The Companions brought Skjor’s body home, and they held his funeral. Aela locked herself in her room afterward and didn’t come out for a week. All the members of the Circle tried to visit her or draw her out, but she refused to open her door and told them to go away. When she finally came out, she spent time in Kodlak’s office, reading through letters and notes he had on his desk, looking for anything that might indicate the location of the Silver Hand. One afternoon, she set out on her own and didn’t come back for several days.
Selene’s nerves were on edge. The mixture of dragon blood and beastblood didn’t seem to have any unusual effect, but the new sensations still hard to get used to. The scents she experienced were distracting at best and downright frustrating most of the time, especially in the confines of Jorrvaskr. Kodlak had been right; she learned things about her shield-siblings that she didn’t want to know. The sickness that ran through Kodlak’s blood gave him a sour, rancid odor, and with the psychic connection she could sense his pain, weariness, and his struggle to stay alive long enough to find a cure. Torvar reeked of alcohol pretty much all the time, as if mead were flowing through his veins instead of blood. Njada was sleeping with Idolaf Battle-Born, and Ria had a mad crush on Aela. In town, things became awkward with Belethor, because he wanted Selene. His blood practically boiled when she entered his shop. Part of her wanted to use his lust to get better prices, but the other part cringed. She liked Belethor, but the thought of sleeping with the slimy little merchant was…well, gross. Also, she could hardly pass the meat stand anymore without drooling. The scent of the succulent cuts of steak and venison made her want to dig in and start eating right then and there, whether the meat was cooked or not.
The weirdest part was that Whiterun’s town guards looked at her differently. Knowing she was Dragonborn, they had always treated her with a sort of reverence, but now they seemed uncertain, uncomfortable. Something had changed and they knew it, and though they didn’t know what it was, they didn’t like it. They would ask her questions about tending her hounds and mention her “wolfish grin,” and Selene wondered if they did know but were too afraid to say anything. Farkas confirmed that no, this time it was not her imagination.
It took a few days for Liska to warm up to her; but after she comprehended that her human’s scent was different but she was still the same human, everything was fine and she went back to following Selene everywhere. Sometimes she would sniff Selene’s feet, walk over to one of the other werewolves and sniff their feet, and then come back and look up at her with a curious expression. Apparently, foxes were pretty smart and Liska was starting to figure things out.
Vilkas didn’t have much to say to Selene after she became a werewolf. He grew more distant every day, and when they trained—if he trained with her at all—he was more likely to berate her harshly for mistakes. She would try to engage him in conversation, but he would make an excuse and walk away, or he would snap at her and say something like, “Don’t you have anything to do? If not, I’m sure I can find a job for you.” He was obviously upset with her for taking the Blood, and she already knew he could be snobbish and judgmental. She just hoped he would get over it soon because she missed having him as her friend.
Then there was Farkas. From the moment Selene returned from Gallows Rock, the tension between them was palpable. Where staying at arm’s length was relatively easy before, now it was all but impossible. Everything they said to each other seemed as though it had a hidden, sexual meaning. Farkas could say, “Pass the bread,” and Selene would hear, “Let’s go to bed.” A sparring session a few days after Skjor’s funeral turned into a make-out session.
He found her one morning a couple of weeks after she was born into the pack and said, “Let’s get out of here for a few days.”
“Okay. Where are we going?”
“The Circle has an old, abandoned mine in The Pale where we stay sometimes when we’re hunting.”
“Abandoned mine? Sounds lovely,” she said sarcastically.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds. You really should get out of town. The full moon is tomorrow, and you will shift.”
“I thought you said we didn’t always shift to beast form on the full moon.”
“We don’t, but this is your first full moon, and trust me, you won’t be able to control it. It’ll be hard to control for a few months. I’ll go with you and keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t do anything stupid. We’ll hunt at night and rest in the mine during the day.”
