The three companions looked around at each other for a moment before Farkas spoke up.
"A what?" he asked. "Gods help me" Arthius thought as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Arthius sighed before he replied.
"A moth priest is basically someone who can read elder scrolls" Arthius replied.
"And what makes you think we'll know where to find one?" Vilkas asked.
"I just need you all to ask around and spread word, just ask anyone that might see travelers. Carriage drivers, innkeepers, city guards, and report to me if you find anything" Arthius stated plainly.
"We'll do our best Harbinger" Aela stated plainly "Is that all?"
"Yes, that's all" Arthius replied. Aela then walked out of the underforge and after giving Arthius a questioning look, Vilkas soon followed. Farkas approached Arthius.
"There's something you're not telling us brother" Farkas said with a gruff.
"Don't you have to blindly follow your brother somewhere Farkas?" Arthius said with a smirk. Farkas punched Arthius in the arm roughly, making Arthius wince.
"Even as the Harbinger, you're still the whelp" Farkas said with a smile as he looked at Serana "And who are you, bloodsucker?" Farkas asked. Serana looked at him without saying a word.
"What," Farkas asked as he looked at Arthius "the broad doesn't speak to companions?"
"It's not that" Serana spoke up "I just don't like dogs" Arthius couldn't help but grin widely at this before pulling Farkas back, hoping he wouldn't try anything.
"Alright that's enough, Farkas, try going to Riverwood, maybe the guards have seen someone interesting" Arthius said as Farkas glared at Serana. He looked at Arthius then back at Serana before turning and leaving the underforge, leaving Serana and Arthius alone. Arthius looked towards her and saw her looking towards the exit.
"He's a good man, just a bit stubborn" Arthius said. Serana looked at Arthius for a moment.
"Most dogs are Arthius" She stated simply. Arthius thought deeply before asking the question that's been on his mind.
"What was that the previous night?" Arthius asked, making Serana's head snap up.
"What about it? Serana asked.
"It's just a simple question" Arthius stated.
"Just a way to say that all is fine between us, that and you don't have cold blood so..." she said as she looked over to Arthius "There's more to be focused on at the moment Arthius. Even then...I'm not exactly looking to be with a man" she said sternly.
"Ah" Arthius said "I was un aware that you preferred-"
"No I'm not-"she started "did I ever tell you how I became a vampire?" she asked.
Arthius stared at her. "You were very vague about it" Arthius said. "Where is she going with this?" he thought to himself.
"Well, as you know, Molag Bal is the lord of domination" she started, looking tenser with each word. "The ceremony was-"her voice slightly broke as she continued.
"I understand" Arthius said apologetically. "Gods "he thought to himself.
"Alright" Serana said plainly, not showing any sign of pain or weakness. "She's the strongest woman I've ever known" he thought to himself.
"I think we should be going" Serana said.
"Alright, please wait at my home next to the forge" Arthius said." I need to speak with the companions before they depart"
"Very well" she answered as she quickly made her way out of the forge. Arthius watched her leave before looking around the forge. "I just made her share the most painful moment in her life, I'm a bastard" Arthius thought before he exited the forge toward jorrvaskr. He soon ran into Aela in the dining hall, preparing to depart.
"Greetings Harbinger" she stated "Do you have a moment?"
"Of course Aela, what troubles you" Arthius asked
Aela looked around the room before replying. "I still find the beast taking control, I still feel anger for Kodlak's death. I'm unsure how to fight a battle I cannot win" she said matter-of-factly.
"It's because you've never faced that problem before" Arthius said with a smirk. Aela still looked a bit troubled.
"Look" Arthius started "We all felt rage when the old man died, he was a father to all of us, but we must remember all that he passed on. We cannot continue to burden ourselves over what might have been" Arthius said.
Aela smiled at this. "I can see why the old man named you Harbinger" Aela complimented.
Arthius chuckled. "I still remember the night I became Harbinger" as he winked at Aela.
As he walked through the doors of jorrvaskr, the companions cheered.
"Greetings "Harbinger", welcome home" Farkas roared. Torvar patted Arthius on the back as he held a pint of ale. As Arthius reached for it, Torvar chugged it down. He then pulled out a bottle of black briar and shoved it in Arthius' hands. Arthius smiled as he raised the bottle.
"TO KODLAK" He roared.
"TO KODLAK" The companions shouted back as they drank their ale and mead.
