Journey To The Glade
The companions circled around Serana and Arthius, looking between each other for the signal. Arthius glared at the three of them as he held his sword firmly.
"We wish not to fight you harbinger" Vilkas spoke. Arthius scowled at him before speaking.
"Then don't" Arthius growled. Aela gave Vilkas a sorrowful glance, making him turn back to Arthius. She turned to Farkas who also had an uncomfortable look.
"Arthius, please let us take her and-"Farkas began. He was cut off as Arthius bashed his shield into his face, knocking him to the ground. Vilkas charged forward as Arthius lunged at his midsection knocking him to the ground. Arthius pinned him to the floor and began punching him in the face. Farkas rose with a growl as he tackled Arthius off of his brother. They began fighting on the ground until Arthius quickly rose and kicked Farkas in the side of his head. Vilkas swung his greatsword and Arthius barely ducked it before upper cutting Vilkas in the chin, knocking him to the floor. Arthius quickly turned to Aela with a furious expression. Aela stood in place, holding her bow but never reaching for an arrow.
"Arthius, I never meant for-"she stopped as Arthius began pacing towards her. Aela's eyes sprang open as she began walking backwards. Serana watched in shock, she couldn't blame Aela for being frightened by Arthius. There were times that Serana cowered at the thought of being attacked with that much fury from Arthius. She knew that this couldn't end well if she didn't interfere.
"Arthius…" Aela said as she paced backwards. She watched in horror as Arthius' fangs sprang out from his gums. Serana began walking towards Arthius as she knew he wouldn't hear her.
"Arthius…" Aela whimpered as she stumbled slightly as Arthius quickened his pace. She soon was pinned against a wall as she watched Arthius approach. Serana grabbed Arthius by the arm but he simply shook her off. Serana growled slightly as she grabbed him again, Arthius then turned and pushed her roughly to the ground. He turned back to Aela and grabbed her by the throat.
"Arthius-"she cried as he tightened his grip. He then began lifting her and holding her against the wall as her legs kicked. She began coughing violently and Arthius was enjoying every whimper and gag she made. He was then tackled to the ground by Serana, making Aela collapse on the floor. She was on all fours gasping for air as Serana struggled to hold down Arthius.
"Arthius! Look at me! Please, please calm down! You have to calm down" Serana shouted as she pinned him to the floor. Arthius soon ceased his anger as Serana held him there. He looked up at her nodding before she let him go. Arthius sat up, right before he was kicked in the head by Aela. Serana shot Aela a shocked glance as Aela put her hand out to Arthius. He took it as she helped him onto his feet. He gave her a look of shame and apology but she simply nodded. She then turned to the unconscious twins before speaking.
"They found me in my room, I had no marks so I'm assuming you restrained yourself" she said plainly. Arthius looked to the floor in shame for what he had done. He hadn't meant to hurt Aela, but he's not feeling the same since he arrived in Whiterun. Aela looked cautiously at Arthius and Serana, pondering to herself.
"He hasn't fed yet, has he?" Aela spoke up. Arthius' head bolted upwards as he turned to face Aela. She had a plain expression, as did Serana.
"I've been trying to delay that" Serana said crossing her arms.
"And what happens if you delay it for too long?" Aela raised an eyebrow.
"You become…feral" Serana said. Aela nodded before looking back at Arthius.
"You have to feed Arthius. There's no delaying it at this point" she spoke. Arthius was shocked at this.
"Before we continue, what about them?" Arthius asked as he turned to the brothers on the floor. Aela's eyes sprang open and quickly turned back to Arthius.
"By the way, how in the divines did you do that? You probably could have defeated them in swordsmanship, but never in hand to hand combat. Especially both of them at once" Aela said with a raised eyebrow. Arthius thought about this but had no clue whatsoever how he defeated them until Serana spoke up.
"When a vampire withholds from feeding, they become stronger the more they delay it. That, plus his vampiric strength" Serana said plainly, as if bored of the topic. Aela nodded slowly before answering Arthius.
"I'm sure they'll be fine. They will go after you, and there's not much I can do when Vilkas is the one who's chasing you" Aela spoke. Arthius and Serana looked back at each other. Arthius quickly rose and gathered his sword and shield as Serana grabbed their satchels and quickly began filling them with potions. Aela watched them move quickly through the hall gathering what they could. As they were about to leave, Aela called to them once more.
"Arthius" she said. Arthius looked at her as Serana continued through the doors. Aela and Arthius stared at each other before Aela raised her hand and put it across her chest.
