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18 & 19 | Sundas, 4 Morning Star 4E 202

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                “Anyways, it’s not terribly complicated. Just gotta remember what day it is, is all. Might help to mark off days that already passed, so you don’t think it’s last week, y’know?”

                “Right, but I still do not understand why it has nothing to do with the moons.” Azhani had brought her new calendar to the Dragonborn so he could explain it to her – she learned quickly enough, and was now working on a cup of tea and waiting for people to show up. It was her turn to do all the work after her little adventure the day before, so she really needed to wake up as much as possible.

                “Yeah, beats me.” Bjorn shrugged and took a bite out of whatever monstrous sandwich he’d prepared himself. “Must be some Alessian or Ayleid thing. I ‘unno. Kinda weird, ‘specially since Sun’s Dawn has like two fewer days than normal for no reason at all.” He paused for a moment and briefly looked off into the distance. “Though, now that I think about it, that sort of nonsense does seem like some shit elves would pull… Must be Ayleid.”

                Azhani’s nose twitched in amusement. “Yes, that’s flawless reasoning there.” She looked down into her cup, now half-empty. Seemed like just two seconds ago it was full. However that all disappeared, it was delicious, and Azhani needed more, so she held out her hand and shook the cup. “Hm?”

                Bjorn grabbed the pitcher they’d been drinking from, but stopped and raised an eyebrow just before bringing it over. “You sure ‘bout that? I mean, with all the…” He gestured in the Khajiit’s direction and made a vague sound.

                Her response was to flatten her ears and growl at him. “Do not mention that.”

                The Dragonborn threw up his free hand and said, “Alright, alright. But, uh… what specific incident is it that we’re not talking ab-“ He cut himself off when he noticed Azhani extending her claws. “Uh, okay, yeah, all of them, alright, sure. Here you go.”

                Azhani perked up instantly when her tea was refilled, and she gave an exaggerated purr. “Thank you, Dragonborn.”

                “Uh-huh.” Bjorn leaned forward on the counter just enough to be at Azhani’s eye level. “Man, this is all wrong. I’m a dragon, I shouldn’t be afraid of some cat, eh?” He let his last few words trail off into a chuckle.

                “Cats have claws, Bjorn.” Azhani tipped her head a little to the side, tripping up on the unfamiliar pronunciation of his name. “Can’t be a dragon with no throat to Shout with.”

                “Oh, hey, you know, funny thing about that is that, uh…“ His attention was drawn away from the conversation when the inn’s doors opened. “Uh, hey, take over, will you?” He didn’t wait for a response before running off to greet his returning housecarl.

                Azhani shrugged and looked over to the door, giving a little wave to Lydia and watching as the Dragonborn directed her to a table. Then she hopped over the counter and planted herself in the stool that would have usually been occupied by Keerava. She watched in silence, sipping at her tea while the two Nords had what looked to be a fairly energetic conversation. They were audible enough with how close they were to the bar, but Azhani wasn’t terribly interested, instead focusing on her tea and some of the things she’d brought down with her – her calendar and another book by Quill-Weave, once again borrowed from the Dragonborn.

                After a few minutes of absentminded calendar-flipping and half-hearted reading, Bjorn got her attention again, speaking right to her. When Azhani looked over at him, he and Lydia had both stood up, Lydia headed for the stairs. “Hey, we’ve got, uh, some stuff to do today,” the Dragonborn said. “So you’re gonna be on your own all day. That gonna be alright?”

                Azhani nodded and turned back to her book with a weak thumbs-up from the hand carrying her tea. She could hear the sound of his heavy feet taking the stairs, then several minutes later two sets of feet came down and over to the door. The Khajiit looked over and waved at them, the Dragonborn giving his typical half-assed salute in response– though now it looked out-of-place, as he was dressed in the same robes he’d worn at the summit at High Hrothgar, and Lydia was wearing formals of her own.

                “You know you are going to be robbed wearing clothes like that, yes?” She couldn’t help it – she knew more than enough about that sort of lifestyle to tell that wearing fancy clothes in Riften meant you were either Maven Black-Briar or a mark. Considering Bjorn and his housecarl were definitely not Maven Black-Briar…

                “Eh, if I were anyone else, yeah, I probably would. But nobody’s gonna fuck with the Dragonborn. See you later.” He gave another one of those salutes and followed Lydia outside. When the door closed, Azhani shrugged and turned back to her book, taking another sip of her tea as she did.

                It must have been an hour or two before anyone started coming in, and for the most part Azhani didn’t have to pay much attention to them. Reach under the counter, grab a bottle, hand it over, get back to reading. Nobody had ordered any food, so aside from brewing more tea for herself there wasn’t anything all that complicated to do – for some reason people didn’t seem to be very interested in having someone covered in fur cook for them.

                Nothing complicated until some very oddly-dressed men came in, anyways. A group of four had found their way into the inn and grabbed seats together at the bar, attracting Azhani’s attention just with how they looked. Their apparent leader – or at least, the first among them to take his seat – was mostly wearing the chitinous armor the Dunmer had made a tradition of, and the other three had bits of leather and steel. What was peculiar about him and his friends, though, was that they were all wearing various bits and pieces of Dwarven make, clearly worked on and polished up after they’d been collected. The leader wore the most of this old brass gear; his whole right arm was covered in Dwarven armor, he had a brass plate serving as a collar that attached to a piece for his left shoulder, and if his armor continued under his little kilt, his legs were covered in brass as well.

