Triss Fan Art Thread

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By sony_apol


 
Triss from Comic Con Russian by Lera Orlova.


 

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Short Story: A Little Bit of Magic

I've put together another short story, this one set between The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny (sometime before Sodden). The story still feels a bit unfinished, and I may work on it more sometime in the future. I attached a pdf version, since the story exceeds the character limit for a post.

There are 8 parts in total, here are the first two.

Part 1:
As Geralt descended the stairs into the cellar, the rich earthy aroma of the Temple's mushroom garden filled his nostrils. There was also a trace of something else- perfume? Surely Venerable Mother Nenneke hasn't started wearing such a scent- she must have a visitor with her. Geralt scratched an itch on his right arm, which was held in a sling against his torso. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he wove through the rows of trays teeming with rare fungal species.


In a circle of lamp light two women were tending a patch of schleroderms. Geralt recognized Nenneke in her usual robes. Of her companion Geralt could only see a rather shapely bottom outlined beneath a dress of fine blue wool. Then the woman straightened up from her work, revealing a head of chestnut hair tied back under a kerchief. Triss Merigold, the witcher thought to himself, that's all I need right now...


Ordinarily the cheerful young enchantress would have been a welcome sight- Geralt rather liked her in fact. But she was also Yennefer's best friend, and today Geralt especially did not want to have to think or talk about Yen.


Triss was the first to notice his arrival. "Look here Mother Nenneke, your favorite witcher has arrived. And it seems he's had a spot of trouble with some beast. Whatever have you done to your arm Geralt?"


"Greetings Triss, greetings Nenneke, how are the fungi behaving?"


Mother Nenneke narrowed her eyes at the sight of the witcher's arm in its sling. "What have we here? A witcher who's gone and hurt his sword arm." She took off her gardening gloves and planted her fists on her hips. "How did you let that happen?"


"Ran into a fast and bad-tempered werewolf. These things happen Nenneke, injuries are to be expected during witcher's work."


"Nonsense!" The priestess declared, peering into the sling and prodding the arm with a finger. "How many werewolves have you slain by now? You either got careless or distracted."


"What could possibly distract such a serious professional?," Triss asked in the most innocent-sounding voice she could muster, but her eyes gleamed with amusement. "My dear friend Yenna says Geralt is so focused on his monsters that he notices practically nothing else."


Geralt tried unconvincingly not to react to the mention of Yennefer's name, but Nenneke knew him too well.


"Oh you foolish boy! Dwelling on your troubles with women during a fight? I really am going to take a switch to you, like an unruly novice! What did you quarrel about this time?"


"Who said anything about a quarrel?"


Triss giggled at Geralt's obvious discomfort. "I heard that it all started with Geralt misbehaving at a banquet- dear Yenna was positively mortified!"


"I only said what everyone at the table was thinking! And that has nothing to do with-" Geralt's spluttering explanation was interrupted by Triss's burst of laughter. Geralt stopped talking and looked helplessly from one woman to the other.


"All right Triss, you can torment him later," Nenneke said. "Let's have a look at that arm."


....


"Who set this bone for you- your horse?" Nenneke hissed as she examined Geralt's arm.


"Oh, do you still have sweet old Roach?" asked Triss.


"No, got a new Roach," Geralt answered, "not so old, but this one is definitely not 'sweet'."


"What did you to do the old Roach?" Triss demanded. "You didn't let some swamp creature eat her did you?"


"No, she's fine!" Geralt protested with a hurt expression. "I just had to sell her in Lyria when I took a job on a river boat. Then I bought the new Roach in Verden. Damn merchant swore she was good-tempered and obedient. If I go back there I'll have to give him a good thrashing for fraud."


"A grumpy horse for a grumpy witcher- sounds like destiny to me! How does it look Nenneke?"


"I fear we'll need to roll up our sleeves with this one," the old priestess replied. "Would you mind separating the bone again so I can set it properly? Some village charlatan did an amateur job of it the first time, and Geralt's witcher metabolism has already started to heal it in the wrong position."


"Of course Nenneke. Hold still Geralt- I'll suppress the nerves first so you won't feel a thing." Triss giggled suddenly in amusement. "Hmm.. just wait until I tell Yenna that I got to break her witcher's arm- she'll die of envy!"


Geralt snorted and grumbled as Triss drew an amulet from her pocket.


....


That evening the three sat down to supper, with the Witcher's newly set arm bound in a fresh cast. Geralt insisted on carving his lamb chop himself, and Triss watched his one-handed struggles with amusement for a while before moving around the table to help. Geralt protested half-heartedly, then surrendered the knife. As Triss dissected the lamb chop, the scent of her perfume conjured images of forest wildflowers in his imagination. Something from Maribor perhaps? He thought to himself.


"It reminds me of home," she said. "Oh you didn't say that aloud did you. Sorry Geralt, listening in becomes a habit after a while."


"I should be used to having my mind read by now..." he said glumly, thinking of Yen despite his best efforts not to.


"Do you want to talk about her?" Triss asked, a hint of sympathy leaking into her voice.


"Absolutely not!" Geralt exclaimed, pouring himself another glass of wine.


Nenneke raised an eyebrow at the witcher with a stern but somehow maternal expression. "You know drinking yourself silly won't help in the end- tomorrow you'll still feel just as bad, plus you'll have a hangover."


"I'm merely observing a sacred time-honored tradition for men in my situation. To stay sober at such a time would be an affront to the natural order of things!"


"Now you sound like that poet friend of yours," Triss teased. "Have you been listening to him for advice about relationships? That would go a long way to explaining your current difficulties."


"Enjoying this are you Triss?"


"Immensely!" the enchantress replied with giggle. "Besides, I'm carrying on the time-honored tradition of a woman's friends when they see a man in your situation. Specifically, reminding you that you've behaved as an oaf, an ass, and a twit!"


"I behaved as-? Hang on, exactly what did she tell you?"


"Ah ha! So you do want to talk about her after all!"


"Very funny! Bloody sorceresses..."


"Keep a civil tongue in my Temple!" Nenneke chided.


Geralt let out a resigned sigh and reached for his wineglass again.


...


Triss and Nenneke guided the drunk witcher down the corridors toward one of the guest rooms. The priestess continued to scold him for getting himself injured. Triss listened quietly to the witcher's thoughts, finding that the injury was overshadowed in his mind by Yennefers's furious violet eyes and angry voice. A really nasty quarrel this time, she thought, worse than Yenna said.


Triss had never quite understood the bond between her friend and the witcher. When things were good between them Yenna seemed blissfully happy, but after a time the complaining would start, then the quarrels, and then these bitter separations. Yenna would vow never to think of Geralt again and sometimes take up a new lover for a time, but soon enough she would start to look for Geralt again. Triss had never received a satisfactory explanation from Yennefer, and had come to suspect that her friend did not understand the bond herself.


As for Geralt himself, Triss could never quite pin down what it was that affected Yenna so. He was reasonable handsome despite his scars, had a noble heart under his cold and gruff exterior, and managed to educate himself on a wide range of subjects despite his vagabond-like lifestyle. None of these seemed sufficient to explain Yennefer's fascination, and Triss suspected there must be some deep emotional sympathy between them. How then, to explain the quarrels?


"Now drink this, witcher," Nenneke instructed. "it will keep the swelling down overnight."


"Thank you Nenneke, I'm sorry to be such unpleasant company this evening."


"Well, I expect some properly entertaining stories tomorrow to make up for it. Goodnight Geralt, and stop scratching at that cast."


