Categories > Games > Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion > The Quest For The Ruby Throne: Book One

Chapter 7: Welcome Home

by karnag_gro_gornish 0 reviews

After a simple trip gone terribly wrong, Karnag and Serana head to Whiterun to pick up some building supplies, but leave with more than they intended to.

Category: Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2019-09-20 - 2511 words - Complete

Chapter Seven: Welcome Home
What started as a day’s trip to Morthal ended as a three-day trip to Haafingar and back. And in that time, I believe the four of us, five counting little Helgi, came out of it a little changed for the better. Lyanna was safe and sound and Serana experienced a little bit of what motherhood had to offer, if only for a moment.
The four of us rode back the long road to Whiterun. For once, it was uneventful. After all we had been through recently, it was a very welcome change of pace. We spoke of many things along the way, I told Lyanna about Serana and I defeating her father, Farkas tried out my crossbow but didn’t like it. Too complicated, he said, not like a simple blade.
Serana and I decided to stop in at Whiterun for a few things. Building supplies mostly. We made the choice on the road to make an addition to the house, give it a larger main hall, and a small garden for Serana and Valerica. It would be nice to have a bit more room. The small one room house was a bit cramped, but I had only planned to house myself when I built it. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would ever have someone like Serana in my life, or Valerica for that matter.
Her reception of me was harsh at first, but I think I’ve made a good impression on her. She did call me son after all. If that isn’t acceptance, then by the Nine, I don’t know what is. Harkon’s downfall was a major victory for all of us, not to mention the rest of Tamriel as a whole.
We arrived in Whiterun near dusk. The sun just touched the horizon by the time we stabled our horses and entered the gates. Belethor’s shop was already closed, so I decided to introduce Serana to the Companions at Jorrvaskr. The roads were familiar to me. I spent many years here in Whiterun when I was younger. I could almost walk the path to the Companion’s hall with my eyes closed. Even without Meridia’s second sight, going home is almost second nature. Even though I no longer call Jorrvaskr my home, it still feels like it.
Its doors welcomed us, like a homecoming long overdue. The fire was warm, and so was our reception as one by one, my comrades recognized me. Vilkas was the first to offer me a mug, and I introduced him to Serana. We drank, and songs were in order. I told my stories, from nearly being killed at Helgen to my defeat of Alduin to my time with the Dawnguard. There was merriment in abundance, and even Serana got drunk with the mead and wine that flowed to freely in the hall. It was a truly happy time, where we forgot about the madness of the outside world and simply reveled in being alive.
Morning came faster than I expected, and it was time to get back to reality. We said our goodbyes to Lyanna and Farkas, and told them that we were going to be doing some building at Lakeview. They let us know that the Jarl had gifted them a piece of land just north of the Loreius farm, and were going to be building a home there soon. I offered them any assistance I could give, they had but to ask.
On our way to Belethor’s general store, we took a moment to sit on the bench in the park, enjoying the beauty of the Gildergreen, and listened to Heimskr preach the good word of Talos. Even though the Empire forbade Talos worship, the Jarl gave special protection within the city of Whiterun for Heimskr. But as we were relaxing, a young girl, no more than ten winters old, approached me. “Please sir, could you spare a Septim? Please? I’m so hungry.” The girl was dirty, and emaciated. My heart ached for her. Before I could even reply, Serana said, “Come here, little one. Let’s get you something to eat.”
“Really? You mean it?”
“Of course. Come on, let’s go.” Serana took the little girl by the hand and we walked to the Bannered Mare. Hulda stood behind the bar, and Serana and the girl sat down beside the fire. I ordered a meat pie from Hulda and she had Saadia bring it right over. The little girl devoured the pie, like a rabid animal. She obviously hadn’t had any real food in a long time. I asked her, “Youngling, where is your family? Why are you begging?”