                Three of the men had taken off their helmets; only their leader kept his, and it would have matched with the traditional style of what the Dunmer called “bonemold”, if not for the fact that the bottom of the helmet had been cut off so that the leader’s mouth was exposed. That blue chin of his was the only indication of the leader’s race while he remained silent – his companions included a Redguard, another Dunmer, and some lighter human that Azhani wasn’t sure of.

                The lead Dunmer only spoke when his friends had settled down, and when he did speak his voice was deep, rough even for a Dunmer, and tinted with age. “Muthsera,” he started with a bow of his head, “you wouldn’t happen to have flin, would you?”

                Azhani took a moment to process the appearance of these adventurers, speaking quickly once she realized she had to answer a question. “Oh, uh, sorry, yes, somewhere around here, yes.” Then she got up, turned around, and went to looking through shelves while the faceless Dunmer called out to her again.

                “Two of those then, and two of whatever beer you have, please, sera.”

                “Anything?” Azhani paused for a moment and looked over at the adventurer, who nodded silently. “Yes, just a minute.”

                It took a little bit of rummaging to find Talen’s stash of foreign liquors – Azhani didn’t recognize half of them, and only even managed to find flin because she happened to recognize the Daedric F on the label. She grabbed a bottle of that and a pair of tall glasses, handing both off to the lead explorer, then reached under the counter for a bottle of whatever – smelled like beer, so good enough – and some mugs. The leader distributed the drinks and the adventurers gave a toast, then started talking amongst themselves.

                Except the leader. The leader, drink in hand, was ignoring his friends in favor of the Khajiiti barmaid.

                “So,” he said. “Been hearing a lot about the Dragonborn since I got to Skyrim. Know anything about that, sera?”

                “Hmmn?” Azhani looked over at him and nearly choked on her tea – she wasn’t expecting anyone to talk to her about something other than drinks, and she’d just settled down again to relax in relative quiet. “Aahn, sorry. Um, the Dragonborn, you said? Yes, he actually lives here.”

                The adventurer’s helmet hid his expression, but his voice indicated his shock just as well. “Wha-? Th- the- what? The Dragonborn? Lives here?”

                The Khajiit gave a little nod. “Yes, for the last maybe, two, three months, perhaps? He is busy today, though. This one thinks he will be very busy for a while after today, too.”

                “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

                “For the past couple of weeks he was recovering from a fight with… what, Alduin? He is just waiting until he is healthy enough to fight Alduin again, and that is probably soon.”

                “I see.” The Dunmer put his free arm up on the counter and rested his head in his hand. “I was hoping to meet him, actually, but that’ll have to wait, it seems. Wouldn’t want to delay a Hero any longer than necessary, after all.”

                Azhani’s head found its way to a slight angle. “You could stay here until he has time, if you can afford it. Plenty of rooms open.”

                “Oh, no, it’s fine, I was- well, we were just passing through, never planned on staying. My friend here-“ The adventurer grabbed the shoulder of the Redguard next to him. “-suggested we stop in for a drink, but we’re heading right back out afterwards.”

                “Mhm.” Azhani made some vaguely-affirmative noise through a mouthful of tea from the cup she’d just refilled. “So, you are adventurers, yes? Going anywhere good?”

                “Adventurer is… yeah, sure, you could say that. The Breton over there is more of a tomb raider than anything, but yeah. I’m actually on my way out to the shrine to Azura over in Winterhold, for right now. No idea how far these guys are going to follow, but that’s where I’m headed.”

                The Khajiit shrugged while the adventurer topped off his own drink. “Azurah is as good a reason as any to go that far.”

                “Yeah, she’s… she’s pretty important to the Khajiit religion, isn’t she?” Azhani nodded, and the adventurer continued. “Quite important to me, too, though I admit I haven’t been acting like it. Hopefully, if I go to her shrine, she’ll see I’m still here, still dedicated to her. And hopefully she’ll share just a little bit of her wisdom.”

                Azhani shuffled around a bit in her seat and looked into the pitcher of tea. Empty. “Then good luck with that. This one has not known Azurah to talk to people very often.”

                The other, younger dark elf chimed in at this point. “Without the Tribunal, some of the Daedra are more than happy to communicate with us - Azura most of all, and she'd especially like to-” He coughed and quickly finished up his drink upon noticing that the leader had turned to look at him - he spoke quickly to finish his thought, as if the leader was glaring at him under that helmet. "Er, I bet she'd really like to hear from someone as old and wise as, uh... as he is." The young elf pointed at the leader for a moment, then quickly slid his mug towards Azhani. "Anyways, about time we head out again, isn't it?"

                The faceless dark elf nodded and looked over at the rest of his companions. “Yes, we should be going. You guys set?” The two humans with him broke away from their own conversation and nodded at him, then the group stood and replaced their helmets while the leader slid a handful of coins across the counter. It was far too much for the little they’d bought, and Azhani was about to mention it when the lead adventurer addressed it himself. “I trust that’ll cover everything, and a little something for yourself, right?” He stood up himself and bowed his head, then turned to lead the other three out. “Thank you, sera.”

                “Uh, no problem…” Azhani pawed through the money she’d been given while the adventurers made their way outside. Most of the coins seemed to be fairly old, and the images on them were different from what Azhani had seen throughout the Empire. The head-side had a picture of some elf instead of the Emperor, and the tail-side had replaced the Imperial Dragon with a depiction of Azurah’s Star. “Money is still money,” she muttered, sliding the coins into a little box under the counter.

