Chapter 22:

(5th of Hearthfire)

For the first time in a long time, Vilkas found himself back as a young teen, trying to figure out the ways to please any young lass that passed his way. He never really gave women much thought, until he took the Beastblood. At the age of fifteen, not only did he have to deal with the new spirit, but his own hormones as well. It wasn't fun to say the least. Even worse when Kodlak sat him and his brother down to explain the facts of life to them. Vilkas understood well enough, but his twin took a longer talk to get it to sink in. It wasn't until he saw a tavernwench wearing little to no clothes, did it sink in for Vilkas. His first night, had been horrible. He had no clue what he was doing, and his wolf didn't make it any easier. It wanted to take control, but he wouldn't allow his wolf to do something he would regret for the rest of his life. He ended up having to pay the poor girl for such a poor performance. It was mostly touch and go after that on learning to control his more baser instincts. But no matter what he did, or how many girls he took to his bed, it never felt right. He remembered one night, when he was about Twenty-three, he met a sweet Nord girl. Sure she was pretty, and he enjoyed her body. But there was still something missing. His wolf was always angry at him, no matter what he did, or what he tried. It was never good enough and he ended up breaking her heart like so many others. Sure he had girls confess their 'love' for him. But it always felt shallow to him. That all changed however, when Sara walked in. While he had tired to block her out, his wolf knew from day one this woman was going to be 'his'.

Vilkas woke slowly, looking at the sleeping form of his now mate in his arms. He smiles warmly as he kisses her shoulder gently. Gods how he had come to love this woman. Kodlak had been right after all, she really had been his soulmate. While he would miss the old man greatly, at least now he knew without a doubt he got his final wish. While he hadn't been there himself, he was glad Sara and Aela had finished the task. She slowly wakes up as she looks up at him, his silver eyes shining at her. She smiles as she leans up and kisses him lightly. "You just couldn't wait any longer could you?" He chuckles as he shakes his head. "Any longer and I think I may have gone mad." He smirks at her as he caresses her cheek. She feels herself blush as she hides her head for a moment. After awhile they had to get out of bed and get dressed. As much as she would love to stay in bed, they had work to get done. She was still a bit nervous about having to find an Elder Scroll, but a part of her was excited. She quickly gets dressed as he watches her jump up and move faster then he had ever seen anyone move. He was slightly amused by this as he gets his own clothes and soon joins her. They share a light breakfast before heading into the snowy little village. Sara didn't know much about the Collage and she was surprised to see the way in was blocked by a single Altmer elf. The woman crosses her arms at them as she narrows her eyes. "Hold, what business do you have at the Collage?" "I came looking for answers, I would think a place would be more open to one of their own." She pulls out her amulet and the woman almost trips over herself. "An apologies!"

The elf quickly bows her head. "My name is Faralda, may I ask who you are and where you're from?" "Sara, and I'm from Cyrodiil." The Altmer tilts her head, trying to see if she recognized the name. "Well, allow me to show you the way, it can be dangerous to those that aren't used to it.." Faralda moves slowly as Sara follows behind her, Vilkas staying close to hold onto her. Sure enough the bridge didn't have most of it's walls had broken off and the path was narrow. But it wasn't as slippery as Sara feared it would be and soon they were now in the large circular courtyard that held a large statue in the middle. Faralda leads them inside as she goes through a door and up a flight of stairs. "This is the Arcanaeum.." The couple let out a low gasp as they enter the grand library. For the both of them, this place was like heaven. "Talk to Urag gro-Shub, he can help you.." Sara turns to see a grumpy looking Orc in a bright yellow robe. He looks up the moment they walk up to his counter. "Can I help you?" "I'm looking for information on a Elder Scroll." He gives it some careful thought before he gets up and goes to a bookcase that was behind him. He turns back to her, handing her two books. "I trust you to handle these with care..wait are you a student here?" She shakes her head as she shows him her amulet. "What do you think?" His eyes go wide. "A Arch-Mage, my apologies...please let me know if you need anything else." Vilkas raises his brow, her title sure got her a lot of respect.

