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(Contains: violence/gore)
Hadvar

       The Imperial Legion soldier had the most restless night of his life. When his aunt asked about his restlessness, Hadvar assured her it was nothing and was just because of his sore shoulder, but that was a lie. When he first killed for the Imperial Legion and killed Nords he called brothers who just happened to choose the wrong side and be manipulated by Ulfric Stormcloak, Hadvar started dreaming of their faces every night. Hadvar told himself he was only doing a soldier’s work and that it was kill or be killed, but even though the Nords he killed were too thick-headed to understand just how good the Empire was for Skyrim, they were still his countrymen and it was still their blood on his hands. Last night’s nightmare was different; this time, the face of a childhood friend was among the numerous strangers’ faces.
       They had been like brothers. Hadvar knew Ralof, lived in the same village, and knew his family. As children, they had been inseparable and fought in imaginary battles. Back then, they had no idea that they would be in a real war on opposite sides. Both begged the other not to join the opposing armies, but both believed their cause was the most righteous and true. The first time they encountered each other on the battlefield neither could strike the first blow. Both knew that there was a great possibility that they could meet each other in battle, but both hoped it would never come to that. Hadvar had to let Ralof escape and swore it wouldn’t happen again.
       Ralof struck first the next time. Hadvar could still feel yesterday’s arrow as if he had never pulled it out. If a battle occurred, Hadvar knew it would come down to a bow fight. Most Nords trained with two-handed weapons, but Hadvar and Ralof were both skilled with the bow, putting some wood elves to shame. It was Hadvar’s arrow that killed Ralof. Hadvar could not quell his nightmares by saying he was just following orders or that it was just kill or be killed. He knew Ralof. He grew up with him. He knew Ralof’s family and prevented Ralof’s family from ever seeing him again.
       “I need some fresh air,” Hadvar muttered as he walked out of the house. He stood on the porch, took a deep breath of cold Skyrim air, and rotated his shoulder. He looked ahead and saw Dorthe come back to the house. Perplexed, Hadvar asked, “I thought you said you were going to play with your friend.”
       “When I went to Frodnar’s house, Gerdur answered and told me he couldn’t come out and play and he could never play with me again,” the now pouty nine year old informed Hadvar.
       Frodnar was the only other child in Riverwood and it was only natural that Dorthe and Frodnar would be friends, despite his mother being the sister of Ralof. He wondered if Gerdur’s refusal to let her son play with Dorthe had anything to do with Ralof being a Stormcloak while he was part of the Imperial Legion. But that hadn’t stopped them from being friends before. So, what changed? The only thing Hadvar could think different now was Ralof’s death, but how could Gerdur know about that? All the Stormcloaks with Ralof at the time perished. The Stormcloak rebels wouldn’t even know if Ralof was dead. Helgen had been utter chaos.
       The edges of his eyes noticed movement coming down the same road Dorthe came from. Hadvar looked up and saw a ghost! Greir the Giantess Nord stormed her way towards Hadvar with three men too diverse in races to be part of the Stormcloak army and Gerdur and her husband Hod. Hadvar saw troubling hatred burning in Greir’s and Gerdur’s eyes alike. “Dorthe, I think you should run along or head inside,” Hadvar suggested while pushing his little cousin aside without looking away from the trouble stomping towards him. He sensed Dorthe hesitantly walk away to the left.
       Hadvar could not understand how Greir was still alive. He saw Thales slice her down her chest and he saw Greir fall off the bridge into the boulder covered river running through the cave. He was told tales of how difficult it was to kill Greir, but he never thought that even the Giantess Nord could survive what happened to her.
       The behemoth’s hand wrapped around Hadvar’s neck and lifted him up against his uncle’s home. Dorthe cried out and Uncle Alvor stopped tending to the forge. “What is the meaning of this?!” Uncle Alvor yelled out.
       “Stay out of this, blacksmith!” Gerdur commanded. Gerdur’s crazed eyes locked onto Hadvar’s desperate ones. “What happened to my brother? Is he dead?”
       Hadvar tried to speak, but only a gurgling sound came out. His hands pried at Greir’s meaty fingers, but they wouldn’t give a centimeter. He stopped trying to speak and nodded his head frantically to Gerdur’s last question. He saw Gerdur’s hatred fade away and and be replaced with despair because all the hope she still had of Ralof still being alive was shattered. I’m responsible. I’m the reason she will never see her brother again.
       His throat burned and his face turned beat red. He kicked Greir’s unarmored body, including between the legs, but the brute of a Nord was unaffected by his attempts. He clawed the back of her hand with one hand and continued to try and pry her fingers off his neck, but the Giantess Nord just tightened her grip more. The red anger returned to Gerdur’s eyes and she screamed, “Who killed my brother? You or the bitch you traveled with. Hadvar’s voice could not escape the tight throat Greir’s grasp created. He kicked and clawed more wildly, but it was no use.
       “Gerdur, have her release him. He can’t speak!” Uncle Alvor begged.
       “I said stay out of this, Alvor!” Gerdur screamed.
       Hod placed a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “Gerdur, there are Whiterun guards just out the South Gate. You’re making a scene.” The three sellswords also looked around nervously.
       Gerdur pushed his hand away and hissed.
       Hadvar felt as though his eyes would burst out of his skull at any second. His limbs weakened and his once kicking legs dangled helplessly. Hadvar started to see right specks of light floating around and flashing randomly as they danced around in his vision. “Let go of my cousin!” Dorthe screamed as she pounded her child fists on Greir’s leg.
       “Piss off, runt,” Greir growled as she pushed Dorthe away. Dorthe fell on her butt hard and started to tear up. Hadvar had not seen his little cousin cry since she was a baby. A young boy around Dorthe’s age, Gerdur’s son Frodnar, ran up to the fallen Dorthe and crouched by her side. Even through the blurred vision caused by his own watery eyes, he could see the concern the boy had for Dorthe, just by seeing his stance. A blackness circled around the edges of Hadvar’s vision, threatening to close in and make the world turn dark.
       “Frodnar!” Gerdur scolded.
       Even with his uncle a Stormclaok and I an Imperial Soldier, the children can still find friendship with one another. He wondered if they saw the real war as an imaginary game like the one he and Ralof played so long ago. Would that friendship be tested if they learned what he did? Maybe the Giantess Nord would choke the life out of him before the answer could be learned.
       “You will not learn anything if he dies,” Hod explained.
       Darkness had only left a small speck of light in Hadvar’s vision and that too was about to be snuffed out by the encroaching black.
       “Let him go, Greir,” Gerdur ordered through gritted teeth. The brute growled and released her grip.
       Hadvar’s legs buckled as soon as they hit the wooden porch; he managed to catch himself with his hands. Hands and knees were better than flat on his face. He coughed, the throat only blazed hotter with each breath. The light overcame the darkness quickly, but he did not look around. He stared down at the wood floor between his hands.
       “Is there a problem here?” a man’s voice asked.
       “Just a simple argument. I’m handling it,” Gerdur replied.
       “Go back to the gate and be on the look out for dragons,” Greir said to the man. “That’s why you were sent from Whiterun, right? To save us from the dragon?”
       Hadvar looked up in time to see the Whiterun guards in their chainmail covered in a yellow sash walk back to the gate. Greir grabbed Hadvar by the leather shoulders of his Imperial armor and stood him straight up against the wall. Gerdur drew closer to Greir’s side and said, “I want to know who killed Ralof.”
       “Uncle Ralof is dead?” Frodnar asked. Hadvar saw him standing beside the now standing Dorthe holding her arm with both hands.
       Gerdur ignored her son’s question and just demanded again, “I want to know who killed Ralof!”
       “I will tell you, but I want your word that you will have no ill feelings towards my aunt, uncle, or cousin. Whether I was the one who killed Ralof or helped the person who did kill him, I know you will hate me, but my family had nothing to do with his death and are not part of the Imperial Legion. Do not punish them for any wrong I’ve brought on your family. I do not want there to be bad blood between you two. Besides, Uncle Alvor is the blacksmith. You need a blacksmith.”
       “You are not in the best bargaining position.”
       “But I am. You need something that only I know right here and now and killing me before I spill what you need to know, would only keep you from finding out what happened to Ralof. So, what would you do to me? Kill me? The whole village is watching you.”
       Gerdur looked around and surely she saw what he did: the whole town out on the village road watching. “There will be no bad blood between families; there will only be bad blood between you and me. Now tell me what happened to my brother!”
       Hadvar looked to the right at his Uncle. He looked to the left at the two children. Frodnar still tried to recover from the shock of his uncle being killed; tears forming in his eyes. Hadvar turned his attention finally back to Gerdur and in a low voice filled with more shame than he thought it would have said, “My arrow killed Ralof.”
       “You… you murdered him!” Gerdur gasped.
       “He shot first. I did my job as a soldier. I had no choice.”
       “I banish you from Riverwood!”
       “Gerdur,” Alvor started, trying to stand up for his nephew.
       “He has until noon to leave here and never return.” Gerdur turned heel and walked away. Hod joined her and Frodnar walked away with them.
       “One more thing,” Greir said, not letting Hadvar go. “Where is the Nord that cut me?”
       “She’s long gone. She’s probably out of Skyrim by now,” Hadvar said.
       Greir pressed him harder against the wall. “You lie.”
       Hadvar shook his head. “She was fleeing the country when our battalion ambushed your Stormcloak camp. She helped me get here and then headed for the boarder last night.”
       The Redguard sellsword placed his hand on Greir’s arm. “Let him go. Killing him will achieve nothing and you wanted us to bring you back to Windhelm as quickly as possible. There is nothing else for us here.”
       “Your not paying out to settle a score with some Nord that isn’t even here,” the wood elf chimed in with crossed arms.
       Greir released Hadvar and turned her back to him. She and the sellswords left Riverwood to the North on the road that would eventually split in the directions of Whiterun and Windhelm. Hadvar just hoped Thales would not meet them on the path back.  
Skyrim: Blood of Dragons Ch 13
Originally, this was going to be a Greir chapter, but I thought of a few added little touches that could only be done if I had a closer perspective with Hadvar. So, this might be the only chapter I have in Hadvar's perspective. I hope you enjoy.


