Hey all! And welcome back to those that read my first Skyrim fic. I had some very pleasing results with that last one and because Ayah wont leave me alone, I've decided to continue with her story.
I hope you enjoy, please review if you like what you read and I do advise you to read Howl before this. It might fill you in on some details that seem a little crazy reading this chapter.
Farkas was pale when Danica first handed him his son. He looked like he'd pass out at any moment. Vilkas and Aela stood either side of him, ready to try and catch him if he did.
The child was perfect, though every family thinks that. He came out screaming and fighting, the way every Nord parent wants their child to arrive into the world. Ayah was too tired to be coherent and passed out after the final push that brought her son into the world.
"You should be proud." Danica smiled to the new father as she wiped her hands clean of his wife's blood. "He has his mother's lungs. Another Dragonborn someday eh?" She joked and went to examine Ayah.
His son quietened once in his father's arms and clutched tightly at the fur the priest of Kynareth had wrapped him in. Farkas looked down at the tiny boy with wide eyes, but said nothing.
"He looks like you..." Vilkas whispered, trying not to make the child scream more then anything else.
"Or does he?" Aela smirked. "I think he looks like Ayah."
"Don't be foolish." Vilkas scowled. "He's a lad. He can't look like his mother."
With a roll of her eyes, Aela snorted. "Now whose being foolish Vilkas? Ayah and Farkas look similar... He looks like them both." She said, stroking the child's blacked hair gently with a finger.
"Well then why did you say-...!"
The boy gave a grumble, his little eyes opening to reveal icy blue irises. Both Companions leant in to get a better look.
"He's so small..." Farkas finally mumbled.
"Aye..." Vilkas agreed, his head cocked to one side as he gazed at his new nephew. Defiantly, the child stared back, his wrinkled little hands clutching tighter at the furs. He watched as Vilkas leant back...then to one side and then the other. "He's very...alert..." The younger twin murmured.
"Kodlak..." All three jumped as Danica hushed Ayah.
"You need sleep." The priest said quietly and dabbled her sweat covered brow.
"No..." Ayah weakly pushed away Danica's arm and tried to move, only to be pushed down again. "Kodlak. We agreed." She croaked over at her husband and shield siblings.
"Kodlak?" Vilkas and Aela looked at each other before turning to Farkas. They were surprised to see him smiling.
"Aye. Kodlak." He kissed the boys head and cuddled him close to his chest.
"Awww, he's such a handsome little thing." Brynjolf cooed over the edge of the crib while wiggling a little stuffed toy in front of Kodlak's face. The boy reached out curiously and grasped the arm of the toy.
"Did you get him that legitimately Bryn, or did you steal it?" Ayah asked cautiously, resting her elbow on the edge of the crib and looking at her friend sceptically.
"Ayah!" Brynjolf reeled back, as if appalled by her accusation. "I'm offended you'd think so lowly of me that I'd offer your new born son stolen goods..."
"He stole it from a cottage we passed on the way here..." Delvin blurted without batting an eyelid as he too, leant on the crib watching the child.
Bryn shot him an angry glance which made the breton smirk.
"Aye, I might have done." Bryn tried to cover himself quickly. "But I did it out of the kindness out my heart."
"You stole another child's toy, to give to my son..." Ayah cocked an irritated eyebrow.
"I told him to buy something." Karliah frowned from the chair next to the crib.
"He's simply too tight to pay for anything." Vex snorted from the wall. She had no interest in Ayah's new brat. She was just there to see if Torvar had anything new to steal since he'd become her new favourite target.
"Hey!" Bryn frowned. "Least I got him something." He said, glaring at the other thieves.
"I brought him something actually." Karliah smiled, standing from her seat and pulling out a little box from her pocket. She took off the lid, the others leaning to peer into the box. Inside was a little silver chain and pendant with a ruby charm.
"Karliah!" Ayah gasped. "You didn't need to get him that!"
The dark elf smiled wider and shook her head. "It was no trouble. I already had the silver and the ruby. The smith at the Flagon did the rest. Want to see little one?" She asked Kodlak. He cooed softly, pawing at the toy Bryn had given him.
Careful that he didn't grab it and break it, she eased it over the edge of the crib and held it out for him. Ayah's son suddenly lost all interest in Bryn's gift and reached for the chain.
No sooner had his fingers touched it though, did he scream bloody murder and began to flail in his crib. Everyone in the room jumped and instantly Ayah scooped him up into her arms.
"I...I don't know what happened?!" Karliah stuttered, baffled as she watched Ayah try and sooth her son.
