Selene puttered through Breezehome several times, picking through her things and trying to figure out what to take with her. This wasn’t simple mission or quest; she was leaving on a semi-permanent basis. Packing light wasn’t an option. She was thinking of buying a horse, but it would be inconvenient, having to go out of her way to tie it up at a stable or a charitable farmer’s house when she needed to go into the wilderness or a crypt. Then there was Liska. She couldn’t just let her follow along, and the logistics of a fox riding on horseback made her head spin.
When she finally finished packing, she piled everything near the door, let Liska out, and made her way out to the tundra to hunt. It would be easier to hunt now than on the road. Masser and Secunda were nearly full, and though Selene had learned to control her shift, their call was still well-nigh irresistible. She had thought about asking Farkas to come with her, but they had already said their goodbyes and there was no need to draw it out. Thus, she hunted alone.
After annihilating a couple of mudcrabs just for fun, she caught the scent of a deer near Lone Mountain and began tracking it. She found it grazing just over the next hill. Selene was upwind, so her prey didn’t detect her as she crouched on all fours and crept toward it. It was a young buck, his antlers not fully grown, fast but inexperienced. No problem. She snuck closer and was just about to pounce when another scent filled her nostrils. It was Vilkas, in beast form, tracking the same deer. Well, she wasn’t about to let him take her kill. She eyed the buck carefully, making sure the other werewolf’s scent hadn’t made him aware of danger, but he continued to munch happily, totally unaware of is impending doom. Selene focused on the deer, the sights and sounds of the world around her fading away until there was nothing but her and her prey. She waited. Just a moment. Just ’til the right instance, her muscles tense, coiled like a snake ready to strike. And then she sprang. The buck squealed and took off, but Selene was right on his heels. Panicked, he made the mistake of running into a blind hollow, and she had him trapped. A cornered deer was more dangerous than one she had to chase, and he fought frantically, trying to gore her with his antlers. He connected once, punching a hole in her shoulder, and Selene snarled and grabbed hold of the antler before it could do more damage. She managed to wrestle him to the ground and struck, the buck screaming as she tore into his throat. Her wolf spirit surged and most human thought drifted away, and she grunted and panted as teeth and claws shredded hide and muscle and ripped bones away until they found the heart. The heart was like a drug, the blood warm and fresh and the flesh soft and supple. She yanked it away and bit into it, savoring the texture and the squirt of blood, almost purring in bliss as it trickled down her throat and energy coursed through her body. But the heart was small and gone all too soon, and then she fed on the rest of the deer, heady and delectable in its own right.
When she had eaten her fill, she licked her chops and lounged on the soft grass for a while, her hunger and lust for the hunt sated. The other lust would come later, and she would just have to deal with it, but for now, she was relaxed and comfortable lying there and looking up at the sky. It was overcast; there were no stars tonight. No matter. Kynareth was still up there somewhere, watching over her.
Selene believed the woman in the dream had been Kynareth. She certainly looked like a goddess, ethereal and lovely, although she had personality. She wasn’t haughty and officious like she thought the Divines would be. But even her voice sounded familiar. If she tried very hard, she could still hear the voice that spoke in her mind at Eldergleam Sanctuary; and although it could just be her imagination, she could swear it was the same one. But why in Nirn would Kynareth choose her? For that matter, why would Akatosh choose her as the Dragonborn? Well, they obviously must see something she didn’t, because she still saw a cynical brawler with a talent for firing a bow and picking pockets. She hadn’t picked a pocket in over a year, but still. On the other hand, the Divines probably chose a lot of people for different things. It was no point questioning them anyway. She had always said people lived at the whims of the gods, so she guessed she was just doing it more than others.
Selene got up and went to the river to clean up and then headed to the nook where her clothes were stashed. After treating and bandaging her shoulder, she dressed and took her time as she walked back to Whiterun, tranquil and content for the first time since her stay at High Hrothgar. Liska was waiting at the door, and she let the fox and herself into Breezehome.
Breezehome. She had never even thought about it before. Even the name of her house reflected her worship of the goddess of the winds.
She banked the fire, which was burning low, and then went upstairs to change out of her armor and put on a dress. She wasn’t quite ready to sleep, so she grabbed a book and a bottle of mead and sat by the fire to read. Lydia was on guard duty for a few days and had been staying at the barracks, so the house was pleasantly quiet. Selene liked Lydia, but she didn’t need her there and the housecarl really just got in the way. It would be nice to have her to watch the house while she was gone, but tonight she would have been underfoot.
She was just finishing her mead when Vilkas came to the door. She picked up his scent before he knocked, and her first inclination was just to let him stay out there, but he called, “Selene, open the door. Please.” The pain in his voice, almost desperation, compelled her to act, and she got up and let him in. But she found she couldn’t look at him, and she turned her back.
“You’re leaving tomorrow?” he asked.
“Aye. The Graybeards are sending me to Ustengrav to find an artifact for them.”
“Take care. Ustengrav is a known refuge for necromancers.”
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” She picked nervously at a piece of loose skin on her thumb.
“Selene, please look at me.”
She took a deep breath and turned around. He wore a white shirt and leather pants, and his hair was perfect as usual. The scent of his beast form was heavy around him, as well as no small amount of anxiety. “I smelled you out on the tundra,” she muttered.
He nodded. “I haven’t been able to resist my beast form lately.”
