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#eskel
darkverrmin · 16 hours ago
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*Lambert and Eskel after meeting Jaskier for the first time*
Eskel: So, Jaskier? Seems like a good human, I like him.
Lambert: Looks really good, too.
Geralt, blinking: What?
Lambert: What "what"? Don't tell me you can't see it.
Eskel: Yeah, I agree with Lambert on this one.
Geralt: He looks... Nice.
Lambert, laughing: Nice? Huh, if he wasn't your friend, I would definitely-
Geralt: Please stop talking.
Lambert: Don’t lie to me that you've never thought about it.
Geralt, glaring: He's just a friend.
Eskel: ...Lambert and Aiden were just friends, too.
Lambert, smirking: And what a beautiful friendship it was.
Geralt, rolling his eyes: I am not going to sleep with my bard.
Lambert: "My bard". Eskel, can you believe this moron?
Eskel: I really do think Jaskier is very nice. He has a good heart, he's sharp, funny. Seems to care about you a lot, too.
Eskel: If he was your type, you could've been good together.
Geralt: What do you mean if he was my type?
Eskel: Well... I've only seen you with certain type of lovers.
Lambert: The I'm so fucking intimidating, I'm may rip off your balls kind of type. *cough* Yennefer. *cough*
Geralt: I do not have a type.
Lambert: Yeah, you do. Admit it, Jaskier is too sunshine and rainbows for you.
Eskel: Lambert, maybe we shouldn't-
Lambert: You just wouldn't be able to stand someone who's actually nice to you.
Geralt: Well fuck you, because I've been in love with him for years!
Lambert:
Eskel:
Geralt, softly: ...Fuck
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calyxestra · a day ago
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Another smiling wolf
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chaosandwolves · 18 hours ago
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We got a new meme format
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Here is the original by @/Ravenclaw_Rose1 on twitter:
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frogcheesedoesthewitcher · 19 hours ago
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YOOOOOO CAN YOI NOT BE THAT CUTE OMG
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eskelbigbang · a day ago
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Eskel Big Bang 2022
Hi everyone! I'm deciding whether I want to run the EBB again next year, but before I get ahead of myself, I wanted to gauge interest.
Please like/reblog/reply to this post if you'd be interested in participating in another round of the EBB.
Important note: it would be run a little differently this time around, after taking into consideration the feedback we asked for at the end of last round! Most notably, it would be much shorter, probably posting sometime around March(?)
Hope everyone is having a good holiday season! Please don't hesitate to get in contact with any questions.
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rawrkinjd · 2 days ago
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Rated: T. Hints of Eskel/Lambert if you squint, Ciri misses her old home, the witchers dance.
Another midwinter storm in Morhen Valley meant another dreary afternoon crowded around the fireplace with the castle's residents, and Ciri couldn’t be more bored. It was worse than any Cintran diplomatic dinner and Vesemir didn’t allow drills inside the castle unless it had been three days. It felt like an entirely arbitrary rule with an arbitrary limit to it, but Lambert had told her not to question the old man’s peculiarities. This was his keep, so they obeyed his rules.
She gazed out of one of the long windows. It had been snowing solidly for five hours; huge, fat flakes fluttered down, whisked into an erratic frenzy by the occasional gust of wind, and she was reminded of the glittering ballroom gowns the ladies of the court used to wear for their debutante presentations. “I miss dancing,” she said, her chin propped against her palm.
Jaskier the bard, who had been scratching idly at his notebooks for the better part of the afternoon, looked up. “Dancing, Princess?” he asked, using her formal address with genuine intonation, as opposed to Lambert who used it whenever she whined too much. At least it was better than the way he said girl.
“Yes!” She threw her hands up. “Dancing. You know, with pretty ladies, music, when everyone has rosy cheeks and they’re a little breathless. At my last ball, grandmama let me have some wine, and…” she trailed off. The accidental reminder of what she had lost scrubbed the wistful light from her eyes. The witchers gathered around the fireplace—all five of them—exchanged troubled glances.
Jaskier tsked. “Alas, dear one, I’m afraid there shan’t be any of that here. Why, I invited your dear adopted father to many a ball and he always stood in the corner, glowering. Ooh, big scary witcher. And you know what he said when I finally bullied it out of him? ‘Witchers can’t dance.’ Well then, there you have it. Uncivilised, the lot of them.”
Vesemir looked up suddenly, his thick, bushy brows knitted together in consternation. “You said what, boy?”
Geralt squirmed. Ciri’s ears perked, interested at the prospect of a little drama to lift the dull greyness of their dreary afternoon. Geralt cleared his throat. “I didn’t feel it appropriate at the time—"
“You know damn well Papa Vesemir taught us to dance and,” Lambert cut in, sliding out from the bench where he had been laboriously sewing a tear in an old shirt, “you were pretty fuckin’ good, if I remember. Ol’ snake hips.” He placed a palm over his stomach, extended an arm, and swayed his hips in his best imitation of a rising cobra. Ciri chuckled and Coën smiled indulgently from his post, cross-legged, by the fire. Even Eskel, the quietest of all the wolves, glanced up from where he was cutting candles into a wicker basket.
“Sit down, Lambert—” Geralt tried, but he knew there was no use. Lambert didn’t like it when Vesemir felt slighted. As much as he railed at the old man himself, he was very clear that he and the other wolves of Kaer Morhen were the only others allowed to berate, chastise or otherwise upset Vesemir.
“Watch and weep, bard. Fuckin' uncivilised. The first part of the lesson is that you need to dress for the wooin',” Lambert informed Ciri, and whipped a floppy grey felt hat from inside his jacket.
“Lambert—” Vesemir growled in warning.
“Chill your bunions, old man. I’ll put it back. Not a crease.” Lambert slicked a hand over his hair before placing the hat upon his head. His fingertips swept across the brim, and he struck a defiant pose, hands planted on his hips. "Perfection."
Jaskier folded his arms across his chest and Geralt sighed into his mug. Ciri giggled, thoroughly on board with any and all of Lambert's shenanigans. "Yes! Perfect. What next?"
"Next, you need to find yourself a damsel," Lambert explained. "Gotta go for the prettiest young filly in the room." He eyed each of them in turn, weighing his options. He pulled a face at Vesemir, flipped Geralt off, spat his tongue out at Jaskier, winked at Coën and finally, with great ceremony, strutted over to Eskel. One arm tucked behind his back, he bowed low, sweeping his hat from his head. "Milady."
"Are you takin' the piss?" Eskel said.
"I'm deadly serious." Lambert straightened his back and restored the hat to its place of honour 'pon his brow. He offered Eskel a hand, palm up, fingers loose and beckoning. "May I have this next dance?" His voice dropped comically low, eyebrows wiggling beneath the hat brim.
Eskel sighed, long-suffering and tried, but took Lambert's hand, his candles discarded. "Fine, but I'm leadin'."
"No you're not," Lambert said brightly, yanking Eskel to his feet. The big witcher grunted as he made contact with Lambert's torso, rolling his eyes as Lambert placed his hands where he wanted them. One of Eskel's settled on his shoulder, the other clasped in his hand. "Bard. Do your job. Music."
Jaskier, in good spirits enough to not make a quip at such a surly demand, grabbed his lute from the table and twisted the tuning pegs. "Requests?"
"Waltz of the Silver Lilies, No. 3," Lambert said without hesitation.
"Oh," Jaskier blinked in surprise, "an... excellent choice."
Geralt smirked into his mug. Jaskier began to play.
