The Dragon’s Bane
Chapter Eight – To Ride in Snow
The chill air plumed from her mouth as the horse cantered along the river’s shoreline. Spotting the ford to cross, Mira grinned, shot a look over to the other rider whose fair hair was flowing loose from any bonds, matching her steed’s pace easily. Kicking her heels into the horse’s ribs, Mira laughed as the horse bounded across the shallow water toward the snowy plains on the other side. The horse wickered at the sudden freedom of running. Mira could hear a yell coming from Ulfric as he urged his horse to chase after her.
They ran wildly over the snowy plain sparkling pristinely in the pale sunshine, enjoying the bit of freedom from war, politics, and the troubles of the land. It was if they were transported back twenty years when they were young and doing the same chase. Mira swerved her horse, to which Ulric laid a parallel run to Mira. Slapping the reins, Ulfric leaned down over the neck and urged his grey mount faster. Coming upon one dip, Ulfric led the horse over a short jump and then turned his horse toward Mira. The streaking form of Mira’s dark hair streaming behind her fast approached him. Grinning widely, Ulfric pulled his horse further toward intercepting Mira. Her face held surprise when Ulfric galloped up to her side.
Reaching over, Ulfric grabbed Mira’s reins and pulled gently, slowing both of them down. The horses slowed their gait to a cantor than a fast walk, steam blowing from their noses as they started to cool down from the run. They rode through a little maze of hillocks and drifts, wandering aimlessly. For Mira, it was good to be out of the palace and in the open again, and with Ulfric’s company, things seemed right. Spotting a deep snowdrift, she got a mischievous grin and turned it on the jarl.
“Oh no, I remember that look.” Ulfric shook his head.
“As well you should.” Mira responded and then shoved Ulfric’s large frame from his horse to fall into the large snowdrift. A cloud of glittering snow plumed into the air with the man exhaling a gust of air as it left his lungs. His horse continued to walk on for a little bit and stopped. Mira sat on her horse and smiled down at Ulfric. His eyes blinked a few times, shocked that she did such a thing. With a movement so fast, that Mira didn’t have time to react, Ulfric sprung up, grabbed the front of her cloak and pulled Mira off the horse and into the snowdrift, laying over her with a large toothy grin.
“Y..you…” Mira sputtered.
“Turnabout is fair play, Silver Wolf.” Ulfric chuckled, grabbing some snow and flinging it at her. He quickly backed away and attempted to get up, slipping in the drift as he was hampered by the thick wool and fur cloak.
Mira scrambled up, grabbed a handful of snow, and tossed it back at Ulfric. Then she took a second handful, compact it into a ball, and threw it at his back. Ulfric roared in laughter, turning around to gather snow into a ball and return fire. They fought with volleys of snowballs, chasing each other around, laughing in joy, for a half-hour. At the end, Ulfric tackled Mira, landing both of them into a deep drift and flurry of snow fluttering down on them. Out of breath and still laughing, Ulfric lay on top of Mira, looking at her, taking in the brightness of her silvery-grey eyes, the flush to her nose and cheeks and disarray of her dark hair that held a few strands of silver running through. He brushed his fingers through the strands by Mira’s face, admiring the silkiness of the dark hair. They were both older now but Ulfric knew that his old feelings for the woman remained. In fact, he found Mira more beautiful today that it made his heart ache in his chest. Ulfric was unused to simply feeling anything other than pain and anger.
She looked up at Ulfric as his long blonde hair fell around his face and cascaded over her face, the carefree and happy smile transforming the worn and tortured man. Right here was the man she had cared so very much for a lifetime ago. His own face flushed from laughing and their snow fight, lending a healthy and happy brilliance to Ulfric. Mira’s heart fluttered in her chest to realize that there was more than friendly feelings inside. Then again, when she was a girl, she would have never admitted that she was in love with the young man that Ulfric was. They had agreed to remain close friends and continue with their social activities. Mira however remembered that kiss he gave her on the day she left Windhelm. So much was left unsaid between them and then again, the most important thing was said through that kiss.
Mira leaned up, wrapping a hand behind Ulfric’s neck and kissed his mouth. His lips were still cold and wet from the snow fight but quickly warmed up under her mouth as he heartily responded. The open-mouthed kisses shared the hot breath between them, heating their faces under the cascade of Ulfric’s locks. The rising passion in both also made the heat rise between them around the cold snow, to where they didn’t feel the chill nip in the air.
