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Private Blades In The Night

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Aerin, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Closing time, or at least as close to it as you could get working in an inn. Renard was placing the last of the tankards away when he heard the movement. Heart racing he tensed and froze, an instinctive urge to make himself appear as small as he could overwhelming the rotund breton. Lelaine, where was Lelaine?


    “Renard, I’m glad I caught you. You seem scared? Good, you should be.”

    His voice was enough to send Renard hiding, so false in its ease and friendly nature. A gloved hand rested on the countertop, cloaked in the shadows and gloom of the dark corner of the dilapidated tavern. Long fingers grazed the ring of condensation left by the tankard Renard was clutching, the ring and middle fingers tapping softly on the wood. The leather of the glove was worn, a small tear beginning at the tip of the index finger. The hide was dark, almost black, but in the dim light of the hearth you could just make out deeply coloured stains that sent a chill through the breton.

    “Now, now I can explain…”

    “Can you? Well go on, I’d love to hear what filthy excuse you’ve come up with.”

    A bead of sweat ran down the side of Renard’s temple, his tongue darted out to quickly wet chapped and dry lips. He was clutching onto the counter, his knuckles a stark white beneath the dirt and grime as he held on, fearful his legs might give out in his panic.

    “Was it the money Renard? Did they place a nice fat purse in your hand to send you on your way? It must have been a lot of coin, after all, I do not make a good enemy. The payout had to be worth the risk.”

    “I know Jax, but you see…”

    “I think you’re the one who isn’t seeing things my friend.” The hand slipped away and a face came into view. Cruel eyes to match a cruel heart he thought. Cruel eyes, and a thin mouth that stretched into a false smile. It was that mirthless smile that had trapped Renard in the first place. It coaxed him in, softly calling to him, whispering promises of wealth and power through dangerous connections. “Did you honestly think I wouldn’t work it out? You have not been blessed with the art of subtlety I’m afraid. Then again, perhaps you thought this little plan would end differently. But sadly they are one man less, and I am down a contact”

    “Please Jax, we can work something out I’m sure. Maybe, maybe if I…”

    The figure raised a hand to silence the breton before he continued his panicked rambling. “No, I’m afraid we cannot. You have too much to lose and I have a business to run. A business that you will no longer be a part of.” Renard felt a tight grip around his wrist, and despite how much he tried to pull away Jax did not relinquish his hold.

    “My old partner would have taken a finger for this sort of thing, maybe two even. One for the false intel, a second for your deception and betrayal. Maybe a third if he was having a bad day. Do you think I should do the same? Blood for blood they say.” Renard caught sight of the gleam of cold metal in the corner of his vision, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to control his body’s reaction. As the blade slowly descended he felt warmth spread through his breeches, the ice cold tip of the dagger coming to a halt on the back of his hand.

    “I am not Vitus though am I? I am a different creature entirely. You should have remembered that when my former associates visited you.” The blade moved quickly, a small line of red along the back of his knuckles. Tiny beads of crimson liquid welled up along the minuscule wound, completely harmless even as Renard winced at the sting of the cut.

    Jax let go of the breton’s wrist and stepped back, and for a moment he seemed to slip away completely into the shadows. “We shall not see each other again Renard.”

    With that parting comment he was gone, and Renard was left on shaking legs, clutching at his hand, wondering perhaps if it was over. Thought of relocating his small family somewhere quieter flashed through his mind. Somewhere safe where Lelaine could grow up quietly. No more of this assassination business, it was too much of a risk…


    As Jax slipped away and left the idiot breton to his delusions, he carefully lifted the blade of his dagger to the moonlight, his eyes narrowing at the greenish sheen that graced the blade’s edge. Wiping away the poison on a rag tucked into his belt he worked quietly, polishing the dagger until it glimmered, clean of any substances. The poison itself was a nasty concoction, and one of the imperial’s favourites. The effects were similar to those resulting from a bad wound, the poison festering the cut till the victim was killed by his own bad blood. Slow, painful, messy, but best of all, practically untraceable. People died from improperly treated cuts all the time, why would anyone think to question another?

    Sighing to himself Jax twirled the blade in the air before carefully sheathing it away and looking up to the sky. From the moons he could wager he had enough time to make his way to the rendezvous point he had set for the newest recruit. It was time to see if they had what it took.