Ciri's eyes lit up as she watched her uncles sweep around the table. Their steps in perfect time, their bodies twisting and weaving as if they were made for the ballroom, not the battlefield. She chuckled again as she caught snatches of their conversation beneath the music as they argued like an old married couple: "by Vesemir's hairy crack, let me lead, Eskel", "you're going to step on my feet", "they're pretty hard to fucking miss", "your weight transfers are off", "in my defence, there's a lot of fucking weight to transfer".
Despite their grumbles, they were perfectly synchronized. Better than any of the loveliest couples in Cintra. They turned, and pirouetted, and swayed, and dipped. Ciri could see the fondness in Eskel's eyes as he gazed down at Lambert and the unadulterated joy in every craggy line of Lambert's face. They had probably learned this around training. A way to perfect their dexterity and poise without risking broken bones. Perhaps they had filled the Grand Hall with dancers; she imagined a glittering chandelier, an old witcher on a fiddle and another on a harp. Hundreds of young witchers stumbling, and learning, and getting better until they grew into their skinny, unwieldy limbs.
She could almost imagine herself to be back home... well, until Lambert said something that got Eskel's goat and he received a solid punch in the gut. Just hard enough to make him wheeze.
It took a matter of seconds for the whole thing to devolve into a wrestling match on the floor. Eskel trapped Lambert in a headlock against his chest, but Lambert reached up, pulled his hair and bit his arm. They scuffled until Vesemir slammed his knitting down and grabbed one of his discarded shoes from the floor to beat them apart. "This happened every time while they were learnin'," he grumped, and jogged over to end their scuffle. "Undisciplined, unruly embarrassments, the both of you."
"Ow, fuck, fuck," Lambert rolled away from Eskel, hands over his head, and Eskel kicked at him petulantly one last time.
Coën shook his head and exchanged a fond glance with Ciri. They both knew that Kaer Morhen was better than any Cintran ballroom. She missed the dancing only because she missed what came with the dancing; time with her grandmama and Eist. What she had now could never replace them, but she could cherish it just as much.
She left the table and settled on the rug at Coën's side to play cards. Eskel and Lambert gravitated together as they did every night, Lambert's head on Eskel's belly, Eskel's hand somewhere on Lambert - his forearm this time - and Geralt chatted with Jaskier as afternoon melted into evening, while Vesemir dozed off in his armchair.
Just another midwinter storm in Morhen valley.
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cineriwen · 19 hours ago
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Basil Eidenbenz with Kim Bodnia and Henry Cavill 🥺❤️
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queenxxxsupreme · 2 days ago
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Meteor Showers (Eskel x f!reader)
A/N: This is for an ask that I got way too long ago by 🌻 anon! I am so so sorry it has taken this long to get this out! I am starting to clean out and answer my asks so hopefully we will have some new witcher content soon! My Witcher masterlist can be found here.
Warnings: none, fluffy
Word Count: 2.3k
Summary: Eskel enjoys a meteor shower with a new friend
Eskel turned his head, listening to the sound of an owl in the distance. To his right, a mouse scurried through the underbrush. A few moments later, a white fox followed.
The witcher took in a breath and lifted his gaze to the sky above. It was a clear night with not a single cloud in the sky. Billions of stars and a couple planets could be seen.
Eskel continued on down the path, pulling his cloak tighter around his shoulders. It wasn’t a particularly cold night, but the air was a bit chilly.
***
Within ten minutes, he arrived at his destination: the ruins of an old castle. The castle hadn’t stood for many centuries. When Eskel had asked his mentor, Vesemir answered that the castle fell long before he came to Kaer Morhen. Now all that stood were a few stone walls and the south tower.
This was where Eskel came when he couldn’t sleep, when he needed space from those in the Keep, or when he needed to think. This was his favorite place to be in the Blue Mountains.
He moved to gather a few pieces of wood from the edge of the forest, wanting to build a very small fire to ward off any wolves or creatures in the area. As he was placing an armful of kindling down at the center of the ruins, a twig snapped, catching the wolf’s attention. He froze, lifting his head slowly.
The sound came from just ahead and to his right. He couldn’t see anything just yet, but the heartbeat didn’t belong to an animal or a monster. It was human.
The wind shifted, blowing a gentle breeze in his direction. This allowed for the scent of the human to be carried to him. Whoever it was, they wore a sweet perfume. Rose and jasmine.
Movement caught his eye. Just beyond one of the walls, he could see a figure moving towards the ruins. You seemed unsure of every step you took, your head down and eyes focused on where you stepped. The witcher was positive that you couldn’t see anything in the dark. You were a human after all. He could sense no magic qualities about you.
You moved around one of the pieces of walls that remained, your hand using it as a guide. When you were comfortable with where you stood, you tilted your head up and looked towards the sky.
Eskel furrowed his brows for a moment, curious. What were you looking at? Were you looking for something? What was a human doing this far out in the middle of the woods of the Blue Mountains?
Thanks to his catlike eyes and the ability to see in the dark granted to him by the witcher mutations, Eskel was able to catch a glimpse of the smile that graced your lips as you gazed up at the starry night sky.
He decided that he had lurked in the shadows for long enough.
He moved, intentionally stepping on to one of the sticks he had retrieved for kindling.
You jumped, eyes widening in an attempt to see anything in the pitch dark.
The scent of fear laced with your sweet perfume and traveled through the air via the gentle breeze blowing through the ruins.
Your hand went to something on your belt. There, you carried a dagger. It was partially concealed by the satchel that was strapped across your shoulders.
The witcher stepped back from the pile of kindling and with a gesture of his hand, Eskel signed Igni onto the sticks.
Flames immediately engulfed the wood.
You gasped, unaware that there had been someone standing within such close proximity to you. Your fingers tightened around the dagger but you did not draw it. He hadn’t proved to be a threat just yet.
“Who are you?” Eskel spoke, his voice deep but quiet. There was no need to speak loud, to intimidate you. “What are you doing here?”
“Y/N. My…. My name is Y/N.” You replied, keeping your eyes on him. You took note of the sword on his back, of how it glinted in the moonlight and how it added to his looming, unnerving shadow on the wall behind the man that was created by the fire. “There is going to be a meteor shower tonight.”
“How do you know of these ruins?”
“I found them a few months ago.”
Though your voice was even and you stood firmly in place, you were still unsure of him- and rightfully so.
“What is your name, sir?” You cocked her head to the side a bit.
“Eskel.”
“What are you doing here, Eskel?”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
You smiled softly. Your hand fell from the hilt of the dagger that rested on your hip.
“Would you like to watch the show with me?”
He didn’t answer you immediately, thinking that he had misheard you.
Were you serious?
“Miss, this valley is no place for someone like you.”
The smile fell from your lips.
“For…. For a woman, you mean?”
“For a human.” He corrected you.
Eskel did not want to tell you what he was. Yet on the other hand, he didn’t want you to think that he was rude and prejudiced against you and your abilities due to your gender.
“Human?”
“Yes.”
“Then…. I suppose you shouldn’t be here either.”
She must not be able to see me very well with the firelight.
Eskel shook his head just slightly.
“I am a witcher, miss.”
You nodded, your eyes remaining on him.
“Then I am safe here. If you are a witcher, you can protect me from anything in these woods. Am I correct in assuming that?”
Eskel hesitated, but nodded his head nonetheless.
“So, Master Eskel. Would you like to watch the show with me?”
He assumed that when you heard he was a witcher, you would turn and leave. Maybe even be one of the more dramatic folks and flee as if he’d just growled at you.