However, it didn’t last long when Ulfric’s horse nudged his master’s back imperiously with his nose, wanting to get back to a warm stable with some sweet hay. Ulfric broke off the kiss, smiled at Mira and chuckled. “I think our mounts want to get back home.”
Mira grinned. “I can’t blame them.”
“Don’t think this is done, Mir.” Ulfric rumbled deep in his chest as he nudged at Mira’s mouth. With that said, Ulfric got up and held a hand out to Mira, to help pull her up from the snow bank. After retrieving her horse, Ulfric and Mira slowly rode back to the Palace of the Kings.
“My Jarl!” Ulfric’s steward, Jorleif, came up to him and Mira as they came in from the stables.
“There is news from the Reach. Galmar wishes to speak with you immediately.”
Ulfric sighed quietly, the happy, carefree look on his face replaced by the weight of rule and war. He looked down at Mira sadly, speaking his regret to her in his eyes. She nodded understanding and squeezed his hand briefly before the jarl was led away to meet with Galmar. Not ready to retire to her rooms, Mira headed out of the palace and into Windhelm proper. It had been a long time since she had walked the streets of the city and it was a nice day, the sun still shining among the clear and cloudless day. Many citizens took advantage of such days, thus when Mira left the courtyard of the palace, the throng of people wandering around made the city lively. Many of the citizens greeted her, some recognizing her as the dovahkiin, others just a polite formality to meeting someone who was of apparent noble standing.
Mira picked up snatches of hushed conversations around about a series of murders happening in Windhelm over the past couple of weeks. This made her wonder if Ulfric knew and what was being done about looking into the matter. She decided to investigate a bit about the tragic events and wandered to the merchant quarter. However, as soon as Mira turned down one alley that led to the graveyard, a grisly scene met her. A woman was laid out on top of a bier stone, body mutilated by cuts in key areas that looked to be where certain organs or body parts were taken. Mira swallowed the rise of bile in her throat, as she looked at the murder scene as detached as possible. She walked down to where the city guard stood there, warning stray onlookers away from the crime scene, as he tried to question a witness who must have discovered the body. A priest of Arkay was already on the scene, chanting away the prayers for the dead while she looked over the dead woman’s body.
“Please move along!” The guard told her as Mira approached.
“None of your business!” The guard grew agitated. “This is city guard’s business.”
“It looks like that you need some help.” Mira asked. “I am not just some ordinary visitor or citizen.”
“I wouldn’t care if you were Talos reborn; no one is to interfere in this investigation. Unless you personally are assigned by the jarl himself, I’m sorry, miss, I can’t…”
Mira grew impatient, knowing how a murder scene was critical in the first few hours to get the clues and evidence needed before it was corrupted. “I do not want to get you into trouble but understand, I am a personal friend of Jarl Ulfric, I am a Companion, and Dovahkiin. I can help you here. If you need more proof of my integrity, go talk to the jarl yourself.” She hated having to play that particular card but it was best to expedite matters in this matter.
The guard paled under the guard of his helmet. “N..no…not necessary! I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you, Dragonborn!”
“That is alright. Now, tell me what has happened.” Mira politely and politely asked the guard.
“My lady!” Jorleif caught Mira’s attention as she walked back in through the main palace doors. “The jarl is waiting for you in the private dining room. I can take you there.”
She smiled at the steward, “That’s alright, I remember where it is.”
“As you wish.” He gave her a quick bow and went off to his errands.
Taking off the cloak and shaking it out, Mira walked down the great hall that served as throne room and formal dining hall. Veering to the left, she entered the new war room. Galmar was there, standing over the map of Skyrim, a finger tapping at his lips as he pondered something. His eyes looked up to meet hers and gave a nod to Mira. She returned it and proceeded to the residential door. Before she could walk through, Galmar stopped her.
“Lady Mirandra, a moment please.”
“I was off to meet Ulfric.”
“He can wait a moment more. I would like a word, however.”
“About what, sir?”
Galmar waved his hand dismissively at the formal title of respect from her. “You don’t need to address me so. I served under your father’s command.”
“So be it, as long as you call me by Mira. I always thought Mirandra was a bit too pretentious for conversation.”
The grizzled warrior chuckled. “Indeed, it can be. Speaking from one commander to another, take a look at the map and tell me your honest assessment, considering your time in the Legion. Something has me puzzled and I can’t quite put a finger on it.”
