I've always wondered what the Dragonborn's husband/wife thinks of him/her while he/she is off adventuring across Skyrim. My Dunmer OC named Akane married a Dunmer miner named Sondas Drenim from Darkwater Crossing, and I thought he was appropriate to use in this fic since he virtually does nothing spectacular except house-sit, unlike some of the other candidates you can marry (Aela and Farkas, for example).
The perspective shifts multiple times in this story, but it seems to work, so just sit back and enjoy! :)
She was something else entirely.
When Sondas had agreed to marry his fair and beautiful Dunmer wife, Akane, he knew he was walking into a lifelong commitment with a headstrong, reckless and audacious sort of woman who had no intention of settling down.
Children? Out of the question. A warm bed for him to come home to every night? Rarely.
He was but a simple miner. It was all he knew. That was the trade of his father and forefathers, something he had never thought to question before meeting her. He knew very little of blades and magic, yet he was content with living a simple life in Darkwater Crossing and earning his keep. When he managed to get a day off every now and then, he took pride in watching little Hrefna grow into the fine young woman that she would one day be. He had no qualms about taking care of her when Tormir was out of town. Everyone in the settlement trusted each other, and Sondas was proud to consider himself a member of this unique sort of family.
But that was all behind him now.
After the wedding ceremony in Riften, his pretty little wife brought him home with her to Whiterun, where she lived in a modest house in the Plains District of the city with her housecarl, Lydia. However, "lived" wasn't the sort of term he would use to describe her use of the place. It was more like a storage closet than anything else, a place for her to stash her vast assortment of collectables taken from every corner of Skyrim, and take a short rest every now and then.
Was he nothing more than a new addition to her growing collection?
He certainly felt that way.
Still, she brought in a hefty amount of gold from whatever she was off doing… Saving the world? Battling dragons? Fighting alongside the Companions for honor and glory?
Lately something had been amiss, and Sondas was determined to find out what was going on.
Recently she had been coming home wearing this strange black and crimson armor with a cowl concealing most of her face. The only dead giveaway that it was his beautiful wife strolling into the house at Azura knows what time of night and not some maniac out for blood was her soft, sanguine-colored eyes piercing his frightened gaze. A heavy moment of silence would soon be followed by her breathless laughter that always seemed to make his blood run cold.
"You look as if you'd seen a ghost!" She would say. Or…
"Relax, it's only me."
"We've got the best locks on our door in all of Skyrim. Who else would it be, my love?"
"It's good to see you too, darling."
At first, he brushed it off as if it were nothing. She had obviously traveled quite a distance to come home and share a bed with him after weeks of wandering alone out in the wilderness. She needed her rest, and he was more than willing to provide whatever he could for her.
Still, it never stopped him from wondering where she came across these strange clothes or these rare trinkets. It never stopped him from wondering where all those scars on her lean, muscular body came from. It never stopped him from questioning how all this money came into her possession. He had no idea being a mercenary paid so well. Anybody else would be content with how well she was providing for their, for lack of a better term, family.
His own wife was a complete mystery to him.
And then there were the rumors floating around the city of dark tidings in Skyrim. Of course, times were hard with the war going on. People will say just about anything to gain the attention of others and make some coin, but some of the things he heard were rather strange. Even more peculiar was the fact that just about everyone knew his wife by name and where she had been sighted.
One of the guards even approached him last week while he was in the market and asked him if he had been in attendance with his wife at the wedding of the late Vittoria Vici, the Emperor's cousin, in Solitude. Apparently, it was quite the occasion with the bride being murdered at her own wedding. But why were they asking him, of all people, if he had been there? Where would he have gotten an invitation to attend such a lavish occasion? Better yet, where did his wife come across such an invitation, and how did everyone know she was there?
Akane had never said a word to him about it when she stopped by just the other day.
Then again, she was never in the habit of bragging about her exploits. She almost seemed to want to forget about everything whenever she came home. She has always been the sort of person to just live in the moment.
Even so, something like this couldn't go without some mention. He would make sure to ask her whenever he saw her again, but who knows when that would be?
Regardless, he was going to get to the bottom of all of this.
He had tried being subtle about questioning her before, asking her about her adventures and if she had come across anything unique in her travels to get her to start talking.
She wasn't particularly evasive about it, but their discussions were always kept short. Her answers were often vague or she would ramble on about exploring Dwemer ruins or exploring caves infested with trolls. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but certainly not what he was hoping to hear.
