I’ll never amount to anything because I don’t have dedication. That I fail as a daughter because I’m not who my parents wanted me to be, I’m not worth anything to anyone and I know I should be used to it by now. So much rejection and hatred was thrown at me and now I don’t think I can take anymore…”

“Lass, never degrade yourself like this again. You are a unique gift from the Divines, I bet even Mara herself gave you that voice and those looks to bring joy to all those you meet. Everyone has bad days and they may look like they will never end, but know this Lorelai. I’ve been there too, when I had nothing to my name except a bad reputation and a cell in the jail. Your life can feel pointless and dark, but something always happens to make it better. You were that to me.”

“What?”

“When I first saw you with Caden I’ll admit that a good roll in the furs was all I wanted to have, but then we talked and I felt a connection spark between us. That night in the cabin is one I wouldn’t trade for anything and I know now that it truly meant something to you as well as me. I’ll be here for you lass, no matter how tough the times may be. I promise.”

Lorelai looked up at him with tear stained cheeks and bloodshot eyes, she knew he was being honest and she slightly nodded her head in silence. She took a few deep breaths and put her hands on the arms that were holding her.

“Can you stay with me tonight Bryn? I… I don’t trust myself right now…”

“Of course lass.”

Lorelai fell asleep in Brynjolf’s arms as they squeezed into the bedroll, Brynjolf didn’t know why the lass said what she said but he would tell Inigo to watch over her closely until this depression eased up. He pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead and shut his own eyes to try and sleep, the group was splitting up and Lorelai was adrift in the waves of depression. Who hurt her like this? All Brynjolf knew is that he needed to make sure the lass survived, nothing was going to keep him from protecting her.

Chapter Text

It had been two months since the group split up, Lorelai along with Inigo and Brynjolf were holed up in Riften getting the Thieves guild back to where it was before all of the Mercer and Gallus drama began. Kaidan was living in the Rift just outside of Ivarsteead in a small hunting lodge he had purchased, his days were spent hunting and traveling into town to sell his pelts or the fresh meat he had taken from his kills. Caden on the other hand was currently on his way to meet the last Vigilant of Stendarr at a crypt that vampires were said to be obsessed with, when he had first shown up at that old fort beyond the Rift Caden thought that the operation was falling apart.

After meeting Isran he felt the pure passion the man had for slaying those blood drinkers, but this mission to Dimhollow Crypt was the last thing he wanted to do.

“I hope this new armour holds up, it’s a little weaker than my Dragonbone set. I wonder where that damned Vigilant is, hopefully he got scared and I’ll have the freedom to do this my way.”

As Caden came upon his destination he smelled the stench of blood permeate the air, he cursed under his breath as he grabbed his cross-bow and crept inside the cavern. He heard two rough and gravel like voices speaking in hushed tones, he caught pieces of their conversation but he felt a sudden dread over take him as he saw a couple Death Hounds standing beside their undead masters. He aimed his weapon at the beasts and easily took care of the demonic mutts, he then took out one of the pale atrocities but before the undead bitch turned to dust she let out a scream of pain alerting her companion.

“Damn, well I guess I get to use these new fire enchanted weapons Isran gave me.”

Caden charged into battle deflecting the spells that the beast hurled at him, the man’s nails clashed against Caleb’s sword as they danced around each other. Caleb finally stabbed his opponent cleanly through the ribs and the man turned to dust before him, Caleb sheathed his weapon and walked towards the dead body lying on the cave floor.

“Stupid man, charging into a den of undead monsters without so much as a healing potion. At least he’s with his comrades now, but how do I get that gate open?”

He walked over to the decrepit looking tower to find a single lever waiting for him at the top of a small staircase, the mechanism was rusty and hard to push but with enough effort Caleb was able to open the gate and venture further into the ruins.

After fighting off more Death Hounds along with their fanged masters he finally made it to large open cavern, he heard another set of voices greet his ears as he looked down from the balcony where he was positioned. Caden’s eyes widened as he saw another Vigilant with the vampires, the man looked beaten and tired with little life left in him. Caden couldn’t hear the conversation but he saw the vampire slice open the poor man’s neck and watch as his blood pooled on the old stone.

“Bastard.”

Caden armed himself and then sped down to the platform where the murdering beasts were, after a small skirmish two piles of dust we formed at Caden’s feet. He grabbed the journal off of the poor man’s body and made his way over a stone bridge to a large stone arch system, it was definitely ancient stone work. As he wandered around the strange arena he saw a strange burst of purple fire spewing from a small cauldron, he saw many similar structures around the area and noticed that even though the first was stationary the others were situated on tracks.

“What kind of dark magic is this?”

Caden spent a good amount of time pushing all the cauldrons to the right area, but nothing happened. He walked to the center of the chamber and found a rather odd statue there, he ran his fingers along it and suddenly he felt a pain shoot into his hand and blood flow into the statue to sink below the floor. He backed away from the strange pedestal and soon the whole space was illuminated by the strange purple light, the ground started shaking as the center of the room sunk lower to reveal a strange metal box standing tall at the bottom. He descended the newly formed steps and stood before the odd box, he sensed an overwhelming power radiating from the now exposed pillar.

“What the hell?”

The box made a groaning noise as the front panel slid open and a woman with an Elder Scroll strapped to her back, the woman fell forward and Caden caught her in his arms. He felt that her skin was as cold as ice, but when she looked up at him with those glowing golden eyes he knew what she was. The woman seemed a little confused but she quickly came to her senses and extracted herself from Caden’s grasp, he took a couple steps back from her with a hand on his sword. The woman looked around the cavern and then back to Caden with calm eyes, she folded her hands together and let her soft voice flow forward.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?”

“I could as you the same thing, not everyday you find a vampire sealed in a stone coffin with an Elder Scroll attached to her back.”

“You know what this is?”

“That I do, but my concern is to why you have one.”

“I don’t trust you enough to give you that information.”

“Hmph, then how about a name?”

“My name is Serana.”

“Caden.”

“Can I ask a favour of you?”

“Depends on what that favour is, if my friends knew I was allowing a vampire to live long enough to talk to me I would have my head on a pike.”

“So you are a vampire hunter, I’m not surprised. However, I only ask this one thing of you, after it’s done you never have to see me again.”

“What do you want?”

“I need a guide, I need to go back to my home.”

“You have family? Where are they? Are they back in Cyrodiil in the Empire’s territory?”

“Empire? What Empire?”

“Uh, the Imperial Empire? The ones that control most of Tamriel besides Skyrim?”

“I’ve been gone longer than I thought, I need to get back quickly.”

“You still haven’t told me where you need to go.”

“Castle Volkihar, it’s northwest of here on an island off the coast. Please, I need to see what’s become of my home.”

“Alright quite whining, I’ll take you there but it’s the last thing I’m doing for you.”

“Thank you.”


Meanwhile back in Riften Lorelai and Inigo were strolling through the market when her eyes fell on a new silver and sapphire necklace Madesi had at his stall.

“That’s beautiful Madesi! Is that what the flawless sapphires were for?”

“It is, your assistance with gathering the gems was very much appreciated Lorelai. I promise to give you a portion of the pay once I sell this fine item to the client.”

“Lovely, well have a good day.”

She looped her arm through Inigo’s and they walked towards the temple, they stopped to put some nightshade flowers by the graves before entering the small mausoleum the guild used to enter the cistern.

“You are very well liked in Riften my friend, you might even achieve the status of Thane if you keep helping people.”

“I don’t want the title, it’s enough that I told Brynjolf I would take up the mantle as leader of the Thieves Guild, we are so close to having the guild back to full power. Bryn even said that the last merchant agreed to the terms and is due to move in any day, everything seems to be going smoothly…”

“But you are not happy.”

Lorelai sighed as she pressed the switch opening up the secret passage, they descended the ladder into the now nicely furnished cistern. Rugs and cabinets filled with fresh food met her eyes, they had worked hard over the past couple months to make the guild actually look and feel like a home for the members involved. They even hired a few new recruits and the gold was coming in at a steady pace, she smiled and waved at all her new friends and they all returned her gestures. Rune, Vipir, Sapphire, almost all of them had built a relationship with her that she cherished, then her eyes found Bryn’s and a soft warmth filled her chest.

She and Bryn had grown rather close and they spent a large amount of their time together, whether it was planning a new mission or having a little...fun during their late night meetings.

“Back so soon Lass? Did you miss me?”

Lorelai smiled and walked over to the man’s side and playfully crossed her arms over her chest, she loved the banter she shared with Brynjolf. It reminded her of the conversation the old group shared, this was the only way she could remember the fun times before everything fell apart.

“You know I love your banter Bryn, but I think we all know that it’s you who seems to panic when I’m no longer around.”

“Hmph, and what if that’s true Lass? How’re you gonna fix this sad little heart of mine?”

She rolled her eyes as she grabbed him by the collar of his armour and pulled him down to meet her gaze on an even level, she leaned into his ear and let her voice greet him.

“We both know a few ways we can raise your spirits, but I have to see Delvin about a Numbers job.”

She placed a parting kiss on his cheek and she and Inigo went towards the Ragged Flagon, Rune and Vipir came to stand by Brynjolf’s side and offered low whistles as they watched Lorelai saunter away. Vipir laughed as he patted Bryn on the shoulder, Rune did the same as he offered up his thoughts.

“You’re lucky Brynjolf, she’s the best thief here and by far the most alluring. Don’t tell Vex I said that.”

“I am a lucky bastard, but I’m not what she needs.”

“What are you talking about!?”

“We all know that our little Lorelai would be a much better housewife than sewer rat like us, and I’m not giving up the trade anytime soon.”

“Does she want that life?”

“Honestly? I’m not sure what she wants anymore, ever since her old gang split she hasn’t been the same. Not to say I don’t care about her, but I know that deep down she misses Caden and Kaidan. I think that Khajiit does as well, they were quite the group.”

“But we’d miss her, plus she’s our leader ain’t she?”

“Aye, that she is. But we could keep in touch with her through letters and the occasional visit, with the last merchant setting up shop we’re back at full power.”

“But...we’d miss her.”

“You’ve said that Rune, come on let’s get everyone into the cistern for the ceremony. Tonila already got the new armour set for her, all we have to do is get everyone here and have Inigo lead her back in once they’re done speaking with Delvin.”

Inigo and Lorelai we talking with Delvin about their last job in Whiterun, the older man was calmly sipping his ale while he threw a pouch full of coin towards Lorelai.

“Ere’s your pay, you’ve done well. Now, I must say that I’m proud of ya and thankful for what ya did for the guild. Bryn was right about you.”

Lorelai smirked as she thought about all she has been through because of the guild, most of it involved Caden and it made her sad to think she hadn’t seen him in such a long time. Everything considered it was a fun time, she had made zero progress on how she could return home but now she wasn’t sure if she wanted to.

“He originally wanted Caden, I was just a lucky find. My...gifts was what attracted Brynjolf to me, I was a major asset to the guild and now that everything's back to how it used to be I think that my talents will be of better use somewhere else…”

“But we need ya ere, actually follow me back into the cistern.”

Lorelai shrugged her shoulders as she and Inigo followed behind the rugged man, when they re-entered the wide room she saw every member of the guild forming around the edges of the area. She even saw Maven there to supervise, she continued to follow Delvin until she stood in front of the three best thieves in the place along with Karliah. Inigo was by her side and offered her a kind smile as Brynjolf stepped forward with his arms crossed, she saw his eyes full with pride as he looked at her.

“Well lass you’ve done it, you’ve helped us restore the guild to its former glory. I say its about time we make things official don’t you?”

“Bryn, we both know I’m not really-”

“But you are lass, you are more than capable to lead this band of louts. Now then let's get on with it, I nominate Lorelai as the new leader of the Thieves Guild. What say the rest of you?”

Lorelai looked to the other three and saw everyone nod their head in agreement, even Vex showed no sign of objection as she sent a small smile towards Lorelai. Brynjolf chuckled at Lorelai’s expression and placed his hands on his hips.

“Well then if no one has any objections it’s official, you’re head of the guild now lass. May you be guided by Nocturnal and may our pockets be lined with riches during your leadership, here is you new armour and the Amulet of Articulation. It’s the same amulet that has been passed down since before Mercer’s time, and the key to the tribute chest as Master you get a significant cut of all the money we earn.”

“Bryn, I don’t know what to say…”

“That’s a first, go and change into that new armour we’re all celebrating at the Bee and Barb tonight. My treat.”

She shook her head as she took the armour, amulet, and key from Tonila. The armour was even cooler in person than in the game, it had more pockets and dagger holsters than she thought necessary though. She told them that she’d meet them at the tavern and she and Inigo left for Honeyside, she had been living in Caden’s house for the past couple months and he hadn’t written her once. Kaidan had sent a couple letters but they felt forced and she wanted to see him in person, and as for Caden she just wanted to get the group back together.

After she and Inigo reached the small house she quickly changed into her new armour and placed her weapons in the new sheaths that came with it, Inigo had a similar armour set considering he joined the guild as well in order to keep a close eye on Lorelai.

“That look suits you my friend, to think I am friends with one of the best thieves in Skyrim.”

“You aren’t so bad yourself Inigo, we make quite the team.”

“That we do, are you ready to go?”

“Yeah, I’m excited to see Talen and Keerava. Talen said that the next time we visit he would show me the ring we helped him forge, those flawless amethysts weren’t easy to come by.”

“I am happy he is finally proposing to Keerava, those two might quite the couple.”

“I think so too.”

They locked the door to the small house as they laughed on the way to the tavern, once they entered they were greeted with loud cheers and pints of ale raised in air. Brynjolf sauntered over and handed each of them a drink before draping his arm happily over Lorelai’s shoulders. She rolled her eyes as she leaned into his touch, Inigo left her side to talk with Vipir and Vex about future jobs. Brynjolf needed to talk to her alone, and only one place came to mind when he thought about Lorelai. After a few drinks the tavern started to clear out and Lorelai was still by Brynjolf’s side, Inigo said he was going home and she had said she wanted to stay a little longer.

“Lass.”

“Hmm?”

“Wanna go to our special place?”

“It’s not really special when the guild knows about it, that safe house is used by everyone Bryn. We just use it for...personal reasons.”

“Still.”

“Sure, let’s go. It’ll be nice to get out of the city for a little bit, especially with you Bryn.”

He chuckled as he linked his arm through hers and they swiftly left the tavern and exited the city, they laughed as they traversed through the dark forest until the cabin’s fire came into view. They extinguished it on the way inside and locked the door behind them, Lorelai lit the fire in the fireplace and the room soon filled with a warm orange light.

“This brings back memories huh Bryn?”

“Sure does Lass, very fun memories…”

“Smooth as ever, but what did you want to talk about?”

“What makes you think I want to talk?”

“I know you Bryn, I can tell when something is on your mind. Although I have no doubts that sex is also swimming around in your thoughts.”

“Clever girl, but I do need to talk to you about something.”

“Being?”

“Caden and Kaidan, you miss them and I know you want to find them.”

Lorelai sighed as she sat down at the edge of the bed, she folded her hands in her lap and stared at her thumbs.

“I know where Kaidan is, but as for Caden well…”

“I’m sure they both miss you terribly, and I know Caden only joined the Dawnguard to distract himself from the truth.”

“The truth being?”

“He loves you, they both do. In more ways than one.”

“I’m not so sure about that Bryn, for all I know Caden could be a vampire. He probably wouldn’t recognize me anyway.”

Brynjolf looked over Lorelai and thought about her appearance, she had cut most of her hair off and it was now styled in a s sort of wavy bob. She had tanned rather well due to all her missions with Inigo, she had also gained a decent amount of muscle definition and she looked better than ever in his opinion. Plus he knew something she didn’t, a courier had visited the guild a couple days ago while she and Inigo were on a mission. A single letter had came that day, one he hadn’t been expecting.

“I think that you occupy his thoughts more than you think Lass…”

“What makes you think that?"

“Because he wrote you a letter.”

Chapter Text

Dear Lori,

I know that I have kept out of contact with you for many weeks, but it seems that no matter how hard I try or what I choose to occupy myself with, you still dominate most of my mind. I’ve joined the Dawnguard as I had intended, I even ventured into an ancient crypt to find a woman encased in a stone coffin. I returned her home and now I still fight with the Dawnguard, I’ve spent most of my time finding Isran’s old friends and escorting them back to the fort beyond the Rift. Everytime I pass through the Rift I find myself hesitating to leave, you are such a short walk away yet I can never bring myself to enter the city. I hope Inigo and Brynjolf have kept you safe and that you are happy with them at your side, I know I have no right to ask this of you but I wish to see you again.

I recognize that what I did was wrong, I shouldn’t have left your side and I’ve regretted that choice everyday. I’m sure Kaidan has as well, but he’s too proud to admit it. I’m coming to Riften soon with a new companion I would like for you to meet, I think that you two would get along quite nicely. Isran said she can’t stay at the fort anymore and Honeyside is the next closest home I can provide her, anyway, by the time this letter reaches you we will probably arrive within the next three days. If you don’t show up at the inn or the house I’ll have my answer and I promise not to bother you anymore, but please understand I am deeply sorry for what I have done to you. I’ve written to Kaidan as well and I plan to meet up with him before heading to Riften, we’ll have the old group together again.

I hope we can all put the past behind us and focus on our futures, a part of me fears that you’ve already left Skyrim and returned to your world. Which in that case I expect Brynjolf to meet us and tell us that news personally, I look forward to seeing you Lori.

-Caden

Lorelai felt tears form in the corners of her eyes as she refolded the letter and set it on the bedside table, Brynjolf sat beside her and put a comforting arm around her pulling her close to his chest.

“Bastard, that wasn’t fair…”

“Do you want to see them Lass? You don’t have to but I think you should.”

“I want to see them, but its been months since the gang split up and now he just wants us to get back together like nothing happened. And he found Serana…”

“Who’s Serana?”

“She’s a… woman he met through his adventures as part of the Dawnguard. She’s nice, but she has a unique weakness to sun that makes her vulnerable.”

“Odd, but he left it up to you Lorelai. You don’t have to travel together, he said he just wants to see you again. You could get closure from this, either way you get to see old friends.”

“You’re right Bryn, as always.”

“Normally I would agree, but there are many things I’ve been wrong about. Now dry those eyes, crying doesn’t suit you.”

She smiled as she leaned into his chest and wiped her eye with the back of her hand, she felt him press a gentle kiss to her head and she slowly looked up to meet his gaze.

“Is that all you wanted Bryn?”

“Well yes, among other things…”

He sealed her lips with his own as they fell back onto the bed, Lorelai rolled herself over onto Brynjolf and sat up while straddling his hips. Her shoulder length hair hung loosely around her cheeks as her sea colored eyes bore into him, his hands fell into the curves of her hips as he held her on top of him. This had become almost like clockwork, after one of them returned from a mission or heist they always wound up back at this cabin. If Brynjolf was being honest, he found the whole relationship comforting, but as much as he liked the lass he knew he could never be what she needed. His mind snapped back out of his thoughts as he felt Lorelai slowly begin to roll her hips against him, all their encounters had turned her into quite the tease.

“You’re not usually on top Lass, what’s the occasion?”

She let out a sultry giggle as she leaned back down to kiss Brynjolf’s exposed neck, he sighed at the sensation and took the chance to breathe in the scent of honey and lavender.

“I want to show you that I can take charge, with the new title of Guild Master I need to prove I can...control the lower ranks.”

He felt his manhood twitch at the thought of her actually taking charge and being assertive, they had tried many different things while in this cabin but she had never had the courage to take charge. Until tonight that is.

“Shame that uniform has to come off so soon Lass, it fit you rather well.”

“So I’ve been told, but I’m sure what lies beneath is what you want to see.”

“You know me so well.”

She laughed as she stood up from the bed, Brynjolf tried to follow but she pushed him back down. She told him that she would be removing his armour when the time was right, as for right now she was the only one stripping. Brynjolf didn’t object as he watched her nimble fingers undo clasp after clasp on her armour until her cuirass was forgotten on the floor, her leather trousers and boots soon followed until she was nearly naked in front of him. Her breast band and underwear were made of cotton that was dyed the color of blood, she had recently purchased them from Radiant Raiments and was looking for an excuse to wear them.

“You’re drooling Brynjolf.”

The man hastily wiped the corner of his mouth to find she was only kidding, she laughed softly as she walked back over to the bed. Brynjolf reached a hand up to touch her exposed flesh but she pushed his hand away as she lowered herself down towards the floor, she spread his legs apart and slowly ran her hands along his clothed legs as she pushed herself up between his legs.

“You can’t touch me Brynjolf, if you do, I'll stop.”

“S-stop what?”

“Whatever I’m doing,so some restraint until I say otherwise. Got it?”

Brynjolf nodded as she untied the leather cord that held his trousers closed, she leaned back and removed his boots first before returning to her place at his groin. She took hold of his pants and slowly dragged them down his legs, she could tell he wanted her to go faster but she was having fun watching him squirm. After she threw his pants across the floor she ran her hand over his loincloth roughly, he groaned at the sensation of her hand coming to contact with his semi hard length.

“You’re such a tease lass.”

“I’ve learned from the best.”

“Cheeky.”

She then made quick work of that cloth between his thighs and his cock sprung free, she took it in her hand and slowly made a circular motion with her wrist. She placed her tongue on the tip and made small circles around the head, after lubricating it she took most of him in her mouth and bobbed her head up and down in his lap. Brynjolf tried to focus on keeping his hands at his side in order for her to continue her actions, but every fiber in him wanted to grab her hair and make her go further down his shaft. It was as if she had read his mind, because that’s exactly what she did next. She went harder and rougher as she took his entire length into her mouth, Brynjolf’s hands dug into the furs as he began pumping his hips to match her pace. She slowed her movements and then came off of his length with a pop, she licked her lips as the taste of pre-cum slid across her tongue.

“I’m surprised Bryn, you actually listened to me.”

His heavy breathing was the only thing that greeted her ears as he took in her form hungrily, he wanted all of her right now and he felt he had been patient enough for one night. His arms shot forward and wrapped around her waist as she allowed him to pick her up and throw her on the bed before climbing on top of her.

“Or not…”

His lips clashed against hers as he rubbed his now very prominent erection up and down the length of her thigh, she knew what he wanted but she was going to make him work for it. She pushed him off of her slightly as a blush raced to her cheeks, he looked down through hooded eyes at his lover.

“What? What’s the matter Lass?”

“Nothing, I just want the favour returned…”

Brynjolf didn’t need to be told twice, he made quick work of her underclothes and then positioned his head between her smooth legs. Her natural scent was intoxicating to him, before he began his work he removed his cuirass and threw it to the side. Now they were both naked and free to move however they wished, Brynjolf was ready to thoroughly enjoy his partner. His tongue danced along her upper thigh as he teased her, getting so close to her core but never actually touching it. Her soft whimpers were music to his ears, he was doing to her what she had done to him. Eventually he couldn’t take it anymore either and ran his tongue along her wet folds, his saliva mixing with her juices was quite the turn on.

“B-bryn...please…”

He knew what she wanted, and he was more than ready to give it to her. He kissed each of her thighs before crawling back up her body and kissing her passionately, her arms weakly wrapped around his neck as she felt him position himself at her entrance. However, she wrapped her legs around his waist and flipped him on his back. He smirked and grabbed her waist tightly, she inserted his length into her dripping center and sunk all the way down until he was completely buried inside her.

“I’m in charge Bryn...remember…”

She slowly started bouncing up and down as her ass clapped against his skin, her breasts were moving in time with her motions and Brynjolf found himself reaching towards them. As she continued riding him his thumbs teased her erect nipples and massaged her tender breasts, her moans and whimpers filled the room as Bryn bucked his hips to match her pace. Brynjolf needed to go faster, although he was enjoying her being on top for a change. He flipped them back over and thrust deep into her, she screamed in pleasure as he hit her weak spot.

His pace was fast and rough causing her moans to grow louder and louder until he finally felt her walls contract and squeeze around him while her orgasm overtook her and coated his shaft. After a couple more thrusts Brynjolf felt his release as well and pulled out of her to finish on her chest, her heaving breasts were now coated with his cum and he loved her in that state. She grabbed a rag from the bedside table and cleaned herself off before settling back in the bed and snuggling against her lover.

“It gets better every time Lass, I like how bold you’ve become.”

“I learned from the master.”

“Look who’s smooth now.”


Meanwhile a very tired trio was walking through the gates of Riften, two men and a very pale woman entered the quiet inn as Talen rushed to meet them. The argonian offered them the remaining two rooms and said he looked forward to hearing about their travels in the morning.

“Didn’t you tell me you had a house here Caden?”

“Yes, but someone is using it right now.”

“But it’s your house…”

“The person inside probably wants to see me on her own terms, we stay in the inn tonight until I hear otherwise. Kaidan, did you pay for that bottle of mead?”

“Don’t worry about that, it’s late and I need something to help me go to bed. Especially when we finally get to see her in the morning, I might need more than this one bottle actually…”

Serana rolled her eyes as she closed herself in her room, the boys took the other and quickly fell into bed as well. Kaidan and Caden quickly fell asleep and were lucky enough to have a dreamless sleep, and in the morning they awoke to a loud commotion coming from the main floor of the inn.

“What the hell is going on down there? It’s early, don't they know people are still trying to sleep?”

“Nice to see you still aren’t a morning person Kai, good to know some things never change.”

“Shut it.”

They quickly dressed in town clothes before the headed downstairs, they heard a woman’s voice rising above the normal chatter and they immediately recognized who it belonged to. Once they were at the bottom of the steps they saw her, Lorelai was yelling at Sapphire for the deal she had manipulated with one of the men that helped run the stable. She had cut her hair, but her armour had changed as well. The men continued to stare as the Master of the Thieves Guild scolded one of her members, they also saw Brynjolf and Inigo watching in amusement as the small woman let the reclusive thief leave to apologize to the poor man.

“Gods, I love Sapphire but she can be such a-”

Her eyes fell on her two old friends, Inigo noticed them as well and rushed to her side. She had failed to fill Inigo in after she returned from the cabin with Brynjolf last night, well it was a nice surprise for him.

“Caden! Kaidan! My friends! You’ve returned to Riften, how wonderful! Lorelai look who has come to visit!”

Lorelai simply nodded her head as Brynjolf came to stand at her side to offer support, she motioned towards a long table near the corner and they all walked towards it. Lorelai felt happy to see them, but she also was afraid to talk to them in person after so long apart. Inigo on the other hand was doing enough talking for all of them, he was telling them about the work he and Lorelai had done to restore the Thieves Guild and how she had just recently been put in charge of the growing faction. He also stated that many people enjoyed her around the city and that she had made many friends and overcome her social awkwardness for the most part.

“Inigo, shouldn’t this be my news?”

That was the first time they heard Lorelai’s voice since they saw her that morning, it still sounded as sweet and kind as they remembered. Even if her outer appearance changed they knew she was probably still the same caring and weird girl underneath it all. Kaidan couldn’t get over how strong she had become, while Caden was more interested in the reason why she had cut her hair so short.

“Sorry Lorelai, I was just excited.”

“I know Inigo, it’s one of your best qualities.”

“What quality?”

“Your energy, and the happiness you spread. Although I have a question for Caden.”

Hearing her say his name after so long sparked something in him, he knew this feeling from before. He was still attracted to her, he knew now that this feeling would never leave him.

“What question would that be...Lori.”

“Where’s Serana?”

“How do you know-”

“Are you really about to ask that question?”

“Nevermind. She’s upstairs still, you know that sunlight isn’t good for her.”

“I know, although bringing a vampire here is less than wise. We’ve been seeing some members you little hunting party around here recently, we’ll need to keep an eye on her.”

“We?”

“Got a problem with me hanging around? Isn’t that why you wrote to me? I’ll admit meeting you kinda scared me a little, but I’m glad I decided to go through with it.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, it’s nice to see Inigo smiling.”

He didn’t know what he was expecting her to say, but the part about Inigo caused his hopes to drop a little. She turned her attention away from Caden and towards her more reserved friend, he still looked the same for the most part.

“How’ve you been Kai?”

“Fine, I’ve been living outside Ivarstead and making my way by hunting. Even sold a couple of bone amulets that I used to practice my scrimshaw.”

“That reminds me, look here.”

She reached into her armour and produced the dragonbone amulet Kaidan had given her in Solitude, she never took it off. It kept the memories close to her heart, even after they left she felt like they never really did.

“You still wear it?”

“Of course, it’s a unique piece. Not to mention it was given to me by a very special friend, I couldn’t take it off.”

Kaidan smiled at her words and took a slow drink for a bottle in front of him, Caden had still kept his eyes on her hair. Lorelai felt his eyes burning a hole in her head, she sighed and turned back to him with annoyed eyes.

“Got something on your mind Caden?”

“Why’d you cut your hair?”

“Hazards of the job, when Inigo and I were on a heist a bandit caught hold of my braid. In a panic I took my dagger and sliced it off, when we got back I have Vekel touch it up. It’s been this length for the last month and a half.”

“I see…”

“One more question Caden.”

“Yeah?”

“Where do you want to go from here?”

Chapter Text

“Everybody ready to go?”

“Yes my friend, although I fail to see how this moth priest will help us…”

“He reads Elder Scrolls Inigo, it’s what Serana needs to decipher the scroll.”

Lorelai and Inigo were waiting in the inn with Kaidan and Caden as Serana descended to steps, she looked pretty on screen but in person her skin was so pale it made Lorelai shiver. This morning Serana had joined them for breakfast, she had explained the prophecy that Lorelai already knew and she and Inigo wanted to help. Caden had protested because of the danger but Lorelai ignored him, she was ready to get the hell out of Riften and actually go somewhere new. Sure she and Inigo had gone to the major cities for jobs, but she wanted to just walk through the land like they had before. She wasn’t thrilled with the idea of vampires trying to kill her, but it provided a change of scenery she was more than eager to see.

“Ready to go Serana?”

“Yes, you are Lorelai correct? Caden has told me many things about you.”

“Really? Uh-oh…”

“Nothing bad, I’d go as far as to say that he’s actually in lo-”

SINCE everyone is ready, let's head out, we have to get to dragon bridge.”

Caden’s sudden interruption startled the girls and they stared at him with worried eyes, he wasted no time ushering the whole group out of the inn and into the marketplace. Lorelai was clutching her pack as she shuffled forward, she dug her heels into the stones and stopped instantly. So instantly Kaidan had run into her, she turned to face Caden with an annoyed look on her face.

“Can you chill?! I didn’t even put my pack on and you’re pushing me out into the night!”

“Easy there Lass, you’ll startle the guards with that voice of yours.”

Lorelai spun back around to see Brynjolf leaning against his dark stall, he had said that he hated goodbyes but she knew he would see her off anyway. She smiled as she jogged over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight embrace, she snaked his arms around her waist and lifted her into the air as he returned her hug. He was going to miss her, but he knew she wouldn’t stay away long...hopefully.

“Be careful out there Lass, I won’t be there to protect you.”

“I’ll be fine, I have Inigo with me like always. Not to mention Kaidan and Serana, they are some of the best fighters I’ve seen.”

Caden looked confused as he crossed his arms and cleared his throat, that got the attention of the small woman that was still hanging off of that damned thief.

“What about me? You know, the Dragonborn?”

“Yeah, you too I guess.”

“Hmph.”

Caden rolled his eyes as he turned away from Lorelai and Brynjolf, the redhead laughed as he put the guild master back on the ground and held her at arms length.

“Take it easy on him Lass, wouldn’t want him leaving before you’ve had the chance to make up now would we?”

“I gotta make him sweat a little Bryn, take care of things while I’m gone alright?”

“I plan to, I’ll write you every now and then with an update or if we need your input.”

“I’ll hold you to that.”

He smiled as she placed a parting kiss on his cheek and strapped her pack onto her back, she winked as she linked arms with a very startled vampire and skipped to the head of the group. Brynjolf turned his attention away from Lorelai towards Caden and sent him a knowing look, the Dragonborn seemed unaffected but he knew what he had to do. Kaidan and Inigo were close behind as Lorelai led Serana out of the city gates, Caden caught up to them moments later with a lit torch in his hands.

“Don’t charge ahead Lorelai, do you even know where-”

“We’re heading to dragon bridge where a guard or whoever you decide to ask will point us down the southernmost road where he last saw the moth priest, there we will find a wrecked wagon surrounded by blood because of vampires, no offense Serana. There we will find a note directing us to a nearby cave which we will find by following conveniently placed blood splatters, once inside we face a small hoard of vampires and find a possessed moth priest that will fight us while he is under the power of his vampire master.”

Serana stared at her with wide eyes as she continued to lay out the mission for them as if she had already completed it, Caden had mentioned she had powers to see the future but this was very detailed and extremely unsettling. Serana looked around the dimly lit group to see that the others were not surprised by this detailed description of their upcoming battle. Her arm was still linked together with the strange woman’s but oddly she didn’t feel like escaping her grip, something about it felt comforting. Maybe it was due to the years she spent in isolation deep beneath the earth, or maybe this odd woman reminded her of her mother in some way.

“I get it Lori, dumb question.”

“At least you realized it was a dumb question, now since we’ll be traveling at night for Serana’s sake I think it’s only right we stop in major cities or well developed towns like Riverwood for when we need to rest. It’ll be safer than pitching a tent and sleeping out in broad daylight when everyone else in the world is freely walking the earth.”

“Fair point, I think if we keep moving at this pace we could reach Falkreath by dawn.”

“Perfect, in the meantime we can tell stories or-”

“Sorry to interrupt, but I feel like I should mention that I can travel in sunlight if that makes it easier for the rest of you. Although it’s uncomfortable I won’t die by walking in it, plus I have a hood attached to my robes to help shield the rays as well…”

Lorelai sent a warm smile towards Serana and the pale woman stared back blankly, she barely knew this thief and she was treating her as if she were a long lost sister.

“Don’t worry about us Serana, I’m more concerned about you and keeping you out of your father’s grasp. That lunatic wants to control the sun, I know how hard it must be for you to have such a...dysfunctional family but I’ve been through a somewhat similar situation. Granted my father never tried to dominate the world, but how our stories differ isn’t important right now.”

“Why are you being so nice to me?”

“Because I can be, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them.”

Inigo sped up to walk beside the women and offered a bright smile, Kaidan approached as well and crossed his arms calmly as they all walked together.

“It is true, my friend Lorelai is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is truly not of this world, she even saved me from the jail in Riften!”

“Aye, and she saved me from the Thalmor in an abandoned prison. Lorelai is simply the nicest person I’ve come across in my travels, that or she’s completely insane. I haven’t quite figured out which one yet.”

“Very funny Kai.”

“Thanks Love.”

It had been a long time since she heard that nickname, she missed it. She had also missed Caden calling her Lori, she was glad everyone was back together and hopefully they stayed that way for the rest of her time here. They walked along the path joking and laughing until Lorelai saw the sun start to peak out over the horizon, but that wasn’t going to be a problem because they were entering the forest settlement of Falkreath. Once inside the empty inn Caden approached the counter and purchased two rooms, one for the girls and then one for himself and the men.

“Alright, Lorelai and Serana are in the room to the left and the rest of us are to the right. Sleep as much as you can, we want to get as much as our strength back as possible.”

“Caden, we didn’t stop to eat at all last night. Now you’re more than welcome to head to bed but my happy ass is getting a bowl of stew and a mug of ale before going to bed.”

“Fair point Lori, let’s all eat first and then head to bed.”

Kaidan didn’t need to be told twice as he jogged over to the innkeeper and purchased five bowls of stew and mugs of ale to go with them, Serana kept her hood pulled over her face as she sat down at a table with her group. Lorelai peered into her face as the vampire tried to hide herself in her hood, the weird woman offered a small and reassuring smile as Serana lowered her hands into her lap.

“Do you...eat food?”

“I can, but my diet is um...special.”

“I know what you mean, but I bought something with me from Elgrim’s Elixirs back in Riften. Well to be honest I stole it from his last shipment in hopes I could sell it to Delv down in the guild, but once I realized what it was I kept it at Honeyside.”

Lorelai reached into her pack and produced a large round red vile with gold etchwork decorating the sides, Serana’s eyes widened as she realized what the potion bottle was.

“Why would you keep that? You do know what that is right?!”

“Yes I do, when Caden first told me he was joining the Dawnguard I knew he would meet you and maybe decide to become like you. Once I realized what this was I kept it just in case, now that you are with us it gives me an excuse to get rid of it. Plus it can be easily passed off as wine, so here.”

“Thank you, I’m in your debt.”

“Nah, don’t mention it. It doesn’t even smell like blood though, more like cherry mixed with hot copper.”

“Well it’s meant to provide the same nutrients as blood, while it doesn’t taste or smell like it, it sustains people like me when we can’t feed.”

“Understandable, but that’s the only one I had.”

“I can make it last, if I absolutely need to feed I’ll find a deer or sabre cat or something.”

“You can drink animal blood?”

“Blood is blood, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

“This is some Twilight shit right here.”

“What’s Twilight? Do mean the time of day?”

“No uh...it’s not important, hey look Kaidan has the food!”

The group ate and drank in partial silence until the bowls were empty and their cups had run dry, then they all retired to their rooms and fell asleep almost instantly. Serana wasn’t so lucky, she tossed and turned as nightmares tormented her dreams. Ever since she turned into a vampire all those years ago sleep never came easy anymore, sleep like the dead indeed. Soon night fell once more and the group was awake and ready to get back on the road, Caden pushed them to walk as fast as possible so they could reach Whiterun by day break.

Lorelai hadn’t spoken much to him over the past few days but she sensed the tension between them, the opportunity to talk to him arose when Inigo and Kaidan were walking with Serana as she talked about the years she was made a vampire. Since Lorelai already knew most of her story she hung back with Caden, they let the trio take the lead as they fell into step beside each other.

“Hi.”

“Hey…”

“Something on your mind Lori?”

“A lot of things, but mostly you.”

“Me?!”

“Don’t flatter yourself, I’m still kinda mad at you for leaving me that day. Same goes for Kaidan, but you two are dear to me and I like to consider myself a forgiving person.”

“I see…”

“Anyway, I just wanted to talk to you.”

“About?”

“Anything, doesn’t really matter what it is. Call me crazy but I actually missed your voice, same goes for Kaidan. You two were such a big part of my life when I got here, when you left I felt a part of me go with you.”

“Are you getting sentimental on me Lori?”

“Shut up jerk, I just thought you should know my feelings. That you should know I don’t hate you and that I want us to be like we once were.”

“Hmm, I don't know about that Lori.”

“What?”

“Well if I remember correctly we were on the way to being more than just friends, those kisses we shared meant something to me even if they didn’t for you.”

“Well if my memory serves me, when I told you about Bryn and I you kinda lost your shit and abandoned me. So I hope you will forgive me if I’m a little hesitant to come forth about those types of feelings eight now, besides you have Serana now-”

“Serana? You think I want to be with Serana?”

“You don’t?”

“She’s not really my type, not that she isn’t a nice person, but I couldn’t see myself with her like that.”

“Is it because she’s a vampire?”

“No, I’m not that shallow minded. I think love comes in all forms, if the Divines wanted me to be with a vampire, werewolf, elf, argonian, khajiit, or human I’m confident I would know at a single glance.”

“You seem to have a lot of faith in the Divines.”

“I went to a lot of temples while I was on my own, it brought me some peace when I felt lost.”

“Huh, well back to our previous conversation.”

“I know you want to be friends Lori, but I still have those feelings for you. It was one of the reasons I left the group, I thought I needed to sort out my own feelings and clear my head. At first I thought the feelings would go away as I went from town to town and joined the Dawnguard, even though I had a couple women in my bed during my travels, I felt the same emotion I had before I left your side.”

“So you got some action huh? Anyone I know?”

“Gods I hope not, but it was never enough. I knew these feelings were there to stay and that’s why I wrote that letter to you, I needed to see you again.”

“Caden-”

“Are you with Brynjolf?”

“No, you know he’s not one for commitment. We kept each other warm some nights but I know where he stands, Inigo and I have had countless conversations about it believe me.”

“I see, I must admit I’m glad you’re still available.”

“Easy there buddy, don’t forget that I'm still a little mad at you and a certain hunter up there.”

“I’m aware, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to make it up to you. Right?”

“We’ll see, I have some pretty high standards.”

“Brynjolf counts as high standards?”

“Hey, despite being a thief, he's actually a really decent guy. He has morals and always treated me like a lady and a friend, he was one of the best characters in this game that wasn’t a mod.”

“I still fail to see it.”

“I figured you would, but I won’t waste my breath trying to explain it to you.”

“Understandable, but as for being friends…”

“Yes?”

“I’ll try, but I might have a hard time restraining myself from time to time.”

Lorelai smiled as she brushed her hand against his free one that hung at his side, he quickly grabbed her hand and locked their fingers together. Lorelai rolled her eyes but didn’t try to extract her hands, she knew that it wasn’t fair to give him false hope. However, a certain feeling bubbled forth inside her when she held his hand, maybe she knew what that feeling was.

“My friends! You are falling behind!”

Lorelai and Caden jogged forward with their hands joined as they met with their friends, they laughed and talked all night again and made it to Whiterun before daybreak. They opted to stay in Breezehome instead of walking up to the inn, the main reason being everyone was tired and didn’t want to move another inch. They ate bread and cheese before falling wherever they thought comfortable before falling asleep, Serana had taken Lydia’s room and Caden occupied his master bedroom.

Caden had remodeled his home, much to Lorelai’s surprise, so instead of the alchemy lab he had two extra beds in the back room. This still left one person on the floor though, Inigo happily took a bedroll as he slept near the fire saying he could sleep anywhere when he was tired enough. Kaidan and Lorelai were laying in their beds in the back room with the doors closed, with Lorelai so close Kaidan had a hard time finding peace of mind.

“Hey Kai?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you okay with me here? I can switch with Inigo-”

“It’s fine, it actually reminds me of old times…”

“I was thinking the same thing, it’s nice to have the group back together.”

