Dragonheart: Of Black Wings Unfurled

BY : LadyKae
Category: +A through F > Elder Scrolls - Skyrim
Dragon prints: 11339
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters used from the game TES: Skyrim. All characters and game related material, save for original content, is property of their respective owners and no money is being made from this fiction.

A/N: Hello all! Sorry it took so long, but I actually needed a little bit of a break from writing. I've been pursuing some of my other creative outlets, and I actually took the time to get some reading done as well. Let me tell you, I needed it. I'm going to apologize ahead of time. The posting on this story will be a little bit more sporadic, as I'm having to play through the Dawnguard questline all over again. But none the less, here is book two, 'Of Black Wings Unfurled'. Enjoy!

-LadehKae


Chapter 1: Damn Those Creepy Crawlies!

 

 

 

Tarrowlyn was swearing as she attempted to guide Tanaris through the downpour that had suddenly come upon them. She was in unfamiliar territory here, and the dragonborn pulled the mare’s reins to make her come to a stop. Easier said than done with a skittish horse who hated lightning strikes. She stood up straight in the stirrups, and Tarrowlyn squinted against the rain. If she was seeing things right, there were lights up ahead. If they were bandits, ah well.

Her sword arm was feeling pretty itchy right now anyways.





 

A low whistle issued from Tarrowlyn as she had Tanaris slow to a trot. They were in front of a huge palace or fort of some sort and she leapt off the horse’s back. Guiding her, Tarrowlyn eased Tanaris into a makeshift shelter nearby and she pulled a few carrots from her pack. “ I’ll be right out with some hay, Tanaris. Just stay put.” she whispered.

Tanaris nuzzled Tarrowlyn lovingly and the dragonborn laughed a little. “ That’s enough for now girl, at least you’re dry here. I’ll be back out to make sure you stay warm too.”

Tarrowlyn began making her way towards the large doors that would offer salvation from the downpour above and she saw a silhouette against the torch light as she drew closer.

" Halt! Who goes there?" Came his voice. He was obviously male and Tarrowlyn sighed heavily. Maybe salvation wasn't so close.

" Tarrowlyn Dragonheart! Harbinger of the Companions of Jorrvaskr! I'm seeking shelter from the storm if that's amenable!" She called back.

" I am Celaan of the Dawnguard. Do you even know where you are?" He asked.

" In all honesty no! I got lost on my way out of Riften!" Tarrowlyn kept walking slowly towards the door. At least the arch there would provide some sort of protection from the elements.

" You are at Fort Dawnguard. Home of the renewed Dawnguard led under Isran. It will be his decision if you are allowed to stay." Celaan replied. " Otherwise, head inside. I wouldn't wish this storm on anyone."

" Thank you." Tarrowlyn whispered in relief. " Is there anywhere I can grab some hay for my horse?"

" I'll get it for you. Gives me a chance to move around a bit." Celaan chuckled a little. " Go get warm before you catch a chill, Harbinger. I'm sure Isran won't make too much a fuss."

 

 

The sight that met Tarrowlyn as she walked into the old fort was not at all shocking to say the least. There was a redguard there in heavy armor, but no helmet. The light glistened on the top of his bald head. Tarrowlyn could only assume this was Isran, as the other two men that were standing nearby were both nords. One was clad in a simple farmers garb while the other was dressed in the robes of a Vigilant of Stendarr. Judging by the water that was dripping from both of them, she would have to wager that they had arrived not much earlier than she had.

" What do you want, Tolan?" The redguard growled out. It was clear he was not happy to see the old nord at all. Especially with the icy glare Tarrowlyn could see Tolan being affixed with. “ The Vigilants and I were finished with each other a long time ago.”

As Tarrowlyn walked forward, she saw both their eyes cut to her a moment. Isran held up his hand to let her know he would be with her in  a moment and Tarrowlyn nodded silently. She walked over to a set of crates off to the left and she leaned against them as she watched the conversation with interest.

If Tolan had been distracted by her appearance a moment ago, the vigilant did not show it. His attention was set fully on Isran once more. “  You know why I’m here.” he whispered. Tarrowlyn could see tears brimming in his eyes, and the old man was doing everything he could to hold them back. Tarrowlyn could understand that kind of loss all too well. “ Vigilants are under attack everywhere. The vampires are much more dangerous than we believed.”

Isran’s eyes narrowed into fine slits. “ And now you want to come running to the safety of the Dawnguard, is that it?” he hissed disparagingly. Tarrowlyn bristled at the tone he used towards Tolan. At least he had the courage to admit that they had underestimated an enemy. “ I remember Keeper Carcette telling me repeatedly that Fort Dawnguard is a crumbling ruin, not worth the expense or manpower to repair. And now that you’ve stirred the vampires against you, you’ve come begging for my protection?!” His voice had only gained volume in that last sentence, leaving it an echo in against the old, mossed over stone walls.

Tarrowlyn’s eyes were narrowed on the redguard. This was a man she instantly disliked. Even if the two had not seen eye to eye in the past, that didn’t give Isran permission to treat Tolan the way he was. Again, at least the vigilant had the stones to admit that he; and the rest of his decimated guild, had been in error. She moved to open her mouth, but Tolan raised his hand to silence her. Had she been that obvious in her desire to speak up?

