In Which I Take the Life of Another Before Making Dinner

“Who are you?” “Erkenbrand Volsung,” I said. The man looked up from his book.  “You survived the destruction at Helgen.” “I did.” “And?” “It is not something I care to remember.” Whiterun’s Jarl, standing, began pacing before his throne.  “Will you not recall this danger for me?” “It haunts my dreams.  I will not recount it—even for you, Jarl.” He stopped.  The fire pits beneath the hold cast him half in shadow, half in light.  “I see.  Will you not, then, take this—”

“Ben,” my wife shouted, breaking the Xbox’s hold over me.  “I don’t want you playing that game in front of the girls.” “What?” “Seriously,” she said, “at the first sign of dragons I’m turning it off.” “What?  Dragons?” “Yes, dragons.” “Regan,” I called to my daughter. “Yes, daddy.” “Do you like dragons?” “Mm, I like pink ones with bows and tutus and makeup and crowns.” “Do they scare you?” “No, they’re cute,” my daughter said.  I looked at my wife. “Seriously, I’ll turn it off,” she said. I unpaused the game.

—sword.  It is of great making and value.  Though you will not tell me your tale, I know you have cared for Whiterun in its moment of need.” I took the sword from Whiterun’s Jarl.  It felt light in my hand, perfectly fitted.  “I’m sorry,” I said.  A quizzical look stole across his face, as, leaping, I sunk the blade into his chest.

“Ben!  Turn it off!” Regan laughed. “I love you, I do,” I said to my wife, “but this is who I am now—Erkenbrand Volsung.” She was pissed. “Alright, alright,” I said.  “I’ll make dinner.”  I walked into the kitchen, my daughter growling at my heels.


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