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Private {18+} Ascension

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Madrar, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Joren listened to the khajiit womans' concerns, and when she'd finished listing them, he nodded. "Interesting concerns. Also irrelevant." With that, he turned and made his way towards Thalien and the others, having had enough of socialising for the moment. Though he hadn't told the khajiit why her reasons were not worth worrying about, but they seemed obvious to him. They were a group of mercenaries in service to the empire. As for beasts or bandits, they worried him even less. While he doubted there were many to match his skill, neither did he think they could be so incompetent as to get themselves killed by a pack of wolves or a gang of bandits. Resting his halberd against his shoulder, he leaned against the rock face that made up the rear of their camp, dark eyes surveying the preparations. Some of the group were already socialising amongst each other, building friendships, or alliances.

    'Surely, they cannot be so foolish as to believe that these friendships will last.' Though he bore no allegiance to the empire, they were right to call this group of outlaws scum. Assassins, bounty hunters, mercenaries, most of whom had fought against the imperials, at one time or another. If a reward were on any of our heads, the others would jump at the chance to claim it. Like a pack of rabid dogs, tearing at wounded prey. For his part, Joren was glad he had few friends that he could trust absolutely. The rest of this little company could burn, for all he cared.
     
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  2. Rafen

    Rafen Active Member

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    Caleb watched the young imperial with concern. She was cold, that much was obvious, and the mountain air and chill would not do wonders for her health. With the sun setting, surely they'd need to stop soon, and set up camp. His experience as a mercenary had taught him that forcing a march was beyond foolish. As if reading his mind, the dark armored man called a halt, pointing to a defensible location, and stating that they would remain there for the night, before making their way to the pale pass, and then to Falkreath. Realizing that the redguard woman was speaking to him, he turned back to her. "Skyrim surely won't be much better. Have you been there before?"

    "It's certainly colder than most of Cyrodiil. And Hammerfell, of course. And yes, I have been there, near the end of the war. It was...unpleasant, to say the least. I'd rather not speak of it." With a pained, apologetic smile, Caleb stepped away, and began gathering the driest wood he could find, readying a fire. The flames would attract the attention of anyone or anything lurking nearby, but they couldn't freeze to death, either. Removing flint from a belt pouch, he patiently struck it until the flame caught. "Ah..." he turned to the girl that clung to the redguard mage. What had she called her? For the life of him, he couldn't remember, or had she even offered her name? "Girl! Come over. The flames should keep you warm. You won't freeze, at least." He looked to the pair as they approached. "I'm afraid I can't recall your names. I am Caleb."
     
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  3. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Vintor kept pace with Thalien and the others easily enough, despite the snow reaching up to his knees, and the biting wind. Still, he was relieved when the man called a halt. He didn't fancy walking into an ambush or being attacked by monsters in the dark. He'd had his fill of dealing with vampires and other beasts that dwelt in the dark in his years as a paladin. The location that had been selected was easily defendable, and sheltered from the wind. Joren wandered off as soon as it was clear there was no immediate threat to his friend. Var'Hess lingered nearby, and Vintor cleared a layer of snow off a fallen tree, and took a seat. He planted his mace, head down on the ground, and leaned it against his shoulder. "You know marching through the pass is a risk. The archon of Bruma might have hired us, but we've got no guarantee the soldiers at the pass will let us through. Not without questions about our friends over there." He nodded towards the imperial mage, then to the robed redguard and her young charge. "We shouldn't have brought them with us, Thalien. This quest will be dangerous enough without hauling wanted criminals along with us. And that girl...she's just dead weight, and we both know it."
     
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  4. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Thalien watched the company who were loosely under his command assemble a small camp and get a fire going. He knew from his confrontation with the argonian when they'd first set out, that he'd remain in command so long as he could keep the others in line. How he would accomplish that, he wasn't quite sure. They hadn't brought up any major issues so far, but then they had only been marching for a day. Once they reached the wilds of Skyrim, things might change. He'd received no visions...yet, but he dreaded what they would show him. His death? Jorens'? Var'Hess'? Or would the entire company be wiped out trying to fight their way to the breton king? 'It'd be a spectacular failure, no doubt about that.' He mused, taking a seat on a fallen log, keeping his distance from the rest of the group. Joren was nearby, keeping to the edge of the camp.

