Delphine threw another log onto the fire, the meager flames picked at the fuel eagerly. She stood straight, her muscles complaining after the long day's ride. She watched the flames for a few seconds, watching the tongues of fire twist and bend, the smokeless fire was weak, but served its purpose, if somewhat halfheartedly. It had been two days since Esbern left; he said it was, "Too dangerous to keep all our eggs in the same basket." Delphine agreed, though she did not like it. They were stronger together than apart. The Thalmor would not give up in their hunt for the Blades, the last of the sacred order that once were the most dangerous organization in all of Tamriel. Even though they were remnants of what they once were, the legendary were now nothing but legends themselves.
"Auntie Delly," said a small voice, breaking her from her thoughts. She looked across the fire; Emilia's small form was sitting cross legged, her arms wrapped close around her. The little girl spoke again, "Where's my papa?"
Off being a fool.
Marcus insisted on hunting, saying he was feeling 'cooped up'. How, she wondered, could he feel cooped up when they never stayed at the same place twice? "He will be back soon," she said shortly.
The little girl held her legs closer to her chest. "Why can't we have a bigger fire?"
"Because we might be seen."
"By the tall people with pointy ears?"
Delphine looked at the girl sadly. She was so innocent, too innocent to know the true nature of the Thalmor. "Yes, the bad elves."
"'Elves'," she repeated, taking in the word.
Delphine kept a hand on her blade, scanning the trees for any sign of danger. Marcus should have been back by now. Silence hung, save for a few birds chirping nearby. The girl piped up again, "I'm cold."
Delphine gazed at her. Maybe this was the power of her heritage, guilting people with sad eyes. Without a word, the last Grandmaster of the Blades took her own cloak and draped it over the girl. The girl was absolutely swimming in it. "Better?"
Delphine couldn’t help but smile as the pile of wool nodded.
Delphine's hand went straight to her weapon when she heard footsteps approaching. She turned, to find Marcus strolling into the campsite, his line full of salmon, and his black hair and leathers drenched. Her childhood friend smiled. "I'm back," he said with a silly grin. Within seconds the fish was in Delphine's hands and Emilia was in Marcus'. He situated her so she sat on his hip. He nodded towards the salmon in Delphine's hand. "How about some fish?"
Delphine cooked the fish, watching Marcus play with Emilia with a wary eye. Marcus was teaching her swordplay, each of them wielding a carved stick, while he showed her the steps passed down by his Blade teachers. Marcus touched her with the stick for what seemed like the tenth time. His daughter threw down her stick and fell to the ground, pouting. "I'll never be good at this," she cried.
Marcus smiled softly. He threw his stick into the woods before kneeling down and putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. "We will find you something else," he said cheerfully.
"What about archery?"
"Archery?" she repeated, chewing on the foreign word.
"Bow and arrow?"
Her eyes lit up. "Oh yes, papa, please!"
He smiled warmly. "Next town we stop at we will get you your own bow, how's that?"
"Thank you," she repeated over and over, running circles around him.
Marcus stood and laid a soft hand on her head, halting her celebrations. "Now, why don't you go wait in the tent for dinner?"
"Yes, Papa," she said, still brimming with excitement. He knelt down and hugged her. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before skipping to the tent they shared.
Marcus watched her go with pride. "She's growing up," he said sadly.
Delphine glanced away from the fish. “Children tend to do that.”
Marcus gave her a look, but merely laughed lightly as he gazed back at the tent. “I almost forget that sometimes. Someday I’ll be fighting off suitors and assassins.”
Delphine smiled. “Well, if you deal with suitors the same way you deal with assassins...” Marus laughed. "Archery?"
Marcus planted himself beside the small fire. "It makes sense," he said with a sigh. "Every other child of Adria has been male and been trained in swordsmanship."
"What does that have to-?"
Marcus interrupted, "Emma is the first Septim female in nearly two centuries, and, just like our many greats grandmother, she'll be a master of the bow. I'm sure of it."
Soon dinner was finished and their bellies full. Delphine was on watch, patrolling the campsite and eyeing the tree line. Marcus sat beside the fire, Emilia in his lap as he told her stories. "Maybe it's time for a new story, "Marcus declared, ”the story Hero of Kvatch perhaps?"
Her eyes went wide. Marcus grinned.
Delphine looked at him. "She's only seven, Marcus do you really -"
"I think she's ready to know," he interrupted. At that he reached into the pack at his waist, revealing an orb the size of his fist. It was black, orange, red, and gold, the colors swirling beneath its glass-like surface. "My father gave this to me," Marcus explained. "Can you guess what it is?"
She stared at it with wide eyes. "Can I hold it?"
Marcus shook his head. "It's not a nice thing Emma. This is a Sigil Stone,"
Marcus said with pride. “This is the proof that the story I’m about to tell you is real, more real than anything.” His daughter looked at him curiously. “I say that, because it’s our own family history.”