Tales of Adventure
I have had many adventures in many worlds existing as a many different avatars and characters. The one common thread through all of them is that they are my ideal; they are representations of my ideal self and who I would like to be. In a universe of endless time and space perhaps someday, in this life or another, perhaps my dream will come true.
For now I have my imagination and my tales of adventure. Here then is the synopsis of one such tale, the profile of who I would be in the world of Tamriel and one possible origin story out of an infinite set of possibilities …
Grimulfr Fenrirson – A Ranger of the Great North
Long ago, in a time long forgotten, a great spirit came into being who had dominion over the Great North. His spheres of influence are the wilds, winter, and the beasts of the north with a special relationship to wolves. Although he has many names given to him over the ages he is best known as Fenrir the Winter Wolf. His followers and agents, on the mortal plane, call themselves the Black Wolf Company and they tend to be elite rangers who excel at outdoor survival, stealth, combat, and some nature magic. Whenever there is a great need Fenrir will chose one of these elite agents to become his champion. This champion is giving the honorific name of Kveldulfr Fenrirson, the Twilight Wolf and Son of Fenrir. Upon their death they are allowed to join him as an eternal guardian on his home plane of existence which is referred to as the Twilight Forest. One such champion was named Grimulfr and this is his tale.
My name is Grimulfr and it means the "fierce wolf" in the language of the northern tribes. I am a member of the Black Wolf Company, a loose association of rangers who consider themselves adventurers, mercenaries, and guardians of the natural world. We are also followers of the Wolf Lord otherwise known as Fenrir, and our duty is the protection of the beasts and lands of the wild north. Our sworn enemies are the undead and despoilers of the natural world. Beyond that we hire out as mercenaries and adventurers, usually alone or in small groups, as a way to earn money for the Company as well as to support ourselves. Many of us are bonded to a wolf companion who becomes our wolf-brother for most of our natural lives. A few rare members are given the blessing of Fenrir himself and gain the ability to take on the form of a great black wolf-beast.
I joined the Company at a very young age. I am an orphan which is strangely not unusual among our members as it seems we attract the strays, the loners, and the outcasts of civilization. I was told by my adopted farther Velulfr, a Black Wolf himself, that he found me left abandoned at a shrine to Nocturnal. He theorized some thief got pregnant and did not know what to do with the baby and hoped the luck of Nocturnal would provide a solution. Perhaps it did for Velulfr found me while tracking a wounded female wolf he knew was expecting pups. Much to his surprise he found the wolf lying down next to me licking my face. After he had treated the wolf for its injuries, a paw that had gotten hurt in a hunters trap, he turned to me unsure what to do. The last thing he needed was an infant to take care off. Yet when he went to leave without me the female wolf whined and nudged him. Sighing he took it as some sort of sign and he carried me back to his home in the woods. What to feed me took care of itself as I was weaned off the milk of the female wolf along with the rest of her pups.
While Velulfr cared for me he wasn't the parenting type and a lot of my childhood was spent running wild with the wolves and the creatures of the woods. I had an uncanny ability to soothe and befriend most of the beasts of the wilds and was seldom in any real danger … at least from the natural inhabitants of the forest I grew up in. Velulfr taught me how to hunt and survive in the wild, to respect nature, and the basics of combat with a focus on hand to hand, swords and daggers, the bow, and how to move quietly and in the shadows to avoid being seen. When I got older he took me to some of the lodges where other members of the Company would meet for training, swapping tales, and various contests of skill and strength. It was during one of these visits that he met an older female ranger that he began to spend a lot of time with. She was a priestess of Mara but had a strong connection to animals as well as people. As the two hung out more and more she taught me how to read and write a few of the most common languages as well as some of the healing arts. Between the two of them I had a pretty good upbringing even if very untraditional.
I know both of them felt I was an unusual child and it was very apparent I bore the mark of Fenrir. Besides my ability to connect with many beasts of the woods I was unusually resistant to the cold and frost and at the age of sixteen I was almost seven feet I height. I soon found I also had the ability to summon an animalistic rage that let me fight on pure instinct and survival, a sort of controlled berserker rage I could call upon in times of great need. I had many adventures growing up with Velulfr and his partner Marissa, one of which gave me the scar I carry to this day, but overall it was a great childhood and one I will always treasure. Life was not always easy but the beauty of the wild provided a sense of inner peace and I never wanted for company as I had both the creatures of the woods and many rangers I called friends.
When I turned sixteen I decided it was time for me to set out on my own. It was only natural, however, that I would join the Black Wolf Company. Velulfr and Marissa sponsored me and it was decided I would spend the next two years spending time with various rangers among the company so I could improve on my skills. Velulfr was not a young man, and neither was Marissa, and the two of them had dreams of a quiet retirement at one of the more remote retreats that the Company owned. Thus it was decided and after my initiation ceremony I set out to meet my first contact, a ranger who patrolled the border between Cyrodiil and Skyrim. Velulfr and Marissa said their sad farewells before heading to the great Forest, northwest of Chorrol, where they planned on providing their services to Company by training new recruits.
