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Private (18+) Hands of the Sorrowful Knight: Redux

Discussion in 'Skyrim Roleplaying' started by CapObvious, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    To his relief, the ones that had already awoken were of a like mind. Both had voiced their intentions, one with more venom than the other, but one had remained silent. The troubled imperial remained with his head facing downward, signs of conflict etched on his alongside the blood and dirt. Daxos would not back down, Dolmas knew him too well to believe such. It would seem however that he needed some encouragement. Though that would have to wait. The encroaching darkness would not wait for them to be roused, and he had honestly grown tired of talking. He nodded to Brynn, then once more to Cosset after she had taken initiative and begun exiting the protection of the overhang. He was glad of their assistance, they both had proven themselves quite capable fighters, and easily amenable to the ever changing tides of combat. They would no doubt be indispensable in the coming struggle.


    “Thank you.” He said simply, not allowing himself to dive deeper. They had wasted enough time. “Now with that matter settled, we need to focus our attention to our more pressing concerns. To begin, we need shelter. Preferably somewhere close by, I doubt we’d do well walking all the way back to Whiterun proper in our current shape.” He paused for a moment to ponder, thinking on what knowledge he had of the hold for a suitable location.


    As if woken from a trance, Daxos spoke up, his words quick and concise. “Silent Moons.” He stated, before looking to Dolmas, who was eyeing him with vague curiosity. Daxos continued. “There’s...there’s a old fortification to the west of here, just a short distance away. It’s not right next door, but from what I recall, it’d be the perfect place to set up and prepare. It’s also quite defensible from what I remember, so should we find ourselves under attack…” He trailed off, reaching for his head as if to nurse a concussion. He picked up again, but offered an apology. “I’m sorry, it seems I’ve taken a few blows, and things are still a bit hazy. I might not be in the best state of mind to guide us there.” Dolmas nodded, turning to look at Brynn. “Then perhaps you know the way? You’re a companion, are you not? Surely you’ve wandered this hold quite a bit in your travels to quell beasts and such.”


    She did not respond straight away, showing signs of the exhaustion that surely plagued her. However, she did provide a response, and thankfully, it was the one he was hoping for. "I know the way and I can lead you all there, sun or moon." She replied solemnly, offering a nod in affirmation.


    Dolmas gave a weak smile, before nodding. “Perfect. Thank you.” He paused to look at them all, his mind churning as he formulated the last of the details. “Then, if you would not mind, I’d prefer if you three go on ahead and make sure that location is still secure, and that it can be accessed. I will need to start asking around for some further aid. We’re far too few to put up much of a fight on our own, and to be honest, we need some fresh blood on this. Some people Rumare hasn’t observed. I’ll gather what aid I can, and then I will meet you as soon as I am able. However, if it proves to be too arduous a task, fall back, and we will take on whatever opposition we face together.”


    He then looked down to the fellows who remained at their feet even still. “But first, I must tend to these and see them off in your direction as well, if they also mean to aid us. Take care, you lot.” With that, he turned to kneel down to gaze over the fallen allies that remained, while the rest began their journey to what would hopefully become their new headquarters. Dolmas was silent in his observations, his thoughts drifting back to the battles that were waged in the city before everything had fallen apart.


    The imperial twins and their third, the soft-spoken, clumsy nord mage, the redguard knight, all resting soundly beneath the canopy. Each at peace, probably not even aware of the wounds they sustained, or the world they were about to find themselves in. Blissfully unaware.. As Dolmas reached for the hand of the first one who lied before him, a powerful force pulled his hand back and sent him tumbling to the ground, accompanied by a resounding NO! Shocked at first by the abrupt interruption, he slowly began to rise, before something thrust him back down once more, and he finally understood what was transpiring.


    That is quite enough of that, you damnable fool! Leave these worthless insects where they lie. They are not worth being brought back into the fold. They are not even worthy of the breaths of air they continue to leech from the world around them. If we are going to have our chance to gouge those worthless eyes out of the heads of that damnable altmer and his warrior princess, I will NOT allow these fools to go blundering in and messing it up for me again. LEAVE THEM.


    Dolmas ignored the words of his rampaging other half, preparing to reach once more for them before Valen spoke again.


    I said…


    Dolmas began to feel a searing hot pain from within his skull, causing him to clutch it desperately, wordlessly begging for it to stop. The pain did not relent, and he felt Valen’s presence grow ever stronger.


    LEAVE THEM.


    He raged against the inferno raging between his ears, attempting with all his might to thrust himself back into power before it was too late. But to his dismay, it already was. Valen took control with a small, sinister chuckle, before rising to his feet and staring down at the bodies of the fallen below him. “You heard the woman, my friend. We cannot afford to waste any more time. If we’re going to find the help we need, we cannot rely on the worthless wastrels who have proven themselves to only be stepping stones to his ascension. Leave them to die. Let them fester and rot. Give them back to the dirt from which they’ve spawned and have since wasted their existence.” Dolmas tried his damndest to regain control, but Valen’s will was overwhelming. “We will find those who are not so pathetic to aid us. Perhaps they will be enough to rise to the level of fodder, and not just the scum at the bottom of the riverbeds. Either way, they cannot be more trite than these, and I will take that chance over letting them put our lives on the line any further.” He turned on his heel and marched out of the shade of the overhang into the darkening sky, and pondered. “Now, where to find our next batch of willing buffoons?” With a look to the east, toward the rolling plains of Whiterun hold, he let loose a smirk.


    “Let’s go on an adventure, little Dolmy. Make some new friends. You’ll have a wonderful time.”
     
    #61 CapObvious, Jan 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  2. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Nothing but a lyre

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    *

    The cool night air enveloped her, as she allowed it's cleansing presence to wash over her tired psyche. She had taken her first step into the open in the same way one walks into their home, with a sense of relief and a routine to follow almost mechanically. More so, naturally. She invited her guests in with little more than a gesture, into the world she had chosen to become familiar with. The murmur of flowing water had been her guide, and she knew intimately the rivers every curve. The way the small rocks delicately clattered under her feet as they moved against each other was a whisper welcoming her back.

    “This way” The suddenly softened woman glanced over her shoulder for a moment as she spoke, looking her flock over.

    Taking a crisp breath of air into her lungs she made a plan, plotted their course and with a sigh and a slight dip of her shoulders began their journey. She slipped over the small rocky rise with her eyes on the sky, and suddenly, a flame at her back. It made the shadows dance, and she suspected it brought the others some comfort. She had been robbed of the pale blue light that the moon lent to the planes but they had gained sight. She mused, It was a fair enough trade.


    She turned her mind away from the path itself and attempted to focus outwards. She found the gentle rhythm of their footfall enticed a kind of atmospheric magic, leading them further into a comfortable familiarity with the land. Torchbugs danced in strange patterns, blinking in the distance, while a fox barked and then screamed forlornly into the still night air. It hung unchallenged, holding her thoughts captive until it faded away. Nearby a herd of caribou grazed peacefully on a hillside meadow, slipping silently into the treeline only as the fire drew near.


    It brought her a sense of harmony and a smile. She felt safe enough then, she decided as she collected her thoughts in preparation, to let in the trials of the day and to reflect upon their meaning. Her first thought was of the others. She could picture them, laying still in the empty den of a saber cat, but try as she may she could not seem to connect emotionally with the image. Her brow furrowed as she struggled, hiding her dismay in the steep climb that faced them.

    “Stick to the left.” She called, after considering the slope only briefly before delving back into her own personal obstacle.

    Usually, empathetic her newfound apathy seemed uncharacteristic. Would she be unable to push past her contempt to feel for their suffering as souls? Or were their shortcomings too insurmountable in the face of such high stakes? Time, she concluded was the least she could give herself. After all, there were her own shortcomings to consider. She gripped the coarse stone to her immediate right and hoisted herself to the highest point. The craggy rock left a textured indentation in her hand, while the Nord left behind all traces of the internal conflict.

    It was all for the best, it seemed, as they had almost reached their destination. High up on the adjacent wall of the small valley in which they stood the squared stone was unmistakable. It was unlikely that in the darkness the others could see the markings, so she slowed her pace to bring them near. One of the two seemed especially keen, and as she turned her body ready to receive them she was faced with the imperial featuring a near fearful expression.

    “Hey. Brynn was it?”

    “Yes.” her brows rose, her gaze travelling to his face, prepared to make him feel heard.

    “Listen, I...I wanted to apologize. For earlier. I wanted to be sure you all had survived, and in my haste to do so, I fear I may have crossed a line.”

    “Daxos,” She reached out to touch his arm supportively, adding a tired smile for good measure “I wouldn't carry on worrying. It was good of you to apologize, the right thing I believe, and I accept. I had not planned on holding it against you.”

