Animal Urges

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Animal Urges
a****l URGES

I Awakening

Upon awakening, my first sensation was of nausea. The difference, from the prior three occasions, only manifest in degree. Yet I did not have to open my eyes to know that, as before, I lay naked and covered in blood – hardly any my own – that was largely dried, especially around my face; eyes crusted shut, mouth tasting of blood, vomit, and I-dared-not-think what else. Not to mention the other vile bodily excretions in which I lay.

Despite my being largely u*********s of how I came to be in this exact state, now for the fourth time, I was obscurely pleased to note that on this occasion I had retained adequate mental faculties to ensure I returned whence I had left my armour and weapons – conveniently near a source of water to cleanse the filth from my body. That part of my pre-planning, at least, had succeeded.

As my other senses gradually returned, I became aware of the sibilance of nearby running water, to which I half-blindly crawled. Evidently, however, I had not lost consciousness on a gentle beach, for the shock of frigid water abruptly replaced the alarming sensation of falling. The luck of Sai being somewhat with me, the river was neither deep nor swift, but the slimy rocks prohibited decent footing as I flailed to the surface, sputtering and clawing at my eyes to open them enow to orient myself.

The shore was indeed an uneven wall of sharp rock, seemingly with no place of egress. I began shivering uncontrollably, intensifying the aches in my joints, especially – unsurprising, given that I had just endured the transformation from human to a****l and back again in but a few turns of the hourglass. I managed to find a break in the jagged wall, enow that I could find purchase to drag myself over the slick edge and on to the clammy surface. Catching my ragged breath, I paused a moment, fighting the nausea that threatened to spew forth yet again. At least I was relatively clean.

The cold penetrating my bare skin induced me to move, thus I left the rocky shore for the slightly less discomfiting brush, commencing the search for my gear. Soon covered in scratches and yet more fresh blood, I gingerly fought the surrounding scrub in my nakedness, trying to discern whence I may have stashed my effects. Frustration mounting, I returned to a spot that, despite being at first repulsed by the smell, I was somehow instinctively drawn: a mound of leaves and detritus beneath a large oak. I tried to hold my breath as I dug through the pungent odour of (I somehow knew) my own urine, to find the stashed gear. Despite it doubtless being similarly fragranced, I donned it, making a fuzzy mental note to wrap it in leather or something next time, as well as to try to find a more accessible spot near water.

I knew why I had to make these nightly preparations; it had been my own choice, after all – a choice I was coming to regret. Nonetheless, I had been under no duress at the time; I had voluntarily drunk of Aela’s freely given blood four nights past in the Underforge, receiving the taint of lycanthropy into my own body.

Some of the Companions – the order of warriors in Whiterun that had recently admitted me – such as Kodlak Whitemane, their Harbinger, or leader, considered it a curse, and sought to rid themselves of the ‘taint’. Others – Aela, primarily – considered it a gift to be exploited to the fullest. She had made it seem so attractive: to be stronger, faster; to experience the hunt and battle, not to mention sex, more intensely than any human could; in short, to be more ! I remembered being overcome by lust as we laid together that night, plummeting utterly into her intense green eyes as she urged acceptance of her other gift. I found myself recalling, moreover, my wonder at how it could get any better.

I now knew it was all true.

II Primal Urge

“It could be better than this,” Aela assured me huskily.

I lay beside the milky-skinned Nord, exhausted, fur coverings thrown aside, allowing the night to cool my dark, sweat-sheened skin inside the benighted tent. I withdrew a bare leg from across hers, moved her arm from my heaving stomach; further contact was too intense just now. Yet, she hardly seemed fatigued, her breathing barely quickened. I could not believe it – after what we had just done?

“H-How?” I demanded, which she took as a response to her query. The odours of sex and sweat-drenched furs pervaded the interior, along with the pungency of smoke from the single brazier that afforded poor reddish light and too much heat.

“Perhaps you noticed that I am barely started with you.” She half-rose, flicked both my nipples simultaneously with her fingers, followed by a swift lick and a nip to each, causing me to start and cry out.

“N-No… more!” I attempted to deflect her lips contacting mine. “I n-need… some time.” I was almost ashamed; after all, I was supposedly .

“That is what I mean,” she growled, rolling fully astraddle me and pinning my arms to the fur mats. “You would not, were you to accept my gift.” I had neither time nor senses to ponder her double meaning further.

She was, I had to admit, incredibly strong. No milk-drinking female myself – a Redguard warrior by My Father’s Name – yet she had no trouble imposing her carnal will on me, licking and biting around my over-sensitive dark areolas and elsewhere as I struggled beneath her. She emitted another guttural rumble as my exertions only seemed to inflame her – without doubt, they did, for she began to grind her sex against my still-heaving stomach. I glanced down; the contrast of her white skin against my duskiness was thrilling.

“N-No,” I whimpered again; but I stilled, surrendering, once more aroused in spite of myself.

“Very well.” The lithe, auburn-haired Huntress abruptly rolled off, laid beside me once more. “When you are ready.”

All at once, I felt an inexplicable sense of loss. I looked at her pale face; obscured as it was by three diagonal slashes of purplish war paint, I could not discern her expression in the feeble light, and her eyes appeared closed. Nonetheless, I had the feeling her meaning was still double; she was not simply referring to the sex.

“What do you mean?”

Again rising to all fours, she crawled over my lower half, threw the tent flap aside. The frigid night wind rapidly cooled and cleared the interior; a shaft of roseate moonlight penetrated the shadows. Yet, despite the insufficient light, I had a perfect view of her hindquarters not an arm’s length away; undoubtedly, she knew just what she was doing, as her furry cleft glistened at me. Stretching on all fours, back bowed like a cat (or dog), she took a deep breath of the night, wiggled her posterior at me. I caught myself reaching for her, but my curiosity at her dual meaning stayed my hands, delving instead toward my own moistness. A sharp intake of breath and I removed my hand; still too soon.

I could have sworn by the Blade I another a****l rumble from the redhead before she replied with her own question, speaking into the night: “Do you really wish to know?”

For some reason – instinct? – I hesitated. “Y-Yes.”

“You do not sound certain.” She stretched again, the muscles along her back, buttocks, thighs, calves rippling in the muted glow. I had an inexplicable vision of a bushy tail switching back-and-forth, maddeningly obscuring, and then revealing, her sex. This time I could not resist, and I heard the growl as I grabbed for a buttock with one hand, cupped her genitals with the other, delved with a digit or two. Whirling on me, teeth bared in a feral grin, yellow eyes glowing (had they not been green just moments ago?), the Huntress leapt atop me, pinning me once more. This time I did not resist the tongue-bath around my ears, neck, and face, followed by a fierce kiss upon my bruised lips. Still squirming, this time with pleasure, I completely forgot my question as she proceeded to my full breasts and ever lower…

Later that night I partook of her other gift in the Underforge.

What Aela had not mentioned was the killing; indeed, the , to kill, in order to satiate the murderous, all-consuming rage. The rage that never abated, was only briefly gratified by intense bouts of lovemaking, hunting, or even deadly combat versus other humanoids. Nor had she mentioned the inability to sleep, the restlessness that drove one, every night, to either toss restlessly or else seek transformation into one’s b**st-form, and hunt; and eat – but not just anything.

As I had learned on that first night, simply slaughtering game a****ls and gorging oneself on them raw, would not suffice. Not even predators, such as the sabrecat somewhat anon, had sated me. I had simply assumed, then, the reason I had been sickened was that I had eaten them raw (entrails and all). Nevertheless, I did not want to reflect on how I came to realise the horrific truth, and what it meant…

III b**st Mind

Through a red haze of frenzy, pain, and sickness, I somehow came upon the recent kill of another predator. My own slaughter and violent consumption of a fox, rabbit, and most of a deer, had not sated me; indeed, I had disgorged virtually all that I had consumed of them. Yet, I was certain that eating these ill-fated victims would as nothing else – as vile as that thought was to the still-human fragment of my crazed mind. So, fighting the compulsion, I approached, slavering, on all fours – and was almost relieved when the explosive roar of the sabrecat slammed into me moments before its massive body. I relished the lethal battle to claim its kills.

Had I been in human form even in full armour, the huge feline would have knocked me sprawling, stunned. Yet my lupine self brushed aside the pain, the blinding rage instead taking over as I leapt to counterattack. I sprang to my haunches, ripped at the giant predator, talons slashing its flanks as it lunged. It circled, sword-length incisors gnashing for my throat as its claws tore my thigh and torso. I dodged, knocking its head aside with one incredibly strengthened forearm, raked it again, opening more deep gashes along its muzzle with the other. It roared again, part in challenge, partly in pain; I answered, which appeared to give it brief pause; it lost its footing on a precipice of rock, slid over the edge. I leapt after it.

Despite the a****l outweighing me considerably still, I managed to land on it, clung to its back. It rolled, slashed at me with all fours. Whilst I ignored the pain of its defensive fury, my talons tore and sought purchase in its flesh. It roared again as I gnashed at its throat, a sound that became strangled as I bit deeper, seeking its life force as we tumbled and fought in the darkness. Each savaging the other, dirt and stones spewed everywhere about the hillside. As I suddenly felt a warm gush, the cat thrashed, its growls gradually choking off liquidly as it stilled and gave a last spasm, claws releasing from my back and shoulders.

I swallowed the warm salty fluid flooding my throat, lapped the rest, ripped further at the throat, seeking more; relishing the victory as, even in b**st form and through intense pain, I shuddered in near-orgasmic delight. However, it was not enow. The hunger remained, though I sought to sate it further by slashing into the warm belly of the sabrecat, spilling its entrails and consuming its heart in a few crude bites. Instinctively, I knew this was what I craved – and yet not.

My b**st mind turned toward the two mauled corpses that lay in the back of the shallow cave somewhere above, even as my lupine body led me thence. Almost all humanity suppressed, I tore at the woman and then the man, shredding remnants of clothing, ripping apart ribs to get at the cold hearts within, treating them both as had I their killer moments before.

I awoke to a cold, weak sun already drying the dirt-encrusted blood all over my naked frame; pebbles, bones, and other detritus clung to me as I frantically clawed at my eyes, trying to relieve my near-blindness and orient myself as to where – and what – I was. The pain was still there, through greatly diminished. I lay for the nonce, both relishing it and wishing it away.

Appalled at where (and how) I found myself, I did not want to believe what my blurry eyes and memory told me. I was a werewolf, but I had not contemplated all that meant. Must I actually eat humanoids – or their hearts, in particular? The pain had not been mitigated until I had done that very thing; only now did I feel almost good, the best – aside from my filthy condition – since I had partaken of Aela’s blood. Thus, was I now obliged to rely upon chance encounters with the corpses of human-kin killed by predators? That seemed an accident unlikely to be relied upon for sustenance. Regardless, I somehow knew even that would not be enow, yet I still refused to acknowledge the alternative.

Somehow, as Azura’s star gave way to daylight, I made my way back to our tent whence Vilja and Lydia awaited me in slumber. Myriad thoughts assailed me, almost keeping my mind from vigilance against predators or, perhaps worse, humans whom may espy me and wonder at my naked and bloodied condition, and seek to take advantage. I do not remember how I managed to bathe in the frigid stream nearby and crawl, shivering, into my sleeping fur without disturbing either of my companions.

Vilja lay in her own bedroll, snoring softly, a modest pale breast with its ever-erect nipple poking saucily at me through her almost sheer white nightgown. The sight instantly touched off another kind of hunger in me, but I could not satisfy it just now. Instead, I pretended to awake with them a short time later, wondering how long I would have to keep up this deception.

The second night was worse, only better.

