Chapter 35:

Drizzt woke slowly, enjoying the few minutes in the morning before remembering he was alone. He lets out a low sigh as he slowly gets out of bed. It had been a year since finding himself in Nirn. He had Jarlaxle to thank, but he was realizing this was for the best. The way things were going, he wouldn't be able to survive. He had his own room now in Jorrvaskr, many of the older members did now. Leaving the main sleeping area for newer members. He heads over to the water basin and washes his face. He grabs his gear and makes his way upstairs. He jolts slightly as he runs into Aela. He had gotten used to the woman, more so now that he realized she was a werewolf. "Morning brother." He was still getting used to everyone treating him as an equal. He had gotten used to it with his friends while everyone else kept away. Not here, he was just another elf in their eyes and he was fine with it. He nods his head to the woman. "Going out?" "We've been picking up humors about slavers. Was going to check a lead. Want to join?" She didn't have to ask twice as he summons Guenhwyvar to join the hunt. Joining then was Ria and Kharjo. Drizzt found he enjoyed spending time with these people. Ria was always kind and willing to share a story. Kharjo was more quiet, but would talk about his homeland. He had friends again, more then he had in a long time. Still, those early mornings, he missed Cattie-brie dearly. They had a wonderful few years together. He just wished he had been given more time with her.

He shakes the thought away as he runs his hand over Guenhwyvar. The cat lets out a low growl, and nips at him playfully. He chuckles softly as he follows after Aela. Ria walks at his side as Kharjo makes clicking sounds at Guenhwyvar. The cat answers him and Drizzt shakes his head slightly. "How long have you had her?" He tilts his head at Ria. "Guenhwyvar? Many years, I've lost track. She came with me when I left the Underdark." He had told his story to the Companions over time. He didn't go into to much detail on what the Underdark was like. It was a part of his past that stayed there. Ria chuckles softly, watching Kharjo with the large cat. Seems they were getting along greatly. "Must be nice, to have a friend for so long. The Companions is the only family I have now." Her mother died years ago and she was never close to her father. They make a rather long trip to Solitude, where Aela had picked up the rumors. when they got there, they were surprised to see a large cargo ship had been over run by the Legion solders. A few people were being lead of the ship, Evelyn among one of them as she shoves a large Orc off the ship. Aela joins them and she smiles warmly. "Aela, what brings you here?" "I could ask you the same Harbinger." It was hard to see the woman as anyone other then their harbinger since Kodlak had named her as such. "Slavers.." She nods to one of the captions as they take away the last of the crew. "Seems they've been working underground for awhile now thanks to Erikur." Evelyn lets out a low sigh at this. "The fact this crap was going on under my nose makes me sick..." "If you need help." Aela was more then ready to lend a hand and Evelyn smiles all the more.

"Of course, we need to figure out where this ship came from after all and who they've been selling to." Tullius was still against her working on her own. However when she told him what was going on, he agrees to let her do her thing. They managed to arrest several of the slavers so she sends a few guards to shake out information. Seems there was no need as Artemis took care of it. All while his son was strapped to his back. The boy was fine with this, quietly cooing and chewing on his hand. She just shakes her head at the man, but he just shrugs as if this was normal. "Talked to the Orc, seems they came from Summerset Isles." She lets out a low groan at this. "Goody, more reason to place hate on the Altmer..." "I'll send some men to look into this.." Tullius turns to leave. "Well put a end to this before it starts." "Thank you." Evelyn watches him leave before turning to Aela. "How did you hear about this?" She shuffles a bit. "They've been trying to sell off werewolves as...pets." Evelyn's eyes go wide at this. "Are you kidding me?" Of all the things she's heard. Most of who they saved here elves, but some were mixed. It was hard to tell where some of them came from. Kharjo just shakes his head at all of this. He knows well enough how it is to be treated less then others. They gather in a small office, to talk more one what they should do next. Drizzt watches Artemis, seems he's taken to being a parent rather well. The assassin doesn't think twice on laying his son on his lap the minute he's in a chair. Drizzt leans in and smirks. "He's starting to look more like you." Artemis lets out a low sound.