She looks the two books over, one was titled: 'Effects of the Elder Scrolls' and the other: 'Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls'. She picks that one as she sits down at a near by table to read it over. Most of it was hard to understand and after a good minute or so she returns it. "This one doesn't make any sense.." He takes a look as he lets out a low laugh. "Aye, that's the work of Septimus Signus. He's the world's master of the nature of Elder Scrolls, but...well. He's been gone for a long while. Too long." "Any idea where he may have ran off to?" He taps the counter with his nail as he thinks. "Somewhere up north, in the ice fields. Said he found some old Dwemer artifact, but...well, that was years ago. Haven't heard from him since." Her eyes light up as she pulls out her map. "Think you can point it out..?" He looks it over and points to a spot not far from where they were now. "Here, if I remember correctly, but if you plan to go out there, be careful, I suggest you find a rowboat." She nods and smiles, rolling up her map. "Thanks, Vilkas we...Vilkas?" She blinks as she looks around for him. The man had curled himself at a table, reading as she giggles at him. "I'll buy that." She hands over a bit of gold before walking over to Vilkas. "Come my love.." He smiles brightly as she takes the book along with him. They made their way back the way they came, back over the bridge. She really didn't like the fact most of the walls were missing. She holds onto his hand until they made it back to solid ground and soon heads north to the shoreline. She was surprised that Vilkas hadn't let get of her hand. so she just smiles as they walk side by side. They find a forgotten rowboat and use it to get across the icy waters.

It wasn't easy, making it to a strange outpost in the middle of nowhere. The only way she knew this was the glacier they were looking for was the torches outside and a makeshift door. She gets the boat onto a patch on solid ice before slowly getting out. She helps Vilkas out as he holds onto her tightly. He didn't trust himself on the ice. His heavy armor could be the death of him on a place like this. Once he was safe she opens the door to see a ladder leading deeper into the ice. They followed a small cave to a large room that held what looked to be an oversize Dwemer lockbox. A lone mage paces the room, talking to himself, his face hidden under his hood. She makes her way down slowly as the mage seems to slow and look at the both of them. " you have information on Elder Scrolls?" He doesn't answer at first but after a minute he nods at her. "Elder Scrolls. Indeed. The Empire. They absconded with them. Or so they think. The ones they saw. The ones they thought they saw. I know of one. Forgotten. Sequestered. But I cannot go to it, not poor Septimus, for I...I have arisen beyond its grasp." She turns to Vilkas as he shrugs at her lightly. "Okay know where it is?" "Here. Well, here as in this plane. Mundus. Tamriel. Nearby, relatively speaking. On the cosmological scale, it's all nearby." This guy had really lost his marbles as she crosses her arms. He just keeps talking. "You see this masterwork of the Dwemer. Deep inside their greatest knowings. Septimus is clever among men, but he is but an idiot child compared to the dullest of the Dwemer. Lucky then they left behind their own way of reading the Elder Scrolls. In the depths of Blackreach one yet lies."

She had never heard of the place, but Vilkas had by the way his face was quickly turning pale. "Where is Blackreach?" "Under deep. Below the dark. The hidden keep. Tower Mzark. Alftand. The point of puncture, of first entry, of the tapping. Delve to its limits, and Blackreach lies just beyond. But not all can enter there. Only Septimus knows the hidden key to loose the lock to jump beneath the deathly rock." He flails about as he turns to get her something and hands her two items. A Blank Lexicon and the Attunement Sphere. She raises her brow at them as Septimus seems to read her look. So he tells her the way to Blackreach was blocked by a Dwemer Mechanism and the Attunement Sphere would act as a key. The Lexicon would help getting the scroll once they found Mzark. "So..I guess our first stop is Alftand.." The mage had gone back to what he was doing, ignoring them. "Any idea what's down there?" Vilkas looked so nervous as he paces a bit again. "Falmer..." She had read a tiny bit about the blind elves, but had yet to really face against them. They were Snow Elves, at least they used to be. When the Nords invaded Skyrim some five thousand years ago, the war drove them underground to where the Dwemer lived, and the old elves quickly turned them into slaves. Even with the Dwemer gone, what was left of the Snow Elves had turned them into blind, mindless creatures that were highly dangerous. They may be blind, but they knew how to use powerful poisons against anything that came into their domain.

"We'll go make sure to pick up extra cure poison potions...think we should stop somewhere to get stocked before wondering off?" Vilkas nods, he did not want to go there unprepared. The closest place to go for supplies would be Windhelm. "We'll stop at Windhelm, and make sure to buy anything we might need. If we need a few days to prepare so be it.." Sara wonders after him as they made their way out on the cave and back to the open tundra. "So you heard of Blackreach?" He leads her back to the rowboat as they make their way to the mainland. "Aye, I've read about it, it's a large underground city that once belonged to the Dwarves. Many scholars have tried to map out the place, never to be seen again..." "But someone had to had made it out if there's books about it....right?" He looks up at that and nods. "Aye, but I can imagine it's not something you really walk away from, with a clear mind." He doesn't let her go as they follow the road to Windhelm. She didn't mind that much as she leans into him. "Well, we can do this, I know we can." He smiles warmly as he squeezes her hand. "Aye, you're determined to see this through, but it might take awhile to figure this place out..." "That's fine, we'll take as long as we need to one step at a time, that's why I want to pick up as much gear as we can for this trip.." It was a wise plan, one that he couldn't argue against. He just hoped they didn't get lost down there, like the rest of the fools that wondered down there for answers. But he had faith they could do this. Hell this woman could do just about anything. If she could walk away after traveling through Hell itself, then he was in good hands.