I set out on my own, overly confident in my abilities and aspirations, enjoying the sense of freedom this new adventure brought to my soul. It was my over-confidence that almost led to my execution at Helgen and started me down this long twisting path of destiny I now find myself on. I had made my camp deep in the woods, a small lean two made out of pine branches that helped hide me from view. What I failed to do was properly scout out the area as I was tired and felt I could handle most anything the woods had to throw at me. What I had not counted on was a camp of Thalmor this deep in the woods. I didn't find out till later why they were there. All I know is that I was rudely awoken with a half-dozen swords at my throat. They took me back to their base camp and began to interrogate me.
They asked me if I worshipped the false god, Talos, and if I was working with the Stormcloaks. I replied that I was a simple adventurer seeking fame and fortune in Skyrim. I knew better to than to mention the Black Wolf Company as there had always been bad blood between the two groups. The Thalmor looked down on all human races let alone those that followed an animalistic greater spirit like Fenrir. They didn't seem to like my answers and decided they would torture the truth out of me. They tied me up to a tree and one of their mages began to lash my body with lightning before moving on to a variety of insidious and painful spells. As I howled in pain I began to lose consciousness. As I began to sink into dark oblivion I sent a final desperate plea to Fenrir asking for his help. I must have been hallucinating as I could have sworn I felt a presence in my mind saying there would be a price but if I was willing to swear myself to him he would grant me the strength I needed. Then I sunk into sweet oblivion as my tortured body could take no more.
When I came to it was to a massive scene of carnage and destruction. The Thalmor soldiers and spies had been ripped to shreds. As I groggily stood up I saw many had their chests ripped up, their rib cages exposed and pulled apart. Closer examination showed they were missing their hearts. My head spun and I vomited on the forest floor. It was then I tasted the blood on my mouth and saw it in the vomit. With shock I realized I was naked and my body was splattered with blood and gore. Yet at the same time I felt remarkably healthy. Grabbing a cloak from one of the dead Thalmor I wiped the gore off my wrists and legs where I know they had lashed me with fire and lighting. The wounds had all healed leaving just minor scars.
My mind was ablaze with thoughts and confusion but I knew one thing was for sure, I had to get out of here and quickly. I sensed water nearby so headed to a small stream where I was able to clean myself up. I could only find some of my gear, stashed in a trunk inside one of the Thalmor tents. Thankfully my amulet, a gift from Marissa, and my ring, a gift from Velulfr, were there along with leather armor. I could not find my bow or sword so stole a set from one of the Thalmor. Thusly prepared I headed back towards Skyrim.
Once again I failed to pay much attention to what I was doing. My mind was going in a thousand different directions although part of me knew a good mercenary should have better control over. I recalled what had happened right before I had passed out. I thought it had been a hallucination brought on by the pain and torture but now I was not so sure. I discovered a tattoo of a wolf's head on my chest that had not been there the day before. I also found all my senses heightened. My sense of smell and hearing were especially intense. If I had not been so distracted I could have easily avoided the Stormcloak band I encountered but as it was I stumbled upon them like a simple peasant.
There was little I could do but approach them with my arms open in a friendly gesture. I was a Nord so I felt I could get away without harm and I was correct. While not overly friendly they also were not hostile. They asked me if I had seen any Thalmor recently and I suspected they were hunting them. I told a half-truth and said I had seen them but had managed to avoid them. I dared not tell them the truth … and for that matter I still had no clue what had happened although I began to suspect something … and old legend Velulfr had told me about the Blessing of Fenrir.
While we stood there discussing things we were attacked by an Imperial Ambush. I swore to myself vehemently! I would not be caught like this a third time. I vowed from then on to make it my ultimate goal to be a master of stealth and to be the sneaker not the sneakee! There is little more to say at this point as many people have already heard the tale about how Ulfric Stormcloak was captured and his "rescue" by a dragon! We were brought to Helgen to be executed when the much talked about dragon appeared and allowed us to escape in the confusion.
While I sympathized with the Stormcloaks I also knew the only hope for all the human races to be free of the Aldmer Dominion was via a unified front and only the Empire could do that. So when I was offered a chance to escape with an Imperial office, who had taken a friendly stance towards my situation, I agreed. After our escape from Helgen he informed me that I should travel to Riverwood to meet up with him and his Uncle who could provide us with some aid. It was during my trip to Riverwood I met my bonded wolf-brother, Wolfgar. I heard his cries coming from off the main road and unable to resist the sounds of distress I followed them to the sad scene of a young wolf pup standing next to his dead mother. My heart went out and to the little guy and I reached out to comfort him. As soon as I touched him something clicked between both of us and the bond was made. At the same time I felt something in my mind, a powerful and animalistic presence that was giving off a strong sense of approval and satisfaction. Then as quick as it came it left.
