Dovahkiin casually walked out of Candlehearth Hall, facing the cold weather that lay beyond the cozy inn. His eyes flickered to the sky, as even in the early morning, the pink hue in the sky was darker. It was borderline dark red. There was a scream from afar; a guardsmen head rolled through the grand, tall doors that separated Windhelm from Skyrim and her nature. But now, the doors stood ajar as what looked like an army of Draugr and any other undead creature.
Atop, were undead archers, their bows at the ready. But in the center, what he guessed to be the leader, stood and looked down at the people with a cowl hiding their identity. They pointed a long finger, signaling to the army below and around them, "Attack!" The archer struck guards and innocent citizens, while Dovahkiin himself fought through the endless wave of Draugr. Everything and person seemed to be in motion, but the leader of this ambush, stood silent and eerie. The only thing he could make out was their Ancient Nordic armor and the fact that it was obviously a female.
Dovahkiin ordered the rest of civilians inside while guards tried to defend the poor city. He unleashed his Unrelenting Force onto the invaders; the power of the Voice pushed them back. He aided some of the guardsmen by launching a few arrows to take out the archers. He looked up at their leader, who still hadn't moved an inch since coming into his view. She just looked onto the battlefield, especially staring down at Dovahkiin.
"Coward! Stop hiding from above and face me like a true warrior," he called to her.
In response all he did was hear her laugh at his remark. She hopped off, softly landing on the ground as her cowl came undone. She was of Breton heritage, though some of the finer details in her face resembled a standard Nord woman's. She had shoulder length, pitch black hair with a braid to the side. But the most distinguishable of all her features were her eyes. Big, bright red eyes with a pinkish hue circling the pupil.
The leader rose, looking up at him. He was slightly thrown back, as she was nothing as he expected. But then again, what was he expecting?
She looked him up and down, smirking. "And what? You want to fight me, hero?" She laughed, drawing out her matching Ancient Nordic Battleaxe. "Bring it, tough guy."
This took Dovahkiin further back, until a few remaining guards came. "By the order of the Jarl, stop right there!" The girl looked to them irritably, before holding up a hand with a strange sign. She simply put it back down, as she rolled her eyes, "Lemme guess, I'm under arrest and blah blah blah." She threw her weapon on the ground, eyes on Dovahkiin the entire time.
The guards arrested her, seizing her in chains. When they began to escort her to the Palace of the Kings, she looked back at him, "Visit me sometime, Dragon Boy. I could use some company in my cell." The guards pushed her up, getting her to continue walking as they muttered angrily. Dovahkiin only watched as they escorted her away from his line of sight; he pondered whether or not he should actually visit her.
He knew she wasn't just any evildoer who showed up because being good was getting too boring. No, she attacked for a reason and that wasn't to simply give in to the law. She didn't even try to put up a fight. He shook any more thoughts out of him, though he silently agreed to stay in Windhelm a little longer.
Chapter 2: An Interrogation
Dovahkiin decides to check up on the mysterious girl.
He sat back in Candlehearth Hall, staring at the clock without a blink of sleep all night. Once noon hit the following day, he procrastinated more and more on visiting the strange girl. He managed to solve the case of "The Butcher" which felt like the most tedious murder case. At least now he knows that the women of Windhelm were safe once more. Once the sun began to set, he finished his last tankard of ale, paid the kind bartender, and left to the Palace of the Kings.
When the guards questioned his decision to visit, Dovahkiin made up a quick half-lie, stating he just wanted to get some answers from her. They allowed him access, though warned him to be careful. He wondered why they were warning him of all people, since he is the Dragonborn after all. The little prison was unusually empty, the only sound was whistling from the very end on the right. He reluctantly followed the sound, finding the girl laying back against the wall whistling to herself.
The whistling ceased as she began to laugh. "I was scared you had already left," she giggled.
"No," he said hesitantly. She pushed herself up, holding herself against the cell door, a finger reaching out and tracing his upper torso armor. "What, didn't know what to get me?" She laughed as he remained a stone face.
