by AJ Marks
Zoe made her way down the street with the stars overhead. It had taken her longer to return than she expected today, but she’d be home in a short time. Already familiar sights were all around her. She had gone over everything which had happened in the past year since coming to Skyrim on her way back.
It turned out she was the Dragonborn, and had the unique ability to learn shouts. She also learned that dragons coming back had been the result of a dragon called Alduin, the World Eater. Now, it was all over as she turned to cross the bridge and headed to her destination. A long house which had the best bathing suite in all of Skyrim, the Bathing Beauties Luxury Suite.
Lights were on outside, not that unusual as it was open pretty much all day round. It got visitors at all times, from people looking for a place to sleep on the road to visitors from all the major cities. Its reputation had grown that much since she had become owner.
She learned it had much to do with the Bride of Migal, located under the bathing house. Its energy fed the waters giving it a magical quality, and filling the entire suite with a relaxing, wonderful feeling.
Her adventures had kept her on the road a lot but she allowed the girls to run the suite, along with OMB and the guard, Farquar. The suite had become very profitable, and the girls were now also well-known all over Skyrim, many visitors had their favorites and more than one had secret suiters.
As long as no one got out of control it only enhanced the reputation of the suite. It didn’t hurt that she was the Thane in all the major cities, had a house in several cities and helped many people out.
She thought of her first impression of Skyrim, as she rode into Helgan on a cart to her execution because she ran into a skirmish between the Stormcloaks and the Imperials. She had misgivings about joining the Imperials, but Hadvar had helped her out in the beginning. She learned General Tallius didn’t have much love for the Thalmor either.
“Hello Farquar, how are things,” she said, stepping up the stairs to the suite seeing him sitting on the rail along with a young woman from the farm across the way.
“Quiet tonight, not many visitors,” he replied back.
“Ah, been busy otherwise?” Zoe asked.
“Normal lately with dragons all about,” he replied.
“Well, that should be ending,” Zoe said.
“Ah, finally got to the end of it all?” he asked.
“Yeah, the one who was resurrecting them is dead,” Zoe replied, answering the question.
“That’s a relief, was afraid to walk around outside the towns with these dragons about,” the woman said, and Zoe recalled her name as Gwendolyn. From the looks of things it appeared their friendship had gotten closer over the past couple of months.
“Should be good for business as well,” Zoe said, bidding them good-night and headed inside.
The smells of water, and food seemed to welcome her home as several stopped to see who had arrived. She noticed Leah behind the counter, and gave her a smile which her lover returned.
“Zoe, you’re home,” a blonde said, who Zoe recognized as Wyla. Several other girls gathered around to greet her, giving her hugs before she gathered Leah up in her arms giving her a kiss.
“So, that’s how you greet me, good,” Leah said before stepping back. “First, get out of that armor, and second take a bath.”
“You saying I smell?” Zoe asked.
“Yes,” she replied moving Zoe off and pushing her upstairs where she could take off her armor.
Zoe allowed herself to led, pushed, to her room. It strangely felt nice to not be in charge of anything. After all of her adventures, there was something comforting about this as Leah went about helping Zoe out of her armor.
“So, no new scars?” Leah asked as she took off another piece of armor.
“Not this time,” Zoe replied.
“Good,” she replied. “Don’t like it when you get a new one, means you got hurt.”
“Hey, I don’t go out to get hurt,” Zoe said. “I try really hard to avoid such things.”
“And for that I’m grateful,” Leah replied, giving Zoe’s shoulder a kiss as it was exposed. “I just happen to like your body.”
“And I look forward to returning back to you and this place,” Zoe said, turning around giving Leah another kiss.
“Yeah, yeah, bath first,” Leah replied.
“Fine,” Zoe said, as she slipped out of the rest of the clothing under the armor and heading down to the water.
She stepped into the water and relaxed a bit feeling Leah walk in behind her. It was something which happened every time she returned, and in a way, both looked forward to it.
“So, what happened this time? Are you finally done with these dragons?” Leah asked.
“Yeah, Alduin has been defeated, no more resurrected dragons,” Zoe said to her.
“Finally, maybe business will pick up even more,” Wyla said.
“That would be good news,” OMB said. “Though, we are doing quite well at the moment.”
Zoe nodded, the location of the suite was about in the middle of Skyrim making it a perfect spot for any traveler.
“How’d you defeat him?” Rashaal asked, from her spot at a table and eating.
“Wasn’t easy,” Zoe stated telling them of her adventure. “You all know that with the help of the Jarl we captured a dragon called Odahviing?”
She watched as a few nodded, recalling that bit before she had gone off.
“With his help we figured out where Alduin was going, and how he remained so powerful after our fight, especially after the battle at the Throat of the World,” Zoe said to them, knowing that Rayna knew about that battle, having traveled with her there.
“We gave it everything we had and still didn’t beat him,” Rayna said from her spot listening in. “He managed to retreat, not a battle I wish to do again.”
“We found out he was going to Sovngarde,” Zoe said to her, and then looked at the others.