“Aye, I’d have to agree with you on that one.”

Chapter Text

After another day of traveling the group reached Dragon Bridge the sun was already setting and they needed to get to the cave, Lorelai took the lead as she walked down the southern road to wear the wreck was. The smell of blood hung thick in the air, as if it had just happened. She got the note and handed it to Serana to read, she shook her head and sighed as they continued forward following the small pools of blood along the path. Then they came across another wrecked wagon with a couple of bodies scattered around it, no doubt those poor fools served as food for the vampires who kidnapped the moth priest. They came upon five standing stones outside of the cave’s entrance, it looked peaceful with butterflies and random flowers blooming around the tall stones.

“Well, this is it. Forebears’ Holdout, what awaits us inside are a few vampires and their loyal demon dogs. Oh, and a possessed moth priest who we have to beat up but not kill. Ready?”

The boys nodded their heads and Serana came to stand beside Lorelai, the vampire was still amazed by this human’s gift but she was thankful for the insight.

“Your gift is really special, my mother would have loved to study it.”

Lorelai offered a sad smile as Serana went quiet at the mention of her mother, they would find her eventually but Lorelai knew better than to give up too much information before the NPC knew the basic information about an upcoming quest. She simply reached out and squeezed the pale woman’s hand, Serana accepted the affection and gripped her hand in return.

“I told you that you two would get along well.”

“Oh yeah, family trauma makes a great conversation starter Caden.”

Caden went quiet at that and Lorelai released Serana’s hand, she sighed as she turned towards the rest of the group with her hands placed firmly on her hips.

“This is dangerous, I probably don’t have to tell you that. Vampires are serious business, watch out for their fangs and drain life spells. The last thing I want is to traverse through Morthal to cure one of you of vampirism, finding a black soul gem and filling it proved to be a lot of trouble in the past.”

Everyone nodded their heads and Lorelai drew her weapons, Caden had noticed that she still carried the ebony sword and dagger set he had given her at the start of their adventures. They entered the cave silently and as they descended into the dark cavern Inigo moved towards the front to be by Lorelai, she felt his hand brush hers as they came out into an open space with what looked like the remains of a fort on the other side of a small river running through the cave. She grinned at Inigo as she pointed towards the ground level, the archer spied two death hounds patrolling the area and quickly aimed an arrow towards the farthest one.

Inigo made quick work of them with his arrows finding their home in each of the beasts’ chests, Lorelai patted him on the back as they crept down the stairs and over the river. When Caden heard voices ahead he and Kaidan rushed to the front of the group and readied themselves for a fight, when they reached the archway that led into the crumbling fort Caden looked around the corner and counted how many vampires they were dealing with.

“Looks like about six vampires are right inside, a strange glow is coming from the upper levels though.”

Lorelai snuck up behind them and peered inside the fort as well, that odd light was their target. She drew her weapons and followed Caden as he and Kaidan charged forward, Inigo and Serana brought up the rear with ranged attacks. While Inigo and Serana took out the vampires above on the walkways Caden and Kaidan took on three together, but that left one unaccounted for. Lorelai looked slowly around the area and spied the last vampire. She dashed towards the undead fiend and her blades met with their claw like nails, Lorelai had not fought a vampire before but the fact that one could stop her blade with just their hand was less than comforting.

“I shall drain the blood from your veins!”

“Fuck you, damn bloodsucker.”

Lorelai and the vampire were almost evenly matched, she heard her friends calling out to her but she ignored their cries. She focused on her opponent and waited for an opening, once the undead bastard raised his arm to strike Lorelai ducked under his swing and shoved her dagger clean through his ribs. The undead man uttered a low moan as he fell to his knees before Lorelai, she stepped closer to him and made sure she looked him in the eye.

“Who’s draining who’s blood now.”

She took her dagger from his torso and then slashed her sword through the man’s neck, she heard cartilage and bone snap as her blade carved through his flesh. His head fell from his shoulders and then turned to dust at her feet, it was amazing how delicate they were in real life. She turned to see her group staring at her in disbelief, the two warriors had never seen her attack a target with such fury and precision, not to mention the strength she showed when she decapitated the bastard. Inigo jogged over to her and clapped her on the shoulder, she smiled and brushed her hair away from her face as she sheathed her weapon.

“That’s all of them on this level, now we have two more up the tower steps and the moth priest.”

They all followed her as she led them across the now empty campsite and up through a tower, she made them sneak along the sides of the cavern so they stayed in the shadows. They watched as two vampires paced back and forth in front of a glowing blue dome with the moth priest kneeling inside of it. Lorelai noticed that Caden made a motion to charge forward but she shot her hand out to stop him, she held a single finger to her lips as she pointed back towards the blue glow where the strange vampire started to speak. Lorelai recognized that vampire, he was the same one that wrote the note she found at the first wrecked wagon. Malkus.

Malkus: "The more you fight me, the more you will suffer, mortal."

Priest: "I will resist you, monster. I must!"

Malkus: "How much longer can you keep this up, Moth Priest? Your mind was strong, but you're exhausted from the struggle."

Priest: "Must... resist..."

Malkus: "Yes, I can feel your defenses crumbling. You want it to end. You want to give in to me. Now, acknowledge me as your master!"

Priest: "Yes. master."

Lorelai watched s the moth priest’s body writhed and squirmed as he tried, and failed, to fend off the magic cast upon him by that undead monster. Soon the moth priest sat motionless in the center of the magic dome, Lorelai released Caden and let him run to face the vampires. Caden and Kaidan made quick work of them but then came to a stand still in front of the blue ward, while they were occupied Lorelai went over to Malkus’s body and removed a special weystone from his corpse. She held it in her hand as she joined her friends in front of the ward, she kept her hand closed around the weystone as she put her free hand on Serana’s shoulder.

“Can you do something for me?”

“Yes?”

“Take the boys and stand over by the stairs, keep them there no matter what. Use magic if you have to, I need to do something.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m gonna help that poor moth priest.”

“Alright…”

Serana took Caden by the elbow and looked into his eyes, He looked concerned for the man inside the dome but when Serana grabbed him the man was momentarily forgotten.

“Caden?”

“Yes?”

“Can we all go over by the stairs? Lorelai said that some more vampires will charge in, she wants us to stop them before they get to the moth priest.”

“Okay, if she says so. Kaidan, Inigo, come on we need to guard the steps.”

The men followed Caden and Serana walked behind them all, once they got to the top of the stairs Serana called on her magic and brought up an invisible wall separating the men from herself and Lorelai.

“HEY! Serana what are you doing?!”

“What Lorelai asked of me, forgive me but she knows what’s best it seems.”

“NO! She’s just being reckless again, Lorelai!”

Lorelai tuned them out as she walked up to the balcony and placed the weystone back into the indention on the podium, the force field fell and the area went dark. Then torchs became lit and the area was illuminated as the moth priest stood in the center of the three stones that once served as his cage. Lorelai descended the steps to stand in front of the enthralled priest, once she looked into the poor man’s eyes she felt a chill go up her sine as his rough but soft voice called out to her.

"I serve my master's will. But my master is dead, and his enemies will pay!"

Before she knew it the man hurled a lightning bolt spell at her head, she had ducked just seconds before when she felt the static in the air turn against her. She drew her weapons and deflected most of what the old man threw at her, she heard all of her friends shouting at her from behind the barrier but she wanted to do this herself.

“Dexion!”

For a moment a flash of recognition crossed the priest’s eyes, Lorelai didn’t want to hurt the poor man so she decided she would do her best to just talk him out of this haze.

“Snap out of it! Don’t let the magic take root, you are one of the great Moth Priests from the White Gold Tower, don’t let that beast’s magic control you! Fight!”

She saw conflict dot the man’s features as he hurled another spell her way, this one grazed her arm and caused her to drop her sword. She hissed as the electricity coursed through her arm and into her body, she still held her dagger in her other hand as she circled the man again. She knew she was reaching him, she just needed to try a little harder.

“Think of your family! The friends you left back in Cyrodiil, they believe in your powers and what your destiny holds for you, don’t let their pride and trust be wasted.”

Lorelai could have sworn she saw tears in his eyes as he landed a fireball spell on her other arm causing her to lose her last weapon and fall to the ground in pain as she pressed her arms into her chest. She saw the man’s shadow fall over her as she looked up through her tear stained eyes, she had come so close but as it looked now she was toast. She was so close, one last try.

“Please, don’t let evil win.”

Just as that last word left her mouth the man in front of her dropped to his knees as the magic left his body, he was breathing heavily as he looked into her eyes. She offered a warm smile as she fought against the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes, the pain was getting worse but she needed to comfort the man in front of her.

“It’s alright now, you’re safe and we want to help you…”

"That... that wasn't me you were fighting. I could see through my eyes, but I could not control my actions. Thank you for breaking that foul vampire's hold over me."

“No problem, are you okay?”

"I'm quite alright although I feel like I should be asking you that question. Dexion Evicus is my name, I'm a Moth Priest of the White Gold Tower but somehow you already knew that. These vampires claimed they had some purpose in store for me, but they wouldn't say what. Probably hoping to ransom me, the fools. Now tell me, whom do you represent, and what do you want with me?"

Before she could say anything she felt arms drape over her shoulders as her friends rushed to her side, she saw Caden and Inigo out of the corners of her eyes as Kaidan approached the moth priest angrily. Serana was by his side as she helped the old man to his feet, Lorelai felt the pain begin to be too much for her and she fell backwards into Caden’s arms.

“Lori!”

Caden’s voice faded out as Lorelai lost consciousness, the pain was terrible and sleep felt so welcoming. Caden looked down helplessly as Lorelai lay unconscious in his arms, he held her close as he looked up to the moth priest she had saved.

“I am so sorry...truly you have to believe that I had no control over my actions…”

Serana put a gentle hand on the man’s arm as she stood next to him protectively, Caden and Kaidan eyed them both warily as Serana opened her mouth to speak.

“Lorelai knew what she was doing, plus this priest was enthralled and it is nearly impossible to escape from that type of spell. Lorelai broke through and saved him, she is quite powerful. We should focus on getting her to back to Dragon Bridge, she needs a healer.”

Caden silently picked up Lorelai and held her against his chest, he then turned towards the priest and sent a glare his way.

“You will follow us, we have a use for you. Considering my friend here is on death’s door because of you, I figure it’s only fair you accompany us.”

“O-of course…”

The group hurried out of the cave and out into Skyrim, they ran back to Dragon Bridge and found Lorelai a bed at the inn. The innkeeper sent word to Solitude for a healer to come as soon as possible to help Lorelai, until that healer arrived they had basic health potions to try and help her through her pain. Lorelai was still passed out as Kaidan knelt by her bedside, they had removed her cuirass to examine her arms. One arm was severely burned from the fire spell while the other had black splotches on it from being struck with a high level lightning bolt. A plain cotton tunic covered her chest, the sleeves had been torn off to expose her damaged arms, she had developed a fever as a result of the wounds she had gotten as well.

“Why did you have to be so foolish Love? We’re here to help ya and all you do is push us away and endanger yourself…”

“Kaidan? My friend are you alright?”

“Yeah, don’t worry about me Inigo. Any word on that damn healer?”

“Caden is delivering the message himself, I doubt he will return without someone to help Lorelai.”

“I hope you’re right, this woman hasn’t changed.”

“What do you mean?”

“She still charges into trouble head first without thinking about the consequences, look what happened to her because she wanted to do things by herself.”

“But that is how we learn, if we had other people do things for us we would never learn anything ourselves.”

“There is a time and place for that logic Inigo, but facing a powerful mage in combat is not the right time.”

“I understand, but according to Serana our friend Lorelai did the impossible. She helped an enthralled person return to being themselves, she saved an innocent life. Plus Caden and Serana need him to read the Elder scrolls, she saved us all by talking to the moth priest and saving his soul.” “Be that as it may, it was still foolish. We all could have helped distract him while she talked him out of it.”

“It might not have worked if we had interfered.”

“What?”

“Well when Lorelai was talking to the man she never broke eye contact with him when she spoke, I feel like that played a big part in saving him. If we had tried to help she wouldn’t have been able to speak to him like she did.”

Kaidan knew Inigo had a point, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. He turned away from his furry friend and gently stroked Lorelai’s hair, it was still so soft and smelled of honey infused with lavender. She truly hadn’t changed and a part of him was relieved to see that, but he knew that she was different because of what she went through in his absence. He saw the amulet he made her still hanging around her neck, she had kept it even after he had left her for his own selfish reasons.

“Where’s that woman?”

“You mean Serana?”

“Yeah.”

“She is resting, it is daytime after all and she does not like the sunlight.”

“Gee, I wonder why.”

“I understand you are upset Kaidan, but the sarcasm is uncalled for.”

Kaidan rolled his eyes as he continued to stare at Lorelai, she had sweat dripping off of her and she looked like she was being tormented inside her dreams. Kaidan grabbed the cool rag from the basin by Lorelai’s bed and draped it across her forehead, this is why he didn’t like magic. It was so powerful and in the hands of the wrong person it could bring misery to many people, as he watched Lorelai shiver and shake in such a state made him feel helpless.

After another hour Caden finally returned with a priest from the temple of the divines, he showed the man to Lorelai’s room and took Kaidan away so the man could do his work. The priest had multiple potion bottles and spell books with him, after about two hours he emerged from Lorelai’s room and confronted her worried friends.

“Your friend is very fortunate, the burns on her arms were very severe but I have managed to reduce them to barely noticeable scars. The arm with the discoloration is completely healed, her fever is gone as well, although she will feel somewhat sore in her arms for some time. I have left some potions in her room, make sure that she drinks them by tomorrow afternoon.”

They thanked him for his work and the man left, the rest of the group decided they would take shifts to watch over Lorelai and make sure she was fine throughout the night. Caden took the first shift and as he sat by her bedside he thought about how strong she had really become, despite her momentary lapse in judgement regarding her own safety.

“Nothing has changed, you’re still making my heart race Lori. In more ways than one.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai’s dreams were anything but peaceful, her nightmares took the form of her family that she had left behind in her world. Her mother’s figure was taking up her vision as she and Lorelai stood facing each other in an empty space, Lorelai knew the atmosphere was tense and she sensed the anger coming from her mother. Then her father appeared and her heart nearly stopped, it had been so long since she had seen him and the memory she had of him was one she had always treasured.

“D-dad…”

Lorelai didn’t know it but she had spoken to the outside world as well as to the people occupying her dream, Caden was by her side as she called out to her father and he jumped at her voice. He felt her head and knew she still had her fever, he replaced the warm rag on her head with a cold new one as he stroked her hair.

“Easy there girl, shhh.”

In her dream she felt Caden’s touch and she felt warmer, she felt stronger with the knowledge that someone was still there for her even after everything that had happened. She faced her father once more ignoring the glares from her mother, she felt safer knowing her father was at least still a part of her.

“I’m s-sorry d-dad…”

Caden felt confused as he watched her sweat and murmur these broken sentences in her sleep, what happened to her father? Caden had a few ideas but Lorelai never really talked about herself or her family life, he wanted to help but he didn’t know how. Lorelai was smiling at her father in her dream, but something felt wrong. No matter how happy she looked she knew that deep down she was depressed and unable to change what had happened, she heard herself saying ‘I’m sorry’ over and over again until she shot up in bed with her eyes wide open. Caden had a hand on her shoulder to calm her but her breathing was rapid and tears were streaming down her face, she looked towards him in a panic and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close to her feverish body.

“Easy Lori, it’s okay, it was just a dream.”

“No, it was real…”

“What was your nightmare about?”

“I don’t wanna talk about, can we just stay like this for a little bit?”

“Sure Lori.”

She calmed her breathing as Caden gently rubbed her back and smoothed out her hair, his presence brought a certain calm over her that she had missed having. After a few minutes she released him from her grasp and rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands, she felt Caden staring at her and quickly finished drying her eyes before looking at him in return.

“Are we in Dragon Bridge?”

“Yes, and I need you to drink one of these potions. The healer said to.”

“Great, hand me the small one first I guess.”

Caden handed her the small red vial and she uncorked it with her teeth before spitting the cork across the room and downing it’s contents, Caden was shocked at her manly actions and chuckled to himself.

“What’s so funny?”

“You, you would have never done that a couple months ago. I take it being around thieves and cut throats taught you how to be manly, it certainly a sight to see you more hardy than before.”

“You can thank Brynjolf, when I got injured on a job I need to take a healing potion but the smell made my stomach do flips. Brynjolf was the one who helped me get better, he knew I was having trouble with medicine so he tricked me.”

“Tricked you?”

“Yup, he brought me what I thought was a bottle of Black-Briar Reserve but it was actually the healing potion in a mead bottle. He did the cork thing I just did and he bet that I couldn’t do it and then empty the bottle, so I took that as a challenge and I proved him wrong. I was so determined to prove him wrong that it wasn’t until I was halfway through the potion that I realized what I was drinking. I finished it and threw the bottle at his head for tricking me, he dodged it and laughed at me.”

“Seems like you two got along well.”

“We did, Inigo was a lot of help too and the three of us became like family. Everyone in the guild helped me adjust as well, it was nice having that family dynamic after the group split up.”

“I am sorry about that Lorelai, I hope you know that.”

“I can tell you’re sorry Caden, and I do forgive you for everything…”

“But.”

“But it still hurt, it brought back some memories and at the time I blamed it all on you and Kaidan. So I’m kinda at fault for driving you two away, I need to apologize for playing with your emotions and just thinking of everything as a game until it was too late to realize what I was losing.”

“Lori, we could never stay mad at you. Besides, we were childish and basically treated you like a prize instead of a strong woman.” “I wasn’t a strong woman to begin with, but thanks.”

He offered a sad smile as he stared at her with the now empty bottle in her hands, she felt her temperature return to normal and her mind start to relax. She set the bottle down on the floor near her bed and tunneled back under the furs, she turned towards the wall and tried to fall back to sleep.

“Lori?”

“Hmm?”

“You know that I’m here if you want to talk, right?”

“Yeah, I know…”

She faded into slumber soon after that small exchange, the next morning she found her room empty as she sat up in bed. She heard a commotion out in the main hall and she groaned as she got out of bed, walked over to the door and pushed it open while peeking her head out. She saw Inigo glaring at Kaidan who was holding a sweet roll, she rolled her eyes and assumed Kaidan took Inigo’s breakfast. She sighed and walked out of the room and calmly walked over to the table where her friends were, she approached Kaidan from behind and stood there with her hands on her hips.

The others at the table had noticed her approach but kept silent as she neared Kaidan, the sweet roll was still hovering above his head and she eyed it happily. Caden, Serana, and Inigo waited to see what she would do as Kaidan taunted the poor khajiit for giving up so soon. Lorelai rolled her eyes as she grabbed the back of Kaidan’s chair and tilted it backwards, at the sensation of losing his balance Kaidan threw the sweet roll into the air. Lorelai caught it and stepped back as Kaidan and his chair fell to the ground, as she towered over him she grinned happily at the look of shock and surprise forming on Kaidan’s face.

“Didn’t anyone tell you not to play with food?”

She tossed the sweet roll to Inigo and he quickly devoured it, Kaidan huffed as he got up and put his chair back in its place around the table.

“Did ya have to knock me to the ground Lorelai?”

“No, but it worked.”

“If you can terrorize my morning than I take that as a sign of you feeling better.”

“I feel fine, although I still have one more potion to drink.”

She still felt tired but at least she could move her arms and walk around, her arms were bandaged and she feared what was beneath the strips of medicated cloth. Then she looked around the inn to see no sign of Dexion, she turned to Serana and Caden with curious eyes.

“Where did our new friend go?”

“We told him to meet us at the fort, I think he welcomed the idea of traveling there on his own.”

“Why?”

“Because Kaidan and Caden wouldn’t stop glaring at him after you passed out.”

“Guys!”

The men avoided eye contact as they continued to eat their breakfast or take a drink from a nearby bottle of mead, she groaned as she rubbed her head with her hands. She walked back to her bedroom and downed the last potion before rejoining her friends and eating a bowl of stew Inigo had gotten for her. Inigo made sure she was comfortable before turning back to the group and striking up a conversation.

“So my friends, what is next?”

Lorelai swallowed a spoonful of food before she grabbed Inigo’s shoulder, she smiled and then folded her arms on the table top.

“Next we head to Fort Dawnguard and meet the moth priest there, once inside we hand him Serana’s Elder Scroll so he can read it. Then he’ll tell us that we need the other two scrolls to know the complete prophecy, I assume you still have the Dragon Scroll right Caden?”

“Yeah I do, it’s at Lakeview Manor.”

“You built there already?”

“A long time ago, it was the first house I had.”

“Huh, anyway we need to head to the fort-”

“You’re not going there.”

“What?”

“You still need to take it easy Lori, I think you should stay in Riften until we come back from the Fort.”

“But-”

“Isran isn’t a big fan of outsiders either, I know you aren’t happy about it but Kaidan and Inigo will stay with you while Serana and I get this over with.”

“Whatever.”


 

The next day the group walked to Solitude to catch a carriage back to Riften, even though they had left at dawn that morning it wasn’t until sunset when they finally reached Riften. Caden and Serana said their goodbyes and continued on foot towards the fort, they decided to just spend the night at the fort and have the moth priest read the scroll first thing the next day. Kaidan, Inigo, and Lorelai walked through the dimly lit streets and into The Bee and Barb. The tavern was very lively and Lorelai smiled as she inhaled the scent of freshly baked bread and venison stew, she eagerly approached Keerava and hugged the scaly woman. The argonian was startled but returned her affection after she realized who was hugging her, Lorelai smiled happily at the woman after separating from their embrace.

“It’s good to see you again friend, you were gone for a week and the town seemed dimmer.”

“I’m glad to be back, the guild isn’t giving you trouble are they? I gave them specific instructions not to bug you guys anymore.”

“Not at all, and I thank you for the protection. Do you want something to eat or drink? It’s on the house.”

“Can we have three bowls of stew and three bottles of mead?”

“Of course, take a seat and I’ll tell Talen to get it ready for you. Do you need rooms as well?”

“No, I think I need to spend some time in the guild tonight.”

Keerava nodded and left to find her male counterpart as Lorelai rejoined her friends, while the trio was calmly talking at a nearby table Talen brought them their food and welcomed Lorelai and Inigo back to the city.

“You got rooms for the night as well right?”

“No, I want to spend the night with the guild. You two can stay in Honeyside if you wish, I’m sure Caden wouldn’t mind.”

“Why don’t you stay with us?”

“I probably need to check on the guild while I’m here, you know since I’m the Guild Master.”

“Can’t argue with that I suppose, do you need us to walk you there?”

“I’m fine Kaidan, I know a shortcut.”

After they finished their meals Lorelai said goodnight to the boys and walked towards the temple, night time in Riften was always so peaceful and she loved the occasional breeze that greeted her. Once back in the small cemetery she pressed the secret button on the coffin and waited while the floor shifted away to reveal the stairs, once she got below the floor she pulled the chain to conceal the entrance once more. She then lifted the hatch on the tunnel and climbed down the wooden ladder, at the bottom of the ladder she lurked in the shadows as she looked around the cistern. She saw Rune and Vipir at a nearby table annoying Sapphire while Delvin and Vex were at the desk talking to Brynjolf, everyone else was in bed and sound asleep.

“At least everyone looks happy.”

Lorelai crept out of the shadows and walked towards the table where Sapphire was, she and the troubled thief were good friends even though they often butted heads about how certain jobs should be done. She snaked her arms around Sapphire’s shoulders and hugged her tightly, the woman jumped a little but once she heard Lorelai giggle she relaxed and patted the arms that encircled her.

“Hey Lorelai, nice to see you're safe.”

“I don’t go down that easily Sapphire, you should know that from our sparring matches.”

“Good point.”

Lorelai greeted Rune and Vipir to and asked them how things had been in her absence, apparently nothing interesting happened and business was good.

“Have you said hello to Brynjolf yet? I know he missed you.”

“Not yet Rune, and I’m sure he didn’t miss me that much.”

“He seemed rather gloomy since you left though, I’m sure seeing your pretty face would make him happy. That among other things…”

“Subtle Rune, very subtle.”

They all laughed as Lorelai excused herself and walked over to where the top thieves were gathered, she caught the end of their conversation. Something about Brynjolf needing to get his head back in the game, she didn’t know what they meant but wasted no time flinging her arms around Delvin and Vex. She leaned against them as she smiled widely, they smirked at her and each one wrapped an arm around her waist to hug her.

“How’s my favorite group of outcasts?”

Delvin laughed as Vex scoffed and rolled her eyes, Brynjolf just stared wide eyed as he watched her joke with his friends. She made eye contact with him and offered a warm smile just for him, he felt his heart rate increase as he looked into her soft sea colored eyes.

“You alright there Bryn? If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were in love.”

Vex and Delvin looked at her with amusement in their eyes, Lorelai had no idea how right she actually was. Delvin and Vex just sent knowing looks towards Brynjolf before saying goodnight and leaving the Guild Master with her second in command.

“So, everything go smoothly in my absence?”

“Yes Lass, how was Dragon Bridge?”

“...Fine.”

“You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“Yes, you are.”

“How do you know?”

“You don’t make eye contact when you lie about something, you didn’t look me in the eye when you replied. Lass you know that you can’t slip anything past me.”

“I can try though.”

“It’d be a waste of time, now what happened?”

“Well, we saved the Moth Priest and he agreed to help Caden and Serana with their Elder Scrolls…”

“Good, but what’s the part you’re not telling me?”

“I...well um…”

“Lass.”

“I got injured really bad because I did something stupid and didn’t think about the consequences.”

“Shocking, the world’s most stubborn woman refused help from her friends. Where were you injured?”

“My arms, the Moth Priest became enthralled by the vampires and he hit me with Lightning and Fire spells which almost killed me. I had a fever for awhile and according to the healer I was really lucky to still have movement in my arms after he bandaged me up, I have some scars from the fire spell but the scorch marks from the lightning has completely vanished…”

Brynjolf stared at her with annoyance in his eyes, he walked around to where she stood and lifted her up and over his shoulder. She let out a small squeak of protest as he started walking with her over his shoulder.

“What the hell Bryn?!”

“You need to be taught a lesson.”

“What the fuck are you talking about? Put me down!”

He playfully smacked her ass and she yelped in surprise, she sighed in frustration as he carried her into his private quarters and threw her on the bed, he locked the door and then walked back to the bed and pinned her against the furs.

“What the hell has gotten into you Bryn?!”

“I’m teaching you a lesson.”

“And what lesson is that?”

“That you need to value your life, because someone here needs you to stay alive.”

Chapter Text

Caden and Serana made it to Fort Dawnguard when the sun finally set below the horizon, once inside the massive fortress they each went to bed without reporting to Isran. In the morning Caden hurried to Isran’s quarters and found the man already speaking with the Moth Priest, once Caden was spotted the eager man in robes rushed over to him and smiled happily.

"Ah, one of my rescuers! It's good to see you again. It's not exactly the hospitality I'm used to, but your man Isran has seen to my needs well enough. And might I add, this is a remarkable fortress. I have colleagues back home that would love to study this place in detail."

“I’m glad you found the place alright, Serana should be down soon with the scroll and then we can start.”

He patted the old man on the shoulder before moving past him and addressing Isran, the man looked less than impressed with everything that was going on but Caden knew he wanted to get to the bottom of this more than anyone.

“Welcome back Caden, I hope this… strange priest of yours proves useful. He has bombarded me with countless questions about our home here and I am close to putting him with the trolls.”

“He means well Isran, everything will be made clear and we can get rid of the vampires once and for all.”

“I pray you are right Dragonborn.”

The men heard footsteps approaching and Serana soon came into view with the scroll in her arms, she greeted the old man and carefully handed him the ancient parchment. He took it eagerly and pulled it open, he then turned to face the group and cleared his throat.

“Now, if everyone will please be quiet, I must concentrate. I see a vision before me, an image of a great bow. I know this weapon! It is Auriel's Bow! Now a voice whispers, saying... Among the night's children, a dread lord will rise. In an age of strife, when dragons return to the realm of men, darkness will mingle with light and the night and day will be as one.”

Caden looked from Isran to Serana at the mention of the dragons returning, so it all ties together in the end. Alduin’s return brought with him the rise of the vampires, Caden’s life was just getting more complicated and he started wondering how deep his destiny actually went. Dexion cleared his throat once more as his eyes glazed over and studied the paper more closely.

“The voice fades and the words begin to shimmer and distort. But wait, there is more here. The secret of the bow's power is written elsewhere. I think there is more to the prophecy, recorded in other scrolls. Yes, I see them now... One contains the ancient secrets of the dragons, and the other speaks of the potency of ancient blood. My vision darkens, and I see no more. To know the complete prophecy, we must have the other two scrolls.”

The moth priest excused himself saying he needed to rest and he left the room, Isran looked to Caden for answers and Serana came up to them with an idea.

“I know where we can find an Elder Scroll, my mother.”

Isran rolled his eyes as he listened to the vampire speak, he crossed his arms over his chest and looked the pale woman in the eyes.

“Great, we need to talk to another bloodsucker.”

Caden put a hand on his leader’s shoulder and pulled him back from Serana, he stepped forward and looked to his friend with kinder eyes.

“I thought you told me your mother left your father, your father himself said that she betrayed him and vanished with you all those years ago. Do you even know where she is?”

“No I don’t but there has to be a clue somewhere, the castle would be the best place to look.”

“You want to go back to the people who want to capture you and use you for their messed up prophecy?”

“My mother has what we seek, it’s the only option.”

Caden furrowed his brows as he contemplated going back to the castle he had been banished from, Harkon was less than happy when Caden refused his ‘gift’ of immortality. He heard Isran grumble something behind him but Serana was right, he put his hands on his hips and nodded his head in agreement.

“Alright, we’ll head back to the Castle. But we have to tell the others, which will be a challenge in itself…”

“Why would telling the others be a problem?”

“Because Lorelai will want to come.”

“And?”

Before Caden could answer Isran pushed him to the side and stood next to them with curiosity crossing his features, Caden rolled his eyes as he focused on his brash commander.

“What others?”

“I have a small party of people I travel with.”

“You didn’t have this party before, when did you get companions?”

“In truth they were with me before I joined the Dawnguard, I left them behind when I decided to join the cause. But, we’re all traveling together again and they actually helped a great deal with getting the Moth Priest here in one piece.”

“Anyone I know?”

“I doubt it.”

“Names?”

“Isran they really aren’t-”

“Names!”

“Ugh, alright. There's three of them, one woman and two men. The two men are called Kaidan and Inigo, the first is a hunter and the second is an archer who happens to be a Khajiit.”

“And the woman?”

“Her name is Lorelai, she’s-”

“The master of the Thieves Guild, I’ve heard her name and I’ve heard the name Inigo as well. They caused quite a stir in Riften, my men have heard stories about her. I hear she has a special gift for seeing the future, quite the boon if you ask me.”

“Isran, what are you saying?”

“Sounds like we have a new recruit, maybe three new recruits if they accept.”

“No.”

“No? What right do you have to refuse an order? You’ve come this far and we’re so close, and I have a feeling that if Lorelai doesn’t have the protection of the Dawnguard then the vampires will go after her. We wouldn’t want the woman to become cattle for the bloodsuckers now would we?”

“They have no idea about her Isran, that threat won’t work. And if you want my continued help I would leave Lorelai out of this, Serana and I are more than capable of handling this by ourselves.”

“Hmph, we’ll see. Well then go and get what you need to complete this job, take that bloodsucker with you.”

Serana rolled her eyes as she followed Caden from the hall and out of the fort, she felt anger coming from Caden and chose to let him be. They exited the Canyon and were on the road back to Riften when Caden finally decided to talk, from under her hood Serana could tell he had a frustrated look on his face.

“Serana.”

“Yes?”

“Is it possible what Isran said is true?”

“Which part?”

“The part where your father and the rest of your clan know about Lorelai and her talents?”

“Its possible, but they tend to not meddle in the affairs of mortals. They usually only come to the mainland to get new people to feed from, human cattle to feed the family.”

“Do you think they know about her?”

“Honestly?”

“Honestly.”

“I’m not sure, there is a chance but I personally think that to really capture my father’s attention she would need to be more than a thief. However, if he knows of her gift then he might try and find her to use for his own purposes.”

“And what are the chances of him knowing about her ability?”

“How many people know of it?”

“Not that many, but I suppose stories of people like her tend to travel…”

“We will watch out for her, the safest place for her to be is by our side. And with Kaidan and Inigo watching out for her as well we can protect her from anything, so let’s get back to Riften and tell them our plans.”

Caden nodded and they hastened to Riften, they got there around noon and quickly headed to the tavern to find their friends. Inside they saw Kaidan and Inigo sitting at a table drinking mead and talking calmly, once Serana and Caden joined them they started discussing Lorelai’s safety while on this mission.

“Where is Lori?”

“She spent the night in the cistern with the guild, she insisted that we stay at Honeyside. But I’m worried for her…”

“Why?”

“Well my friend, she hasn’t met us yet and she said that she would join us for breakfast. Although Brynjolf has been known to distract her from things, I suppose I might be overthinking things.”

“Well, let’s go to the cistern and find out.”

The group left the tavern leaving a tip for Talen as they went, Caden knew about the secret entrance and opted to use it since it led directly to the cistern without having to go through the Ragged Flagon. Once they all descended into the depths of the town they heard lots of rushing feet as people darted around the large room carrying everything from bandages to health potions. Caden saw Karliah standing in the middle of the room trying to direct people, he rushed to her side and gently grabbed her elbow turning her attention to him.

“Karliah, what happened?”

“It’s Brynjolf, he was attacked this morning and he’s in bad shape. We’re stabilizing him now and one of the priests are with him now, we’re just trying to get everything we need to help him recover.”

“Who attacked him?”

“We don’t know, all we saw were a few ash piles by his body when we dragged his body to a more suitable area. He’s in the Ragged Flagon resting in Vekel’s room, that way the healer doesn’t have to actually come into the main part of the guild.”

Ash piles, the only time he remembered seeing ash piles was when he was fighting off vampires and their enthralled slaves. He grabbed the dark elf by the shoulders tightly and looked her square in the eye.

“Where’s Lorelai?”

“She wasn’t here when I got here, the others haven’t seen her either. They said they last saw her with Brynjolf, she was gone when they found him injured and bleeding.” “Does anyone think she did this?”

“Of course not, we know better. Lorelai wouldn’t hurt anyone here, especially Brynjolf.”

Caden rushed off to find the red haired man and get his side of the story, if anyone could tell him where Lorelai went it was Bryn. Once he entered the Ragged Flagon he met with Vekel who had just finished talking to the healer, the bartender turned towards him with tired eyes and welcomed him with a firm handshake.

“Hello Caden, I guess you’re here to see Brynjolf?”

“I need to find out what happened, and where Lorelai went.”

“The healer said that Brynjolf will make a full recovery, he’s even awake right now and threatening to run us all through for keeping him caged up here. He’s in a real panic for some reason.”

Caden heard his friends come up behind him as he entered Vekel’s room, sure enough Delvin was holding Brynjolf down and trying to talk sense into him.

“Get a hold of yourself mate, you’re in no condition to go runnin off right now!”

“Let me go Delvin! I need to find her!”

Caden approached the bed and gripped Delvin by the back of his armour, the aged thief looked over his shoulder and his eyes grew wide at the sight of the Dragonborn. He let go of Brynjolf but the crazed thief stayed where he was once he saw Caden looming above him.

“What happened Brynjolf?”

“We were attacked, the lass and I were just lounging around when they came at us…”

“When who came at you?”

He looked from Caden to Serana as his expression darkened, he gripped the dagger at his side and pointed it at Serana menacingly.

“Her kind, there were five of them and we had no chance. We killed two, but they got the better of me and left me to bleed out. They took Lorelai… they took my Lass.”

Serana felt her mouth drop open at the news, maybe it was just a rogue group of vampires. Caden put a gentle hand on Brynjolf’s shoulders and eased the dagger from his hands, he looked at the injured thief and calmly addressed him.

“Did you hear anything about where they would take her? What their names were?”

“They said something about a man named Harkon or something, I was fading in and out when they were talking. They knocked her out and one of the beasts snatched her up and carried her in his arms like she was a damn princess, he smelled her neck and then they vanished…”

Caden looked back at Serana and saw the woman was covering her mouth, Inigo and Kaidan wore similar looks of rage as they listened to what happened to their friend. Brynjolf was running his hands through his hair in aggravation, Caden sighed and let the man sit their in agony as he addressed the poor bastard.

“We’ll get her back, but we need to do something first before we storm the castle with the Dawnguard.”

“What are you saying?! We need to get her back as soon as possible!”

“It’ll only endanger her if we charge in without Auriel’s bow and an answer to this insane prophecy, they obviously kidnapped her for a reason and they need her alive. We need to get out of here and find Serana’s mother, you heal up Brynjolf and run the guild for her. She would want you to be strong and look out for everyone here, we will bring her back.”


Meanwhile Lorelai was just waking up from her forced slumber, she felt cold as she shifted around on the hard stone floor. She slowly sat up with a hand to her head as she hissed in pain, she reached forward to stretch but her hand hit metal bars. Her eyes shot open as she felt the cool metal in her hands, she was in a cage and nearly naked. Only her breast band and underwear remained on her body, probably due to the fact that she was taken shortly after waking up from a night with Brynjolf. As she glanced around the dimly lit room she realized where she was and how serious her situation actually was, the stone fireplace and fancy furnishings were all to familiar to her.

“I’m in Castle Volkihar…”

“Very good my dear, I must say your reputation precedes you.”

Lorelai jerked her head towards the upper section of the room where a dark figure loomed near a coffin, she knew who he was and his velvet like voice sent chills down her spine. She was in Lord Harkon’s personal chambers, even worse she was inside his personal feeding chamber. The smell of blood and rotting flesh overwhelmed her senses as she trembled, the man walked closer until his entire being was illuminated by the soft orange glow of the fire.

“L-lord Harkon…”

“I see you know of me as well, you must be more aware of us than I thought. Although I am not surprised, those weak examples of mortals calling themselves ‘Dawnguard’ have been slandering us for quite some time.”

“P-please, I don’t want any trouble….”

“Trouble isn’t what I’m after either my dear, I simply want your assistance.”

“I have no great purpose my lord, I am simply a mortal thief…”

“That’s not what I’ve heard, now if you continue to lie to me this will be a rather long and painful conversation.”

“W-what do you want with me?”

“Your powers my dear Lorelai, I plan to use both you and your power against those who plot against me. You are going to be a great addition to my family, your beauty will be preserved with the gift I will give you.”

“N-no! I don’t want to be a vampire!”

“Sadly, you don’t have the position to be making demands. You will comply one way or another, even if I have to drain you of every drop of blood in your body to make it so. And judging by your smell, your blood is different from the mortals we usually enjoy...you are special. In fact I think I might taste a bit of you now.”

Lorelai backed herself against the cold bars of the cage as Harkon unlocked the door and entered the small space, he grabbed her arm gently and easily lifted her up and into his cold embrace. He breathed in her scent and she shivered as she saw the fire shine off his fangs,he ran a hand through her hair and bent her neck to reveal her tender flesh.

“P-please don’t…”

“I won’t turn you my dear, I simply intend to have a taste.”

His teeth sank into her flesh and she felt her skin break with a pop, her mouth opened as she yelped in pain. Feeling her blood be sucked from her veins was a sensation she knew she never wanted to experience, it was as if her voice had been taken away as her blood left her body. After a minute or two Harkon left her neck and she looked at him with glazed eyes, he let her fall back to the ground as he left the cage and locked the door behind him.

“You’re quite tasty too tasty to turn so soon, I think I’ll keep you human for my own purposes. Goodnight my dear Lorelai, I’m sure you’ll see things my way soon enough.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai was cold and tired, her neck felt as if it were on fire and she slowly reached a hand up to cover the two holes in her flesh. She tilted her head back to look around and found she was still in her metal box, she sighed as she felt the drops of dried blood on her neck. The she heard boots approaching the room, she brought her knees to her chest and held them there anxiously. The door opened and in walked Lord Harkon, she kept her eyes trained to the ground as he passed in front of her cage. She sensed his power and shivered at his presence, he was strong and Lorelai knew he could easily kill her if she made one wrong move or said the wrong thing. Harkon took a seat next to her cage in one of his opulent chairs, she faced him with her back pressed against the cold bars of her prison.

“Did you know I was a king once? A very powerful one at that, many bowed before me and feared for their life in my presence.”

“Yes my lord.”

“I know of your power to see the future and predict outcomes of certain battles, and you chose to be a thief? You seem to squander that special gift, just like my daughter betrays her bloodline and chose to side with impudent mortals.”

Lorelai stayed silent as she sensed his anger rise, he took a sip from a nearby goblet and Lorelai could only assume someone’s blood was swirling inside it. Harkon licked his lips as the deep red liquid dripped from his fangs, he let his eyes roam over Lorelai’s nearly naked figure and he smirked at how scared she looked in front of him.

“Anyway, I struck a deal with Molag Bal and sacrificed over one thousand innocent lives for him. In return he granted this gift to my family and I, the power to live forever and be sustained by the blood of those weaker than us. You would think my wife and child would be grateful, I extended their life here on this miserable plane and how do they repay me? My wife betrays me and takes the Elder Scrolls I spent most of my days tracking down, she locked Serana deep underground and now she too has opted to serve someone other than me…”

Lorelai gulped as he slammed the goblet down and sighed in frustration, she didn’t know what to say or do and she was too afraid to try anything. She glanced around the room in hopes she could escape, not that she would make it very far with a whole court of vampires just down the hall.

“Do you fear me?”

“U-umm.”

“You need not answer, I already know by the look in your eyes and the fear seeping out of you. You only fear me because you do not understand, the power I hold is immense and that power could easily be yours as well…”

“I-I don’t want to be a vampire...my lord.”