    Her eyes watched his almost warmly before being beckoned by the wavering flame that by all counts would soon overtake them. So she broke contact, letting her face return to its natural state. Starting down the valley she paused, looking once more over her shoulder to deliver her final statement before leading them to the steps of Silent Moons.

    “We all make rash decisions when lives are on the line.”

    *
     
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  3. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    Some time later…


    Daxos stepped about Silent Moons slowly, wandering it’s winding corridors beneath the surface carefully, a lit torch in hand held aloft to guide his way. With each few steps another sconce revealed itself from the shadows cast upon the aging stone, and with it the potential for more of the path to be revealed. Bringing his torch together with the one he had just discovered, the embers danced between them, the transfer of flame slow to start but shone just as bright when the process was complete. However, the path wasn’t so new to Daxos that he needed to explore. Not at all. To him, if anything, the locale felt all too familiar as he traversed it slowly, step by overly cautious step. His eyes traced over the architecture and the feelings that stemmed of it were not foreboding or the wonder of exploring old ruins, but instead those of nostalgia or remembrance. Bare fingers, finally bereft of the gauntlets he wore, tracing the cracks and crevices of the cold stone.


    But why? Surely he had not been here before?


    He continued to wander the hollow passage while his mind tried to piece together this rather peculiar puzzle. He pondered as to why the location seemed to dawn upon him at such an opportune moment, and the thoughts that flooded him when the name alone had simply graced his mind’s eye. The images were fuzzy, but were hauntingly familiar as he gazed upon the work and correlated the similarities between them. There was more to this than he remembered, surely. But what was it, exactly?


    His mind slipped back toward his companions from earlier, who were no doubt making the place feel more like home above, bringing the old fortification to suit their individual tastes. His mind lingered upon Brynn once more, how she accepted his apology so easily. The softness in her voice and the gingerness of her touch were enough to allay the fears that had begun to stir beneath the surface. It all seemed so familiar, and yet even more different than what he had ever experienced before. Not to mention, different than what he had expected from her after seeing her on the battlefield with his own eyes. It would seem that the grace and unwavering composure with which she held herself in war extended to times of peace, even if it took a far different form. She was quite the intriguing woman, to be sure, and he felt she would become a companion he could trust both on and off the field. However, the reflection of his memories and speculation of her character would have to wait. The torch grew dimmer by the moment, and would no doubt run out before he made it back to the entrance to the subsect of tunnels he had ventured down unless he turned back now. With a brief glance down the path he had tread once more, he gave a defeated sigh, then spun on his heel to make his return to the others.


    ---


    As he reached the top of the stairs he tossed the spent torch into a small bin, continuing to make his way past the different corridors which littered the area beneath the stronghold. Eyes darting to the corners of the structure around him, he caught sight of his two companions working tirelessly, each in their own way, to make this place more suitable to their needs. Even with just the three of them the once dormant ruin was buzzing with activity once more, and it brought some comfort to his anxious soul. His eyes did not linger on his new companions, however, instead guiding him to the room that he had claimed to be his own safe haven. As he stepped through the threshold, he let out the briefest of sighs, rolling his shoulders and embracing the atmosphere of his newest place of residence.

    The room was spartan, to be sure, though it did hold the touches of a brief occupation. It did not carry the nuances of his quarters in Anvil Castle, to which he was more than thankful. No heraldry or banners hanging about, not a servant nor hateful half-sibling in sight. No overly doting father reminding him of the responsibilities that came with being the son of a count. Were the situation not so dire, it would have been a near dream come true for him. Though he did miss the busy work of his time as the head of the guard, the constant reading of reports or the less serious times of camaraderie and merriment when the times called for it. However, he did not expect the lack of busy work to sate his anxiousness to last much longer, nor the vacancy the room he now occupied suggested. No doubt it as well as the others would be filled to the brim with tomes, arms and items of note soon enough, perhaps even something that could rival the power of the god-like beings they were sure to face. His mind raced with the possibilities this place held for them all, while his eyes gazed upon the one thing that would put that rushing mind at ease.

    There, situated in the corner, was a sparring dummy, hand built by Dax himself, crafted from the scrap around the area. It was crude, of course. He was no craftsman. However it would do in a pinch, and that was all he needed for the time being. To cut loose, to unleash the pent up frustration of everything that had fallen upon them as of late. To work out his anger on something other than another human being who likely did not deserve it. Or, more like, would kill him if he became such a gross liability to the party at large. As he stretched and took his blade in his hands, feeling the weight and giving it a few test flurries, he brought it to bear before his impromptu combat partner, before letting himself release a knowing smirk.


    Surely this would take the edge off. If not, he didn’t know what would.
     
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  4. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    Meanwhile, within the walls of Whiteruns' capital city...

    Word had spread like wildfire of the destruction of Rorikstead, the tales growing larger and larger the more times he heard it recounted. Though the details were often exaggerated, the end result was always the same: The once bustling city of Rorikstead, and all those that lied within it, had been burned to cinders. He had recalled the Captain’s orders had their group failed to make it back out alive, turn the city to the torch and hope that whatever lied within turned to ash along with it. The details never brought forth who exactly was responsible for the city’s destruction, only that those who had remained encamped around it’s walls had yet to appear anywhere for shelter or aid. That boded ill, thought the dunmer as he made his way around Whiterun proper, trying to find as much information as he could, and hopefully, another few souls who were not so struck with fear that they would willingly take up arms to aid him. However, while the first came in abundance, whether truth or embellishment, the second was nowhere to be found. It seemed they all came to the conclusion that this fight was not theirs, and that they would have no part of whatever force it was that wrought such hellacious havoc in the province just a few hours earlier.


    Had Dolmas any patience left, he would have been far more understanding. However the mer was at the end of his rope, and the furrowing of his brow as more and more refused to take up arms in Skyrim’s defense was all that was needed to prove it.With one more denial, Dolmas stormed out of the overcrowded inn and back into the streets, bundling his coat and heading back toward the city gates. This was going nowhere. There had to be someone in this damn province who was not so swift to bat away the danger in effort to remain unattached, or someone not so close to soiling themselves in fear whenever the tale is remembered. His frustration only grew, any feeling of his success beginning to dwindle, only to be replaced with a reminder of just how dire the situation was. They had the people in the cavern to return to, if they yet remained. As well as those Brynn had led to their newest sanctuary. Too many people counted on any aid he could bring, and he was coming up empty handed.


    With a lack of sense of direction for where to go next, he only found the best alternative was to double back toward Silent Moons, after checking on their companions at the cavern and offering them the same ultimatum. Though it would be fair to say Dolmas was not in the state of mind to be refused. He would have to be more persuasive, or if it came to it, far more forceful, to get what Skyrim needed to stop Rumare and his champions from getting their feet underneath them. They couldn’t afford to let that happen. But it was too late to accomplish much, the darkness was all but enveloping the world around him and he needed to rest and recover. He would try again in the morning, perhaps having the aid of the others as well to help spread the message. Daxos always was better at rallying people to unwinnable causes, the far more charismatic of the pair. Though, between the disheveled appearance and uneasy demeanor, it wasn’t hard to say that anyone of his companions were by far a more suitable candidate to instill hope and make grand calls to action. With renewed fervor to attempt to begin anew tomorrow, he strode to the stables, purchased a horse, and rode off toward Silent Moons once more.
     
  5. Stone99

    Stone99 New Member

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    "Of course they had to blow up the whole blasted town..."

    As the bright noon sun beat down upon the plains and cleared away the mists of the morning, a single figure wandered along a flat, winding road. His faded black robes swished around him, obscuring most everything from view save for the pale skin of his head and hands. Because of the bright, sunny day (and the fact that the traveler already looked plenty spooky) he had opted to keep his hood down for the time being. This unfortunately meant that the man's face was presented to the world in all its tired, grumpy glory, with dull blue eyes flicking cautiously across the path in front of him and his left hand moving up to scratch at a scraggly, unkempt beard every so often. Really the best word to describe his overall appearance was disheveled, from the muddy, dirty hem of his robes to his close-cropped, slightly greasy hair. Thankfully he at least bathed often enough to not smell as bad as he looked, although judging from the foul expression on his face and the indignant manner with which he grumbled to himself as he walked his mood was as worn-down as his appearance.

    "... Can't even get past the wall... Why everything short of the Legion is there, prancing around and ordering this way and that is beyond me..."