Geralt caught Triss's hand as she and Nenneke turned to leave. "Triss, I've been in a rotten mood I know, but I'm very grateful for your spells. It's my sword arm, after all. Without it..."


"Think nothing of it witcher," Triss gave his hand a quick squeeze. "We magical oddities have to stick together- professional solidarity and all that. I'll have you back in top monster-cleaving shape in no time. Besides, Yenna would never forgive me if I let you get yourself killed because of a bad arm."


"Do you have to keep mentioning her?"


"Of course! It's too much fun seeing a famously stoic witcher make that face!"


Geralt tried to smooth out the grimace on his face, without much success. Triss giggled and fluttered her eyelashes at him.


"Oh fine, I suppose that's enough. Sleep now witcher. I'll apply one more spell to the arm tonight, and renew it in the morning." Triss touched Geralt's forehead and whispered, "Egvane navr." Sleep overwhelmed the witcher instantly.


"Useful spell that one," remarked Nenneke. "Best not teach it to me though- the temptation to use it on unruly students might be too great."


"The Power is always tempting, which is how we magicians get stuck with bad reputations."


"Well, you have your haughty arrogant witches, we clerics have our mad rabble-rousing preachers. Good night Triss, don't get tempted to turn the witcher into a parrot."


"But I have the perfect cage for him back in Vizima! See you in the morning Nenneke."


Triss pulled out an amulet and wove a healing spell onto the sleeping witcher's arm. Geralt by then was in a deep slumber, his eyelids twitching as he dreamed. Giving in to curiosity, Triss briefly probed his dreaming mind, finding images of angry violet eyes and raven hair. She sensed longing and regret in equal measure permeating the dreams. You really can't escape her, can you witcher? She thought to herself. Not quite aware of having decided to intervene, Triss followed the threads of longing and regret in Geralt's mind, and pushed them away with a small stream of Power. The unhappy dream faded from his mind, suppressed by her spell. Dream of something else, Geralt, something happy.


Triss left the room and went to her own quarters, meditating on what she had observed in the witcher's mind. Meanwhile, Geralt dreamed a new dream- this one filled with chestnut hair and cornflower blue eyes.

Part 2:
Geralt awoke well past dawn and tried to stretch, but only one arm moved as expected. Then he remembered the plaster cast, and the sleeping spell.


"Damn sorceresses!" He grimaced in irritation at having been enchanted, but he had to admit he felt better rested now than he had in weeks. He also had the vague impression of a pleasant dream that he couldn't quite remember.


The witcher walked around the Temple grounds to stretch his legs and catch the crisp morning air. He heard the murmuring of voices as packs of priestesses and students filed out of the sanctuary and dispersed to their various tasks. Amongst the throng of temple robes was a flash of green silk, and Geralt saw Triss with a group of students heading toward the alchemy laboratory. Mother Nenneke must have put her to work teaching while she's here.


He followed Triss and the pack of novices, and stood by the doorway to watch the lesson. The enchantress gave an animated demonstration of fractional distillation, and Geralt found his spirits lifted by listening to her cheerful voice and the clinking of glassware as she worked. He had intended to be cross with her about the sleeping spell, but found himself unable to summon up any indignation when she smiled and waved him forward after the students departed.


"Good morning witcher, have you decided to give up monster-slaying and enroll in the school as a novice?"


"Alas, Mother Nenneke says I'm incorrigibly disobedient, so I'm tragically unfit to be a priestess."


"Such a pity- the grey robes would match your complexion perfectly! Now, let me see that arm?"


The witcher held out his plaster-encased limb for inspection and Triss produced one of her amulets. He remembered he was supposed to be angry and put a scowl on his face. "You know some people might take offense to being suddenly put to sleep by witchcraft?"


"Oh really?" Triss smiled innocently as she passed the amulet over his arm, "But such people might forget that they were looking exhausted and needed proper sleep to heal. Admit it, you had a better night's rest than you've had in weeks on the road."


Geralt made a face, refusing to confess that she was correct. "All the same, you could at least warn a fellow."


"I could have." Triss casually wound a lock of chestnut hair around her finger while fluttering her eyelashes. "But this way I knew you would come find me first thing this morning. Now hold still while I cast the spell."


"Sorceresses..." Geralt shook his head and obeyed.


...


The market square in Ellander was a swarm of activity, with countless voices chattering all about. Triss weaved effortlessly through the crowd, browsing and chatting with the merchants. She was shopping "incognito" with her famous hair tucked discreetly under an aristocratic beret.


As she examined a pendant that had caught her eye- a black serpent with a ruby eye and gold clasp, she heard singing and the clapping of an appreciative audience. She paid for the pendant and moved toward the singing, catching a few words of the ballad.


"...hair like a raven's wing, as a storm in the night, and in the violet eyes sleep lightning bolts..."


Oh ho, Yenna hates that song. Triss chuckled to herself. If only she were here there would be some fireworks! Triss approached closer and recognized the bard Dandelion wearing a typically ostentatious costume.


"...her heart hard as if of diamond made, and as a diamond so unfeeling, sharper than obsidian..." Dandelion continued, strumming his lute and making faces at the ladies in the crowd.


Triss, feeling in the mood for a bit of fun, quickly wove an illusion around herself. Her hair darkened to raven black, her eyes changed to piercing violet, and her face changed to Yennefer's. She took off the beret, letting Yen's hair fall loose about her shoulders, and marched toward the poet. She pushed through the crowd, stood before Dandelion, and fixed him with a her best imitation of Yen's furious glare. Dandelion, seeing a furious Yennefer appearing before him, gave a strangled cry and bolted, knocking aside startled citizens in his headlong flight. Triss gave chase, shouting her favorite Dwarvish curses after the poet.


Dandelion ducked down a side street, but Triss was too close behind. She extended her arm and cast a levitation spell, suspending the poet upside-down in the air. The disguised enchantress marched steadily down the lane toward him, Yen's violet eyes blazing furiously from her face. The poet turned white as a sheet and began to stammer.


"Noble Lady Yennefer... ah... delightful to gaze upon your inestimable beauty once again. Um.. surely you must understand that poetry takes certain liberties... for the sake of artistic effect... Please put me down?"


Triss glared at Dandelion for a moment longer, then burst into a fit of giggling and let the illusion drop. As her own features returned to her face she set Dandelion back on the ground, where he sat bewildered. "Greetings, Viscount de Lettenhove," she said, "from a friend of your muse!"


"Oh, Lady Merigold!" Dandelion's face changed from white to bright red as he understood the trick. "That was cruel prank indeed! I thought for certain I would be spending the next month as a lizard in a cage!"


"You know my dear friend Yennefer has been very eager to see you since you started spreading that ballad around," said Triss, her eyes still shining with laughter. "I believe she has some points of criticism to offer- for the sake of art of course."


"Lady Yennefer isn't in town... is she? You're not traveling with her by chance?"


"Not this time, but your friend the witcher Geralt is nearby in the Temple."


"Ah, Geralt is here? And how is the witcher? I trust he's not also looking to make aggressive criticisms of my poetry?"


"Not to my knowledge," Triss chuckled. "He got himself roughed up by some woodland creature, so Mother Nenneke and I are patching him up. Perhaps you would like to walk back there with me?"


"It would be a great honor to accompany the beautiful Lady Merigold, as long as she promises not to turn me into anything strange!"


