Life as Fox- Chapter 3

We passed by Helgen on our way to Falkreath. I stopped my horse to look at the still abandoned town. As I looked at its ruined walls, I convinced myself that I could still smell Alduin’s burning fire, the burning flesh of innocents, wood and stone. I sat transfixed, still hearing the screams of confusion and fear as the ancient dragon assaulted the town and its people. There was Ralof’s voice urging me to follow him to safety. With my hands still bound I ran to him. Only when Sterek touched my shoulder, did I snap out of my memories. The two rangers both seemed concerned. I pushed forward, wordlessly. It was over, it was the past, but it at times it was still very real to me.

I never did like Falkreath. The surrounding mountains and pine trees were always lovely. It was abundant with life old and new. I was offered a plot of land to build a house on before facing Alduin, but couldn’t take it from jarl Siddgeir. I wanted to get away from death. I wanted to get away from his hold, and his ever-sly touches. I had added too much to its cold embrace already. No matter how I loved the wilderness and the soothing silence, I couldn’t make myself settle there. I remained in the cities, where I could be distracted; where my dreams and memories wouldn’t bother me so much.

Just a little way before we rode into the town, we were ambushed by bandits. I was out of practice and only had a dagger with me, but I managed to wound one’s leg enough for Sterek to finish off with one swoop of his great sword. I stalled for a moment, looking over all the blood that we spilt over the cobbled path. I had imagined that I would always have to see a lot of blood when I was with Arcadia, but there was never more than a nose bleed or an accidental cut to take care of.

The rest of the way to town was very uneventful after that. Falkreath really was seasonless. The fine mist that covered the town not only added to the mental image of decay I had conjured, but to its timelessness. It hadn’t changed at all since I last saw it. The villagers were still suspicious of anyone new and we were met with hard stares as soon as we passed through the gate. We ended up in the Dead man’s drink with several pitchers of mead.

“You mentioned that we were going to Haafingar,” I said. It was too late to talk to Sterek. He was passed out on the floor, drunk. The inn’s name seemed very funny then. “But where exactly are we going?”

“I’m not supposed to say. Balgruuf will have my head.”

“I’ll just leave and go on my own. Then the two of you can go back to whatever it is you do.”

His drink stopped mid-way to his mouth, his eyes went wide. It made me suspicious. “You’ll get killed.”

“I’m not a helpless woman.”

“You’re also not who you used to be.” He grabbed Narri as she walked past, asking for more mead and food. She looked at me for a moment, recognizing who I was. I turned my head away until she left the table. “When’s the last time you held a sword?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“How am I in good conscience supposed to let you go by yourself knowing you might not make it?”

“What does it matter if I make it or not?”

“It matters to Skyrim. It matters to her people. You might just be a legend to some now, but there are those who remember who you are and what you did. It matters. And with this damned civil war looming, Skyrim will need you again.”

I thought over his words. “But why take me to Haafingar? Why not away from Skyrim if Baalgruf wants me away from Ulfric?” I closed my eyes. The civil war.

“He hopes you would join the Imperial legion,” Magnus began. “to put a stop to Ulfric once and for all.”

“And if I refuse?” This was too much. I never agreed to join a side in the war. Not when I was under Ulfric’s thumb and not now while I was in debt to Balgruuf.

Magnus slammed down his goblet. “Then you leave Skyrim to the wolves.”

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We were all pushed into one small room where an extra cot had been brought in for me. I preferred the horrible stiff leather to sleeping on hay. I lied on my back, staring up at the wooden ceiling unable to fall asleep. Scenes of what had happened at Helgen flashed in my mind like a restoration mage conjuring up light. Coupled with the snoring from the two rangers, I struggled to find enough peace to drift away.

I pulled on my boots and tip-toed out of the room to get some fresh air. There were a few lamps lit but Masser and Secunda sat high above my head, illuminating the night with soft shadows. It wasn’t so bad to be outside then. I pulled my cloak tighter around my shoulders before walking down toward the cemetery. I counted the grave markers until seven. Then I walked down seven more and sat down by his grave. Stenvar’s grave. He was a good man and friend. A mercenary I had only hired out of necessity because of a broken rib. And I only had the broken rib because I slipped while taking care of a bandit. He hit me with his shield and I rolled down the steps. But the two of us soon became friends, and he followed me until his death in Falkreath. It only took one drunken brawl and one hit to the side of his head for him to stagger backwards and hit his head against the small wall of the fire pit. He was dead. It wasn’t by a bandit’s blade, or even the deadly bite of a dragon like he had wanted. It took me a long time to process what had happened. I was angry with him for so long, for leaving me alone and for picking the fight in the first place. Then I blamed myself for not stopping him, for not speaking out against the amount of mead he was drinking. Not that he would have listened to me.