"Fight well" she said. Arthius smirked slightly before rushing out the doors after Serana. Aela turned back to the brothers before walking past them to the lower quarters, where she would hope to find comfort in these times.
Arthius and Serana quickly stopped at his home, gathering what they might need for the road. As Serana made potions, Arthius went to the blacksmith's and purchased more bolts for his crossbow and something else. Serana met him there as he finished sharpening an ebony dagger for her. He held it out, getting a smile from Serana.
"Instead of that pathetic elven dagger" Arthius smiled. Serana took it and placed a small kiss on Arthius' lips. They then left the city and rushed to the carriage drivers.
"Where you going?" the driver asked. Arthius nodded at Serana to look which hold was closest to their location.
"Falkreath" Serana spoke. The driver nodded before whipping the reins. Arthius leaned back, knowing that they would run into Lydia. Serana eyed him before questioning him.
"What's the problem Arthius?" she asked.
"It's just… my actual home is next to Falkreath" he said. She eyed him until he continued.
"I'm not upset about it, I'm just a little concerned about my housecarl"
"What's the problem with your housecarl?"
"It's just- I'm a little unsure how she might react to this"
"To what?" she asked raising eyebrow.
"Well…I told her that the vampires were a small threat, and not a cult trying to fulfill and ancient prophecy that could end all life as we know it" Arthius said with a small chuckle.
"Well… maybe we should just avoid her" she said. Arthius turned to her and nodded slightly.
"Given my luck, we'll run into her. Plus we could use the extra potions in the house" he said. Serana nodded and then leaned against Arthius and rested her head on his shoulder.
"Well, we'll figure it out once we get there" she said lazily. Arthius smiled as he kissed her head and rested back. They stayed silent for a few hours before Serana spoke up.
"Arthius, what happened in cyrodiil?" she asked. She felt as Arthius stiffened at her question, feeling uncomfortable. Arthius stayed silent for a few minutes.
"That's something I'd like to forget" he said. Serana rose quickly and looked him in the eyes, as Arthius looked down.
"Arthius-"she began in a calm tone
"Serana, we both know that if you push me enough I will tell you. But I'd like to ask you no to do that. Pease don't push it" he said plainly.
"Arthius, you know that I'm here if you need to speak. And yes, I push it when I feel that it would be best for you to let out. But if it's so personal that even you wish you didn't know about it…" she said as she held his head.
"I won't bother you about it" she said with a small smile. Arthius nodded before pulling her in to kiss him. She then rested her head against his shoulder and they stayed like this until the end of the ride.
They arrived in Falkreath a day later in the morning. The sky was a dark purple still. Arthius and Serana began their walk up the path towards Ancestor Glade, but they would have to pass Arthius' house on the way there. Arthius wasn't really bothered by the fact that they might run into Lydia, he just didn't know how she would react. Sort of like the companions, except he had more of a dealing that they would react negatively. That and he was hoping that Lydia wouldn't try and join them. As they soon found saw the house, Arthius quickened his pace. As they were passing it, Arthius suddenly stopped. Serana turned to him, looking around in case he saw something. But Arthius was just staring at the ground, getting a questionable glance from Serana.
"I should at least greet her" Arthius said. Serana rolled her eyes before grabbing his arm.
"Arthius, even if you feel bad we don't have time to-"Serana was cut off as a woman spoke in the distance.
"Is that you my thane?" Lydia asked. Arthius looked up at her and began walking towards the house. Lydia was standing in the doorway of the home. She smiled as she held the door open for her thane.
"It's good to see you again Lydia" Arthius smiled.
"As is you my thane. Are you and your friend staying or just passing by?" she asked giving a polite smile to Serana. Serana nodded back awkwardly before Arthius spoke.
"We were just passing by but I just wanted to greet my housecarl and get a few potions" Arthius nodded before retreating into the house. She returned a few moments later with a small pouch filled with potions and handed it to Arthius with a nod. Lydia's smile faded as she stared into Arthius' eyes. "Oh no" Arthius thought to himself. Lydia looked back at Serana and then back at Arthius. She then reached for her bow which was behind the front door but Arthius stopped her.
"Lydia, it was my own choice" Arthius said seriously. Lydia looked up shocked at him but slowly nodded as Arthius released her arm.
"Would you mind explaining to me why you're traveling with a vampire? And why you're a vampire yourself?" Lydia questioned. Arthius sighed before putting his hand to his forehead.
"We don't have the time for that now, but I can assure you that everything is fine" Arthius said.