"Is there any sharp edges lass?" Bryn asked, taking the necklace and looking it over.
"No." Karliah said, absolutely heartbroken that she might have hurt the tiny child. "I had it made so he couldn't hurt himself.
Kodlak continued to sob as Ayah took his hand to look what was wrong. She was shocked at what she saw. There was no blood, no cut. Just a long, angry burn across the pads of his fingers where he'd touched the silver chain.
His mother's eyes widened in horror and she stumbled backward, her back hitting the wall.
"Ayah?" Vex narrowly missed being squished against the wall by the other woman and grabbed at her arm to stop any further falling.
"Silver..." she whispered.
"What?" The blonde woman scowled.
"He's allergic to silver... it burns his flesh...Oh no."
"And as soon as he touched it..." Ayah's eyes filled with tears as she explained to Aela. The thieves had long since left, Karliah devastated at what had happened. Kodlak was sleeping soundly in his crib, his hand wrapped to stop him from hurting it any further.
"You do realise..." The older, flame haired woman said, watching the child sleep in his crib made by his father an Vilkas. "You and Farkas are both still werewolves. You didn't cure yourselves and we hadn't even discovered the cure by the time you'd conceived."
"So he has wolf blood..." Ayah's heart sank.
"More then likely. And as his was passed down from you and Farkas, and not given to him by drinking the blood...I don't see how we could cure him. I don't think we could. You and Farkas, sure. But someone born a wolf? Its already part of who he is." Aela said without any emotion. She could see Ayah breaking down into tears from her seat next to her son's crib. "Your child belongs to Hircine."
"Wait, we can't do anything? Nothing at all?" Farkas's nose wrinkled as he tried his hardest to understand his son's situation. He'd only been born a few days and already there was something wrong?
"We passed on the blood to him." Ayah said slowly, seeing him struggle. "Not by letting him drink our blood, but actually by conceiving him. That means the curse is part of him. It can't be removed."
"So...He wont go to Sovngarde." Farkas frowned as his wife nodded.
"Aela said he belongs to Hircine... but that isn't true, I wont have that!" Ayah braced herself against the bar in his old room. Why they still returned there, she didn't know, but it was just something they did when they needed to talk seriously.
"Then what do we do?" Farkas asked from his old bed.
"I'm not curing myself." She said firmly.
"But...you wont go to Sovngarde."
"I don't know where I'm going or how. My soul has been used as payment far too many times." She muttered. "If my son has to live with uncontrollable urges, restless sleep, bone breaking, skin tearing pain, so will I."
Farkas sat in silence. He was truly lost now. It had only been a week since he'd discussed curing himself with Vilkas. His twin was planning on making the trip to Ysgramor's tomb soon to release himself from his wolf blood. Farkas had planned to go with him, probably with Ayah... but now it seemed selfish. Leaving his son, his first born alone with the curse he didn't ask for.
Standing from the bed, He wrapped his arms around his wife and pulled her close. "I'll do it too love. I'll do anything for you and our son."
Teagan crept in from the tavern in the early hours of the morning. He'd been seeing one of the wenches there for a while, but had to keep it under wraps as Ayah was still trying to work out his marriage for him.
Ghorza had reluctantly relinquished custody of their oldest daughter for him and Sharn was living at Jorrvaskr, soaking up as much Companion knowledge as she could. Her mother had insisted she continue with her forging, so during the day, Ayah took her up to the Sky forge and left her with Eorlund, much to his irritation. At night, she'd sit with the Companions in he mead hall. She'd grown close to Mog, One of the more recent members of the Companions and the only Orc. He was pleased with that. It was nice to see his daughter able to relax with someone she felt familiar with.
He crept down into the underbelly of the mead hall, the torches dimmed as the companion's slept. He slunk down the hall and went to turn off into his room when he caught sight of a candle burning in the darkness of Kodlak's room from a crack in the door.
Slowly, and carefully, he pushed on the door, his hand groping at his short sword just in case. There had been a sudden increase in vampire attacks across Skyrim, people waking to find the creature leaning over them or drinking the blood of a loved one.
In the last week there are been an attack right there, in Whiterun.
The Companions were being called on more and more to handle the problem. This caused Ayah to enforce a cure disease potion rule. That meant every member of the Companions, that wasn't a werewolf, was made to carry five cure disease potions at any time. Ayah was paying Arcadia to keep them supplied.
His stance relaxed though, as he opened the door to see Ayah sat watching Kodlak over the edge of his wooden crib.
"You're up late..." He sighed in relief.
"You've been out with that wench again." She countered without looking at him. Teagan mouthed his curses before huffing.