“Hmph, so you’ve said. Unfortunately that means you get to stay in that cage and serve as my personal food supply, your blood is very delicious and I only want the best.”

“Lord Harkon, what do you want from me?”

“Originally I wanted your gift, with my daughter and wife working against me having you tell me their every move is quite an advantage. However, the more I thought about it I realized you would make a wonderful addition to my court.”

“But I have no great strength sire, surely I am not worth your time…”

“Oh, but you are my dear. Your gift would be so great with my power flowing through you, I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again.”

“Who said I ever feared death?”

“Only fools or the immortals don’t fear death, and since you are not an immortal I assume you are a fool.”

“Perhaps you’re right, but fool or not I still refuse to be a vampire.”

“It’s amusing that you think you have a choice, if I so wished it you would be dead right now. Instead I show you my generosity and you refuse it? You’re either very brave, or very stupid.”

Lorelai shut her mouth and cursed herself for talking out of turn, she heard Harkon chuckle as another pair of boots approached the room. Lorelai whipped her head towards the door and let her mouth fall open at the sight of the visitor, a dunmer mage with skin so dark and ashen he looked like a spirit. The man was Garan Marethi, one of the highest ranked vampires in Harkon’s court.

“What is the purpose of this interruption Garan? Can’t you see I’m entertaining a special guest…”

“Apologies Lord Harkon, but someone has informed me that they have spotted Serana along with three mortal men heading towards the castle. Do you want someone to take care of them?”

“The gate is sealed and it will not open, they probably want this woman. Leave them be, they pose no threat to us as they are.”

“Yes Lord Harkon, excuse me.”

The dunmer left the room quietly closing the door behind him, Lorelai turned back towards Harkon as she heard his boots walk closer to her cell.

“I see you know my daughter, and those three men no doubt. You’re quite the popular whore aren’t you?”

“W-what?”

“The one that brought you here said they captured you from some man’s bed, you wear no ring so I assume you have multiple lovers counting on your services. I must say I’m curious to see what a mortal like you has to offer in those terms, it’s been so long since I’ve felt the warmth of flesh against my body…”

Lorelai felt her heart rate increase as Harkon neared the cage door, she saw the lustful look in his golden eyes and she feared the worst. She panicked as the cage unlocked and Harkon stepped inside to look down on her, she avoided eye contact as he grabbed her elbow and pulled her to her feet. She crashed into his chest, his strength was unsettling and she felt his gloved hands snake around her back. She heard him inhale her scent and she stiffened in his arms, she felt disgusting as he held her there and let his hand roam down her back to cup her ass.

“Such soft and luscious skin, to think men have been enjoying you and soiling you with their unworthy hands…”

Lorelai whined in protest as one of Harkon’s hands ran through her hair and gripped it, he pulled her head back so that her eyes looked into his own. He saw fear and dread wash over her pale features, she was so weak thanks to his bite from earlier. She had no real power in her and Harkon knew that if he really wanted to he could take her right there and make her his personal plaything. He could mentally break her and enslave her, at the thought of having her share his bed he felt something inside him spark to life.

“Truly delicious, I can only imagine how you would please me if I enthralled you. I could breed you like cattle after I turn you, we could continue the Volkihar bloodline. It’s a very tempting thought, but I’m interested to see how long you can endure this lifestyle before begging me to free you from this cage. Until then, I guess you’ll just serve as a midnight snack.”

Harkon sank his teeth into her neck again and she cried out in pain, he felt her hands clutch his clothes as she tried to pull away. She tasted divine, such a exotic taste. Like she wasn’t from this world, in all his years he had never tasted anything as good as her blood. He felt her relax in his arms and he stopped drinking, he looked down into her nearly closed eyes and growled in satisfaction. She was going to be his, he had a plan for her and everything was falling into place. He let her fall to the floor in a heap of exhaustion, he left the cage and locked the metal door behind him. He then walked over to his coffin and sealed himself inside, the arousal he felt for her was something he had not prepared for.


Meanwhile Serana and the guys were fighting their way through the bowels of the Castle, from skeletons and draugr to skeevers and feral vampires. They soon reached a garden area and Serana felt a rush of both joy and sadness at seeing it again, the guys looked around the bleak area for potential dangers as Serana moved towards the moondial in the center of the garden.

“This was my mother’s personal garden, do you have any idea how a garden can look when it’s looked after and tended to for thousands of years by a master?”

Caden came to stand beside Serana at the moondial, she looked melancholy but Caden knew time was running out for Lorelai. He simply patted her on the shoulder as she refocused and looked around the yard, her eyes fell once again on the moondial and noticed that some of the slots had been removed from their rightful place.

“Wait, look at the dial, it’s missing three pieces…”

“Your point?”

“My mother had this built, if I know her as well as I think I do the pieces were misplaced on purpose. We need to find them and put them back in the right spot.”

“Alright. Inigo! Kaidan! Fan out and look for three pieces of this dial, they’ll have moon phases on them.”

Inigo and Kaidan nodded and started looking around the area, eventually each guy found a moon phase and brought it back to the mechanism. After placing them in the appropriate spot the dial turned and steps formed underneath the surface, Serana grinned as she headed down the steps with the boys right behind her. After going through an abandoned part of the castle, which was infested with skeletons and gargoyles, they finally made it to what Serana claimed to be her mother’s private laboratory.

“This is it, this has to be her private study. Hidden right under my father’s feet, she was clever. She was well practiced in necromancy, in fact maybe if we look around we can find a journal or some of her notes. Maybe they could tell us where she went…”

They fanned out and looked through everything they could to find and personal belongings, Inigo was looking around the dusty bookshelves when he came across a small leather bound notebook. He brushed off the dust that covered it and flipped through it’s pages, he realized it was a journal and jogged over to the rest of the group.

“My friends! I have found a journal!”

Serana took it from Inigo and started eagerly flipping through the pages, the guys watched her with anxious eyes. Lorelai was so close but they couldn't do anything to help her, they had to find the scrolls first and then come back for her after they sorted things out with the Dawnguard. Serana’s expression went dark as she closed the journal and looked to her friends with disbelief in her eyes.

“She...went into the Soul Cairn…”

The guys looked from her to each other with confusion, Caden grabbed the journal and flipped through it himself but still felt puzzled.

“And what exactly is the Soul Cairn?”

“The Soul Cairn is a realm of Oblivion filled with the trapped souls of mortal dead. Rather than being ruled over by any Daedric Prince, it is controlled by mysterious beings that call themselves the Ideal Masters. It has been said that many necromancers offered themselves to the Ideal Masters in return for untold power, my mother must have been really desperate if she willingly entered the Soul Cairn.”

“So how do we get there?”

“Her journal said something about the ingredients needed to reopen the portal she used, I’m sure if we look around we can find the things we need. She was nothing if not prepared for the unexpected, we need finely ground bone meal, soul gem shards, and purified void salts.”

Everyone set to work gathering the ingredients and giving them to Serana for preparation, once everything was put together Serana showed them to the balcony and poured the mixture into a medium sized basin. When nothing happened the men looked to Serana who was now holding a knife to her palm, Caden grabbed her wrist to stop her and looked at her with concerned eyes.

“What’re you doing?!”

“It’s part of the ritual, it needs an offering from the person conducting. Just a few drops Caden, now can you release me so we can get this over with?”

Caden did as instructed and released her wrist, Serana then pressed the tip of the knife into her palm allowing a few drops of blood to flow and fall into the basin. Once the blood touched the other ingredients the room shook as the floor started to glow and open, a mysterious purple light filled the room as a swirling vortex opened before them.

“That’s our entrance.”

Caden walked towards it and descended a few steps before he felt a part of his soul be ripped from his body, he yelled in pain and retreated back to where the rest of the group stood.

“Are you alright Caden?”

“No! What the hell was that Serana?!”

“I forgot to mention that in order for you to enter the Soul Cairn you need to be...well a soul. Or a soulless creature by default, this is why my mother was able to enter freely. We’re vampires, we’ve been technically dead for centuries. You are living, you three can’t enter unless you allow me to turn you into vampires.”

Kaidan immediately refused saying he never wanted to be that kind of being, Inigo hesitated as well as he looked from the portal to his friends. Caden sighed as he thought about Lorelai wasting away somewhere in that castle, he needed to help her but he really didn’t want to be a vampire.

“Is there any other way?”

“Yes, there is.”

“What is it?!”

“I would need to partially soul trap you.”

“What?”

“I would take a majority of your soul and seal it away in a gem to be offered to the Ideal Masters, this would allow you to enter but leave you weakened.”

Caden saw downsides to both options, he turned to Kaidan and Inigo and offered a weak smile, Kaidan rubbed the back of his neck as Inigo rubbed his hands together nervously.

“Kaidan. Inigo.”

They both looked to him with hesitant eyes, Caden knew he couldn’t ask this of them and found a solution that saved them from giving up part of their souls.

“You two stay out here and watch the laboratory while we’re gone, there is information in here that we could use. Plus we need someone to make sure the portal stays open, you two will be our eyes out here while we get the Elder Scroll.”

They nodded their heads and shook Caden’s hand in thanks, the Dragonborn then turned to his undead friend and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Alright I know what I want to do.”

“Which is?”

“You can trap part of my soul.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, but is there anyway to get it back once it’s gone?”

“Maybe, we’d have to ask my mother when we find her. She would know more about this than I would, are you ready?”

“As I’ll ever be..”

“Okay, stay still. This might hurt a little.”


Lorelai’s head was throbbing and she could barely open her eyes, he had drank from her twice now and each time she felt part of her life slip away. She had become a vampire in some of her play throughs but she never used the humans for blood, she always found those potions and used them instead. The ‘human cattle’ that the clan offered always made her feel terrible, even though they were never given backstories in the game she knew that now they were somebody. They were all unique individuals that were taken from their lives to be used as cattle, that thought alone made Lorelai want to kill every vampire in the damn castle. But she wasn’t in any position to do so, the smell of her own blood greeted her nose as she felt the fresh wound on her neck.

“Bastard…”

“Now that wasn’t very nice my dear, I did tell you this would happen if you failed to see things my way.”

Lorelai could barely lift her head to meet Harkon’s gaze as he stood outside her cage, he was holding a bowl in his hands and she swore she smelled stew. He barely opened the door enough to slide the food into her, she crawled towards it and looked at it anxiously.

“Don’t worry my dear, it isn’t poisoned. I don’t want you dead...yet.”

Lorelai greedily drank the stew, she felt the warm food fill her stomach and renew her energy. She took deep breaths as she let her strength return to her, she looked back up into the face of her kidnapper.

“I’m surprised at your strength, not many can withstand my embrace. You truly are a special mortal, won’t you end this idiocy and join me?”

Lorelai knew a part of her wanted to comply in order to actually have a chance at escaping this hellhole, but another part of her was infuriated by Harkon and his velvet voice calling out to her. She made herself stand up and walk closer to the cage door, she gripped the bars with her hands as she smiled at her captor. He walked closer as well and let one of his hands encase hers against the cold metal, she let her eyelids droop to hood her eyes as she giggled.

Over my dead body.

Chapter Text

Caden was in awe at the sight of the Soul Cairn, hues of purple and black decorated the area around him. The cries of the dead echoed around him as he and Serana descended the steps into the odd plane of Oblivion, once on the ground Caden knew they had one goal they had to achieve. They walked along a sandy road surrounded by lost souls, so much sorrow and regret met Caden’s ears as they made their way across the dusty landscape. Once crossing a small stone walkway they look out over a vast area of soul casms and decrepit structures, in the distance loomed a large castle like building. In a way this place reminded him of the time he spent in Sovngarde when he defeated Alduin, the odd vortex in the sky above brought back memories of the pain and suffering Caden had ended.

“Caden?”

“Sorry, I was lost in thought. I take it your mother would most likely be in that structure?”

“Probably, come on lets keep walking we shouldn’t stand still for too long.”

After walking for a few minutes Caden felt the atmosphere shift as he heard the sound of bones rattle, he drew his weapon and faced the on coming enemy. Three Bonemen had risen from the sand around them, with Serana’s magic they got rid of them easily enough. A couple more of those encounters happened along the path to the castle, once they finally reach the building they were greeted with a hazy pink ward that separated them from the entrance.

“Mother!”

Caden looked on as Serana ran towards the barrier, a woman emerged from behind a pillar on the other side and met her at the edge of the invisible wall.

“Serana?! What are you doing here?”

“We came to find you, we need to speak with you.”

“You risk a great deal in coming here, and with a vampire hunter no less. Have you gone mad?”

“They’ve protected me, they’ve helped me find you and escape father.”

“I’m sure they have a separate agenda in all of this, you there come forward.”

Caden heard the accusatory tone in her voice as she called him to her, he walked calmly to Serana’s side and faced her mother head on.

“So how has it come to pass that a vampire hunter is in the company of my daughter? It pains me to think you'd travel with Serana under the guise of her protector in an effort to hunt me down.”

“This is no ruse I assure you, I truly want to keep her safe.”

“Coming from one who murders vampires as a trade, I find it hard to believe your intentions are noble. Serana has sacrificed everything to prevent Harkon from completing the prophecy. I would have expected her to explain that to you.”

“She has, and that’s why I’m here. We need your Elder Scroll in order to know the rest of the prophecy. Funny how you accuse me of not caring for her when you locked her away in a stone coffin alone, I saved her from being taken by your husband’s minions.”

“You think I'd have the audacity to place my own daughter in that tomb for the protection of her Elder Scroll alone? The scrolls are merely a means to an end. The key to the Tyranny of the Sun is Serana herself.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“When I fled Castle Volkihar, I fled with two Elder Scrolls. The scroll I presume you found with Serana speaks of Auriel and his arcane weapon, Auriel's Bow. The second scroll declares that: The Blood of Coldharbour's Daughter will blind the eye of the Dragon.”

“So, how does Serana fit into this?”

“Like myself, Serana was a human once. We were devout followers of Lord Molag Bal. Tradition dictates the females be offered to Molag Bal on his summoning day. Few survive the ordeal. Those that do emerge as a pure-blooded vampire. We call such confluences: The Daughters of Coldharbour.”

“So, this Tyranny of the Sun nonsense requires Serana's blood?”

“Now you're beginning to see why I wanted to protect Serana, and why I've kept the other Elder Scroll as far from her as possible.”

“Wait, are you saying Harkon means to kill her? Surely he wouldn’t kill his own daughter.”

“If Harkon obtained Auriel's Bow and Serana's blood was used to taint the weapon, the Tyranny of the Sun would be complete. In his eyes, she'd be dying for the good of all vampires. However, I would never allow that to happen.”

“Well, I won’t let that happen. Not while I'm still alive and able to defend her.”

“And how exactly do you plan on stopping him?”

“I’ll kill that bastard before he has the chance, he’s already taken someone from me and he won’t do the same with Serana.”

“If you believe that, then you're a bigger fool than I originally suspected. Don't you think I weighed that option before I enacted my plans? Plus, have you asked Serana's opinion in this?”

“I’ve grown rather close to your daughter through our travels, she’s shared a great deal with me and I with her. I care for her as a friend and I will make sure she has a say in what we do about Harkon.”

“You care nothing for Serana or our plight. I can tell a part of your soul is no longer in your body, you’ve clearly given up a lot in order to survive the Soul Cairn. However, you're still a vampire hunter at heart. You're here because we're abominations in your mind, evil creatures that need to be destroyed.”

“You act like you know me when you clearly have no idea, Serana believes in me. Why won’t you?”

“Serana? Does this mortal speak the truth? Surely you know better than to put your trust so easily into a person who has their own interest above those of their companions?”

Serana looked disgusted by her mother’s words and crossed her arms over her chest, she glared at her mother and sighed in aggravation.

“You think Caden put his own ambitions above me? He let me lead him here, he let me take a part of his soul in order for me to find you and get to the bottom of this damn prophecy! Don’t you dare accuse him of not caring about me, you locked me away without consulting me! You hid from father instead of finding a way to stop him, you put me in a stone box and sealed me away from everything I knew and everyone I thought I could trust!”

“I did that to protect you! Have you not heard anything I’ve been saying? You are the key to this prophecy actually coming true, I locked you away in hopes it would buy enough time for me to find a way to defeat your father.”

"And when you couldn’t find one you locked yourself in the Soul Cairn?! You told me to never trust in any all powerful being, and then you go and entrust yourself to the Ideal Masters! I have a hard time believing that you did that for my own good, it was more like you did it to avoid facing father and let humanity suffer while we hid away.”

“Serana…”

“I want us to be a family, I know how impossible that seems, especially with father being obsessed with this prophecy. But that is why we need your help, if we find Auriel’s bow first we can stop him and save everyone. Please, help us end this insanity...mom.”

Valerica sighed and nodded her head in agreement, she then faced Caden once more and weakly folded her arms across her chest.

“I am sorry, my daughter obviously sees something in you. Unfortunately I can not destroy this barrier, the Ideal Masters placed it here in hopes to keep me contained here forever. However, there is a way to get rid of it, there are three Keepers that you need to defeat around the Soul Cairn. Their locations are marked by the the three tallest towers, find them and dispose of them but be careful while you do so.”

“Why?”

“The Ideal Masters have many ways to stop you, but one they have enacted is one that is very dangerous. Durnehviir.”

“Who is Durnehviir?”

“An ancient dragon that guards this place, he was meant to watch over me and return me here if I escaped my prison. However, when the Keepers start disappearing it will draw his attention to you.”

“We’ll be careful, come on Serana let’s get this over with.”

They two left Valerica and started their quest, it took them nearly five hours to get to all three locations and kill the Keepers. Once the last one turned to dust the couple felt the realm shake and they ran back to the castle where Valerica was waiting for them, Serana ran to her mother’s side and Caden trailed closely behind.

“You’ve done it, come I will show you to the Scroll. We must hurry though, I have no doubt you’ve attracted unwanted attention. This way.”

Serana and Caden hurried after Valerica and entered the castle, once through the great doors they saw a huge open courtyard with a large stone platform in the center of it. Before they could cross it a roar ripped through the sky and a shadow was cast over the space.

“It’s Durnehviir! Prepare yourselves for a fight.”

Bonemen started rising from the ground as the moss covered dragon landed in the yard, Caden wasted no time charging at the decaying monster while Valerica and Serana used their magic to fend off the bonemen. After two hours of fighting Durnehviir crashed to the ground, Caden was running low on energy but he knew he had to finish this. He let out a battle cry and jumped onto Durnehviir’s horned head, after slashing at the beast’s eyes with his greatsword before driving the blade down through the skull. Durnehviir let out a roar of defeat as Caden removed his sword and jumped down from the dragon’s head, but when the beast fell his entire body disappeared bones and all.

No soul was absorbed and Caden just figured it was because they were in the Soul Cairn so nothing could die here. Valerica and Serana rushed to his side and gently smiled at him, Valerica quickly ushered them towards a small alcove off to the side of the main area.

“Come we mustn’t waste time, he could come back.”

“What?”

“Do not forget that you are in the Soul Cairn, nothing really dies here. He could regain his strength in a matter of minutes or days, I’m not really sure when he’ll return but he always will.”

They hurried along until they reached a small alchemy area with a large white box sitting on a ledge, Valerica stopped just outside of the small space and turned to her daughter and Caden.

“There is the Scroll, take it and stop Harkon.”

Caden approached and lifted the lid to reveal the ancient parchment, he took the Scroll from its case and carried it to Serana. She took it and strapped it to her back, she turned to her mother and gave her a weak smile.

“I know that things can never be how they were, but I promise that we will come back to you once father is dealt with.”

Her mother reached out a loving hand to stroke Serana’s hair, she smiled at her only child and brought her close to her chest.

“Do not worry about me Serana, I’ve survived here for many years. I hope you can forgive me for everything I put you through, maybe when this is all over we can work on being a more...caring family.”

“I’d like that.”

“And as for you Dragonborn.”

Caden looked towards the immortal woman with curious eyes, he saw relief in her face and relaxed at the sight.

“Yes Valerica?”

“I thank you for watching over Serana, promise me you will continue to help her along the way.”

“I promise, Harkon will pay for what he has done to both of you, as well as everyone else he has hurt to get where he is.”

“Thank you.”

“But I have one last question.”

“Yes Dragonborn?”

“I need to regain the part of my soul that I gave to Serana in order to come here, is there anyway to get it back?”

“Yes, the soul gem that Serana used was offered as a sacrifice to the Ideal Masters. That soul gem is in this realm, there is an offering platform is southwest of this building. Find the soul gem and break it over yourself once you’re back in Skyrim, if you break it here it will be lost forever.”

“Thank you Valerica, and as Serana said we will return to bring you back once Harkon is-”

“I appreciate the thought, and even if you don’t return for me it brings me peace knowing my daughter has friends like you watching out for her.”

Caden nodded and Serana gave her mother a parting hug before they left the area, they walked outside the building and Caden smelled brimstone in the air. He held a hand out to Serana telling her to stop as Caden made eye contact with Durnehviir, he slowly approached the odd dragon and calmly put a hand on the hilt of his sword. Durnehviir’s rough voice pierced the air, stopping Caden from actually drawing his weapon.

“Stay your blade Qahnaarin, you have fought bravely and I find myself impressed with your abilities.”

“You mean, you aren’t here to kill me?”

“Krosis, I know a great warrior when I see one. I acknowledge your power and name you Qahnaarin, meaning Vanquisher in the dragon tongue. I already know you are Dovahkiin and praise you all the more for your strength, I have never been felled in this realm and simply ask you for a favor once you return to the surface world.”

“What favor?”

“Call my name once you return to the realm of mundas, allow me to fly the skies of Keizaal once more and I will forever in your debt.”

“Your name?”

“Dur-Neh-Viir, hear the words in your mind’s eye and you shall accept them into your soul.”

Caden felt a rush of power as the name sunk into his soul, Durnehviir meaning Curse-never-dying. He felt the power leave him and he looked to his new friend once more, such an odd dragon.

“I promise to summon you when I can, no one deserves to be kept here for eternity.”

“Thank you, fight bravely Qahnaarin.”

Caden nodded and waved for Serana to follow him, she hurried to his side and they quickly left the dragon behind. After about twenty minutes they found the offering area that Valerica had mentioned, it was surrounded by about twenty bonemen, but it had the soul gem at the top of the weird structure. After finding their way through a frustration maze filled with enemies they finally reached the top, Caden quickly grabbed the gem that contained his soul and they left the area.

They found their way back to the start and rushed up the hovering stone steps, Caden felt as if he was floating as they exited the Soul Cairn. Once the purple haze left them they were greeted with the sight of their friends, Inigo and Kaidan were hovering around them with worried expressions.

“My friends, are you alright?”

“Yeah we’re fine Inigo, and we got the scroll. Now we just need to go get mine on our way back to the fort and that damn moth priest can tell us everything.”

Serana hurried them along back to the boat they left at the dock, they needed to get as far away as possible before her father or any other nearby vampire discovered they now had an Elder Scroll with them. They piled into the boat and started rowing back to the mainland, Caden looked back over his shoulder at the castle. Lorelai was still there, and he hoped she was still alive. He felt terrible leaving her behind but it wasn’t safe for anyone if they simply charged in without the Dawnguard having their back, he noticed everyone was looking back at the castle as well and Caden knew they all had the same regrets about leaving Lori alone and afraid with a clan of vampires.

“We’ll get her back, we just have to make sure we’re ready. I made a promise to Brynjolf, not to mention that I need to prove to Lorelai that I’ll never leave her side again no matter what.”

Everyone nodded their heads and focused on the goals ahead of them, Caden turned back to look at the castle that was now getting covered by a thick fog.

“Don’t worry Lori, I’ll get you back.”

“Did you say something my friend?”

“No, just talking to myself Inigo.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai had grown to be quite bold living with Brynjolf and the rest of the guild, but when she was currently being held prisoner by a clan of bloodsucking vampires being a smartass wasn’t the smartest decision she could have made. She was literally looking death in the face as she stared blankly at Harkon, his leather gloved hand still held one of Lorelai’s against the cold bars. Her last remark was hanging in the air like smog, she knew she was dead as soon as she let the words leave her lips. His eyes portrayed no emotion as he continued to glare at her, that soft smile never left her lips, even though she had said those damning words her confidence didn’t seem to falter.

“You...are a very interesting mortal my dear, perhaps you will see how well you have it in here with me when I show you the state of your fellow man.”

Her stomach dropped and the smile left her face, she knew what the humans here endured. They were left in cages down in the bowels of the castle, they lived like animals. They slept and ate in their own waste and she could only imagine the smell, she felt her blood freeze over at the thought. Harkon saw the effect his words had on her and he pressed closer to the cage, his hand tightened around hers as her eyes stayed glued to his.

“I sense the fear in you, my dear, are you rethinking my offer?”

Lorelai was terrified of becoming a vampire, it was the last thing she wanted but she also didn’t want to be bled dry to satisfy this madman. She couldn’t formulate a sentence as her mind raced through the possibilities, whatever she said at that moment had to be convincing enough for Harkon to actually listen to her.

“My lord, perhaps you could show me the castle? I feel that if I know your true power over the court and the people inside I could give myself willingly to you and your clan.”

She knew he was analyzing her sentenced to find any hint of a lie, granted that most of her last statement was bullshit, but maybe just maybe she could buy herself some time for Caden and the others to find Auriel’s bow and kill this bastard. Harkon let out a low chuckle as he retreated from the cage, he left the room for a few moments before returning with a light armour set she recognized all too well. He opened her cage and threw the garments at her while dropping a pair of boots next to the door, she looked at him curiously as he shut the door and locked it once more.

“You will look presentable before entering my court, now get dressed and remember whose domain you currently reside in.”

Lorelai quickly put on the low level vampire armour and boots, she welcomed the outfit, after all she had been kept in a cell with nothing but her underwear and breast band to keep her warm and covered. After Harkon watched her dress he beckoned her forwards with a wave of his hand, she obeyed and approached the door to her cell calmly. He unlocked the door and let it swing open so that no barrier was between them, he then stepped forward and took her wrists in his hands. She felt cold metal on her skin and looked down to see she had been locked in shackles, Harkon then ran a chain through the cuffs and pulled it tight. She was basically on a leash like a pet, and she knew deep down that Harkon saw her as exactly that.

“You will remain silent unless I tell you otherwise, if you have questions you will keep them to yourself until I ask. Stay by my side and no one will harm you, if you go against me...Well I’ll let you imagine what a castle full of vampires could do to you.”

“Yes Lord Harkon.”

 “Very good, nice to see that you have some semblance of a brain in that head of yours.”

She but her tongue and only lowered her head, Harkon scoffed and tugged on the chain urging Lorelai to walk forward. She felt absolutely humiliated as Harkon entered the main hall dragging her behind him, as he headed to his throne at the head table she felt all eyes turn to her.She recognized all the immortals that looked at her, including the two moronic ones that usually spend most of their time trying to kill each other. Vingalmo the immortal high elf and Orthjolf the stubborn nord that thought he deserved more than anyone to lead this court, they both fixed their eyes on her as she stood by Harkon’s side. Harkon was now comfortably seated and told Lorelai to just stand quietly by his side, the hall soon filled with the remaining members of the clan and Harkon looked completely at ease as he watched Lorelai become uneasy out of the corner of his eye.

Harkon pulled on the chain causing Lorelai to stumble forward a little before bending down so that Harkon could talk to her, she heard a few laughs throughout the hall. She pushed down the feeling of humiliation and instead knelt by Harkon’s side, she knew that obeying his orders proved to him that she was sincere...at least until she had a chance to escape.

“Seeing you cower in fear before my court brings me joy my dear, however I can't help but imagine the power you would hold by my side if you gave yourself over willingly to the gift.”

“Your court truly is powerful my lord, I fear I don’t belong here.”

“Oh? And why is that my dear?”

Before she could answer she heard shouting from the tables below them, Harkon turned his head to look as well to see his two advisers clashing once again. He knew that those two would constantly sabotage the other in order to gain more favor, they thought him ignorant to their true intentions but he knew what they truly wanted. Seeing them play out their little fantasy had brought him some entertainment, but now they grew tiresome and annoying.

“You nordic buffoon! How dare you insult my race?! High elves were meant to rule over scum like you, magic has coursed through my veins since I was born into this world. Becoming part of this court has only heightened my abilities, you are a weakling who seeks to prove himself beyond his appropriate station! Admit that you are nothing more than a common half-breed vampire, you may save yourself from embarrassment yet Orthjolf.”

“You’re a pathetic excuse for a vampire Vingalmo, you rely to heavily on your old ways of magic. You neglect what Lord Harkon has so graciously given you, our powers have made us stronger than anything roaming this plane and you chose to stay weak and ignorant! You high elf bastard, you were nothing more than a bandit when Lord Harkon took you into his embrace! You disgrace this clan, you disgrace Lord Harkon!”

The fighting grew louder and louder until Harkon sighed in aggravation, he calmly pulled Lorelai closer to him and then lifted her to sit on his lap. She let out a small yelp of surprise before situating herself across his legs, the two squabbling vampires failed to notice Harkon getting more annoyed by the second. Then out of nowhere Harkon slammed his hand on the table causing everyone to look towards his position at the front of the hall, she saw the anger behind his eyes as his grip on her waist tightened.

“If you two are done making fools of yourselves I have a decree to make.”

The two men bowed their heads and calmed themselves back into their seats, Harkon clicked his tongue and then addressed the room with a booming voice.

“Dear friends, by now I’m sure you’ve realized that a mortal sits among us. However, she is no common mortal woman. She has the gift of sight, she can see our outcomes and help us shape our futures. The only problem is that my traitorous daughter has made a friend out of our little lamb here, my daughter hunts with the Dawnguard now and it sickens me to my very core.”

Eruptions of hate and nasty comments came from the vampires occupying the hall, as the commotion continued Lorelai saw four people being led into the room like she had been. The other mortals who were trapped here and forced to let themselves be sucked dry by the monsters in this castle. Two were placed at each table below Harkon’s, Lorelai felt her stomach do flips as the people willingly laid down upon the bloodstained wood. The vampires eyed their meals readily but restrained themselves while Harkon still maintained his hold over the room.

“While this mortal is with us she is under my protection, if anyone is caught trying to harm her or drink from her without my permission they will be banished from my hall and walk this earth as an outcast among our kind. This woman is mine, when she becomes one of us she will stand by my side in my wife’s place. A new era will be ushered in and this caln will grow in both strength and numbers, a new day will dawn as vampires become the dominant race over those who are weaker than us.”

Cheers erupted over the few loyal vampires, Lorelai was more concerned with keeping her breathing normal and not panicking when Harkon said she was his and that she would give birth to his future offspring. She felt all eyes turn to her and she knew that they all wanted her dead, she couldn’t let them see her weakened by their glares. She swallowed her pride and lifted her bound hands in the air and gently lowered them down over Harkon’s head so that they rested around his neck. It caught Harkon off guard but he welcomed the action, Lorelai then used her teeth to pull one of her sleeves back far enough to expose the skin of her arm. She couldn’t believe what she was about to do, but she needed to show that she was loyal to Harkon...at least for now. She leaned in close to Harkon’s ear and let her gentle voice flow into his ear.

“I don’t want to be a vampire just yet, but I need to prove my loyalty in some fashion…”

She sat up tall in Harkon’s lap and looked over the hall of violent vampires, she needed to make this convincing. She knew she had to be strong, but at what cost?

“I am deeply honored to be in the presence of such powerful beings, almost as if I was among the gods themselves. I truly have no place among you and humble myself at your feet, especially towards you Lord Harkon. I...I offer my blood to you freely and hope that I can one day feel worthy enough to join you. Please drink and be full, I live only to serve you and this great court.”

Harkon was surprised by her declaration, she was finally starting to see the error of her ways, how delightful. He removed her bound hands from around his neck and held them in front of his mouth, the scent of her flesh was intoxicating and he had trouble restraining his urge to drink her dry. He eagerly sunk his fangs into her flesh and took a deep drink from her veins, he didn’t take much so she would stay conscious. He released her arm as he licked the blood from his lips, her skin crawled as he placed a gentle kiss against the wounded flesh before pulling her sleeve back over her skin to cover her arm.

“Bring a chair for her at once.”

With a snap of his fingers a chair was put beside him and she eased herself into it, he then unlocked her cuffs and unwound the chain, she was free for now but she was still trapped in the castle. Then a bowl was placed before her, was she actually getting fed again? She wouldn’t complain, after all she needed her strength if Harkon planned on using her as a personal feedbag. She kept her eyes trained on the bowl of what she assumed was stew and stayed quiet as Harkon addressed his clan once more.

“Now you all have seen her loyalty to us, I will respect her wishes and wait until she feels she can serve us as a vampire. Until then she shall be treated with respect, if I see or hear otherwise...well you know what I could do to you. Her name is Lorelai, she is my property from this moment forward. If everyone understands then let us dine, enjoy your evening meal.”

Lorelai heard painful moans fill the room as she slowly at her nearly cold bowl of gruel, the smell of fresh blood circulating the room made her sick. She knew that these people were taken from their loved ones, they were taken only to be used as cattle and then disposed of once they died. She assumed that it happened that way in the game, but seeing it first hand was really overwhelming. If she wasn’t careful she would join them and surely die here, she knew she was walking a very thin line with Harkon but she needed to persevere. After dinner was over Harkon didn’t restrain her again, instead he calmly but firmly took her arm and they walked back to his master suite.

“You are quite the little charmer my dear Lorelai perhaps that is the thief in you, but I sensed both honesty and lies in your words.”

“M-my lord I-”

“You aren’t ready to be one of us, but what you said about serving me is true. That will be your purpose here until I have Auriel’s bow in my hands, once the prophecy is fulfilled I will make you a vampire and you will serve as my bride in this court. I will have order and obedience, we will reign over this world and the next.”

“Lord Harkon p-please-”

“I have given you permission to walk these halls as if you were already one of us, they will respect you and leave you alone. The gate remains closed and you will always be watched, enjoy this freedom I gave you so willingly. When the time is right, you will join us and we will control this world.”

“B-but…”

“Do not question me, you are here to serve me and do whatever I desire of you. I suggest you love up to that expectation before I hand you over to the rest of the clan as a dessert option.”

Lorelai was then thrown into Harkon’s room, she fell to the stone floor and scraped the skin from her palms. He was strong, and she knew that he wasn’t even close to his full power yet. Her breathing became erratic as he towered over her, she didn’t like the look in his eyes and she scooted across the floor to try and put as much distance between herself and that bastard as possible. But his strides closed the gap every time until she was backed into a corner, she felt the cold stone through her clothes and it made her shiver. He leaned down close enough to bite her if he had wanted to, but her didn’t. He had something way worse in store for her, something that Lorelai had faced before and never truly recovered from.

“Your scent is intoxicating, I wonder how much better you smell when pinned underneath a man…”

Her heart nearly stopped as her eyes went wide with fear, her mind raced as she felt her body go numb. No, not again. Please someone save me from this nightmare, no more please… This was repeated over and over in Lorelai’s head as Harkon grabbed her and pulled her to her feet, he threw her down once more in front of the large stone fireplace that lit his room. The fur rug there provided no cushion to her fall, Harkon used his powers to hold her there on her back with her arms pinned over her head.

“You were meant to be controlled, meant to be used, meant to be food for those more powerful than yourself. I’m simply claiming what should have been mine days ago…”

“No! Please, don’t do this! Let me go! No!

Lorelai’s cries fell on deaf ears as Harkon tore her clothes from her body, she was once again stripped down to her underwear and breast band. Her hands were still bound by some invisible force as Harkon’s hands roamed over her numb body, her mind went blank as his hand came into contact with her core. All she heard was the rustle of his clothes being thrown to the side, she felt her underwear being pulled from her legs as her mind and body switched off and allowed it to happen. The next thing she felt was him forcing himself inside of her dry folds, her body awakened and her mind came back to her as she found her voice and strength once more.

“Get off of me! NO MEANS NO ASSHOLE! STOP!”

Her legs were still free and she tried kicking him and squirming to get away from him, that was when she was slapped...hard. Her vision blurred as her movements stilled, she tasted blood in her mouth as she tried to focus on her surroundings. She felt him continue to push inside of her but her nerves and mind were shot, she heard him let out a guttural growl as he pushed harder and faster into her until she felt something pour inside of her. She let silent tears fall from her eyes as he pulled out of her, her insides hurt and she thought she was bleeding from the force of his thrusts.

“You’ll be obedient, I’ll make sure you’re broken and serve me faithfully. If I decide for you to live, then you will live here and serve me loyally. If I decide for you die, you will willingly put your life before me and accept your fate.”

She was shaking from the shock of it all, she felt him grab her now unbound hands and drag her across the floor to her cage. He lifted her body up just enough to toss her inside and lock the door behind her, she lay there lifeless on the floor shivering. Her lower half was still naked but she couldn’t care at that point, this had happened to her before back in her world. Maybe Harkon was right, maybe this was all she was meant for. She was made to be used and then thrown away, the tears continued to fall as some memories came rushing to her. Memories of her and Brynjolf laughing about a job she had done with Inigo, walking hand in hand with Caden and Kaidan as they traveled the province.

All the fun they had together while fighting side by side, they thought she was worth fighting over. Brynjolf thought she was worth the title of Guild Master, she was worth more. She knew that Harkon was trying to break her down, her body had been violated and her spirit had been beaten down. She reached up to touch her cheek and winced at the pain she felt, she slowly turned her head to see Harkon redressing and then heading up to his coffin. She would make that bastard pay, she was stronger now. Her past will always haunt her and there is nothing she can do to change what happened, but what she did know was that she was done being pushed around and used like she wasn’t worth anything. Caden and the rest of her friends were working to free her, she knew that she couldn’t give up and die here.

She wouldn’t let their hard work go to waste, she will endure Harkon and the bloodstained skin she occasionally woke up with. She was done being tormented by people who weren’t worth her tears, she sat up and leaned against the back of her cage. She looked down between her legs to see blood mixed in with his ejaculation, it was seeping out of her and she felt like throwing up. She saw a strip of cloth on a nearby table and reached through the bars to grab it, after cleaning herself up she glared towards Harkon’s now sealed coffin. She would enjoy ending his life and leaving this castle behind her, she let her head fall back as she stared up at the vaulted ceiling.

“I am worth more, life is worth living. I need to get through this, for myself and for my friends.”

She let her mind run wild with thoughts of her friends coming to save her and then leaving this castle behind them, she let a weak smile show in her face as Caden’s smile and laugh came to her mind.

“I need to live, for Caden…and not that he can hear me but...I finally know my feelings. I love him, more than I thought I would."

Chapter Text

It had been four days since Caden and Serena returned from the Soul Cairn, they were now standing in a beautiful cavern with Inigo and Kaidan behind them. After all the trouble they went through with Serana’s mother in the Soul Cairn they returned to the fort to find the moth priest now blind, Cadenwas infuriated that they had lost a day of travel when Dexion could have had someone send out a letter telling them of his condition and how to find Ancestor Glade before they returned to the far reaches of the Rift. They had three Elder Scrolls with them and everywhere they went people stared at them, it wasn’t safe to travel with them, but with their size they had to be strapped on like a backpack. After taking the carriage from Riften to Falkreath they walked for about an hour north east till they found the cave entrance.

“This is beautiful! My friend, isn’t it amazing!”

Caden rolled his eyes and smirked as he walked down the steps towards the lower level, sunlight streamed in through the holes in the rocky ceiling. The team wound their way down till they reached the center of cavern, Caden stared at an odd stone sculpture with a knife resting in the center of it. Serana came to his side and gazed at the tool as well, she nudged him towards it and he firmly took it in his hands.

“So, what am I supposed to do with this?”

Serana rolled her eyes as Inigo and Kaidan laughed at her frustration, she playfully glared at them and they held up their hands as a sign of surrender.

“Dexion said that the knife was used in the ceremony, use it to carve off some of the bark from one of the trees. According to the priest once you have a piece of the bark the moth’s should warm you and then you can read the scrolls.”

Caden did as he was told and carved off a large chunk of bark from one of the trees, no sooner that he held it in his hand a swarm of nearby moths surrounded his body. Caden continued to run around for three minutes until nearly all of the moths in the area were fluttering around him, he found his way back to where he found the draw knife and Serana looked at him curiously.

“You know, it might just be my eyes that are fooling me but...is Caden glowing?”

“It is true my friend, Caden you are emitting a very odd light.”

Kaidan just stared at Caden as the moths crawled over his body, the thought of those bugs crawling on him made Kaidan shiver. Caden just shrugged and then looked at the column of light that had formed by the alter, her stood in the middle of it and his friends stood in front of him holding the three scrolls for him to read. He looked to Serana for guidance and she handed him the Elder Scroll entitled Blood, he took it and calmed his breathing before unraveling the parchment. Caden had no idea what the markings on the parchment meant but a vague picture started to from in his mind’s eye, he quickly read the other two scrolls until his entire vision was filled with a crude looking map.

Darkfall Location

“I see it! The location of the bow, it’s between Markarth and Solitude. It’s at the head of a river, it splits from the main body off to the western side.”

The picture faded away and Caden was once again staring at his friends, the moth’s fled from his body and Serana gently touched his elbow and he looked down into her golden eyes.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, a little dizzy but I’m fine.”

“Good, it looked like we lost you there for a second…”

“I’m fine Serana, come on we need to get going. We need to travel to Dragonbridge, from there I know where to go.”

“Alright, let’s go.”

Before they even had a chance to go up the stone steps they heard multiple bootfalls coming towards them, they readied their weapons as vampires charged down towards them with a few death hounds behind them. Serana wasted no time throwing her spells as the violent beings, Caden and the boys started blocking what they could before charging forward themselves and making quick work of the bloodsuckers. They all stood around the cavern staring at the amount of bodies that littered the floor, everyone was out of breath and Caden was both confused and annoyed.

“What in the name of Talos was that!? How did they find us?”

