A/N: Contains explicit sexual content and nudity in the artwork. NSFW and inappropriate for children.
Kaawen and Betath were silent as they made their way through Vulkhel Guard to his house. She was sure all sorts of ideas and questions were playing through his mind, just as they were through hers. Her words, “Do you want to get out of here?” had a pretty clear meaning, at least for her. But only last night, she had said she wasn’t ready to take their relationship to the next step. Indeed, their first kiss had been just yesterday as well. Betath must be all manner of confused. Then again, so was she.
When they arrived at his house, he got himself a glass of wine and a cup of Samardan’s breakfast brew for her. “I need to get you some rotmeth, or at least some mead,” he said as he handed her the cup and sat next to her on the divan.
At the center of the vast swamp that was Glenumbra Moors lay the site of an ancient battle between the Direnni and the Alessians. They called it a fort, but there really wasn’t much to it except for a few rotting log walls and a cave with a heavy door. Today it was teeming with people, mostly mages, who stood outside the gate, peering onto the battlefield or casting spells. A large tent stood off to one side, and smaller ones were placed nearby.
An officious-looking orc stood near the gate, and Amelia went up to her. “Excuse me,” she said. “I’m looking for whoever is in charge. I’m from Aldcroft.”
It was raining when Amelia arrived in Aldcroft, although in her mind, even the rain couldn’t make the town more depressing. The townspeople would tell you that it was a thriving hub of the shipping industry, but while cargo ships did indeed dock there, the village itself was a sty, a few hovels centered around an open-air market and dock area, with a handful of campsites thrown in for good measure. A dozen or so decent houses were scattered here and there, but they only served to make the rest of the town seem more desolate. It rested at the southeastern edge of the Glenumbra Moors, and with Iliac Bay directly to the east, there wasn’t a lot of dry land, only a series of small islands connected to each other by footbridges. One road led out of town and met up with a major thoroughfare that connected it to Daggerfall and Camlorn. The humidity was oppressive year round, not to mention the stench of rot and fish. She had been used to it growing up, but it was amazing how being away for a few years could make a person forget. Either that, or it had gotten worse over time.
It was a moment Kaawen would never forget, standing there on the wall, holding Betath, kissing him in the sunset. But it couldn’t last long. After only a few moments, a guard came sauntering along on his patrol and broke the mood.
Betath glared at him and took Kaawen’s hand. “Let’s go see Captain Astanya before she leaves for the night.” He led her back up the beach to the docks, and then past a small market area to a set of stone steps leading up into the city proper.
At the top of the stairs stood a fully armored Altmer woman with graying hair and eyes so dark that it was hard to tell where the iris ended and the pupil began. She stood there with her arms folded, looking officious, eying them warily. She nodded when they walked up. “Fair evening. How are you, Betath?”
Aresin and DuBois were understandably concerned about a werewolf in Daggerfall and promised to be more vigilant. They were also apologetic over their treatment of the homeless, but Amelia didn’t really expect them to change. Aresin was right: they had seen a lot in their time with the guard, and that could make a person jaded.
Over the next few weeks, Amelia saw less and less of Aresin. They were both busy with bandits and Bloodthorns, and she never really forgave him for his insensitivity toward the homeless. After a while, it got to where they rarely saw each other at all, except when discussing work. She supposed it was for the best. She liked Aresin, but there was too much going on in her life to let her feelings develop into love. Fortunately there was little tension between them, and they were civil and able to work with each other. They still woke up in bed together occasionally, usually when they had been drinking, but even that grew less often.
It was spring in Glenumbra, and with the warming weather came what Aresin liked to call “bandit season.” The Red Rook bandits had grown bolder of late and had even gone so far as to take a local resident and his family hostage in their own home. The city guard was undermanned, so Aresin sent Amelia and Kireina to help rescue the family and get rid of the bandits.
The women went to Noellaume Manor northeast of town and met with Captain Farlivere, who was set up half a mile outside the grounds.