"How did you know?"
Ayah finally looked over at him. He noticed his cousin was fiddling with something in her hands. It looked like a ring. "You forget I have a life away from the Companions." She said quietly, looking down at what she was holding. It was hard for Teagan to see in the dull lighting, but it looked like a ring and a braided piece of leather. She was just finishing the braid as she sat there.
"What's that?" He asked, coming to crouch down beside her.
Without hesitation, she held up the braid and then ring. Teagan's eyes widened in horror as he focused on the wolf's head reaching out of the metal band.
"Is that that ring you got from that werewolf?" He hissed, looking to his cousin as if she was crazy. "Didn't you say that thing was dangerous? why are you holding it? you could turn into a beast! what about Kodlak?!"
"Its for him..." She replied, cutting off his rant.
Teagan watched Ayah's sad expression as she toyed with the ring. "He's a werewolf Teagan..."
"How'd you know?"
"He's allergic to silver..."
"So?" He snorted. "I'm allergic to cabbage. That doesn't make me a werebeast." His mind began to wonder then. What werebeast would he be if he were allergic to cabbage...
"He was born with the wolf blood Teagan." Ayah voice snapped him out of his daydreaming. "Me and Farkas have given it to him... We can't release him from it either like we can ourselves."
"He's just a baby Ayah. Only a few days old." Teagan snorted, clutching his cousin's hand comfortingly. "You shouldn't be worrying about this right now. Its not important."
Ayah wrenched her hand free and glared at him angrily. "It is important Teagan!" She hissed. "Its part of him. Not a curse, not something that can before removed. It'll effect who he is. his personality, his life. Mine and Farkas's life..." She deflated at the thought. "I don't want any more children if this is their fate."
"So remove your own curse?!" Teagan nudged her leg, giving her a hard look.
"I can't! I don't want Kodlak to be alone." She shook her head before grabbing her hair and raking her fingers through it.
Teagan sighed heavily and sat back on the floor. This was so awkward. He wasn't even going to try and start contemplating what his little cousin was thinking. As a parent he could see what was tearing her apart. But at the same time, he wasn't a werewolf and neither were his children.
"So you and Farkas are just gonna...what?" He finally asked, too tired to try and make sense of it any more.
"We don't know." Ayah confessed.
Kodlak stirred in his crib, grumbling and shifting in his sleep. Both cousins sat in silence watching him, waiting to see if he'd wake. When he did not, they looked back at one another.
"We want him to be happy. We want him to know its ok." She finally said. "I suppose we're gonna take it a step at a time."
"Aye, as you should as new parents." Teagan agreed. Ayah smirked at him slightly and he felt himself grin. "Hey, I've done this three times already. I know better then most how hard it is at first. Ghorza was crazy the first couple of months after having Sharn. I ended up doing everything while she spent her days sobbing or hammering the shit out of some iron at the forge." Slapping Ayah's arm gently, he chuckled. "You're doing good. I know it's early days but the lad has everything he'll ever need here. Most children don't have this much family when they're first born. This kid..." He jabbed a thumb at Kodlak."He's got a whole warrior family behind his fights."
Ayah smiled then and her tense shoulders relaxed. "Thank you Teagan." Her cousin shook his head.
"There's nothing to thank me for."
"But there is." She insisted. "You knew just what to say. Thank you. "
Teagan nodded and looked down at the ring she was still toying with. "So? what are you planning to do with that?"
Ayah held up Hircine's ring and threaded it over the braided leather carefully before tying the ends to make a little necklace. "Hircine's ring can be used to control the transformations of those with beast blood. I'm going to give this to Kodlak. I want him to wear it at all times to maybe help clear his mind when the red mist descends."
"Good thinking..." Teagan chuckled.
"Of course it is." His cousin smirked. "That's why I'm harbinger."
The two laughed before Teagan stood and hugged Ayah in the chair. "Go get some rest." He said against her hair.
"I will in a little while. I want to make sure he's fed before I sleep." Ayah replied, releasing Teagan. "Oh!" Teagan had just turned to leave when she grabbed his wrist. "I'm going to be taking the whelps out with Farkas, Vilkas and Ayah next week..."
"Are you sure you're up for that?" Teagan asked with a questioning look. Ayah nodded and smiled softly.
"I want you to come."
"Why?" He pulled a bemused face and grinned. "I'm not a Companion."
"No." Ayah said slowly."Not yet. That's why I want you to come. Maybe when you leave the tomb, you will be."