    This particular strip of road was no stranger to travelers, even muttering, dirty travelers like the one currently occupying it. The path coming eastward from Roriksted into the plains had seen an uptick in traffic after the war had concluded, with the little town's booming growth making it a trading hub that almost rivaled Whiterun itself. With its proximity to the Reach and Hjalmarch it had served as a convenient stop for those making their way across the province... At least, until it had been blown to Oblivion and back by Divines only knew what. In any case, the miserable little smoldering ruin was no longer important in his mind. What mattered now was the towering city coming into view as the vast yellow plains slowly started to rise into a singular ridge overlooking a rushing river. Whiterun was majestic, he had to admit. The citadel loomed over the plains as a physical reminder of Nordic architectural prowess, with the wooden buildings having survived fear, fire and the fury of a province divided through the years. That may have had less to do with the locals' sturdy building techniques and more to do with their pigheaded refusal to just move somewhere else in the empty plains. In a grassland, any spot was as good as anywhere else, wasn't it? No, despite it all the people of Whiterun had stayed put and endured whatever Skyrim saw fit to throw at them, their tenacity unwavering in the face of whatever threat rose up to challenge them.

    "Bunch of lousy, pigheaded oafs... Could've helped figure out what had actually happened, but oh no, they needed their perimeter and their security and their proper burial practices..."

    It was for these reasons that once the man came to a point in the road where trees gave way to buildings and the path branched between north, south and east around the Throat of the World he kept right on walking, planting his gnarled wooden staff on the cobblestone road below after every few steps with no intention of actually stopping at one of Skyrim's most prosperous, populous cities. He had a different destination in mind, a destination that he had chosen specifically for its relatively low population and minimally inhabited ruins. He was on his way to Falkreath once again, and there was no force on Tamriel that could dissuade him from that goal.
     
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    #65 Stone99, Jan 18, 2019
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  6. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Nothing but a lyre

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    *

    “So that's it then?”

    A silence swept the party as she took a deep breath and lifted her gaze to meet his for last time. The weight of the crossroad was suffocating, like the dark clouds that hung far too low for comfort. They groaned contemptuously, without any possible understanding or control of the tension they built. So too the road, pocked by deep gouges, marking the passage of man, beast, and time alike with it's scars. It was no destination, this was not a place that one finished a journey. Here there was no choice but to move forward, there was a decision to be made. In fact, it was demanded. She could see that in their eyes and though small in the face of the mountain that towered above them, their combined gaze seemed insurmountable.

    “After everything, we’ve been through, how can you leave us like this?”

    The usually jovial voice wavered uncontrollably, the eyes that pierced her now wet with the burden of his pain. It filled her chest with a hollow sickness knowing that she could not give him what he wanted. Hardly able to find her voice she thought only that she did not wish to remember him like this. Wishing wordlessly, miserably that he would not remember her at all.

    “It won’t be the same without you, but I can see you’ve made up your mind”

    Ever kindly, gentle and mindful in all things Alwaen endeavoured to hide her own sorrow and gently rested a hand on the knight's shoulder. The pale blue robes gently rustling as she moved to his side made Aashi homesick for the altmer’s motherly touch. Tension had been replaced with a sense of finality, there was nothing left to do but offer farewells. In mutters, in empty words, and in well wishes they cleaved her reluctantly from their ranks. As any family did, they knew that their own grief must be set aside. They needed to be strong, for Cyprien’s sake. Even the old man found kindness within him, grunting as he turned away.

    “She's not a coward like the rest of us.” he smirked, “Can’t leave Skyrim while ther’s folk that need attending. Shames on us if any.”

    The sunbaked creature chortled, shaking his head as he left to follow the lazy incline. It was with that final remark that they all began to break away, winding their way up the hill until only two were left. Smaller than ever the pale khajiit stood alone while Alwaen beckoned softly, whispering over Cyprien’s shoulder into deaf ears. From the darkness of the heavens, rain came forth, soaking the pitiful wretches. All the while Aashi’s eyes had never left his face. Her heart lodged firmly in her throat.

    Then suddenly she was in his arms. Ripping himself from any notion of anger he closed the gap between them, wrapping the healer in a rough and firm embrace. Against the warmth of his chest, the feeling of loss swelled followed by the most profound yearning her body could endure. There was no illusion of strength as she trembled under a charged kiss placed between her ears. His raw voice whispering leaving what little she had in pieces…

    “Please… if you can’t stay with me. Stay safe.”

    Aashi felt herself choke as the hold finally faltered and with certainty believed she would never be able to breathe again. Dazed she was hardly aware of the cold metal object being jammed into her paw, fingers being folded to ensnare it. There was too much left to be said for them to begin now. Trapped in a numbing haze she forced herself to watch him leave, shuddering with silent tears. Even long after he had disappeared from sight she remained unmoving, plastered with rain and the weight of her decision.

    What have I done?

    ~​

    Time had continued to pass largely unnoticed by the muted figure who haunted the crossroads, ensnared by a memory that refused to fade. Oddly enough no notion of movement had been able to penetrate her dream-like state. She had only just begun to break the surface, grasping at some semblance of composure. Gripping all the tighter as her bat-like ears detected the approach of a stranger, swivelling dramatically. The movement plunged her back into the world of action, animating the alabaster statue.

    Travelling up the path, which had become slick and glistened wetly, was what she perceived to be a man dress plainly in black garb. In appearance, they differed greatly, though she made no judgement on that alone. He had come from the direction of Rorikstead, and Whiterun beyond, and so was deemed of some use. Promptly dropping the invisibility that cloaked her she turned towards him. The mud at her feet squelching in resistance as if seeking to hold her, opposing the transient nature of this place.

    “Traveler,” her voice rose steadily as she called out “I do not mean to be of any trouble, but I have something to ask of you.”

    There was a pause as she waited for him to draw nearer. There was nothing comforting about him to reassure her that she was following Cyprien request but it was far too late now. Besides, many people she had encountered were far different from what their appearance would have you believe. Perhaps black was simply his colour.

    “My apologies, I was only hoping you would have fresher news than I on the tragedy at Rorikstead. I am a healer, hoping to lend my skill in their time of need.” She took a deep breath as she thought of the work ahead of her, and what she had lost in order to pursue it. “Do you know, what has become of the cities inhabitance and the guards sent to fight the scourge?”


    *
     
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    #66 Hlíf 'Ulfr, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  7. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    The moon rose behind Dolmas as he and his new steed barreled back to where he came, the mer’s countenance still bearing the frustrations from his lack of luck in town. The anger he had felt for the refusal of aid had barely faded as he followed the beaten paths to find the hollow once more. However, the frustration was soon replaced as his worries for their lives took their place. He wished he had been able to wrestle control away from Valen sooner; had at least gotten them on their way to their new home before he had set off to find more. He knew such thoughts were in vain, however, as once Valen had sunk his claws in the mer’s consciousness, the chances of him taking it back cleanly were dismal at best. With a grunt he pushed this and all other worries from his mind, focusing on the path ahead, both physical and proverbial, listing the steps out to the rhythm of the hoof-beats in the muddied ground beneath their feet. He only hoped there was still time to correct the mistake that left those poor souls unattended, likely without a clue as what to do next. He needed to be there to set the record straight.


    As the locale began to take a familiar shape, he let the swift gallop drop into a slow trot, taking in the surroundings as he surveyed the area for any changes since he left it a few hours prior. The path to the hollow remained largely undisturbed, save for some plants that had simply shifted in the breeze. However, as his eyes scanned upward toward the mouth of the cavern, all hope of this being a simple affair were lost. Distressed patches of grass gave way to deep pressed prints, beast-like in origin, their destination all too apparent. Dolmas grit his teeth as he dismounted from his horse, before crouching. When he was satisfied with the lack of any further movement, he began his approach, deftly creeping toward the hollow, watching the prints for any sign of a struggle or rushed movement.


    As he came closer, he caught sight of a flash from within the cavern. Thinking at first to just be his nerves playing tricks on his eyes, he was quickly reaffirmed when the flash grew brighter, the source no doubt being torchlight. The telltale flicker upon the walls of the cavern were a telltale sign, and after a moment, Dolmas allowed himself to breathe for the first time since his investigation began. It seemed that their companions were awake at last, and had deemed it fit to remain within the cavern. Odd, given the circumstances, but he had pushed the thought aside, it was more than likely they had only recently awoken, and had figured it too late in the night to move on. Add that to any injuries they had sustained and it made more and more sense that they had stayed put for the time being. He exhaled, letting his worry ride out upon his breath as he began to rise slowly, breaking the careful motion he had exercised just moments ago as he continued to make his way toward the opening in the cavern. However, as he drew closer to the entrance, a sight from within stopped him dead in his tracks. As the light drew nearer to the wall, the details of the stone were brought to his attention. Not of the wall itself, but rather, what it was adorned with. As his mind registered what he was seeing, he cursed softly beneath his breath, ducking back downward, his eyes not moving from the grisly image. Blood, strewn across the cavern walls with reckless abandon. Large red hand prints, clawed, pressed firmly against it in some places, while in others it was smeared in unruly arcs, leaving trails as the print faded further and further. Dolmas instinctively grasped the hilt of one of his blades as he crept closer, prepared for an encounter with what looked to be a great beast. He had hoped that maybe it had already been dead, that the group had managed to take it out on their own, and it was merely the remains. However, it felt like wishful thinking on his part, and it was only a matter of time before the truth would be revealed.


