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“It’ll be great! Just the two of us, our gear, wind in our hair, and some unlucky bandit trash~...” Aria agreed, glugging down what remained of her mead. She gave a stern nod as she held the empty bottle up to the fire, looking it over. Honningbrew would be sorely missed over the next few days!

“I hope we find a troll while we’re out there. It’s gonna be real frosty with winter setting in, and their fat makes for excellent fuel for lamps and torches. I haven’t needed to survive in the wilderness for years... Might be rusty, but we’ll manage, easy.”
“That’s...” Aria nodded, looking surprised at Serena before letting out a chuckle. “I thought you were gonna come out with a specific race, and all their handsome features. You think different than a lot of people, huh?” she complimented, with an honest grin.

“Well, I’ll keep my eyes peeled. I doubt we’ll find anyone like that where we’re going tomorrow! Speaking of... let’s get outta here when we finish these. Travelling on a cart with a hangover is not advisable~...”
“Brutal,” Aria commented with a chuckle. “I like ‘em though. Even the farmers and merchants among Skyrim are hardy and tough. Guess they have to be, with all the dangerous, nasty bastards and creatures lurking the province!” she continued, sipping at her mead idly. “But we’ll rid the land of all the horrible nasties, one head at a time.”

Sighing and folding one leg over the other, Aria’s lips grew a tiny grin.
“So you’re not into drunk northmen... Fair, fair... What are you into, Serena?” she asked, raising a brow curiously.
“You would think, huh?” Aria mused, “Nords are stubborn as all hell, though. I bet they’re confident they can take on anything, come elves, dragons or daedra.”

Before long, she’d finished her bottle of mead and placed it under the bench. The bard bowed as his song ended, and the patrons gave a short applause as he left the light of the fire pit.
“Good point on the bigger picture... I guess people are happier when they ignore that fact. The Dominion’s breathing down the back of the Empire’s neck. I can’t think why they stopped the fighting, with their power they could continue the push...” Aria mumbled on, unwilling to speak up on the topic too much. Most nords hated elves, it’d be easy to get them riled up, especially with enough ale, wine and mead around the place!

“If I had to pick a side though... Hm... Nah, I’d play both sides. They need their heads knocked together! We’re all human, right?”
As the two stepped inside, the bard was just starting to sing the ‘Age of Aggression’. One of the benches at the fire was still free, Aria motioning to it for Serena, before walking up to the bar to grab some drinks. Those gathered around the fire listened silently to the bard’s song, as the words hit so close to home. The civil war was only going to get worse... But here in Whiterun, allegiance didn’t count for much. This city had refused the Empire and the rebels entry- Balgruuf was happy to spare his people the miseries of war, especially with all the other lingering threats already troubling the entire province.

“Two Honningbrew please,” Aria ordered. She paid for the two bottles and smiled at the inn keeper as the corks were removed. She gave her a polite nod before quickly returning to Serena. She’d hand her new friend one of the bottles before taking a seat.

“Rooting for a particular side in this random chaos, Serena?” Aria asked, sipping at her sweet mead.
“Y-You know me! Once I set my mind to it, I’ll catch up really quickly! Especially if you’re helping me out!” Ringo rambled on as she grabbed her bag and followed hot on Mamoru’s heels, perhaps feeling the need to sugar coat her plans to get better. There wasn’t a lot she could say to make him calmer, other than just being herself. She seemed so cheerful, despite being berated moments earlier. She still had her gloves on, reverted back to their innocent, non-threatening form, but kept them on regardless.

Ringo hummed quietly for a moment as she considered something, still following Mamoru. “I know what can make this right.. or at least make you less salty. Pizza! An Italian place opened up recently in town. We’ll both feel better after that! Yeah?!”
Yuki nodded at Cronic knowingly, “There was something like that at home, too! The guards would finish their duties and go to the communal hall to drink. The next morning, they would always visit the shrine to ask for a spell that could end their headaches and poor stomachs. Unfortunately, no spell exists like that to my knowledge. I don’t understand why they drank it, if it caused such pain.” The teen explained, innocent and yet free from any kind of influencing substance.

—————

Aria sighed gleefully in their way to the tavern, happy to let her hair down for a while. She’d told herself not to drink much, or the morning journey would hurt... But once the first jar goes down the hatch, another would have to follow. Self-control never really kicked in when there was fun to be had!

As Aria pushed the door open, she looked back to Serena. “Just one or two, then home. Yeah?” she asked, confident in her ability to stop whenever she felt like it!
Yuki took a few short, fast bows for Cronic, “I can help with the enchantments, too! This is exciting, I haven’t been able to study or practice in so long... Temple life was quite boring, if I’m honest...” she admitted, scratching idly at her cheek.

“Like a proper lil’ adventurer now, huh?” Aria mused, making Yuki smile at her. “Well... I’m gonna head to the Bannered Mare, have some drinks before sleeping. Tomorrow we’ll set off on our epic journey, Serena.” Aria said as she got to her feet and headed for the door.

“Anyone coming?”
“We’ll be heading up Dawnstar-ways, so it’ll be lovely... Until we hit the mountains.” Aria said, “Ever hear of the Vigilants? Stendaar cult, they hate unholy things. Vampires especially! But from what I gather, they’re stretched thin and need someone to deal with gangs in their local area. I’m keen to see what they know about the situation with this ‘Harkon’ guy.”

Yuki ran back down the stairs in her new outfit. It was a snazzy grey winter coat, tidy-looking as well as protective from the harsh environment of the province. A belt hugged the coat at about waist height, full of pouches and holders for magical equipment, or storage. She did a couple of twirls as she looked up and down herself, then beamed a gleeful smile at Cronic. “Thank you, this is perfect! I can keep ingredients and vials with me!”
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