                With nobody else at the bar, Azhani got up with a sigh and went to grab a broom. With it, she headed into the dining area and went about cleaning up after the few people who had come in and taken seats at proper tables, still not ordering anything that needed to be cooked. Fortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot to get at – on top of the fact that everyone seemed to have a craving for bread and cheese today, either the regular clientele knew not to screw around with the Argonians, or they’d come to fear the Dragonborn and what he’d do if they didn’t leave the place in good shape. Whatever the reason, those still present started to hurry up once they noticed Azhani’s approach, and the few other tables that showed any signs of sentient activity were largely only marked by plates and bowls and a handful of gold.

                Azhani first went around and collected all the payment that had been left behind, dropping it all into the large pocket of her apron. Then all the dishes were piled up onto an unoccupied table, and she got to work on the floors – which really amounted to absentmindedly pushing the broom around and waiting for something to happen, as there wasn’t a whole lot to clean up other than dust from overnight, and when the last few patrons who’d decided to take tables cleared out, they hardly even left crumbs behind.

                That left Azhani alone in the bar with only her thoughts for company, at least until lunchtime proper came around. Of course, her thoughts right now weren’t the best friends – with no distractions, she found herself ever so slightly pressing her legs together and mentally berating herself: ‘That was a lot of tea, dumbass, of course this was going to happen’, and other such lovely mental notes.

                Rude though her mind may have been, it was right. She should have known better. Things were going to get very bad very quickly, and it was her damn fault. Azhani groaned, speaking a drawn-out swear in Ta’agra. It wasn’t too bad yet, at least, but just knowing she couldn’t do anything about it was already making it worse.

                Theoretically she could run upstairs, take care of herself, and be back down in five minutes or less, but both Keerava and the Dragonborn had put their trust in her to run the inn like a professional. And a professional wouldn’t run off and leave the bar unattended just because she had to take a leak. On the other hand, the place was totally empty, and there was very little chance of anyone save for the handful of regulars showing up, so odds were good she’d have plenty of time to sneak off. But what if someone did come in? She didn’t want to be responsible for turning away customers that thought the place was closed; or worse, her absence from behind the counter could very well mean anyone who came in would steal drinks or money and be out before Azhani knew they were even there.

                So, realistically, she had no options. She could only hope Bjorn would return in time – and for all she knew he and Lydia had already finished whatever they’d gone out to do, and the Dragonborn was just stalling for time because he wanted a nice show when he got back. The more she thought about that, the more it made sense, but he wouldn’t really do that, would he?

                Sure, he’s an insufferable pervert,’ she thought, ‘but he’s not really a bad guy. He’ll be back and everything will be fine, I’m sure … I hope.

                For now, she needed a distraction, and she’d quite fortunately brought one with her. Taking her seat behind the bar, she picked up her book and flipped through it to find where she’d left off, pausing just for a moment on the very first page. This book, like the one she’d read on the way to and from the war meeting, was also apparently from the nascent Fourth Era – dedicated again to “K M”, with no other indication, as the Dragonborn said to expect.

                It still made just as much sense as it did last time – none – so Azhani quickly moved on to where she was, shuffling around a bit to forget why she needed the distraction, eventually getting comfortable enough to lose track of time…

                … until people started to come in and order drinks, meaning she had to pay attention to liquids again. For the most part it was a fairly easy task of simply handing out bottles and mugs, and glaring at Romlyn Dreth to silence him for once, but even so, the sounds of people pouring their own drinks from the bottles she’d given them weren’t doing her any favors. Azhani crossed her legs and draped her tail over her lap, hoping nobody would think anything of it while she tried to focus at least a little bit on her book. She was still well aware of the peculiar looks she was getting from people who came up to the bar, but it was more likely that they weren’t expecting a Khajiit to be serving them drinks – and not at all related to the fact that Azhani could just barely keep still, subconsciously and constantly jiggling one leg or twitching her tail.

                Couldn’t be that much longer. By now her book was essentially just a request not to talk to her – she’d been on the same page for who-knows-how-long, and it was obvious that she wasn’t even looking at it, focusing instead on the door and the people coming in and out.

                More accurately, on the occasional person. This was the Bee and Barb, after all. It was one of the better establishments in town, but that wasn’t saying much, and it still wasn’t terribly popular. But that didn’t much matter. Azhani wasn’t looking for customers; they’d just walk up to her anyways, and she’d tune in just enough to hear what they wanted, then try to tune back out again to save herself from the sounds. If she did everything right, she wouldn’t have to pay attention to them at that point, and she really didn’t want them to pay attention to her either. She’d managed to get her leg under control and stop it from bouncing, but her tail and ears were still twitching, ideally in a way that looked normal.

                Azhani had no idea how much time had passed by the time she finally tore her eyes away from the door. Staring at it wouldn’t do her any favors – though she’d definitely keep her ears focused on it. Instead, she lowered her eyes to her seat, pretending like she’d gone back to reading. The Khajiit’s lower belly was visibly rounded and she didn’t dare touch it, for if she was full enough to get her tiny frame to bulge then she was also full enough to lose it if that delicate system were to be disturbed. In theory, anyways, considering in reality her body wouldn’t allow her to release her waters somewhere she might be seen. For a moment she glanced over her shoulder at the little patch of floor that opened up to lead far below the ground to the dungeon under the basement, looking away again almost immediately. It was tempting, sure, but disappearing like that would be incredibly conspicuous, and that would be just as bad as being in public.

                So she just looked at her legs. They were locked together, constantly rubbing against each other, but if Azhani wanted to do more to help the pressure, that had to stop for a moment. She promised herself it would only be for a second, summoning with a quiet growl the strength to hold her legs still and spread them ever so slightly apart. Then she gingerly raised herself up off the barstool just far enough to fold her tail beneath her and pull it up between her legs, immediately dropping back to her seat and snapping her legs together again as soon as that was done. At any other time, Azhani would certainly have been bothered by the pain of her whole body weight resting on such a delicate instrument, but given her situation it was the more tolerable alternative.

