The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
An Arrow To The Knee
Disclaimer: I do not, and never will, own the Elder Scrolls Series, the rights, the characters etc.
Note: In this story, the Dovahkiin is Male, and for simplicity's sake is called Dovah. Race is pretty much irrelevant. The 'story' assumes that the Main Quest is not touched beyond convincing the Jarl of Whiterun to send troops to Riverwood, and that the only quests being performed are the Companions Quests.
At the moment, a relative peace had settled across Skyrim. With the potential for massive bloodshed, the Stormcloaks and Imperial Legion were at an impasse, each waiting for the other to make a move. Meanwhile, the so-called 'Dragon' that people were claiming to have seen appeared to left, or perhaps gone into hiding. As such, people were now carrying on with their lives as normal.
But while for most people this lull in the chaos surrounding the province was a good thing, for groups such as the Companions, it meant a lot of time was spent sitting about their home of Jorrvaskr.
And, as a group which lived for the glory of battle, this was, quite simply, boring.
Farkas knew this as well as any of the Companions, as he sat at the large table on the Porch around the back of the Mead Hall. His current choice of task –cleaning his armour– was a testament to this. Usually, with all the contracts in need of fulfilment, he had just enough time to rub it down with a rag. But with the current calm, he found himself working at the metal for most of the last three days to make it look as clean as it had been when he had bought it. He'd even got his hands on a very thin brush made with bristles of Wolf hair, and was even now scrubbing in the little indentations that gave the armour its appearance.
Aela was sitting on the other side of the same table, reading a book on the great achievements of previous Companions, dating all the way back to Ysgramor leading the Five Hundred. Whilst she appeared to be focused on its contents, Farkas noticed that her eyes glancing at him, as if hoping he might say or do something to alleviate the boredom.
Thankfully, someone else did that for both of them. With the slight clanking of metal boots, Dovah came walking around the side of the Hall.
Both Aela and Farkas, grateful for a change, stopped what they were doing, and called him over. Whilst the two of them had been around long enough to find ways to keep back the boredom whilst waiting for a contract, their appropriately-named friend (for he had shown himself to possess the ferocity of a Dragon when in battle) was still enough of a 'new blood' that he often went walking about Whiterun, looking for something to do, no matter how menial.
Still, Farkas thought, he might have something worthwhile.
Dovah placed himself next to Farkas, a thoughtful look on his face. He sat there quietly for a moment, and then turned to his two friends. "Have you two ever noticed," he began, "that many of the Guards here in Whiterun make the same comment?"
Farkas sighed, his hopes for something interesting dashed. "Not really" he grumbled.
He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his leg as Aela kicked him under the table. She shot a meaningful 'be nice' look at him, and turned her head to smile to Dovah. "No, I hadn't. What comment are they all making?"
Though annoyed at her kicking him, Farkas smirked. It was probably the worst-kept secret amongst the Companions that Aela had a soft spot for Dovah. The only problem was that Dovah didn't realise that her friendless towards him was due to a possibly romantic longing, and Aela had yet to actually tell him how he felt. This had led to the other Companions teasing her for a short time on having 'finally finding the weak spot in her armour', until Ria had rather stupidly offered to steal all of Dovah's clothes and make him chase after her past Aela, reasoning that if Aela felt 'a stirring in her loins' then she was truly in love with him.
Farkas gave a slight shudder as he remembered Aela's enraged reaction to that suggestion. Who would have thought you could do so much damage to someone with a sweet roll? Poor Ria had almost become sitophobic.
Farkas drew himself away from these memories as Dovah began talking again. "Most of them comment that they used to be an Adventurer like me, until they took an arrow in the knee." Dovah paused a moment. "Hey, that rhymes."
Farkas decided to keep quiet in case Aela kicked him again. Dovah was a good friend, and a great warrior, but sometimes he seemed so infantile.
"Anyway," Dovah continued, "This got me thinking. Why would an arrow to the knee put an end to an adventuring career? I mean, it's well protected by any armour other than Hide, and the knee's pretty much all bone. It's not having a muscle ruined."
Farkas and Aela looked a little surprised. Dovah actually had a good point.
"Besides," their friend continued, "there are people out there with far worse injuries who still go adventuring. Look at Skjor: I'm told he lost that eye by a sword slashed across his face, and has poor vision in the other, yet he's still out there fighting as a Companion. Heck, my own Father lost most of his fingers to a Wolf, but that didn't stop him going hunting with his bow all the time."
There was a moment of silence, as both Aela and Farkas racked their brains. It sounded so simple, yet Dovah's comments seemed to hook them. Why would an arrow to the knee be so deadly?
Eventually Aela spoke. "So where are you going with all this?"
Dovah smiled. "Well, I thought we could do what an Alchemist would call 'an experiment'..."