Aela approached Arthius then. "I've taken the liberty of moving your belongings to your room harbinger" Aela stated. Arthius grinned at her.
"My name is Arthius, treat me as you would Aela" he said as he was handed another pint. Aela nodded before she descended the stairs to the lower level.
After celebrating Kodlak's life and drinking Vilkas under the table, Arthius descended the stairs and made his way to his new quarters. Arthius opened the doors and walked to the corner and put his weapons down. He turned as the doors were suddenly closed behind him.
"Who-"he started as he saw who was before him. Aela stood there, locking the door, naked. Arthius looked up and down her, following the curving paint all through her body.
"Hello Arthius" she said professionally." As you asked, I will treat you as yourself and not as the Harbinger"
"Aela, why are you…" Arthius began.
"You were named Harbinger, so you are now the greatest of us" she said as she walked towards Arthius. "Meaning you are the most worthy"
This threw Arthius off. "Kodlak was-"Arthius started.
"Kodlak was a father, I wouldn't try it "Aela quickly responded.
Arthius thought of this for a moment before responding. "And how do I know whether or not how to treat you" he asked as she began to remove his armor.
Aela smirked at how he didn't ravage her yet. "I will simply address you as Harbinger unless-"
"Understood" Arthius said as he pressed his lips to hers. He removed his gauntlets and began to remove his armor, never breaking the kiss. Aela helped him remove his armor and put her hands on his chest. Feeling the muscles as she moved her hands down his chest. Arthius lifted her and placed her down on the furs.
"Before we continue" Aela started "Know that this is lust, not love"
Arthius grinned wildly "I wouldn't have it any other way" he said as she turned him around and sat on top of him.
Aela chuckled as she stared into the fire. She leaned in and kissed Arthius on the cheek "Farewell Arthius" she said giving him a wink as she grabbed her pouch and made her way towards the exit. Arthius chuckled as he watched her walk away, focusing more on a particular area. "You sick bastard" he thought.
He saw as Vilkas walked up the steps with a sack of supplies. He approached him with a nod.
"Vilkas, if you have a moment" Arthius said.
"Of course Arthius" He replied
"Call me Harbinger" Arthius smiled as he told him.
Vilkas simply smiled "How can I help you?"
Arthius gave him a serious look. "Vilkas, remember to think clearly before making any decisions as you're thinking for two people" Arthius said. "Don't lose yourself like you did when Kodlak died"
"Of course, and you should remember what Kodlak said" Vilkas said with a strong tone.
"What do you mean?" Arthius questioned.
"I mean your rage Arthius, you never overcame the rage that's held you since the day we met" Vilkas smiled "And the day I beat you to submission"
Arthius smiled as he replied "And now I can kill you simply by opening my mouth" Arthius winked.
Vilkas chuckled "Just remember, you can't keep mutilating everything that points a blade at you" Vilkas said as he gave Arthius a stern look. Arthius pulled out the gargoyle fang and tossed it to Vilkas.
"Brought you a gift" he said with a small nod "I hear you Vilkas, I understand. Please take care of your brother" Arthius said as he descended the stairs.
He found Farkas packing up his supplies. Farkas smiled as he saw Arthius approach, and finished putting in his food supply. "Ah, it truly is good to have you back brother" Farkas stated.
"It's good to be back Farkas" Arthius said as he leaned against the table. "You finally bed Carlotta yet?" Arthius asked with a smile.
"Well, it was only right of me to please her without giving her the burden of a man" Farkas said with a large grin. Arthius laughed as he patted Farkas on the back.
"I truly do miss the old days, drinking ourselves piss drunk, doing jobs for the people and being rewarded with any wenches who were frightened by wolves" Arthius stated as Farkas chuckled.
"Not much has changed Arthius, it's not like me and my brother couldn't fill in for you" Farkas said giving Arthius a wink." We do miss our brother, but you have to save the world after all" he added as he finished packing his pouch.
"Farewell for now Arthius" Farkas stated as he walked towards the stairs "And don't bother speaking to me again until you take that broad to bed" Farkas winked as he climbed the stairs.
Arthius looked around the hall before he too ascended the stairs. He opened the doors of breeze home to find Serana using his alchemy table. She looked at him with a bit of excitement.
"Arthius, this is incredible. I've never seen so many ingredients in one place at once" Serana stated.
"Well I've always collected them as I saw them, but I never tried alchemy" Arthius said.