But then again, you were out in the middle of the Kaedweni forest by yourself in the night with nothing more than a dagger to protect yourself. Perhaps you didn’t scare easily.
“I’d like that.” Eskel nodded his head.
“Would you mind getting rid of that fire? The light from it will mess with our ability to see the shower.”
“I can. But I must warn you, it will be rather loud. Stand behind me.” He gestured to the space behind him.
You nodded and followed his direction, moving past the witcher to stand a few feet behind him. You watched as he signed Aard. A thunderous boom echoed and the ground beneath your boots trembled.
The fire was extinguished, leaving you in total darkness.
“Thank you, Master Eskel.”
“Eskel is just fine.” He watched you as you began to take a few steps towards the center of the ruins, one of your hands cautiously reaching out in front of you. “Can you see anything in front of you, miss?”
“Not a bloody thing.” You laughed softly, a bit embarrassed. You knew he could see well in the dark and he could probably see you looking like an absolute buffoon as you tried to navigate the ruins.
“Would you like some assistance?”
“Would you?”
“If you hold your hand out, I can, um, I can take your hand.” Eskel offered.
You held your hand out in his direction and waited patiently for him to take a few steps towards you.
“Where are you from, Master Eskel? Your accent isn’t native to Kaedwen.”
He placed his hand beneath yours. Your fingers clasped his. You took note of how warm he was and how big his hand was compared to yours.
“Um, where I am from…. The village no longer exists. Towards me, miss.”
“Oh, that’s a shame. I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It was a long time ago.” He waited until you were close enough to him before he began to walk towards the center of the ruins. He took each step carefully and patiently waited for you. “Your accent isn’t of Kaedwen either.”
“Beauclair.”
“So, what brings you all the way up here to the Blue Mountains when you could be in Toussaint?”
“I am an astrologist. Well, an aspiring one at least. Unfortunately, the field is dominated by a bunch of lousy assholes. They refuse to listen to anything I have to say. So, I’ve taken it into my own hands to do my own research.”
Eskel stopped once you both reached the center of the ruins. From there, the satchel that was over your shoulders was taken off and placed on the ground. You dug around blindly inside before pulling out a blanket.
“And you hope to produce results from traveling into the forest of the Blue Mountains alone in the dead of night with no form of protection?” He asked, genuinely curious.
“This is hardly my first time traveling into unsafe territory, Master Eskel.” You grinned as you sat down on one side of the blanket. You gestured to the other side, unsure of where to look since you couldn’t see him, so you settled with just looking straight ahead. “Please, have a seat.”
Eskel hesitated.
You heard no movement and felt no presence beside you, so you assumed he had yet to sit next to you.
“Master Eskel? Are you still there?”
“Yes, I-I am.”
“Have I said something?”
“No, no.” Eskel shook his head, taking the sheath from his shoulders and placing it on the ground next to him so that in the case he needed it, he could access his sword quickly.
“You’re quiet.” You murmured, turning your head in his direction but keeping your eyes down. “Are you sure it wasn’t something I said? I have been told I can be rather blunt.”
“No, miss. You said nothing. I am just…. Frankly, I am wondering if my brother put something into my ale.” Eskel rubbed the back of his head.
You laughed gently, turning your head to look up at the sky.
“And why is that?”
“You are perhaps the only person in the world that will stumble across a witcher and treat him as you are treating me.”
“And how is it I am treating you?”
Eskel looked at you, his head turned to the side. He admired your profile, the shape of your nose and your lips, the way your eyes peered up curiously at the sky.
“As if we have been friends for ages and haven’t just met.”
You looked down as if to look at your hands and then turned your head as if to look at him.
“As if you didn’t stumble into me here just a few moments ago. No one has treated me like that in all my life.” Eskel admitted with a soft shake of his head.
You were quiet for a few moments, taking in soft breaths through your nose and letting them out the same way.
A smile came to your lips and your attention returned to the sky above, eyes searching for the first signs of the meteor shower.
“I have been all over the Continent, Master Eskel, as I am sure you have been. Reading a person and the feeling they give off has become second nature to me. I had to become good at it. If I didn’t, I would have ended up dead a long time ago. And all that traveling…. Well, it gets lonely sometimes, if I’m honest.” You smiled shyly, tucking pieces of hair behind your ears. “You become good at making friends with those characters who don’t give you bad feelings.”
“You’ve only just met me. You haven’t had enough time to judge my character.” Eskel quietly spoke.
“Oh, I think I made my decision when I realized you knew I was practically blind out here.” You shifted around, uncrossing your legs and instead bending your knees just slightly out in front of yourself. “You knew I was helpless and an easy target, yet you made yourself known. You didn’t want to hurt me. You could have. You had the chance, but you didn’t. That right there is plenty for me to judge your character on.”
Eskel sat there in silence. He hadn’t thought of that. But you took his silence as something else. Perhaps he didn’t believe you.
“I know plenty of men- witcher or not -that would have taken full advantage of an easy target. There are dangerous people out there in the world, Eskel.” Your voice was gentle and sweet. The sound of you saying his name alone and without the Master title made his chest tighten. “You are not one of them.”
As Eskel continued to watch you, your eyes found the sky.
You gasped suddenly, pointing to the heavens above.
“Did you see that!” You exclaimed, reaching over blindly for the witcher next to you. Luckily, your hand found his arm.
Eskel was pulled from his thoughts by the feeling of your hand on his arm.
“Absolutely magnificent!” Your lips were parted in awe as you stared up at the sky.
Eskel followed your gaze, wanting to witness what was making you so happy and ecstatic that your heart was racing.
The next one shot across the sky just a few moments later. Your hand on his arm tightened just a little. It wasn’t enough to be uncomfortable, but it was amusing to Eskel. The stars were beautiful of course, but he found it more captivating how you were reacting to them.
“My gods! That one was gigantic.” You whispered in awe.
Your hand left his arm as you moved to sit on your knees with your hands folded in your lap.
“Have you seen one before?” Eskel asked. “A meteor shower?”
“Yes, of course. I travel to all of the hot spots to see the annual ones.”
Fascinating. You were fascinating.
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senseless-writing · a day ago
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Something New (3/3)
Pairing: Geralt of Rivia x child!reader (oc)
Summary: Geralt happens upon a little girl whose been abandoned in the woods on his journey up to Kaer Morhen. With a storm just days away, and the nearest town nowhere in sight, what is he meant to do with her?
Warnings: A bit of angst, a lot of fluff, nothing horrible :)
A/N: Yes, I’m aware that in the books, Coen’s first winter at Kaer Morhen was the same as Ciri’s. And yes, I know this means that he realistically wouldn’t be as close to the other witchers. I’ve purposely changed this in my story because I love him with all my heart, and Coen erasure pisses me off. 
Also, in case anyone is worried, the end of “Something New” is NOT the end of Orion and Geralt. I don’t plan on writing a full story of their time together, because I would probably never finish it. But I will definitely write more one shots or multi-parts such as this one. I’ve got some ideas of my own, but I am more than willing to write requests if they fit into the story I’ve got in my head, so go on and send them in if you have any. There’s so much more of Orion to share! 
<< Previously 
-----------------------
There had always been a small part of Vesemir that felt the need to look out for Geralt of Rivia. 
Or “Geralt Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde”, as he’d so stupidly wanted to call himself all those years ago. God, he’d been so young then. So naive and filled with hope, along with the idea that this world was pure enough to welcome him with open arms and gratuitous souls. 