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Ashira        

       The center island in Riften (caused by the man-made river forming a U through the city) was where the Riften Marketplace was situated. The Bee and Barb tavern took up almost the entirety of the North half of the island, but the marketplace took up the majority of the South half. It was a small marketplace with a waist high grey stone wall circling the four stalls inside. Four different gaps formed in these walls to allow anyone to walk freely into the market place from the North, South, West, or East. The East entrance to the marketplace was directly in line with a wooden bridge that connected the island with Riften. The Temple of Mara stood on the other side of that bridge. The South entrance to the marketplace also led to a bridge. Mistveil Keep towered at the other side where the Jarl of Riften, Laila Law-Giver. The orphanage was to the right of the Keep. The blacksmith’s home and forge was to the West, behind the marketplace.
       A huge well lied in the center of the marketplace, while the four stands were set up in the four corners of the circular area (each in the center of each four walls). Brand-Shei had the Northeast area. His skin was a greenish grey color. His hair was black, shoulder-length, and combed back, but was starting to bald. Brand-Shei sold a general assortment of items. A no nonsense and straight talking Nord named Grelka owned the stall in the Southeast. She always word leather armor. Unlike many other Nords, Grelka had shoulder length brown hair combed back and brown eyes. She only talked to costumers. If you weren’t planning on buying anything, she would say she had no time for you. Ashira learned Grelka wanted to escape Skyrim ever since the civil war started. A green and brown scaled Argonian with brown feathers growing from the back of his head named Madesi owned the jewelry stall on Southwest corner of the marketplace.
       Ashira sat on the stone wall beside the stall in the Northwest corner of the marketplace. This was the stall Brynjolf owned. It was his day job, but he was really the second in command of the Thieves Guild. The red haired Nord wore his finer clothes today (a soft, blue robe-like tunic, an orange vest underneath, green pants, and brown boots), instead of his normal Thieves Guild light armor. Ashira did not wear her Thieves Guild armor either, but her brown leather armor instead. As she sat on the wall, her tail hung down the other side, swaying from side to side. Her cat-like eyes scanned the area, studying the passerbys, but she could see very few new faces and none looked like what she was looking for, or what Brynjolf looked for.
       “Any luck with Ararvy, lass?” Brynjolf asked since no costumers were walking over to his stall.
       The khajiit turned her head in his direction. His arms were crossed and he half leaned and half sat on the stone wall behind him. A red scruffy beard started growing around his grin. “Ararvy speaks little of his past and speaks less about himself. The dark elf friend is still a mystery.”
       “He did not tell you anything about last night? I know the lad came back to the guild very late.”
       “Ararvy told this one nothing. He just walked in and fell asleep. Ashira paid him his cut this morning.”
       “And nothing about where he disappeared to those couple of hours after his outburst with Bersi?”
       “Nothing. Why do you ask?”
       “Three sellswords were found dead by the in the graveyard this morning. They had no notes or gold on them. And Bersi looks more twitchy than usual. The lad’s looking over his shoulder every thirty seconds or so.”
       “You think Ararvy has something to do with it.”
       “There is a dark hatred in the lad, ever since I laid eyes on the boy. You were there when I first offered him in the guild. You saw what he did to the Nord that mocked him.”
       “Yes, Ashira remembers.” She looked down at her lap for a moment. Her right palm rubbed the furry back of her other hand. The event Brynjolf spoke of took place years ago, but Ashira remembered it clearly. The dark elf made quite the first impression.

       Ashira had only been working for the Thieves Guild for a month at that time. Brynjolf was still showing her the ropes since he was the one that discovered her talent. All he had to do was help hone her skills and prove to her her need to steal things could be profitable. He giving her pointers on pickpocketing when there heard a commotion near the North gate. Citizens and city guards a like ran to see what all the fuss was about. Brynjolf and Ashira ran among the crowd till they stopped in a large circle around two men fighting.
       The Khajiit was smaller than everyone there and managed to duck and weave her way to the font. It took Brynjolf much longer, but he was also using that opportunity to pick some pockets. He showed Ashira later that day all the valuables and gold he managed to slip out of the crowd’s purses, satchels, and side packs, teaching Ashira that huge commotions were great opportunities one shouldn’t pass up. It also made things far easier.
       A dark elf and a Nord were fist fighting. Instead of trying to break it up, the guards where making bets on who would win. The blonde haired dark elf had a bruised eye, but the Nord actually looked more battered. The dark elf leaped onto the Nord and pinned him to the ground. He threw a right, a left, and a right again to the Nord’s face. The Nord tried to block, but he was no match for the fury of the crazed red eyed elf! A few more blows and the Nord fell unconscious, but the dark elf would net stop. Before a guard could end this all, Brynjolf stepped in and pulled the dark elf off the nearly dead Nord. The dark elf thrashed, but Brynjolf put his arms under the dark elf’s and locked his hands behind the elf’s head. “Easy there, lad. Let’s just get you out of here.
The dark elf eventually calmed and the three spoke in a safe place. It turned out the dark elf’s name was Ararvy and the Nord only called him a name. “You nearly killed a man because he called you a name, lad?” Brynjolf asked.
       “I’ve had enough of Nords like him,” Ararvy said. “I’ve lived with self important Nords all my life. They spit down on my people. I want to turn the tides.”
       “There are other ways to get back at pompous Nords than violence.”
       “Like what?”
       “Let me show you, lad.”

       “The only thing I know about the lad’s past is that he grew up in Windhelm,” Brynjolf said.
Ashira looked up from her lap. “This explains Ararvy’s hatred towards Nords. The Stormcloak rebellion started there and those Nords have treated dark elves poorly longer than anywhere else in Skyrim.”
       “I’m hoping you can still get through to him. He’s more… well, I wouldn’t say open, but he’s less closed around you, lass. Probably because your people have had some troubles with Nords as well.”
       Ashira nodded. She had not had troubles with Nords because of her race (people usually had troubles with her being a thief rather than a khajiit), but she heard from some traveling khajiit merchants that they had been persecuted for their race. “Ashira does hope Ararvy opens up. The festering hatred might just kill him.” Ashira looked back out into crowds of people just going about their average day, when a newcomer caught the Khajiit’s eye. A female wood elf with fair skin and green eyes walked lightly through the crowd of citizens. The wood elf was smaller than a female of her kind (the female wood elves tended to be much taller than their male counterparts) and stood at about 5’5” roughly an inch or two taller than Ashira. Her small and thin body helped her blend in with the crowd, but Ashira could pick out the elf’s red hair. The wood elf’s short hair barely reached halfway down the back of her neck and her bangs draped over her left eye. The wood elf also had a longbow and iron tipped arrows in a quiver on her back, indicating she was an archer, but she also had an iron dagger strapped to her hip in case long range attacks were not an option. Ashira also witnessed the wood elf successfully steal from a woman’s purse while in the crowd.
       “This one believes a new recruit has been found.”
       “Where?” Brynjolf asked.
       “The wood elf with fiery hair. She seems to be trying to get the guild’s attention.”
       “She’ll have to prove herself first. Maybe the frame job?”
       Ashira nodded. “This one shall watch and see how she does.” The Khajiit hopped off the small stone wall and walked just out side of the marketplace while Brynjolf approached the wood elf. Ashira leaned against the wooden railing surrounding the island and looked out at the marketplace. Brynjolf walked up to the wood elf and started to speak. Ashira could not hear what was said, but she figured it was a very similar spiel he gave her when she first entered Riften.