IV Questions

In our camp outside Fort Amol, my craving undeniable, I fidgeted the early night away, nervously rising from my bedroll in the tent to pace and dawdle outside by the campfire, and back again. Vilja, Lydia, and I had cleared the stronghold of its evil conjurors earlier that day, and I had only to await my companions going to sleep before I could scavenge the remains. I was partly sickened, partly seething with anticipation; I squirmed in my bedroll, unable to assuage the yearning. Although I felt it most acutely in my innards, my female parts were inflamed as well, my nipples swollen and over-sensitive, sex moist and tender even though I knew it had little to do with sex. Furthermore, despite my keen awareness of my two comrades, I would acquire no solace from either (or even both) that way.

In any case, I was almost certain that Lydia was not inclined toward other females, and as for Vilja, I was unsure; I suspected she would be receptive, eventually, but I had yet to build adequate trust between us to broach the subject. I was assisting her as she sought the whereabouts of a stolen, purportedly magical, flute, as well as something to do with investigating the mysterious contents of a magic bottle that I had helped her recover but a few days ago, a short time after meeting her.

I decided the time was right to slip outside and, nude, make my way carefully in the dark away from the tethered horses and into the night. I willed the , and in heartbeats, I was a b**st. The rest I do not care to remember, other than it was still not enow; the bodies were cold, unfulfilling.

Thus, I returned, my savagery unmitigated – perchance even worsened out of frustration –managing again (or so I thought) to remain undetected as I slid, shaking with cold and fury, back inside my bedroll.

“Where do you go at night?” Vilja asked me as she distributed bread, ale, and goat cheese later that morning.

I sensed Lydia studying me surreptitiously as she ate; doubtless, she wanted to pose the same question but dared not, as I was her thane.

“To the bushes.” It was partially true, to void the indigestible remains of my meals from either end.

“For so many turns of the ’glass?”

“Do you lie awake timing me with an hourglass?” I demanded, suddenly angry. “What do you care how long I spend behind the bushes?” I stood, hurling the remains of my unwanted breakfast – it turned my stomach anyway – into the campfire. “Strike the camp – we’re leaving now!”

“I’m sorry I upset you – or questioned you,” Vilja apologised a little later as we rode up the Throat of the World to High Hrothgar. Fine snow swirled about us in a bitter wind, frosting her fur mantle, long eyelashes, and the blonde hair not quite tucked inside. Her beautiful Nordic features displayed anxiety. “It’s just that I worry about you. I don’t want to see anything happen to you.”

I was unsure whether to be flattered or even angrier.

“I’ll not speak of it any more, if you wish.”

“I wish,” I snapped, heeling my mount away from her. That was the first time the thought of how she might taste – her heart, that is – prickled in my mind, which distressed me and caused me to express my anxiety for my travel mates as even more anger, contrarily directed towards the very objects of my concern.

The purported 7,000 steps up the peak to the abode of the Greybeards was perhaps decidedly less on horseback – but, being no pilgrim, I had no compunction about ‘cheating’, as one or two of the locals around Ivarstead grumbled when they saw that we intended to ride up to investigate my summons for supposedly being ‘Dragonborn’.

I did not yet know what that meant, beyond a few myths about supposedly being of ‘dragon blood’ (surely not in a literal sense) and able to absorb dragon souls and to in their ancient language, using Words of Power. Certainly, I had already slain several dragons, and I had sensed something each time, as their skin and flesh melted away in a fiery tumult about me that left aught but a few scales, bones, and myself untouched. Untouched, that is, aside from the feeling of some kind of power and knowledge burgeoning inside me that I sensed had yet to be unlocked fully.

Thus, this trek up the Throat of the World. I had already learned a few Words – one being , which staggered opponents – but, again, I knew that I had but sc****d a patina of rust from the sword, as it were. I would learn more from the Greybeards, and they would set me on yet another series of quests – but I digress.

V High and Low Places

I return to my tale, relating what betided over the next few nights of my hunger.

Having ridden up the 7,000 steps in somewhat more than one turn of the ’glass, I spent two agonising nights with the Greybeards, learning what they were willing to teach me. Though the descent took a little less time than the climb, it was already well dark, and so we took separate rooms in Ivarstead at the Vilemyr Inn, myself in one, Vilja and Lydia in another.

While Lydia is my housecarl – my being Thane of Whiterun – I had assigned her to watch over Vilja, to which she reluctantly agreed some days ago. Thus, it was relatively easy for me to slip out into the night.

I was so restless I felt ill; my head twice its size, so that it surely must burst my helmet – which made it doubly a relief when I was able to shed all my armour other gear and stash it some distance away, including my smallclothes, lest they be shredded upon my transformation anyway. I further suffered from starvation, as I could not eat real food, and I am certain that the Greybeards had known something was amiss, if not precisely what. Lydia and Vilja were doubtless aware of my… distress, so much so that they avoided me; we had spoken hardly a word on the way back down the mountain. Even so, throughout my forced confinement, due to my extreme discomfort I had yet been unable to think of anything beyond my hunger – when I was not in lessons with the Greybeards, at least.

Happily, bandits – not to mention necromancers, witches, cultists, and myriad other miscreants – are liberally strewn about Skyrim. I had also forgotten that there was a civil war seething athwart the land; thus, fresh corpses were almost literally at every crossroads. Even so, I realised that I was once again fortunate to come across a recent battlefield of the war between the Imperial Legion and the rebel Stormcloaks. I had ample bodies to feed upon, and yet this night I was to come to the realisation that scavenging would not suffice.

By instinct, I made my way back through the benighted forest toward Ivarstead, having consumed enow to make up for the last few days of deprivation. Despite the surfeit – or perhaps because of it – I still felt sick and unfulfilled. Nonetheless, one a****l hunger being mostly assuaged and removed from that part of my mind, I was seriously contemplating taking Elda, the Vilemyr whore, up on her unsubtle offer upon my return – “I’ll tire you out for only five septims!” – when my thoughts were interrupted by cries of “Die, monster!” It would seem I had loped easily into a bandit camp. Suddenly assailed on all sides, instinct took over once again.

Nearly all of them fled in panic when I tested my new ability to with a ferocious roar, and soon more corpses surrounded me, most of which I had to chase down. The last I grabbed from behind with both paws around his neck, dragged him off his feet to face my slavering jaws. His odd plea of “Mercy!” cut off as I popped his head from his shoulders; fountains of blood showered me, most of which I tried to catch and swallow. I ripped one arm off, then the other, followed by each leg, as though I plucked a chicken; further gouts of blood sprayed, each somewhat lessened. I lifted the torso above my head, opened my jaws as wide as I could; bit through insubstantial hide armour, skin, bone, tore at the heart, chewing it from the corpse. The remainder I tossed aside, went looking for the rest.

Thus presented with yet another feast, this time I found the bliss that I sought. As I ripped heart after heart from still-warm flesh and gnawed at them, the fresh blood pouring down my throat, my wounds – some serious – healed much quicker than they had ere now, in either form. I could have swallowed the tidbits whole with no trouble, of course, but I wanted to savour every morsel, to enjoy this. I howled my ecstasy at Masser, the larger of the two moons, out and full red this night. Answered by several of my cousins, I turned toward Ivarstead.

I would now see to my other need.

Perforce, I was reminded of the necessity to pay even more than usual attention to my ablutions, despite my having bathed in the river before donning my stashed clothing (this time carefully wrapped against my ‘marking’ of the spot). As I entered the inn’s common room and strode up to Elda, wresting her from some fool’s lap and snapping, “Time to back up your boast, wench!” she attempted to shake me off.

“You smell like a wet dog!” she retorted. “Get away from me until you bathe.”

Abruptly infuriated, I thought to eat her heart instead of her other parts; advising myself against it, I pulled her along, forcing her to stumble after me. “Then help me, and join me.”

Raucous laughter pursued us, along with the expected hoots and prurient remarks.

As it betided, Elda was all braggadocio, for she most assuredly did not tire me out; the buxom Nord begged mercy as I assaulted her again, furiously rubbing my sex against hers, like two pair of blacksmith’s tongs inserted one into the other. Troll fat, however, made a poor substitute for a woman’s natural juices, I found, as even I was becoming raw, and Elda had all but dried up. She had apparently passed out again, and so I left her, sprawled naked in my bed with a handful of gold coins – far more than she had demanded – as I dressed and emerged to find Lydia and Vilja waiting for me. Ostensibly, they were eating breakfast, but I realised only then that it was near midday, and it now occurred to me that the entire inn must have heard our passions all morning.

The looks I received ranged from the expected studiously neutral, from Lydia, to something like shock and sadness from Vilja. Yet, instead of mild amusement or salacious grins from other patrons, along with exclamations similar to the night prior, the few others present appeared to avoid looking at me, whilst one or two glances that I did manage to catch looked almost… frightened.

Despite a pang of remorse I could not yet have identified, I dismissed all feelings other than how energised I felt, instead bidding my companions, “Let us be off!”

VI The b**st in Me

I controlled my hunger as we camped the next night, although I could no longer avoid thinking about certain realities and posing myself some difficult questions. I fully understood what Aela had meant, and why she was enthusiastic about the life. Now that we had been separated for a time, I was able to mitigate my bedazzlement of the graceful Huntress, but I knew that the b**st in me held certain attractions regardless. It was indeed everything she had promised – yet more. Which was, by Stendarr, the dilemma.

I had not actually killed an innocent humanoid, but then, what defined ‘innocent’? Certainly, ere last night none that I had fed upon had heretofore sought to harm me directly, although any number of them could have, given the chance. Was it simply, then, justification for murder – killing humans, orcs, elves, and other humanoid races – by telling myself they were deserving of death anyway, as bandits and other flotsam whom had either attacked me first or would if they had opportunity? I told myself it was not; it is not wrong to ‘clean up’ bandits and other detritus, especially if one is charged by the local jarl to do just that. It was no different from getting rid of wolves, giants, vampires, or a dragon that also threatened innocent folk.

I especially despised bandits, primarily I suppose because they, unlike wolves and other predators, to prey on the weak and innocent. Even vampires were only following their nature, were they not? As did werewolves? The problem was that I knew it was almost inevitable that I would be unable to count on scavenging corpses forever. Then, could I rely on finding a nest of bandits or a coven of necromancers when the hunger became too much? Could I govern the b**st in me? What frightened me the most is that I may do harm to innocent folk or, worse, my compatriots. I very much wanted to ask Aela about it – how she and the rest of the inner Circle restrained themselves from murdering others of the Companions whom were not werewolves, or even innocent Whiterun townsfolk. Nonetheless, for at least two reasons I did not wish to see her again for the nonce. One was that she would, I suspected, not be completely truthful with me, but more so I did not trust myself to be near her and not simply believe anything she wished to tell me regardless.

I stowed my effects near Lake Geir before taking b**st form (the delicious pain!) and loping tirelessly along the Treva River, whence I shortly came upon Treva’s Watch once more. We had scouted it earlier and decided not to attack, as it was already near dark – but I knew, deep down, that my argument against attacking the bandits there and then in human form along with Vilja and Lydia was because I wanted the pleasure – yes, I can admit it – all to myself.

Although they had foolishly left their gates open, I attempted stealth, but was unsuccessful; nonetheless, as I tore into a lookout I learned that my speed precluded any need for stealth. He raised the alarm, yet only two others came at me, with pathetic boasts such as, “I’ll rip you apart!” I slaughtered them all with little trouble, fed, approached the entrance to the keep proper. The still-human measure of my mind very briefly pondered that I seemed able to do certain things as a b**st – for example, open (unlocked) doors – while other ‘normal’ tasks, such as searching canlı bahis şirketleri for loot and rifling bodies, simply did not even occur to me; my focus as a b**st was the immediate cycle of hunt, kill, feed. Regardless, I knew my friends and I would be back the next day, when we could ransack the place at leisure.

What I did not count on was my travel mates’ reactions – or, for that matter, my own.

“” hissed Lydia, as we rode through the entrance.

Our mounts, halting abruptly just inside, began exhibiting a collective desire to flee the horrific scene. I had not noted the carnage I left behind the night before; the three corpses were in almost identical positions: on their backs with their chests torn open, contents strewn about. I made a mental note to tear the bodies apart next time, as I had the last one I caught two nights past, which should prevent any such diagnosis.

