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Chapter Sixty-six On The Road Again


BrotherofCats

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“So, did Tolfdir get some last night?” asked Eldawyn when Nora met her party back at the inn.

 

“Well, yes,” said Nora with a slight smile. “Who told you?”

 

“Faralda was here last night, gushing about how her prized student had become a double master in a day. And hinting about your quest. I know the first destination for her quest, by the way, if you want to know.”

 

“Of course I want to know,” she told the Altmer. “And did she say anything about Tolfdir?”

 

“Only that she hoped he was getting some of you last night, so he could get it out of his system.”

 

“Did she seem angry?” asked Nora, sitting at the central table and spooning some food onto a waiting plate, her stomach rumbling from hunger.

 

“Not with you, no,” said the Altmer, shaking her head. “With Tolfdir? I think so.”

 

“I told the old man that while I was glad to help him out, I was not for him,” said Nora after she had swallowed some bites of food. “I told him he needed to apologize to her and try to make it up to the lovely Master of Destruction. What he does with that advice is up to him.”

 

“You have a certain effect on men, my Thane,” said Valdimar from down the table. “When one has you, they have a hard time thinking of anyone else.”

 

“You seem to do okay, you big oaf,” said Lydia, elbowing the big man in the side.

 

“Well, I was trained to be of service to the ladies,” said the big man with a smile. “But the Thane does have that effect on me as well. Not just her tight, equipment. I think she has an attractant scent that drives men wild.”

 

Damn pheromones, thought Nora, shaking her head. The Supersoldier serum had improved her in so many ways. It had not only increased her strength, speed and agility, her healing rate. It had turned her into a hypersexual creature, with more of the attractant scent than other women. Bad enough that she had been a damned nympho before she took the serum. Bad enough that sex was the only thing that drove the nightmares that threatened to make her mad from her subconscious. Now men fell for her, fast, and she really couldn't help it. What the hell was she supposed to do? Only have sex with women. While she liked the female body just fine, the softness of it, the gentle touch, she needed the hardness of a man at times. She preferred getting a cock shoved in her pussy, and most men were mature enough to take advantage of what she offered and move on.

 

“I need to think this out,” she said, looking around the table. This was a sensitive topic with most, but she trusted her people, and was sure nothing said here would go beyond the table. “Not a problem with most, but with someone like Tolfdir, who had denied himself so long, it looks like it has turned out to be.”

 

“Something to worry about later,” said Eldawyn, smiling. “Not that most of us wouldn't give a fortune to get what you have bottled for our own use. Maybe an Alchemist could help you develop an antidote. Something that drives men away in disgust.”

 

“It would have to be pretty damned powerful,” said Valdimar with a laugh.

 

“So, where is our first target?” she asked Eldawyn, ready to change the subject to something she could actually deal with.

 

“Windward Ruins. On the road from Dawnstar to Morthal. We've been by it, so you should be able to get us there in a dozen or so jumps.”

 

“What about the Alteration Master Quest?” asked Sofia. “I know you want to get the long-range teleport spell unlocked.”

 

“Well, we need to get the heart scales from a dragon,” said Nora, frowning. “Not sure how much trouble that will be, but we're sure to be attacked sometime in the near future, right.”

 

“Where are the heartscales?” asked a frowning Jordis.

 

“Near the heart, of course,” said Eldawyn, glancing over at the young woman.

 

“Ew. So we have to go digging around in the body of a dead dragon.”

 

“Well, first we need to get Kahvozein's Fang, a blade sharp enough to cut through the scales.”

 

“Why can't it be simple,” complained Elesia after she swallowed a large bite of sweetroll. “A special knife to gather tree sap, another to get scales from a dragon. Why can't you just use that monomolecular blade of yours?”