Serana shrugged her shoulders as she struggled to recover some of her magica energy, Kaidan and Inigio just sighed heavily as they looked around the room. Once everyone caught their breath they made their way out of the cavern and headed towards Lakeview manor to rest for the night, once inside Caden’s homestead his Falkreath housecarl Raya welcomed them with a hot meal and warm beds. They were all seated around the table eating their stew in silence when Serana took out the potion Lorelai had given her, it was nearly empty and Serana felt bad that Lorelai had been captured and held by her father for so long.

“I’m sorry Caden…”

“For what Serana?”

“If I hadn’t come to you for help Lorelai would still be here, it’s been so long and she’s been in the castle alone with my father as well as the rest of the clan…”

“You had no idea your father would take Lorelai, besides even if you hadn’t come to me for help there is no guarantee that Harkon would have left Lorelai alone. This isn’t your fault Serana, we’re so close to freeing her.”

“If she’s still alive.”

Everyone turned to Kaidan, that was a very unwelcome comment. He blankly stared into his stew with a very stoic expression on his face, Inigo’s ears laid back against his head and Serana looked even more guilty than she previously had. Caden was mad at the remark, even though he knew deep down it was a possibility he didn’t want anyone bringing it to his attention. He didn’t want to think about the possibility that he had failed her a second time, he glared at the hunter and dropped the tone of his voice.

“Don’t say that Kaidan.”

“Why not? I’m just saying we should be prepared in case she isn’t there by the time we get to storm the castle, we have to look at every option.”

“That doesn’t mean we have to accept it, we can’t give up hope. Lorelai is a smart girl, I know she has found a way to survive.”

“What if she’s turned into a vampire? What if Serana’s father used his powers to erase her memory of us? Will you be able to kill her if she attacks us?”

“Shut it…”

“Will you?!”

“Shut your damn mouth Kaidan, she wouldn’t forget about us! She wouldn’t become a vampire!”

“What if it wasn’t her choice?! Harkon could force it on her, then what?”

“Then we deal with it when the need arises, until then I would appreciate some optimism.”

“Hmph.”

A tense silence swept through the hall as everyone finished eating and went to bed, so much was on the line and now they had to go through a cave filled with Talos only knows what. But Caden knew he couldn’t give up, not until Lorelai was safe and in his care once more.


When morning came the group wasted no time finding a cart and hitching a ride to Dragonbridge, once they reached the little town they followed the river Caden described and found the cave. After fighting a couple spiders and skeevers they found an abandoned campsite deep within the tunnels, Serana looked around the dark area and saw a few fresh supplies still in packs near the tent.

“Who would set up a camp in here?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t like the smell My friends, it smells like trolls are nearby.”

Sure enough after avoiding a tripwire and descending deeper into the cave they saw two trolls on the far side of a shallow water filled cavern, Inigo was able to kill one with a well placed arrow but the other roared in anger at the sight of it’s fallen companion. Kaidan and Caden were able to kill the last troll, after cleaning their blades the men followed Serana towards a rather odd looking shrine. They saw a figure standing beside it and immediately went on guard, when the figure turned to notice them the person held up their arms to show they meant no harm, the group lowered their weapons and Caden took to the front of the group to greet the strange creature.

“Who are you?”

"I am Knight-Paladin Gelebor. Welcome to the Great Chantry of Auri-El."

“Is this the temple of Auriel?”

“Auriel, Auri-El, Alkosh, Akatosh... so many different names for the sovereign of the snow elves.”

“Snow elves? I thought they died out centuries ago, usually we just call them Falmer.”

“I prefer snow elf. The name Falmer usually holds a negative meaning to most travelers. Those twisted creatures you call Falmer, I call the Betrayed.”

“Understood, you seem rather calm about four complete strangers approaching you. Do you by chance know why we are here?”

“Of course. You're here for Auriel's Bow. Why else would you be here? I can help you get it, but first I must have your assistance.”

“Not until you tell me why you knew what we came here for, it’s rather suspicious.”

“For thousands of years I've served as the Chantry's sentinel, there hasn't been a single visitor here for any other reason. They request Auriel's Bow, and I request their assistance. It's been repeated so many times, I can't imagine it any other way."

“I see, do we have a choice?”

The snow elf rolled his eyes before plastering a dry smile on his face, he put his hands on his hips and stared down the Dragonborn as a very sarcastic tone over took his voice.

“Absolutely. You could turn around and travel back from wherever you started empty handed, or you could assist me and get Auriel’s bow like you intended.”

“Alright, no need for hostility friend. What kind of assistance do you require?”

"I need you to kill Arch-Curate Vyrthur... my brother. The kinship between us is gone. I don't understand what he's become, but he's no longer the brother I once knew. It was the Betrayed... they did something to him, I just don't know why Auri-El would allow this to happen.”

“What exactly happened? What did the falmer do?”

“They swept into the Chantry without warning and began killing everyone without pause. The Chantry was a place of peaceful worship. I led a small group of paladins, but we were no match for the Betrayed's sheer numbers. They slaughtered everyone and stormed the Inner Sanctum where I believe they corrupted Vyrthur.”

“Are you certain this brother of yours is even still alive? How do you know the falmer didn’t kill him along with the others in your group?”

“He's alive. I've seen him. But something's wrong. He never looks as though he's in pain or under duress. He just... stands there and watches, as though waiting.”

“Have you ever tried to go into the Inner Sanctum yourself? Maybe you could help him.”

“Leaving the wayshrines unguarded would be violating my sacred duty as a Knight-Paladin of Auriel. And an assault on the Betrayed guarding the Inner Sanctum would only end with my death.”

“What is a wayshrine? You’ve mentioned them but I have no idea what they are.”

"Yes, let me show you."

The paladin motioned towards the weird stone structure in the middle of a shallow pool of water, the elf conjured up some odd magic and struck the sun symbol sticking out from the top of the odd pile of stone. Slowly the structure rose from the ground and formed a little shrine, the whole building looked rather unfamiliar as the group looked at it.

"This structure is known as a wayshrine. They were used for meditation and for transport when the Chantry was a place of enlightenment. Prelates of these shrines were charged with teaching the mantras of Auri-El to our Initiates."

Serana seemed rather curious about the whole wayshrine business and started to ask her own series of questions, surely there were more to these wayshrines than she thought.

“What's that basin in the center signify?”

"Once the Initiate completed his mantras, he'd dip a ceremonial ewer in the basin at the wayshrine's center and proceed to the next wayshrine."

"So these Initiates had to lug around a heavy pitcher of water. Marvelous. How long would they have to do that?"

"Well, once the Initiate's enlightenment was complete, he'd bring the ewer to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum. Pouring the contents of the ewer into the sacred basin of the Sanctum would allow him to enter for an audience with the Arch-Curate himself."

"All that just to end up dumping it out? Makes no sense to me."

"It's symbolic. I don't expect you to understand, after all vampires seem to lack the customs of normal races."

"So let's get this straight. We need to do all that nonsense to get into the temple, so we can kill your brother and claim Auriel's Bow?”

"I know how it all sounds, but if there was another way I'd have done it long ago. The only way to get to my brother is by following in the Initiates' footsteps and traveling from wayshrine to wayshrine just as they did. The first lay at the end of Darkfall Passage, a cavern that represents the absence of enlightenment."

Serana wasn’t satisfied with this answer but she dropped the subject as the paladin turned towards Caden once more, he seemed rather aggravated with Serana’s questions but in truth Caden was still curious about the whole trial.

"There are five in total, spread far apart across the Chantry."

“I understand, how large are the rest of the caves?”

"Caves? Oh, no. The Chantry encompasses far more than a few caves, as you'll soon discover. But before I send you on your way, you'll need the Initiate's Ewer."

The snow elf went back over to his little camp and grabbed a strange look jug, he handed it to Caden and the nord examined it with curious eyes.

"Once you've located a wayshrine, there will be a spectral Prelate tending to it. They will allow you to draw the water from the shrine's basin as if you've been enlightened. This may be the last time we're able to converse. If you have any questions before you leave, I suggest you ask them. Otherwise, all I can do now is to grant you my hopes for a safe journey."

“Seems rather complex, but I’m sure it’s nothing we can’t handle. I promise to help your brother in anyway we can, let’s get going everyone.”

Gelebor nodded and opened the portal to the beginning of the trail, they all hesitated before stepping through the odd purple curtain. Caden’s past experience led to part of his soul being removed from his body so he was a little more than reluctant to enter one again, once on the other side they found themselves in a very dark cave with weird glowing plants. Everyone was still shaking off the odd feeling they had after walking through that portal, looking around the cramped passage was less than comforting.

“Well this looks fun, I see why they call it Darkfall passage. So he said the first wayshrine was at the end of this passage right?”

Serana nodded as she stood by his side, the others still gazed around the area with wary eyes. Caden felt the weird aura of the space as well but they needed to get a move on if they had multiple areas to trek through in order to get to the inner sanctum.

“Let’s get going, everyone be on guard we have no idea what awaits us in here.”

“Agreed, we need to get this over with and save Lorelai.”

Chapter Text

“This is breathtaking, to think this whole area was hidden away.”

Caden and the guys looked around the misty valley as Serana spoke, the first wayshrine was a pain to reach and that damn snow elf said nothing about weird sabre cats lurking in the cave. Fighting the falmer was expected, but the odd animals and ghost guardians were still very troubling to look at. After gathering the water from the first wayshrine they had to go through another portal and that brought them to an odd cavern, the only thing between the portal and whatever was beyond that stone room was a narrow walkway leading up. After carefully climbing up they were greeted with light, and now they stood at the edge of a misty valley looking over the horizon.

“I think I see another wayshrine, it’s over to the right after we reach the floor of the valley. Let’s get going boys.”

Serana led them forward and across the misty area until they reached the second wayshrine, after listening to the guardian speak the Caden entered the shrine and gathered the water in the jug Gelebor had given them.

“Alright, only three more to go.”

They hiked through a spider invested mountain pass until they stood on the edge of a canyon overlooking a frozen lake with what Caden recognized as a word wall standing in the center of it. They made their way down following the archways until they reach another wayshrine on the banks of a frozen river, they gathered more water before walking on through more stone archways. After climbing a few ice covered stairways they came to the edge of the frozen lake, they slowly made their way across it until Caden felt a strange energy coming from beneath the ice. Everyone stopped once the ice started to shake, then two dragons crashed through the ice and soared into the sky.

Everyone was speechless but only for a few moments before they readied their weapons and proceeded to try and kill the dragons, Caden thought he had come across every kind of dragon but these two looked very strange and were very brightly colored. After what felt like ages both dragons were defeated and fell to the ice with a crash, their bodies started disappearing and Caden felt a rush of power as he absorbed the two souls at the same time. Caden felt twice the energy he usually did when he absorbed a poor dragon’s soul, but with two for a moment he felt unstoppable and ready to take on the world.

“Are you alright my friend? That can not be healthy…”

Caden turned his head slightly to look at the strangely colored khajiit before nodding his head and coming down from his power high, he then walked over to the word wall and absorbed the knowledge from it. He also looted the chest to find a couple of resist fire potions and health remedies, Caden rejoined the group and they ascended another slippery set of stairs to reach the fourth wayshrine. After gathering that water as well Caden tied the jug back onto his belt and continued on the path towards a glacier pass, many falmer blocked their way but the group was determined to get through and find the final wayshrine. After hours of going through multiple levels of ice and falmer they finally reached the summit of the glacier where the final wayshrine and entrance to the temple were located.

Caden gathered the final bit of water and the group slowly walked towards the impressive building, a statue of what Caden could only assume to be Auriel stood in front of the stone building. They walked up the small staircase and stood before an empty basin, Caden poured the water in and the liquid ran down the mechanism and spread along the carving in the floor. They felt the ground shake as the doors unlocked and opened for them, they slowly walked inside and saw the multitudes of frozen flamer decorating the entrance hall.

“This place gives me chills, we need to find this bow and get the hell out of here.”

Kaidan was right to be worried, one wrong move and they were doomed. Caden led the group through the crumbling temple and used the initiate's ewer to open the passages further into the building, soon they came to a room totally encased in ice. They stood on an outcropping of ice and glanced down at the stone floor a few feet below them, they all took turns jumping down and then entered the chapel of Auriel. There surrounded by a wall of ice spikes was yet another snow elf, this must be Gelebor’s brother. They slowly approached the man but stopped once he fixed his eyes on the group, Caden felt a sense of unease come over him as they stopped in the center of the room. The snow elf didn’t seem surprised that they were there, in fact he seemed rather pleased that they had come.

“Did you really come here expecting to claim Auriel's Bow? You've done exactly as I predicted and brought your fetching companion to me. Which, I'm sorry to say, means your usefulness is at an end!”

Before Caden could reply the group heard a shatter and then a frozen chaurus came rushing at them, Inigo quickly killed it with a swift motion from his ebony sword. The snow elf seemed to be entertained by the action, he shifted in his icy throne and put a hand on his chin before speaking to them again.

“An impressive display, but a wasted effort. You delay nothing but your own deaths!”

Then the pale elf raised a single hand and the room started to shake violently, everyone was struggling to stay on their feet when Serana noticed that the ceiling was starting to crack in some places.

“Watch out, he’s trying to bring down the ceiling!”

The guys looked up and rolled out of the way just in time, but some of the falling stone hit the frozen falmer effectively waking them and causing them to attack the group.

“Finish them!”

The Snow elf looked so smug as the awakened falmer charged at the group, Caden and Serana fought side by side as Inigo and Kaidan did the same. Caden knew the bow was so close to being theirs, Lorelai was counting on them and he wasn’t going to let a few frostbitten falmer stop him now. After a few minutes all off the frozen enemies were broken into pieces and the group stood in front of the angry elf once more.

“This has gone on long enough.”

Serana was growing angry at the snow elf, and rightfully so. She pointed her daedric dagger at the pale elf and glared at him with her golden orbs.

“Your life will end here!”

Vyrthur looked at her with a blank expression and shook his head from side to side, he let a weak smile form on his face as he raised a single hand and pointed it at the group once more.

“Child, my life ended long before you were born!”

Then a frost atronach took shape and pelted them with ice spikes, not to mention that more falmer had been unleashed and they were ambushed on all sides. Serana focused on the atronach while the guys took care of the falmer, with teamwork their enemies fell at their feet and they stood victorious in the center of the room with shards of ice surrounding them. Vyrthur was now enraged to see his minions in shards around their feet, he felt power surge through him as he opened his throat and shouted towards the triumphant group.

“No... I won't let you ruin centuries of preparations…”

Serana faced him with a calmer look in her eyes, she sheathed her dagger and slowly approached him with the guys at her back.

“Please just hand over the bow Vyrthur, your brother is waiting...for all of us.”

“Death first!”

The elf then focused all of his energy into his hands and threw them upwards towards the sky, the group fell to their knees as the ceiling came crashing down around them. The whole area was now exposed to the outside world and a balcony rested only a few feet away from the startled group. Serana was the first to recover and she helped the other’s to their feet and made sure they were okay before looking all of them with hope in her eyes.

“Thank goodness you’re all alright, come on this is almost over. For Lorelai.”

They all nodded and raced after the snow elf that had fled to the balcony, they corned him at the farthest edge of the mezzanine and Serana approached him calmly.

“Enough, Vyrthur. Give us the bow!”

“How dare you. I was the Arch-Curate of Auri-El, girl. I had the ears of a god!”

Serana sighed and rolled her eyes as the defeated snow elf crouched in front of her, she put her hands on her hips and stared down at the elf with an annoyed expression on her face.

“Until the ‘Betrayed’ corrupted you. Yes, yes. We've heard this sad story.”

“Gelebor and his kind are easily manipulated fools. Look into my eyes, Serana. You tell me what I am.”

Serana furrowed her brows as she stooped down to his level, her eyes widened as she jolted upwards and took a step back from the pale elf.

“You're... you're a vampire? But Auriel should have protected you…”

The elf shook his head and stood back up with his head hung low, the guys closed him in further so he could not escape.

“The moment I was infected by one of my own Initiates, Auri-El turned his back on me. I swore I'd have my revenge, no matter what the cost.”

“You want to take revenge...on a god?!”

“Auri-El himself may have been beyond my reach, but his influence on our world wasn't. All I needed was the blood of a vampire and his own weapon, Auriel's Bow.”

“The blood of a vampire... Auriel's Bow... It... it was you? You created that prophecy?”

“A prophecy that lacked a single, final ingredient... the blood of a pure vampire. The blood of a Daughter of Coldharbour.”

Serana’s anger resurfaced as she grabbed the pale vampire’s chest plate and raised him into the air above her head, Caden was shocked at the strength she had but didn’t stop her as she flashed her fangs at the pale creature. Serana felt her world grow smaller as she stared at this ancient elf, his whole fake prophecy destroyed her family and that made her all the more bloodthirsty. She was going to see this man dead, he had caused her so much misery and sadness that she was now all too eager to return the favour.

“You were waiting... all this time for someone with my blood to come along. Well, too bad for you... I intend on keeping it. Let's see if your blood has any power to it!”

Vyrthur’s golden eyes flashed as he sensed Serana’s anger, he laughed loudly before lurching out of her grip and rising slightly into the air. A small light started shining from his levitating body and the group squinted against the rays of light. He looked down on them and gave a toothy grin, they had no idea the true power he had been hiding.

“Your pathetic powers are no match for mine! I’ll feed your corpses to the Betrayed!”

He landed on the cold stone and immediately summoned another atronach, Kaidan and Inigo took on the atronach while Caden and Serana faced Vyrthur head on. The deranged snow elf focused all of his attention on Serana leaving him open for Caden’s attack, with their combined powers them finally destroyed the atronach and forced Vrythur to his knees. All of them had retained some injuries but the minor blood loss was forgotten as they enclosed the ancient vampire.

“This is pointless, I will darken the skies with her blood!”

Serana drew her dagger and grabbed a fistful of Vyrthur’s hair, she forced him to look at her as she positioned her dagger near his neck.

“My blood was not meant for you nor my father to use, this is where the prophecy ends!”

She shoved her dagger deep into his throat and sliced it open, the elf gurgled and choked on his own blood as he fell face first onto the cold stone beneath him. Serana cleaned her blade as a wayshrine rose out of the balcony behind them, the team made their way down the small set of stairs and stood at the entrance as Gelebor appeared before them.

“So, the deed has been done. The restoration of this wayshrine means that Vyrthur must be dead and that the Betrayed no longer have control over him.”

Caden shook his head and Gelebor sensed there was more to what had happened here, the nord walked towards the elf and gently put a hand on his shoulder and looked into his pale eyes.

“Sadly the Betrayed had no hand in this, in fact one could almost call them victims of your brother’s wrath…”

"What? What are you talking about?"

“He was actually a vampire, he made this happen. He knew we would come looking for the bow in hopes Serana herself would come, the prophecy was all his doing.”

"A vampire? I see. That would explain much. Deep inside, it brings me joy that the Betrayed weren't to blame for what happened here. Because that means there's still hope that they might one day shed their hatred and learn to believe in Auri-El once again. It's been a long time since I felt that way and it's been long overdue. My thanks, to all of you. You risked everything to get Auri-El's Bow, and in turn, you've restored the Chantry. I can't think of a more deserving champion to carry it than you. If you wish to learn more about the bow, or obtain Sunhallowed Arrows for it, I'd be more than happy to help. You've but to ask. Please, take the bow... it's yours."

The bow appeared in the center of the wayshrine and had a bright light shining from it, Inigo grabbed it and carefully replaced his ebony bow with it. Since he was the most efficient with a bow, the group decided that he should carry it once they had found it. Caden turned back to the gloomy snow elf and offered a weak smile, the elf returned it and let one of his hands fall on the Dragonborn’s shoulder as well.

“So about those Sun-Hallowed arrows.”

“The bow was said to be carried by Auri-El himself into battle against the forces of Lorkhan in ancient and mythic times. Its craftsmanship has no equal anywhere within Tamriel and possibly beyond. The bow draws it power from Aetherius itself, channeling it through the sun. Therefore, when an arrow is loosed from the bow, it produces a magical effect very similar to being burned by fire. That's actually only a fraction of its potential. With Sunhallowed Arrows, you would be able to produce a much more spectacular effect... causing bursts of sunlight to envelop your foes. The sunbursts would certainly hurt anything, but is especially devastating to the undead.”

“Could you make some for us?”

“Absolutely.They have to be elven arrows and I can only do twenty at a time, so just let me know.”

Kaidan came forward with a quiver full of elven arrows, Caden eyed him curiously when the snow elf eagerly took them and started performing the rituals.

“Why do you have elven arrows Kaidan?”

“I use them to hunt with, I’m surprised you just noticed them. I tend to despise elves, but their arrows are well crafted and sharp enough to pierce through mammoth hide.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Here you are, twenty Sun-Hallowed arrows. Use them wisely.”

“Thank you Gelebor, we appreciate it. How do we get back to the cave?”

“Ah, I can summon a portal for you. And if you ever wish to return here it can transport you back as well, farewell.”

The group thanked Gelebor one last time before stepping through the portal and being transported back to Darkfall Cave, once inside the damp cave they found a chain to pull just on the other side of Gelebor’s temporary camp. They went through the tunnel that opened up and then soon emerged out into the province they knew all too well, they looked to each other as the sun started to sink below the horizon.

“We finally have the bow my friends! We need to write to Isran and tell him to get up here as soon as possible!”

“Agreed, I’ll write to him once we are safely in Dragon Bridge. Let’s go.”

The group hurried towards the small town and wasted no time renting rooms for the night and eating dinner, Caden quickly retired to his room and scribbled out a letter to Isran about meeting them at the docks outside of Castle Volkihar as soon as possible. He found a courier and paid him triple to get that letter to Isran as soon as possible, the courier raced out of the inn and was on his way to Fort Dawnguard. Caden rejoined the group as they sat around the fire listening to the bard sing, it brought back memories of when Lorelai used to sing at the taverns they visited.

“I miss Lorelai’s voice…”

They all looked to Inigo as he issued those lonely words, they all missed Lorelai but it never really sank in because they were so focused on finding the damn bow and using it to defeat Harkon once and for all. Kaidan nodded in agreement as he took another sip from the bottle of mead in front of him, Serana also silently nodded her head as she stared into the roaring fireplace in the center of the inn. Caden sighed as a simple melody came to his head, the song that Lorelai first sang to him when they ate dinner at the Bannered Mare. Soon Caden’s rough but soothing voice greeted the ears of his companions, even though the song was about himself the thought of Lorelai’s voice singing it allowed Kaidan and Inigo to chime in as well.

Our Hero, our Hero, claims a warrior's heart I tell you, I tell you, the Dragonborn comes

With a Voice wielding power of the ancient Nord arts

Believe, believe, the Dragonborn comes

It's an end to the evil of all Skyrim's foes Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes

For the darkness has passed, and the legend yet grows

You'll know, you'll know, the Dragonborn's come

Serana looked at them with curious eyes as the song died out, they all looked a little better after the tune faded out.

“I didn’t know you three sang.”

“We don’t, Lorelai was the one with the voice of a goddess. That was the first song she sang when I met her. I pray to Talos that she is alright…”

Chapter Text

Lorelai had not seen Harkon in a few days, however he had kept his promise and allowed her to freely roam around the castle, she even had new clothes to replace the ones he had ripped from her body. She mostly kept to Harkon’s personal chambers, she sometimes ventured to the overhead balcony above the head table but she was afraid to go any further. She had lost count of the days that she had been confined to this hellish place, she felt violated and damaged. She had gone through this before though, this was no new experience for her. She was calmly sitting in Harkon’s room when a small knock greeted her ears, her breath hitched in her throat as she got up and opened the door.

A small wood elf was standing there, she was in tattered rags and Lorelai noticed that she was not a vampire. The elf looked to her with desperate eyes, she held a couple bowls of stew and Lorelai assumed that was her daily meal.

“Is this for me?”

“Y-yes, well for both of us…”

“Ok, come in.”

She welcomed in the frightened elf and they sat on the floor near the fireplace, Lorelai was surprised another mortal was allowed to freely roam the grounds with a vampire escort. The elf looked skinny and weak, like she had once been part of the thrall but was now serving a new purpose. Lorelai took one of the bowls from her and set it on the ground next to her, she then faced the elf head on and offered a weak smile.

“What is you name?”

“Melanie.”

“That’s a pretty name, I’m Lorelai.”

“I know who you are, Harkon’s pet. That is a privilege, I was in your position once. It was about a year ago though, now I’m just a servant.”

“They let you freely roam around the castle?”

“Yeah, they don’t see me as a threat and I’m not. I’m too weak to do anything and I’ve been away from home for so long that I don’t have anywhere else to go. This is my home.”

“Surely you have someone or something to go back to if you leave here…”

“I’ve been here for five years, I was taken from my camp near Morthal and the next thing I knew I woke up in a cage down in the basement. My blood was drained every other day and then eventually Harkon took an interest in me, he used me for his own personal blood supply...among other things.”

“I think I can guess what those other things entail.”

“I take it that he has already taken advantage of you then.”

“...Yes.”

“I’m truly sorry…”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, I’ve known this pain before.”

“That’s terrible! And pardon my saying so, but you seem to hide a deep pain inside you. I can sense it, a deep wound from long ago...what happened to you?”

Lorelai looked at her elf companion and knew that the chances of her telling anyone of this was minimal, plus once this castle was raided there was a chance she wouldn’t survive the encounter. Lorelai pushed her still full bowl away from her and folded her hands gently in her lap, she took a deep breath and looked at Melanie with empty eyes.

“It all happened a long time ago, it all started when I was sixteen and reckless. I was hanging out with some people I shouldn’t have been and I saw them as friends, but they were far from the friends I have now.”

“How so?”

“They were arrogant and two-faced, one minute they acted like they would take a bullet for you and then the next they would go behind your back and spread rumors and encourage others to discourage you. I was foolish and so naive, not that I knew any of this at the time.”

“This pain I sense is larger than a few bad friends Lorelai, please tell me the truth.”

“It’s hard to relive, although I see the same scenes in my nightmares.”

“I know we just met, but I have been in your shoes. I know this isn’t easy, but with someone standing by you it gets better.”

Lorelai knew the wood elf was right but she had spent so many days shutting her feelings away that she knew if she allowed them to flow she would be exposing so much of herself. This mental battle waged on while the elf looked on with kind eyes, Lorelai sighed and finally came to the realization that she needs to tell someone and have at least one person understand her. Even though she may never see this person again, and she also promised herself that she would tell Caden and the rest of the group as well when she saw them again.

“Well, one night these friends and I were at a party that I should have never been at. It was all fake, they took me there saying it was for a birthday party but it was something completely different. They invited a lot of people I had never met or seen before, among these guests was a man that I thought I had a crush on.”

“A scorned lover?”

“Nope, he was single and very well known. See these friends knew I had a thing for him and they urged me to talk to him, they got me so drunk that night that I was literally doing anything they told me to. I sobered up enough that I thought it was time to go home and I stood outside the party to try and contact my parents to come and get me. That’s when that guy I mentioned came up to me with a cup, he offered it to me and I asked him what was in it.”

“More liquor?”

“He claimed it was water, he told me that I looked like I needed it. I believed him because he had given me no reason not to, so I took the cup and started drinking from it. He was older than me by a couple years and he was attractive, to think that he was into me was amazing. But as soon as I emptied the cup I knew something was wrong, my body started to become numb and I felt really dizzy.”

“Poison?!”

“Not quite… it’s what my people would call a drug. It made my body go completely limp but my mind was still working and I could see and hear everything they did or said around me. My voice was gone though, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t speak or make a noise of any kind. The guy brought my body back into the party and people started laughing and taking pictures of me…”

“Pictures? What are pictures?”

“Like paintings, only they don’t take that long to make.”

“I see… continue.”

“Anyway, I didn’t understand why these so called ‘friends’ were laughing while I was in that state. I would have been in a full panic if I had seen any of them in the same condition, but then they stripped me of my clothes and took more pictures. In their eyes it was all a prank, after they were done the guy said that he was going to take me upstairs so that I would wake up in a bed and not on the floor in the living room.”

Lorelai felt her stomach twist as she replayed the scene in her mind, his hands grabbing at her limp body dragging her from the room and away from prying eyes. She felt her tears start to form but then she felt the elf’s hand in hers, she took a deep breath and continued her story with a heavy heart.

“Once he got me to this room he put me on the bed and then closed and locked the door behind him, he came back over to me and I was still only in my underwear at this point. He started stripping himself and I was still under the influence of this drug so I couldn’t do anything to stop him. In my mind I was crying and screaming out for help, but on the outside I was silent and unmoving. He shoved himself inside of me and continued to do so until my body started to twitch because the drug was wearing off, he had violated me three times in one night. All the while telling me that I brought it upon myself and that if I really cared for him I wouldn’t tell anybody what happened. He even threatened to do it again if I said anything to anyone…”

“One can be very easily manipulated under that stress…”

“A few days later my father noticed something was wrong with me and that I wasn’t acting the same, my mother noticed as well but she brushed it off saying that it was only a phase I was going through at the time. I had always been closer to my father than my mother, I told him what had happened to me but I didn’t give him names to his dismay.”

“Why?”

“I was scared of it happening again, so my father signed me up for therapy sessions that he attended with me. I was getting better, or at least I felt like I was. One day on our way back from a session my father tried getting me to tell him the name of the guy that had attacked me but I still wouldn't tell him, we started arguing and he got distracted from driving…”

“Is he…”

“He died on the operating table, we were hit by another driver and we were both in pretty bad condition. I was in a coma for a couple weeks and when I woke up my mother was nowhere in sight, one of my caretakers told me what happened to my father and I was devastated. My mother blamed me and honestly I did too, sometimes I still think it’s my fault. If I had just told him he might still be alive, he could be fine and sitting at home telling jokes and talking to me about books…”

Lorelai let the tears flow freely and Melanie was there to comfort her the best she could, Lorelai welcomed the comfort and tried to calm herself down to continue her tale. After a few moments she calmed her breathing and wiped her eyes, she covered the elf’s hands with her own and continued on.

“When I went back to school...no one was there for me. Everyone had no doubt heard about my father and that I was in therapy from what happened at the party, I told some of those ‘friends’ about it but it hadn’t stayed quiet like I thought it would. They blamed me for it as well, they laughed at me calling me a slut or whore because they way that guy made it sound….he made it sound like I begged him for it and that…”

“It’s okay Lorelai, none of that was your fault. You were young and trusting and those people took that for granted, you were just being a child.”

“The bullying got worse once I started finding refuge in vid-….in certain games I used to play to take my mind off some of the pain. I started talking about those games and writing different theories about them. I thought things were getting better, but then people out and made fun of me even more. They were unsupportive of my work and theories and it was all so toxic that I stopped playing those games, I hid away in my room and refused to go to school or even go outside my house.”

Melanie looked a the defeated woman as she told her sad tale, she had gone through so much without any comfort or love in the world. Melanie knew the world could be harsh, but to be cast aside so many times was just so unnecessary.

“When I got to college it got better, although I know that I’m still living a lie. I told my friends there that I was a virgin because it was easier to lie than to tell them the truth about what had happened to me. I told the three people closest to me that same lie with a smile, those people are out there looking for me right now and they don’t even know the truth. I could die here with the knowledge that I lied to them about something so major and ...”

“Shhh, you won’t die here Lorelai. Those chosen by Harkon never do…”

“That might be worse than death, I would rather be dead than serve that asshole.”

Melanie giggled and Lorelai let a weak smile cross her lips, she barely knew this elf ten minutes and already she meant the world to her. Lorelai was finally able to tell someone about her trauma, she also knew that in the game this Melanie didn’t exist. The elf wrapped her arms around Lorelai and gently squeezed, Lorelai returned the affection and then pulled back enough to look at Melanie’s eyes.


“This isn’t real is it…”

“I’m afraid not, you are asleep…”

“It all feels so real.”

“You needed someone to know your truth, your dreams have allowed you to have that opportunity.”

“Nice to know I’m my own best friend…”

“You needed to admit to yourself that none of this was your fault, you are simply human and being so is no crime. The things that have happened to you are unfortunate but they do not define you, you have friends that care deeply for you here. Your father may be gone from this world, but he will forever be with you. Even though your mother doesn’t show it you know she cares about you, those nights she sat up with you through your night terrors would be her sign of love.”

“I know...it was just easier to think I caused all of it…”

“Never blame yourself for things outside of your control, you can fill your mind with what ifs and could have beens but in the end whatever happens is something beyond our control.”

“But I could have told my father the guy’s name...it might have spared his life that day.”

“The driver that hit you was drunk right?”

“Yeah...he died on impact but his autopsy proved that he was drunk….”

Melanie’s form started to deform and morph into one she knew all too well, her father materialized in front of her and Lorelai let a hand cover her mouth as tears threatened to spill from her eyes once more. Her father simply hugged her and comforted her, he had no voice and Lorelai figured that since she had forgotten what his voice actually sounded like this was her brain’s way of comforting her.

“I’m so sorry dad, I should have told you...I miss you so much…”

Her father placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and then her dream faded away into black, her eyes fluttered open and she was leaning back against the cold metal bars of her cage. She had fallen asleep again, she suspected they were giving her something in her food to keep her subdued in Harkon’s absence. Her clothes were replaced with Royal vampire armour, Lorelai felt her head pounding as she tried to stand up. Whatever they were using to keep her contained had one hell of a side effect. Her cell was unlocked so she walked around the room slowly trying to regain her strength, her mind felt foggy from that dream but her spirit felt lighter. Having someone to talk to, even if it was just her self conscious, it helped her come to terms with what happened to her.

“Well, at least I came to terms with myself after everything...but I still need to get out of here and get back to the group.”

“But you’ve been the most welcomed addition my dear, surely you wouldn’t leave us yet..”

Lorelai turned around at the sound of Harkon’s voice, he had come to stand in the doorway and glare at her. Her blood turned cold as he silently stared at her, although something about him looked off. He looked more stressed than usual, not to mention that he looked very tired and about ready to collapse. Lorelai didn’t let his seemingly vulnerable state deceive her, she knows how strong a vampire lord is, she knew that he could easily kill her even in his exhausted state.

“I didn’t hear you come in my lord..”

The words dripped of her tongue, each word drenched in hate and anger. He sensed the hate that she harbored for him but that would all change once he had Auriel’s bow in his hands, he calmly walked over to her with a set of shackles and a chain in his hands. She weakly offered her wrists and he restrained her and pulled the chain tightly through the loops of the cuffs creating a leash once more.

“You are coming with me, it seems my daughter and her new friends have found the answer to my prophecy.”

“What?!”

“They are coming, my scouts have told me of a group of Dawnguard soldiers led by my traitorous daughter. They plan to kill me, but it will not be as easy as they hope it to be. You will be my key to making them weak.”

“How? I mean nothing to your daughter and the Dawnguard.”

A hard slap greeted her cheek and she tasted blood in her mouth as she slowly turned back to Harkon with a red mark forming on her cheek.

“You lie, the Dragonborn is with her and he cares for you a great deal doesn’t he?”

Lorelai let fear flash in her eyes for only a second, but that was long enough for Harkon to confirm his theories. He pulled her behind him and into the chapel where the shrine to Molag Bal was, she saw piles of bones of to the side as well as multiple fresh bodies with hollowed out features. That wasn’t exhaustion she saw on Harkon’s face, it was power. Overwhelming power that required all of his strength to keep at bay, he had drained the blood of so many mortals that his powers were about to erupt.

“My lord…”

“Shut up! You will be the bait, I will kill both my daughter and that Dragonborn. Their death signals the dawning of a new age, a darker and bloodier age that brings with it the reign of Vampires! I will not be defeated!”

He tied Lorelai to the altar and then transformed into his Vampire Lord form, the sound of flesh ripped and the sight of wings bursting from his back made her throw up what little food she had in her stomach. The smell was putrid and she looked on in horror as he loomed over her, then they both heard multiple feet rushing about the hall followed by cries of battle. After a few moments the noise quieted and the door to the chapel burst open, she peered around Harkon’s hideous figure to see the four faces she had missed so much. She saw visible relief cross her friends’ faces as they saw she was still alive, then Harkon offered a toothy grin and picked her up off the ground to hold in his embrace.

She gasped at the strength and felt something come over her, she instantly calmed and she felt her mind cloud over. She heard Harkon say something to the group and then she felt his fangs sink into her, she let out a squeak of pain. This bite felt different from the others, he continued to drink from her until almost all of her life force was gone.

“Join us now Lorelai.”

Harkon then offered her his blood and she felt pain shoot through her body as he trew her back down near the shrine, the last thing she saw was Caden charge towards Harkon as Inigo wielded the bow of Auriel. Kaidan and Serana rushed to defend her but she couldn’t speak, she felt her heart stop and then darkness overtook her once more. The last thought that passed through her mind was this: I feel so cold...

Chapter Text

Harkon took their surprise as an opportunity to speak to his daughter, Lorelai was lying near his feet completely vulnerable as they rushed into the room.He was going to turn her into a vampire, a very powerful one. He eyed his traitorous daughter and glared at her through his slitted eyes, this form was terrifying even to Serana.

"So, you've returned. Is your... pet keeping you entertained?"

Serana glared back despite the worry for Lorelai rising within her, the guys kept Caden back by holding his arms. If Harkon was talking he may provide information on how he could be defeated, Serana often spoke of his arrogance so they thought that it could perhaps be used against him.

“You know why we’re here father.”

"Of course I do. You disappoint me, Serana. You've taken everything I provided for you and thrown it all away for this... pathetic being.”

Harkon gestured to Caden, the Dragonborn was still in shock by seeing Lorelai near the bloody shrine. Serana seemed indifferent to her father’s words although anger started to bubble inside her when he insulted her new friend.

"Provided for me? Are you insane? You've destroyed our family. You've killed other vampires. All over some prophecy that we barely understand. No more. I'm done with you. You will not touch him, and we will be taking Lorelai back as well…”

"So, I see this dragon has fangs. Your voice drips with the venom of your mother's influence. How alike you've become."

Serana shook her head as she called forth her magic to dance along her fingertips, she was not like her mother.

“No...Because unlike her, I'm not afraid of you. Not anymore."

Harkon simply scoffed and turned his attention towards the silent Dragonborn, that nord hadn’t stopped staring at Lorelai. A weakness Harkon was very eager to use against the man, he scooped up the weak mortal and carried out his plan. His fangs sunk deep into her veins, he drank until she was on the cusp of life itself. Then he gave her some of his blood in return before throwing her body back down by the shrine, a look of fear and anger washed over the group but they remained still. Harkon respected their restraint, but he knew a deep anger was within all of them.

“And you...Dragonborn."

Caden turned his blank expression towards the hovering monstrosity, whatever feelings of pity he had left for Harkon were long gone. This bastard was going to pay, he was going to regret the day he decided to become a vampire.

"It appears I have you to thank for turning my daughter against me. I knew it was only a matter of time before she'd return with hatred in her heart."

Caden blankly stared at him as he felt his anger rise to the surface, his eyes narrowed as his voice dropped a couple octaves and responded to this poor excuse of a creature.

“Hatred born of your neglect.”

“A small price to pay for the betterment of our kind.”

“Your kind is a blight on this world.”

“Yes, yes. Always the noble vampire hunter. And what happens when you've slain me? Is Valerica next? Is Serana?”

“I would never harm Serana. She's too important to me, I'm only here to kill you.”

"Then my daughter is truly lost. She died the moment she accepted a mortal into her life. Interesting that you can set aside your morals when it suits you.”

Caden was growing angrier by the second, everyone sensed the tension rise and Caden knew that he was nearing the end of his rope. He never was one for patience when his friends were involved, and now with Lorelai lying lifeless on the ground he knew that something inside him was beginning to come unhinged.

“Enough of this!”

"Yes, quite. I'm growing weary of speaking to you and my traitorous daughter. I'll give you a single chance to turn over the bow to me. There will not be a second."

Harkon left the shrine to hover down and close to Inigo, the khajiit eyed the monster angrily and snarled as he drew near. Caden put an arm between Inigo and Harkon’s dark form, when the vampire lord looked into the Dragonborn’s eyes he saw a fire there. For a moment fear washed over the immortal Lord, then he let a calm wash over his form as he realized the fight would be quite fun.

“Never.”

"Very well then, you leave me no choice!"

Caden had hated the way Harkon had thrown Lorelai’s body to the ground and every fiber in his being propelled him towards the hovering Vampire, Inigo charged forward as well to help Caden. While they were occupying Harkon and drawing him away from the alter Kaidan and Serana ran to Lorelai’s side to try and help her, however she was already unconscious and Harkon was coming back over to where Lorelai was. They decided to leave her there in order to team up against Harkon, Serana tried hitting her father with her spells but everytime she got close he turned into a swarm of bats and flew to the opposite side of the room. Everyone was getting frustrated when they couldn’t hit Harkon, then he flew back towards the center and all of a sudden strong winds ripped through the room as a cloak of mist enveloped Harkon as he regained his strength.

Serana turned towards Inigo and shouted to get his attention, they had only twenty arrows and they needed to use them at the right moment.

“Inigo! Fire one of those arrows!”

The khajiit wasted no time in doing what he was told, as soon as one of the special arrows hit Harkon’s wall of mist the room shook and Harkon shouted in pain. The arrow had diminished his power and he was weaker, Caden saw an opportunity and cut through a part of Harkon’s bone like wings. He damaged some of the membrane and Harkon let out another cry of pain, Kaidan and Serana continued offering ranged attacks to support Caden and Inigo who were wielding their weapons closer to Harkon. Lorelai was still motionless on the ground, but in her mind she was screaming out in pain as Harkon’s blood mixed with her own. Then all of a sudden the pain faded and her heart stopped beating, Lorelai felt her temperature drop and then her eyes cracked open.

