Part 87 - Return to Arkngthamz

"So why are we back here?" Katria asked. "There isn't more Aetheium we didn't find, is there?"

"No, this is about you. Azura wants me to go fetch your body. She doesn't think it should be buried here."

"Well you know where it is, why does this need me? And I still don't see why Azura's getting involved."

"You'll understand later. Just trust me for now."

Clark walked carefully down the fallen column to the rock where she lay. He knelt next to the body and started to take off the armour.

"Hey, leave me some dignity!" Katria protested.

"It's called heavy armour because it's heavy," Clark pointed out. "If I'm going to carry you out, I don't need the extra weight. And it will be easier to mend your bones with it off. That will make you easier to carry, too, as you'll only bend where you're supposed to."

"How can you possibly mend that much damage? I must have broken every bone I had in that fall."

"My outfit has Fortify Restoration enchanted on each piece, some of it by Azura herself. So I don't use much magicka for any restoration spell I cast. In addition, the robe enhances my regeneration, so it comes back faster than I use it."

As he answered her questions, he was busy doing what he'd told her. It wasn't long before he lifted the body up across his shoulders and started to climb carefully back up to the platform above. He laid it back down on a pile of straw in one of the Falmer huts, and took a scroll from his pack.

He cast the spell at the body, and it rose off the ground, tilted forward into a standing position, and gently landed on the floor. It looked unsteady, so Clark put his arms around it.

"Hey, I can feel that!" Katria exclaimed. "It's just like you've got your arms around me."

"I have got my arms around you," Clark reminded her.

"Well, yes, but it's confusing when I'm watching from over here, but I'm over there, too."

"Then just close your eyes, and concentrate on how it feels. Now you can give me the hug you promised."

Katria put her arms around Clark's neck. She could feel herself doing that, too. So she went a bit further, and kissed him. That felt like it was supposed to feel, or maybe a bit better.

"I think you can open your eyes again, now," Clark told her.

When she did so, she was looking at Clark's face from close up, and she could see her own arms around him. Solid ones, not ghost ones.

"So it worked. You're back together," Clark told her.

Back together

"What happened? Was I resurrected?"

"No you weren't dead to start with. Azura told me that she believed you'd fled from the pain before you could actually die, which is why your spirit didn't leave Mundus. But of course, I'd have to heal you before it was safe to go back."

"Why couldn't you have told me before? I nearly did leave after we finished at the Forge. I didn't have anything left to live for after that."

"Because until you were healed, it wasn't safe to tell you. The shock might have killed you, and trying to re-unite you too soon certainly would have."

"So if that scroll wasn't resurrection, what was it?"

"Just telekinesis, to lift you up. I don't know that spell, so I needed a scroll."

"So now I've got even more to thank you for, and I'm already naked, so ..."

Katria left her armour behind in Arkngthamz. Clark had a nice dress in his pack that suited her, and she'd decided that she'd had enough adventuring for one lifetime, or was it two now?

He'd given her Zephyr back, and that circlet he'd made from the Aetherium, but that wasn't enough to tempt her to go hunting bandits, or anything. She wasn't quite sure what she would do. She hadn't planned much beyond finding the Aetherium Forge, as she really hadn't any idea where that would lead.

"I think we should start by going back to Riften. You promised Gilda and Mjoll a hug, too."

Gilda and Mjoll were delighted and amazed to see a live Katria, and soon she was telling her unlikely story to everyone in the Riftweald Club.

"Your mistake, and mine, was to go adventuring alone," Mjoll told her. "I'm glad it ended as well for you as it did for me."

"Don't say ended," Katria reminded her. "Although I really believed it had."

She turned to Clark. "You never explained what Azura had to do with all this."

"She's the Princess of dawn and dusk, and that extends to the dawn and dusk of life. She's especially tuned to those events, and so when I saw you lying on the rock at Arkngthamz, she overheard what I was thinking, that you looked like you'd just fallen there. She didn't say anything at the time, but I assume she was planning it from that point."

"I'm still surprised. I haven't heard many stories about her, but they usually involve her doing something nasty."

"Well, when she has something pleasant that needs doing, she usually gets someone else to do it for her. Like me, this time," Clark pointed out. "If it's not so nice, she takes it on herself. It's not surprising that gets her a bad press from those who don't know."

Serana laughed. "I met Azura once, and when Clark's telling you about her getting him to do 'something pleasant' for her, he's watering it down a lot. Apparently she was so impressed with his efforts, that's why she made him immortal."

Katria blushed, and everyone filled in the unspoken part of her story.