       It took Ashira two days to walk from Whiterun to Riften after the Companions banished her for her thieving ways, something Ashira just couldn’t help. She never quite understood why she was so compelled to steal things, but it had been this way ever since she was a kitten. The traveling could probably have only taken her a day, but with her inner being in such turmoil, she couldn’t trust herself at night.
       When she finally arrived as far south as one could go in Skyrim, she approached the North Gate of Riften, only to be blocked by two Riften guards. “Before I can let you into Riften, you need to pay the visitors tax.”
       Having never heard of such a tax one needed to pay in order to enter a city, Ashira asked, “This one is confused. What is the tax for?”
       “For the privilege of entering the city, of course.”
       Ashira looked at both guards with raised eyebrows. “There is no such taxes. You believe this one to be a fool? This is obviously a shakedown.”
       “All right, keep your voice down.” The guard said while motioning his hands up and down with wide eyes. “Do you want everyone to hear you? I’ll let you in; just let me unlock the gate.”
       Ashira grinned and crossed her arms as the guard turned with his tail between his legs (figuratively, of course since he was a Nord). The guard unlocked the huge double doors and Ashira stepped inside the city.
       She did not make it very far in Riften when Brynjolf approached her and blatantly stated, “Never done an honest day of work for all that coin you’re carryin’, eh lass?”
       “What? This one does not understand,” Ashira replied as she took a step back from the red haired Nord.
       “I’m saying you’ve got the coin, but you didn’t earn a septum of it honestly.”
       “You do not know Ashira. This one has done lots of honest work.” Ashira pulled out one of her daggers to show him the Skyforge steel. “This one was part of the Companions, an honorable band of mercenaries.”
       “But you’re with the Companions no longer, eh lass?”
       Ashira sighed. “You speak true. This one is no longer a Companion.”
       “They caught you stealing, lass?”
       The khajiit’s eyes widened. “How could you possibly know that?”
       “It’s all about sizing up your mark, lass. It’s all about how they walk, what they’re wearing. It’s usually a dead give away on how one obtained their wealth.”
       “This one’s wealth is none of your concern.”
       “Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong, lass. Wealth is my business. Maybe you’d like a taste?”
       “This one is listening.”
       “I’ve got an errand to preform, but I need an extra pair of hands. And in my line of work, extra hands are well paid.”
       “What must this one do?”

       And from then on, Ashira was one of the thieves in the guild. It wasn’t easy, but she proved herself and became respected. For once in her life, she truly felt like she was part of a family, even more so than the Companions. These men and women didn’t care about her need to steal. Instead, they encouraged it. Ashira finally felt she could be herself.
       She knew the job Brynjolf would give the wood elf was the frame job on Brand-Shei, the dark elf with the Argonian name. Someone wanted the merchant out of business permanently, but since this was the Thieves Guild and not the Dark Brotherhood, framing him for stealing would put him away for a very long time. The possible new recruit’s mission would be to steal a ring form the Argonian jeweler, Madesi, and then plant the ring in Brand-Shei’s pocket. Brynojolf would make a distraction so that the wood elf could even attempt to do all of this.
       Right on que, Brynjolf stood in front of his stand and yelled out, “Everyone, everyone, gather ‘round. I have something amazing to show you that demands your attention.” Everyone in the marketplace, including the other merchants as well, walked over to Brynjolf and formed a semi-circle around Brynjolf. “Gather ‘round all. This way everyone, over here.” Even some guards gathered, but Ashira stayed against the railing. She pretended to pay attention to Brynjolf, but her eyes were on the elf instead.
       Brand-Shei sat on some wooden boxes near his own stand and hollered, “Come on Brynjolf. What is it this time?”
       “Patience Brand-Shei, this is a great opportunity, and I wouldn’t want you to get left out.”
       The wood elf backed away from the crowd, looked around, and crouched low as she hurried to the jeweler’s stand. The wood elf had to unlock the cabinet doors under the stall’s counter top as well as the strong box inside just to get the Madesi’s ring.
       “That’s what you said about the wisp essence and it turned out to be crushed herb roots mixed with water,” Brand-Shei pointed out.
       “That was a simple misunderstanding, but this item is the real thing. Lads and lasses, I give you Felmur blood elixir.”
       “Come on, are you talking about the snow elves?”
       “The one and only. Mythical beings who live in legends and were masters of great magic. Imagine the power coursing through their blood.”
       The wood elf unlocked the doors and the strongbox inside fast. She is good with a lockpick. Not as good as Ashira, but good. She witnessed the wood elf take the ring from inside the box, but just the ring. There had to have been other tempting valuables inside, but the wood elf only took what she needed. She’s good at taking orders too. With the ring in her pocket, she crouched under the small height of the stone wall and walked along it to get behind Brand-Shei’s stand.
       “How did you get that thing?” Brand-Shei asked. “No one has seen them in years.”
       “My sources must stay secret for their own protections, but I can promise you the contents are genuine. One sip of this elixir and all your wishes could be granted.” The wood elf crept up behind the seated Brand-Shei and slipped the ring in his pocket with east. She was a better pickpocketer than Ashira. Brynjolf finished, “Ahhh, it looks like my time is up. Come back tomorrow if you wish to buy.”
       The wood elf had already slipped away by the time Brand-Shei got up and started walking back around to the back of his stall. “What a waste of my time,” the dark elf muttered.
       As the wood elf walked back to Brynjolf, Ashira circled around the outside of the marketplace wall to get a closer ear. “Looks like I choose the right person for the job. And here you go, your payment as I promised,” Brynjolf said. “With the way things have been going lately, it’s a relief our plan went off without a hitch.”
       “What’s been going on?” the wood elf asked.
       “Ah, my organization has been running into a bit of bad luck, but I suppose that’s just how it goes. But never mind that, you did the job and you did it well. Best of all, there is more where that came from, if you think you can handle it.”
       “I can handle it.”
       “Alright then, let’s put that to the test. The group I represent has its home in the Ratways beneath Riften, a tavern called the Ragged Flageon. Get there in one piece and we’ll see if you really got what it takes.”
       The wood elf nodded and left for the Ratways. Ashira walked over to Brynjolf’s side and shivered. Her trip to the Ratways was not a pleasant one. Skeever were easy foes, but the Khajiit detested them greatly.
       “Do you really think she has what it takes, lass?”
       Ashira nodded. “Ashira knows so.”
       “Would you like to bet on it? You can wait with me at the Ragged Flageon.”
       “This one would be honored… to have your coin when the wood elf defeats the Ratways.”
       As Ashira and Brynjolf walked east towards the Temple where they could get to the graveyard in the southeast corner of Riften, a city guard ran up to Brand-Shei’s stand.
       “Okay Brand-Shei, turn out your pockets, we know you have it.”
       The dark elf was flabbergasted. “What in blazes are you talking about?”
       “Don’t play stupid. I said; turn out your pockets, now!”
       “I’m telling you I don’t know…” Brand-Shei put his hands in both pockets and the right hand’s fingers discovered something that should not have been there. “Wait, what’s this ring? This isn’t mine!”
       “That’s right, it isn’t yours. You’re under arrest, Brand-Shei.”
       “This is insane! I didn’t steal anything! I’ve never seen this ring before in my entire life!”
       The city guard unsheathed his battle axe from his back. “We can do this one of two ways: you can walk with me to the keep, or I can drag your lifeless body. Your choice.”
       “But I… very well.”
       The dark elf walked with the city guard to the keep with his head bowed low.
       “What is the name of the wood elf?” Ashira asked.
       “Nilin,” Brynjolf answered.
Greir