 

“That blade is a little worse for wear,” said Nora, tapping the hilt of the knife that was strapped to her right thigh. “It's still better than anything they have here, but I doubt it’s still in a class with the magical weapons needed to gather certain ingredients. So no, we need to go after Kahvozein's fang. Tolfdir thought it might be in a place called High Gate Ruins. So that's where we're heading after I take care of the first part of the Destruction Master Quest.”

 

“Another Ruin,” complained Elesia once again. “Does this land have anything but ruins?”

 

“At least they aren't Radioactive,” said Nora, looking into the eyes of the alien and wondering why she was being so negative. Something she would want to talk out with the woman in private.

 

“There is that, yes.”

 

The others looked confused, and Nora thought she would tell them more about her world when they camped for the night. Now it was time to hit the road.

 

Windward Ruins was not much to talk about. Two chambers in a small off-road building, infested with skeevers. The rodents were as aggressive as the breed always was, making them easy targets to take out. In the inner chamber was a pedestal, and Nora again read the passage in the Power of the Elements Book.

 

Northward, haunted northern coastline
And south, Dwemer live and toil
A simple place, a shield from draft
At this stand wield mage's craft
So fierce the sea will boil.

 

“Okay. Anyone know what I'm supposed to do?”

 

“I think you need to cast a spell on the book,” said Sofia.

 

“What kind of spell?”

 

“The sea will boil,” said Eldawyn, brow furrowed in concentration. “That must mean heat. A fire spell?”

 

“Won't that burn the book?” asked an anxious Nora. That would serve her right, she thought. Incinerate the tome she needed for her quest and it ended here.

 

“It shouldn't,” said the Altmer mage. “There's the pedestal, right there. Just throw a low-level fire spell at it and we'll see what happens.”

 

Nora had her doubts, but her friend hadn't led her astray so far. Placing the tome on the stand she stood back, calling up a fire bolt spell, the simplest of that element's attacks. She threw it at the pedestal, striking the book, which flared bright for a moment. She picked up the book, relieved to see that the pages were unburnt. And that a new passage was revealed.

 

Under Greybeards morning shadow
At this northern watch, long lost
Nirn's hoary Throat does scrape the sky.
Here unleash a chiling cry And gild this stand with Frost.

 

“Well, it's obvious that you cast a cold spell at the next stop, wherever that is,” said Eldawyn.

 

“Wherever that is? Anyone have a clue?”

 

No one did, and Nora decided they could think about it while they moved on High Gate Ruins. Until she had Kahvozein's Fang in hand it didn't matter how many dragons they killed. So it was upon her to make sure she had the blade in hand. No guarantees that it was in that ruin, but Tolfdir thought it the best bet.

 

They teleported down the road, at one point seeing the remains of a battle, scores of dead Imperials, stripped of most useful items, on the sides of the road. It was obvious that the Stormcloaks had won this fight, but as they had removed their dead there was no way of telling how many casualties they had taken. It left a sour taste in Nora's mouth to see the bodies of mostly young men and women who had died by violence, sword cuts and arrow holes marking their means of death. Both sides had helped her, and it broke her heart that they were slaughtering each other when the real enemy was moving freely about arresting Nords. Well, not in Ulfric's territory, but all over the rest of Skyrim.

 

Having never been North of this road they now mounted. Nora cast Thundering Hooves and they were off, reaching the ruins by early afternoon. The sky was overcast with clouds, while a cold wind blew down from the nearby Sea of Ghosts. Nora thought about what they would do for a camp, then decided that it would be better inside than out with an apparent blizzard on the horizon. She scouted the ruins out with Elesia, Jordis and Eldawyn, while Lydia, Valdimar, Sofia and J'Zargo went on a wood gathering expedition.

 

The inside was secure enough, with a large chamber that seemed free of undead. And a Nord woman, casting a light spell as soon as she saw the party, waiting for them.

 

“You look strong,” said the woman, obviously a mage of unknown capabilities.

 

“And who are you?” asked Nora, holding up a hand to stop her people from drawing weapons. She had the feeling that this woman was not a necromancer, not a threat, and she thought she might be of help in the ruins.