The picture of that boy still sat uneasily in Vesemir’s mind. A young man with white hair and lean muscles who was proud of the torture he’d gone through to get them. He thought he was special, that his purpose was greater than the rest. And most of all, he thought everyone would love him for the difference he’d make in the world. 
Vesemir had tried to warn him about how wrong he was. But the old witcher knew better than most that it was a lesson everyone had to learn for themselves. 
So maybe that’s why he felt this unnerving need to care for him. Perhaps it was because he saw a bit too much of himself in Geralt for his own good. Or maybe it was because he still remembered the day the red-haired sorceress, Visenna, handed the little one over to him. 
Either way, whatever the reasoning may be, the feeling had always been there. 
When Geralt was young, Vesemir was sure to always keep his mind full of something interesting and new. Things that would save his life, like tips to distinguish one monster from another, or substitute ingredients that would help him make potions in a bind. He taught him just about everything he knew and then some. It was an efficient way, he realized, to distract Geralt from the fear. 
He wasn’t naive enough to believe that his methods always worked. Surely Geralt had been just as afraid as anyone else. But at least he tried. 
And when Geralt had reached his time of trials and mutations, Vesemir could hardly contain his anxiousness. Not because he feared the boy would lose his life, but because he knew he would survive with great ease. Every teacher knows their student better than the rest, and the old witcher was no exception to such knowledge. 
While the boys were undergoing their changes, there’d been talk of a second, more dangerous mutation. It was something Vesemir knew nothing about, but he figured that if any of his boys were going to be subjected to something of this magnitude, it would be Geralt. And in the end, his trepidation was more than justified. 
But Geralt survived that too. He was more resilient than the old witcher could have ever known.
And even now, after decades of Geralt surviving on his own in the real world, a part of Vesemir still waited for him to walk in the doors of Kaer Morhen every winter. Just like with all his boys, the witcher just wanted to know if he was alive. A long life is hard to come by these days.
Despite this, Geralt never made it easier for himself. Vesemir knew his “White Wolf” traveled the continent doing more than simply monster hunting. He was constantly putting himself in positions a witcher should never be in and pushing the boundaries that separated him from a white knight. 
Vesemir knew it wasn’t his fault. Geralt always had that underlying need to do the right thing. He still believed there should be a right and wrong, even if it was nearly impossible to distinguish the two. 
It was hard to find the good in a world that was inherently bad, and looking for it had made things incredibly dangerous for the white-haired witcher. 
So when Geralt walked through the double doors of the main hall with a little girl attached to his pant leg, “surprised” wasn’t quite the word to describe how Vesemir felt. It was right up Geralt’s alley to attract strays, and even more so to find them a safe and caring place to stay. 
But clearly, Lambert felt differently. 
“By the Gods, Geralt! You just have to make an entrance, don’t you?”
Orion shrunk into Geralt's legs at the sound of the booming voice, but his firm hands on her shoulders prevented her from cowering behind him altogether. 
Geralt gave a small chuckle, pushing her closer to the others in the room. At the center of the hall, near the hearth that was roaring with flames, sat an enormous table suitable for at least ten people. Despite this, only three occupied the space. 
The fire illuminated their silhouettes, but Orion could still make out their faces. Each of them frightened her, just as Eskel had, but only for a moment. 
“I thought you’d be happier to see me, Lambert. Another person to drive mad with your wit.”
Lambert, as addressed by Geralt, wasn’t an overly remarkable man when it came to his looks. Not too ugly, not too handsome. In fact, you wouldn’t know he was a witcher if it weren’t for his muscular build and wolf medallion. 
The witcher’s face was what attracted attention, if only because his features contradicted themselves. His eyes held a sincere sort of fondness as he spoke to Geralt, but his smirk told the story of a man who knew the whole world was beneath him. And apparently, he found it utterly hilarious. 
“Ohhhh I am,” Lambert said with a teasing drawl. “Maybe with you here, old man Vesemir will direct all his nagging your way instead of mine.” 
The senior in question bristled at his student’s comment. 
“Hey. ‘Old man Vesemir’ is sitting right next to you...you’d do best to watch your tone.” 
“Yeah yeah, whatever. You see what I mean, Geralt?”
Vesemir was surely the oldest of the witchers in the room, but Orion wasn’t sure if she would call him an “old man”. Sure, he was gray, wrinkly, and slightly shorter than the rest. But even sitting, the little girl could tell that his structure was strong. His posture wasn’t slouched with the impression of someone who couldn’t hold themselves up, and his hands didn’t shake with the brittleness that came with old age. 
It was an interesting image. Everything in Kaer Morhen was an interesting image to Orion. 
The man sitting next to Vesemir, the final witcher at the table, laughed quietly at their banter. 
“It’s good to see you, Geralt,” he said in a soft voice. “Sure has been a while.”
“It has, Coen. I think I owe you an apology for leaving you alone with these boys for so long.” 
Orion decided that Coen was the youngest and oddest looking witcher of the lot. He had a soft face and unusually yellow-green irises. The whites of his eyes were the only testament that these witchers had once been human. They were riddled with red threads, as if the blood vessels had popped during his mutations and forever cemented that way. 
But he had a smile unlike all the others. One that was real and came from the soul, not one that was practiced and performed for the comfort of others. 
“Eh, they’re not all bad. Besides,” Coen shrugged, raising his mug to Geralt. “The ale’s free.” 
It was clear that Coen wasn’t as familiar with the others as they were with each other, but none of them cared much about that. They were all witchers, after all, and that made them family. 
Brothers in all the ways that mattered. 
Before anyone could laugh or jest a moment longer, Vesemir stood, encasing the hall in an expectant silence. It seemed their mentor had grown tired of the niceties. 
“Are you forgetting something Geralt? Along with an apology for Coen, it appears you owe the rest of us an introduction.”
Orion had become so comfortable with the atmosphere around her, she’d barely had the sense to feel embarrassed about being forgotten. This place, it was big and scary and new. But when these witchers were together, they radiated a feeling of home and comradery that could never be explained with words. 
She wasn’t exactly sure what this was, but she wanted every part of it. 
“I’m...I'm Orion.”
Vesemir looked down at her then, meeting her eyes with a surprised look on his wrinkled face. 
“Oh?” he said with a smile. “A child who speaks for herself, eh? Those are hard to come by these days.”
“I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting this one to talk.” 
“Well then she’s just like you, Geralt, when you were her age.”
“Hm.”
Lambert, from his slacked position at the table, snorted. “Oh, how things have changed.” 
Vesemir chose to ignore the words of his younger pupil. Instead, he made his way towards the pair, stopping just close enough to place a comforting hand on Geralt’s shoulders. Orion craned her neck to watch as the old witcher looked him in the eye. 
“I’ve missed you, Geralt. Far more than you know.” 
Geralt felt a part of himself shift back into place. It was a part he’d thought he lost, but here it was...back in his life yet again. This was what he’s been needing. A little comfort, a little familiarity. A way to prove that he came from something bigger than himself, even if it hadn’t been his own choice. 
He needed people who understood him. He needed his home, his guild, and his teacher. 
His father. That’s what he needed most of all. 
“It’s good to be home, Vesemir.”
“And this little one...Orion, you said it was? Where did you come from?”
Geralt was quick to squeeze Orion’s shoulder before she could answer. 
“We’ll talk about it later, yeah?” he said while giving the three witchers a knowing look. 
Coen had the decency to look intrigued, but it was clear that Lambert had checked out of the conversation long ago. In fact, if it weren’t for the subtle tilt of his head, Geralt would have thought he wasn’t listening at all. 