       Greir and the three sellswords walked into Riverwood on the main road going right through it and through South Gate. But could a gate be called a gate without wooden doors or iron bars? Is a gate to a village still a gate when it’s just a large wall with an open space where the road cut through (save for the walkway above the road level with the top of the wall)? Maybe it should just be called the South Entrance. A single village guard patrolled the wall and eyed the travelers as they approached. The giantess Nord feared she would be recognized, even among such odd company as a wood elf, a Redguard, and an Argonian. She was just glad to find a corpse large enough at Helgen that wasn’t charred so she could loot his clothes to wear. If she still bore her Stormcloak armor, then maybe she would be in trouble. But from what Ralof said about his sister, she supposedly not only just runs the mill, but the village as well. Being that her brother is a Stormcloak, maybe she’s taught the guards to turn a blind eye to the righteous warriors, Greir thought.
       Still without a sword and now without armor (because she could only find commoner men’s tunic and pants that would fit her size), she felt naked and unprepared for a fight. The last time she ever felt this naked was when she was a child and not trained in the art of war. Her heart thumped as powerful as a giant’s club crashing against the ground at the beat of a drum. Greir’s head did not look down or look up at the guard on the village’s outer wall to avoid suspicion, but her dark eyes did look up as far as they could with her head facing this way. She saw the village guard approach the wooden railing at the top of the wall. He wrapped both hands around as he bent and looked down at them. Greir clenched her hands in painful fists. What is he thinking? Is he wondering what travelers are doing here this late in the evening? Does he suspect something is odd? For the first time in a decade or more, Greir felt sweat against the back of her neck. Each step brought them closer to the opening and after every step she took; Greir believed that would be the step that caused the watch guard to call out “Halt”. But when they passed under the wall’s walkway, the guard never said a word. The passed under completely and entered the village, but again, the watch guard did not say a word. Greir looked over her shoulder and did not see the watch guard turned around and leaning on the other railing to keep an eye on them. He still leaned on the same railing as before, looking out at the road outside the village. Greir relaxed with a silent sigh of relief.
       They walked through the small gate of the fence surrounding Hod and Gerdur’s home. Greir led the way since she was the Stormcloak othe group and knew Ralof. Her huge right fist pounded on the door, almost shaking the wooden door off its frame. She was even knocking as light as possible. The barking of a dog could be heard, but not the barking of a fearsome guard dog that believed it was protecting its master’s home. The barking sounded like it came from an excited dog eager to greet strangers. She heard the latch of the door among the sound of the barking and witnessed the door open slightly. The square face of a male Nord peeked out from the opening. He had blonde hair combed back and a blonde mustache with the ends of it trailing past the corners of his mouth and going straight down past his lower jaw. He wore a white tunic. “Hello? Who are you?” the man asked.
       Greir couldn’t remember if Ralof had ever said his brother-in-law’s name, but it didn’t matter. “My name is Greir. I’m a friend of Ralof’s. Can I speak with Gerdur?”
       The Nord’s eyes shifted away from Greir and at the sellswords. “And them? Who are they?”
       “My excorts to Windhelm. Sellswords.”
       The Nord glared at all of them suspiciously before finally saying, “Wait here.” He closed the door.
       “Are you sure you have the right home?” Faldil asked. “He doesn’t seem thrilled to have a Stormcloak at his doorstep.”
       “We have to be careful when the Empire brands us as traitors.”
       “Us as in you and your friends. We’re just here for the gold you promised.”
       “Shut up, Faldil,” Han-Zaw hissed in annoyance.
       “I’m only clarifying,” Faldil replied with the most unconvincing ploy to sound innocent.
       The door opened a bit again, but a woman opened the door this time. Her hair was blonde and combed back as well, but there was a part in the center of it as well. “You are Greir, the Nord giantess? My brother said you were large, but I never imagined… Do you need to place to stay for the night?”
       “Yes.”
       Gerdur looked at all the people outside her home. “I don’t have enough beds to go around, but-”
       “It’s alright, Mrs. We have our own sleeping bags,” Jonah informed the Nord. “We don’t mind sleeping on the floor.”
       “And I could sleep on some pelts, if you have any,” Greir added.
       “Then come in.” Gerdur opened the door and the four walked in. The home was built in an L-shape. Immediately across the entrance of the home was a large fireplace and a dining table to the left. The home continued to the right for quite a ways with a small bed in the left. A child sleep in the bed and the dog Greir heard earlier (a black mutt) slept curled up beside the boy’s bed. The home at that end turned to the right, making the L-shape. This was where the bar was situated and Gerdur and her husbands’ bed.
       “Do you have news of my brother?” Gerdur asked Greir as the sellswords laid out their sleeping bags on the floor.
       “He didn’t make it here?” Greir asked with surprise.
       This worried Gerdur greatly. “What do you mean? He was supposed to come here? What happened?”
       “The Imperial scum, they attacked our camp in the middle of the night. The survivors were captured and instead of giving us and our High King Ulfric a fair trail, they brought us to Helgen for immediate execution. But a dragon attacked.”
       “A dragon?” Gerdur’s husband asked. “Dragons are just in stories.”
       “She speaks true,” Jonah chimmed in. “We saw it fly from Helgen and towards Whiterun.”
       “Maybe… maybe that old woman was right. Maybe Hilde did see a dragon.”
       “But what happened to my brother?” Gerdur asked, bringing them back to Greir’s story.
       “In the confusion, of the attack, we searched for a way out. I was separated from High King Ulfric, but I found Ralof and a large group of Stormcloak. But Imperials found us and attacked. I heard Ralof call one of them Hadvar.”
       “Hadvar was raised here. His uncle is the blacksmith. I remember they were good friends before this revolution. Hadvar chose the Empire.” Gerdur spit into the fire.
       “That was the last I saw Ralof. I was struck down in battle.” Greir tasted bile at the back of her throat from just saying that. “But if you’ve not seen Ralof yet… This Hadvar, did he show up?”
       Gerdur’s husband interjected, “As a matter of fact, I saw Hadvar come into down. He looked injured and holding his shoulder. He’s staying at Alvor’s home right now.”
       “If he made it here and not Ralof…” Greir bowed her head and grimaced.
       “What? Does that mean? By the Nine! Ralof!” Gerdur screamed, knowing now that her brother was dead. She started to sob and her husband walked over to her and wrapped his hands around her arms. He was a well built man from his work as a lumberjack.
       “I’m sorry for your loss,” Gerdur said.
       Gerdur embraced her husband and cried into his shoulder. “There was another traveling with Hadvar dressed in Imperial armor, wielding a greatsword.”
       Greir lifted her head. “What did this traveler look like?”
       “Just like most Nords, blue eyes and blonde hair. She was very pretty with a thin figure to be wielding a greatsword.”
       Greir gritted her teeth. “That was the woman who struck me down. Is she still there?”
       “No, I saw her leave Riverwood. She went North.”
       “Then I will have a talk with Hadvar in the morning, before we leave.”
Skyrim: Blood of Dragons Ch 11
Another chapter with Greir as our main character and the last chapter for the first day of the story. Wow, one day in the story managed to get me 10 chapters! A few of them even had to be split in half. Just how long is this "first book" going to be? Only time will tell.

First Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…

Previous Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…

Next Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…
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(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
Thales

