The Story of the Red Witch
Chapter Twenty Two: Impasse
Updates Tuesdays and Fridays
Warning: Slightly Contains Dawnguard spoilers
The pair exited the skooma den, and the cold caused both of them to shiver.
Serana: Tsk! Don’t you just love this vintage Skyrim weather?
Liri: Could you stop for a moment?
Serana stopped and smirked.
Serana: Heh, so now that you’re in a state that makes you no better than a normal woman you want to have manners? Oh the uncivilized…
Moments went by and the vampire frowned.
Serana: Hey, what are you doing back there anyway? It feels a bit warm… Are you—
Liri let out a sigh and wrapped her arms around Serana, and leaned more of her bodyweight against her traveling companion.
Liri: Sorry about that, just wanted to leave a little surprise…
Serana seemed to want to inquire as to what it was that Liri had done, but with Liri needing rest and fast she simply nodded and carried on toward her home.
When the pair got to Dragon Bridge the weather had turned quite poor, and despite what she wanted Serana took her sleeping nude ‘backpack’ into the Four Swords Tavern.
Looking around, Serana let out a relieved sigh as she approached the counter.
Serana: (Thank the Divines that this place is empty, wouldn’t want to cause a scene…)
As she neared the counter, the Serana closed her eyes, came to a stop, and began to put on an act.
Serana: I-is this an inn? The layout seems different but I’m sure it is… W-where is the innkeeper?
As she predicted, the woman at the counter spoke up.
Inkeeper: Faida's the name. I keep the inn. Something different about you, I can tell. Hope you ain't here to cause trouble.
Serana: N-no trouble at all! I-I just need lodging for my companion and I. We’ll be out of your hair in the morning, I promise!
Serana peered out the corner of her eye and saw the Nord mulling it over, when her eyes landed on Liri.
Faida: What happened to her? Was it bandits? Of course they’d show up now that the war’s over...
Serana: Bandits… right… So can we stay here? At least long enough to get out of this blasted storm?
Liri: (You’re dropping your defenseless little girl act…)
Serana almost jumped out of her skin when Liri’s thoughts invaded her mind.
Serana: (Don’t do that!)
Liri: (Heh, just calm down… okay.)
Serana rolled her eyes internally.
Faida: I don’t know… if you don’t have the coin—
Breton: Don’t worry about them. I’ll cover their stay.
Faida: Julienne!? Are you sure?
The Breton nodded.
Julienne: It’s a blizzard out there. I wouldn’t want them to freeze to death. Would you?
Faida: *sigh* Fine, take the room on my left. And if they get in ANY trouble—
Julienne went behind the counter.
Julienne: I know, I know, it’s coming out of my pay. Have a good stay travelers!
Serana nodded and went into their room, locked the door behind her, placed Liri on the bed, and sat on the edge of it as well.
Serana: *lowered voice* How could you let this happen to yourself?
Liri’s ‘sleeping’ state didn’t alter, but she answered all the same.
Liri: (You know what I am, what my ‘clan’ bred me for. I’m a weapon, a shield, and there wasn’t a reason to put you in danger.)
Serana’s head snapped towards Liri.
Serana: So it’s okay to sacrifice yourself? It’s okay if you injure yourself beyond repair? Heck, it’s okay if you die? That’s bullshit Liri! It’s what your clan—
Liri: (If I MUST be a sacrifice, I’M going to decide who I’ll sacrifice myself for. And I’d damn well rather die protecting you than die in that damnable clan full of egotistical, self-centered, rapist debauchers… No offense.)
Serana was shaken from Liri’s words but stopped herself from allowing Liri to know.
Serana: Of… of course… Anyway let’s rest up. We wouldn’t want to make father wait any longer after all.
When Liri didn’t communicate any further, Serana stretched lightly, placed a spare bedroll on the side of the bed, lied down, and soon drifted off to sleep…
Serana stirred and realized that something had changed about her sleeping arrangements…
Serana: It’s so soft… and warm…
She burrowed her head into her new pillow and was about to go back to sleep…
When her eyes snapped open and she moved away from her comfy embrace.
