Arthius continued to bash Farkas in the face, blinded by rage. He was then tackled by Vilkas and pinned to the ground, face down as his arms were held behind him. Farkas immediately got up and pushed Vilkas off of Arthius and then began kicking Arthius in the side. Arthius pushed himself at Farkas and grabbed his legs, pushing him on his back. Serana grabbed Arthius by the arms and pulled him away as Vilkas restrained his brother.
"TOUCH HER AGAIN AND I'M TAKING YOUR HAND!" Arthius shouted at Farkas. Farkas struggled to free himself from his brother, but Vilkas was holding him back. The underforge opened as Aela stepped through the entrance, investigating the noise.
"What is going on?!" she demanded before seeing Arthius. She looked between Farkas and Arthius before discovering the issue.
"Farkas, calm yourself "Aela said. Farkas scowled at Aela before shouting back.
"She turned him into one of them!" Farkas shouted.
"And I'm sure our harbinger has a good reason for it, now calm down and let him explain" Aela demanded.
"You're just going to accept this?! I warned her, and the whore still did it!" Farkas shouted. Arthius became furious at this and struggled against Serana. She had to use all her strength to hold him back.
"Shut you damn mouth!" Arthius yelled.
"She made him her damn slave! I'm going to skin her!" Farkas shouted as his features began to shift.
"Farkas!" Aela and Vilkas both shouted. Vilkas felt as Farkas' arms grew thicker as he transformed. Vilkas was cured of the beast long ago, so there wasn't anything he could do. Farkas then broke free, now as a werewolf and began to charge towards Arthius. Before he could take two steps, Farkas was shot in the leg with an arrow. Everyone turned to see Aela holding her bow with a few arrows in hand. Farkas began to scream as his flesh sizzled around the arrow.
"I keep a few silver arrows just in case" Aela explained as she walked over to Farkas' side. Serana released Arthius then, knowing he had no reason to attack now. Farkas began to change back to his normal self, as Aela grabbed him by his arm and looked towards Vilkas. Vilkas rushed over and took his brother from Aela. He then began to drag Farkas towards the exit. As they were passing by, Arthius kicked Farkas in the side. Vilkas gave Arthius an eye before continuing out the underforge. Aela stayed with her arms crossed eyeing Arthius. Once Vilkas was gone, he turned to Serana who now had a bleeding nose. Serana turned away as Arthius put his hands on her face to inspect her injuries.
"We shouldn't have come, you shouldn't have" Arthius said.
"If you were going than I was too" she said as Arthius turned her head to inspect her nose.
"Then I should have just snuck out"
"Going behind my back is wishing for death itself" Serana said with a serious tone. Arthius chuckled at this before releasing her. Serana gave him a small smile before glancing at aela. Arthius sighed before turning to face Aela who now had her hand to her forehead. They stood there in silence as Aela contemplated to herself. She looked up before looking between Arthius and Serana before shaking her head and sighing.
"Explain" she stated sternly. Arthius looked at Serana a moment before speaking.
"Well…in order to enter the soul cairn-"Arthius began.
"A plane of oblivion where-"Serana began.
"I wasn't speaking to you vampire!" Aela snapped. Serana scowled at Aela before Arthius intervened.
"It's a plane of oblivion where the souls from soul gems go once they're used" Arthius said, looking towards Serana for confirmation.
"Close enough" Serana said glancing back at Arthius. Aela glared at Serana before Arthius continued.
"The soul cairn would have killed any life that entered. So in order for me to enter, I had to…stop living" Arthius said.
"So why couldn't she enter alone?" Aela said.
"It was dangerous-"
"Why should you care?!"
"She's the entire reason we're doing this!" Arthius shouted.
"She's the entire reason you're doing this Arthius!" Aela shouted back.
"He's just-"Serana broke in.
"I told you not to speak!" Aela shouted at her.
"I will speak if choose to do so" Serana said plainly as she crossed her arms.
"We have the other scroll. That's what's important" Arthius said.
"Watch your tongue girl, or I'll rip it out" Aela yelled at Serana.
"Who are you to demand me to do anything?" Serana questioned.
"I am Aela the huntress of the noble companions" Aela said proudly.
"And you should be-"Aela began.
"Oh, right. You're just the dragonborn's whore" Serana said smirking. Aela grew furious at this, taking a step forward.
"What me and Arthius share has nothing to-"
"Share?!" Serana laughed.