    Vintor approached, recognizable by his unique helm and heavy plate. "You know marching through the pass is a risk. The archon of Bruma might have hired us, but we've got no guarantee the soldiers at the pass will let us through. Not without questions about our friends over there." The former paladin nodded towards the imperial battlemage, then the redguard and the girl she protected. "We shouldn't have brought them with us, Thalien. This quest will be dangerous enough without hauling wanted criminals along with us. And that girl...she's just dead weight, and we both know it." Vintor made a good point, especially about the two mages. The imperial in particular would cause trouble, lacking the mark his kind required.

    But the girl...just leaving her in the wilds to survive seemed heartless, even to him. And killing her would almost certainly result in the others turning on him. So rather than agree, he turned to the man, "and what would you have me do? Send her back to the city, on her own? Leave her here for whatever bandits or monsters wander by? Kill her myself?" Behind him, Var'Hess set his jaw, the old khajiit fingering the haft of his axe.
     
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  5. Drahkma

    Drahkma Dashing Imperial Officer.

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    As a knight, the march was nothing spectacular, and as a vampire, it was inconsequential. Despite most of the others being nothing but mortals, they made good time, making their way through the forest, and the foothills around the mountains that made up the pass between Skyrim and Cyrodiil. While the rest of the group began setting up camp he leaned against a nearby tree, staring out into the dark. It was not out of any real loyalty to the company that he stood sentinel. As a vampire, he had no need to sleep, and if they did come under attack, odds were that he would be the first to come into contact with the enemy. If he was lucky. But it seemed like it was not to be. The forest was quiet, save for the hooting of owls, and the occassional howls of wolves, some distance away. He chuckled to himself, though there was little mirth to it. He'd joined the mercenaries to fight, and now it seemed they'd be spending more time marching than fighting. But on the other hand, Skyrim was their next destination, and Kyros had heard that rebels and beasts stalked the wasteland home of the nords. Perhaps there he'd find a challenge.
     
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  6. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    The barely hidden pain in the mans' voice convinced her to drop the subject more than his words did. Whatever had happened, it must have been traumatizing. Her own losses her ship, her crew, her husband, lingered in the back of her mind. "Of course," she murmured, "I understand." Beside, her Lilliana shivered and her teeth chattered. The cold was only getting worse, and it wouldn't be long before the young imperial was in some serious trouble. Adalia drew the girl closer, sharing as much body warmth with her as she could, even though she wasn't much warmer. She'd been about to suggest they gather some wood for a fire, but the healer was already several steps ahead.

    He turned towards them, "Girl! Come over. The flames should keep you warm. You won't freeze, at least." Together, the pair gratefully crowded around the fire, Liliana crouching down as close as she could, and extending her freezing fingers to the warmth given off by the flame. "I'm afraid I can't recall your names. I am Caleb." The man offered apologetically. "I-I'm Lilliana." The imperial offered, the cold still making her stutter slightly. "And I am Adalia. A pleasure to meet you, Caleb."

    She felt eyes on her, and glanced up to see the skull-helmeted man, and their dark armored leader looking in their direction, and speaking in low tones. She wondered what they were talking about, then quickly decided she didn't want to know. She was no strategist, and anything else the two men rambled about would probably be something she didn't want to hear in any case. Or it'd enrage her enough to do something she'd regret later.
     
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  7. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Her fellow altmer must have noticed her glances at the odd cloak she wore, because she lifted the hem of it for Elwyns' inspection. It was clearly leather, heavily weathered, but still not like any type she'd seen. "You like it? From the ruling family of Anvil." That surprised her. The imperial nobility were unlikely to help an elf, especially one as...eccentric as this. It also confirmed her suspicion that she was a freelance assassin. Perhaps the coat had been a gift or payment to the assassin. There was one way to find out, and the altmer seemed pleasant enough, if unsettling. "Oh. So it was a gift then?"