"Then why did you have an alchemists table put in your home?" Serana asked.
Arthius just stared "Because…it looked nice?" Arthius responded.
Serana just looked down and rubbed her brow. "Give me strength…"
Arthius simply grabbed a bag and started placing potions that Serana had just created and started packing food.
"I'm thinking we try the college of Winterhold. They might know about the locations of moth priests coming into skyrim" he stated as Serana began to help pack supplies.
"Are you the Arch mage as well?" Serana said as she raised an eyebrow.
"No, I did a few tasks for the college but my magicka was never great so I left. I still have a few connections there so I'm hoping they can help us" Arthius said as he packed.
Serana said nothing, but just stared at Arthius. He looked up at her after finishing packing.
"What?" he asked.
"Why are you doing this Arthius? Why are you trying to help me when I never asked for it?" Serana asked, crossing her arms.
Arthius stared at her for a moment before taking a seat. "I never helped you, I just needed to escape the castle" Arthius said as he looked her in the eyes.
Serana tilted her head to one side. "I continue telling myself that, but what doesn't make sense to me is why you keep me with you"
Arthius paused. "Are you insisting something" Arthius asked with a smirk "because as I remember it, I never made you stay. You're the one who decided to tag along. So tell me, why didn't you just return to the castle and leave the elder scroll with me?"
Serana looked at him for a moment before saying anything. "Is that how you live your life Arthius?" she asked.
"What are you talking about?" Arthius asked with an annoyed tone.
"I mean when someone asks about your past, do you just push them away? I saw the look you gave me when I spoke of your parents, I didn't mean to insult you" Serana said.
" You didn't insult me, it's just a sensitive subject for me is all" Arthius tried his best to sound calm.
"It is for both of us, which is why I was trying to help. Do you think it was easy for me? I had to watch my family tear itself apart until my mother decided to just take me and run. I was never given a choice, Arthius, I never had the freedom you had" She stated.
Arthius snapped at this. "Freedom? You think that I was running around the city doing whatever I please?" Arthius shouted at her. "I was born without a family, I was raised by an elder who barely knew my parents and who had barely any money to his name! I took care of him for the last three years of his life, something a child should never have to do! Once he passed, his bastard of a brother took his house and kicked me out of the home I was raised in! I fought for every meal and barely survived each day until I grew old enough to become a thief. I traveled all around Cyrodiil trying not to be executed, and yet here you stand, telling me you know how it must feel to not have parents. You, the royal girl raised with two happy, loving parents. You lived centuries with them before things went to oblivion, and yet you tell me that you know how I feel. I've never even met my parents, so tell me, how in the bloody divines do you think you can even imagine what I went through!?" Arthius shouted directly in her face, beyond furious. Serana looked him in the eyes before looking to the ground.
"I'm sorry" Serana spoke. "I don't know what it was like for you, and I won't act like I do...but don't act as if you know how it felt for me either" she said as her expression turned serious. "You never had parents to begin with, so you never felt the pain of losing them. I'm sorry for your past, but don't treat me as though I don't know hardships" Serana spoke calmly but firmly. Arthius stared at her, taking in her words. He huffed as he sat down and ran his hand through his hair. Serana stood, looking down at him with her arms crossed.
"I know you have..." Arthius said with a sigh. "Just- how about we choose a different subject to speak of on our way to Winterhold?" Arthius said. Serana sighed before simply nodding as she began to continue on her potions.
They arrived in Winterhold about five days later, Arthius listened as Serana told him tales of the gods and the deadra, legends in magicka and a few expreiances she had whilst outside the castle, while Serana listened to Arthius speak of his adventures throughout Skyrim and a bit of history. He told her of his battle against Alduin, and how he stopped Potema from being resurrected from the dead. Some stories weren't as important as others since she knew nothing after the first era, and Arthius didn't know much about history other than the oblivion crisis which he felt he should leave out. The weather in Winterhold was freezing as expected. The land was blanketed white as the wind blew ice flakes into their faces. Serana had completely covered herself in furs since she had no body heat, though Arthius thought it amusing seeing a pile of furs with two small golden orbs peeking out.
They arrived and were beginning to leave the carriage when the driver asked "what was the reason you came all the way here? Nothing in this city except the cursed college"
"We're searching for a moth priest" Arthius said plainly.
"Moth priest you say? Sounds familiar…" The driver said.
Arthius' eyes shot open wide. He looked over to the driver with hopeful eyes.