But Vesemir’s eyes set on Geralt yet again. Those eyes had seen so much through his many lifetimes. The rise and fall of witchers, the dismembering of powerful empires. He was wise beyond his years, and it was therefore easy for him to understand exactly what the white-haired witcher was trying to say, even with simple words and hidden looks. 
Vesemir always understood. 
“Excuse me, sir?”
Orion's eyes were wide as she looked up at Vesemir. Her cheeks were flushed a rosy red, but the witcher couldn’t tell if it was because of the cold or the shock of her new environment. 
Vesemir had seen this look on thousands of new recruits her age. It was the look of someone who had no idea what was next for them. The glossy look of opportunity and uncertainty. 
“Yes, child?”
“Do you have anything to eat?” 
Vesemir clapped his hands together at once and smiled, shifting his weight to shake his aching leg. Geralt could see the way he’d been favoring one side over the other, and wondered if it was due to an injury on the path or simply old age. 
“Of course,” the old witcher replied. “The journey must have been long, I’m sure you're both hungry. Here, have a seat, and Lambert will get you something to eat from the pantry.”
“Uh, no I won’t.”
Vesemir let out a sigh of contempt. “Son…”
“Yes, Papa dearest?” Lambert batted his eyelashes sweetly back at the man. 
Orion pulled her cloak tighter around herself and giggled at the interaction. Geralt, from his place beside her, bit his lip to stop himself from doing the same. He’d been around Lambert’s antics long enough to grow tired of them, but the little girl's reaction was enough for him to find the humor again. 
“You think that’s funny, huh?” Lambert addressed her directly. 
He wasn’t nearly as intimidating as he thought he was. All Orion did in response was laugh harder, nodding her head as she pressed her fingers to her smiling lips. 
Geralt noticed she did that often. He couldn’t pinpoint if the action was connected to a specific emotion or not, but it was worth noting all the same. 
It’s bad manners, he thought idly to himself. Vesemir won’t like it.
But it was hard to miss the look on Vesemir’s face. Or the way his eyes lit up as he led Orion to a seat near Lambert, lifting her into the chair with a groan that was mostly just for show. And just as Geralt had been needing something to remind him of where he came from, perhaps his teacher was looking for that too. 
Maybe caring for this child would give them all a little something they were missing. 
*******************
Coen was the one to get the food in the end. Little Orion was hungry, and truth be told, he’d always had a soft spot for children. 
They ate leftover fried groats with omasta, one of the few things Eskel could make properly. The witcher’s had laughed and joked about their comrade’s lack of culinary expertise, but they could all admit he was light-years ahead of Lambert. 
The poor man could barely make noodles on a good day. 
But if anything tasted wrong, Orion was far too starved to notice. She ate with both hands, shoveling the food into her mouth at an alarming rate. Her lack of table manners wasn’t all that outstanding for a child her age, but the reasoning behind them sent shivers down Geralt’s spine. He spent most of the meal just keeping an eye on her and reminding her to breathe. 
It worried him more than he’d like to admit. And by the look of the other faces in the room, especially Vesemir, he could tell they all felt the same way. The old witcher kept shifting his eyes from Orion to Geralt, clearly indicating that he could no longer wait for his pupil’s explanation. 
Luckily, Coen had also noticed Vesemir’s eagerness to speak without the presence of little ears. 
“Orion, love, are you full?”
The little one was, indeed, finished with her food, and had resorted to looking around the room in awe. But her eyes snapped to Coen when he addressed her, and she nodded enthusiastically at his question. 
The witcher smiled. “Have you ever played Blind Man’s Bluff?”
Again, Orion shook her head with pure excitement. 
“Come with me, then, I’ll show you,” Coen stood from the table, beckoning Orion to him. 
She slid off her chair and took a step to follow him before freezing, turning back to where Geralt sat. Her eyes were wide with question, and although she didn’t actually say anything, the witcher knew what she was asking. 
Geralt gave her the most reassuring nod he could muster. “Go on,” he spoke softly. “I’ll be here.”
The laugh she gave him was pure bliss. A child who’s easy to please, he thought idly. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
After all, a child whose rarely experienced happiness will always find joy in the simplest of things. 
“I’ll join you guys,” Eskel said as he stood. He’d already heard the short version of the story when Geralt arrived, and truth be told, he was much more interested in getting to know Orion. 
The three moved towards the other side of the hall. With a much more open space, they were free to play whatever game Coen had come up with, but it wasn’t too far from everyone else. In fact, Geralt could still keep an eye on Orion if he wanted to. But the important thing was, they were far enough for the remaining witchers to have an open conversation. 
“So, Geralt,” said Vesemir. “What’s this all about? Where’d the child come from?”
The white-haired witcher shifted his attention to Vesemir with a sigh. This was the part he was dreading. His teacher always did have a knack for making him talk about the things he’d rather avoid.
“I found her by the mouth of The Trail.” 
A stiff silence settled around the three of them. Even Lambert seemed interested. 
“You found her here? At Kaer Morhen?”
“Yes.”
“How the hell–”
“If I knew, Lambert, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” 
“Be careful, Wolf. With that stick so far up your ass, I almost mistook you for a sorceress.”
“Lambert–” Geralt growled, quickly losing his patience.
“Enough!”
Orion, from her place across the room, jumped at the old man’s voice. She was wearing a blindfold, as per the rules of Blind Man’s Bluff, and her arms were held out in front of her as she blindly searched for Eskel and Coen. But her attention had suddenly been divided. 
Quickly, the two witchers struggled to draw her back in the game. It wasn’t all that difficult. With a small “this way Orion” paired with an “over here”, she was back to stumbling blindly with outstretched arms and a toothy smile in no time. 
Vesemir spoke with a newly hushed tone. “Did you look around, Geralt? Were there any clues as to who could’ve left her there?”
A sudden shame washed over Geralt, burning and lashing through his veins with the fire of embarrassment. He hadn’t looked around after he found her. The thought never even crossed his mind, not with the shock of finding Orion overtaking his senses. How was it that a feeling he’d known like the back of his hand for decades had suddenly robbed him of Vesemir’s teachings.
“No, I...I didn’t notice anything.” 
His mentor gave him a knowing look. It was one Geralt would have rather avoided, but could not.
“Well,” Vesemir cleared his throat. “Tomorrow morning, before breakfast, we’ll go down and see if we can find anything.”
Geralt didn’t bother answering. There was still something on his mind, something he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to bring to Vesemir’s attention. But of course, the man always knew when his boy was keeping something from him. 
“You already have an idea, don’t you Wolf?”
“Of course he does,” Lambert scoffed. He’d angled himself to watch the game being played between Orion, Coen, and Eskel, but apparently he still felt the need to insert himself in the conversation. 
Geralt ignored him, opting to address Vesemir instead. “It’s not one I’m particularly fond of.” 
“Go on.” 
“You don’t think…” Geralt paused, watching Orion out of the corner of his eye. Her and Coen had switched roles as the blind man, and now Coen was feigning confusion as he stumbled around, pretending to search for the other two. Her face was flushed with laughter, so different from how he’d found her earlier that day. “You don’t think it could have been one of us who left her here?”
“A witcher?”
Geralt nodded, turning back to face Vesemir. His face portrayed everything the white-haired witcher was feeling. 
“I suppose it’s plausible. That would explain how they found The Trail in the first place. But…”
“Oh, for fucks sake.”