    The silvered light cast by the twin moons did little to illuminate the worn dirt track that snaked along the main road to Riften. Unkempt, and rarely used it was a struggle to move through the undergrowth without making much noise. It was not too much for Jax to bear however, it never was. He was a craftsman in his own way, and the only thing a true master blamed was himself. Always pushing, always striving to improve, to push the limits of their own body. Always.

    Eventually Jax reached the small clearing he had marked on the small parchment map he'd offered to the newest recruit. It wasn't much by way of information, but they would be able to work it out, he was certain. It was a simple enough job. A guard determined on having a local farmer's wife would be dealt with in return for the man's limited produce. Jax had arranged the contract himself, a growing rarity these days. The poor man had looked beside himself when he understood he could not afford the price in gold, but his livelihood would be worth just as much. Enough to maintain the company's food stores over the long winter in exchange for a life. As far as Jax was concerned it was a fair and generous deal.

    In turn, it was quiet enough location to use in case the recruit wasn't able to meet the parameters of the job. Jax did not imagine he would need to intervene, an individual had to be gifted to be granted this opportunity, but it was always a potential outcome. He had every confidence tonight would play out smoothly, but it never hurt to plan for the worst.

    Scowling at a torch bug flying low by his face Jax swatted at the insufferable insect away and leant against a mossy boulder as he waited for Daud. The man in question had already caught Vitus' attention before that unfortunate disagreement. It seemed the nord had made quite a name for himself already. That in itself had irked Jax, he didn't have time for celebrity killers. Vitus however had assured Jax that Daud would prove an asset to the company. The imperial wondered perhaps whether he should have questioned his superior more closely, considering how his last judgement had lead to his death at the hands of those he seemed to trust. At that memory Jax sighed and rubbed his eyes.

    By the gods he was tired. He'd left the dank cesspool he considered Riften almost a full moon's turn ago. While he wasn't particularly fond of the Rift or its people, he was looking forward to getting back to camp where he would indulge himself briefly by sleeping as long as he could. It wasn't the physical pain of exhaustion Jax loathed, more so it was the effect it took on his mind, his dexterity and perceptiveness faltering as his mind wore out. Just this one recruit job and then he could get back home.
     
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  2. Delusional

    Delusional Connoisseur of Hallucinations

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    "May Sheor judge you justly."

    The cold steel of Tristan's dagger parted the flesh silently, burying itself in the neck of the man. He was a middle-aged man, no older than thirty, with dark brown hair and matching brown eyes. He only struggled for a moment before his body became limp and collapsed onto the dusty floorboards of the mountainside cabin.

    Tristan knelt down beside the corpse and gently removed the dagger from the stranger's neck. Laying the blade across his open palms, the aged Breton leaned over and began to pray.

    "Our God, Sheor, may you judge this stranger fairly as his soul departs this plane of existence. I humbly offer up his life to you, o Sheor, so that your bidding is done and you may be pleased with me and my fellow brothers. It is in your name I pray."

    Tristan remained knelt for a moment longer before rising from the floor. He briefly dusted off his dark robes before exiting the small cabin, leaving the lifeless body to suffer under nature's wrath. He would not return to the man who issued the contract, because the business of assassination was not about the profit to Tristan.

    The twin moons of Nirn were shining brightly overhead as the Breton priest stepped out of the dingy cabin and into the wilderness of the Rift. A cool autumn breeze rolled through the hills, bristling the tree branches gently and tugging at Tristan's robes.

    Tristan glanced at his surroundings, taking in the beauty of the Rift's autumn forests. Eventually, he reached a hand into the folds of his robe, withdrawing a crumpled parchment from one of the numerous pockets he had sewn into his priesthood robes. Without breaking his gaze from the vista before him, he unfolded the paper, only looking down after he had sufficiently smoothed out the wrinkles the paper had accumulated from its time in the pockets of his robes.

    It was a map; only a map. No writing was present on the parchment--only a map, and a simple 'x' marking a specific location. Tristan had spent much time studying the map ever since it was mysteriously delivered to him as he stayed the night in Dragon Bridge a fortnight ago. Once he had received the strange note, he had slowly made his way across Skyrim, headed for the location the map had specified. He had no idea what to expect; he had a feeling that Sheor had a part in this, so to the Rift Tristan had trekked.