    As he sidestepped slowly around the final boulder, a sound caused him to duck back behind it quickly. Whispers, barely audible in the chorus of the night rode the breeze. He did not recognize these voices. They did not belong to any of the small group he had left waiting here, nor even the voices of those who had already made their way to whatever safe haven Daxos had found for them. No, these voices were far more distinct, their accented, almost raspy speech providing Dolmas with one obvious discernment. These intruders were not of man or mer descent. He pondered upon their intentions as he listed his observations. Were they with Rumare and his new allies? Were they merely highwaymen who had noticed an opportunity for an easy score? Rampant speculation was all well and good, but he needed answers, and he wasn’t going to get any while he was hiding away faced in the opposite direction. He needed to see what exactly he was up against. As he peered around the corner of the boulder, he brought a foot forward, and his heart stopped. As his foot touched back down, a branch that had lied beneath it shuddered and broke beneath the weight, causing him to grit his teeth, pressing his back firmly against the boulder once more. He spat out a string of curses as he reached for his blades, noticing that the conversation between the strangers had ceased. Knowing he had been made, he braced himself for the inevitable confrontation, and waited for the opportune moment to strike.
     
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  8. Rajka-Dari

    Rajka-Dari Looter Extraordinaire

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    Skyrim was certainly colder than Vvardenfell.

    The pair walked alone over a gentle, sloping hill looking to the plains. Night had fallen around them quicker than they had hoped, and the lanterns of civilization were too far away for the eye to see. Atop of the small hill, a Khajiit rested on his haunches and surveyed the land before them. Next to him, an Argonian pressed the bottom of her staff into the earth, leaning against it. The Khajiit had predominantly white fur, the black spots of fur on his face scrunching as he sniffed into the wind. Two swords hung at his side; one of sturdy Khajiiti make, the other glinted against the moonlight an infamous curved tip of Hlaalu make and use.

    "There," The Khajiit pointed straight ahead. Before them lay a cave, the entrance shrouded in darkness. The cave came up in stone on the sides to carve away at the plains, making it a very secure location for what it was. “This one smells fortune on the wind, Raj thinks we will find something worth taking.” The Argonian removed her staff from the ground, looking down to her companion. “You have a nose for gold, Raj. Who am I to argue? Perhaps there we can make camp for the night as well.”

    Raj lead the way for them down into the hollow and toward the cave, the two walking along the plains under the spectacular Skyrim starscape. When they made their way into the cavern, the pair stood still and observed the scene. Blood covered the walls just inside the cave, smeared in rough movements and adorning the wall with sanguine handprints. “Jone and Jode,” Raj swore under his breath, placing his torch in a crack in the rocks and moving down into a crouch, motioning for his companion to follow suit. The two snuck into the cavern, and they did not have to move forward very long before running into their suspicions come to reality.

    Four bodies lay in the cave for them to examine. Three female, one male. “Ix, to this one,” Raj motioned for the Argonian to close the gap between them. She moved to his side, and the two studied the bodies for a moment. They were undoubtedly dead, this much they were sure of. The pair offered them a moment of silence before Raj turned the male onto his back and began to check his pockets. The male had come coin on him, which Raj quickly palmed. He opened the cinched coin purse on his belt, depositing the dead man’s earnings in with his own. “Ix, check the women. This one does have some standards.”

    “When did these standards arise?” Ix sneered with a flick of her scaled tail, kneeling onto the floor next to one of the women and began searching her person for anything valuable. The two combed over the bodies for their worth for a time, being slow and careful about their movements. Though they were slow, Raj kept his body at the ready. His hands never strayed too far from his swords. Whatever had done in these four could easily come back for them.

    “I say we collect what we can, hire a carriage south, and get out of Skyrim as soon as we can.” Ix turned one of the women onto her back, cutting her coin purse loose with one of her clawed fingers. “This cold is not becoming of a Saxhleel.”

    “Whatever is made here will decide if-” Raj held a hand out to silence Ix. He heard a solitary snap coming from the entrance of the cave. He was certain of it. The fur along his spine stood on end as he moved into a standing position. “Behind Raj!” Ix took note of his command and moved quickly behind her partner, staff at the ready. Raj pulled his swords from his sides, whirling to face whomever or whatever came to intrude upon them. “Do not hide in the shadows, this one knows you to be there!”
     
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  9. Stone99

    Stone99 New Member

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    “Traveler,” her voice rose steadily as she called out “I do not mean to be of any trouble, but I have something to ask of you.”

    The sudden voice coupled with the appearance of a robed cat woman twenty feet away caused the black-robed traveler to pause with alarm, bringing his gnarled staff up defensively and gripping it with both hands. He narrowed his eyes at the Khajiit, watching her closely with a suspicious frown as if he was expecting trouble. At the very least his reaction was reasonable enough, considering that she had just materialized out of thin air. For a few moments he just stood where he was, taking stock of her and trying to gauge whether or not he would be robbed if he continued on his way. After she made no move to draw a dagger or ready a spell, however, he slowly lowered his staff until the butt of it was firmly planted back in the damp ground and resumed walking forwards, now glancing around to the sides of the road to see if she was simply a distraction while bandits got into position to flank him. "Eh... Hello," he replied in a more reserved tone, dipping his head curtly and not losing his frown.

    Her apology as well as the nature of her next request caused the man to raise a bushy eyebrow, his frown growing less immediately suspicious and more curious than anything. The Breton inched forwards, taking slow, measured steps until he was around ten feet away rather than the twenty he had been. "Rorikstead, was it? No, I'm afraid I don't have any more news than anyone else. The road I went down was nearly worn out with how much traffic it's seen, and the city itself wasn't much more than a plume of smoke. It's a great bloody mess if you ask me," he finished with an annoyed huff, grinding the butt of his staff into the mud and glaring off to the woods beyond the road. "If you're looking to heal, you'd better get there quickly. I didn't see many on the road, and inside I don't think there'd be anyone around that still needs help one way or another." With that grave statement out of the way the man returned his eyes to the fuzzier stranger, giving her another once over before nodding once more. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I really need to be on my way." He then promptly began trudging along the path in much the same labored, tired stride he had been using, boots squelching in the muddier terrain and a low grumble escaping him about the lack of proper waterproofing materials in this part of the world.
     
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  10. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    Dolmas cursed under his breath as it became clear that he no longer held the advantage of surprise. He unsheathed his blades, gripping each one tightly as he braced himself for the inevitable. Despite no longer being able to draw upon the element of surprise, he still had access to some arguably useful nuggets of information. The most obvious being, due to the communication he caught wind of before he made the blunder, that he was outnumbered. Depending on how many of those unintelligible voices were the group he had left in the cavern, it could still be a winnable scenario, but without being able to actually see the group in question he could not know just how deep of a mess he had gotten himself into. On top of this, going by the call for his emergence from his covered position, one was a khajiit. That, or he had also had been plagued by a sort of personality disorder, the response showing a distinct lack of self.


    Kindred spirits perhaps? Wonderful. The more loons the better. SWING OPEN THE DOOR AND LET OUR NEW FRIENDS IN. Bring them within reach of my welcoming arms, and itching blades. I WISH TO GREET THEM!


    He could sense movement as they no doubt made their way closer to his location, time running short for him to make any sort of quick action to even the odds in this unfortunate scenario. With a forceful grunt he sprung from his position, rolling out from behind the stone, jumping back to his feet in preparation to springboard into the intruders. However, when he caught sight of what lay behind those very intruders, his blood ran cold.


    The walls were splashed in blood. Blood pooled on the floor and trailed on the walls of the cave. Some of the blood even splattered onto the ceiling, the occasional drip dropping from a stalactite onto the bodies below. The bodies below were lacking in many things. They were lacking in blood, their bodies life source sprayed all over themselves, each other, and the walls. They were lacking in flesh, which had been rended and eviscerated in several places from what appeared to be large claws. Throats had been slashed, stomach had been ripped open to expose the workings inside, and faced had been torn away. Some of them lacked limbs, which had been thrown out deeper into the cave or were missing altogether. But most importantly, they lacked in death what made them people. The bodies had been rolled over onto their backs by the two looters, and made at least somewhat presentable, despite their macabre and somber appearance.