She saw everything in a new light, everything was sharper and she could sense everything around her with much more clarity. Her eyes roamed around the room as she watched her friends gain the upper hand on Harkon, a weak smile crossed her lips but it faltered when she felt two sharp points trace her lower lip. She slowly raised a hand to her mouth and felt her stomach drop when she felt fangs protrude from her mouth. She felt defeated as she looked into a small puddle of water that was on the ground, apparently the chapel needed renovations. Her reflection had changed, her skin was pale and her lips were now red as blood. But what scared her the most was the color of her eyes, what were once soft green and shimmering pools of color were now a harsh gold hue.

She felt her new power surge through her but she refused to let it take over her, she pushed it back and tried to remain in her human form. Another cry of pain from Harkon sounded through the hall as Lorelai heard an arrow skid across the floor to rest beside her, it was an elven arrow that radiated magic from the tip. This was one of the Sun Hallowed arrows for Auriel’s bow, she knew that this arrow could seriously hurt her because she was now an immortal but she also had the chance to surprise Harkon. She grabbed the shaft of the arrow avoiding any contact with the magic dripping from the arrowhead, then she closed her eyes once more to appear unconscious and on the verge of death.

Harkon had heard Lorelai’s heart stop beating and he risked a quick glance towards her lifeless body, Caden saw this and noticed that she had lost color in her face and that she was now very pale and her chest was no longer rising and falling. His heart sank as he came to the realization that she was not breathing, he fought harder and Harkon sensed his power shift.

“You bastard, you’ll pay for what you’ve done!”

“Hmph, I despise your presence mortal. I’ll drain the life from you, your blood will be mine...just like Lorelai’s.”

Harkon turned into a swarm of bats and reappeared near the shrine once more, he picked up Lorelai’s body and let the mist form a shield around him once more. He figured that holding her body would cause hesitation on Inigo’s part, if he misfired he would have hit her. He was correct, Inigo aimed the arrow but didn’t fire, no one could get close with the intense wind that engulfed their bodies.

"You can't stop the prophecy!"

Then Lorelai’s eyes shot open and she took the arrow out from its hiding place against her arm, she shoved it deep within Harkon’s chest and he screamed in pain as the wind died down and she was dropped to the floor. Inigo took the chance to fire multiple arrows into Harkon and soon the man was howling in pain as his form began to crack and shake. Harkon looked to his daughter one last time with a glimmer of regret in his eyes, he took in one last breath in order to speak one last sentence to the room.

“No... Serana... your own father....”

Harkon’s form deteriorated and he turned into a pile of red ash at the base of the altar, Lorelai was sitting next to it with her hood drawn up and over her face. She heard her friends rush forwards and she felt a great wave of anxiety wash over her, she made sure the hood to her royal vampire armour was pulled tightly around her face as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She saw similar armour out of the corner of her eye and realized Serana was the first one by her side, she looked at the woman in the eyes and Serana gave her a sad look as she realized what Lorelai had become. She hugged her close and whispered into Lorelai’s ear…

“Everything will be alright, we will get through this together. After all, I’ve been this way for centuries.”

“Thank you Serana.”

Serana helped Lorelai to her feet and they turned towards her other friends, they were a couple steps away from her as she kept her eyes focused on the stone floor. Then she felt three pairs of arms wrap around her as the guys ambushed her with hugs, she let a small laugh escaped her lips as she welcomed the warmth they offered. Then she felt a surge of power once again as she inhaled their scents and the hunger for blood surfaced inside of her, she pushed her way out of the hug and retreated back away from them while covering her face with the back of her arm. Serana was by her side in an instant and talked her out of her hunger, Lorelai took a couple deep breaths as Caden looked on in confusion.

“Lori? Are you alright?”

Hearing that nickname brought a sense of calm to her mind, she relaxed her shoulders as she let the hood fall back down exposing her messy hair and pale neck. She slowly brought her head up to meet their curious gazes, when her eyes met theirs she saw the looks of relief and surprise cross their features. When they saw her golden eyes they knew what she had become, Caden felt like he had failed her and as for Inigo and Kaidan...well they hoped there was a way to cure her.

“Lori…”

“I’m fine, I know a way to cure this...but until then I don’t want to get too close to you three. I don’t really trust myself…”

Serana nodded in understanding and the group stood there silently as they came to accept Lorelai’s new form, then the doors open and they all jumped to stand in front of Lorelai. To Caden’s relief it was only Isran who entered the room, he walked slowly up to Caden and Serana before coming to a stop a couple feet from them.

“It's over. He's dead, and the prophecy dies with him."

“Yes, we can make sure the bow will never be used for such dark magics ever again.”

He nodded and faced Serana with a hesitant look in his eyes, he was never one to get over emotional but he knew the pain Serana must have felt to watch her father die in front of her.

"I... I suppose this is difficult for you."

Serana knew that he was trying to show sympathy but she just shook her head, Isran quirked an eyebrow at the action and was shocked when Serana extended her hand for him to shake. After he took it she smiled kindly and he returned the gesture, she knew that the creature they killed was no longer her father.

"I think my father really died a long time ago. This was just... the end of something else. I did what needed to be done. Nothing more."

Isran nodded his head as he withdrew his hand, but he needed to tell her what he really thought of her actions.

"I think perhaps... I think you did more than that. You have my thanks."

She nodded and then Isran turned to Caden once more, he offered a victorious grin when the Dragonborn linked arms with him and shared in the triumph of battle.

"So, the beast is destroyed. Not only that, but Auriel's Bow is in safe hands. The Dawnguard will now be dedicated to safeguarding it, making sure that prophecy will never come to pass. You've served Skyrim well. Even with these vampires gone, the fight isn't completely over. Once we're settled back in at the fort, there will be more work to do. We'd be honored to have you join us."

“I think you’ll be fine without me Isran, but should you ever need me you only need to write. I have another urgent matter to see to first.”

“Does it have anything to do with that Vampire you’re trying and failing to hide from me?”

“She means us no harm Isran.”

“I can tell that, she seems afraid of herself. You know there is a mage in Morthal that specializes in vampirism, rumor is that he found a cure.”

Caden let the hope shine through his eyes as he turned back to Lorelai, she nodded her head confirming Isran was right and he let a relieved smile dance across his lips.

“We’ll look into that, thank you for the tip Isran.”

“Of course, now I need to get back to my men. A celebration is in order, wouldn’t you agree?”

Caden nodded as Isran left the room and left the small group alone, everyone turned back to Lorelai as she shifted from one foot to the other. They could tell she was frightened and no one understood that more than Serana, she remembered the first few days of her immortal life. She was so thirsty and she had no control over her new found power, so much was in front of her that she never thought of the consequences to follow. Now she knew she could help her friend, she gently put an arm around her shoulders letting Lorelai know that she wasn’t alone.

“Is what Isran said true my friend? Can you really be cured?”

“Yes, there is a man in Morthal that will require a filled Black Soul gem in exchange for performing the ritual. So we need to find a black soul gem and fill it with...someone’s soul.”

Caden looked even more relieved once he knew what they needed, everyone noticed that Caden had relaxed and became aware of his sudden mood change.

“Why are you so calm?”

“Because, I have one filled black soul gem at my home in Falkreath. I received it as payment from a quest for the jarl, glad to know that it can stop sitting in the lockbox by my bed.”

“Well that’s convenient, well let’s get going.”

They made their way out into the main hall to see members of the Dawnguard escorting people out from the depths of the castle, the human cattle were being rescued and Caden said that they would most likely be healed and returned to their families. Serana grabbed a lot of the blood potions for herself and Lorelai to consume on the journey, she knew Lorelai would be hesitant to drink them at first but she needed to keep her strength up. Once outside Lorelai squinted against the setting sun, it was uncomfortable for her to be in the warm rays but not painful.

“So this is how it feels to be a vampire in sunlight...well at least I don’t sparkle.”

“Why would we sparkle?”

“Uh...no reason. Anyway, it’s not terrible but it is uncomfortable.”

“You’ll get used to it, we haven’t let the sun stop us all the while we were looking for that damned bow. I grew used to the sun and I actually don’t mind the warmth every now and then, although I did sometimes convince the guys to take shelter in a nearby cave if I felt really bad.”

“Clever, I feel bad about putting you through all of this though…”

“Why the hell are you apologizing Lori?”

“I don’t know, if I would have been more on guard I could have escaped…”

Caden grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her close to his chest in a tight embrace, she struggled for a little against him knowing that if his scent his her nose she might lose control.

“Caden! Stop it’s not safe for you to be this close to me!”

“I’ll risk it, this wasn’t your fault Lori. It could have happened anywhere, you could have been with any of us and it still could have happened. This was not your fault, besides the important part is that we got you back in one piece.”

Lorelai went silent a she thought about her dream and the events at the castle, she slowly pushed back from Caden and looked around the group slowly. She crossed her hands over her chest and looked at them with sad eyes, she had to tell them everything...and she meant everything.

“When we get to an inn...I need to talk to all of you…”

“About what Lori?”

“Everything…”

“Can you be a little more specific my friend?”

“My past, as well as what happened in the castle while I was there serving Harkon. It’s not a pretty story…”

Chapter Text

The reunited group made their way to Solitude for the night, once safely inside the city gates she looked around at the now dark and quiet streets. With her new powers she realized that night vision was quite the boon on her part, everything was so clear and her sense of smell as well as her hearing were enhanced. She lowered her hood as she looked up into the star filled sky, the cosmos looked even more breathtaking and she let a small smile cross her lips. She felt the two sharp points of her fangs slid across her lips as well, she brought a hand up to cover her mouth and let her mouth close once more before removing it. Caden came to stand beside her and looked up into the night sky, her appearance may have changed but he knew that she was still the same shy girl that he found that day out on the plains of Whiterun.

“Let me guess, it looks different right?”

She smiled as she flicked her glowing golden orbs from the sky to Caden and back again, she sighed and folded her arms over her chest before responding to his question.

“Very, looking through the eyes of a vampire is very...impressive.”

“I can imagine, but it doesn’t suit you.”

“I agree with you on that, but I must admit having this kind of vision is very appealing. I still want to be cured, but this is beautiful in its own way.”

“No doubt, when I had the blood of the wolf I thought that everything seemed brighter and I heard the heartbeats of everyone around me. It was nice to have a new strength infused with my blood, but after what happened to Kodlak I changed my mind and got clean. Not long after I learned of my dragon blood and set out on a new quest, but even though I had untold power run through me...I always wanted to be myself in the end.”

“Caden…”

“Don’t get me wrong, being the legendary Dragonborn is great and I’m glad I defeated Alduin. However, all this fame can be tiring and I often long for the days when I could walk by and have people think I was an ordinary person…”

“I never thought of it like that, I guess I always thought being the Dragonborn gave you a free pass to do whatever you pleased. Although I guess in reality it can be really stressful having the future of the world on your shoulders.”

“You have no idea, but I found friends...I found you.”

She quickly turned to face Caden with calm eyes, he was already looking at her with a gentle gaze. She felt her heart rate increase as she saw him step closer, he untangled her hands and held them in his own in the space between them. She took a deep breath as his scent wafted into her nose, she control her urge to taste his blood and looked deeply into his eyes.

“Lorelai, I’m so sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner…”

“Caden...you couldn’t have known that he would turn me into a Vampire...besides I have more to tell you of my time there.”

“That’s right, let’s get inside...keep your hood up though we wouldn’t want the people inside coming after you.”

“Good point.”

Their hands stayed interlocked as the group headed towards the Winking Skeever, once inside Caden rented two rooms and ordered a round of drinks for the group. Lorelai and Serana opted for two empty goblets so they could quench their...unnatural thirst with some of the potion that Serana took from the castle. Once they all had their drinks Lorelai took a deep breath as she gulped down the red concoction, it tasted like pennies smell and her face scrunched up as it slid down her throat. Even though the taste was terrible it solved her hunger problem all the same, she set her now empty goblet down and wiped her mouth on the back of her hand to remove any fallout from the drink. When she looked back up she saw everyone was waiting for her to speak and she felt her palms start to sweat, she had to tell them but every time she thought about it she felt her stomach turn and her head felt heavy.

“Lori, we understand if you don’t want to talk about everything…”

“No, I have to tell you...about everything. About what happened in the castle, and the truth about my past before coming here or even discovering the world of Skyrim…”

“What do you mean the truth?”

“It’s a long story…”

She started from the beginning and explained everything in detail, she watched the faces of her friends go from concern to hate in a matter of seconds. All of her pain came flooding out in a matter of minutes and her friends sensed the wounds that she hid deep down, the guys shared looks of disgust as she went into detail about the night she was raped when she was younger. She knew that they wanted to skin the guy alive if they ever had the chance to meet him, then she went into her father’s death and her mother’s neglect. Their eyes clouded over with sorrow and Serana understood the family matters more than anyone there, then she talked about how she finally found solace in Skyrim and was happy.

However, when she got to the part about Harkon and the abuse she suffered at his hands the mood spiraled downward even further. Serana covered her mouth with her hands as she felt tears overflow from her eyes, the guys slammed their mugs of ale onto the table effectively scaring everyone in the surrounding area. She told them everything including her dream about her father coming to her in the form of an elf and finally accepting her past and trying to move on from it and be stronger because of it. Once she finished her tale she sat in silence watching everyone’s faces change, she didn’t know what to expect when she told them but silence wasn’t on top of the list. She had let a few tears slip and she knew Caden had seen, his eyes never left her and she simply looked into his fiery eyes.

“Serana, are you alright?”

“Lorelai, after everything you told us...you ask me if I’m alright...you truly are too kind.”

“I just don’t want you feeling any guilt for what your father did, it wasn’t anything you could control…”

“But I feel so ashamed, I can’t apologize enough for what he has done Lorelai.”

Lorelai simply hugged the woman close to her and offered a sense of comfort, the men of the group simply stayed quiet as they struggled to find words to say to their poor friend. Serana felt so guilty, she never believed that her father could be that cruel...but her father was only a shell of his former self. Lorelai knew nothing could be said to ease their minds, she could lie and tell them she’s fine but in the end they all knew she wasn’t. She sighed as she released Serana from their embrace and stood up from the table, the others looked at her with sad looks on their faces.

“I know that everything that I’ve told you is very...unsettling. I can’t say I’m fine because I’m not, but I don’t want to be treated differently because of it. Terrible things happen all the time and its unfair when they happen to you or someone close to you, but I’ve chosen to let my past traumas fuel me. I won’t be treated like a fragile being that could shatter at any moment, I want to be stronger and prevent things like this from happening in the future. This does not define me, what I choose to do from this point on will make me into the person I want to be.”

Everyone nodded as they were impressed by Lorelai’s declaration, they knew she had suffered so much but she wouldn’t let it ruin her. The group retired for the night with the guys in one room and the two vampires in the other, they had made plans to leave at first light in order to get to Caden’s lakeside manor in a timely fashion. Lorelai fell asleep almost instantly, being able to sleep on an actual bed was more than welcome at that point. Serana took awhile to fall into a peaceful slumber, her mind was still occupied with the atrocity that her father had committed against her friend. Across the hall, the guys were talking about what they had learned about their friend.

“To think that she had suffered so much, and I thought my life was depressing…”

“Kaidan, not the time for jokes.”

“My friends, we must consider her reasoning for deceiving us. She was uncomfortable with her past, I understand her hesitation.”

“Poor lass, she didn’t deserve any of what happened to her. I knew the world was cruel, but I didn’t think it could be that bad.”

“Lori is certainly strong, after everything she is still pushing forward and facing life as best as she can. She is truly a formidable woman, one that I certainly can’t live without…”

Kaidan nodded along silently as Inigo hummed in agreement, Caden had only felt his love for the woman grow as he learned the truth about her past. As his roommates fell asleep he found himself tossing and turning as the night went on, eventually he got out of bed and left the room. He leaned over the railing to look out over the main room of the inn when a small hand tapped him on the shoulder, he glanced back to see Lorelai standing there in a loose nightshirt that she had borrowed from him earlier.

“Lori? Why aren’t you sleeping?”

“I was, then I heard the floorboards squeak. My hearing is a lot better than it once was…”

“I see.”

“Why are you up?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“Oh, why not?”

“Many reasons, although you could probably guess some of them…”

Lorelai sighed as she leaned on the railing next to her nord friend, they were so close and just having her near him made Caden relax. He scooted closer so that their arms were now touching, she didn’t move away either, in fact she gently rested her head on his upper arm.

“I know that I did the right thing by telling you about my past, but I can’t help but feel that you will treat me differently because of it.”

“Lori, so much has happened to you. Can you really blame us if we are a little more concerned for your mental well-being?”

“No, but I don’t want people thinking of me as weak either. I’m still the same girl deep down, even though my life has been less than happy.”

“And that is why nothing will change in the group, just know that we will all be there for you anytime you feel you need to talk.”

“I know, and it feels nice knowing someone is there for me...I have a family again.”

“Lori, I know this is poorly timed but I need to tell you something…”

“What?”

He sighed as she removed her head from his arm and they stood facing each other, the soft candlelight illuminated their bodies as Caden took Lorelai’s hands in his own. Lorelai looked from her hands to Caden’s soft eyes and felt her body relax, even after she had told him how broken she was...nothing seemed to change.

“Lori, I need to tell you something before we get separated again. My feelings for you have not changed, I thought our time apart would make me see that my attraction to you was only skin deep. After all that has happened and getting the group back together, I’ve realized that my feelings for you never wavered once.”

Lorelai remained silent as Caden’s thumb brushed over the back of one of her hands, this felt right but she didn’t want them to start a relationship when she was in this form. It was taking a lot of self control to be that close to him, his scent was almost intoxicating and she was resisting the urge to drink every last drop of his blood.

“Lori, I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that I love you. Almost losing you to Harkon only made me see how deep that love was, I genuinely want you by my side no matter what happens or where our future takes us.”

“Caden, I’m flattered by your confession. While Harkon had me caged up I realized that my feelings for you had grown as well, I realized that I loved you and that when I got out I would tell you...but I don’t want to start our relationship yet.”

“Why?”

“Well, I’m a vampire-”

“I don’t care!”

“Let me finish, its taking a lot of self control to even stand this close to you let alone try and kiss you or hug you. I can literally kill you or turn you into a vampire as well, I want to be cured before we start anything. And I have to tell Brynjolf that I can’t fool around with him anymore, and that if he tries that you’ll most likely skin him alive.”

“I understand, and I wouldn’t say I’d skin him alive...he’d die from blood loss to quickly...he’d need to suffer.”

“Caden…”

“It’s a joke woman relax...well partly.”

“Why do I feel like you’ve actually planned Bryn’s downfall since the first day you met him?”

“Don’t be crazy...It was only when you came into the picture that I considered his demise.”

“Ugh, men are so emotional.”

“Only when it comes to the woman we love, and you are definitely worth fighting for.”

Lorelai looked down as she smiled and let out a small giggle, Caden let go of one of her hands and gently lifted her head back up. A hint of a smile still played across her lips, he saw her new fangs and he thought at that moment that no matter how she looked it was her soul that he had fallen in love with. She leaned into his touch and exhaled as she felt the warmth from his hand press against her cheek, her body had become so cold since her blood no longer circulated in her veins, his touch was a very welcome action for many reasons.

“It’s late, we have to go all the way to Falkreath in the morning for that Black Soul gem...we should probably get back to bed.”

“You’re right, we’ll catch the first carriage at daybreak. We should reach Lakeview by nightfall if nothing happens.”

“Great, well goodnight Caden.”

“Sweet dreams Lorelai.”

She let her hand slowly trace along his palm before it dropped to her side as she walked back to the room she shared with Serana, Caden waited until the door to their room shut behind her before he shouted.

“Yes!”

The door creaked open once more as Lorelai poked her head back out with a small grin on her face, that small grin played against the sarcasm that was about to come out of her mouth.

“I know you’re excited about my answer Caden, but some people are trying to sleep. Keep it in your pants for a little bit longer.”

“Sorry Lori.”

“Uh-huh, sure you are.”

Caden quickly headed to bed soon after and let sleep overtake him, his dreams were filled with visions of Lorelai and himself in his house in Whiterun. They were laughing and they were happy, and as his dream centered on Lorelai he saw a small bump protrude from her midsection.


In the morning the group hastily ate breakfast and then caught the first ride to Falkreath, the ride was long and bumpy. The sun was persistent for most of the day until they entered a small rain shower as they neared the forests of Falkreath, the sun vanished and Lorelai welcomed the cooling effect that the rain held. Once at the small forest settlement Caden took the lead as they trekked through the town and westward towards his lakeside manor, Lorelai loved the smells of the forest and skipped happily alongside Caden and Inigo. Kaidan was hanging back and surveying the surrounding areas with Serana by his side, she had taken quite an interest in the hunter and found herself being eager to know more about his mysterious past.

“So, you were part of the Akaviiri? That is pretty interesting, you could be the last of your people.”

“Aye, which is why I have to find that burial mound. It’s been so long since we found those other artifacts, I tried searching while I was on my own but I couldn’t find anything. I plan to ask Lorelai about it after we cure her…”

“I hope I can come along.”

“You don’t really have a choice do you? I mean where else can you go?”

“That’s a good point, but I won’t overstay my welcome. Having a vampire as company can’t be easy for everyone…”

“Nonsense, have you looked at this group? A blue Khajiit, the Dragonborn, a misled hunter, and a World teleporting crazy woman. I think you’ll fit in fine with this little family, our quirks make us special. Besides, Lorelai has taken quite a liking to you and I’m sure Caden and Inigo have as well.”

“What about you?”

“What about me what?”

“Do you like having me around?”

“You know, I think I do. I’ve been on my own for long periods of time, but ever since this group came into being I’ve found myself smiling and laughing a lot more than normal.”

“I can relate to that loneliness, being locked in a box for centuries can be rather stifling.”

“I couldn’t imagine how you must have felt, but know that you have people that genuinely care about you now...myself included.”

“Thanks Kaidan.”

“You can call me Kai.”

"Kai..."

Chapter Text

The group finally made it to Lakeview and Caden showed his friends inside just as the sun sank below the horizon, the Dragonborn wasted no time running upstairs to his enchanting area and grabbing the one Black soul gem from a lockbox on his Arcane Enchanters table. He carefully wrapped it in cloth before tucking it in his coin pouch for safe keeping, he then descended back down where his friends were happily chatting at his table. Lorelai was looking around with wide eyes, she had built Lakeview many times using all of the wings in separate playthrough to suit her Dragonborn’s personality. Caden noticed that Inigo had set to making some more arrows while Kaidan and Serana were talking about Talos only knows what, he walked up to where Lorelai was quietly sitting and offered his hand.

“Would you like a tour?”

“Yes please!”

Lorelai happily took Caden’s hand and they walked over to the armory first, Caden opened one set of wooden doors and Lorelai walked inside. The mannequins where all covered with enchanted armour and the weapon plaques were decorated with the weapons he obtained from being Thane of all the holds, while Lorelai admired the quality armour she questioned Caden.

“So, you’re Thane of all the holds?”

“Yes, although I take more action in some courts more than others. I often assist Whiterun and Windhelm more than anything, but it is what Ulfric expects of me considering I’m one of his best officers.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot that you sided with Ulfric in the Civil War...does that mean you hate the elves?”

“Not at all, I believe Skyrim should be a place where everyone is welcome and free to do whatever they wish.”

“Then why not side with the Empire?”

“I was born and raised here, I grew up worshipping Talos. My father even fought for the Empire, but one shouldn’t have their beliefs torn away from them by force. I am a son of Skyrim and I will defend her till my last breath, no elf claiming to be of superior blood will change my way of life.”

“Understandable, when I played through the Civil war I would always alternate sides. I even joined the Stormcloaks as a dark elf because of the irony, but I see sense in both causes.”

“Aye, so did I. But when the Empire ambushed me on a hunting trip and tried to cut off my head thinking I was a stormcloak… well you can see why ultimately I decided to take them down.”

“Yeah I get it, what happened to your family?”

“They moved to Windhelm, they’re still there. They use my house there and my housecarl as well, they keep the place clean while I’m not there. I visit them every few months, Ulfric usually wants me to give him progress reports around that time as well so it works out fine.”

“Your family is alive?! Wow you actually have a backstory…”

“Uh...what?”

“Well usually when you play the game the Dragonborn has no memory of their life before the events at Helgen.”

“Odd, everyone has a story to tell whether it is a happy one or not.”

“That’s what I always believed, I usually made up their story and then built the skills around the past I had created.”

“You must be quite the story teller.”

“Sometimes, this armoury is very impressive I always liked collecting special armours and decorating my home with them.”

“It reminds me of my adventures, some have happier memories than others…”

“Hmm.”

“Ready to move on?”

“Sure.”

They left the armory and then went over to his enchanting tower, some strong enchanted greatswords hung from both weapon racks and plaques. She never pegged Caden for the enchanting type, the chest as overflowing with scrolls and filled soul gems just waiting to be used.

“You seem to have a skill for enchanting, never thought you were into that sort of magic.”

“It’s useful, it makes both my armour and weapons stronger. Stronger means I have a better chance at surviving those more hostile encounters, like giants.”

“You’ve fought giants?”

“A couple, they were missions from the Companions. Funny how families tend to lose their priceless heirlooms, giant camps and falmer caves seem to corner the market on lost family objects.”

“Yes, yes they do.”

“Go up the ladder.”

“Why? Isn’t there just a chair and a table up there?”

“Nope, well there used to be but I renovated it since then.”

“So what’s up there now?”

“Go up and you’ll see.”

Lorelai hurried up the ladder and lifted the hatch leading to the roof of the tower, once up she was greeted with a large stone tub nearly half the size of the landing. It was raised off the floor with an unlit fireplace beneath the structure, meaning you could have cool baths in the summer and spring or heated baths in the fall or winter.

“You installed a bath!? Man I wish this was in the game, do you know how many times I made my characters go swimming naked in the lake to simulate a bath?”

“Uh...how many?”

“Enough for me to want and download a mod to make bathrooms a thing, this is amazing and the view is breathtaking.”

“That it is, especially in the spring. Everything is in bloom and the lake is a very pretty blue color, truly a haven from this unforgiving world.”

“I imagine it would be, is that a barrel of mead next to the bath?”

“Uh, y-yeah..”

“Why?”

“Uh…”

“Caden.”

“Well, uh...I find a drink very enjoyable with a bath...and company…”

“You’ve seduced women in that bath haven’t you.”

“Maybe once, or twice.”

“I’m not surprised, the view is quite romantic. However, now that I know this we are never taking a bath together.”

“Why not?!”

“Because, it’s unsanitary. Especially when I know you’ve done… naughty things in there with girls who aren’t me.”

“Jealous? Besides, I clean it you know.”

“ Okay, one: I’m glad you clean it. Two: No, I’m not jealous. If anything I’m annoyed that they got to you and this awesome bath before I did.”

“Isn’t that the same thing?”

“Shut up.”

They both laughed as they looked out over the railing, the stars above were shining brightly and her night vision only amplified their beauty.

“So, what about the room on the back of your house?”

“It’s just storage.”

“You could’ve had a trophy room!”

“Eh, I’m not one for boasting.”

“So you can be humble, that’s nice to know.”

“Funny.”

“I try.”

Caden rolled his eyes as he let one of his arms snake around Lorelai’s shoulders, she welcomed the touch but didn’t lean into him. After being around him she had learned to control her thirst but she still wasn’t one hundred percent sure she wouldn’t attack him. She always loved the night in Skyrim, so colorful and tranquil unlike some of the province’s native people.

“Are you excited for Morthal? You know they also had a vampire problem, unfortunately a little girl died because of it.”

“I know, it was so sad when I was playing that quest and I saw her ghost in the corner of that burned down house. I was disgusted by what happened, it was part of the reason I made my characters join the Dawnguard.”

“Aye, I took care of it though. That little girl is in sovngarde now with her mother, as it should be.”

“I’m excited to see Falion and his workshop, but I’m afraid for the ceremony of returning my soul to my body.”

“Falion?”

“He’s the guy that knows how to cure me, he’s rather interesting to say the least. I’m surprised you haven’t heard the people in that town trash talk him.”

“Is he the one that the other’s claim sacrifices children?”

“Yup, but he doesn’t. In fact he has a little girl as an apprentice, she’s so cute and very eager to learn from the stoic man.”

“I see, well at least he’s not sacrificing her.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes before yawning and rolling her shoulders, Caden yawned as well and the couple headed back inside to eat and then head to bed. Once everyone was done eating Caden told the girls they could share the double bed and that Inigo and Kaidan could use the two singles across the way from them. Caden said he would sleep next to the fire and keep watch throughout the night, when the girls were changed out of their armour and into their night shirts they crawled under the covers and settled in. Lorelai could tell that Serana had something on her mind, she turned towards the pale woman and sighed.

“What’s on your mind Serana?”

“What do you mean?”

“I can tell you have something on your mind, you’ve been fidgeting ever since we said good night to the guys. What’s in that brain of yours?”

“I was just thinking...what if I got cured too?”

“What!?”

“Shh!”

“Sorry, I was just shocked. Do you want to be cured?”

“I don’t know, this life is the only one I’ve ever known. But now that my father is dead and my mother is in the Soul Cairn, well I have no one to live with besides you four. I’ll outlive all of you and see you die one by one, I don’t want to see that happen knowing I won’t get the chance to see you in the afterlife. However this power is amazing and I sacrificed so much to get it.”

“Understandable, but look what it did to your family…”

“Even before that, we weren't the most normal family. We did worship a daedra, remember?”

“Fair point, but look what you have now. You have four friends that care so much about you, we would hate to leave you behind in this world just as much as you would hate to see us vanish from it. If you want to cure yourself, I’ll support you.”

Serana was silent for a little before grabbing hold of one of Lorelai’s hands, her grip was tight but Lorelai felt her shake as she gripped her friend’s cold hand. Serana’s golden eyes connected with Lorelai’s in the dark room, the vampire took a deep breath and let out a small laugh as she exhaled.

“Do you think Caden has another Black Soul gem?”

Lorelai smiled as Serana made her decision to join the land of the living, she pulled the woman close and hugged her tightly as they lay there in Caden’s bed. Lorelai had known it was possible for Serana to be cured but she never succeeded in convincing her in any of her former playthroughs, she pulled back from her friend and gave her a curious look.

“What made you want to be cured in the first place?”

“Knowing I would be alone if you four left me, I want to experience life as a mortal again and actually feel like I'm alive... and Kaidan.”

“Ooooooh! Do you have a little crush on the hunter? I ship that sooo much!”

“Go to bed Lorelai.”

“But I have so many questions!”

“Goodnight Lorelai!”


In the morning Caden and the boys were downstairs sharpening their weapons when the girls decided to join them, they were all smiles as they bounded down the steps and into the main room. Caden and Inigo were the ones to notice their cheerful moods and become curious as to why they were so happy.

“Good morning ladies, you both seem to be in good spirits.”

“He is right my friends, what has made you so happy?”

Lorelai looked from Serana to Kaidan as he walked into the room wiping sweat from his brow, she nudged Serana with her elbow and the woman rolled her eyes at her friend’s not so subtle teasing. Serana faced Caden and crossed her arms over her chest as she offered a small smile, she found herself growing more and more content seeing their faces in the morning.

“Caden, is it possible that you have another filled Black Soul gem?”

Caden raised his eyebrows at the question, he put his weapon down and rested his arms on his knees as he saw Lorelai smile out of the corner of his eye.

“I might, but why? We only need one for the ritual.”

“I’ve decided to be cured as well, I want to live like the rest of you. I don’t want to remain here forever if you four aren’t here with me.”

Caden let a small show on his face as he got out of his chair and went over to hug his pale friend, he was glad that she decided to get clean. He wouldn’t have minded either way, but it was nice knowing they wouldn’t be leaving her behind when their time came to join the warriors in Sovngarde. Kaidan’s mouth dropped open at her choice, judging by how she talked about all she had been through he figured she would stay a vampire for as long as she could.

“Well lass, I’m surprised but I support your choice. I can’t wait to see what color your eyes are.”

Serana smiled at Kaidan’s comment, she put her hands gently on her hips as she walked closer to the hunter.

“So am I, it’s been so long that I don’t remember what color they are anymore.”

Caden ran upstairs and ransacked his enchanter’s area and found another Black Soul gem, however this one was empty. He grabbed one of his enchanted weapons that was bound with soul capture and went back to where everyone was chatting, they turned to face him as he held up the second soul gem.

“I found another one, but it’s empty. I have a weapon that allows us to harness souls, but we need to fill it with a decent sized soul. A human soul would probably be the best, we’ll have to find a victim on our way to Morthal. If we take the lesser populated roads we could run across a bandit and take that soul, that way the world gets cleaner and no harm will come to an innocent bystander.”

Lorelai hugged Serana close and the pale woman returned the affection, she was glad that she would finally know the true warmth of the sun on her skin once she turned back into a mortal. The group headed out soon after and met with a courier about half way down the road, Caden assumed the letter was for him. He had been away from the Companions for quite some time and they no doubt wanted him to check back in as soon as possible. But the courier passed him and stood in front of Lorelai with a grin on his face, she was shocked that anyone would write to her after all no one in the guild knew she was free.

“You are a hard one to track down, but I’ve finally found you and I have two things for you.”

“Uh...okay.”

“One is a letter from a man named Brynjolf, from Riften. He was adamant I find you, that was about two weeks ago though. And then I have this note for you.”

“Who sent the note?”

“Don’t know, he was a strange looking character. Wore a strange black and red outfit with a hood, paid me a good amount of coin to get that in your hands. That’s about it, gotta go.”

“Thanks…”

Lorelai stuffed the letter in her pack and then unfolded the note with shaky hands, she knew what that dialogue was from and she had feared getting this note. She had killed Grelod the kind and helped that poor Aventus kid rid the orphanage of that abusive old hag, but she knew the price she would have to pay eventually. Sure enough she was greeted with a black hand print in the center of the page with the words ‘We Know’ written beneath it. She sighed as she looked around the area with caution, Caden looked suspicious but remained calm as she refolded the note and stuffed it in her pack where Bryn’s letter was.

“What did the note say?”

“Something about a museum opening in Dawnstar, I guess someone wants the Thieves Guild to loot the place if they paid for it to be put directly into my hands…”

“Huh, well let’s get going. We need to find a suitable soul to fill this gem with.”

Chapter Text

The group was tired and sweaty by the time they reached Morthal around sunset, they had encountered a medium sized bandit troupe like Caden expected. They were able to capture the soul of the Bandit Chief in the Black soul gem for Serana, when they finally reached the inn and purchased rooms everyone was ready to sleep. However, the shops were still open and they needed to see Falion as soon as possible. After paying for a couple of rooms the group hurried through the town and across the docks to Falion’s home, they knocked one the front door and heard a small voice call for them to enter. Caden went in first to see a girl sitting in the corner with her nose in a book about conjuration, in the corner near an alchemy table was a hooded figure mashing together ingredients of unknown origin.

“Excuse me, are you Falion?”

“Who wants to know?”

“The Dragonborn.”

“The ...what.”

Falion turned away from his experiments and faced the large nord, he gulped and dusted off his robes before approaching and holding out his hand.

“M-my apologies Dragonborn, I’m used to hostility around the town. How can I be of service to you?”

“My friends need your expertise.”

“Oh?”

Lorelai and Serana stepped forward and lowered their hoods to reveal their eyes to the man, Falion looked them up and down while glancing at his ward Agni.

“Agni.”

“Yes Falion?”

“Head to the inn would you? Here get yourself a sweet roll, you did well today.”

“Wow! Thank you Falion!”

Agni dashed out past the visitors and Falion took on a less than pleasant aura, he crossed his arms over his chest protectively before addressing the smaller woman in front of him.

"You are new to Morthal. We have not spoken before. This is interesting."

“We need your help, we’ve been told you know how to help us with our...particular problem.”

"I know many things. I have studied things beyond the reach of most humans, traveled the Oblivion planes, seen things one should not see. I have met Daedra and Dwemer and everything in between and I know enough to see a vampire where others would see a man."

Serana looked confused for a second before mirroring Falion’s stance and staring at the man.

“And how do you know we’re vampires?”

"I met several of your kind during my studies of life-extending magics. I even considered becoming a vampire myself. In the end, vampirism would endanger my ward Agni which would defeat the intended purpose."

Serana rolled her eyes and remained quiet, Lorelai stepped slowly forward and offered her best look of helplessness.

“Please, we want to be cured. Can you help us?”

"It is possible. I know of a ritual but I've never performed it. It requires a filled black soul gem. You will need to kill someone. When you have a gem and have filled it return to me and I will perform the ritual. I will bring life to your dead bodies, vampire."

“We have them here, one for each of us.”

Caden offered both filled gems to a very surprised Falion, he took them carefully in his hands and put them in his satchel for safe keeping. He faced the group once more with a renewed sense of purpose in his eyes, he had two new test subjects and he was more than willing to try out the ritual.

"Very well. Meet me at the summoning circle in the marsh at dawn. We shall banish the creature you have become."

The group nodded and agreed to be on time, they went back to the inn passing a very happy looking Agni as she munched on a sweet roll. They ate their meals and stayed up listening to the bard and casually drinking mead until midnight when they decided to sleep a couple of hours before the ritual. When the time finally came the girls dressed in comfortable town clothes before walking with the guys towards the meeting place, they saw Falion’s figure emerge from the fog as they neared the odd stone summoning circle.

"Good, you're here."

The girls stepped forward as Falion spoke, they were holding hands in order to keep each other calm. The guys were nervous about the entire situation as well, what if something went wrong? None of them knew how dangerous conjuration could be, or what exactly this ritual would do to their beloved friends.

“Let’s just get this over with Falion, please.”

"As you desire, but for safety reasons I can only do one of you at a time. Who will be first?”

Lorelai felt Serana tense, Lorelai knew that Serana was nervous but they needed to just get it over with. She untangled her hand from Serana’s and stepped forward calmly, she heard Caden inhale and looked back over her shoulder with a soft smile to reassure him.

“I’ll go first.”

“Very well, stand in the center please and don’t move.”

Lorelai did as she was told and stood in front of her friends, they were standing just outside the circle with a mixture of hope and fear on their faces. Falion took his position and then took out one of the Black Soul gems they had given him. He took a deep breath and then held the gem over his head as he began chanting.

"I call upon Oblivion realms. The home of those who are not our ancestors. Answer my plea! As in death there is new life, in Oblivion there is a beginning for that which has ended. I call forth that power! Accept the soul that we offer! As the sun ends the night, end the darkness of this soul, return life to the creature you see before you!"

Lorelai felt her body levitate and then a hot searing pain enveloped her body, she let out a pain filled scream as she felt her humanity return to her. A warmth spread through her chest as her blood started rushing through her veins and her heart began beating once more, as the chanting faded out her mind became clear and the pain subsided. She was lowered back to the ground but she instantly fell backward once her feet hit the stone. She felt warm arms envelope her as a familiar scent greeted her nose, she felt a hand on her cheek as her eyes fluttered open. She was looking into Caden’s beautiful blue eyes as she raised her hand to stroke his cheek, he exhaled with relief when he saw her sea green eyes looking back at him.

“Damn Lori, you had me worried there for a second.”

“It hurt, but I can feel my heart beating again. I can feel the warmth of my own body and it feels great.”

Caden lifted her up in his arms and held her close to his chest as Serana took her place in the middle of the circle, Falion repeated the process and Lorelai looked on as Serana experienced everything that Lorelai had. When it was all over Serana fell down as well, but this time Kaidan ran to her side in a hurry. He brushed the hair away from her eyes as he called out for her to wake up, soon enough Serana’s finger twitched as her eyes squinted and then slowly opened to look at Kaidan. He smiled warmly as he took her into his arms, she wrapped her arms around him as well and let him lift her up and carry her close to his chest.

“Blue.”

“What?”

“Your eyes lass, they’re as blue as the sky on a clear day.”

Serana smiled as she tucked her head into Kaidan’s neck, Falion approached the group happily with a smug smile on his face.

"The ritual is complete! You two are humans again, like the rest of us."

They thanked the man for his work and then carried the girls back to the inn for them to rest, once they reached the warm building they tucked the girls in and made sure they were safe as they recovered from that less than comfortable experience.


The next morning Lorelai felt a throbbing pain in her head as she sat up in bed, Serana had the same feeling as they looked around their shared room. On their nightstand was a couple of restoration potions, one for each of them. Sweet rolls were also placed there with a note from Inigo, Lorelai smiled as she pictured the cute khajiit sneaking into the room and leaving the treats for them to find. They slowly ate and drank their potions before making their way out of the room and into the main area where the orc bard was singing off key as per usual. The women saw the three men happily sitting and drinking at a nearby table while Inigo pointed at the bard and looked as if he was in pain.

“How do you feel Serana?”

“Truthfully? I feel free, like I have a whole new chance at life. I won’t waste it this time, shall we join our friends?”

“Of course! After all we have men to pursue.”

“Lorelai…”

“Am I wrong?”

“Not...entirely.”

Lorelai smiled happily as they hurried over to the table, she threw her arms around Caden’s torso and she felt him jump at the surprise touch. But when her scent surrounded him he happily turned and encircled her waist with his arms pulling her into his lap, she giggled as he held her in his warm embrace. Serana timidly approached Kaidan and surprisingly he drew her close to him as well, she sat in his lap and he lazily held her in place with his right arm wrapped around her waist.

“We finally have our lasses by our sides, life is good.”

Caden nodded and Inigo clapped his hands lightly, Serana felt happy to finally have the family she had always wanted. Who knew it would come in this form? Lorelai rested her head against Caden’s chest and let out a sigh of relief, she was back to normal and she was so thankful her friends were still by her side. Then a memory struck her, she turned to Caden with an alarmed look in her eyes.

“Where’s my pack?”

“Right here, it’s under the table. I made sure to keep it close in case you wanted anything.”

Lorelai grabbed her pack and rummaged through it until she grabbed the sealed parchment she had received the day before. She had missed the hurried handwriting that decorated the outside of the letter, Bryn was no doubt going crazy not knowing what was going on. Lorelai quickly broke the wax seal and unfolded the two page letter, her eyes scanned over the writing and her heart fluttered a little inside her chest.