"But you would make such a perfect nightingale!" Triss helped the poet to his feet and took him by the arm. "Now tell me, Dandelion, how has my second favorite poet fared in his travels?"


"Second favorite? Alas, but the lady sorceress has thrust the knife in deep! Who is this villainous pretender who usurps the premier place in your literary esteem?"


Triss only smiled mischievously in reply.


...


As Triss and Dandelion walked out of town toward Melitele's Temple, the enchantress steered the conversation toward a subject of great curiosity to her- the relationship between Geralt and Yennefer.


"So Geralt has never told you what it is that draws him to Yennefer?"


"Not once," Dandelion replied. "He tells me everything when things go wrong between them, but when things are going well he treats the whole matter like a secret. It makes it rather hard to compose an accurate ballad- so much must be left to inference."


"Accurate? I didn't think reality had any bearing on your poetry," Triss teased him. "It's curiously similar with Yenna- she describes the witcher's every fault when she's angry with him, but says very little when they are happy together. I've come to suspect they don't understand it themselves. Fortunately I have an expert of the seven liberal arts on hand to interpret these messy affairs of the heart."


Dandelion straightened the feather in his cap and adopted a scholarly tone of voice. "Well, she is uncommonly beautiful- even unnaturally so one might say, but that is typical for sorceresses. As I see it the witcher, following the natural path of his profession, finds himself in a world of violence, ugliness, and corruption. In such a world he must strangle the feelings in his breast to avoid being consumed by bitterness. But with Yennefer, he is transported out of that ugly world into a new world of passion and warmth. He forgets for a time everything else, and loses himself as if in a dream. But tragically, too much time spent in a dream eventually turns it into a nightmare."


"You know, I'm reading your mind, and even you don't know if you're serious or making up a load of hogwash."


"Poetry is a gift and a curse- the phrase that stirs the soul need not reflect the base material world. And go easy on the mind reading- there's a reason people don't say some things out loud!"


"Indeed, and thank you for not speaking aloud that rhyme you composed earlier about my bottom!"


"I didn't! I never!" Dandelion turned bright red. "Oh, you magicians are impossible!"

---------- Updated at 03:07 PM ----------

Parts 3-4 of the short story:


Part 3:
As Triss and Dandelion arrived at the Temple, Nenneke caught sight of them and eyed the poet suspiciously. Dandelion straightened the feather in his cap and put on his most winning smile.


"Greetings, Venerable Mother! Blessings upon you and your beautiful temple!" Dandelion gave a deep bow, flourishing his hat.


"Greetings... poet." Nenneke crossed her arms. "Triss, did you really have to bring this incorrigible womanizer with you? I have enough trouble already keeping my novices in line without the sort of nonsense his songs put in their heads."


"Dandelion promises not to so much as glance at any of them," Triss grinned at the priestess. "He's here to visit Geralt, and I promise to turn him into something ugly and cold-blooded if he bothers the girls."


...


They found Geralt in an orchard, practicing throwing a knife left-handed at a tree. The witcher waved as they approached.


"Geralt my friend!" Dandelion greeted him. "How do you do old fellow? What's this? How are you supposed to rid the world of nasty sharp-toothed whatnots with your arm broken?"


"I thought of using the cast as a club. Good to see you Dandelion."


Dandelion produced a bottle from some secret pocket in his jacket. "I bring 'medicine' to aid your recovery- of both the arm and the heart."


“Why are you fussing about my heart?” Geralt let out an exasperated sigh. "Triss, did you go and tell everyone about my private affairs?"


"Of course," Triss winked at him. "What are friends for?"


"Come now, Geralt, I would have pried it out of you eventually," Dandelion added. "Now, have a drink, and we'll figure out what needs to be done."


"What need to be done is the minding of your own business. A nosy poet and a malicious sorceress- what perfect advisers. What I really need right now is to forget the whole business and talk about something else."


"You're ruining our fun Geralt!" Triss smiled mockingly. "But, as you wish, we'll change the subject. Dandelion- tell us about your travels down south. You mentioned you were in Metinna?"


Dandelion, always happy to be talking about himself, launched into the tales of his recent adventures, at least some of which were true. Triss listened attentively, occasionally glaring at him disapprovingly during his frequent tangents about the young women he had discovered along his journey. The sorceress, who was aware of the poet's part-time work as a Redanian informer, asked subtle questions about the political and economic conditions of the southern countries. Soon they fell into a discussion of the unrest along the Yaruga and the chances of Nilfgaardian intervention.


Geralt seemed distant, and a quick magical survey of his thoughts told Triss he was bored and falling into gloomy reflection. "Oh, Geralt, how can one who travels to every country for his work be completely uninterested in politics?"


"Perhaps because I have no country. 'Of Rivia' is just a nom de guerre after all- I've only spent a brief time in that city. Which ruler sends his tax collectors to a territory is neither here nor there to me. I simply need to know where the monsters prowl and if the locals can be trusted to pay the fees."


"Ah, but what of your first monster- the highway bandit?" chimed in Dandelion. "Lawlessness and failures of governance contribute to banditry, which is dangerous both to traveling witchers and to the people who might hire them."


"Or what about currencies and trade disputes?" added Triss. "What if a king begins minting impure coinage to escape his debts? What if you find the value of those lintars, crowns, orens, or thalers you get paid with drops because a trade dispute depletes a royal treasury?"


"I do what I always do- adapt to the times. Getting involved in political affairs is a sure way to lose sight of the Path and become a common mercenary. Witchers must follow a greater destiny than that of mere hired thugs."


"But think of Vizima and Adda's curse," Triss replied. "I know you were approached by various parties who wanted her killed, and offered to pay you well. You chose to do the more difficult thing and lift the curse, with the side effect of silencing the opposition. You strengthened the king's position in Temeria."


"I chose nothing- I performed my task as best I could. If lifting the curse had been impossible I would have killed the striga. Had she been too dangerous to fight I would have left without making any suicidal attempt, as the witcher who came before me did. There could be no other choice for me."


"I don't believe that for a second. 'No choice' is an illusion that means you could never be wrong." Triss glanced at Dandelion, who shrugged. "Face it Geralt, you have a heart, and you try to do the right thing, even when it gets you into trouble."


"Which is why you need me!" Dandelion exclaimed with a grin. "To get you out of trouble and make people appreciate your noble deeds."


"You getting me out of trouble?" Geralt shot Dandelion a skeptical look.


"Oh it's true, I've heard all about it in the ballads." Triss winked at Geralt. "You would be completely lost without him."


"I can't listen to this abuse on an empty stomach- lets go find the kitchen."


...


Sometime later Dandelion took his leave and Triss walked with the poet out to the temple gate. "I'm glad you showed up, Dandelion- I think you cheered him up tremendously."


"It's a poet's task to lift the spirit. But between you and me, he was already in a good mood when I arrived. I think that might be your doing, Triss."


"A good mood?" Triss scoffed. "All he's done is grumble and complain for days!"


"Ah, but you see, he only complains this way around people he likes."

Part 4:
The next morning she was pleased to see Geralt come to watch her teach again. After the class, as she renewed the regenerative spell on his arm, she noticed his gaze lingering on her. She was dressed in blue silk, modestly cut out of respect for the temple, but flattering nonetheless to her figure. A quick psychic peek into his mind found Geralt indeed appreciated the view, though he also felt embarrassment and a touch of guilt, as if afraid she would read his thoughts.


