"Little by little, one travels far"
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Boromir sat in the Bannered Mare nursing his mead. He watched the night go by; merriment over little things. A celebration of the remembrance of some long gone Empress from what he could gather.
He had made sure Lucia was asleep before he slipped out to imbibe on something as selfish as alcohol. A few times Ysolda had tried to drunkenly invite him to her home, but he just sent her off with a trusted guard so that she may sleep away her intoxication.
It wasn't that she wasn't beautiful, and under different circumstances he would have considered. But Boromir's mind was on other things.
Only just a week ago he had gone on his own to the cave where Arkay bade him. In the depths he stumbled upon an orb of infinite magnificence. Even now he reminisced how he could see himself so clearly in the pearly reflection.
Much to his chagrin, a voice had called to him. The voice had informed him it was in fact the beacon of the Daedric Prince Meridia, and she bade him go to her temple and root out the evils of necromancy.
Boromir kicked himself for not going right to the temple, not thinking that when he got back to Whiterun Lucia expected to go with him. He still felt the bruise on his shin when she kicked him for saying no. She only now just began talking to him again.
For now, the pearlescent beacon just sat in his room, wrapped in a cloak.
Boromir scoffed to himself, thinking maybe it wasn't worth it. Though Meridia did mention the promise of a powerful artifact...
Boromir was still unclear as to the workings of Tamriels religions, but he did find himself wondering why a God like Arkay would be so quick to send one of his followers chasing a Daedric artifact. He shook his head to rid himself of the racing thoughts.
Picking up his mug once more, he frowned when he saw only a few drops left. Thinking he could do with one more drink he made his way to sit at the bar.
He was about to ask Hulda to fill his mug once more but she was preoccupied with the young man she was speaking with.
Though the inn was dark and the alcohol had muddled his vision, Boromir found himself immediately drawn to this new face. He couldn't place seeing the young man before, but he was oddly familiar. He was thin for a Nord, and not nearly as suited for close combat. His jet black hair was cut short, a ragged and haphazard job that he surely took upon himself. There was a crooked smile creeping on his face as he listened to Hulda.
"Askel, I have already sent up an order of mead to Jorrvaskr two days ago." Hulda said to him.
"The Companions need two more for tonight," Askel said, a familiar mischievous glint in his grey-green eyes nearly startled Boromir off his stool, "Did they not just rid you of a pest problem? Should the patrons find out-"
Hulda stopped him, heaving an annoyed sigh, "Perhaps I have some tucked away." She grumbled softly, walking off into her stores.
Askel sat down at the bar next to Boromir, waiting for Hulda.
"Askel is it? You're a Companion?" Boromir asked, admittedly curious, "Interesting line of business, working for mercenaries."
The boy came out of a daze, finally noticing Boromir, "Oh!" He shook his head, "Not quite. Kodlak Whitemane still says I have more training to go through. I'll get there yet." Askel seemed confident, drumming happily on the bar.
"You've been in the city long?"
"No, sir, just recently came here. The guard turned me down, so I figured the Companions would help me. Can't very well stay at home with dragons about." He bit his inner cheek as if to hold back a possibly vicious remark.
Askels tenacity suddenly made Boromir strangely homesick. In many ways this boy reminded him of himself in his youth, restless and ready to prove himself. Boromir knew it was the drink getting to his head, but he felt a melancholy overcome him.
"How old are you, Askel?" Boromir asked.
Askel rubbed the back of his neck, "Coming upon my seventeenth winter, sir."
Boromir let out a long whistle, "And already taking on the responsibilities of a man…"
"If you call fetching drinks a man's responsibility." Askel bit back.
There was another flash in his eyes that Boromir felt he had seen before, but he pushed the thought away.
"Don't put yourself down," Boromir said to him, "There's no sense rushing into growing older."
Askel seemed put out by the advice, as if he had heard it many times before, so Boromir changed his tone.
"Though if you like, I could teach you a thing or two when it comes to sword technique."
Askel seemed intrigued by the proposition, but stopped himself, "Vilkas is my trainer. He says I'm not ready for the sword."
Boromir scoffed, "Neither were friends of mine, who were much older. Granted they were significantly shorter…"
"I appreciate your offer, but I'm quite capable of handling things with a professional swordsman...excuse me." Askel got up from his chair to help roll a barrel as Hulda surfaced.
Boromir wasn't sure if he was amused or offended. Askel was young and proud but Boromir could see as the boy passed by once more that there was more to him.
Hulda tapped the bar, gathering the rest of Boromir's attention.
"Need a refill?" She asked.
Boromir looked into his mug, then shook his head.
"Not tonight." He handed it to Hulda.
He stood up, settled his tab, and stumbled out of the Bannered Mare.
Boromir woke up to Lucia standing over him. Through blurred vision he could see the frown on her face, the sound of her foot tapping the floor gave him a headache.
"You said we were leaving today."
Boromir covered his face and muttered, "I never said we."