Pondering the implications of what happened I returned to the path, the little wolf tucked into my knapsack so as not to draw attention from any locals, and headed to Riverwood to see what fate had in store for me next.
In general Grim is a bit superstitious when it comes to souls and the undead. While he follows the Wolf Lord Fenrir he also is a follower of Arkay who is very anti-undead. Grim has a simplistic outlook for the most part - meddle with souls and its bad. As he learns more that will change a little and he may see there can be good soul magic and bad soul magic. But at his core he feels it is mostly unholy.
Conjuration is bad as it binds one's will (and possibly soul) to another. Enchanting, however, is among the most evil and he abhors the practice. Enchanting basically steals living creatures immortal souls, sucks them dry of all energy, and discards the drained husks which seem to end up in the soul cairn. Necromancers, vampires, liches, all those entities deal with soul energy and for the most part are evil to be purged. At least werewolves only worry about the physical energy. While psychologically it sounds gruesome - ripping apart a body and eating a heart (optional as well) - its death like any other. Being roasted alive by a fire mage or being eviscerated by a two-handed sword both sound unpleasant as well :p Also, unlike Hircines wolves, Grim is from Fenrir and has no bloodlust with which to deal with - all he struggles with is his animal instincts which is on a natural level.
Dragon souls are a bit unique though and while Grim is initially abhorred with what happened he may find it isn't as black and white as he thinks. For one thing Dragons are not born - they are immortal souls. It seems more like other dragons (and dragonborn) can hold onto those souls without destroying them - as noted how they are released on death. Anyhow not like Grim has a lot of choice on the matter - dragons keep attacking him so they will pay the price in the end. Still Grim is not keen on the idea hence his running away from his destiny.
Grim's Black Wolf Company Team
Eir, Brynjolf, Durak, Kurdan gro-Dragol (by Binmaru), Erik the Slayer, and possibly one other female companion if I find one I like.
Eir: A Soldiers Tale
After Grim escaped Helgen he headed to the Skyrim Black Wolf Company base camp, in Markarth, seeking guidance. It was then that he first met Eir. Since that encounter just over two years passed to the death of Eir's husband, Skjaldwulf.
Eir cried softly to herself, finding little comfort in her father's arms as she watched the men bury her mother. She had died a soldier's death, a Captain in the Imperial Legion, defending a small town from a band of Thalmor warriors. Her father was still numb with shock and she could feel him withdrawing from the world already. In some twisted way he blamed himself as he had forged the armor his wife had worn. He was an assistant to the main smithy for the Legion in Solitude and had made the armor as a wedding gift, his best work he had said. But no armor could have defended her from the magic's of the Thalmor.
... Time passes by …
"No you shall not!" Eir's father shouted at her, one of the few times she had heard any emotion in his voice since her mother had died. The argument had started when Eir had informed him that she was going to join the Legion. She wanted to be a Battlemage. She was not going to make the mistake her mother had – she would fight with sword and magic at her command.
"I will not lose you like I did your mother. I absolutely forbid it." With that he slammed the door shut and headed to the Winking Skeever for the ale he was so fond of. Eir sighed to herself. She loved her father but he had become a shell of the man he had once been. She swore she would never let a man do that to her! How foolish to waste two lives with the loss of one. Instead she was going to honor her mother by walking in her footsteps. In one year she would be able to make her own choice whether her father allowed it or not. Until then she would play the dutiful daughter best she could. Perhaps she could find some way to convince him as she had no wish to hurt him.
… One year later …
Eir sighed. It was her last morning at home. She had enlisted with the Legion and she left for training in an hour. Her father had left the night before and had not returned. With a heavy heart she grabbed the bag she had packed and headed to the Legion headquarters in Solitude to report in. However she had only taken a few steps away from her home when she heard her name, said so softly she almost didn't hear it.
"Eir, wait." She turned and saw her father holding something. When she got closer she saw it was armor, some of the best she had ever seen. "You will do what you will but I cannot let you leave this way. I knew it was coming so I have worked on this all year. I even got one of the Legion mages to enchant it. May it protect you better than it did your mother."
Eir was speechless and tears came unbidden to her eyes as she accepted the gift. Setting it down Eir gave her father a hug and held him close. Finally he pulled her away and kissed on her on the forehead. Then with sad eyes he turned and went back into the house.
… Time moves on …
She could almost hear her father's voice again as he explained why he had never remarried. "If you are ever lucky enough to meet someone who means more to you than life itself perhaps you will understand what I had with your mother and why I could never be with anyone else." She had dismissed it way back then as fools love.
