A Collab with @Dervish and@MacabreFox
5th of Last Seed - 09:30
Sunlight filtered down through white clouds, warm golden rays shimmered across the surface of the harbor. The last time Sevine passed through Solitude was for the Civil War. Do’Karth sat next to her. They had found a moment to spend together in peace, without being interrupted or pressed for time with the next mission. They sat on a patch of grass, on a cliff overlooking the bay. From this vantage point, Sevine could see their ship moored at the dock.
She leaned into Do’Karth, finding comfort in his presence. He was her rock, an immovable stone of support. Sevine could smell his masculine scent as she rested her head on his shoulder, like a mix of sunshine, the earth, pine needles, and something she couldn’t quite place. Her mind drifted, so much had happened in such little time. Leif had grown incredibly distant from her after losing the fight to Do’Karth. He avoided eye contact, and tried his hardest to keep from crossing her path, or Do’Karth’s for that matter.
Sevine broke the silence that had grown between them, “Do you remember when we met?” She asked softly, stroking the fur on his forearm. Her eyes drifted out to the water in the bay, watching the golden rays shimmer on the waves. She tipped her head up to gaze at him. In the sunlight, his eyes, a deep amber-orange colored, glimmered and danced like fire, his pupils narrowed into slits.
“How could Do’Karth forget? You were running from would-be assassins and quite hurt. Jorwen thought this one could be of assistance. You wished to touch this one’s ears.” He replied with a slight smile as he watched the water dance far below, his hand resting upon her knee. “It was a peculiar request, but it was one that made quite a lasting impression.”
Sevine chuckled at the recollection, “Mm, I remember. Still the softest ears, if I might add.” As if to emphasize, she reached up with one hand and stroked his left ear tenderly. He tilted his head receptively in receptively
“Oh, how many ears have you experience with?” he teased, a slight rumble escaping his throat.
“Hmm, let’s count…” she held up one hand, where she extended her forefinger, “One… and… that’s it.” Sevine squeezed his knee.
“I was just thinking of how much has happened since you and I met. The adventures we’ve been on, the people we’ve met, the people we’ve lost… the battles we endured… I never thought this would happen.” Sevine sighed, her finger drifting in a circle around his kneecap.
Do’Karth let out a long sigh shaking his head slightly. “It is hard for this one to not think about Jorwen. He was this one’s friend, he looked out for him and showed compassion where others had none. Do’Karth promised to watch over Solveig, but how is he supposed to do that with her gone? So many good people have been lost, this one regrets not having known them better.”
Her throat tightened at the mention of Jorwen, Sevine remembered the night when the Kamal swept through the area, she still didn’t know if he was alive or dead, and part of her felt that Solveig’s disappearance was linked to her desire to find her father.
“We cannot protect everyone, all of the time.” She added softly, she understood his pain.
“You could not protect me when we were separated, you in Bthamz, and I, in the Pale…” That much was true. “Leif was furious that you couldn’t protect me from being hurt. But what could he do too? He was with you on that mission. And just the same, you cannot protect Solveig when she is gone from us.”
“No,” Do’Karth agreed quietly. He continued to stare at the water below, resigned. “Do’Karth regrets not asserting himself to have not been assigned to the same team as you. He does not think Sevine needs protection, but he would be more comfortable if we were to stand side by side even in the most dire of circumstances. Were something to happen to either of us while we are far from each other, only learning the news days later? Neither of us would be able to forgive ourselves.
“And yes, Solveig made her choice, and she resented Do’Karth’s attention on behalf of her father, this one knows this. Still, she forced this one to abandon an oath, and it leaves a bitter taste. Now Do’Karth’s obligation is to you, and for a time, he thought he could manage both duties. It was foolish to believe so.” he reflected, pulling his sugar pouch free from his budi. There had not been much time for reflection, and today of all days seemed to be making up for lost time. “Leif has hardly been rational, and Do’Karth wishes for you to know that he truly did not wish to fight him. He is a good man with perhaps too large a heart, he leaves himself open to so much pain because he chooses not to see what his eyes already do.”
An uncomfortable silence crossed over them as Sevine shifted away from Do’Karth, her fingers ripping away tendrils of grass. She would have to tell him about her encounter with Leif the night before. She didn’t wish for secrets to be kept, especially not from Do’Karth.
“I saw him last night.” She said softly, feeling guilty for pursuing the encounter with Leif. She could have walked away, but Sevine felt the need to clear the air between them without Do’Karth by her side.