Tolan’s head bowed low a moment and Tarrowlyn saw a few tears speckle the floor below. “ Isran…” he whispered at first. His head raised and he looked the man across from him in the eye. “ Carcette is dead. The hall of the Vigilants….Everyone... they’re all dead. You were right and we were wrong. Isn’t that enough for you?” The pain in his voice was palpable and Tarrowlyn’s heart went out to him. She knew all too well how it felt to lose brother’s in arms. First Skjor, because it had taken Aela too long to get her. Then Kodlak...she thought painfully. It had only been a month and a half since the old man’s passing. By the divines, she missed him so much. His advice, his laughter that always boomed loudly throughout any room he had been in. The way his eyes twinkled annoyingly, yet endearingly, when he knew things that Tarrowlyn did not want him to know. “But for today, return to Jorrvaskr. Triumph in your victory. And lead the Companions to further glory.” he had told her before he disappeared from sight. I hope you know what you’re doing, Kodlak, naming me the Harbinger...she thought. The two men before her were having a stare down of epic proportions. Neither had said anything for almost a full minute now. I don’t feel deserving of this, but I will do you proud. I will be the Harbinger, and the Companions will know glory while I still draw breath.

Finally Isran stoic gaze cracked. The longer he looked into Tolan’s sorrow filled eyes, the more his own pain, his own torment came to the fore. “ Yes, well…” he began thickly. In an instant, that stoicness was back in place. Tarrowlyn had seen past it though. His pain might not be visible to most, but she could see it buried deep in his eyes. “...I never wanted any of this to happen. I tried to warn all of you.” His voice was stern, but it lacked any conviction behind it now. Not like it had moments ago. Isran looked away a moment again and he sighed heavily, finally resting a hand on Tolan’s shoulder in a show of compassion. “ I am sorry, you know.” he finished quietly.

Tarrowlyn stood straight as the redguard began making his way towards her and her chin squared a bit. She would not allow this man to think he could speak to her the way he had to his former contemporary. She was the Dovahkiin, the Crimson Lightning.

The Harbinger of the Companions.

The legacy she bore on her shoulders was heavy, but she had other burdens that evened the weight. Kodlak, even in his last moments on mundus, had faith in her. Tarrowlyn would be damned if that belief was not well founded.

“ So?” Isran began curiously. His eyes, a steely gray color, were shining with interest now. “ Who are you?”

“ My name is Tarrowlyn Dragonheart.” she answered confidently.

Isran’s smile made her uneasy. It reminded Tarrowlyn of the kind of smile one would give if they were suddenly given an unfair advantage. “ Ah yes...The dragonborn.” he purred. His eyes had not left Tarrowlyn’s yet. If she were here to join their cause, then this war against the vampires had taken a very drastic turn indeed. The power of the Dovahkiin, in his grasp! Isran could barely contain his excitement. “ I assume…”

Tarrowlyn’s sudden glare cut him off. “ Do not assume anything, old man.” she snarled. “ I am not here to join the Dawnguard, as I have to return to Jorrvaskr soon enough. I only seek shelter from the storm outside.” Her voice only held authority, power, resilience. “ It was only chance I found...What ever this place is.”

Isran’s gaze cooled a little after the Harbinger’s interruption. “ Why do I even post guards?” he growled out in his displeasure. Maybe this wasn’t as fortuitous as he had first surmised. He took a deep calming breath however and he looked over his shoulder to Tolan. Damn him! The old nord was smirking at seeing him get verbally thrashed by the young woman before them. Then again, it’s been a very long time since anyone has had the gall to talk to me like that. he thought with a bit of a smirk crossing his face now. An idea crossed his mind as he looked back to Tarrowlyn. Well, if all things went according to plan, she would have no choice but to join his ranks in the end. “ This is the headquarters of the Dawnguard. Well, it used to be, a long time ago. As you can see, we have some work to do in restoring it to it’s former glory. But maybe you want to help me with that, in exchange for food and shelter from the elements then?”

Tarrowlyn’s gaze did not soften in the slightest. “ What can I do to help?” she replied after a long pause. She had no desire to be caught up in this man’s crusade. She knew all too well how it felt to hunted just because she was different. And while Tarrowlyn didn’t necessarily agree with the vampires methods, she would not hunt someone else because they were not human any longer.

“  I need someone out in the field taking the fight to the damn vampires while we’re getting the fort back in shape.” Isran began. He started pacing a little and he didn’t see Tarrowlyn roll her eyes in her distaste. There was no way in oblivion she was going to actively seek out those blood sucking cretens. “ Tolan was telling me about some cave the Vigilants were poking around in. Seemed to think it was related to these recent vampire attacks. Tolan, tell her about, what was it, Dimhollow?” He turned to the Vigilant and the old nord’s eyes brightened a little at the realization he was going to be of some help here.

“ Yes, that’s it. Dimhollow Crypt. Brother Adalvald was sure it held some long lost vampire relic of some kind. We didn’t listen to him any more than we did Isran. He was at the hall when it was attacked…” Tolan said. His voice was thick again and he felt a few tears sting the corners of his eyes. He doubted Adalvald was alive either. The vampires had been nothing short of ruthless.

“ That’s good enough for me. Go see what the vampires were looking for in this Dimhollow Crypt. With any luck, they’ll still be there. Feel free to poke around the fort and take what you need. There isn’t much yet, but you’re welcome to anything you can use.” Isran looked over to Tarrowlyn as she began walking towards Tolan. The way she moved was entrancing to watch. Fluid, graceful.

Lethal.

Isran knew better than to cross this woman. He had only crossed paths, albeit briefly with Kodlak Whitemane. Tarrowlyn had the exact same presence the old man had exuded, that same flame burning bright and strong in those expressive green eyes. She would not hesitate to end him if he blatantly disrespected her as he had nearly done a moment ago. He began circling her slowly, intent on sizing her up a little, and without warning he found a shining steel blade at his throat.

“ If you value your head, you will not take another step towards my back.” Tarrowlyn seethed. No one had dared do that since her days as a whelp. “ I am the Harbinger of the Companions, old man. Do not think that I will not see every move you make. Step further again, and I will send your head rolling.” It was taking everything in her will to keep her eyes from turning golden in her rage. That would be an immediate giveaway, an instant death sentence for her. Not to mention the rest of the Circle. she thought. It didn’t help matters that Tala was pacing menacingly along the rim of her subconscious, providing a rather disturbing inner monologue to Tarrowlyn peppered with pleas that she be allowed to bite this man in two. Despite having gotten revenge for the atrocities committed against them, Tala was still just shy of going feral. Tarrowlyn would have to be cautious in shifting into her beast form from here on.