Lass,

My heart aches for you to be in my arms again, you’ve been gone for so long and I have heard nothing from Caden about your return. He said he would tell me if he needed the help of the guild but I’m not a very patient man as you know, I worry for your well being night after night and day after day. Since that night you were taken from my bed I have done nothing but think of what has become of you.

Those beasts took you from me so easily that I feel ashamed to call myself a nord, I couldn’t even protect the woman I loved and now you might be dead or worse. Everyone at the guild misses you terribly, even Vex offered to go out and do some recon to find out some information about you if she could. The guild is trying to operate under these trying circumstances but when you vanished part of the guild vanished as well.

We feel lost without your smile lass, I feel lost without you within arms reach. Karliah has volunteered as well to try and find any information about you, but we’ve got nothing so far. We have countless contacts all across Tamriel and still no one has seen a damn thing! I pray to all the Divines that you are safe somewhere, I pray that Caden finds you and brings you back to us here safely.

It’s a shame that it took a vampire stealing you away from me to have the realization that I can’t live in a world without you in it, I have something very important to tell you once you return here to me...to us. I’ve instructed the courier to not rest until he finds you and puts this directly into your beautiful hands, and if he sees Caden first he has orders to hand it to him if all else fails.

So if this is Caden, what the hell is happening?! You told me that you would keep me informed, well I feel very uninformed ladd! No that I am ready to help if you need me to, I would gladly walk through Oblivion and back for that woman. And if you do have news that is...unhappy, I want you to tell me in person not through a letter. I need to see the truth in your eyes when/if you tell me that Lorelai is no longer in this wretched world.

Please be alive, for god's sake please be alive my sweet lass…

-Brynjolf

Lorelai felt tears overflow from her eyes as she finished reading the letter, Caden gently took it from her and read it slowly absorbing every word on the page. He had forgotten to keep that poor bastard informed, but he was so focused on saving Lorelai that everything else seemed so trivial. He folded the letter and put it back in her pack next to the other parchment she had received, he slowly rubbed her back to comfort her and soon her tears stopped and she regained her composure.

“Poor Bryn…”

“I need to apologize to him, it was not my intention to put him under such unfortunate emotions.”

“We need to head to Riften tomorrow, I have to see Bryn. We need to tell him about us Caden, he needs to see that I’m still alive.”

“Agreed. We’ll leave at first light, I can secure a wagon to take us to Riften and we should be there by nightfall.”

“Perfect.”

The group spent the remainder of the day enjoying each other’s company, they had to stop Inigo from killing the orc bard a couple times but everything else was fine and fun. Lorelai wanted to see the sunset so Caden took her outside to sit on the porch, the other’s opted to remain inside where it was warm. While outside Lorelai huddled closer to Caden in order to keep warm as the sun started to sink below the horizon.

“I’ll never grow tired of the scenery, Skyrim is so beautiful. Well, when things aren’t trying to kill you at every turn.”

“Aye, this province may be harsh and unforgiving but nothing beats the lush forests and bountiful plains.”

“So, you said that your parents live in Windhelm right?”

“Aye, they also serve as Ulfric’s personal advisers on some cases. A privilege they earned when they proved their loyalty to him, they spread the word of Talos in his name and went undercover on some missions with me as well.”

“Interesting choice of a family activity, but anyway, do you want to see them?”

“It would be nice, we spent so much time trying to rescue you I missed my last deadline with my reports for Ulfric. I’m surprised I haven’t received a letter from either my parents of Ulfric himself.”

“They probably have a great deal of trust in you Caden, they know you’ll come through in the end. You always do…we'll visit them once we settle things in Riften okay.”

“I try to help anyone I can, especially when it is someone I care about. I want you to meet my parents, I have no doubts that they'll love you as much as I do.”

“My hero.”

“I sense sarcasm.”

“Good, cause I laid it on pretty thick.”

Caden rolled his eyes and pulled Lorelai closer to him, the sun fully sank below the horizon and the aurora came out to dance in the night sky. The hues of blue and violet swirled together to paint a beautiful scene above them, Caden tore his eyes away from the sky to look at Lorelai who was smiling happily beside him. She was so beautiful in the starlight, so much so that she looked like Mara herself.

“Such a treasure…”

“Did you say something Cad-”

She turned towards him and was instantly met with with his lips crashing against hers, she let out a squeak of surprise but then slowly wrapped her arms around his neck as he pulled her onto his lap to straddle his hips. Their tongues danced together passionately, so much so that Lorelai had to pry herself away in order to catch her breath as her face became flushed.

“W-what was that about Caden…”

“A woman like you deserves to be treated like a queen, I intend to show you the full heat of my affection. I love you Lori, nothing will take you from me ever again.”

As their lips met once more they were unaware of a presence lurking close by, a woman in red and black armour twirling a dagger in her hand. She was hidden in the shadows as she watched the young couple enjoy each other’s embrace, the woman was not what she expected although looks could be deceiving.

“Sithis works in mysterious ways, she will serve him faithfully, even if she doesn’t know it yet…”

Chapter Text

After everything that had happened to the group Lorelai suggested they make a stop at Riverwood for a bit of relaxation before heading to Riften, after all the little settlement was so peaceful and calm and it would give Lorelai time to think of a way to tell Brynjolf about her new relationship with Caden. They caught the next carriage out of Morthal and headed straight to Riverwood, the ride was filled with laughter and thoughts of new adventures now that Harkon and the vampire crisis had been dealt with. Lorelai also told Serana the truth about her so called ‘power’ to see the future, the vampire was not convinced at first but when Lorelai retold their adventure in the vale without missing a detail Serana concluded that Lorelai wasn’t lying.

“So, you’re from another world?!”

“Shhh! Not so loud.”

“That’s so...unexpected.”

“Yeah...but it explains a lot doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, but how are you going to get home? Can you even get home?”

“Both very good questions that I can’t answer, I’m clueless Serana and to be honest I’ve kinda given up on looking for the answers.”

“But don’t you want to know how your mother is?”

“I think about that sometimes, and if I’m being honest I worry for her being alone without a part of the family there. But a part of me is wanting to see her suffer and understand the loneliness I felt after my father died and she basically disowned me. Karma is a bitch, don’t you think?”

No one commented further as the carriage jolted before coming to a stop just outside of the town of Riverwood, everyone filed out of the wagon and grabbed their belongings before walking into the town. The guys decided to head to Alvor’s for some new arrows and materials to maintain their weapons, the girls decided to head to the Sleeping Giant Inn and rent rooms for the night. While walking arm in arm down the road they noticed two odd looking characters standing on the side of the road, the men took notice of them as well and sly grins decorated their faces.

“Oye, Oye! Look at these fine Lasses! They look parched, I might just have to buy them a round of drinks!”

“Not if I get to them first! You always get the pretty ones and leave the beasts to me, this time I’m gonna beat you to it.”

Serana clicked her tongue at the catcalling nords and rolled her eyes, Lorelai seemed shocked but not at the comments made. Those lines of dialogue sounded oddly familiar but she couldn’t place them, she knew they weren’t part of the original game but she knew she had heard them somewhere before. Serana dragged her past the drunkards only to be stopped at the door by yet another man, only this one was sober and dressed in all black armour. Once Lorelai saw his face she knew why those dialogue lines rang a bell, but this MOD wasn’t even available for console players...how the hell did it get into her game? Serana clicked her tongue again but the man’s attention never left Lorelai’s figure, she had wanted to play through this Mod so badly but sadly never could because she didn’t own Skyrim on her PC.

Serana was getting agitated as she unlinked her arm from Lorelai’s and put her hands on her hips instead, it wasn’t until she started talking that the man’s eyes actually turned away from Lorelai.

“Do you mind? You’re blocking our path.”

The man looked over Serana but remained where he stood, he shifted in place and let his deep and soothing voice flow forward as he addressed the two beauties in front of him.

“Oh, sure I can. But I do have one question for your friend there before she enters. You can enter if you want but she has to talk to me.”

Serana took a protective stance in front of her friend and fixed the man with a harsh glare, the man was unphased by her looks and still didn’t move. Lorelai put a hand on her friend’s shoulder and gently moved around to stand in front of her rather protective companion.

“It’s fine Serana, go ahead inside.”

“But-”

“I’ll be fine, nothing I can’t handle, I'm sure.”

That caused the man to scoff as he crossed his arms over his chest in amusement, Serana eyed him one more time before taking both her pack and Lorelai’s inside. Lorelai now stood face to face with this mysterious ranger, she had scene playthroughs of this mod online but she didn’t know the finer details of it.

“So, you had a question for me?”

“Are you so used to comments like the ones those two make that you just turn your nose up at all of them like some damn noble?”

“Uh...what comments?”

“Are you serious? Did you not hear those two drunkards whistle at you? Your friend at least showed some sign of disgust before dragging you over this way, you're oblivious, aren't you.”

Lorelai was starting to get offended by this rather roguish looking man, she put her hands on her hips and let a sarcastic smile spread over her face as she responded to his insult.

“Oh I get it, did you want attention to Princess? I’m sorry I neglected your needs, that must be why you blocked my friend and I from entering. Maybe those men swing both ways, if you catch my meaning.”

The man actually looked like he had been caught off guard by her comment, his eyes went wide but he quickly recovered and laughed it off.

“What!? Princess?! Oh please, those two only wish they could work up the courage to whistle at me. I’ll be fine, I just find amusement in watching them get rejected time and time again. They’ve been harassing everyone pair of legs that walk past for days now, in fact, last night I think they got so drunk they even hit on the blacksmith as he was walking home!”

“You’ve been out here for days? Don’t you have anything more productive to do with your time other than holding up this wall?”

“You’re a feisty one aren’t you.”

“Only where assholes are concerned.”

“Hmph, well I have to give those two some credit this time. You’re actually one worth admiring, just give them a wide berth alright.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, now can you get the hell out of my way?”

“You know I was just about to leave, but since you’ve been so kind I think I’ll stick around for a little bit. I think I need to bother you just a little bit more!”

“Ugh, god you’re annoying. Get your damn body out of the way, I have some friends that will gladly rip you limb from limb if you keep this up buddy.”

“Can I at least have a name to go with the charming lady in front of me?”

“No.”

Lorelai felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see the guys standing behind her, she relaxed knowing Caden along with her other strong friends were there to have her back. They looked from Lorelai to the man in black with curious glances, Inigo stepped forward and stood protectively beside Lorelai with his eyes focused on the man in front of them.

“Is everything alright my friend? Is this oddly dressed man giving you trouble?”

“I’m fine Inigo, he was just leaving...weren’t you Bishop?”

The man in black allowed his eyes to shoot open as the stranger uttered his name, how in the hell did she know who he was. She brushed past him with a knowing smirk on her face as her friends filed in behind her, they found Serana already situated at a table with bottles of mead ready for them. Kaidan eagerly sat next to her as he uncorked his bottle and brought it to his lips, after a while of drinking Lorelai said she needed to get some air and left the main hall. She was silently standing on the porch when that same silky voice greeted her once more.

“Out for a walk ladyship?”

“Ugh, can’t you take a hint? And what's with the nickname?”

“Not really, I want to know how you knew my name. Surely I would have remembered you if we had spent a night or two together.”

“Ugh, call it Divine Knowledge. Can you buzz off now?”

“Nah, I got one more favour to ask.”

“No.”

“You haven’t even heard it yet!”

“Don’t have too, I don’t help assholes.”

“Okay okay, look I just need another set of hands for a mission. You help me with this and I promise to be out of your hair alright?”

“What is it?”

“I lost my hunting companion a few days ago and I tracked him to this region, I’ve heard of a band of cut throats organizing fights and I don’t want him injured. We need to find that operation and save my friend.”

“And who exactly is this friend?”

“He’s wolf, Karnwyr.”

“And what do I get out of all this? Surely you don’t expect me to do something for nothing.”

“Not so naive after all huh? Well if you want I can offer you my services in return, I’m pretty good with a bow and I know how to track pretty much any living thing.”

“A Ranger huh? Well I already have two decent archers in my group, one is even a hunter that track just like you. Got anything else?”

“Only my dazzling wit, I can also make a decent bed warmer if you know what I mean.”

“Not interested, but I want to help you. No animal should be made to fight, come inside and we’ll talk with the group.”

“Woah woah, wait. I only want your help, I said nothing about your friends.”

“Well it’s a package deal sweetheart, it’s either all or none with us. Choose.”

Bishop sighed as he nodded his head and followed her inside the inn, she saw the group tense as she approached with Bishop behind her. Serana immediately glared at him while the men just sized him up and determined whether or not he was a threat to Lorelai.

“Alright guys, we’ve got a job.”

“I thought we were headed back to Riften Lori, what job would you have for us?”

“My new friend here lost a companion out in the woods, he thinks that a bandit troupe caught him and that they are making him fight in a cave somewhere. We need to find the cave and save this poor creature, the only downside is that we have to deal with his smartass personality the whole way. Nothing we can’t handle.”

“Lori, we’ve talked about you inserting yourself into dangerous situations. We don’t even know this guy.”

“His name is Bishop and he is a Ranger in these parts, he just wants his friend back. We all know what that feels like.”

The group went quiet as they absorbed her words, slowly the group nodded in agreement and Lorelai turned back to Bishop with hopeful eyes.

“You’ve got yourself a search party, although some may be a little more reluctant than others...Serana.”

The woman was still glaring at the man with untrusting eyes, she had a bad feeling about him but she supposed that if Lorelai didn’t see him as a threat he couldn’t be that bad. Besides, if he tried anything she would put an Ice Spike through his heart and laugh while he bled out.

“Well Bishop let me introduce you to everyone. You know Serana.”

“The pushy one, yeah.”

“Oof, um next to her is Kaidan and he is a very skilled hunter and archer like yourself.”

“I’m better, I domesticated a wolf.”

“Uh, next is Inigo. He is also an archer and my best friend.”

“He’s blue.”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Long story, anyway and last but not least we have Caden-”

“Why does that name sound familiar?”

“He’s the Dragonborn, he saved the world from Alduin.”

“He’s the dragonborn?! That explains the tired look in his eyes, couldn’t have been easy saving this mess of a world.”

“Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine.”

“I’m realistic Ladyship, I don’t have time for hugs and rainbows.I just want my wolf back.”

“Pushy, well at first light you can take us to where you think they’re holding your wolf. And stop calling me Ladyship!”

“It’s on the way to Riften, they have cages out front and no doubt many bandits inside. That is why I need your help, I’m skilled but not that skilled, oh and don't tell me what to do... Ladyship.”

“Perfect, we were headed to Riften anyway.”

“Why?”

“You’re nosy aren’t you.”

“No more than the next person, I would just like to know the kind of people I’ll be traveling with.”

Before Lorelai could answer Inigo laughed and addressed the man happily, Lorelai was amused at the outburst but made a mental note to cut off Inigo from anymore mead.

“My friend you are funny! Lorelai is the Master of the Thieves Guild, plus we have the Dragonborn on our side. No harm will come to your wolf as long as we are on the case.”

“How many has that blue cat had?”

Caden shrugged his shoulders as he took another sip from his own bottle, he didn’t like the way this ranger kept stealing glances at his Lorelai. After talking for a little longer everyone decided to head to bed and head out at first light, Serana rented three rooms. One for Caden and Lorelai to share since she could tell they were now exclusive, one for Inigo, and one for herself and Kaidan. She had grown rather attached to this hunter and she didn’t know exactly why or how, but she enjoyed his company and wanted to talk to him some more before going to sleep. Caden and Lorelai walked into their shared room to find only one bed inside, Lorelai groaned internally and tried to fight the faint blush rising to her cheeks.

“Lori.”

“W-what?!”

“Easy there Lori, I’ll sleep on the floor-”

“No!”

“No?”

“I-I mean um, y-you don’t have to.”

“But if it makes you uncomfortable-”

“It doesn’t, I just um….”

“I won’t do anything unless you want me too. I understand if you sort things out with Brynjolf first before we get to that level, I’ve waited this long a couple more days won’t hurt.”

“I really don’t deserve you Caden.”

Caden rolled his eyes as he gently ran his hand through her soft curls, she was finally his and no matter what he would never force anything on her. He had made that mistake in the past and it ended up driving a wedge between them and ultimately the group split up, although he knew this new addition was going to be a bit of a concern.

“Lori?”

“Hmm?”

“Is that guy...one of those mods you keep mentioning?”

“Yeah, but usually not found in my version of the game since his particular mod isn’t compatible with my console.”

“So then how is he here?”

“Your guess is as good as mine Hun Bun.”

“Hun Bun?”

“It’s a term of endearment where I’m front alright, I used to call one of my best friends that name.”

“But I’m more than a friend…”

She giggled as he wrapped her arms around her waist and brought her closer to his chest, she draped her arms over his shoulders and played with a few stray hairs on the back of his neck. He was so cute when he got possessive, she placed a gentle kiss on one of his cheeks and smiled brightly.

“Yes you are, so tell me...What do you want me to call you?”

“I’ve never thought about a nickname before, I’ll leave it up to you.”

“Hmm, I’ll have to think about it.”

“I trust it will be something flattering, after all I’m quite the catch.”

“Maybe I’ll just call you Asshat.”

“Hey!”

She giggled as she extracted herself from his embrace and changed into her night clothes, they climbed into bed and soon were asleep in each other’s arms. Things were falling into place for the Dragonborn, little did he know the Ranger was more of a threat than he realized.

Chapter Text

The next morning Lorelai woke up before Caden, she was ensnared in his arms and she snuggled closer as she inhaled his scent. He was so warm and she was practically in heaven, but she escaped his grasp without waking her sleeping companion. She dressed in a simple town dress and walked out into the main room, Sven was already there tuning his lute for the day and Orgnar was making breakfast. Everything was so peaceful, until she felt an arm wrap around her hips. Had Caden woken up already? But then she felt someone’s breath on her ear as the stranger leaned in close, then she realized that the arm that was around her was too skinny to be Caden’s.

“Hello Ladyship...early riser huh?”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as she tried to get away from Bishop’s grasp, he held her tightly in place and even brought back her closer to his chest. She felt him chuckle and she got even more agitated, she had read that his character was the more assertive/abrasive type but this guy was just being an asshole.

“Let go Bishop. Unless you want to lose that arm.”

“Feisty aren’t we?”

“Only when assholes grab me and hold me like they have any right to do so.”

“Not one for passing romances?”

“Not with you.”

“Ouch.”

She finally escaped his grasp and turned to face him fully, she crossed her arms over her chest while the Ranger chuckled and held his hands up to show he meant no harm.

“You’re very interesting Ladyship.”

“Didn’t I tell you to stop calling me that?”

“Yeah, but I don’t listen very well.”

“Clearly.”

“Why do I sense hostility?”

Lorelai grinned as she put her hands on her hips and let out a small giggle, Bishop quirked an eyebrow and crossed his arms while looking at the woman with curiosity.

“What’s so funny Ladyship?”

“Well, that hostility you’re sensing?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s coming from behind you.”

Bishop turned around slowly to see a shirtless Caden glaring at him, Bishop instinctively took a couple steps back as the nord loomed above him. Lorelai laughed out loud as her other friends filed into the hall as well, Inigo was next to her in no time as he looked over Caden and Bishop. Kaidan and Serana were next to one another, Lorelai noticed that their pinky fingers were intertwined but chose to leave that alone for now. Caden was less than impressed when he had walked out of the room to see Lorelai wrapped in another man’s arms, she got out of it quick enough but now his focus was on the man that dared to touch her.

“You’d be wise to keep your hands away from her friend, that is if you’d like to keep them.”

“What is it with you two and removing body parts from me? I was just teasing no harm in that right?”

“For now…”


Everyone sat down to eat and Bishop told them they would be heading towards Eastmarch, apparently the bandits had made their home in a cave called Cragslane Cavern. Lorelai felt bad that Bishop had lost his only friend, plus she wasn’t very fond of people who openly abused animals of any kind be it a hamster or wolf. They finished eating and then suited up in their respective armours, they headed out soon after with Kaidan and Caden at the front with the women in the middle and Inigo with Bishop in the rear. Bishop didn’t understand why he had to walk next to the cat but he supposed that it was better than walking by a less than happy Dragonborn, plus the view he had in front of him wasn’t so bad. He watched the sway of Lorelai’s hips as she walked along, that Thieves Guild armour hugged her like a second skin.

“Hey asshole!”

Bishop snapped out of it when he looked up from Lorelai’s ass and noticed she was staring at him with a less than amused expression on her face, he groaned and rolled his eyes at the insult.

“Yes Ladyship?”

“Which way from this intersection, left or right?”

“According to the map we head right towards Riften, it shouldn’t be too far now.”

“Are you sure that your wolf just didn’t run away? He is a wild animal after all.”

“He wouldn’t leave my side for more than a day, this is different.”

“Alright if you say so.”

They continued on in silence until Bishop rushed to the front of the group and made them stop, he listened and heard the sound of howling not to far off. Lorelai came to stand next to him and gently grab his arm, Bishop was shocked she had touched him but didn’t shrug her off.

“I know the cave you’re looking for, not only are there pit fights going on but a Skooma operation as well. These guys are gonna be tough, we can’t rush in without some sort of plan in place.”

“They’re just bandits, I think the six of us are more than capable of killing them.”

“I’m just saying to use caution, you aren’t any good to your furry friend dead.”

“Hmph.”

They talked it out and decided that the women should approach first since they weren’t much of a threat while the men hid among the nearby trees, so they took position once they found the cave with two metal cages out front. Lorelai felt bad for the animals inside but knew that they were feral and would no doubt attack anybody that came to close, so she and Serana hid their weapons inside their armours and calmly approached the two bandits camped outside the cave. Lorelai smelled blood instantly and hoped that Karnwyr was alright, sure enough the two male bandits noticed them and looked at each other with a gleam in their eyes. The men left their weapons by the fire as they got up to walk towards the two girls, Lorelai felt a shiver run down her back but knew that her friends would protect her.

“What’re two fine ladies doing out here? You’re a little far from the main road…”

Serana offered a smile to coax them in as Lorelai played the scared damsel part well enough, the men fell for it hook, line and sinker.

“We got lost when some wolves chased us, we saw the smoke from your fire and thought you could help us.”

“We can do more than that sweetheart, it’s about noon would you two fine ladies care to join us for lunch? We don’t bite...hard.”

Serana let one of the men throw an arm around her shoulder and Lorelai did the same for his bosmer companion, but as soon as the bandits were close enough the girls shoved their hidden daggers into them. They bled out in seconds and fell to the ground, the men emerged and Bishop looked impressed with them.

“You wenchs are deadly, remind me not to fall for those looks you gave those two.”

Lorelai only laughed as she cleaned her weapon while Kaidan and Caden looked back at Bishop with a glare, they turned towards him and he held his hands up showing he meant no offense by his words.

“Easy there guys, I didn’t mean to insult your women. I simply stated a fact, they’re deadly and I feel sorry for their enemies.”

The men nodded but still kept their eyes on the Ranger as they passed by the two caged wolves, Lorelai paused but Bishop put his hand on her shoulder and shook his head.

“They’re feral Ladyship, I wouldn't get too close.” “But they can’t stay in there, they’ll die...especially if we kill the men inside.”

“We’ll think of something after we take care of the bandits and find my wolf, come on.”

They all walked calmly inside the cave to see another man standing guard at the entrance, Bishop wasted no time firing an arrow and killing the man. Lorelai was shocked at the speed he killed but figured he was used to not showing mercy to his targets, just beyond the second doorway there was a cage with a wolf resting inside. Lorelai saw Bishop relax and put his bow on his back before rushing to the cage, she could tell he was relieved to see his friend once more by the tone of his voice.

“There you are you damn mutt, what the hell were you thinking huh? First you get captured by idiotic bandits and then I have to track you all the way to this goddamn cave, you’re lucky I like ya.”

Lorelai giggled at the reunion but stopped when she heard growling and yiping further down the passageway, Bishop finished freeing his companion and turned towards the group with a certain look in his eye. Lorelai could only describe it as bloodlust, and she couldn’t blame him she would be the same way if someone took one of her animals and started abusing them.

“Care for a bit of fun? I say these poor excuses for mortals deserve to die for what they’ve done, care to join me Ladyship?”

“U-uh, well we would be stopping a drug operation as well. Caden this would help Riften as well, we should take care of it while we’re here and tell the Jarl about it once we get to the city.”

Caden nodded and took the lead as they all crept into the main room where the fighting ring was, Kaidan and Caden charged in with Serana close behind flinging spells at the targets. Inigo and Bishop helped with ranged attacks as well, Lorelai soon charged in too and after a few minutes the bandits were dead and Lorelai was loading up her satchel with all the skooma and moonsugar she could carry. They all left the cave and stopped by the cages once more, Lorelai couldn’t leave them there and begged Bishop to unlock the cages and set them free.

“They could attack us Ladyship, we might have to kill them wither way!”

“But...a life in a cage isn’t a life worth living…”

“You say that like you’ve known their pain.”

“I have.”

Bishop was shocked as her plea filled voice turned to one of sorrow in an instant, had she truly been in a cage? He chose not to ask to preserve her feelings, he sighed and told everyone to get behind him and Karnwyr. When the first cage was unlocked Bishop retreated quickly behind his wolf and remained still as Karnwyr growled a warning towards the now free wolf, the beast ran away and the second did the same. Lorelai smiled as Bishop put a hand on Karnwyr’s head as a sign of praise, she came up to his side and offered the back of her hand to the beautiful wolf. Karnwyr sniffed at her hand and nudged it with his nose, she carefully scratched his neck and retracted her hand to find Bishop staring at her with wide eyes.

“That...doesn’t usually happen…”

“What?”

“Karnwyr, he doesn’t usually like strangers touching him or even coming close enough to be able to try. You...you’re special aren’t you.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m special, I just treat everyone and everything equally. Animals respect kindness and know when no harm is meant, but this is my first time trying to pet a wolf.”

“Could’ve fooled me.”

“Well, you’ve got your friend back, are you heading out? It’s only noon after all, plenty of time for you to get a decent head start for any city.”

“I remember offering you my services, I intend to repay you for helping me. But don’t count on me sticking around for much longer.”

“You don’t have to repay us, besides you helped us stop a drug ring and I think that was help enough.”

“You don’t want me around Ladyship?”

“U-uh well I uh….”

Bishop chuckled as the woman tripped over her words, she was both feisty and cute. He shook his head as he took her hand in his and planted a kiss on the back of it, she was stunned into silence as he heard Caden growl at the action. He quickly dropped her hand and stood there smiling, maybe he would stick around for a little longer.

“I have nothing better to do Ladyship, besides I want to get to know you better. You said you were the Master of the Thieves Guild right? You must have some interesting stories.”


The group walked the rest of the way to Riften and entered the city around sunset, Lorelai said she needed to head directly to the guild and would meet the others at the inn in a little while. They parted ways and Lorelai almost sprinted towards the secret entrance, she had missed everyone so dearly...even Vex. Once she pushed the button and the opening was revealed she jogged down the steps and quickly resealed the entrance, once she reached the bottom of the ladder she remained in the shadows as she looked around the Cistern. She saw Vipir and Rune at a table with Sapphire with their backs turned towards her while everyone else was already in their bunks for the night, that was strange but she didn’t question it. Then she heard Sapphire’s voice cut through the silence, she had missed that sarcastic tone.

“This sucks.”

“You’ll have to be more specific Sapphire, do you mean Lorelai’s disappearance or Brynjolf’s less than happy mood.

” “Both, you can’t have one without the other Vipir. He even wrote that letter to Caden and he hasn’t responded, you don’t think she's ...”

Then she heard a familiar accent greet her ears as her heart jumped into her throat, she saw Bryn waltz into the room with a rather dark look on his face. He looked so tired and she figured she might have had something to do with that, he walked over to the table and crossed his arms over his chest while glaring at the three thieves.

“Don’t finish that sentence Sapphire.”

“Brynjolf… we have to think about-”

“Not another word!”

Lorelai couldn’t handle seeing him like that, she sprinted from her hiding place and eagerly wrapped her arms around Brynjolf’s waist from behind him. He jumped at the impact and coughed as he had the wind knocked out of him, he couldn’t see who grabbed him so he looked to the three thieves for some help. All of them wore equal looks of shock mixed with relief, he felt his heart rate increase as he gently removed the arms from him and slowly turned around. He felt himself let out a breath as he saw a tear soaked Lorelai standing in front of him, everything stilled as they looked at each other. He couldn’t believe it, she had been gone for so long and now she was healthy and standing right there.

“Hey Bryn…”

“Lass…”

He quickly scooped her up in his arms and hugged her close, he lifted her off the ground as well when he took her into his arms, as she dangled a few inches off the ground she let out a couple soft laughs as tears ran down her cheeks. He was holding her so tight but she didn’t care, if felt good to missed and she considered the guild family. Brynjolf didn’t want to let her go and continued to hold her as he let a few tears slip from his eyes as well, he let her scent envelope him as she clung to him.

“Oh Lass, you wouldn’t believe how much I’ve missed you…”

“I’ve missed you too Bryn, more than I can say. I’m so sorry I couldn’t come home sooner.”

“Don’t blame yourself Lass, you couldn’t have known that someone was planning to take you away from us.”

“I missed the guild so much.”

“We missed you Lass, every second you were gone was hell.”

“Always the charmer.”

“It’s a fact, I’ve been so worried Lorelai.”

“I know, but I’m back safe and sound Bryn.”

“Thank the Divines for that.”

They finally broke apart as Brynjolf set her back onto the stone beneath them, she was then tackled by Sapphire and the others as everyone started waking up to find that their leader had returned safe and sound. Eventually Vekel, Vex, Tonila, and Delvin came in to see what the fuss was about and rushed to greet Lorelai as well. Everyone was laughing and joking as they made sure Lorelai was healthy and uninjured, Brynjolf could hardly believe she was back with the family.

But he was so glad she was, she looked better than ever almost like it never happened. After a little everyone went back to sleep and Lorelai went over to her desk to see what all she had missed, she saw some letters from contacts and some plans for a heist that Vex was planning. Brynjolf came up to her and rested his chin on her shoulder and let her smell overwhelm him, she giggled and let one of her hands come up to rest on his cheek as she looked over some of Vex’s plans.

“You’ve been busy I see, that’s good.”

“It was hard without you lass, none of us wanted to do anything until you were found but-”

“But you had a guild to run and a family to look after, I understand completely Bryn.”

“It’s good to have you back Lass, truly. In fact...I have some ideas on how to welcome you back properly…”

Lorelai felt his lips press against her neck, she sighed as she turned away from the affection and stepped out of his reach. He looked confused but didn’t follow after her as she sat on the desk, she faced him fully and looked into his eyes.

“What’s wrong Lass?”

“We need to talk Bryn, something has changed.”

“Like what?”

“Caden.”

Chapter Text

Lorelai was calling after Brynjolf as he stomped out of the Cistern and up through the secret entrance, damned Dragon born bastard. Lorelai was hot on his heels as she tried to stop him but her pleas fell on deaf ears, she had told him everything about her time in the castle with Harkon and even her short time as a vampire before addressing the relationship she had decided to start with Caden now that she was cured. Brynjolf felt a piece of his heart break as she told him that she couldn’t have that same relationship they shared before, he was furious and he wanted to fight.

“Bryn please, listen to me!”

“Not now Lass, I have important things to do. We’ll speak another time.”

“You’re heading right for the inn, I know you’re mad but you knew that I had a thing for him right?”

He spoke no more as he burst through the door and scanned the room for Caden, when his eyes fell on the legendary nord he felt the blood in his veins run cold. Lorelai was now latched onto his arm but he didn’t feel the pressure of her grip as he pretty much dragged her behind him as he made his way over to the table. He noticed a new face but didn’t think much of it because he was blinded by rage. Caden sensed the hostility as he saw Lorelai trying her hardest to stop Brynjolf from approaching the table, he tensed but only slightly, but everyone saw and stopped their discussions as they turned their attention to the angry red haired man.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve friend, unfortunately I’m less than impressed this time around.”

“Easy there Brynjolf, you don’t want this fight.”

“And what if I do?”

Caden’s eyes turned a shade darker as he glared at the Thief, Brynjolf didn’t back down though. His sense of danger had been over run with the want to fight with this all powerful man despite his better judgement, Caden was impressed that Brynjolf stood his ground but his main concern was not causing a brawl in the center of the tavern.

“Listen to me Brynjolf, whatever you’re feeling we can discuss like civilized people. No fighting is necessary.”

“Aye, but it is Ladd. You and I have some words to exchange.”

“Then act like an adult and talk, if we fight it will only end with both of us bruised and a very upset Lorelai.”

Brynjolf flicked his eyes toward the small woman that was still trying to pull him away from her friends, the bastard had a point but that didn’t mean Brynjolf changed his mind about punching him. Talen-jei sensed the mood changed and eyed the table warily, he approached with his arms crossed.

“If you two have things to settle I must ask you do so outside, if you break anything in here I’ll have the guards throw both of you into prison with that no good Sibbi Black-Briar.”

The group took the hint and headed out of the inn, Lorelai was groaning in frustration as she clung to Brynjolf to prevent him from doing anything. Once outside the group started for Honeyside but Brynjolf called out for Caden to stop.

“Are you afraid of a little thief Dragonborn? Not man enough to fight me?”

“I’m not gonna fight you Brynjolf, you’re not thinking straight.”

“I’m thinking enough to know that you’re a bastard, savior or not.”

Caden groaned in annoyance as he turned to face the upset man, his breathing was uneven and one of his hands was balled into a fist. He figured Lorelai had told him about the relationship they wanted to start and he didn’t take it too well, he thought it was reasonable considering Lorelai was quite the woman but he never pegged Brynjolf as the type to be tied down. Lorelai was practically begging at his point for Brynjolf to back off and calm down, the redhead just turned to her with a look of defeat in his eyes.

“Why him Lass? Eh! He left you and came back like nothing happened! I was there for you the whole time and I thought we really had something, it all made sense.”

“Brynjolf, you always told me that you weren’t one to be exclusive with. You told me that it wouldn’t evolve past friends with benefits!”

“Things change!”

“Bryn?”

“When you were taken that night a part of me was ripped away as well, something changed in me when I finally realized how much you meant to me. You were different, WE were different.”

“Brynjolf…”

“Did it all mean nothing to you Lass? Was it really just about keeping each other warm on lonely nights? Look me in the eyes and tell me that it meant nothing to you, tell me you only wanted sex and I’ll drop the subject completely.”

Lorelai saw the pain in Brynjolf’s eyes as she searched her own feelings, he was right about some things. She really enjoyed their time together, and when they had sex it felt right but was it love? Caden sensed her hesitation and his heart sank, was he too late? He dropped his arms to his side and looked at Lorelai as she clung to Brynjolf’s sleeve silently, Brynjolf knew he was getting to her so he pressed further.

“You can’t do it can you? You can’t say it because you know that you liked being with me and we felt right together, we’ve been through so much together Lorelai it took me so long to figure out my feelings for you. When you were taken I realized I loved you Lass, if it’s with you then I know that I can settle for just one woman.” Caden felt his temper start to flare now as well, the thought of losing Lorelai to Brynjolf caused him to see red and walk slowly towards them.

“Lori, think about what you really want. I can give you a good life, what can he do for you? A bed in the sewers? That is not a life for you Lass, nothing but rats reside down there.”

Lorelai turned to him with a glint of hurt in her eyes, she let go of Brynjolf’s sleeve and stood in front of him instead with her hands on her hips.

“Some of those rats, are precious to me Caden. Don’t insult my family.”

“What are talking about Lori?! We’re your family! Inigo, Serana, Kaidan, not so much Bishop though... And me! Do we mean so little to you that you would go for the rats down there?”

“Careful Caden, don’t dig a deeper hole. You are all equally precious in my eyes, family is more than bonds and kinship. It’s understanding and hard work, the guild taught me that no matter what your family comes first.”

“Lori!”

“Enough! Both of you are acting like children and I’m sick of it! I’m sleeping in the inn tonight, Caden you will stay at Honeyside with the others and Bryn will return to the Cistern. I refuse to talk to you two until you chill the fuck out!”

She left them to do whatever they pleased as she stomped back into the inn and paid for a room, the men simply stood outside unmoving and silent. Both had realized that they crossed a line that night, they spared one last look at each other before going their separate ways for the night. Lorelai was removing her armour for the night while mumbling to herself about what absolute idiots Caden and Brynjolf were, but she was also cursing herself for not knowing her own damn feelings well enough to decide between the two of them. Once she was in her night clothes she sat on the edge of her bed with her head in her hands, it was all so fucked up and she knew it was mostly her fault.

“Fuck, why am I such a bitch.”

She sighed as she rubbed her eyes, then she heard footsteps just outside her room. She thought it was just the other patrons or perhaps even Talen and Keerava heading to bed, but they stopped just outside her door and for some reason a cold sweat took over her body. She eyed her weapons that were sitting on her armour in the corner, just as she moved to grab her sword the doors swung open and a woman wearing red and black armour sped into her room. Before Lorelai could move out of her reach the woman tackled her to the ground and pressed a cloth over her nose and mouth, Lorelai was trying to hit the woman with her hands but it had no effect on her attacker.

That was when she smelled it, a chemical or potion had soaked into the cloth. However, she realized this a little late as her eyes began to droop and her hands fell to her sides. As her eyes closed one more thought ran through her mind as she slipped into that forced slumber, fucking Dark Brotherhood.


Lorelai woke up cold and groggy, she put a hand to her head as she sat up and tried to get her thoughts organized. Then she felt the wet wood beneath her and her eyes shot open as she lowered her hand and looked around the room, she was in the damn cabin that started the questline. Sure enough when she looked over to the crumbling bookcase Astrid was perched on top with one leg dangling over the edge, Lorelai slowly got to her feet and faced the hooded woman with her arms crossed over her chest.

“Sleep well?” “Sure, if you call being drugged and dragged into a crumbling cabin ‘sleeping well’. Care to tell me what the hell your deal is?”

“Does it matter? You're warm, dry... and still very much alive. That's more than can be said for old Grelod. Hmm?”

“Listen, that old crow was abusing children. I have no idea who put her in charge of the orphanage but I think my motives were just, besides she wasn’t a well liked person anyway. Who cares?”

“Half of Skyrim knows. Old hag gets butchered in her own orphanage? Things like that tend to get around. Oh, but don't misunderstand. I'm not criticizing. It was a good kill. And you’re right old crone had it coming. And you saved a group of urchins, to boot. Ah, but there is a slight... problem. You see, that little Aretino boy was looking for the Dark Brotherhood. For me, and my associates. Grelod the Kind was, by all rights, a Dark Brotherhood contract. A kill... that you stole. A kill you must repay.”

“Listen, I don’t kill without reason. So both of us can sit in this little room for however long you want, I won’t kill again without reason.”

True to her word Lorelai sat on the crumbling bed and crossed her arms as she glanced at Astrid with defiance in her eyes, she heard Astrid click her tongue and sigh in annoyance.

“I'll cut right to it. You murdered the old woman in the orphanage. You owe the Dark Brotherhood a kill. I've come to collect. One of these poor sods has a contract out on their life. Which one is it? Any idea? Make your choice. Make your kill. And you get to walk away.”

“I just told you no, if you need someone dead kill them yourself and leave me the hell alone.”

Astrid was impressed with Lorelai’s courage to stand up to her kidnapper, but time was precious and Astrid had no time for this little game. Astrid laughed and threw Lorelai’s ebony sword and dagger down to the floor, they skidded across the wood until stopping about halfway between them.

“Either you kill one of them...or I kill you.”

Lorelai felt her heart stop for a second before she felt goosebumps overtake her, she had improved in combat but even she was smart enough to know she could never take on the leader of the Dark Brotherhood in real life. Astrid saw the fear in her eyes and knew she had won, Lorelai picked up the sword and dagger and faced the three faceless victims while Astrid spoke once more.

“One of these poor sods has a contract out on their life. Which one is it?”

“You can’t just make it easy and tell me can you? If one of them did something bad and I thought they deserved it I could easily rid this world of them.”

“Choose.”

“Fuck me.”

She walked up to the three captives and looked over them, she had played this questline multiple times but now that she was actually living it she was less than eager to actually carry out the objective. Her eyes automatically went to the Khajiit, his name was Vasha and his response had always made her angry. He was smug about the lewd and terrible things he had done to people, so Lorelai supposed he would be the most likely to have a contract looming over them.

She sighed as she aimed the tip of her sword at the blinded cat, she drove the tip into his throat while plunging her dagger into his chest and piercing his heart. The furry man hissed in pain before she pulled her sword and dagger free of his body and he fell limply to the ground, Lorelai turned away and walked back to Astrid with blood dripping from her weapons.

“The cat huh? No doubt the shifty khajiit had it coming, those animalistic creatures always have a problem controlling their criminal side. A life for a life, your debt is repaid and I would like to offer you a -”

“No. I’m not joining the Brotherhood, I did what you asked now give me the damn key so I can leave and head to Solitude. No doubt my companions are worried sick and I’m no where near Riften.”

“Very well, here. Oh and one more thing.”

“What?”

“Try not to take our contacts again, next time you’ll find yourself waking up in Sovngarde rather than a run down cabin in the marsh.”

“Understood.”

Lorelai unlocked the door and walked outside without looking back, no sooner had she stepped outside she shivered as a cold wind washed over her form. She moved across the small land mass the cabin was on and looked over towards the city perched on the water, Solitude was so close and yet so far at the same time.

“Damn, I need to head to Solitude but I’ll have to go around the harbour. No way in hell am I swimming like in the game, a damn slaughter fish might eat me if I do.”

Just as she turned she heard the sound of boots running through the marsh, she tensed as she thought of the possibility of bandits being in the area but never recalled any in game encounters in this part of the hold. As she was panicking the footsteps grew louder until she heard the splashing stop, she took a deep breath as she turned around. Her eyes fell on her friends standing at the edge of a small island across the water from her, she smiled and let out a small laugh as she recalled Kaidan actually tracking her down to the cabin as part of his Mod programming.