Quite right to worry there, witcher. Triss thought to herself with amusement. She knew she was beautiful- it was practically a professional requirement for sorceresses, but it was still nice to be appreciated. Hmm.. a curious opportunity here if I want it. But how would I explain it to Yenna if she found out? Then again, they are split up...


Triss had wondered for a long time just what it was about Geralt that had such an effect on Yennefer. Since Yenna had introduced them, Triss and the witcher had been friends, but there was still a great deal about him that remained hidden beneath a shell. Mind-reading only revealed the surface layers of his psyche. Triss had even tried reading Yenna's mind when her friend was thinking about Geralt, but that had earned her some rather uncivil admonitions to mind her own business.


Now, though, she had time to spend with Geralt one on one, without Yenna or other friends around. Her conversations with the witcher had revealed several insights. Despite his affirmed disdain for politics and the squabbles of ordinary humans, he was quite well read in history, philosophy, and even a few natural sciences. Given a different fate early in life, he might have done well at Ban Ard or Oxenfurt.


Then there was his sense of humor. For a supposedly emotionless killing machine, Geralt managed to crack quite a few jokes in all situations. Triss guessed that the dry humor, often delivered in monotone deadpan, was how Geralt kept his spirits up in the face of the ugliness, tragedy, and horror he witnessed constantly in his profession. It reminded her of the graveyard humor she observed amongst doctors and healers, especially those attached to armies.


Certainly an interesting case, Triss thought to herself. If I could get him to open up, I wonder what else I would find hidden inside?


...


The morning finally arrived when Triss and Nenneke declared that the cast could come off. Geralt gratefully cut away the plaster and flexed his wrist, then proceeded to scratch vigorously at a spot on his forearm that had been itching for a week.


"Now take it easy for a while longer," Nenneke instructed. "You don't need any sudden shocks, so don't hit anything hard with a sword.


"Of course Nenneke," sighed the witcher, who very much wanted to hit something with a sword.


"How are the tendons in the wrist?" asked Triss. "Probably stiff from immobility?"


"Yes," he confirmed, rotating his hand about.


"I can help with that." She took his hand and murmured a spell, stroking her fingers along his wrist. Geralt felt a pleasant tingling as the stiffness vanished.


Triss held onto his hand a bit longer than strictly necessary to work the spell. She found herself enjoying being close to him, and a determination was slowly growing in her to do something about it. It would just be some harmless fun. She thought to herself. And maybe I'd figure out what it is that makes Yenna get all misty-eyed. Nenneke raised an eyebrow at Triss, as if she knew exactly what the sorceress was thinking. Triss knew the priestess was not a mind-reader, but she had a keen eye and the wisdom of long experience. Feeling the beginnings of a blush in her cheeks, Triss released Geralt's hand quickly.


"There, that should give you full range of motion. You still need to stretch and take it slow, but now you ought to be able to hold a sword."


"Thank you Triss. I think I'll go out in the gardens and do some training."


"I think I'll join you- to make sure you don't over-do it of course. There's nothing as frustrating as a patient who won't follow a healer's directions." Triss said, earning an exasperated look from Geralt.


"Well, some of us have work to do," said Nenneke. "Triss, I'll be in the laboratory an hour before supper."


Triss followed Geralt out amongst the fruit trees, where she watched him go through the sword forms. She recognized many of the movements, having observed witchers in practice at Kaer Morhen when Vesemir invited her there. Geralt grimaced at the weakness in his right arm after its weeks of immobility, but persisted with the exercises. Triss admired the precision and grace of his footwork, and the hard focus in his eyes.


This is what he was made to be, she thought, the hand holding a sword. All the mutations, training, and hardships turned him into a weapon. But that's not all he wants to be. Through all the reading, the friendships with poets and misfits-and magicians for that matter- he seeks to be something more than what destiny made him.


Triss continued watching him in silence, sensing that he did not want interruptions. At the end of his routines, Geralt looked at the sword in his hand and smiled before putting it away. He rejoined Triss in the shade, still with the smile on his face.


"You look like you've just seen sunlight after a week trapped underground," the enchantress observed.


"I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to hold a blade again." He took hold of her hand and kissed it. "Thank you for your help, Triss."


"No need- it was the least I could do for a friend." Triss left her hand in his, enjoying the slight tingling sensation produced by his witcher mutations. Their eyes met, and for a moment Triss was sure Geralt would kiss her. She felt a twinge of irritation when he dropped his eyes with an embarrassed expression on his face.


Hmm... embarassed, or feeling guilty because of Yenna? He still thinks of me mostly as her friend. Triss thought to herself. Deep down, she was also feeling a bit guilty because of Yenna. But it's not as if I would be stealing him away. Yenna hates him right now, and Geralt said he wants to forget...


Triss heard footsteps, and spotted a group of priestesses arriving for work in the orchard. "Well, I suppose we should get back," she said, hooking her arm onto Geralt's elbow. As they walked she held herself close against him, letting him feel the warmth of her body and smell the scent of her perfume. Reading his mind, she found him in a state of confusion, torn between desire, doubt, and guilt. Very well, Geralt, she thought to herself, if you can't make up your mind, then I'm going to make it for you.


...


That night Triss sat by the fireplace in her room, holding a polished quartz inclusion in her hand. She had hidden an identical stone in Geralt's chamber. It was an old, reliable method for spying and communicating, often used by students at Aretuza to play pranks on one another. It was also rumored some famous and influential magicians used similar techniques to send prophetic dreams to kings and princes.


Triss extended her psychic senses out through the linked stones, finding Geralt's sleeping mind. He was still in the early stages of sleep and had not yet begun to dream.


It had been years since she had done this. In her younger days, she and her friend Keira had made a competition out of it, leaving behind a trail of furious wives and embarrassed husbands. We can't go back to that town for at least another decade. Triss laughed at the memory.


Returning to the present, Triss reached through the stones into Geralt's mind and sent him a dream, a rather naughty dream, giving her imagination free reign. To accompany the dream she left a subtle psychic suggestion: "She is waiting for you." Afterwards she observed for a time as the dream took root in Geralt's subconscious. What a wicked creature I am! She thought to herself as she climbed into bed. Now to wait and see. And he'd better hurry, because after thinking up a dream like that I don't want to have to wait long!


...


Half an hour later he knocked on her door. Got you! Triss thought, freeing her arms from under the blankets. With a gesture and a spell she unlocked the door and opened the window shutter, bathing the room in silver moonlight. Geralt entered slowly and stood looking at her, a slightly embarrassed expression on his face.


“Hello Geralt,” Triss purred at him. “Did you want something?”


“Hi Triss. I um... I was hoping...”


Her eyes sparkled sapphire in the moonlight as she sat up in bed. The thin silk nightdress clung tightly to her. “Good, because I was hoping too!”


She gestured, and the door closed behind him, the bolt clicking shut. “But we can't make it too easy can we?" She winked at him. "You've entered my lair, now you must catch me, monster hunter!” With a giggle Triss vanished under an invisibility spell, the duvet collapsing into the space she left behind.


Geralt laughed and advanced slowly, listening for the sound of movement. A whispered rustle of silk moved to his right and he lunged toward the sound, but his arms only found empty air. A burst of laughter circled behind him. “Too slow witcher!”


With a grin on his face, Geralt stalked toward the sound, his ears straining. Ghostly footsteps crossed the stones near the doorway, and the witcher darted to intercept. Invisible locks of hair brushed his forearm as the sorceress ducked under his reach and escaped again. She let out a short giggle, then went silent again.


