Katja arrived just inside the gates of Markarth and found to her dismay that it was 9 in the evening, too late to visit either Ghorza or the Jarl. Well, wasn’t this just why she had bought a house here? She took a sharp right then a left, heading up a steep staircase to a street on an upper level. A couple more turns and three more flights of steps brought her to the handsome Dwarven metal doors of Vlindrel Hall, the key for which was in her pack.
Katja let herself in, went up the ramp to the main dining area and dropped her pack on the table. It was past suppertime here but she had only just finished eating lunch and wasn’t very hungry. Nor did she feel particularly sleepy. The place seemed cavernous, empty – without Argis, Wyll or Anders to share it with. She took a book from a shelf (the place had come with many such) and sat reading it for a while in a comfortable chair by the fire. Then, restless, she got up and carried her pack to the bedroom. She dumped it out and put the arms and armor she’d brought to sell in the trunk at the foot of the bed.
Then she peeled out of her leather armor and put on some town clothes. There was an inn just inside the city gates, so perhaps she could find a little entertainment and fellowship before going to sleep. Katja took along a little minor weaponry just to be on the safe side. The political situation in Markarth was uneasy, with a hidden faction of Forsworn supporters pitted against the ruling Silver-Blood family. With Thongvor Silver-Blood now Jarl, their apparent domination of the city was complete. But even with the streets well-patrolled by guards, she thought it wise to take precautions.
The inn was, of course, the Silver-Blood Inn. It was owned by the Silver-Blood Clan, Katja was informed by the rather grumpy innkeeper. Kleppr and his wife Frabbi ran the place, but rather than trying to make visitors welcome they seemed to spend most of their time sniping at one another and airing their dirty laundry for the benefit of anyone who happened to be within earshot. Put off, Katja ordered a bottle of wine and a glass, along with a little bread and cheese to keep her from getting too drunk, and took her refreshments over to sit by the fire.
Despite the unwelcoming innkeepers the inn itself was spacious and attractive. And the area behind the U-shaped bar, a group of chairs around a cheery fire, was inviting. Katja seated herself by the hearth, setting her plate and bottle down then pouring herself a glass of wine and sitting back to enjoy the music being delivered by a bard over on the far side of the room.
Across from her sat a young Nord who, from the scaled horn armor he was dressed in, was most likely a mercenary. He was kind of hunky, though she was a bit put off by his war paint or facial tattoo or whatever that red design was surrounding his right eye. People didn’t go in for such things in High Rock, and she much preferred men with unadorned faces. As Katja took her seat the young warrior looked up with sharp interest, a gleam in his eye. Uh oh.
She smiled back at him slightly, then raised her glass before taking a drink. She was here for some company, right? “Hi, I’m Vorstag,” he said in a slightly dorky Nord accent. “I’m available for hire, if you’re in need of some protection. Just 500 gold and I’ll follow you anywhere.” Oh, she thought. And here I assumed he was overcome by my beauty. Perhaps if he’d seen her in her ebony armor…
Katja replied, “I’m… uh, Thane Katja – The Dragonborn.” Might as well establish my credentials, she thought. She really was an important and famous person in Skyrim, was she not? Thane of two holds, savior of the world? And a 23-year-old with limited social skills, as well – but who’s counting?
Vorstag looked impressed. “The Dragonborn? Really?” Katja felt relieved. After her recent experience with Isran, she’d begun to wonder whether her reputation in Skyrim was all it was supposed to be. Sure, people in Whiterun thought she was great. Wyll and Anders and her friends at the Suite thought she was great, too. But was she a household name throughout the province? At least Vorstag definitely seemed to have heard of her.
Katja smiled self-deprecatingly. “That’s me,” she said, adding “I’ve had a very busy year.”
“By the Divines, I should say so!” Vorstag exclaimed, moving across the fire to take the seat beside her. Evidently in mercenary circles, at least, she was something of a celebrity. How cool! Vorstag reached out and shook her hand. “I’m very honored to meet you,” he said with astounding sincerity. At closer glance, Katja could see he was not very much older than she was. Perhaps younger than Wyll, even.
The bard continued running through the Skyrim standards as the night wore on, and inn customers came and went. Vorstag pumped Katja for tales of the adventures that had led to Alduin’s downfall, apparently thrilled to have this opportunity to spend time with her. Had not the Suite been so close to Whiterun, in between there and the Graybeards’ mountain home, she might have ended up travelling here and hiring Vorstag, and he would have become part of the story – and most likely the one sharing her bed, she realized. He really was cute, if in some ways a bit like those farm boys she had come to Skyrim to escape.
The two of them had shared her bottle of wine, and Katja had ordered a second one that they’d also drunk together. She’d eaten her bread and cheese and followed that with the last of the evening’s stew as the hour was getting late; so she was well-lubricated but still (mostly) had her wits about her. Vorstag seemed to have loosened up a lot since they’d first met, but was clear of eye and steady of hand so he was holding his wine without any difficulties. Likely, he was a good man in a fight.
When the bard finished for the night and went home, Katja realized that she and Vorstag (and the yawning Kleppr) were the only people left in the room. Even Frabbi had gone to bed. Time she was off home, to get some sleep before running her errands! “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you, Vorstag,” she said rising. “But I’ve got business in the morning and I need to get some sleep.” He eyed her boldly, stepping close and looking into her eyes. His were brown, not dissimilar to Anders’. “I have a room here at the inn,” he said softly. “Would you like to join me?”
Katja was taken aback. The attraction was there. She’d been feeling it all night. The woman she had been half a year ago would have happily jumped into the sack with Vorstag, and if that had worked out she might have turned it into an ongoing thing. But now, suddenly, she realized that her mind, her heart, and even her wayward and perpetually-horny cunt had evidently been wrapped up, completely claimed, by the two men who had become an essential part of her life; and she really had no desire whatsoever to take Vorstag up on his offer. She had turned into a different person.
Katja smiled at him, putting a hand on his shoulder. Then she reached up and gave Vorstag a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for the offer,” she said quietly, “but I’m… otherwise engaged.” He immediately got shy and shamefaced, embarrassed that he had had the temerity to proposition a woman as important as The Dragonborn. “It’s all right!” she said, sensing his thoughts. “I wish you every success.” She held out her hand and squeezed his, then made her way out of the inn and up the stairs to “home.” The streets were nearly deserted.
Lying in Vlindrel Hall’s master bed naked and alone, her mind somewhat fogged by wine, Katja spread her legs and put her right hand down between them. In her other hand she cupped her left breast, squeezing it and tweaking a nipple as she brought herself to orgasm. The images playing in her head were of the night before, sandwiched between Anders and Wyll and loving every minute of it.