I placed my hand on the stone, and said a silent prayer. I walked back to the Dead man’s drink after telling him of what happened to me. I knew he couldn’t hear me. He would have scolded me for being a milk drinker. While I climbed the steps to the door, I stopped and looked at the two guards at the gate that stared at me. They looked away quickly. My stomach twisted and I knew that something wasn’t right.

Before I could open the door, there was a sharp pain on the back of my head. My vision blurred and I stumbled forward. Strong arms took hold of my arms, pulling me up and away from the wooden planks. I thought it was Magnus or Sterek there to help me, but I was being dragged away down the steps, further and further away from the door. I tried to scream, but a leather clad hand covered my mouth and the guards by the gate pretended not to notice what was happening. I was dragged some distance away to behind some houses, where I was dropped onto the grass. I lifted my head, anger was boiling like water within me.

“Ralof?”

He bent down on one knee and handed me a water skin. I threw it to the grass as I got to my feet. Surprise overtook me for a moment.  “This was the only way I could speak to you without your two bodyguards around.”

My stomach twisted, anger returning. How dare he? I looked around at every one of the Stormcloak men that stood around us. How did they find me? “You knew I was here? Did you follow us?”

“Honestly,” he said. “This is all a happy coincidence. One of my men, Olaf, said he had seen you on the road. We bribed some of the gate guards to let us in so that I could talk to you. We only have a few moments.”

“What do you want?” I didn’t mean to bark at him, but I was kicking myself. They had found me so easily.

He watched me quietly for a moment, taking me in. We hadn’t met again since our drunken night in Windhelm before I set out to kill Alduin.

“I want you to come with me, Olsa, back to Ulfric. The war was paused so that you could do what needed to be done, but it’s time to take Skyrim back. It’s time.”

“You want Ulfric to give you more recognition and promotion for finally bringing him the dragonborn.”

His head whipped back at my words, and his brow furrowed. “I don’t know what happened to you, but you have always fought for what is right. You know Skyrim belongs to us.”

“I won’t follow you blindly, Ralof. I’m on no one’s side, and I refuse to choose.”

“You followed me once,” he said, stepping closer. He wanted to take hold of my hand, but I pulled away and turned my body to face the high wall that surrounded Falkreath. “You chose to come with me when we escaped Helgen, Olsa. You followed me blindly then.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“It’s your name, is it not?” Laughter bellowed from his chest. “Do I have the wrong woman?”

I looked him in the eye. “It’s not my name anymore.”

He breathed out against my ear. The hair on my arms and neck stood on end. No more goose bumps, warm caresses and old memories. “No, you are not her. You are just wearing her face.”

Before I walked away, I turned back to look at him. He met my gaze.

“You know where I’ll be,” he said.

 

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Out for a walk

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Footy and Foodie.


Out for a walk

John whistled to Oliver to slow down, and walked toward where the dog was waiting. It was the perfect time for a few photographs, and he would be able to get the dog out for some exercise. Some walking would do them both good.

John held up his finger imagining that he was swirling the clouds as he moved it over from blue, to pink, to orange, to yellow where the sun was setting. He put down his hand to pick up his old camera that was held together with strategically placed duct tape and rubber bands. Brenda always knew how to fix things.

Oliver waited by one of the cars. It was time to go home. It would get dark soon. John looked down at the photo he had just taken. He stopped.

Was that-? He shook his head. What was that on the screen? It couldn’t be.

Oliver barked, urging him to hurry up. It was almost dinner time.

John scratched at his head beneath his hat. “Is that a woman?” he asked himself. On the screen sure enough was a figure in the clouds. “Flying?!”

He put his camera away and grabbed Oliver by the collar to hurry home.

Brenda wasn’t going to believe this.

 


(208 words)

Detective E

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

This week’s photo prompt is provided by The Magicsticgoldenrose.


Detective E

“The elusive stranger!”

This was it. We chased the perp down the street toward the Crowdy house, the local municipal building and the only historical site in town. It’s a boring town.

Detective E. turned the corner after running across the courtyard, almost catching up to our perp. We ran up the stairs to the roof. He was cornered.

“Nowhere to go now,” E said.

The stranger pulled off his mask, revealing Mrs. Cooper- our client.

“Mrs. Cooper,” I exclaimed.

E gasped. “Of course, it was you. You wanted us to catch you, that’s why you told those lies about your priceless diamonds.”

