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Of Battles Lost (Krist Lionheart Story)


She watched as he came in, always looking tired, always carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. This time was no different, even as he shook the soaking rain off of his cloak. As always his eyes scanned the inn and it's occupants. Hadassah was not sure why he was so cautious. He was quiet and almost seemed shy. However, he was always respectful. You did not bring this big guy his food and not receive a thank you ma'm and a bit of gold for your troubles.
Hadassah watched him stroll across the floor, hardly anyone taking much notice, even though he was clearly a large man. He seemed to be able to not draw attention to himself, as if he spent much of his life doing just that. Hadassah'seyes flowed down to the sword that was always at his side. He was a warrior, and she knew he was a member of the Fighter's Guild. She heard rumors of how he helped to close a couple of those gates that formed around the land, but not much more was said of him. His name was Krist, and was obviously a Nord, like she was.
Hadassah had served a few patrons, laughing and joking with them as she always did. Sometimes twirling away from them if they became too fresh with her. She was not a bar wench, after all. She owned the tavern. However the men liked her blonde curls and blue eyes, and full Nord figure.
As the crowd grew thin, and the night's patron either left or went to their rooms, Hadassah saw the large warrior, still sitting near the fire where he had apparently dried off. His eyes flowed to the door when it opened, and she suspected he was looking to see if the rain had stopped. Or maybe he was waiting on someone. Never the less, he did not seem to pay attention to her when she finished up and locked the door.

"Nasty night," Hadassah said, a smile on her face.
Krist turned his blue eyes to hers, and nodded.
"I suppose it is," he offered, as well as a forced smile.
"I have some warm cider if you like," she said, heading to get it before he could even answer. Hadassah poured two cups, and returned, handing Krist one.
"Thank you ma'm," Krist said, accepting the cider. He sipped it gently.
"Hadassah, you can call me Hadassah. And you are Krist." She said, taking a sip of her own cider while sitting down across from him.
"Mrs. Hadassah," Krist began, but she shook her head.
"Hadassah, just Hadassah."
"Yes ma'm. Haddassa, did you need something?"
"You don't remember be from Mournhold, but we have met," she said, a smile on her face.
Krist could not imagine forgetting such a pretty smile, but he had been through alot since last he was in Mournhold.
"Anyway, it looked like you could use a friend. Before you say no, I will hear your story," she said with a laugh.
Krist looked to her, and was about to get up anyway, but something about her smile and her eyes made him change his mind.
Instead, he started talking.

