A Couple Of Years Together

After leaving Sungard, Velenia invited Arthus to come with her to Whiterun, the High Elven City near the center of Skyrim. Arthus accepted under the pretense of broadening his horizons and seeing the world beyond what he had experienced, but they both knew why they were making the trip.

It took them a week to get there, all the while Velenia was thrilling Arthus with stories and descriptions of the wonderful and mysterious city. She warned that no non-Elf was permitted inside the walls without the invitation of a citizen, and even so, he had better be on his best behavior. Most of her kin were not the adventurous type, and could be quite xenophobic.

Arthus wasn’t particularly worried since he had always had a way of getting along with most anybody, and he never had any problems being friends with Fizbin, and he was as aloof and arrogant as they came!

After a brief inquiry from an Elven Roadwarden who wondered what business “that” had in Whiterun, to which Velenia chastised him for insulting her guest, they were within sight of the walls.

Whiterun was an impressive sight even from a distance. The walls were white marble gilded in gold and silver with huge wrought metal gates and trellises. Colorful pennants flew from the walls and the spires of the buildings throughout the city. Everything about the High Elven capital was as much a work of art as it was a cityscape.

Even Velenia took a deep breath as the vision reminded her that her memories of home would always pale in comparison to the reality of its grandeur.

“Not too bad.” Said Arthus as Velenia punched him in the arm. They both laughed.

Arthus had never seen an Elven knight before, but when the guard captain waved them to the gate Arthus found himself standing up in his saddle to get a better look. The captain’s armor was a gleaming silvery-white embossed with an elaborate image of the city. His face was stern but calm, and he nodded to Arthus after he and Velenia exchanged a few pleasantries.

Velenia pointed out the many landmarks and buildings of note as they rode through toward her family’s residence. The harmony of nature and architecture was not lost on him, nor was the fact that the trees and other landscaping were treated with as much if not more reverence than the buildings themselves.

Velenia’s family estate was on a small hill that overlooked the massive oak tree in the center of the city. Her father was a respected artist as was her mother, gifts that Velenia shared in much smaller measure. Her talents obviously lent themselves to different art forms.

They rode up the cobbled pathway to the low, sprawling manor. Impressive gardens surrounded the home and trees were visible behind the house. Velenia’s mother walked outside to greet her looking Arthus up and down as they embraced. Velenia explained that he was a close friend and that she wanted to introduce him to the family. While her mother’s face did not noticeably change, Arthus sensed her displeasure at the thought of such an introduction. Meeting during a festival or public event was the manner that a friend and “outsider” would be introduced. A private audience in the family residence had an altogether different meaning, and they all knew it.

It was several days before her father would even agree to meet the “manling” that had taken refuge in his house. Arthus realized that more often than not, when he overheard their arguments, he was referred to more like vermin than a person. He would have taken it personally if this didn’t mean so much to Velenia, so he swallowed his pride and decided that he would bear their slings and arrows and make the best impression he could.

Arthus had made sure over the past few days to procure some finer clothing to wear around the house. Velenia would visit the shops and handled the transactions as Arthus was still an outsider to these people and would be charged accordingly, if he wasn’t ignored altogether.

Arthus did manage to sneak out from time to time and test his “mettle” in the marketplace on his own. He found Velenia’s advice to be on target and he remained polite and composed even when confronted with apprehension and prejudice. After several days of moving among them and making short idle chit-chat, some of the local merchants warmed to him a bit. His command of their language, appreciation for Elven wine, and impressive knowledge of their ways (for a human) was enough to melt the initial ice. Arthus’ natural ease in any surroundings and company, not to mention his willingness to overspend without hesitation, made him that much more acceptable.

The week passed, and Arthus knew that winning over Velenia’s parents would make his attempts with the merchants look like child’s play. That is if her father even consented to sit with him at all. In fact it would take nearly two weeks before Arthus would find himself being addressed by the Lord of the house.

“Why have you come here, human?” he asked with a commanding and demeaning tone.

“I am here to meet you, Lord Amastacia.” Arthus replied softly as he stood a bowed.

Lord Amastacia sneered a bit and snapped “Yes, yes, you have obviously practiced. Why should I allow this to continue at all? Why should I not look on this as anything but an insult to my house?”

Arthus raised his eyebrows unable to hold his poker face but quickly regained his composure. “I assure you I mean no disrespect to your house or your daughter.”

At the mention of his daughter Lord Amastacia opened his mouth wide preparing to yell, but Arthus headed off the outburst.

“I would not have come if I was not invited. I will certainly do everything in my power to be a gracious guest and a credit to your house.”

“Can you be so presumptuous as to think I would allow you to be anything more than a guest here? You are a foolish creature, even for a manling!” the Lord shouted.

This type of berating continued for some time, and Arthus bit his tongue and reminded himself that if this wasn’t for her, he would have slit this arrogant pig’s throat by now.

Then Lord Amastacia broadened his verbal assault to include his daughter “Perhaps she is just as foolish and ignorant as you to have even thought of bringing this into my house! It was a mistake to let her live among you people the bad influence is obvious! I don’t know which one of you deserves the back of my hand more!”

That was all Arthus needed to hear. He would endure any attack on himself, but to turn on his own daughter, to turn on Velenia, was completely out of bounds.

“How dare you!” Arthus shouted as he hopped to his feet. “Velenia is no fool, and I will not sit here and listen to you insult her!” Arthus’ chest was heaving in anger and he found himself wagging his finger at the master of the house.

“If you have no use for me then I will go, but I can not promise that your daughter will not follow, and from what I’ve seen I would not blame her!” “I may be nothing here, but Velenia is your daughter, you should speak of her with respect…”

Arthus’ voice froze from anger as he inched closer to the Elf Lord. By the time he was within arms reach he found himself painfully aware of the slim knife he had concealed up his sleeve.

“So…” Lord Amastacia said calmly. “You would raise arms against me, in my own house?”

Arthus stood confused, clenching and releasing his fist, trying to put his words together through the noise of his rage. He was unable to answer so Lord Amastacia continued.

“I mean to say, you would fight even me for her honor?”

Arthus nodded still stiff and shaking with a clearly confounded look on his face.

“So long as that does not change, you may court her.” Said Lord Amastacia clasping his hands on Arthus’ shoulders.

As he turned to leave, Lord Amastacia looked back and said “A word of warning Arthus… don’t EVER take that tone with her mother, even I won’t be able to help you!”

Arthus stood in the center of the room with his arms slightly turned out imploring any greater power to help him understand what just happened. A moment later Velenia ran through the doorway with tears in her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around him.

“That was amazing! Even for you!” She exclaimed.

Arthus held her tightly and whispered “You owe me!”

They both laughed.

They spent the next two years in Whiterun, traveling as the Keepers required, and sharing the hospitality of the Elves when they were between assignments.

Arthus was truly amazed at how quickly the Elves accepted him once it was known that he was deemed an acceptable courtier to Velenia. He was becoming very much a part of the community and her family.

It felt good to be accepted here, and Arthus was becoming increasingly eager to introduce Velenia to his family and friends in Whitehaven.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License