"I really don't think this is a good idea" cried Aela.
"Relax" Dovah called back. "We'll be fine."
The three Companions had gone out to Chillfurrow Farm. Dovah was standing next to the windmill, with one leg, lacking any armour or cloth, was perched up on one of the stones jutting out from the rough base of the mill, so that his knee stood out as a clear target. About 50 paces away, Aela stood facing him, one hand holding her bow, the other holding an arrow from the quiver on her back.
Standing next to her, Farkas shared her concerns. "I have to agree with Aela here. This just seems the worst way to answer a question."
"Nonsense" replied Dovah jovially. "What better way to find out the damage caused by an arrow to the knee than by taking an arrow to the knee? Once Aela shoots me, we'll see how much damage it does, then I'll heal myself with a little restoration magic I know, and if need be we'll use some potions."
Farkas wasn't convinced. "Well why do I have to be here?"
"To corroborate whatever result arises from this experiment."
"Okay, but why do we have to do it out here?"
By now, Dovah was getting annoyed that what he saw as an excellent idea being repeatedly questioned. "Look, just stop complaining and let's get on with it."
Farkas turned to Aela. "Are you alright with doing this, since... you know..."
Aela glared at him for a moment, knowing he was referring to her fondness of Dovah. "I'll be fine. At least he's thought this through, even if it is a little dangerous."
Farkas shrugged. "Okay then."
He stepped back and watched in silence as Aela, with the professional grace of an expert hunter, drew back the arrow with the bowstring, lined up the shot, and fired.
That day would be one talked of for many a night by the citizens of Whiterun.
How, as the Sun stood at its peak in the sky, a terrifying shriek had torn through the streets, howling loud, long, and shrill, like a terrible Banshee from a children's tale.
A screech filled with pain and anguish, that chilled the hearts of all who heard it to the core.
Except for some of the Guards, who only winced in sympathy. They recognised that noise, many of them having made it themselves upon receiving a particular injury.
A few of them, on Guard duty at the Gate into the town, winced again upon seeing three Companions coming up the path, one of them unconscious and being carried by the other two...
The next day found Dovah sitting out on the Porch again, feeling both bored and grumpy. His leg, with the knee thoroughly bandaged, was stretched out onto another chair.
Vilkas and Skjor had shouted until they were blue in the face at him upon discovering what had transpired, leaving their opinion on the matter in little doubt. This had attracted Kodlak, who then gave his own colourful tirade towards the newest Companion.
The Harbinger had planned on punishing him, but it seemed that the Gods had decided to do it for him. A massive contract had come in, one that required all of the Companions, one that promised much glory, and one that had left the Companions roaring with delight.
And so it was that the warriors of Jorrvaskr had marched off to seek glory in battle earlier that morning, leaving Dovah, currently unable to walk without whimpering and hissing in pain, behind to 'look after the Hall' on his own.
Well, not quite on his own.
Aela came out of the hall, holding two tankards of Nord Ale, and sat down besides Dovah, offering one to him. He took it, and drained half of it down his throat. "I'm still surprised you chose to stay behind" he muttered, deliberately not looking her in the face.
Aela sipped at her own tankard. "They'll be plenty of contracts soon enough" she replied. "I'd rather stay here with you."
Something about the way she said it made Dovah look at her. "Really?"
Aela turned to him, and smiled "Really."
Dovah was surprised to find himself going a little red. "Um... thanks."
Then, before he knew what he was doing, he leaned over and gave her a peck on the cheek.
Now it was Aela's turn to flush red, while Dovah, realising what he had just done, pulled back, looking horrified with himself. "I'm so sorry Aela. I didn't mean to. I didn't think, I-"
But his attempt to explain himself was cut short, as Aela reached out and returned the kiss, on his lips.
Dovah just stared at her. Eventually he muttered "...All right then."
Aela just smiled back.
The two of them sat there in silence for a moment, listening to the birds twittering away on the roof, Dovah enjoying the revelation that had just transpired.
It was Aela who broke the silence. "So, how's the knee?" she said, patting it lightly with an open palm.
The residents of Whiterun, who had been going about their business, all ran in terror as the Banshee's howl cut through the air, exactly like it had the previous day.
Once again, the Guards carried on as usual, pausing only to wince in sympathy.
Typicalteenager: For those curious, Sitophobia is 'an irrational fear of eating or of food'.
Also, I just know that using the word 'twittering' is not going to end well. It makes perfect sense, but I know someone going to imagine the birds doing the other kind of twittering...
SkyrimFalcon: Just heard the most torrential shriek from some idiot at Jorrvaskr. Squealed so loud he set off all the dogs and wolves. And all because some Nord Chick tapped his knee.
LittleWing: Lol what a baby.
...Great, now everyone's going to be thinking of Liara from Mass Effect...