Chapter 20:

(2nd of Hearthfire)


The night was quiet as all the Companions had gathered at the Skyforge. Farkas returned with Skjor's body, and a still upset Aela. By the time the moons had started to rise, Eorlund as set up a pyre on the forge. Skjor's body was laid out on the dry wood as Kodlak lit the fires to seen the man to his resting place. Sara remained in the back as everyone got to say their goodbyes. She yelps as she feels someone jerk her to the side and soon she was going down a few flight of stairs to see Aela. Her eyes seemed, wild, the natural green, giving away to gold. "I know how we can get back at them..." Sara blinks as she raises her brow. "Um...okay?" "I found a journal they hid, from what I read there's a group of them hiding in Broken Helm Hollow, near Riften..." Sara wasn't sure what to make of this. Aela was a broken woman with this loss and forcing her to go would only get her killed. "Aye, I'll take care of them..." Aela smiles at this as she lets go. "I knew I could count on you.." She walks away, not once even looking back at the raging fire behind them. It was a good as time as any to head to Riverwood and continue on. Staying here was to much at the moment.

Vilkas turns his head just in time to see her head back inside after Aela, and he follows right along. He finds her in his room, putting on her armor. She hadn't removed her amulet, wanting to keep that now that she had found it. He frowns as he crosses his arms. "And where are you going?" She picks up her blades as she turns to him. "Riverwood...then back to High Hrothgar...I never returned their horn, I forgot about it..." She tries to laugh it off, but she couldn't find the energy to do so. "You don't...have to come if you don't want to..." She watches as he just goes about his room, finding his armor and picks up his sword from the rack on his wall. "You shouldn't be alone...some time of the road might do us good." He didn't think they had to worry about the Thalmor right now so they head out together, making their way south to Riverwood. Delphine was waiting in her secret basement like always as Sara walks in, Vilkas right at her heels. "You made it out alive, at least. Did you learn anything useful?" Sara nods as she brings out the documents she had found. "Aye, the Thalmor aren't behind the dragons return..." "Really? That seems hard to believe. You're sure about that?"

Sara lets out a low warning growl, she was not in the mood for this. "Of course I'm sure, from what I found, they'er looking for someone named Esbern." Delphine almost falls over as her eyes go wide. "Esbern? He's alive? I thought the Thalmor must have got him years ago. That crazy old man. Figures the Thalmor would be on his trail, though, if they were trying to find out what's going on with the dragons." So she knew this man it seemed, she wasn't sure if this was a good thing or not. "Why would they be after him?" "You mean, aside from wanting to kill every Blade they can lay their hands on? Esbern was one of the Blades archivists, back before the Thalmor smashed us during the Great War. He knew everything about the ancient dragonlore of the Blades. Obsessed with it, really. Nobody paid much attention back then. I guess he wasn't as crazy as we all thought." She shakes her head a bit. "We've got to find Esbern before they do. He'll know how to stop the dragons if anybody does. Do they know where he is?" "I think he's hiding in the Ratway in Riften..." "You'd better get to Riften then. Talk to Brynjolf. He's... well-connected. A good starting point at least." Sara just nods and turns to leave. "Oh and when you find Esbern...if you think I'm paranoid...you may have some trouble getting him to trust you. Just ask him where he was on the 30th of Frostfall. He'll know what it means."

Sara just waves her hand that she heard and heads out, still planing to visit the Graybeards. Even though it was well into the night she just didn't feel like stopping, so they continued on, Vilkas wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not, but she seemed determined to carry on. She slowly seems to relax once they get past Helgen and on the mountain path that made it's way right to Riften. They had passed it before, but they had no reason to enter it. From what she picked up, it was home to the thieves guild. It was a clear night, the moons above lighting the way. They weren't full just yet, but it still put Vilkas on edge. It made his wolf stir, but he was able to keep it calm for now, knowing that Sara had her mind elsewhere. The lack of sleep never bothered her. Even with the few added days she did sleep, her body was still used to staying awake for long periods of time. However, by the time they had reached an some old Dwarven Ruins. She had never really explored one, but the place seemed to make Vilkas nervous. It seems a few bandits had been hiding out there and once they were taken care of they steal one of the larger tents for themselves.

(3rd of Hearthfire)

For the first time in awhile, Sara couldn't sleep. She sat there, her mind replaying everything over and over. Vilkas was on his stomach, snoring loudly. She had pushed the man a bit hard, forgetting that he didn't have the same problems she did. She just keeps her eyes on him, looking at his naked back. The man had a few scars here and there. She runs her finger just under his shoulder blade, to follow a thin line that went down. Someone had gotten with this a sword as she shakes her head. She remained on watch well until dawn and Vilkas finally seems to stir. He blinks as he turns his head up to look at her. "Did you stay up all night?" "Aye...I couldn't sleep, there's just to much on my mind..." Vilkas sighs as he sits up, wrapping his arms around her. He didn't like seeing her like this, it made him uneasy. But after a minute she smiles and closes her eyes. "I'll be alright, come on, we should get going, before I forget what I'm doing!" He seems to perk up as he gets himself ready for the day and they cut across the land to get to Ivarstead. They didn't waste any time climbing up the steps to get to High Hrothgar once again. It was so peaceful up here, away from the rest of the world.