“Surely, Ric could have told you, as he served too.”
“I need a fresh perspective. Humor me, please.”
“Alright.” Mira turned back to the map table and stood over the map, looking over the color marked pins that denoted Imperial and Stormcloak control. Those loyal to the Stormcloaks stayed tight in the Eastmarch region. Whiterun remained unmarked and thus, neutral, the same with Winterhold where the mages school was. Now, why didn’t the Imperials have control of the coastal towns? Mira furrowed her brows in puzzlement. Solitude and Riften were the only ports in their control. However, Riften had no access to the seas.
“I understand why Solitude is in Imperial hands but what is with Riften? Is it divided?”
“Aye. The jarl is for Ulfric but is hesitant to give outright support. You see, the Dark Brotherhood is there and has a controlling interest of what goes on in Riften. They remain neutral, as they would prefer. Jarl Laila won’t put forth open support unless Ulfric can provide something to prove his claim for the high king’s throne.”
Galmar nodded. “Many of the jarls that lean toward Ulfric are asking the same thing. Now, obviously, the Imperials don’t want him to find this.”
Now things started to make sense regarding the Imperial placement on the map. “Divide and Conquer.”
“Imperial legion maneuver when you have few numbers to deal with a local army and the citizens. Divide and conquer. They are pecking away at Ulfric’s weaknesses in order to insert their influence with those that are sympathetic. Admittedly, I used the tactic myself when quelling some rising upstarts in the southern region of Cyrodiil. It’s slow but methodical, yet to those who don’t study tactics, it will look like a mess on the maps.”
“It makes sense now. We then need to solidify Ulfric’s claim. There is a legend about a crown.” Galmar half muttered to himself. “Yes, yes, I will need to talk with Wuunferth. Thank you, Mira, for providing the fresh perspective. You have your father’s sharp mind for tactics. I see that Ulfric learned the same lessons.”
“He would have, as father taught both of us.” Mira smiled fondly.
“Well, I don’t mean to keep you.” Galmar said, obviously dismissing Mira as he muttered under his breath as he saw the tactical map in a new light.
She shook her head, continued through the door, and headed upstairs. The corridors were not very wide, providing a very intimate feeling to the residence. It also helped to keep the warmth close in the large stone palace. The corridor only widened a few more inches when it reached toward the royal apartments. Mira stopped at the first door on the right as she reached the jarl’s section and knocked quietly before entering. Ulfric wasn’t in the private dining room when she entered, so Mira went to lay her cloak across a chest off to the left of the door. The table was set for two with covered dishes sitting in the middle of the table. The large hearth blazed merrily, providing comfortable warmth after the cool afternoon outside. Mira walked to the fire and stood in front of it, laying her hands before the heat, warming her hands.
Looking into the fire, Mira remembered all the evenings spent in this room with her father, the Bear, Ulfric and his brother. There were many discussions and laughter, happier times before tragedy struck and broke the close-knit circle of friends of her, Ulfric and his brother.
“Oh, come, Mira! Talos was a great hero but he was just a man, and one that dreamed too high!” Jurgen scoffed at Mira who was six years his junior.
“If we don’t dream higher above our own lot in life, then why live? Don’t we all aspire to better ourselves and our positions?” Mira replied hotly, deeply annoyed at Jurgen for his condescending attitude. Ever since he started training under the Bear, his attitude toward her and Ulfric changed to a superior arrogance that grated on both of their nerves.
“Everyone has their lot in life that is predestined! We can’t change that!”
“Jurgen, you are a fool!” Ulfric commented hotly as he rushed up from where he was sitting and took a couple of steps toward his brother. “So, you are saying that Mira cannot aspire to become….oh, let’s say, jarl, one day because she is destined to be just some soldier or wife to some officer? She fights better than you!”
“But she is only the daughter of General Urik, who is not even of noble blood!”
“Is SO!” Mira yelled her first balling up at her sides. “Nobility is something you have or don’t! No one gives you nobility because of circumstance of birth!”
“You are a child, Mira! What do you know of such political ramblings except what is taught to you by the priest of Akatosh.” Jurgen sniffed.
Ulfric’s nostrils flared at his brother’s attitude and dismissive demeanor toward Mira. For all that she was seventeen years old, Mira proved to be far wittier and more intelligent than either of them, and a capable fighter. Ulfric admired and loved Mira’s spirit and fire because she didn’t back down on her principles. It was something that was ingrained in both him and Mira by Urik. “You bastard! What has got up your ass lately that you treat Mira like this?”