They left that afternoon with Liska in tow, traveled all night, and arrived at the mine early the next morning. The door was barred with a lock that was too advanced for even Selene’s lockpicking expertise, but Farkas had a key, and he let them in. It was much like every mine she had ever seen, a shaft leading down to several rooms, except the ore had long since been depleted. A living area had been set up in one of the larger rooms, complete with bedrolls, table and chairs, dried food, and a fire pit with a narrow chimney cut into the rock all the way to the surface. The pit had already been set up for the next fire, and Farkas used his torch to get it going while Selene unpacked their provisions. In just a few minutes, the cave was toasty warm. Liska sniffed for a spot to make her own and finally curled up on one of the empty bedrolls and went to sleep.
“This isn’t half bad,” Selene said appreciatively.
“The Companions have been coming here a long time. I think it was the Harbinger before Kodlak who cleaned the place out and set it up.”
“Do you get lots of intruders?”
“A few. It’s hard to get into, but some people are ten—tena—what’s the word?”
“Yeah, that. They get in. Usually not when we’re here, though. That would be bad for them. Anyway, we all spent our first full moons here—Vilkas, Aela, and I. Skjor and Kodlak, too, I’m sure. We should get some rest. Gonna be a long night.”
Selene didn’t think she would sleep, but traveling all night had set a deep weariness into her bones. She hadn’t gotten a good night’s rest since she had taken the Blood, but she got as much today as she could expect. Sometime late in the afternoon, she dreamed of the moons. They hung low in the sky, both of them smiling at her, calling, “Sele-e-e-e-ne. Come out to pla-a-a-ay!” She answered their call with a howl and loped across the countryside, following them as they teased her. “Come this way,” Massar called. “Hunt with me,” Secunda urged her. But as fast as she ran, she couldn’t catch them. Her muscles ached and pain reverberated through her bones, and she howled. But it wasn’t a howl; it was a scream.
She sat up straight, the scream still fresh on her lips and her bones and muscles smarting. Farkas sat next to her, watching.
“Hurts, don’t it?” He gave her a wry smile.
“Does it ever get any better?”
“Yeah, and you get used to it. Changing back doesn’t hurt as bad.”
“I don’t even remember changing back before.”
“A lot of times, you do it in your sleep. Hunting all night takes a lot out of you.”
She looked around the room. “Where’s Liska?”
“I let her out. She’ll probably be waiting for us at the door when we come back tomorrow morning. I doubt she’ll want to hunt with us.”
Sharp pain shot through her body, and Farkas said, “You might want to take your armor off.” Selene barely had time to undress before her inner wolf took over and her body began to contort. Wracked with burning, stabbing pains and shrieking as she was, she didn’t even notice when Farkas undressed and shifted, but he was in beast form before she finished shifting. She stood for a moment, panting, recovering from the agony that had stopped abruptly but left the memory pulsing through her body. Farkas nuzzled her and then took off running, and Selene followed him to the exit.
It was just as in her dream. The moons called to her—not with mouths, of course, but in her imagination—and she darted across the hills and tried to catch them. She picked up the scent of a deer and veered off toward it, chasing it down and rending it to pieces before it had a chance to flee. She and Farkas fed on the deer until another scent filled Selene’s nostrils and she took off after it. Farkas, however, tackled her and pinned her roughly to the ground, his eyes boring into hers.
He had said they couldn’t always resist, but that didn’t mean they would kill just anybody, and Selene knew he wasn’t going to let her do something she would regret. She didn’t struggle, just laid her arms back and looked away in a show of submission, and he nuzzled her and let her up.
They spent the night running through the snow, hunting, playing, and Selene couldn’t remember ever feeling so free. It was easy to see how some werewolves abandoned their human selves altogether. The beast didn’t worry about human concerns; nothing of their daily lives mattered, only the hunt and the kill.
Toward morning, they headed back toward the mine, and Farkas waded into a nearby pond to wash the blood off before going back inside. Selene followed, but she wasn’t ready to go in just yet; she was feeling playful. She swam over to him and splashed him in the face. He growled and splashed her back, but she yelped and headed for the bank, with Farkas giving chase. Selene had always been a fast runner, and her beast form was no different, but Farkas’s legs were longer and he caught up with her easily, tackled her and wrestled her to the ground. She struggled to get free, but he was stronger, and it wasn’t much of a fight. When she stopped resisting, he bent down and nuzzled her, licked her face, and nibbled at her neck. Desire flared in his scent, and she keened with her need for him—right up until morning took over and her bones and muscles started to ache. She whined in frustration, and he let her up.
