Chapter 7:

Artemis walks slowly as he follows Evelyn back to Whiterun. They had taken a small break in Riverwood before continuing. He can only count a handful of times where traveling with someone worked to his benefit. Jarlaxle being one the longer 'companions' that stuck with him. Artemis isn't sure if he should really consider the elf a friend after the s**t he pulled. From dragging him into the Underdark to stealing the Crystal Shard. The list just went on. He wonders what his life would have been like if he had never went back to Mithral Hall, using Agatha's mask to look like Regis. He shakes the thought from his head, he's not one to dwell on past mistakes. All he can really do is learn from them. Still, he glances up, Evelyn isn't that far ahead of him. Is it really wise to travel with this woman? She's not an actual dragon, but she can use their abilities. And one is giving him pause, her Bend Will Shout. She clams she had never used it often and wanted to see what it was really capable of. He bites at his lower lip, she's not as bad as Jarlaxle. Unlike him she's not some opportunist. She just kind of follows her own path, wherever that may be. After a moment of getting lost in his head for a moment he catches up to her. A few questions were still buzzing around. "You said you're an Imperial." She turns her head slightly. "Yes." "What makes you different from the others?" "Ah, all races are different. Where we come from, what we can do. We all have different abilities." He rises a brow at this. "Such as?" She chuckles slightly. "Imperials are naturally lucky, no matter where we go we tend to find more gold then other's. Not only that but we're born with the racial ability called the Voice of the Emperor. It's a power that will pacify any enemy."

Artemis nods his head slowly at this. "So all races here have different abilities." "Yes, the Nords are resistant to cold, and use an ability called Battle Cry, makes foes flea." She gives him a slight shrug. "Of course, who's to say what abilities the other races were capable of, the ones that vanished. Most of their history is either gone or vague." She glances up as they start to get closer to Whiterun. "Skyrim was once home to a race known as the Snow Elves, little is known about them. They were wiped out by the Nords ancestors, the Atmora. Strange thing, people know where the island is located, but so far no one has ever been able to explore the place. People have tried, and failed." It is still unknown as to what really happened that far up north. Maybe it's so cold nothing can survive up there anymore. She pauses as she smiles. "I'm rambling, but you get the idea." Artemis turns his head as they start to get closer to Whiterun. The sun was starting to rise by now. "The interesting thing will be how to explain...well, you, you are not of this realm, so you are in a sense just human." Her head tilts to the side as she talks. "I guess no one really needs to know, I doubt many people will ask where you are from. Though saying you're from the dessert is all anyone really needs to know." It's early, so not a lot of people are up yet. She enjoys the early morning, it's peaceful. As she heads for the market a older woman crosses their path. "Oh Evelyn it's good to see you dear." "Morning Fralia, you're up early." The woman smiles brightly. "I was going to get some things to make breakfast, you should join us some time dear." Fralia was the wife of Eorlund Gray-Mane. He worked the forge for the Companions. Ever since Evelyn had saved her son, Thorald, Fralia had been treating her like part of the family.

The woman turns to regard Artemis and she beams. "And who's this handsome young man?" Artemis actually turns to see who she was talking about. Before he knows it, the older woman is holding his face. "You look a bit sickly dear, I do hope you are eating well." Evelyn is trying not to laugh, but she gets the feeling Artemis is two seconds away from stabbing the woman for grabbing him. "He's fine, that's just how he looks. Now be a dear and stop parenting the poor fellow." Fralia gives a bashful smile and lets go. "It's hard not to, seeing my boys all grown up it's hard to see them as men. Even with you dear, I can't imagine the kind of trouble you got into..." Evelyn just looks away, acting innocent. "Aside from braking someone's jaw once, I was a complete angel." Fralia lets out a low 'tisk' as she shakes her head. "I hope they had it coming." "He sure did." Evelyn lets out a deep laugh. "I should get going, say hello to Eorlund." Evelyn turns and heads up the stairs, Artemis quickly following after her. He rubs his cheek, if she didn't know better he was blushing. "Sorry about Fralia, she's old but she means well." He says nothing, unsure of the emotions now crossing his mind. They enter Jorrvaskr and Vilkas shoots up from a nearby chair. "We've been worried, what happened?" She holds out her hands to calm him. "We found the smugglers, and we dealt with them, and the tree. Seems they found a way to bring one up north..." He frowns at this, but lets out a low sigh. "At least they can't make any more of this Skooma. I had no idea anyone would be crazy enough to make such a thing."

