Tales of Skyrim: The Last of his Kind 2

(Part 1 from 1. Fiction.)

*** Chapter 2: Awkward Acquaintances

Breakfast was awful. Jin Hee kept glaring at me, well not just me, but to everyone in the tavern. And yet, I just kept my composure. I am quite intimidated at him, even if we sat at least three stools away. Delphine was also irritated, being treated and answered like that. I even heard her mutter behind my back, "Whatever did I do wrong?! If Akatosh would hear me right now, I just wished that he would turn back time so that I may leave that haughty man dead! THE NERVE!!"

I couldn't blame her.

After he ate, he spoke to Orgnar and said, "To you, my dear sir, I leave you with this," and he gave Orgnar a satchel full of Septims! Even Orgnar was astounded by this.

"H-how much is this?"

"A hundred Septims," he replied, "and please do me a favor to extend my apologies to that woman," and he pointed at Delphine. Orgnar just shrugged as he left, called Delphine and told her what Jin Hee had said. Delphine, well you know her, she ran outside, and all of us followed suit. She ran toward him, threw the satchel at him (and she is a fine marksman, I must daresay, for she had hit him squarely on his head), and screamed, "YOU HAUGHTY FILTH OF A MAN!! THIS IS HOW YOU APOLOGIZE TO A LADY?! HOW DARE YOU TREAT ME LIKE I AM SOME PROSTITUTE!! SHAME ON YOU!!" and she just picked up her skirt and marched back inside. All the while, I laughed myself silly. No amount of money would bribe her. Orgnar kept picking up the coins, whilst Embry joined in. I then noticed Jin Hee started to walk away.

"Delphine," I mustered as I raced back in, picking my bow and arrows, "I must hunt now. I may not return for a while, but I will be back."

Before she could reply, I went out, and ran after the man of my dreams. Funny. After all this time, my feet carried me, rushed at him, who was hostile to me.

Jin Hee was already nearing at Helgen when I caught up with him. "How's your head?"

He was surprised to see me behind him, but then his glare became icy once more. "None of your concern."

"So, where are you heading?"

"Back at the College."

Silence.

"So ---"

"You know what? Why don't we play a little game called 'Quiet Time'?"

He was irritated, but I ignored it, "How's it played then?"

We finally stopped at the gates of Helgen, where Hadvar greeted our arrival.

"Borislav! It has been a while! What brings you here?" and facing Jin Hee, "and you must be the man that my father talked about last night."

Hearing Hadvar talking is like listening to Orgnar all over again, but Hadvar has that sweet, gentle caress in his voice that just kept on whispering in my ears the promises of gentle lovemaking. I mean, seriously, how many women had fallen for his charm? A-plenty!

Jin Hee answered, "I am quite fine, thank you, although I cannot recall this place."

"We're going to Winterhold," I answered. Jin Hee glared at me, as if to say, "WE?!"

"Winterhold, huh?" Hadvar shook his handsome head and sighed, "bad place, I must say. The Thalmor had been on heavier security, as well as more insidious activities since after the White-Gold Concordat. Heck, one of the guards here mentioned he heard from one guard from another hold that some Thalmor officials dragged three people, all in lavish robes, just like your friend here. All of them had sacks on their heads, or so the story goes. "

As I listened intently, Jin Hee suddenly clutched his head and grunted. "Is something wrong?" Hadvar asked.

"Just a headache '

I was wary of Jin Hee's actions, because he's still raging all the way here. Finally, Hadvar said, "Well, you know that this is the wrong way, is it?"

I was stupefied. The farthest I had ever been was on Whiterun. Hadvar sighed as Jin Hee and I exchanged bemused glances to him. He pulled out a map from his belt, and showed us the way. "You are in the Falkreath Hold, you see," pointing Helgen on the map, "In order to go to Winterhold, you might as well go back to Whiterun and take a carriage there."

"I am short of Septims," Jin Hee said dejectedly.

"That's because you gave Delphine a hundred Septims," I answered in an annoying tone, which earned me an irate glare from him. Hadvar laughed, "Really? And for what?"

"Guilt payment. He got her under her skin."

Hadvar once again laughed, and clapped Jin Hee on his shoulder. "You know, Delphine is more than a woman. Her sense of virtue is as high as any fine soldier. Hell," he sighed, "she might even had been one.

"Now, back to business. Since both of you are short of Septims, then I suggest you best be on your way. Just head towards Whitewatch Tower. From there, you are now in The Pale. Just follow the road and you will be in Winterhold in no time."

"And -how long is it going to take?" I really had to ask.

"Probably a few days -- a week, at best."