                Azhani then slowly brought a hand down to grab her tail once she was sure nobody was paying attention, carefully pulling on it so that it could apply a little more pressure for just a little while – she’d have to let go eventually and dedicate both hands to her job, but what little her tail was doing for her made her feel a lot better. And of course it didn’t seem like even remotely long enough when she had to release her grip as someone she vaguely recognized as a regular ordered a new drink.

                Just her luck that it was something that wasn’t kept under the counter, so she’d need to go stand up to get. There was no way she’d be able to stand straight in her current condition – in fact, if not for the fact that she was in public, she was certain that she’d explode as soon as she got up – and she wouldn’t be able to move as slowly as she’d need to, but she had to try anyways. Once again she pried her legs apart and forced herself to her feet, leaning forward with her hands on the counter as the change of position caused a great surge of need to assault her, though only for a moment.

                When it passed, Azhani’s tail flew back to its normal position and she turned around as casually as possible, taking weak strides that would have looked like a human trying to emulate the way she walked normally – a comparison she’d only even been made aware of when her sister had teased her for her posture on their way through town after a long day out together, as if she hadn’t been waddling along herself. But why was she thinking about that? She really hoped the Dragonborn would get back soon; it was no good if she was desperate enough for it to mess with her head. At least she was still clear enough to know what she was looking for and where to find it.

                More excellent fortune for her that this particular drink was found in one of the lower cabinets. As sure as she was that her body wouldn’t let her break just yet, she really would have preferred not to tempt fate, but alas. It was the only way, so she forced herself into a squat as she pawed through the various bottles and tools in the cabinet to find what she needed. And though she tried to stay composed, her legs shook constantly again and her tail was absolutely furious. What Azhani really needed wasn’t in this cabinet, but right now she had to take things one step at a time. Get the booze and stand up again. She had to rid herself of that horrible feeling that her ocean of what once was tea was right on the border between in her body and in her pants, and for as long as she was in a squatting position her body would be trying to tell her that it was time to let loose.

                Perhaps the only real bit of good luck for Azhani was that it didn’t take long to locate the requested drink, and as soon as it was in hand she worked her way back up to a standing position, knocking the cabinet doors closed with a foot once she’d composed herself. Then she walked back to the bar with that same silly stride as before, setting the bottle down on the counter and leaning against it with one hand. The other pulled out a glass from one of the shelves below, and when that joined the bottle she was tempted to let that hand help out between her legs.

                But, no, this was one of those drinks where it was for whatever reason universally considered good form to never under any circumstances allow the guest to pour for themselves. Azhani didn’t really have much of a choice but to tear open the bottle in what was absolutely the incorrect manner, then subject herself to the deepest and foulest realm of Oblivion: pouring something into something else. Realm of the Daedric Prince of full bladders, of course. Sangiin, perhaps?

                Azhani tried very hard to not listen to what she was doing, but had to force herself to look directly at it to ensure it was done right. It was really only a few seconds she was standing there with her legs knotted and ears conspicuously flattened, and Azhani knew that, but refused to accept that it was anything short of an eternity before she got to slide the glass over. Her tail went right back between her legs as she prepared to sit down again, but she was distracted by the door opening.

                In came a very large, very loud man with his arms around a rather mundane-looking Nord lady. The man released his partner and waved her off in the direction of the stairs before quickly approaching the bar.

                The Dragonborn spoke quickly, starting to back away almost as soon as he came close enough for Azhani to hear. “Hey, do you think you’d be alright for another hour or two?”

                “Uh…” Technically, she’d be able to last until she broke something. She wasn’t near that point yet, so, sure, she could take another two hours. “Ah, well, I think s-”

                “Great, I’ll try not to take too long.” He didn’t let her finish his statement and was already headed to the stairs when she tried to respond.

                “W-wait, but I-“ But he was already gone, so Azhani just trailed off and muttered the rest to herself. “But I have to… nnn…” She straightened up and had her hands in tight fists at her sides. Her legs were inseparable and shaking as always while her tail was forced to keep down. People were looking at her, that much was certain, but perhaps they were merely brief looks of concern before they went back to their business. No doubt these people had seen Keerava in similar situations millions of times, no reason to act like this was any different. Staring wouldn’t accomplish anything anyways, and there was nothing any of them could do to help. Well, aside from all of them instantly leaving the bar so Azhani could run upstairs – or more likely to one of those washtubs in the kitchen area, at the rate things were going. And they just looked more and more appealing as time went on…

                When the present wave of desperation passed, Azhani threw herself into her seat again, back in that same position as before, legs locked together with her tail firmly between them. Nothing she could do now, and now she’d definitely attracted the attention of at least everyone at the bar proper. Preferring very much to not deal with whatever they’d say or think of her, she grabbed her book again to at least pretend to be distracted. At this point it wasn’t likely that distractions would even work anyways. The only thing she could think of was how badly she needed to pee and how she’d just missed her opportunity to deal with it. All she had to do was say “No”, just say she wouldn’t be able to wait, and she’d be upstairs by now. But then that wasn’t true, and even with the state she was in she couldn’t bring herself to lie to someone she tentatively considered something resembling a friend. It was likely only late afternoon, so Azhani was sure she’d waited much longer in the past – like that one instance in that one province with the big white tower that she didn’t want to think about – so there was no doubt that she could wait this time too.