Evelyn was busy talking to Aela, the two of them going over what they've both heard. Artemis watches her closely before looking at Drizzt. "Honestly, it's...not as bad as I thought it would be..." He glances down at his son. "'s hard to put into words what I feel when I hold him.." Drizzt can't help but smile, honestly happy for the assassin. "You think you'll ever fine someone?" Drizzt blinks at this as Artemis shakes his head. "Sorry, I shouldn't ask." Drizzt overs him a slight shrug. "I miss Cattie-brie, I won't lie. I don't feel ready to move on. Though I know she would want me time. I often wonder what I would even look for." He had fallen in love with Cattie-brie over years of traveling with her. Given time, who know he might find someone else to travel with. Share his experiences, only time will tell, it was still to soon for him. After a few minutes Evelyn turns back to the rest of her small group. "So there's a chance there's a small go between where these people are gathering." She looks at her map before she bites her lip. "There's a good chance they're using Northwatch Keep again. Or worse they're using Castle Volkihar..." Drizzt rises his brow at this. "A place that once belonged to vampires. The Dawnguard helped clear it out, I was with them." Drizzt shivers at the very idea of slavers using an old castle in such a way. "It's worth a look, last thing we need is people poking in there. And finding the portal into the Soul Cairn." She got a few odd looks for that one. "Don't ask, it's a long weird story..." She waves her hands a bit as she turns to Tullius.

"I'll send a small group to Northwatch Keep. As for the castle I'll contact Serana. It was her home." Drizzt snaps his head up at this. "You know a vampire?" "She was a vampire, she was able to cure herself." He was still surprised to say the least but Aela doesn't seem as surprised. Ria leans forward a bit. "Still, if there are slavers it's our job to stop them...right?" Evelyn nods at this. "Aye, no matter what, we are still Companions. Me being Empress changes nothing, it's still my duty to put a stop to this kind of thing." She turns to Tullius. "Think you can deliver a letter to Fort Dawnguard?" He nods his head at this. "Of course." He turns and leaves as Evelyn lets out a low sigh. "Well good news is, there's no vampires. But...well I have no idea what happened after we cleared it." She rubs the back of her head. "I think we just left it as is, there was so much blood...and bodies..." She really didn't want to think about it any longer. She had only gone in there a few times. The last being to kill Lord Harkon himself. Still it was better save then sorry. "Oh Gods last thing we need is to include vampires into this mix because these slavers want to be stupid." Aela places her hand on her shoulder. "We'll make sure it won't get that bad." She turns to Ria. "Might want to send word back home to keep their eyes open." Ria nods and heads off to find some paper. Evelyn turns to Artemis, but he says little. She was the one in charge after all, but he knows well the depth slavers will go.

Evelyn was smart enough to allow Tullius to take over from here. It would take Serana a few days to join them as well as the Dawnguard. As Evelyn talks with her fellow Companions on where to go from here, Drizzt turns his gaze to Artemis once again. "She's rather good at this." It was easy to see his eyes were on her the whole time. The baby coos softly, wanting attention. "May I?" Artemis blinks at this, not expecting the question. He looks at Adrian before slowly handing him over. Drizzt had never really held a child before, but he does his best. He smiles a bit once the boy settles in. "You really are lucky you know." Artemis again just lets out a low sound, not really used to talking to the elf still like this. "I have no plans to give him siblings, one is another." Drizzt can't help but chuckle at this. "I don't blame you, I don't think I'd be able to handle more then one." He shakes his head slightly, knowing how his people handle more then a few children. Males don't last long. When night came Aela, Ria, and Kharjo head off to go to the inn. Tullius had already left to get word to the Dawnguard on the Castle while the rest of the Legion gather for a fight against the slavers. She decides to invite Drizzt to her home since he seemed comfortable with them anyways. Not like the elf really needed all that much rest. When he enters Proudspire he glances around the house. It wasn't anything he was really used to. Given how much time he spent underground or on a ship.

