Adriel & Rumarin: Pink (short story and pics, NWS)
December 1, 2018
Here’s a thing I made. The story and the pictures aren’t entirely related. I did this set and then decided I’d write something, too. Hope ya like it.
They met in the springtime – or what passes for springtime in northern Skyrim – entirely by accident. A Dark Elf who couldn’t be still and who spent far too much gold on clothes, and a shorter-than-average High Elf who knew just what he needed to know to make some coin, including how to make himself and others laugh. They met when the Dark Elf followed a trail of footprints up a snowy, rocky hill at the foot of a mountain, only to discover an ancient mausoleum set into the mountainside. He heard sounds of a scuffle, and between the portico pillars he saw the familiar blue shimmer of a conjured sword. Before he could reach the scene to see who was fighting what, he heard the clacking of bone falling onto stone.
“Hello!” the High Elf chirped, dispelling his swords with a flourish of his hands. “Come to reap the rewards only the desecration of ancient tombs can sow?”
The Dark Elf cocked his head. Why, sure, he was always up for a bit of adventure, and if he could make a tidy profit that was all the better. But this other mer was oddly fascinating, much more so than the gated room that undoubtedly led to treasure.
“Isn’t that why you’re here?” he asked.
“It was only skeletons, this time. Nothing good’s ever shown up when it’s only skeletons.”
“What about that gate?”
“I’m not much for lockpicking, if I’m honest. Takes far too long and requires far too much concentration. I could be using that time and concentration for something much more worthwhile.”
“…Like contemplating the nature of…” the High Elf stammered. “Never mind. I’m Rumarin. Sellsword and spellsword, at your service.”
The Dark Elf laughed. Rumarin was treading a line past which he could easily turn obnoxious, but it didn’t seem that he’d ever cross it; that was quite an assumption from someone who wasn’t terribly tolerant of chipper attitudes. “I’m Adriel,” he said. “I’m, um. I’m just a mage. Conjuration, like yourself. An adventurer, if you want to wax romantic.”
“Who doesn’t? Although it is a bit much to call me a conjuration mage. I learned the sword and the bow, and that’s about it.”
“Why is that?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Rumarin grinned. “I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier to conjure things than it is to lug three weapons around with you all the time. Also, if I ever have to run, I never have to worry about dropping my weapons!”
“I guess not,” Adriel chuckled.
“Pardon me for noticing, but you seem to have, um, tails. And horns.”
“Oh, these? Yes, don’t go trying to squiggle out of contracts with Hircine or your first born might wind up with parts of game animals stuck to him.”
“That is unfortunate,” Rumarin said.
“I can think of worse things. Not many people can curl up in bed and have an extra, built-in layer of fur to cover them in the winter.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way. I think I might like you, Adriel. Feel free to tell me to bugger off, but I’m dying to make one more observation.”
“Okay,” Adriel laughed.
“The more I look at you, the more I seem to think your coat might be a bit…over-tailored.”
“Well it looks like a lady’s coat.”
Adriel laughed uncomfortably. For some reason it was much easier around everyday people and what nobodies he could wile into bed, but this was a terribly handsome Altmer with an unusual bearing. “I like women’s clothes,” he admitted. “I just think they’re pretty.”
“Interesting. The only crossdressers that I’ve ever seen were performers making exaggerated portrayals of actual women. You actually pull it off.”
“Why thank you,” he said. “You should see when I dress up properly.”
“I won’t lie, I’m pretty curious, but if I might, I daresay you pull off being a man just as well.”
“So…” Adriel said hopefully while simultaneously preparing for a punch to the jaw. He didn’t think he’d get one, but it wouldn’t have been the first time he’d misread someone’s intentions, “You like men?”
“Men, women,” Rumarin sang. “Does it matter? I like your face, that’s all I know.”
“I like yours, too,” Adriel smiled. “Are you, er, on any sort of schedule?”
“Is that an invitation I hear?”
“Do you want it to be?”
“I’ve never had a traveling companion before. Wait. That was awfully presumptuous, wasn’t it?”
“Maybe a little,” Adriel said. “I don’t mind. I wander pretty aimlessly. How about we find our way to Whiterun, and if we’re tired of each other by then, we’ll part ways and never think of this again.”
“I like that idea. It’s slightly warmer there, anyway.”
So they traveled all the way to Whiterun City, and by the time they fell heavily into a pair of chairs in the inn, they’d been laughing for so long, they wondered if they might never stop. It was to be the first of many journeys to come, each one bringing them closer. Between Rumarin’s swords- and marksmanship and Adriel’s fire magicka and summoned creatures, they made a formidable team, and any spoils or payments for services rendered were split evenly down the middle.
One day Rumarin said, in his jocular way, “You know something? I don’t think I’d ever like to work alone again.”
“I don’t really feel the need to hang about with anyone else,” Adriel said. “I mean, I’ve slept with you more than once, and that’s saying something.”
“So, is this love, do you think?”
“It’s something. Whatever it is, it involves you and me, and I think that’s all I really need.”