Selene followed Farkas back to the mine, hoping she could get inside where it was warm before changing back, but her body betrayed her about a hundred yards from the entrance. She screamed again as her bones broke and knit back into place, and she blacked out before the shift was complete. She awoke in the den with the fire banked and Farkas lying next to her, watching her sleep. Liska snored in a corner.
“Wow,” she murmured. “That was the most amazing thing.”
“How do you feel?”
She gave him a mischievous smile. “Horny.”
“I think I can help you with that.”
Selene had imagined that making love with Farkas when they both had the blood would be explosive, and she had been right. They were together as man and woman, but their inner beasts reached out and embraced each other as well, wild with their need and barely in control. The heat of his body, the scent of his blood, and the sound of his moans and cries fed her passion, and she clung to him, digging her nails into his back. Farkas bit into her neck and sent Selene over the edge, and she let loose a primal scream as spasm after ecstatic spasm rocked her body. His release followed soon after, and he fairly howled.
Spent, they lay entwined in each other’s arms, hearts hammering, breathing heavy, drenched in sweat, and after a while Farkas withdrew and lay on his back. Selene rested her head on his chest, listening to his rapid heartbeat gradually slow to normal and his breathing become regular as he fell asleep. The rhythm of his heartbeat lulled her to sleep as well.
Selene dreamed of the hunt. She ran like the wind, chasing down a sabre cat, catching it in her claws and hurling it into a rock wall. Then she bit into its neck, the warm, gamy blood trickling down her throat. She tore into its torso, digging, probing, until she found its heart. But Farkas’s mumbling distracted her. She awoke briefly and turned on her side, and Farkas turned with her, lying spoon-style with his arm around her possessively. She went back to sleep and dreamed of the hunt again.
It went on like that all day, and Selene awoke near suppertime having gotten little rest, but she had already grown used to waking up tired. She opened her eyes to see Farkas lying on his side, head propped on his hand, watching her.
“Hey, there. You’re always watching me sleep.”
“I like watching you sleep. During the day, even when you smile, you always look determined, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, like you’ve got so much on your mind that you can’t let your guard down, even for a second. When you sleep, you have this content look on your face. I think it’s the only time you’re really at peace. You’re always beautiful, but when you’re asleep, you’re like a goddess.”
Selene reached up and stroked his cheek, and he bent down to kiss her. They made love again, slower, less feverishly. That morning it had been purely physical, a release of weeks’ worth of sexual tension and the rush of the beastblood. Tonight, it was about their connection, their feeling for each other, and Selene couldn’t deny that there were feelings that went deeper than sex. She had told Vilkas once that she wanted to love Farkas. She’d have to think on that.
As they lay together later, resting, gaining strength for a night of hunting, Selene played absently with the hairs on his chest.
“That tickles,” said Farkas.
“Sorry. Farkas, thank you for bringing me out here and staying with me.”
He laughed. “Yeah, I was totally selfless!”
Selene giggled in response. “You know what I mean. So tonight and tomorrow: the same?”
“Mm-hmm. And tomorrow night. After that, it should be okay to go back to town.”
“You tell me.”
She propped up on an elbow and looked him in the eye. “I don’t want to go back to the way we were. I want to be with you, at least for now.”
“Thank the Divines!”
They hunted that night, made love and slept the next day, and hunted the next night, some of the wildness waning as the moons started to drift into their next phase. They slept for a while before heading back to Whiterun, and Selene caught herself holding Farkas’s hand many times on the trip. Bad, she thought. Can’t defend ourselves against enemies if we’re holding hands. Funny how at times, she didn’t really care.
I think the part where the enhanced power of the blood gave her insight into everyone’s business one of my favorite parts of the story so far.
Thanks! You’ll see the enhanced senses and lack of privacy in the book, too. I’ve actually had complaints from other people that say it’s unrealistic, but they say dogs can smell fear, so why not other emotions as well?
Yeah, at least it’s logical. I may be biased though because I’ve given elves an enhanced ability to read emotions. And some elves can do it better than others, like Xeri (which is going to make for a very interesting action later on). Like empath demons.