                But of course, just because she could didn’t mean she should. Not like she had a choice, though, not with people around, but she really should have known better than to keep getting herself into these situations. She was twenty-two, for gods’ sakes, there was no excuse for the fact that it was easier for her to count the number of times it wasn’t her fault she either outright pissed herself or came close to it in the past three months. She could do it on one hand, even, which really only made it worse. And as much as she would have loved to blame the tea for being delicious and not herself for drinking way too much of it, this was definitely not going to increase that count.

                All that was left was to hope that the Dragonborn would be done with whatever he was doing before Azhani ended up in real pain. But if he was doing what she thought he was doing – and he was, surely; no way would he be that excited for anything else – there was no way to predict when that would be. Azhani shoved a hand to her mouth to suppress a groan while she leaned a little bit backwards. It was bad enough knowing she’d gotten herself into this situation. What made it worse was that this wasn’t something she could get herself out of. She had nowhere to go, nothing to do, and she couldn’t even rely on her body giving out on its own without doing real damage. Even as a kid she never felt so out of control, and that was when she lived under the Thalmor dictators. She didn’t have a choice, and she hated it. Nothing she could do but wait.

                Wait and give this guy a drink. Why did this guy ask her for a drink? Couldn’t he see she was not in the mood to deal with people right now? At least it was something simple, but even the little bit of leaning forward she’d have to do to reach under the counter felt like it added too much pressure. Pressure that wasn’t going to go anywhere – at least if she could wet herself just a little bit it’d be more tolerable, but that wasn’t about to happen, and her only hint of relief was when she sat back up again with a bottle in her hand and the extra pressure was gone, leaving behind the pressure of the entire Abecean Sea inside her. A marked improvement, truly. She slid the bottle over to whoever it was that had asked for it, and got money tossed onto the counter in return. At least she wouldn’t have to write anything down to keep a tab on this guy, but she’d still have to tolerate the sounds that came with being given a bottle of booze. This time she didn’t have to look at it, which helped quite a bit.

                Her gaze ended up directed downwards again – her legs were doing what they had been the whole time, except they’d gotten faster, and her little balloon seemed to have gotten just slightly bigger. Azhani lifted herself off the seat for just a moment, quickly swapping her tail for one of her hands, digging in as well as she could without actually shoving her hand down her pants. Come to think of it, there was a part of her now that wasn’t there before that was tempted by such an idea. She was very familiar with this part of herself – it was a regular visitor, and now that she thought about it, it had been about six months since the last time it made itself known. And if it was here again now… Just more trouble on the way for her. Great.

                That could be ignored for now, though. Her other hand hesitantly came to rest on her belly, just lightly enough to feel what was going on without disturbing anything. She couldn’t tell for sure without pressing on it – and there was no way that was going to happen – but it still seemed quite soft. Azhani let out a quiet mix of a whine and a growl. That meant there was still a good deal of room, so she could very well be kept waiting for a long time yet. More optimistically, it meant she wasn’t at her worst and would probably still be able to walk upstairs and look at least halfway normal if the Dragonborn came down soon.

                But he still wasn’t coming – at least, not… yeah, Azhani was in for some very familiar trouble soon if that was how her thoughts were going. That line of thinking wouldn’t do her any good anyways. She had to focus on waiting. The thing that she’d be doing whether she wanted to or not. She had to focus on it and find a way to make time seem to go faster. As it was she couldn’t tell if it had been an hour or five minutes since the Dragonborn and Lydia had returned – hopefully it wasn’t the latter. Azhani threw one leg over the other, crushing her hand between her thighs. Between that and her tail, she’d be quite sore in the morning…

                When she looked up again, she saw that there was nobody left at the counter. Money and some empty mugs or bottles, but no people. Leaning forward as far as she could without hurting herself, she looked over into the dining room. Quite a few people with drinks, and a handful had little plates of whatever food there was in the place that Azhani didn’t need to prepare herself. Looking off in the other direction, there wasn’t anyone hanging around by the door. Still in public, sure, but this was the best she was going to get if she had no idea how much longer she’d be expected to wait.

                Another look in all directions to confirm that at least the general area was clear, and Azhani got up carefully, now bent forwards a little to allow her hand to do what it had to. Then she turned around and quickly scanned the kitchen for anything appropriate. Or, more accurately, the closest container that nobody would have to drink out of later. There was a little wooden tub on the floor by one of the counters back there, probably what would have normally been used for dishwashing, but now it was empty. The Khajiit made her way over to it with that same silly walk as before, bending over with a groan once she reached it so that she could grab one end of it with her free hand. Dragging it back over to the bar took a bit longer than getting to it in the first place, but she eventually dropped it by the barstool she’d been abusing with her bouncing for however long.

                Then she sat down again, pulling the hand out from between her legs and instead grabbing her waistband with it. One last scan of the area to confirm that, yes, this counted as private, and her other hand joined in. In one slow motion she lifted herself off the stool and dragged her pants and underwear down to her knees, then sat down again and moved forward enough that she was pretty sure she’d get at least most of it into the tub on the floor.

                And then she shut her eyes, shoved a hand into her mouth to bite down on, and relaxed. There was a muffled moan into her hand as she felt the flood just about to break free, and then…

                “Hey.”

                Of course. Azhani very nearly jumped, sliding back to sit entirely on the stool, which now was also host to a tiny puddle made by the spurt that was supposed to go into the bucket. She forced herself to stand up and hastily get redressed as the Dragonborn approached.

                “You’re good to go,” he said. “I’ll take over from here for tonight.” There was a pause where neither of them said anything nor moved, so he spoke again. “You alright?”

