Natasha was travelling at night–in a hurry to bring her daughter home–when she heard a dragon roar. She was terrified and shaking uncontrollably; she wasn’t sure she could kill a dragon without assistance. She readied herself and tried to stop trembling, while the dragon taunted her from the sky. It flew over the trees at the side of the road, and the forest made it nearly impossible to see the beast.
“It’s enjoying my fear!” she realized. That made her angry–she stood her ground, refusing to be played with. She forced the dragon to land on the road to attack her, and Natasha was more agile and swift than it could handle. It blew fire at her and she took the opportunity to drive her sword through its gaping maw, then finished it off with several quick slashes to the massive creature’s neck.
Once again, the dead dragon burned away and Natasha absorbed its soul. She was elated by the carnage as much as by the boost of confidence from her victory. She took the few dragon scales that remained, along with a bone fragment she could carry, and then ran all night to reach Whiterun by morning.
She found Lucia near the statue of Talos. “You’re awake already! I thought you’d still be in bed.”
Lucia explained, “I heard you like butterflies, so I try to catch them when there aren’t so many people around.”
Natasha hugged her daughter, then gave her a dragon scale and entertained her with a dramatic narrative of the battle. “But I have something even more exciting to tell you,” Natasha revealed, “the house is ready now! It isn’t much, but one day it’ll be spectacular–I promise. Let’s get Lydia and go home finally.”
When they arrived at Lakeview Manor, Natasha promoted Lydia to Steward; she would tend to the estate and guard Lucia. Natasha showed her around the property and they discussed security plans. Meanwhile, Lucia relaxed under a tree in the front yard. As soon as she could, Natasha joined Lucia.
“I like living here,” Lucia said with a radiant smile. “The lake is so pretty!”
“I’m really glad you like it here already. Things will keep getting better for us from now on.” After a quiet and sweet moment together, Natasha got to work on the house again. Lydia helped with the heavy lifting, and they constructed a foundation for the library before nightfall.
Over the next few days, Natasha completed the library tower and constructed all the shelves she planned to fill with books. As she immersed herself in a domestic routine, some of her emotional wounds began healing; the act of being a loving parent for Lucia was therapeutic for her own broken inner child. She knew it would be so easy to fall into that lifestyle and never leave home, but Natasha couldn’t break her other commitments. Reluctantly, she said goodbye after promising to return with gifts and books.
She went to Whiterun first, to see if Farengar could help her remember what happened while she was cursed. He explained that he had no knowledge of curses, and told her to visit the mage’s College of Winterhold. He then introduced her to the Restoration school of magic by teaching her a simple healing spell. He advised her, “Use this spell whenever it’s safe to do so–it’ll spare your health potions for much more dire situations.” Then he handed an enchanted dagger to her. “Learn what you can from this and improve your sword.”
The dagger had a flames enchantment that lights its target on fire. With the use of a soul gem–infused with the soul of a giant–Natasha enchanted her sword. The first time she used it afterward was against a group of necromancers who were practicing their dark arts in an old ruined tower. She startled them and attacked the more powerful mage from behind. As Natasha stabbed the woman’s stomach, the victim burned to death instantly.
She kicked the burning body toward the apprentice magician, who fell dead with her instructor. “That was unexpected!” Natasha said out loud and stared in amazement at her sword. Magic, alchemy and enchanting were changing her life completely, making it possible for her to do things she never dreamed of. As she gathered every valuable item the pair had with them, Natasha decided to become a warrior type of Battlemage.
The old fort where she saw a collection of books was nearby, so she returned to take them for her home library. As she approached the fort, she noticed movement in the courtyard; more necromancers took possession of the fort after her first visit. She was excited about the chance to use her fiery sword and spell against them.
The first mage she encountered was stronger than the one who guarded the courtyard the last time. He assaulted her with all the magic he knew, including a Fear spell that was unable to keep Natasha at a distance. She burned him with her magic until she was right in front of him. She grabbed him and said to his face, “You’re pathetic.”
“Go ahead and kill me,” he dared her, “I’ll be raised again by my followers!”
“I’m going to kill them all,” she promised and trusted her sword into his chest. She kept her vow and dispatched them all with pleasure.
She completed her raid on the fort by filling a sack with all the books, and several enchanted robes. She carried everything straight home and arrived in the morning. After surprising Lucia with a doll, they spent the afternoon playing hide-and-seek and tag in the yard.
After dinner, she went into town to mix and sell potions before the shops closed. Her plans went awry because another dragon attacked as soon as she reached Falkreath. It was obvious to Natasha they were actively hunting her, but anyone around her was in danger because dragons had a particular craving for her.
She thanked the gods for the freezing rain that kept Falkreath’s citizens safe inside their homes, while she fought the monster in the streets. It enjoyed landing on rooftops to pour fire down on her, but didn’t attack any of the buildings. She was fearless and determined to take down the dragon as quickly as possible.
The town guards reached the scene in time to see Natasha soak up its soul. Once again, they were in awe of her and called her Dragonborn. While she casually walked away, another guard approached her. “Hey, want to hear something funny?”
She breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t say a thing about the dragon. “Sure!” she replied. “What is it?”
“I heard that Aventus Arentino performed the Black Sacrament. The poor kid believes in that nonsense.” She needed to find out more without creating any suspicion. The guard said he didn’t know the details. “The boy lives in Windhelm,” he added.
Natasha thanked him and started to plan out her trip north to the capital of the Eastmarch Hold. The rumour of a boy performing the ritual was the only hint she had for tracking down the source of the assassination contracts. She urgently needed to put an end to that threat!
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