    Sighing, Tristan folded the note again, tucking it back within his robes. He was very weary from the travel, and longed to reach his destination. I am close, though. Soon, this journey will come to a close. Tristan reached a hand up to rub his eyes briefly before starting off into the forest again.
     
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  3. AS88

    AS88 Well-Known Member
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    A loud crack from the fire and a hot ember singing his straggly stubble awoke Gattuso from his daze. Cursing quietly and batting at his face he turned away from his small camp and looked towards the narrow entrance to the cave. Shouldn't be long, now.

    As the Imperial settled down again, he cracked open another bottle of mead, his second, and returned to his thoughts. Life had been interesting over the past few weeks and months, that's for sure. Vitus, the man who had taken Gattuso's interest when introducing him to the company, was dead. The pretty little Redguard who Gattuso was having his way with was dead. I'll have to pass through Ivarstead on the way back, see if that Lynly girl is still there. One of his Nordic drinking buddies from the company was dead. And yet Gattuso was still alive, slinking coolly from scrape to scrape, as ever.

    He thought about those left with the company as he bit into another scrap of venison; the enigmatic Jax and the others that lay on the fringes of the group. Gattuso was surprised when Jax asked him to be his right-hand-man, after all, they had never really seen eye to eye and had never really had anything to do with each other. Honestly, little had changed since, save for the occasional short conversation or exchange of advice, or information on contracts or contacts. There's little need. Despite their minor clash of personalities, the pair actually held each other in high regard. Gattuso respected Jax's ideology of secrecy and confidentiality in their business, and agreed with the company's new leader in his approach to dissent or acts of infidelity. The pair found quickly that their no-nonsense approach to business was something they both valued, and so there would only be lengthy communication when Jax or Gattuso had a particular issue to discuss, or their shared knowledge could help either the other man or someone else in the now-smaller band.

    Gattuso had just found a comfortable spot on the wall of the cave to lean against when he heard the faint sound of stones tumble lightly into cave. Ah, here he is.
     
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  4. The OP3RaT0R

    The OP3RaT0R Call me Op. Or Smooth.

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    "Hey, now this is my kind of place..." Aradriel said to himself as he surveyed the entryway of the lavish manor of Sellus Cedus, an Imperial lower noble, well-connected merchant, and overall sniveling little man. Aradriel didn't like him, and could have killed him if he so chose. But then he'd have to kill everyone else there too, and there was no coin in leaving a bunch of charred corpses in the hills just northwest of Solitude. The house was done in a Cyrodiilic style, and on the outside it looked rather stately among the pines, against the backdrop of the mountains, with a nice view of the sea to the north. "Of course, a house so fine is certainly worthy of someone of your stature, Mr. Bluehollow."

    "Yes, yes, Casdra and I have been looking for a new abode, and something like this would be right up our alley. Oh - please call me Codell. You mind if I call you Sellus?"

    "As you please," the short Imperial replied. "Sellus, did you design this yourself? It's grand," the Bosmer replied, lauding his mark on the fine pine and stone inlays of the walls.

    "N- no, but- but I was integral in some major aesthetic choices!"

    "Oh, I'm sure," Aradriel said, patting Sellus on the back and swiping a small coin purse from the pocket of the man's garment, dropping it into the pocket of his own light blue and white finery. "I'm sure. Did you say on the carriage that your wife would be waiting with the other guests?"

    "Ah, yes, Virene had to store a bank withdrawal she'd made in our safe - is it not truly wonderful to have a wife you can trust with things like that?"

    Almost as great as having a mark I can trust to hand me everything I wish to steal on a silver platter. "Indeed," the elf affirmed as the duo made their way down the hall, the sound of conversation becoming clearer. "And she is a beautiful woman, as well - I am a lucky man!"

    "Indeed," Aradriel said more quietly, his eyes being graced by Virene Cedus, a radiant young Breton woman completely undeserving of a man such as Sellus. A stunner, and she knows the safe combination. Let's see if I can't kill two birds with one stone. Getting her alone could be a problem, and I could always just take Sellus, but where's the fun in that?

    "Hello, my dear. This is Mr. Codell Bluehollow, head of a logging outfit in Valenwood who is working on a deal that would open our markets to some exotic Valenwood timber. Codell, these are Mr. and Mrs. Petilia, from Cyrodiil, and the Count and Countess Haransen, also of Cyrodiil. Come, let us sit?"

