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The old house consumed her.
Through her tear stained vision, Lyara recognised her face as that of the effigy she saw at the Temple of Mara, where she and Farkas were married.
The goddess Mara looked young, and more beautiful than anyone Lyara had ever seen. She laid a hand gently on the older man's shoulder.
"My dear son," the goddess addressed Arkay. "For the love you have for your mother, grant the request of this mortal whose heart swelled with joy and love as she married the man who now lies broken at her feet."
Lyara held her breath, awaiting a response. Arkay nodded, and with a bang of his staff on the ground, he turned and headed back into the mists, along with Mara. Before they faded from her vision, the goddess looked back and smiled at her.
Akatosh too turned his colossal form, and walked towards the mist.
"We will meet again Dovakiin, when you return to Sovngarde."
He faded from her sight, and time seemed to start moving again. She gasped in shock as a small moan escaped Farkas. He lifted his arm to wipe her tears from his cheek, before looking up at Lyara's face.
"Why are you crying?" he asked.
Lyara once again cried out, but this time in joy. Vilkas too was thanking the Divines, and looked at her gratefully.
"I don't know what you did, but thank you," his voice hoarse with emotion.
Lyara clutched at Farkas, who winced in pain. She realised then that the gods had brought him back, but not healed him. She could do something about that.
She wasn't trained in the restoration arts, but had enough knowledge and innate magic to heal, although it was costly in energy. It had to be enough, she told herself. She placed her hands gently on his chest, and concentrated. Warmth ran through her and a slight golden glow emanated from her fingers. Once she was confident he was healed, she tried to stand so that she could help the others.
Exhaustion caught up with her, and the effort of healing was putting further physical strain on her already depleted resources. Vilkas told his brother to lie still, and gently helped Lyara to her feet. He supported her as she walked towards Aela and Ria.
Lyara looked at Vilkas, seeing a completely new side of him. Her heart went out to him when she saw the anguish on his face at the state of Ria. It seemed that the obvious feelings Ria had for her husband's twin were reciprocated.
Ria was whimpering in agony. Her breath hitched in with a horrible gasping sound. Alduin's flame had not only damaged her outside, but internally as well.
Lyara placed her hand carefully on the crisp blackened skin, and concentrated again. She gave as much as she could, and when she opened her eyes, Ria's skin was no longer charred and burnt, but clear and healthy if a little pink still.
She then reached for Aela's arm, but when her friend saw the dark circles that had appeared under the wood elf's eyes, she insisted she was fine. Lyara ignored the bravado, and with Vilkas supporting her, she used the last of her strength to heal her shield-sister's arm, before collapsing and passing out.
She awoke sometime later, unsure of how much time had passed. She was surprised to find herself lying in her own bed in Whiterun, cradled by Farkas. She later found out that Tsun had sent them back.
When Farkas saw her eyes open, he stroked her hair.
"Nice to see you, dear."
She reached up a hand to cup his cheek, as she smiled weakly. He smiled back at her, love and relief shining from his eyes so brightly that it chased away any tiredness, like the darkness fleeing the sun.
"I thought I had lost you," she croaked.
He looked at her earnestly, before placing a gentle kiss on her lips.
"You are my whole life," he said as he held her gaze. "Wherever I am, I will always find my way back to you."
Epilogue ====== Karia hit the post harder and harder with the wooden sword her father had made her. She would have liked a real one, but she was only four, and her mother had said she could not have a metal blade until she was at least eight.
She saw the familiar figure of her father come through the city g