She could only give him a helpless shrug. "To be fair I never expected something like this could happen. Other wise I would have told you about them ages ago." He dismisses the whole thing. He can't really be mad at her for not telling them about these bandits. She hadn't heard or seen them in a long time. "My brother and a few others are still on the look out, but here's to hoping we found the last of them.." After a few minutes or so he leaves to go find his brother. She sits herself at the long table to eat as he joins her. "So you broke someone's jaw?" She chuckles deeply as she gives him a cheeky smile. "You bet your arse I did, jerk had it coming to." Ria, Njada, and Athis slowly climb up the stairs after a restful night. "It was shortly after I was named the new guild master for the fighters guild. We sometimes got these noble higher up that tried to hire us for the dumbest reasons." She holds up her hand. "Don't ask, just trust me, it got bad. Anyways this fellow from High Rock comes in. Clams he's some hot shot from Daggerfall and how rich he is. He's really laying it thick how much gold he has. I wasn't impressed, now I had no idea what he was up to, until he leans on my desk. She gets up, placing herself on the table. "No lie, he was trying to hit on me with this crap, thinking I would fall for it. No idea what he was thinking...don't think he was..." Ria is giggling at the show while Njada is just shaking her head. "Honestly I was going to turn him down anyways. But...but this idiot decides that his selling point was to say to me, 'Come away my dear.'" She places her hands on Artemis, looking into his eyes. "'Marry me my sweet and together we can make beautiful babies. This way as the man I can properly run the guild. Women like you should worry over other duties.'" She lets Artemis go. "I slugged him in the jaw after that remark.."

Ria is holding her stomach as she laughs, Athis is trying not to laugh, but he's failing. Poor Torvar enters the room, looking confused. "What did I miss?" Ria lets out a deep snort. "Oh you missed Evelyn's story of the Breton noble, get's me every time!" Evelyn just shrugs slightly as she sits herself down. "He had it coming acting like that. Really what noble does that?" "Maybe he was trying to show his goods?" Athis adds in as he chuckles. She makes a face and sticks out her tongue. "Ewww that just makes it worse, look my junk as I try to win you over. He didn't really have much to show..." Athis holds his heart as if wounded and Ria just laughs all the harder. She hears someone running up the stairs. "Mama!" Lucia runs up to Evelyn and wraps her arms around her. "Hey Lucia." She's soon joined by Sofie, Blaise and Alesan, with his new pet. They're all happy to see her and start to ask a ton of questions on where she's been. It's hard to answer them all at one, but she always finds a way. It's not long before everyone else enters. She's always happy to see everyone. "Alright kids, go outside." "Awww.." They turn and head out to the training yard. It was her code for them to scram, the adults had to talk. She crosses her arms, turning to Vilkas. "Alright, so what the damage?" Farkas was the first to answer. "We scouted some of the bandits camps nearby, we found a few bandits that took that Skooma, but we took care of it." Kharjo nods, his tail moving slowly behind him. "Khajiit knows many holes bandits like to hide in. Many were empty, some were in the process of losing their minds."

Aela lets out a low groan. "It could have been worse, but most of them had already killed off their fellow bandits. With any luck we've slowed down their supply.." Evelyn nods happy that it was over for now. "With that settled we still need to figure out how they managed to get a Hist Tree across Skyrim, it must have been small or there's holes in the border. Then again I passed through rather easily..." She doesn't really want to think about it to much. "At any rate things will come down and no one has been hurt, for the most part. Good thing no one will notice missing bandits so there's that at least..." They soon part, some of the Companions coming in here dead tired from traveling for as long as they have been. Farkas was to tired to go to bed so he flops himself at the table, just wanting some mead to forget the blood bath he saw. "I thought spiders were bad.." She reaches over and pats his shoulder lightly. Ever since Dustman's Cairn, Farkas now has a even deeper hate and fear of spiders. Not that she blames him. Frostbite Spiders can get huge, about the size of cows and she hates it just as much as he does. "There there my friend, the worst is over with." He seems to relax at this as he lays his head on the table. Vilkas gives him a jab to go to his room and soon the twins start fighting one another. Evelyn just shakes her head at the two of them. "Oh let the poor man be, he's tired." Vilkas huffs. "He can go to his room to sleep, not at the table like some people." He turns his gaze to Torvar. The Nord just blinks as he slowly lowers his bottle. "What I do this time?" Vilkas pinches the bridge of his nose tightly.