 

“I'm Anska. Are you here to help?”

 

“Help with what?” asked Eldawyn, her eyes searching the Nord.

 

“Two mages. And I sense both powerful enough to help me.”

 

“My friend asked, help with what?”

 

"I've finally located Vokun's crypt! The scroll I'm looking for just has to be here."

 

“And you're looking for this scroll?” asked Nora, hoping it wasn't the only thing here.

 

"Maybe you could help find it, I just know it's in here." The woman looked at them with narrowed eyes. “That's not what you are here for, is it?”

 

“We've come seeking a blade called Kahvozein's Fang,” said Nora, hearing her other party members coming through the doors, all carrying small logs and branches.

 

“More,” said Anska, expressions of alarm and delight warring on her face.

 

Nora realized that the woman was hoping this was more help, but that it could be even more people here to attack her.

 

“We're here for the blade. We don't want the scroll. You have nothing to fear from us.” She looked back at her people, who had dumped the wood on the ground and were looking at the strange mage curiously. “Go ahead and bring the horses in, then we'll set up camp. If that's okay with our friend here.”

 

“Of course. You seem to be well practiced at this.”

 

“And I'll tell you what, Anska. We're going in there to fetch this blade. You're welcome to accompany us in your search for this scroll. I assume that this Vokun is a Dragon Priest.”

 

“A very powerful one.”

 

“Then more can only mean a better chance of taking him out. So, what is this scroll you seek?”

 

“It's probably meaningless to you, but according to family legend it links our bloodline back to Ysgramor himself,” said the Nord, smiling.

 

That meant little to Nora, but considering how much hero worship the Nords gave that name she could see how it would be important to the woman.

 

“We'll set up camp here,” she told her people, deciding who would stay and watch the horses, then deciding that they would be safe enough if they barred the entrance. “Everyone comes. We'll set up the tents and start the fires when we return.” She turned to the Nord mage. “We will lead the way. This is what we do, and my people are exceptionally good at it. But I want you close enough behind me and Elesia that you can give directions if needed.”

 

“Of course,” said the woman, nodding her head. She got a good look at Dawnbreaker when Nora drew it, her mouth hanging open. “I have heard of that blade. Are you the Dragonborn?”

 

“She is,” said Eldawyn with a laugh. “Just don't fawn over her. We have a hard-enough time trying to prevent it from going to her head.”

 

“I am honored,” said the mage. “Talk from the people I know from the College is that you are on the cusp of becoming a Master.”

 

“Two in a day,” said Sofia, as proud as if she had accomplished it herself. “We're on the road to bring in two more quests.”

 

“No. A master of four schools? That would make you as powerful as any mage of legend.”

 

“We don't have those schools yet,” said Nora, shaking her head. “And if this Vokun is as bad as the other Dragon Priests we have run into, it’s not a given that we will.”

 

Nora brought up the words to the two spells she wanted to try in this tomb. Shroudwalk from Illusion, and Meridia's Wrath from Restoration.

 

As said, she and Elesia led. Nora felt good about their team up, even though the alien was exhibiting some obvious signs of depression. She was guessing that being cut off from her home was getting to the former observer. All well and good to say you were turning your back on the familiar, but eventually it would get to you.

 

“Let me get a little ahead of you,” said Nora, motioning to the other woman. Nora cast Shroudwalk and moved ahead silently. She had over two minutes of complete invisibility on this casting, more than double what she would have gotten from a lower level invisibility spell. The first ten minutes were boring, while at the same time pushing Nora's nerves to their limits with the possibility that something would strike from the dark. The only sounds were the dripping of water and Elesia's soft breathing from behind.