She enters the large door to find Arngeir waiting for them. "Ah.. you return, I was starting to wonder if you got lost out there..." She blushes as she hands over the horn. "Trust me I could have without Vilkas here, I actually forgot honestly, between the dragons and everything else..." He lets out a warm chuckle. "It's fine...come, allow us to teach you the final word to the unrelenting force shout..." She follows after him and like before shows her the last word she needed to make her Thu'um stronger. "Dah" And like before, shared his knowledge to her so she could use the shout at it's fullest. "Thank you...sir." He bows his head to her. "We are always here when you need us Dragonborn." She wanted to stay for a bit longer, but knew she couldn't just hide here forever. As they head back down she moves slowly and before long, she had stopped, Vilkas tilts his head. "Aela told me...there's more of the Silver Hand hiding in Broken Helm Hollow..." Her voice seems to break slightly as he closes the gap between them. "Sara..." She hangs her head a bit. "I told her I'd take care of it, she's not in the right mind to go running off right now.." She turns her eyes down as she shifts in her spot. "I can't...I don't want to go alone..." He pulls her in and presses his forehead against her's. "I'm here...I won't leave your side.."

He was against the idea, but knew that, in some way, she was right about Aela. They couldn't let the woman run off with the way she was. So they made their way down and made their way back to Riften. They moved south to where a mine was and Sara blinks, sniffing the air. Most of the place was covered by the waterfall, but she could still pick up the faint smell of copper. She growls deeply as they find their way to a makeshift door and moves her way in. The cave itself wasn't impressive, but a large number of the Silver Hand were hiding out here. She says nothing as she moves her hand, and Vilkas just sees a large fireball engulf the room. He watches as most of the bandits get hit and Sara just runs in to take care of the rest. It takes him a minute to move, but soon he charges in, cutting through any that tired to fight back. Once the fire died down and they did a final sweep of the place she finds something on the leader that made her eyes go wide. "Vilkas...look." She holds out a broken piece of Wuuthrad and he takes it. "Gods...so that hint we got before was a trap...they know.." Sara nods slowly, they had known the Companions hid werewolves, and were now baiting them.

A flash of panic crosses her face. "Vilkas, we need to warn Kodlak, if anyone else going after the pieces...." He places his hands on her lightly. "Shhh....I'll go." It takes her a minute to register what he said. "You have an old man to save, go, just promise to fetch me if anything goes strange aye?" She takes his hand, and kisses it lightly. "My the Gods watch over you...my love.." He pulls her in and kisses her deeply, wanting to give her a reason to return to him before pulling away. "And you as well..." He turns and heads off quickly, he would rent a horse if he had to in order to make sure he could make it to Whiterun before they lost more to the Silver Hand. It takes her a minute to move and slowly makes her way to Riften. She was able to get into the back gate, after almost killing a guard for being a jerk about it. She just growls softly as she enters and blinks, moving slowly. She passes by an orphanage and to a market in the middle of the raised docks. The place smelt of stale water and fish, but it wasn't to bad. She just needed to find this Brynjolf fellow and go from there. The minute she enters the inn she sees a male dressed in a yellow robe. There was a man if Whiterun, dressed the same way yelling at people about Talos. That man worried her to no end, but this guy spoke softly of Mara and she moves closer.

The Redguard priest smiles at her as he holds out his arms. "Come to hear the word of Mara?" Sara wasn't the most, informed when it came to the Divines. She knew a few names, a few stories, and that was about it. Her soul belonged to Hircine anyways. "Isn't..she the Goddess of love and..something else?" His smile only grows at this. "Yes my daughter, you see, life is Skyrim is hard, and often short, so the Mara dedicated herself to spread her love to all those willing to look for it." He goes into his pocket and pulls out an amulet. "If you are looking to get married, just ware this about your neck, it'll show you are available." She reaches slowly, tracing the small disk with her fingers. "Once you find someone, return to me and I can hold your ceremony." Marriage was an open thing in Tamriel. As long as you cared for whoever you wanted to be with, no one really cared who, or what you married. "Um...thanks?" "That would be two-hundred gold miss." Her eyes narrow as she hands over the gold. She taps her chin, wondering if she should put this on. She lets out a low laugh, deciding to save it until she returned home and wore it for Vilkas. She would pay to see his reaction to it.

Once the priest was gone a handsome Nord with fiery red hair walks up to her. His voice was so smooth. "That's a lot of coin you got there lass." She raises her brow at him. He smelt, of sewer water and something else she couldn't place. "Oh trust me...you haven't seen anything." He chuckles, he liked her fire. "So are you interested in a bit of work lass?" "Depends stranger, who are you?" He seems to jump, but bows his head to her. "Brynjolf, a pleasure I'm sure.." He takes her hand and kisses it. She lets out a low growl and he backs away. Well she found who she was looking for at least. "Find, I do this, in return, I'm looking for a fellow named Esbern, the Thalmor are after him.." He feels his eyes go wide. "Aye, I heard that name, he lives in the warrens in the Ratway.." But if the Thalmor were involved, then the guild could be in danger. She needed to prove herself however as he smirks, taking her outside. "Alright, you have a deal, I need you to steal a ring, and plant it on the dark elf over there." She spots a male Dunmer, his eyes down before she nods. "Deal, just point the way and consider it done." He smiles brightly, that's what he liked to hear.