“It's... it's what Brenuin said I should do,” she whimpered. “He's the only one that's been nice to me since... since mama...Since she died. My aunt and uncle took over our farm and threw me out. Said I wasn't good for anything. I wound up here, but... I... I don't know what to do. I miss her so much...” Serana had the same look in her eyes when she saw Helgi. I knew what I had to do. “What’s your name, little one?” I asked. “My name’s Lucia,” she said. “Well, Lucia,” I said with a smile, “How would you like to come home with us? We’re building a house out in Falkreath. Big enough for a whole family.”
“Really? You mean it?”
“I do. What do you say?”
“Oh, thank you, thank you so much! I promise I’ll be the best daughter ever!” She hugged me about the legs, pressing her face into my thigh. I could feel my old cold heart softening up just a little. Serana cried a couple of happy tears, and we left the Bannered Mare. “Alright, Lucia. We have one stop to make, then we can go home.”
“Where at, Mister- I mean, Papa?”
“We have to order some building supplies at Belethor’s shop.”
“Mr. Belethor doesn’t like me. He thinks I’m a thief.”
“Well not to worry. We’re here for you.” We went in to the shop, and almost immediately, Belethor shouted at Lucia. “Hey, get out of here, urchin! Keep your thieving hands off my merchandise!” Serana snapped back, “Don’t you speak to my daughter like that!” Belethor went white as a sheet. “Oh. My apologies, Madame. I didn’t realize…”
“Quiet. We need building supplies delivered to Lakeview Estate in Falkreath.”
“Alright, what are you needing?”
“Two hundred board feet of timber, three perches of hewn stone, and one long ton of clay.”
“Alright, let me do some figuring here.” He took out a small notebook and a quill and jotted down some numbers and did some equations. “Alright, I can have them delivered in a day or two, the total comes to four thousand, one hundred twenty-two Septims.” I placed my bag of gold on the table, still bearing the Imperial sigil. “Here’s five thousand. Make it tomorrow morning.” Belethor’s eyes lit up. I knew the shyster Breton all too well. All he cares about is gold. “Yes sir, absolutely!” He exclaimed, eyes already gleaming green with greed. We left the establishment, and made our way down the main road towards the gates, to the stable. It occurred to me that we had only the one horse and three riders, so I saddled Serana and Lucia on my war horse and I summoned Arvak from Oblivion. Lucia was visibly impressed and frightened by the otherworldly beast. I assured her not to worry, he was friendly. She even pet his snout, cautious to avoid the blue fire emanating from his joints. We rode south, towards home.
We crossed the border into Falkreath hold after around an hour’s ride, and turned down the Falkreath road. Not fifteen minutes after we did, I noticed we were being followed. Shady characters, well-armed and armored. These were no hunters, these were marauders. My suspicions were only confirmed when an arrow sailed over my head. We broke into a gallop, and the road diverged ahead of us. I gestured for Serana to take the side road and I went down the main path. She did, and two of the six bandits broke off and chased after her.
I’ve never been a particularly adept magic user, but Serana had my crossbow in her saddlebag and I had no intention of letting these brigands get close enough to hit them with my sword. So I focused my energy into my hands, and conjured forth a few fireballs, and lobbed them at the bandits, hoping to scatter them. One struck the ground and startled their horses, and one hit a bandit square in the chest. His fur armor caught fire and he fell to the ground, burning alive. I would have felt sorry for him if he hadn’t been trying to kill me.
Arrows continued to sail past me, and I kept at it with the fireballs. With each ball launched, I could feel my strength waning. I didn’t have many more in me, so I made each one count. I aimed, and struck three of the remaining four. Several arrows struck Arvak, and he collapsed under me, and I hit the ground hard.
Meanwhile, Serana and Lucia were still being pursued. Serana handed Lucia the reins while she reached for my crossbow. “You ever steer a horse, kid?”
“No!” Lucia shouted above the rushing wind. “It’s easy, just hold on!” Serana took my crossbow, and fired a bolt at one of the marauders, striking his heart. He toppled off the horse, dead before he hit the ground. She fumbled in the bag but dropped the remaining bolts. ‘Damn,’ she swore mentally, ‘have to use something else.’ She focused her magical energy into her right hand, and the air froze around it, and she produced a shard of ice, sharp as glass. She loaded it into my crossbow and fired at the remaining marauder. It struck home and shattered on impact, leaving a hole the size of a fist in his chest. He slumped in the saddle and his horse kept riding.