“I learned that we have to live by our lot in life, Ric! Did I want to be heir after father dies? No, I have no choice but to learn how to rule Skyrim should the time come! Thus, you are destined to join the Grey Beards for the rest of your life after your twenty-first birthday, as you have already been in training to do since childhood and you had the talent for the Voice! That is just the way it is!” Jurgen yelled at Ulfric.
Mira laughed harshly, “Oh, so I am the poor woman here that is relegated to marry off to some soldier and play my part because that is my destiny? I thought we made our own destiny?”
“Please, spare me the philosophy debate, Mira!”
Without thinking, Mira launched herself at Jurgen, her right fist connecting to his jaw in a hard hook that sent him flying back against the dining table. His eyes glittered at her balefully and he tried to jump back at Mira. Ulfric attempted to restrain him but Jurgen ripped out of his arms and grabbed Mira by the hair. Grimacing in pain, Mira relaxed her body and turned in his grip to jab at Jurgen’s ribs then step on the insole. The grasp in her hair was let go but Mira didn’t let up as she let loose another swing toward Uflric’s brother’s head.
Jurgen growled and rammed into the slight form of the young woman, slamming her against the wall next to the door. Mira saw stars in her eyes as a gush of air left her. Jurgen backhanded her hard to where the taste of blood gushed into her mouth. A red haze fell over her eyes and Mira brought up her knee into Jurgen’s groin. She heard him grunt and Ulfric cry out. Jurgen ignored his brother and bore down the extreme pain in his lower regions. With a roar, his blood in a frenzy, he launched into Mira, sending them crashing into the sideboard. Dishes and glasses shattered to the floor. His fist slammed down into Mira’s jaw, making her cry out in sudden pain.
After a couple more rain of blows on her, Mira heard a demanding bellow.
Everything seemed to move as if underwater. Mira saw her father raise his arm to block a frenzied blow by Jurgen and the glimmer of a long knife pulled from behind his back sank into the unprotected midsection of the general. Urik’s cry stopped as his eyes widened in surprise and shock. Slowly, Mira watched the horror of what happened as her father started coughing up blood to trickle down the corner of his mouth. The clatter of the long knife of the floor snapped her from the surreality of the attack to see Jurgen lose all color in his face and drop to his knees, catching Urik in his arms.
“Oh, no..no..no..no…” he babbled.
Snapping her eyes to Ulfric’s fool of a brother and her dying father, she pushed Jurgen off Urik, glaring hatefully at the man as she cradled her father in her arms. Ulfric arrived back at the dining room and took in the scene with a look of utter shock and disbelief. The Bear entered behind his youngest son and took in what transpired, frowning greatly. Giving a look to Jurgen that told him to leave and wait in his room, the Bear rushed to Mira’s side.
“Papa….papa…please…open your eyes!” Mira whispered over and over, as she rocked the old dying man in her arms.
His eyes fluttered open and a feeble hand reached up to Mira’s battered and bloodied face. “Silver Wolf, my d…daughter…”
“Papa!” She smiled brokenly.
Urik coughed, a small bubble of blood popped on his lips. “Don’t…worry about..m…me.”
“You’re all I have left, Papa!”
“I’ll always be with you…” Urik whispered as the last of his breath left him.
“Papa?” Mira questioned the sudden still form of Urik Dragon Bane, general of Skyrim’s legion, and distant descendant of Ysgrimmor. Only a select few knew the true lineage of the humble man, the Bear and Ulfric being of those select few. “Papa!” Mira cried as she crushed her father to her chest as it tightened painfully at the sudden crushing weight of grief took her.
“Mira…” the Bear gently called to the young woman.
“No…no…this can’t be…Papa! Wake up! You are playing with me! Wake up!” Mira babbled.
“Mir…” Ulfric squatted on the other side of her and placed his arms around her as she held her dead father. “I’m sorry, Mir.” He said quietly and full of sorrow. He had loved Urik as his own father, to which the Bear didn’t begrudge him that. The Bear lost a brother-in-arms, an advisor, a friend, and family, due to a stupid, unthinkable act of his eldest son.
“Papa?” Mira whimpered into the grey head of Urik, as tears finally flowed down her swollen cheeks.