"You always say that my thane. Just remember, my blade is always at your disposal if you need it" Lydia said. Arthius nodded before walking back to Serana, avoiding eye contact with Lydia as long as he could. As they continued up the path, Arthius sat down on a rock before running his hand through his hair. Serana stood there for a brief moment before settling down on a rock not too far from Arthius. They stayed there in silence for a few minutes before Arthius looked up at the sound of chewing. He turned towards Serana to see her eating a sweet roll. Arthius raised an eyebrow before speaking.
"Where did you get that?" Arthius asked. Serana jumped slightly as he spoke and turned to him.
"I just…brought it in case I felt like having one" Serana shrugged. Arthius stood up before walking over to Serana as she finished her sweet roll.
"Can I see the pouches?" Arthius asked. Serana's eyes sprang open for a brief moment before she settled down again.
"I just want to check our supplies" Arthius said crossing his arms.
"Our supply is fine" Serana replied.
"Give me the bag Serana" Arthius said with an annoyed tone.
"Arthius-"Serana began. Arthius quickly snatched the pouch closest to Serana. As Serana tried to grab it from him, Arthius ducked and quickly moved away from her. He then opened the pouch to find dozens of carefully packed sweet rolls inside. Arthius looked up to Serana who now had the look of a child caught in the act. Arthius dropped the pouch before walking over to Serana and sitting next to her. Serana had her hands clasped as she looked down as Arthius pondered what he should say.
"Serana" Arthius called her attention. Serana looked up at him, waiting for what would come next. As Arthius opened his mouth to speak, he couldn't hold himself together as he burst out laughing. He doubled over as he collapsed to the ground as Serana blushed heavily.
"I'm not- I was locked away for a long time and I- I didn't exactly-"Serana stumbled over herself getting even more laughs from Arthius. He rolled onto his back, holding his ribs as he couldn't control himself. Serana watched as he laughed like an idiot on the floor. She grew annoyed at this and walked over to the pouch and retrieved a sweet roll. As Arthius continued to laugh, Serana stuffed the sweet roll inside of his mouth muffling him. Arthius grinned as much as he could as he coughed slightly. He plucked the sweet roll from his mouth but before he could throw it away, Serana grabbed chunk of it and ate it. Arthius watched with a smirk as he then squashed the rest of the pastry on her face. Serana looked at him with a plain face before looking over to the pouch, as did Arthius. They then dashed for it, but before Arthius could reach it, Serana tripped him so she could get to it first. Arthius looked up as he was pelted with sweet rolls as Serana laughed. He then got up and ran to Serana, getting a small squeal as he held her as he squashed a sweet roll into her face again. She did the same to him, making him fall on his back bringing her down with him. They laughed heartedly as Serana rolled off of him onto her back. They lied there giggling as they looked up at the sky. Arthius then looked over to Serana as she looked at him. He pulled her into a deep and passionate kiss, pulling her on top of him. He began to unravel her hair again but his hand was smacked away by hers.
"Unless you'd like to help fix it, don't touch my hair" Serana said as she playfully slapped him. Arthius smirked as he quickly undid her hair and let it fall down to him. She sighed as Arthius kissed it, nuzzling it across his face. Serana smiled down at him before bending down and kissing him once more. She then stood up and helped him to his feet. Once he was standing, they looked around at the mess of sweet rolls on the ground and laughed a bit more before continuing on the path.
As they walked, Arthius laced his fingers around Serana's, making her look up at him. He smiled at her as she put her head on his shoulder.
"This is a tad too romantic for my taste" she said dully. Arthius chuckled as he released her hand and wrapped his arm around her waist.
"Better I suppose" she said. As they approached the cave, Arthius thought he heard a movement in the brush. He paused, making Serana stop too. He looked around the area as Serana just stared at him.
"Arthius-"Serana was cut off as Arthius pulled her into him and raised his shield, blocking an ice spike that was sent at her back. They looked up to see that they were surrounded by vampires and their thralls. There were roughly five vampires and three thralls, not to mention the giant frostbite spider. Arthius and Serana quickly went back to back as they readied themselves.
"You know Serana" one of the vampires spoke up. He was a dark elf dressed in royal vampire armor, but it wasn't as formal as the ones in castle Volkihar. Arthius assumed that he was from a different branch of the clan.
"Your father has been worried sick. We've been searching the major holds, expecting to find an army of some sort. And yet here you are, having relations with this lesser vampire. You truly are a disgrace to your clan" the vampire sneered. Serana smirked before replying.
"It's a shame that the ones who I'm trying to destroy aren't exactly fond of me" she hissed. Arthius chuckled at this, getting a few curses from the vampires.
