Loredas, 17th of Frostfall
He said, “Listen, Kyreth,” and then
I’m such a
I’ve made a fool of myself.
We hunted well, despite my nerves (when one hunts, it is best to keep one’s eyes to the woods, not upon his hunting mate). With Niruin, amongst the trees and breathing the wild air, I felt more alive—more like myself, bosmer, hunter—than I have in years.
Our prey was an elk, and we tracked him for hours, down gulches and across a trickling brook, all within a mile of Riften’s walls. He told me stories of Valenwood, his winery, and he requested that I tell the tale of Mercer’s death.
“From above?” he asked pleasantly at the end of it, as we passed through the trees’ cool shadows. “Like a true hand of the Brotherhood.”
In the shade, in the dulled glow of the half-set sun, he could not have been more I must stop thinking like this.
The elk, when we found it, was already dead, prey to a Frostbite Spider that leapt upon us from the dark. My heart nearly stopped; the creature was upon Niruin in an instant, and my frantically-fired arrow nearly struck his arm. But I hit my mark.
“Excellent shot,” he said, grinning at me.
“Are you alright?”
“Fine as ever, Kyreth.” He turned to the elk and sighed, disappointed. ”No elk, then. The poison will shrivel it dry before we have a chance at it.” Niruin turned and knelt by the spider’s twitching corpse instead, cutting a dripping hunk from its abdomen, and offered it to me with a sly grin. “Go on. Tradition, and all that.”
I felt a thousand thoughts fight a battle within me. You don’t observe the Green Pact, I wanted to accuse him. I wanted to feel the slightest guilt at not observing myself. I wanted to laugh.
I wanted to kiss him, and I did.
Niruin dropped the spider meat and stood still, and when I pulled away, he pursed his lips. Guilt—there was guilt in his eyes, not surprise, not anything.
With a sigh, Niruin looked away from me, and he said, “Listen, Kyreth.”
[Here, some more scribbles and unintelligible handwriting mar the page.]
I did not return to the Cistern after the hunt. I’m headed for Whiterun.