"I just want to know-" "Know why I attacked, who I am, who I'm with, blah blah," she shrugged, "But enough about me, what about you?" "I'm here for answers." She still kept a grin, though laughing seemed to have finally stop. He grabbed her by the shirt, pulling her close as he leaned in, "I don't want to hurt you, but-"
He was cut off once more by her laughing. He was starting to become very annoyed. "But, what? If I don't cooperate? Dear, don't be a hero. They're all gone and dead, anyways."
He chewed his tongue, "What makes you say that? Anyone can stand up and be a hero. It just-" "Just what? Has to pay? Look at this filthy world. That's what it's all about: Money and power. I'm here to see everything fall into place." "By attacking a city? No, that makes you a killer hungry for war."
"Name calling now, eh? My, aren't you just something. I'm here to clean the world, getting rid of all that is inferior. The civil war? What a great distraction as I go from Hold to Hold." He noticed how she started coming even closer. "I can help, it doesn't have to be like-" "To Oblivion for helping! What am I, weak? I don't need help." "But you need to be saved."
The two needed a moment to catch a breath from the heated conversation; the girl's eyes flickered from his lips to his eyes.
"Saved? I don't need a hero. If they were real and not just some Prince Charming in books and stories, they should've came a long time ago. I couldn't even save myself!"
"I can be your hero. That's what I'm here for. I've saved the world from the World Eater, and I'd do it a hundred more times if it meant saving y-" He was cut off this time, not by an interjection or even laughing, but with her lips crushing against his. He was confused and scared about how to react; his hands just held the cell door's bars tightly, as she tried to find a way to bring them closer. The closest he came to pushing her away was when he gasped through the kiss, saying as quickly and distinctly as his slightly slurred tongue would let him: "Let me save you."
They didn't actually pull away until the guards came to talk to him in private as the other guard watched the girl.
"Did she say anything?" The guard asked.
Dovahkiin was still stuck on the kiss, how her lips were so defined and nice, yet how desperate she must've felt to do that. Still, he partially saw it coming. He just wasn't expecting it at the moment.
"I- uh, nope. She did say something about wanting to 'cleanse the world of the inferior' but for a motive, no."
The guard sighed in frustration, "Gods, I hate having to torture her. She's polite, despite wanting to take over Eastmarch. Heard Draugr attacked Kynesgrove. Hope everything's okay."
Dovahkiin's mind flashed back to the strange signal she gave before accepting capture.
"Hey, Mister Interrogator," he heard the girl call, as the guard joined his friend; letting her out of her cell with a tight grip on her chains, "It's Cassandra."
He stood lost once more, before realizing it was most likely her name. He only gave her a nod good bye, a part of him still dazed from the kiss. He left, spending one last night in Candlehearth Hall before seeing if Jorlief would be interested in selling him the house.
Chapter 3: An Unbreakable Vow
Dovahkiin asks Jorlief if there's anyway he could get Cassandra out from prison.
Jorlief was kind and thankful for his service to the city, offering him the house Hjerim on the spot. Unfortunately, he wasn't too happy for Dovahkiin's mess up on who was the culprit was and decided to have him pay the clean-up fee. Dovahkiin caved in and decorated the house to his delight; by the time he was finished, he returned to the Palace of the Kings. He procrastinated once again; this time he spent his time sitting down and talking to Jorlief. Dovahkiin was curious what Cassandra's penalty was and if there was anyway he could let her out under Dovahkiin's watch.
"I'm afraid to know the answer. You have done the city several good deeds, yes," Jorlief sighed, "But this isn't some ne'er-do-well teenager who can so easily see the error of their ways. What we have, is a killer. I need proof that she can change."
"Then let me prove that she can change," Dovahkiin growled, not pleased with the results.
Jorlief sat back in his chair, studying him. He let out a deep breath as he sat back upright, "I'll talk to the Jarl. But whatever it is that you do, keep it outside the city walls. She's killed enough as it is. When you are convinced that she can put her skills to a more positive use or can actually not kill an innocent citizen, she can reside with you."