I just sighed, probably because I am weary of long travels, but because I don't know for sure if Jin Hee would allow me to accompany him. After all, Skyrim is teeming with wildlife and bizarre entities. As I pondered on, Jin Hee just said 'Thanks' and went on his merry way. "Got to go!" I said to Hadvar, rather hastily, and chased after him.

"So -about the game ---"

"WE?! There is no 'WE', okay?! We just slept in the same room, and nothing happened! You're just my acquaintance! Why can't you just leave me alone?!"

And for the first time in my entire life, I punched a man straight in the face. I knew that I had ruined his robe, but he has gone too far! I don't care if he is the man of my dreams, because for now, he was just an awkward, and somewhat rude, acquaintance. He didn't tumble down as I had expected, and my knuckles burned. "I have been nice to you the entire time! And THIS is how you treat me?! No wonder Delphine threw your guilt money!! You always think it's the end of the world!! Well, IT IS NOT, okay?! Just because I ruined your robe you can treat me this way!!"

And that earned me a slight increase in dignity. He just glared at me, wiped his chin, and glared some more. How unnerving! Suddenly, his palm began to glow. He was glaring -- STARING -- rather alarmingly, at me, and pointed his open palm toward me. As his palm glowed, it began to burn! And for that instant, he fired a fast moving ball of fire! I dodged to the side, and screamed, "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?"

And then something crumpled by my side. It was a dead wolf, and three more leered in our direction. I was in such state of panic that I could not draw my bow properly, and his palm -- his other palm -- glowed green. It was a soothing glow of green, it reminded me of the lush glades. He was silent as he poised for yet another attack. The wolves bared their teeth, saliva dripped from their foamy mouths. Jin Hee then fired an orb of green light at the wolves, and what happened next made my mouth gape in awe. The wolves, savage before, slowly walked away, as if we didn't exist!

"W-wh --"

"Just get up there."

Another one of those uncomfortable silence passed by.

"H-hey, I-I'm sorry --" I began. He was staring at my face, this time it mellowed from icy wrath to warm annoyance and disappointment. "Just please leave me alone. We both know that this is for the best. I got to go." He then turned his back and went straight back to Riverwood. I just stood there, like a coward. Here in front of me is the man of my dreams, and he was slipping through my fingers. And he proves to be quite a challenge. He is certainly brash, acrimonious, and uncouth, but he can be amiable if he wants to. And so, on impulse, "I won't leave you '

That statement made him stop in his tracks. "What? Are you really that callow?"

"If I may say, then yes, I am that artless enough to follow anyone blindly and without doubt, unless I find something about you that will prove otherwise.

"Also," I added, "Delphine might chase you out there any moment you step back in Riverwood. Surely you do not want that cavalcade to happen again."

That made Jin Hee cringe. "Of course not!"

"And so, whether you like it or not, I will accompany you. And I might be able to help you out with my trusty bow here."

"You can't even draw your bow a moment ago."

"I was not prepared back then! And my bow might help us in hunting food, aside from your magic that might give us instant roast."

That made him smile a bit. "I guess so. I just hope that there's a feast back at the College."

And in that moment, I knew, though we were far from being friends, I would never let him go. We ran past Riverwood, past Whiterun, until we reached Whitewatch Tower. We were so weary that we best decided to find a place to stay. We found a cave nearby, slaughtered the wolves within, hunted for meat, and settled there for the night. We had faced so many adversaries on this day, but there's one thing I have noticed about Jin Hee. He has a particular liking in brews. With such few Septims I had, I bought some cheap ale for him along the way. That was incorrect -- he made me buy them. He cajoled, coerced, threatened, and finally begged me for some. I am a teetotaler, if you may ask because I prefer to be on the move. Wine makes my senses dull, and during hunting, having poor coordination may render me helpless, or kill something -- or someone -- other than the one I am pursuing.

When I asked him why he wanted them so bad, he kept reiterating that it was in his blood that kept him from doing it. I find it rather uncouth, but suspicion crept in my mind. I could not help but ask, but why is his name so, so different? But I kept it within me, until the right moment should arise then I would ask. But for now, as darkness ate the last rays of sunshine, he made a fire, propped a nice spit for our evening meal -- a large cut of venison and four rabbit legs, and began to open one bottle of cheap ale. "We haven't had a meal yet, and here you are, chugging that bottle down," I muttered as Jin Hee drank the ale up to the last drop, "I will prepare our lounging, if you don't mid, and please don't drink too much."

He just guffawed, and said, "Yes, my lord!"