Have you ever entered a place, be it a room, a house, or even a town, and knew something was going to happen there that would change everything? I think most people at some time or another have, and if you haven't, then may the gods bless you. The happening may be bad enough, but the anticipation that comes before is sometimes worse.
This is as it was when I entered the small village of Riverwood. It was hardly even a village. It was a few houses, a forge, an inn and a shop or two. The thing that struck me when we entered the village was a sign with a sword carved in it, in front of one of the buildings. It signified a Fighter's Guild hall, though a small one at that. It could not house more than a half dozen fighters, and they would be cramped to say the least. Still, I was a member, and I needed to check in. I had not done so in many months now, maybe over a year. I decided to do that as soon as Belwin and I settled in. I still had the paper of the last job I did, the bringing to justice of the bandit known as Red. It would bring me gold, enough for supplies to get to White Run, if this small guild house had the coin that was.
Belwin, as you may wonder, was my wood elf lover. We met in Cyrodiil, and have been bonded by a tragedy that occurred there, or so in my mind we were. I will not get into that though, as I wish not go down that path. I only bring it up to say that Belwin has been loyal to me, even fighting by my side when needed. You will understand later why this upsets me, as I say it. Upsets me but also confuses me.
I wanted a bath and a change before I spoke to any guild brother. My beard had grown out long, and as I looked into the mirror in the bath house I could see how wild I had actually become. I did not have the means to shave it completely, so I trimmed it short and neat. Apparently to Belwin's disapproval as she brought warm water in and poured it into my tub. The bath house was no more than a shed attached to the back of the inn, but it was nicer than a cold river. Belwin must have felt the same, because she disrobed and climbed in with me, thought it hardly was enough room for me alone. Still, she is a wood elf.
As I said, I had felt something tugging at me when I entered the place, but once fully dressed in my blue cotton shirt and leather britches, and the feeling of finally being clean, it seemed to be but a silly thing. A little village I hardly knew anything about, how could it possibly have some kind of ill intent within it?
Belwin gathered our belongings from the horses as I made my way to the guild house. It was only a few buildings down and a very short walk. Inside I met a barrel chested man with a large beard named Yorgrin. He was the house steward, though he did not feel it would be for long. It was actually just an offshoot of the White Run hall. He told me that troubles had died down in the last year or so. There were only two of them now, though at one time there were six when the dark anchors were falling from the sky. He was proud that none of his men had died, though some were injured time to time and had to be sent back to White Run for convalescing and eventual reassignment.
Yorgrin looked at the old worn wanted poster a bit odd, then looked to me, then back to it. He simply shrugged a bit, as it all seemed on the up and up, even if the wanted poster was old. It was how the guild worked. If I was committing some kind of scam on him, they would find out, and it would not go well for me. I was not worried, as there was no scam.
"Oddly I know of this one," he said, before putting the coin on the counter. "Heard he was dead too, but his Wood Elf partner had escaped. Her name was something like, Honey Bee.....or Sweet Honey, yeah, that was it. Sweet Honey. The rest of the gang is dead though, or completely scattered."
I just nodded, as it meant little to me. At the time I only had the wanted paper of Red, and if I did have others, I could not have served them. I was almost dead from the incident, until I met Holly and her family.
No, I pushed her out of my mind. I would not think on her today, not on a good day as it was. Warm, nice, and I was almost home. This practically was home, as I was in Skyrim, near the White Run Hold. Home was only a couple more days away. I would push on but it was a good spot to rest the horses, bathe, sleep in a bed, and eat a good breakfast.
I perhaps should not have stayed, but the eventuality of it all says different.
Belwin and I gathered the goods, though she always complained about spending gold pieces on things she could hunt for us. I just laughed and she just smiled that crooked smile as she shook her head. Belwin is not a pretty woman, but something about her makes her attractive. Attracts me to her very much. I am not sure what it is. We just fit, in so many ways. Both of us knew loss, and we knew pain. Even then, on that day, I thought we knew one another.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in our room. Resting, talking, and other things that lovers do. We only went back downstairs for the evening meal. The inn keeper barely looked at us, and when she looked at me she blushed something awful. It made me blush, and that just made Belwin laugh. It was a good day.