“ Paranoid much, Harbinger?” Isran said curiously. He hadn’t even heard her draw her sword. She was either faster than he took her for; much deadlier for that matter as well, or he was getting too old to keep fighting to have not reacted accordingly. I suspect that this Tarrowlyn Dragonheart, the new Harbinger, is quite worthy of her title indeed. Isran surmised.

“ I will not suffer anyone I don’t trust to stand at my back as you were attempting. For all I knew, you could have used that opportunity to kill me.” Tarrowlyn countered. She had yet to lower her blade, and she would not do so while he still posed a threat to her safety. Never more had she ever wished to have one of her shield siblings with her, but Jarl Layla had demanded she come alone. In retrospect, Tarrowlyn was kicking herself for not bringing Farkas along anyways. They could have gotten married while they were there. She knew damn well he had seen the amulet of Mara she wore for him. Vilkas had all but given them his blessing when he had told her that he wished they had eloped in their five month absence from the mead hall. If Farkas had been here, he would have been right at her back, making sure that nothing in the world would ever overtake them. "I would stand at her back so the world might never overtake us." His voice from the day she had become a full member of the companions rang clear as a bell in her head and Tarrowlyn's heart ached at how much she missed Farkas. She couldn't help but wonder if he had gone back to Lakeview Manor recently to check on the kids. Tarrowlyn swallowed the lump in her throat at the thought of her son and daughter now. No, she couldn't allow those emotions to leak through right now, especially now that she had her blade at the redguard's neck. She would just have to be patient. Soon enough, Tarrowlyn reminded herself. Soon...

“ I did not mean any disrespect.” Isran said gently. He began carefully moving towards Tolan now, and he shot the nord a look that clearly asked him to help defuse the suddenly tense situation.

Tolan cleared his throat a little to bring Tarrowlyn’s attention back to him and the Harbinger finally sheathed her blade once more. “ Tarrowlyn, I’ll meet you at Dimhollow. It’s the least I can do to avenge my fallen comrades.” he said. “ It would be an honor to fight side by side with the new Harbinger.”

Isran’s eyes widened a little in shock. He had not been expecting Tolan to say such a thing. “ Tolan, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You vigilants were never trained for…” he began.

Tolan’s face went red in his anger at the unintended jibe. “ I know what you think of us. That we’re soft, that we’re cowards. You think our deaths proved our weakness. Stendarr grant that you do not have to face the same test and be found wanting.” He turned sharply to Tarrowlyn next, still angry with the redguard before them. “ I’m going to Dimhollow Crypt, maybe I can be of some small assistance to you.” he spat out.

Tarrowlyn quickly caught the older man by his elbow before he could leave her side. She had to cool his temper before he got himself killed. “ The honor would be mine, Tolan.” Tarrowlyn replied softly and graciously. Her voice was barely a whisper as she spoke to him. “ However, I would rather wait until the weather is clearer to move if that’s alright with you. Promise me you won’t go charging headlong until I get there.”

Tolan shook his head. “ I apologize, child, but I cannot make that vow. I demand blood for blood.” he countered.

“ Violence will only beget more violence, Tolan. Vengeance is never the answer. I would know. I’ve lost two mentors to mindless, needless fighting, Tolan. It creates a never ending circle that cannot be broken.” Tarrowlyn was pleading with him now, her eyes bright and full of concern as they locked onto his pale blue ones. “ Please. Calm yourself and wait. I’ll leave at first light if the weather is favorable.”

Tolan sighed and he shook his head. “ My daughter used to give me a look like that.” he whispered. Then he chuckled after a second, although it was hollow. “ And it worked everytime. I swear I will not go in rashly, but if I am attacked, I will not hesitate to defend myself.”

Tarrowlyn nodded in acquiescence as she clapped him on the shoulder supportively. That was much better than the alternative. “ Thank you. I’ll join you there as soon as I can then, friend.” And without another word, Tolan walked out the doors. Tarrowlyn turned to Isran next. “ I can see the cots from here. I don’t need an escort to the other room. Besides…” She smirked a little as she pointed to the young man standing in the shadows. He had remained quiet the entire time. “...Looks like you’re going to be busy.” Without waiting, Tarrowlyn turned on her heel and stormed into the other room. She wanted to dress down and make sure she found a safe enough spot.





 

Isran looked at Tarrowlyn curiously as she slept. She had opted for a corner as opposed to one of the cots available, looking for all the world that if she were roused from her sleep that she would be able to jump right into the fray. Now that he thought on it, the Harbinger was barely leaning on the wall, her right leg was upright and bent just right, the left was curled under its twin just right so that she would be on her feet in an instant. The oddest thing however was the grip Tarrowlyn had on the stock of her blade. Even in her repose, the hold Tarrowlyn had was nothing short of a death grip. Isran would not be able to pry it from her even if he wanted to.

“ Am I really that interesting to watch while I’m sleeping, Isran?” Tarrowlyn growled out. She was beyond agitated with the amount of focus the man was putting on her. It was bad enough she had to put up with almost three...No four hours of listening to him teach that farmboy how to shoot a crossbow. She had been wet, she was achingly tired, and most of all Tarrowlyn did not trust Isran at all.  

“ Are you always this paranoid?” Isran asked her. Tarrowlyn seemed as if she was definitely on edge.

“ When I’m this far from my shield siblings, yes. Normally I travel with at least one other. It’s not safe to go alone when I know all too well how numbers can overwhelm.” Tarrowlyn whispered. Yes, she did know from first hand experience. But the dragonborn also knew that those days were now long past her. Tarrowlyn had her children, good friends, some place to call home.