       By the time Thales returned to the fork in the road outside Riverwood where she had contemplated whether to go to Bleak Falls Barrow to seek out the bandits that stole the golden dragon claw from the shopkeeper or go to Whiterun to warn the Jarl about the dragon, it was night. It was particularly dark out with many grey clouds bloating out the stars. I can’t even see the warrior constellation tonight. There is no telling how many bandits are in those ruins. She prayed to Talos in her mind and walked up the mountain path.
       The path was winding and had very little vegetation (mainly grass and weeds). It grew rockier with each ascended step, until snow blanketed each side of the path. A few minutes later, she saw an unmarked and mostly ruined stone tower near the edge of the mountain side. Snow completely covered the ground in this area. The road disappeared under the thick snow. She stood nearly between two peaks. Thales remembered that Bleak Falls Barrow appeared to be between the mountain’s two tallest peaks. If she was close, she believed she needed to go right where the vast majority of the snow was rather than straight ahead where the stone tower still stood. But many huge boulders jutted from the mountain to block her path. The only clear way to go forward seemed to be to get closer to the tower and then take a right.
       A lone bare tree stood close to the bridge leading to the tower. A male orc leaned against it with crossed arms and fur armor. Of course these bandits would keep some behind to watch the road. This tower is a perfect place to keep watch. The orc stood straight and lifted a steel warhammer from his back. Thales unsheathed her steel greatsword in retaliation. “Just let me pass. You don’t have to die tonight. I’m just going to Bleak Falls Barrow. I have business there.”
       “And what business do you have in a ruin,” a female yelled from the bridge to Thales’s left. This was a Redguard woman, also wearing fur armor, but with an iron sword in hand.
       “Jarl business. I’ve had a long day and it’s going to be an even longer night,” Thales said to them as she backed up and side stepped to the right to get them both in view at the same time and be closer to the way she needed to go. “I’d rather not make my night longer by messing with you.”
       “Well, you’ve come to the wrong place, lady.” The redguard charged. She leaped in the arm, swinging down her iron sword. Thales easily side stepped and simply sliced off the Redguard’s head with a downward swing to the back of the neck.
       “Hmmm, I guess it won’t take as long as I thought after all.” The orc screamed as he swung his hammer. Thales leaped backwards. The orc swung downwards very quickly. The hammer only hit snow, but Thales’s greatsword impaled his stomach all the way through his back.
       She heard the distinct sound of a steel weapon hitting a shield. She looked at the bridge to see one last bandit that must have been in the tower when she arrived. He was a Nord in iron armor with a horned helmet and a branded iron shield. The Nord kept his shield up as he slowly approached her. He looked strong, but Thales believed she could knock him off balance with a strong swing to the shield. Using all her might, she swung down at the shield, but instead of blocking, the Nord hit her in the chest with the shield. She stumbled backwards, barely blocking his attack in time. She parried and tried to sweep his legs with her greatsword but the Nord jumped over the sword and attacked again. Thales managed to dodge the attack and rolled past his left side when he attacked again. She quickly turned around and stabbed him in the back. She had to pin his body down with her iron boot in order to pull her sword out of his back.
       Thales looked back at the tower. They might have some useful stolen goods in there. Unless these aren’t the bandits that stole the golden claw. She crossed the bridge and entered the tower only to find a closet sized room in front of her with nothing but a chair and a coin purse and stairs to her right. She took the purse, but only found 14 gold pieces. This can’t be it, unless these are the worst bandits in all of Skyrim. She walked up the stairs which only led to another small platform and more stairs. When she finally made it to the top where the roof of the tower no longer existed, she discovered a chest. Inside was iron armor (which she was already wearing), some stamina potions (she drank one immediately), some lockpicks (she left them in the chest), and 139 gold pieces. She took the gold. That’s more like it, but no golden claw. She made it back down the tower and headed for Bleak Falls Barrow.
       There was a clear path of snow amongst the rocky, jagged surface on either side of the winding road. The jagged rocks looked link boulder-sized dragon teeth all around. The path led Thales between the two peaks and around the left most one. The skinny path hugged close to the left peak while a bird’s eye view of Skyrim spread out on the horizon to her right. Thales stayed very close to the rocky, snow covered wall of the peak. Nothing would protect her from falling if she stepped too far to the right.
       As she walked around to the other side of the peak, the path widened and opened up to another wide flat surface covered in snow. Another peak could be seen and between that new peak and the one Thales stood close to was Bleak Falls Barrow. She approached a bounder bigger than her and stood by it as she looked out to the ruins before her. Large arches reached high above the path, but most of these towering arches were broken at the top. Some only had one pillar still standing or just part of one. Stones were black and grey as the whirling wind blew snow on them constantly. A large flight of stairs led up to a huge platform with more huge pointed arches straddling the platform. Most of the arches here were not broken and stood strong against the weathering of time. The arches grew bigger as they got closer to the mountain peak and it seemed as though the very entrance led into the mountain itself. She studied the massive structure for a while until she saw movement at the far left of the platform. She ducked behind the boulder that was most likely a fallen piece of one of the broken arches. Of course they’d have some more men guarding the entrance. How many bandits are out here?
       The person just stood at the edge. She could not tell if it was a man, woman, or what race. It was too far. She took out the bow Hadvar gave her, but when she reached back for her quiver, she only had a single arrow left. Shit! She looked around and discovered more cover closer up. Staying low, she snuck towards the closer cover. Her iron armor brought more weight in her steps as she crunched the snow beneath her. She only hoped that the strong wind would be loud enough to keep her silent to the person on the platform. As she drew closer, she could see it was a man with a bow and arrow in fur armor. She still could not tell what race he was, but his side faced her. She drew back the arrow and fired, but the wind took the arrow off course and it flew past his face. He drew an arrow and snapped in her direction. She ducked behind the rock just as an arrow whizzed above her. She exhausted all her arrows. She only had one option.
       She unsheathed her greatsword and charged for the stairs! The man with the bow walked sideways towards the stairs, firing off arrows that all flew too far behind Thales’s charge. Just as she reached the stairs, a strong and bearded Redguard with dreadlocks and an iron warhammer charged down the stairs. Another bowmen (or maybe a bow woman) stood at the top. Thales backed up with her sword at the ready while the Redguard charged down the steps and the bows fired away, missing horrible. She waited for the Redguard to swing first and blocked the overhead blow. She pushed the warhammer back and sliced him vertically down his chest, but he still fought on. She witnessed one of the bowmen run down the stairs while the other stayed on higher ground. The Redguard stayed arm’s length away while the bowman circled around behind him and took cover behind a broken pillar. “How about you start running now, so that I can stab you in the-” Thales didn’t let him finish his stupid threat. She plunged her greatsword down into his shoulder where his neck connected to it. He collapsed in a heap and she pulled the blade out just in time to side step away from an arrow.
       The bowman was a Redguard much skinnier and clean shaven with an almost shaven head. Thales ran around to the other side of the pillar only to see him pull out a dagger. He lashed out with a fury of swings, but none found weaknesses in her armor. She jammed her blade into his gut and took his quiver which still had fifteen arrows. She strapped it on her back in place of the empty one and pulled out her bow. She could now tell the last bowman was a bearded man with a black spikey hair. He was a wood elf. He started backing away from the edge a bit to make himself a smaller target. Thales fired three arrows. The third pierced his neck! She aimed her bow all around the edge of the platform, but she saw no more movement and heard no more arrows. She walked up the stairs after collecting anything useful from the bandits. She obtained eight gold pieces and by the end of the looting had thirty-six iron tipped arrows. She walked up many flights of stairs to reach the large entrance into the ruins. She slowly opened one of the huge Nordic doors just until she could squeeze inside.
       Inside, was a huge room made entirely of stone. Some pillars were collapsed and the room looked very empty, save for a few corpses of the giant rat-like creatures, skeevers, that populated Skyrim. A few huge holes in the left of the ceiling cast moonlight inside while a blazing light of a campfire could be barely seen behind one of the remaining pillars on the other side of the room. Thales crouched down with her bow still in hand and slowly approached. As she approached the first pillar in the center of the room, she saw two dead skeever and a dead male Nord with an iron War Axe and a hide shield. She crept up to the pillar and peeked around the right. A black altar with dragon heads for corners stood high on the far right of the room with stairs leading to it. Another male Nord lied on the altar with his legs dangling off the side and his chest on the altar. A man and a woman stood by the fire and spoke. The man’s back was to Thales while the woman faced her, only the huge man probably blocked the woman from seeing Thales. She could not tell what they were saying, because the wind still howled through the holes in the walls.
       Thales fired an arrow at the male Nord’s back, but it missed the target. Luckily, it went over his shoulder and hit the woman in the eye! She fell onto a wooden chest on the edge of the camp. The male Nord looked around, but Thales fired into his broad and bare chest. He fell into the fire. I’m getting much better with this bow, unless this is all just luck, Thales thought. The woman had more arrows and a hunting bow that Thales took after dropping her weaker bow. The woman had more arrows giving Thales a total of forty-four arrows. The man had some gold pieces and a garnet she could sell. The chest was locked, but Thales bashed it open to reveal thirty-eight gold pieces and a Magicka potion inside. Thales took the gold and pressed on.
       She descended down a long passageway that declined into the mountain. Cobwebs covered the corridor, forcing her to slice through them with her greatsword. The corridor twisted around several times, but there was always only one way to go. Some corridors were flat with altars and urns, but Thales didn’t want to steal from the dead. She let the urns be. The path never led upwards, but always down if it wasn’t a flat corridor. A few torches lit the way, but it was never too dark. There still must be bandits further on. She eventually came to another downward flight of stairs that finally led to a room. She saw a handheld torch ahead and a man wielding it. She could see him in the archway below the steps. She crouched to see him better as he walked deeper into the room below. He walked up to a lever in the middle of the room and pushed. Several tiny darts shot out from all directions and killed the man. When the darts ceased, Thales walked into the room.
        An iron gate blocked the only other exit of the room right across from the lever. Thales looked above the gate to see two giant statue heads carved into the wall. Their mouths were opened wider than a human’s lower jaw could ever open (unless broken off) with a huge plaque in each mouth. One plaque had the symbol of a snake whale the other depicted a whale. There was enough space between them that could fit another giant head, but it had broken off and lied on the stone floor. Its symbol was another snake. She looked to her left to see human-sized similar plaques with an eagle, a whale, and another eagle from left to right. She approached those plaques and discovered they could rotate three times with more symbols on each side. She looked back over the gate. A combination? she wondered. She turned the plaques on the left to snake, snake, and whale from left to right. Hope this works. She pushed the lever. The gate opened.
        The gate led to a small room with a spiraling staircase to the left, but a chest caught Thales’s eye. Inside were a minor healing potion, eighteen gold pieces, a soul gem, and a stamina potion. She took everything and walked down the stairs. She didn’t make it too far down the wooden steps when she heard something skittering up. She drew her greatsword and held her ground. Three putrid skeevers raced up the stairs and leaped for her. She chopped one of them in half in the air while the others’ rat teeth bit at her armor. The rodents were the size of pigs and their grey fur looked diseased with bare patches of fur. She kicked one of the little beasts and it fell down the center of the spiral staircase. She brought her greatsword down hard on the last, splitting it in half. “I hate these fucking things.”
       Cobwebs really covered the room at the bottom of the stairs; so much webbing covered the room that Thales could not see the stone table in the center until she walked next to it! With nothing of interest in room, she continued down the steps in the back of the room. The corridor led to a doorway that was so thick in cobwebs, Thales could not pass through without the use of a sword. On the other side, she could hear a man screaming for help. Two strong swings and her greatsword cut through the webbing. She walked in to find a room full of cobwebs and spider sacks. Several human bodies and skeevers were cocooned in the webs. At the far left end, Thales discovered a man trapped in webs blocking the other exit of the room, but as soon as Thales walked in and spotted the man, a spider as massive as a bear dropped down from the ceiling between her and the man in the web.
       Thales had heard the spiders could get this big, but she never saw one with her own eyes. All the spiders she had killed over the years, including the ones she killed earlier that day, seemed like blessings now. The giant spider’s hairy top fangs lifted. A ball of green venom spewed out of its mouth. Thales leaped to the right out of the projectile and ran to the giant spider. She showed none of the fear and disgust welling up in her. She sliced at one of the spider’s front legs.
       The spider made a terrible shrieking sound as it reared up on its back for legs. One of the legs struck Thales in the chest, causing the Nord to fall on her ass. Another of the spider’s legs struck at Thales’s side with the speed of a lunging snake. She rolled away from the next strike and sliced another of the spider’s legs. This time, the spider leg was cut clean off. The giant insect brought its fangs down at Thales, but Thales drove her greatsword upwards through the beast’s heat. The tip of the sword burst out of one of its many beady black eyes. The fangs twisted and searched for skin to inject its venom. Slimy fluids dripped, but only crawled down the iron armor of the Nord. Thales crouched pulled her sword out, and leaped back. The spider collapsed.
       “Hey! Don’t leave me here!” the man in the web yelled. Thales walked over to him and discovered he was a dark elf in full leather gear. “You did it. You killed it. Now cut me down before anything else shows up.”
       “Do you have the golden claw?” Thales asked as she kept her greatsword in hand.
       “Yes, the claw. I know how it works, the claw, the marking, the door in the hall of stories. I know how it all fits together. You wouldn’t believe what power the Nords have hidden here. Now cut me loose.”
       “Fine, let’s see if I can cut you down.”
       “Sweet breath of Arkay, Thank you.” Thales swung at the webbings on one side with a powerful downward swing. “It’s coming loose, I can feel it,” the dark elf said.
       Thales slashed a heavy blow on the other side of him. The webbing cut away and he fell onto his knees. “Hand over the golden claw. Then we’ll travel through this together,” she offered.
He twisted around and bolted down the corridor. “You fool! Why should I share the treasure with anyone?”
       Thales growled and chased after him, her greatsword in hand to cut him down. She was able to keep up with him, but never was she close enough to hit him. They came upon a large catacomb with graves and mummified ancient Nords lying in tombs on the walls. Two shelves of tombs lined each wall. The dark elf tripped. When he turned onto his back, Thales pointed the tip of her sword at his neck. “Hand over the golden claw, now!”
       She heard groans from the tombs and spotted one of the mummified corpses stepping out! She remembered what Hadvar told her earlier about his childhood fear of Bleak Falls Barrow. He told her he feared draugr coming down from the mountains, sneaking into his window, and stealing him and other children to bring back to the ruins. Thales never heard of tales that depicted draugr eating or kidnapping children, but she heard some ancient Nord ruins had draugr protecting the tombs and treasures inside. The tales spoke of the ancient Nords knowing some kind of magic that could turn mummified corpses of warriors into these draugr sentinels.Draugr! The legends are true! Thales backed away from the dark elf and scanned the whole room. Three draugr in total crawled out of the tombs. Two wielded ancient Nord axes while the other had an ancient Nord greatsword. Thales wanted that sword. She charged at that draugr and managed to chop off its head before it could attack. She picked up the ancient Nord greatsword and blocked a blow from one of the other draugr. The dark elf fought the other one with an iron sword. Thales swung her sword hard against the draugr’s iron shield. It’s scrawny, almost skeleton legs, stumbled. It fell to its knees and Thales chopped off its head as well.
       The last draugr buried its axe into the dark elf’s face, splitting his skull open. Thales charged as it struggled to pull out the axe. She chopped off a leg and in one fluid motion, she brought her new greatsword down into the undead creature’s face. No more corpses reanimated. She looked down at the dark elf with the split open face. “Look where greed led you to.” She searched him and finally found the golden dragon claw.
       She continued on through the tombs with her greatsword at the ready. Her blue eyes darted around at every tomb, examining for the slightest movements. As she entered a narrow corridor that turned to the right, she discovered one mummified Nord out of place. It was in full armor while the others only had mummified skin or were skeletons. Not taking any changes, she buried her sword into the corpse. The corpse’s glowing blue eyes opened. It shook violently before dying for good.
       The right turn led to stairs that Thales walked down. She entered another large room of tombs like before. A female draugr rose from her tomb directly to her right. Thales stabbed it before it could get out. Another male one with a greatsword rose from a tomb across the way. Thales sliced it down its chest just as it stood up straight. The third draugr was already up and about with an ancient Nord bow and arrows. It missed and Thales charged it. She hit its chest with her shoulder. The draugr dropped its bow and stumbled backwards into a corridor were pendulums swung and sliced the undead being in half. Three pendulums swung at different times. Thales studied the pattern for about a minute before running through them one at a time.
       She continued down tighter corridors that looked more like manmade catacombs than the ones carved out of the very mountain. Everything was grey instead of brown and some of the mummified corpses stood on their feet like sentinels. But halfway through these corridors, the sentinels came alive. Three were ahead of her while one was behind. She sliced off the head of the one behind her and discovered a long corridor with glistening oils on the floor and a torch on the wall. She grabbed the torch as she ran down and threw it behind her as she passed the oil. The three draugr burned in the fire quickly. She waited a few minutes for the oil to finish burning and then continued through the catacombs.
       She came to a small room with a waterfall and the stream flowing to a closed gate. A chain on the wall would open the gate. A stone coffin on the other side of the stream burst open and another draugr with a battle axe stepped out. Thales made quick work of this single draugr and opened the gate. She followed the stream until it flowed under a wall. The space below was too narrow for her, but she saw a cavern-like corridor to the right. She followed it and it led to a larger cave and back to the stream. Glowing blue mushrooms lit the cave, but the stream soon dropped off the edge into another waterfall. A corridor spiraled down to the right and wrapped around until it led to a natural rock bridge in front of the waterfall. A female draugr stood on the bridge with a sword. The undead creature charged at Thales, but with one mighty swing, she pushed the dragur off the bridge and down the waterfall.
       Thales continued through the cave until she eventually came to rooms again that felt more like the ruins. Large wooden double doors were closed across the other side of the room and a draugr with a battle axe blocked Thales’s path. He swung down, but only hit the stone floor when Thales sidestepped it. She swung sideways and upward slicing the edge of her blade into his chest. I don’t see why people are so fearful of these creatures. They are undead and a frightening sight to see, but they are weak and easily fall to pieces. I’d much rather fight more of these than more spiders. She walked through the door to find another corridor with three swinging pendulums. This time, Thales discovered a pattern where the corridor was clear of all three pendulums for four seconds. The corridor was at least fifteen wide strides long. Thales was confident she could make it. She bent low in a running position as close to the corridor she could get without chopping her nose off with the first swinging pendulum. She waited for the time the gap appeared and sprinted down the hallway with huge steps. She counted to four in her head and realized she was past the second pendulum at three and still had at least five more steps to go. She dived through the grey stone corridor and the last pendulum swung once her foot passed it.
       Her iron armor clattered loudly on the stone floor. One of the two stone coffins lying on the right burst open. The stone door flew off the coffin and smashed the top of the other coffin. In front, the room opened up to a large room with two open floors. A draugr with a bow stood on the second floor. Seeing a small room to her right with two open archways for entrances, Thales retreated to the room just as the draugr from the coffin chased after her with an ancient Nord sword. Thales pressed her back against the small wall between the two archways and sliced off the head of the draugr when he ran through the left archway.
       With her hunting bow now ready, she peeked from behind through one of the archways to the larger portion of the room. The draugr with the bow must not have heard her or seen her, because it just stood on a circular platform held up by a single pillar in the center of the room. Two bridges arched from two sides of the platform. A burning ceramic lantern hung above the draugr. Thales shot the orb lantern and it smashed on the draugr’s head. The creature caught on fire. Another draugr with a battle axe on the second floor ran to the burning undead comrade and it too stupidly caught on fire and died.
       Wooden stairs led to the second floor and she found her way across the bridges to some more wooden double doors. Thales entered a huge hallway lined with large torches and candles. Carvings of people were on each wall, telling stories, but Thales wasn’t in the mood for stories. She just wanted the ruins to end and for her to get the dragonstone for the court wizard. At the far end of the hallway was a large, black, circular stone door with three symbols and an indentation for the golden dragon claw. The symbols were a moth, an owl, and a bear from top to bottom. Thales place the golden claw in the indentation and it turned, but the door did not open. Thales examined the golden claw and discovered three symbols on where the “palm” should be: a bear, a moth, and an owl from top to bottom. It’s another combination. She moved the top symbol and it spin to the right. She turned it till it showed a bear symbol. She turned the middle one to a moth and the bottom one to an owl. She placed the claw in its spot, pressed and turned. The symbols spun till they all showed an owl and then the stone door lowered into the ground.
       Thales walked up a flight of stairs. At the top was a huge cavern with altars, and open empty coffins. She walked around the boulders and columns to find a huge altar separated by a moat. Several waterfalls scattered along the outer walls of the cave. A stone bridge led to the altar. She walked up a few more steps onto the platform; an altar, coffin, and chest were to her direct left while a huge wall carving towered in front of her. She could not recognize the letters (if those scratches could be considered letters), but a few glowed blow and beckoned her. Ignoring the coffin, she approached the huge wall with the glowing letters. Wisps of energy whirled towards her from the letters and suddenly, she felt like she knew the word meant “force”. Strange.
       She turned her attention back to the altar. But just as she got closer, the stone coffin burst open and a draugr stepped out. Thales ran at the draugr as it slowly climbed out of the coffin. Her ancient Nord greatsword hit the undead creature in the shoulder, but the draugr looked unaffected and its arm did not slice off. She managed to get another swing in, but the sword still didn’t go as deep into the shoulder as it would have with any of the other draugr. This one is tougher. Finally, a challenging draugr, Thales thought very Nord-like. She tried to take one more slice at the draugr before it could stand up straight, but the undead Nord opened its mouth and unleashed a terrible voice that seemed to unleash a torrent of wind straight at Thales.
       Thales was a strong Nord, she had to have been to be able to wield a greatsword by the time she was teenager, but she was no match for the shear force that erupted from the undead mouth. Her body catapulted backwards and her back collided with the large wall of carvings. She fell to the floor on her hands and knees. The draugr had the power of the voice. It could shout like Ulfric Stormcloak! Thales looked up. The draugr had an ancient axe in its left hand that was black and grey like the other ancient Nord weapons, but it also had a pale blue glow to it (enchanted with magic). The draugr was already down the steps and in front of her!
       Thales rolled to the left as the undead creature swung down with its axe. She rose to her feet and horizontally swung her greatsword against the draugr’s back. The draugr stumbled and collided with the wall. She stabbed at the draugr with the attempt to impale it, but it rolled against the wall, faced her as the tip of her sword struck the wall, and shouted again. Thales flew back again, this time falling on the small steps leading up to the altar in the center of the platform. Even protected by the iron armor, her back hit hard and she let go of her greatsword on impact.
       The draugr not only was tougher and with the power of the voice, but it was faster than all the other draugr as well. It was already upon her before she could recover. The ancient Nord axe penetrated Thales’s armor and deep into her shoulder. She screamed and gripped the draugr’s axe and dried up, dead hands. The axe’s blade was colder than anything she’s ever experienced. Never would she have ever imagined that her Nord blood would allow her to feel could. She could even see her breath whisking in the air from her scream. Pushing through the pain and the protest of her right shoulder, she managed to push the axe out of her and away from her body. She kicked the draugr and rolled to her sword. In one fluid motion, she picked up her sword, leaped to her feet and slashed her greatsword upward. The blade cut up the center of the draugr’s chest and under its chin. Thales plunged the sword forward and the blade went through the creature’s neck. Try shouting now, beast. No blood poured from the draugr’s wound, because it was already dried up. But the blue glowing eyes faded and its body collapsed in a heap.
       Thales pulled out her sword and fell to her knees. She hissed at the pain in her shoulder and carefully pulled out a healing potion. She poured some on the wound and drank the rest. Her wound already started to mend itself, but it would take some time. The bleeding stopped though and it would leave a scar. There was nothing she could do for the pain in her arm. She would just have to ignore it. She sheathed the greatsword on her back and walked to the altar. A stone tablet lied on top of it. A map of Skyrim seemed to be etched into the stone. Is this the dragonstone the wizard wanted? Believing it must be, Thales took the tablet and looked in the chest near the coffin. She found eighty-nine gold pieces and some glowing hide braces. She took everything in the chest and took the draugr’s enchanted ancient Nord axe.  
       Thales noticed some stairs off to the left side of the huge wall carving. She walked up, but it only led to a dead end. She noticed a strange lever and pulled it. The stone wall in front of her parted, revealing a secret passage. The passage was long, but she soon discovered light at the end of the tunnel.
       She exited the cave onto a ledge looking over a huge lake and a pinewood forest. She looked over the ledge. It wasn’t that far down and not terrible steep, but she needed rest. “The wizard can wait in the morning. She undressed out of her armor and rested on the rock ledge. She had fallen asleep on much worse surfaces and was too exhausted to complain.
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: nudity and sexual themes)
Greir