“Honestly, Lambert…”
“No, seriously, what the hell is wrong with you guys?” His eyes were still on Orion, but they were filled with rage. “You’re debating whether or not a witcher could be cruel enough to abandon a child in the woods. But do you guys not remember how we all got here in the first place? How we became what we are? It’s ridiculous to think that abandoning a child in a place that was meant for abandoned children is against the ‘moral code’ of a witcher.” 
Of course Geralt knew he was right. That’s why he even bothered asking the question in the first place. But the fire that Lambert felt, ignited by the pain they’d been forced to endure as adolescents, was something Geralt could no longer allow himself to feel. For him, 80 years was just too long of time to be overcome with rage. Indifference had always been more his style. 
But Vesemir was different. Even after everything he’d witnessed, his faith always sat with their guild. Being a witcher had given him the purpose he needed, and he’s spent the last centuries of his life fulfilling it to his highest potential. 
Pride and shame were powerful things in their own right. But what was a person to do when their life was a constant paradox of the two? 
“And while we’re on the matter of Kaer Morhen, Geralt,” Lambert continued. “Where the hell have you been? You show up here as if no time has passed, when the most we’ve heard from you in a decade has been through some exaggerated songs written by a pitchy bard.” 
The last years of Geralt’s life flashed before his eyes as he contemplated how to answer. He saw the image of a woman who’d made him choose between evils, who remained forever in his mind. He saw the monstrous princess he’d saved to pay a debt to the one he killed. He saw the aforementioned “pitchy bard”, someone who had begrudgingly become his friend. And he saw the raven haired sorceress who smelled of lilac and gooseberries, and looked about as enchanting as the devil herself.
Blaviken, Cintra, Rinde. Time after time, he traveled to a new place and made a different stupid decision. He’d fled to Kaer Morhen after the situation with the dijin to avoid making another one of those mistakes, and yet here he was, doing it again. But that wasn’t something he could admit to any of them, least of all Vesemir. 
“I’ve been busy.” 
“Too busy to come back to your roots, eh famous White Wolf!” Eskel called from the other side of the room. 
Orion skidded to a halt beside him, her choppy curls ruffled from all the running. She was slightly out of breath, but she didn’t seem to notice as her face broke out into a full fledged grin. The great hall of Kaer Morhen was quickly filled with her childish laughs. 
“White wolf!” she screeched, her voice making all of their ears ring. Geralt made a mental note to teach her what inside voices were as soon as he had the chance. “That’s funny!”
Coen gave her a funny look, raising his blind fold to look at her directly. “How so?”
“Geralt's not a wolf, silly!” 
“Sure he is,” Coen said with the most serious voice he could muster. It was hard not to laugh when she spoke in that voice, as if she knew everything. “In fact, we’re all wolves. Isn’t that right, Eskel?”
“But of course.” 
Orion continued to laugh. She was completely and utterly beside herself. 
“And do you know, Orion, what big bad wolves do to little girls?”
“Noooo,” she giggled. 
“They eat them up!”
In a flash, Orion was snatched up in Coen’s arms. She laughed and screamed as he threw her in the air, his fingers expertly digging into her sides each time he caught her, and her little legs kicked in retaliation. The witcher growled and howled just as a wolf would, putting on a show that could rival any performer.
“My point is,” Geralt drawled, pulling the conversation back on topic. “I’ve been meaning to come back for a while. Truly, I have. But things have just been crazy...so much has happened. I was coming home to tell you all about it, but now there’s clearly more important matters at hand.” 
Vesemir gave him a pointed look. “I want to hear those stories, Geralt, when you find the time.” 
“You will. I promise.” 
Lambert clapped his hands together and let out a sarcastic chuckle. “So what I’m hearing is that you really were too busy to come see us. As far as excuses go, I can’t say I’m impressed.” 
“I know you’re trying to get a rise out of me, Lambert, but I’m not gonna take the bait.”
“Oh, come on Geralt! For old times sake?” Geralt gave him a real smile then. It really did make him happy to be home, even if it meant dealing with Lambert’s teasing antics. It was endearing in his own kind of sadistic, sarcastic way. 
“I think we’ve tuckered somebody out.”
They all turned to look at Coen, who was now holding a nearly passed out Orion in his arms. She’d wrapped herself tight around him, her head rested slack against his shoulder, and he was rubbing soothing circles on her back. She seemed to be fighting sleep as her eyes slowly blinked open and closed, but she was sure to be out in minutes. Eskel stood next to them, gently brushing wispy hairs from her face. His eyes shifted from Orion to Geralt, and was met with a shit-eating grin. 
Big fucking softies, Geralt mouthed to the two of them. 
Eskel flipped him off in return. 
“I’ll set her up in a room near yours, Geralt,” Coen offered. 
“Why mine?”
Lambert scoffed. “You bring her, you keep her.”
“She’s not a dog,” Eskel chastised with a laugh.
“All right, all right,” Geralt cut them off before a fight could ensue. “Point taken. Go for it, Coen. I’ll check on her when I head up to bed.”
The witcher nodded once, making his way towards the double doors with Orion still tucked safely in his arms. The others watched him go, settling again once he was out of view. It was quiet for a moment as Eskel sat again at the table, before Vesemir cleared his throat to speak. 
“You’re not done explaining, Geralt. What’s your plan here?” 
“Plan?”
“Well, I’m assuming it was the impending storm that pushed you to bring her here instead of some nearby village.”
“Precisely.”
“So,” Vesemir drawled, watching Geralt expectantly. “How long do you plan on staying here? How long do you plan on keeping her with you?”
Immediately, Geralt was shaking his head with an exasperated chuckle. “No, no, no, it’s not like that. As soon as the storm has passed and it’s safe to travel, her and I will be on our way. I’ll find her somewhere safe to stay, and then it’ll all be over.” 
The witchers around the table gave each other a shared look of disbelief. They all very highly doubted he would send her away when the time came to do so, especially after spending weeks caring for her as his own. 
But Geralt knew something they didn’t. It’d been a while since he made his way back to Kaer Morhen. And in that time, he somehow found himself destined to a child he’d jokingly asked for. 
All of Cintra’s court was waiting for him to make his dramatic entrance. They’ve spent the last five years dreading the moment the evil witcher would swoop in and kidnap their precious princess. The idea of it ate at his mind, kept him awake at night. 
He had no intention of raising that child. And he certainly had no intention of raising this one. 
“Trust me, brothers. Orion will be gone by the time the snow melts.”
--------------
When Orion awoke, she was immediately disoriented. 
Her back ached from the unnatural position she was lying in, and the stiff bed underneath her did nothing to help the matter. Despite this, it took only a second for her to realize it wasn’t the discomfort that woke her up. Instead, it was the cold. With two blankets and a sheepskin, Orion could still feel the winter wind chipping away at her bones. Her own shivering made it impossible to sleep. 
The room she was in was dark and empty. There were no paintings or hooks on the cemented walls, no stools or trunks filled with clothes. Orion was completely and utterly alone with the shadows. 
Her obsidian eyes welled with tears as she frantically looked around. The last thing she remembered was playing games with the new witchers she’d met. It was so exciting to have finally met someone who wanted to spend time with her, she hadn’t even noticed when her energy ran out. Coen had scooped her in his arms, and the next thing she knew, she was in this scary room all by herself. 
Was she still in the castle with them? Or had they left her here to be found by someone else? 
As her mind spun out of control with all the thoughts of what could be, Orion felt herself beginning to fade away. Cold, unbridled fear settled in the pit of her chest, turning her bones to lead. It was as if she was sinking into the old, uncomfortable mattress, suffocating under the weight of her own loneliness. 
She remembered this feeling. She remembered the cold, the loneliness, and the weight that held her to the earth. It was all the same as before. 
