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Long Traveled Roads Part V (NSFW)

The night in Rivenspire was bright; almost bright enough to be called twilight, though it was well into the early morning hours.  Secunda and Masser at their full glory would do that to a night.  Fell’s Run seemed suspended in their glow with not a soul stirring save for the occasional rat as it scurried from one stable to another haystack.  At the edge of the small town proper, resting inside a walled courtyard was a small, one story house.  It was really unremarkable of one peered inside: small loft, simple furniture, but tasteful.  The real gem seemed to be the courtyard garden—vastly over grown but thriving in the magical night.  It was a trove of night blooming flowers, towering trees, and broken cobbles that served as a footpath through the chaos to the front door.

 

            Stories of course abounded about Fell’s Run and the ravens that seemed to loiter at certain homes.  It usually made a good deterrent for petty thieves and bandits, but not this night.  A few candles, always lit, showed the occasional and shuffling shadow of the thief as she moved about the small home.  She did not want to commit a heist, no, she wanted books to read, and the sorceress who owned this particular home had promised she would be welcome—on request.  The sorceress was of course, unavailable to ask, and so Karone Bjornsen made herself at home.  Supposedly the little woman would be gone for a few weeks yet.  A stack of books on herbs and potion making sat stacked on the side of the kitchen counter while Karone knelt and rummaged through the kitchen cupboards.  She should have thought to bring a snack!

 

            Finally, in the back of a cupboard she found a few stashes of left over winter berries and nuts, as well as a cold chest.  The chest was enchanted to stay cold, and inside it were two wrapped hunks of goat cheese.  There was also a tin of ginger rose tea which Karone ignored.  Smiling to herself, the dark clad thief started to gather up the food—all of it, so that she could eat and study.  As she was doing this the air beyond the counter began to shimmer and warp, and Karone had the brief sensation that the air was being sucked out of the room as a small, slender form stumbled through the opening portal.  There was a thump as the intruder landed on the floor-- followed by a string of snarled curses.  The smell of singed flesh and clothing was strong enough for Karone to taste on the back of her tongue.  Warily, she peered over the counter top—leaving just the top of her hood and eyes visible as she did.

 

            “Mad!  Why are the old one always ruddy insane?!  I make my food sing before I eat it he says!  It adds to the vintage he thinks!  Nothing wrong with a little insanity between travelers!  Molag Bal’s wretched left nutsack!  And the fire!  Always with the bloody flames of Oblivion!”  Viatryx Silas, also known briefly as Silanus, ranted passionately as she stood in a little cloud of smoke—smelling strongly of singed clothing, dead flesh, and sea water.  Besides her staff, she was clutching a small urn under her free arm.  Karone tilted her head to the side, regarding the petite vampire before shaking her head.  The tall Nord rogue stood, pulled her mask down, and slid her hood back.  She stepped around the counter, plucking an apple from the bowl there as she leaned back.  After checking to make sure the apple was not wax, she began to cut pieces to eat.

 

            “Ran into some trouble did you?”

 

            “Trouble she asks.  Troub--…why are you in my house?” Viatryx demanded, turning to focus her attention on Karone.  In the dim candle light she looked positively ghoulish, her skin waxen gray, eyes sunken in circles of black flesh, and glowing with coalfire rage.  She had expended more energy than it took to appear human, and so she looked like what she was—a vampire.  The sorceress shook her head, sniffing the air for a moment.  She drifted closer to Karone, but stopped easily out of reach.  The thief and assassin was not quite warped enough for her tastes.  She still possessed a hope and honor that did not pique Viatryx’s feeding interests.

 

            “The window was open.”  Karone smiled as she said it, pausing as Viatryx’s frown deepened into an honest and chilling glare.  “Well, it was open once I picked the lock.  I wanted to read some of your books.  And I thought you were going to be out for a while.”

 

            “…I hope you at least stayed away from the Mad Cheese God’s selection.  I’d not like to come back and find you babbling about brooks with crooks and nooks—or some other nonsense.”  Viatryx picked bits of deadwood and shale from her hair and shoulders, and brushed sand onto the floor.  “I’ll understand of course, but then I’d be forced to pick a fight with him—and I’m not really sure that’s a fight anyone can win.”