As Geralt crept toward where her voice had vanished, the whisper of silk betrayed her movements again. He leapt to the right and swept his arm low, catching soft fabric in his hand. An empty nightdress appeared draped over his wrist, still holding the warmth of the body it had escaped.


Slender invisible arms enveloped him from behind, and he felt the heat of firm breasts pressing into his back. “Well well, looks like the monster caught you, witcher!” Triss crooned in his ear, gently scraping her fingernails over his chest. “Now what will she do with her prey?”

Edit: Ok, forum is freaking out about character limits, so the other parts will have to wait. PDF still has the whole thing.
 

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I've put together another short story, this one set between The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny (sometime before Sodden). The story still feels a bit unfinished, and I may work on it more sometime in the future. I attached a pdf version, since the story exceeds the character limit for a post.

Love your short story! Also, love how you wrote about Triss it perfectly fits her personality (friendly, nice, cheerful, flirty). Looking forward to reading more!
 
Here are the other sections. If you downloaded the PDF you already have these:

Part 5:
"So it seems Geralt is fully recovered." Nenneke said at lunch the next day, giving Triss a significant look.


The sorceress blushed involuntarily. Of course she knows. Somehow nothing in this Temple escapes her. "You're not displeased are you?"


"Of course not. Melitele does not forbid such things, provided they are done for the right reasons."


"I'm not sure I've quite worked out the reasons yet," Triss confessed.


"Well, sort it out quickly. I imagine he will want to leave soon, to get through the mountains before the snows."


...


The grey stone ramparts of Kaer Morhen came into view as they began their descent from the mountain pass. The adjacent lake was smooth as a mirror, reflecting image of the snow-covered peaks behind it. Triss always thought the witchers' fortress couldn't decide what it wanted to be. On the one hand, it was a hard-edged place of old secrets, brutal training, and death, but surrounding it was one of the most beautiful and idyllic valleys on the continent. A place of contradictions, like the witcher's themselves.


"I never get tired of this view," Triss remarked. "It's lucky this place is so far from civilization- otherwise you would be overrun with fat city-dwelling nobles trying to build summer lake houses and hunting lodges."


Geralt chuckled at the mental image. "When were you last up here?"


"Last year in the summer. Vesemir asked me to come and fix Leo's knee. I forget what it was that got him- something silly like a kick from a cart mule."


"And he told me it was a troll that wounded him! I knew that story stank."


"Oops, have I betrayed a great secret?" Triss giggled.


"It seems an awfully long way to travel as a favor," Geralt remarked. "Not many would bother helping us witchers out here."


"I've known old 'grandpa' Vesemir since I was six. How could I refuse? Besides, he lets me take home a bundle of decoctions and monster bits each time I visit. Do you know how hard it is to find Basilisk skin for shoes?"


"Finding the skin is easy, but persuading the Basilisk to part with it is tricky! I hope you don't let your colleague Dorregaray know about those shoes. He's liable to give you a tirade about endangered species."


"One of these days Dorregaray will get himself eaten by an endangered specimen he's trying to rescue. Carnivorous beasts don't seem to notice ethics when they get hungry."


Their path crossed a cold mountain stream and climbed back up to the fortress drawbridge. As they approached the gate they heard a familiar ringing of practice swords from within. "Sounds like someone's home," Geralt commented.


In the darkened entryway a witcher was waiting for them. As he stepped out of the shadows Triss recognized Eskel. He looked slightly surprised when she pulled back her hood, as if he'd been expecting to see someone else. Triss could guess who. But Eskel recovered quickly and greeted them warmly.


"Triss Merigold! This is a lovely surprise!"


"You look well, Eskel!" Triss gave him a kiss on the scar that marred his cheek. Numerous times she had tried to convince him that the disfigurement made him look more like a serious professional, but Eskel remained self-conscious about it.


"I'm afraid we weren't expecting company. We will have to dig some things out of storage to make the guest room livable."


"There's no need to make a fuss, I remember where to find things. And if the tower room is not ready," she glanced at Geralt and blushed, "I can find another to sleep in tonight."


Eskel looked at Geralt and raised an eyebrow ever so slightly. Geralt gave a slight shrug and a surreptitious smile. Between the two brother witchers, this was enough to explain all.


"Well, let me take your bags, and let's head inside. Vesemir will be delighted to see you, Triss."


...


"Triss my dear! What a sight you are for tired old eyes!" Bellowed the old witcher when they entered the great hall. "Come here child."


"Hello grandfather!" Triss threw her arms around Vesemir's neck and kissed him on the cheek.


"Oh, little sorceress, you should have sent word you were coming!" Vesemir squeezed her in a bear hug. "We might have prepared a proper welcome."


"I thought I would suprise you. Besides," she glanced around the room with feigned suspicion, "now I get to see all the dirty secrets you try to hide away when you're expecting company."


"Well, I see you found our wandering White Wolf." Vesemir let go of the enchantress to grasp arms with Geralt. "Nice of you to come back this year Geralt."


"It seemed like the thing to do." Geralt shrugged.


"So you two traveled together?" Vesemir glanced from one to the other questioningly.


"Well, someone had to look after him." Triss smiled while the hint of a blush appeared on her cheeks. "It wouldn't do to have him getting eaten or knocked on the head while his sword arm was healing."


"Oh, what did you get yourself into this time, Geralt?" The old witcher asked.


"Nothing important." Geralt kept his face still and looked away in embarrassment.


"I'll tell you the whole juicy story later," Triss grinned and winked in Geralt's direction.


"I look forward to it." Vesemir took her by the arm. "Geralt and Eskel, would you sort out the baggage while I find some refreshments for our guest?"


...


Triss warmed her hands on a hot mug of tea as she sat with Vesemir in the kitchen.


"So how have you been, Triss? Still living in Vizima?"


"Most of the time, though you know I travel quite a bit- to meddle in all those things that are of no interest to witchers." Triss winked at the old man; she had long ago given up trying to discuss her political work with him.


"And how's your family? Is your father any better?"


"Sadly no, he hardly recognizes anyone these days. He only seems to remember me because I haven't aged much... I still look young like I did in the old days."


"And there's no magical remedy?"


"No, some things are still beyond medical science."


"Sorry to hear that, child. Are you managing all right?"


"It's... hard to stay close to them." Triss gazed out the window. "I already look younger than my eldest niece, and my brother is a grandfather himself now. Visiting them in Maribor gets stranger every time. But enough of that, tell me where your Path has taken you."


She sat and listened as the old witcher described his recent travels. Vesemir loved telling stories, and Triss enjoyed hearing them. She asked subtle questions from time to time about the territories he had passed through. Witchers would make great informers, she mused, if they could be persuaded to abandon that silly neutrality. And useful information pays much better than dead beasts.


After a break in the conversation, Vesemir looked at her with a hesitant expression. Triss could tell he wanted to ask something. "What is it Vesemir? I know that look."


"I should know by now I can't hide anything from you, child." Vesemir replied. "I must admit... I was a bit surprised to see you arriving with Geralt."


"You disapprove?"


"No, not that... but, well... Geralt has a certain reputation.... He's not known for monogamous fidelity, if you get my meaning. I wouldn't want to see you hurt."


"It's sweet of you to worry, grandfather," Triss gave the old witcher's hand a squeeze. "But do you remember the year we met? And how many decades have passed since then? Believe me, I'm old enough to take care of myself. Besides, we sorceresses are not known for monogamous fidelity either."


If she didn't know it was physiologically impossible for a witcher, she would have sworn that Vesemir blushed.


