Skyrim Story - After Her Legend: Part 1: Two Years Later
The cold wind blew across the central tundra of Skyrim more so this time of the year than any. It's the 21st of Evening Star in the year 4E 203. It had been over two years since her journey started and she's accomplished the most amazing feat since the Oblivion Crisis was resolved, she has become the Dragonborn of Legend and slew Alduin the Worldeater. Though she's achieved more than just fulfilling her destiny.
Derbana the Third walked east across the tundra, having taken care of guild business the past two weeks. With her thirst for adventure quelled for now, all she wanted to do was return to her cozy home in Whiterun and dive underneath her fur blankets in the master bedroom. There was also another reason for her to return home.
She turned sharply and gazed behind her, every single instinct telling her she was being followed. However with such terrain consisting of low rolling hills, small boulders, and short bushes; it would be hard for even her to hide in these conditions. After a moment or two of scanning, she glared at the empty scenery and continued on her way.
A few moments later, a boot stepped out of thin air and the rest of the body followed. Seemingly concealed from nowhere, a person stood wearing a hooded Thalmor robe and he waited until Derbana was further along before tailing her again.
The guards of Whiterun saluted her as she passed for not only being their Thane, but for her efforts in the Battle of Whiterun. She saluted back and made her way into the city. Her house, Breezehome, wasn't far from the gate. Pausing for a brief moment, she took a deep breath and entered through the front door.
“Honey, I'm home.” She took off her Dragonscale armor and got into regular clothes.
“Derbana? Is that you?” Her husband spoke from the backroom.
“Yes, Love. It's me.”
Sondas Drenim smiled as he walked into the living room, “Married not for a month and you left after the honeymoon.”
“I'm sorry, I had some...uh, guild business to take care of.”
“So...was it you that stole that flawless diamond from Solit...” She pressed two fingers against his lips while sporting a big smile.
“Ask me no questions and I won't tell you any lies.”
He rolled his eyes, “I should have known what I was getting into when I married you.”
She smiled while wrapping her arms around his shoulders, “You were getting a wonderful woman and I was getting a wonderful man.” She didn't see his expression changed, “I'm sorry about leaving without saying anything, I hope you weren't worried.”
He bore a small smile, “I was at first, but I had my work at the store and I took up alchemy to pass the time. After all, I did know what I was getting into the first time I saw you.”
She smiled, it was only a few months ago they first met.
Derbana was heading from Riften and took a shortcut down the mountain toward Windhelm. It was here she came across the Goldenrock Mine, however she couldn't believe the situation she was in. Everyone else was busy at camp, so she entered the mine, hoping someone would help her.
“Excuse me?” She asked the miner who was harvesting the corundum ore with his pickaxe.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, I'm lost and I was hoping you could...”
He sighed, “Not another one. Listen, this mine has been claimed and all the copies are kept under lock-and-key with the original paperwork filed in Windhelm.”
“The money we make here keeps us fed and we'd appreciate it if you left us alone.”
“No, seriously, I'm...”
Sondas turned around, “What...”
He paused because of the heavenly looking Dark Elf woman standing before him, he noticed every detail about her from her cute face to the weapons she wore, his attitude instantly changed as he fake coughed into his hand.
“I'm sorry about my rudeness just now. We get so many others who want to take this mine away from us, I mean not you and me, but the people here.”
She noticed him too: His board shoulders, his rough hands, and his handsome smile. She blushed, trying not to show it.
“Not a problem. We...I mean...me, I mean I was taking a shortcut down the mountains and I don't recognize this part of the Eastmarch, I was on my way to Windhelm and thought this way would be faster, but evidently not.”
“Windhelm? I can tell you the fastest route to get there if you'd help us.”
Though she'd done many quests her two years in Skyrim, how could she refuse especially when coming from a handsome Dunmer.
“Sure. I'd be glad to help.”
“If you could deliver this note to Quintus Navale, he...”
“Runs the White Phial in Windhelm, I know him. I've helped him a while back. All you need is a simple delivery? Not a problem, now about that fastest route again?”
They walked outside where he instructed her with ease the fastest way to get to Windhelm. As she left, she turned to see him waving goodbye while walking backwards toward his tent. Not seeing the rock there, he stumbled back and fell on his behind. The act of which caused Derbana to giggle as she vanished out of sight.
Sondas told her later he'd hope she'd be the one delivering the supplies, but the couriers said she needed to head back to Riften immediately to take care of some business there and he continued mining for three months while his mind kept thinking about the chance encounter with the beautiful Dunmeri woman who in his excitement of meeting her, forgot to ask for her name.