He had even tried asking Lydia about it before, being careful not to arouse any suspicion from his wife's faithful servant. Unfortunately, Akane had been neglecting Lydia's services as of late, and the frustrated housecarl felt that she was just as much of a prisoner in his wife's house as he was.
Frankly, both of them were getting tired of it all.
It astonished him that his wife trusted him enough to remain in the same house with another woman for extended periods of time. If he had been a different man, he might have fallen for the beautiful, battle-hardened Nord. But Sondas was a gentleman and he had made a promise to be faithful until the end of his days.
Deep down, he hoped that his wife had made sure to keep to her promise as well.
Lately she hadn't been wearing her wedding ring, but rather a magic ring used to enhance her abilities with a bow.
If that wasn't enough for him to start questioning her fidelity, just the other day he had run into a local merchant named Ysolda who had addressed him as "Sam" and proceeded to ask him how his wedding in Morvunskar went.
"You must be mistaken." He answered slowly. "My wife and I were married at the Temple of Mara in Riften a few months ago."
"Huh?" The young Nord woman paused for a moment. "Aren't you Akane's husband? I gave her a ring for her wedding a few days ago. She was very insistent about it."
"Why yes, I am." He nodded. "And just who is this Sam you're referring to, lass? And what's this about a ring?"
The color began to drain from the girl's face as she quickly realized that she might have just gotten her good friend into a heap of trouble. "N-no one! My mistake. It must have been some other Dunmer in black armor, really! I had better be going." She recited swiftly before hurrying on her way.
That was more than enough information to make Sondas suspicious of his wife's actions.
If she had indeed broken their marriage vows, if she was really was leading some sort of double life, he was going to hear it straight from her mouth. No more games.
He was forced to replay the same scene with Ysolda in his head over and over for about a week until his wife finally returned home from her other life.
This time she was wearing a suit of armor entirely in black with a long, flowing cape trailing behind her and a cowl that covered her face entirely. He didn't need to question who it was standing at their front door, despite the fact that it could have been anyone in a strange suit of armor. He knew it was her.
He sat across from her in front of the fire, staring at her shrouded form with a piercing gaze of his own.
Tonight, he was going to get some answers.
"Good to see you, dear." He spoke softly, maintaining his usual composure for the moment.
"Has the store made any money?" She recited nonchalantly as she made her way towards the Alchemy lab. Once inside, she opened the chest above the cupboard and proceeded to place a suit of armor, a sword and some ingredients inside.
Sondas knew all of this because he had emerged from his seat across from the fire pit in the living room and had followed her into the next room. He was now standing in the doorway leaning against its frame with his arms folded and his eyes contorted in an inquisitive manner. He was purposely blocking the door. She didn't appear to pay him any mind and continued to focus on loading the chest with her valuables.
"It has." He replied venomously, hoping to draw her attention towards him.
After removing her hood, his wife's gaze flickered up to meet his own. She could sense by the tone of his voice that something was wrong. "…Good. May I have my half, Sondas?"
He smiled at his lovely wife as he reached into his pocket without taking his eyes off of her.
"Here you are, my dear." He said, holding out his hand with the pouch just waiting to be taken from him.
Akane returned his piercing gaze with one of her own and watched him carefully, closing the chest without taking her eyes off of him. She quickly snatched the coin purse from his hand and didn't even bother to look inside. She had been gone for ten days, so there should be at least a thousand in there, she reasoned.
"You'll find it all there. A thousand gold pieces." He spoke up, as if reading her thoughts. "Your half."
"Thanks." She nodded, placing the pouch in her pocket.
She took a step forward and paused in front of him, noticing that he was blocking the doorway. She was about to ask him to kindly move out of the way so that she could head upstairs to take a well-needed rest when he abruptly took a step forward and stood inches away from her. Before she could step back, he gently cupped her cheeks in his hands and placed a chaste, yet firm kiss upon her lips.
The Dragonborn's eyes widened in surprise. Sondas had never been this forward with her before. She was always the one to initiate any sort of encounter.
She slowly closed her eyes and kissed him back, content to be in her lover's embrace. Perhaps he had been missing her all this time? She hated to admit that she had been neglecting him as of late. She didn't want him to think that she had married him just for money.
When he pulled away, she could still feel his hot breath caress her face as his hands tenderly massaged her arms.
"Where have you been these past few days, love?" He breathed softly, feeling her shiver at his touch.
"A long way from home." She smirked, opening her eyes to meet his skeptic gaze. She frowned at the sight, noticing his grip on her arms had tightened a bit.
Something was wrong.
"Where, exactly?" His brows knitted together as he raised the tone of his voice. "I want the truth. Out with it!"