And most importantly, the love of a good man, an honorable one.

Tarrowlyn smiled a little despite the ire she felt. The thought of Farkas always seemed to make her smile now. She knew that even though he hadn’t said the words to her, that Farkas loved her very deeply. She loved him just as fiercely. He had managed to get past every defense that she had erected around her heart to keep it safe, had put up with her all this time when all hope seemed lost that she could ever move past her tragic trauma. Farkas had proven to Tarrowlyn that she was still worthy of being loved.

“ He must be very special to garner that kind of smile.” Isran said softly. He remembered smiling like that when his wife and children were still alive.

“ He is. I daresay I’ll sleep easier if you’re not constantly staring at me, Isran.” Tarrowlyn replied as she opened her eyes. She glared a little at the grandmaster and he shrugged.

“ I find it interesting how you can even sleep while keeping such a tight grip on your blade. You are safe here.” he said, though his tone was a bit sharp.

“ There is only one place where I know I am truly safe, Isran.” Tarrowlyn retorted. “ And that’s Jorrvaskr. I know no harm will ever befall me from any who dwell there. I can’t say the same about men I barely know.”

Isran couldn’t deny that logic. He had heard of the warrior guild, and how fiercely they fought for one another. What Tarrowlyn said made sense. She couldn’t be all too sure that Agmaer, Celaan, or himself had just intentions toward her.  “ Fair enough.” he agreed. “ Sleep, Harbinger, while you can. I only pray nothing comes out of what you find in Dimhollow.”

 

 

Farkas was riding through Riverwood on his way to Lakeview. He had felt much too cooped up as of late at the mead hall and he wanted to check on the kids as well. After spending nearly half a year with them, the man had grown accustomed to their presence in his life.

Accustomed really wasn’t the word for it. Farkas loved Alesan and Lucia as if they were his children. He adored them and their mother with every fiber of his being.

Farkas heard movement behind him and he looked up curiously to see a courier running his way.

“ Hail companion!” he called out, getting Farkas’ full attention now.

“ Hail.” Farkas replied. He pulled Thunder’s reins a little to keep the stallion in place and his eyes followed the courier as he came to a stop beside him.

“ I have some post for you.” He said a bit breathlessly. He reached into his bag and pulled out a letter. “ If I’m not mistaken, that’s the new Harbinger’s handwriting.”

Farkas’ eyes went wide. He hadn’t heard from Tarrowlyn in almost a month now! He took the letter with a hurried thank you and the courier ran off. He had other deliveries to make still after all. He cracked the wax and opened the letter, and his eyes softened at the sight her legible script.

 

Farkas,

 

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I spent nearly three weeks alone in the rift and allow me to say that Jarl Layla owes me big for rooting out her city's skooma dealer and supplier. I would be back sooner than this, but unfortunately, I now owe a favor to the Dawnguard. I'm heading out later today to repay them the solid they did me, and I hope to be back at Lakeview in two weeks, if not sooner. It honestly depends on what I find.

I know it's out of your way, but would you please check in on Alesan and Lucia for me, and let them know when I'll hopefully be home? I've missed them terribly since I've been gone and I can't wait to see their smiling faces once again.

I've missed you too, more than I thought possible to be honest. I've gotten so used to tramping all over Skyrim with you that not having you beside me has me out of sorts. I haven't slept well since the night before Kodlak died. The last night you held me in your arms. I miss the sound of your heart, Farkas, and the warmth you give me. The feel of your arms wrapped around me is the one thing that truly quiets the blood. I hope the children aren't the only ones I see at home.

 

By my honor, and my heart,

 

Your Tarrowlyn



Farkas smiled a little as he read the letter and he pressed Thunder onward. Well, he had said he wasn't going to be back for a while yet, and this as all the more reason to stay at Lakeview until Tarrowlyn returned.

 

 


 

 

 

Rayya was watching the children with a soft smile on her face. She and Sinding had married a little over a month ago and Tarrowlyn had allowed him to build a cottage for the two of near the lakeside on her property. There had been a reason the two of them had married as suddenly as they had. Rayya’s hand swept over the generous bump she had and her warm brown eyes sparkled with their own iridescence.

Alesan and Lucia were sparring at that moment using their daggers; albeit sheathed so that neither would get hurt, and both stopped the minute they heard the clip clop of hooves coming from the road near the lake. Sinding, who was hammering away at shingles on top of the cottage, even paused his work in his curiosity. He took a tentative sniff and he smiled.

“ It's Farkas!” he called out to the children and Rayya.

Alesan and Lucia both smiled brightly and they hurried down the hillside to go greet him.

Farkas had just come into view when Lucia gave an excited scream and the Companion jumped down from Thunder's back to meet them halfway. The gentle giant went to a knee as Lucia barreled right into his open arms and he laughed as he was sent reeling backwards a bit. Before he could catch his balance, Alesan caught Farkas on the other side and all three went down to the ground.

" Have you heard from mama at all?"

" Is ma going to be home soon?!"

Both children were rattling off questions faster than Farkas could keep up with and he sat upright. " Hold on, hold on already. One thing at a time." He chortled. " Let me up and get Thunder over to the stable first, alright?"

Alesan and Lucia were still chattering excitedly as the three of them walked up to the manor. Farkas listened to them as they regaled him with their most recent camping trip and he loosened Thunder's bit to hang it up. Tanaris' stall was still empty for now. Hopefully not for much longer.

" Alright. Yes, I did hear from your mother recently and she's running one last errand before she returns home. She hopes to be back in the next fortnight, if not sooner." Farkas said with a smile.

" Will you be staying until she comes back?" Alesan inquired hopefully. His bright blue eyes were on Farkas expectantly and he laughed a little as he ruffled Alesan's hair a bit.

