AN: If I have any readers that read this story from the beginning and followed it until here, I would like to say thank you. In case you're wondering what direction this story will go in, I genuinely don't know. Cheers
It's morning of the next day but I doubt my thane will be back for a while. Deciding to take a walk around the city, I begin moving further into Solitude. After a short while, I hear the familiar sounds of guards training. But I realise that it doesn't sound like normal sparring.
"I got it this time!"
The screams are shortly followed by the sounds of my mistress laughing. Now that I think about it, mistress does sound sexual sometimes. What else could I call her that couldn't be taken the wrong way. I suppose I could call her by name, if I can ever figure out how to pronounce it.
"Good morning," I try to say loud enough for her to hear but quiet enough to be polite. I end shouting good and whispering morning. Nice one Lydia.
"Oh," she turns back, "hello!"
"I was winning," the guard she was training with quickly says
"No you weren't," she says
"You're right," the guard replies
"You're up early today… k-k-k-something," I don't think that was her name
"Yep!" she says, seemingly not noticing my slip, "I woke up earlier and had nothing to do so I came here.
Now that I actually look, the training field looks a lot more pleasant than the one back in whiterun. For example, the training dummies are actually shaped like people, the archery targets are actually round and the weapons are blunted metal instead of wood, now that I think about it the training field in whiterun sucks. I have a brief flashback of the time half the new guards had to use brooms because there weren't enough wooden swords.
"You look like you fight," the guard says
"You don't," the khajiit cuts in
"Shush!" he continues, "want to spar?"
"You didn't even hit me once,"
"Um, may I?" I ask the girl
"What? Go ahead!"
"Say, why are you sparring with random people anyways?"
"It's my day off today,"
"And you're spending it training? Most guards just get drunk,"
"Maybe if I train I will get better and senpai will notice me,"
I go to the training weapons rack beside the regular weapons rack and pick out a sword. Upon looking at the weapons I notice something strange.
"Why do you have training quarterstaffs if you don't have any polearms in the city?"
"Um, I heard they were getting pilums imported from Cyrodil,"
I look to the staves and back to the man
"Pilums are javelins, for throwing,"
"Huh," he looks at the staves, "well, now we have a reason to buy some polearms."
"Oh! You should get scythes, those are cool!"
"Scythes are for farming, not fighting," the guard replies
"Imagine running into a battlefield with a scythe, wouldn't it be much more terrifying than a sword?" She has a point, but I doubt anyone can actually fight with a weapon like that. Maybe if the opponents were short, thin, immobile and are grass.
"Maybe- if someone learns to use one," I say
"See?" she draws out the sword, "she agrees,"
"Pft, are you fighting or not?"
"I am," I pull out a practice sword made of blunted iron. We move into positions in the centre of the field and touch the tip of our swords.
"Begin!" the khajiit shouts
I duck the first stab and strike the back of his knees, he is easily taken off balance and falls down.
"Again," he says, I nod in response
We return to the position. This time, he stabs first again but jumps out of my slash. Realising he is still recovering, I lean forward to kick him. His raised sword blocks my kick but he is taken off balance nevertheless, this gives me the time to punch the side of his helmet with my free hand.
"Lydia wins!" she cheers as he falls again.
"Ah, damn, you're better than I thought,"
"Well, what position do you have in the guard?" my mistress asks
"Uh," I think she might have accidently ruined his day
"I hope it's not something as stupid as quartermaster,"
"No, no not that," he says, I hear him say something under his breath but couldn't hear it
"Lydia is a commander!" she claps my shoulder, I do not like my previous rank used in this manner, it makes me feel strange
"You're in the guard?"
"Was," I quickly correct him
"Was? What happened,"
"I was made housecarl to the new thane,"
"The new thane? Wait, don't tell me she's the thane? That's not possible!"
The person in question reminds him she is a better swordfighter
"It's not her, that's his brother,"
"A khajiit thane?"
"What hold were you commanding for anyways?" he begins to walk as he talks, it's quite an annoying habit when people don't even pay attention to you when you talk. I don't like it.
