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I am exceedingly proud of my collection. There are some absolutely amazing artist on this site.

The only issue that I have is with the slide show's order. It's set up from newest to oldest. I wish it were more random as there are days that I'll get on some wild kind of kick and there are suddenly 12 Star Wars pics in a row (yeesh).

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Lesliewifeofbath
Leslie Mertz aka Lord of Cakes
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Social Worker by day and writer by night.

Also lesliewifeofbath on Tumblr
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Journal Entry: Thu Dec 4, 2014, 7:29 PM

The Skin Speaks For Itself.



Activity


Marceline and Odahviing by Lesliewifeofbath
Continued from:
Chapter 13:  A Season Ended: Part I


A Season Ended Part II

 

“So how come you never showed this to me before, Balgruuf?”  Marceline called out to the jarl as she ran her hands over the smooth, aged wood of the colossal dragon trap.  Would this work, she wondered as she saw how simplistic the trap actually was.  As the jarl and his men approached, Marceline attempted to stifle a giggle.

“I never thought it would come to this,” he said quietly with a sigh, taking his Thane aside.  “I hadn’t seen this old contraption since I was a child.  My father would show me this while he told me stories of the beasts.” He looked over at Marceline, who had finally lost control and let out a deep-bellied laugh.  “Why do laugh, wench?”

“Because your ancestors built a bloody pillory for a dragon!”

“It works for scofflaws and it will work for the beasts in the air as they are the worst miscreants of them all, Thane,” he retorted sharply, though with a hidden smile. Balgruff then shook his head ruefully and took a deep breath, looking out at the expanse of Whiterun and the territories beyond.

“So we’re here,” Marceline said after some time. 

“Yes, yes we are.  I can’t say I’m happy for it.”

“Once this is over, you’ll have to make a choice. You were never good at choosing.”

“No, I was never brave enough to make such a choice.”

“But soon you’ll have side with one of them. Who will you chose?”

“Ulfric,” Balgruuf said with resignation.  “I think he’ll win this, Marcy, I really do. And…”

“And what?”

“Gods help me saying this, but if harm comes to Aela, well, it would greatly benefit us all.”

“What do you mean?”

“Her death would be a battle cry for many Imperial Nords teetering on the balance.” Balgruuf then shuddered as if he regretted the thought itself.  “My gods, I am a selfish and cowardly man for saying this, for almost wishing it so.”

Marceline winced at the thought of Aela suffering, as she and the Huntress had, over time, become close friends.  Aela had even sacrificed herself for Marceline’s own happiness.  Marceline turned to Balgruuf.  “Well, you’re right in that such an act would strike lethal blow to the Imperial cause, and that’s precisely why it won’t happen.  Tullius is no fool.  But, again, it wouldn’t take much for either faction,  Aldmeri, Stormcloak, or even an Imperial to pour poison into a glass or creep into a chamber late at night, but—”

“But what?”

“She won’t die at anyone’s hands,” Marceline answered confidently.

Balgruuf cocked his head to the side as he stared at his Thane. “You say that with some certainty.  Do you know something I don’t?”

“Of course I do, Balgruuf,” she answered with sly smile.  Staring out into the gray expanse, Marceline prayed, May the beast within protect her

“In any case, let’s get on with this nonsense,” Balgruuf snapped. “I see no reason for further delay.”

“As you wish,” Marceline nodded then looked up, past the wispy clouds , into the gray afternoon sky.  From the balcony a light wind blew.  Taking in a deep breath, Marceline Shouted, “Od-ah-viing! 

Time stood still as everyone watched the sky. As the unending moments turned into minutes, Balgruuf scratched his beard. “I guess this was all for naught—”

“Mother of gods!” a guard shouted as the largest dragon Marceline had ever seen engulfed the balcony in a wall of flames.   Marceline and Balgruuf stood firm as the other guards, save for Irileth, skittered about in panic, breaking the line. 

“Hold your ground, you milk-drinking s’wits!” Irileth shouted as the guards slowly stepped forward.  Not too close, Marceline thought as she needed a place for the beast to land.  As the magnificent creature swept in again raining fire, Marceline knew this was her one and only shot.

Joor Zah Frul,” she Shouted, and the beast came crashing down, causing some of the balcony’s stone to give way.  Marceline moved in swiftly, aiming for the beast’s face, though took great care not to hurt the creature but to lure it in slowly.   She needed to make the creature angry enough to charge.  A little showmanship was all that was needed.  

As he moved in for the kill, a great crashing sound came from above as the massive trap snapped into place around the dragon’s throat.  The beast thrashed wildly as he was caught in a desperate attempt to break the bonds that held him.  After some flame and fight, the beast, whose strength was clearly diminishing, stopped the futile struggle.  As the dragon slumped, Marceline slowly approached.  In the fading sunlight, the dragon’s iridescent red and purple scales flashed brightly.  Though frightened, she was in awe of this creature’s beauty.

Nid! Horvutah med kodaav!” the creature muttered. “Caught like a beast in your trap.”

Zu'u los krosis dii fahdon,” Marceline said softly as she approached the creature cautiously. “Truly, I am sorry for this.”