But she wasn’t expecting Brynjolf to count among their numbers, even Bishop was there considering she hardly knew him.

“LASS!”

“LORI!”

She snapped out of her stunned trance as her two love interests called out to her, she dropped her weapons to the ground as Brynjolf wrapped her in his warm embrace. She let him lift her up and spin in place as she enjoyed the warmth he provided, she heard Caden approach as well but Brynjolf was still clinging to her desperately. Everyone else was close behind and looked just as relieved as Caden and Brynjolf, Kaidan made his way to the front of the group and tapped Brynjolf on the shoulder and told him to let Lorelai down. The Thief did so reluctantly but let her go all the same, Kaidan looked her over for any injuries as Serana picked up her weapons and strapped them to her waist. She then wrapped her in a warm fur cloak as Kaidan finished looking over her, Lorelai could sense the tension in the air but focused on Kaidan as he started talking.

“Thank the gods you’re alright, why didn’t you tell us about the note? Eh?”

“Kaidan-”

“No excuses Lorelai we've been following this trail for two and a half days, the Dark Brotherhood is not something to fool around with. When we found your armour in your room and your weapons gone we had no idea what had happened until I went through your damn pack. Good thing we have two trackers in this group or we’d be completely clueless right now back in Riften.”

“I know and I’m sorry, to be honest I never planned to separate from the group. I was angry at...something and I wasn’t thinking. I gave the assassin the chance to take me, I was stupid and I’m sorry. But it’s over and I got out of a deal with a murder crazy woman so let’s just get to Solitude so I can change into my armour and we can get out of this damn hold.”

Everyone nodded as they turned to walk towards the city, Lorelai paused when she came to the edge of the water lapping at the edge of the island they were on. Then the next thing she knew she was in someone’s leather clad arms and being carried across the water, she looked up to see Brynjolf.

“Thanks Bryn.”

“Anytime Lass, after all you’ve got no shoes on and your armour is in your pack.”

“Where is my pack?”

“Inigo has it.”

“Ah.”

“Lass, I want to apologize. I acted like a spoiled brat, but only because I was afraid of losing you to someone else. I realize that I have no right to ask you this, but please choose me Lass.”

“Bryn-”

“I won’t stop you from choosing him I just thought I should put my feelings on the table, in the end you must do what will make you happy and I’m prepared to accept it no matter what. Even...even if it is with him and not me.”

“Bryn, I think you deserve some answers.”

Chapter Text

Once the group reached Solitude they all rented rooms at the Winking Skeever, Lorelai took her pack from Inigo and went upstairs to change. While she was changing everyone found a table in the main room and ordered drinks, the tension was thick as Caden and Brynjolf glared at each other over tankards of mead. Lorelai had changed into a simple town dress and boots choosing to leave her armour back in her room, once she reached the rest of the group she felt someone’s arm wrap around her waist and pull her down onto their lap. She could tell it was Bishop by his low chuckle, she rolled her eyes as she tried to stand but Bishop held her in place.

“Not so fast Ladyship, I think you need to look at what you’re up against.”

“What are you talking about Bishop?”

“Look at your Dragonborn and that infamous Thief.”

Lorelai looked over towards the rest of the group and sighed, she saw the two stubborn nords glaring at each other and ran a hand through her hair. Bishop couldn’t quite understand why everyone was so easily manipulated by the strange woman on top of him, sure she was attractive but was she really worth all the trouble? There was a nagging deep inside the Ranger that wanted to find out, as his eyes drifted down her back towards her ass Lorelai’s voice brought his gaze back up to her face.

“Bishop?”

“Hmm? What is it Ladyship?”

“Am ...am I a bad person?”

Bishop was about to make a sarcastic comment but he saw the hurt and sadness in her eyes, something inside him hated seeing her like that. He sighed as he looked at her back and played with the tips of her hair, she wanted a real answer and comforting people wasn’t really his forte.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because, I’m putting those to through so much unnecessary bullshit and making everyone uncomfortable because of it. It could have all been avoided if I…”

“If you what?”

“If...I wouldn’t have come here in the first place…”

“Whoa there Ladyship, back up. Are you really saying that after seeing how much these...people care about you, you would wish that you would have never met them? That’s demented, not to mention ungrateful.”

“But-”

“No buts Ladyship, you might think you’re a burden sometimes. Hell everyone does at one point no matter who they are, even I’ve felt like that at one point.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, but look at the people you have around you. They love you, I don’t know why they fuss over you like this but I haven’t been around long enough to understand. But from what I’ve gathered they wouldn’t trade you for anything, those two...are a special case. Did you sleep with both of them or something?”

“N-no, just one so far…”

“So far? You mean you plan to sleep with the other?”

“M-maybe? I don’t know alright, Brynjolf had some good points, but Caden…”

“Is the Dragonborn?”

“That’s not why I like him.”

“Then why do you like him?”

“Because he’s caring and he understands what it’s like to have a weight put on your shoulders, he knows the feeling of being alone in this world and...so do I. He’s the first person that helped me when I came here, he is very dear to me.”

“What about the Thief?”

“He is a genuine guy, he was there for me when everyone else left. We shared so many laughs and adventures in the guild, he’s like my family. He was the first guy I ever trusted enough for me to consent to...well you can put it together.”

“When you say consent, does that mean you were…”

“Raped? Yeah a long time ago, Caden was there for me when I told everyone that secret.” “Are they dead?” “Who?” “The damn bastard that raped you, if he’s not I have some business to attend to.”

“I don’t know what became of my attacker, I never really cared to find out.”

“I’m sorry that happened to you Ladyship.”

“It’s in the past and I’m learning to cope and rely on my friends for comfort when I need it, but thank you Bishop.”

“Anytime sweetcheeks, now about those two romeos…”

“I have no idea what I’m going to do, look at them glaring at each other.”

“Which one do you love?”

“I love both of them.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Well all those nights with Brynjolf meant so much to me and at one point I wanted him to be the one that was next to me in the morning, but now that Caden has entered the picture once again I feel compelled to be with him. Like a deeper attraction is pulling me into his arms, it’s hard to explain.”

“It sounds to me like Caden is the one that really has you under his thumb, although personally I don’t know what you see in him. He looks like a basic nord to me, Dragonborn or not those damn warriors are a violent bunch. Did you know that I was just minding my own business one day in Windhelm selling pelts and one of those damn blondes threw a rock at my head? I confronted him of course, and he said he did it because I wasn’t a damn ‘true son of Skyrim’ whatever the hell that means.”

“Damn, Windhelm sounds very…”

“Miserable, ignorant, insane, unwelcoming.”

“Predictable.”

“That works I guess. Uh oh.”

“What?”

“Well don’t look now Ladyship but I think our little conversation has taken too long, your two lovers over there are no glaring at me.”

Lorelai looked towards the table and saw that Bishop was right, Caden and Brynjolf had forgotten about each other and turned their glares towards the Ranger holding Lorelai in his lap. Lorelai removed herself from his grasp and he let her go willingly, he was starting to see what her appeal was. Underneath her awkward and clumsy exterior was a heart of gold, one that he wouldn’t mind stealing for himself. Lorelai put her hands on her hips and glared back at the men, when they saw her face they averted their eyes and took drinks from their tankards.

“I need to talk to Caden and Brynjolf alone, outside. Now.”


The two men followed behind her as they walked out into Solitude and towards the Bridge above the city, once there she faced them and crossed her arms over her chest. She looked at Brynjolf and he had both hope and fear in his eyes, Caden, on the other hand was harder to read.

“Well, I owe you both some answers. Brynjolf, I’ll start with you.”

“Surely you should save the best for last Lass…”

Despite the tense atmosphere he managed to bring a smile to her face, that was another thing she loved about that charming thief. Brynjolf stepped forward and took her hands in his and offered a sad smile in return, she looked him in the eye and felt sadness overwhelm her heart.

“Bryn, you’re right. Those nights we spent together meant everything to me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world or any world, but…”

“Uh oh.”

“But the way I love you isn't the way I love Caden, it is true that you were by my side when the group separated and I suffered because of it. You were there for me with Inigo always finding a way to keep me busy or making me laugh. I will always treasure those nights we shared and the memories we created in the cistern and in the cabin in the Rift, I will always be there for you and the Guild. If you don’t want to see me for awhile though-”

“Oh hush Lass, I told you that no matter what I would be by your side. I understand your choice, I may not like it but in the end I want you to be happy.”

He put a hand to her cheek and she leaned into his touch, he brushed his thumb across her soft skin.

“I’m sorry Bryn.”

“Don’t be, after all you’ll always be my Lass.”

He placed a gentle kiss on her cheek before backing away and turning towards Caden with a serious look in his eyes, he held out his hand for the Dragonborn to shake. Caden took it and nodded his head at Brynjolf, the Thief pulled him in closer and whispered into his ear.

“If you ever hurt her again, you’ll never see the light of day again. Understand me Ladd?”

“Aye.”

The Thief released his hold on Caden’s hand and sent one last parting look towards Lorelai, she offered a warm smile and stated that she would check in with the guild soon. He left the bridge and went back to the inn to gather his things, after he made sure he had everything he said his goodbyes to the group and left Solitude catching the last cart to Riften for the night.


“I feel so bad for putting Bryn through this, I’m sorry Caden.”

“Don’t be Lori, I shouldn’t have expected all of your feelings for him to vanish once I came back after leaving you over something so trivial.”

“But I still dragged both of you along for the ride, I’m a bitch.”

“I disagree but I think that no matter what I say you’ll just keep belittling yourself.”

“You’re correct my friend.”

“I know how to stop it though.”

“Oh really? Do tell oh great and powerful Dragonbo-”

Before she could finish her sarcastic comment he closed the distance between them and pressed his lips against hers, she was stunned for a moment but then leaned into his embrace as his arms encircled her and her hands interlocked behind his neck. His embrace was warm and comforting, his lips tasted like the honey infused mead he had been drinking at the inn. They parted after a few moments and Lorelai looked up at Caden through hooded eyes, he was smiling down at her as his hand brushed a few strands of hair out of her face.

“Smooth, very smooth.”

“There is more where that came from Lori, that is if you want it..”

“Mmmm, more than you can imagine.”

He scooped her up and brought her to his home that he owned in Solitude, once inside he set Lorelai down and bolted the door behind them.

“You’re the Thane in Solitude too?!”

“No, I just bought the property. I rarely use this house and I refused the housecarl as well, I never spend too much time in this city. I can still smell the blood in the streets from when Ulfric and I stormed in with the Stormcloaks right behind us, it’s not comforting like a home should be.”

“I understand that.”

She turned back around and his lips were on hers once more, he lifted her up and carried her upstairs to the bedroom. He kicked open the door and walked inside, he pressed her against the nearest wall and her legs automatically wrapped around his waist. His tongue probed her mouth constantly and her breath was shallow and rushed as the heat between them rose higher and higher, all of the tension was melting away as Caden’s hands found their way to the back of her dress and unlaced the cord holding it up. The fabric slipped down off of her shoulder and she quickly pulled her arms free of the sleeves, he set her down and pulled away long enough to pull the dress completely off of her and throw it to the corner of the room. She was now only in her undergarments while he was still fully clothed, she pushed him backwards towards the bed and made him sit.

“It’s not fun if you still have all that armour on, take it off. Now.”

He did as he was told and quickly tore off his boots and then stripped himself of his armour throwing it to the ground near the bed, he was now in his underclothes as well. He tried to approach her once more but she pushed him back onto the bed, he looked confused but she situated herself between his legs.

“Just enjoy Caden, I don’t bite...hard.”

His eyes widened at the woman in front of him, the once shy and timid Lorelai had turned into a totally different person. She ran her hand over his semi-hard cock and he groaned as she applied a gentle pressure there, then she took a dagger that was on the nearby side table and cut the loin cloth he was wearing off of his body. As the cloth fell away his manhood was fully exposed to her, even semi-hard he was bigger than Brynjolf, she gripped him firmly and started to move her hand up and down his length. She leaned in closer to kiss the tip and then circle her tongue around it, he groaned as he felt her tongue and saliva roam over his shaft. She slowly took him into her mouth as she continued to pump his cock with her hands, as she bobbed her head she felt him start to buck against her and his cock hardened faster than she thought.

Soon she was unable to fit more than half of his length into her mouth, she came off his length with a pop and licked her lips of the pre-cum that had erupted from him.

“So excited Caden...you seemed more...in control before with my teasing.”

“Lori.”

He grabbed her and threw her on the bed, he climbed over her with the same dagger she had used and cut her free of her under garments as well. Her breasts fell free and he threw the dagger aside to cup them in his hands, his fingers teased her hardened nipples as he trailed kisses downwards from her neck to the tops of her breasts. Her hands ran through his hair as she brought his face closer to her hardened buds, he grinned as he gave her what she desired. His tongue circled her nipples one at a time as he gently bit at her skin while doing so, he was rubbing his fully erect cock up and down her thigh and growling at the friction it created.

“Lori…”

“C-Caden...please...t-take me.”

He didn’t need to be told twice as he grabbed his cock and positioned himself at her entrance, he felt the heat radiating off of her and groaned at the thought of sheathing himself completely inside of her. He pushed into her slowly at first, she moaned as he filled her more and more as he sunk deeper into her. Then with a quick thrust he buried himself inside, he felt the tip of his cock hit her cervix and she screamed in pleasure as it happened. She had never been so full and she craved him more and more, she hooked her legs around his waist and started gyrating her hips.

“You’re so tight Lori...you feel amazing..”

“You’re so big… mmmmm.”

He thrusted in and out of her at a steady pace, then he started to feel his climax and fucked her harder. She was a moaning mess beneath him as she begged him to go faster and harder, he obeyed and started to rub her clit vigorously as he pumped harder into her. Soon he felt her walls constrict around his length as he juices coated him, he continued his hard and rough pace until he pulled out of her and crawled up her body until his cock was in front of her mouth.

“Suck.”

She obeyed and took him into her mouth to give him his release, she tasted herself on him and her mind went blank. She bobbed her head quickly as her tongues massaged the tip of his shaft, soon he grabbed the back of her head and thrust deep into her throat as his orgasm took over his body. His seed spilled into her mouth and she drank all of it greedily, she cleaned him off as well and swallowed every last drop. As he fell down beside her she cuddled close to his chest as his arms encircled her waist, they were both panting at this point and had no words for what had just happened. Lorelai looked up into his blue eyes and felt something she hadn’t in a long time. She felt safe, it brought her peace of mind as she laid there next to him.

“I didn’t hurt you did I? I was kind of rough.”

“No it was amazing Caden, you were amazing.”

“So were you Lori, this night will be a night I won’t soon forget.”

“Me either.”

Caden brought the furs up and wrapped their bodies in it, as they settled into bed for a good night’s sleep one last though went through Lorelai’s head.

If home is where the heart is, then I never want to leave Caden’s side.

Chapter Text

The next morning Lorelai woke up early and extracted herself from Caden’s embrace, she took a simple cotton tunic from the closet and draped it over her naked form. Then she crept out of the room and down the steps towards the kitchen area, since Caden rarely used this house all Lorelai could find were a couple well preserved sweet rolls and two bottles of Honningbrew Mead. She grabbed all of it and set them on the table, she grabbed a couple of plates and set the sweet rolls on the clean dishes adding a couple snowberries she had found for decoration.

She put the bottles under her arm and picked up the plates before walking back upstairs and entering the bedroom. Caden was still fast asleep as she set their breakfast down on the side tables and uncorked their drinks, the noise of the corks caused Caden to stir from his deep sleep. He made a few groan like noises before reaching out an arm to where Lorelai had been sleeping, once he realized Lorelai was no longer there he bolted upright in bed and looked around the room in a blind panic. Lorelai laughed before his eyes met hers and she saw his shoulders relax, he ran a hand through his disheveled hair and cross his legs under the furs.

“Miss me?”

“I thought you had been taken again, do I smell sweet rolls?”

“Yup! I found a couple downstairs and decorated them with a few snowberries, I also brought us a couple bottles of mead.”

“No milk this time?”

“I didn’t trust it since you said you rarely use this house.”

“Smart choice, let’s dig in.”

She smiled as she handed him his bottled and plate, she grabbed hers and sat next to him Indian style as they ate their breakfast in a calm fashion. The were silent as they ate their meal and occasionally shared a smile while they took sips from their respective bottles, once they were done Lorelai gathered their plates and empty bottles before placing them across the room on a larger table. Caden was still naked under the furs so he chose to stay warm underneath them, beckoned Lorelai over to him and she flounced over happily before sitting in front of once more.

“Did you sleep well Lori?”

“Of course, I was with you wasn’t I?”

“Hmph, you’re quite the charmer. I see that infamous thief rubbed off on you after all.”

“Yes, yes he did. If he hadn’t I wouldn’t have survived down there with all the sarcasm and backhanded compliments.”

“It was that bad huh?”

“Not bad, it was fun once I got used to it. Everyone laughed at my jokes and we all had fun, I wouldn't trade my time there for anything…”

“I can see they mean a lot to you, sorry I complicated things with Brynjolf…”

“Don’t blame yourself for that Caden, Bryn and I would have never worked out. Besides, things are different with you.”

“Are they now? How?”

“It’s hard to explain, something inside me just knows that we belong together.”

“Can’t argue with that, that gut instinct often helped me on some of my toughest adventures...including the final battle with Alduin.”

“Oof, well at least that whole ordeal is in the past. We need to look to the future.”

“That might not be happy either…”

“What do you mean?”

“What if you go back to your world? What if we find a way to send you back?”

Lorelai had sort of gave up hope of ever going home at this point, she hadn’t learned anything from her time here that could lead to her finding a way back home. She sighed as she rolled her shoulders and looked towards the ceiling, Caden had a point but Lorelai wasn’t really concerned about going home.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it Caden, but for now we need to figure out where to go from here.”

“I want to take you to Windhelm, I want you to meet my parents.”

“Uh-oh.”

“They are good people, besides its the one city I haven’t been to with you. Don’t you want to see Ulfric and the historic buildings?”

“That city hasn’t been the kindest to a couple of our traveling companions, we should consider their feelings before deciding.”

“What if we tell them to take a few days off? Tell them to do as they please and then we meet them in a city somewhere before continuing our journey?”

“That’s a nice thought! We’ll talk to them about it and then decide what to do, I would like to see your parents though ...”

“Really?”

“Of course, I may have designed you but to imagine what your parents will look like...they’ll be amazing I know it!”

“Haha, whatever you say Lori. Let’s get dressed and head to the inn.”

“Right.”


They quickly dressed and gathered their things before heading back to the Winking Skeever, once inside they scent of fresh bread and warm mead greeted them. Lorelai glanced around the room before her eyes landed on Inigo and the rest of the group sitting sleepily at a table in the corner.

“Morning guys!”

Lorelai jogged over to the group, they smiled when they saw her and then Bishop whistled as she came closer.

“Morning Ladyship, have a good night?”

“What do you mean Bishop? And what have I said about calling me-”

“Half of Solitude heard your voice last night, hell I went out for a late night walk and it sounded like Caden over there was driving you wild…”

Lorelai blushed as she looked around the room to see many eyes turning to look at her, she cursed under her breath as Caden came up behind her and put a calm hand on her shoulders.

“Shut it Ranger, we need to talk to everybody about our travel plans.”

“Suit yourself Dragonborn, I’m just saying that next time you two should tone it down a notch eh?”

“Shut it.”

Lorelai tried to hide her red cheeks as they took a seat at the table, after Caden explained that he needed to head to Windhelm the table grew eerily quiet. Caden sensed the mood shift and knew everyone at that table would rather go anywhere else, Windhelm did have a less than...accepting reputation among Skyrim’s many inhabitants. While Caden had no racist views towards anyone race in particular his brethren were a different case entirely, he had known many nords that attacked and bullied many races on sight just because they could. He had even fought Galmar’s brother about the subject the first week he was in the city applying for a position in the rebellion, he had almost beat the man senseless for picking on that poor dunmer woman.

“I understand that many of you would rather go swimming in the Sea of Ghosts rather than step foot in Windhelm, this is way Lori and I came up with a plan for all of us.”

“What would that be my friend? After all after all Mr.Dragonfly and I have been through we do not wish to revisit that hateful city, no offense.”

“None taken Inigo, we’ve decided to give everyone a few days to themselves. We were thinking that anyone that doesn’t want to go to Windhelm be free to travel at their leisure, then we can all meet up at a specific place and continue on together from there. What do you think?”

Everyone looked back and forth between each other, Inigo nodded his head slowly as Serana and Kaidan did the same. Bishop was reclined in his chair examining the group as a whole, they were like a family that was plain to see, but for some reason a part of him didn’t want the team to split up. He had been alone for a long time, but that woman had sparked something inside of him that he hadn’t felt in a long time. But he also thought about the possibility of hunting with Karnwyr again, he had missed their hunts and his wolf was left out in the wild outside the city no doubt waiting for Bishop to reappear.

“I think this is a good idea my friends, like a small vacation! I personally would like to stay in the city and study at the Bards College, I can write new songs and practice for when we are on the road once more. Perhaps I could even learn an instrument!”

Lorelai smiled at the childlike wonder that shone in Inigo’s eyes, she then turned to Serana and Kaidan who were sitting rather close to one another.

“What about you two?” Serana smiled as she leaned her head on Kaidan’s shoulder, the Hunter smiled as she did so adjusting her hair so it was tucked neatly behind one of her ears.

“Kaidan has told me about his home in the Rift, I really want to see it. He even said he’d teach me how to hunt, this provides the perfect opportunity! Right Kai?”

“Aye, a few days to ourselves is a welcome idea. How long are we talking?”

Lorelai smiled at the thought of those two becoming closer, they were a cute couple but she would never tell them that for fear of Kaidan chasing her down in order for her to take it back. She sighed as she thought about how much time they should have off.

“How about two weeks? That way we can all rest and recuperate before reuniting, we can meet in Whiterun when the two weeks are over.”

“I like this idea my friend, I am excited! I will remain in Solitude to study at the Bards College, if you need me I shall be here.”

“Aye, Inigo speaks for more than just himself. Serana and I will be in the Rift during those two weeks, so in case you need us you can send a courier there.”

Lorelai nodded as she and Caden confirmed that they would be in Windhelm visiting his parents and reporting to Ulfric, then Lorelai turned to Bishop and tilted her head in curiosity.

“What will you be doing Bishop?”

“Me? Well Ladyship I think you’ll find me in the forests of Falkreath, it’s been a while since Karnwyr and I have been hunting together. I’ll be there if you require my services, but as for meeting you in Whiterun...polite pass.”

“What? Why?”

“I just think I need to be with Karnwyr for a while, we used to spend so much time together and he’s not used to large groups of people. I’ll be in touch don’t worry, and you can find me there as well if things change, I'll write.”

“A-alright, if that is what you want…”

“I think it's for the best Ladyship, you gonna miss me?”

“I will.”

The suddenness of her answer took him by surprise, he had meant it as a joke but he saw that she was completely sincere. He offered a weak smile as he crossed his arms over his chest and sat up straighter in his chair, she was so easy to read but it wasn’t a bad thing.

“I’ll miss you too Ladyship, but I know we’ll meet again eventually. Attractive people always find a way back to each other, and I know you’ll miss my witty banter.”

Lorelai laughed as he layered his sentence with sarcasm, but he would miss her...more than she knew. After everyone finished breakfast they gathered their things and met in the main room of the inn, Lorelai and Caden had changed into their armour like everyone else and they all stood in a circle near the exit. Inigo was still in civilian clothing because of his plans, they all shared hugs goodbye as Kaidan and Serana were the first ones to head out in order to catch the first carriage to Ivarstead. Bishop was the second to leave as he gave Caden a firm handshake and planted a kiss one Lorelai’s cheek before dashing out of the door and through the city gates, then the original trio was all that remained.

“I will miss you my friend, we have been through so much together. This will certainly be an interesting two weeks apart, you know you can always write to me.”

“I know Inigo, I’ll be in touch if I need to be. But I think Caden and I will be occupied with his parents, but you’ll be in my thoughts.”

“You will be in mine as well Lorelai, I will miss you.”

Inigo hugged Lorelai close as they said their goodbyes, then he gave Caden a hug as well before they left the blue khajiit behind them. As they walked through the gates Caden and Lorelai headed down to the stables, Caden purchased two horses and they strapped their good to the saddles.

“Do you know how to ride a horse Lori?”

“Kind of, I took lessons when I was a kid but it’s been a while. I think I can make it to Windhelm though.”

“Alright, just stick close to me and we’ll be there in no time.”


They mounted their horses and off they went to Windhelm, after a few hours of traveling and a quick stop for lunch they made it to the ancient city of Windhelm. Lorlai saw the gloomy city looming just over the snow covered bridge as they stabled their horses and paid for their boarding, it had a strange air about it but Lorelai knew that with Caden she had nothing to fear inside those city walls. After paying the kind elf at the stables Caden and Lorelai walked hand in hand across the bridge nodding at guards as they went, then they were stopped by one when the soldier noticed Lorelai’s Thieves Guild armour.

“I know Thieves Guild armour when I see it! Watch yourself around here thief, if I see your hand go in anyone's pocket I’ll bring you straight to the Jarl!”

Caden stepped up as the guard came closer to Lorelai, he stood between them and waited until the guard recognized who he was.

“Oh Dragonborn! Did you already catch this sewer rat? Well good work-”

“Shut it, she is more than a damn thief. She is my lover and she will be treated with the same respect you show me, if I see or hear of anything different I will have you thrown in the barracks with cleaning duty for the rest of your days. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes sir! I’m very sorry ma’am, please go on in and welcome to Windhelm.”

The soldier jogged away as the gates to the city swung open and revealed the snow covered streets of Windhelm, right in front was Candlehearth hall standing in all its glory. She smiled as she remembered her playthroughs as a stormcloak soldier, she had always enjoyed staying at the inn and hearing the dunmer bard sing the songs she knew so well. But the city itself was so rundown that it almost looked deserted, Caden escorted her inside the gates and towards the market.

“Everything looks so run down…”

“Yes, with the war finally ending I think Ulfric plans to renovate the city as soon as possible. Grey Quarter included.”

“Really? He would help the dark elves?”

“He might be a true son of Skyrim but he can’t deny the revenue that the elves and other races bring to Skyrim, he knows that they can work and provide a profit so he wants to make sure they stay here.”

“That sounds really….”

“Controlling?”

“I was going to say manipulative, but your word works too.”

They walked through the market as the smell of hot steel and fresh meats overwhelmed her, then they walked past the cemetery and up into the district that was occupied by the highly regarded members of the city.

“So they live in your house here? Do they have full use of your housecarl as well?”

“Yes, mother loves having an extra set of hands around the house while father is gone. My housecarl provides that help for her, not to mention he dotes on her like she was his own mother.”

“Aww thats cute!”

“Don’t tell him that, he might start a fight to prove you wrong.”

“Noted, I gotta admit that I’m nervous…”

“Why?” “What if they don’t like me?”

“I can guarantee that mother will love you, father might ask a fair amount of questions but just answer them honestly and he’ll respect both you and your views.”

“Alright, I’ll take your word for it.”

“Deep breaths Love, you’ll be fine, I know it.”

Lorelai nodded as she steadied her breathing as they came to a halt at the front door, Caden kissed her head as he pushed open the door and nudged Lorelai inside. Once in the main room Caden shut the door tightly behind them and shook the snow from his boots, he then took in a deep breath and sighed as he was greeted with the smell of his mother’s cooking.

“Mother?! Father?! I’m home!”

Lorelai heard footsteps hurry towards them from the kitchen as an older couple popped their heads around the corner, the woman had platinum blonde hair with streaks of grey in it. Her eyes were the same color as Caden’s but Caden’s hair color came from his father, the older man had a full length beard as well as shoulder length golden hair with dark roots forming at the base of his scalp. They were a very attractive pair even in their old age, they rushed forward and hugged Caden tightly before kissing him on the cheeks and smiling brightly. His father eyed him up and down with pride alight in his eyes, in a way he reminded Lorelai of her own father.

“Good to see you son, staying in shape I see…”

“Yes father.”

“Don’t pester him Jarrick, he must be exhausted from his travels.”

“Calm down Agni, I was simply making an observation about our son.”

“Mother, Father…”

“Yes?”

“Yes dear?”

“I’d like you to meet someone very dear to me, this young lady is Lorelai.”

Their eyes turned to her as she fidgeted in place, her hair was probably a mess and she no doubt smelled of sweat from traveling. Not the first impression she hoped for but she needed to make the best out of a bad situation. His mother held a kindness in her eyes that made Lorelai relax when she looked into them, his father looked at her with curiosity as she stood there quietly.

“I’m honored to meet the parents of the Dragonborn, Caden has saved my life on more than one occasion.”

His mother smiled as she gently placed a hand on Lorelai’s shoulder, his father remained in place as his rough but soothing voice greeted her ears.

“Welcome to our home Lorelai, I look forward to getting to know you.”

“As do I sir, I have many questions about you and your wife. Not to mention Caden’s childhood.”

His mother smiled fully as she watched Lorelai fuss over her son, this woman was good for Caden. A mother can always tell, Agni pushed a few stray hairs behind Lorelai’s ear before grabbing her hand and dragging her upstairs.

“Come with me dear, we need to get you out of that armour and into something more suitable for dinner. I leave the food to you boys, try not to burn anything in our absence.”

Chapter Text

“This will look lovely on you dearie, it was mine a long time ago but it should do just fine. By the way, is that...Thieves Guild armour?”

Lorelai gulped as she shifted her feet, she really wanted for Caden’s parents to like and respect her but she should be honest about her role among one of the strongest guilds in Skyrim.

“Yes it is, but I’m not going to take anything from you I promise. I know how bad it looks with the armour and everything but-”

“Easy there darling, calm down and breathe. Caden wouldn’t have brought you here if he thought you were a bad person, relax and just be yourself alright dearie.”

“Thank you, I guess I’m just nervous about meeting you and your husband. Thank you for welcoming me into your home by the way, and for lending me this dress.”

“Of course, you are very well mannered aren’t you dear? Are you actually a thief?”

“Yes, leader of the guild in fact...I probably shouldn’t have told you that…”

Agni laughed as she helped Lorelai out of her armour and into the fur lined dress she had brought out for her, after removing all of the armour and put it aside in the room she and Caden would be sharing. The dress was lined with thick wolf fur and the fabric was a sturdy cotton like material, it had a lace up back as well that was held together with a leather cord. Agni tightened the cord enough to secure the garment onto Lorelai and then smoothed over Lorelai’s hair as well, after giving Lorelai a pair of fur lined shoes to match the outfit Agni looked over Lorelai with an approving gaze.

“Now you look like you belong here, and I would recommend not wearing that armour unless absolutely necessary. The people around here don’t take kindly to outsiders let alone troublemakers, you aren’t a nord so that’s dangerous enough.”

“How do you know I’m not a nord? I could surely pass for one...right?”

“You look more like a breton to me child, you don’t have the stature of a nord woman. But bretons are a very studious people, I’m sure you’re a wonder thinker or mage. Am I right? Surely you have more skills than that of a common thief.”

“Uh...I can sing?”

“Wonderful! I play the lute myself we should play a song after dinner tonight, its been so long since I played for anyone.”

Lorelai smiled as the older woman smiled brightly, Agni was being so kind to her and she didn’t quite understand why.

“Why are you being so nice to me?”

A moment of silence passed between the two women as Lorelai stared blankly at Agni, she realized that her question might have sounded a bit rude but she was genuinely curious.

“It’s nice to see my son smile, I haven’t seen his smile since before the raid of Solitude. You bring that smile out, you must be special and besides I like the idea of having a daughter in the future…”

Lorelai’s eyes widened as her mouth fell open, this woman was so nice and Lorelai felt a pang in her heart at the mention of Agni treating her as a future daughter-in-law considering her own birth mother never showed her any attention since her father died.

“T-thank you ma’am.”

“No thank you sweetie, now let’s head back downstairs. I don’t want my husband burning my wonderful stew, he was never good with cooking. Thank goodness Caden can at least cook fish properly, you’ll need to do most of the cooking if you two marry sweetie.”

Lorelai laughed as Agni linked her arm through hers and walked out of the room, after Agni showed her where the wash room was they went back downstairs. They saw Caden and his father sitting in the kitchen as they drank from large flagons, Agni put her hands on her hips and rushed into the room to check on dinner.

“Jarrick! What did I say? Have you even stirred the pot once since I left with Lorelai?”

“I did...once.”

“Ugh, you’re lucky I like you Jarrick.”

“Trust me, I know Love.”

Caden laughed at his parent’s exchange and then let his eyes fall on Lorelai, his eyes widened as he took in her appearance. She looked like a true nord in that outfit, he had seen that outfit in his youth. He figured his mother had let her wear it in favour of her thinner dressed Lorelai usually wore in the warmer parts of the province, it looked good on her and he liked the thought of his mother already accepting her into the family.

“Lori come sit with father and I, I was just telling him of the time I found you.”

Lorelai nodded as she walked over to the table and took a seat next to Caden, she was directly across from his father but she smiled brightly as she took the offered tankard of mead from Jarrick.

“So my son tells me he found you on the plains of Whiterun, and unconscious no less...how did you get out there in the first place?”

“I- I can’t really remember, all I know is that I woke up in Caden’s house in Whiterun.”

“And what of your family? Surely they miss you.”

“I doubt my mother is looking for me, we weren’t exactly on the best terms when I came here. My father is...in Sovngarde though, I know he watches over me from there.” “I’m sorry to hear that, but you don’t look like a nord...not fully anyway.”

“My father was a Nord but my mother is a Breton, I suppose I got her bone structure.”

Caden was impressed that Lorelai could make up an entire backstory on the spot like this, but she was being very convincing so he just quietly drank his mead. His father had asked about her as soon as his mother had taken Lorelai upstairs to change, Caden had simply said that she could tell her story better than he could and that it was better to let her explain it. His father had simply nodded and taken it as a decent answer, but now he saw his father look interested in Lori knowing she was supposedly part Nord.

“A Breton and a Nord? That must have been an interesting pair, did they ever told you where they met?”

“I never asked, after father died my mother grew cold towards me.” “Why?” “I’m not quite sure, but I think it has to do with my father’s death...she blames me for it…”

Agni stopped stirring the stew long enough to cast a sad look towards the poor girl, even Jarrick was silent as those words flowed from Lorelai’s lips. They heard the sorrow in her voice and knew that she truly believed that her mother hated her for her father’s death, but a parent couldn’t be so cruel...right?

“Why would she think that?”

“Because...father and I were traveling to a healer at the time of his death, I was the reason we were out that day. I needed help and I was stubborn about it, father wanted answers but I refused to give them...while he was distracted…”

“You don’t have to explain if it hurts you child, but I must know one more thing.”

“Pa.”

“I swear it’s the last one Caden.”

“It’s okay Caden, what is your question sir?”

“Why did you need to see a healer?”

Lorelai took a deep breath before telling the tale of her rape and she saw so many emotions cross over Jarrick’s face as she told him the details, she saw Agni cover her mouth in shock as well at the story. Lorelai admitted to her guilt about her father’s death and wished that she would have just told him while she could’ve, but now she was learning to cope and she knew that her father wouldn’t want her to feel responsible for his death. Once Lorelai was silent once more Caden placed an arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head, Jarrick reached his hand across the table and laid it over one of Lorelai’s.

“I’m very sorry for your hardships child, I apologize if I opened old wounds…”

“Not at all sir, my past is something to learn from. Thanks to Caden and some other friends we’ve made I know now that I’m stronger than any memory, that no matter what I matter and I have a place here.”

“Aye, I can tell you’re special...you have to be for Caden to have taken a fancy to you. But was that Thieves Guild armour you were wearing?”

“Yes sir, but I assure you I mean no trouble for Windhelm or it’s citizens.”

“I’m sure Caden wouldn’t have brought you here if your intentions were less than honorable child, but maybe keep that armour out of sight...yeah?” “Yes sir, your wife already advised me on that.”

“Ah good, my wife is a very insightful woman. One of her many honorable traits, I know how to pick ‘em right son?”

“Pa, I thought you told me it was Ma who picked you…”

“Details, now then hos is supper Agni dear?”

“It’s ready if you would stop talking long enough to help me serve it, honestly Jarrick you’re such a gossip sometimes.”

Jarrick laughed as he left his flagon of mead on the table and walked over to his wife, he placed a kiss on her cheek and helped her put stew into four bowls. After bringing them over to the table Agni then took a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven and set it in the center of the table, the smells were wonderful and Lorelai couldn’t wait to dig into the mouthwatering food in front of her.


After dinner they all went into the main room and sat around the fireplace, out of the corner of her eye Lorelai saw the room that served as a child’s room or the alchemy and enchanters rooms. She saw a single bed in there and the false cabinet open a slight bit as well, Caden saw her staring and nudged her gently with his shoulder bringing her attention back to him.

“That was my room, now it serves as a spare room for the housecarl I have here. I barely see him here though and mother tells me that he tends to spend most of his time at the barracks, I had a playroom off to the side of that though. That cabinet has a false panel that leads to it, I thought it was pretty amazing to have a secret room all to myself.”

“Cute, excuse me sir?”

Caden’s father turned from his wife to Lorelai with calm eyes, he looked like any other nord but for some reason his face seemed familiar to her.

“What was Caden lika as a child?”

“Haha, he was quite the handful. His mother and I had a hard time keeping up with him, he spent most of his time annoying the towns people and asking the guards what it was like to fight outside the city walls. He always wanted to be a soldier, even I served my time in the war as part of the Imperial army back when it was respectable. Now it serves as a puppet for the Thalmor, damn high elves.”

“I can see Caden being a handful, he still is at times. But about the elves...do you hate all elven kind?”

“No, one of my best friends is a wood elf. He lives in Riverwood now I believe, although he is a fair bit younger than me. I met him on a trip south one year for trading when we lived on a farm just outside the city, but then we moved here and even though the city is falling apart it is filled with nordic pride and history of our great ancestors.”

“I see.”

“Why do you ask child?”

“Well, Caden told me of some nords in the city that...are not so kind to outsiders or those of different races.”

“He speaks the truth, but Ulfric knows that we need the argonians and dark elves to help bring coin into the city, despite what he says he supports the dark elves and knows he needs to better things in the Grey Quarter.”

“That’s reassuring.”

Agni smiled as she watched her husband make small talk with Lorelai, she then grabbed her lute from the corner of the room and situated herself on her chair before strumming a few chords. Lorelai looked towards the older woman as a familiar melody flowed from the instrument, it was The Age of Oppression a much loved favorite of Stormcloak followers and soldiers.

“Do you know this one dearie? If you don’t I can play something else, come sit by me.”

Lorelai moved to sit next to Agni as she hummed the tune softly, she knew the songs so well but she felt the hopes flow from the lute as Agni’s fingers danced across the strings.

We drink to our youth, for the days come and gone.

For the age of oppression is now nearly done.

We'll drive out the Empire from this land that we own.

With our blood and our steel we'll take back our home.

Lorelai sang happily as she looked from Caden to his father, the older nord seemed impressed where as Caden just smiled and hummed along as she continued on.

All hail to Ulfric! You are the High King!

In your great honor we drink and we sing.

We're the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives.

And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies! But this land is ours and we'll see it wiped clean.

Of the scourge that has sullied our hopes and our dreams!

She looked to Agni who was smiling brightly as she played with renewed energy, the atmosphere was so tranquil that it felt like she was meant to be there. Caden’s family was so welcoming and full of life, it reminded Lorelai of a time when her parents were like that as well.

All hail to Ulfric! You are the High King!

In your great honor we drink and we sing.

We're the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives.

And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies...

We drink to our youth, to the days come and gone.

For the age of oppression is now nearly done.

When the song ended and Agni played the last few chords Lorelai felt a sense of calm wash over her as she listened to the melody fade out, Caden and Jarrick clapped and toasted to the women as Agni placed a gentle hand on Lorelai’s shoulder.

“Your voice is lovely dearie, were you trained at the bards college?”

“No, just a natural gift I suppose. Music has always helped me through some tough times, your playing was amazing ma’am.”

“Oh thank you dearie, my mother taught me how to play. But having your voice accompany me was truly exciting, maybe we could perform for Ulfric while you are here. He loves my playing, I’m sure your voice would please him as well.”

“You play for the Jarl?!”

“On special occasions, he might seem like a stern and stoic man but he is a softy at heart.”

“Careful Ma, don’t let him hear you say that…”

“Oh hush Caden, you two are like brothers now ever since you took over Solitude. He was quite concerned when your report hadn’t arrived like usual, he even came to us to inquire about you a few weeks ago. He’ll be happy to see you in his palace once more, I believe he said that he has news of the moot. We’ll have a High King soon I think, he has all the Jarls behind him.”

“Aye, I plan to take Lorelai to the Palace tomorrow. She wants to see it, plus she said she wouldn’t mind meeting Ulfric as well.”

“Perfect. Now I have a question for the both of you.”

Lorelai was taking a drink of mead as Agni looked between the two of them with bright eyes, Caden didn’t like that look but crossed his arms as he leaned back into his seat.

“And what would that be Ma?”

“When am I going to have grandchildren to spoil?”

Lorelai coughed and sputtered as she heard the words fall from Agni’s mouth, Caden laughed as his mother patted Lori on the back in an attempt to save the woman from losing more than a mouthful of mead.

“Ma, we aren’t even engaged...plus I don’t think we’re ready for marriage let alone children.”

“Oh hush, you two look amazing together and your children would be beautiful. Besides, now that you’ve fulfilled your destiny and the war is nearly over you have nothing left to do but settle down and start a family.”