Ah father, if only you could have lived to see your little girl now she thought. Eir had become a full-fledged Battlemage and Sergeant in the Legion. More to the point she had fallen in love, madly in love, and she was beginning to understand just what her father had met.
Skjaldwulf was his name and they had met working together to clear out a nest of vampires near Solitude. Skjaldwulf was a giant of a man, in fact he reminded her very much of a large bear with his thick hair and bushy beard. Yet for all his fearsome appearance he had a heart as big as her mothers had been. He had spent a year in the Bard's College before getting bored with the lack of activity and the desire to be helping others. So he joined the Solitude Guard and had become a watchman. The guard had asked for a Battlemage for help with killing off the vampires and the Legion had sent one of their best, Eir.
Eir had never expected to fall in love. Oh she was no blushing young maid. You do not spend years in the military without learning to take what little comfort in the arms of another you can find. You also know how quickly fate can take away as well as give. But there was something about Skjaldwulf that was different. His mind was quick and sharp and he often would write her poetry that made her feel young and alive again. He had proposed and now here she was on her wedding night. "Ah father, I wish you could see me know", she thought before turning back to the ceremony at hand.
… A few years later …
Eir sat stone faced. She was a Legionnaire and one of the best. She refused to cry. Never had she felt such pain and fear. Even that time she had gotten captured and tortured before being rescued by her squad. She relived the battle over and over wondering what she could have done differently.
She and Skjaldwulf had been on patrol when they were ambushed by a Stormcloak patrol. She hated the damn war. She had had friends who had joined the Stormcloaks. It was tearing the land apart and playing right into the hands of those bastards the Thalmor! How could they not see that? She was back to back with her husband and they had both just killed off their attackers. He turned to wink at her and time seemed to slow. She tried to warn him but it was as if she had been stuck in time as she watched the man he thought he had kill throw a knife at his head. His face went blank in shock and surprise and then he fell over as she watched in horror.
Oh how she wished she had a talent for healing instead of elemental magic! They got him to the healers as fast as they could and now she waited to hear the news.
She must have fallen asleep as a gentle hand shook her awake. She was unable to read the face of the priestess who sat down beside her.
"He will live Eir but his mind … it has been damaged. I do not know how much he will recover, if at all. I am sorry my child."
… Time passes on ….
… Another year goes by ….
Eir paused for a moment to wipe the sweat from her brow. She had been working in the garden since dawn break. Where had the time gone, she thought to herself. After Skjaldwulf was injured everything had changed. He had become like a child, still aware but unable to communicate very well or formulate complex thoughts. His memory would come and go seemingly at random. At first it had been extremely bad and he needed constant attention and care. She had gotten a medical discharge from the legion so she could take care of him. She had a little money left from her fathers will and she used that, along with some money given to her by the Legate when she had left the legion, to support them. But she knew that would not last and she wanted to get an income before things became too dire.
So with Skjaldwulf in hand she had moved to Markarth. An old military friend had helped her get a job working as a guard for the various farmers and miners who were often pretty to bandits to the Forsworn. She had found a place to live at a large farmhouse in exchange for helping work the farm.
At first she kept Skjaldwulf with her but he grew more and more depressed and frustrated. His inability to properly express himself and inactivity was not healthy for him. At times, even though she would dismiss the thought as soon as it entered her head, she would think it would have been better for him if he had died that day. However, selfishly, she could not bear that thought and was willing to pay the price to take care of him. Yet at times when she looked at his sad face her stomach would twist and she would wonder.
In the end he got a job at one of the silver mines. The foreman had been unsure at first but Eir had told him that as long as he gave simple clear instructions that Skjaldwulf would be fine. The foreman was a hard but fair man and gave him a chance, one that paid off well. Skjaldwulf large size and strength meant he could do the work of two or even three normal miners and he never complained. Soon he was the foreman's favorite worker.
It was not what she had planned for her life but it could have been much worse. With the work and activity Skjaldwulf seemed happier and even smiled at times. The lack of in-depth communication was hard but he could express the basic emotions and communicate well enough to get by and they fell into a rhythm as people do in life.
… And the days passed by …
Eir had been pacing much of the night. Her husband was working a night shift at the miner's main camp. The silver mine he worked at was one of the last few mines not owned outright by the Silver-Blood family. The owner had recently had a major silver vein uncovered and was shipping a huge load of silver for the Jarl. Extra guards were in place but what worried Eir is that she recognized none of them. Three of them were patrolling outside of the farm she and Skjaldwulf worked at but something felt wrong. She watched them from her window and instead of guarding they seemed more to be waiting for something. Her unease grew as her military training and instinct insisted something was not right.
The farm was across the river from the miner's camp and she could see vague images of shapes moving about from the torch and mage lights set up as the miners struggled to load up the wagons for the trip. She could see a large group of guards at the bridge over the river. Somewhere there she knew her husband was loading the heavy ore and silver bars onto the wagons.