Feeling gentle hands wiping away tears on her face, Mira snapped to the present and looked up to Ulfric’s somber face. He leaned down and tenderly kissed the tears from her cheeks and then her forehead. “I should have had our dinner someplace else. I’m sorry, Mir. I knew how painful this room is to you and I was thoughtless.”
Taking in a deep shaky breath, Mira gathered herself from reliving that fateful day of the unfortunate accident that killed her father. “I didn’t think after twenty years that the memories would still be so strong.” Her voice wavered a little. “I still miss him.”
“So do I.” Ulfric said. “I’ll have the servants set up a table in my chambers.”
Without hearing Mira’s quiet protest, he left her again for a few minutes and came back with a pair of servants. They went to the set table and gathered the covered dishes and place settings, whisking them off to the jarl’s private chambers, where he had eaten many of his meals in the past once Ulfric returned to Windhelm from Cyrodiil, mourning the loss of the Bear, his father. Placing an arm around Mira’s shoulders, he walked her out of the dining room and down the corridor to his chambers.
They arrived at his chambers and walked to the small sitting room that was Ulfric’s private library. It was cozy with a fire dancing in the hearth. Their food was lying on the desk with the plates on a table between two chairs before the fire. Ulfric led Mira to her seat while he went to serve the food. It wasn’t a large fancy meal one would expect of a jarl. It was remarkably simple. Elk meat in a red savory sauce, herb potatoes, and some greens. Ulfric was never much for the heavy or fanciful foods found in most courts, preferring the food that was fresh from the hunt with tasty simple sides to compliment the game. After pouring some red wine, Ulfric took a seat across from Mira. They started their meal in silence, enjoying the food in peace.
When they had their fill, Ulfric cleared the plates and refilled their wine glasses. Mira sipped at her glass and leaned back in the high back chair, staring into the clear red depths of the drink. The subtle spice in the winterberry spoke of where the wine came from and she had to give a small smile. “You still keep that vineyard?”
Ulfric smiled shyly. “Yes. It is doing quite well and has become one of the favorite wines in the Empire.”
“Well, yes, because I am fighting for Skyrim’s independence doesn’t mean I won’t take advantage of the trade. I haven’t become such an ogre as to ban all trade from the other provinces.” He finished his second glass and set it down on the table before them.
“And how is your rebellion going?” Mira asked, raising an eyebrow in query.
“Mir, no politics this evening. I set this day aside for us without worrying about the outside world intruding in the time. You will have to go back to Whiterun soon, I know that. So, let’s forgo talk about the war, dragons, or anything else.”
“Alright.” Mira gave a nod of her head. “What do we talk about if war, politics, and related subjects are not on the plate?”
Ulfric sat there for a moment, taking in the sight of a mature warrior and former commander of a legion squadron. The firelight next to them provided a golden glow to her sun browned skin and adding a softness to the sharp angles of her face. No, this wasn’t a girl anymore but a grown woman. A woman who had gone through many difficult trials and was now marching to another great trial against the return of dragons in Skyrim. Today, though, Mira was relaxed, softened in his company, which gave Ulfric a pleasant sensation that this fragile new relationship that started might work. He had to tread this carefully though, not knowing how much Mira had changed since their youth.
“Do you still sing?” Ulfric asked.
A flicker of a smile crossed her lips. “Once in a while. I used to when marching along imperial roads with my troop. It was surprising what a good harmony they provided.”
“There is a certain musical cadence when marching that leads to song.” Ulfric smiled. “My men would be counterpoint to my own verse which helped make the miles go by quicker.”
“It does at that. Did you find it difficult to integrate with your troops?”
“There was always some distance because I was their commanding officer.” Ulfric pursed his lips. “But because I was Nord, not really. I think I intimidated most of the men because well…I am no small man.”
Mira laughed. “Indeed, you are not! You did inherit the title of Bear, after all! After I proved that I was a capable fighter, I got the respect I deserved. Oh sure, a new young whelp would try to best his superior but it was over in one blow of my sword.”
Ulfric chuckled. “I can imagine! You were the stronger fighter, even over me, and I am no slacker.”
“You just prefer the finesse of that overgrown wood axe to a sword.” Mira grinned crookedly.
“Hey, now! There is finesse in an axe, and it can be thrown unlike that pointy piece of steel that needs to be led to a kill.”
“You had no patience in learning the forms.”
“Not when you were constantly distracting me.” Ulfric gave Mira a sultry grin.
