It’s been quiet in Kynesgrove since the Dragonborn came through. By the gods, that was a hell of a day. You adjust your sword at your side and stamp your feet a little in the cold. And then you hear a rustling in the snowberry bushes (picked clean by some crazy alchemist come down from the College of Winterhold—did you hear what happened there? damn mages). In the guttering light of the torches, you spot . . . By the Nine Divines! Is that a girl walking around with a bunch of flowers?
Yep. That is definitely a girl walking around with a bunch of flowers.
“This is Kynesgrove, right?” She shakes out her braids and adjusts something shiny around her neck. “I’ve been walking all day. I got lost twice. I’ve just been trying to find a place where a dragon has already been defeated. I’m Hieri, by the way.”
“You’re . . . Hieri? Is that supposed to mean something?”
“Uh, probably not. Back home, they started calling me Hieri the Hasty after I left because of . . . how I left, I suppose. It was in a hurry. But I look pretty good for all that, no?”
She brandishes her flowers. Oh, no: that’s a staff. A staff? Why’s it got flowers on it? And does that red cloak mean she’s with the Imperials? It doesn’t look right for anyone. Certainly not for the weather.
“I never saw an Imperial with a flowery staff before,” you venture.
“An Imperial? Oh! The cloak! Well, that’s just something I picked up. But the staff—you like it?” She steps out from the bushes and brandishes the staff again. “Picked it up quite by accident. Got the cloak to match, though. That was a bit of good luck. But that was after the dragon came.”
“A dragon?” you ask nervously. Just because things have been quiet here in Kynesgrove doesn’t mean you haven’t heard stories. The things some say about Dragonsreach in Whiterun . . . It’s difficult to pay attention, though, because of all the shiny baubles she has hanging around her neck and the greenery with which she has trimmed her clothing.
“A dragon.” She drops to a crouch and says something in a strange tongue and a blast of ice goes right past your head in the snowy air. “Now I’d do that to it.”
“Of course!” She straightens and you can see her get-up fully. Skirt practical enough and tucked up to give her mobility, good boots, some bizarre effort at war paint, and . . . baubles. And greenery. And those damn flowers on that damn staff.
“Hieri the Hasty, you said?”
“Daughter of the best staff-maker this side of Whiterun. I was bringing this staff from my father’s workshop when we heard the roaring and the dragon showed up. By the gods! What a thing. The guards lit right after it, and I did the first thing I could think of: tucked my skirt up so I could run and then waved the staff at it. Did you know that dragons can be allergic to pine? Apparently they can be. This one was. The staff made everything smell just like an evergreen forest, and the dragon started sneezing, and the guards took it right down. I got close, and WOOSH! swallowed up its soul. Next thing I know I’m getting packed off to High Hrothgar.” She sighs. “Hieri the Hasty. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had picked up the Staff of Holiday Hijinks. When I did, I figured it was only right to dress to match . . .”
Happy holidays, everyone, from Hieri the Hasty, Accidental Dovahkiin and bearer of the Staff of Holiday Hijinks.
May your Thu’um be merry and bright.