Finally she could take it no longer. She pulled out her old armor, the set her father had made, and dressed quickly; strapping on her favorite sword while she went over some simple spells in her mind. Her part-time guard duty had helped keep her training in shape although the most she had done was fight off a few bandits and one time a small party of Forsworn.
Stepping outside she was tense and nervous as she approached the guards to ask why they were not patrolling the roadways. They turned as Eir approached and by the torchlight she could see they were not happy to see her. In fact she saw their hands go to their weapons and one of them spoke, "Would you look at this lads, some farmers slut thinks she's a soldier dressing up in some play armor." Sneering he drew his weapon and motioned to his partner.
"You should have stayed inside where you belonged cause now you've gone and found yourself a heap of trouble", the man warned as they approached.
Eir ignored the insults keeping her calm and with a quick motion shot a fire bolt directly into the face of the sneering guard. Her other hand came up with her sword to meet the attack of the other two men. Deflecting a blow to her side, she ducked beneath an overhand swing from the second man and swept up with her sword piercing his gut, her sword cutting through the cheap leather armor he wore. Then spinning back she shot another fire bolt at the remaining man. He managed to duck out of the way but lost his balance in the process and she jumped in and finished him with a quick slice to his throat.
Worried for her husband she still paused for a second to inspect the men. She saw nothing to identify them at first until she looked at the swords and paused. Silver, the swords were made of silver. "Silver Hands" she hissed to herself. She looked up and over the bridge and saw fighting. Things began to fall into place with some rumors she had been hearing. There had been an uprising in the Cidhna mine and rumor had it the mine had been shut down while they secured the place. They Silver-Blood family were major suppliers of silver to the Silver Hand, a band of vicious and savage cutthroats who liked to justify their banditry because they hunted werewolves. The reality is that they were no better than the beasts they hunted. While in the legion she had often seen what levels of depravity and brutality they were capable of with anyone who got in their way.
The Silver-Blood family must have seen a golden opportunity to hold up their contract while also reducing the competition by stealing the silver shipment tonight. The guards had been replaced with Silver Hand operators and most likely many of the Markarth guards had been bribed into silence as the Silver-Blood family owned half the city.
Fear worked its way into her heart but her training held. She approached the bridge carefully and saw half-dozen guards blocking it – most likely to prevent any miners that might escape from warning the city guards. There was fighting going on but the miners, while tough, were not a match for the battle trained Silver Hands. She caught a glimpse of her husband, his tall size making him stand out in the fighting, he was holding off a small group of men with another miner, an Orsimer. Behind him was a small girl, probably Ragna the daughter of one of the miners. She shuddered to think what the depraved Silver Hand would do to her if they caught her.
She had to get over that bridge! Her only chance was a fireball but it would deplete all of her power and she could sense another mage across the bridge. Not just any mage either as she could feel his power radiating from even across the river. Yet she had no choice, she would save her husband or die trying.
Yet before she could summon the power to cast the spell a dark shadow passed directly over her. Her spell crumbled as she gasped at the massive shape that had literally leapt right over her to charge directly into the men like an avalanche of fur, claw, and teeth. A werewolf, and a massive one, bigger than she had ever seen! What was it doing here? Why had it ignored her?
In seconds all six men were down. The beast turned to look back at her and she began to raise her hands in a spell. She was confused. The beast had spared her yet everyone knew they were savage killers who destroyed all in their way. She pondered attacking but then to her complete amazement it raised a massive arm and waved, actually waved, at her. She could have sworn she saw it wink as well. She almost giggled, a touch of hysteria hitting her at the incongruous site of the ferocious monster winking at her.
Then it turned as a swarm of men came rushing at the bridge surrounding it. The beast roared in fury sending the men flying. Yet these were the Silver Hand and they knew how to fight werewolves. She saw two men with cross bolts and she knew those bolts would be silver laced. As one took am she found herself, without even thinking about it, raising her hand and sending an ice bolt crashing into the man's weapon sending it flying. She began a second spell to take out the second man but before she could cast a small shape came flying out of the shrubs crashing into the man and startling him so much he dropped the weapon.
Looking she saw a small wolf, no more than a puppy really, rushing away, as some of the men seeing it started to chase it. The wolf beast had finished off the men surrounding him and was running in leaps and bounds directly to where her husband had been holding off a group of men. To her dismay she could not see him and in a moment her heart was in her throat as she saw him unmoving on the ground, the Orsimer the only miner left alive standing over him. She raced forward as she saw they were surrounded by Silver Hand. But the werewolf was faster and it began picking up the bandits and ripping their hands off with his powerful claws.