    ~~~

    I'm going to do it. I'm really going to do it. I'm going to leave them all in a smoldering heap. Coin be damned, if I have to sit through five more minutes of this...

    "And so I said, 'Mr. Maria, looks like your shipment isn't the only package coming up short!'" Aradriel burst out in laughter, along with the others, at the Countess' joke at some merchant's expense. "Oh, Countess, you truly do have the wit of a Dremora!"

    I have to get them to go away. I know how...

    The well-to-do dinner guests continued to joke raucously. Beneath the table, Aradriel snapped a little purple light into his palm, its hue shifting slightly as he adjusted just how he wanted his behavior spell to affect Sellus. Satisfied, he laughed loudly and leaned forward a little, tapping Sellus on the knee with his spell.

    The Imperial burst into a violent coughing fit, making an awful sound at which the other guests recoiled. Damn it! That's not it! That's not it at all! The elf made a quick adjustment to the spell he had casted and smacked Sellus on the back, ceasing the coughing. "Thank you... I don't know what came over me."

    "I think you need some fresh air. Come, let's head outside." The guests stood up and began heading across the kitchen for the door out to the manor's porch. Virene was one of the last up, and at the last second, Aradriel cast a strong variant of a Harmony spell that would make the guests and Sellus oblivious to what was happening; he took Virene by the hand, letting his vampiric seduction flow from his hand to hers, and she immediately relented to follow him. He led her up the stairs to hers and Sellus' room, and set to undressing.

    ~~~

    Twenty minutes later, the couple lay side by side, Virene perspiring heavily. "My dear," Aradriel whispered in her ear, "Where is the safe?"

    "Behind that painting," she said, weakly pointing to a depiction of a rolling plain. "And the combination?"

    "24, 71, 45."

    "Thank you." Aradriel put her to sleep with a soothing spell, stood up, and set to dressing. He then took down the painting, opened the safe, and scooped the contents into a sack: a large pile of Septims, some jewels and jewelry, a few land deeds. He trotted downstairs to find Sellus and the guests sipping wine at the table. "Codell! We were wondering where you and Virene had gone," Sellus said cheerily.

    You know what? Forget it. This idiot needs to know. Coin be damned. Aradriel snapped crackling lightning magic into his palms and without warning sent it with blistering force into the chests of the Count and Countess, then turned and did the same to the Petilia couple, sending all four hurtling back out of their chairs. Sellus trembled for a second before turning and setting off at a sprint for nowhere in particular; Aradriel casted one of the more complex spells he knew, wiping Sellus' short-term memory. While Aradriel made for Sellus, the Imperial turned around and saw the corpses of his friends. "By the gods, what's happened? Codell, we need to get help!"

    "Stay there, damn you!" Aradriel casted the spell again, and before Sellus could react, he had pounced, decking the Imperial in the side of the face with his fist, pulling him up, and slinging him onto the dining table; the elf quickly scrambled on top of him. "You fool!" he boomed, hatred in his voice. "I was going to take your things and go, but you're just too stupid for me to let you get away!"

    "Wh-what?"

    Aradriel punched him squarely in the face again. "A logger in Valenwood? You believed that? Do you know a single thing about Valenwood?"

    "I... what?"

    "Oh, you really are a piece of work," Aradriel muttered to himself, shaking his head and looking away. "I've cleared out your safe, I've slept with your wife, I've killed your friends, and all night I've been siphoning off all the coin in your pockets! Do you remember when we met a week ago? I've had my hands in your pockets since then!" Sellus began to weep with this revelation. "Stop crying, you snivelling ass! Stop your nonsense!" Aradriel was fuming now. He grabbed Sellus by the collar and slammed his head against the table. "I have to end you," he said, staring off into space somewhere next to Sellus' bleeding face. "I can't let you pass on any of your cursed genes. People like you make my job too easy."

    Aradriel slammed Sellus' head again, then again. "I like a challenge!" he shouted. With that, he jumped off the table and pulled the Imperial with him. Letting out a long cry, he ran at one of the dining room windows and sent Sellus careening through. The house was built on a steep hill; there was no way he would survive. Aradriel sat down at the dinner table, panting.

    A few moments later he stood up, set to swiping all the valuables he could carry, and walked out the front door.
     
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  5. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    OOC: This post is somewhat lacking details but I tried to keep it as short as possible as no one else in the RP was involved in the post. So sorry if its a bit of a pain to read.