 

The faint creaking sounds of dried tendons moving came from ahead. Drauger, their raspy growling voices soon apparent. It sounded like a group of them, and Nora was tempted to just sneak up on them and end most of them quickly, but she wanted to see what Meridia's Wrath would do. If was a slow to start spell, one that took time to gather energy, but while invisible she had the time. Nora said the words and she faded back into sight for some seconds before fading back into invisibility while the energy gathered in her left hand.

 

The first of the Drauger shuffled into view. She was getting good at judging them, and thought this one a low-level soldier. Not capable of magic or shouts, just a big strong undead who would move up and try to whack people with his sword. Valdimar took him down without a problem, ebony war hammer crushing skull, breaking neck, possibly even shattering some vertebra in the thing's back. That attracted the attention of numerous others, and a horde came down the corridor, led by some powerful undead mages with magic playing across their fingers.

 

Nora became visible at the moment she released the spell, her form fading into existence as the sun bright beam of power left her off hand. Dawnbreaker glowed with power as well, as if wanting in on the action. And with her actions the approval of Meridia sitting in the back of her mind.

 

The first Drauger struck by the beam flared for a moment, then fell into a pile of smoking ashes. Nora swept the beam into the next with the same result. Four went down before she hit the first of the powerful Drauger mages. A ward spell formed to its front, and the beam of light splashed off, for a few moments, before blasting through. The Drauger wizard recoiled in pain and fear as the Wrath beam burned into its form. Within seconds it was down on the ground, too powerful to be reduced to ashes, not strong enough to keep its unlife going.

 

“I've never seen anything like that.” said Anska, eyes wide. “What spell was that?”

 

“A Master Level Restoration spell,” said Nora, looking down at her hand, still glowing with holy light. “Meridia's Wrath.”

 

“Maybe we don't have anything to worry about with Vokun after all,” said the Nord mage.

 

Things can't ever be that easy, thought Nora, shaking her head.

 

There were some traps, easily solved by the sharp mind of the Dragonborn, and legions of Drauger to go down to her magic. She thought about casting Soul Cloak so she could gather the energy of the evil undead, but fear that something might happen to one or more of her people held her back. There were sure to be black soul gems in this ruin, and she had no idea when the dragon priest would appear, and one strike could send one of her own to a soul gem, hidden from sight and waiting for some other tomb raider to find. That was something she wasn't willing to risk. Unlikely, but then unlikely things happened on this world all the time.

 

They knew when they entered the chamber that this was the final battle. The feeling of evil lay like a thick fog over the room, and the sarcophagus at its center seemed to be the source. Nora called up Meridia's Wrath once again, the feeling of holy power sending an orgasmic rush up her spine.

 

“Leave me a clear shot at the thing,” said Nora as the party approached the resting place of the dragon priest. Anska looked confused until Sofia gently nudged her out of the way. The rest of the party approached from all sides, weapons at the ready.

 

“Keep an eye out for those other sarcophagi,” said Nora, sure that something would issue from them as well.

 

Without warning the lid of the central burial vessel popped into the air and the form of Vokun was out and on the offensive. Spells struck out, stinging several of the party members, while the lids of a half dozen upright sarcophagi fell open to reveal Drauger mages coming into the air, weapons ready as they shouted their anger at everything they could reach.

 

Valdimar and Jordis fell to the ground under the force of the shouts, while Lydia, Elesia and Sofia were staggered back. J'Zargo set his feet in a wide stance and sent bolts of fire into one of the attackers. Soon it was aflame and out of the fight. Anska sent fire magic into Vokun, who shrugged it off and shouted her to the floor.

 

Nora engaged the primary threat with the beam of light, grabbing its attention as the holy light struck. The dragon priest flew away, out of her beam, then shouted to try and bring her down. The Dragonborn took the shout, just as she had the shouts of the Greybeard's, staggered a bit but still in the fight. She swept the beam of light into a couple of the lesser drauger, burning them to the ground, then turned her concentration back to Vokun, chasing his form around the room with the beam. Scoring a few hits here and there, but not enough to drop him, and the dragon priest continued to shout and fling shock spells at everyone in the room.