"You believe he has feelings for you? That's adorable" Serana said with a small smile. Aela looked bewildered as she scowled again.
"You know nothing about what goes on between us. You just-"
"Why do you think the only time he spends with you is to bed you, then leaves immediately afterwards?" Serana said with a raised eyebrow and a pout. Aela froze at this, unsure of what to say. Arthius looked at Aela with a concerned look, as Aela stared at him.
"Dexion is in the harbinger's room. Go speak to him "She said with a scowl as she paced out of the underforge.
"Aela!" Arthius shouted as she exited. Arthius put his hand to his forehead before throwing his shield at the wall. Serana sighed heavily before turning to Arthius.
"Arthius, I didn't mean to snap"
"Go back to my house"
"You know why"
"GO TO THE DAMN HOUSE" Arthius shouted at her. Serana cowered slightly at this, she then stared at Arthius with a glare.
"Please" Arthius whispered. Serana sighed as she dropped her scroll and walked out of the underforge. Arthius stood there for a few moments in silence, as if waiting for someone. He then flung his scroll at the wall as hard as he could in frustration. He then ran his hand through his hair before shouting loudly. "What is happening?! By the gods, what in the divines is wrong with everyone?! Even Serana somehow snapped, and Farkas looked as though he was about to chop Serana's head off! What's going on?!" Arthius thought to himself as he punched the wall. He then leaned against it and tried to calm himself. He thought he should go speak with Aela and Dexion since that was the reason they came here in the first place. He soon made his way out of the underforge towards jorrvaskr.
He entered the building to see Farkas sitting at the main table with his brother. They looked up at him and Vilkas gave Farkas a serious glance. Arthius approached them slowly before speaking.
"I'm fine, go speak with Aela. She looked very…troubled" Farkas waved him off. Arthius nodded before descending to the lower level. He went down the hall before slowly approaching Aela's chambers. He put his ears to the door and heard her…weeping. Arthius was shocked at this, he had never seen any weakness from Aela, and does she really have feelings towards him? "Of course she does you idiot". Arthius knocked on the door, hearing as she suddenly stopped and wiped her face.
"Who is it?" she asked plainly.
"Arthius, may I come in?" he asked.
"Do you have guidance for me harbinger?"
"I'd like to speak with you" Arthius stated. Aela paused at this before speaking.
"You may enter" she said. Arthius walked in the room, noticing Aela's red eyes immediately. He sat beside her on her bed, looking down. Aela looked at him with a plain face, waiting for him to speak
"If I'm speaking to Arthius and not the harbinger, I'm not-"Aela began.
"I'm not speaking of that. We both know what this is about" Arthius said sternly. Aela looked forward before speaking.
"I'm not in love with you if that's what you might be thinking" she said plainly. Arthius nodded, he was unsure but it was definitely good to know.
"I just feel as though it's true, that I'm just a whore"
"It's true. Kodlak always wanted me to eventually settle down and have a family. Now, three years later, all I'm doing is slaughtering wolves and bedding you" Aela said as she wiped her eye. Arthius knew she was heavily troubled by this, he never thought that this would be what bothered her. He always assumed the only problems with what they were doing would be love or jealousy, though he thanks the gods it's not one of those.
"Aela, Kodlak knew what he was speaking of, but he didn't make it clear" Arthius said, making Aela look up at him.
"He wanted you to do what he thought would make you happy, but that doesn't mean that a husband and children are what he wanted for you" he said. Aela looked questionably at him before speaking.
"He said he wanted me to have a family-"she began.
"And you do, all of us" Arthius said with a large grin. Aela stared at him before breaking out into a fit of laughter. She looked at him smiling, and then she pounced on him. Arthius was surprised as she basically ripped his armor off of him as she pressed her lips to his removing her clothing. Arthius separated himself from her and stood up from the bed, leaving Aela on her back.
"Oh come Arthius, do you expect me to stay off of you after something like that?" she smiled, raising an eyebrow.
"Aela, I'm in love with Serana" he said plainly. Aela looked at him, no longer smiling. She then covered herself as she sat back up. Arthius looked around awkwardly as Aela dressed herself in silence.
"Well done Arthius. She's quite the…creature" Aela said looking down. Arthius smiled at this as he sat beside her.
"It's not that you're not…" he said as he looked at her "…tempting" Aela looked up at him, before leaning on his shoulder. They stayed there in silence before Aela straightened herself and kissed Arthius on the cheek.
"I think it might be best if you left" she said as she looked him in the eyes.