Eir was not one to be afraid of a fight however, and as powerful as this beast was she could see it was wounded in at least a dozen places and was backing up. The little wolf was darting in and out, biting at the legs of the bandits keeping them off balance. Eir tossed a few fire bolts before she charged in.
Between the werewolf, his little companion, the Orsimer, and Eir they finally killed the last of the Silver Hand. Immediate danger out of the way she ran to her husband. The wolf beast was already there. She paused, her knees like jelly as she approached the beast. The Orsimer was watching from a safe distance unsure what to make of the situation.
The beast turned to her and motioned her over and she bent down. "Thank Mara!" Skjaldwulf was still breathing but barely and his pulse was erratic. But there was no way she could move him and for all she knew there could be more Silver Hand coming. They had to get out of here. The beast seemed to agree as he (she was close enough to finally figure out his gender) reached down and lifted up her husband's two-hundred and fifty pound body as if he was a child. He growled something at his small wolf companion at his side and then with a leap he ran off into the night carrying her husband.
Eir leapt to her feet and started to run after him but there was no way she could keep off. Despair hit her hard and fast but then she heard small bark. The little wolf was at her side darting forward and back. Clearly it wanted her to follow. So sheathed her sword and started to follow. The wolf, seeing her follow, broke into a gentle run and she jogged behind it. This whole night was becoming extremely surreal she thought.
She must have been running for hours, heading deeper into the wilds, when they finally approached a small hidden glade with men and tents set up. As she approached she saw the flag out front and she finally realized who had helped her. The Black Wolf Company, she knew that standard from her military training, although she had never encountered them before. An elite mercenary company that claimed to follow some nature spirit with a bone to grind with the undead. She had heard rumors that they could turn into wolf beasts … rumors she now knew to be true.
When she got to the camp a towering man, the largest she had ever seen standing close to eight feet in height, greeted her. Even if the little wolf had not been at his side she would have known him as the one who had saved her and Skjaldwulf. The naked chest covered in black hair, the massive size and restrained power of the man, and those eyes, eyes of amber and gold that looked cold and intimidating until his face broke into a huge grin and he winked at her. Somehow, even with all that happened, she found herself feeling comfortable and at ease in the presence of this man.
"Come, I am sure you want to see your husband. I left him in the care of our best physician, a shaman of Fenrir, and he has good news for you", the man said, motioning her to follow.
Eir followed the man, running to keep up with his long strides, as they headed to a large tent to the side of the camp. He led her in and introduced her to a Khajiit who was looking over Skjaldwulf. "I must leave you for now as I have much to report to my Captain. If you need anything just ask Ri'saad for help."
"Wait", Eir said, "At least tell me your name so I can thank you". The man paused, looked at her, and said, "Grimulfr is my name but please call me Grim", and then he was gone.
… And time continues to go on and on …
Eir pondered the strange path that fate or chance had led her and her husband over the last two years. The shamans of the Black Wolf Company had worked miracles the priests back in Solitude never could. They had talked to her in strange terms about blood clots, healing nerve cells, and repairing the flow of blood. All she knew was that the changes in Skjaldwulf were nothing short of amazing. While they said he would never fully recover he was almost as good as new as far as she was concerned.
He had been put on extensive training on both physical and mental levels and kept on a strict diet of food and tonics created by the healers. His fighting and mental skills were back almost in full even if he still suffered from some memory lapses and his reflexes were still a bit slower than they once were.
The two of them had been allowed to stay with the company for a month before Grimulfr and the Captain of the company called them in. She knew nothing comes for free and she was right. In return for their help they asked the two of them if they would serve the company for one year. After which they would be free to leave or they could decide to become permanent members. Eir did not have to think hard. Even if she had not been in debt to them for saving them at the miners camp she had realized how much she had missed the thrill of battle and adventure. She had been withering away on that farm, just like her husband. She needed action and she wanted to help. What little she had learned from her time with the Company had shown her they revered the land of Skyrim and its people and were far more than just mercenaries.
When the year was up she and Skjaldwulf didn't have to think twice about accepting the offer to become permanent members of the Company. They had made many friends in the Company and considered them their family.
Then night after their initiation Skjaldwulf took her out to the woods and had her sit down on a pile of furs he had prepared. Then he recited a poem he had written just for her. His voice was hoarse and he stuttered a few times but he got through all of it on his own. His first poem since his old injury had taken his mind away.
Eir started to cry, the tears flowing in a torrent, as she looked at her husband. Skjaldwulf grew worried and reached for her and Eir started to choke as she laughed and cried at the same time. Skjaldwulf smiled then and wrapping her in his strong arms he took her on the forest floor, under the full moon. Eir sat with her arms around her knees afterwards, looking down at the sleeping form of her husband. For the first time in years she felt at peace.