The days flew by and one week to the day, Ayah, Aela, Vilkas, Farkas and Teagan were walking ahead of a small group of warriors toward Valthume barrow. Ayah and Farkas had left their son in the care of Tilma and Ria back at Jorrvaskr.
"I'm so excited!" Squeaked a little imperial woman. She was only about 5'3 in height and the Companions had been confused why such a delicate looking little woman, with her honey coloured curls and shimmering blue eyes had wanted to join them. She carried a glass bow and arrows and Ayah had sent her out with Aela to try her hand.
The huntress had reported back that the girl was good, but got a little...distracted... by the flowers growing in the valley.
But the best part... was her name.
"Lovejoy!" She'd beamed from her seat beside the fire pit. The Companions had stared at one another in uncertainty.
"You're name...is Lovejoy..." Njada looked as if she was going to throw up.
"Yes!" The girl had giggled. "My parent's were priests of Mara."
"I'd never have guessed..." Athis had cringed.
Lovejoy bounced along side Vilkas, making the older man a little uncomfortable at just how happy she was all the time.
"You've never faced a Draugr, have you Lovejoy?" Ayah drawled from her place at the lead.
"Nope." she smiled, watching the butterflies flutter across the plains.
"Oh today'll change your life then..." Mog sneered from the back.
Mog had arrived alone one night. She'd scared the life out of a drunken Torvar and Ria as she carried him home from the Bannered mare to find the hulking Orc woman lurking at the doors of Jorrvaskr. She was the strong and silent type. It was partly why she got on with Farkas and Vilkas. There was really no need to speak. A nod was enough to send the Orc or work.
From what Ayah had been able to get from her, Mog had been born just over the boarder in Highrock. As a young woman she'd married an Orc chief and had moved to a Stronghold further into the country. One day, the stronghold was attacked by soldiers and every Orc had perished, except her. She'd closed up then, not willing to say much more. Ayah hadn't pushed.
From what they'd seen of her skills already when Farkas had taken her out onto the plains to test her strength, the Orc had caved in the head of every giant and Mammoth at the giant's camp at Sleeping tree cave with her huge, one of a kind War hammer she'd named Oghren.
Farkas came back to Jorrvaskr singing her praises and Ayah had gotten a little jealous.
"Draugr give me the creeps..." Murmured a little wood elf named Hingor.
He'd arrived from Valenwood along with Lovejoy and another Nord warrior named Itar. The three had been travelling Tamriel a long time together apparently and had heard the rumours of Dragons and a Dragonborn who'd defeated a legendary dragon and lead the famous Companions from a Nord traveller they'd met in an inn somewhere.
It was Hingor that had written to Ayah at Jorrvaskr, asking to join. There had been a fourth warrior with then...but he'd been eaten by a werevulture on the way, or so they'd said.
Once in Skyrim, they'd done a little adventuring, looking to get a feel for the new land before heading for Whiterun.
Itar the Nord of the little group in his heavy steel armour and great glass sword remained quiet at the very back of the group.
He's made it Very clear he didn't want to be a Companion, leading Ayah and the others to question why he was ever there.
Within the first hour of being in Jorrvaskr, the man had nearly broken down in tears and most of the Companions were sure he was unhinged.
The little bit of back story Ayah had gained from his travelling partners was that he was a carpenter by trade, but couldn't find work as anything but a Mercenary in Morrowind, where he'd been living since he was a boy. According Hingor, the dark elves only wanted Nords as bodyguards against public assassinations, making it a dangerous career choice.
Itar had naturally been very good with a blade, but when a member of a very important family in Morrowind had been assassinated under his guard, he'd been blamed and had been hunted by the Morag Tong. He was forced to flee the land, leaving behind his dark elf wife and baby girl.
It had obviously affected him badly.
The only time Ayah or anyone had seen him pick up, was when Ayah had handed him Kodlak to hold. a smile had touched his lips as he held the Harbinger's child, as if imagining his own.
Ayah was still worried he'd do something stupid...
And then, there was Teagan. He walked beside Farkas, covering his eyes against the sun as his head pounded from drinking the night before.
"As if you went drinking the night before you're set to become a Companion. Do you want to die?" Ayah hissed at him. That was the least she'd done that morning to hurt her cousin actually. When all the whelps were up and ready to go, Teagan was snoring away in bed. Ayah had hit him over the head with Farkas's lute in anger.
"As if you hit me with a lute!" Teagan spat back from between gritted teeth.
"I loved that lute..." Farkas whined forlornly.
"I'll buy you a new one love..." She told Farkas hastily while glaring at her cousin. Vilkas was snickering behind them. He hated Farkas's lute playing, so he was pleased it was now in two bits on the floor of Teagan's room.