"Don't make a girl wait too long" she said smiling. Arthius smiled back at her, getting a small gasp from Aela. Arthius then noticed how long his fangs had become. He looked at Aela, now noticing what kind of temptation she had given him. He had wanted to…feed. Arthius covered his mouth as he quickly rose and paced to the door. Aela grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to her. She looked at him with a stern face and looked down before meeting his eyes again.
"Are you…alright?" she asked. Arthius couldn't control himself as he pushed Aela to a wall and pinned her there. She quickly struggled but Arthius held her firmly as he inhaled her scent. Aela jerked an arm free and punched Arthius in the face. Arthius turned back to her and grabbed her throat. She yanked herself free, but Arthius' nails left a cut on the side of her neck. Aela noticed this as Arthius lunged at her, knocking her head to the wall. Aela wavered as her head bounced off the wood and became unconscious in Arthius arms. All he could think was the blood trickling down her neck, the smell, and soon…the taste. Arthius noticed he was now leaning down to her neck, unable to resist. Then suddenly, he thought of the night Serana had tried to feed to him, and the regret she felt afterwards. Arthius' eyes shot opened as he pushed Aela back roughly, knocking her to the floor. Arthius stared at her before turning and rushing out the door, down the hall, up the stairs, past a questioning Vilkas, and out of jorrvaskr. Arthius crashed through the doors of his home to a startled Serana. He was sweating and panting heavily, as he stared at his shaking hands.
"Arthius? Are you-"she was cut off as Arthius wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. Serana stood there as he put his head down on her shoulder, she felt as he shook violently. Serana wrapped her arms around his waist and held him as she rested her chin on his shoulder.
"I almost- I almost fed from-"Arthius spoke shakily as he tightened his grip. Serana's eyes watered at what she heard. She knew what it was like to almost succumb to feeding from another person, but for it to be someone so close to you…Serana rubbed the back of Arthius' head as she nuzzled him. They were soon sitting against the wall side by side as Arthius leaned on Serana's shoulder. Serana held him there through the night until he finally spoke.
"I'm a damn monster" he said. Arthius didn't think about what he had said until he felt Serana wince slightly at his comment. He looked up at her but she simply nodded, shrugging it off. Arthius lay his head back on Serana's shoulder before continuing.
"We can leave today" Arthius said. Serana looked down at him questionably.
"We can just run away, pack all of our belongings and just…go away. Together" Arthius said. Serana chuckled at this.
"Don't you have a country to protect?" she asked raising an eyebrow.
"I could give a damn about skyrim and her people, that's as much as they've cared about me" Arthius said boldly.
"You don't mean that" Serana scoffed.
"You don't know Serana. People tend to forget what they owe you when they feel as though you owe something to them" Arthius said. Serana turned to him, placing a kiss on his head.
"So what's the plan?" she asked playfully.
"Well, I could sell all of my homes. I figure my housecarls can come with us. Not "with" us, but eventually travel to the city we choose"
"Alright so cyrodiil?"
"Yes, they would love to have the dragonborn as a citizen" he said. Serana laughed at this rolling her eyes.
"Yes, and his beautiful "wife" who just happens to eat the servants and avoids the sun" she said chuckling. Arthius smiled up at her before speaking.
"I think you might be giving yourself a bit too much credit" Arthius smiled.
"Oh? Am I not good enough to be the dragonborn's wife?" she asked as she playfully rose an eyebrow.
"No, I meant you calling yourself beauti-"he was cut off as Serana shoved him away. Arthius laughed as he fell onto his back and was pinned by Serana. They laughed like idiots as Arthius looked up at her. She smiled down at him as Arthius just stared with a saddened smile.
"Gods, you are beautiful" he said as he put his hand to her cheek. She held it there a few moments before replying.
"It's a shame that you look like the backside of-"she was cut off as Arthius flipped her over to her back. She laid there and wrapped her hands around his head as she pulled him into a passionate kiss. Arthius smiled as he spoke.
"You have no idea what life was like for me before I met you Serana" he said. Serana looked up at him with a small smile.
"Well, I was in a hole so you know how it was for me" she said. Arthius laughed as he leaned in to kiss her again.
"I love you" he said.
"I love you too" Arthius lied next to her as Serana put her head on his shoulder. After a few moments, Arthius spoke.
"You know, there's a bed upstairs" he said smiling. Serana stiffened at this and Arthius noticed this, silently cursing at himself for what he had said.