    As he processed everything he had witnessed, a gleeful screech rang out from between his ears. FINALLY. They’re gone. THEY’RE FINISHED. MY ETERNAL SUFFERING IS OVER. Dolmas! Isn’t it wonderful?! We’re free! Free from the incompetence and whinging. The displays of cowardice and ineptitude. It’s. Finally. Over. Now if we could just get rid of Daxos. I have some ideas…


    Dolmas immediately silenced his cheerful half, reprimanding the display aloud. “No! This was unnecessary! It was brutish, despicable. MONSTROUS.” He pointed a unsheathed cutlass to the khajiit he had assumed called for him earlier, silently taking note of it’s broken blade. “You. YOU. What was the purpose of this slaughter? What had they done to deserve this fate? ANSWER ME YOU WORTHLESS CUR.”


    Raj tensed up at the sight of the Dunmer before him. With a move of his head, a nod toward his back, Ix stayed behind him. The two approached only a little ways, eyes up and toward the elf who appeared to look on in anger at the grisly scene. When he exclaimed to them and demanded an explanation, Raj held up his hands in the familiar sign of non aggression. “These ones did nothing wrong! This one found the cave and could smell the blood a league out.” Raj lowered his hands, placing his hands on his hips and looking up to the strange elf. “Ask the Argonian!” Raj had to admit that it did look bad. But there were signs that the two were innocent. The scene of the killings was a mess in every possible way, yet the two newcomers were clean, not a drop of blood between them. “Here, this one shows you.” Raj unsheathed his blades slowly as to keep the levels of aggression down, holding both the Khajiiti and Hlaalu swords in front of him. “You see this one’s blades? Not a drop, not a smear of blood. These ones are innocent.”


    “Raj, you waste your breath.” Ix’s Argonian voice croaked throughout the cave. The Argonian stood behind the Khajiit, readying her staff before her. “This greasy smoothskin has already found us guilty in his eyes. He will attempt to take us back to Morrowind and enslave us like the rest of my brothers and sisters. We are far from worthless, you ignorant, useless, helpless, tailless little n’wha!” Ix growled at the Dunmer above them. Raj turned to Ix, giving her a wide-eyed look of trepidation. “Ix! You must be nice to strangers. Especially strangers accusing us of murder!” Ix shook her head, holding her head up high. “I refuse to apologize to this Dunmeri filth.”


    Dolmas felt himself slipping as his frustration welled within, and Valen saw it as an opportunity. Valen slid to the forefront of control with ease, cocking his head to look at the argonian, a disappointed look on his face. “Aww. You are serious aren’t you? You didn’t do this? Such a shame. I was so. So close to liking you.” Valen tsked softly, shaking his head as he looked to the ground, slowly closing the gap between them, though not so quickly it would tip them off to his approach. “I was even willing to overlook your pathetic attempts at insults, you dryscale wench. Drag you back home to Morrowind? You? You wouldn’t be worth the boat you rode there. Not worth the irons clapped around your wrists. The knife that would rend your skin to be made into boots when your mouth got you into trouble.” He paused for a moment, his trademark sinister smile shining through as he cut deeper and deeper.


    While he would normally attempt to have Valen disengage his verbal onslaught, Dolmas focus was silently transfixed upon the scene that lie before them both. While the blade was no longer laid out flat for him to inspect, the sight of it was still enough to illicit pause from the dormant elf. The khajiit had carried two blades. While one was obviously fitting of someone of his persuasion, the other was far from it. Even having been away from his home as long as he had, the sight of his blade brought him back as if he was there just yesterday. The designs made it quite clear that this blade did not belong to him. This blade was one of House Hlaalu. His house. But why was someone like him carrying it? Who else had this khajiit killed to get that sword? The sight only raised his ire further. This swindler and murderer did not deserve the blade he carried. There had to be a way to get it away from him. But how?


    Outside of Dolmas’ contemplation, Valen’s lashing continued unabated. “Even more interesting still, is your decision to use our words as insults. An N’wah? You seem to already be natural at taking on things that aren’t yours, so this matter of looting the corpses of the dead and worthless should not be so shocking.” Satisfied with his verbal lashing he looked back to Raj, returning to his feigned disappointment. “It’s a shame you have such little control of your pet lizard. She would do well not to bark when the important people are speaking. Especially when she does so from behind the safety of her trusty meat-shield. Such cowardice is unsightly, so maybe it is actually preferred that you hide your battered pride.”
     
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  11. Rajka-Dari

    Rajka-Dari Looter Extraordinaire

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    Raj sighed and flourished his two blades out before him, his clawed feet digging into the ground. “The things you get this one into,” Raj shook his head and pounced. He leapt from his standing position directly for Dolmas, coming down with both of his swords in a mighty downward slash. This nearly caught Valen off guard, but thankfully, he had someone from the inside keeping an eye out for this exact response. Dolmas jerked control from Valen just in time to sidestep the blow, but it was not quick enough to avoid the blade entirely as it caught the tail end of his jacket, slicing through it with little effort. He looked up to Raj, who was recovering from the blow, and with a hiss, thrust his foot forward to kick him away. Raj twisted around to face the Dunmer has he sidestepped, readying his swords for another thrust. Raj saw Dolmas move forward with his foot and threw himself backward into a roll. Raj popped back up onto his feet and moved his sword toward him, looking back to Ix. Ix moved closer behind Raj, holding out her hand. Frost began to collect in the air around her hand, a bolt of frost collecting from the freezing water magically into her clawed hand. Raj flourished his Hlaalu sword with a swing, chuckling in Dolmas’ direction. “You are outnumbered, Dunmeri friend. This one has help. You have no one.” Raj moved himself forward again, lunging himself in front of Dolmas and swinging hard with his black Hlaalu blade.


    Dolmas felt he could have avoided the blow, but he felt the opportunity to silence the mouthy khajiit was approaching swiftly, and he could not afford to miss the chance. Instead of just simply sidestepping, he did so, but he pulled back the arm that held the cutlass, rotating it so that the crossguard was at the fore, before launching it back it back out toward the blow. The expected scenario materialized soon after, the crooked blade sliding straight through the guard. Acting quickly, Dolmas wrenched his arm upward violently, ripping the sword from his grasp. Dolmas picked up the blade, ditching his broken cutlass and tossing it to the ground before brandishing it, the weight of the blade feeling all too familiar as he spun it effortlessly in his hand. With a smirk he readied the blade to attack, and spoke to the cocky khajiit. “I may be outnumbered, but if you insist on fighting so sloppily that advantage will mean little. Care to try again?”


    Raj switched his grip on his khajiiti sword, holding his blade with two hands. Raj’s footwork shifted, moving his feet out and widening his stance. He had underestimated Dolmas, and it had cost him a sword. Another mistake and he may not be so lucky. Raj stepped in a slow circle around Dolmas, Ix following closely behind him. “You have bested this one in taking his sword, Dunmer. Know this will be the last time you make a fool out of Raj.” He nodded his head forward just slightly, and the Argonian behind him released a frost bolt from her hand, aiming it squarely at Dolmas. “Take this, smoothskin!”


    Dolmas cursed beneath his breath as he saw the frostbolt break free from her hand, but it was Valen’s turn to unseat Dolmas for the save. Valen cackled menacingly as he brought the hlaalu blade up to attention, then struck the frost bolt mid-flight, letting the spell fizzle away as he looked back to the caster. “Smoothskin? How quaint. Perhaps you’re simply jealous of what you cannot have? Fret not! I assure you, I can make your skin just as smooth when I pry. Each. And every scale. From your body, with what’s left of your caretaker’s claws.” He looked to Raj again, then to the blade, raising it up to where the light of the moon glistened from the metal, and smirked. “Now where did you manage to pilfer one of these beauties? Haven’t seen one of these in a long, long time.” He leaned forward, pressing the blade down into the ground, holding it like it was a cane. “I think I’ll keep this. It’s high time this blade had someone who actually deserved to wield it. Don’t you think?” He smiled once more, looking back to Ix. “Once I use it to drain the blood from your body, it will make for a fitting trophy to recall this beautiful moment.” Valen plucked the blade from the ground and broke into a dead sprint for Raj. The khajiit attempted to catch him mid run with a slash toward his stomach, he did not anticipate Valens’ true motive.