                Azhani had no idea what to feel right now. For one, she wanted to claw his eyes out for interrupting her. But then she’d also been given the opportunity she’d been waiting for the whole time. The obvious response was to stutter for a little bit before saying anything. “Uhm,” she finally said. “no, yeah, fine, thanks. I’ll just… Mhm.” Then she shuffled her way out from behind the counter and rushed to the stairs as quickly as she could in her state. Her regular walking speed, though it felt like sprinting. The actual climb up the stairs hurt even more than the walk over to them, but then it was a clear shot to her room.

                Throwing herself at the door to open it with her shoulder, Azhani stumbled into her room and immediately stripped down again. All that was left was to squat down by her bed, reach underneath for… yes, there it was, right where it was supposed to be. With everything in position, there was no hesitation. Her stream started full-force immediately, and Azhani had to grab her muzzle with both hands to keep from crying out in ecstasy. And then she almost fell backwards, so one of those hands ended up supporting her from behind.

                Azhani closed her eyes and let out a suppressed moan that trailed off into a purr that didn’t end when the flood finally tapered off. Shaking herself to throw off any excess drops, Azhani stood up and stretched, looking down to see what would have to be dealt with. It was good that she stopped when she did – any more and that little pot would have spilled over.

                That definitely wasn’t normal for her, and as much as she hated to admit it, perhaps getting herself into terrible situations was actually working out well, in a really weird way that would probably turn on the Dragonborn and Keerava if they ever figured it out. She was still going to try to avoid getting into more trouble like that if she could, of course, but now she couldn’t deny that each time would help for future problems.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     

“Uh, hey, take over, will you?”

Lydia stood by the door and watched as the Dragonborn and that little Khajiit switched places at the bar – Azhani hopped on top of it and shuffled over to the far side while Bjorn simply walked around to get out, then headed over to Lydia.

“Hey.” He was avoiding eye contact for some reason and motioned in the general direction of a nearby table. “Here, uh, why don’t you sit down?”

Once they were seated, Lydia had to break the silence while Bjorn looked around aimlessly. “What, no drinks or anything?” She was joking, of course – a drink right now wouldn’t be the best of ideas considering she’d just finished a decent bit of travelling. Still, someone had to say something.

“Uh, well, I could get you something…” The Dragonborn was now looking at Lydia, still not quite making eye contact, and cleared his throat. “Ah, but, no, I actually wanted to, uh… Eh, you know what, it’d be a lot easier if I just got right to the point, so…” He dug around in his pockets for a little while, and when his hand came back up he dropped a round wooden amulet with a familiar holy symbol carved into it onto the table. Lydia glanced at it and shot a suspicious look at the Dragonborn.

“What is this?”

“Oh, that’s an-“

“I know what it is,” Lydia said, leaning forward. “I meant what are you doing?”

Bjorn waved a hand towards the amulet. “It’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?”

“Sure, but…” Lydia sighed and put a hand to her head. “What made you think I would go along with this? It’s gonna take you more than a piece of wood to get what you’re asking for here.”

“I know, and I know I’ve been a complete ass the whole time I’ve known you-“

“Bit of an understatement there.”

“-but at the same time you’re pretty much the only person who actually tolerates my bullshit for some reason other than not wanting to be Shouted to pieces. We’re in this together and you know it.”

Lydia moved to say something, but paused, then shut up and nodded. “Alright, fine. But so far all you’ve used me for is carrying all the crap you don’t want to be bothered with. I don’t see any reason to believe that would change.”

“Okay, first off, that’s exactly what you signed up for. Maybe not specifically with me, but with the Jarl, you knew what you were getting into. Second, you know by now that you have the option to not do things. Don’t go blaming me for your choices and the line of work you went into.”

“Fair enough, but why should it be any different after… this…?”

“Ah, well, because,” Bjorn said, holding up a finger as if stating irrefutable truth. “This situation we’re in now, it’s because someone else told you that you had to be here and do all this stuff. But this… this would be entirely up to you. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would get you to change your mind and decide, actually, no, you don’t want this.” He took a deep breath and continued slowly. “Look, ultimately, you’ve been the one consistent thing in my life since I got here. I am not gonna let that get away. I wouldn’t do anything that would make me lose you.” Then he looked down while Lydia sat in silence.

She finally answered, speaking with a tone one would expect more from the Dragonborn than from her. “Okay, fine.” With a cheeky grin she added, “You’re not half bad anyways. I guess I could do a lot worse.” Then she held up her hands. “And I guess I did sort of willingly follow you to certain death a couple hundred times, so you must be doing something right. So, when are we going to…?”

Bjorn perked up almost immediately. “Oh, well, we might be able to do a little something today, actually. Might have to wait a while but there’s some other stuff I’d like to take care of too, so we can get all that done. You just go put on something nice, I’ll come get you in a bit. Hey-“

He’d stopped talking to Lydia, so she gave a vaguely-affirmative shrug and headed upstairs, and when she got to her room she dumped her bag onto the floor, tossing whatever bits of armor she could easily remove down to join it. Then she turned to the little wardrobe in her room – more like a glorified box, but still – and looked through what little she had. “Something nice”? She didn’t exactly have formalwear, never having been expected to actually do anything requiring it before now, but quickly pawed through the handful of clothes arranged in the… whatever it qualified as. There weren’t terribly many options, so she just picked the one and only dress there, a simple little black thing, easy to move in, comfortable, but still looked good.