The truth? Oh Gods! Does he know about… everything?
"I don't know what you heard or from who..." She answered warily, shaking his grip off of her. "...but while I'm out fighting dragons and saving the world, I also take jobs for coin. That's how we make a decent living, remember?"
"There are stories about you…" Sondas began, cautiously taking a step back. "...about you at the wedding of the Emperor's cousin, about you not being able to keep your hands to yourself..."
Akane carefully watched him for any sudden movements, remaining silent as he continued.
"How is it that everyone in Skyrim knows where you are and what you're up to?" He growled. "Is it true that there's another man in your life?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" She snapped. "I've never been with another man!"
"Oh? Then who is this 'Sam' I heard about from your friend Ysolda? Hm? At least, that's who she mistook me for when she congratulated me on our wedding at Morvunskur." He snarled, his fists balling together in rage. He had never been this angry before.
"…Okay, I was drunk." She admitted. "Very drunk. You don't know the whole story, trust me!"
"So you WERE with another man! You broke our marriage vows!" He blew up in anger, trying so hard to keep himself from striking her. "I can't believe I trusted you, you harlot! Where is he now?"
"It's… complicated." She finished lamely.
How was she going to tell her husband that she had mistakenly married a Daedric Prince after partaking in a childish drinking game? She was pretty sure that union was null and void now that she had the Sanguine Rose.
"And is it true you're also a murderer?" He started to shake with uncontrollable rage. "IS IT?"
"Of course I am." She replied calmly, locking her gaze with his. "I'm a soldier, remember? I've killed plenty of people. Bandits, Stormcloaks, vampires—"
"Did you kill the Emperor's cousin as well?" He snapped. "Because the guards certainly seem to think so!"
He really does know everything…
Akane stood frozen in place, unsure of what to say or how to react. She wasn't afraid of her husband, knowing that she could easily overtake him if she had to, but she had never seen him this angry before. His face had become twisted with rage, but his eyes gazed into hers with uncertainty and betrayal. She didn't know how to look him in the eye and lie to his face at this point, so she knew she had to come clean. The only things she feared now were the repercussions of exposing her true nature to him. How would he react, and would he leave her for it?
"I suppose there's no use hiding it." She sighed. "I'll tell you everything you wish to know."
His face softened a bit upon hearing this, but he still kept his guard up around her.
So she took him by the hand and brought him upstairs to their bedroom, shutting the door behind her. Hopefully, Lydia would remain asleep as she revealed to her husband everything she had tried so hard to hide from him. Would he even understand? Or would he try to sell her out?
Paying off the guards would be no problem. She had all the money she could ever ask for and she had special arrangements with the Thieves Guild. Everyone in Skyrim spoke of her tales of glory and infamy. Thankfully, most people believed them to be just rumors. Regardless of what others thought of her, she was still the Dragonborn no matter what, and people respected her for that alone. And besides, aren't all famous figures just a tad controversial?
But Sondas was different. He was innocent and pure, untouched by corruption, unlike her. That was part of the reason why she loved him so much. She had been offered a hand in marriage by many of her friends and former companions, but when she laid eyes upon the gentle, hard-working Dunmer miner, she felt drawn to his simple life so unlike her own.
He was a decent and good man, and that was hard to come by these days. He wasn't battle-hardened or jaded. He was kind, sensitive and trustworthy, someone who would always be there for her whenever she came home. That was who she needed in her life.
But she had also lied to him and betrayed his trust, and she knew she had a lot to answer for.
She didn't want to have to take his life if it came to it, but she was starting to believe that she may have no other choice.
She stared intently into his distorted gaze, hoping to alleviate some of his tension by taking a seat beside him on the edge of their bed.
"Everything you've heard is true, darling." She began softly.
Trust is what holds a marriage together, she thought, so for the rest of the night she told him of all of her exploits. How she was well-known throughout each of the Nine Holds of Skyrim. How she became the Harbinger of the Companions, the Arch Mage of the College of Winterhold, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood and Guild Master of the Thieves Guild. She went on to explain her involvement in the civil war and how, with her help, the Empire had toppled the Stormcloak Rebellion. By her hand, Ulfric's head had been forcibly removed from his body. She told him of her time spent on the Throat of the World with the Greybeards and how together, with the Blades, she was close to defeating Alduin once and for all.
She mentioned a few other misadventures here and there, and made sure to address the issue of 'Sam' in particular detail.
When all was said and done, Akane felt a great weight lift off her shoulders. It felt good to get that off her chest. At the same time, she felt an indescribable wave of fear wash over her.