She licked her lips. “I knew you would find me eventually, E.”

“You’re going away for a long time, dame.”

She laughed. “Poor E. You’ll go down in history as the one that let me get away.”

And as she finished she jumped from the roof. We could only watch as she soared away.


(157 words)

This is terrible, and I love it  xD

I

Furry hero

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Week of 06-06 through 06-12-2017

Prompt provided by Pamela S. Canepa.


Furry Hero 

Getting lost was easy. There were only trees, and more trees, and more trees around me. And behind me. And in front of me.

I found a large rock to stand on, hoping that it would give me a vantage point to find civilization again. I managed one leg over the edge and struggled for some time to pull the rest of myself up onto it. Should have used my gym membership a bit more. Breathless, I did a power stance with my hands on my hips. It’s good to feel confident even when you feel like crying.

I did what I always did best; I yelled and screamed.

A very hairy hand came up from behind and clamped my mouth shut. I closed my eyes, thankful. I turned to face my hero. I gasped, it held out it’s paw to me.

It had to be a male bear. His cave was dishevelled, his bed unmade, dishes waiting in the sink.

He called the police. I got ice cream on my way home.

Crap. I hope the others are okay.


(180 words)

I was feeling silly. Obviously, you’d yell if a bear put it’s paw on your face.

Frost

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

This week’s photo prompt is provided by loniangraphics.


Frost

Candy continued poking at the frost on the leaves. Once it all was gone, she curled her numb finger into her palm, forming a fist to try and warm it up again. Her legs were burning, her feet numb. Her new boots weren’t keeping some of the wind out. She had been standing there since before the sun came up, waiting for her friend. It was her fault she was so cold. She wanted to be early to surprise him.

Meet me by the tree, his letter had said. He would have a big surprise for her. Candy couldn’t imagine what that would mean. Surely, he would never marry her. Susie was far more suited to be his wife. His letter had promised that he would come to say hello. He was back from the war. It was over.

His mother came to the house later that day, her eyes red and puffy. Candy had waited as long as she could. In the end the frost made it impossible. His mother sat down and gathered Candy’s hands in hers. He wasn’t coming home.


(183 words)

 So late to the party, but I made it!

30 Day Prompt list

Here are the prompts for April’s writing challenge:

  1. Have you considered murder?
  2. Looks like a baby.
  3. An awful lot of running.
  4. Socks.
  5. No, you don’t.
  6. Used tea bags.
  7. Is that blood? No?
  8. Chickens.
  9. You won’t believe it.
  10. Second date.
  11. Mirror, mirror.
  12. His fist flew into…
  13. I want a new phone.
  14. Coming up green.
  15. A sunny spot.
  16. Don’t blink.
  17. It was a dream.
  18. Dare to hope.
  19. Throes of Spring.
  20. Hello morning.
  21. Sunny side up.
  22. All that glitters.
  23. Chocolate muffin.
  24. Moonlight.
  25. White carpet.
  26. Her chair.
  27. I am way too sober for this.
  28. The bone crunched.
  29. You knew?
  30. I killed it.

 

I had a lot of fun with the prompts. I hope whoever decides to give it a try will have fun too.

30 Day writing challenge: The last stretch

The idea is to write 150-200 words a day for each prompt and to post it on this blog. At the end of the month, I’ll post the list of prompts if anyone is interested.

Prompt 27: I am way too sober for this. Prompt 28: The bone crunched. Prompt 29: You knew? Prompt 30: I killed it. 


I am way too sober for this, like uncle Jerry always says. It was me against the spider. A very unwelcome guest in my bedroom. I had thrown a few books at him, but he dodged and dipped past every hard cover that flew towards him. It turned, it’s brow furrowing. He picked up his legs like a ninja before lunging. I slapped it to the side, hearing the bone crunch in my hand. But I was too manly to feel it. He scurried on the bed. Without a second thought, I dived on him to show him who was boss.

I threw my guest toward the door, ready to kick him out, when mom came in.

“What are you doing?” She asked. “You’re supposed to get ready for bed, Bobby.”

I pointed toward the spider. “It attacked me.”

The room changed back as mom picked up the stuffed toy. No more play time. It’s one leg was slightly torn with white stuffing coming out of the wound. “I’ll take the unwelcome guest back to the dog then,” she said.

“I killed it,” I said, getting into bed. She kissed my head and put off the light.

“Good night, sweetie.”


(200 words)

I was four days behind, and I feel so bad about it! But I hope this last story makes up for it. I will post the list of prompts soon.