"In any case," Triss continued, "I'm only staying through the winter. When the mountain passes open again I'll be off to Vizima, and Geralt will be back on the Path. We agreed there would be no complications, no fuss."


"Mhm..." Vesemir kept his opinion to himself.


...


"So you've been bewitched by another sorceress, I believe I'm seeing a pattern here."


"I'm not about to get a lecture am I? Can't some subjects just be left alone?" Geralt stared into his mug.


Vesemir kept looking at Geralt, his eyebrows raised questioningly.


Geralt glanced up and groaned. "Fine, what is it Uncle Vesemir?"


"You know I'm not one to stick my nose into other people's business. Hey- I don't give me that look!" Vesemir pointed an accusatory finger as Geralt made a face. "As I was saying, I respect other people's privacy, but Triss is like family around here. We like her, she's the only mage we trust, and I would not wish to see her unhappy."


"Just who do you think I am? Triss is a friend... a very close friend, and we understand each other well."


"Now now, my boy, I know you have a good heart, it's just... Well, I saw the bitterness and anger that resulted after Vengerberg. Don't let this time end up like that, for your sake as well as for Triss's."


"Please don't bring up Yen, especially not while Triss is around."


"Of course, of course. Forgive an old man's worrying." Vesemir saw that Geralt would not say much more and decided to let the matter drop. "I'm just glad to see you both looking happy, so make sure it stays that way!"

Part 6:
Triss and Geralt lay together in Geralt's chamber. The enchantress rested her head on his shoulder while his fingers played with strands of her hair.


"Sorry we didn't have the guest room ready in time," Geralt said. "I'll figure out where we put those linens in the morning."


"I bet Vesemir re-organized the store rooms again. He seems quite particular about his storage system. No matter, compared to that cave we were in last night, your little room here is a royal palace."


"You know Vesemir gave me a lecture earlier?" Geralt remarked. "He seems to think I've seduced you like a scoundrel and lured you away to this place."


"Oh no, who shall rescue me from this villainous rogue?" Triss giggled. "Dear old Vesemir still thinks of me as a little girl in Maribor. Did you tell him he has it backwards? That the wicked witch beguiled the wounded and vulnerable witcher into inviting her to his secret fortress?"


"Oh is that how it was? Perhaps I should have resisted longer- I think I rather enjoyed being beguiled!"


"All according to plan!" Triss laughed and slowly traced a fingertip across his chest. They lay in warm silence for a time before she spoke again. "You know I could get rid of these scars for you? Tissue regeneration takes a while, but I could have a lot of it done by spring."
"Actually, I've grown rather attached to them. You see, each scar reminds me of something- mistakes to avoid, places I've been, even people sometimes. This one here," Geralt indicated a line over his right side ribs, "was from a chort I hunted near Gulet. I got greedy- thought I could finish it off in a single blow. And now the scar reminds me to be more patient next time."


"Carrying lessons around on your skin- rather poetic. Hmm... I believe I know this one," Triss ran her finger over a cluster of pale lines on the witcher's neck. "All Vizima still talks about your fight with the cursed Princess in the old palace, and how you emerged barely alive with your neck torn open."


"See- they even work as conversation starters! And how is Adda these days? Does her recovery progress?"
"She's not quite normal, mentally, but they say things improve slowly with her. I've been trying to gain permission to examine her, but she is surrounded by priestesses at the moment who jealously block anyone else from getting involved."


"I'm not surprised- when last I was in Vizima Foltest didn't trust any mages. He used to rail against the malicious and fraudulent nature of the whole magical profession."


"Well, malice and fraud are required courses at Aretuza, but that's a professional secret." Triss smiled, playing with some white strands of Geralt's hair. "But if they let me in to see the princess I'm certain I could help her."


"And maybe repair the reputation of mages in the process? Get yourself into Foltest's council?"


"For all your talk of despising politics you seem to have quite a grasp of it." Triss smirked and tossed her hair so it covered Geralt's eyes. "Well, sometimes the opportunity arises to do something good and profit personally at the same time. Such chances are not to be missed!"


Geralt brushed Triss's chestnut curls from his face and ran his fingers though her hair. "The more I understand it the more I try to avoid it. Politics usually means someone doesn't want to pay me, and someone else wants me dead."


"That's because most people don't believe in neutrality. They imagine that if you don't work for them you must be with the other side."


They both lay still for a time, lost in thought. Triss lazily traced her fingers over more marks on the witcher's chest.


"Now tell me what other great moral lessons these scars can teach." She leaned in and planted a playful bite on his shoulder. "Hmm... or maybe you need a new one to warn you about wicked sorceresses?"


Down the hall Eskel, who like all witchers had excellent hearing, was awakened from his slumber by sounds almost never heard inside the walls of Kaer Morhen. "Kids these days!" he muttered to himself as he searched for a sleeping potion in his cabinet. "No respect for decent folk trying to sleep!"


...


The megascope chirped and glowed, signaling an incoming message. Triss approached the receiver crystal and recognized Yenna's matrix. What will I say? She'll take one look at me and know what I've done. Triss reached for an amulet in her pocket and brought her heart rate under control, gathering her composure. Then she activated the connection.


"Yenna dear! How are you?" she greeted her friend's projection.


"You look well Triss! My, what's this dreary castle you've holed up in?" Yenna glanced around at the room behind Triss.


The closer to the truth the better. Triss told herself. "Oh, I'm up visiting Kaer Morhen, collecting some ingredients from rare and dangerous species."


The briefest shadow passed over Yenna's face, almost too quickly to be seen. "My my, the secret witcher's fortress, however did you manage such an invitation?"


"Have you met old witcher Vesemir? I've known him since I was a girl. He promised me some monster glands and organs if I came by to visit. I suspect he made Eskel do the actual hunting, and the sly old man just takes the credit." That bit was true... a year and a half ago.


"Well I hope it's worth the trip to the middle of nowhere. How do you keep from going mad with boredom? My my, Triss, I believe you're blushing!"


Dammit! Triss thought, feeling the heat in her cheeks. "Well, you know- a castle full of strong unmarried males- a girl can't help but take advantage. But how about you Yenna? Is that Oxenfurt behind you?"


"Fine, I won't ask you all the sordid details. Yes, a little business to do here at the University, then on to Tretogor to see Philippa..."


Triss was relieved as the conversation steered toward the latest news from Redania and gossip about mutual acquaintances. She relaxed and was able to simply enjoy her friend's company, at least for a while.


"Triss, you've got a strange look on your face," Yenna hesitated. "Is... never mind, it's not important."


Yes it is, but you won't admit it. Triss recognized the pain in her friend's expression, pain that Yenna hid so determinedly. "Yes, he's here Yenna. He's wintering in Kaer Morhen."


Yenna grimaced. "I don't care where he is," she lied. "As far as I'm concerned he can go feed himself to a zeugl! Feel free to tell him so."


Triss squeezed down on the amulet in her pocket and focused to keep her voice steady. "I can assure you he's perfectly miserable without you. Nothing but gloomy expressions and sighs- why, he looks like a kicked puppy every time I drop your name in conversation."


"Ha, and rightly so! Perhaps it will teach him a lesson. Not that I care of course- I have no wish to see his insufferable face ever again!"


It would be so much easier... Triss thought sadly, looking at the pain in Yenna's eyes, if you meant it.


...