    Cyrius glanced around as the others set up camp. Most kept to themselves, but the girl, the redguard, and the robed nord crowded together near the fire. The imperial kept his distance, not out of fear of the flame, but rather because he had no desire to be enticed by their blood. With an effort, he suppressed his predators' instincts, and looked away. Var'Hess, the old khajiit mercenary, was standing by their dark armored leader, who in turn was speaking with the skull faced warrior. He sauntered over and bowed at the waist, not quite able to hide his grin. "So you are our glorious captain. A pleasure. Cyrius Valiel, at your service."
     
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    #127 Harkatti, Jan 14, 2019
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  8. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    Uzar stomped along the group of mercenaries, his mismatched armor clanking as he did. The orc was silent but that wasn't anything unnatural for him. Outside of combat anyways. He'd long since forgotten the 'proper' ways of holding a conversation, and doubted anyone wanted to talk to him. Somewhere along the march, the earless elf that he'd been hired to protect had vanished, along with that skulking fox faced figure. Or perhaps they were taking a different route to their destination. Where was that again? High Rock. To kill a king. He wasn't too fussed with the details of how, exactly, they'd get close enough to some king and kill him. He left that up to the man in black who had assumed command of the others.

    In a stronghold, only the strongest was allowed to lead. If Uzar had still been himself he would have challenged the human for the right to lead the mercenaries. But he wasn't, and he had no desire to lead. So long as the manling brought him to the fighting and let him have his fill of killing, they would have no problems. Darkness was beginning to fall when the man called a halt, pointing out a sheltered area where they could rest for the night before moving on to the pass. It was a good place for a camp, and the rationing, strategical part of his mind recognized the value of the area. The trees offered concealment and some protection from the elements while the sheer rock face prevented attack from the rear.

    The raving mad warrior part of him, the dominant part, raged at the lack of killing. Every time they stopped, it delayed the savage joy of release, of hacking and smashing his way through the foe, unstoppable and uncontrollable as a storm. The rest of the company spread out inside the camp, getting a fire started or just relaxing from their long march. Uzar spotted a small boulder, and settled down on it, ignoring the breton in scarred plate armor nearby.

    Whether the breton said anything to him or not, Uzar didn't hear. The battlelust was upon him, and getting worse. 'Time to kill.' It growled in his mind. 'No. These are allies.' 'They are weak' the voice snarled. 'Leave them. Kill them if they get in the way.' The orc clutched his bare head in both hands, growling quiet denials against the voice. 'I say when it is time to kill. I am in control!' He snarled at his worse half. ' You lie, Uzar. You lost control long ago.' The truth, Uzar decided, hurt. He growled again, audibly this time. He glanced down at his mis-matched armor, stained with blood. He remembered the days he'd taken pride in his gleaming orichalcum gear. Those times were long gone now, and all he felt when he glanced at his gear was shame. He found himself looking forwards to the next battle.
     
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  9. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    "They are a reminder that only I am responsible for my actions. A lesson everyone must learn, and one I learned the hard way. With these tattoos, I shan't forget what I've done." Rajeem shrugged, agreeing with the ideal, but not sure of the practical applications. As a mercenary, he'd never felt personally responsible for carrying out the job he was hired to accomplish. The client would pay to have something done, and Rajeem would make it so. Apparently, the elf felt differently, but that wasn't why his eyes lingered on the dunmers' tattooed forearms. Hadn't he heard something about an assassin with white hands working in the empire?

    Maybe his face had betrayed his thoughts, because the elf suddenly gestured at Rajeems' stump of a horn, and asked how it'd happened. A fair question, seeing how he'd badgered the mer about his own distinctive markings. He grinned, baring needle sharp teeth. "Got hired for a job. Some redguard rebel was raiding the countryside. I set out with a group similar to this one with instructions to put an end to him. I guess they forgot to mention that the target was an Alik'r blade master. He and his friends nearly took my head off." He tapped the end of his stump. "Got very lucky. But damn if it wasn't the best fight I've ever had. He took my horn. I took his life."