"Whiterun," I reply simply. He seems surprised at my answer, or as I can tell from his silence. His helmet really does not show anything.
"Wow," he suddenly grabs my hand, startling me, "Lydia?"
"What?" how does he know my name, I didn't tell him it did I? Why does he know it? Why does he care? Why is he grabbing me? I shake my hand a little. Stop touching me god damn it.
My mind stops functioning because of this overload of questions and I punch him in the helmet.
"My bad," I say
Before we knew it, it was night time again. Us four mercenaries sat down together for dinner. We each took out all of the food we had. There were 2 pieces of bread and a slice of cabbage in total.
"So, why'd you take this job?" the dunmer asks him
"I've been on the run for a bit. Came here all the way from Cyrodill, broke my cousin out of a Thalmor fort. No one should be arrested for worshipping a god."
"Hey, I took this job for nearly the same reason!" the nord woman exclaims
"A prisoner rescue on a thalmor fort?"
"Uh… no," she says, "I killed a thalmor envoy."
"Can't blame you, I guess,"
This is an extremely curious and suspicious situation. The dunmer looks at me worriedly.
"You too?" she asks quietly
I nod in response
"My friends," she stands, "I have a very very bad feeling about this,"
"We'll call it a draw then"
"You didn't hit me once,"
"Hey," I begin only to find a khajiit sleeping beside the weapons rack
"Don't do that, that's dangerous," the guard walks over to scold the girl
"Sorry," she yawns
"Look, you almost knocked this over- AHHH!" he shouts as the rack falls onto him
"Are you okay?" I ask. First there was no response, then after a short wait, a hand with an extended thumb emerges from the piles of swords and maces.
"You were pretty good Lydia!"
But you didn't even watch
"Want to spar?"
"Sure," it would be a good opportunity to see the martial potential of my thane's sister and my company
"Where's my fighting stick?"
The same hand sticks out from the pile of weaponry holding a staff.
"There it is!" she cheers and picks it up
We take our stance and bump our weapons against each other.
"How long were you in the guard for, Lydia?"
"Pretty long, I guess," I can't really answer properly as I'm focusing on fighting, not that I've been counting the years anyways
"Was it fun?" she says as she stabs towards my abdomen. I parry it away with my sword and continue pacing
"It's fair, I never had to worry about being hungry or not having a place to sleep," the food was never that good and I didn't get a proper bed until being promoted. But I got what my work deserved, maybe even more.
"That's good," this time I strike, she ducks easily and counters with a light bump of her staff on my leg, she's fast but doesn't hit too hard.
"How about you? What did you do before this?" Is this too forward?
"Oh, I was in the army!"
"You sound happy about it,"
"I know, I shouldn't," she sighs, "I've killed people and I don't feel very good about that. But I believe that Elsweyr is a better place and I believe I contributed to that. For that, I'm grateful."
She looks too young to have fought much, despite her obvious martial prowess. Her brother being a veteran would have been more believable with age difference, he's got to be almost ten years older.
"Was there… a lot of fighting there? I'm not very familiar with what's been happening south."
"There was fighting, yes there was definitely fighting. It was not a very big war, no, nothing like the Great War."
"That's good, I think,"
"What did you do before joining the guard?"
"I was-" I start quickly but trail off, "I- I-" I feel a little lightheaded as I begin to recall all the events that transpired which ended with me in Whiterun. The world around me starts to fade and I feel like I'm back to the time where I ran for so long. Thinking about it hurts me.
Suddenly the end of a staff comes into my peripheral vision, I try to duck but it's a little late now. The wood comes into contact with my temple and I lose my balance. I hear someone talking but I'm still a little dizzy and cannot hear too well.
"Huh?" I get to my feet
"Lydia!" she grabs my shoulders, "are you okay?"
"Fine, I just got a little distracted,"
"We have been out here for quite a while, let's get back to the inn, I'm a little hungry,"
"That sounds good," I say, relieved that the question was avoided