The Dragonborn and The Fool
Chapter One: The Mad Confession
A cold wind ripped its way across the snow covered village known as Dawnstar, as a young Breton woman, also known as the Dragonborn, made her way into the village. In her hands she clutched a small, worn book which she had been reading intently on her journey to the north. She had been ordered by her superior Astrid, to find and kill a member of the Dark Brotherhood for betrayal and overall madness for attacking another member within the confines of the Falkreath Sanctuary.
"That damn fool! I knew we shouldn't have let him join us in this sanctuary!" yelled Astrid at the top of her lungs.
"What are you ranting about now?" the Dragonborn, named Melanie, asked as she made her way down into the sanctuary's antechamber.
"That fool, your 'best friend', Cicero has just attacked Veezara and tried to make a move for my life in the process!" Astrid yelled again, this time advancing on Melanie.
"Woah! Hang on a minute Astrid. First of all, since when has Cicero been my 'best friend'?" Melanie asked heatedly, a blush creeping across her face.
"Come off it! We all know the two of you spend most of your time in this sanctuary singing, dancing and drinking together! You even helped him oil the Night Mother a couple times!" Astrid explained, still livid from Cicero's attack.
"Alright then, well where did he go?" Melanie asked, annoyed at being put in her place.
"I don't know. My husband Arnbjorn ran after him in a blind fury. Not that I don't blame him for feeling that way towards the fool," Astrid said, crossing her arms over her chest. "Actually I'm surprised that you don't know where he went off to."
"He never told me that he would attack another brother like that," Melanie said, trying to hold her tongue in regards to Astrid's possible attack. Astrid scowled at Melanie, knowing that Melanie had known something that had to do with this.
"Well…he did…gah! Never pegged the fool for…that type of swordsmanship before…" Veezara said clutching his sides in pain, struggling to speak.
"Nazir help me get Veezara up onto his feet. We need him healed so he can continue his service to Sithis and the Night Mother," Gabriella said as she grabbed hold of one side of Veezara and motioned Nazir to the other side to do the same.
"Yes Gabriella. Babette, fetch your healing potions, and fast," Nazir said, taking the side Gabriella motioned to and turned his attention to the un-child.
"Don't worry Veezara, my healing potions will have you up and killing again in no time!" Babette said happily, her eyes wide from the sight of the blood on the ground; she was trying her hardest to hold her hunger off for as long as she could.
"Anyway, I can't believe I'm doing this but, I need you to go into that fool's room and find some evidence as to where he might be going off to. And to find out why he planned to do this in the first place," Astrid turned her attention from her brothers hauling Veezara off for healing over to Melanie.
"Me? Why me? Why don't you do it?" Melanie asked indignantly.
"Because you were the only one he trusted to even set one foot into his room, well besides the Night Mother, if she were alive that is," Astrid replied smugly.
"Fine…if it'll please you…"Melanie said, sighing heavily then stomping off towards the back rooms to find Cicero's room.
"Hmm…this village isn't the greatest place to be. It's so cold!" Melanie said, shivering as another violently cold wind ravaged its way through her slender form. She clutched the journal closer to her body as she prayed to Sithis that she would be able to find Cicero and fast; she never liked the cold, snowy world of Skyrim.
"In this journal, Cicero mentioned that there is another sanctuary in Skyrim, and its just outside of this village! Thank the gods its nearby! But where could it be?" she said as a small piece of paper slipped out of the back of the journal and fell into a pool of blood. "Damn it my map!" she said as she picked it up and brushed out most of the blood. "Damn…oh well I'm sure I'm close by it anyway. Judging by the blood on the ground I don't think this is a natural occurrence." And sure enough within a matter of minutes she found herself in front of the door way to the Dawnstar Sanctuary and a bloodied Arnbjorn.
"Damn, I can't believe I underestimated that little butter knife of his," Arnbjorn stated mostly to himself as he hadn't noticed Melanie walking up behind him.