Vilja, a degree paler, if that were possible, gasped. “Oh… Oh, . They… look like… like they’ve been !” She appeared to be swallowing her bile. “And this one – where is her head?”

For some reason I was disturbed more by her response than anything else – for example, the fact that I was responsible for the butchery – as the blonde had not displayed any squeamishness thus far in our adventures, in spite of encountering, perhaps even inflicting, much worse.

I shrugged off her observation. “Probably wolves. Let us take the horses outside anyway, and you can stay with them if you wish.”

She refused, but I should have insisted. The interior of the fort was worse, and of course, no one would believe that ‘wolves’, or any other predator, could have gotten inside and done the same thing to those half-dozen-or-so bodies, one of whose face was virtually gone, as if peeled off (I vaguely recalled sitting atop someone and ‘slapping’ them with both clawed hands). Thus, Vilja was not able to continue looting, and I trow that even Lydia was grateful, for once, that I had assigned her to the other Nord girl and thus had excuse to leave as well.

I knew I was in for more disturbed looks, if not questions.

VII Naked Pursuits

We continued in the same mould for many more days, wandering Skyrim and completing quests, before my luck finally ran out, in a manner I had not predicted. Although I had for quite some time now ceased passing out before changing back – whereupon I had heretofore to wake up, orient myself, and find my gear – I was usually no more than a bowshot away from my stash, and almost immediately fully cognisant of myself and my surroundings. I had also been able to plan my near-nightly hunts, so that I did not roam so far that I was not able to make it back near camp and my cache before I resumed human form, which was always involuntary, and dependent upon how much I was able to feed.

However, one night I found myself pursued by a dragon, and so – perhaps instinctively knowing I was likely no match for it alone, but more so because I had no healing potions, magic, and so on – I fled. I know not how long or how far I loped in b**st form ere I suddenly found myself once more human, and realised I was in trouble: Finding oneself completely naked, weaponless, and standing in the middle of a giant’s encampment can generate solemn questions about life’s priorities – but I would have to ponder them anon.

Fortunately, giants seldom attack without provocation; unfortunately, what was most likely to provoke them was coming too near their camps or mammoth livestock. Fortunately, before attacking they tended to make threatening gestures, such as stomping, grunting, roaring, and beating the ground with their huge clubs (apparently mammoth leg bones), just as this one was. All of which gave me the opportunity to flee, albeit not before an observation oddly came to mind that Vilja had made some while back, about having once seen a giant without its loincloth – or ‘loinclothes’, as she had endearingly put it. “That was scary,” she had added.

Thus, despite my predicament – or likely because of it – I was laughing, which caused me to become out of breath much quicker than I normally would have, even in human form. As a werewolf, I could have run half the night – which I almost had, apparently – but again, luckily for me, giants were disinclined to pursue a threat once they had chased it off, unless it had done them harm, and that I was not about to do.

In any case, I was able to stop after a very short sprint – thankfully for my poor bare feet – and, finding myself near an inviting pool, relished the opportunity to relax, catch, my breath, and at least bathe the night’s filth away. I had not counted on the slaughterfish.

Savagely bitten on both legs before I managed to get out of the pool, I retrieved a stick and smashed the two voracious, ugly predators to paste as they tried to attack even on the shore. I fell to my naked rump in the grass, slumped supine, exhausted. This was not good. Yet, I was still in pain and bleeding, and so I turned to my seldom-used magic to heal myself; at least I did not need anything on my person to be able to cast simple healing spells.

As it betided – again, most fortuitously – I was able to orient myself and found I was only a league or so from camp and safety. Even so, as I reflect on this adventure I should admit that I was quite lucky (again); I could have run into the middle of another bandit camp, this time naked and unarmed; been run down by a pack of wolves or a sabrecat; or any number of similar predicaments, few of which would turn out well.

Ever more to consider, it would seem, as I had further thoughts about my choice.

Although the questions I continued to deflect from my companions were not direct, they were becoming more and more difficult to answer, especially without a blatant lie.

“Tell me honestly,” Vilja enquired one day. “What do you think of my cooking?” Although I replied that I quite liked it – which was the truth – she continued, “Then why do you refuse every time I offer to cook something for you?”

I quickly thought back on the past few weeks, and realised she was probably right. An answer to this would be more problematic without, at best, stretching the truth. “I am just not hungry, I suppose. Or, I have just gotten myself something. Or Lydia did.” I knew my housecarl would not gainsay me; indeed, she avoided looking at me, instead busying herself getting the axe out of her saddlebags and ostensibly going off for firewood.

“That’s not it at all,” Vilja remonstrated. “I think… I think you are lying to me, and I don’t know why. There is something… something wrong, I jest know it.” Her cute Nord accent, and something else, thickened her words.

I looked up from moving large stones into a circle for the campfire. She stood stiffly, still in her form-fitting leather armour, arms folded, crying; I felt as though I had been kicked in the stomach.

“I…” I began feebly, but could not finish.

Yet, it seemed I would not have to, as she turned and fled – though it was not long until circumstance forced the truth from me.

VIII All is Revealed

They were upon us before we realised we were under attack. We had just despatched a cave troll, encountered suddenly as we travelled in the hills along the Darkwater River near Lost Knife Hideout. Our first indication that we could not yet relax were screams from the horses, which had fled as we came upon the troll just as we rounded a bend in the road. Luckily for the horses, the werewolf skinwalkers and a couple of their wolf companions were intent on attacking us, and so our mounts merely bolted farther away as we turned toward the sound of their terror.

Ere I realised what was betiding I had taken on b**st form. I assume it was part instinct, part outrage that my so-called ‘brethren’ would dare attack me, let alone in company with my friends; and so I would show them just what they had taken on. Yet, perhaps they realised they had made a mistake, for as we slew the wolves and one of the skinwalkers immediately, the remaining two fled back across the river. I was in no mood to let them be, although, since my companions were not able to ford the fast-flowing course as quickly as I was in b**st form, I caught and tore apart one and then the other before my friends were able to cross. It was only then that, even as a b**st, I dimly realised what I had done.

Up into the surrounding hills I fled, lest I lose control or my compatriots, not recognising me, attacked. As I could not feed on the skinwalkers or the wolves – or, since doing so would not serve me well – and I was not fortunate enow to stumble upon any corpses, I was thus unable to maintain b**st form for long. Therefore, once more I soon found myself naked and unarmed, as well as wounded, this time across a significant river from my party.

It need be said here that it is nigh impossible to ‘normally’ shape change whilst clothed, let alone in armour; clothing will inevitably be shredded as it is suddenly outgrown, and to do so in full armour would be near suicidal, as most armour will, of course, not ‘shred’. Even if it did, it would soon become expensive to keep replacing. Aela warned me of this on that first night, and so I have since ensured that I am completely unencumbered prior to a hunt. This time, to be sure, I had had no time for any such planning. Thus, I can only attribute my sudden change to the I had acquired in a prior quest to kill a werewolf named Sinding, whom, in b**st form, killed a little girl and escaped custody for the crime in Falkreath.

I will not relate that tale, except to say that I chose to spare Sinding and defy the deity Hircine – even though the Father of Manb**sts told me I served him regardless, and bade me keep his ring. In any case, it allows one to take b**st form more than once per day, and so it somehow must allow one to out of one’s accoutrements at the same time. Regrettably, it does not do the reverse. Thus, all I recall is that when I slunk back into the camp that Lydia and Vilja had set up on near our recent battle – doubtless not knowing whence I had gone and when I should return – my two companions had gathered up my shed belongings, intact, and stowed them for me.

It was well after dark when I returned. I had been obliged to turn to my magic once again to heal, keep from freezing, and to find my way in the night, not to mention cross the river, which I was able to do using the Shout, which moves one in the blink of an eye several man-spans. It cannot compensate for steep terrain, but otherwise it will move one over quite significant gaps or obstacles, such as traps. Or rivers.

Returning to my tale, then, I do not believe that either Lydia or Vilja slumbered as I crept, shivering, into the bedroll they had set out for me in our tent, but I would be unable to avoid their questions – verbal or otherwise – beyond morning, I knew. Thus, somewhat past dawn the next day, I told them I would speak with them both.

Amid the purple morning mists, we sat round the campfire for a stretched silence, aught but its occasional crackle and the rustle of the nearby river to intrude upon the uncomfortable quietude.

“I am a werewolf,” I finally admitted, although I did not suppose it came as any great shock.

Vilja, holding herself stiffly, began to sob, eyes downcast at her boots shuffling nervously in the brown grass. Lydia regarded me warily.

“I… I do not know what more to say,” I added lamely.

“But, w-why?” Vilja cried. “H-How did this happen?”

“I… did it myself.”

“But… ?” the blonde repeated. “Why would you do something like this – become a… a m-monster?”

“‘Monster’?” I countered sharply. “See you a monster before you now?”

“Well, not now, no. But—”

“I am stronger, faster… I can stay up and… run all night. I… I feel more alive, like I can do anything.”

“Anything but sleep and eat like a normal ,” Vilja countered.

“Normal? What is ‘normal’?” I did not know why I was so defensive – or perhaps I did.

Choking back more sobs, the Nord girl shook her head. “No… Shrelle, you cannot possibly like what you are – what you have become.”

“Why not? What would you know about it?”

“I’ll make you a cure diseases potion,” she offered.

“No. It will not work.” That was true, but I had no wish to admit that I did not want a cure.

She looked at me helplessly; something twisted inside me. “Lydia, please,” she entreated the darker Nord. “Help me.”

“I… It is not my place.”

“Yet you have an opinion,” I conjectured.

“Yes, my thane.”

“I bid you give it, then.”

“I… dare not, my thane.”

“Why not? I release you from my service, if that will help.”

She rose. “My thane, I am at your service, to release as you please. If you dismiss me now, I’ll await you at your home in Whiterun. Should you wish still to release me upon your return, that is your right.”

Vilja stood, put a hand on the bigger girl’s steel-clad arm. “No, Lydia. Don’t go. Don’t make her leave, Shrelle.”

I knew enow about Nordic honour that the stigma of dismissal from a thane’s service would be almost unbearable for a housecarl, and I would wish that on no one. Besides, as Vilja observed regularly, I was ‘quite fond of Lydia’.

“I do not give you leave to go, Lydia. Please sit. I would have you thoughts on the matter.”

“I am at your service, my thane.”

“W-Would anyone like a drink?” Vilja interposed. “I’m quite thirsty.” She received no response.

Lydia, clearing her throat, sat squarely upon the log. She appeared to have difficulty swallowing, yet looked at me directly. “I cannot imagine that my thane truly enjoys eating people.”

I all at once felt flushed; my heart raced as a herd of mammoths thundered between my ears. I needs must admit as well that my female parts twitched, demanded contact – and, I concede, it had nothing to do with present company. It took great effort to remain motionless. “I do not it, exactly,” I dissembled. “I… It is what I must do to heal… to live. And only their hearts,” I added, as if that would make the fact more palatable.

Vilja seized upon it: “Oh, is that , then? Well, that makes it all right, of course.” She swallowed; appeared to be holding back more than tears.

I had no answer; I could barely look at her.

“You still have not told us ,” she insisted.

“Yes, I did.”

“Oh, it’s so you can…so you can all day and night with some tavern wore?”

Precious Vilja; she could not even swear effectually.

“The word you want is , dear, or perhaps slattern, strumpet, or harlot. And what we did was – fornicate, rut, or copulate. Or perhaps even ‘make love’.”

“No. It sound to me like mating. There is nothing loving about it.”

I sprang to my feet. “How would you know?” The b**st was nearly upon me.

The other girls must have seen it, as Vilja gasped, eyes flying wide as she fell back off the log; the snick of steel clearing leather as Lydia interposed herself between us.