Serana handed Lucia her dagger, an exquisitely carved Dwarven dagger that had been a housewarming gift from Lod in Falkreath. The little girl was visibly scared, and Serana said, “I’ll be back shortly, sweetheart. I have to go make sure your papa is okay.” Lucia nodded silently, and held the dagger close. “Stay here, by this tree. I’ll come and find you, I promise.” Serana carved an X into the bark of the pine tree, and Lucia got behind it and crouched down. Serana mounted the horse and grabbed the quiver of bolts along the way back.
I was stunned when I hit the ground, and came to as the bandits circled around me, arrows drawn. One of them sneered, “Any last words, hero?”
“Just three,” I replied. I used my remaining strength to speak, and Shouted the words, “Gaan Lah Haas,” and the bandits were thrown off their horses. Their bodies stunned, and their life forces weakened and mine temporarily bolstered, I drew my sword and dispatched them quickly. I collapsed out of exhaustion and laid down in the middle of the road, dead bodies and weapons surrounding me.
Serana rode up moments later and dismounted. She rushed over to me and held my face in her hands. My eyes flickered open, and saw her worried face staring into mine. All I could think to say was, “Hey there,” before passing out again. Serana took a healing potion from the saddlebag and poured it down my throat. Within a minute or two, I woke again, my strength returning. She looked into my eyes and asked me, “I heard that shout as I was riding here. I never heard you use it before. Where did you learn that one?”
“As it turns out, Castle Volkihar's library was well stocked with tomes even older than you, my love. Just because knowledge is ancient does not mean it is useless.” We mounted the horse and rode like the wind back down the road to where she had left Lucia. She was there, but I could hear wolves growling. They were closing in on her, and I could see her swinging Serana’s dagger at them. Swiftly, I took my crossbow from the bag, and fired three bolts into the wolves. “Still got it,” I muttered under my breath. The fourth wolf ran off with its tail between its legs.
We dismounted, and Lucia ran to us and embraced us, tears streaming down her face. “I was so scared,” she cried, “I thought you wouldn’t find me in time!”
“You have nothing to fear, little one,” I managed to say, laying down on the soft forest grass. “Not as long as I draw breath.” I closed my eyes once more, and rested. I was absolutely drained. I never used magic and the Voice at the same time, so my body was tapped for magicka. I rested for a while, and eventually opened my eyes. I was still exhausted, but I felt like I could make the short distance back home. So, I summoned Arvak once again, and this time Lucia rode with me. The cold flames tickled her legs, and she giggled all the way to Lakeview. The two small houses were absolutely beautiful in the mid-day sun, and as soon as we got there, I collapsed into bed.
When I awoke, Lucia and Serana where nowhere to be found. So I went outside and saw them playing in the shallows of the lake. It brought my heart joy to see their happy faces splashing in the cool water. Even Valerica cracked a smile, watching over her new grand-daughter. She had come out just as I had and said to me, “She makes a fine mother, doesn’t she, Karnag?”
“You did well, Valerica.” The smile faded from her face. “No, I did my best. But it wasn’t enough. I should have taken Serana far away from Harkon centuries ago. But I didn’t. I failed.” She was crestfallen at the realization of four millennia of guilt. “She suffered for ages because of me.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Valerica. Molag Bal’s influence is strong. Even I can feel it. But look at it this way. We’re here, now. Everything that has happened in the past has led us to where we are today.”
“I suppose you’re right,” she said, pausing to turn to me. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re a good man, Karnag. I’m glad that you found Serana when you did.”
“The currents of time work in strange ways.”
“That they do, that they do.”
It was a long time coming, but we were finally home. The whole family. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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