"Yeah that you did Arnbjorn, that you did," Melanie said as Arnbjorn yelped loudly.
"By Sithis! Listener! Don't sneak up on a wounded man like that!" exclaimed Arnbjorn as he clutched at his side. "No wonder why you and the fool get a long so well!"
"WE DON'T GET ALONG!" exclaimed Melanie angrily, her face glowing red hot in the cold winds. "WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP ON SAYING THAT? I'M MARRIED DAMN IT!"
"Well it is true Listener. Sorry for speaking the truth at a time like this," Arnbjorn said as he began to double over in pain.
"Here take this health potion, I'll bandage you up so you can head back to the sanctuary," Melanie said as she knelt down to his side, bandages at the ready.
"You don't mean to take him on yourself do you?" Arnbjorn asked, doubt laced in every word.
"Your wife ordered me to, so I will follow her direction," Melanie replied bluntly, mostly focusing on finishing off bandaging him up. "There! Now head back to the sanctuary, and tell Astrid I'll be back with good news."
"Alright then, thank you Listener. Sithis be with you," Arnbjorn said as he shakily stood up and headed back in the direction of the Falkreath sanctuary.
It took her quite a while as she trekked through the ruined sanctuary. Every once in a while she'd hear Cicero's voice echo throughout the halls as she got closer and closer. She knew that things between her and Cicero had been quite questionable to some. And as much as she didn't want to admit it to her face, Astrid was right about the merriment they shared. Melanie didn't understand it herself before but she always had the greatest time with Cicero. Even after being married twice, currently on her second marriage, she still found it fun to be with Cicero than her husband Onmund. Or even her housecarl Lydia, who had been her real 'best friend' since they met in Whiterun. No, nowadays she knows exactly why she enjoys his company over all others, but she didn't ever want him to know it; she just couldn't picture how he'd take it.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity of fighting off the ghosts of the old keepers of the sanctuary, she reached the last room she hadn't yet explored. She inhaled a deep sigh as she reached a hand out and pushed the double wooden door open. As she gazed at his broken form on the floor, her heart fluttered sadly inside her chest. She fought back tears in a defiant way to show she won't be broken and that she still had a husband at home to be in love with instead of this fool of hearts. But it didn't last long and she found herself running over to him; one tear escaped its prison.
"Oh Listener! It is you! Cicero had thought you were that harlot's attack dog coming in to finish poor Cicero off!" Cicero exclaimed happily, coughing a bit of blood which he spat out onto the floor nearby. "Cicero is glad it is you Listener."
"Come Cicero I'm no hero you know. Just The Listener that's all," Melanie said, trying to hide her face as it flushed up again. "Sit up for me now Cicero so I can heal you."
"Oh Listener! Stop it that tickles!" Cicero exclaimed happily laughing then wincing in pain at laughing too hard with the deep cut in his side.
"Oh Cicero please don't fidget too much. Oh good I do have enough bandages left after I bandaged up Arnbjorn," Melanie said as she pulled out the bandages, a couple health potions and ten sweet rolls.
"You helped that mutt before Cicero!" Cicero exclaimed angrily as if she had been the one that had slashed at him instead of Arnbjorn.
"Yeah I did, but all I gave him were some shoddy bandaging and ONE health potion. For you, I'm going to use my healing spell, proper bandaging and plenty of health potions to keep a dragon healthy," Melanie said, smiling sweetly at him as she always did when they were alone together.
"And the sweet rolls?" Cicero asked with a wicked grin on his face; he knew that she knew they were his favourite foods (well besides carrots that is).
"Oh…those are for you…you know just for when I leave you on your own. You have to eat something!" Melanie stammered; she loved it when he would give that grin.
"Right, but Listener," Cicero began, leaning closer to her face. "Why are you helping poor Cicero instead of killing him. Didn't that harlot send you here to kill Cicero?"
"Umm well there is a very logical reason for it…umm…" Melanie stammered, her face still level with his, and flushing wildly.