When Triss entered the main hall she heard the scraping of wood on the stone floor and the grumblings of irritated witchers. She found Eskel, and Lambert working to build a scaffold while Geralt and Vesemir dragged heavy beams in from the yard.


"Good morning lads, what's all this about?" she greeted them.


"Roof beams in this western annex are getting rotten- time to replace them," Eskel explained.


"Anything I can do to help?"


"You could leave us to work in peace," Lambert grunted. "Don't need you distracting us."


"You know a few spells could make things go faster if you just let me."


"Go show off your magic tricks somewhere else, Merigold, I'm working here!" Lambert snapped.


Triss glared at Lambert, then muttered a spell. One of the replacement roof beams rose off the floor and floated up to the ceiling. "See- I can save you a lot of lifting." She repeated the spell, this time gesturing at Lambert


"Dammit Merigold, put me down!" Lambert squawked indignantly and nearly dropped his tools as he found himself rising toward the ceiling.


Triss only giggled in response. Lambert often got on her nerves, and the chance to cause him some vexation was too good to pass up. Geralt furrowed his brow reproachfully at her, but in his eyes she saw hidden amusement.


Eskel chuckled and shook his head. "Well Lambert, since you're up there, you might as well start hammering."

Part 7:
Geralt found Triss in the library, marking on tracing paper over a map. She smiled in greeting, and he approached to see what she was working on. He slipped an arm around her waist and glanced over the diagram she was drawing. "So what's going on here? You looking for buried treasure?"


"Something like that," Triss replied with a laugh. "I've been trying to map out the lines of Power near the Keep to find a strong intersection. Vesemir said the strongest one is likely to be at the Circle of Elements. Could you show me how to get there?"


"The weather is clear today- you can see it from the upper terrace."


Geralt and Triss climbed the stairs of the old keep, footsteps echoing off the dusty stone walls. A chilly wind whipped Geralt's hair as he opened the door onto the terrace. Triss tightened her chinchilla-lined hood and followed him out to the battlements. The snow-covered mountains all around glinted orange and yellow in the crisp dawn sunlight.


"See- on the platform between those two hills across the lake? The Circle is there. We can ride out there later if you want a closer look."


"Thanks, that would be nice."


"Most of the local wildlife should be hibernating by now, but we'll have to keep an eye out on the journey just in case."


"Lucky for me I have a famous witcher as a guide."


"So why do you need an intersection? Got a big spell to cast?"


"Actually yes- a little project I'm working on with Mother Nenneke. I have a phylactery containing extracts from some of those rare species she cultivates. Dwarven immortelle is the primary active ingredient. I'm going to infuse it with power to increase it's healing efficacy. The better the intersection the more power I can channel, and the better the final product will be. Nenneke and I will finish the formula and split it when I return to Ellander in the spring."


"What is it used for?"


"Mostly to preserve life functions in medical emergencies. The decoction can halt most poisons in their tracks, and keep the brain alive for hours when the heart has stopped- basically buys enough time for a healer to intervene. Invaluable stuff for Nenneke's medics, and I can find customers for it in Vizima."


"So will you perform the enchantment today?"


"I could, but Midinvaerne would be better- the intersections will have higher flux and give better results. There are some rites used by Druids that can draw extra energy during the solstices and equinoxes. Hmm..." Triss's cheeks turned red and her sapphire eyes gleamed with mischief. Geralt raised an eyebrow suspiciously.


"What are you plotting sorceress?"


"A bit of old-fashioned witchcraft. You're familiar with the concept for emotional resonance? That strong emotion boosts spell power? "


"I'm familiar- usually that sort of resonance shows up in curses- powerful negative emotions warping reality. Now you have me a bit worried Triss!"


"Well, what I have in mind is a bit like a curse, but draws the resonance from strong positive emotions. The kind that usually require a partner... and a bed."


"My my, on an intersection at Midinvaerne?" Geralt smirked and drew her in close against him. "Do we need a flock of Veyopatis priestesses to dance naked around us and chant incantations?"


"Ha, you would like that wouldn't you! No, all I need is my power, and you of course. What do you say Geralt? Want to perform some witchcraft with me?"


"You know you're even more beautiful when you blush! All right, let's say I'm intrigued."


...


In the cold night air midwinter night they arrived at the Circle of Elements. A full moon cast shadows from the standing stones, while the cold stars blazed overhead through the clear chilly air. It was Midinvaerne, a night of magic, and the air practically hummed with energy. Triss gave Geralt a conspiratorial smile from beneath her fur-lined hood, and squeezed his hand before walking to the center of the circle, where she began to draw geometric patterns and runes on the stone altar. Geralt filled the braziers around the circle with wood and oil, hoping the fires would be enough to ward off the cold night air.


When she finished forming the runes, Triss looked at the stars overhead, calculating the time remaining to midnight by the progress of the Great Bear constellation. "Go ahead and light the fires, Geralt. I'll start warming up the stone," she gave him a wink, "so you won't literally freeze your ass off!"


Geralt chuckled and lit the braziers with the igni sign while Triss recited a spell over the runes on the stone altar. After a minute the sorceress removed a glove and touched her hand to the altar. "There we go- warm as a Skelligan sauna!"


Triss stood and held her hand over one of the fires, drawing from the elemental power of the flames. Then she wrapped her arms about Geralt's neck, whispered a warming spell, and kissed him slowly. Geralt felt his body temperature rising despite the cold winter air as the spell took effect. Triss smiled up at him. "Ready to begin witcher?"


She stepped back, her eyes never leaving his, and performed a flourish with her hand. Her dress vanished like smoke in a gust of wind, and she stood naked beneath her cloak, the fires casting dancing shadows over her body. Geralt smiled, and she approached again to help him out of his clothes.


Taking him by the hand, Triss led Geralt to the Circle and lay him down at the center of pentagram. She smiled, placed an ornate phylactery on the stone next to him, and knelt astride his hips. His eyes drank in the sight of her, the moon and firelight playing across her bare skin, her eyes shining sapphire against the night sky. Soon they began to move together.


As their passion built, Triss began to chant an incantation, her hands tracing patterns in the air. The ground beneath them trebled slightly as she drew power from the earth into Geralt. A pale green St. Elmo's fire danced along her skin as she drew power from the air into herself. Earth and sky met where their bodies met, an electric tension building. Triss raised the phylactery toward the stars, her voice rising as they moved faster and faster. When the moment arrived she threw back her head and completed the formula with a triumphant shout. Power and pleasure surged inside her as she shaped the raw primitive energy to her will. Then, with a thunderclap that tore the night sky, it was over.


They stayed frozen for a moment, almost forgetting to breathe. Triss felt a wave of dizziness, and a drop of blood appeared at her nose. She put down the phylactery and steadied herself with a hand on Geralt's chest.


"You all right Triss?"


"It will pass in a moment." She lay down on top of him and rested her head on his shoulder.


"So did the spell work?" Geralt asked, running his fingers tenderly along her spine.


"Oh yes, complete success." Triss glanced at the phylactery and felt the concentrated magic trapped within. She blithely dabbed the blood away from her nose and drew a crimson smiley face on Geralt's chest, giggling softly. "A pleasure working with you, master witcher, I hope you don't mind being used as an instrument of sorcery?"


"It's a rough life, but I survive somehow." Geralt laughed, kissing her hair.


"All right, my head is clearing, so we had better get dressed and back to the keep. In a minute the heat spells will wear off, and it's freezing out here!"


....