“My... eagerness to meet you in battle was my undoing, Dovahkiin. I salute your… hmm…low cunning in devising such a stratagem.” 

Marceline nodded. “This trap was not my device, and thus I cannot take the credit— or blame— for such a contraption.  But you fought well, dear foe, and perhaps one day we will fight again.”

“So you will release me?”

“Maybe,” she shrugged, as the guards mumbled and gasped.  “That depends entirely upon you.”

“Seeing as you went to much trouble to put me in this…humiliating…position, I take it you want something of me.”

“No, Odahviing, I just wanted to catch up, see how wife and kids were getting along.” The dragon released a great plume of smoke and turned his head as Marceline knelt down beside him. “Ah, yes.  I see.  Well, of course I want something out of you.  But for now, I have only one question and I’m sure you already know what it is.”

“I cannot read the minds of inferior creatures, such as yourself.”

 Marceline pursed her lips playfully as she asked, “Odahviing, where would I find your master, Alduin?”

 “So you want to know of the World-Eater,” he chortled. “Dovah, if you wish me to answer your foolish questions, you will let me out of this confounded contraption.”

“No,” Marceline said as her lips curved into bemused smile.  “No, I can’t let you go, not yet, but do you see that quaking Nord off to the corner?”

Odahviing sniffed, “All mortals quake in my presence.”

“No doubt, but do you see the one in robes, carrying the equipment?  His name is Farengar,” Marceline said, extending her arm toward the quaking mage.  Odahviing snorted as the wizard dropped several instruments, sending them scattering across the stone floor.  Farengar skittered about nervously while trying to gather the fallen tools as Marceline turned back to the dragon.  “Farengar is the court wizard.  He is rather eager to study you; though I fear he’s not very graceful so his ministrations may hurt a tad.

“Farengar,” Marceline started as she began backing away from dov, “just go around the trap and approach from behind.” The hapless wizard scurried behind the trap to the back side of Odahviing.  “Yes, yes, that’s a good spot, love.  You may start.” Marceline flashed a smile at Odahviing as the Farengar clumsily yanked at the trapped dragon’s scales while mumbling pitiful apologies.  Odahviing let out a roar that shook the whole of Dragonsreach.

“Now, now don’t be timid, man,” Marceline cooed.  “I know you’ve ached to study such a magnificent specimen.  Go on.  Don’t be shy.  Make sure you take several samples of our guest’s blood and scales.”

“Well, I may need to cut into him,” Farengar murmured timidly. 

“Dovah!” the dragon roared. “You have made your point clearly.  Now what do want to know of Alduin?”

“I want to know where he’s hiding.”

“Rinik vazah—where he’s hiding. An apt phrase. Alduin bovul. One reason I came to your call was to test your Thu'um myself.”

 “Really?” Marceline asked as she walked back toward him. “Why, would you do such a thing?  The others—the lesser dov—seem to have no control over their actions.  They are feral and attack on instinct alone.  You are different.  Why would have taken such a chance?”

 “A test of strength. Many of us—even the ‘lesser dov’as you have so ignorantly described— have begun to question Alduin's lordship, whether his Thu'um was truly the strongest, amongst ourselves, of course.  None were yet ready to openly defy him, but forgive me, for I digress.”

 “Forgiven,” Marceline said knelt down beside the Odahviing. “So if you had bested me, the Dragonborn, your next move would have been to challenge Alduin?”

“You see much, little Dovah.  But you are not concerned about my plans or lost destiny.  You want to know of the World-Eater.”

“I do, Odahviing.  And what’s more, I think you want to tell me.”

“Hmm,” he purred. “I can tell you that Alduin has traveled to Sovngarde to regain his strength.  There he devours the souls of the lost.  The souls of the dead give him strength and he guards this privilege jealously.”

“Can mortals travel to Sovngarde?”

“But of course, little one,” he sneered.  “Just stand a bit closer.”

“Very funny, Odahviing—you dragons and your wicked humor.  I appreciate that, truly—but not right now,” Marceline snapped as she turned to Farengar. “You can continue.”

Dovah!” the dragon roared. “There is a door, or portal in the eastern mountains called Skuldafn, that both Dov and man can enter, but …”

“But what?”

“You may have the Thu’um of a Dovah, but without wings of one, you’ll never reach Skuldafn.”

“You could take me there—that would the price of your freedom,” Marceline said hopefully; this would solve at least one of her problems. 

Odahviing belched smoke.  “Serve you?  A mere mortal?  No little, Dov.  Perhaps when you have defeated Alduin, I will reconsider, but for now—“

 “Well then, Odahviing, I bid you goodnight,” she said shortly, turning toward the balcony’s door.

“Where are you going?” the dragon hissed as Marceline and Balgruuf walked toward the tower’s gate.

“I think I will eat and then perhaps rest as it has been a rather taxing day—for a mere mortal.  But have no fear, Odahviing, for I leave you in the very capable hands of our court wizard.”

“Dovah!”

“Think on my offer tonight, dragon.  I will see you on the morrow,” Marceline snapped as the palace doors shut behind her.  Once behind doors, Balgruuf approached her.

“Marceline, I do not know how long that trap will hold.”