“My ! I needs must remind you that you yourself assigned me to protect Vilja, and you haven’t released me from that .” As I wrapped both hands around her throat – noting with some horror that my digits were elongating and sprouting fur – I met my housecarl’s gaze; it held no fear, only regret and… resignation, perhaps?

I turned, bolted up the path; this time I noted my accoutrements sloughing away as my b**st form came upon me in the brightening daylight. I was soon loping on all fours, racing through the rough scrub as I tore at any passing forest creature; a rabbit, now a fox; I cared for naught but the rage! I had to kill… .

IX Return to the Pack

I left my travel-mates for several days; I did not trust myself around other humans. I do not recall how long we were apart, or even where I went, for the most part, except that I gave in and sought Aela. We lay as usual, this time in her room in the living quarters of Jorrvaskr.

“It is never the same with… with anyone else,” I managed, still quivering from my climaxes.

“‘Anyone else’?” the lissome Huntress echoed (this time, I was pleased to note, as out of breath as I). “What do you mean?”

I mistook her query as jealously. “What do you care? I have enow left for you.”

She grabbed the shoulder-length plaits of my sweat-matted, tundra cotton hair, twisted so that I faced her. “Listen to me. Have you mated” –there was that word– “with others– other ?”

“One or two.” I still did not understand why it mattered to her. “What of it?”

“And what happened?”

Now I thought she was seeking gratuitous detail. “The usual,” I retorted. “She was pleasured – many times. As was I. What does it matter?”

She growled. “Why do you suppose it is so good with me and not any human?”

“I… I do not know. Because you are stronger – you can keep up with me? ”

She did so, laid down once more beside me. “Pup, you know nothing. That is it exactly, and why you must not mate with a human – unless you are prepared to deal with them afterward.”

I still did not understand, and said so as I half-sat to get a bottle of wine. (I was thankful I could stomach wine, at least, as well as other spirits, although I still could not eat.)

“Give me that.” Ere I had it to my lips, Aela snatched the bottle from me, drained it in a few sloppy gulps.

“” I protested, though I knew it would do no good to attempt to wrest it back from her. “That was the last one.”

She belched, tossed the empty aside. “Know your place, pup. Fetch another. And none of that Alto slop, by Frostfire – something decent, like Firebrand or Colovian brandy.”

“I am not your servant – get it yourself!”

She was atop me before I noticed her move, preternaturally strong hands about my throat, yellow eyes glaring into mine, elliptical pupils dilated. “There is much for you to learn, cub,” she rumbled in my face. Curiously, I was unaware of her sex centred upon my stomach this time, for her visage morphed into a snout, fangs abruptly appeared as her jaws opened and she leaned in until my nose was practically down her throat; her breath was humid, smelled of iron and cheap wine. Suddenly, I was sweating more profusely; nonetheless, I sought to fight back.

It was a mistake, of course; I was not yet as strong as the rest of the Circle each on their own, let alone against three of them, as Farkas and Vilkas, along with Aela, sought to put me in my place. For, just as did their fully lupine cousins, werewolves had a strict social hierarchy, and if I had had any illusions that Kodlak Whitemane was solely in charge of the Companions, I now knew whom the dominant female of the pack, and likely leader, was.

Furthermore, if I had thought that sex alone with Aela was incomparable, I was completely unprepared for the ‘lesson’ the twin brothers and the Huntress gave me. I have no doubt that, at certain times during our tryst, we were in b**st form, at other times human – perhaps even, yes, both at once. Yet, it is not coyness that compels me to spare my audience the prurient details; I simply do not remember them clearly, and thus I would deign not make up lies or exaggerate – although, judging later from my sheer exhaustion and sense of gratification, embellishment would not be possible. In any event, I will have another chance later in my tale to describe such an encounter that turned out even better.

As I prepared to leave Whiterun sometime anon, intending to return to Vilja and Lydia, Kodlak Whitemane intercepted me halfway down the long staircase into Whiterun proper from the main doors to Jorrvaskr.

“I would have a word with you, lass.” Out of breath, the old Nord seemed anxious.

“What is it, old man?” I did not dislike the Harbinger, but he had recently lectured me regarding Aela’s and my attempts to wipe out the Silver Hand, the b**st hunter group that was dedicated to killing werewolves, ostensibly for slaying one of our number, Skjor. We had met with some success, even despatching their supposed leader, yet Kodlak believed that we had gone too far, that it would only result in escalating reprisals. Further, I shared Aela’s and the others’ disdain for his desire to ‘cure’ himself. He had told me on more than one occasion that, with blood of the b**st in him, he doubted he could go to his Nordic afterlife of feasting in the halls of Sovngarde with his gods and ancestors, instead of having his soul claimed by Hircine, the god of shape changers and hunters. In fact, Kodlak had already tried to enlist me in removing the curse by seeking the coven of witches that had supposedly laid it upon the Companions some 200 years ago. I had told him I would think about it, although, at the time, I did not intend to do so.

“I wonder if you have thought about my… appeal.”

I was about to answer ‘No’, but something changed my word. “Yes.”

He looked at me expectantly.

“I… have thought about it. I must think on it further.”

“It is just that I feel… time passing, and I wish to go to Sovngarde.”

“I heard you the first time, old—Harbinger.”

I looked into his rheumy grey eyes, wrinkled, sad white-bearded face. He seemed about to say something else, but only managed, “Talos guide you, lass.”

I resumed my rapid descent down the steps, wondering how old one must be to cease appreciating the benefits of being a werewolf. After all, here I was, in full, heavy armour, well-nigh prancing down a long flight of stairs, yet still breathing evenly, even after a full night of—.

All at once, it occurred to me that the question might just have been answered; I did not have to look to know that Kodlak laboured back up whence we had both just come.

It was only then that I realised I had not clarified Aela’s admonishment not to have sex with humans – humans. Nonetheless, I would soon discover the reasons myself, as my choices became ever clearer.

X Vengeance

Kodlak Whitemane was dead. The Silver Hand audaciously attacked Jorrvaskr, and slew him. Some escaped, and they stole the fragments of Wuuthrad, Ysgramor’s battle-axe – Ysgramor, of course, being the founder of the Companions many centuries ago. Heartsick that I was not there to help defend my shield brothers and sisters, we determined that we would take revenge on them; storm their own stronghold, wipe them out, and recover the pieces of Wuuthrad. Vilkas and I accepted the charge, and I decided it was not the best idea to bring my other friends, thus I left Vilja and Lydia behind in my Whiterun house, Breezehome.

It betided that it was not much of a challenge, and so we shortly returned to Jorrvaskr, whence we attended Kodlak’s funeral. Jarl Balgruuf and other citizens as well as, of course, all the Companions, listened to a eulogy from Eorlund Greymane, the Companions’ smith. Following the service, Eorlund asked me to find the last piece of Wuuthrad that Kodlak had kept near, so that Eorlund could re-forge the weapon. When I did so, I found the Harbinger’s journal, as well; and I admit that I felt almost no guilt as I read it. Aside from noting his wish to be cured of lycanthropy, he made mention that I should become the next Harbinger!

I would keep this to myself for the nonce, as I did not know how the others would react, my being a new Companion and still young, after all – not to mention the… social structure of the Circle that I had already grappled with. Nadja Stonearm, for one, who is not even in the Circle, resented me enow already.

Nonetheless, we needs must travel to Ysgramor’s Tomb, whence the original 500 Companions from ages past lie at rest; there we will be able to complete the ritual that will free Kodlak, posthumously. Even Aela agrees that, as it was his wish, we should seek to fulfill it for him; it is the honourable thing to do.

Eorlund bestowed upon me re-forged Wuuthrad, and with it, we conquered the spirits in Ysgramor’s tomb, Aela, Vilkas, Farkas, and I. Actually, it ended up being only Aela and me at the end, as Vilkas felt unworthy to proceed past the entrance, and would you believe that Farkas is afraid of spiders? Granted, they were giant, frostbite spiders, but still… Nonetheless, when we defeated the last of the ghostly ancient Companions, we met Kodlak’s spirit and cured him, despite the fact that he was dead. He named me Harbinger, and Aela heard him. She did not appear too upset, but I sensed a challenge ahead nonetheless.

“Why do you delay, sister?” Aela demanded. We had returned to the entrance, whence Vilkas and Farkas told us they wanted to remain a while, ‘to look at the carvings’ in the old tomb or some-such. I was reluctant to leave as well, yet I noted that I had apparently graduated from ‘pup’ to ‘sister’, at least. I am certain the Huntress knew what I was contemplating. “No reason – let us go.” The look she bestowed upon me made up my mind; it was all I needed to stay me from returning to the lower chamber and repeating the ritual at that time, freeing myself.

She had me pinned again, this time playfully – or so I hoped. The naked Huntress’ skin shone purplish in the moonlight and by the few smoky braziers surrounding us; full, mauve-tipped breasts hung before my eyes like miniature cousins of the huge orb in the sky silhouetting her. I licked my lips, sought one or the other.

“No, not yet,” Aela growled, moving out of reach of my eager mouth. “Tonight you earn your place, pup.” , I thought wryly. “Starting with patience – you must have learned some of that on the hunt. Now be still.”

I decided to obey; she stood, arms akimbo, straddling me, the gap between her legs enticingly backlit by the full moon. It took almost every dram of my will to keep from squirming, never mind grabbing for her.

“Tonight,” she continued, “under Masser, you will show us you are ready to lead. Kodlak thought you were, even though you are young and with us mere months. But we still have our… rituals.”

I quivered in anticipation – and not a little cold in the mountaintop air; I was desert-born, not used to cold, let alone the light snow that swirled about us.

“First, the hunt.” Aela stepped away from my trembling form, strode a ways off; there she stood betwixt the twins, both naked as well, infuriatingly indistinct in the moonlight – even though I knew both of their bodies well enow: broad-shouldered, heavily muscled, virtually covered in dark hair; penises hanging weightily, half-erect at least.

My heart – among other parts – quickened. This was not what I had expected, but it was no disappointment, either.

“Join us, sister,” one of the men rumbled, echoed by the other and the woman.

I did so.

XI Ecstasy

Later that night we returned to the outdoor lair the Circle maintained for our purpose, all four of us sated with blood, having savaged a bandit camp. I omit the details of our hunt partly because it is a red haze in my mind, and partly because it succeeded no differently than myriad other such nights, but mostly to relate the portion of the ‘ritual’ that I recall with clarity, this time.

We kept b**st form for the next segment of the Circle’s leadership rites. Although I am more able to recall details whilst in b**st mind, I will say only that we fought – just short of full earnestness – as well as had sex, ofttimes the twain being indistinguishable. Each of the twins mounted me, as do b**sts. However, there are certain sexual practices that are not possible – or are decidedly dangerous – as an a****l. With fangs and deadly talons, for example, it is somewhat difficult for two females to pleasure one another. Thus, Aela taught me control of my reversion to human form.

All of us glistened with sweat despite the frigid mountain air. We stood in a small circle, panting, still hunched in partial werewolf posture, on a large spread of fur mats in the purplish moonlight. Masser had begun to set as light snow continued to eddy, yet our senses remained sharp, even in the dim amethyst light.

“Now, sister,” Aela growled. “Prepare for your canlı kaçak iddaa initiation.”

I shivered again.

The Huntress sprang upon me, wrestled me to the furs, pinned me on my back as before. I submitted to the tongue-bath; she began with my ears, eyelids, nose, face; proceeded to my neck, her long pink member tracing wet paths across my tingling dusky skin, the scar along my cheek and chin. Suddenly my toes received the same treatment – One administered each foot; somehow, they retained perfect simultaneity, proceeding from biggest toe to smallest, then soles – causing me to writhe with ticklishness – followed by heels, calves, and knees, paying special attention to the back of each knee.

Aela progressed down my torso – vexingly – between my breasts toward my rippled stomach, probed into my navel; everywhere a trail of wetness left behind to chill in the breeze. Farkas and Vilkas lapped their way past my yearning centre to treat each finger, hand, and arm likewise, to my shoulders and downy armpits. All the while, the three emitted low, guttural sounds; I began to rumble in response.