It would only take them a few hours to reach one of the oldest known cities in Skyrim. Windhelm was a mostly gray stone fortress of a city. The heavy snow covered most of it as they entered the large gates. She had never been this far up north before as her face slowly goes pale. "I just remembered something...I was a part of the Legion that tried to behead Jarl Ulfric..." He blinks as it seems to dawn on him what they had just done. "Well you're not in uniform.." She looks herself over. "Be that as it may, it might be safer if we leave...quickly.." He lets out a low sigh as he nods. The last thing he wanted was for them to end up in jail or something. So they left the city and took a carriage all the way back to Winterhold. Sure it took a few extra hours to reach the place, but it was far safer then the other route. She was sure she could breath a lot easier and this way she could check in on the other Companions. So for her this was a win win. They head for home as Farkas greets them in his usual way. She was happy to see the Nord had indeed places Wuuthrad back in it's place, along with the shield. The others were quick to join as she smiles. "Evening everyone." Njada crosses her arms as Ria jumps out from nowhere as she hugs Sara. "Farkas told us the news, that you're in charge!" Sara blushes a bit as she nods at them. "Aye, it's true, Kodlak has named me the new Harbinger." She holds up her hands before anyone could speak. "I know it's a lot to take in, and I'm not here to replace Kodlak. However, I shall do my best to guide you like he did. I won't act like your leader or anything like that, but I will make sure that jobs continue to flow freely.."

No one spoke as she steps up onto a bench. "Now I take my new responsibility seriously, however there is a task I must take before I take my duties here. As it stands, the rumors of dragons are true, and Alduin himself as returned.." She hears a around of gasps as they all look at one another. "As many of you know, or not, I am the Dragonborn, and it's my job to stop him. I must travel to Blackreach in order to find an Elder Scroll. I have no idea how long it will take...but I promise I shall return.." The whole room was so quiet, one could hear a pin drop as Njada lets out a low huff. "So we just cover your slack so you can play hero?" Sara narrows her eyes at the woman. "No I expect you to do your job, unless of course you don't want to get paid.." A few of the Companions laugh as Njada lets out a angry huff. "Look I know, we're not at our best right now, but with time and effort, we can put ourselves back on the map. I already asked Farkas and Aela to try and find more people to join our ranks. That task shall go out to the rest of you as well. As far as I care, none of you a Whelps anymore." Every one of them was surprised by this news as she smiles at each of them. "There is much good each of you are capable of, and if you feel you can't handle this, let me know now..." No one says a word, but she could tell Ria and Athis were ready to give it a go. "Good, I have faith in all of you, as Kodlak did as well, and as always, may the gods watch over you battles."

They would have to wait till morning to do their shopping, but neither one of them minded. Sara hops down as she sees Njada walk up to her slowly. The normally gruff woman shuffles a bit as she looks to the side. "I know someone that wants to join..." Sara blinks at the Nord woman and nods. "Alright, bring them by, I'll be around until morning..." Njada just gives her a short nod. "So..all those stories are true, you really are the Dragonborn?" Sara lets out a low laugh and nods. "I crazy as that sounds.." She looks up to see Athis nearby. "Somehow, even after you talked to me about it, it doesn't surprise me. When people write this down in the history books, you defiantly deserve to be wrote about." Sara feels herself blush. "I hope not, I don't want someone to write a book about me..." Athis gives her a shrug. "After what you've done, even before all this, who's to say someone hasn't?" She goes quiet as her whole face turns pink at the idea. Vilkas ends up having to shoo them away as she covers her face. Not once did she ever think that someone out there might write about her. Or at least about the great 'Dragonborn' that made her way through Skyrim, to face Alduin. She looks to Vilkas as she lets out a low laugh. "Well, if they do write about me, guess you'll be a part of it.." He wasn't sure he liked that idea. Farkas jumps up as he smiles. "I want to be in your book!" Vilkas shoves him away. "Fat chance brother!" She giggles at the both of them, shaking her head at the both of them. "Men.." Aela joins her as she crosses her arms. "Maybe you should rethink your choice in a mate.." Sara taps her chin a bit. "Nay...I'm rather happy...hey wait!" Aela laughs, she had seen the mark as Farkas lets out a gasp, now teasing his brother. Sara wanted to go hide now as she sneaks away.