“I’m sorry. I know that it means—”
Vilkas dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around Selene’s waist, bursting into tears. “Selene, I’m so sorry,” he sobbed. “I never meant to hurt you; I would die before I hurt you. Please, please forgive me.”
The last time they had stood on this spot, Vilkas had broken her heart. Now he broke it again. Tears welled in Selene’s eyes, and she stroked his hair, hugging him to her as he cried. “Shh,” she whispered, “it’s okay; it’s all right.” And it was. In that moment, she completely forgave him and wanted nothing more than to protect him from his grief once again, but then she realized she did want more. She knelt and gently wiped his tears, whispering words of comfort, and then she kissed him.
He opened his mouth to hers and kissed her deeply, then drew her to the floor. Selene felt as though her heart would explode from her chest as he lay next to her, drinking her in and moving his hands over her curves. He loosened the laces of her bodice, then pulled her dress over her head, the two of them laughing uneasily when it got caught between her body and the floor. He gingerly trailed his fingers over her bandaged shoulder, then cupped her breast, caressing the nipple with his thumb. She slipped his shirt over his head, and he gasped with pleasure as she kissed his neck and then worked her way down his chest and abdomen with her lips and tongue, tracing the soft line of hair that ran from his navel to the hidden reaches below his waistline. After pulling his boots off, she untied the laces of his breeches and tugged them down his hips, again following the path with her mouth.
“Come here,” he moaned, and she crawled toward him.
She tried not to compare the brothers, but it was impossible. With Farkas, it had been physical—the heat, the desire, the primal urges—but Vilkas channeled all his feelings into his lovemaking, his grief, frustration, and intense passion going into every touch, every kiss, every thrust. He suppressed his wolf spirit, loving her just as a man, but with every part of the man. He stared into Selene’s eyes, and she saw deep inside him, all the way to his tortured soul. She was swept away with emotion, and tears streamed down her cheeks as he moved above her. There was no future with Vilkas; after tonight she would leave Whiterun. It would probably be a long time before she even saw him again, and then only as friends, shield-siblings. But at this moment, she loved him and would do anything for him.
Late into the night, they lay in each other’s arms, warm in her bed beneath the furs, and he covered her face and neck with gentle kisses. “Stay,” he implored her.
“You know I can’t.”
“Can’t, or won’t?”
“I mean, how are we gonna face Farkas after this?”
“Farkas will understand.”
“Vilkas, I don’t want to come between you. I’ve probably already done that.”
“I’m not saying he won’t be hurt, but he will accept it. I doubt he’ll even be surprised. But there’s more to it than Farkas, isn’t there?”
Selene lay silently for a long moment, weighing her words. What would Vilkas think if she told him about the dream? They had shared a lot of secrets; maybe he would just accept it. Or maybe he would think she was deranged. “Do you remember when you asked who told me we could still cure Kodlak and I said you wouldn’t believe me?”
“I had a dream. There was a woman, and she told me there were things I was meant to do, but I couldn’t do them from Jorrvaskr. She said my destiny lies elsewhere.”
“But it was just a dream.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I think it was Kynareth.”
Vilkas’s eyes flew open wide. “By Ysmir! Selene, that’s…if anybody else had said that to me, I would have said they were mad, but you…look at all you’ve done already. You’re meant for big things; this, I know.”
“So you believe me?”
He caressed her cheek. “Aye, I believe you. Go and fulfill your destiny. But know that you have a home here. You will always be a Companion, and you’ll always be in my heart.”
Selene curled her fingers around his neck and pulled him to her, but before their lips could touch, Liska tottered in and jumped on the bed. “Wow-wow-wow-wow!”
“Damn it, Liska, you’re killing the moment!” She leaned in and gave Vilkas a quick kiss, then wrapped a fur around herself and led Liska downstairs to let her out.
* * *
Instead of taking everything she owned, Selene decided instead to pack for a long trip. Until she knew where Kynareth would take her, she would make Whiterun her home base. Vilkas had said she had a home there, and he was right. She didn’t have to leave Whiterun altogether to find her destiny. Yes, she would go where the winds guided her, but she could always come back to Breezehome, to Jorrvaskr, and to Vilkas—hopefully to Farkas too. They were two halves of the perfect man: one sweet, charming, and sexy; the other intellectual and determined with deep, hidden passions; and both of them so full of love.
The next morning, Vilkas watched with amusement as Selene unpacked and repacked, putting away more than half her belongings and muttering about how she had almost bought a horse for no reason. When she was ready to go, they stood inside the door and exchanged a long, tearful goodbye.
“I’ll miss you so much,” he whispered, holding her close and kissing the top of her head.
Selene almost gave in, but she knew she had to go, and there was no point putting it off any longer. She pulled away and placed one last kiss on his lips, then opened the door and parted ways with him on her front step. She stopped at the city gate where Lydia was standing guard and said goodbye, and then she and Liska walked down the road toward the Western Watchtower, where they would turn north and head for Hjaalmarch.
Just as they passed the tower, a warm gust of wind blew past, and Liska cooed at Selene’s feet. She smiled down at the fox and looked back toward town. “I’ll see you soon, Whiterun,” she promised.
* * *
Selene’s story continues in An Operative’s Tale.
Woot! One book down. This was a pleasure to read. Back to your original novel.
Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.