Back in the tower guest room, they sipped hot tea while the fire in the hearth crackled. Triss sat at the table, covered in vials and alchemical equipment. She removed the flask from within the phylactery and cast a few diagnostic spells over the contents. Geralt lounged on the bed, observing her contentedly.


She noticed him watching and smiled. "Sorry Geralt, I'm just measuring to see what we have here. I'll come to bed in a moment."


"Take your time, there's something relaxing about watching you work."


"Our little ritual tonight was fun, but it actually was important too. This vial could yield hundreds of doses, enough to save hundreds of lives." Triss's eyes sparkled and she let out a giggle as a thought struck her. "I wonder if I should warn Nenneke about the... um... side effects..."


"What side effects?"


"Well, this type of infused elixir retains the emotional aura from the spell that created it. Let's just say... Nenneke might have some very satisfied patients!"

Part 8:
The weeks past lazily, and one day Triss awoke to the sun's rays playing across the ceiling, reflecting through the window off the lake. Beneath her cheek Geralt's chest slowly rose and fell as he slept. Not wanting to wake him, she lay still and stretched out her awareness to listen to his dreams. There she found something she had not witnessed since Ellander- he was dreaming of Yennefer once more. Probing a bit deeper, she felt the old longing, regret, hope, and fear that had returned to him. Damn it, she thought, why now? She started to draw power for a spell to suppress the witcher's painful memories, but stopped herself as a wave of guilt overcame her. No, I've been selfish. I never intended to keep him for myself. Dammit, perhaps it's for the best- let him start to miss her again. That will make it easier to part when the snow melts. She lay still for a while longer, and caught herself wishing that the winter would never end.


Triss stopped reading his mind so she would not have to witness the gowing turmoil there. Geralt was careful never to let his restlessness show. When they went to bed in the evenings they managed to forget the guilt and doubt for a time, until unsettling dreams crept upon them as they slept. As the days grew longer they both realized the time for forgetting was drawing to a close.


Triss was the first to say something, one morning as they lay half-awake. "It's kind of you not to mention the dreams."


"Dreams?"


"You know what I'm talking about- of Yenna. If you are trying to spare my feelings, thank you for the kindness, but there's no need. It's better that we not have to hide things from each other."


"I'm sorry, Triss, I can't help it."


"Hush, we're just having an affair right? We'll say goodbye soon enough and move on, with a shared secret and happy memories. No need to let jealousy or guilt spoil the mood."


"Unlike you I can't read minds. Do you really mean that?"


"Of course," she lied.


...


As the days went by they grew increasingly restless. Triss spent more and more time with her megascope, talking to colleagues and catching up on politics. Geralt threw himself into the maintenance of the castle, keeping his hands and mind occupied. At night they came together with a fierce intensity, as if afraid each shared night might be the last. Finally Triss received news that signaled the end of her stay in Kaer Morhen.


Yenna's image looked back at her from the megascope. "Have you spoken with Keira? You know you should get back to Vizima quickly before things get out of hand."


"I spoke to her an hour ago, I'm already packing up." Triss replied.


"Sorry you have to cut short your vacation," Yenna said with a shrug. "But people do the damnedest things when we are not there to keep them in line."


"Well, I should be able to teleport back with only 3 jumps. Just have to say goodbye to everyone here."


"Ah yes, how is..." Yenna looked away and furrowed her brow briefly before smoothing out her face again. "How are the witchers?"


"They collectively are quite well, anxious to return to their Path soon." Triss knew her friend well enough to see what was on Yenna's mind. She asked the question whose answer she already knew, carrying a tiny hope that she might be wrong. "Yenna... you miss him don't you?"


Yennefer raised her chin, glaring defiantly, then seemed to deflate under her friend's gaze. "Don't tell him Triss... I won't give him the satisfaction."


"If that's what you wish..." Triss felt a heavy numbness descend upon her. She spoke the truth that her dear friend needed to hear. "But Yenna... he misses you too."


...


"Geralt, I have to get back to Vizima.” Triss looked out the window, not wanting to meet Geralt's eyes.


“So soon? I thought you might stay a few more weeks...”


“There's trouble brewing with some priests of Kreve. They have been stirring up mobs and some colleagues of mine think they've been casting curses against some of Foltest's advisers."


"Ugh, religion and politics together! You sure you want to jump into the middle of that Triss?"


"First off, it's my duty to stabilize the realm- I'm a native Temerian after all. I haven't forgotten where I come from. Second, if there is a curse and I can lift it, the king will take notice. It could mean a position on the royal council for me. But you see that I have to hurry? I have to get there before things get out of hand, or someone else beats me to it!"


"I see. Well, good luck. It's nearly time for us witchers to set off on the Path anyway." Geralt stood awkwardly, trying to find words.


"You... you could come with me." Triss wasn't sure why she said it, and cursed herself silently for giving in to the impulse. "Lifting curses is witcher's work after all. And afterward... there are always plenty of monsters in the Vizima outskirts. You could stay as long as you liked... with me."


Geralt looked like he'd been kicked by a horse. "Triss... I've tried that life... in Vengerberg. You know how that turned out. The world you live in- I just don't belong there."


At the mention of Vengerberg Triss flinched. Yenna was alone all this cold winter, alone and hurting, while I....


"I'm sorry Triss, I didn't mean to... to bring that up."


"Geralt..." she turned her head away, unable to face him. "Do you feel... a bit guilty for the time we've spent together?"


"I..." Geralt hesitated, his eyes downcast. "Yes, I do. I'm sorry, Triss. I wanted to forget- forget about her I mean. But I can't forget any longer. Are you angry with me?"


I am angry. She thought to herself. But mostly at myself... Dammit, I stayed here too long, let it go too far. "I'm relieved actually. She's my dear friend, and I... I had to lie to her face. I don't want to do that anymore. You still love her don't you?"


"Yes... forgive me Triss. This winter... I was happy with you. I needed you, and you were there for me. But I still love her."


Such a waste... Triss thought. They make each other so miserable. If he loved me... but he doesn't so no sense thinking about it. "Geralt, as a friend, I don't know if I can offer any useful advice. You should go back to her- try again. But something will have to change, otherwise you will end up back out in the cold. You need something more to make it work."


“ 'As a friend'... I hope you mean that Triss. I was afraid... that you would want nothing more to do with me.”


“Nonsense, we knew from the start this was temporary. I'm just... sadder than I expected to be that it's over. It was a nice dream we were living in, but now it's time to wake up.”


“Do you have to leave today? You could stay... one more night- to say goodbye?”


“No, Geralt, I leave today.” Triss put a hand on his cheek and smiled sadly. “But it's good to part knowing you still wanted me.” She gave him a long, slow kiss and walked away.


“Triss wait!” Geralt called, and she paused in the doorway. “That curse in Vizima: priests usually use metal objects- gold and silver are most common, but any metal will do. Look for something recently gifted to the victims, or perhaps stolen from their houses and put back without their knowledge. It could be something else of course, but that's a good place to start.”


She stood still for a moment, then smiled. “You see, I knew I could get you meddling in politics!"


"Well... I don't get attached to causes, just to certain people."


"Take care of yourself Geralt. I'll miss you.” She left, forcing herself not to look back. Geralt stayed, forcing himself not to run after her.
 
Used NMM still mod doesn't work

Install Nexus Mod Manager in top of the page (0.56.0) and it will help you how to install mod very easy

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Quick pic, Triss grumpy with blue eye :lol:
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I used the NMM to install the Triss with Cerys hair and it doesn't work.Does the mod not work with the alternate Triss costume?
 
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