I awoke the next day, expecting it to be as good as the day before. After great days, don't we all do that? We just think things were so perfect, it could not be less than perfect even now. I dressed in my white cotton shirt, choosing that one over my blue. It was not very early, as I usually woke, but Belwin kept me up late, and I was happy to stay up. She had so many plans of what to do when we got to White Run, and that was odd for her. She never spoke like that, so it was nice to listen to her.
I was dressed before she was, as Belwin simply laid across the bed, quite the opposite of dressed. I considered another night, looking down at her as she dozed, but decided to not even bring it up. I really wanted to head out. I really wanted to see my family. I had not heard from them in some time, but I was sure they were well. Something in my gut said they were well.
I went down stairs, and went out the back, tending to the horses. As I went back into the inn, I saw someone I recognized, but it could not be.
"Tohmas," I called, half expecting the man to look at me as if I was crazy. Instead, he looked at me as if to ask what. His eyes were large when he saw me, as large as mine own I suppose. We hugged, explaining that we thought the other dead, and how could it be so, but so happy to see one another. I will say he was suppose to be dead in Cyrodiil. This was the cousin of Holly, the woman I had loved. I thought they were killed by undead. I said as much to Tohmas and he shook his head, though I could see hurt in his eyes when I brought it up. His father was dead, and his mother was very ill now. Garin, his brother, was tending to their mother back in Cyrodiil again. It was still filled with war, but safer than it had been.
"And Holly," I asked, looking him in the face. This did bring a smile to his lips as he motioned outside. I looked where he motioned then back to him. It could not be true, yet something said it was true. I hurried out the door, and there she was. She had on a green and white dress, a white shawl covering her shoulders. On her head was a hat, that she held down with one hand to keep the breeze from taking it, as she was untying something from their wagon with the other. She turned toward me, apparently meaning to say something to her cousin. The hat flew off her head, now forgotten, as she looked at me in disbelief.
For my part my own knees wanted to buckle, but they held, and I walked to her. I took her in my arms and she did not resist, nor did she resist my lips to hers. It was then I noticed someone standing in the doorway. Belwin. She must have gotten up and dressed as soon as I walked down. She just watched, and did not utter a word.
"I am sorry," I said to Holly, and kept saying it over and over, though it confused her at first. Then I looked to Belwin, and her eyes followed mine, and she also saw and remembered Belwin. Her face changed at that moment, from relief and love, to anger and disgust. She told me she came to Skyrim looking for me, and was heading to White Run, to look for me. She told me how she held out hope, even though she was sure I was dead, but how I could not hold out that hope for her. She slapped me, and told me she wished I had died. It would have been better for her.
She always thought Belwin was after me, and she always thought I shared some feelings for her. I swear I did not until after Holly was dead, after I thought she was dead, but I did not tell her this. It would not have mattered.
Holly's face softened a bit, and worse than her anger, tears came. She turned away, got on the wagon, and would not speak to me again. I knew she could not speak to me again. It was not really a choice.
Tohmas looked at me and nodded, as if to say he was not mad and held no ill feelings. They left, and was not heading to White Run when they did, but back south, toward Cyrodiil. I considered following them, but what would I say to her to change her mind on this? She wasn't feeling as if I just now betrayed her, she was feeling as if I had betrayed her even before, even back when we were lovers. Again I swear I did not.
I don't know how long I sat outside on a bench just outside of the inn, but it was a long time. I did not know where Belwin was, and I really had no desire to speak with her. It was all a lie. She and I were never meant to be, and only fastened on one another out of some tragedies that struck our lives. Surely she knew this. I was thinking maybe she left when sure enough she sat down beside me, no real expression on her face.
"So what now," she had asked me.
I almost did not answer her, but she deserved one. I explained to her that it was over, we could no longer be together. I had thought Holly was dead, and her being alive made all the difference in the world now. At the time I thought I was right about that, but right or wrong, it was still over between me and Belwin.
Belwin looked to me with a cold stare, and knowing her, I figured that was how she would leave it. Instead big tears slipped out of her eyes, as her face softened. I could not believe she would cry for me. How insensitive must I have been about all of it.
I was trying to think of what to say to make it better, as ridiculous as that sounds, when I felt something punch me between the ribs. I couldn't breath, and could not fathom what had happened.
"That is for Red," Belwin said, and got up. I fell over on the bench, trying to catch my breath, as she walked off to the stables. I touched where I felt my side hurting, and then saw the blood. I knew what happened immediately. Belwin had stabbed me. I was not expecting this at all.
Belwin had her black horse in hand as she came back and stared at me a moment. I could not breath much less speak, and was feeling weaker by the moment as blood drained from the wound. I reached for her, but it was not as it probably appeared. I wanted to tell her I was sorry. Maybe she understood, because tears continued to flow down her face as she climbed on her horse.
Then she was gone.
Then I died.

Krist finished his story, hardly ever looking up to Hadassah, as if he was telling it more to the table. Hadassah refilled his cider, before looking at him with slight smile.
"Krist, you aren't dead, you are just in White Run. I know how that can seem like dead at times," she chuckled slightly.
Krist did not laugh, but it did bring his eyes up to hers.
"I do not die so easy," was all Krist said, through a sigh.
"Apparently not. However, I heard they got you here, barely alive, so the healers could tend you. They did a fine job at that. It was what, two weeks ago, and you are up and about and drinking my cider and telling your tale, looking no worse for the wear."
Actually one of the healers had asked him to leave, after praying for his health. The cleric sensed it, and knew it. He knew it was not their arts that were causing Krist to heal so fast, it was the thing in Krist.
The wolf.
Krist nodded and smiled to Hadassah, then put coin on the table.
"I must be up to my room," he said, and walked toward the stairs, before turning around. "Thank you very much."
She knew he did not mean for the cider.
"See you tomorrow," Hadassah said low, as the big man walked up the stairs to his room.

(summery of back story summery of back story)

Edited by Krist on May 14, 2017 8:03AM
"Krist the Lionheart? No. Lionheart was my dog" -Krist
"Darling, if looks were everything, I would be king of the world" -Luke
"That place, between day and night, that purple color just before dark, that is where you will find me"- Hughe
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