After awhile Evelyn goes to check on everyone. She's happy to see that despite everything it's as normal as ever. Lucia skips over to were Artemis was standing. The poor man really didn't have a lot of experience with children. She just smiles up at him. "Are you going to be a Companion?" He feels his mouth twitch. "No." She tilts her head at him. "Oh, okay, why are you traveling with mama?" It's rare for Evelyn to travel with people. The longest was Serana while she was hunting down vampires. He crosses his arms, leaning against a near by post. "I have my reasons, why don't you go play or...something.." He has no idea how to handle being questioned by the young girl. "Are you going to be our new papa?" "LUCIA leave him alone!!" Evelyn heard that bit, the girl giggles and skips off. She then turns to Artemis with a helpless shrug. "Don't mind her." He just shuffles and looks the other way. She ends up spending some time here with her fellow Companions. Mostly catching up on anything new. Other then the bandits not much had changed. By the time the sun was setting again, she heads off with Artemis. She had no plans to stay in Breezehome so she makes her way out the gate and heads north. "Sorry about earlier, with Lucia." He gives her a slight shrug, keeping his eyes on the ground. "I take it you don't have a ton of experience with kids." "No." "Fair enough, I got used to it over time. Even when I was with the fighters guild sometimes I would watch over the other members kids." She turns her gaze forward. Sometimes bandits like to hide under Dragonsreach. He doesn't say anything else and she leaves it at that. No bandits stop them as she makes her way to Heljarchen Hall. She often forgets about this place and she lets Artemis in. He rises a brow at her. "Another house?" She gives him a sheepish look. "I like my space?"

The place was warm and the smell of food greats them. "Lydia?" A dark haired Nord comes running from the storeroom. "My Thane, it's been ages since I lost saw you.." Evelyn hangs her head. "Sorry my friend, things got a bit crazy. This is Lydia, she was my housecarl, but I made her my steward when I built this place." Artemis gives her a surprised look. "You built this place?" "Most of it, I got it started, I paid a few people to help." Evelyn turns to Lydia. "I just wanted to make sure everything was alright up here." Lydia takes a look around. "It's been quiet so far, the bandits that attacked the first time haven't come back." "Good, I hope dinner is ready soon." Lydia nods and heads off to go finish what she was making. While she did that, Evelyn shows him around. Like always she has a stash of weapons and armor throughout the house. As he takes a look around, a strange dagger catches his eyes. He opens the case and pulls it out, looking it over. It seems to be made of this strange brass like metal. But the blade itself is even odder, it looks like stone, or maybe some type of crystal. "What is this blade?" Evelyn turns to see what he was holding. "That's Keening, it's a very old dagger." She takes the weapon, running her fingers over it. "Now that I think about it...I wonder if this could be Aetherium..." She turns to one of her mannequins wearing the crown she had made at the forge. "Only the Dwemer knew how to make it, and this weapon was made by them." She had never given it any thought until now. "Dwemer?" He's never heard of them. "Dwarves, a race that vanished completely many years ago." She holds out the dagger. "It's completely possible this dagger, and the tools it once belonged to had something to do with it." She leads him upstairs and out the door to her balcony.

She points to a tower not to far from her home. "They left behind a lot of those towers. It's really the only sign their race was even real." Artemis leans out a bit, looking at the tower. "People often wondered why they came out this way." Her head tilts to the side. "I bet it was for the forge. Deep in the Rift is the Aetherium Forge. "I used it to make a crown, but you won't find any more Aetherium." "I take it these Dwemer were the only ones that could make it?" He glances at the dagger. "Yes, what knowledge they had was lost with them." She points back to the tower. "They are mostly responsible to what happened to the Snow Elves as well. When Ysgramor came to Skyrim with his five hundred Companions, many elves were killed. Any who survived headed deep beneath the earth in hopes the Dwemer would protect them. That didn't happen." She shakes her head slightly. "They twisted the poor elves and over time they became mindless blind monsters. The Nords call them Falmer, and you can find them everywhere down bellow. Even without the Dwemer they found a way to survive but they no longer remember what they used to be." He scowls slightly at this as he crosses his arms. "So these Dwemer vanish, but they left behind what they were doing. Never heard of an entire race just...disappearing like that.." Most are killed off over time or go into hiding. She licks her lower lip as she leans her head back. "It's...hard to explain. It goes all the way back to the Heart of Lorkhan.."

She rubs the back of her head. "Sorry it's a lot of history to go over so bare with me here. Lorkhan was one of the old Gods, not really sure what happened. But the Dwemer discovered what they thought to be his heart. So they created tools to try and tap into it. This dagger, a hammer and a gauntlet. No telling what happened to the other two items. But something went wrong, either they hit it wrong or it was something else but it created a ripple effect so powerful it drew in all the Dwemer, never to bee seen again. As for the Heart it's said the Nerevarine destroyed it for good." She pauses, still holding the dagger in her hands. "That went over your head a touch didn't it?" He takes a moment but shakes his head. "Sorry like a said it's a lot of history to go over. But that tower there leads to a place called Blackreach. It's one of the largest places created by the Dwemer. It's mostly been taken over by Falmer, but sometimes I still wonder down there to explore more of it. I'm sure there's still plenty down there I've yet to see." He shivers at the idea. He's spent enough time in the Underdark to never want to ever be under ground again. However this sounds far different. "I can show you around, it should be safe enough.." He gives it some thought, the tiny part of him looking for adventure is leaning to yes. "Show me." She smiles brightly. "We'll go in the morning, right now I'm starving." She turns and heads back inside, Artemis following after her.