    They walked for some time longer before the black armoured bugger he'd argued with earlier signaled a halt. While Iornath, the insufferable bosmer, stalked off to hunt or patrol the perimiter or something along those lines, Rajeem gestured the tattooed elf to join him near the warmth of the fire. "Let me ask you something else. This job we've been hired for. Killing a king, effectively ending the rebellion and sentencing hundreds if not thousands to death, slavery, or gods know what else, will you feel responsible for that? Or are you going to accept that you were hired to carry out a task, and saw it done?"
     
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  10. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    "So you are our glorious captain. A pleasure. Cyrius Valiel, at your service." A newcomer, the imperial Thalien had seen speaking with Var'Hess, approached, offering a short bow as he delivered his greeting. The man was grinning, from mischievous intentions or genuine enthusiasm he couldn't tell, but was willing to bet on the former rather than the latter. Shooting Vintor a warning glance, to drop their current conversation, he stood, noting the casual confidence with which the man stood. A swordsman who had the utmost confidence in his abilities. Whether his confidence bordering on arrogance was warranted or not, Thalien suspected they'd soon find out.

    "'Glorious captain', you say" he repeated, with a slight grin of his own, though his eyes remained as inscrutable as the depths of a lake. "I wonder, are you attempting flattery, or establishing that I am indeed the leader of this group, so that you may heap the blame upon my shoulders, should this expedition fail?" His tone was mild, but the question was genuine. He was not so foolish as to trust any of the group, besides those he already knew, but having a useful ally couldn't hurt. And discovering who his enemies were early on was just common sense.
     
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  11. Signus

    Signus Active Member

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    The reply the nord ranger offered was no more revealing than Oriens' own answers. He trusts me about as much as I trust him. He realized, though it came as no real surprise. None of them would trust him so long as he wore the robes and armor of an imperial battle mage, and he wasn't about to discard the only link to his past. Even so, he owed his life to these mercenaries, or at least the khajiit and dunmer, and he could afford to show some common decency. He was shaken from his internal musings when the man leading them called for a halt, indicating that they'd camp for the night, before making their way through the pale pass and onto Skyrim.

    Orien froze. The pass...of course they'd be taking the bloody pass! It was the easiest way in and out of Skyrim, and it would be heavily guarded. Legionnaires, certainly and they'd have battlemages with them as well. He didn't think they'd recognize him, but they wouldn't need to know him by name. A single glance at his forehead, and all would be lost. For him, anyways. The mercenaries wouldn't fight to keep him and before long he'd be back in the clutches of the confessors.

    He sucked in a breath of clear, cold mountain air to clear his head, and looked around. The company of mercenaries had spread throughout the clearing, setting up camp for the night. The robed nord, the redguard woman, and a young imperial sat near the fire, and were soon joined by Elrasur and a one horned argonian. If I'm going to make allies, I might as well start here.' He walked over, reaching into his satchel he did so, and pulled out an apple, still firm, red, and gleaming in the firelight. He handed it to the younger imperial who looked like she was little more than skin and bones. "Here. It's not much, I know, but better than nothing."
     
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  12. Aethalia

    Aethalia Well-Known Member

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    Kylira reigned in her sudden outburst, impressed with the other altmer having taken it in stride. Slowly, the buzzing irritations in the back of her head subsided, and she flashed her kinswoman a smile. "Oh. So it was a gift then?" Kylira frowned at the question, then glanced down at the hem of her overcoat she'd been showing off a few moments ago. Clearly, this one wasn't as clever as she looked. Or, like so many others, she was simply jumping to a completely different conclusion. "No, it is them." She pointed out the slight distortions where her blades had peeled skin away from muscle and bone. "Took me forever to put it all together. I've had it enchanted against weather and tearing. And let's face it, I'm getting far more use out of their skin then they ever will."
     