"I didn't mean-"
"I know" Serana said. Arthius laid in silence, until Serana wrapped her arm around him placing a kiss on his cheek.
"Not yet anyways" she said with a serious expression before resting her head on his shoulder again. "The dragonborn's wife…" she thought to herself.
Arthius awoke a few hours later, Serana still holding to him. He looked down at her, kissing her forehead. Serana whimpered slightly as she tightened her hold on Arthius. He chuckled as he played with her hair, she slowly awoke and looked up at Arthius smiling.
"Good sleep?" Arthius asked raising an eyebrow. Serana kissed his cheek before answering.
They soon arrived in jorrvaskr, after Arthius was sure to give Serana her first sweet roll. Once they entered, Arthius was grateful to see the main hall empty. They descended the stairs and quickly made their way to the harbinger's room as Serana quickly scarfed down her sweet roll, getting a laugh from Arthius. As they entered the room Arthius noticed the bandages around Dexion's eyes. "Curse the gods, curse every single god and divine there could possibly be and send them to burn in the fieriest spots in oblivion!" Arthius thought to himself.
"You're blind?!" Serana shouted. Arthius jumped slightly at this and so did Dexion.
"How did this happen?" Serana asked. Arthius sat down in the corner and tried as best as he could to calm himself, even though he felt like he could destroy half of Whiterun at the moment.
"It's my fault. In my haste to read the first scroll, I neglected the careful preparation required" Dexion said.
"I thought I'd be able to allay the after effects, but I was wrong. Now I'm paying for it" Dexion explained. Serana pondered this for a few moments before speaking.
"Can anything be done to help you?" she asked.
"No. It'll have to run its course, and there's always the chance I may never recover" Dexion spoke. Arthius rested his head back as Serana dropped her head. She slowly walked to Arthius and basically fell on top of him. She put her head on his shoulder as she went limp.
"We're finished then" Serana spoke.
"No, there's another way" Dexion said. Arthius bolted upwards, sending Serana falling to the floor.
"How?!" Arthius shouted. Dexion turned to him before replying.
"The question is, how much are you willing to risk to find Auriel's Bow?" Dexion asked. Arthius was annoyed at this.
"In the past three years, I've ventured through various ancient crypts, travelled through a plane of oblivion, went to Sovangarde and back, became both a werewolf and a vampire, defied the gods themselves, and bested the world eater Alduin in combat! So please, tell me what I'm willing to risk!" Arthius shouted. Dexion flinched aggressively and Arthius saw as Serana stared at him with wide eyes as she sat on the floor. Arthius ignored this as he turned back to Dexion.
"Just tell me what to do" Arthius said with an aggressive tone.
"Scattered across Tamriel are secluded locations known only as Ancestor Glades. There's one in Skyrim, in the Pine Forest. Performing the ritual of the ancestor moth within the glade should provide the answers you seek" Dexion explained.
"Explain the ritual" Serana spoke from behind Arthius. Dexion turned towards her before speaking.
"It involves carefully removing the bark from a canticle tree which will in turn attract ancestor moths to you. Once enough of the moths are following, they'll provide you with the second sight needed to decipher the scrolls" Dexion said.
"How would we accomplish gathering the bark?" Serana asked.
"In keeping with tradition, you must use a specific tool in the Ancestor Glade, an implement know as a Draw knife. Every Moth Priest is taught this ritual, but few ever get the chance to perform it…you should consider yourself fortunate if it works for you" Dexion finished. Arthius pondered this for a few moments until Serana spoke up.
"Which scroll should we read first?"
"I believe the scroll that foretells the defiance of the gods, good luck" Dexion said as he rested his head back. Arthius turned to Serana before nodding towards the exit. As they walked Serana spoke up.
"Oh, by the way…" she then punched Arthius in the jaw. Arthius winced in pain as he turned to face her.
"That's for knocking me down" she said looking forward. Arthius watched her walk ahead of him, enjoying the view. Serana turned to face him and blushed slightly once she realized what he was doing. She quickly went up the stairs and Arthius followed. Once they reached the top, they saw the circle standing around the stairway, blocking their path. Serana eyed all of them as Arthius stepped in front of her defensively. Vilkas stepped forward, making Arthius ready himself for what might happen.
"Forgive me harbinger, but this is for your own safety" Vilkas said as the three companions unsheathed their weapons. Arthius pulled out his sword and shield and put his arm in front of Serana. "Alright, bring it you bunch of mutts"