Katja grabbed a small towel from the bedside for a bit of cleanup, then got some help from Wyll slipping her dress back on over her head. He helped her brush it off after she was wearing it again, though she didn’t really think that was necessary. He seemed to enjoy running his hands over her body beneath the dress’s soft fabric. Wyll got into some clothing before they climbed the ladder again.
They walked around the bar to the other side. Serana had gone off somewhere but Ellis was still on the bar. “What have you got?” Katja asked him. She felt in the mood for something a little beyond the usual. Hell, if the cooking facilities were up to it she’d have been willing to cook it herself. But the Suite always seemed to turn out an acceptable repast. After some negotiation she arranged for some loin cuts of beef to be fire-grilled medium-rare and delivered to their table along with crispy roasted potatoes, some cabbage sautéed with carrots and spices – and a bottle of red wine.
Wyll and Katja took seats at their usual table, sipping their wine while they waited for the food to arrive. The activities she’d engaged in since getting here today had done much to whet her appetite, and she ate some thinly sliced bread with soft cheese spread on it to still the rumblings of her stomach until the meal was delivered to the table. While they were waiting, Anders came down the stairs. He looked a little tousled, clearly only recently awakened. But he was dressed, and glad to see them.
In moments he’d joined them at the table. “Food coming?” he asked hopefully, helping himself to some bread, cheese, and wine.
“I’ll go tell Ellis to up the order,” Wyll rumbled, and walked over to the bar. Katja bent close to give him a kiss and a squeeze.
“Sleepyhead!” she said with a fond smile. He returned it.
“You used me up,” he said jokingly. Well perhaps she had, during their journey through the Chantry if not in their bed a few hours past.
“Did you see Serana?” Katja asked Anders as Wyll was on his way back from his consultation with Ellis.
“Didn’t spot her,” he replied. He’d been half asleep when he rolled out of bed and donned clothing before coming downstairs.
Katja looked thoughtful. “No doubt she’s around somewhere,” she said. “I’m thinking we ought to go to Fort Dawnguard tomorrow and consult with Isran about mounting an offensive on Lord Harkon. But there are some things I need to do here before we leave.”
Wyll returned to the table, and Katja continued discussing her plans with the two of them. She made sure that Anders, as well as Wyll, understood that if the three of them were to work together in battle situations they needed to be aware of where she was and not blocking her line of sight to their enemies. They both agreed solemnly that this would be foremost in their minds, and she reached out her arms to give each of them a squeeze.
At about this juncture their food arrived, and the three tucked in with healthy appetites. All conversation halted for a while, until the steaks, potatoes and most of the veg had been reduced to crumbs and they had started a second bottle of wine. Katja and Anders began giving Wyll background on Castle Volkihar; both the front entrance where Katja had met Lord Harkon and rejected his offer of transformation into a Vampire Lord; and the under-croft where she, Anders and Serana had wandered while searching for Serana’s mother.
It was now around 8 in the evening and Katja felt she ought to take care of the crafting she had mentioned earlier. It hadn’t entirely been a ruse. She excused herself and nipped upstairs to change out of her dress into some more practical clothing. As she cruised through the darkened western sleeping loft, she spotted Serana sharing a bed with someone, though in the dim light she wasn’t able to see if it were anyone she knew. She felt a little stab of pain. Her friend seemed doomed, alienated from her own people and unable to form a lasting love match with anyone mortal. Even if she did connect with a fellow vampire, it seemed that sooner or later their long lifespans would catch up with love and destroy it. Too sad.
Removing the dress and putting on some underclothes and a set of light leather armor, Katja picked up her heavy pack and returned downstairs to where her two men awaited her. “Come with me,” she said commandingly, and they rose to follow her as she made for the bar and descended the ladder once again. She’d been thinking about this a lot, and had come up with a plan to make sure that she and the guys were as well armed and armored for this expedition as possible.
While Wyll and Anders stood watching her, Katja got to work first at the forge. She hammered up some Elven armor, after which she enchanted each piece with Fortify Alchemy. Then she donned the newly created outfit, her alchemical skills raised head to toe, and concocted some potions at the alchemy station she’d had installed against the eastern wall of the basement just down from the smelter.
The Potions of Enhanced Smithing she was thus able to make raised her abilities in this craft, in which she was already approaching expert status, by nearly three quarters. She gathered a goodly supply of ingots from the shelves, then set to work on the workbench and grinding wheel, improving all the items she had foraged on her most recent quest along with the accumulated loot of several other expeditions.
She polished and honed Auriel’s Bow to new levels of deadliness, as well as some ebony bows she had recently picked up. Then she applied the enchantment of Meridia (firm enemy of all undead) to a pair of those bows. This enchantment combined Fire Damage with the chance of an explosion that would leap to other undead, damaging every vampire or draugr in the room. She’d acquired it from a sword that was her reward when, a few months ago, she’d been drafted by Meridia to clear that Daedric prince’s temple of a necromancer and his minions.
Wyll and Anders each got one of the new deadly bows, along with a plentiful sheaf of arrows. She made sure their armor was as protective and powerful as possible. Her own was already superb. It increased her health, stamina, and magicka, while her gauntlets and boots increased her skills in archery still more.
Finally, Katja was convinced that she had done as much as she could for her two companions. She had the feeling Serana didn’t really need any help – certainly she’d handled herself well in every fight they’d been in together. The hour was late, and she was starting to feel awfully tired. Presumably they’d be wanting to get up early and leave for Fort Dawnguard in the morning.
Yawning prodigiously, Katja addressed her men. “I’m beat. I think I’ll sleep right over there tonight, if nobody has any objections.” Wyll and Anders looked at each other. Wyll was feeling a little tired himself, but Anders had had a good long nap today and wasn’t fading yet.
“Okay,” he told her. “I’m going to hang out for a while and then sleep upstairs. See you in the morning.” He stepped close for a hug and kiss.
“Good night, love” she said sleepily.
Left alone with Kat, Wyll embraced her. “Help me pick up all this stuff, will you?” She asked. There were arms and armor scattered all over the room after her marathon crafting session. “I’ll just throw it all in the trunk and we can worry about selling it later,” she said. Her purse was back to being fat already after the recent real estate purchases, thanks to the income provided by the Suite. Soon, it would be fatter.
When the room had been tidied up Katja began wriggling out of her crafting garb. She threw that in the trunk, too. In the morning, she’d don the magical ebony armor that had kept her relatively unscathed since she first crafted it. Despite his tiredness Wyll was more than ready to go another round; but she fended him off. “We need sleep, love,” she told him. “There’ll be plenty of time for fun after we’ve put paid to Lord Harkon.” He gave her a hurt, little-boy look and she threw her arms around him, laughing gently. “Don’t try that with me, Wyll Jarskarvir! I’m onto your tricks.”
Wyll smiled and accepted the inevitable. As electric and overpowering as their sexual connection could be, when Kat wasn’t in the mood that was pretty much that. He kissed her deeply, then let her finish getting undressed and began taking off his own clothes so he could join her in the bed. By the time he got there, she was already nearly unconscious.