Then it was the 30th of Sun's Dusk(November), it was like any other day. He swung his pickaxe high and chipped away at the corundum ore. He sighed and then a hand landed on his shoulder.
“Can you help me? I'm lost.”
He remembered that angelic voice. Turning around, Derbana stood there with a wide smile and her free hand caressing the amulet hanging around her neck.
“Is that...an Amulet of Mara?”
“Yes, I mean, if you and I...would you...I mean, are you interested?” She shrugged. Sneaking, stealing, killing close and from afar were no problems for her while marriage and love were new. This was the first time she'd ever felt like this.
He scooped his fingers under her chin and smiled, “Yes, I am.”
Her smile lit up the dark mine as he brought himself closer to her. Lifting Derbana off the ground, he started walking toward the exit.
“What are you doing?”
“Carrying you as far as I can.”
“You don't...” She was stopped as he kissed her forehead.
“If I'm to be your husband, I will carry all your burdens.”
She smiled at the sentiment, though he didn't carry her far. In fact, they had yet to make it to the road before he tired out. They spent the rest of the day traveling south until they rested at Shor's Watchtower where they spent the night.
“So, you're not from Morrowind either?” Derbana asked.
“I keep hearing stories about it, sounds like a wretched place. And you?”
“I was raised in the Imperial City mostly. My mother...she was...so special. Her job demanded her being away from home most days. The nanny she hired, Antala, raised me when she was gone.”
“And your father?”
She gripped her shoulders hard and winced, “Never knew him, he sacrificed himself to save my mother while she was carrying me. The only man I knew growing up was Petrallus, an Imperial swordsman, a good man.”
“Derbana, that name sounds familiar.”
“Which one? There's three, remember.”
“So, I was right. You're the Dragonborn.”
“Not a fact I'd like to shout to the heavens. How'd you know?”
“I had my suspicions since I first laid eyes on you. Most folks that bother the mine arrive in simple or nobleman's clothes. Besides, only the Dragonborn would be walking around in armor made of dragon scales.”
She giggled, “Yeah, I guess so. But that's not all.”
“Oh...” He slid a hand up her side, “there's more?”
She removed his hand, “Later, it's getting late already and we still got a ways to go before we reach Riften.”
“You're right. Tomorrow, then.”
He slid himself over to one side of the room.
“What are you doing?”
“Being honorable, we aren't married yet, after all.”
He slept on his side facing the wall. She smiled, the warm feeling inside her grew, making her feel all happy. She slept and was greeted with a warm meal by her soon-to-be husband. Afterward, they continued south following the road.
“So you've only been in Skyrim for over two years, you head the Companions and are the Archmage for the College of Winterhold.”
“And fulfilling my destiny as the Dragonborn.”
“Love, correct me if I'm wrong. Wasn't the Dragonborn also the one who executed Ulfric Stormcloak and ended the civil war in favor of the Empire?”
“Yes, I couldn't say I didn't enjoy it. He represented the worst of man, he's what Petrallus would have been if all his good were removed.” Her anger rose.
She felt his two hands squeeze her shoulders, Sondas said, “That man didn't make it easy for any of us Mer, restricting us to a small portion of Windhelm, which is why I left it all behind and found work at the mine. But he's gone, he'll never harm anyone ever again. He rests in Sovngarde according to his followers and that's where he'll remain.”
Derbana shook her head softly. She never told anyone that she used her preferred weapon to slay him, she confirmed it before she defeated Alduin. Ulfric doesn't rest in Sovngarde, his soul belongs to Oblivion where the nightmare for him is only beginning.
“Oh, another thing, Love. If you felt the way I did, why'd you wait three months?”
“I had some business to take care of with the guild. Something I had to square away before being with you.”
“Which guild? They told me you were heading for Rift...wait, the rumors say the...are you, well, are you?”
She sighed, “Yes, I'm the guild master of that guild, too. But, it's only because I owed a few debts for information to stop Alduin. I didn't want it to go that far, but it did.”
“If you want to head back, I understand. It's not easy to get married especially to the interesting life of the Dragonborn.” Derbana started heading back when he hugged her.
“Being honest has only made me love you more. We haven't known each other long.”
“Less than three days?”
“Let me finish, we haven't known each other long, we found love and in this harsh land it blooms so rarely. Even if I knew all your secrets, I'd happily marry you.”
He kissed her and continued walking down the road while she looked away, hoping it would never come to that.
Arriving in Riften by the late afternoon, the pair walked into the Temple of Mara and greeted Maramal, a priest who specializes in marriages. They gave their intent to marry, which was great news to all within earshot. However, it meant that they would have to wait until morning and they would be separated from each other for the sake of ceremony. This led to a necessary discussion.
