“Bishop – I swear to Azura I will punch you in your throat while you sleep!!” she threatened him through her teeth, one finger raised sternly at him. Urag and the other students in the Arcanaeum stare at them with wide eyes and open mouths.
“Are you fucking kidding me with this?! I NEVER ask for anything! I mean holy mudcrabs woman!” Bishop threw his hands in the air mockingly. “If you dare stand in my way with this, I swear to Dibella – the only god worth my time – the next time you’re on your period, I will throw you in a pit of bears and just…just.. WALK AWAY!!” he was very close to snapping, she could hear it in his shaking voice.
“ARGHHH!! I should’ve just left you there in that Hagraven nests and let them have their way with you! Then I wouldn’t have to deal with this idiotic BULLSHIT!!” She shook her head and paced, trying hard to control her own fiery temper. “You know what – FINE!! Just fucking….DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! You never listen to me anyway! You milk drinking piece of -” she kicks the door down storming out with a slur of insults and curses.
Bishop grinned smugly at his success, shrugged his shoulders, plopped his elbow on the counter and very charmingly said: “And could you add ‘The Lusty Argonian Maid’ to that? Yeah, the whole series please.” Urag looked at Bishop with disgust, moaning loud enough for him to hear as he retrieved the books from the bottom of a shelf and added them to the pile of basic spell books.
She paced up and down in the cold night. She knew he was a horny idiot, but to buy the Lusty Argonian Maid – from the librarian at the College of Winterhold! She had been trying real hard to get back into their good books, pun not intended, since she was caught stealing Phinis' 'stallion potions' and replacing it with bottles of watered-down mead and crushed nirnroot, and very almost got expelled. The thought made her see red as the snowflakes that hit her cheek instantly melted. She paced around the roof of the College, mumbling curses. Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last – she cursed herself for allowing him to catch her eye that now infamous day in Riverwood…
She had just returned from Bleakfalls Barrow with Lucan’s claw in her hand, and some weird dragon tablet the courtwizard of Whiterun wanted. She was trying to decide whether she’d get more for it by selling it, or from the wizard. She faintly heard two drunks commenting something about sitting on laps and lip-wrestling, and on another day she would’ve kicked the horker-breath so hard up his ass that he would taste the leather – but not today. Today, she was in a good mood. She was able to do two jobs in one, and coin made Diana happy. Coin and ale.
She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, the way it always did when someone was watching her intently – and it wasn’t the troll-twins. She let it slide, her mind thinking ‘dick better have my money’ as she walked with a swing in her step to the Riverwood Trader.
The store was dark, gloomy, and depressing. His hot sister and the warm fire the only thing making her not want to pity whoever lived there. She plonked the big golden claw on the counter, and another hand palm up with her fingers notioning him to pay up.
“Diana! You did it! Wow it’s smaller than I remember…”
“That’s what she said…” she cut him off, “Listen, just pay me already? I got a hankering for ale and Delphine just got in a new batch. And if you even think of cutting me short, I’ll sell it to Belethor in Whiterun.” She wouldn’t really. Belethor was an asshole and a bargain hunter. He once tried to buy Spellbreaker – the legendary daedric shield from Peryite – for 80 coins, if I throw in two gold ingots.
Lucan nodded eagerly, retrieving a coin purse and placing it in her open hand. She kept her dark eyes on him, a face that said she was not impressed. She felt the weight of the bag and lifted and eyebrow at him, “Do you know how many drauger I had to kill, how many traps almost took my life, and skeevers tried to eat my face, just so you could get this glorified paperweight back?” her voice suggesting he rather not answer and just top up the purse.
He looked over to his sister desperately. He knitted her brows at him and shook her head. His eyes widened as he pressed his lips challenging her expression. She scoffed loudly and stomped over to the waiting Diana. Keeping her angry eyes on Lucan, she removed her golden necklace and placed it in Diana’s hand next to the coin purse. It was a fine piece of jewellery with a large diamond in the centre and two emeralds to the side. It could easily fetch 700 coin to the right buyer.
Diana grinned as she closed her hand, and lifted the other off the claw, stepping back. “Pleasure doing business with you.” She gave Camilla a wink before quickly stealing a glance at her now bare upper chest and impressive rack. She was out and on her way to throw gold at her problems at the inn. Her problems being that her mug is empty.
As she stepped up onto the porch, her fine neck hairs stood up again. She looked up to see a very strapping young man glare at her. He was tall, very well-toned figure with muscle at all the right places, and quite handsome too! His eyes were gold, honey, and amber, and his wild dark brown hair stood roughly tuffed. She found herself really impressed. She was shallow, she knew it, and she didn’t give a flying falmer fart.
“Say, ranger…” she guessed he was by his leather armour, dagger and overall look, “wadaya say I buy you an ale, and you tell me I’m pretty till we both loosen our morals...and perhaps loosen those buckles too?” she winked at the straps of his armour over his broad chest and wiggled an eyebrow at him with a skew smile.
Well now. She was...direct? But Bishop wasn't taking the bait.