"Did you happen to see one?" Arthius asked.
"I might" The driver said "Maybe if my pockets weren't so empty"
Arthius was about to pull out his sword when the man's eyes suddenly shot open. Serana then went to him and tilted his head to the side, biting down. After a small gulp of blood she spoke.
"May you please tell us were you saw this moth priest?" Serana asked.
"A few days ago, he asked me to drive him to dragonbridge, but I refused because it wasn't a major hold. I could have told you this earlier but I didn't know, please forgive me master" the man pleaded as he bowed to Serana.
"It's alright, can you please take us there at once?" Serana kindly asked.
"Why of course I can master, thank you so much" the driver said as he began to turn the carriage around.
As they rode, Arthius couldn't stop staring at Serana. She soon noticed this and turned to face him.
"What?" she asked sincerely.
"What do you mean what? What in the Divines did you do to him?" Arthius asked.
Serana raised an eyebrow, the furs still covering most of her face. "You mean the driver?" she asked.
"Yes, the driver" Arthius replied a bit annoyed. Serana looked at the driver than back at Arthius.
"I simply enthralled him. Ya' know, made him my slave." Serana stated, shrugging her shoulders.
"So…" Arthius said "is he like this forever?"
"Not unless I leave him like this, I'm going to release him once we get to dragonsbridge. He won't remember a thing" Serana said as she turned back towards the road.
Arthius thought for a moment "Have you ever done that to me?" he asked.
Serana turned to him, removing the furs covering her head and smiled, showing her fangs.
"Would you like me to?" she said as she placed the furs back on.
"You didn't really answer my question" Arthius said.
"I know" Serana said plainly. Arthius faced forward, feeling uncomfortable the rest of the trip. He soon hit himself in the head for not asking the carriage driver back in Whiterun.
They arrived in dragonsbridge two days later. After Serana freed the driver, they started asking around, not long afterwards they heard a great roar.
"DRAGON" they heard a guard shout. Arthius and Serana readied themselves as the dark green beast hovered above them as it unleashed a vortex of flames directly at them. Arthius blocked it with his shield as he heard Serana scream in pain. Once the flame had stopped, he turned to see her on her knees as her left arm was slightly burnt, he realized her ward must have broken. His shock didn't last long before his anger soon took complete control. As the dragon hovered again, Arthius prepared his thu'um.
He shouted at the dragon's left wing causing it to lose control and fall to the ground. Arthius the pulled out his sword and charged it,the dragon snapped at Arthius as he smacked it in the face with his shield and raised his blade, but the dragon charged him, knocking him to the ground as it took flight again. The city guards began shooting arrows at the beast as it flew, barely clipping it as Arthius withdrew his crossbow. As the dragon began to breathe fire again, the combination of the Gaurds bows and Arthius' well placed bolt sent the dragon spiraling to the ground. Arthius rushed the beast as it turned smacking him in the side with it's tail, sending him tumbling. As arthius looked up, he saw the tail raised above him to crush him. He barely rolled out of the way and ran at the beast, stabbing the wing so it could no longer take flight. It snapped at Arthius but he ducked just in time. As it began to breathe fire again, Arthius stabbed it down hard on top of its snout and jumped on its head, forcing its head up, sending fire into the sky. Arthius then repeated to stab the head of the beast until it fell dead.
Arthius stood holding his side as he absorbed the dragon soul. He caught his breath before sending his blade through the skull one last time for good measurement. He then broke from his rage and rushed to Serana who was leaning against a building in the shade holding her arm. Arthius quickly pulled out a bottle of fire resistance hoping it would help, along with a healing potion. Serana quickly drank both, almost immediately feeling the effects.
"Damn flying lizard" Serana cursed "The last thing we need to worry about is me being a little burnt Arthius, don't let your anger control you that easily" she told him. Arthius simply nodded, not trying to argue with her right now.
"We need to find that moth priest" Serana stated.
"Did you say moth priest?" they both turned to see a young boy standing there.
"Yes, did you see one?" Serana asked politely.
"I don't know what a moth priest is but I did see an old man in robes with a bunch of soldiers pass by not too long ago. You can still catch them if you hurry." The boy said.
"Thank you very much" Serana said smiling "Come on" she said to Arthius as she pushed herself off the wall.
They ran out of the town and down the road, hoping to be able to catch them. What they saw made them stop in place, beside the road lay dead soldiers and a few dead…vampires.