This good news made Dovahkiin smile, shaking hands with Jorlief. "Thank you. Now, if you will, I think I've been keeping my friend waiting a little too long," he smiled, kindly bidding him farewell.
Dovahkiin walked through the barracks, asking the guards who've been assigned to watch Cassandra to leave and shed the two privacy. They were skeptical, but convinced that the Dovahkiin could well take care of himself against someone like her. "Evil little harlot... Could bite your hand off if you get too close..." He heard one of the two say as they left as instructed. Dovahkiin had turned to Cassandra, who laid on the floor with her eyes closed. He sat down on the ground and scooted a little closer to the cell door.
"Biting, are we?" Dovahkiin smirked, "Need to learn to make friends if you want to get out early."
Cassandra smiled at the sound of his voice, opening an eye and turned her head slightly to see him. "Took you long enough. I was worried you got nervous from last time and decided not to come."
Dovahkiin smiled, feeling his stomach tighten at the mention of the kiss they shared. He fiddled with his hands without looking back up at her. Cassandra watched him, the ends of her lips had curled into a small, almost unnoticeable smile. "Oh, don't play shy," she laughed as she sat up, "I could feel you enjoy it almost as much as I did." Dovahkiin felt his face burn, "I- You keep that up and I may not help you get out of here."
"And why do I want to do that? I get to see you everyday since I got in this dung hole of a prison cell and that makes me happy." "I could help you get out, which means more time you could spend... With me." Dovahkiin felt his tongue tie as her expression looked almost mocking. "If this your way of playing hero and "saving" me, no thank you. I already told you about that, sweetie. It's not going to happen." Dovahkiin stared back at the ground, glancing up at Cassandra; he extended his arm and reached for her hand. "You don't know that."
Cassandra looked up at Dovahkiin. She smiled sadly at him, quietly shaking her head, "I wasn't made to do good like you. I'm not here so little kids can look up to me and say 'I wanna be like you when I'm older!' Me? I'm here to do the opposite. It's my purpose."
"No," Dovahkiin shook his head, "You're not- It doesn't make sense. You're not here solely to hurt and conquer. You can change that. I can help you. Let me help you."
Cassandra only kept the smile, slowly growing with every one of his words. She crawled closer to the door, her free hand slowly caressing his face. "Such a beautiful thing," she whispered, "Such a selfless, heroic creature that this world doesn't deserve. You're the light of hope that people need. A light I gave up looking for years ago."
Dovahkiin gave into his instinct and pulled her close and kissed her through the cell door. This time, instead of questioning what was going on and why, he gave into the only thing that kept replaying through his mind. He heard Cassandra let out a soft moan through the kiss. Only a moment they got to savor the sweet kiss, Dovahkiin held her hands inside his. "I..." He searched for the right words to say, "I'll get you out soon. I promise."
Chapter 4: The Beginning
Dovahkiin manages to get Cassandra out free.
It was a solid two weeks that Dovahkiin had spent visiting Cassandra and talking to Jorlief. The Jarl had given permission, but blandly stated that she must be outside of city walls until further notice. Before Dovahkiin left, however, Jorlief asked, "What is so special about this one person?" Dovahkiin paused, as this was the same question that kept him up at night, "To be quite honest, sir, I've been wondering the same thing." Jorlief tipped his hand, turning away, "Then good luck to you, my friend."
Dovahkiin was excited to get to hold Cassandra without his arms being positioned awkwardly. Cassandra was happy to see him as well, though her face dropped drastically as she saw the guards standing behind him. "What did you-" "Fulfilling a promise," he smiled, holding out a hand as the guards unlocked and opened the cell door. She hesitated for a moment before standing all on her own, "As you wish, then." Her voice was stiff and her gaze didn't hold the usual admiration and glimmer of fondness, but refused to meet his gaze.