“Pfft, wench please…” he scoffed folding his arms, “you couldn’t pay me to drink with you. Besides, if you’re looking for another thirsty farmboy to kiss your boots, look elsewhere ‘cause I’m not interested.”
She felt herself entertained at the man. She was not Elisief the Fair, but she knew she wasn't a troll either. Short black hair fell softly on her forehead where she'd swept to the right, it was smooth and shined in the sun, but stood wildly. She had large dark brown eyes, a strong but fine nose to match her striking features, high cheekbones, and full lips that always had a redish tint from being in the sun. She was tall, and carried an almost intimidating, unapologetic confidence. Years in the wilderness had given her a body that was slim but strong and toned, with a great butt and curves which filled out her fitted armour without spilling over like a certain shopkeeper’s naughty sister who, from what she heard, had been buttering her buns on both sides with two local boys.
“Oh okay… I couldn’t pay you, you say?” She steps up with a smirk, licking her bottom lip. Another thing besides coin and ale Diana liked? A challenge. “Tell you what sugar…” she slings her bow off her back “You see the middle salmon hanging on that string by the bank?” She pointed to three salmon drying in the sun and pinned to a string on the riverbank about 60meters from where they were standing. “If I can hit that – and you can’t, you have to buy me a drink. If we both hit it, I’ll leave you alone as I see you’re very busy staring menacingly at unsuspecting townsfolk and holding up this here wall.” She slapped her hand on the wall next to his head, leaning a little, matching is glare with a grin and narrowed eyes. For a moment a twinkle flashed through his eyes. She actually amused him a little. And she was funny too..
“And If I make it and you don’t?” He asked in a deep, throaty, but hella sexy voice.
“Then I give you this.” She dipped her hand in her pocket, pulling out Camilla’s necklace, dangling it in front of his face.
She was in luck, the man speaks gold fluently, just like her. Without a word he pulled his own bow off his back and knocked an arrow. The two lined up behind the railing on the porch of the Inn. She went first. She knocked the arrow and in a swift, smooth motion pulled it up and back, letting out her breath. She closed one eye, aimed, and let go.
Her arrow struck the fish effortlessly and they could see the fish almost shoot off the string. “You’re up hot stuff!’ she sang to him with a mocking smile. He didn’t quite know how he felt about her little nicknames. He raised an eyebrow at her, shook it off, and took aim. Just as he was focusing on his target, she turned to face him, crossed her ankles, and leaned back on the railing so her elbows rested on it. Her chest perked up as she seductively stared him down, a skew smile on her face.
He tried to ignore it, tried to shake off the weird sexy, teasing vibe she was sending out. But it didn’t work. His arrow missed the fish and instead shot into the wooden beam just above. “Fuck!” He looked more surprise that he missed than Vilkas when she interrupted his boring speech about ‘what it means to be a companion’ to ask if he was single. She loved making big, burly men squirm.
“That has never happened. Best out of three?” He demanded more than asked.
“Oh no, a deal’s a deal. Winners know when to stop gambling.” She winked at him, shaking her head towards the inn’s door. He just gritted his teeth and mumbled some curse and something about a ‘dirty wench’ under his voice. She didn’t care, she was getting ale AND she didn’t have to pay for it! Double happy Diana!
He slammed the coin down on the counter “Two mugs of ale. Do me a favour, water hers down will ya?” he said to Orgnar. She gleamed and happily, rapidly tapped the counter with both hands awaiting her prize. He just fumed and stared straight ahead.
“I’m Diana, by the way. Short for Diandrea, long for ‘DIE!’” she said friendly to him, dramatically emphasising the last word. “What’s your name, sweetroll?”
He glared at her disapprovingly. Yeah, he was certain he didn’t like her little nicknames.
“Honey, unless you give me a name, Imma keep calling you whatever pops into my head?”
He moaned and picked up the mug Orgnar placed in front of him, bringing it to his lips in one sweeping motion “It’s Bishop”
She smirked. She was going to miss calling him nicknames, but she liked his name – Bishop. She picked up her mug and chugged it down in a single breath.
Slamming the empty mug down she looked back at him. “Listen, in all honesty, thanks for the ale and for taking my challenge. You’re not nearly as bad as people say you are…”
His face spun round to look at her with an expression of confusion and shock, “What have people been saying about me?!”
She laughed and turned to face him, dropping her head to her shoulder in amusement. “Wow you are too easy.”
He wanted to grunt at her, but she was quick and witty. And although he despised her, she was the most interesting and exciting thing to happen in the sleepy town since he got in. He just chuckled lowly. “Fine, you got me.”
She waved to get Ognar’s attention, then pointed to the two empty mugs on the counter. He nodded and came over to top them up. “This rounds on me.” She said with a smile, still basking in how gullible he’d been. “Now we’re even. ‘Cept for you bruised ego. But I’m sure you can get a tavern wench here somewhere to help with that.”
He looked up at her, and actually smiled a little, although his eyes were still suspicious. “Who the hell are you anyway?”