" Yes, Alesan, I will be. I want to see her too, you know." Farkas replied mirthfully.

" Are you going to take us fishing again soon?" Lucia asked him. She laughed brightly as Farkas picked her up and she giggled a little as she was placed on his shoulders.

" We'll see, Lucia. I just got here." Farkas chuckled. Yes, this was what he had been missing for the last few weeks. The feeling of family that warmed him, and Farkas never wanted it to go away.





 

Tarrowlyn was able to make it to Dimhollow within a day or two, after having stopped in Ivarstead first to have a letter delivered to Farkas letting him know when she would be back...Hopefully at least. She shrank into the shadows as best she could, praying to the gods above that she was being quiet enough.

No one would be able to hear her though, Tarrowlyn had mastered how to keep silent no matter how heavy the armor she wore.

A sudden growl of fury stopped Tarrowlyn in her tracks. She could hear slight whimpers coming from someone nearby.

" I'll...never surrender to you, you monsters!" Wheezed an all too familiar voice.

Tarrowlyn's eyes went wide in her worry and she immediately pulled her blade.

That was Tolan.

" These vigilants never know when to give up. I thought we’d taught them enough of a lesson at their hall." One vampire said as he held Tolan up by his throat. Tarrowlyn began seeing red now. She couldn't stand idly by and watch!

" To come here alone...a fool like all the rest of them." Another replied, a woman by the sound of her. Pale blonde hair soon met Tarrowlyn's vision and her glowing red eyes narrowed on Tolan hatefully.

" He fought well enough. Jeron and Bresoth were no match for him." The first vampire said appraisingly. His tone belied something else though. Something the Harbinger didn't want to hear at all.

Hunger.

Tarrowlyn was creeping slower, trying to make sure that she could get close enough for an ambush without killing Tolan in the process.

" Ha! Those two deserved what they got. Their arrogance had become insufferable." The female sneered. She plucked up one limp arm with a bit of a feral smile, allowing her fangs to glint dangerously in the low light. The hunger in her eyes wasn't hard to miss either.

Tolan struggled as best as he could against them, but their strength was unreal! A small glimmer of steel caught his eye and Tolan chanced looking toward it for a second. A flash of red hair. The harbinger! " Your days are numbered, you foul beasts." He hissed breathlessly. " If you're going to kill me, get it over with."

The first vampire smiled darkly. " All this talk is making me thirsty." He purred. " Maybe another Vigilant will wander in soon. I'll take pleasure in gutting them before your very eyes and then draining them of every last drop of their lifeblood. Or would you rather I do that to you?"

Tarrowlyn had had enough. Tolan needed her now. With a bellow, she charged from her spot while focusing her thu'um on the two nightcrawlers keeping him captive. She missed the first one, a former breton by the look of him, but her shout hit the woman dead on. Tarrowlyn slit her throat without hesitation and she turned to where the other vampire was holding Tolan tightly in front of him. " Let him go." She demanded quietly. The rage in her voice was uncontainable and it shone darkly in her eyes. They had flashed golden for a brief moment.

" Not a chance." The vampire snarled. He snapped Tolan's head to the side and he opened his mouth wide, piercing his sharp fangs into Tolan's neck.

" Harbinger! NOW!" Tolan screamed, despite his current agony. " Don't let me become one of them!"

Tarrowlyn swallowed hard, but she charged in as Tolan told her to do. Her steel pierced through both their hearts and the vampire broke his hold off of Tolan in shock. He pulled himself off of the blade, but he had already been dealt a fatal wound. He collapsed to the ground, dead as a doornail.

Tarrowlyn eased Tolan to the stone ground, though she had tears in her eyes. He would rather die a human than be turned into a vampire. He had sacrificed himself to make sure that she wouldn't have to face that creature at full strength.

" Is...is it dead?" Tolan asked her weakly. He smiled softly, though blood was streaming from his mouth and the wounds he gained, as Tarrowlyn nodded silently. " Good...They have Brother Adalvald here. Save him if you can...Don't..." Tolan shook a little as he tried to breathe and barely any air filled his lungs. One was collapsed with Tarrowlyn's sword through it. " Don't let them get what it is they are after."

" I won't Tolan. I promise." She whispered in return.

Tolan closed his eyes as he smiled one last time. " Thank you." He went still in Tarrowlyn's arms and she set him fully against the cave floor. She pulled her sword from his chest as carefully as she could and Tarrowlyn sheathed it. He deserved a proper burial first and foremost. Once she was done with that; and her eyes glittered golden at the thought, every single vampire that crossed her path would die.

Tolan had sacrificed his life so that these vampires wouldn’t get what it was they were after. Tarrowlyn would not let it be in vain.





 

Labored breathing and the sounds of a man struggling against his bonds was the first thing that came to Tarrowlyn’s ears as she reached a massive cavern. By the gods! This place was huge. There was a gigantic dias rising from the water and she nearly snorted derisively. Oh, certainly nothing important there. she thought sarcastically. The few sentries that she had come across had been easy enough to dispatch, and now she was hoping to see if she could get close enough to ambush these two vampires and their thrall.

A sickening sounding thud echoed dully through the cave, and Tarrowlyn couldn’t keep herself from wincing at the force of the blow. That had been hard enough to crack a few ribs! A pained groan answered the hit and Tarrowlyn stealthily looked over the railing. Sure enough, that had to be Brother Adalvald. His robes were tattered beyond repair and there were what looked from a distance to be lash marks all over his chest. Had they taken a whip to him in an effort to glean information? His face was bruised, and bloodied, with one eye swollen completely shut. Tarrowlyn had to give it to the man. A lesser one would have spilled his guts by now. He caught sight of Tarrowlyn and the look on his face said everything.

I’m not going to survive, so don’t interfere.