He then opened another bottle as I began to fix our beds made from the stag's fur I just cleaned. I bought ten bottles of ale, and now only eight bottles remained. "Hey Borislav!" he called, waving a stick of smoked rabbit leg at my face, "This one's done. You can eat it if you want."

"How about you? You'll just drink until you pass out without eating?"

He looked at me with a crossed expression. "Of course I will eat. I am just handing you one cooked piece, but you take it as an insult." His stare became icy once more, "You want it or not?"


"Fine, I'll take it then!"

I bit off a large chunk from the leg and sat down beside him. It was a chilly evening. The wolves began to howl in the unforgiving darkness, as the night sky began to give way for starlight. As I gazed at the heavens, I can't help but imagine my luck. Here I was, in the wilderness, eating beside the man of my dreams. I was just hoping that someday, I might find an amulet of Mara, give it to Jin Hee, and live happily. But first, I had to earn his trust. As we ate by the fire, I began to ask about his life.

Well, he opened up a few details about him. He is five summers ahead of me (I am twenty eight years of age), and he once lived in Cyrodiil because of his mother, who was a just an innocent flower vendor before the Thalmor murdered her in front of his eyes, all the while accusing her as a Blade. As he recalled those memories, his eyes welled up and I could already hear soft sobs in between words. "J-Jin, I'm sorry -I knew I shouldn't -- "

"No, it's okay," he gently said, "it's just that it's so hard to -to forget about it -s-seeing her die '

That's when he lost it.

Grabbing another bottle, he drank it all up. Then he ate like a ravenous wolf on the now-cooked venison, which I gladly cut. As he drank on his fourth bottle, I spoke up. "Well, I guess it's my turn.

You know, I grew up in Windhelm. I had a family once. My father would hunt with the other hunters, my mother tending in the market, and I was just a happy little kid, playing with other children. We all lived happily, when tragedy struck." I had to pause for breath, for it was too much to bear, but I kept on, "One night, when the moon was nigh bright, there were noises inside our home. It was heart wrenching, almost spine-tingling as I heard, and saw, my mother screaming in sorrow as she saw my father mercilessly slaughtered like some beast. I could hear my father howls of fear. As my mother watched in horror, I finally heard my father's scream thickened and gurgled. I just hid in the pantry when they murdered her next. It was swift, and merciful for my mother's part, for she wouldn't suffer as much '

I couldn't stop my tears from flowing as Jin drank his last ale, which made his face flushed red. He had a look of pity in his eyes, and he was crying as well. Maybe he felt the same pain I had. But I kept on, knowing that if I couldn't share it, my heart could explode. "I slowly crept back to their room, only to see my father brutally slain. His arms and legs were bound to the four corners of their bed. His insides were dug out and strewn all over the place. My mother, on the other hand, only got a slit from her throat. When dawn came, nobody knew of last night's ordeal. As days swept by, I hid within the docks of the town I came to hate. Then, guards came and swept me away to Riften, where my torments as an orphan began .

"I tried to find all the treasures our family had," I said, "These aren't expensive ornaments, you see. They're all heirlooms from their parents: a silver necklace and a golden ring. One night, I escaped from the orphanage, but someone saw me, and alerted the guards. Since then, I was stuck in Riften, until I successfully escaped another night '

Another one of those uncomfortable silences ensued. The fire crackled and spurted sparks as we sat in silence. The wolves had finally abated their howls, our dinner left untouched. He just stared emptily into space, stood up, took off his robes, and leaned against the cave wall. Finally, he slumped back to the ground, breathed in hard, and said, "I -I thought I was the only one who had seen and suffered injustice -I didn't know --"

This was the time I snapped back, "Pray tell, how will you know, if in the first place, you act like an impetuous child?"

Jin Hee sat in the silence. We never said another word. I just blew my sorrows in front of him, and I needed space. I just stared at the glorious night sky, while he remained silent. As I wallowed in self-pity, something rubbed and rapped my back. As I was about to protest, I saw him sleeping like a small babe. That made me smile a bit.

Even in the midst of darkness, his presence seemed to lift the burden of my own weakness and remorse. Though I knew he still hides some things, I knew one day, he'll be ready to share them. For now, a comforting hug was just I needed for. He is quickly intoxicated even by cheap ale, which makes him very -vulnerable -and I just had a plan. But on that time, I thought it would be best to savor his vulnerability in a gentle way.

With great effort (add that, my back ached), I dragged him to the makeshift bed I had prepared earlier. As he crumpled in his stupor, I gazed at his peaceful, handsome face. I gently stroked his beard with one hand, feeling each bristle of a hair he has. He was breathing heavily, his eyes fluttering, like he was having a very nice dream. I was mesmerized at how his chest rise and fall as he dozed, his feeble scratching of his belly up to down under, and his snoring.