Despite my most sensitive parts not yet having been touched, I moaned, convulsed in climax. Agonisingly, they held me down to thrash, helpless whilst they dipped and darted, everywhere but the primary areas. Abruptly, a twin found each of my modest mounds, began to lick and nibble their dark-capped tips. Encircling hands rubbed, squeezed; more fingers caressed thighs, calves, slipped beneath my buttocks. I felt warm breath on my nether lips, a tongue dart here and there, tasting; a wet slash across my slit, then along it, up, then down, fingers roving about my sex. I climaxed once more, crying out my ecstasy.

Aela continued her delicious assault on my cleft with her tongue and fingers whilst the males caressed and pinched, roughly yet caringly; one clutched a handful of my hair, pulling back my head as the other strewed kisses about face and neck. They all switched, I trow, but I lost track of who was doing what; I peaked several more times before I found a hard male member thrusting at my mouth.

Dazed, I quickly came round, sat up, grabbed the large appendage in both hands, thrust it eagerly betwixt my lips for a pull or two, began licking, circling the purple bulbous head, tracing the veins. The twin let out a carnal growl as I continued to lick up and down the shaft, shoved it down my throat until I gagged, repeated. I soon felt another insistent poke in an ear, reached to grasp the other, identical pole, commenced pumping it. Having lain between my spread legs as I rose to my knees to pleasure the men, Aela continued to slurp and probe at my heated slit. I moved from one thick shaft to the other, moaning and growing weak-kneed; I had to have one of the rigid members in my sex, but this was my initiation and I was not in control – or was I?

Instinct – or perhaps mere lust – took over. Maintaining my hold on the turgid members, I dropped to all fours, pushing one behind me whilst the other I dragged back into my mouth. Aela, muttering her own arousal, repositioned herself, kept up her ministrations as a twin entered me. I grunted, cries muffled by the engorged appendage in my mouth. I began to coordinate my pleasure as I pumped with my hand; both began to thrust, and I let go the one in my mouth, now savouring the sensations washing over me as I was pounded at both ends whilst feeling a warm tongue ravishing my filled sheath. All at once, tongue flicking, Aela seized the hard nubbin at the top betwixt her teeth; I jerked again, convulsing in sheer pleasure, once, twice, thrice – I lost count – before collapsing.

I pushed their insistence away. “Get me… a drink,” I demanded. A bottle of Colovian appeared near my sweating face; I slaked my rampant thirst, willed my body to cease twitching and my breathing to slow. Pawing my matted silvery locks from my eyes, I glanced at my shield siblings. With some sense of satisfaction, I noted that they appeared as worn as I did. Aela sat half-erect on an elbow, breathing heavily, one silky leg drawn up, arm d****d over its knee, a bottle of Colovian in the other. In her gaze, I saw more than lust; it was almost quizzical. The twins – still indistinguishable one from the other – lay one on his front, the other supine, pulling on bottles of Honnigbrew mead. Their muscular, darkly hairy bodies yet inflamed me, especially the shaft I saw still half-pointing toward the near-set moon; but their intense, shining yellow gazes I noted most in the lightening sky. Similar to the Huntress, they held a question – a challenge, perhaps, or even a taunt.

We were not done.

A last mouthful from the now empty bottle and I commanded, “On your back, sister,” as I crawled to her. You,” I pointed at one twin with it, “feed her your prick. You, put yours in me.”

My rear held high, legs parted, I delved between the supple, creamy thighs, sucked in a breath through nose and mouth, relished the heady aromas of sex and, yes, even ‘wet dog’. Fingers parting the slick petals, I stuck my tongue into her fissure, began to thrust and poke and nuzzle at the reddish thatch as I felt a twin’s member plunge into my own pulsating crevice. I had difficulty maintaining contact as I was severely rammed; my rhythmic grunts provided counterpoint to Aela’s moans and the twins’ exclamations.

I poured the remainder of the bottle all over her mound, slurping at the amber fluid as it ran through her reddish thatch, over her swollen, rosy nether lips, down the crack of her buttocks. I shoved the bottle neck all the way into her; at least the size of a modest prick, it was little wonder that she yelped, hips rising from the sweat-soaked furs. I jammed it in and out of her as I felt my own urgency building once more; the twin driving into me intensified his efforts. Sensing he was near climax, I released the thrashing Huntress, tossed the bottle aside, whirled to receive the shaft in my mouth. The twin roared his release, the warm, salty substance erupting down my throat, spilling out as I alternately spat and swallowed, coaxing its entirety with both pumping hands.

Climbing atop the woman and under the other thrusting twin, I restrained her in a reversal of her own favoured position, leaned in to lick the veiny member sliding betwixt her pink sheath. An a****l growl erupted from the man as his shaft popped from the Huntress’ mouth and began spewing its load. I released her hands from her sides, grabbed it in one fist, pumped furiously, directing the generous spurts across our faces and gaping mouths as I reached for the hooded hard pistil at the top of her wet fissure with the other hand. Aela howled, lurched in climax, my own bursting once more as I was abruptly penetrated again, this time in my rear hole. I sought the woman’s lips with my own; tongues duelled, swirling the warm milky fluid about as the magnificent sensations washed over us and the first twin pulled out and shot another load all over us.

My body gave a last spasm as I collapsed and rolled off her.

XII Agony

I was sick for a different reason. The ‘bandits’ Aela, Vilkas, Farkas, and I slaughtered last night did not appear to be such at all. As I surveyed the scene of the encampment – Vilja and Lydia no longer accompanied me on these ‘follow-up tasks’, whilst Aela and the twins had returned to Jorrvaskr – I could tell these were not bandits, nor any other kind of scoundrel. Although torn apart, they were still recognisable as orcs. Of course, this alone did not prove anything, but Skyrim bandit groups typically appeared of mixed races and sexes, and these all seemed to be male orcs. I did not know much about the tusked, green-skinned peoples of Skyrim – properly known as Orsimer – except that they were no better or worse, as a race, than any other, including the three distinct ethnic groups of elves: the dark elves or Dunmer; the wood elves or Bosmer; and the high elves, the Altmer. Although racial prejudices abounded, in my experience none were any more or less inclined to v******e or criminality than another, including the racial subgroups of humans, such as my own Redguard, the native Nords, the Bretons, or the Imperials. In fact, it may be argued that, since the cat-like Khajiit and saurian Argonians were mistrusted in Skyrim, a disproportionate number were forced to the edges of society, whence ofttimes circumstance obliged one to do what was necessary to survive, thus earning their reputation. Yet, what came first, the mistrust or the behaviour? None of it was an excuse for banditry, however.

Regardless, my hunch appeared confirmed, as a search of the remains and camp revealed nothing of typical bandit loot; they had meat – most in the process of smoking and salting – furs, hunting bows, no heavy armour, and few other weapons but skinning knives.

I buried what was left of them; I could not leave these innocents to scavengers. What little ‘loot’ I found I interred with the bodies; would that I knew who they were, so that I could somehow return it to families.

Thus did my guilt instigate my meeting of Borgakh the Steel Heart. The nearest orc settlement I knew of was Mor Khazgur in The Reach, yet they had no knowledge of a hunting party, missing or otherwise.

Borgakh is the daughter of their chief, Larak, and when we met in the bailey of their fort, she appeared to be taking out her frustrations on a training dummy. When I enquired as to her role in the tribe, she related how she would soon come of age, and hence be off to marry a chieftain in some distant Orsimer community. She did not seem enthusiastic about this future, saying something about feeling as though she were ‘in a cage’, and wishing to see ‘new places and people’, yet I do not believe it was this declaration that prompted me to invite her to accompany me. Hesitant at first, she finally agreed when I offered to pay her dowry and assured her that she would be free to return and marry when the time came.

Aside from the aforementioned sudden remorse for orcs in general, I felt sorry for her, not being free to do as she pleased – although, who am I to question others’ customs and beliefs? Regardless, I needs must admit to lustful curiosity prompting me as well. Although generally considered ugly (to be kind) by almost everyone, to me, orcs were fascinating. I found myself enthralled with Borgakh’s looks: greenish-brown skin; pointed ears lying nearly flat against her head, which was close-shaven other than a broad strip of dark brown hair on top, plaited into a ponytail; deep-set green eyes surrounded by purplish-brown tattoos running cheek to jaw to throat, thus resembling twin rivulets of dried blood. Not to mention the tusks. Of course, I also confess my desire to see what was under her armour – which did not take long.

If she was atypical of her race, then she was certainly not shy, as she often as not walked around nude in our camps, or perhaps wore aught but a pair of ragged trousers. She even liked to cook in the nude, which I thought was risky, considering how many important bits risked being splattered: For example, her full breasts, crowned with huge reddish-brown nipples akin to my own. Somewhat surprisingly, the chief’s daughter had little body hair, but she did have marvelous dark tufts growing in her underarms and betwixt her legs; I yearned to nuzzle and find what remained hidden down below. Otherwise, her body was wide-shouldered, broad-hipped, strong; if she was immature, I could not see where. She seemed innocent of sex, but perhaps this was only due to the dearth of males in our camp (Vilja had rejoined me, but Lydia stayed at Breezehome to look after an orphaned c***d I had recently adopted), and she had no experience of women. Borgakh had said she was not yet ‘of age’, albeit I do not know what that means, in orc terms. Yet, I would needs check my hunger nevertheless, in view of the fact that we were not alone in camp.

As it betided, I could not have sex with her regardless, for the slaughter of the orc ‘bandits’ was not all I had done. Scant days later, I learned what Aela had been trying to tell me: Elda, the Vilemyr whore whom I had… patronised some time ago was found near death right after we left Ivarstead, and in fact died not long thereafter. Justifiably so, there was a bounty on my head in The Rift. I immediately travelled to Riften, intending to see the jarl to clear up the misunderstanding, however, the hold’s guards intercepted me just inside the border, and I faced the choice to pay the bounty, get an escort to gaol, or else defy them and flee – or kill them – and continue to be an outlaw in the hold. Thus, I paid my bounty – a mere 40 gold septims (I am not sure why the amount irritated me; perhaps that it was the value of a life?). I also sought to make amends to Elda’s family, but found she had none.

The rage abruptly took me, so I went on another hunt. Loping tirelessly in the darkness down a road to I-know-not-where, I reacted to a cry in the darkness of, “Die, monster!” before I knew who was attacking me. I whirled, lashed out, had the man torn apart before I realised he had only a dagger – hardly a bandit, then – and I knew him, even in b**stmind: It was Talsgar the Wanderer.

I had met the itinerant bard a few times, and bade performances of him; it was a welcome respite on the road. Now I had killed him, and he would perform no more.

I did not feed. My rage blinding, I raced away from the road; ignoring brush, rocks, and even most trees, I fled on into the darkling woods. I came upon two cave bears about to make a meal of some unfortunate. In my fury, I took them both on, was perforce obliged to feed on them as well as the unknown corpse to heal my serious wounds. Yet it was not enow, and thus I was fortunate to happen upon another battlefield; I fed only enow to heal almost completely, and then lay down amongst the corpses to await my transformation. Although I did not need sleep, I must have dozed regardless, as next it was dawn and I heard voices.

“Damned Stormcloak rebels!” An Imperial patrol approached, likely looking for wounded. Fortunately, it was not quite light, and some trees and rocks hid me. If I could but snatch some bits of armour and clothing, I could at least explain my half-nakedness as a survivor, having lost consciousness on the battlefield and now trying to heal her wounds.

“Gods below!” came more cries. “Damned wolves! Stay sharp, soldiers.” They must have seen my handiwork on some of the corpses.