“ I’ll….I’ll never tell you anything!” he spat breathlessly. The one eye that was open was blazing with fury and his voice held nothing but conviction. “ My oath to Stendarr is stronger than any suffering you can inflict on me.”

The vampire standing in front of Adalvald bristled almost imperceptibly. Tarrowlyn could tell that he was frothing with rage if how his fists were shaking were any indication. “ I believe you Vigilant. And I don’t think you even know what you’ve found here.” he sneered after a moment. “ However, you’ve outlived your usefulness.” The fingers on one hand extended in fierce looking claws and he slashed at Adalvald’s throat.

Tarrowlyn’s eyes shut tight against the gore as the two vampires dove in to start feeding. She hadn’t been able to save him, but she was sure Adalvald knew he wasn’t going to survive. At least he had met an honorable death before those cannibalistic cretins began mutilating his corpse.

After a few minutes, a the second vampire sighed happily, satiated for the moment. “ Are you sure that was wise, Lokil? He still might have told us something. We haven’t gotten anywhere ourselves with…” she began.

Lokil shook his head as he interrupted her. “ He knew nothing. He served his purpose by leading us to this place. Now it is up to us to bring Harkon the prize. And we will not return without it! Vingalmo and Orthlof will be after me for this.” The mirth in his voice was hard to miss. Tarrowlyn rolled her eyes though. She hated internal politics.

Tarrowlyn crept silently down the stairs as the two vampires and their thrall crossed a nearby bridge over to the dias. She sheathed her blade and pulled out the new toy Isran had gifted her with.

A crossbow.

Making sure to keep out of sight, Tarrowlyn leveled her sights on the thrall first. The vampires were bickering amongst themselves now, almost pettily in fact, and the thrall was walking the perimeter near the edge. Hopefully he wouldn’t make too much noise when he fell.

There was hardly any kick as she pulled the trigger and her green eyes sparkled in delight as the steel bolt hit the thrall right through the back of his head. Sure enough, he toppled just the way Tarrowlyn wanted him too and he hit the water with barely a splash. Oh, I really like this...she thought excitedly.

That splash was still loud enough to get Lokil’s attention. “ What was that?” he demanded.

Tarrowlyn smirked as she got the female in her sights this time and she loosed her bolt, sending it right into the vampiress’ heart. Lokil gave a frustrated bellow as he looked around desperately for her. Maybe Tarrowlyn would be able to have a little bit of fun after all. She had learned a new thu’um on the way here. She had passed by Shearpoint near the borders of the Pale, Whiterun, and Eastmarch, and once she had defeated not only a dragon, but a new kind of draugr as well, she had learned all three words of power. The draugr disturbed the ever oblivion out of Tarrowlyn though. This one had been unlike any of the draugr she had faced in the last year and a half since having been thrown back in time. It relied solely on magicka; very powerful and deadly magicka to boot, and the mask it wore was ancient and powerful as well. It wore robes instead of armor, and it had a more regal presence to it. Tarrowlyn hurriedly put those thoughts to the back of her mind. She would get her answers in due time, she was sure.

Zul mey gut…” Tarrowlyn whispered with a smirk.

Lokil was looking around him in a panic. They were so close to getting what it was Lord Harkon had asked of them! Who was here trying to thwart this mission?!

“ Would you care to wager where I am?” came Tarrowlyn’s sultry purr from everywhere and nowhere at once.

“ Show yourself!” Lokil demanded shrilly. “ What are you? One of those Dawnguard flunkies that left the Vigilants?” His voice was filled with contempt and Tarrowlyn carefully hid behind a pillar as he kept looking around for her. She just needed to get a little closer…

“ Now where’s the fun in that?” Tarrowlyn shot back. Her tone hadn’t changed from that sultry purr that she was using. Farkas loved to hear her speak like that, and he had commented that any man worth his salt would be hard pressed to not react to that. “ Besides…” Tarrowlyn chuckled sensuously and she couldn’t help but notice how the vampire reacted to that sound. Despite being undead, he was still male after all.

Lokil froze when he felt warm, bare fingers against his neck. Such a soft, feminine touch. By the gods, he had not felt such warmth in hundreds of years. His eyes closed in appreciation and Tarrowlyn brought her hand to the back of his neck. “ I haven’t felt that in centuries.”

“ Well I hope you enjoyed it then, you son of a bitch.” Tarrowlyn seethed. She grabbed a handful of his hair and jerked Lokil’s head back. Her sword ran over his neck with no hesitation and she dropped the dead vampire to the ground. His eyes were wide open in shock. Treading on the side of caution, Tarrowlyn swung her sword down in a sharp arc, beheading the corpse. She wasn’t taking the chance that he could throw that kind of wound off. Her green eyes looked around. There were five braziers scattered in a pentagram on the dias, and there was a podium in the center. She walked over to the podium first, inspecting everything, yet finding nothing connected to a trap of any sort.

Tarrowlyn saw a button on the top and she looked at it with distaste. There was a little hole in the center of it. She didn’t like the look of it at all. This would be a test of her reflexes for certain. She pressed her hand against the button and she bit back a scream as her palm was impaled against a spike for almost a solid thirty seconds. Tarrowlyn had not been fast enough to evade it after all.

Tarrowlyn swore loudly as the spike painfully retreated back, but an unreal light began exuding not just from the podium, but the floor as well. Her eyes narrowed in distaste at the sight of the purplish black bands of luminescence that were undulating skyward and earthbound. What ever magicka was at work here was not good at all, possibly daedra related. Tarrowlyn followed the light where it came to a stop. One of the braziers was just in front of it.

Pah! Even Farkas would have figured this one out! she thought to herself. She pushed the brazier with little resistance and Tarrowlyn watched as the light snaked eerily towards the next brazier to her left.