He was in awe of the place as he slowly wonders around, looking at everything. He sees a alchemy table, along with a ton of different plants, flowers and other items he wasn't familiar with. She doesn't mind him looking, she made sure nothing to dangerous was left out just in case. Evelyn now had Adrian, the boy started to fuss and calmed when she took him. Drizzt just shrugged slightly but she smiles. He just wanted his mother. Drizzt looks around the kitchen, then slowly finds his way upstairs. She had a large collection of weapons and armor. As well as books and other items. "You've collected a lot of items..." Evelyn chuckles at the elf. "Oh sweet summer child, this is only half. Ask Artemis I have more houses, and stuff in all of them. I just hang here the most after becoming Empress." She made sure to tell any left over Housecarls she no longer needed them. She would feel horrible if they stayed and she didn't bother to go to those homes. It was so rare for her to travel now a days. Drizzt picks up a small gem, looking it over. He was always interested in treasures, not on keeping them, but studying them. He was always fascinated in the backstories such items had. He always kept very little on himself. But much like a dragon, Evelyn seemed to have her own hoard of items, but in a way that didn't really clash to much.

"So what are the extra rooms for?" "The bedrooms? She tilts her head as she lays Adrian down. "One was meant to be a child's room, the other was for my housecarl, but I really need them so I always send them away.." She rubs the back of her head slightly. "I think I sent her to return to Jarl Elisif. Not out of disrespect to her or anything. I always feel really strange to have someone wait on me hand and foot." She might be rich, but she never acted as such. She doesn't mind having a friend around. Just not someone always waiting for her to give out commands. It's one of the few reasons she put up with Lydia for so long. She was still watching over Heljarchen Hall. "Now that I think about it, I'm not even really sure what I'm going to do with all the properties I own. I have a house in just about every city in Skyrim." Drizzt looks at her with wide eyes. He knows a bit about this woman, but it always seems he learns something new. "I know it's a bit much aye?" "Well you have a place to call home for your effort." She had never really thought of it that way. "Plus you give your son a place to call home as well. You can pass one down when he grows older and starts his own family." "Good point, hey want a house?" She laughs softly at the look on his face. "I'm joking, my door is always open though. I pretty much adopt everyone at this point." It was an odd offer, but one he found warmed him in a strange way. It wasn't often people welcomed him with open arms. But she had never once judged him even after what she learned.

It was a good thing his skin was so dark. He could feel himself blushing at her offer. "Thank you Evelyn." She bows her head to him. "Now if your hungry, I'll be more then happy to make dinner. Not sure what you like to eat, but I have a ton of meat." She normally keeps dried meat on hand. Before he can say anything she's already off, making her way to the kitchen. He slowly turns to Artemis. "Does she always cook?" "I try not to fight it, not that I'm all that great. I burnt the last 'dinner'." He wanted to try, he wasn't really all that used to having his own kitchen after all. But after that he was now banded from the kitchen. Whatever she is making smells good at least so he sits at her table. "This is a bit much." Artemis takes a seat. "You get used to it. I think she enjoys taking care of others." She wasn't listening, at all, which was clear. "I'm surprised you got used to this." Artemis glances down a bit. "Slowly, it's still strange." He still wasn't really used to how she treated him. Not that he didn't enjoy it, a lot. "Hard enough to see myself as a husband, let a lone a father. But she's hardly asked anything of me." Drizzt just smirks at this but looks up when Evelyn hands him a large bowl. He takes the bowl and sees there's stew in it. It's warm, and it smells wonderful. She even lays out some bread and something to drink. Drizzt doesn't really drink anything other then water.

He tries the stew and just sits there. He doesn't need a lot of food, but this. She would have a hard time getting Regis to leave. He would have loved this, it was so good. Drizzt just eats slowly, enjoying the meal. "Where did you learn to cook?" Evelyn joins them and blinks. "Oh I just learned over time. I learned the basics when I was in the guild. You know, make a fire, skin the animal.." She takes a bite of bread. "But over time, when I was home I would try different things. Even found a cookbook and just went from there. I didn't really have a lot of..." She tires to think of the word. "Famine touches until later. Figured my way was just fine as long as nothing caught on fire.." Her eyes turn to Artemis. "It was one thing." She chuckles softly. "Aye, you'll learn.." Her body starts shaking as she lets out a low snort and just starts to laugh loudly. "It wasn't that bad." He glares at her just a bit. He even shoots a loot at Drizzt to not say anything. But the elf just looks the other way as he enjoys himself. Dinner and a show, what more could he ask for.