    Dauds guild had fallen on some hard times, this chapter of Dauds life was coming to a close. Traitors in the ranks, their hideout being found, being mercilessly hunted by bounty hunters and even the Vigilants of Stendar for their affiliations with the Daedric princes. Dauds second in command Billie Lurk had betrayed Daud in hopes she could lead the guild, Daud won and spared her. This caused speculation within the guild. Daud was suppose to be their almighty ruthless leader, and yet he dare spare a traitor?

    "Hey that wasn't Daud, it's Billie's fault we've fallen on hard times." Samuel said, his brother Edmund disagreed. "Dauds going soft and you know it, it's the reason Billie betrayed Daud in the first place. Sparing her only proves her point." As Edmund was saying this, Daud approached from behind. Samuel coughed to alert Edmund. Edmund turned and his heart sank, "Oh uh.. Daud." Daud looked unimpressed. "Anytime you feel I'm a little soft feel free to come by my office." Daud said, his voice cold, "Bring a blade." Daud continued his walk throughout the headquarters, and overheard another conversation.

    "Look, Dauds getting softer there's no way people are gonna keep listening to him." One assassin said, "Learn some respect." Spat the other. "Hey I respect the man but I'm not saying others do.. He's changed." Daud approached much to both assassins surprise, "Daud! Ever vigilant I see." The first assassin said. "Vigilants hot on our tracks, traitors in the ranks, I'd be nervous too. But then I remember who stilled The King of High Rock's heart and came out unscathed." Daud said, his crew was not the same as it used to be. Their devotion and loyalty are what made this guild, now they're just gossiping and talking amongst themselves. Daud had recruited each of them personally, orphans, street rats and ex mercenaries. Daud travelled through the base, and made it to his office. His room was just above, he proceeded to go up. Daud rest his head, and began to sleep.


    "Daddy!" Daud heard the voice repeat in his mind again, the voice of a child watching his father be murdered right in front of his eyes.

    "I'm sorry Viera..." Daud whispered, "I'm sorry." His voice breaking, he felt responsible for his mothers suicide. Viera turns away from Daud, and walks into a hallway. Daud follows but is only met by blinding light, he awakens.

    He awakens to one of his faithful assassins informing him of trouble, "Daud." He begins, as Daud sits up. "Some of the men are leaving, they're taking our supplies." Dauds assassin stood back as Daud stood up. "Let em go." Daud said, he began to walk downstairs. The assassin tagged along, "But Daud-" he said. "There's no need for bloodshed, let them go and we will know who's loyal by who is left." A few more assassins gathered around Daud, he stopped walking. "Daud, we don't have many contacts. A lack of men and contacts mean getting contracts will be difficult, I don't know if the guild will survive." They were finding excuses to leave, and Daud knew it. "Anyone who wants to leave, leave." He said finally after a few moments of thought. A few seconds past, no one moved. "Anyone who leaves now won't be stopped, won't be followed. All your ties will be erased."

    A few men looked to each other, and one by one they began to leave. About 20 men and women remained. "Who's best interests are in your heart, Grognak?" Daud asked, to the only Orc ever to be in his guild. "Yours, Master Daud." He said, standing tall. "Talia, who's best interests are in your heart?" He asked the faithful wood elf. "Master Daud, yours are." These two were only ones of all 23 here that Daud had known since the founding of this guild. "Talia, you'll take my place as leader. Grognak will be your second-in-command. The rest of you-" he said, turning to the crowd, "consider this a new guild. A new origin. I will not be apart of it." He turned the orc and Talia, "Your best interests should be with the guild now, bring it up again, make it what it once was. I was planning on leaving, but not like this." As Daud left many said their goodbyes, and how he'd be missed. Daud knew he'd be forgotten by most within the year, and it made him wonder. 10 years of his life he invested into that guild, 10 years of his life which had just ended. All that work, that progress, it's over now.