"Well I'm not staying with Ysolda, or Carlotta, or Arcadia…whoever bats their eyes the most at you this week." Lucia began, "Each time you leave it's someone different, well I won't stand for it anymore."
Boromir sat up, shielding his eyes from the creeping sun. Lucia came into focus and though she tried her best to be angry with him, Boromir couldn't help but smile. Lucia stomped her foot when he ruffled her hair.
"You're not being fair!" She said defiantly.
Boromir just stood up; wiping the sleep from his eyes; picked her up and moved her aside so that he could proceed downstairs. To the surprise of none, Lucia followed him.
"Why can't I go to Solitude with you?" Lucia asked for the hundredth time.
"Because after I resupply in Solitude I will be preoccupied with tasks given to me. Tasks that do not involve children." Boromir sighed, trying his best to cut fresh fruit for Lucia without her jumping at him.
"Does this have to do with the daedra?"
"You're not exactly quiet when you think you're mumbling to yourself." Lucia rolled her eyes, taking away the fruit and eating it, "Also your map is marked where the shrine to Meridia is." She pulled the parchment up from the table.
Boromir snatched it away, "Stop looking where you shouldn't be."
"It's not my fault you leave things lying around." Lucia threw her half eaten apple at his chest, "Besides, I'll follow you again."
"You will not."
Boromir and Lucia stared at each other for a long time before Boromir finally sighed, rolling his shoulders back as if to try and push away the stress of the situation.
"I'll take you to Solitude when I resupply, but then you must promise me to stay in the room that I pay for."
Lucia pursed her lips and mulled it over, relenting and heaving an annoyed sigh.
Boromir pursed his lips before falling into a frustrated stance. He pushed Lucia's plate closer to her.
"Finish your breakfast."
Boromir and Lucia were cold and weary when they reached Solitude in the days after. It was early evening, a time when people should be home enjoying their families, but a crowd of townsfolk were surrounding the square. Boromir looked up to the stony platform carved into the right side.
Three men stood on the platform, one bearing a sack over his head, another with a large two-headed greataxe. The final man seemed to be of import, dressed in the finery of a guard captain.
A little girl took her father's hand.
"They can't hurt uncle Roggvir can they? Tell them he didn't do it!"
The father pointed in the opposite direction, "Svari, go home and wait for your mother."
A woman scoffed, looking at the young girl, "You should tell her that her uncle is scum and betrayed his High King, best she knows now, Addvar."
"You're all heart, Vivienne."
Boromir turned Lucia away, "Come, you shouldn't see this."
Lucia wouldn't budge, instead she stared at Roggvir, the headsman finally removing the sack over his head.
The Captain spoke, "Roggvir. You helped Ulfric Stormcloak escape this city after he murdered High King Torygg. By opening that gate for Ulfric you betrayed the people of Solitude."
The crowds called out 'traitor' and 'Stormcloak scum!' They demanded his execution and Boromir felt his face pale when the doomed man called out to the people.
"There was no murder! Ulfric challenged Torygg. He beat the High King in fair combat. Such as our way! Such as the ancient custom of Skyrim, and all Nords!"
The crowd began to boo so loud that Boromir felt his ears would burst, he tried pulling Lucia away to no avail.
The Captain motioned for the headman to begin, but Roggvir puffed out his chest in one final act of pride.
"I don't need your help." He said, getting to his knees and bowing his head. On this day... I go to Sovngarde." He closed his eyes.
"Lucia…" Boromir took her hand.
Lucia spoke slowly, "Eira says not to close your eyes...otherwise he won't really go to Sovngarde…" Her breath hitched and she moved to hold Boromir's hand.
He looked down at her, not seeing the sweet face of his Lucia, but the same stony gaze he saw in the Rohirric shield maidens. He did not move further, instead he squeezed her hand and looked on.
He felt his heart break at the sound of her gasp when the axe finally came down. All the resolve she mustered fell, and she held onto his side as if it were the only thing that could save her.
"Let's go." He led her away to the nearest Inn.
The two of them sat across each other in silence, nursing their own prospective drinks in their own tucked corner.
Despite their melancholy, there was music in the air. Solitude was home to the Bard's College, and to not have a song or two would surely be an insult.
"I'm sorry." Boromir finally said.
Lucia looked up at him, "Why?"
"You shouldn't have seen that..."
"Enough." Boromir set his cup down and leaned in, "What she may have told you holds no bearings as to how I am raising you."
"And I'm telling you this is what I want." Lucia stared up at him with her brown baleful eyes, "You cannot live in a place like Skyrim and be soft."
The aura of innocence around Lucia began to fade away, and Boromir felt helpless in his attempts to preserve it. He let out a long sigh, dragging his hands across his face.
"Very well…" He relented, "We rest tonight, and in the morning we make our way to the temple."
"We?" Lucia perked up.
"We…" Boromir felt like vomiting, "But you will absolutely listen to everything I tell you, young lady."
"Yes, papa." Lucia smiled, drinking from her mug with renewed vigor.
Boromir shook his head, leaning back in his chair to crack his aching back.
"Gods help me."