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Sian's Story part 19 - Show Your Love by Killing



I've never tried mountain climbing, but it turns out it's not as hard you might think - at least, descending isn't - as long as you have sufficient motivation. For instance, if you are being pursued by four wolves, a troll, and some sort of ice wisp thing, taking the quick way over the side of the mountain could be deemed safer than staying on the road.


Fortunately I was relatively close to the base of the mountain, so it wasn't too steep. Double fortunately, after maybe three hundred feet there were plenty of pine trees to help control my descent (which had approached dangerously fast levels - I lost my breath when I (literally) hit the first tree). Triple fortunately, I ended up sliding right into a Stormcloak camp.


Note that this third fortune would have been quite the opposite had I still been wearing a collar.


Once I explained that I was a pilgrim from the seven thousand steps, they greeted me with warmth - did I mention the Nords' undying respect for the Greybeards? - and offered me food and a sleeping bag, both of which I accepted with much gratitude. I felt really guilty about stealing one of their horses the next day (a decision I would later come to regret with extreme bitterness), but Markarth is a five or six day walk through wolf, spider, and bandit-infested wildlands. Fuck that.


Once at Markarth, I left the horse in the hands of a stableboy who seemed happy with the coin I flipped him. Four hours and approximately seventy-two queries for directions later - that fucking city should be named Mazekarth - I entered the temple of Dibella. I had an inkling what I was in for when I was greeted by a woman who sported nothing but a bevy of strategically placed tattoos.


"Oh good!" she said. "You're finally here."


"Yeah, I got your message."


"It is Dibella's message, not mine."


"Fair enough."


I looked around the temple as we spoke and my sense of trepidation increased exponentially. I've never actually been in a brothel, but I recognized one when I saw it. I wanted power, but this...


"Um...what, exactly, does Dibella want?"


She laughed as she followed my gaze. "Do not fear. Although some are called to show Dibella's love in that way, it is not what she is asking of you."


"Good. That probably would have been a deal breaker. What does she want?"


"She wants you to be her Defender. She will grant you protection and strength and speed, and when you defeat her foes, all will know that the power of love, which you will embody, is stronger than the power of evil."


"That seems oddly incongruous. I'm showing love by killing?"


"Killing evil, yes."


"What about helping those people?"


She shrugged. "Some people can be swayed from their chosen paths. Some are ensconced in their points of view and will never be dissuaded. And some are just broken; attempts at reason or showing love will bounce off of them like an arrow off ebony armor or, worse, be twisted into something virulent." She smiled. "In the heat of battle - and you have been in Skyrim long enough to know that battle is an everyday occurrence if you don't stay behind the safety of city walls - will you have time to separate which of your attackers could be reasoned with?"


I laughed. "Fair point. Reason does not run in abundance through this fucking world."


"As you say. Are you prepared to be a Defender for Dibella?"


"That is why I'm here."


"Good. Remove your clothing and we shall begin."




"Yes, I must place Dibella's marks on your body. They will show that you are her defender and will be the sources of your power."


"How will people know I am her defender if her marks are covered by clothes?"


She blinked. "Well, obviously, you will not wear clothes. At least, not in battle. If the marks are covered, they will not work."


"Ah, there's the other shoe."




"Nothing, just a bad reference to an idiom." I looked her over. The markings covered much of her body, including her breasts, and one even snaked down her belly to her crotch. Two years ago I would have been out the door, but I had already stood naked in front of large crowds of people and had learned to ignore the ogling. My shame was a distant memory. "Right. Let's do this."


I expected some sort of elaborate ceremony. What I got was a pop quiz aimed at my preferred fighting styles. At the end, I was as marked up as the priestess. Although the markings looked like tattoos, they didn’t hurt. Quite the contrary, the application process felt like being stroked by a warm feather. I was covered in goosebumps by the time it was done.


I felt warm and strong and energized. After thanking the priestess, dressing, and leaving the temple, I traded in the armor I had picked from my most recent master for a robe with a hood and warm boots. Dibella's protection only goes so far, and Skyrim gets fucking cold. Also, I didn't want to be naked in front of children. I decided to keep the robe on in populated areas.


New plan, part two complete. Next, I had to find the horn of...some guy. Jerhico Windmaker, or something. Then back to the Greybeards, so they could teach me more. I renewed my vow: I'll never be a victim again.


Of course, the problem with vows like that is that the Law of Irony has no choice but to kick in as soon as you make them.


Don't feed the bastards - they'll just want more


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(Inserting a comment from the previous incarnation of this story for posterity's sake)

On 4/3/2015 at 8:41 PM, Content Consumer said:

"That seems oddly incongruous. I'm showing love by killing?"
"Killing evil, yes. Evil being defined as 'anything you personally disagree with, especially if it attacks you first.'"


the Law of Irony

Insert a halfassed attempt to pun, consisting of something like "irony collars" or something, here.



@Content Consumer

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5 hours ago, Content Consumer said:


Ahem. It's Jerkov Windwanker, thank you very much.

ah, i knew it was something like that!

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Rule number 1: Never push an author. They will write when good and ready.

That said - Part 18 was September 2021. We missed you.


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yeah, i know. sorry! it has been a very interesting time. i'm going to try to get back on the horse, though. :)

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