“No worries, my liege,” she said stroking Balgruuf’s cheek. “He won’t last the night. He’ll give in before sunrise.”

“Well, in the meantime, there is another matter I must speak with you about,” Balgruuf uttered solemnly, as his eyes seemed to water. 

Marceline cringed.  Though I am not large yet, certainly word of my condition must have spread. Please don’t Balgruuf.  Stepping forward Marceline whispered, “What is it, my lord?”

“I have something for you,” he said, leading her from the balcony to his inner chambers.  From the corner of her eye Marceline saw Balgruuf’s son, Nelkir, scowling at her as they passed him.  There were things here that neither she nor time could ever mend.

“Here,” Balgruuf said as he stopped at the table in his chambers.  On the table was an ornately decorated wooden chest with a gold lock.   The chest was engraved with golden marking—letters that glowed and formed words she only vaguely remembered.  Marceline had seen this chest once as a child.  She remembered her mother putting it up—she was afraid that Sayroni—she was afraid the chest would disappear.

“Where did you get this?” Marceline whispered as she lovingly fingered the golden lettering.

“When my courier delivered the letters and purse to Lydia’s family, Lydia’s mother stated that this must come to you. According to her mother, Lydia had stopped by her family’s farm after returning from Raven Rock. She stated that they were to hold on to this chest until she returned.”

“Rorikstead is far off from Whiterun; I don’t understand why she would have stopped there. Unless…” Marceline said slowly as she turned to Balgruuf. “She must have known—“

“—She was being followed.”

A tear fell, and then other. “’I am sworn to carry your burdens,” Marceline murmured.  “She always said that.  I guess this was her last.”

“They said it was imperative that this reach you.  I had thought to take it to High Hrothgar, but…I feared it could fall into the wrong hands.  I thought it was best to keep it here…to keep it hidden.  This letter also came with it.”

Marceline looked at seal that carried her family’s crest. “The seal’s broken, Balgruuf.  Have you taken to reading my dispatches?”

He shrugged. “I always did.”

Marceline rolled her eyes in disgust, and then opened the letter; it was from her mother.

Annka,

The word of your daring feats and new title travels over the land and sea like a wild fire.  I fear that you, like your great, great grandmother, have been burdened with the curse of prophecy. Within this chest is gift that has been handed down from generation to generation.  It kept Nerevarine safe throughout her trials; it is my dearest wish that it keeps you safe through yours.

— Mother

 Marceline gently refolded the letter and placed it beside the chest.  She turned to Balgruuf, “You didn’t try to open it?”

“Well,” Balgruuf said guiltily as he cleared his throat, “I was curious, but the lock, and the letters… I couldn’t open it; I couldn’t even pry it.”

“Of course you couldn’t,” Marceline said softly, wiping away the tears. “It’s written in Dunmeri.” Deftly, her slender fingers moved the pieces of the cryptex lock.  “The chest itself is well over two hundred years old.  And the code is simple, really—if you knew my people’s history.”

“What does it—“

“—Nerevarine.  Balgruuf, it says, ‘Nerevarine’. This was great, great grandmother’s chest.”

“This belonged to the Nerevarine?” Balgruuf gasped.  “I can’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” Marceline said shortly. “Now, let’s see what’s inside.”

“If you’d like me to leave.”

“No, it fine Balgruuf; you have helped me and I see no reason not to sate your curiosity. But do stand back; I can’t stand you breathing over my shoulder,” Marceline said as she gave Balgruuf a playful nudge.  As the chest opened, a glint of silver material caught her eye.  Carefully, Marceline lifted the ancient robe out of the chest.  It was made of a gray, translucent fiber that caught the light and almost seemed to bend it. 

“Well, what are you waiting for, Marcy?  Try the damned thing on.”

Marceline glared at Balgruuf as she wrapped the formless robe around her.  She could feel it shrinking to fit her form.  Behind her she heard a gasp and the sound of a metal goblet hitting the floor.  She turned around. “What?”

“Mother of gods!” Balgruuf said, as he turned ashen.

“What, Balgruuf!  By the Nine, quit blithering like an idiot!”

“Look in the mirror, Marcy,” he said, his voice monotone.  Marceline turned toward large, gilded mirror and gasped.  Her head was still visible though it appeared disembodied from a blank form—she was a specter that lived in the nightmares of children.  Quickly, she lifted the hood over head and transformation was complete.  There was no reflection staring back at her. 

Marceline started laughing hysterically.

“I’m glad you find this funny, Thane.  That getup was nearly the end of me.”

Marceline lifted the hood back. “Let’s go visit Irileth; I just want to see her face.”

“I have no intention of scaring my housecarl to death tonight,” Balgruuf said shaking his head.  “But if you give me few moments, I’ll scrawl a list of people whom I wouldn’t mind seeing—

“DOVAHKIIN!” came a roar that nearly leveled Dragonsreach, knocking both Marceline and Balgruuf to the ground.

“Bloody hell, there went all our fun,” Balgruuf said, pulling himself and Marceline from the ground.

“Not quite,” Marceline retorted devilishly as she heard the tale-tell sound of Irileth’s heavy footfall ascending up the stairs.