Part Three - Conclusion
… Another year has passed …
Eir smiled proudly at her husband as the two of them walked the path to Falkreath. They had been hired by an Altmer priest of Arkay, named Runil, to hunt down a Necromancer that had taken over an old crypt near the city. While the Black Wolf Company sometimes had strained relations with the Altmer they also followed many of the tenants of Arkay and hence had agreed to help. Of course there would also be payment but nothing the old priest couldn't afford.
The last year had been one of great happiness for Eir and she treasured any time she got to spend with Skjaldwulf as duties and contracts sometimes kept them apart. Their captain had felt that some diplomacy would be needed with this visit and felt as a couple they made a great team for this type of mission.
As they approached the gates they saw a whole squad of guardsmen shouting and directing people to get indoors. Something was certainly up and Eir and Skjaldwulf looked at each other with concern. Professionals to the core they spotted someone, who looked like they were in charge and, after a quick introduction, asked what was going on.
"You two are a welcome sight I have to say", the officer exclaimed, relief showing plainly on his face as he recognized the two mercenaries. In a panic he started babbling, "It's a dragon! A real fetching dragon! It could be back any minute. That fool necromancer must have thought he could control it. The two of them got into a fight and that dung corpse licker ran back to his crypt and if the divines like us at all the dragon took him out before he made it. But that dragon, its pissed now and it we are trying to prepare for its return."
Eir did her best to soothe the officer while Skjaldwulf took over directing the guards to set up defenses. He had them find any magic workers who could help combat fires and put up shields. When he heard they had an alchemist he requested she distribute potions to all the guards. He asked where the Jarl was and, not surprisingly as everyone knew Jarl Siddgeir was a cowardly lay-about, was told he had gone into hiding.
Eir prepared the best spells she knew and her time with the Company had made her a very powerful Battlemage indeed. But time was not on their side for they had barely begun to restore order when a thunderous shout echoed across the sky, heralding the return of the dragon.
Eir and Skjaldwulf exchanged looks that said more than words ever could. They both knew a dragon was no pushover. They weren't dragonborn and the guards certainly had no experience fighting dragons. All they knew was from some training they had received from Grimulfr. Yet they could not leave the city defenseless and if anyone could defeat the dragon it would be the two of them.
First they had to divert its attention away from the town. They had the guards spread out to pepper the dragon with arrows and while it was diverted Eir let loose with a massive dual fisted blast of lightning. It took the beast completely by surprise, stunning it, and it fell to the ground with an impact that nearly shook her off her feet.
Skjaldwulf pulled out his massive two-hand battle-axe, a gift from Eir on their anniversary, and with a mighty overhead swung at the beasts neck, hoping for a quick and crippling blow. The dragon however was no ordinary beast and was already shaking off the blast and managed to partially dodge out of the way so Skjaldwulf's axe only half succeeded in its hit. The axe stuck in the dragons side as it roared, swinging its tale around and almost knocking Skjaldwulf off his feet.
Skjaldwulf struggled to regain his balance while drawing his two swords. Eir shot off two quick bow shots, one of them hitting the dragon in its right eye. With a roar the dragon turned from Skjaldwulf and shouted YOL TOOR SHUL at Eir and sent a massive blast of fire from its gaping maw and Eir was engulfed in an inferno of flame.
"Eir!" Skjaldwulf screamed in despair. Overcome with fear he leapt onto the dragons head and drove both of his swords deep into the dragons neck, twisting and driving the enchanted steel deep into the creatures neck. The dragon screamed in agony and with a brutal thrust of his head sent Skjaldwulf flying into the air to land with a sickening crunching sound on the side of the road.
Eir struggled to stand. She had managed to cast a shield spell just in time to prevent being roasted alive. As the flames cleared she saw her beloved go flying. Filled with a rage beyond reason she summoned every iota of her power and channeled it into a massive raw bolt of concussive force. It hit the dragon in the side of its head with such force that, combined with the wounds already received, tore its head half off.
Uncaring Eir ran to her husband's side and held her hand against the side of his face. His neck and back were all twisted and in her heart she knew no healing magic would help this time. She had learned a little healing and with what power she had left she let it wash over him. His eyes flickered up and he whispered, "You made it. Stupid me I should have known you would have had a spell up your sleeve. I … " he stopped to cough up blood and his eyes shut.
Eir cried, "Don't leave me Skjaldwulf! I swear don't do this to me again. I can't lose you a second time." Tears down her blood and dirt stained face, falling on his agony wracked face. He opened his eyes again and said, "We did good didn't we? We saved the town, right?"
"Yes my dear bear, we did." Eir got out.
"Then I will die in peace, know that I love you, my sweet, protector, my dear Eir …." And with that Skjaldwulf closed his eyes for the final and last time.
Eir was bereft, lost, the pain turning to rage. She screamed at the sky, "Why?! By the eight why would you do this to me? How can fate be so cruel?" But no one answered her and she collapsed in a ball, alone and lost next to her dead husband.
