A/N: Nudity, sexual situations. NSFW and inappropriate for children.
5E 20, 30 Midyear
Dolff sat on the throne, leaning on his elbows with his face his hands as Coranil stood before him, relaying the information he had obtained at the College of Winterhold. He cursed himself for thinking for even a moment that his job as Jarl of Windhelm was easy. He had known the hard decisions would come sooner or later, but he hadn’t realized it would be this soon or this hard. Things had gotten worse since Rowan and Ben had left and issues had started piling up. Without them there to set his mind at ease, he’d had a rough time juggling his responsibilities, remaining objective, and even keeping his thoughts organized. In a fortnight he would have his eighteenth birthday, but right now those eighteen years seemed like eighty.
And now Coranil was standing here, telling him he would have to send Rowan and Ben into Coldharbour.
Although he still mourned his father, Dolff found that being Jarl of Windhelm wasn’t as difficult as he had feared. His days were filled with business, but everyone knew his or her job and was generous with their guidance. For the most part, the prominent citizens of Windhelm, whom he had expected to approach him with demands and unsolicited advice, gave him the time and space he needed to ease into the job. A couple of them came to the Palace of the Kings with such tidings, but Dolff let them know right away and under no uncertain terms that he would not be bullied, and they left him alone.
Standing in the great hall of the Palace of the Kings with Rowan and Ben, Dolff gaped at his father in shock. Ulfric had aged fifteen years, practically overnight. His hair, which had been silvery and shiny, was now a dull, creamy white. His skin was ashen and grayish, and the lines and age spots on his face were much more pronounced. He had lost weight, and his flesh seemed hang off his bones. Even his eyes, which had always glimmered with spirit and intelligence, were milky and dim, peering back as if he didn’t recognize him. The Jagged Crown didn’t so much rest on his head as grip it in a stranglehold.
The moons were obscured by heavy clouds as Ben crept around the corner of Highmoon Hall in Morthal. It had been a while since he’d had a theft job, and he was really enjoying himself, appreciative that the shadows were making things easier for him. He had been annoyed about the mission at first, but now that he was on the job, he was almost glad about how events had turned.
He, Rowan, and Dolff had arrived at the Shrine to Peryite three days ago, where they had met a Khajiit named Kesh the Clean. They had asked about the Spellbreaker shield, but Kesh had said that the only way they could obtain it would be to ask Peryite himself, a task that was more complicated than it sounded.
When Selene awoke, she was in a prison cell. There were other cells nearby, but no one was in them. In fact, the block she was in was totally deserted. She reached around to touch the back of her neck, where two evenly spaced—very sore—marks rested. “That bitch,” she muttered. All this time together, searching for clues about vampires, and that damn Redguard was one all along. For all Selene knew, she was the one who had made the sun disappear. The thought so infuriated Selene that it didn’t even occur to her to be afraid. She stood at the bars of her cell and screamed, “Blanche! Get the fuck down here!”