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  13. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    To her credit, Elwyn was able to keep most of the shock from showing. She blinked rapidly, and managed a single, completely inadequate "oh" which may or may not have offended her fellow altmer. The woman wasn't finished, however, going on about how she'd had the skins enchanted against wear and tear. "-And let's face it, I'm getting far more use out of their skin then they ever will." She finished with. "Oh." Elwyn said again, this time a little stronger. "How...nice for you." She took a cautious step away from the deranged altmer. Certainly not a hasty step- she didn't want to set her off. Her earlier outburst about Skyrim and axes to the face already hinted that she was somewhat less than sane. Now that they were encamped, she had a viable excuse to make her escape. "I find myself weary. I'll leave you to your own business, for now." With that, she strode over to the fire, where a small group was forming. She stood awkwardly, not quite sure how to introduce herself. She felt at ease with her fellow elves, but there was a diverse group near the fire, imperial, nord, dunmer, redguard, even the one horned argonian. "May I join you?"


    Cyrius' grin only grew at the mans' response. He was as capable a thinker as he was a leader, it seemed. "Can it not be a bit of both? After all, these are dangerous times, and mercenaries like ourselves need to look after our own interests first and foremost." He straightened from his bow, and became serious. "I offer you my sword, so long as you lead. I will guard your back, or your front, if you so wish. You seem a clever sort, and it would be a shame to see this company decapitated so soon after setting out." Though he was being honest, as honest as a creature like he could afford to be, Cyrius wasn't sure what prompted the sudden offer of protection.
     
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    #133 Harkatti, Jan 18, 2019 at 7:21 PM
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019 at 8:29 AM
  14. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Athara stared after the cloaked warrior, a slight grin on her feline features. She liked the man...not in a romantic manner, but as a comrade, something she'd never really had before in her line of work. His gruff, no nonsense demeanor mixed with a bit of sardonic wit was a relief, among the grim situations she often found herself in. He returned to where their current leader sat, seemingly merging with the darkness, even to the khajiits' eyes. Content that she had a vague idea of where he'd gotten to, she looked around the rest of the camp. While the company had started out isolated, most were now drifting towards the fire that the robed nord man had created a little while ago. Several people were striking up conversation or sharing rations.

    A glint of light off crimson armour caught the assassins' attention. The altmer in red, of course. Now that she wasn't preoccupied guarding herself from a dagger in the back in the underempire, or being menaced by imperial archons, she could admire the altmer in peace. And she was worth admiring, Athara decided. The typical high elf cheekbones, dark hair shining in the light of flame, moderate curves. Not someone that would stand out in a crowd, the elf was built like a warrior. No...a fighter. Dextrous and skilled, relying on speed and reach. And her smarts. All things Athara found desirable in a partner. If the elf returned her affections...well, there was one way to find out, and she'd never been the sigh type. She approached from behind, until she was well within arms' reach of the elven beauty. "Hello there," she breathed into one exquisitely tapered ear, stepping to the altmers' other side, midnight black tale brushing against the back of her knees. "You seemed lonely. Perhaps you would care to share a tale or two?"
     
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  15. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Thalien turned to him, expression troubled "and what would you have me do? Send her back to the city, on her own? Leave her here for whatever bandits or monsters wander by? Kill her myself?" Vintor was about to suggest that was exactly what he should do, when an imperial, clad in a long coat and with a swordsmans' swagger, approached and introduced himself. There was something else about the man...something that called to his past life. 'Vampire'. He recognized the creature by his pale skin and obvious lack of breath. He opened his mouth to warn Thalien, then closed it again. The imperial seemed more interesting in making allies than he was putting the captain off his guard. And if things should turn violent, Joren was doubtless lurking nearby, ready with his halberd.

    So he stepped away, towards the other vampire, the breton in scarred armour. The breton leaned against a tree, watching the camp with an expression of disdain on his noble features. Vintor moved closer, not particularly worried about being made a meal. "Your fellow seeks to make allies, while you distance yourself. Enough to draw suspicion to your motives." The dark paladin said bluntly. He didn't really suspect the vampire, or rather, no more than he usually did the creatures. But he wasn't about to let him get comfortable. Especially not if he was as good with that sword as he seemed to think he was.
     
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