He is definitely snoring.

I carefully placed myself right beside him, and slowly lay down on his left arm, for he was sprawled all over my bed. I was looking at him to see any reactions, but none whatsoever. So, I continued my mission, and I made him lie on his left side and I wrapped his right arm around me. Without any reactions, I gently and carefully leaned against his torso, letting me feel the heat that emanated from his body. Now I could definitely say a job well done.

He was hugging me, in a way.

With his warm embrace, I lulled myself to sleep .

I woke up when I noticed that his warmth vanished, and I could hear him murmuring in his sleep. It was the dead of night, the night fire remained as embers, and it was chilly. I could definitely hear him murmuring.

"No -w-wait up -ungh '

His face was crossed, his brows created deep furrows, his eyes were shut tightly, and he was sweating. As he murmured, he began to shift in his sleep. I could not tell what was happening, until â

"G-get away!! Ivrhynna!! Abele!!"

He was flailing madly in his sleep, enwrapped in a nightmare I didn't know, but he was flailing, and he was struggling.

"G-GET AWAY FROM ME!! PLEASE!!!"

"Jin!" I shook him as hard as I could, trying to wake him up, "Jin, what's going on?!"

He was struggling very hard, and from what I'd imagine, he was being bound against his will. He was gnashing his teeth and he was grunting.

"S-STOP!! W-WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO US?! IVRHYNNA!! ABELE!!"

"Jin, please wake up!! You have to wake up!!"

"NO!!!"

He suddenly sprang up, hitting my face with his meaty chest. I was knocked backwards, and sat squarely on my arse.

"HEY!! WH --"

Then I saw his eyes.

They were not the same as before, so different that it made me gasp in horror. His eyes, which were once gentle sapphires, became beady, almost glasslike. They reflected an eerie glow of green in them, which made them orbs of terror. He was glaring at my direction, and as I gaped in sheer horror, the man I once remembered vanished from my very eyes in that instant. His handsome face, which I cherished dearly, was disfigured in a grotesque manner. He was covered in what I could perceive as scales from his forehead down to the bridge of his nose. Even his arms and legs were covered in those glasslike scales!

"J-Jin --"

I saw something escaped from his lips.

A tongue, forked at the ends!

"J-Jin .."

He was hissing as his round pupils slowly narrowed until only two slits remained. He never blinked, nor tore his glare away from me. I was sweating profusely, was paralyzed by fear, and utterly speechless. His beady glare was terrifying, and his voice was raspy, like a cat's claw scratching on old wood.

"GO AWAY!!"

In haste, I ran away, and hid in the nearby thicket. The Whitewatch Tower was just a few paces away, but I couldn't summon enough confidence to venture out yet. As I hid like a rabbit, I could hear raspy hisses, and it's him. I barely kept silent, but I tried not to scream. As he screamed loudly, I heard something fell to the ground. With every bit of courage left inside me, I took a peek, only to see him lying face first on the ground, his scales now gone, and he was short of breath.

I fought with all my soul, but my body acted on its own. I blindly rushed to his side without considering the event before, raised him up, and tediously staggered back to the cave. He was shivering, spasming as I lay him down on his bed. I gently wiped the sweat and grime on his body with some of the remaining fur, and hugged him tightly. His breathing eased a bit, and the deep furrows from his forehead slowly vanished. His body also regained control of itself.

I again closed my eyes, hoping that I might sleep well.

I felt something warm and fuzzy wrap around my body.

I couldn't breathe.

But it was so warm, it felt as though all my worries were uplifted. When morning came, as I woke up, I felt something pulling my body. It was Jin Hee, and he was hugging me!

This time, for real!

I slowly released myself from his bear hug and checked on our things.

Nothing was stolen, at least.

But, in my memory, I still couldn't forget how Jin looked that night. He was horrifying, ruthless, and downright bestial. His look was as cold as darkness, and his voice echoed like a nightmare. I looked at him, for my concern that he might return that way again. I fixed our breakfast when he woke up. He groaned long and low as he touched his right temple, and spoke, "Morning '

"M-morning '

Uncomfortable silence.

"Any ale left?"

"None. You just drank the last one last night."

"Argh. WE need to restock on those ales!"

Hmph.

We.

For the remainder of the time, I never dared ask him about last night. He returned to normal, but I couldn't help but wonder: does he know about this? Was he cursed by a wizard? And if he did, then why did he curse Jin Hee?

He was even more mysterious than I ever anticipated.

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