       Disbelief, desperation, and despair were the last feelings the proud Stormcloak giantess remembered. When the inferior Nord’s fist broke Greir’s nose, Greir believed it to be just a lucky shot. She was confident it would not happen again, but the iron greatsword sliced Grier’s skin from her neck, down part of her breast, diagonally down her stomach and side. Absolute disbelief filled her mind and overflowed into her eyes. This couldn’t be true. Was it an illusion or a nightmare? No Imperial Legion soldier had laid a sword on her, but this Nord, this false Nord, managed not only to break her nose, but also sliced half of her body! The Nord had the audacity to say Talos would be fine not being worshiped in public as long as a Nord kept him in their mind and heart and worshiped in secret. Who was she to presume to know what a god would want from his people? The Stormcloaks fought for the right to worship Talos. Talos was on their side! Yet, the self-proclaimed Sister of Skyrim belittled the Stormcloaks’ cause! She deserved death and Greir wholeheartedly believed she would be the one to give it to the Nord bitch. It only made it all the more shocking when Thales had struck the fatal blow to Greir.
       Desperation came next as she felt the blood squirting from her neck. More red seeped out from her diagonal cut along her torso, but she could not hope to cover that. She heard her sword clang against the natural stone bridge, but she did not remember letting go of it. The hand she used to cover her broken nose reached around and pressed against the other side of her neck, but red, warm fluid creeped out from under her palm and between her fingers. She felt the flat of Thales’s sword smash against her side like a Warhammer. When her foot backed up from the force of the blow and only landed only landed on air, she knew she would fall. If I must die, then Talos, grant me enough strength to kill the blasphemer, was one of Greir’s final thoughts on the bridge. In her final act to take Thales down with her, she grabbed for the greatsword that clobbered her, but her huge hand missed. She flung her hands out again, but just like her foot, she just grabbed air. Greir was too far off the edge now; it seemed only she would plummet to her death in the rocky river below.
       Despair was the last feeling she thought she would ever feel in the second or so it took her to fall to the water. She felt her death was unfair, a cruel fate that should never befall on a devote warrior follower of Talos. She had lived her entire life fighting. She became legendary; the Nord Giantess they called her. Once she joined the Stormcloak Rebellion, no one could kill her. She didn’t even get nicked by a single blade! She believed Talos must truly be on her side. She looked up at the bridge and saw the Nord looking down at her. Of all the people that could kill Greir, it had to be an unknown Nord. This was no way for a legendary hero to die. If the Imperial Legion should win the civil war, history would call Ulfric Stormcloak a criminal and Greir would only became a villain in someone’s tales. But the most depressing thought she had before she hit the water’s surface, was the belief that Talos had forsaken her.
       Her body sank to the bottom of the river and she thankfully didn’t hit the rocks jutting from the water. The current pushed her away despite her heavy armor dragging her to the bottom. Her blood rose from her body and spread out like smoke. She held her breath as the strong current dragged her along the bottom of rocky the river. She did not remember breathing in water. As far as she knew, she was still holding her breath when her vision faded and she blacked out.
Disbelief, desperation, despair, and finally death were the last things Greir remembered.