Except last time, she’d had the woods to keep her company. The trees had seemed to bend to her, shielding her from the unknown world. The animals were there too, calling to one another and reminding her that she wasn’t completely alone. And eventually, when the time came, she’d had Geralt. He’d said he would take her to safety, and that’s exactly what he did. 
But he wasn’t here now. No one was. 
And Orion couldn’t breathe. 
It was a monstrous feat to pull herself from the bed she lay in. Her eyes were wide and petrified, searching for shadows in a room that was filled with nothing but. With tears running down her pale and clammy face, she skittered across the cold cement floor. 
She refused to stay in this room a moment longer, but yanking on the stubborn door handle was getting her nowhere. Her chest shuddered with broken sobs as she pulled at the door with all her might. It wouldn’t open, no matter how hard Orion tried, and that’s when the panic settled in. 
With angry little fists, the little girl pounded on the door that wouldn’t let her out. She kicked and scratched and clawed, her own desperation forcing her back to a sort of animalistic nature. 
The shadows were creeping up on her. She could hear their footsteps, soft but detectable on the creaky old floors. She could feel them breathing down her neck and pulling at her limbs. She couldn’t see them, but she knew they were there. Waiting, always waiting, to take her away again. 
Waiting to bring her to a world she could never come back from. 
“Please!” Orion wailed, falling to her knees as she continued to pull at the door. “Please, somebody help me!” 
There was no response to her cries. The sound of the footsteps came closer, and Orion knew they were coming to silence her. 
Bargaining came before acceptance. “I’ll be good, I promise! Please, just come back!” 
The footsteps were in front of her now, just behind the godforsaken door. Orion curled in on herself, shaking from both the cold and the fear. She would be here forever, it seemed, and there was nothing she could do about it. 
“Please,” she whispered to herself, pressing her fingers to her mouth as she cried. “Please come back. Anybody.”
The little one heard the door swing open, but she didn’t bother to look up. She didn’t want to see them coming for her, didn’t want to watch as they reached towards her with dark and needy claws. 
They lifted her into their arms, and she screamed for all she was worth. She tried to scratch, tried to pull away, but they restricted her movements completely. Her wails echoed around the room, making it nearly impossible to hear anything but her own terror. But with their lips to her ear, the strange shadows were persistent in getting her to hear them. 
“Shh, Orion, it’s alright. I’m here, you’re safe now. It’s okay.”
The little one tried to stifle her tears, suddenly intrigued by the mysterious voice. Whoever was talking didn’t sound like a terrifying shadow...and the hand rubbing circles on her back didn’t feel like a sharp and bloody claw…
“It’s me, hun, it’s Geralt. Open your eyes.”
Immediately, Orion’s eyes snapped open. Blinking through the tears, she searched for Geralt’s face in the horribly lit room. She couldn’t believe it was him. Wouldn’t believe it was him, not until she saw it for herself. But when her obsidian eyes met his golden orbs, the relief that filled her was almost instant. 
Geralt had the picture perfect face of concern. With his only piece of clothing being a haphazardly thrown on pair of pants, it was clear that her screams had pulled him from his sleep. 
It’d been a long time since the walls of Kaer Morhen were forced to endure screams of terror that came from young children. But the white-haired witcher still remembered what it was like to hear them. 
With the sound coming from Orion’s room, Geralt had thought she was in danger. Her screams were raw and full of pain, and in the seconds it took him to get from his room to hers, he’d already come up with thousands of ways she might have been suffering. But he never imagined it to be all in her head. 
Orion stopped fighting once she recognized whose arms she was in. Instead, she wrapped herself around Geralt in a vice like grip, tucking her face in the crook of his neck. Her nails were digging into the bare skin of his back, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. In fact, the adrenaline had made him numb to almost everything. 
“Why did you leave?” she sniffed, pulling herself closer to his chest. “Did I do something bad?”
Geralt felt like punching himself right then and there. What kind of idiot leaves a newly abandoned child to wake up in a dark room all by themselves?
He rested his hand on the back of her head. “I didn’t leave, and you did nothing wrong. I was just sleeping in the other room.”
“Oh.”
Geralt sighed with a small smile, shifting her to sit higher on his chest. 
“Yeah,” he huffed. “Oh. Is that all that was wrong?”
“I don’t like it here, Geralt. I don’t like it! It’s dark, it’s scary, and the shadows are coming to get me.”
“Shadows, huh?”
She leaned back just enough to look Geralt in the eyes, making them nearly nose to nose. The witcher would have laughed at her lack of personal space if he wasn’t still sweating off the panic of moments earlier. 
“Mhm,” she nodded very seriously. “There’s shadows in here. I can see them. They want to take me away, Geralt.”
For once, Geralt was stuck. Everyday, he fought monsters of different fang and claw. But the war waging in Orion’s head wasn’t one he could fight for her, and he wasn’t sure what he could possibly do to make it better. 
Perhaps, at the very least, he figured he could get her out of this room. Most sleeping quarters in Kaer Morhen were as dark and eerie as the next, but Orion was right to be afraid. Nobody had slept in this room in decades, and it was easy to tell from the atmosphere. There weren’t even candle mounts on the wall anymore. How could he expect her to sleep in this room all by herself?
With a sigh, Geralt turned to leave the room and make the walk back to his own. Orion buried her head back in his shoulder, too afraid to even look at the walls of the hallway. She still shook violently from the cold, and Geralt tried, fatally, to rub some warmth back into her as he walked. Truth be told, insulation was hard to come by in a castle littered with holes. 
Orion refused to open her eyes until they were safe in his room with the door shut behind them. There were only two candles lit, but that was two more than the room she was in before, and the child was infinitely grateful for them both. With their light, she could see the many animal skins that littered the walls. She gave Geralt a confused look as he set her down on her feet. 
“It’s how witchers decorate their room,” he explained. His cheeks dusted with the slight color of embarrassment, though he wasn’t sure why. “They’re the skins of the animals I’ve hunted...for food.”
She was quiet for a moment, and Geralt struggled to come up with something to say that would make her laugh again.
“Tomorrow, I’ll show you Lambert’s room, eh? He’s got a skunk on his wall.” 
That seemed to do the trick. 
“Ew!” she giggled, easing any tension that Geralt might have been feeling. 
The child continued to look around as Geralt moved to dig through the trunk by his bed, looking for extra blankets to hopefully keep Orion warm. His room was fuller than hers, and not just because of the animal skins. 
There was a small desk in the corner of the room, covered with various bottles filled with something Orion didn’t recognize. There were clothes tossed around the room, despite the large trunk against the wall that was clearly supposed to hold such things. And sitting at the foot of his bed were the two signature witcher swords. 
The little one couldn’t help but stare. It was interesting to see how different the swords were in nature, even if they could be considered one in the same. There were little writings on their blades, different sayings in a language she didn’t recognize. She shuffled closer to the weapons, reaching her hand to run it across one of them.
“Hey!”
Immediately, Orion withdrew her hand, seeming to have nearly jumped out of her skin. She’s never heard Geralt speak like that before. 
“Those aren’t toys, Orion,” he spoke in a strained tone. Within seconds, he was snatching them off his bed and putting them back in the over shoulder bag he carried them in. He motioned to the bag, before pointing back at her with a stern look on his face. “Don’t ever touch these, not unless me or someone else here says you can. Do you understand?”
She nodded with wide eyes. Geralt moved towards her, crouching to look directly in her eyes. 
“I need to hear you say it.”
“I won’t ever touch your swords again.”