    Two whole weeks past until he heard a banging on the door, it was a woman from his old guild. "Master Daud," the girl said "the Vigilants are looking for you." Daud cocked his head slightly to one side, "I know, and I'm not your master." He said. "No, Daud, they know where you are." She said, seemingly in a worry. "I was planning on leaving next week, how can you be so sure?" Daud asked. "I've been spying on them for a while now, you assigned me to it.. Well when you left the guild I kept that duty. They're after you, and they're on their way. I got here first but only just, they'll surly be here within the hour." After this confrontation Daud left with the young Breton, they took a horse drawn carriage to Whiterun in hopes to evade their perusers. Daud knew it would take more than that, but it would buy them some time. They arrived very early in the morning, around 5 am. The young girl, Maya, walked ahead of Daud up into Whiterun. Daud went to follow, but was called back by the carriage driver. "Daud, over here." The man called out. Intrigued, Daud went back to the man. He could only assume Dauds reputation had met this mans ears, was it a contract this man would assign him? The man handed him a sealed letter, and nodded as he took his carriage away from Whiterun.

    Daud opened the letter, it bore strange drawings. It seemed to indicate a place and a time, using the moons position over the place as the time. When the moon was in this spot, at the place, Daud was wanted there. Now he needed to find the place. He noticed it was in the rift, for the trees that grow there grow no where else in Skyrim. It was a small clearing, and not long after he figured out just where it was. But who had sent him this letter? A threat, or an ally? They were secretive, using a carriage driver to deliver the letter, it could be almost anyone. Daud caught up with Maya, and they spent the night at The Bannered Mare. But Daud didn't go to bed for a long time, he stayed up at the bar investing his time into this note. He figured out where and when, but not who. It didn't say what the note was for, it was just a drawing. It could be a joke, it could be an ambush, it could be anything.

    The next morning Daud set out on his journey across to the other end of Skyrim, it was a simple carriage ride. The arrived at night, but Daud was certain he wasn't suppose to be there until the next day. As they walked into Riften he eyed Maya suspiciously as she led him towards the local tavern. As she shows up, he gets this letter? He was certain he was prepared for betrayal, but then again, he wasn't last time. Daud tried talking to Maya, finding out more about her. He'd known her for five years now, she was someone he had come to trust. Trust was something slipping away from Daud now, but curiosity wasn't. He decided he'd show up, see what it was about. He was thinking up a way to escape if things got too hot, if it was indeed an ambush. Daud left Maya at the tavern while he scouted the surrounding areas, where he could disappear to. The meeting place seemed perfect for an ambush, but if it wasn't it would be something very... Interesting in Dauds mind. It came down to simply being Dauds inability to abide a mystery.

    By nightfall, Daud was ready. He had thought of nearly every possible outcome and what he would do in those situations, but he wasn't going mad. He told Maya he has business to attend to, and that he may not be back. He payed her a fair sum for her 'loyalty' and left her be. He still slightly suspected she had something to do with this. The young Breton worried about Daud, she was sure he would get himself killed one day. He had too much of a reputation and needed to settle down, in her eyes.

    Daud made his way to the meeting place, swiftly and silently. As he approached the clearing he saw only one man, Daud used a detect life spell and didn't sense any other people in the immediate vincitiy, he stepped out into the clearing. As he approach the mans attention shifted to him, Daud said nothing as he approached untill there was 10 metres between them. He stood in silence, unsure of what would happen next. He kept a calm face, and a calm body yet he was ready to fight. What was about to happen was very unexpected, this would be the beginning of a new chapter.
     
  6. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Jax peered up at the night sky and sighed. Screwing his eyes shut for a moment to rest tired eyes, he decided to give it a little while longer before he left and noted Daud as a failure to arrive. The assassin leant a little heavier against the boulder he had chosen for an ill-suited seat and flexed his fingers, which until now had been balled up into fists on his lap. Looking down he sneered at the dried earth caked into the seams of his worn leather gloves and as he waited he set about brushing away the dirt and muck.

    The dirt and dust blew away in the gentle eddies of the breeze, floating away and briefly capturing Jax's waning attention. As he watched the dust blow away his ears picked up on a small snap of a branch to the side. If he was pleased to see his invitation had been received Jax gave no sign of it, instead he simply straightened his back and let his face fall into a careful mask of neutrality. Vitus had always referred to the expression as Jax's 'business face', which had irritated the assassin far more than it should have done. Removing any thought of his dead mentor from his mind Jax watched the man he assumed to be Daud step forward into the clearing.

    He was hesitant, clearly ready to fight or flee of the situation called for either. That was a good sign at least. Anyone who walked happily into an unknown scenario in this line of work tended not to last very long.