"Gather round..." Ayah called to the whelps once they had entered the barrow. The five warriors crowded around the little Harbinger, listening intently as she laid out the rules of the game.
"This is a test. I, we..." she motioned to the other companions. "Want to see if you have the heart to join us. We've all had to do this, so you're not going to be doing nothing new and once you are a Companion, tombs, caves and nasty places in general will become like a second home."
There were a couple of chuckles from the people around her and Ayah smiled, crossing her arms over her armoured chest. Oh how good it felt to be back in her Daedric armour once more.
"Now you're liable to face some undead...and when I say some, I mean a lot. No one is a fan of them, but you'll meet them a lot in your adventuring around Skyrim. I know that very well."
Waving a hand over at the corridor the whelps were to take to start their testing, Ayah drawled. "Once your in the main tomb, you'll be on your own, so to speak. Vilkas and Farkas will go with you and Teagan should be good back up. He's been hanging about at Jorrvaskr long enough to have picked something up. Now." She looked at them sternly. "Vilkas and Farkas are there to see if you have the right stuff. They're not your nannies. They're not your parents. They are there to make sure you make it out alive, but with as a little effort from them as possible. If any of you do die, well, I'll wish you luck in the next world now. But if a shield brother falls, no matter how badly it looks for them, you drag them out of there by their hair if you need to. You do not leave a shield sibling behind. To become a Companion, is to become a family and if you'd pull your own blood kin out of the way of danger, you do the same to your shield siblings. Got that?"
There was a groan of understanding and Ayah smiled. "Good. Off you go." she shooed them, kissing Farkas as he passed to lead them off into the tomb with Vilkas.
"Now what?" Aela came to stand beside her.
"Now we go and wait. I brought a little picnic." Ayah beamed.
"You're kidding." The huntress laughed in disbelief.
"Nope." Her Harbinger grinned. "follow me."
Ayah moved over to the far side of the room and pulled weak looking chain. Aela was stunned when the wall began to shake and slowly sink down.
"How did you know to do that?" She asked in awe.
"I've cleared out this place twice. I know how it works by now." And with that, Ayah began down the stone passage, followed by her Shield sister.
The sound of fighting got closer to the main hall Aela and Ayah had come into from the stone passage. They'd surprised some Draugr and had settled on a rock ledge once the undead creatures were truly dead.
"Ah, so they've made it then." Aela said after swallowing the last of her beer.
"How'd we know its the whelps?" Ayah laughed, chewing a sandwich. "Maybe it's Farkas and Vilkas and everyone else is dead?"
Aela laughed and shoved her shield sister playfully. "Don't be so cruel."
"Oh and you weren't thinking it?" Ayah giggled.
"I may have been thinking it, but I didn't say it." Aela sneered with a smirk.
Suddenly, the iron door was kicked open and the Lovejoy, Itar and Mog charged in screaming like mad people. Hingor cautiously slipped in afterward, his bow and arrow nervously darting about.
All four stopped abruptly to see Aela and Ayah sitting on their ledge, eating sandwiches and sipping beer over the bodies of several dead draugr.
"Hey! Now you killed those. You better not deduct them from our sore." Hingor scowled as he dropped his bow.
Behind them, Farkas appeared in the doorway, covered in dirt and blood and looking quite proud of himself, followed by Vilkas, who was helping a limping Teagan.
"Oh dear mara..." Ayah sighed seeing her cousin.
"No worries!" Teagan called, waving his sword. "Its just an arrow to the knee. I'm good!...ow...ow...ow..." He groaned as he limped toward them with Vilkas.
Ayah covered her face with her hands, ready to scream as Aela laughed.
"And would you raise your sword in their honour?" Ayah asked the twins.
The members of the circle, though considerably bigger now then back when she'd first joined the Companions, stood around the small group of five in the training yard, completing the final step of their initiation. Ayah was now speaking the words Kodlak Whitemane had spoken to her.
"It stands ready to meet the blood of their foes!" Farkas and Vilkas said in unison.
"And would you raise a mug in their names?"
"We would lead the song of Triumph as our mead hall revelled in their stories." The twins said again.
Sharn sat on the edge of the Sky forge, watching her father take his final step to becoming a companion. She beamed down at them all, her little hands balled in her apron excitedly.
"Then the judgement of the circle is complete." Ayah smiled. Tilma opened the door quietly behind the newest Companions and she and Ria slipped out onto the benches, Ria cradling Kodlak to her chest.
"It shall be so!" The circle echo and the initiation was done.
"Congratulations." Ayah told them all. "Welcome to the family."