Serana: Liri! What were you—
Liri: Shhhh! (Talk to me through our link so we don’t disturb anyone. And stop being so paranoid and come back to bed…)
Serana couldn’t deny that she was quite startled when she realized she was lying on Liri, and Liri WAS right about disturbing anyone…
Serana: (No, why was I next to you? I’m… I’m not… YOUR not—)
Liri: *sigh* (I woke up and well... you looked so cold and UNCOMFORTABLE on the ground so… I picked you up. You were surprisingly light.)
Liri: (Look, just because I’m nude and we’re sleeping together doesn’t change anything between us. You were having a nightmare, I tried to soothe you, and when I did I just went to sleep. What’s the big—)
Serana: (NIGHTMARES!?! I didn’t have any nightmares! What would I be afraid of? Huh!? Tinira? That little clan? Tell me Liri, TELL ME! I’m the daughter of Lord Harkon, leader of the most powerful—)
Liri: (What was the first thing your father said when you returned?)
Serana: (You really wanna know? He said—)
Serana froze and looked at the knowing look on Liri’s face.
Serana: S-s-shut up and go back to sleep!
Liri: Not until you come back to bed.
Serana looked away and grit her teeth.
She wanted to protest, but she could feel through their link how adamant Liri was about this, so even with how she felt about it…
Serana reluctantly laid her head on Liri’s bosom, and despite herself soon drifted pleasantly off to sleep…
When Serana woke up she found the redheaded nudist standing over her with a grin on her face.
Liri: I bet you wouldn’t even have to use Vampiric Seduction on a man to get your way… You’re a beautiful woman, you know.
Her words mixed with their sleeping arrangement made the vampire blush.
Serana: T-thank you… A-a-as are you…
Liri: *smirks* That said, I think it’s about time that we departed. I don’t want to impose on these people unnecessarily.
Liri began to walk off.
Liri: You coming?
Serana nodded and within moments was on Liri’s heels…
It took the pair about an hour to make it to the Icewater Jetty, with Volkihar Keep lying just over beyond the sea…
Serana: Well then Liri, just do your thing and we’ll be at the castle in no time.
Liri nodded and began channeling her magicka for the teleportation spell…
…When she suddenly let the spell go.
Serana: What’s wrong? Are you still weakened from your ordeals? We can take the boat across, I just thought—
Liri turned to look the vampire in her eyes, and there wasn’t the tiniest bit of humor on the face.
Liri: We’re not safe there, Serana.
Serana: What are you talking about? It’s my father’s castle, my family’s castle. What safer place would there be for us?
Liri: You really think it’s safe there? With all the politics and bullshit that plagues the court? Look… Vingalmo and Orthjolf sent people to kill us and take back the chalice.
Serana: I’m sure they were sent to ensure that the chalice was returned safely… Father would never—
Liri: And now we’ve come full circle. What was the first thing Harkon said when you returned? Was it, ‘I’m glad you returned’? Was it even about you? Perhaps it was about your—
Serana: STOP IT!!! Just… stop it…
Silence grew and sat between the two of them for what felt like hours, and Liri dared not be the one to break it.
Luckily their bond relayed that to the vampire and she didn’t have to.
Serana: So… If you’re serious… then were should we go? Where would I be safe here in Skyrim? Another clan?
Liri: Before I was taken, there was a group going around trying to get some of the Shadowswords, my group of mercenaries, to join their cause. They were called the Dawnguard.
Serana’s brow rose.
Serana: Dawnguard? Sounds like something a child would come up with. What are they, Stendarr’s new hounds?
Liri: *looks away* Heh, t-they’re hunters, vampire hunters specifically.
Serana burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of their situation.
Serana: V-v-vampire hunters? Really? Pwahahahaha! You seem to forget what you’re in the presence of currently, mortal.
Liri: This will go well, I promise. Their leader owes me a favor for saving one of his members some time ago, and he’d better be a man of his word. Or else…
Serana: …Or else what?
By the smirk on the vampire’s face it was clear that Serana knew what she was going to say, but Liri said it anyway.
Liri: Or else I’ll burn his entire fort to the ground, along with all of his men.
Serana: Well, if you’re SO sure that this will work, I’ll come along just so I can laugh when this fails completely.
Liri: *rolls eyes* Oh you’re so kind.
Serana: I try.
