Chapter 1 Time Gone By

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Author's Note: This is Book Two, of a four part series. If you have not read Book One, Rona's Story: An Epic Skyrim Romance, I implore you to go back and read that one first, otherwise you will be entirely lost on this one.

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An arrow spun through the air, shunting straight into the neck of its target, a particularly fat rabbit hidden in the brush. The ranger got up from his hidden position behind some thick shrubbery and stowed his bow away. He yawned and scratched at his short, wiry beard as he stepped through the trees and picked up his arrow with the prey still skewered on it. He yanked the animal off the arrow and slung it over his shoulder, adding it to the two pheasants he'd already caught.

The sun was slowly setting as he wound his way through the trees and back up the path towards the Ruins of Bthalft. He whistled sharply, calling for his closest traveling companion. A russet wolf appeared loping along through the trees, carrying his own kill in his bloodied maw, a mangled rabbit he'd already torn apart. The wolf was wearing enchanted leather armor, normally fitted for huskies, but a certain Orc and his lovely Breton wife had been kind enough to outfit him in the leathers, making sure they fit perfectly.

Together the two went up the stone steps to the old Dwemer ruins and he looked around. There didn't appear to be any obvious entry into them. One thing caught his eye, however, a rough carving on one of the stone henges. The Akaviri symbol for the Dragonborn, shaped like a dragon's head with an arrow pointing down. She'd already been there, same with the other two he'd visited in the Rift. Except this time, she'd written, No way in.

The last two had said, No scroll.

He wondered how recent it was, how long ago she'd been there. Had it been months? Days? Hours? He looked around and didn't see any sign of a camp or anything that might have been disturbed in a long time by a human presence.

He sighed, dropping his travel pack onto the ground and started walking around the area, collecting some brush and small logs to make a fire with and proceeded to set up camp for the night. He laid out his bedroll and sat down, pulling his dagger from its sheath, stopping to look at it for a moment. He ran a finger over the smooth pearlescent side of it. It had been a gift from her, one he cherished, especially now that it had saved his life more than once.

It was well-crafted dragon-bone forged in the fires of the Skyforge. Sturdy, sharp, reliable and very hard, but very light at the same time. He started to dress and clean the rabbit and pheasants while his wolf quietly gnawed on his own meal near the fire. His mind wandered as it always did, constantly thinking of her, wondering where she was and how she was fairing. Was she happy? Sad? Lonely? As lonely as him? He wondered.

The silence was absolutely soul-crushing the first few weeks without her. He'd run so fast and far down that mountain, ignoring the Greybeards who were stunned to see him without her. He felt so hurt and angry then. He wanted to yell at her, to tell her it was wrong, it was all wrong. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

She'd said that to him once when she blurted her love to him out of fear and anger. Now the tables had turned. He'd proposed and she'd said no and he knew deep down that it wasn't because she didn't want it, but because she was so damn determined to finish this godsforsaken journey of hers without him getting hurt. She did it to protect him. To save him. All because he'd actually died. He'd started to remember it too, going back to that ethereal paradise in his dreams, watching his brother's soul be snatched up by the World Eater himself. He hated those nightmares and longed to hear her lullabies again, to soothe his mind and send him into a peaceful slumber, something he hadn't had the pleasure of experiencing for a long time.

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