“The place of heroes?” Wyla said, sounding slightly shocked. Being a Nord she’d know about the place rather easily. Of the girls she and Trudy were the only Nords who would understand what Sovngarde is and what it means to the people of Skyrim.
“Yeah,” Zoe said.
“Wow, he went there?” Wyla asked, sounding surprised at the statement. “So, what did you do?”
“Yeah, its not like you can just go there,” Trudy said getting into the story as well.
“Actually, that’s exactly what we did,” Zoe replied seeing the shocked expressions on their faces. “I packed up some supplies, weapons and headed off for Sovngarde.”
“Um, you make it sound like it was no different than walking across Skyrim,” Leah said, her hands had stilled at the moment at the idea of what Zoe had actually done. “And you’re still alive.”
“Well, with Odahviing’s help I was able to enter Sovngarde, and it wasn’t easy,” Zoe replied. “Had to fight my way in.”
“You really went to Sovngarde?” Wyla asked, now sitting at the ends of the pool with her feet dangling in the water.
“Yeah, and upon entering it wasn’t what I was expecting,” Zoe replied. “It had a mist hanging over the entire region, took me a while to find the Hall of champions where I met the old Dragonborns, Feldir, Gormlaath, and Kadon.”
“The ones who fought Alduin so long ago,” Rayna said,
“Yeah, though it took me a while to convince them to help me,” Zoe stated.
“You can be persuasive if you need to be,” Leah said.
“I guess, after gathering everyone together we moved out to meet our destiny against Alduin who had returned as well. He seemed surprised to see us waiting for him. I think we all knew one side or the other would not be leaving this fight,” Zoe said, recalling the air of finality of the fight. Everyone seemed to understand that part. “
“So you defeated him in battle I assume,” OMB said.
“Yeah, we could only hurt him after we used Dragonrend on him, so we had to time our attacks and defend against him when it wore off,” Zoe explained. “All those dragon fights paid off. I don’t think he expected to lose.”
“The arrogant rarely do,” OMB stated.
Zoe considered that and realized OMB was correct, Alduin was arrogant. He seemed confident no one could defeat him and as a result was unable to comprehend that a mere group of humans could come up with a way to defeat him. Perhaps his downfall was in inability to understand how someone else could be stronger.
“So, now that he’d out of the way, what will the great Dragonborn do now?” OMB asked, with a slight smirk on his face.
Zoe gave the question some thought. Something she had been thinking about for a while now and after everything she had done. In her journey to defeat Alduin she had risen high up as a member of the Campions, the College of Windholm and been a tremendous help in quelling the Stormcloaks.
The Blades were not really her friends due to her resistance to killing Paarthurnax. She declined to join the Thieves guild and the Dark Brotherhood kept clear of her.
Of course she had helped out many people all over Skyrim, and probably knew a good number of people either directly or indirectly. Many considered her a hero of sort which she never expected upon coming here. It really surprised her when she recalled her first encounter in Skyrim and how close she had come to be executed.
She knew there were still some rogue dragons out there, and some words of power she had yet to discover. Perhaps with the help of the Greybeards she could find the rest.
“I guess, for now, I’ll probably settle down a bit and relax. Its been a long journey to this point,” Zoe said to them all. “Might spend some time learning the business here, take a week off.”
“And by the end of that week you’ll be itching to do something,” Leah said to her.
“Hmm, you’re probably right about that,” Zoe said. “I don’t know, guess I’ll have to wait and see what comes up.”
“Knowing how things are around here, probably won’t have to wait too long to find out,” Trudy said.
“Always something, with someone,” Wyla said. “But with things settling down, people travelling around more, wouldn’t be surprised if bandits start showing up more.”
“They’ve been operating in the areas between cities, won’t take it long to have patrols on the main roads again,” Zoe said knowing travel was too important to commerce for the cities. The Jarls would get together and work on it all.
“They’ll probably hire you,” Estria said, having been quiet all this time.
“Perhaps, if they do, I’ll help out,” Zoe said wondering how that might work. Of course she had encountered many bandits in her journey across Skyrim. Seemed like the very nature of the land breeds such people.
For now she had wealth and fame, something she never could imagine before leaving for Skyrim. She suddenly recalled a strange encounter she had shortly before leaving the Imperial City in what seemed a lifetime ago.
“Ya know, before I left to come here I had an encounter, very strange,” Zoe said. “The same day I received the note from OMB.”
“Oh, then somedays are meant to be,” OMB said.
“Yeah, hadn’t thought about it since, but met a seer,” Zoe said seeing all of them look at her. Of course it was rare for her to talk about her past so they were all listening. “She said that the World Eater had returned.”
“Well, he did,” Rayna said.
“She also mentioned I had great potential,” Zoe said. “At the time I had no idea, I was barely surviving, out of money and down on my luck. In fact it was leaving from meeting her that I ran into the courier.”
Zoe gave a small laugh never realizing how much her life changed that day. If it hadn’t been for Valis, she might have ignored both of them.
“Ah, well, its good to be able to relax, no new missions, no saving the world,” Zoe said.
She knew tomorrow would be a new day, and hoped the peace lasted a while.
End part 7