“I have a house here, you can stay there while I stay with friends.” Derbana offered, but Sondas held her hands.
“There will be no need for that, Love. I will stay at the Bee and Barb. There's no need to worry, we will be married tomorrow and then discuss where we should live.”
“I'd like that...but are you sure you don't want the house? I'm kind of well-connected in this city.”
“No, it will only be for one night. Let it not trouble you further.”
“Okay, but as a word of advice, there's a woman who usually spends her time in the tavern there, she'll be leaning near the stairs, her name is Sapphire, don't even look at or talk to her.”
He nodded and with one last kiss, they went their separate ways for the evening. In her cozy home of Honeyside, she prepared herself a small meal for dinner and afterward, quickly went under her bedsheets. Inside her heart was a mixture of sadness and excitement, the excitement of being married and sadness from not being in the arms of the one she loves. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
“Yes, my daughter?”
“I was wondering...what's it like to be in love?”
“A strange question coming from a six year-old, where did this come from?”
“I found some of your letters. You must have really love daddy to say those words.”
Her mother smiled, “It's hard to describe, everyone feels love differently, but the one thing that remains the same for everyone is you feel it here...” She gestured to her chest, “in your heart.”
“Will I ever feel it, mommy?”
She smiled and laughed, kissing her on the forehead.
“When you find the right man, sweetie, then you will know.”
“But how, mommy? How?”
“You just will, that's all there is to love.”
She leaped at her mother and hugged her, “Like how I feel about you, mommy!”
“Yes, my daughter.” She kissed her forehead again, “Like how I feel about you, too.”
They both laughed and enjoyed this rare moment of happiness together.
On her bed, Derbana smiled at her dream and yet a single tear escaped and rolled down her cheek.
The next morning she awoke and dressed in the best clothes she had. It was about six in the morning, so everyone should be gathering for the ceremony and Sondas as well. She smiled, wondering what his smile would be like when he saw her. Then a flood of questions entered her mind.
“Am I too well dressed? What if he says no? What if something happens during the ceremony? What if? What if? What if?”
Then she took a deep breath and walked up the stairs to the Temple of Mara. With another deep breath, she entered the Temple.
“And here's the blushing bride now.” Maramal greeted her with a smile.
As she slowly walked down the aisle, taking a brief look at the faces seated on either side of her. Her survival instincts took over as she briefly memorized those who attended. Then, there sat a familiar face in the bride's section of the gallery. Brynjolf smiled and nodded his head, giving a glance to the wall. Lining the walls were several people she recognized as members of the Thieves' Guild. Looking back at Brynjolf, he gave a look to her that simply said.
“Don't worry, get married. We've got you covered.”
With that, she confidently walked up the aisle, looking into the eyes of her lover. Sondas' smile was glowing at the sight of her. Standing next to him, she smiled back with the same passion and both looked toward Maramal who then started the speech of marriage, which no one was really thrilled to hear.
Derbana's only thought during this was, “Yes, yes, I know about Mara. I'm an agent of hers and in fact, I'm also an agent of Dibella.”
“I do. Now and forever.” Sondas spoke, looking into Derbana's eyes.
“And do you agree to be bound, in love, now and forever?” Maramal looked at her.
The question shook her out of her reverie, “What?”
The audience shared a small laugh. It wasn't exactly perfect, but she did vow and like that, they were married. As the witnesses began to leave, Brynjolf and the other members stayed behind a little with only a small part of their number leaving to take point. As Derbana exited the Temple with her around her husband's arm, both were being showered with confetti. She snuggled into his shoulder as he kissed her on the head.
“Where shall we live, Dear?” He asked.
“I was thinking of my house in Whiterun. It's a nice size and closer than my other homes aside from Windhelm, but I'm not very well liked there.”
“Are you sure?”
“Windhelm doesn't like elves especially me, Solitude is fine but too structured for my tastes, Markarth and Riften are too dangerous for having a family. Whiterun is the best place to live together.”
“But, Riften isn't so bad. My time at the Bee and Barb was enlightening, they didn't care if I was a Mer or not. I think we could be happy here.”
“You bitch!” A protestor shouted.
Everyone looked to see Vald who was very drunk with a bottle in one hand and an axe in the other, “You took Mercer Frey away from me! He was the only one who gave me a job! The only one who cared! But then, she comes along and took him away! Die!” He charged toward Derbana.
Not being in her gear, she was at a disadvantage. However it didn't matter as she eyed both members of the guild and guard alike, taking him down well before he could reach them. The guild members disappeared before they could be questioned by the guards. With that, Sondas looked down at Derbana.