“Or any weapons unless someone is there to supervise.” 
Orion nodded again. “I won’t touch any weapons, Geralt, I pinky swear!”
She held out her pinky to him expectantly, and the white-haired witcher felt the sudden urge to smile again. Orion was such a funny little girl. She had no idea how absolutely absurd it was for her to be asking him to engage in a “pinky promise”. And yet, such naivety was refreshing. He found himself wanting to play along, if not for the sake of keeping the child in high spirits, then simply because it amused him. 
So without much delay, he held his hand out to meet hers, and their two pinkies interlocked. The image was comical. With his single finger, he could crush her entire hand if he wanted to. 
Perhaps that image wouldn’t have been nearly as comical to a normal person. But Geralt always had a morbid sense of humor. 
“Alright little lady,” he said, snatching Orion from under her arms and lifting her onto his hip. “It’s time to sleep for real this time.” 
He placed her on the left side of the bed, closest to the wall. He’d thought it would make her feel safer, but he could still see the apprehension in her eyes. 
Geralt was sure to tuck her in nice and tight with the many blankets he’d found, only saving one to keep himself warm. “What is it, Orion? What’s wrong?”
“What...what about the shadows?”
He sighed again for what felt like the hundredth time tonight. “There’s no shadows here. Remember what I said? This place is safe, even if it feels a little scary sometimes.” 
“But I felt them, Geralt. They want to take me-”
“I won’t let them,” he said firmly. “Okay? I won’t let them take you. And if I fail, Eskel will take my place, along with Lambert and Coen and Vesemir. With all of us here to protect you, the shadows won’t stand a chance.” 
Orion wanted to believe him, she really did. But with fear clouding her every sense, logic was hard to come by. The witcher could see her inner struggle. God, he was seriously failing at this whole “nurturing caretaker” thing. 
“How about we keep these candles lit, hm? That way, we can see if anything’s coming, and I’ll be able to stop it before it gets you. How does that sound?”
Geralt watched as she thought over his plan. But after a moment she shrugged, giving him a small nod. “Okay,” she said in a small voice. 
Now that everything was settled, the witcher was quick to slide back into his bed, tucking Orion into her mountain of blankets one last time. Finally being able to let himself rest, he tucked his arms behind his head with a small groan of exhaustion. If this was any indicator of how things would be, he feared that he may have underestimated the difficulty of caring for this child. 
Vesemir surely knew how to do it. He’s done it with thousands of children in the past. But Orion wasn’t his responsibility, she was Geralt’s, and hell would freeze over before he allowed someone else to pull him from the hole he’d dug himself in. 
But then all of a sudden, he felt something squirm beside him. It was the pile of blankets he’d made, with a small head of dark curls peeking out from underneath them. Orion was scooching closer and closer to his already open arms, moving so slow that she probably thought he wouldn’t notice. 
Of course he noticed. 
And maybe it was because of the long day she’d had, or maybe it was because of the cold that was freezing them both to death, but Geralt decided to allow it. He didn’t move to hold her as she rested her head on his chest,  nor did he flinch away as she curled herself tight into his side. She was still shaking, he could feel it, but his body heat, paired with her hundred blankets, were sure to stop that soon enough. 
Looking down on the bundle lying next to him, he shifted one of the blankets to the side to catch a glimpse of her face. Her cheeks were flushed red, with small breaths of slumber falling from her parted lips, and her face was smushed as she rested it against his chest. There were no tears in her eyes, no panic or fear to be found. It was refreshing to see her so relaxed, but it was also a reminder. 
If Orion felt safe in his arms, then he must be doing something right. Afterall, that had been his goal in the first place. To bring her somewhere where she could feel safe and warm with a belly full of food. She wouldn’t be here long, not if he had any say in it. So if he could keep her here, and keep her happy, until the roads permitted him to bring her somewhere else, then maybe that’s all that matters. 
Five witchers and a little girl wintering in an abandoned castle. Surely, nothing could go wrong. 
Right?
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geraltismyknifewife · 21 hours ago
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i could write in depth analyses all day but all you really need to know abt the witcher characters is:
eskel can peel a potato in like, 10 seconds flat w a pocketknife
lambert needs at least 3-5 business days to peel it
jaskier buys his pre peeled
geralt says “fuck it” and leaves the skin on
yennefer looks at you and you do it for her
ciri eats it raw like an apple
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noonwraithofrivia · 2 months ago
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Various sketches of various Wolves at various points of their lives
(pre-trials, post-trials, newbie witchers, experienced witchers)
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tishawish · 3 months ago
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when life suddenly makes you a single father of 4  (they’ve had the selkiemore argument 3 times that day and counting)
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penandinkprincess · 13 days ago
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okay but when jaskier is traveling with one of the other wolves, he 1000% falls prey to the “see how much i can get away with with the substitute teacher” instinct 
oh no no, jaskier’s gone on TONS of manticore fights with geralt. GERALT lets him do it all the time! no, it’s never an issue at all! 
cut to like an hour later when jaskier’s been thrown into a tree and lambert is LOSING HIS SHIT BC HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT DO I DO. BARD YOU FUCKING LIED. THAT DODGE WAS SHIT YOU HAVE N O T GONE ON A MANTICORE HUNT BEFORE YOU LITTLE FUCKING LIAR PLEASE DON’T DIE. DO NOT DO IT.
oh please, geralt’s let him drink white gull before. he drinks it ALL THE TIME. it’s FINE. 
two sips later eskel is scooping him off the floor, setting him down in the room, and STRESS PACING BECAUSE PLEASE DON’T LET HIM HAVE KILLED THE BARD. HE LIKES THE BARD HE DOESN’T WANT HIM TO DIE. ALSO GERALT WILL SKIN ESKEL ALIVE. BARD DO NOT DIE. JASKIER? ARE YOU LISTENING? I KNOW YOU’RE WASTED, BUT YOU NEED TO LISTEN. 
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nohtora · 4 months ago
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obligatory goat dad eskel,,, lil’ bleater transcends all canon that’s the law you can’t tell me otherwise
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jaskiersbrokenlute · 16 days ago
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Ok but once Lambert and Eskel manage to get Geralt drunk enough to tell them exactly what happened with Jaskier they both immediately know what has to be done.
And since Lambert's involved the plan becomes a scheme, which becomes a wager.
Eskel and Lambert are both going to spend the season looking for the bard and whoever finds him brings him to Kaer Morhen and claims victory (and if it makes Geralt's winter a live-in intervention than it's just an added bonus)
The only problem is that Geralt was never very forth coming on what exactly Jaskier looks like outside of his apparent eye-sore of a fashion sense (And sure, Geralts one to talk), and even with his growing renoun, neither of the other wolves have met him.
So the path has become a wild goose chase / bard hunt. (They both learn pretty quick that a process of elimination can be applied where they sorta just silently approach any over-dressed- lute-baring bard and wait for the smell of fear to tell them this is not the bard they're looking for)
When winter rolls around, both Eskel and Lambert return with a bard in tow.
Eskel with Jaskier and Lambert with Valdo Marx.
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darkverrmin · 10 days ago
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Eskel: You sure you want to take Jaskier with us? It's not an easy journey. Might be dangerous.
Geralt: Yeah, he can protect himself. And he's strong.
Eskel: Really? Why, you've seen him fight before?
Geralt: *Remembers the time Jaskier stole the blanket during the night and Geralt tried to steal it back, so Jaskier just kicked him out of bed with a surprising amount strength, knocking Geralt down on his ass*
Geralt: I just know.
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