 

Vokun now had a powerful globe of energy around himself, enough to ward even the Wrath beam, while it sent shock spells out to knock her followers to their knees. Visions of Annekke dying at the hands of another dragon priest ran through her mind, and Nora was at a near panic thinking of others falling this day.

 

Dawnbreaker, came the thought into her mind, the Goddess' guidance. Nora dropped the Wrath spell and ran at the priest, shaking off the shock spells it threw at her, then swinging the sword that was the bane of the undead into its body.

 

Vokun tried to flee, but a Telekinesis spell grabbed him and slowed him enough for Nora to continue her attack with the Daedric artifact, scoring hit after hit. The priest cried out, realizing that its doom was upon it. It sent bolt after bolt of electricity into the Dragonborn's body until the clothing she wore underneath her armor was smoking. It hurt like hell, but Nora had fought many battles in which she had been pushed to the threshold of her pain endurance, and this proved to be no different. All she could do was keep up the attack, and Dawnbreaker hit with telling effect at each swing. With a final cry Vokun faded away, leaving behind some of his artifacts.

 

With the dragon priest gone the party made short work of the rest of the Drauger. Eldawyn ran up to Nora, sending healing spells into her. She hurt all over, but the healing magic soon took the edge off.

 

“What I've come for must be in the next chamber,” said Anska, looking at the wooden steps leading up to a platform. “Perhaps what you came for as well.”

 

“Then let's get these things and be on our way,” said Nora, sighing as Sofia sent some healing into her. She shook her head to let them know she had had enough, then brought up her own powers of healing to send magic into every injured member of the party.

 

The next chamber was a large room dominated by a table near the center. Many objects sat on that tabletop, among them a scroll sealed with a ribbon and a knife of unusual construction. Anska ran to the scroll, pulling at the ribbon and opening it.

 

“This is it,” she cried. “What I came for. And all I want from this cursed place.”

 

“And we found what we came for as well,” said Nora, hefting the wicked looking blade. “Now, to find a dragon.”

 

“Perhaps tomorrow, Nora,” said Eldawyn, sighing. “I think a dragon priest is enough for one day, don't you?”

 

Nora looked over at Elesia, who, now that the action was over, had retreated back into herself. Her implant told her that it was night, and they would be best served to make camp in the outermost chamber and move out in the morning. Which meant she could move ahead on her plan for the alien observer.

 

“It was an honor fighting beside you, Dragonborn,” said Anske before she left the ruins, anxious to get back to her family with the good news.

 

“The honor was mine, Anske. Now take care.”

 

The party pitched their tents in the outer chamber while preparing a meal. Afterwards they sat and drank, regaling each other with tales of high adventure, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. All except Elesia, who was just as morose as before. Valdimar turned down several invitations after catching Nora's eye and her nod.

 

“You're in my tent tonight, Elesia,” said Nora, sitting down next to the other woman.

 

“I really don't feel up to it.”

 

“Which is why you need it. You've been in a funk for days now, and it's about time we lifted you out of it.”

 

“I miss my home so much,” said Elesia, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I thought it would be easy, and it isn't. And no one here can understand. They go about their business with nothing weighing down on their souls, while I'm left to my misery.”

 

“Elesia,” said Nora in a soft tone, putting an arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. “If anyone can understand, it's me. So, when these moods strike, seek me out so we can talk about it before it overwhelms you.”

 

She held Elesia in a tight hug as the alien cried, then held her at arm’s length so she could wipe away the tears. “Now, I have something planned for you tonight.”

 

“I really don't think...”

 

“Then don't think. Just do as I ask.”

 

Nora led Elesia to her tent, then gently pulled the woman down on the sleeping furs, kissing the tears from her face. Within minutes both were naked on the furs, the chill in the air hardening nipples, their hands roaming over each other’s bodies. Nora moved down to Elesia's genitals, her tongue and hands bringing the woman to a quick orgasm.