Lorelai finally recovered as she sat up straight in her chair, she was blushing from the question but the thought did cross her mind. But who knew when she would be transported back to her world, could she ever risk starting a family here when it was a possibility that she could be swept away at any time?

“Ma, it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.”

“I’m not getting any younger Caden, neither is your father.”

Lorelai had to say something about the subject, Caden was looking more and more frustrated by the second.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes sweetie?”

“I would be honored to marry Caden and start a family with him, but I think I have a greater purpose to fulfill before dedicating my life to raising a family. I promise that as soon as I fulfill my destiny we will do something about those grandchildren...alright?”

“Alright sweetie, just don’t keep me waiting too long.”

Caden’s mouth fell open as a reaction to Lorelai’s answer, he felt his heart leap into his throat as she talked about eventually having his children. She was smiling and laughing with his parents and he felt a sense of happiness wash over him, he could get used to this.

Chapter Text

Lorelai and Caden said their goodnights to his parents and made their way upstairs to the room they would be sharing, the house was different than Lorelai remembered in the game but some things were different here since it was the real world now. After Caden closed the door Lorelai let out a huge sigh as she fell face down onto the large double bed, Caden laughed as he sat down beside her and stroked her hair.

“Everything alright Lori?”

A muffled response came from the small woman next to him, he rolled his eyes as he let out another low chuckle. She was so cute, he rolled her over so she was lying on her back but one of her arms was covering her eyes.

“Say that again, I couldn’t understand you with the furs muffling your voice.”

“I said, do you think they liked me?”

“I’m sure Ma did, Pa is harder to read but after you told him the truth of your past I am sure he respects you. Pa usually doesn’t show his emotions, but when you told him your story he showed genuine concern for someone who wasn’t close to him. I think they are happy to have you here, in fact I’m positive they are.”

Lorelai lifted her arm slightly to look at Caden, he was smiling softly and her heart jumped a little. She sat up and ran her hands through her hair as Caden reclined backwards so that his head fell into her lap, she let her fingers comb through his hair as they enjoyed the silence.

“Lori?”

“Hmm?”

“Were you serious down there?”

“About…?”

“Starting a family with me? Having...children?”

Lorelai blushed as she coughed and continued playing with her lover’s hair, she had said that as soon as she found out her destiny that she would settle down with Caden.

“I was, but we have to consider the possibility that at anytime I could be whisked away back to my world. When that happens this all becomes a game again, you won’t remember me and this will all be some glorious dream.”

“Aye, that does put a sour taste in my mouth. A life where I don’t have you would be dull indeed, but couldn’t we try?”

“Maybe, but if we start a family and I get so attached to this world...when I get ripped away I’ll be the only one that knew what happened here. I’d be the one to remember leaving you and any children we would have behind, that progress would be erased and I’d be depressed…”

“You can’t dwell on the what ifs Love, we must live for the present. But if this is how you truly feel then I will not push the matter further, I just like the thought of growing old with you and having you be the mother of my children.”

“Caden...if I knew for certain I was here forever I would waste no time spending my life with you, but-”

“I understand Lori, we need to find more proof of your time here and how long you have left in Skyrim. But for now we should get to bed, Ulfric is not a patient man and we need to be the first people he sees in the morning.”

“A-alright.”

They changed for bed and quickly huddled under the covers, Caden’s arms encircled her waist as they fell into a deep sleep.


In the morning Lorelai was awakened by the smell of fresh bed wafting through the cracks in the floor, she stretched and yawned as she sat up in bed. Her eyes fell on Caden who was still sound asleep at her side, he could sleep through anything but breakfast was usually not one of them.

“Caden…”

Still no movement, she groaned and rolled her eyes as she tapped him on the shoulder. He groaned in response but still didn’t move that much, she then smiled as an idea popped into her head. She pulled one of Caden’s arms just enough to roll him on his back, once he was lying the way she wanted she uncovered herself and maneuvered one of her legs over Caden’s waist. She then gently lowered herself down onto him and waited while he mumbled and groaned, then one of his eyes cracked open to reveal his calm blue eyes.

“Time for breakfast Caden, I can smell the fresh bread and if you don’t get up right now I swear that I’ll eat your portion before you even have a chance to race me down there.”

“Lori...why are you on top of me?”

“Cause you wouldn’t wake up, you’ve slept through a lot of things but breakfast is essential. Now get up!”

Caden let out a low chuckle as his hands fell onto the curves of her hips, she leaned down and pressed her chest against his as they basked in each other’s warmth. She leaned her head back and placed a gentle kiss on his neck, this caused a low growl to escape his lips as the grip on her waist tightened slightly. Lorelai let out a small giggle as she sat up once more, he was looking at her through half lidded eyes.

“You’re playing a dangerous game Lori, don’t think that because my parents are just below us that I won’t take you right here and now. In fact mother would be delighted to know we were starting on those grandchildren she wants so dearly, watch yourself…”

“U-uh we n-need to get to breakfast, didn’t you say that we need to get to the Palace of Kings early?”

“I suppose you’re right, but now that I have you on top of me I think he could wait a few extra minutes…”

“Caden!”

“Just joking ...mostly.”

Lorelai rolled her eyes as she extracted herself from his arms and dressed for the day, she grabbed the same fur lined dress from last night and put the same fur lined shoes on as well. Then she grabbed the cloak she had packed and fastened it around her shoulders, Caden had put on a long sleeve thick cotton like shirt and leather breaches before pulling on his own pair of fur lined boots. Caden grabbed a pair of small leather gloves from the dresser in the corner and presented them to Lorelai, she smiled as she grabbed them and then they walked out of the room and down into the kitchen for breakfast. Agni was already fully dressed as well and taking a fresh batch of sweet rolls, Lorelai rushed into the kitchen to clear a spot for the hot pan as Agni smiled at her for helping.

“Thank you dearie, you’re so sweet. How on earth did my barbaric son find a good lass like you?” “He was lucky I suppose, although I can assure you I can cause a fair amount of trouble without him ma’am.”

“Heehee, I suppose that is what draws you to together. Now each of you take a sweetroll and a slice of bread, you slept in a tad bit not that I’m surprised. Caden you were never one for waking up early, or at all. You can eat on the way to the Palace, your father has already left to tell Ulfric of your visit...get going.”

“Aye, come on Lori we shouldn’t keep them waiting.”

“Alright, um thank you for breakfast ma’am.”

“Of course sweetie, now go on.”

Lorelai and Caden grabbed their breakfast and dashed out the door into the snow-covered city, they walked along the stone passages as they ate their fresh food. Lorelai wasted no time eating her breakfast and then marvelled at the buildings around her as she licked her fingers clean, Caden was watching her out of the corner of his eye and making mental notes of things that caught her eye so he could tell her about them later. Once they reached the courtyard of the Palace Lorelai’s mouth fell open at the sheer majesty of the stone structure in front of her, the Palace was enormous. It look big in the game but in person it was shocking, she felt so tiny in the shadow that the building was casting over her and Caden.

“Impressive right? The Palace of Kings has stood strong and true through many hardships, it’s a symbol of Skyrim’s strength and unwavering devotion to the people who call this province home.”

“Caden...it’s so much bigger than I thought it would be. Those doors must be extremely heavy, how do you open them?” “Haha, they are actually not that heavy. Come Ulfric and father are expecting us, oh and one more thing Lori.”

“What?”

“Ulfric may look stern and condescending, but he cares for the people he oversees. He means you no harm, just stay close to me and everything will be great.”

“Uh, alright…”

Caden pushed open the giant metal doors and nudged Lorelai inside, she hurried in and waited just on the other side to wait for Caden. She glanced around the cold hall and took in her surroundings, it was massive and cold. Then Caden draped an arm over her shoulders as they walked towards the stone throne at the head of the hall, she saw Ulfric talking to Jorleif, his steward, and Caden’s father in hurried but hushed tones. The hall was so large that any noise was amplified for all to hear, but somehow the three men’s words went unheard by the guards and everyone else around the hall. She straightened her posture as they neared the throne, then Ulfric’s rough voice greeted her ears as they came within ten feet of the group.

“I understand your concern Jarrick, but everything regarding the dark elves is going according to plan...Galmar has assured me that anyone who berates them in public will be fined. Jorleif has also told the guards to make sure the elves and argonians are treated fairly despite the prejudices they may harbor, things will work out.”

“Aye Jarl Ulfric, ah my son and his companion are finally here.”

Ulfric turned his head from the two older men towards his new visitors, his eyes wandered over Lorelai as they came to the foot of his throne. A Breton? No, she has more than that inside of her. But what?

“Ulfric, it is good to see you again brother.”

“Caden, I was starting to worry you had joined our brothers in Sovngarde. Glad to see that you are still among the living, who’s this then?”

“This is Lorelai.”

Lorelai stepped forward at Caden’s introduction and smiled kindly at the stoic jarl, she felt Ulfric’s gaze roam over her and she tensed as his eyes met with hers. She saw a fire ablaze within those ice blue eyes, but it wasn’t hostile. Jarl Ulfric shifted in his seat as he looked over the young woman, she was different her could tell but exactly how different she was.

“Lorelai.”

“Yes Jarl Ulfric?”

“Your name… where are you from?”

“U-um well, my father was a nord and my mother a breton. We moved around a lot, but I’ve been in Skyrim for the last year or so…”

“Hmm, you seem special. Although I suppose you would have to be in order to catch Caden’s eye, he was highly sought after by every family in my city. You must be truly amazing to have taken him away from his nordic ladies, but something still feels different…”

“She has the power of sight Ulfric, Lori can see the future and determine outcomes of our actions. I found her on the plains of Whiterun, she was unconscious and I brought her back to my home in Whiterun for recovery.”

“Strange, what were you doing on the plains?”

“I truly don’t remember sir, all I know from that day is that I woke up in Caden’s house.”

“Hmm, strange. But nonetheless you are welcome here, Jarrick has actually boasted about you quite a bit. I must say I was expecting someone taller, and perhaps a little older as well.”

“Uh...Thank you?”

“Hmm. Well anyway Jarrick tells me you have a beautiful voice, I would like to hear it.”

“U-uh-”

“He has also informed me of his wife’s want to perform for me again as well, two beautiful ladies singing in my court would surely draw a crowd. We should hold a feast to celebrate Caden’s return as well as your engagement.”

“ENGAGEMENT?!”

Jarl Ulfric’s eyebrows quirked slightly at Lorelai’s raised voice, he looked past her to Caden who was scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. Ulfric smirked so she wasn’t tied down yet, interesting.

“I assumed you two were lovers, am I wrong?”

“U-uh, no...but we aren’t at that level yet sir.”

“Ah, well a celebration is in order nonetheless. It’s not everyday a man finds a woman to call his own, I’ll make preparations with Jorleif for tomorrow night your attendance is required. Now then Caden.”

“Yes my Jarl?”

“What news do you have of the remaining legionnaires?”

“Their camps are disappearing and things in the hills are becoming peaceful, I have no doubts that the rest of the legion is fleeing back to Cyrodiil.”

“Excellent, now I suppose you want to show your companion around the city.”

“If you have no more use for me Jarl…”

“Haha, not at all. Go and enjoy the city but remember my invitation, if your aren’t there I will find you and drag you here myself.”

“Yes sir.”

“Oh and Lorelai?”

“Y-yes Jarl?”

“Relax, you are safe here under Caden’s protection. Enjoy what the city has to offer, I will see you tomorrow night for the festivities. Oh and if you need suitable garments I can say with the utmost certainty that a shop in the Grey Quarter just received a new shipment of fine silks and fur garments, feel free to shop at your leisure I will pay for whatever you purchase. This goes for you and your family as well Caden, now if you excuse me Galmar wants a meeting in the war room.”

Ulfric stood and slowly walked past Lorelai sparing only a passing glance, once he was out of sight Caden came to her side and she let put a sigh of relief. Jarrick came up to them as well with a proud gleam in his eyes, Ulfric seemed like a genuine person...for now.

“You might want to make your claim son.”

“What?”

“Make her unavailable before the Jarl steals her from you, did you not see how he was looking over her?”

“Pa.”

“Listen to me for once son, I know you and Ulfric are friends. But he does have a reputation with women, I’m just warning you to be careful.”

Lorelai was stunned into silence as she played over Ulfric’s words and actions in her mind, was he really interested in her? She turned to Jarrick with a mixture of concern and curiosity in her eyes, this just couldn’t be possible.

“Sir, you have to be joking...right?”

“Not at all young one, Ulfric is not one to sit idly by while a beautiful woman such as yourself roams around without a ring on her hand. Ulfric is not one to give up easily, just be careful and stay close to Caden. Or take this…”

ring

Jarrick held out his closed fist towards Lorelai, she put both of her hands out underneath his outstretched fist in order to catch whatever he decided to give her. He gently dropped a silver ring into her hands, Lorelai examined it with her fingertips as she traced the intricate designs swirling around it. Caden’s eyebrows shot upwards as he looked at the ring in his lover’s hand, he recognized the ring and looked at his father with surprise.

“Pa, isn’t this…”

“Yes, it’s your Ma’s ring. She thought something like this might happen, she wants to protect Lorelai and so do I. She isn’t of this world is she? She is from a distant place far beyond the shores of Tamriel, please son just listen to me for once…”

“How did you…”

“We’ll explain later, but for now you two need to go straight back to the house. As for you Lorelai, your face says it all and I promise we will explain how we know your real origins. Please go.”

Caden eyed his father warily as he took hold of Lorelai’s shoulder and turned her towards the exit, Lorelai looked back over her shoulder at Jarrick he seemed so sincere. She looked at the ring again and then slipped it onto her left ring finger before walking with Caden towards the exit. The couple wasted no time going back to the house as Jarrick had asked them, her head was swimming after talking with Caden’s father. How did he know? Why does he care? Why did Agni want her to have this ring? Caden was silent as he played over the conversation in his head as well, how did they know about Lorelai’s home world? Surely they wouldn’t hide vital information from them if they knew it could let Lorelai go home, but then why would any of this concern Ulfric and his interest in Lorelai?

“Caden?”

Lorelai’s voice fell on deaf ears as Caden’s mind was swarmed with wild theories and countless questions, Lorelai felt lost as she looked away from Caden and focused on getting back to the house. Once inside Caden’s family home Agni rushed over and offered a weak smile, Caden looked into his mother’s eyes with a sense of urgency. She knew something, he could see it behind her eyes. They both had hidden information but he wasn’t upset, if anything he felt relieved at the fact they might find actual answers concerning Lorelai’s limited time in this world.

“Ma…”

“Not now Caden, we have to wait for your father. Until them just know that everything will be explained in time, Lorelai keep this ring on for a bit okay?”

Lorelai looked down at her hand and felt a wave of calm wash over her as she stared at the silver ring, she looked back to Agni with confusion in her eyes.

“Why? What is so important about this ring? Why do you know my secret? What is going on?!”

“Sweetie...you aren’t the only one that has been sucked into a video game. I’ve been here for quite some time…”

Chapter Text

Meanwhile deep in the Rift...

Serana and Kaidan had just reached Kaidan’s cabin outside of Ivarstead, the newly transformed human looked around the Rift in awe of the beauty that surrounded them. The cabin was so cute and charming, it even had a garden off to one side that was packed with all kinds of useful ingredients. Kaidan looked behind him at the stunned woman and chuckled, Serana blushed as she rushed to his side and pushed some hair behind her ears.

“I forgot how beautiful the Rift was, after only traveling at night for most of my life I had forgotten what it actually looked like. It’s nice to see it with human eyes again, and this little alcove you’ve got is truly charming Kai.”

“It was cheap too, had to do a little work to make it into what it is now but I think it turned out alright. Now I have a permanent place to call home, in some ways that gives me peace of mind.”

“I see, can I see the inside?”

“Of course Love, come on in.”

Kaidan unlocked the small cottage and held the door open for her, she smiled as she walked inside and looked around the cozy hunting cabin. It had a small kitchen area and small dining table already set with plates and silverware, then she saw two rooms adjoining the main area one to the left and one to the right. As she walked further in, she noticed a ladder leading up to a loft, she quickly climbed up and stared wide eyed at what she found at the top. She found a fully stocked alchemy and enchanting area with a desk that held many medicinal and alchemist journals with recipes, she peered over the banister at Kaidan as he smiled up at her.

“Like what you see Love?”

"It’s incredible, I had no idea you were into alchemy Kaidan!”

“Well I make the occasional health potion or stamina elixir, nothing too complicated of course. Brynjar taught me what I needed in order for me to get by, but now that you’re here I guess you’ll find more use for it than simple potions.”

“You’ll let me use it?”

“Why not? If you’re even half the alchemist your mother appeared to be I think you’ll be able to use it better than I ever could, feel free to use those journals as well if you find anything worth writing down.”

“Thank you Kaidan.”

He smiled as he opened the door to the right of the kitchen and walked inside, Serana quickly descended the ladder and walked into the room as well. Kaidan was already unpacking his backpack when Serana set hers down on the bed beside his. After taking out everything and organizing it in the wardrobes and tables they entered the kitchen again, Serana glanced out the window and saw it was already sunset.

“Time sure flies, we need to start dinner.”

“I have some cured meats in that barrel, I’ll go get some fresh vegetables from the garden along with a bucket of water from the stream. Can you cut up some of that cured venison?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll be back in a jiffy Love.”

Kaidan grabbed a bucket and rushed out of the small home, Serana rolled up her sleeves and started preparing the meat. She dug through the cured meats and finally found a suitable chunk of venison, she laid it on the table top and started sharpening the knife she would use to dice up the meat. After a few minutes Serana had skillfully diced up the Venison into bite sized chunks, just as she began cleaning her knife the door swung open and in walked Kaidan with an armful of veggies and a bucket full of water. Serana rushed to take the veggies and smiled as she pulled them out of his arms and placed them next to the meat, Kaidan poured the water into a pot and moved it over the fire Serana had lit in his absence.

As they waited for the water to boil they set to dicing up the veggies, once everything was prepared Serana rushed up to the alchemy area and grabbed some honeycomb along with a few sprigs of lavender. She came back shortly after and walked over to the pot of boiling water, she crumbled up the wildflowers and lavender before sprinkling them into the water. Then she grabbed a knife and shaved some of the honeycomb into the water as well, Kaidan watched as she skillfully prepared the water.

“You certainly are full of surprises Love, but why those ingredients?”

“Each holds a certain chemical property, lavender and honeycomb are useful for stamina and the wildflowers can help with health and magicka.”

“Interesting, well let’s put everything else in there. Eh?”

“Right.”

They placed the rest of the items in the pot as well and Kaidan took to setting the table properly while Serana watched over the food so it wouldn’t burn. Kaidan also uncorked a bottle of Velvet Lachance that he had ordered from that argonian in Riften, the man may act standoffish but the liquor he makes is well worth the coin. He grabbed two goblets and poured the wine carefully, the smell of the alcohol swept through the air as it flowed from the bottle. Serana smelled it in the air and turned her head to peer over at Kaidan, he smiled as he set the goblets by their places and put the bottle between their places at the table.

“When did you you get that?”

“Well the last time we were in Riften I paid that argonian extra if he would have a crate of that stuff shipped out here,cost me a pretty sum but it’s well worth it.”

Serana rolled her eyes as she turned her attention back to the stew, after a few more minutes the stew was ready and Serana served up two equal portions into wooden bowls. She walked over to the table and set each one down in their respective place, she looked around and noticed that Kaidan had disappeared. She climbed the ladder to the loft but he wasn’t there, then she checked out in the garden and still no sign of him. She then decided to check the bedroom but doubted he could have sneaked past her since the kitchen was right next to the door, she raised her hand to knock but hesitated.

“Kaidan?”

“What?”

“What are you doing in there?”

“Oh, I was changing out of my armour. I’m almost done though, one more second.”

The doors opened and there he stood, dressed in only his leather breeches and nothing else. His chest was broad and coated with a light layer of fine hair, she blushed as she realized she had been staring at him. She turned away from him and cleared her throat, he let a smirk decorate his face as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the door frame.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, um yeah I am but uh...why don’t you have a shirt on?”

“This is how I usually dress when I’m in for the night, problem?”

“Uh...not really, I was just caught off guard is all.”

“Haha, I can see that Love. But there's no need to be shy, after all we’ve agreed to one day be more than just close friends. Haven’t we?”

Serana blushed as she thought back to that night she had first changed back into a human, they had discussed how she felt that night and also how she wanted to experience everything she never could as a vampire. But they had also discussed her stance on relationships and how she never really had the chance to get close to anyone, let alone a man she could one day give herself too.

“I remember that night Kaidan, but I mean what I said when I told you that it would take some time.”

He smiled as he stepped closer to her, she instinctively retreated as he drew nearer. He found a slight thrill in this game of cat and mouse they normally played, he thought he had loved Lorelai but now he knew it was lust towards that relationship he once craved. With Serana it was different, he was genuinely interested in this woman’s life and the knowledge they could share with each other. Eventually she was backed into a wall and Kaidan standing before her, he placed a hand on the wall beside her head and gazed down at her with warm eyes. Serana had always found comfort in those red eyes of his, even though it was a rather unnatural color something in them always tempted her to go closer.

“I remember that conversation as well Love, I also remember the kiss we shared that night. You’re rather tempting, but you know that already don’t ya?”

“T-tempting?! Uh, I really don’t think that-”

“I know you have reservations about your newly found mortality, but I feel such a strong connection to you. I feel like we shared a common purpose in this world, that there is so much more we can offer each other. I’ll take it slow if that is what you wish, but I want you to know that everything I say or do is in complete earnest.”

“Kaidan…”

“Know that I am here to protect you, no matter what I will be here for you.”

“Kai…”

“I will be here, no matter how long it takes.”

His lips found hers in a passionate kiss as her arms wrapped around his neck, his arm that wasn’t pressed against the wall came to wrap around her waist in a tight embrace. She tasted like honeycomb and wildflowers, Serana allowed herself to be swept away from the world through the power of Kaidan’s kiss. It had been so long since she had felt anything close to what was coursing through her now, she had yearned for this feeling but something inside of her was urging her to keep going and completely give into the man in front of her. Hundreds of years had passed her by without so much as a glimmer of emotion between her or any other being be them mortal or immortal, but now a new world was presenting itself and she had made her decision. As she leaned away from the kiss to catch her breath she looked up at Kaidan through half lidded eyes, she felt so at peace when she was alone with him.

“Kaidan?”

“Hmm?”

“We’ve told each other of our pasts, and there is one thing I have to know before I give into this…”

“What would that be?”

“Why? Why me? I was a vampire and did shameful things in order to claim that power, I was a terrible creature...why would you choose someone like me?”

“Because I was like you at one point or another, I did things I’m not proud of. I even sought the power of a daedric prince myself a few years back, but the mistakes we make carve us into better people. You ask me why, and if you want my honest answer I will tell you..”

“Of course, please tell me Kai.”

“Alright then. Serana I choose you because I saw someone like me, I saw someone who knew the horrors this world could spew out. We’ve both been through so much and we are stronger for it, I choose you because we share the same type of soul. We’re connected you and I, and I know deep inside you feel that way too. Which is why I said that I will wait for you to make up your mind, this connection is too rare to pass up.”

“Kai…”

“Serana I wouldn’t say these things if I didn’t mean them, I’m not one for false declaration of affection or wasted affairs. If I had only wanted you as a bed partner I would have purchased that service way before we even met…”

Serana smiled gently as she hugged Kaidan tight, he chuckled as he returned her embrace. She had seen so much betrayal in her life it was no wonder she had questions about her place in the world, let alone her place next to him or any mortal. He pressed his forehead against hers and let out a deep breath, the scent of mead and pine washed over Serana as she smiled up at him.

“You truly have cast a spell over me Love, if I have one weakness it would have to be you.”

“That's a lie, we have something much more dear to us than each other and you know that Kai. Something we have to protect and care for as long as we can…”

“Aye, you have a point there Love.”

They both looked at each other as they laughed and spoke the answer to Serana’s riddle, they both had someone very dear they needed to watch over until things were sorted out.

“Lorelai.”

“Lorelai.”

Kaidan released Serana from his grasp and they walked over to the table to eat their supper, after sharing a couple bottles of Velvet LaChance they finished their stew and cleaned up the dishes. After the kitchen was tidy Serana went up to the loft and Kaidan went into the bedroom to read, he browsed his bookshelf until his hand rested upon a few volumes that Lorelai had purchased for him. They were mostly filled with poetry and odd tales of romance, not that he minded. As he pulled one of the books free of its place on the shelf he took a moment to appreciate his life, he had a wonderful woman by his side and great friends to reunite with when this small vacation was over. He had truly come a long way from the man he once was, and it was all thanks to that strange woman who saved him from the clutches of the Thalmor.


Meanwhile in Solitude...

Inigo was busy in Solitude living at the Bard’s college and trying his best to develop his musical skills, he had already written a few new songs and was ready to attend his first classes as a fully fledged bard. When he had first applied the high elf who ran the college had asked him to recover a long lost tome from the tomb of Olaf One-eye, Inigo succeeded but when he finally found the old book a ghost led him to a draugr infested area where he fought and killed the ancient king. After he trudged back to Solitude he helped the elf recompose the missing pieces of the poem for the royal court, Inigo had no idea how he had gotten roped into it all but all he knew was they set a straw figure on fire and now he was a bard at the college.

“Time for a full day of learning Mr. Dragonfly, how exciting!”

No response came from the glass jar resting on the bedside table, his insect companion was as silent as ever but gave a certain reassurance by just being there. He walked down to the basement for breakfast and met with the other bards that he had met the night before, he told them stories of how he had traveled with the Dragonborn and how he had even helped defeat a dragon by Caden’s side. The bards around him were either taking notes are just listening with wide eyes and open mouths, Inigo was certainly popular but only because of the stories he supplied.

“I am excited to begin learning beside all of you, any pointers for a new student? Anything at all would be most appreciated my friends!”

A mixture of positive and negative answers met his ears and he welcomed them all with an open mind, from learning an instrument to just watching your intonation while singing, Inigo’s head was swimming but all he could hope for was a way to better himself. When breakfast was over Inigo reported to the Headmaster’s office to receive instructions on how or where he should begin his studies. He knocked politely on the door and the High Elf inside looked up from his parchment, he smiled slightly and beckoned the blue khajiit inside the room.

“Well, well if it isn’t our latest bard. Tell me what can I do for you today?”

“Good Morning sir, I hope I am not disturbing you.”

“Not at all, I was just writing down an idea I had for a poem. Now what can I do for you?”

“I was wondering what I should do in order to begin my studies here, is there a certain schedule I have to adhere to or can I just wander in and out of classes as I please?”

“Well Inigo there are many services we provide here at the college, each section has a Master to teach you and guide you if you have any questions. First we should establish what you want to do with your time here, we have three remarkable teachers who can assist you depending on what you decide to learn.”

“Wonderful, I have only a little bit of time to spend here before I must travel. What would you recommend for a new student?”

“We have Giraud Gemane, a Breton, who is the Dean of History, he can also give you pointers on diction and other ways to better your speech. Inge Six Fingers is an elderly bard and the Dean of Lute, she is the best at her craft and many of the finest bards around were her students.”

“I’m afraid I have no use for lute, I am rather bad at it if I am being honest. But the History seems rather interesting, maybe I could start there…”

“We do have one more amazing teacher, if you wish to listen to her skills as well.”

“Who is it?”

“Her name is Pantea Ateia, she is a remarkable flute player as well as an amazing songstress. She can help you with voice control and how to improve your pitch, that is where most start. After all one needs a strong voice to relay even the most subtle of emotions used in the pieces we practice here.”

“I see, well I suppose that I’m interested in the History lessons and vocal training.”

“Perfect, I will give you a schedule by lunch and you can start your classes tomorrow morning. I look forward to seeing your progress, now is there anything else?”

“No, my mind is a tree without leaves at the moment. I will find you again if I have more questions, bye for now.”

The elf nodded and went back to his writings as Inigo left the room and wandered the halls of the college, he listened to hints of the lessons going on and then hummed along to the songs he recognized. He was happy that his wish of studying under the best bards in Skyrim was coming true, but one person was still occupying his thoughts.

“I hope Caden is taking care of Lorelai, I miss her…”

He sighed as he left the building and made his way to the back area where the ceremony had taken place, he took a seat on the steps and put his chin in his hands as he gazed up into the sky.

“I wonder what Lorelai is thinking about right now, I miss her. After all she is my best friend, I’ll practice very hard and when I see her again I will sing her a song!”

He rushed back onto the college and started writing with renewed energy, he was going to make his time here worth while. He wanted to improve and show Lorelai that he was just as good as any bard that she sang with during their travels, he would make her proud to call him her friend. To think he had thought so little of himself after everything that had happened in his past, but this one strange girl could scoop him out of the cell he occupied and show him a brighter side to life. Lorelai was truly special, she was a friend worth protecting.

Chapter Text

Lorelai and Caden waited impatiently for his father to enter the house, they had left him in the palace and were wondering just how long it would take him to come back. After about an hour of the couple sitting in silence with Caden’s mother Jarrick finally came through the door and bolted it shut behind him. Caden was immediately on his feet and moving to stand beside Lorelai, she felt one of his hands rest on her right shoulder and brought her left hand up to rest on top of his. Agni moved to stand as well and welcomed her husband to her side, Jarrick took her hand in his and kissed it. Then he faced his son and the girl that accompanied him, she was special and Jarrick knew that he and Agni needed to tell the young couple the truth.

“Caden. Lorelai. I understand that everything must seem rather suspicious right now, but your mother and I never thought that this would happen again in our lifetime…”

Caden took a deep breath and let out a long sigh as he faced his parents with confusion in his eyes, his father looked sad and his mother seemed like she regretted hiding whatever they were about to them.

“Just start from the beginning father, how did you know that Lorelai was different?”

Agni was the one who answered Caden, she held up Lorelai’s cell phone. Lorelai’s eyes went wide as she looked at the phone in Agni’s hands. It had died long ago but Lorelai still carried it with her, as to why she didn’t quite know but she kept it close nonetheless. Lorelai stood up and walked over to Agni, the older woman put the phone in her hands as she offered a warm but hesitant smile.

“Why did you go through my things?”

“You two fell asleep so quickly… the room was messy and I was just putting your things off to one side of the room as quietly as I could. Your phone fell from your pack, that’s when I knew that you were like me. We come from another world Lorelai, but now you face an even greater danger than you realize.”

“But you’ve been here for so long, you look like a nord! Skyrim isn’t even that old of a game, the math doesn’t add up…”

“I have no idea how much time has passed in your world Lorelai, but I have been in Skyrim for thirty winters.”

“You’ve been here for thirty years?!”

“Yes, I was one of the developers for this game. During one of my final playthroughs of the finished game, well my PC short circuited and I felt a shock run through my body. The next thing I knew I woke up in Candlehearth Hall, needless to say, I was less than calm when I came to the realization that I was living in the game I helped create…”

“You were one of the game designers? But Skyrim was released in 2011, that means only eight years have passed in the real world. But you’ve been here for thirty...time is really funky here huh.”

“After the first few in-game years, I grew used to this world and I found work at the Palace of Kings...I almost married Ulfric.”

“WHAT!”

“Yup, but then I found Jarrick. He was a traveling merchant at the time, he once fought for the empire by Ulfric’s side in the Great War, and well we just fell in love, we ran away together and settled down on a farm near Kynesgrove. We got married officially a few months after, then I found out I was pregnant with Caden.”

“So you weren’t the Dragonborn either…”

“It crossed my mind at the start, that if I found my way to Helgen that it would trigger Alduin’s quest line. However, I never got around to it. Then when Caden grew up and joined the Stormcloaks ...and they got ambushed. When he returned home after escaping Helgen and told me all this a part of my heart broke, I had grown so accustomed to the simple life that the thought of my only child being the hero of legend terrified me.”

Caden was taking all of this information in, his mother was the same as Lorelai and that meant a part of him was as well. Lorelai was intrigued by the thought of living in Skyrim for that long, but it all seemed so odd.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes Lorelai?”

“Do you miss our world?”

“Sometimes, when I think of the family I left behind. But after those first few years I lost hope of ever returning so I embraced my new home with open arms, if I hadn’t Caden would never have been born and I wouldn’t be married to Jarrick. A part of me will always miss our world, but I’ve found such happiness here that I wouldn’t trade what happened for anything.”

“But your family must be worried…”

“Lorelai, both of my parents were dead and I hardly ever saw my siblings. I might as well have died as well, here I have so much to be thankful for. A loving husband and a wonderful son, this is my home.”

“Incredible, so what significance does this ring hold?”

Agni took Lorelai’s hand in her own and traced the patterns in the ring with her index finger, soon a light blue light started to shine from the designs. Lorelai’s eyes widened and so did Caden’s, then Lorelai felt a surge of power flow through her as the light faded and Agni’s hand stilled.

“This ring was given to me by a wizard I met during my first year in Skyrim, he said it had the power to sustain my presence in this harsh land. I’m not sure if this ring is what kept me in this place or my passion for the life I had created, but it gave me comfort to know that if I wore this ring I could stay here if I wanted to. I didn’t even start wearing it until I married Jarrick and got pregnant, I didn’t want to leave the family I was creating.”

“So as long as I wear this...I can stay here?”

“I’m not sure sweetie, but it’s the best we can offer.”

“Thank you Ma’am it means a lot, but I have one more question.”

“Yes?”

“Why would this protect me from Ulfric?”

Agni only offered a weak smile, Caden was disturbed by the long pause and walked to stand beside Lorelai. He looked from his father to his mother with pleading eyes, Jarrick sighed as he gripped his wife’s hand and looked at his tormented son.

“Ulfric is a man that doesn’t take no for an answer, the only thing that will stop him from pursuing Lorelai is Mara herself.”

“What do you mean Pa?”

“Ulfric honors the nine Divines more than anyone else I know, if he thinks that you two are bound beneath her he would not dare try to break that bond. He is nothing if not a traditional nord, he would be honor bound to accept the fact that Lorelai is yours son…”

Lorelai’s mouth dropped open at the thought of Ulfric pursuing her and actually trying to seduce her, but she felt disgusted by the lack of respect that was shown to women in this type of situation. Her face twisted in confusion, Agni’s voice brought her attention back to the topic at hand.

“Are you alright Lorelai?”

“Yes…no...well I think I’m just confused.”

“About what sweetie?”

“The lack of respect for women, sir, are you saying that if I don’t accept this idea of marrying Caden and announcing that to the court when we go there for dinner, that Ulfric wouldn’t accept the idea that I’m just not interested in him? That my word of rejection wouldn’t stop him?”

“I’m afraid so Lorelai, Ulfric thinks women are meant to be wed and protected by their husbands or any male they come into a relationship with.”

“But there are so many great female warriors! There are plenty in the Stormcloak army! What makes me any different.”

“Those women were honor bound to serve their province when their husbands could not do so, Ulfric accepted them because he had no choice. He needed soldiers and he wasn’t going to be picky, now that the war is over those women have been dismissed and returned home with a decent sum of gold. Ulfric even bedded a couple of them for a short time, but now his bed is empty and he is looking for a more permanent partner. Once he learned of your talents I saw a fire start in his eyes, he was determined to have you.”

Caden groaned as he ran his fingers through his hair, Lorelai was shocked into silence as she thought about her options. Then Caden sighed and looked at his parents with understanding eyes, they did what they thought was best and who was he to be angry at them for it?

“Pa. Ma. What can we do? It’s not like we can turn down Ulfric’s invitation, but I won’t force Lorelai into a marriage or partnership that she isn’t ready for…”

Lorelai put a hand on Caden’s shoulder and offered a kind smile, he saw a certain determination in her eyes that he didn’t quite understand. Then she took his hand in hers and faced Agni and Jarrick with a gentle smile, she couldn’t think of any other way out of this situation other than to just play along and be engaged to Caden. After all she couldn’t ask for better in-laws, hell Agni seemed like more of a mother than Lorelai’s own mom.

“Caden it’s alright, I don’t mind.”

“What?”

“As long as it’s with you I have no objections to this plan, afterall we’ll only be engaged. It’s not like we have to get married right here and now, the thought behind the action is enough...right?”

Jarrick nodded and Agni smiled as she released her husband’s hand and wrapped her arms around Lorelai, Lorelai returned her affection and let out a small chuckle as she let the warmth from the hug flow through her. When the two women broke apart Lorelai saw Jarrick smiling and Caden standing there with his mouth hanging open, she giggled and placed a kiss on Caden’s cheek which snapped him back into reality.

“Lori?”

“Did you just say that you wouldn’t mind being engaged?”

“Yes Caden, man you really need to pay more attention to me when I talk.”

“Can I see that ring for a second?”

“Uh, sure.”

Lorelai took off the ring and gave it to Caden to hold, he then took her hand in his own and faced her fully with his eyes shining brightly. She felt her mouth drop open and her eyes go wide, was he really going to formally propose to her?!

“C-caden?”

“Well if we’re doing this, I’m gonna do it right.”

“B-but…”

“Shhh.”

Lorelai felt the blood rush to her cheeks as she felt his hand brush against her face, he was so gentle and warm that she almost forgot his parents were standing only a couple feet away.

“Lorelai, ever since the day I found you I felt a strong connection. I’ve watched you grow from a scared and self conscious girl into a strong and stubborn master thief, needless to say you are quite the amazing woman. But these feelings that I once thought were only passing fancies are now so much more, so before anything else happens to us I need to ask you one question.”

“Caden…”

“Will you share a life with me Lorelai? Will you stand by my side in this life and the next?”

Lorelai let out a small laugh as she felt a tear roll from her eye, even though she knew that there was a chance they would never marry a part of her was overjoyed at the thought of it actually being possible. She let all of that worry and doubt leave her as she slowly nodded her head and let Caden slip the ring back onto her finger, she then closed her eyes as Caden leaned in close and captured her lips in his. She smiled as his scent washed over her and the warmth from his touch spread through her body, when the kiss ended she opened her eyes and smiled warmly at her Dragonborn.

Then she heard Agni sniffle and Jarrick laugh as the young couple stepped away from each other and joined hands, Agni rushed forward and took both of them in her arms.

“You two make a beautiful couple, and a powerful one to boot! I can’t wait till the wedding, but I know it won’t be for a while. Jarrick, get some mead will you?”

“Yes dear.”


 

Jarrick went into the kitchen to find some drinks as Caden and the women remained in the living room, Agni was overjoyed at Lorelai’s decision and couldn’t wait to fully welcome her into the family when the day came. When Jarrick returned he passed around four bottles of mead and took a seat next to the fire as he uncorked his bottle, Caden left the women and sat by his father’s side.

“Pa?”

“Yes Caden?”

“What did you think?”

“What did I think of what son?”

“When mom told you she was from another world? Surely you thought she was crazy.”

“Aye, I did at first, but then she started saying that certain things would happen if she said or did a certain action. She showed me this power and sure enough everything she predicted came true, who was I to question her, I assume the same thing happened when Lorelai told you that she was from somewhere other than this world.”

“Yes, she knew so much of my destiny as Dragonborn and of the Companions, along with many other fine details. How can I not believe her? And with mother being the same way...well now there is no question. But why didn’t you two tell me earlier?”

“You wouldn’t have believed us son, and we didn’t think you needed to know. You grew up just like every other child and we weren’t worried that this little secret would change anything for you. We never imagined another person would share your mother’s fate.”

“But there must be a reason they are here, why only them?”

“There might be more son, we know so little of this world. Who says that there aren’t more like them somewhere else in Tamriel? At this point anything is possible, but as for why they are here maybe they needed an escape from something in there world. Pain, loss, trauma, love, everyone has demons and we must face them eventually. Lorelai’s story was heartbreaking, and maybe something here can help her heal from it. Maybe that thing is a relationship with you, or the bonds she makes with the people you travel with.”

“I suppose.”

“Either way, we should cherish the time we have with them. Who knows when they might leave, that’s why I tell your mother I love her every morning and every night. That if there is a chance I wake up and find her missing...she knows that I love her and that I will never forget that she was a part of me for at least a little while.”

Caden fell silent at his father’s words, he had a valid point. What if one day Lorelai was no longer beside him? What if she just disappeared and returned to her world without so much as a goodbye? He would be devastated, but he would be happy in knowing that she shared a part of her life with him by her side. That thought alone caused a smile to appear on his face and a wave of calm wash over his heart, his father put a hand on his shoulder and smiled proudly at him.

“Whatever happens son, they know that we love them and we must never let them forget that. Always cherish your loved ones, you never know how much time you have left with them.”

“Aye, I will Pa.”

“That’s my boy, now about this dinner invitation. Agni!”

The older woman turned away from her future daughter-in-law to gaze lovingly at her husband, Caden smiled as he watched over his parents, they truly were in love with each other.

“Yes Jarrick?”

“Do you have anything for Lorelai to wear for dinner at the Palace tomorrow? Ulfric gave them permission to buy anything on his behalf but I don’t trust him enough for them to take him up on his offer.”

“I might have something in my trunk, but as long as she shows Ulfric that ring and Caden claims her they should be fine. If Ulfric gave them an unlimited budget I think they should use it, after all he might be insulted if they don’t and then we’ll have a different problem to deal with.”

“Good point, well if your two want you should head into the market or the grey quarter to scout out any outfits you think suitable. You have a decent chunk of time until they close, might as well make it a date.”

“Pa…”

“What? Might as well, considering you two will be here for sometime, why not indulge in Ulfric’s hospitality?”

“Because it feels wrong to use his coin so freely, besides knowing Ulfric there might be a catch to what he said.”

“Another fair point, anyway Lorelai wanted to see the city. And that is safer in the day time rather than taking a moonlit stroll.”

Lorelai giggled as Caden rolled his eyes at his father, the young couple agreed to go out for the rest of the day leaving Caden’s mother and father at the house. Once the couple stepped outside Caden let out a small sigh of relief, Lorelai smiled and grabbed his hand in hers.

“Your parents are amazing people Caden, I can’t wait to join your family!”

“Aye, I can’t wait for that day either Lori.”