    Valen dropped short below the swing, using his momentum to slide between the cat’s legs. He sprung upward after clearing, bringing his blade upward to cut Ix from her midsection to her jaw. “Move!” Raj barked, turning around to face Dolmas’ back as Ix was confronted with the Dunmer’s slashing blade. Ix jumped backward and moved to the side, holding her staff up to defend herself. Raj rushed forward quickly to meet Dolmas’ back, slashing for him. Dolmas, realizing the implication of what his warning meant, thrust his sword backward in anticipation, catching the blow as he sent himself backward, bringing his blade back upward as he kept both Raj and Ix in sight.


    Raj could feel the energy in the battle come down and lowered his blade. “Put down the sword and listen to Raj,” the Khajiit pleased, “These ones are innocent! Raj has killed no man or mer in this cave. Raj has hurt people, yes, but this one has yet to knowingly take a life.” Ix lowered her staff, glaring daggers at Dolmas. “Raj speaks the truth, Dunmer. We have killed none here, we found the bodies and decided to remove them of their gold. We appropriated it, much like how your kind appropriated a comfortable lifestyle from the backs of my people.” Ix hissed.


    Dolmas did not need Valen to interrupt as he spat out his next words, his irritation with the undeserved racial jabs coming to a head. “Enough! This slander has gone on long enough. You pilfer, you lie, you murder and you have the gall to call me out on the sins of my fathers like that justifies anything you have done. Worthless fetchers the both of you!” He paused stepping forward, hissing out his next words. “I will take your heads just for this slight alone, and I will revel in it.” Raj listened to the spat between Ix and Dolmas, but his attention was caught up behind Dolmas. His advanced hearing caught the sounds first. A shuffling sound danced into his ears. The sound of shuffling pebbles and rattling stone. A large figure emerged into the mouth of the cave. Its appearance was in shadow, but Raj could tell that the creature was quite large. “This one thinks we are going to have a problem.”
     
  12. Alty

    Alty Caw Caw

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    “You should be freezing your non-existent balls off.”

    She could not blame the soldier for his risqué commentary; how unfortunate he was to not be a Nord. The weather was not even at its worst, the cold pouring in as thin flakes through the smallest holes in the looming sky, and yet the captive still bared cold sores at the corners of her mouth, but they did not cause the same agitation the mourning through the guard’s chattering jaws did. She was playing mute, and would prefer to keep her tongue as silver as her eyes, wisely heeding the camp captain’s threat of marring her tongue to match her ring fingers.

    “If crime does not pay, then I am a criminal. I see,” she had scorned the captain shortly after being hindered by an arrow in the flat of her shoulder and another to her ribs during her (self-assigned) duties of annihilating half the camp. It was still bloody, but it would soon return to the white canvas it was before the assassin spoiled it with hardening corpses. She gazed at the blackened specks of a massacre’s aftermath nearest to her damp boots, disobliged to catch her guard’s insecure grimaces at her bound limbs. She wasn’t too secure herself, being denied her movement and having her identity unveiled from the assuagement of her cowl. Her features were in the light, but she had faith in her doubts that they would be sure to inform other camps of her… and her escape. The crisis of the now was apocalyptic, something more serious than an assassin out to get the remaining war-worshipers, and she knew full-well that she would be safer in the company of the camp than on the fields that the cold-but-fast tread.

    The packed ices grinded to her left, and her neck derided her for inactivity when she glowered at the guard’s armored toes. He continued to her right, where he shamelessly plucked her timber-furred shawl from her belongings and cloaked himself in it. Something undefined was jostled, but she could name it for what she felt in her back-most gums: disgust. She was not exactly clean herself, as her torso was immobilized by blood-stiffened bandages. Still, there was something revolting about the man fingering through her possessions. He never went into her weapons or satchel, but she had a rock in her lungs about the suede journal bordered with fine thread, stuffed neatly with the designs of a smith.

    She breathed a wisp full enough to pronounce her irritation, made from the pent-up air that braced her core as the man smugly invaded her forward sight. She was aware that the man was wanting under her skin and into her veins where he would boil her blood, but what he did not know - he was already violating her. It never took long to breach her, but it was like pricking one’s finger with the perfect slant of parchment; it could be felt, but it could not visibly be found, and the annoyance was subtle enough to evoke madness. Her hollow stare was cursing, but she was not; she was being purely patient. Patience was rare from someone so spirited in her actions, but she found it useful when testing the testers.

    “Then again, you must have balls to be so forward in your little ambush.”

    “If you don’t escape soon, we’re going to feed the riots with you.”

    “Already lost your tongue to a few insults? Pity.”


    Her point was proven when the bastard knocked some hardened snow into her face when his taunts were proving weak. She hissed through her nose, rewarding the man with a sharp side-eye that was all the more embossed on her ghastly features. Likewise, the peripheries of her irises were ignited by something more than venom…

    | End This, My Champion |

    The assassin had been visually bleached, and her pupils were dominated by the reflection of the horizon’s blinding damnation. The radiance was nearly scorching her facial sockets, the booming herald forcing her to relive the agony in her torso. She had no need to scream, as the chimes in her skull were doing it for her, and she did not feel terror; merely confusion. The rope’s knots were bruising her as she sat as defensively as able while her eyes shed salt in their strain against the white glow. When the beam ceased, her cogs were left locked, anguished by the cryptic message from the heavens.

    Like the wheels on the approaching supply carriage, her gears squeaked with interest. The driver was slouched, far too numb from the uncanny happening to be bothered by the climate, of which had changed its course to burden the captive’s back with heavy flakes. Safer here it may be, she knew, but she was beyond making amends with her captors. She judged her bonds with tugs from her legs and arms, the pressure of limited time weighing her mind as the coachman entered the captain’s tent. She could only hope now that the camp would unload the stock before yakking about the brief division of the horizon, a plentiful distraction.

    She disdained hope, but she hoped now, and it was granted. She could see her destination beneath the canvas cover, a nook more desirable than the slush. Huffing her snit, she wriggled to her knives, piled like the damp wood in the firepit. When she was first pinned by her neck and tied, she had thought to escape the same as she was doing now, but she would never make it on foot. Now opportunity sang to her as she blindly snatched a knife.


    She held the ebony shard unforgivingly, unwilling to waste the moment with something as outrageous as dropping the knife into the snow - her fingers were already red and bitten enough. Her bloodied shoulder tingled with alarm as she collapsed to her side, but she did not yield to it as she stayed productive. Her limbs immediately unwound with victory. She did not surrender the weapon from her talons. She still had a target.


    "You just had to carve into my brother, didn't you? If only that light would have come for you and roasted you alive-"


    He re-approached with intentions fueled by anger and a voice broken by sadness, but Morthaine had no lenienece. He just had to shame her, didn't he? Her hands twitched an invisible warning. He was but a blur in her attention on the carriage. In a spur, the knife drilled with precision below the soldier's sternum. Only a fool sticks their head through the bars of the cage. His wilting was paired with the look of someone who assumed more than they suspected, but the assassin did not bask in his suffering. She seized her free blades, and vanished with the guile of a ghost from his last sight.





    She awoke for the fifth time, her jaw now forming a new bruise where it butted against the cart from a rude bump. Her face was bare, not that her hood and mask would have cradled her any better against the wood. Her numb lips were bygone. Her garments had mostly dried. She ached with unused energy and her still-obvious wounds that managed to somewhat harden. The light sifted with imbalanced latticework on her shades of maple and sporadic blues. She struggled to not struggle as she pushed herself from the dull-coated, smooth wood to see her surroundings.


    She did not know how many hours had ticked between her naps, but she was never troubled with time in the first. She disregarded her comfort and rested the healthier side of her jaw on the rear board of the carriage, her eyes dark with hints of frailness and glistening with the grey atmosphere. It was fresh, unsuffocating, and sweet in comparison to her dirt, and she willed herself to savor it over her discomfort. She was still healing under her robes, and the memory of her displeasure from being partially exposed made her grit her teeth.


    She shifted silently with the knowledge of the driver's presence, the road showing mercy to not knock her down as she sat slanted beneath the cover to peer out. The road was vacant, but she corrected her conclusion when she heard voices; one politely dismissive, and the other notably foreign. With a mind dulled, she rested her cheek. She listened with closed eyes as her lawless bangs tailed an unaware driver and roan horse.


    "...-eally need to be on my way."
     
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  13. CapObvious

    CapObvious A Rotten Scroungeral

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    The mammoth figure stepped more into the cave, the troll revealing itself to the unfortunate combatants. Raj and Ix turned to look at the troll, breathing heavily in the moonlight. The troll let out a loud roar, its hands thumping against its chest to assert dominance over the unlikely group. The troll was not wild, as it wore a leather harness around its broad chest. A dented iron helmet adorned the troll’s head. Worse for the party were the blades bolted onto wrist guards that peeked out from the troll’s fists. Blood was strewn across the troll, coating his hands and parts of his chest. Blood had splattered on the troll’s fixed blades, as well as a large red stain around the troll’s mouth. The sights and sounds caused Raj and Ix to turn away from Dolmas and look at their new threat.