       She felt air in her lungs again. Am I in Sovngarde? Greir wondered. Can I breathe in the afterlife? But she didn’t just breathe, she could feel the cold air as well and no long felt the pain of her broken nose or slice. But cold was not all she felt. She felt warmth as well, warmth emitting from a leathery hand. She felt this on her exposed breast!
       Greir’s eyes snapped open. She saw an Argonian kneeling beside her. He stared at her with a look of shock. His right glowing hand grasped her breast! Another feeling boiled her blood: fury! The giantess Nord grabbed the Argonian’s neck, leapt to her feet, and held his back against her chest as her arms gripped him in a chokehold. She would have snapped the lizard’s neck, but two more men were close by. A Redguard had his curved blade in hand while a wood elf had an arrow in his bow and aimed straight at Greir’s face.
       An Argonian, a wood elf, and a Redguard. Sounds like the start of a joke, she thought.
       “Let him go,” the Redguard spoke calmly, as if everything could still turn out alright.
       Now they want to negotiate? “And why shouldn’t I just snap this lizard’s neck? He was fondling with my breast. He was going to rape my corpse!” Her tree trunk arms tightened aroung the Argonian’s throat. “I can’t allow that act to go unpunished.”
       The wood help laughed a single “Ha” and remarked, “Such a manly woman like you should be thanking him for even considering to rape your corpse.” The Argonian shook like a mad man in her arms and shook his head fanatically. “And can a man be accused of groping a breast that isn’t there?”
       “Silence, Faldil. You are not helping matters,” the Redguard said. “My lady, our friend was not feeling your breast for the sake of it and he was not going to rape you. Han-Zaw knows magic and was only healing your wounds.”
       Greir had to admit that she no longer felt herself bleeding and she did remember seeing the Argonian’s hand glowing before she grabbed him. Maybe they spoke true. “And why would you heal me? You look like a bunch of sellswords… or bandits.”
       “We are sellswords,” the Redguard answered. “But we are currently doing bounty hunter work.”
       “And do you see profit in bringing a Nord back from the dead? If I had money, it would be far easier to steal from the dead.”
       “Our Argonian friend is still new to the business,” the wood elf, Faldil, explained. “He’s still the romantic for helping people in need. He’ll learn eventually.”
       Greir felt very uneasy about sellswords. Men not loyal to other men but more loyal to gold were untrustworthy. But at least these men weren’t Imperial Soldiers or not loyal to the Empire. Even though her armor was sliced, it was still clearly Stormcloak armor. Maybe I can use this to my advantage. “Before I let your comrade go, I have a proposition for you, a proposition that will be rewarded with a kingly sum of gold.”
       The wood elf laughed again, “Lady, you don’t even have any gold on you.”
       “No, but High King Ulfric does.”
       A greed gleamed in the two men’s eyes. They may not see Ulfric Stormcloak as the High King of Skyrim since the Empire claimed Elsif as the High Queen, but they knew very well Ulfric Stormcloak was a Jarl and Jarls were the lords of Skyrim. They had lots of gold. “What is the proposition,” the Redguard asked.
       “High King Ulfric might be in trouble. We were attacked when we were in Helgen and I was separated from him. He could still be there hurt and injured. He would reward you handsomely for bringing him back to Windhelm.”
       Faldil argued, “And the Empire would pay just as handsomely to bring him to Solitude. They would love to see his head off his shoulders. There’s a better chance they have more gold. This is the entire Empire we’re talking about here.”
       “The three of you wouldn’t stand a chance against even an injured Ulfric. His voice would tear you apart.”
       “And I can shoot him from a-”
       The Redguard interrupted, “Enough, Faldil, we can benefit greater in the long run by helping Ulfric. The longer this civil war lasts, the more chaos, and the more chaos, the more jobs for us to do.” The Redguard looked back at Greir with a skeptical dark face. “But what if Ulfric is no longer in Helgen or is dead. We saw a dragon flying away from that direction.”
       “If he’s dead, then the war is lost and you can profit off his death.” Greir said this, but she didn’t believe this because she couldn’t see High King Ulfric dying. But if he were dead, she would not allow these men to profit off of Ulfric’s corpse. She would carry him back to his city with dignity. “And if he is not there and alive, he will still pay you graciously for bringing me back to Windhelm. I am a very valuable soldier in his army. Have you heard of the Nord Giantess?”
       “We have. You are clearly big enough to fit the description.” The Redguard nodded. “We agree to your proposition. Now, release Han-Zaw.”
       Greir released him. The Argonian ran over to his comrades’ sides holding his through and coughing. Faldil lowered his bow.
       “My name is Jonah,” the Redgaurd said after sheathing his blade and with a bow. “My comrades are Faldil and Han-zaw.” He motioned to each one as he said their names.
       She introduced herself, “Greir.”