“Well, I have many names…” she raised her eyebrows, leaning on her elbows on the counter, balancing on the heels. “Diana, for one, but some know me as Dee, Di, ‘that bitch who stole my horse I stole from my mother’, ‘that bitch who stole a mammoth’s tusk from my store for another bitch’, ‘that bitch who killed me and my entire family’,” his eyes widened and he raised an eyebrow at her. “Oh it’s cool, they were vampires.” She reassured him. He just shook his head with a faint smile. “But most know me as-“
“Dragonborn!” Her sentence cut short by the bard calling out to her, a hand stretched in her direction. “This one, is for you!” He picked up his lute, and started performing his rendition of ‘Dragonborn comes’. It was a little cringy how hard he tried.
Bishop’s eyes shot to her in disbelief. “No, bullshit! If you’re the legendary Dragonborn, prove it!”
She gave him a skew smile, “Sweety, I ain’t got nothing to prove to no one.”
“You said, you’d stop with the nicknames if I tell you my name.” he said in a warning tone. “How ‘bout I just call you ‘Your ladyship’ from now on – hmm? Or would you prefer ‘princess’?” he said mockingly batting his lashes at her.
She took a swig of her ale and shrugged comically “Both! Fuckit, call me lady princess Diana!”
“Just…shut up and drink your ale.” He grunted and went back to his gloomy, brooding demeanour.
How in Oblivion did they end up here? She was sneaking up on a sleeping bear while Bishop was trying his best to stifle his giggles up in a tree nearby – out to danger’s way. She burped and it tasted of ale and wine. Ognar had run out of ale, and she didn’t trust mead. Not after the incident at Honeybrew.
‘Fuckit, here goes nothing.” She whispered to herself as she crept up to the huge snoring pile of fur. “FUSS!!” she shouted, flinging the unsuspecting creature into the night sky. She paused, and after a few seconds heard the big floof hit the ground – hard. Then, a very angry roar.
“Shitshitshitshit…” she was waaay too drunk to fight a huge, full-grown cave bear right now. But apparently not too drunk to shout it out of its home! She slapped herself on the head for being so stupid, but immediately regretted it as it made her already disorientated head spin even more.
“Dafuq are you waiting for woman?? Come on!” Bishop called as he jumped out the tree waving her over. “Or do you want to be the first Dragonborn to be eaten by a bear!”
She smiled. At least he believed her now! Then the seriousness of the situation set in, and she ran after him. As they ran she could hear the bear catching up. They ran into a clearing with a big oak tree in the middle. There was nowhere left to run or hide. Shit!
Bishop ran to the tree, locked his fingers and called out to her, notioning that he’d boost her up. She ran over and he boosted her up with the momentum of her speed. She locked her legs over the branch and reached out a hand to pull him up as the bear approached them at full speed. She yanked him up just in time before the bear’s claw could reach his boot. The two hastily climbed as high as they could to get away – although she knew cave bears couldn’t climb trees, in her drunken state she didn’t want to take any risks!
The two across each other on opposite sides of the stem, catching their breath. He looked up at her and she looked back at him. Then he did something she didn’t expect – he laughed. He laughed so hard he nearly lost his balance. She joined in, laughing at how ridiculous the situation was until her sides hurt.
“So…” she said once her laughter died down enough, “you believe me now, Ranger?”
He wiped away a tear, “That I do princess, you have convinced me.”
The two looked down at the very angry bear clawing at the roots of the tree in frustration. She knew they were going to be here a while before the bear left, or they sobered up enough to actually kill it. The former was more likely to happen before the latter.
After she got bored starting at the bear, she turned to him, “I haven’t seen you around in these parts before, where you from?”
“All over, really.” He answered, much more relaxed in conversation very unlike the Bishop she met earlier today. “I recently lost my wolf, Karnwyr. Tracked him to a wolf-fighting business run by a small army of bandits in a cave nearby. Been tryna think of a game plan to jailbreak the mutt.”
She went quite for a moment, thinking. “You know, I was literally going to use it all on ale and maybe some honey-nut treats, but I think you need this more than I do.” She took out the pouch of gold with the necklace Lucan gave her and handed it to him. “Should be enough to round up some sellswords to help you get your wolf back.”
He stared at her in disbelief – not a reaction she hadn’t gotten from him before, but this time it was different, weirdly more vulnerable.
“No ladyship, I- couldn’t just take your coin like that. You worked hard for it.” He shook his head.
“So?” she shrugged “You telling me you never killed a bandit and looted his coin? He worked hard… well, he ‘worked’ for that too?”
He just smiled, still shaking his head. “No, I can’t. I don’t like handouts.”
“Fine, suit yourself.” She said blankly and tucked it back in its pouch.
A moment of silence passed. She sat contently listening to the night sounds.
“If you really want to help… you can always come with me.” He said sheepishly, like he regretted each word just as he had said it. She had a nagging feeling he would never have asked her had he not been almost shit-faced drunk. Then again, she wouldn’t have offered him her pay had she not been so drunk.
She wanted to tease him for asking for help, but she sensed that the pup was important to him. “You know what, why not. I ain’t in no rush. Might as well bash in some heads and loot some unsuspecting bandits of their hard-earned coin.” She said to him with that skew smile of hers. He just smiled back and nodded.