“Sire—the dragon threatens to level this keep—” Irileth said breathlessly before turning toward the disembodied head of the Whiterun’s Thane.  “Mephala!” she screamed before falling into a dead faint.  Marceline laughed so hard that nearly collapsed beside the petrified mer.

“Alright, you’ve had your fun, Marcy.  Now it’s time to deal with beast shaking my keep,” Balgruuf fumed as he shook his unconscious Housecarl. “Irileth, get up.  It’s just a bloody cloak.”

“Really, Irileth, I’m quite alive.”

“Pity,” Irileth scowled as she rose.  “Your grace, the dragon’s trap is coming apart.  We must slay the beast.”

“No, that wouldn’t do,” Marceline sighed. “I’ll go see him now.  Perhaps, he’s in the mood to make a deal.”

“He better be, Marceline,” Balgruuf glowered.  “If not, you’ll have to kill him.”

“I know.”

                                                                              ********

Marceline, Balgruuf and Irileth made their way to the balcony.  It was worse than she feared.  The chains holding the trap in place were coming loose from their beams.  A few more good shakes and her ride to the netherworld would be gone.  Odahviing also had the court mage dangling from his mouth, though he had not clamped down entirely as Farengar was still kicking and screaming.

“Something vexes thee, dragon?” Marceline mused as she approached the beast.

“Murh filth mage, Doe!”

“Spit him out, Odahviing!  It’s rude to talk with your mouth full,” Marceline chided.  “Besides, you have no idea where he’s been.”

With a quick flick of his head, Odahviing sent the poor, shrieking mage flying.  “My patience is at its end, Dovahkiin!”

“As is mine,” Marceline shouted, unsheathing Dragonbane.  “You will take me to Skuldafn now, dragon, or you will meet your end—either way is fine with me.”

Odahviing glared at slight woman standing before him with the glowing blade drawn, and then chortled. “Fine.  I have no problem taking you to your demise, Dovah, if you so wish it.”

“What little faith you have in me,” she sighed.

“I have little faith in all your kind, Dovah.  You will be defeated and the dragons will reign supreme. Your frailty will be your undoing.  It is that simple.”

“We shall see, Odahviing,” Marceline said as she turned to Irileth. “Release the dragon.”  Irileth turned to her soldiers who released chains that held the crumbling trap.  With a crash, the trap fell as Odahviing shook himself from his bonds. 

“Are you ready to see the world as only a Dovah can?” he smirked wickedly. “I must warn you, Dragonborn, once you’ve flow the skies of Keizaal, your envy of the Dov will eat at your soul until you breathe your last.”

Marceline mounted the dragon; she then leaned down, whispering in his ear.  

“Of that I have no doubt.”

Dragon Series 2 by Lesliewifeofbath

A Season Ended Part II
I had so much fun with this chapter.  I think Dragons have a sense of humor, and what's more I think Odahviing is the Bender of the Skyrim Universe.  If you don't know who Bender is then for godsakes watch some Futurama.  You'll thank me.

The cloak is a tribute to my husband--he got me hooked on the TES universe via his crack dealer approach:

Leslie: Why do always play that stupid game?

Sam: Here honey, just try it.  You'll love it.  You get a pretty character and you get to decorate your home.

The Cloak of Masam was a part of a mod he made for Morrowind. With the help from cloak, helm, light ring, and lighter ring of Masam, I looted and pilfered all sorts of lovely shrines and then decorated all seven of my homes with all my ill-gotten gains.  It was glorious.

As always Odahviing, Balgruuf and Irileth (gods help that humorless mer) belong to Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©

A link to the Courtesan Series: lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co… and lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co….

A special thanks goes to Whisper292 for her sharp eye and endless patience (and knowledge of dragons).

Some in game dialogue was used. As I couldn't remember the entire scene (I played it well over a year ago).  Here's my source: www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Odahv…

Speak like a dragon: www.thuum.org/translate.php
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I think you did a marvelous job in describing the day to day actions (and reactions) of a typical 11 year old. I could picture him absentmindedly playing the game while worrying about his mother.

Also, you did a great job in pulling the reader into the story--I want to know why his mother is crying (especially since she never cries) and why his sister is so angry.

Editing and grammatical mistakes seems to be your Achilles heel. Some sentences were awkwardly worded (as seen below).

He had to keep alert for any other surprises that the dark wizard that awaited him at the end of the dungeon may have lying in wait.

I would combine these sentences and make them a bit more dynamic. You want the reader to wince a bit at what sounds like a pretty serious injury.

Exhausted, the warrior leaned on the wall next to the door. His hand grasped at his side where he felt the large gash in his ribs.

I think this has the potential to be a great story. You need to hammer out the kinks.

dA's New Logo

Journal Entry: Thu Dec 4, 2014, 7:29 PM

The Skin Speaks For Itself.



Pretty Bleak Week

Sat Nov 15, 2014, 12:58 PM


So.  I now have over 12,000 deviations in my stacks to review.  I haven't been on here much recently.  Last Friday, dear friends of ours lost their six month old son to SIDs.  It was pretty terrible.  My friends come from a large family--all of whom are suffering. All of whom are bargaining, cursing and pleading with god. 