One by one, the other four braziers were put into place along the line of darklight that had sprung up from the floor. Once the last one had been settled into place, Tarrowlyn had to move out of the way as they all flung outwards towards the outermost ring circling the button. Tarrowlyn felt the floor shift unexpectedly however and she went to a knee to keep herself from tipping over instantly. The sound of stone scraping and grinding against stone was harsh and hurtful to her sensitive ears, but Tarrowlyn growled against the pain. In the wake of that little, troublesome button was a huge monolith.

“ Whoa…” she whispered a bit in awe. Tarrowlyn’s fingers touched lighter than a feather against the stone and she jumped back once again as the stone rumbled angrily. Her hand flew to the stock of her sword but she didn’t pull it. Be it intuition or insanity, Tarrowlyn left her blade holstered as pale skin, a soft petulant mouth, and a tumble soft muted chestnut brown curls stumbled from the inside of the monolith. There was no mistaking that smell however. Having been forced as she was into the company of the nightcrawlers, Tarrowlyn had come to learn their unique scent. Son of a bitch! Another vampire?! SERIOUSLY?!

The woman looked around, her red eyes wide terrified and confused. “ Uh….Where is….Who sent you here?” she garbled out. She gripped her head a little as an insane thirst washed over her and she stumbled backwards to put space between them.

“ Easy now...I’m not here to hurt you.” Tarrowlyn said gently. “ My name is Tarrowlyn. Who was it you were expecting anyways?”

She shivered a little and she clutched her arms to her tightly. The thirst was so great, it was taking all her will not to attack the other woman before her. “ I was expecting someone like me, at least.” she finally struggled out.

Tarrowlyn’s eyes narrowed. She had no clue how long she had been locked up and she was obviously struggling to keep from attacking out of sheer hunger. Without any hesitation, Tarrowlyn slung her pack off one shoulder and she began looking through it. Good, she still had one in here. What had she meant by that? Someone who wasn’t human either, or just another vampire? “ What do you mean ‘like you’? You look perfectly fine to me.” Tarrowlyn said with a wry smirk. She hoped that the poor girl in front of her caught the humor in that statement. She reached into her boot and fished out her dagger. Tarrowlyn was going to need it in a moment.

Apparently she didn’t. The woman before her looked at her with abject shock. “  A….” she paused, breathless and unable to form a coherent sentence. “...can’t you just tell from looking at me? A vampire.” Her voice was pained and she was crouching low to the ground now in an effort to keep herself from leaping on her. Her red eyes were curious however as she looked up at the sound of steel hitting stone. Tarrowlyn had dropped one of her gauntlets to the ground for a moment. “ What are you doing?”

“ You need to feed.” Tarrowlyn hissed as she sliced the knife into her skin and she kicked up the object she had been looking for. It was one of the mugs she normally used for soup when she traveled. Ah well. She caught the blood in the mug and she waited until it was near full before she healed the laceration. “ And yes, I could tell. I can smell it on you.” Tarrowlyn crouched in front of the woman and she gently handed her the mug that she had filled. “ Drink up. We’ll need to be moving soon.”

“ Why are you helping me?” she whispered painfully. “ You’re human.” She took a sip of from the cup in her hands and her eyes went wide in realization. There wasn’t any possible way, was there? Her blood didn’t taste right!

Tarrowlyn laughed wryly as she shook her head. She was putting her gauntlet back on now. “ We’re not so different. There are those who would hunt me as well if they knew my real origins as moonborn.” she whispered. “ I know that feeling all too well, so that’s why I won’t do what the Dawnguard undoubtedly would. As soon as you’re done, we’re leaving. I need you at full strength if I’m going to get you out of here. I can still here more vampires deeper in the tunnels headed this way.” Tarrowlyn pointed to the other end of the room and she narrowed her eyes.

The woman nodded silently as she sipped the still warm blood. That was a very noble sacrifice on her part, giving her this all important part of herself without reservation. “ Not fond of vampires, are they? Well look, they kill me, they kill one vampire. But if people are after me, there’s something bigger going on. I can help you find out what that is.” She sighed heavily and took another sip. She was trying to pace herself, it had been so long since she had last fed.

Tarrowlyn nodded. She had no qualms aligning herself with the woman before her as opposed to the Dawnguard. “ I’d appreciate that. I do have a question for you if that’s alright though, why were you locked away? You’re practically dead on your feet...No pun intended of course.” Tarrowlyn blushed when she realized exactly what it was she had said to the vampire before her.

The woman laughed a little, a pleasant sound, and Tarrowlyn smiled at the sound of it. For a vampire, she was quite human in her mannerisms. “ That’s complicated. And I’m not totally sure I can trust you. But if you want to know the whole story, help me get back to my family’s home.”

“ Sounds like a plan then.” Tarrowlyn smiled as she got eye to eye with the other woman again and she carefully pushed the hair from her face. “ And I understand if you feel that you can’t trust me just yet. Where is it you need to go then?”

The vampire gave her a soft smile as well. “ Thank you. My family used to live on an island to the west of Solitude. I would guess they still do. By the way, my name is Serana. Good to meet you.” She looked at the now empty mug and she sighed in her new found contentment. That had been exactly what the healer ordered.

Tarrowlyn smiled at Serana’s more relaxed state. “ It’s likewise. Now, let’s go shall we?”





 

Tarrowlyn followed Serana through the dark wooded area. “ As good as my sight has been since I was turned, I still can’t see a damn thing with so little light when the moons are new.” she groused. The only thing she could see with astounding clarity was Serana’s back, more specifically, the scroll on her back. Tarrowlyn wasn’t stupid by a long shot. That was an elder scroll. Why was Serana traveling with it? She'd wait to ask her about it however. Tarrowlyn and Serana were still feeling each other out and the Harbinger had no desire to push the vampiress futher than necessary.