"Armor, please," she held out a hand. One of the guards grumbled as they sifted through their sort of keys. "What has gotten into you?" Dovahkiin whispered to her, which she refused to answer. The guard came back, "You can fetch your own equipment, I'm assured." Cassandra smiled to herself, more than ready to be out of the rags and into something she found more fitting. She demanded them to turn around; one of the guards leaned over to Dovahkiin, "If I find out she's running amok, it's on your head. Personally."
The only signal she gave that she was fully armored was throwing her rags at them, smiling to herself from the comfort of being back in her armor. "Now, what? Am I sentenced to death, am I forced to serve as a guard of Eastmarch, or-" "You know I wouldn't let that happen to you," Dovahkiin whispered, more angrily than defensive or hurt. In fact, he tried his best not to show the hurt he was feeling from her strange behavior. Cassandra still ignored him.
Instead, she looked from guard to guard. "Well?" Dovahkiin stepped forward, "I am to not only protect you, but I am sworn to show that you can bend and change to the better. I am to train you outside citywalls and into the wild. You are to stay with me and not leave my sight until the Jarl and his court deem you fit." Cassandra only stared at him, looking slightly unimpressed, "Ah, yes, nothing like feeling like a savage animal to make your day sunny. Come on, then."
Dovahkiin followed as Cassandra moved through the barracks and the city itself, passing by remaining civilians with a grim smile. It was just the two of them now. Dovahkiin chuckled to himself as he imgained them celebrating. The two travelled silently together, not breathing a word to one another nor even exchanging glances until Cassandra turned to him, looking angry as ever, "What was that for?"
"When you said 'get me out', I was sort of imagining something a little more... Exciting."
"I didn't think busting you out on a stallion while destroying half the city was very tasteful."
She rolled her eyes, grabbed a fistful of his studded armor and yanking him close, "Don't you get it? I'm not going to change! Not for you, not for this damned, waste of a city, and certainly not for my sake. I am made to kill, to pillage villages, to hurt innocent children, and what? You think you can show me some philosophical way on right and wrong?" She shoved him away, onto the ground, "I am forever! I am permanent! This body may not match up to my will, but I will die trying to take my place as ruler."
Dovahkiin still shook his head, angering Cassandra even more. "No..." He climbed back to his feet, repeating himself. Cassandra balled her fist, taking a swing at Dovahkiin; her punch failed as Dovahkiin caught before it was near to landing a hit. "You need to stop hurting people," he said lowly, though his eyes pleaded for her to calm down. She yanked back her hand, instantly diving it into the ground to pick up a handful of snow. The hit landed him in the head, irritating him slightly, until he heard giggling.
He looked and found Cassandra genuinely laughing, smiling at the snow that laid splattered across his face. He relaxed instantly at the sound of her laughter; he scooped up snow in his hand, catching her and mashing it into her hand as they soon caught up in a full blown snowball fight.
By the end of the day, the two were spread across the snow, side-by-side, staring up at the dusk sky. Their hair and some parts of their armor were still covered in snow, but that didn't matter. No, not to the euphoric sensation that churned in their stomachs. Their breath was visible now, as the sun dropped the temperature slowly did too. Dovahkiin's head slowly turn to face Cassandra, who was still staring up at the sky full of wonder. He noticed a tear roll down her cheek.
"Something wrong?" He asked, sitting up some.
She only smiled, "Is this what it feels like to have fun? You know, to be happy?"
He stayed quiet for a moment, thinking. "Yes," he answered after a long, agonizing moment. Cassandra turned to him, a glimmer in her eyes that Dovahkiin never knew before. She smiled wide as another tear fell, happily nodding. She pushed her balance onto her feet, swinging a hand his way, "Let's go home."
Chapter 5: Together, At last
Dovahkiin finally has most of his questions answered. But some of the answers just seem to create more questions. In the end, they admits themselves to each other, at least in a physical sense. Hopefully, things will stay this good.