As a front line supporter, I've been to both the family and general viewing and the funeral.  Too many nights of cigarettes in the funeral home's parking lot combined with the tears and pain of watching loved ones suffering has led to the hack from hell.  I haven't had the urge to do much creating or critiquing this week, but then there hasn't been time to do much of anything outside of work and grieve.

This week has been surreal.  As a parent, my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced this kind of pain. It is the worst (peroid).  I'm posting a link to my friends gofundme thingy.  It's to help the cover the inflated/exorbitant/outrageous cost of the typical American funeral. Though I generally disdain such macabre traditions as funerary rites and actually think it makes the family's suffering much worse, this is what they felt they needed to do.  So here it is: www.gofundme.com/h1snqo.

Though it's been pretty miserable, I have had one bright light shine though the bleakness.  Gaspode5 has offered to step in as my artist for the The-Bards-College Collaboration Contest.  I am privileged to work with such a talented artist.


Texture by Seykloren
Skin by Riemea

A Writer Who Needs An Artist

Journal Entry: Fri Nov 7, 2014, 5:17 PM


So it's collaboration time at the :iconthe-bards-college:.


I had an artist, but due to unforeseen circumstances it looks like she may have to pull out of the contest.


So I am a Writer looking for an Artist.


"Well, Leslie, what are you looking for...besides the obvious?  What would the picture be about?"

It would be about this lovely lady:

Annika Who? by Lesliewifeofbath

This is Annika Blue, my Nerevarine.  She is the star of my series Nerevar Blue:  lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co…

This story is a sort of prequel to the series.  It's about her life in Anvil--it wasn't so great.  Basically I need some one to draw Annika Blue sitting mournfully, or wistfully--I'll take wistfully--on a pier looking out at the vast Abecean Sea. 

If you're interested, here are few more references: A Fun Project: Characters In Real Life

My son offered to help and he drew this:  I'm not sure if it will work.  If you think you can beat this 5 year old Picasso, drop me a line.


Max Art by Lesliewifeofbath

PS:  The links to Facebook, Tumbler, etc., are not mine.  They will take you to someone else.  The person who designed this skin.


Annika Who? by Lesliewifeofbath
Annika Who?
This is Annika Blue, my Nerevarine.  Here story is found here: lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co…. I am looking for someone to draw this petite lovely lady on a pier.  She sitting and looking kind of mournful.
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George the Llama by Lesliewifeofbath
George the Llama
A llama royale.  He's a handsome lad and I'm dedicating him to all of the fantastic participants of :iconthe-bards-college: Hastily Thrown Together Scary Screenie Competition.  Much love xxxoooo!

Taken at Old McDonald's Pumpkin Patch.
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Marcy is Scary by Lesliewifeofbath
Marcy is Scary
Sociopath? Possibly.  Maceline certainly has a one track mind.  You + in my way= Dead.  That's her math.  Gotta love her. I certainly do.

Want to experience Marceline?  You can find her here... lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co…

Modified in Gimp 2.6

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
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I wish I could change the order in which these works are displayed.

Continued from: Chapter 12: Dovah Rising Part II


“Let’s hear from the Dragonborn.”

Suddenly the room fell silent.  The dark stone walls seemed to be closing in on me. There was no posturing out of Ulfric or veiled threats spewing out of Tullius.  Galmar had stopped blustering, and even Delphine was silent as every eye in the room fell on me. 

Well, Ulfric, you’re deeply invested in regaining the Reach, though gods know why, because it’s the worst hole of holes and has no political or territorial status whatsoever.  Tullius, your choice in Riften makes much more sense as you Imperials and the thieves that run that town are so simpatico that it’s a match made in paradise—and the smaller holds are just your bastard spawn.  Frankly, I could care less about this little game of who-gets-what as I’m just in it to battle the big bad wolf on Bald Mountain. So moving right along…

I wanted to say this, so help me gods I did, but as every eye in the room penetrated me, I just remembered the lines kindly supplied to me by Elenwen.

Clearing my throat, I started, “Ulfric, you once held Markarth; and though it pains me deeply to betray my dear friend Jarl Igmund, I think it’s what you want, and this sacrifice should show all that I am fully invested in my duty to Skyrim.  Tullius, you have an interest in keeping the road open to the south, so Riften is the obvious choice.  As there is a need for expanded territories and borders in this time of truce, I think the Stormcloaks should hold Winterhold and the Imperials should hold Morthal.  That should give everyone some extra breathing room.”

“Until we take it all,” Ulfric muttered. Tullius grimaced, though said nothing.

“We shall see,” I said looking across the table at Elenwen.  The Emissary could barely hide the shit-eating grin that mocked, you won’t be here to see the final outcome.  She was right.  As part of our bargain my beloved and I would leave Skyrim to its own devices after I defeat the World-Eater. I could only hope that Skyrim’s people wouldn’t devour each other in a meaningless war when the real threat to their existence lay to the south.

“Dragonborn.” Elisif rose as she addressed me, though she glared directly at Ulfric, “I think our faction should be compensated for the loss of so many people at the hands of that butcher and his gang of thugs.”