Tarrowlyn would get her answers however. She wanted to know why Serana would have something that was said to only be myth and legend on her back.

“ Lucky for you, I can see just fine.” Serana chortled as she looked over her shoulder. Tarrowlyn’s eyes had gone golden in her attempt to see better, not that she’d ever know it. “ I never knew a werewolf’s eyes changed color like that.”

Tarrowlyn paused, and she thought over this. She would need to write this down for Vilkas. He was gathering as much information about them as possible. Why had her eyes changed color though? Was it because she was trying to actively use all her senses to navigate? “ They normally only change to gold if I get good and pissed off.” She laughed a little. “ Which, considering my shield siblings, and all, can be quite often. And my children…And Farkas…” She could go on for hours if she really wanted.

“ I had you pegged as a mother. The way you brushed my hair from my face reminded me of the way my mother used to do that when I was a child.” Serana’s voice was wistful, and sad now. “ Who’s Farkas?”

“ We need to find shelter soon. It’ll be dawn in about an hour.” Tarrowlyn replied. “ Farkas is one of the Companions, like myself. We’re closer to one another that the others are…” A soft smile formed on her face as she thought of the way Farkas had made love to her in the days before Kodlak’s death. She could still feel him straddling her hips lightly, his hands bunching the fabric of her dress as he tore it away from her, the sound of his growls of pleasure and impatience, the sight of his body above her, looking like an untamed godling than a werewolf. Farkas had been beautiful and mesmerizing to watch that night, and the nights following it.

Serana snorted a little. “ Much closer.” she purred, her meaning unmistakable. Tarrowlyn’s blush lit up her cheeks and Serana laughed loudly. “ Did you want to stop by home first? You did mention that you had children after all.”

Tarrowlyn was still blushing to her toes as they continued forward. “ No, it’s out of the way as opposed to the route we’re taking now. This way, we only need to cross through Morthal into Haafinger. It would take much longer if we were to deviate to Falkreath for me to check on Alesan and Lucia.” She willed the embarrassment away, and Tarrowlyn struggled to keep her composure. Serana had hit the nail right on the head with her assessment of her relationship with Farkas. “ I’ve been meaning to ask...How long were you in there Serana?” She needed to draw attention away from herself, her personal life. She didn’t want Farkas or the children getting hurt because of her.

Serana walked down into a cave that Tarrowlyn had pointed out a moment ago. “ Good question, hard to say. I...I can’t really tell. I feel like it was a long time. Who is Skyrim’s high king?”

Tarrowlyn winced a little at the mention. “ That’s a matter that’s currently up for debate.” she said tightly. She put her knapsack down and set about to getting everything ready for the time they needed to rest. She set a healing potion off to the side and then pulled both the mug and her knife out again. Serana looked like she needed to feed once more. What blood Tarrowlyn had shed since awakening her had been nothing but a paltry offering with the lack of blood Serana had consumed since having been sealed away. “ We’ll see if we can’t come across some bandits on the way to the coast. You need more than what I can offer you.” she said matter of factly. Tarrowlyn pulled away her gauntlet again and she sliced her arm once more to fill the cup with her body’s most precious fluid. She was going to have to hunt in her beast form, something that honestly terrified her considering Tala’s current state.

Serana frowned at the sight of Tarrowlyn doing this to herself again. One mug was filled, then another. That would be enough to satiate her for now. It bugged her to no end that Tarrowlyn had seen right through her. “ A war of succession then?” Serana scoffed, more annoyed with herself than anything. Tarrowlyn was risking her neck to get her back home after all. More than that. She was spilling her own blood in an effort to help a total stranger. A stranger who was a vampire none the less. “ Good to know the world didn’t get boring while I was gone. Who are the contenders?” she asked softly. Tarrowlyn handed her both mugs full of blood and the werewolf sat down a little shakily, looking very pale indeed.

Tarrowlyn hurriedly drank down the contents of the healing potion she had thoughtfully pulled out. “ The empire supports Jarl Elisif the Fair, the widow of the last king, but there are many in Skyrim who support Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak of Windhelm.” Tarrowlyn finally replied. “ Don’t look at me like that. Both of us need to keep our strength up. I’m going to hunt soon, run down a few deer.” Tarrowlyn had added this when she realized the glare she was getting from Serana. She had done what was necessary, nothing more.

“ I don’t want you to keep doing this to yourself.” Serana interjected. Her brow furrowed a little when it sank in what Tarrowlyn had just said. “ Empire? What Empire?”

Tarrowlyn was shedding her armor in preparation for her transformation. “ The Empire? From Cyrodil?” Tarrowlyn returned. She was pulling her tunic from her torso, and her pants were hanging loosely off of her hips. Her boots were long gone.

Serana looked blankly into the distance in shock, she hadn’t even registered that Tarrowlyn was nearly naked at that moment. “ Cyrodiil is the seat of an empire? I must have been gone longer than I thought. Definitely longer than we planned.” she breathed out, clearly unable to believe the words that had just left her mouth.

This worried Tarrowlyn as well. That meant that Serana’s imprisonment predated the Empire, and that was nearly five thousand years old by this point in time. She needed to feed deeply, and there was no way Tarrowlyn could help with that. She would have to find at least three or four good sized rogues for her to feast on, to replenish herself. “ If we’re lucky, we’ll be where we need to be later tonight. Right now, you need to get some rest and I’m going to hunt before I go to sleep myself.” Tarrowlyn took in a deep breath as she willed herself to transform calmly. She needed to keep control over Tala. More so, she really needed to feed and feed well. If Tala wrested control from her in her physically weakened state, Tarrowlyn might never come back…

I love you Farkas….she thought as she felt her fur begin to sprout all over her body. She couldn’t hold back the roar that left her as her transformation came over her too suddenly.

Then all Tarrowlyn knew was the darkness…



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story