The Dragonborn Hunts

Recharging

They came to a Falmer yurt standing by itself on an icy promontory sometime after dusk. They had killed the local guardians, and Katja decided that they must take the risk that more would come in the night. Perhaps Serana, with her vampiric powers, could stay awake and stand guard? Whatever, she and Anders must take a break or they might spend the rest of their (short) lives wandering here.

“We have to stop and get some rest,” Katja told her companions. She got no arguments, though she could tell that Serana was suppressing impatience. It was only reasonable, Katja supposed, for her to bear the frailties of her mortal friends without understanding them. Serana had been as human as they were once, but that time was far in the past.

The hut offered a fire pit, and after a bit of work with her Flames spell (inadequate in combat, but good enough for these purposes) Katja had a merry blaze going and they were able to sit down and take some of the chill off. There was also a raw leg of goat in a leather storage jar, nearly frozen, which she affixed to a spit. Time for something a little more substantial than bread and cheese!

The meat took a while to cook. Katja reduced the cooking time by slicing off some raw steaks with her dagger before spitting it, which she gave to Serana. The vampire woman thanked her, but set the steaks on a platter close to the fire to thaw a little and approach the temperature of living flesh before sinking her teeth into it.

Katja and Anders removed their armor and put on some wooly underwear, the brief intervening nudity bearable this close to the fire and of no concern to Serana. Then they sat on a couple of bedrolls snuggled together for warmth, her fur cloak thrown over the two of them. Their closeness gave comfort, but both of them were so tired that there was no spark of sexual desire in their contact.

Katja found herself yawning, the warmth of the fire urging her to just drift off to sleep snuggled beneath Anders’ arm. But the smell of the cooking meat was doing a pretty good job of fighting that impulse, as her stomach rumbled fiercely. It seemed like days since they’d had a hot meal. Not that this was much of one – some sizzling hot meat dripping savory juices, with more of the stale bread from their packs to sop them up. They washed it down with water.

Serana devoured her now-warmed and bloody but still raw goat leg steaks with more enthusiasm than they’d expected. Katja felt glad they’d been able to provide them to her, all things considered. When she and Anders had eaten their fill of the cooked goat meat they sat back for a while, gazing into the fire with sleepy contentment. “Serana, are you able to keep watch while we sleep?” Katja asked. She couldn’t just doze off without making sure they’d be safe.

“Certainly,” her vampire friend replied. “We don’t really need to sleep, though we… rest at times. I think I had enough rest in that tomb you rescued me from to last me for a couple of mortal lifetimes. Go ahead and get some sleep.”

Thanking her with a sleepy smile, Katja turned to Anders and cupped his face in her hands. “Good night, love” she murmured, kissing him. Making sure she had weapons near at hand, she lay down on the bedroll. Anders curled up beside her, cupping her with his body, and pulled the cloak over them as a blanket. He pushed her hair aside and kissed the back of her neck, sending a little thrill through her despite her exhaustion. “Good night,” he said softly.

They slept like logs through the night, untroubled by enemy incursions. As the first light of dawn came through the opening of the yurt Katja’s eyes fluttered open. The fire had mostly died down and it was beginning to get a little chilly in here. But Anders was a warm, solid presence at her back, one arm thrown over her. She took his hand in hers and brought it to her lips to kiss. A powerful wave of love surged through her. Alas, though, their current set of problems had not vanished in the night.

Building up her resolve, Katja slipped from beneath the warm fur and decided to put her armor on over the top of her long underwear. It looked funny as hell, no doubt; but it was warm and didn’t involve stripping down to bare skin. Finding a bit more wood she built up the fire. Serana, seemingly untroubled by the cold, was keeping watch at the yurt’s entrance. As she heard Katja stirring she turned and smiled. “Sleep well?” she asked. Katja smiled at her.

“Yes, thanks. All quiet out there?”

“Not a peep,” the vampire woman replied.

They’d left quite a bit of the goat meat on the bones last night before sleeping, and Katja put it back on the fire to cook a little more. Then she gnawed some of the hot, succulent meat off the bone. Nudging Anders with her foot, she said “Anders! Sorry but it’s time to get up.” He flinched and groaned, but soon acknowledged the necessity and sat up. He looked her up and down in her peculiar outfit, blinking slightly at the daylight coming in through the doorway.

After apparently considering his remarks for a moment he said, “well, that’s a new look…”

Katja smiled at him fetchingly and spun around. “Do you like it? I do believe it will be all the rage in Windhelm this season…”

He grinned at her. “How can I argue with that?” he asked, and put his own armor on over the top of his wooly underwear.

“We’re a matched set!” she crowed, stepping close for a kiss. “Would you like a little goat?” she offered, extending the greasy leg bone.

He took it from her and bit off a few chunks. Both of them now had grease all over their hands, and were licking their fingers. Serana watched the pair with a certain amount of amusement. Wiping her hands on a spare linen undershirt from her pack, Katja turned businesslike. “I guess we’d better get going,” she said. Her companions agreed, and in a few minutes the three of them were outside the yurt and looking around.

29

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