Do’Karth nodded. He looked over at Sevine, his eyes warm and expression soft. He knew she probably thought he had suspicions, but he trusted her. Nothing she had done he had done had instilled him with doubt about where she stood in regards to her longtime friend. “It’s okay. This one trusts you.” he said, pulling her head gently towards him until their heads touched.
The touch was comforting, she felt reassured that he would not abandon her out of spite. She let a sigh roll through her before she continued with his confidence, “Last night, when I went to finish my errands, I stopped near the graveyard. I thought… I thought the shadows were playing tricks on my eyes, but I saw him. Leaning against the wall… I thought he was drunk. I called out to him and… I just wanted to talk to him. I wanted to clear the air about what’s happened between us.”
“At first, he didn’t want to talk. But I begged him to talk with me. So we sat there against the wall, and I apologized to him. I told him that I was sorry for the miscommunication… that I was sorry for all the pain I caused him, and for how I never took his advances seriously. I also explained why I never took him seriously, how could I when his words told me one thing but his actions said otherwise.” Her brows furrowed together as she spoke, drawing her head away from him, but turning her body so that she could face Do’Karth and look him in the eyes.
“He apologized too. And apologized for his lack of respect for the both of us.”
“He asked me why, why I had chosen you out of everyone else. And I let myself be candid, I told him about how you did not judge me, nor how I was a prize because of my Name…” Sevine faltered in her words, she left out some non-consequential exchanges that Leif and her had shared. She felt Do’Karth didn’t need to know everything in exact detail, unless he wanted to know she would tell him.
“In the end, I asked him to forgive me. And before we parted ways… he told me that he had to let me go… and that he wished us all the happiness in the world.” She chewed on her lower lip in a pensive manner before adding, “And since I’m being honest about this, I wanted you to know that before we parted ways, he gave me a hug, and kissed me on the cheek.” There. That was all of it.
“It took great courage for you both to face one another; for him to learn to let go and accept himself, and for you to try and mend what you must have thought was a irrevocably damaged friendship. There is a history between you two, a strong bond. The only crime is you did not see one another the same way, but now he respects your wishes. Do’Karth hopes you are not rattled; thank you for telling him.” The Khajiit said, taking Sevine’s smooth hands into his furry, padded ones. “You need not worry about what this one thinks, for he believes that you love him and would let nothing change that. It is… not dissimilar to this one’s situation with Niernen. She’s admitted she has feelings for Do’Karth, and he has gently guided her away from those feelings because Do’Karth is spoken for. She is a lovely woman, but Do’Karth feels that she might have grown attached to him so quickly because of her capture and remembering her partner in Windhelm as a way to cope with the horrors. She wishes us well, but this one can tell it hurts her.” Do’Karth shook his head, looking up at the sky as if they had the answers. “He cannot figure out why he’s suddenly found himself surrounded by women who wish to be with him. He does not even wear perfume or have coin.”
Her eyes watered at his words, “It is because you have a heart of gold. And that is more valuable than anything else in this world.” She cleared her throat, blinking away the tears that came, concern filling her over Niernen.
“Does she… does she despise me because of… us?” Sevine really wanted to know if Niernen was a threat, as in a person that would do either of them harm. Rejection could be a hard drink to swallow.
That caught the Khajiit off guard. “What? No, of course not!” he exclaimed suddenly, before realizing his tone might have been taken as defensive. He placed his hand on her back, a gesture of solidarity. “Just… sad, this one thinks. She’s tried to encourage this one to not take you for granted and make the most of the time we have, despite the war. She is a good person, compassionate. Do’Karth just doesn’t know how she’s handling all of it in private. He wants to be a good friend, supportive, but without crossing the line that gives unfortunate impressions.”
He slunk back into the grass, laying up facing the sky, his arms spread wide. He felt flustered and defeated, and not for the first time he recalled how much simpler things were when he didn’t linger any one place for more than a couple of weeks with people coming and going from his life like a breeze. Sevine reclined back to join him on the grass, resting her head on his stomach.
“I’m glad she has a friend in you. Time heals all wounds.” Her thoughts wandered to Leif, wondering how he would handle the next days, weeks, or even months to come. “I pray that Mara shows her kindness.”
“All wounds but decapitation, perhaps. That tends to be somewhat more tricky.” Do’Karth replied cheekily. “And Mara always shows her love, one just has to be looking for it.” he reached down and touched the amulet around Sevine’s neck, the one he had given her back in Dawnstar. It had been his constant companion and source of comfort for quite a few years, but now it marked where his heart was. “Do’Karth knows where to look.”