Character Backstory: Elara's Journeys in Skyrim, the land of her father, Chapter 20--Solitude and Companionship

  • Wagon wheels clattered on the stone road, echoing through the silent night.    Onmund stretched out on the floor, slumped against the front of the wagon.   His hood was pulled over his eyes, but not far enough that he could not watch her.   Elara was seated at the back of the wagon, knees drawn up to her chest, staring at the retreating landscape.  She had barely spoken since they had left her father with the priest of Arkay in Solitude.

    “Would you like to stay and find out more about your family?”  Onmund had asked, wondering if this would provide the healing and release she needed.

    “I found my father.  But I owe a visit to Fralia Gray-Mane.  It is cruel to not let her know immediately the fate of her sons,” she answered abruptly, not meeting his eyes.  In fact, it felt as if she had erected some sort of ward that had nothing to do with repelling magic.  He wanted to help her in her grief somehow, but he never saw a chance.  It was tied up inside her, and he was worried.  Nothing was simple with this complex Breton who had changed his simple scholarly existence.  

     Avulstein had even taken Elara’s hand before their departure.  “From now on, Rammligr will mean honor and great courage to my brother and me.  My father will see that soon enough,” he spoke sincerely, while Thorald nodded his agreement.  It was the last smile Onmund saw from Elara for days.

    Onmund tilted his head backwards for a last look at the night sky before he attempted a nap.  The heavens sparkled with diamonds, peeking out between diaphanous clouds stretched above, like a shroud.  The soft breeze picked up and whistled in the branches and scrub.  Onmund crossed his arms across his chest, suddenly chilled.

    “Stop the wagon!” Elara shouted.    They had passed through Rorikstead and would be in Whiterun in a few hours.  She shouldered her pack and looked at Onmund.  Her eyes were empty, devoid of light.  “I was reminded of something that I promised to do.”  She hopped off the wagon and Onmund scrambled after her, waving on the puzzled wagon driver. 

    “Crazy Bretons,” the driver muttered as he cracked the reins and moved off down the road.

                    Elara hitched up her skirts and jogged east, stopping at a fallen tree to catch her breath.  She looked up at Onmund, who had matched her step for step.  Not far in the distance he was surprised to see Gjukar’s Monument, a place he ventured often as a teen to escape the trials of home.

                    “My mother is here,” Elara panted breathlessly, wildly.

                    Onmund nodded, unsure if this was grief finally expressing itself, or simply intuition.  She headed for the monument as if fueled by the wind, and Onmund struggled to keep up.  He scrambled through the scrubby golden grass until he reached Elara, conversing with what Onmund could only believe was a ghost.

                    Elara turned at hearing Onmund’s footsteps crunching on the gravel.  “I was wrong,” she said softly.  “Ruki is looking for her husband, who has gone off to battle.  I think I know where to go.”  Elara gestured to a shallow rock outcropping that Onmund knew as Greenspring Hollow.  He started to walk in that direction, but Elara lightly touched his forearm to stop him.  “Wait for me here.  I have to do this alone.”

                    Onmund watched her retreating form, not certain if this was a dream.  He paced around the monument, aware of the ghost’s eyes on his every move.  It was the same place that he explored and hid in as a teen, reading whatever books he could get his hands on.  Everything looked the same to him, yet the magicka concentrated here was palpable, like an embrace.  He had never sensed it so strongly here before, which is partially why he had chosen it for study.  Few distractions. 

                    The wind picked up suddenly, whirling around the circle of stones.  With the wind, the magic in the area became visible, gauzy and glittering like the sky had been overhead on the wagon ride.  Onmund noticed Ruki’s attentive gaze focused towards the hollow and he caught sight of two approaching forms.    

                    Ruki and Fenrir embraced joyfully, a little confused but happy to see each other.  Onmund only had eyes for Elara, however, as he saw her limping up the small hillock.  Onmund’s sharp eyes noticed darker splashes on her skirt, congealed blood sticking to a wound that was barely visible, though the skirt looked torn. 

                    “Saber cat,” Elara answered Onmund’s questioning eyes and waved away the healing spell in his hand.  She gestured to the reunited couple and Onmund looked, stunned to see another couple standing next to Ruki and Fenrir.  The woman looked remarkably like Elara and her partner was a younger version of her father.  He glanced over at Elara and saw tears streaming down her cheeks, tracing paths on her skin through the dust accumulated from the road.  They appeared to be talking to her, but Onmund could hear nothing in the roar of the wind. 

                    The wind swirled faster around them, lifting both couples into the air where they seemed to dissolve into the ether.   Onmund wondered if he was in the presence of Kyne or Mara, and marveled at the thought of them working together.  The wind died down to a soft whisper and he turned to find Elara on her hands and knees, sobbing.  He fell beside her, gently pressing circles onto her back to offer comfort, though she was barely aware of it.  She felt like she was being pulled apart and every muscle and joint screamed along with her.   She simply wanted to dissolve into the ground around her, to be nothing, to be nowhere, to stop this unbearable pain.  All she could see was the forms of her parents, happy and together, and she wanted to be with them.  It was a peace that she was to be excluded from, and she laid her forehead on the grass before her, praying for oblivion.

    Onmund was anxious to heal the sabre cat gash, but wondered if the tears were healing the greater wound of the two.   “Elara?” Onmund whispered close to her ear.  “They are together.  After all these years, they are together.” 

                    Elara wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and nodded, chest heaving.  Onmund saw it too.  I am not crazy, she thought in relief.  Yet the black hole in her chest still burned, and the tears rolled afresh.  She felt a pressure behind her thighs that pushed forward, and suddenly she was lifted into the air. Right.  The sabre cat, she thought, wincing as she remembered the fresh wound.   He seated her on a flat rock and straightened her scored leg.  Onmund expected the typical protest as his fingers glowed with a healing spell, but Elara just gazed steadily at him with pained and bloodshot eyes, clutching the sides of the rock and trying to still her breath. 