“I didn’t distract…” Mira stopped and looked deep into the jarl’s eyes. “You were courting that girl from Solitude!”
“Was. At the time, I hadn’t seen her in a month’s time, not that it really mattered. She was getting on my nerves. She wasn’t you.” Ulfric spoke the last quietly.
“Ric…” Mira was speechless at the admittance.
“Do you remember when I kissed you in the war room before your departure?”
“I meant the intention and emotion behind it.” He reached into a pocket of his breeches and brought out a faded blue ribbon. “This slipped into my fingers when you had pulled away and for all these years, I have kept hold of it. Through combat, imprisonment, and torture this has never left my grasp.” Ulfric’s voice hitched on the last.
Mira’s eyes blinked as tears started to fill them. “You could have moved on, Ric.” She rasped out. “What if I never came home? Or had died somewhere?”
“Somehow, I would have known had you died, Mir. I didn’t defy father to go chasing after a dream. I did so to go after you and bring you home. It was also a time where I needed to prove to myself that I could be a man worthy of the daughter of Urik Dragon Bane.”
Ulfric got out of his chair, pushed the table between them aside, and kneeled in front of Mira, taking her hands in his. “I was a scholar then, Mir. Training to join the Grey Beards. How was I ever worthy to take such a fierce warrior for myself? Before Urik was killed, father had meant to make a marriage between you and Jurgen. I knew you didn’t care for him but to the Bear, it was a worthy alliance, especially considering your bloodline.”
Mira put a finger on Ulfric’s lips to stop his speech, giving him a small, gentle smile. “I knew about the marriage proposal but I flatly told father and yours that I wouldn’t go through it, even if Talos walked the land again. Jurgen was weak and arrogant, and not worthy of my attentions. He had no vision or ambition--unlike you.”
Ulfric’s eyes widened a little at what Mira was telling him. “Why did we ever make that stupid pact?”
“We were young and you didn’t want to be beholden to a girl who was your friend?”
“I was stupid and wanted to see if there were other women that could be more a match for me. I was wrong.”
“So, we were both stupid in our youth.” Mira laughed and then sobered. “And now that we are adults?”
“I…know what I would like but could this work considering the people we are today? We are scarred, Mir, and there is a mess of history that lies with each of us.”
“True. Then there is my fight with the dragons and yours with the Dominion. Yes, I see it is truly with the Dominion, Ric, not the Empire.” Mira said when she saw his eyes opened wider. “The people see the travesty the Empire has heaped on them but they are but the puppets. Even I was seeing that when in Cyrodiil before I resigned my commission.”
“They do nothing, however, to overthrow their masters, Mir!” Ulfric growled low.
“I don’t know the circumstance, Ric, but I know the current emperor is weak. Enough, we said we wouldn’t talk politics.”
“Yes, we wouldn’t. I’m sorry, it is a part of who I am now, since starting this war for Skyrim’s freedom.”
“I am surprised you haven’t championed your cause toward me in order to join.” Mira quirked a smile.
“I would never do that to you, though Galmar has tried to persuade me to. I will use anything I think is advantageous, don’t think I won’t. However, I would never push you to join the Stormcloaks. If you wish to, that will be your decision and in your own time. I remember the last time I pushed you into something you didn’t want to do.” He gave a lopsided grin.
“You got a nasty right hook in the jaw for that, too.” Mira laughed.
Ulfric reached up to caress at Mira’s scarred cheek. “So…”
“Are we going to attempt this?”
“Do you want to? I remember those words you spoke to me after we escaped from Helgen.”
Mira reached out to cup Ulfric’s jaw, seeing the wariness in his eyes but the passion in them at the same time. What did the Thalmor do to him to make him hesitate with intimacy or opening up with people? He was trying though, in reaching out to her but Ulfric waited for her to encourage him. Unlike his youth where Ulfric usually got what he wanted when he pursued an object of desire. She saw his desire and passion for her but again, there was some hesitation because of her words spoke after a traumatic experience affected him deeply.
“There was so much happening then, Ric. I regret what I said for I was thoughtless. I guess I still keep my own personal wants and desires separated from everyday situations.”
“And your wants and desires? Have you changed your mind since Helgen?”
Mira leaned over and kissed Ulfric, letting her lips linger on his. Resting her forehead against his, Mira looked into those ice blue eyes of his. “What do you think?”