    Jax took in the man's appearance, his gaze piercing despite the darkness that shrouded the two men. There was nothing particularly unique or special about Daud's appearance, save perhaps for the large scar running down his face. An ordinary man, the sort of face that could get lost in a crowd, so long as he kept his rather expensive looking weapons concealed. He would do, Jax supposed, but it was his skill that he truly cared about.

    Jax idly rubbed at a small bug bite on the delicate skin of his wrist, a pale sliver of flesh exposed between his sleeve and glove. "Well you've showed up so that's one thing at least. We don't need to introduce ourselves just yet. I know who you are of course, but whether or not you know my name depends on your future actions."

    Perhaps in another life Jax would have enjoyed the life of a bard. Drawing out the reason for Daud's presence had a quiet enjoyment to it, similar to the way Jax often felt when a mark realised he would be the last thing they saw. Quelling his pleasure Jax continued, his voice quiet and soft. "All you need to know for now, is that I represent a small company of highly trained individuals, who share your...particular skill set shall we say. Your actions in High Rock have piqued our interest, and if you agree, we would like to extend and invitation into our ranks. I am afraid due to the nature of my business I cannot divulge more than simply this, we work as thieves and assassins, though unlike others we work in the dark, we do not relish fame. We work for the pleasure of our business and for control. As such, discretion is imperative, an if you cannot abide by this then we shall part ways tonight and you will pray to whatever gods you believe in that you will never see my face again. If however you choose to follow our path, I have a simple exercise to determine whether or not you are truly suited to my little company. Are we clear?"

    In his opinion, it was always this choice that was the most intriguing part of hiring a new hand. He remembered his own conversation with Vitus, how eager he had been to move on and prove himself. He had been naive and arrogant, and had it not been for the company he would likely be buried in an unmarked grave, if he was fortunate.
     
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  7. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    Daud could feel this man was scoping him out, possibly looking for weakness, looking for anything. Daud noticed the man had a few scars and was even missing the tip of his right ear, Daud would ask about these later should he keep in contact with him. It wasn't something that worried him, but it was noted. The man spoke. "Well you've showed up so that's one thing at least. We don't need to introduce ourselves just yet. I know who you are of course, but whether or not you know my name depends on your future actions." A strange choice of words, thought Daud. He didn't think something like this would happen, but he kept his face void of any emotion or change.

    "All you need to know for now, is that I represent a small company of highly trained individuals, who share your...particular skill set shall we say. Your actions in High Rock have piqued our interest, and if you agree, we would like to extend and invitation into our ranks. I am afraid due to the nature of my business I cannot divulge more than simply this, we work as thieves and assassins, though unlike others we work in the dark, we do not relish fame. We work for the pleasure of our business and for control. As such, discretion is imperative, an if you cannot abide by this then we shall part ways tonight and you will pray to whatever gods you believe in that you will never see my face again. If however you choose to follow our path, I have a simple exercise to determine whether or not you are truly suited to my little company. Are we clear?" Daud listened carefully, waited a moment, then spoke. "This is a recruitment then?" He asked rhetorically. "Assuming I meet the specifications." He began to pace to the right. "I can be discreet, but being well known was an easy way of getting contracts." Daud then began to pace to the left. "I don't waste my time in worship, I don't the aid of a god." Daud stopped where he was originally standing, and looked the man in the eyes.

    This guy knew about him, so he may know of his affiliation with the Daedria. Daud never worshipped them, but he did use some of them for his own benefit. "We're clear." He said, waiting in interest at what task this man would set him. He was assuming an assassination or theft, maybe both, but whatever it was Daud was more than sure he would be capable of handling it.
     
  8. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Listening to Daud speak and reason cause the corner of Jax's mouth to lift in quiet amusement. "We serve no one but ourselves, to trust in the daedra is foolish. And you needn't worry about a shortage of work, we have our ways, and you would be amazed to know the power behind a whisper in the dark."

    Allowing his words to sink in Jax pushed off the boulder with his foot, walking across the clearing to a small collection of bushes, that when looked past frames a homely view of a fisherman's shack. Jax sniffed and nodded towards the ramshackle shelter. "As for your recruitment it's quite simple. A father and daughter live in that shack over there, and one of my contacts has informed me that the fisherman has been rumoured to abuse his daughter. Should something untoward happen to this man, no one would miss him, and his girl would be free to put this part of her life behind her and move on. We have been tasked with this elimination, and considering its simplicity, you shall deal with it."