… A month later …
Eir stood numbly with a squad of the Black Wolf Company. It was their custom to bury their dead without markings, in the ground from which they came, at one with nature. The Captain said a few words and looked at Eir but she had nothing to say. She had withdrawn into an almost cationic shell since Skjaldwulf had died.
They led her back to the base camp. The captain was worried about her sanity and her health but there was little he could do. They were lucky they could get her to eat at all. Most of the time she just sat and stared into space; her mind had been shattered by grief.
… That night …
Eir cried in her sleep, lost in a maze of her own grief. She could not escape and she ran and ran getting more and more lost. Then cutting into the fog over her mind she heard a wolf howl. Out of the fog she saw a pale white wolf and it stopped and just stared at her. She took a step towards it. The wolf moved a little away. Eir began to move faster and as she did the wolf continued to run away. Yet it never got so far ahead she could not see it. As she ran she could field her emotions fall away, her mind clearing.
She ran and she ran until nothing else existed but the sound of her heart beating, the rhythm of her breathing, and the white wolf running in ahead of her, always just out of reach.
Then suddenly the wolf stopped, turned, and looked directly into her eyes and then melted away into the mist. Eir stopped and finally became aware of her surroundings. She knew this place. It was the island where they had buried Skjaldwulf, in the middle of Lake Ilinalta. She saw the Lady Stones and standing guard over the place they had buried her husband stood four massive wolves. She walked forward, her grief returning. She had never come back to visit him and the guilt hit her hard. She had been so lost in herself she had forgotten everyone and given up.
Eir sank to her knees next to the wolves. "I miss you so much my sweet bear" she whispered. And then she felt a presence, something powerful and deadly yet she knew it meant her no harm. It was all around her and she heard a voice in her mind that vibrated her very bones with its deep power.
"My daughter, do not let despair take you. Death is part of the natural cycle, part of the balance, it is the way of Nature and hence it is the way of Fenrir" the voice growled, pulling her out of her grief. Memories began to stir and then one came to the front of her mind, teased out by the voice of Fenrir.
"How foolish to waste two lives with the loss of one" her memory said to her. She recalled those words she had thought so long ago when she watched her father waste away after the loss of her mother. Her mind cleared even more. Well she had let a man do that to her but she knew in her heart Skjaldwulf would have been beside himself with sadness if he could see what she had let herself become. She could still live her life, she would not waste it. People needed her she knew that. She could still help others even if she might not be able to help herself.
Fenrir spoke to her again, "You are beginning to learn some wisdom, finally, my daughter. And with that wisdom I offer you a gift if you will accept. I would give you the Blessing of Fenrir."
Eir knew what that meant even without having to ask. She had heard other members of the Black Wolf Company whisper about Grimulfr and how he was blessed by Fenrir. She knew what the blessing meant. She had always feared the werewolves but now she knew Fenrir was not Hircine. His gift was truly a blessing. Grimulfr had explained to her how, when he was in wolf form, he was one with nature and the world around him. All his senses enhanced. She had asked about the blood lust and he had laughed, saying Fenrir was not Hircine. He did warn her that her animal instincts would come to the forefront but her mind would be her own, as would her soul.
It did not take long for Eir to make up her mind. Being part of nature meant she would be closer to her husband in some way and perhaps it would help soothe the pain of the loss. She told Fenrir, "I accept your offer."
There was silence and then energy poured into, filling her, until she felt like she would explore and then she did or at least her mind did. Her awareness, for the briefest of moments, touched the mind of Fenrir and the world around him. Honeysuckle, dirt and mold, smoke from a fire, and more teased her sense of smell. She heard the worms crawling in the ground, felt the wind move with each beat of a bird passing by, all her senses were magnified a thousand times and more. Then it was gone and she almost cried at the sense of loss.
Yet … and yet it was still there just weaker. She could feel the power in her now, a connection to the natural world she had never felt before. She finally felt her grief settle into acceptance and peace returned to her. At that moment of acceptance she felt Fenrir leave her and another presence make itself known, only this one was in front of her.
Floating above the wolves she saw the spirit of Skjaldwulf. He smiled down at her and she cried as she looked up at him. "You have come a long way Eir but now is not your time. Do the good we always talked about and when your time comes know that I will be here waiting for you, in the Forest of Twilight, with Fenrir. I love you my sweet, dear, Eir." With that he vanished into the mists.
… Two months later …
Eir stood proudly. Her armor was polished to perfection and her sword cut split a hair dropped on its edge. She still missed her husband as much as she ever had but it was done now with the pain removed. Like her father she knew she would never marry again. She was a Maiden of Fenrir now until the day she died. She had taken her oath to herself, to Skjaldwulf, and to Fenrir, to protect the natural order and her people.
This is Eir. She is a soldier. She is Eir of the Black Wolf Company.