 

            “Oh, you’d fight for me?  I’m honored.  All though…” Karone waved her knife in Viatryx’s general direction.  “You may want to take a bath and have some dinner before you go saving damsels.   This whole…rising from a pit in Oblivion look won’t sound as dashing in the stories.”

 

            “Yes…” Viatryx’s expression softened, lips quirking upward for a moment before she rubbed her hands over her face, and set aside her things.  “The next time the Mage Guild wants me to help find their idiot apprentices—I do believe I’ll refuse.”

 

            “No you won’t.  I mean, you say you will, but you won’t.  You’ll get all cantankerous about it, but you’ll eventually help.  …Ya big softy.”

 

            “How do you know me so well?” Viatryx grumbled as she moved with a creaky slowness toward the stairs to the loft where her bed was.  She needed clothing that could well, hide her so she could venture out to feed and repair her body.  Additionally, she was acutely aware that she must have looked like one of Oblivion’s ghouls at that moment.  Something she did not like displaying to Karone.  Of course, if Karone was at all bothered by the little sorceress’s appearance, she gave no clue to it.  Instead she hopped off the counter and followed Viatryx to the stairs.

 

            “Part of my job…reading people.  …Learning how they think.  You have any potions made, or gauze—some sort of kit, around here?”  Karone looked around as Viatryx stumbled up the stairs.  She watched as the vampire pointed absently to a chest at the foot of her bed.

 

            “There, but you’re not injured are you?”  Viatryx asked as she wiped her hands as clean as possible before beginning to rummage through her wardrobe.  She needed a hood and a heavy cloak.  Something to hide her vulnerabilities.

 

            “No.  I was referring to you.  You’re injured.  And stop looking for something to cover your face.  I don’t care.  Take off your clothes and let me see how badly injured you are.”

 

            Viatryx froze, turning slowly to regard Karone through narrowed eyes.  “I have to feed.”  She said very quietly.  The tall Nord rogue shrugged and stepped closer—taking the hooded cloak Viatryx had found and tossing it to the bed.  She began helping the vampire peel off the remnants of her charred robes—noting that most of the damage was from burns.

 

            “Then feed.  Just don’t go turning me into a creature of the night.  Took me forever to get a nice tan and not burn once I left Riften.”  Karone said casually as she helped Viatryx strip to the nude.  Under the robes she was lean muscled and had the appearance of a wasting illness—though feeding would somewhat dispense with that appearance.  If there were any question of her age at death, it was also answered with the small, full breasts of a woman in the spring years of her life.  Viatryx was just short.

 

            “Feeding from you won’t help.  …But thank you.  It takes more than a bite to make someone a proper vampire anyway.”  Viatryx said with a shake of her head.

 

            “Picky eater.  Sheesh.”  Karone pulled a pot of some lavender and rosemary smelling salve from the trunk and gauze.  Dipping the gauze into the concoction, she began to smear it across the burns on Viatryx’s chest and arms—without warning.  The action drew a hiss of pain from the vampire, and caused her otherwise dainty fangs to elongate.  Viatryx swallowed and tried to use the pain to fuel her concentration.

 

            “I have distinct preferences—humans who have lost sight of their humanity usually.”  Viatryx lisped.  So much for the fangs retracting nice and neatly.  She clutched at one of Karone’s arms as the rogue worked—shoulders sagging as she felt the first brush of dawn’s light.

 

            “I’m a thief and an assassin.  By some members of society, I’m not a nice person.  …Bet I taste delicious.”  She winked at Viatryx—all but carrying her to the bed and depositing her there on top of the cloak she had pulled out earlier.

 

            “I’ll bet you do too,” Viatryx lisped as a warning wave of fatigue suddenly dragged at her.  She was too injured, too drained to stay awake.  Feeding would not come for her until night fell again.  She watched, feeling suddenly leaden as Karone found a much more comfortable robe to put her in, and tucked her under the covers.

 

            “Tonight, we will find out.  …After you feed, of course.”

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