I crept, shivering and ill, toward the nearest heap; a male Stormcloak sat by two female rebel soldiers who embraced, in death, a male Imperial, whilst a female Legionary lay nearby. The male Legionary appeared to be a Redguard, like me. Curiously, although several arrows protruded from the bodies, wounds were not visible, and there was little blood; they looked as though they merely slept. Normally, dismemberments and eviscerations abounded in such battles, and the blood… The lack of such grisliness was perhaps the reason I found it so poignant.

It may heretofore have been the saddest thing I had seen in this war, having witnessed several such skirmishes, either just after they ended or in passing as they raged. I had yet to take sides – I did not want to – but my conscience nudged me toward forcing another kind of choice from me.

Swallowing a lump in my throat the size of Mount Anthor, I sneaked away; found some discarded bits of equipment, donned them, left.

I sought Aela.

Lying together in the room I had taken over from Kodlak, she queried, “Could you not have made the same mistake as a human?”

I doubted that, but she was either unconvinced or indifferent.

“That’s just the way it is, sister,” she growled. “We are hunters. Humanoids are prey.”

“I do not accept that. Not all of them.” I told her about my dealings with Hircine and subsequent adventure with Sinding. “I cannot imagine hunting… or feeding… on a c***d. Nor any other innocent.” I had not mentioned the battle scene; she would probably scoff, think me weak.

She snorted – at least, that is how I took the guttural coughing sound she made. “There are no innocents in this world.”

I disagreed, but the query she posed next took me in a different direction.

“Yet what of this Sinding – you spared him?”

When I admitted I had, she asked why.

“Because we are the same. How could I kill him?”

“But he killed an innocent, didn’t he?” When I did not respond, she continued, “So you joined with him, and slew his hunters.”

“Yes. I will not be manipulated – not even by a daedric prince.”

“And you fed on them?”

All at once, I did not like where this was going, but admitted to assuaging my hunger and healing the wounds they had inflicted on me.

“What had they done to you – before then?”

I hesitated. “Well, nothing”

Unfathomable, the look she gave me. “So then, were they not ‘innocent’?”

I had no answer, instead springing from the bed. “Go!” I spat. “Leave me. ”

Languidly, the Huntress rolled naked from the piled furs, a smirk on her pale features – or perhaps it was simply the way the light fell on her green war paint.

XIII Bliss

Our adventures took us to Fort Dawnguard, the seat of an old faction of vampire hunters that was reforming. Their leader, Isran, engaged us; perhaps needless to say, I found it more than a little ironic – not to mention discomfiting – to find myself hunting what were essentially inhuman b**sts. For the nonce, however, I did not have to make any commitment; we would initially travel to Dimhollow Crypt to follow up reports of vampires seeking something therein.

What they were looking for turned out to be one of their kin, a vampiress named Serana. After we slew a senior vampire and his minions, whom had tortured and killed a Vigilant of Stendarr – another vampire-hunter sect – we found and released her from what appeared to be some kind of long slumber. She seemed disoriented, and did not attack us, so we forbore as well. After some initial difficulty communicating, she apparently discovered what language we spoke, and with a strange accent demanded that we take her home – wherever that was. She otherwise refused to answer questions about herself – nor regarding the Elder Scroll strapped to her back. We only gleaned that she had had a falling out with her family quite some time ago, and was unsure of her reception once she did reach home.

I decided to escort her without Vilja or Borgakh, only Aela. I had several reasons for doing so, although at the time I told myself it was to protect my friends from her; Vilja had even commented about the way Serana looked at her, ‘as if she wonted to bite me’. Yet, I admit I had ulterior motives: Serana, presumably being ‘undead’ and otherwise not human, was I able to I have sex with her? I could not resist finding out, and what might betide between Serana, Aela, and I. Thus, I left Vilja with Lydia at Breezehome in Whiterun, ostensibly to look after my adopted street urchins, now numbering two.

Aela immediately suspected my intent. “What do you think you’re up to?” she demanded as the three of us exited Breezehome.

“What do you mean?” I countered, attempting innocence.

“You know exactly what I mean.”

I stopped in the street, faced her, gauntleted arms folded. “Serana, would you wait for us a moment?”

“Very well.” Aught but the vampire’s orange-red eyes were visible inside her dark hood, pulled up against the rising sun. “But do not think to leave me here.”

Once more, my curiosity twitched; why did she seem so ready to let us lead her around, dependent yet so resentful at the same time? Nonetheless, it was something else that piqued my inquisitiveness just now.

I turned up the street, motioned with my head for Aela to follow. “Are you not curious?” I was beginning to quiver.

“No, and nor should you be.” The Huntress’ cerulean eyes flashed (had they not been green?).

“Why not? She is no human.”

“That’s exactly why not. At least we are alive. Vampires are an abomination.”

I snorted. “And we are not?”

“Is that what you think?” She halted, glared away a passerby. “That we are nothing but monsters – no better than vampires?”

“I… am not sure. I wish to experience… everything. While I can.”

“While you can?” She studied me intently. “You mean to take the cure, then.”

“I… do not know. But that is why I want to try… things.”

She grinned wolfishly. “By ‘things’ you mean .”

I felt myself blush, was grateful for my dark skin.

“Are you sure she will be interested?” Aela teased.

I shrugged. “We have a journey of some leagues ahead of us.” I tried not to sound too expectant.

Aela laughed. “Serana, come here.”

My eyes widened. “Aela!”

“Do not order me about as though I were your thrall,” the vampiress scolded, joining us. “Why do we delay?”

“My sister here wonders about you.”

“I am aware that thou hast questions. Alas, I cannot answer them.”

“That’s not what I mean,” the Nord advised. “She wants to know about your interest in .”


The undead woman sniffed haughtily; did her red eyes flash inside that hood? “I am sure I know not what you mean.”

“Yes you do,” Aela contradicted. “She wants to know if vampires can fuck us.”

“‘Fuck’?” the vampiress echoed. I myself had recently learned this crude Nord word for any of the terms I had lectured Vilja on a while ago.

“Can you have congress with… us?”

The other woman’s face was still not visible, but she dropped the coyness in her tone. “And what art thou?”

I let Aela answer, “Werewolves.”

“I thought as much – I can smell it on thee.”

An expectant pause.

“I know not,” Serana admitted at length. “Now, shall we be on our way?” She did not wait to see if we followed. Apparently, our status would not affect our value as guides.

My heart – and loins – bounded; at least she ruled nothing out.

I had expected her to be cold, being, after all, dead; and at first, she was. However, Aela and I would warm her up.

Skin of face, neck, shoulders – naught else visible as yet – was paler even than Vilja’s; chestnut hair, pleated in several places, just touching creamy shoulders; eyes glowing orange, pupils the colour of blood. These tracked me as I stripped deliberately in front of them both, seated on chairs next to one another in my quarters. A wicked smile cracked alabaster features; the vampiress’ tongue snaked out, granting a glimpse of twin deadly fangs as it moistened ruby lips. Otherwise, she remained motionless.

Aela began to growl, wriggle in her seat. I beckoned her to assist me with my unwieldy armour, whilst I reciprocated with hers. Both soon nude, we began to play, moving sinuously about one another, casting indistinct shadows about my brazier-lit chamber as we entwined and explored with hands and mouths. I groped her fleshy mounds betwixt both hands, bent, took each dusky nipple into my mouth; held them in my teeth, twisted with my tongue; a hand delved toward her furred cleft. The Huntress moaned; I lowered her onto her back on the furs spread beneath us as her knees gave. I remained standing, still sensually writhing, stepped toward our rapt observer, held out my hand; Serana shook her head, almost imperceptibly.

Frustrated, I hesitated but a moment, turned back to my shield sister. I deliberately posed her, knees up, legs spread, toward the vampiress as I knelt to one side and ministered to her mouth, neck, breasts. Crawling between her legs, I bent, back bowed, hips high, knees apart, proffering myself lewdly to our audience of one as I began to poke and lick at the pink petals. I additionally hoped I obstructed Serana’s view of what I was doing, and thus induce her to join us.

I continued for some time, simultaneously irritated and ever more aroused, wondering what was betiding behind me; was she enthralled; undressing; playing with herself; rising to join us yet?

The instant of actual contact – several fingers abruptly shoved deep into my overwrought cunt – drew a howl barely muffled by Aela’s grasp on the back of my head, keeping my mouth buried in her palpitating crevice as she climaxed. The fingers worked in and out of me; one curled up inside of my slit, rapidly flicked; I stiffened, collapsed, convulsed violently. I had heretofore felt nothing like it. I lay gasping and moaning for several moments, helpless as I felt two sets of hands grab and reposition me on the fur mats. Vaguely, I was aware that they had me spread-eagled, vulnerable to their carnal intent. As I regained full cognisance, I realised Aela was on her knees to one side of me, whilst Serana stood on the other – maddeningly, still fully clad.

“Now,” Aela was saying, “see here.” She took each nipple betwixt her fingers. “Look at how red they are, like the mountain flower – and how they respond.”

I gasped as she plucked one, then the other; replaced fingers with lips.

The Huntress continued. “So much different than the rest of her… like here… and here…” She nipped, caressed, prodded elsewhere on my quivering form. “Not black, like other Redguards. Red-brown, like some Skyrim bears. Then there’s this” –she grabbed fistfuls of hair, tugged, stroked–“the colour of tundra cotton. And these eyes, clear, no colour at all. Why do you suppose that is? Because she is Dragonborn?” She planted kisses on both. “And this”–traced the tattooed stripe from my hairline, over left brow and eye, to upper cheek–“orange paint like the giants use. And here, here, and here… where she was hurt.” Aela tongued the twin scars on the opposite cheek and chin; traced a few more – none significant – elsewhere on my torso and arms, proceeded to my legs.

I whined, tried to keep still; espied Serana, still watching, except that her lusty smile was wider, fangs protruding menacingly. My body started at the sight; both frightening and, oh, so enticing!

“Then we come to this,” Aela went on, nuzzling around my slippery sheath. “Barely any fur covering, the same colour as her head. But look here” –she spread my lips– “at these folds, red like her nipples” –she licked– “yet so pink deep inside. This big button, wanting of attention… her Sword of Dibella… longer than a third nipple, yet pink as well.” A few sucks and licks, then a middle finger, and a second, thrusting in and out, pushed me over the precipice once more.

I shoved the redhead away, demanded wine. The room was hot, redolent with brazier smoke, sex, sweat. I guzzled the fiery alcohol that did nothing to cool my insides.

Serana sat very close on the mats, feral grin and clothing yet in place. I put the bottle aside, shakily rose to my knees, began to stroke her hair, neck, shoulders. Aela, joining me, nibbled ears, the nape of her neck as I lifted the dark tresses. Slowly we undressed her, fiddling with the buckles and straps of her unfamiliar leathers; but she made no move, neither to aid nor inhibit. When at last we had her naked, I noticed the scent of lotus just slightly overpowering that of a crypt (but then, what had I expected?). Her breasts, larger than mine or Aela’s, hung nicely on her slim frame; nipples red and already stiff.

Laying the vampiress on her back, we massaged, stroked, pinched, infused warmth into her extremities. I found the bottle I had procured from The Hag’s Cure in Markarth. (I thought, if Bothela could create a ‘Stallion’s Potion’ for men, then why not a stimulating lubricant for women?) As I poured the brandy-coloured liquid on the vampiress’ deathly pale skin, she finally moved; her whole body started, quivered everywhere the liquid made contact. I poured some across Aela’s breasts, then my own; we both jumped, yelped; it was almost . We massaged it into one another’s skin, then lay against Serana, one on either side, bodies chafing, nipples carving grooves in canlı kaçak bahis the vampiress, secretions adding to the slickness. The heat built; my body felt on fire. Urgently, I rubbed my cunt against Serana’s leg. The undead woman finally emitted her first sound, a drawn-out rumble as she clutched fiercely at us both. I am not sure if she actually climaxed then, but we were not done, regardless.