       Even after several hours had passed, fires the black dragon breathed onto the homes, villagers, and the stone walls and fortress still burned steadily. The strong and numerous flames lit the destroyed Helgen up as if it weren’t actually close to midnight. Greir stood statue-like with only her black eyes darting around.
       The Argonian stared in shock with his mouth hung open.
       Faldil crossed his arms against his chest and scoffed, “There’s nothing here but charred corpses and ash.”
       Jonah glared at him while Grier ignored the wood elf.
       “High King Ulfric!” the giantess Nord bellowed. But no one called back.
       Jonah walked up to Greir’s side and reached up just enough to touch her shoulder. “He is not here, Greir, and if he was, the fires would have made him unidentifiable by now. Your best bet is to figure out where he would go.”
       “Back to his home in Windhelm,” she answered. She looked down at the three sellswords and added, “If you three escort me to Windhelm, he will reward you, if we don’t find him on the way.”
       “Windhelm is a long way,” Faldil complained.
       “Then it’s a good thing you and Han-Zaw know some magic that will keep that severed head fresh. Any major city will reward us for the bounty. If we can also get paid for bringing this Stormcloak back to her king, then we might as well go to Windhelm,” Jonah reasoned.
       “I know a family that will welcome us in Riverwood. A comrade I fought beside in Helgen has a sister in Riverwood. Ralof might even still be in Riverwood.
Skyrim: Blood of Dragon Ch 9
Finished the 9th chapter. I planned for it to be longer with many bandits already taking refuge in the ruined Helgen, but then I realized not even a whole day has passed and people still wouldn't know about the Helgen attack and the dragon. So, I changed it and the chapter ended up being mush shorter than I anticipated


First Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…

Previous Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…

Next Chapter: bruce607.deviantart.com/art/Sk…
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bruce607
Bruce Gifford
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Current Residence: Bourbonnais, IL
Favorite genre of music: Alternative Metal
MP3 player of choice: Zune
Interests
If anyone is interested, I have a YouTube account. I've been making movie review videos and play through a of games.

I've finished a video review of Bog Hero 6, but I'm really behind on movie reviews. I still have to do Interstellar, Dumb and Dumber To, Birdman, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Pt 1, The Babadook, Penguins of Madagascar, Rosewater, Horrible Bosses 2, Annie, Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb, Wild, Big Eyes, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and maybe a few more.

I have a 48 part playthrough of Alien: Isolation, the first Episode of Game of Thrones from TellTale, and I started one of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

So, if you want to see movie reviews, video game review, or Let's Play versions of games, please check my channel out.

It's BruceGifford JustMyOpinion

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:iconlorddeath3:
lorddeath3 Featured By Owner May 23, 2015
oy bruce, are ye still doing rick and candice
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:iconsatoridaseaking:
satoridaseaking Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
hey bruce...i was just wondering how you've been and if we're still doing the rps?
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:iconrhys1010:
Rhys1010 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015
Happy birthday.
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sapphirelink Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015
Happy birthday, hope you have a great day.
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nameless-phantom Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2015   Writer
Happy Birthday! :D
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:iconsatoridaseaking:
satoridaseaking Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
we still doing our rps
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cartoonfanboyone Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hello?
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MysteriousSwordsman Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
you have any avabilbe time to rp? 
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:iconsweettooth97:
sweettooth97 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
Hello friend been a while
just wondering how you are
Hope everything is going well
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micih123 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
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