Character Backstory: Elara's Journeys in Skyrim, the land of her father, Chapter 8--Catching up

  •                “Aaah, I cannot remember a finer repast,” Onmund stretched and propped his feet up on the wooden bench in the dining room.

                    Elara glanced at the empty table pointedly, and grinned at her friend.  “It appears you have not eaten for weeks by the quantity of food you consumed this evening.  Too much studying and not enough time to eat?” she asked teasingly.

                    Onmund returned the grin.  “I guess that is what happens when I am left with the most serious Dunmer and studious Khajiit in all of Tamriel,” he replied playfully.  “So any bad habits I have picked up are most decidedly your fault, Elara.”

                    “I am not that serious,” Brelyna scoffed.

                    “You’re right, Brelyna.  Conjuring imps to haunt Ancano’s room and then feigning incompetence is pretty daring,” Onmund replied, mollifying the dark elf.

                    Elara’s eyes grew wide and she threw back her head and laughed.  “Well done!” she smiled at her normally nervous friend, who warmed to the praise.

                    “J’zargo does not know how he manages to be successful with so much childish pranks in his midst.”  The Khajiit affected a sigh, which came out more like a low rumble.

                    “Speaking of pranks, J’zargo,” Elara turned and fixed her blue eyes on his golden ones.  “I tried out the scrolls that you so generously gave me.”  J’zargo’s ears flicked forward and his tail stood straight as a pole.  “If I did not know you better, I would say that you were trying to kill me.”  She was not angry, but she was looking forward to hearing his explanation.

                    “Aaaah, so J’zargo is guessing that these scrolls did not work out as well as he had hoped,” he murmured.  “Elara is a good friend to trust J’zargo and aid him in his magical experiments.” 

                    Elara acknowledged his gratitude and unclear apology with a graceful nod and the conversation turned back to studies and magic, accompanied by a few more bottles of mead.  The foursome toddled downstairs, intending to turn in for the night. 

                    Onmund’s hand brushed the sleeve of Elara’s robe and reached for her hand.  She turned around and met his eyes with an inquiring glance.   “Are you tired?” he asked.

                    She shook her head no.  Even though she had traveled a long distance, her mind was racing and she knew she would lie awake for hours.

                    Onmund’s hold on her hand tightened slightly as he leaned around the corner to his room to grab a couple bottles of mead.  He then led her out of the hall into the courtyard.

                    They breathed in the crisp cold air, looked at each other and laughed.   “Welcome back, again,” Onmund clinked his bottle against Elara’s as they moved towards an opening in the courtyard that overlooked the watery ruins of Winterhold.  “As a concerned friend, may I ask what your business with Ancano was this evening?”  He looked at her steadily, hoping to catch any of her facial expressions before she tried to find a way out of answering his direct question.

                    “Well, I am happy to answer that one, but perhaps I could begin the story a little further back, say, when I was seven years old?”  Elara asked timidly.

                    Onmund could not believe his ears.  Perhaps he would finally have the answers to many of his questions.  “You should have warned me and I would have brought out a keg,” he teased, hoping to put her sudden nerves to rest.

                    Elara laughed.  “Not my whole life story, mind you, but the reason I came to Skyrim.  As my friend, I feel you should know these things about me before, well, in case…” she was searching for the right words.

                    “In case I decide I do not want to be your friend anymore?”  Onmund finished for her.  “I do not withdraw my friendship once it has been given.  Unless you tell me that you are Mehrunes Dagon in Breton form, you will not shock me or scare me with anything,” he reassured her.  “You are safe with me,” he found himself adding, though he did not know why.

                    His words had the intended effect, and Elara smiled gratefully.   Tipping her bottle back and taking a swig of mead, she closed her eyes, and translated her memories for the first time into words.

                   “I was a little over seven years old when my father disappeared.  I had just finished dinner and was waiting for my bedtime story, when my father burst through the door of our little farmhouse.  ‘They have found me,’ he said to my mother.   She shooed me under the bed, casting a muffle and immobilization spell on me.  ‘Orin Rammligr, we know this is your home.  You are commanded to come back to Skyrim to restore your father’s honor,’ a voice commanded from outside.  My mother began to shake and my father held her, stroking her hair. “Maelynne, we both knew that this day might come.  Be strong.  I will always be with you.’  My father opened the door to a group of men that looked like mountains to me.  ‘I go willingly with you, but know that it is not to restore the family honor, but as a slave to pay my father’s debt.’  They tied my father’s hands behind his back and shoved him out the door.  It was the last I ever saw of my father. “

                    Onmund crossed his arms over his chest, lost in thought.  “So you came to Skyrim to find your father.”  It was more of a quiet statement than a question.  Elara gave a slight nod, and continued to tell him about Bruma, the dragon, her recent experiences in Markarth, and Ancano’s execution note.

                    “How do you know, well, that your father is still alive?” Onmund asked slowly, reluctant to cause her more pain.

                    “My mother always knew.  She said a connection was formed between her and my father when she healed him.   It was simultaneously a comfort and torment to her the years of his absence.  I know it is still a fool’s hope, but it is all that I have.”   

                    Her next statement was preceded by a deep breath.  “I understand if you would not be comfortable associating with a murderer, thief, convict, and well, it seems I have a knack for finding trouble wherever I go. “  She hung her head, the weight of these acknowledgements voiced aloud for the first time heavy on her heart and conscience.

                     She did have a knack for trouble, he smiled inwardly, but he was convinced of the sincerity and purity of her intentions.  He would have sensed it in her magical aura if she had evil intent.  It was a large part of the reason he avoided Ancano.  He gave her a reassuring smile, and her eyes brightened.

                    They watched the sunrise together, both lost in their own thoughts and adjusting to the new-found intimacy between them as a result of Elara’s confessions.  She had displayed a tremendous amount of trust in him by sharing what she did, and he wanted to honor that trust as much as possible.  Many things concerned him about Elara’s experiences, not the least of which had to deal with Ancano.  In fact, he had to struggle with an urge to walk into the Hall of Elements and blast that damned elf to Oblivion.  And the dragon tugged at the back of his mind, and the fact that he could not make any sense of that worried him most of all.

                    The crunch of boots on the snow brought them back to the present.  “Elara?”  The venerable voice of Tolfdir continued.  “The Arch-Mage would like to see you.  And Onmund, I would like a word or two with you.”

                    The young mages glanced at each other and obeyed their respective summons, reluctantly.  So much needed to be said, but they had not the words at the moment.   Elara watched Onmund follow Tolfdir into the Hall of Attainment before she opened the door to the Hall of Elements.  She had not even slept one night at the college.  How could she have gotten into a mess that involved the Arch-Mage already?  She sighed, but then a small chuckle escaped from her throat.  I guess life is back to normal, she thought.  At least now she knew that someone cared what happened to her.


  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  June 1, 2013
    Really love reading about their company, it reminds me my student years  And now when she came clear with Onmund, there is a new layer of trust between them. It takes some time to get used to...
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  February 5, 2012
    Thank you all for reading and sharing your thoughts.  It is really nice to get out of my own head and see if what I am trying to accomplish is coming across.  Honestly, before gameplay began, I wanted to create a character that would explore Skyrim first,...  more
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  February 5, 2012
    Totally gripped from start to finish I love this story and the way you write your characters to interact. The best bits for me are when all four of them are together you really get the feeling they are all students together. Im trying to not get my hopes ...  more