Ulfric rose too, though his voice remained even. “The blood spilled on this land is due to your puppetmaster, Elisif.  Go ask them for your bloody recompense.”

“You murderous bastard!” Elisif raged, pounding the table. Her eyes, bloodshot and tearstained cut into Ulfric.  This was not about gold, or the dying masses, or the bloody toll of a ceaseless civil war—this was about Elisif’s husband, the slain High King Torygg. I knew, as did everyone sitting at that table, that no amount of gold could fill that empty void or mend her broken heart.  Besides, as jarls go, Ulfric had little gold to spare.

“Elisif, stop!” Tullius shouted, grabbing the jarl’s arm in a futile attempt to sit her down.  She didn’t.  In a sense I was glad to see this side of her.  From the moment I spoke to this wisp of woman, I had felt her strength; and perhaps now others—especially Tullius and Elenwen—would see it too.

Yanking her arm away from the general and still standing, Elisif continued, though she choked on her words. “You murdered my husband, the High King of Skyrim and you killed so many...so many people have been lost.  Jarl Ulfric, there is much blood on your hands.”

Ulfric took in a deep breath before speaking, but did not rage back.  He spoke calmly, looking directly Elisif, who was still trembling. “I did what I thought was best for the sons and daughters of Skyrim.  Elisif, I have no quarrel with you, but I am determined to free this land from the Imperial—and Aldmeri—tyranny.”

Elenwen then stood, “I protest that in the highest terms—“

“Stop,” I said, raising my hand as the torch’s warm light cast a large shadow against the wall. “There are no innocents here. Everyone at this table has lost someone dear to them in battles past, and everyone’s hands are stained with blood.  I am not here to judge either faction, and am certainly in no position to decide compensation.  My only hope is that this sacrifice that I am prepared to make will not be in vain—that there will still be a Skyrim to come home to.”

“Well said, courtesan,” Delphine smirked.

“We’re done here,” I said firmly.  “There’s nothing more to say.  The treaty is in effect, and now Balgruuf and I have a dragon to trap.”

There was much grumbling as the factions departed. Ulfric stared at me coldly; the intensity of his eyes sent cold chills down my spine. But there was a friendly face amidst the clouds. As he rose, Balgruuf said to me, “Marceline, you and your escorts may travel back to Whiterun with us, seeing we’re heading in the same direction.”

“I will be with you shortly, Jarl Balgruuf.  I have something to attend to,” I said shooting a glance to Elenwen before looking back at Balgruuf. 

“Do what you must, Dragonborn. I’ll be waiting.”

                                                                         **********

The Treaty by Lesliewifeofbath


Dres and Aela were waiting for me outside the doors. “So it’s done?” Dres asked, though the question was more rhetorical than not.  I knew he listened to everything.

“Yes, it’s done and I know it was at least reasonably fair as neither party is terribly pleased,” I said and shrugged as we passed the Imperial faction on our way out the door.  I had noticed that Elenwen had made a quick exit.  I had to catch her before she went back on her word. She would make good on her promise—I would see to that.

As the three of us exited the hallowed halls of Hrothgar and began our descent downstairs, Aela stopped dead in her tracks.

“Marcy,” Aela whispered as she raised a hand across my chest.  Standing outside on the steps of High Hrothgar was Elenwen.  Behind her two guards held up Ondolemar, whose weakened body trembled against the piercing wind.  His eyes, though still blazing were sunken in and were enveloped by the dark circles beneath them. His frame had lost at least two stone. The rational part of me knew what she was doing—that she wanted the world to see the extent of Thalmor pity.  She wanted to make me blanch.

As a shrill, mountain wind blew past the crowds lining up on the steps, Elenwen stepped forward.  “I’ve kept my word, Dragonborn. You wanted to see your love; well here he stands.”

“Barely,” Dres called out. A few courtiers tittered.  Ulfric stood still as stone, while behind him Elisif gasped. I heard Tullius hiss, “Elenwen, what are you doing?”

My heart pounded as I stared blankly at him.  I could see the bruises that covered his beautiful face.  His head had been shaved, or more like scalped, as I could see cruel cuts across his brow.  The drumbeat sound of blood pulsing through my veins grew louder until it blocked out everything else.  Elenwen stood before me triumphantly, like a cat presenting a dead rat to her horrified owner.

 Racing thoughts of why I should hold it together skittered haphazardly in my mind; they danced to a reasonable tune that sang killing her would destroy the treaty, you have to save Skyrim, man and Dovah are world-eaters. These wispy motives battled against all my instincts. All logic, along with all of my rationale suddenly disappeared as I stared at my beaten husband standing in the blistering wind, gaunt and shaking.  She would pay.  They would all pay…no matter the cost.

I turned to Aela and took a deep breath as both she and Dres nodded.  Wordlessly, I walked toward Elenwen.  I had no idea what I would do next.

Fus Ro Doh,” I Shouted. The blow from the Shout knocked Elenwen over immediately. As the Emissary fell, Aela swooped in and grabbed Ondolemar from the guards caught off balance from the Shout.  Quickly, she led him away from the danger posed by his captors and that of my own blind fury. Over and over I shouted, through rage and tears, until Elenwen called out for mercy as she and her retainers dangled precariously over the Throat of the World. 