I concluded that sex with a vampiress was far from unpleasant, especially once certain participants had been ‘warmed up’, as it were. Serana remained passive throughout the night, but readily acceded to our instructions, mostly non-verbal. We discovered that, although the lips on her face were blood red, as were her nipples – and she needed no cosmetic to achieve the allure – her female parts reminded me of a bleeding crown mushroom: outer lips pale, inner (top) red, depths (underside) pink; and the scent was normal. Yet, she had body hair, apart from that on her head; even her armpits were clean-shaven. I had heard that some women, especially ‘snotty Breton girls’, as Vilja termed them, shaved everything, especially pits and sometimes even their furry mounds, and I was now intrigued enow to perhaps try it myself.

In any event, my curiosity satisfied – and having gotten away unbitten – I needs must admit that I was not enraptured with vampires in general, although I would not turn down another opportunity. Even though I had little desire to try a male, Serana assured us that only a vampire lord could ‘turn’ us from werewolves into the undead. What convinced me, however, to have nothing to do with them – except to kill them – was what I witnessed when we finally delivered Serana to her family. Yet, that is another story, and I must return to this one anon.

XIV Crossroads

Some days later, Aela, Vilja, and I found ourselves at the crossroads south of Whistling Mine in Winterhold, making our way west toward Mount Anthor. We had another dragon to take care of, this time for the Jarl of Winterhold. Another Stormcloak-Imperial battle had recently ended here, and I found the futility of the conflict, as well as other thoughts, wrestling with my consciousness as I surveyed the grim scene.

I wearied of snide remarks from guards and townspeople about finding my ‘wolfish grin unsettling’, or smelling like a wet dog, or questioning if I had fur growing out of my ears. Furthermore, despite Vilja’s assertion that she was not afraid of me – both Aela and I had a tendency to involuntarily take on b**st form when under stress – or her avowal that she thought I was ‘kind of cute’ when I was a werewolf, and how she has ‘always loved dogs’ – I was dissatisfied. Nevertheless, none of this yet decided me; nor even when Vilkas and then Farkas came to me and asked for their cure, and I made but a half-hearted attempt to dissuade them.

“I will never forget hunting with you, sister,” Vilkas told me. “And I know the nights will never be again. But, like Kodlak, I am a Nord, and I fear for my soul. I wish to know glory in the afterlife.

“Perhaps you will join me, sister? Then we can still be… together?”

“I… will miss you too, brother, but I cannot.”

“As you wish. But it would be my honour if you would accompany me, Harbinger.”

I did so, and although I was sore temped again, especially after the twins’ comments following – likening it to the effect of ‘a warm mug of spiced mead’ or how their minds were no longer ‘clouded with thoughts of the hunt’ – I did not partake. Vilkas, oddly, even said something about no longer being able to ‘smell my heart beating’, and although I had not thought of it like that, I know what he meant.

Nonetheless, I had yet to collect all of the Totems of Hircine with Aela, and I would know the benefits of having them all. Each on its own bestowed a blessing of sorts when in b**st form, similar to various benedictions one received at any shrine in Skyrim. I needs must admit, as well, that I did not want to lose Aela, for I was certain that she would not accept the cure, and I knew this would force me to choose between her and Vilja; but I did not want to renounce any of it.

I found it all quite vexing, not to mention inflaming, especially so when, every chance she had, Vilja stripped naked to swim (despite her complaints that the water in Skyrim is too cold). Her tiny frame, pale skin, wisp of blonde hair not nearly covering her perpetually distended nether lips – it was too much. I knew she was not deliberately teasing me, but I do not believe she is utterly innocent of the effect she has on me, either. Thus, the circumstances that found all three of us – Aela, Vilja, and I – together nude with several other swimmers at the hot pools near Eldergleam Sanctuary a while back, were incredibly frustrating for many reasons, not least of which is that, by all the gods, a dragon attacked us.

There we were, Vilja, Aela, and I, bare as newborns but for a bit of jewellery, along with two other naked women and a man, with aught but weapons – and some magic – to fight a dragon; it must have been a remarkable sight. Withal, if it were not for my Shouts and Vilja’s magic, plus whatever the others were able to do – I was too busy to notice – it may have ended badly for us all. Indeed, we were lucky that any of us were alive (and I am a little surprised that Aela and I did not take b**st form under such duress). As it betided, the dragon grabbed the poor man in its jaws, shook him like a wolf with a skeever, and later we could not find much left of him to bury or burn.

That left five naked, wounded, stressed girls.

Have you ever noticed how many women’s nipples harden after exertion, even if it is not sexual? I have – as I noticed all of ours then. I, for one, was moist betwixt the legs, too. The strangers were so impressed with how I had absorbed the dragon’s soul – recognising me as Dragonborn – I am certain they would have been amenable to any advance I proffered. Thus, with all the luscious flesh on display prior and following that battle, Aela and I were all at once in sore need of sating our other lust. Moreover, I had to be hands-on in assisting Vilja to heal the others’ wounds, which of course only frustrated me more. Hence, with only one another to rely upon to relieve both hungers, Aela and I did so that night.

Following our hunt – which, as was now our custom, we restricted to game a****ls or ‘miscreants’ – I subsequently found myself pondering how finding time and place both for sex and the hunt had become ever more problematical.

I know it hurts Vilja when I have sex within her hearing, let alone sight, and so Aela and I needs must tryst a ways off to spare her. Not too difficult, given that we do not need to sleep in the same, or a nearby, tent, although we set one up anyway, to be out of the ofttimes harsh Skyrim elements. Even so, however much I disliked leaving Vilja alone on these occasions, this was not the greatest problem, either; it was becoming… trite. Although we could not wear one another out, I felt some staleness with Aela, and I sensed she felt it as well. By this time, of course, Vilkas and Farkas had been human again for quite some time, and therefore both of us were pining for male company. I admit that we even tried… enticing some of our male wild brethren whilst in b**st form, but it did not work; we scared them, it seemed. Neither did we yearn to seek others of our own kind; the skinwalkers, for some reason, did not recognise us as kin, although they would not attack us, either.

Do not misunderstand me, however; speaking for myself as well as, I trow, for Aela, I did not value male and female sex partners in that one or the other was preferable. I prized both sexes equally for their differences, the same as I sought experience with different races. It is the variety I crave, to allay the hunger. Furthermore, I do not see one sex or the other as more or less ‘loveable’ than the other; I deem myself capable of loving either male or female equally – and perhaps even more than one at a time.

As I pondered these thoughts, however, I questioned my notion of ‘love’ in its primal sense. I had not heretofore experienced it – at least the love that all the bards sing of – and thus, what could I know of it? That is, what do I feel for Aela; is it love, or merely lust? What of Vilja? I am deeply attracted to the blonde Nord, but is it only a physical longing for something that is, for the nonce, beyond my grasp? Did I love her as I did Aela, or was it something different? How could I even know, as a b**st?

Once more, I cast my mind back a few nights.

“Aela.” We lay beside one another in the tent, no longer touching, on our fur sleeping pallets. The Skyrim wind whipped the omnipresent snow about our tent in the darkness; the chilly draughts soon cooled our ardour. I had regained most of my breath from the latest of my climaxes. “What… do you know of love?”

She emitted that snort-laugh of hers, pulled on her bottled of Colovian, as did I on mine. “Overrated.”

“But, have you ever loved anyone?”

“Are you asking me if I’m in love with you?”

“No.” I downed another gulp or two. For some reason I did not want to know her answer. “I just… I only want to know if I – if we, as b**sts, I mean – can know love.”

A moment ere she responded, “I’m not the one to ask.” She finished her brandy, tossed the empty aside.

“Why—I mean, who should I ask, then?”

“Not me.” The Huntress turned away, faced the rippling tent wall. I studied her nude form in the brazier light: muscled back and shoulders; slim waist; strong, round buttocks; firm thighs and calves; goose bumps beginning to rise in the chill. I tried to ignore my rekindling desire. Clearly, she would not discuss the subject.

I could thus only speculate that perhaps something in her past had soured her on ‘love’; perchance, this was the reason she would be content as a werewolf. On the other hand, mayhap the rumour that she and Skjor had been more than friends was accurate, and the Huntress was not – would never be – over him. Whatever the case, she certainly seemed sincere in her veneration of Hircine, as I knew I could never be; as I have mentioned, I have no use for deities and their manipulations of us ‘mortals’.

Which was another reason for my ambivalence; I had been brooding on the rest of the Circle’s decision to remove the ‘taint’ of lycanthropy so they could anticipate their vision of the afterlife. To what could I look forward? As a Redguard, though orphaned young and raised in a tavern, I knew that Tu’whacca Yokudan, god of souls, would guide me as the other gods set a series of trials before me on the way to the Far Shores. If I failed, I would find myself banished to the Dreamsleeve, whence I could either languish for an eternity or, perhaps, be reborn for another opportunity at life, as some races believed (Imperials, for one). Yet, did I wish to sit at the knee of some daedric prince, or take my chances with trials and perhaps move on to a new life? After all, I have proven myself reasonably competent in this short existence thus far.

As I revealed, I never knew my parents, and I spent my c***dhood in a tavern. I will not speak of it herein, other than to say I disliked my life, and sought to better my lot. I availed myself of every opportunity to learn: to read and write, for example. An old Imperial merchant – notice I did not say ‘kindly’, as he was not; he used me for his own purposes – taught me my letters and numbers. Thus did I learn how to get what I wanted – using guile, sometimes stealth, and both aspects of my physicality, including sex and, later on, my formidable strength. I also learned of the greater world from travellers, and developed a yearning to see and experience it – as if getting away from my virtual enslavement were not incentive enow.

“Should we return?” Aela asked abruptly.

For an instant, I thought she meant to whence I came, which provoked a violent reaction within me; but I answered, “Yes.” I needs must ponder my reaction more closely sometime anon.

I return to the present crossroads.

Even Aela, it seemed, was not unaffected by this war. “Damn shame,” she murmured.

Corpses littered the slopes amidst rocks and scrub; guts, limbs, a head or two liberally strewn; blood soaked virtually every speck of snowy ground. This time, I felt no poignancy, only sadness.

Vilja, apparently, thought I had other things on my mind. “If we meet someone when you’re a werewolf,” she proposed, “we could just pretend that you’re a dog. I’m sure they would believe us.”

Her comment did not sink in until I heard Aela snickering behind me, apparently unsure if she ought to be laughing, considering the scene.

Trying to hold the mirth inside, I did not turn around; instead heeled my mount, continued westward.

Some weeks later, intending to return to the hot spring near Eldergleam Sanctuary for a little rest and recreation, we happened upon yet another Stormcloak-Imperial battle. This time, however, a giant had somehow gotten embroiled in the conflict, and – by all the gods, again! – another dragon joined the fray. Even so, combatants would not set aside their differences to confront either, greater threat; everywhere small pockets of soldiers battled one another, whilst a dragon circled overhead breathing fire down upon them and a giant indiscriminately knocked them flying. I was appalled, and incredulous. Withal, I entered the fight myself, albeit only to battle the dragon.

When it was over, the dragon carcass lay atop several soldiers. I had not delivered the final blow, and thus it did not disintegrate, and I was unable to absorb its soul. This was a minor annoyance, however, compared to the stupidity of the entire conflict.

Vilja was not happy when I immediately cancelled our relaxation trip, and instead headed toward Windhelm. I barely stopped – and then only in respect of Vilja and our horses, who still needed rest – until we arrived in Solitude, whence lay Castle Dour and the Imperial Legion’s headquarters.

XV Decisions

I am still unsure what finally prompted my decision to join the Legion – Vilja will not stop pestering me about it – but I suppose I see it as my best chance to help end a pointless war. I also think that Ulfric Stormcloak is naught but a regicide with his own self-interest in being High King. Furthermore, I detest the way most Nords mistreat other races; ‘Skyrim belongs to the Nords!’ indeed. Once again, do not misunderstand; I am not enamoured with the Empire, either, kneeling as they did to the Aldmeri Dominion and signing the so-called White-Gold Concordat, which forbade the worship of Talos – a sacred figure to the Nords, if no one else. Not to mention how the Dominion’s Thalmor representatives poke their fingers into every pie in Skyrim by sending their ‘advisors’ to virtually every court in the land, and presuming to arrest and torture anyone might be guilty of Talos worship. Thus have I developed an abiding hatred for the Thalmor as great as or more so than what I feel for bandits; and I may tell you the story of how I stormed their embassy and freed a prisoner some time anon. Now is not that time, however.