About ten hours later the duo finally decided to rest up at the Bannered Mare, and seeing as they didn’t have any business in the town, the two kept to themselves in their room…
Liri: *plops down on the bed* I’m glad Hulda didn’t give us a hard time and remembered me after all this time… Then again, who forgets a redheaded nudist, huh?
Liri: *frowns* What’s on your mind?
Serana: Are we doing this for our safety, to meet up with your old comrades, or to distances ourselves from the Volstikars?
Liri: W-what!? I said it was for our safety didn’t I? Why don’t you believe me?
Serana: It just seems a bit much that we’re going on the other side of the province don’t you think?
Liri: *sigh* I’m not running from anything… Except the person who’s haunting your dreams.
Serana: What’s that’s supposed to mean?
Liri: Drop the act, because I know that Harkon was more interested in the Elder Scroll than you when you returned with Rosalie. For what, that I don’t know.
Serana: Dammit… If you’ve figured that out, I'm guessing you figured this part out already, but my father's not exactly a good person. Even by vampire standards.
Serana: He wasn't always like that, though. There was... a turn. He stumbled onto this obscure prophecy and just kind of lost himself in it.
Liri: What do you mean... ‘Lost himself’?
Serana: He just became absorbed... obsessed. It was kind of sick, actually. The prophecy said that vampires would no longer need to fear the sun.
Liri: Sit down. *hugs Serana* Go on.
Serana: For someone who fancied himself as vampire royalty, that's pretty seductive… A-anyway, my mother and I didn't feel like inviting a war with all of Tamriel, so we tried to stop him.
Liri: So THAT’S why you were sealed away with the Scroll…
Serana: *nods* I did my best to keep the details from you… But since I feel.. I know I can trust you, I thought it was best not to keep secrets…
Liri grabbed Serana by the hand and smiled.
Liri: And as much as it might seem weird to say this after what I’ve been through, I know I can trust you as well…
Liri let go of Serana and took a step back.
Liri: *smiles* All we have to do is convince those Vampire Hunters that you’re worthy of their trust as well.
Serana: …Do you miss him?
Liri: Who, Silas? Well… I just hope he’s doing well is all. This IS Tinira we’re talking about. Who knows what kind of—
Serana: Why did your mind immediately go to Silas when I said ‘him’?
Liri: Then who are you talking a—
Serana: So you DON’T miss the little shows that you used to give ‘him’? From your memories of him, the private time you shared seemed to be relaxing and comforting for you both…
Liri faced away from Serana and sighed.
Liri: And here I thought that you weren’t going to peer into my thoughts like other vampires have…
Serana: I’m sorry. But they’re just leaking out over our link…
Jensgr, the man in question, appeared before Liri and made her sigh again. She had been wondering how he and the rest of the Shadowswords were holding up, and she DID enjoy the time they had shared…
Liri: Ugh… Just drop it, okay. I thought about Silas first because I KNOW he’s in immediate danger. As for Jensgr… He and the Shadowswords can handle themselves.
Liri: Besides, I think my love life should be the least of your concerns.
Serana: Why’s that?
Liri: If my memory isn’t failing me, last I heard Isran had become very paranoid in his dealings with vampires…
Innis: Ugh… Wha… Where am I…
???: Heh, glad to see you’re back with the living. Your sister would kill me if you had died in my care.
Innis’s eyes shot in the direction of the voice, and her eyes went wide with rage.
Innis: YOU! You’re the asshole who attacked me and—
Innis searched about her for her companion, but to no avail.
???: What’s that? I couldn’t hear you.
Innis: Aumida! You better not have hurt her or I’ll skewer you alive!
Innis fell forward, and the man before her burst out laughing infuriating her even further.
Innis: Do you think this is a laughing matter? As soon as I break out of these restraints, I’m going to—
???: Calm down, calm down. Heh, you’re just as feisty as your sister. It’s definitely uncanny.
Innis glared at him again, and the man straightened up… as best he could.
???: You’re half right. .Someone who looked like me DID attack you, but it wasn’t me.
Innis: Why should I believe you? And how do you know my sister?
???: I’m part of the reason your sister is even still alive right now.
Innis: Who… are you?
The man couldn’t help but smirk.
???: This dwelling happens to belong to my clan, and thus I say as Master Vampire Silas, Head of Clan Volstikar, welcome to Proudspire Manor.