This was laid out on the bed, and Lydia sat down next to it, fiddling around with the strings on her sides to remove her armor. When both pieces of it fell clattering to the floor, she kicked off her boots and worked her way out of all the requisite padding and everything under it, ending up more or less naked when everything was dealt with. Oh, sure some things still needed to be covered, at least for practical reasons, but it was close enough. And as she stood there in her underwear, she was reminded of the consequences of her travelling – something she should have dealt with outside of town, but had decided against doing due to her proximity. Well, here was the perfect opportunity, and yet…

Perhaps she shouldn’t. It was, after all, well under control, if slightly annoying. But more than that, this was a special day… apparently. Sure, it was weird and a bit of a surprise to receive a marriage proposal practically immediately upon returning to town, but it was still special.

So why not give him a pleasant surprise for afterwards?

It took a couple of hours to actually get to the temple. The Dragonborn’s business included walking up to the blacksmith, handing over a little sheet of paper with his measurements on it, and demanding head-to-toe ebony armor – for the both of them. He’d dropped a large pouch of coins onto the counter when the smith tried to confirm that the Dragonborn knew what he was asking for and pointed out the difficulty of just acquiring the materials. The smith didn’t really have much of a choice at that point, but as he didn’t know Lydia’s dimensions, she spent at least a good hour there just being measured.

Then it was just a matter of wandering around town doing small trades and the like – Bjorn had sold his knife to someone and hired a courier to go fetch a different one from all the way in Whiterun, paying the kid extra to ensure that this particular dagger be brought over with the greatest of care, in the special box it already would have been kept in anyways. Lydia had seen it in its case once or twice – strange-looking thing, it was. Hardly looked like a real blade, considering the business end of it seemed to be made of some sort of rock. But if the Dragonborn said it was a knife, then it was a knife.

In any event, by the time they finally reached the temple after everything else was done, Lydia’s minor annoyance had become quite a bit more annoying. Tolerable, yes, but now it would be the center of attention if Lydia weren’t actively doing something else, and even then it’d still be an ever-present reminder of her situation. All for a good cause, though.

Still, nobody ever said she had to pay attention to anything in spite of it, so she was only vaguely aware of what was going on at the temple. It was apparently empty, and she could hear the Dragonborn speaking with Maramal, who eventually hesitantly agreed to do a brief ceremony for them while nothing else was happening.

That did take a few minutes to get everything set up, though, and in the meantime Lydia was shuffling around ever so slightly, just to have something to do. She did have to stop once everything was ready, now needing to stand as still as possible right next to Bjorn in front of the altar while Maramal droned on. If she were to be honest with herself, she wouldn’t have listened to a word he said anyways, but now at least she had some justification for it – it wasn’t quite bad yet, but she still did have to focus to avoid moving around subconsciously.

She heard the Dragonborn say something, then Maramal said something else and waited. After a moment, Lydia felt something prodding her in the side – Bjorn had elbowed her to draw her attention back to the real world, where Maramal, among others, were looking at her expecting a response. Blushing, she said something to the effect of “yes”, then Maramal said something else, and before she could fully process what was going on Bjorn had pulled her in for a kiss. She put her arms around him and returned the gesture, then the two broke off after a minute. Bjorn handed over some money to Maramal as a “donation” to the temple, then grabbed Lydia by the arm and excitedly led her back to the inn.

She was left waiting in Bjorn’s – no, their room for a moment while he said… something or other to Azhani. It wasn’t important. What was important was that Lydia was sitting on a bed with her dress and everything under it tossed off to the side of the room. It was cold, and she had her hand between her legs for… several reasons, actually, not the least of which was because if she moved that hand a little higher she’d feel the ever-so-slight distension of her lower abdomen that made visible her predicament.

She could wait, though. Would be better for both of them if the Dragonborn had his fun with this. Lydia moved over to lie on her back, wiping her hand on the sheets. It was hard to ignore the pressure now, but at least this made it more bearable. Bjorn entered soon after, locking the door behind him, and Lydia shuffled around a bit, looking up at him silently. He looked her over as he worked his way out of his coat and the shirt beneath it, chuckling once he got to her midsection.

“So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh? Hope you know what you’re getting yourself into.”

Lydia responded with an innocent grin betrayed by her eyes. “I have no idea what it is you imply, master. I am but a poor…” She paused for a moment to consider how to replace the original line, but when she looked at Bjorn he was clearly trying to suppress laughter. “Ah, fuck it,” she said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea where this is going to go.”

“Well, it’s not going to go anywhere if I have anything to say about it.” He stood over the bed, looking down, with his crossed arms just barely concealing the great scar across his chest that still seemed fresh. “Now then, let’s see here…” Bjorn leaned forward a little and laid one hand on Lydia’s bulge, applying just a little bit of pressure.

“Ah…” Lydia’s legs came together as a response, then parted shortly after the pressure was removed. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what? This?”

“A-aah!” Her legs twisted and she tried to sit up, but the Dragonborn’s other arm blocked her.

“Hm…” He slowly removed his hands, allowing Lydia to grab at herself. “That’s not all that solid just yet, and if you’ve still got everything under control after that…” Bjorn looked at her with a wicked grin. “Then I don’t think it’s as bad yet as you’re pretending it is.”

“Hmph.” Lydia only spoke once she’d recovered. “Are you going to just tease all night or what?”

“Plenty of time, my sweet. Plenty of time.” Bjorn watched as Lydia rolled her eyes at his choice of quote. “Ah, but I suppose we could find a way to speed this up, hm?” Then he walked across the room to his bag of adventuring junk, digging through it until he pulled out a flask. He shook it and, apparently satisfied, brought it back over to Lydia and handed it to her. “Here, drink this.”

Lydia sat up slowly and grabbed the flask, opening it and looking inside. It was still mostly full. “All of it?”