                    The wound was uneven and jagged, but fortunately was bleeding less.  Onmund took a deep breath, a bit nervous, as Elara normally took care of all healing.  He closed his eyes and moved his hands over her thigh, the deepest part of the wound.  He visualized glowing thread sewing the muscle and skin together, but a sharp gasp from Elara interrupted him.  He stopped mid spell, alarmed that he had hurt her.   Onmund caught a look of surprise on her face, but she softened when she noticed his fearful look.

                    “You are doing fine…just perfect,” she hiccoughed trying to reassure him, and Onmund relaxed back into his spell, concentrating on the wound before him.

                    Elara just stared at the top of Onmund’s hood, astonished at the initial similarity with her mother’s healing.  The sensation of biting into a crisp apple was the same, but the rest was different.  She felt submerged by the fragrant and intoxicating scent of roses and the sensation of light kisses made her cry again.  He did not heal like this the last time they practiced on minor cuts and scratches.  But that was before Nchuand-Zel.    The reason behind this had to pass through clouds of grief yet, and would become clearer to Elara in time, when the sunrise and sunset regained its beauty, instead of a dreary marker of time dragging on.

    Onmund pulled an extra robe from his pack and wrapped it around Elara.  She was shivering from the blood loss, so he quickly gathered a small pile of scrub and branches and piled it near Elara.  With a quick snap of his fingers, a fire blazed merrily, even though day was approaching.  He hoped it would take the chill off until the sun could do the rest for her.

                    “You know, I grew up around here, actually around Falkreath,” Onmund stated, as Elara raised her eyes to meet his.  He stopped mid-breath.  By Mara, those eyes caught him every time.  “In fact, I stumbled across my first invisibility spell here, if you want to hear the story,” he chuckled at the memory, wanting to give her something, even if it was just a tiny smile.  Elara nodded, and he was pleased to see the corner of her lips turn up ever so slightly.

                    “I snuck away here one afternoon, with Galerion the Mystic tucked under my arm,” Onmund began, sitting back carelessly in the dry scrub, though he was completely aware of the orange and purple tendrils of dawn crawling across the rocky plain, rabbits stirring the brush, and the soft breeze blowing wisps of hair around Elara’s face.  Yes, this place held more magic than he ever realized. 

                    Elara tightened Onmund’s robe around her, comforted by the softness of the cloth and his familiar smell.  Pine trees, she thought, and she breathed deeply.   He noticed the slight color in her cheek and a tiny sparkle in her eye as she looked at him, still full of pain, but no longer empty.  Dawn was breaking over the land of her father, and her land, too.


    Well, this is it, and I thank everyone for reading.  I have been a bit embarrassed to put this up, but one never knows how it goes unless one tries, right?  I also have to apologize for its ragged-ness, as I fully intended to follow some sort of dragonborn quest with her.  However, it is glitched without sign of it being resolved soon. I also thought it would give me more time to work through some of the events with her father's history, but it just will not work. So I feel better with just finishing this for the moment, and I am sorry for dragging everyone through her grief, again.  I am half tempted to write one to two chapter stories on some of the characters in the story, things that I imagined as parts of their lives in order to give them more of a character, I guess (Onmund, Bothela, Orin).  Not sure, but I appreciate feedback on that, too.

    So please let me know if something did not make sense, and I will do my best to fix that and amend my story to make that clearer.  Thanks again to all for reading and following this, and being patient with my "filling in the gaps between game play" style of writing! 


  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  June 14, 2013
    This chapter is simply brilliant! The guys worded it better but I have to say anyway that your writing style and insight into character really have me enthralled in the story! The whole story is read effortlessly and it gave me a feeling of piece and some...  more
  • darren
    darren   ·  December 17, 2012
  • Shadowscale
    Shadowscale   ·  August 23, 2012
    I love how you resolved her story. You're an author of beautiful work Kynareth!!
  • Eviltrain
    Eviltrain   ·  July 12, 2012
    This last bit was sublime. I definitely felt the strength of your writing here and made me think, "Did she just notch up her writing level?"
    You might have tuckered out of writing more but I bet you'll be able to write a real mean story for us all i...  more
  • Morning Mist Hanrui
    Morning Mist Hanrui   ·  April 4, 2012
    Beautiful imagery, again! I'm specially fond of the point of her grief you leave your story. She have gone through so many loses, but it's like deep inside she knows, there will be a day when amug of ale with a friend or song of early morning bird will fe...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  March 31, 2012
    Hey, Julian, sorry for my late response!  I really appreciate you and your time in finishing this story, sticking with me, and putting up with the tough ending.  I am bummed about not being able to get it much further, though I do have a little more gamep...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  March 15, 2012
    Thank you gentlemen for reading and hanging in there throughout and cheering me on.  It was an actual quest, that seemed to fit on the way back to Whiterun to close out the quest.  Then I had to add the extra layer with her parents as some sort of consola...  more
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  March 15, 2012
    A moving ending to your brilliant tale, Kynareth! Everything was tied together so beautifully in such detail. I think the best part of your tale has been the vivid descriptions of not only the world, but the characters and their personalities. Looking for...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  March 14, 2012
    Thanks, Guy.  I had to write one more after finding her father, just to settle a few things, though kind of leaving it open in case I can fix the game.  Onmund will make all the difference with that, and I tried to imply that with this last one.  Again, t...  more
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  March 14, 2012
    Aww I didnt realise this was the last one. Brilliantly written Kyn I feel so sorry for Elara she hasn't really come away with much although Onmund helps with that. I have to be honest Im a bit gutted we wont get more from her story you must be gutted that...  more