 

“You ready for me?” asked Valdimar from outside the tent.

 

“Nora? What?”

 

“This is all for you, my sweet. Now, I won't force it on you, but please, let us make this gift to you.”

 

Elesia said nothing, merely nodded, and let her friends have their way with her.

 

“Thank you,” was all Elesia had to say after Valdimar had ridden her through a half dozen orgasms, Nora bringing her to a couple of more with mouth and hands. The young woman lay panting on her back, the flush of orgasmic bliss on her face and breasts, Valdimar's seed oozing from her well fucked pussy.

 

“You are most welcome,” said Nora, kissing the panting mouth of Elesia. “I think we all enjoyed this.”

 

“I know I did,” said a smiling Valdimar. “Our young Elesia has a most delightful body. And such a tight pussy.”

 

“You're not just saying that to make me feel good?”

 

“You have the physical proof of how much I enjoyed you flowing out of your pussy.”

 

“It's just that I feel so awkward at times around the other women here. I know I'm a little chubby, and that makes me self-conscious.”

 

“While I feel skinny as a rail around these well-endowed Nord women,” said Nora with a laugh.

 

“But, you are beautiful.”

 

“As are you, my dear,” said Nora, laying a fingertip on Elesia's lips. “There are many forms of beauty, as there are many different tastes to enjoy them. Don't doubt yourself. There are many men, and women, who would love to spend time in bed with you. Now, tell us about these fears of yours.”

 

And so Elesia talked into the night. About how she had always felt ugly, unwanted. How her parents had bundled her off to the academy to get her off their hands, not even a profession of love as she went out the door. The cold, uncaring masters who were her trainers, who cared nothing for the feelings of their charges, but only for the results they demanded. And how unpopular she had been with the other students, who found her introspection weird and unsuited to the atmosphere of competence they sought.

 

“This was my last chance to be accepted by the people who were important to me. And I failed.”

 

“And none of that matters. You are important to us, and so we should be the ones whose opinions of you matter. And I, for one, can tell you that you have proven your worth to me, and I believe to all the rest.”

 

“I would rather have no one watching my back than you, Sweet Elesia,” said Valdimar, running a hand over her breasts. “In or out of bed.”

 

“You're not just saying that because your Thane told you to?” asked Elesia, on the verge of tears once again.

 

“Nora didn't order me to be here,” said the big man, shaking his head. “You should know her better than that. She told me what she thought about your mood, and asked if I wanted to help bring you out of it. Which I gladly agreed to.”

 

“I, really enjoyed it,” said Elesia, a smile coming to her face. “I would like as many return engagements as I can get.”

 

“Well, we all have to share our stud bull,” said Nora with a laugh. “The last thing I want is a bunch of heavily armed, sexually frustrated ladies behind me.”

 

“And I enjoy my time with all of you,” said Valdimar. “I just wish I had more stamina than I do.”

 

“The secret, Elesia, to surviving our path is to take our pleasure and joy where we can find it. I go through each mission on the edge of terror, and you know about my nightmares. So my prescription to you is the same as for myself. Good food, good drink, and lots of good sex. And some of the little things. Laughing at jokes, or at the foolishness of this world in general.”

 

“But, you're fearless,” said the confused young woman.

 

“Not for a moment. While I can sometimes push my fear for myself into the background, it's the fear for the rest of you I can't rid myself of. I'm terrified I will make a decision that will lead to your deaths.”

 

“Then why do it?”

 

“Because she's a very good leader,” said Valdimar without hesitation. “She knows she can do a better job than just about anyone else, so she shoulders the burden. As far as I'm concerned, she's the best leader I've ever served under.”

 

“And you get to fuck her,” said Nora with a laugh. “Not what most military leaders would consider an ideal situation, but it works.” So far, she thought, wondering if the day might come when jealousies tore their tight knit band apart.

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