This is my first shared Elder Scrolls fanfiction (after several dozens of unpublished stories).
All of this is happening in Skyrim (notably Falkreath Hold) in the fourth era and precedes the events of TESV:Skyrim by few months.
Hunting. Creeping through fallen leaves, careful not to make a sound. Feeling the rush of hot blood and excitement when the arrow strikes the target. Standing up and walking proudly to your fallen prey, being the victor, the predator, the hunter.
However, hunting is not only this. Hunting can also be a chase. Catching up to your prey and then falling back for a second to let it feel the sweet taste of freedom before striking forward and pinning it down. Tearing the helpless, soft neck of the animal. Tasting the warm blood on your fangs.
Being a devout follower of one of the Daedric Princes, I’ve always enjoyed a good, bloody hunt. But... something was missing. While I enjoyed seeing my arrow flying forward and killing my prey in a single strike, it was all very passive. I wasn’t a part of the hunt, the main show was my arrow, not me. I thought I was one with the nature since my childhood. At least my parents used to say that. Now I know I was wrong. Tonight, I’m accepting the gift. It’s Mid Year 5th.
I’ve decided to summon him by a great hunt. Well, it’s “great” at least for me. I’m going to kill a group of frost trolls. Not that it would be some big achievement like killing a mythical unicorn, but what can I do? Unicorns aren’t exactly running around, waiting to be hunted. I hope that he won’t be disappointed. It will be hard, with just a wooden hunting bow and some iron arrows, but I’m not giving up. I’m a hunter. And I wouldn’t be one if I didn’t know how to hunt. It’s less than a fortnight since my parents’ death at the mouth of a cave bear. They were archers, like me, but it was a long time ago when they last ventured in the beautiful wilderness. They began living in peace in our cabin* south-west of the Imperial outpost, Helgen, and their senses, once sharp and ready, now lazy and untrained, couldn’t protect them anymore. And so, I’m setting off to the Jerall mountains to the south, with a vision of glorious gift possibly waiting for me.
The trolls are dead. It wasn’t too hard to kill them. I’ve learned the art of stealth on slippery ice the hard way when I was a child. The more it hurt back then, the more careful and quiet I am now. I’ve laid the bodies of frost trolls in a circle, along with a big, white wolf. And I started praying to him. To my preferred Daedra Lord. To Hircine. I saw a flash of white light and a silvery outline of a wolf appeared before me. “Who are you to summon me, mortal?” it asked. “I’ve summoned you to ask something from you, my lord. I haven’t used the common shrine summoning because I’ve thought killing all these trolls in your name would honor you more. I have a wish to become a better hunter. I would ask from you a little favour - to send one of your children upon me, so they could give me the greatest gift of all. The beastblood,” I answered without fear. The wolf laughed. “Oh, a daring little huntsman. Or, should I say huntswoman? Yes, I will grant your request. But first, you must slay a specimen of beasts that are most dangerous of all. Until then, farewell,” howled Hircine’s wolf aspect and disappeared. The beast that is most dangerous... I know which one it is.
I collected the troll fat and headed to Falkreath. I waited day and night for my prey and followed it around. Then, the bandit who came to the town yesterday, left it to continue his plundering of the poor elsewhere. He seemed wary of the surroundings, looking over his shoulder and hiding the gold he stole from trusting inn patrons whom he dragged behind the graveyard and intimidated into keeping quiet about the incident. I waited in the bushes until he came closer. Then I drew my bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver. I steadied my breathing, aimed the bow and then... released the string. The arrow dived into his flesh, passed between his ribs and pierced his heart. He was instantly dead. “Hircine!” I called out into the night. “I’ve finished your trial.” The silvery wolf aspect walked to me from the thick darkness. “As you have, hunter. As you have. Now, I will call upon one of my children, who will give you the gift you’re longing for. Enjoy the excitement of hunting with your brethren on cloudless nights,” Hircine wished me and disappeared once more. In his place was suddenly a werewolf. It looked at me with a wild look in its eyes, challenging me to come and accept the gift. I drew my dagger and cut the beast. I collected the blood dripping from its shallow wound in my hands and drank. And I felt myself becoming a wolf...
I woke up the next morning, almost naked and tired. I hunted all night, killed and ate as many animals I wanted and I ran around till the morning when my bloodlust stepped aside to let my human mind regain control once again. “Hey, you. Breton. Yes, you, huntress,” a redheaded Nord woman pointed at me. “Who are you?” I asked. “My name is Aela the Huntress. And I’m your recent huntmate. We met last night. Was this your first transformation? Don’t worry, I was blessed by the moon, too,” she said quickly. “Yes, it was my first time. But I really enjoyed it,” I told her. “What’s your name, Breton?” she asked me and threw me the rest of my clothes. “I’m Scarlet**. Have you seen my bow?” I started looking around the makeshift campsite after I got fully dressed. “Here it is. You should get a new one soon, it looks worn. Or... we could give you one. You are quite a hunter, I bet you’d also be a good fighter. You could join the Companions,” she offered me. That certainly sounds interesting. “Are you a Companion, Aela?” “Yes, of course! I’m also a member of the Circle,” she said. “Have you all been blessed by Hircine?” I asked curiously. “No, just the members of the Circle. Me, Kodlak Whitemane, Skjor and the twins, Farkas and Vilkas. Now, only Skjor hunts with me. I’m sure the others will come around soon, but until then, it can be a bit lonely from time to time. If you joined us, it could get a lot more interesting,” she proposed the idea again. “I’ll think about it. It does seem like a good suggestion,” I admitted. “Now, I will be going. I have a feeling we will see each other soon, Aela.” “Good luck, friend,” she replied and I grabbed my things and began walking down a nearby road. The wolf within me was as happy as I was.
(*Check the mod Summerset Cabin for exact location of the hunter’s cabin as I roleplayed this with it.)
(**Not the most lore-friendly name for a Breton, I know, but it’s the name I’ve used in my first-ever fanfic and I’ve been using it everywhere ever since.)
Final note from the author (me):
Sorry, all Hircine experts out there, if I didn’t write his quotes well enough. I tried my best, but there aren’t many direct dialogues with him posted on the Wiki. I’d also like to apologize for any grammatical errors, English is my second language and I’m writing this on mobile, so some incorrect spelling here and there could be caused by the small screen.
I hope you enjoyed the story, I have another one or two on my mind already!