I spent the following few days (was it weeks?) in chaotic activity, moving back and forth across Skyrim, trying to do my duty as a new Legionary soldier as well as follow up various rumours and solve peoples’ problems. This brought me some fame, I am immodest enow to say, including becoming Thane of several Holds (I have lost count: Whiterun, Falkreath, Haafingar, The Pale, and Markarth, I think). In turn, I acquired the pleasant but time-eating chore to try to build or at least furnish a home in each hold – even if most are homes where no one lives, save a steward, for the nonce.

Withal, most relevant to this tale is how I rejoined with Serana – or she with me. I had travelled to Riften for some un-recalled reason, arriving just in time to intervene in a vampire attack upon the citizenry. Whilst we had little trouble despatching the nightstalker and one or two of his thralls – my chief difficulty lay in trying not to hit guards or citizens who got in the way – when it was over, we discovered that Aerin, Mjoll the Lioness’ one-time saviour and purported lover, was a victim.

“NNNOOOOoooo!” Glass greatsword clattering to the cobbles, the iron-clad warrior dropped to her knees in the street beside the body; no wounds were apparent, but that was a bad thing. “Why?” she wailed; I did not have to know the lanky fighter well to perceive her anguish. “How could he deserve this?” She suddenly sprang to her feet – quite a graceful move for such a big woman in heavy armour – snatched up her weapon, started hacking apart the enemy bodies. Everyone fled, save Vilja, Aela, and I. Once the street was awash with blood and body parts, she fell once more, this time prostrate over the corpse of her lover. Great, heaving sobs wracked the tall Nord’s gore-splattered frame, though she emitted hardly a sound.

After a moment, I gently approached. Fortunately, I knew her well enow – I had retrieved her sword from whence she had lost it in a dwarven ruin and, but for Aerin, nearly died – or I may not have dared. I touched the flared epaulet of her iron breastplate; she probably did not feel it. “Mjoll… Mjoll, I am sorry.”

“Leave me,” she intoned dully.

“Mjoll, I cannot.” My hand moved from her shoulder to the nape of her neck, left bare with no helm or camail; brushed aside the bloody, straw-coloured pleats. “He… Aerin was bitten… drained of blood. I am sorry, Mjoll. You know what must be done.” I dared rub lightly with the tips of my fingers, having pulled off my gauntlets.

She did not respond for another moment. Then, “No. I” “will take care of him.”

“Let me help.”

“No.” She gradually stopped shaking, looked up; tanned features mottled; soft brown eyes reddened; broad purple stripe of warpaint down the left side of her face shiny, streaked with blood and tears. “Yes, I… I know. Yes. Th-thank you.”

Mjoll prepared him, as did all Nords, washing and dressing Aerin in his best clothes, arranging his most prized possessions around him on a long table in their home. Normally, there would then be feasting and mourning for at least a night and day whilst he lay in state, but we had no time to let him rest so, lest he arise undead. Thus, the four of us took Aerin to the funeral pyre outside of town. Mjoll placed what were likely all of his belongings – perhaps some of hers, as well, even aside from Grimsever, her greatsword that I had recovered – and, tears running freely, yet with no sound and perfect poise, she poked a torch here and there into the piled logs. Each of us at a corner of the pyre held one aloft, in salute; stepped back as the flames intensified.

“You can go now,” the big woman murmured.

Feeling that it was more of a command than a release, we did so.

Next morning, still in full, gory armour, face now lined with streaked, dried blood, Mjoll approached our table in the Bee and Barb tavern, stopped before me, helm under one arm, kitbag strapped over the other shoulder; she looked as though she had been awake all night – likely had, in vigil. “I would go with you.”

“Whence?” I suspected I knew the answer.

“” She said it as though she were spitting poison.

Thus did I travel for a short time with three companions: Aela, Vilja, and Mjoll. We informed the Lioness what Aela and I were, yet it did not appear to faze her, and she lived up to her name – though perhaps we should have renamed her ‘Mjoll the Dragon’, such was her fury. She wielded the new two-handed blade I gave her, an ebony (probably much better than Grimsever, though I would not have suggested so) as if every foe we met were a vampire. I almost felt sorry for any undead we would meet, but we happened upon none, all the way to Fort Dawnguard.

We encamped for the night beside the small lake just inside Dayspring Canyon; we would be at the fortress early the next day. As I have elsewhere mentioned, Aela and I shared a tent, whilst Vilja had her own, shared with Mjoll for the nonce (and I did not know how I felt about that). My blonde Nord companion had long since ceased her offers to cook or do anything for us. In fact, she had had little to say at all since the naked hot spring dragon-fight. I think she knew what was going on in my lust-filled mind, and I should have sensed her discomfort – yet it was much more than that, as it turned out.

“We have to talk.” Vilja came upon us suddenly as I was helping Aela doff her armour just outside our tent – which, as I have related, we maintained a distance away for… decorum. Despite her tone, I would have known something was awry, as she normally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to jest talk a little, you and I?’ or some-such, when she wanted to ask or tell me something. Usually, it was not of major consequence.

“What is it?” I was terser than I meant to be; I saw the flash of hurt in her sad, blue eyes as I glanced up.

“I… I can’t do this… anym-more.” Her Nord-accented voice shook.

“Do what?” I foolishly asked.

“I… w-want to go home.”

We had completed Vilja’s quests, save for finding a relative of an acquaintance of hers, in order to remove a curse under which this acquaintance suffered. Thus, my next mistake. “We will stop at Breezehome on the way to Solitude – I needs must report for new orders at Castle Dour.”

“N-No. Shrelle, p-please, look at me.”

I did so, even though Aela was naked below the waist but for smallclothes, and I felt my nipples twitch, slit moisten, all yearn for attention.

I did not need more than another glance to see those bright eyes shiny with tears, Vilja’s pretty face twisted as had been Mjoll’s the other day – perhaps more so.

“No. I w want to go … to S-Solstheim.”

Something clutched at my guts. Though distracted by Aela’s flesh as I slowly revealed it, I stopped, turned my full attention toward my other companion. “What? Why? I mean… We are not finished yet.”

“I c-can’t do this,” Vilja repeated. Tears dripped steadily onto the exaggerated bosom of her golden elvish armour.

“What? You do not wish to hunt vampires?” I insisted upon obtuseness. “Very well—”

“Y-You… ,” Vilja went on miserably. “Every n night, what y-you are doing… Eating p people – even if you d don’t… k kills them. And then… And then w what you do h here – in there,” she added, indicating our tent with a shaky hand. She appeared as though she might collapse.

I should have gone to her, but Aela was literally holding on to my arm – for support, as she had her brigandine half-way over her head, arms outstretched through it; she was blind and off balance.

“Get this off me,” came the muffled demand from the Huntress. “Then we can discuss it.”

“No.” Vilja’s tone hardened as I did Aela’s bidding. “N No discussing. I’m going home. I will get a carriage or j jest ride Bruse to W Windhelm for the next ship. I… c can’t stay with you any… m more.”

“I… uhh… But I need you,” I tried lamely.

“Oh? For w wot, may I ask?”

“Uhhh… You are a good companion. I like your cooking.” That was incredibly stupid; I had not eaten her cooking since…

Through her pain, she looked at me as though my skin were still green from that experiment that had gone awry at the Mage’s College in Winterhold a while back.

“You are a good fighter,” I offered instead. At least it was the truth; she asked about her abilities often enow.

“So is M Mjoll and… Aela. And any n number of others who would f follow you if you asked.”

“I need your healing skills.”

“You can get that p priestess of Azura, Areana or w whatever-her-name-is. Or Collette from the C College.”

I did not think that Collette would join me, but that mattered not. “The c***dren love you,” I essayed instead.

“What about you?”

There it was, then. “I… uhhh…”

“That’s wot I thought.” She turned and fled.

Later, through her tent flap, tied shut from the inside, I entreated, “Vilja, I am sorry. I will go with you. I have to investigate those cult assassins—“

“No… p-please.” I can’t be w with you anymore.”

“Vilja, I…”

“L-Leave, please. Please… jest l leave.”

XVI Woe Betide

She left me before Aela and I returned from our hunt. Night found Mjoll sitting nigh the fire as, feeling reasonably clean and satisfied, we ambled back into camp; though we had not found any miscreants to feed on, just game, the flames of lust mounted after our moonlight, cleansing swim, during which we fornicated as much as the cold allowed. We looked forward to some relative warmth and comfort.

Vilja’s tent was gone.

Mjoll looked up from stirring the cooking pot, held on andirons over the fire. “I had to move in with you.” Her tone was tense, clipped diction more pronounced than usual. “It will be a little cramped until we can get another tent.”

I was suddenly afraid, and felt… something else I could not identify.

“” I spat at the Lioness, my fear turning to anger. “You let her leave all alone?”

She must have seen the b**st upon me as I approached; she rose, reached for her greatsword.

“Hold!” Aela interjected, physically getting between us.

“She insisted,” protested Mjoll. “Who am I to stop her? Besides, my pledge is to you – I cannot abandon you just like that.” Did I detect an accusing note?

“Vilja can take care of herself,” Aela reasoned. “She’s tougher than she looks.”

Indeed, I had overheard banter between them – and between Lydia and Vilja, for that matter – on that very subject; and I needs must agree. Still, it did not feel right. I was torn, though my ire cooled.

“Vilja owes me nothing.” I felt confused at my own defence of her decision to leave me. “But, Mjoll, please, I cannot let her go alone. I know you want to kill vampires, but…”

“I will go after her,” offered Aela. “And I will go with her as far as she lets me.”

I did not know how to feel about that, either. “I…” I bit my inner lip so hard I tasted blood; suddenly inflamed by it, I wanted to hunt again – or fuck.

It made more sense for Mjoll – or all of us – to go after Vilja, but I knew the Lioness would not wait; she would go on to Fort Dawnguard without me. I should therefore let her, and, with or without Aela, catch up with Vilja myself, persuade her to come back. Yet, I sensed the restlessness in the svelte Huntress; I knew she needed to… do something else, whether that be pray to the shrines of Hircine in the Underforge (very disappointingly, they had turned out to bestow no additional benefit, now that all three were together), or something else. Withal, I was more concerned with the thought of the two of them together, albeit I was not anxious – never mind jealous – that Aela might fuck Vilja; I was, disturbingly, more afraid that she was liable to eat her for real than simply eat her cunt. Yet, that was ridiculous, was it not? Aela had learned to control her hungers long ere I had.

At the same time, I yearned to see Mjoll naked, even if I could not ‘have congress’ with her. (I do not know why I persisted in trying to get myself into such untenable situations.)

“All right. Thank you, Aela.”

I helped her pack. We shared no words, aside from a cryptic comment Aela made: “Don’t let them intimidate you, sister. We both know how to keep our heads, while the men let their hearts rule.” Was it some kind of warning? Advice?

Mounting her horse, she admonished, “Don’t worry, sister.” She displayed that wolfish grin – which did nothing to assuage my fears. “I’ll take care of her.”

“You two take care of each other now. Perhaps we can hunt together again, sister.” The Huntress rode away up the cobbled road at a canter.

I felt another sense of loss.

Not much later, I saw the Lioness in full splendour. She undressed completely before crawling into her sleeping fur in the tent we both now occupied, and I got an eyeful – or two. I myself was a large girl, but, though not a featherweight of fat lay on her, she was bigger: full, high breasts with big brown areolae and nipples lying flat (for the nonce); surprisingly narrow shoulders and hips; well-

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