From behind I registered the sounds of bows drawing back and swords being unsheathed. Dres, Aela and even Delphine stood close to me.  Suddenly, I felt someone grab my wrist.

“Marceline, no! You can’t do this…she wants this,” Ondolemar cried out, his graveled voice barely above a whisper.  He looked at me with pleading eyes and continued. “Marcy, she wants you to fail and for Skyrim to fall. She’s a willing martyr. Don’t give in.” As he uttered those last words he collapsed. Esbern and Dres caught his fall.

Ondolemar’s words broke the trance-like state of my shout. From all sides I heard sounds of panic and confusion. I looked over to Tullius, who had his blade unsheathed, though, curiously, he didn’t charge.  He stood as still as a stone, meeting my gaze, as his men pulled Elenwen and her guards to safety.  She and her other Thalmor retainers immediately readied their spells, as frost shards pelted our legs and feet.

“This ends now, Elenwen!” Tullius raged. “You’ve made your point and shown to all the extent of Thalmor mercy.  It’s done!”

“You have no say over me,” Elenwen screeched. “Clearly you forget your place!”

“We aren’t in Solitude right now, Emissary,” Tullius coolly retorted.  “Look around you, Elenwen. Many here want you dead.  And it would be months before the Thalmor could retaliate—if they retaliated. For the safety of the treaty and to get off this bloody mountain, we need to come to some agreement.”

“There is no agreement necessary.  Ondolemar is prisoner of the Thalmor.  He comes with us.”

“No, Elenwen,” I said as my voice cracked. “He’s near death.  I will not let you kill him. I told you that!”

“Well then we are at a stalemate, Dragonborn,” Elenwen said, while dusting the snow from her robes. “He is a traitor and our prisoner. I will not leave without him.”

We stood for a time in silence, each eyeing the other as crowd watched. The silence that had initially surrounded us soon devolved into whispered arguments and complaints.  Everyone was cold and miserable; the snow that had started as a small shower was now falling in heavy blankets.  Ulfric pushed through the retainers and factions until he stood between us.

“I couldn’t care less about whom your prisoner is, Emissary. You hold no sway over us, and as we need the Dragonborn alive and in once piece, I say matter is decided.  She can take her bloody husband straight to Oblivion for all I care, as long we get off this damned mountain and she destroys the World-Eater.”

“He must be healed.  This mer will not survive the trek back,” Arngeir added.

“I’m getting cold,” Balgruuf stated plainly.  “Elenwen you’ve had fun and made a mockery out of all of us. I’m cold. The mer stays here.”

“You have no say in this, Balgruuf,” Elenwen snapped. Then there were voices, a multitude of arguing voices, and people shouting at each other and at me.  I didn’t care; I crouched down beside my husband in the snow, gently cradling him in my arms. Finally a lone voice in the crowd stood out.

“Take me instead.”

Everyone turned to Aela as she continued, “I am a high ranking member of the Companions.  I am willing to stand in his place.” 

“No, Aela!” Dres shouted. “I won’t let you do this!”

“It is for love,” Aela said as she squeezed his hand softly placed a kiss on his cheek before turning to me.

“Aela?” I called out as I as looked up at the Huntress.

“You promised me a happy ending, Marceline,” Aela said as she smiled, before she turned and approached the Emissary.  “The Dragonborn will fulfill her duties to Skyrim and to this council, then will leave per your terms.”

“How did you know—”

“Don’t look so surprised, Emissary; I heard everything,” Aela answered flatly. “I know what you said and I know what the Dragonborn said.  And I know you have much to lose if the Justiciar dies and Skyrim has much to lose if the Dragonborn fails.”

“Take the deal, Elenwen,” Tullius seethed.

Elenwen looked over to Tullius who nodded. “Fine—the traitor stays here and you will go in his place. Clap her in irons.”

“No, Elenwen,” Tullius said firmly as he sheathed his sword and approached the group.  “I know this woman and can vouch for her character.”

“It matters not to me,” Elenwen retorted.

“Listen to me, Elenwen,” Tullius said in a menacing voice.  “If you hurt her, a Companion, it will demoralize my troops.  I expect her to stay at the Embassy in Solitude, in a genteel fashion.”

“And if the Dragonborn fails?” Elenwen replied hotly.

Ondolemar rose to his feet. “If she fails you may fetch me and do with me as you like.  I will remain here until the outcome is decided.”

“Fine,” Elenwen stated with as much dignity as she could muster. “Aela the Huntress, you may come with me.”

Aela said nothing as she walked down the stairs beside the Emissary, though quickly looked back to Dres and me before she disappeared into the driving snow.

“You’d better win this, Dragonborn,” Ulfric muttered as he and his troops marched past me.

                                                                           ***********

“You’ve seen better days,” I said, gently pressing warmed poultice across my husband’s forehead. We were in a small room with a bed; Arngeir had kindly provided us with a room in which Ondolemar could recover. Though not the coziest surroundings, at least room was dry and warm.  I dipped the cloth in a healing potion given to me by Arngier and gently wiped the bloody scars on his head as I cradled him in my lap.  Balgruuf had kindly decided to make camp at Ivarstead for the night and allow me just a short time with my husband.