"It's a shame really, to spend all that time searching for the lord's daughter, only to find her dead outside of a cave" the vampire smirked. Arthius turned to him quickly and yelled.
"WULD NAH" Arthius appeared in front of the vampire in a flash.
"Wha-"the vampire said before he was stabbed through the bottom of his jaw to the top of his skull. The other vampires jumped back in shock as Arthius turned towards them.
"Anyone else?" Arthius growled. They stood frozen in place, until a vampire unsheathed his sword but was instantly shot through the chest with an ice spike. Serana smirked at Arthius as the rest of the vampires grew furious. They all charged at once, as did Arthius. Serana shot a thrall through the side of his head before she was engaged in battle with a vampire herself. Arthius ducked a swing and cut the vampire from the midsection. He then parried a strike from above with his sword and kicked the vampire in the chest. Serana blocked an axe with her dagger, holding it in place as she and the vampire struggled for power of their weapons. She then placed her left hand on the side of its head and shot and ice spike through it. A thrall charged her but she shot an ice spike through its knee, sending it tumbling to the blocked the talons of the spider before quickly stabbing it through the skull. He then bashed his shield into the face of a thrall, knocking it unconscious as he grabbed the arm of the final vampire. Arthius smirked as he bashed it in the head repeatedly. He was savoring his brutality until he noticed Serana watching him. Arthius sighed as he dropped the vampire, making it barely catch itself. It looked up at him as he sheathed his weapons.
"You are free to go, tell Harkon what happened" Arthius nodded. The vampire, a high elf as it would appear, mirrored his nod before it began dashing off down the path. Serana watched it go as she approached Arthius.
"You're sparing him?" she questioned. Arthius chuckled as he loaded a bolt in his crossbow and taking aim.
"No" he said as he pulled the trigger, sending the bolt through the chest of the vampire killing it. Arthius smiled at Serana who raised an eyebrow at him. She then turned to the two thralls that were still alive. She looked back at Arthius before speaking calmly.
"Arthius, we have to-"
"Feed. I know. I get the female though" he said as he approached the unconscious Breton woman. Serana watched in disbelief as he propped her against him and sunk his fangs into her neck. Serana slowly walked over to the injured Nord and knocked him unconscious in a single blow to the head. She watched Arthius as she fed.
They finished feeding a few moments later. Arthius stabbed both of the thralls through their chests just in case they stayed alive. Serana continued to eye Arthius, he continued to glance back at the bodies as they entered the cave.
"Arthius, I thought you didn't want to feed" Serana spoke up. Arthius nodded slowly as he sighed.
"I didn't and I didn't enjoy it. I had to overcome this as a werewolf, drinking the blood from someone is a lot easier than consuming flesh. Plus, they were bastards" Arthius said as he glanced at Serana. She slowly nodded before she looked around the cave. The walls were wet and there was nothing but moss and rocks. Serana pondered the thought of coming all this way just to be incorrect.
"I swear, if this place turns out to be a bust, I'm going to speak with Dexion myself" Serana spoke in an annoyed tone. Arthius chuckled at this before speaking.
"And what are you going to- actually, I'd rather not know" he said. Serana grinned at him, revealing her fangs. Arthius chuckled as he mirrored her actions with his own fangs. Serana laughed as they approached an opening in the cave. They both suddenly stopped, looking over the land. Everything looked…golden. The stream was crystal and the colors splashed around the area like a true work of art. Arthius and Serana stared at the scene before them before Serana spoke.
"Gods…look at this place. No one's been here in centuries. It's beautiful" she said. Arthius smiled at her, her skin now appeared to be sparkling in the light and beauty of it all.
"I can relate" Arthius said. Serana turned to him, staring into his eyes. He pulled her into him slowly, tilting his head as she did. Serana ran her hand across his face as he stroked her hair down to the back of her neck. She closed her eyes as she leaned into him. Their lips met as they held each other close in the entrance of the beautiful room. But Arthius cared nothing for the scenery at the moment, all he cared about was the beauty in his arms. They slowly broke the kiss as Serana looked at Arthius with tears in her eyes.
"Isn't this a tad too romantic?" Arthius whispered. Serana silently laughed as the tears fell from her eyes. She then clung to Arthius. Holding him tightly.
"I love you" she whimpered.
"I love you too Serana. And I always will" Arthius said as he tightened his hold around her waist. They stayed there holding each other as Arthius looked up between the cave and the land.
"The light, and the dark. And as always, I'm in-between" he thought to himself. Serana nuzzled his shoulder, getting his attention.
"And there's nowhere else I'd rather be"