    Raj quickly began to assess their situation. He had fought trolls before, and he knew their weakness well. Raj backed up slowly as the troll sniffed the air, turning his head to Dolmas. “Friend, distract the troll for Raj. There must be something in the cave for lighting it aflame. This one will find it.” Raj turned then to Ix, motioning behind Dolmas. “Stay behind him. Be careful.” Raj turned around and sprinted back into the cave toward the halfway looted bodies. Ix shuffled behind Dolmas, readying her staff while keeping her eyes on the new threat in front of them. “ I hope you’re ready, Dunmer.”


    Dolmas leered at the argonian as she got herself into position behind him, though he would not be the one to reply to her. Valen took control once more, shaking his head as he dug in deep in preparation. “Always. However, I don’t think I’ll be needing any aid from the likes of you. Why not just hide behind a rock or something? You’ll be just as much help to me as you were for your furry friend back there earlier. I’ll do the heavy lifting. As always.” He smirked as he brought his attention back to his new opponent, moving forward as he began to speak, calling out to grab the troll’s attention. “Yoohoo! Over here, you lumbering oaf. Pay attention when your betters are talking!” The troll did not turn to face him as he had expected, instead focusing upon the khajiit who had likely turned tail to run for his life. Valen scoffed mockingly, feigning disapproval as he realized he was not the center of attention despite his efforts. Once more he bellowed, determined to draw the troll’s ire. As he did so, he picked up a small stone and chucked it, finally seeing the troll’s head turn in his direction. “Now do you see me? WELL COME AND GET ME! I’M RIGHT HERE!” The troll roared back in his direction, and Valen cracked a smile, knowing he had succeeded. “That’s right you worthless cur, look at me…” He began to sidestep, sizing up his prey. “Look and see what it means to be a true savage!” Valen broke his stance and went into a dead sprint for the creature, letting out a maddened cry as he closed the distance between them.


    While the two fought against the troll, Raj was turning over the bodies and emptying out their various bags, packs, and pockets with a frantic pace. He gave no regard for honoring the dead, flipping them over and onto their sides to get at every pocket. Raj was hoping for a scroll of some sort of fire based magic, but luck was not on his side. Raj looked around the cave once more and found a lantern. The Khajiit ran over to the lantern and picked it up, feeling desperation at the low amount of fuel inside. Raj made his way quickly back to his own bag he had left near the bodies. He hit his knees, digging around inside the bag and pulling out a glass bottle corked and taped off. Raj almost felt sick to his stomach, having to waste the last of his moon sugar rum on a troll. He took a deep breath, ripping off the tape and uncorking the bottle. Raj took a welcome drink and put his thumb over the the top, running back towards the ongoing confrontation.


    “Take this, you big S’wit!” Raj leapt from behind Dolmas and Ix,smashing the armored troll in the face with the bottle of rum. Moon sugar rum and bits of glass covered the troll’s fur. The troll roared and brought its hefty paw up to meet Raj after the leap, catching him in the side with a mighty swipe and sending him rolling across the floor of the cave. “Rajka!” Ix cried, running past the two and sliding to her knees next to her partner in crime. Ix rolled Raj onto his back, the Khajiit coughing and holding a hand to his side. “Don’t move,” Ix told him gently, her hand starting to glow as she administered her healing magic to the wound which was quickly beginning to bleed through his clothes. “I’m healing you, I’m right here. Just relax.”


    “This one has no time to relax, hurry,” Raj sat up and grunted in pain, looking back over to Dolmas. “Light it!” Dolmas looked back at the troll, the pieces all coming together in his head as he realized what the khajiit was attempting to do. The rum was the perfect primer, but they lacked something to set it off. There wasn’t time to scrounge for flint, were he to manage to find the time to do so, it would likely mean the death of his newfound comrades. Which, in his mind, would be a safe strategy, allowing himself to be free of both issues in one fell swoop. However, he couldn’t convince himself to let them die while they were distracted, much to Valen’s chagrin. But that meant he needed to do it quickly, and he lacked the tools to create the spark necessary to-


    Spark. Valen muttered from within, the wheels in his head turning already. Dolmas was quick to attempt to ask for elaboration, however still not quick enough to avoid the sudden shifting of gears that put Valen back in control. “No time! Let’s light it up!” Before Dolmas could demand an explanation, Valen pulled the blade upward and brought it down upon the stone to his left, drawing the swing upward toward the troll. The sparks that skittered outward from the blade flew into the face of the troll, simultaneously blinding the creature as the sparks created the desired effect. The fire spread almost instantaneously, engulfing every soaked spot upon the troll’s exposed flesh. The creature swung outward in a wild and aggressive fashion, both in terror of the embers as well as in self defense. Seeing an opportunity, Valen closed the distance once more and plunged his blade into the troll’s chest, letting out a satisfied scream of delight as he pushed it deep within. However, it was not enough to render the troll defenseless, and Valen paid for the assault with a powerful swipe into his gut, sending the dunmer tumbling to the ground below, letting out a pained groan as he attempted to get to his feet, only to find it was in vain.


    “There,” Ix removed her hand from Raj’s side, “You’re ready to go again.” “Thank you, Ix.” Raj hopped back to his feet and rushed the burning troll, there was no time to waste. He had to finish the job before the flames went out. Raj ducked a swipe from the troll and grabbed the handle of his Hlaalu sword protruding from the troll’s flaming chest.


    Raj roared and pulled the Hlaalu sword from the beast and began his flurry of swings. Raj cut the troll anywhere he could, hacking metal into flesh at every chance. The troll, bloodied and on fire, let out a pained roar and swiped at Raj. Raj leaned into the swipe, flipping over the troll’s arm and dragging the length of his blades along the troll’s arm. Raj swung at the troll over and over, and after two diagonal slashes to the chest the troll fell to its knees. Raj spared the troll no mercy, kicking it over and dragging the blade of his Khajiiti sword across the troll’s neck, then against its fur to remove the blood from his blade. Only then was the troll finally still and silent.
     
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    #73 CapObvious, May 5, 2019
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  14. Rajka-Dari

    Rajka-Dari Looter Extraordinaire

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    Deep, heaving breaths were all that could break free from the Dunmer’s lips as the battle drew to a close. Chest rising and falling rapidly with the adrenaline still pumping through his veins despite his rested position on the ground, his eyes drew closed, allowing himself the brief respite given to him before he could finish what he had started. With one last exhale he began to count to himself under his breath, before finding the will to sit up once more. With the sudden movement came a flaring pain from his lower abdomen, a staunch reminder of the blow he suffered before he had lit the troll ablaze. A hand reached for the wound instinctively, reeling as a moist sensation all but confirmed his fears.


    A short curse rode an exhale as he attempted to slide back to lean against a rock that lay behind him. Wincing, he pressed his back against the cold stone and patted down on his person, hoping to find some sort of remedy to close the wound enough for him to continue, as he realized his attackers were likely already preparing to finish the job now that the troll had been vanquished. With nothing coming to light he kicked himself, doubly frustrated now for using the remainder of his regents to eliminate the golem back in Rorikstead. He had backed himself into a corner now, to be sure, and time was running short. He could perhaps get lucky and find something on their corpses if he managed to vanquish them before he bled out, though the likelihood of such a feat remained slim at best. Though the chances seemed to dwindle even further, as he saw the khajiit making his way toward him, the hlaalu sword he had once wielded once again in the cat’s possession. Dolmas grit his teeth, watching him reach into his pocket to grab something the dunmer could not make out. Perhaps it was yet another weapon, or a tool to prolong his suffering.


    Seems like a quick death is out of the question.


    As the khajiit drew closer, he took what was tucked away in his pocket and tossed it to where Dolmas was sitting. Lacking the motor skills necessary to make the catch, Dolmas let the object fall into his lap, barely making out the shape as his vision began to fade. Blinking back the pain, he grasped the object, feeling the tempered glass shift between trembling fingers, the telltale weight of its liquid contents sloshing within. He did nothing with the elixir at first, only looking upward to the hand that delivered it to him.


    “Take this, you look as if you need it.” Raj placed both of his swords back on his sides, watching Dolmas struggle against his wounds for the potion. “It is a potion that I gave you, friend.” Raj felt no threat coming from the wounded mer now. He motioned for Ix and sat down a few paces away from Dolmas, taking his swords from his sides and pulling a piece of cloth from his pocket. Raj wiped the blood and dust from his swords, sparing a look at Dolmas once he was done. “We are not your enemy, friend. We did not kill these people. We are looters, yes, but Raj has never killed anyone that he is aware of.” Raj held up a hand to have Ix back him up, but decided not to at the last moment. Ix had done enough speaking on their part, and that is why they were where they were. “This one is Rajka Dari, and Raj’s friend is Ix Mota. We are travelling plunderers. Not killers.” Raj remained seated, extending a hand to Dolmas with an airy wave. “And who are you?”

