Part I: Bandit

"Damn it all," Kathryn cursed as her sword had shattered against her opponent's. He smiled, a flash of surprisingly white teeth against dark skin.

"Having trouble, princess?" He teased as he forced her back with a series of rapid and barely dodged blows.

"You're no trouble at all, you milk drinker," She growled, drawing her daggers and launching herself at him. He batted her away like she was nothing. But she was back, throwing herself at him once more. She just needed him to move a little further left… there! He was right where she needed him to be. When he took another swing at her, she dodged and tripped him. He landed hard on the floor, his sword skittering away.

"Fuck." He growled, the expletive choked out as he got back up.

Kathryn smiled, determined to end this now. She moved in quickly, closing the distance between them in a few steps. Her daggers were ready. She went after him with a series of feints which he swatted away with his bare hands on her wrists, and then she was going for the kill, and he was grabbing her and yanking her off her feet.

It was her turn to eat dirt as she landed hard on the ground. One dagger flew out of her grip. She cursed her stupidity and carelessness in losing it, but she still had one. And then he was on her. His foot pressed into her wrist and held her there as he pried the dagger out of her hand and threw that away, too.

He stepped back then, surprisingly. Let her rise to her feet and dust off her light leather armor. She watched him cautiously as he smirked at her.

"Tell me something, princess," He still smiled that cocky smirk she wanted to beat right off his face, "Are you here on contract, or are you just some unlucky fool who stumbled into our den?"

"What does it matter?" She growled, wondering if she could get to the dagger in her boot before he could get to her.

"Because if you're not here to kill me, then I may be able to just let you go with a beating." His smirk widened into a grin as he looked her over. "Couldn't let you walk out of here without one. Not good for my reputation. You understand, I'm sure."

"Sorry handsome," She said, "But I was told to get the bandits out of this cave."

"That's unfortunate." He closed the distance between them then, his fist swinging toward her head. She ducked, narrowly avoiding impact. He was solid muscle, and she knew that her odds against him were not good if they brawled.

For all that Kathryn believed in honor, and moral codes, she also believed in staying alive, so hit quick and hard and used anything she could to her advantage. He slammed his fist into her side, hitting her kidneys hard and making her gasp in pain. But that was when she saw the opening she'd needed. She lashed out with her foot and aimed for his crotch.

He twisted so her foot hit his thigh instead, and then he slammed her to the ground once more. He pinned her, his hands twisting her arms up over her head effortlessly.

She'd known better than to get in this position. Had known she was most likely in far over her head when she'd taken this job. When she'd told Annekke Crag-Jumper that she was going alone, the Nord had paled and insisted she take someone along with her. Kathryn had agreed just to pacify her, and then had set out alone.

In retrospect, not her brightest plan.

She was learning quickly that when someone gave her advice like "Don't walk in a den full of bandits alone" she should perhaps heed their warning.

The bandit leader smiled maliciously, his surprisingly white and straight teeth flashing once more against his dark face. Bright blue eyes sparkled in the light from the nearby fire. There was a day's stubble on his cheeks. His dark hair was braided, one of them teased her face, brushing her cheek as it swung free.

She meant to head-butt him. Really.

Kissing him was an accident. She was sure of it. She just...

Who was she kidding? Kathryn had been struck by just how attractive the man was, and she'd kissed him.

She didn't think it through. Didn't think of the consequences, or what might happen down the line. She had just been overwhelmed with a rush of adrenaline and need.

Sure it distracted him, and if she'd been thinking, she might have realized that he would be at his most vulnerable if she seduced him. And later, she might even claim that it had been a ploy. But what had truly happened had been more primal, harder to explain, harder to accept. She might regret it later. Kathryn was known for her rash decisions and all the regrets those had caused.

But right then, kissing him had felt too damn right.

She nipped at his lower lip, just a little nibble as she caught it between her teeth. And then her tongue slid over the spot, soothing any soreness away. And he was kissing her back, his mouth demanding more of her, his tongue pressing forward into her mouth and claiming.

Kathryn arched against him, her hips knocking him off balance. She used what leverage she had and sent him rolling off her. He landed on his back and she got on top of him, pinning him with ease. He had apparently decided it was worth his time to let her; she had no doubt he could toss her again if he wanted to.