She had never exposed herself fully to anyone before. Sondas was the last person she would ever want to know. He would be a fool not to leave her, let alone expose her for who she truly was to the rest of the world.
She was currently lying on her side of the bed, thoroughly exhausted from the day's events, yet anxiously waiting to hear what her husband had to say.
Sondas hadn't said a word the entire night. He remained frozen in the same spot that he had taken on their bed hours before.
If it had been anyone else, he would have laughed in their face and called them a liar.
But with his intrepid wife, anything was possible.
How else did everyone in Skyrim know her name and whereabouts? How else could she have become the most powerful warrior and mage in all of Tamriel? It was all so simple now. She controlled everything.
And all this time, he had been sharing a bed with a powerful mage, a mass murderer, a thief, a war hero, a werewolf, an "honorary" Orc, a Champion of the Daedric Princes, along with the savior of the world. Some of the world's most valuable items including several Daedric artifacts were sitting in his cupboard for months on end without him ever knowing.
When he finally mustered the courage to turn around and look her in the eye again, he was surprised to find her fast asleep on their bed, turned on her side facing towards him and snoring under her breath.
He, too, could feel a wave of exhaustion wash over him, forcing him to lie down beside her and let sleep overtake him. They had been up all night talking and dawn was close to breaking.
When Sondas finally awoke it was late in the afternoon. He glanced over at his side, expecting his wife to be long gone, but she remained in bed, buried under furs and blankets, sleeping the day away.
He quietly removed her hand that was pressed against his chest and forced himself out of bed with a weary groan, careful not to wake her from her slumber.
He made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen, where he began to gather ingredients to boil a pot of soup.
He opened the lid of a nearby barrel, hoping to find a potato or two, when he came across an unusual staff with a rose-carved wooden top. He had seen it here before, but he never once thought to question what it was.
Now he would never look at the fabled Daedric artifact the same way again.
Sondas found what he was looking for and closed the lid, returning to the task at hand. He sat down at the dining room table and began to eat in silence.
While he was eating, his eyes flickered towards the staircase as he noticed his wife barreling down its steps.
Akane was dressed in her Nightingale Armor again, minus the cowl. It baffled him how she could stand to walk around in that in front of people during the day without looking the least bit suspicious.
She looked like she was in a hurry, as usual, and didn't notice him sitting there watching her with interest. She ran towards the cupboard next to the fire pit and got down on one knee beside it, anxiously reaching inside for its contents.
She smiled broadly, which he took to mean that she found what she was looking for, and quickly placed whatever it was in her pocket. She got up from the ground and closed the small door shut, noticing Sondas' presence out of the corner of her eye.
Her giddy expression faded into a more serious one as she stared at him intently from across the room.
Neither of them had spoken since last night. What was left to say?
A heavy silence filled the room before she gathered up the courage to speak.
"I'll be gone for a while this time." She said, lowering her gaze as sort of an unspoken apology. "And I… hope that you'll be here when I get back."
He gave her a quick nod and returned to his meal, turning his back to her. She stared after him for a moment, unsure if there was anything else left to say. She had to admit that he was taking all of this rather well.
She took his silence as permission for her to leave, so she moved to grab her cowl and reached for the doorknob. She didn't know if she would ever be able to come back to a home with a loving husband waiting for her ever again. The thought of it weighed heavily on her soul. She had always been a wanderer, and she had taken for granted the only stability in her life that she had ever known.
The truth is, Akane isn't a moral person or the ideal hero. Most of the people she killed deserved it, and she enjoyed taking their lives for gold. Most of the people she stole from had too much money to begin with, although she felt like a hypocrite for saying so. And if she could go back in time and turn down a drinking game with a shady patron at the bar who just so happened to be a Daedric Prince, she would have, because she was certain that she only loved one man in this twisted world.
But she knew that she had ruined any chance of salvaging her marriage, so she resigned herself to her fate and made a note to come back and collect her things the next time she visited Whiterun. She would move on, buy a house in another city and try to forget this ever happened. Sondas could keep the place. It was the least she could do for him.
And as for Sondas? Well…
Last night she had thought about killing him to prevent him from exposing her, but deep down she knew she couldn't do it. She loved him too much to take his life. She wouldn't do it even if the Night Mother told her to. He was a good person, and far too good for her. She would understand if he betrayed her trust, the way she had betrayed his. It was only fair.
She deserved it.
"I'll be here, my dear." He called out to her, snapping her out of her thoughts. She felt her heart lift upon hearing those words she longed to hear the most.
And she smiled, knowing he would always be there for her.