When Ulfric smiled, it was a free and joyous smile, one rarely seen by anyone except by those closest to him. For Mira, she remembered the smile from their youth when they were happier and enjoyed life. To see it on his face because of her words and simple act made her stomach flutter. He brought her face down into a deep, fierce kiss, his tongue pushing through her lips to wrap around Mira’s. Ulfric reached through Mira’s hair, his fingers grasping in the silky dark strands. Mira did the same, entangling her fingers in Ulfric’s fair tresses, meeting his hot desire with her own. This time, there were no interruptions from a horse or her sore shoulder. Mira didn’t feel any pain at all as her body flushed with rising heat and adrenaline.
Ulfric pushed the chair behind Mira away to open the space in front of the fire, as he pushed her down onto the rug. She reached for the laces at the front of his tunic, loosening them before grabbing the hem and tugging upward. The kiss broke off, leaving both Ulfric and Mira a little breathless. He helped her push the material off over his head and toss it to the side. Mira looked into Ulfric’s eyes, her fingertips running over his lips and chin, feeling the rasp of the close-cropped beard. Kissing her fingertips, Ulfric nudged his chin into her hand. Laying a leg behind Ulfric’s, Mira used her body as leverage and flipped the jarl over onto his back. He looked at her in surprise and a slow grin spread on his face. Mira smiled back at him, dipping her head to kiss at Ulfric’s chest. The pale lines and ridges of old scars were open to her sight. Mira kissed along one long lash mark, her lips teasing the skin. Ulfric shuddered under Mira’s touch, not in the least put off to show his marks of torment by the Thalmor to this woman.
Her hands caressed over Ulfric’s chest to his hips, working their way to untying the lacing of the breeches he wore. She slid down his body, her lips leaving a teasing trail of sensuous kisses to the top of the breeches. Mira pulled open the front, her eyes looking up at Ulfric through her lashes, as his hardness was apparent under her touch. When her lips kissed the head of his manhood, Ulfric let out low moan, his hand grasping at the fur rug underneath them. She kept on, encouraged by the man’s reactions, surrounding his manhood with her mouth.
“Oh, Talos…” Ulfric rasped as he felt Mira’s hot mouth surrounding him.
She had him captured with her lips and mouth, pleasuring the jarl in a way that made any coherent thought immediately fly from his mind. Mira kept a slow and deep rhythm, not rushing the enjoyable feeling of having this powerful man under her power. He bucked, moaned, and even his fingers tangled into Mira’s dark hair, keeping her head to his manhood. When she felt Ulfric nearing his end, he shakily pulled Mira off his manhood and pulled her into a hard and rough kiss. Using this break from her ministrations, Ulfric gathered Mira into his arms and gathered his legs under him, pushing them up from the hard stone floor. Mira held onto Ulfric as he carried her to the main bedchamber and then was set down on her feet at the foot of the dais.
No words were spoken as Mira started to unlace her tunic at the shoulders. Ulfric helped pull the material off her body, his rough callused hands sensuously caressing along her bare skin. When he leaned down to kiss Mira, it was gentler but no less passionate than before. Ulfric worked at her breeches, pushing them down over her hips, his hands caressing over Mira’s buttocks and hips. Goosebumps stood out over her skin as his touch stirred up the fire of passion in her to a new height. Mira was losing herself into this man’s touch and kisses, as Ulfric seemed to know exactly where touch that pleased her most. She gave a surprised squeak when Ulfric grabbed her thighs and picked her up so that she had to wrap her legs around his hips. Not missing any chance to kiss at her lips, Ulfric led them up the couple of steps to the bed and laid them down across the width.
He entered Mira with a smooth motion; resting in her while she shuddered at the feel of Ulfric’s hardness. Unlike that cold morning a couple of months ago, Ulfric didn’t rush into the lovemaking. Mira looked into his ice blue eyes noticing the passion and openness in them. The young man that saw her leave was before her and Mira felt a lump rise in her throat as she realized how blind she had been not to see how much he loved her then, and still loves her even after the years of separation. Moving slowly into Mira, Ulfric held Mira’s gaze, his lips giving a faint smile as he saw the various emotions run across her face. She cupped his jaw in her hand, only for Ulfric to lean in to kiss at her lips.
“So you see, my silver wolf.” He rumbled.
“Yes, I do.” Mira replied, letting her own walls down and open fully to the rebel jarl, the warrior, the poet, the scholar, and most of all, the lover.