Her hand found the buckle on his cuirass. His eyes smoldered as he glared up at her, daring her to continue. The first buckle fell open. Her fingers found the second easily. Buckle by buckle, she unfastened his armor.

The thing about Nords, she'd learned, was that they always wore the same damn armor. The buckles and cinches and other bits were always in the same place, so once you'd learned one sort of armor, you knew them all. Which theoretically helped to prepare an army; nobody had to figure out alien fastenings on someone else's armor.

But it left them vulnerable, too.

In moments like this, she was grateful for some of her youthful habits. She'd fallen into bed with more than one Nord warrior in the past. Something about them attracted her like a moth to flame. They were so big, strong, and manly. They exuded masculinity from every pore.

Under the worn leather of his cuirass, his chest was bare. Perhaps he'd had a shirt once, before necessity and hard living had caused him to sacrifice it to another purpose. Or perhaps he simply preferred to wear only armor. It was impossible to say, and Kathryn was hardly complaining. The ease of access was appreciated.

Her hands ran along his chest, touching bare skin, scars, and hair alike. The hard planes of his chest were dusted with hair, but his skin was, overall, smoother than that of most Nords.

He was smiling at her still, but it was not a smile of mirth.

It was the look of a predator.

One hand caught her hips, holding her in place as he bucked against her. The movement caused friction between them, heat and need building low in her belly. She made a noise, just the softest hitch in her breath, and his smile grew. He did it again, rubbing against her in just the way her body craved.

This time, a moan escaped.

He growled then, the sound low and threatening. She shivered, and his smile grew more wicked still.

She knew his type, and though she couldn't help the niggling fear at how dangerous this man was, she still found him intensely erotic. She wanted him. Needed him.

She got her hand between their bodies, and began working on the buckle to his pants.

He caught her hand, stopped her. Then rolled so he was on top of her. His fingers set to work on her armor, unfastening it almost as efficiently as she had his. But her gear was simple, and common.

She'd left Cyrodiil in search of adventure. Had thought that the martial training she'd received would be enough. And, indeed, it might have been if she'd just listened to the advice of those more experienced than her.

He pulled away the leather, exposing her torso to his eyes. She stared up at him in challenge, daring him to find fault with the scars that marked her body. Each a testament to a mistake that should have cost her life, and hadn't. But instead of the disgust she often got from the more "civilized" races in the Empire, she saw respect; just a flash of it, before the heat was back in his eyes.

He was flexible, she had to give him that.

His lips seized her nipple, drawing it into his mouth sharply. She arched instinctively, a gasp escaping her lips. His teeth brushed against the sensitive peak, and her breath came in rough pants.

She bucked against him, trying to dislodge him the same way she had just moments before, but this time he corrected for her move, and pinned her once more. She growled, and he chuckled, his lips releasing her deliciously sore nipple as he nuzzled across her chest. His stubble scratched against her tender skin, leaving behind a trail of redness. And then he was claiming her other nipple, and giving it more of the same treatment.

She couldn't help the way her breathing hitched, wasn't sure she would have stopped it if she could.

She reached up to work on undressing him further, and without missing a beat, he caught her hands and pulled them away, pressing them into the hard floor above her head. He moved so he was nuzzling against her throat, alternating the burn of his stubble with the softness of kisses and the sharpness of the occasional bite.

"Talk to me, princess. Tell me how much you want me," his voice was a low rumble beneath her ear before he caught her earlobe and nibbled on that as well. "Tell me how much you love having a dirty Nord like me defile you. I can tell you're enjoying this."

He caught her hair, pulled her head back and to the side with it, and began lavishing attention on the other side of her neck.

"I-" the words wouldn't quite come. She'd thought she was prepared for this, but nothing she had experienced before could truly have compared to what she was feeling. The combination of desperate need and that edge of fear that this was all just a ploy on his part left her reeling. "I need you to touch me."

He growled, and bit down harder.

"Not what I meant, princess." His lips caressed the spot where his teeth had caught the skin. His hand had released her hair at some point, but she still turned her head so the bare stretch of skin was exposed to him.