“You're right, Whiterun it is then.”
Allowing no further chance for anything else to happen, they quickly left through the north gate and hired the carriage to take them to Whiterun. It was about a day later before they reached the city. They were married on the 2nd of Evening Star in the year 4E 203 and they consummated their marriage on the 3rd...the 4th...the 5th...the 6th...and the 7th.
The morning of the eighth, Derbana awoke with the sunrise. She was draped on the chest of her husband, who both were...active over the past five days. Sitting up, she noticed their breakfast was placed on their nightstand. Lydia had been a good sport about their five day honeymoon, keeping out of their way and leaving food for them whenever they passed out. She was particularly surprised at the sight of the naked pair starting to make out when he kicked open the door to the master bedroom, she quickly and quietly made her way out into the hall.
Speaking of whom, Lydia knocked softly on the door. Derbana swiftly threw a discarded bed sheet from the floor onto her husband as she herself found a nightgown to put on. By the time she finished all this, she hobbled over to the door and opened it.
“My Thane. Whoa, open a window, my Lady.”
“Sorry, Lydia, my husband and I have been...” She shrugged her head, “What do you need?”
“This letter was slipped under the door late last night. I just found it this morning.”
Derbana took the letter in hand and broke the wax seal. It read:
The boys and I decided it was best for you to fully enjoy your honeymoon before asking this of you. In compensation for taking care of Vald and acting as guard detail for your wedding, we need you to do some things for us. These three jobs are very simple: Go to the each of the Holds, steal the item in question, and sell it to the local fence who will ship the gold to us. Here's the list of the jobs needed to be performed.
Upon finishing the letter, she quickly bathed. Then she took her time down the steps, taking her armor and weapons out of the chest atop the bookshelf in the alchemy room. With Lydia's help, she quickly donned her complete legendary set of Dragonscale armor with shield, her favorite dagger at her waist, her Glass bow across her back, and the quivers of her many arrows.
With all the items she needed on her person, she limped toward the door as fast as her legs and posterior would allow. When she made her way outside the city, she hired the carriage to take her to Windhelm from there she made her way to the first job and a personal stop that she had to make.
Two weeks of traveling and performing the jobs, she finally was back home in the hands of her loving husband, all debts repaid. However there was this lingering feeling she's had since leaving Solitude, but every time she looked behind her, there was no one there. But every single instinct was screaming at her, telling her someone was following her.
However that didn't matter as she heard Sondas' heartbeat and felt his strong arms holding her, Derbana smiled and cared not about that feeling anymore. She was home, she was safe. As they parted, they saw the other's smile and it only grew wider.
“Dear, I will start getting dinner ready, I'm just happy that you're home.”
“Thanks, Love. I will be put everything back in my chest. See you at the table.”
They shared a small kiss before doing what they said. Sondas threw some meat into the cooking pot that hung on a small spit over the roaring fire pit. Derbana carried all her gear back to the alchemy room. As he was stirring the pot, there was a knock on the door.
“Dear?” He asked.
“Are you expecting anyone?”
“There's someone at the door.”
“It'd be rude for us to ignore them. Answer it and invite them in.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
Derbana couldn't believe she had to move a chair to stand on to get all her gear back in the chest. Her armor was being the most difficult as it was heavy on it's own and keeping the lid open while shoving the armor inside seemed a daunting task for just two hands. Then she heard the front door slamming close, but it sounded as if it stopped.
“Derbana!” Sondas shouted before hearing a crash. She abandoned what she was doing and ran out into the living room. Sondas was laying down on his side, clearly unconscious. She looked up from her husband to the person standing just inside the door. The instant she saw his Thalmor Robes, she gritted her teeth and the adrenaline started flowing
“It took me awhile to finally track down where you lived, Derbana the Third.”
“What did you do to Sondas?”
“I...” He sighed softly, “apologize for that. He was trying to slam the door shut and caught my foot instead. All I wanted to do was talk, but the moment he clearly saw my Thalmor Robes, he tried to close the door.”
“It's not the first time I've been face-to-face with a Thalmor.”
“True, I read all the dossier files about your 'incidents'. Though they couldn't truly prove it was you, you were responsible for most of the attacks on Thalmor personnel for the last three decades.”
She grimaced, “It's true, you can't prove any of it.”
“But I have an inside source that it was you.”
Her grimace turned into a smile, “Why am I debating this with Thalmor scum?”
“You've killed hundreds of us, but never before have you faced one like me. Besides, you put away all your armor and weapons. I heard while next to the door. You have that unique power, but it won't do you much good.”