“You’re not looking so hot yourself, Marceline,” he laughed as he kissed my arm.  “What have you been up to, my love?”

“Oh, much of the same, fighting dragons, winning friends and influencing people, bringing together warring factions to this sign a treaty, despite their avid distaste for my person.”

“So you did it,” he said as he smiled proudly. “I wish I had been there to see it.”

“There wasn’t much to see, really.  A bit of magic, some roadside razzle-dazzle, some bribery…and some softly veiled threats.”

 Ondolemar sighed deeply as he touched my face. “Oh, what a fine queen you would make,” he said turning to the side as I rose, gently placing his head on a pillow. With trepidation I stood and began to unlace my stomacher. “Here,” he said softly, “it’s the least I could do.”

As the stiff garment fell to the ground, Ondolemar studied the small, rounded belly before him. His eyes looked at me, questioning. “That wasn’t there before.”

“No, no it wasn’t,” I said slowly, looking away from him. “I think it happened while we were at Black Reach, or maybe when we were here last. Perhaps in Whiterun…”

“You’re not for certain? I thought you women knew about those things.”

I sat back down beside him as he put his hand my belly. “Sometimes, when a child is deeply desired and expected, women know their time and they count the days, pensively; in other cases women wait in dread knowing the outcome. For me it was neither, I loved you wholly and didn’t care about the consequences.  Besides, I have been too busy to count time and days.  And, finally when I did notice, I didn’t want to acknowledge it for all I could feel is fear.”

“I’m sorry,” he said sadly, turning away from me. I knew he was thinking about Pyslia.  Another lost child, for how could a woman in such a delicate condition vanquish a World-Eater?

 I reached for his hand. “I was afraid if you knew you would be scared for me, that this would worry you.”

“Of course it does! Of course I’m worried!” he said impassioned. “And I’m sorry. And I am scared for you and for…”

“I’m not sorry,” I stated plainly. “Of course I’m scared for us, for our baby, but Ondolemar…”

“Yes?” he said, his eyes pleading.

“I regret nothing,” I said before placing a soft kiss on his lips.

Chapter 13: A Season Ended: Part I
I am so sorry it too me so long to get this out.  So many things are happening in my life right now that it's really hard to keep up with my writing.  The story is in a good place, so I'm looking forward to writing the next part.

I want to thank everyone who has stuck with this series despite the long gaps.  It really gladdens my heart.  Thank you.

I hope I made people happy with uh...well...Elenwen and her trip down (or nearly) down the mountain.

A link to Courtesan Series: lesliewifeofbath.deviantart.co…

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©

Ondolemar, Aela, Ulfric, Delphine, Esbern and company belong to Bethesda too.

Atvir Dres: www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/…?

As always, credit goes to my Beta Reader Whisper292 for the edits.
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The Treaty by Lesliewifeofbath
The Treaty
Chapter Art.  No my favorite pic. But if you look really close, you'll find an Easter egg.

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
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No Regrets by Lesliewifeofbath
No Regrets
Art for the next chapter.  One of my all time favorite captures.

Ondolemar belongs to Skyrim

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
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Shout Elenwen From The Mountain by Lesliewifeofbath
Shout Elenwen From The Mountain
This is an unapologetic silly photo manip.  A whole lotta people wanted to see Marceline shout the bitch off the Throat of the World.  Wish granted.

Elenwen belongs to Skyrim (but she's Marceline's bitch in this).

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
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Spaghetti-Mayhem Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014
Thank you very kindly for the watch. I don't get very many people interested in what I do or have to say (and who would be with my exceedingly gorgeous art :lol:) so it is a very meaningful occurrence to me when someone does bother to take the time out of their today and subsequent tomorrows to keep tabs on what I works and opinions I produce.
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Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I appreciate intelligence when I see it, and you sir, blew me away.

Consider taking up writing.  When you do, come find :iconthe-bards-college:
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Spaghetti-Mayhem Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014
I'm already a writer. =D I'm also a freelance book editor with a focus on developmental editing.

I don't upload much of my literature (or any at all for that matter). Right now I'm going through a complete reboot of the world building behind my writing. I'm keeping a journal detailing my thought process as I world build and I've made it into a little journal series here on dA. It's pretty boring at the moment since all I've covered so far are basic celestial details like sun and moon and the like.
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Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I wouldn't put anything on here that I could possibly make money off of.  That would be stupid. Right now, writing is a hobby for me and a great way to hone my skills--plus, I really enjoy it. :)

Maybe when I actually have time to really invest in it, I'll actually get serious and create a universe all my own.

One can dream...
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MikaLero Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014
I hope your holiday had the universe treating you and your loved ones a little more tenderly.  I miss chatting with you, but totally understand how crazy life is.
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Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Call it holiday insanity, but as the wise Bender Rodriguez said, "I'm back, baby."
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MikaLero Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014
YEY!  *hugs*
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Kirinoru Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Student Artist
thanks for faving! : ) :heart:
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crazyruthie Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014   Traditional Artist
thanks!
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MikaLero Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
*hugs* Have a piece of cake for being so awesome and listening to my babbling and giving sage advice in return.
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