That night the two sat in front of a roaring fire. Windhelm's cold weather had taken a turn for the worst as the freezing wintry nights approached further and further. The two were still damp from the snow they had played in a mere few hours earlier. Winter had started off with a cold hit, the freezing temperature would probably continue to gradually drop as the night proceeded.
Dovahkiin could still see small flakes of snow still in the process of melting in Cassandra's thick, dark hair, though she didn't seem to notice. Even if she did, it was doubtful she would care in the first place. He had been staring at her as silence continued to endlessly scream throughout the house. Then, the familiar overwhelming feeling of curiosity and longing filled the pit of his stomach; he longed to find out her interests, to know where she comes from, to know about her quirks and everything in between. But in this faithful silence, he took in her image, as if she was from a painting: Her hands were gently clasped around a small tankard of warm mead, a faded green blanket wrapped and engulfed her in itself as she stared thoughtfully into the fire.
"Any reason you're staring at me?" She asked, snapping him out of his little daydream. She giggled, taking this as flattery. Dovahkiin scrambled for whatever he could say that didn't involve his jaw hanging down. He finally managed to get some thought together when Cassandra's eyes looked over to meet his: "Uh, well, I was just wondering- I want to know more about you." There was a silence as she slowly returned her gaze to the fire, her expression now of a grim one.
"Talk to me," he gently pressed on, leaning over to place a comforting hand on her knee.
"What about me is so interesting that you need to know," she snapped at him, her soft gaze now held an icy glare. But this only made him press harder on.
"I meant no offense, I just find it ironic how a small Breton girl wear something like Ancient Nordic armor."
She huffed, turning herself away with her nose slightly raised upward, "It's a symbol. My men, my army won't fight alongside any fool that wears any ol' garb. It's to represent what we want, who we are. I don't wear it to look appealing to my enemies nor for irony; I wear it for what I want to represent: My militia."
Dovahkiin sat there, only until after a moment of hard thinking did he truly understand what she meant by this. "Draugr? That's your inspiration? They don't even speak the same language we do nor are they actual living people. They're corpses!" He exclaimed, slightly appalled.
"Which makes them all the more gullible," she said with a wink, feeling satisfied with his disgust, "I'm here to bring back a dead language, a forgotten world that we choose to believe was once a myth. My Draugr? They're only the beginning. Even now they wait for my return, they wait at the ready in the distance outside of this damned city to take my orders. Me getting caught was something I chose to do, because I didn't account for one, special ingredient..."
He stayed silent, flashing back to when she made that mysterious gesture when the guards seized her.
She leaned in close, "You."
Dovahkiin broke the eye contact, too shocked and angry to look at her. Just this little piece of information made him want to regret his decision about changing her. Maybe she wasn't meant for change, maybe she was right. Maybe there's no chance of changing her.
Cassandra began to laugh as she rested back in her chair, her back to the cackling fire. She grabbed her tankard of mead and threw it into the pit, her expression suddenly hardening. "Haven't I told you to just give up on me? Tell me you're not rethinking about me, right now," she looked back at him, the cold look could match the freezing temperatures just outside.
Dovahkiin remained silent for a single moment, before coldly asking, "What else are you hiding from me?"
"Hiding? Is that what you think I'm doing? I've told you plenty times to give up, to forget about me... Yet, here we are. You're as naïve as you are stubborn. If you knew me- The real me- You would kill me and not think twice. Any one with common sense would," her words fell into a melancholic whisper. But behind that misery and self pity, grew fiery anger. She brought up a hand, swinging it around but was caught by his own fist. She swore in anger, snatching it back. She slowly turned away.
He quietly stood, standing eerily behind her. His hands grabbed her arms, knowing she'd try to shake him off, but his grasp softened as they slid down to her hands. He heard her sigh, leaning back onto his chest. The atmosphere was no longer dense with the intensity of the previous situation. They were angry, with either each other or themselves at this point was unknown. But that anger eased into a more peaceful silence.