"Listener, your face is glowing red! Are you coming down with a cold?" Cicero asked worriedly, a hand shooting up to feel her forehead.
"No…well I'm not sure…it is pretty cold here and I'm not really used to the cold up here in Skyrim," Melanie replied, still embarrassed by her reaction to this whole experience.
"Then what ever could it be Listener?" Cicero asked, worry still laced in his speech.
"DAMN IT I HAVE A NAME YOU KNOW!" Melanie exclaimed, stopping her work with her healing spell and began to cry.
"That's right! You had told Cicero of your name once before! It's umm…Cicero can't remember what it is," Cicero said, sitting back thoughtfully, not noticing her crying.
"MY NAME IS MELANIE! ALL I EVER WANTED TO DO TODAY WAS TO KEEP YOU SAFE THEN GO BACK TO THE FALKREATH SANCTUARY AND TELL THEM THAT I KILLED YOU SO THAT ASTRID WILL LEAVE ME ALONE! BY SITHIS! EVERYONE THINKS THAT YOU AND I HAVE SOMETHING TOGETHER BUT I KNOW WE DON'T AS I'M MARRIED ALREADY AND CAN'T EVER FALL IN LOVE WITH ANYONE ELSE. BUT I HAVE WITH YOU AND I FEEL BOTH TERRIBLE BUT HAPPY TO HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH YOU!" Melanie exclaimed, crying uncontrollably. Silence fell within the room as she grabbed at her mouth and looked at Cicero in complete horror. Cicero stared blankly at Melanie for a brief moment then leaned forward.
"You…you love Cicero? But Cicero has never loved or been loved by anyone or anything. Well except for Mother but Cicero is guessing that is not the same love that you are talking about," Cicero said, trying to get a grasp on the situation.
"It's alright, not a big deal. Now stay still and let me finish healing you up so I can be on my way," Melanie said, wiping tears from her face and sniffling.
Then as quick as a flash, Cicero leaned forward and kissed her forehead lovingly. He then let go of his wound, took off his left glove and placed his hand on her face, absentmindedly rubbing her tears from her face. He then opened his eyes suddenly and backed away from her. She placed her right hand where his hand was on her face and stared at him with complete and utter surprise.
"Cicero has never done that before. At least not that Cicero can remember. Cicero doesn't even know why he did that," Cicero said as he looked off into the fire roaring behind him.
Melanie kept herself quiet for a while as she set back to work on bandaging him up. A few more moments of silence passed by as she grabbed a health potion and handed it to him. They avoided eye contact as he took the health potion from her, nodded then drank the potion in one gulp.
"Well I'm heading back to the sanctuary and tell them you died a very bloody and horrible death in the name of Sithis himself," Melanie finally managed to say before she reached inside her pack and pulled out his five journals. "Here, I read your journals, I hope you don't mind too much. You're right about Astrid too you know. The old ways should be regarded not tossed aside as she has done," Melanie said as she handed him his journals, stood up and faced away from him.
"Thank you for your kind words Listener! Now go and tell that harlot what she wants to hear!" Cicero exclaimed happily, reaching for his journals and a sweet roll.
"Oh and before I go, what just happened between us just now, lets keep that a secret just between us ok?" Melanie asked, refusing to look back at him.
"Oh…yes…of course…we wouldn't want your husband to find out and come after poor Cicero," Cicero said, laughing at the thought of Melanie's husband even trying to take him on.
"Yes you're right, but of course my husband probably wouldn't win in a fight against you, you know," she said, looking at him and smiling sweetly. She then realized that she had complimented Cicero and not her husband then turned away quickly again.
Melanie began walking away when something behind her made her stop abruptly. "Melanie, Cicero is grateful that you took the time to help poor Cicero instead of killing him. Cicero will always be loyal to you in any of your future endeavours."
"I'll consider it greatly. You're welcome Cicero," Melanie said as she continued to walk out of the room and begin her long quiet journey back to the Falkreath Sanctuary and in due time, back to her home in Solitude where Onmund waited for her lengthy return.