    Dolmas felt the effects of the potion begin to soothe the pain, but he knew it would not be a permanent fix. However, he knew he only needed to get back to the others and he would likely find a more lasting solution. However, it was enough to help him shift his focus to the situation at hand, and the information that the pair of looters had bestowed upon him. With a sigh, he weighed what he had seen, and realized they at least earned the benefit of the doubt. Taking the moment to tend to him, and to profess their innocence instead of simply finishing him off was a sign they might just be worth heeding. As his eyesight began to sharpen once more, he turned to the heap of singed flesh that was once the troll, his focus going toward the beast’s claws. As he studied them, the gears in his head began to turn, and he understood what had truly happened. “No. You are correct. It wasn’t you after all.” He nodded toward the dead troll and sighed. “He was the true culprit. The creature was obviously a trained killer, the custom armoring and blade work tell that story plainly, not to mention the markings on the cavern walls match the prints his hands would leave. It’s clear we’ve already slain the one responsible, and avenged their deaths.” His eyes narrowed as they met the khajiit’s, his tone shifting. “Even if your response to finding their remains was still quite underhanded.” He paused for a moment, before letting himself smirk at Raj. “But who am I to judge? I’ve done far worse, and I’m still paying for those sins to this day. Maybe that’s why I was so ready to throw myself into harm’s way so quickly after what happened in Rorikstead. Either it’d be a good deed repaid, or finally the peace that only death can bring, that would await me.” He exhaled once more, letting the last of the frustration ride out along with it. He looked to Raj, and nodded. “My name is Dolmas. My apologies for jumping to conclusions. It’s been one hell of a day.”


    “Well met, Dolmas.” Raj and Ix nodded in tandem, Ix leaning against the cave wall. Raj waved off his apology, “All water under the bridge, Dolmas. One sees such things and it is easy for the mind to go to unsavory places. Wait, Rorikstead?” Raj interrupted himself, sitting up straighter. “What happened in Rorikstead, if this one may ask?” Ix leaned her staff against the wall of the cave, crossing her arms in front of her. “Nothing good, from the sound of it. Do tell us what happened.”


    Dolmas caught sight of the genuine interest in their eyes as they began to question what he knew of the incident. He pondered on what exactly he could say to explain the absolute horror that had transpired, however the words seemed to elude him. He just shook his head, before leaning it back against the stone as his eyes scanned the horizon. “The tale itself is beggars belief, were someone to tell it to me without context I wouldn’t believe a word of it. It’s madness.” The irony of that statement was not lost on Dolmas, and he smirked softly as he continued. “To be honest, it would be much, much easier to digest if you saw it with your own eyes.” He looked back to the khajiit, his smirk fading. “I’ll tell you what I can on the way, but if you come with me and see it first hand, only then would you truly comprehend what horror befell the once good people of Rorikstead.”


    Raj and Ix listened to Dolmas’ story with great interest. The two looked to each other for a moment with knowing glances. Did they trust him? Not enough. Raj knew, however, that in his weakened state Dolmas would not be much of a problem in combat should it come to it. “We have our horses just on the other side of the flat, away from town.” Ix stood up from the wall and grabbed her staff. “Yes, meet us there and we will accompany you to Rorikstead.” Raj stood and clapped his hands together, moving out of the cave first to show a sign of trust, though he listened very carefully for Dolmas’ movements behind him.
     
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  15. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Nothing but a lyre

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    She watched his eyes as disdain lanced through her like a cold blade. It cut deeply, bleeding Aashi of any friendly sentiment she had summoned from her upbringing. It was all she could do to force her ears into maintaining their upright position, rather than resting like a bonnet tucked firmly/angrily back against her head. She was mad, moreover, she was filled with a haughty bitterness that imbued her with venom. The muscles in her face pinched and tension made her frame grow rigid. It never grew easier, the woman concluded.


    She recognized so much in the strangers' unremarkable gaze though overwhelmingly it was judgment and prejudice e projected. Eyeing the roadside he searched for shadowy apparitions wielding blades and bad intentions to whom she so clearly must belong. In a simple interaction assumptions had been made that pierced the carefully curated tapestry of information that made up the Suthays chosen self, he denied her of her individuality. Peering at him she pondered spitefully how differently he and many others would feel if all the world only saw for them was what they were born to be. Locked into suspicion by her birth, it was her cross to bear.


    "Eh... Hello," He finally spoke, taking careful steps forward while internally she withdrew.


    If I had wanted to rob you, you witless Renrij, I would not have uncloaked myself She responded internally though her next words were far more gracious. Beneath the layers of silk and wool, her skin crawled as curiosity crept over the strangers face. The mixture of emotions and restraint sent a slight tremor through her already exhausted muscles, one she could not hide. Instead, she resigned herself to holding her current position, though not without a tinge of internal misery and the slight drooping of ears.


    "Rorikstead, was it?” to which she nodded and wordlessly begged S'rendarr that the conversation would bear some fruit “No, I'm afraid I don't have any more news than anyone else. The road I went down was nearly worn out with how much traffic it's seen, and the city itself wasn't much more than a plume of smoke. It's a great bloody mess if you ask me, If you're looking to heal, you'd better get there quickly.”


    They could agree on one thing, at the very least, if his words were true then she would do well to make haste. Impatiently she endured his boorish exclamations in hopes that the customary and final niceties would soon follow. Had she been raised any differently it would have been a curt goodbye, wordless and final, at the first mention of trouble. Slender fingers slithered fluidly to redistribute the weight of her belongings while her mind reached out to a familiar spell.

    “Now, if you'll excuse me,” came the welcome utterance which she was all too ready to receive.

    A brief word of thanks had hardly left her lips when she vanished once more into obscurity. Turning curtly on the pads of her paws she strode with purpose towards Rorikstead, a loud squelching noise marking her departure as the mud finally released her from its clutches. She would not miss the man she left behind her, nor the crossroad.

    Being mobile brought her back to a deeper sense of awareness. The smell of petrichor enticed Aashi to take a deeper breath of the brisk morning air. It soothed her to a point giving her enough courage to loosen her grip on the metal token in her hand, though she could not bear to look at it. Instead, she jammed it into a hidden pocket where it could not be lost, determined to forget at least for the time being. She had too much solitude ahead of her to be consumed again so soon by such deep emotions, and work.

    She turned her attention to the world around her that, though shaken, was still very much busy going through its daily motions. Before the healer’s eyes farmhouses towered starkly surrounded by vast fields of produce, having sprung up suddenly within the dreary landscape. Dutiful creatures contemplated their feed wholly unbothered by the world beyond their fences. It appeared that the seasons' harvest was well underway, keeping the locals busy and their children well fed. While some stooped to harvest gourds others carried baskets heavily laden with ripe apples. The parade of produce danced by making her smile warmly and lifted some weight from her shoulders. Overall it was a decidedly enchanting tableau.

    Images of happiness under the eves of a quaint wooden domicile occupied her imagination. Perhaps surrounded by tangible rewards of careful tending, came the fanciful thought, with paws splayed in warm and fertile soil she would find peace. She could see herself surrounded by flowers and foliage upon a small property, clearly and heavily romanticized it became an oasis. There herbs and agents of healing hung from rafters and the cold cellar was always filled to bursting.

    Sighing dreamily she sidestepped without a thought as a small gang of urchins ran by. Cackling wildly the lead of the bunch turned to swipe at another's knees with a gnarled branch only to duck under a stationary caravan from which new arrivals were disembarking. He was soon lost in the stream of newcomers pooling like rainwater at the bottom of the winding path leading into Whiterun city. It seemed many had come to seek some clarification, or simply to engage in the final bounty of trade before winter blanketed the plains. No matter their reasons they were comforting, and a symbol of the undisturbed continuity of life.

    She plucked tiny threads of conversations from the air, little tidbits of their lives cradled in her oversized ears. Hardly realizing that her steps had slowed her subconscious layed its yearning upon her with every intention of luring the khajiit into the crowd. Her mind whispered frivolous thoughts of petty squabbles and sweet simplicity that would have seduced her wandering heart if not for something heavy in her soul that weighed her down. As she moved passed the cities busy gates it was with the knowledge that her destiny laid upon the road. Aashi smiled sadly, eyes on the horizon.
     
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