She turned to face him; he could notice her expression was much softened now. Not to the point of sadness or remorse, but a tinge of guilt. "I'll tell you anything you wish to know," she allowed herself to submit to him. "Have you been seeing them? Do they know of what has happened to you?"
"Yes, I have explained my capturing to them. But they will wonder of my absence tonight..." She trailed off in thought, though she noticed Dovahkiin's expression. She couldn't help but let out a small laugh, "Oh, you think a little cell with a lock will keep me restrained? It's almost as easy as opening a door."
Dovahkiin nodded, a part of him not all surprised with this information. Cassandra stared at him for a while, maintain a small smile on her face. "Why did you attack Windhelm? I mean, I'm glad I was here to stop you from hurting anyone else but if you're looking for power you should've gone to Solitude."
She spat in disgust at the name, showing clear disdain in her glare. "That's not fit for a King, neither is any hold but this. The Palace of the Kings; The City of the Kings... It fits all perfectly together. Solitude? Blah, the weather is too fitting, too temperate. Its people are rats basking in the slum of a city. That's not what I want. What I want is to reform and change, for the better. Many people will die, but their death is for the cost of the greater good. Now tell me what a villain I am to help this world."
Dovahkiin didn't say a word, knowing whatever the answer would prove her right. He did notice a small twinkle in her strangely dark eyes. She finally, hopefully for once and for all, sat back in her seat. She stared off through the window, probably imagining her own little utopia. She was hopeful, ambitious, and much too confident in herself. But if it were not her drive for this revolution she so desperately wanted, would they still have crossed paths? It was doubtful. He still felt a sliver of hope that she can do good, that she can change for the better if only she put in the effort.
Suddenly, he didn't feel a trace of anger within himself. He was more understanding of her, even if it doesn't mean he fully agrees. In fact, he felt a deep longing in the pit of his stomach he hasn't felt since he saw her being carried away with guards. But now, the feeling was stronger. Almost like a need. The more he stared at her, taking in her sight once again, it grew deeper. He snapped out of his trance when Cassandra had moved once more, this time seating herself on his lap.
She stared at him, her eyes contrasted with the soft expression she wore. He also didn't notice until then that the pupils of her eyes resembled one of a serpent. Still, this added more mystery and excitement to the small woman. He felt her hands gently glide up, beginning to lift up his iron helmet. He felt a rush of panic and caught her hands quickly.
"Trust me," she whispered.
With much reluctance, his hands slowly released hers; she pulled off his helmet with ease, taking in a sharp gasp of air at his bare face. She carefully sat it on the end table next to them. She ran her fingers through his dirty blonde hair, her eyes searching every inch of his face. He felt vulnerable without his helmet on, being that this was the first time in a while someone had seen his full face. He contemplated whether to make a move or not.
Dovahkiin decided to bite his tongue, allowing a hand to gently run down her back. He managed to find one of the latches that kept her armor in place and unfastened it. Her eyes widened a bit as she now learned of his new motives. She showed no signs of aggression or rejection, but helped his hand to the other two latches for him to unfasten. She pulled it off of her, revealing her bare chest and letting it down to just around her waist.
She kissed his throat, while his hands pulled off her armor to her knees. He let out a sigh, slightly disappointed at the sight of the wool panties that shielded the only sight he truly wanted to see. She pulled her face back for a moment so she could meet lips with him. Every other time, their kisses held a level of romanticism or whole-heartedness. This time, they felt no need to prove their acts in such a way, but in a manner to fill their more animalistic instincts: Lust.
In this primal act, they stumbled to the bedroom. His armor was aggressively pushed off, just as her panties were torn away for her skin. Dovahkiin had laid with women before, spent nights and periods of time with women who wanted nothing more than intimacy. But Cassandra, she herself had proved to him she was pure in some sense. That purity, though, had been busted and showed itself in blood. The blood didn't seem to catch her interest, though.
The feel of being inside of her, capturing her smell and taste as well as seeing her in such a vulnerable state only fueled him to go on, go longer until she was on her knees for him. And she was.