Chapter 5

So…

XXX

It was the next day, before sunrise. I woke in the night to a nightmare of wings and fire and falling sky. Fighting for my life and looking up at a man who killed with no remorse, indiscriminately and with no hesitation. His eyes weren't hard, I really couldn't see any hate in them, but the bloodlust was undeniable. A gaze that perused his enemies with a little too much interest, enthusiasm even. Like he was looking for a challenge. Yet he didn't fight like a true warrior, he was sly and sneaky and without honor. He stabbed them in the back without bothering to see their faces, ripped through their skulls with barbed arrows making their faces all but recognizable. It wasn't so much a challenge he was looking for, but then what? And I wondered, why didn't he kill me too?

I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep more that night, too much to think about. It's hard for me to sleep when I know I have to do something in the morning, namely travel by foot through a land I thought wasn't real, which has magic and dragons and swords… I quickly shuttled out of my tiny inn room while putting on my boots, staying in my night dress Delphine had given me when I had arrived back last night, ass caked with yet more mud. Thank you, Delphine, you absolute goddess of a katana wielding woman.

I creaked open the door to other spare inn room, not really sure why I was doing it. I didn't plan to wake him up, I just felt… very lonely. I peeked into his room to find the bed just as empty as mine, and figured he stepped out for some fresh air. I shuffled myself to the inn door, yawning and stretching my aching shoulders every which way. It was still beautiful outside, with the two moons flowing soft light onto Nirn. From far away was thunder and lightning, at a distance over the mountains. It had rained at some point during the night here, leaving a fresh earthy rain smell that filled my soul with nostalgic memories. I almost expected to find my dad outside on the porch, lighting a cigar. I wandered down the street, looking for Resan.

I ambled down to the Riverwood Trader after a few minutes with no sign of the sneaky archer. The sky began to mist down, making my dress sticky with humidity. Sitting down in front of the door, I took a moment to breathe.

"Can you read?" I looked at the book, and plucked it delicately out of his hands. I flipped it to a random page."Looks like I can." I said, sounding sarcastic but simply being exhausted by this world.He crossed his arms and looked down his nose at me. I cringed, and muttered a sorry for being sarcastic, and that yes I can read."This is a basic Illusion spellbook. It'll help you lay the foundation of your Illusion study and apply the basics." I continued to flip through the book, until he cleared his throat at me and raised his eyebrow.I flushed. "Oh, yes, thank you so much for the book. I'll study it and make the most of it. Thank you." He nodded, satisfied at my response."I'll see you in the morning."

At my core, warmth bloomed. Like a static ball, it seemed without shape but had texture. The way electricity had texture, but softer and stretchy. At least, that's how it felt to me. A warm dust bunny, you could say. Almost wirey. It sort of set my teeth on edge, the way an uncomfortable fabric would, or biting something unpleasant. Yet it was warm like a sauna but only in your chest. It was an acquired feeling, not everyone liked it but some learned to crave it. Honestly, it just made me miss cigarettes. Do they have a type of cigarette here? They must, I refuse to believe smoking doesn't exist here.

I stretched the inner dust bunny out, making me shiver as it traveled through my right arm and pooled in my palm. A small light started to glow, watery yet fluffy. I tried to push it up and out of my hand, but as it left contact it melted into nothing, the way cotton candy does the second you put it in your mouth.

I fell backward with a yelp as the door I was leaning against opened. As I lay there trying to get the sudden taste of cotton candy out of my mouth, I stared upward into the grey-brown eyes of Camilla.

"Are you okay?!" She whispered hurriedly, helping me up as I dusted myself off. She closed the door behind us, and I noted that we were alone in the shop. I waved off her concern with some embarrassment, trying not to get my face red like a tomato but ultimately failing, we continued in hushed whispers.

"What were you doing there?" She asked with a crinkled smile, standing just a foot apart from me.

"Well, I was wandering looking around the town and I decided to sit and I guess…" I trailed off, suddenly trying to look anywhere but at her breasts, which were very nearly visible through her nearly sheerless night dress. Do people here really sleep in stuff like this?! There is no way.

She nodded at me with an expectant look on her face. "And you guess..?"

I rubbed my arm. "Well.." I cast about in my head for a moment. "What was that letter you got earlier?" I asked, sounding a little too casual.

Her smile uncrinkled, and then faded. "It was a friend of mine, Sven."

"Do you mind me asking about it?" I said, the two of us moving to take a seat at the table in front of the empty fireplace.

Camilla calmly grasped her hands together and placed them in her lap, and let out a small sigh. "No, it's quite alright. It's just… he was one of the few friends I had here, but now he is gone."

"Gone?" I quirked my brow. "Do you mean.."

She shook her head. "He left to join the Stormcloaks, and while he isn't actually gone forever.. I guess he might as well be." She frowned.

I fiddled my thumbs together on the table, leaning on my elbows. "I'm sorry that you lost a friend."

She furrowed her eyebrows. "I would be too, but the thing is.. I'm not all too sad I lost him. In his letter, he said a bit too much… About me, about what kind of life we'd have if only I had thought of him that way. But his fantasy of us just shows what a vapid man he was." She humphed. "Me, a housewife? Can you imagine." She left out a breathy laugh, and then looked sideways at me making me flush a little. "I know we haven't known each other long, but I assure you that anyone who loved me would know that I simply can't have a life like that. I'm stifled as I am living under my brother." She huffed and smiled knowingly at me. I cracked a smile.

"I know. You want to be an adventurer."

"Yes. It's all I want to do." Her eyes started to burn. "My father taught my brother how to barter, but he taught me the finer arts of magic." She looked around suspiciously, and hastily leaned to close some of the gap between us over the table. She brought her finger tips together, and I could feel the fluffy static build between us. The tingle built a little in my own core and traveled very lightly over my bare skin. I watched her chest rise and fall. She brought her fingers apart slowly, and between them tendrils of light appeared. I held my breath as they formed into a pure ball of magelight, no liquid form or melting. Her eyes shown with excitement, potential, and even mischief. I blinked, and just like that it was gone. Spots swirled in my vision. She put her hands back on her lap. "I know so much, but nothing to do with it. My brother won't support me leaving, and all I've ever known is Riverwood." Her eyes were dim once again.

"Fuck him, he can't tell you what to do." A little louder than the rest of our conversation has been. She looked at me, taken aback. I reiterated. "Fuck him. I don't mean literally, but you are no longer a child, and he can't dictate your life like you are one."

She looked at me softly "But.."

"No, the only person holding you back here is yourself. I know it's probably scary and far easier to stay here, but it's not your only choice."

She studied at her hands, and we both fell into silence.

XXX

"Are you ready?"

The Bosmer nodded, conviction set in the lines of his mouth and eyes. He gazed intently upon the canvas bag between the two of them, and his jaw clenched. His voice was calm, set. "I am done being prey to the whims of jealous men."

Resan stood back from the canvas bag and observed his companion, searching his face for any hesitancy. Satisfied, turned away from Faendal back towards Riverwood, and swiftly left. Leaving Faendal to his task.

Pulling open the head of bag and yanking it down, he was met with the unconscious body of Sven. Sven the ignorant, the traitor, the faceless, the foolish. No longer would he burden this town. With a well used shovel, Faendal began to dig. He dug and dug, past what would have been an appropriate amount. This, he promised, would be the last time anybody saw him. And once day did break several hours later, it found Sven buried under with a slit throat, and a resolute Bosmer making his way towards the river with a spare change of clothes and a small bundle of firewood.