“You tracked me here, hurt my husband, and now threaten me!” She clenched her teeth as she took a deep breath.
“Fus Ro Dah!”
She unleashed the full might of her Unrelenting Force Shout. He shot out his hand from his side and his quick ward spell splintered as he was thrown off his feet, rolled into the air, and eventually across the ground. He struggled to stand as he felt several broken bones. Derbana took this brief moment to get something from her chest.
The person got to his feet where he extended both hands and bathed himself in a powerful healing spell. His scrapes gone, his bruises faded, his bones mended. In a matter of seconds, all the damage made by her Shout was for naught. Walking back into the house, he looked for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. Bringing one hand up, it covered in a blue aura as a trail of blue energy only he could see got closer to him.
“What? Is the Clairvoyance spell not working again?”
Then he felt an arm around his face and a dagger against his throat, then it came together.
“Ah, yes, I forgot. It is said the Dragonborn has the power to disappear from sight.”
Her body became visible again, she was there holding him, ready to slit his throat at any second.
“Yes, I do. I gained that power myself. But this would seem to be the end for you.”
He began to laugh.
“What's so funny?”
“Gained that power? You didn't achieve it, work for it, struggle for it, it was given to you. I recognize that energy. Nocturnal's, right?”
“How did...” Her hand lax just enough.
He spread out his fingers toward her and she was thrown backwards, the dagger cut his hood, but he managed to lean his face out of the way in time. He turned around and stomped toward her.
“When I was mastering Conjuration, I studied the energies of many daedric artifacts and with the help of my professor, we were able to catalog each of the Daedric Princes' energies. Nocturnal feels subtle and cool to the touch, yes?”
Derbana's dagger was in full view, the sight of which made him smile further. She quickly scrambled over and hid it from any prying eyes that would shortly came across this scene. The two guards by the gate came back from their break and saw the scene before them.
“Unlike the warm and bloodthirsty energy of Mehrunes Dagon, is that right?”
It was true, her favorite melee weapon was Mehrunes' Razor, the very weapon she used to send Ulfric Stormcloak to Mehrunes' realm of Oblivion. However she was keeping it a secret as best she could, the only ones having seen this dagger were her dead opponents.
“Freeze you!” The guards drew their blades as others began to join him.
Pointing their swords at the mysterious stranger, he smiled.
“Isn't this a little discriminating? After all, it was the Dragonborn who attacked me first.”
The guards turned to her, “Is that true? Did you start this fight?”
“Well, I...” Derbana stuttered.
“No! That's not true!” A little girl stepped forward, “She did start the fight, but he broke into her house first! I saw it!”
“And you would trust the word of a child over mine?”
“We know her to play pranks, but nothing such as this.” One guard said.
“Yeah, but this wouldn't be the first time she's made up a story.”
“Then, how about my word?” Everyone turned to see Sondas holding himself up against the door frame, clenching his ribs.
“Dear!” Derbana got to her feet, went around her attacker to help him.
After a small twinge of pain, he went on to say, “I opened the door to see who it was and when I refused to give him entry into our home, he cast a spell and all I saw was the ceiling and flying pieces of our now broken door before blacking out. My wife was only protecting me and herself, that's the only crime she's guilty of.”
“Sondas Drenim is trustworthy and the fact he's wounded adds to his story.”
“We've heard enough! Arrest him!”
The Mage looked around to see both the guards and the townspeople circling around him. With a single spell, he could easily throw them all into the air like ragdolls. He drew his arms up. The guards notched their arrows and aimed. Then he raised them over his head.
“Very well, you've caught me. Take me to jail, then. I'm willing to serve my time.”
The guards approached him with caution. Forcing him to his knees, they proceeded to shackle his hands.
“You're going to rot in your cell for a good long time, you know that, don't you?”
“I don't think so. The Dragonborn is going to pay my bail.”
“What? Why would she do that?”
“It's quite simple really.” They threw back his hood, revealing him to be a High Elf which most had assumed from his clothes. He kept his eyes closed while they unveiled him.
“Because...” He opened his red Dunmeri eyes for all to see, “we have something in common.”
Derbana gasped at both the sight and words he spoke, “We have something in common.”
As the guards pulled him up to his feet, he smiled and they escorted him down the road.
“Whenever you're ready to talk, Dragonborn. You can find me in my cell.”
As Derbana stood there, her eyes fixated at the very sight of this stranger. As he disappeared from view, there was a myriad of questions ringing like bells in her mind.
“Who is he? How does he know? What does he know? What is with his eyes? Who is he?”