"I don't know what to say." There was an edge of desperation and honesty in her words that made him pause for just a heartbeat. She felt it. The slight lag in movement between nip and kiss that marked the shift in his focus.

She took advantage of it, flipped him so he was on his back and she was straddling him once more. The smile she put on her face took just a moment too long. Concern flickered across his features.

Kathryn wanted to yell at him. To tell him to stop giving a damn what she was feeling and to just be a rough brute for her to fuck and then kill. But giving voice to those words would change what was happening here. Would change the way she felt about using him for his body.

And it was a damn fine body.

She rubbed against him, felt the ridge of his erection straining his pants. Heard the way his breath changed when she did it. And then she smiled her predatory smile right back at him and began working her way down his body, letting her belly and then breasts rub against the lump in his pants as she moved.

She made quick work of his belt and the fastening to his pants. He was so hard that she had some trouble getting him out of his pants. But when she did, she realized it was worth it.

He was hard as a rock, and larger than average, even for a Nord. She licked her lips, and then glanced up at his face. He was watching her, that dangerous smile back.

The bandit leader was surprisingly clean for someone living out of a cave. His skin was dark from hours in the sun, not dirt, and when she leaned close to put her lips to his cock, all she smelled was clean man. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Kathryn slid her lips along his length until she'd taken as much as she could. A few finger's-width remained. She drew her head back, and bobbed it forward once more.

His breathing sped up.

She heard a low noise in his throat, one she guessed preceded his orgasm, so she slowed, her head moving almost imperceptibly, until he thrust his hips forward. Then she pulled her head back entirely.

"Tease," he growled, but he sounded almost amused.

He stood, shoved his pants and boots off, and finished stripping himself. She couldn't resist watching the play of skin and muscle. She would be hard-pressed to find any unnecessary fat on him. He was an archetype of an ideal Nord.

He took a step toward her, scooped her up and threw her over his shoulder. She grunted as his shoulder knocked the wind out of her, and felt the jostle of each step. Thankfully, he didn't have to take her far.

To the rear of the cave, nearer the fire, there was a raised wooden platform, and an honest-to-goodness bed, heaped with furs and blankets. He dropped her on it easily, and then began stripping her as efficiently as he had himself.

When she was bare, he drank in the sight of her.

"Fucking beautiful, princess." He growled. "Now turn around."

Kathryn had only a moment's thought about rebelling. And then she turned and bent so her hands rested on the bed and her ass jutted toward him obscenely. He took advantage of it, running his fingers along her slit, finding that she was absolutelysoaked in anticipation.

Without further preamble, he lined himself up and entered her in one fluid motion. She gasped, balancing herself on her toes and pressing back against him. When he withdrew, she felt the loss. And then he was back, filling her once more. He set a fast pace, pulling back and slamming home quickly and ferociously.

He bent over her, his pace slowing only slightly as he braced himself on one arm. His other slid down along her belly finding her clit and rubbing it, circling and catching it with each stroke. She moaned in earnest now. And then his teeth were catching her shoulder in a primal grip and he was slamming harder into her and she was clenching and orgasming around him.

The bandit kept going, picking up his pace one more. He rose, his fingers digging into her hips and pulling her back against him so her breasts bounced and she struggled to maintain her balance. It was amazing and nearly painful as he slammed their bodies together with an audible slapping noise. He came inside her with another growl, continuing to pump into her for another moment or two before he slowed, his breathing heavy.

Kathryn felt her chest heaving as she caught her breath.

They clothed themselves in silence, and when they were both fully equipped once more, he faced her.

Their eyes met.

"I think," he said slowly, "that despite giving a thorough beating to the mercenary wench who came to roust me, I have decided to leave this area behind."

"I think I've successfully gotten rid of the bandit problem I was asked to take care of," Her eyes strayed to the remains of her sword. "At great personal expense."

His teeth flashed in the dimness once more.


She couldn't resist giving him one farewell kiss, their lips meeting with bruising desperation and hunger. His hand slapped her ass as she walked away.

"Take care of yourself, princess. Nobody's allowed to kill you but me."

"Sorry handsome," she said, raising her hand in a farewell without turning back. "But I believe I'm the one who's got a contract with you. If you let anyone else kill you, so help me, I will raise you and kill you again."