“Well, not all at once, but a good bit of it right now, yeah.” He waited while Lydia looked between him and the drink, then spoke again when he felt he’d waited enough. “Unless, of course, you wanna quit.”

Looking between the flask and her new husband one last time, Lydia raised the flask as if in a toast, then chugged a significant portion of it with her other hand raised in a world-famous one-fingered gesture. And of course she immediately regretted her decision – not the latter part, which seemed to amuse Bjorn more than anything else. Oh, no, the problem here was that she’d decided to drink what she’d been given, and not only was it alcoholic but it also seemed to be going directly where it was least welcome. Fantastic combination, really… for the other person in the room.

Even so, she probably would have downed it all just to prove a point, if not for the sudden surge that caused her to stiffen, throwing her free hand between her legs and forcing the flask away from her mouth. The lower hand felt warm and wet almost instantly, and Lydia’s leg twitched as she felt another leak about to break free. So she pressed harder, though evidently not enough to keep a new burst of warmth away from her hand.

“What, already?” The Dragonborn had clearly meant it as a joke, but the touch of disappointment in his voice was real. “Sure hope you didn’t mess up these really nice sheets I’ve got here…”

Lydia blushed as she looked back at the flask, handing it off to Bjorn again. “So this is how we’re spending the night, huh?”

“Feh, maybe an hour if you’re lucky, am I right?” Bjorn gave a crooked smirk as Lydia worked her way into lying down again. “And in any case I probably should deal with that… situation downstairs, so I wouldn’t be able to spend too long messing around up here anyways…”

“You’re seriously still – aah-“ Lydia knotted her legs and took a moment to recover from a sudden urge. “S-still chasing after the cat? Really?”

The Dragonborn leaned in close enough for Lydia to feel the heat of his breath as he spoke. “Oh, now why would I do something like that when I’ve got you right here, hm? And, anyways,” he added, straightening up again, “it’s not like it was ever going to get serious. Doesn’t mean I can’t have a bit of fun with the shit she gets herself into. For now, though… I’m not sure that’s where your hands are supposed to be.”

“Yeah, well, that’s where they’re staying.”

“Mm, is that so? Didn’t think a such a strong lady would ever need to use her hands.” He ran a hand down one of her arms, stopping at and lightly grabbing her wrist. “And, besides, you’ve still got to finish that drink you started, so I know it can’t be that bad yet.”

Lydia shook her head fervently. “Nope, nope, that’s- that’s not happening.”

“What a shame.” Bjorn’s grip on Lydia’s arm tightened and with his other arm he grabbed her free hand the same way. “Still, you know I’m gonna need these out of the way.” He encountered no resistance moving her arms to her chest – though when her hands left the precious area they were guarding, she pressed her legs together even tighter. His own hands wandered ever so slightly as he sat down next to her. “Y’know, that armor doesn’t really do these justice…” Lydia’s only response was a slight moan as the Dragonborn did his work, slowly shifting his hands lower until they found something else interesting. “Hm, this seems to have progressed nicely… But just to be sure…” He pressed on what he’d found, only to be greeted with a gasp from Lydia and a quiet pattering sound behind him for a second. Fortunately for her, the pressure was gone in an instant, but only because the Dragonborn had brought that same hand back up to block her own.

“Aah… I don’t think I can-“

“Shh. Not much longer for you, but…” The Dragonborn slipped out of his dress pants and positioned himself near Lydia’s legs almost in one motion. “You’re gonna have to move these.”

Lydia sat up just enough to look down at him. “B-but if I do that, I’ll-“

“I thought that was the point, hm? Or are you just too stubborn to give up now? Ah, but don’t worry-“ Bjorn grabbed her legs and gently set about trying to untie them. “I’ll help you if you need it, but you gotta get your legs out of the way first.”

“Nnn… Fine,” Lydia said, dropping back down to lie flat and surrendering her legs to the Dragonborn’s guidance. As soon as what little pressure they were applying disappeared, it was replaced with his hand – though it was hardly any help considering where his fingers were going. “Aah… Careful…”

“What, still not going to give up?” He shifted his hand to reduce the pressure on the outside, keeping up his work on the inside. The response was a brief jet soaking his hand and a groan from Lydia. “Guess not. I’ll just have to try harder.” He brought his free hand up and used it to press long and hard on her bulge – but even so the resulting stream only lasted three seconds at best before Lydia’s willpower took over again.

“Gods…” Lydia groaned as she fought to take back some control beyond just the few muscles below, though the Dragonborn blocked any attempt at external intervention. “Y-you’ll have to do better than that to get what you want.”

Bjorn removed his other hand, eliciting a slight gasp from Lydia, and leaned forward. “We’ll see about that.” Then he worked both arms under Lydia and picked her up, rolling the both of them over so that she was on top.

“What are you do- aaah!” The Dragonborn had pressed her close, holding her tight and letting her own body weight do the work for him. And it seemed his plan had worked, for there was a brief spurt that was followed by a steady, if weak, trickle. “Nn-haah…” Lydia’s head found its way to Bjorn’s shoulder, and her hands were firmly attached to his arms.

“Isn’t that better,” he whispered. “I’m sure you can imagine how good it would be if you just gave in completely.”

Lydia gave a weak struggle in the Dragonborn’s vice grip, still slowly and unwillingly relieving herself onto him. She sighed when she realized she’d already lost her little fight, and surrendered herself to what was already happening anyways. Pressing her face close to the Dragonborn’s neck, Lydia let out a muffled groan as she gave up her last scraps of control. The little trickle soon turned into a stream and then a torrent.

             And then there was a Dragon inside her.

 


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