    Jax turned back to look fiercely at Daud, his voice taking on a harder edge as he spoke. "We do not work like others. We do not give reason to suspect. When you deal with your mark it must be done in a way that could be easily written off as a sad accident. There will be no reason to suspect murder, after all, that would paint our client in a bad light and this job is supposed to help her, you understand?" There was only so much Jax could really do here, and a part of him loathed giving over control to an unknown, but it had to be done. He would simply watch from the shadows and intervene if something went wrong. He had only had to step in once so far and the initiate hadn't lasted too long as a result. It was a harsh business, but rewarding, should Daud prove himself capable.
     
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  9. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    "Who says I trust them?" Daud smirked, "I used them. I had to do some things I'm not proud of but I got what I wanted." Daud couldn't help but grin when he knew the conditions of the contact. Not only would he be doing good but he didn't have to send a message, silent justice. It was perfect. "It will be done." Daud left the man, and walked in the direction of the shack. Despite the hour, the family of two was awake. Daud knew he could do better if he could perform throughout the day and night, but the man didn't specify on when to complete it. Daud had assumed now, but he wasn't about go back and ask. The girl, young, was quite pretty. He would take her father, which despite his abuse might sadden her, but she would free her from his torment. He noticed a fairly older man, her father, enter from the back somewhere. Her attention went to him and they spoke, she was blocking the way so Daud could see his nor her expressions, but it did indeed get violent. Her father stuck her, and she put her hand to her mouth as her father went back outside to fish. She didn't cry, but he saw the look in her eyes, she was broken. Not drawing anyone weapons, Daud crept closer. Daud knew how he would do this, it seemed too easy. No wonder the mysterious man spoke as if it was so simple, it was. The man was reeling in a fish as Daud got within hearing distance, Daud watched from under the porch as he refitted his fishing rod with bait and chucked his catch into a bucket. The shack was facing the road, but out the back there was a porch just next to the lake, leaving it a perfect shack for a fisherman. Another man would surely soon fish here, because this man had hit his girl for the last time. As the man cast his rod Daud crept out of his hiding place, the girl was in the kitchen doing her house keeping duties. She may hear the splash, so he had to be careful. The man was sitting, his chair right near the edge of the porch and his bucket for fish just besides him to the right. So many accidents waiting to happen, only this wasn't one. Daud got so close he could smell the mans stench, fish and body odor. Daud got down low, holding his breath, and choked him out. The man struggled a little, but couldn't make a sound. After one last groan he fell into unconsciousness. Daud kept the body in the chair sitting, sleeping, as he pulled the still barely alive fish out of the bucket. He drew his dagger and began to cut into it over the porch so it's blood spilled into the water, but then moved it so it spilt onto some rocks just a full arms reach out to the left. The red blood looked convincing, but as soon as the tide came in it'd be gone. However, the rock came out in 3 small sections, the highest part being the part most likely to fall on. It was half a meter in diameter, and the middle spiked upward. Daud threw the fish on it and it splattered blood over it before falling into the lake and floating off with the current. No fish guts remain. "This is the fun part." Daud thought to himself, "and the part where it could all fall apart."

    He drew his dagger and with the hilt, whacked the man in the forehead. If the mans body was retrieved he would have a swelling on his head. The man was far from dead, and it was due to the choke out that the man hadn't woken. He would sleep for at least an hour, had he not been killed first. Then Daud took the fisherman down under the porch, where he became knee deep in the water. Then Daud slowly slid the mans body into the water face first, and pushed his body away as he went further down. He began to sink.

    Daud snuck away, and before he left for final he looked back at the shack. The girl was sitting down now, at what Daud assumed was their dinner table. She was waiting for her father to bring in his catch, whether or not she got any Daud would never know. He turned away, and went back to find the mysterious man who had set him this simple task.
     
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  10. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Jax watched closely from his vantage point. It was clean and quiet which Jax was reassured to see. With all the rumours surrounding Daud, Jax had been incredibly apprehensive when Vitus suggested a meeting with the so called "Knife of High Rock". Jax had balked at the title initially, wholly against the idea of recruiting someone who appeared to go against everything the company stood for but Jax had always respected his superiors decisions enough to at least explore them. So he had sent off a map for Daud, and here he stood, pleasantly surprised at the man's execution of the target.

    As Daud returned Jax nodded, his stoic expression returning. "Good enough for me." Jax reached to a small coin purse tied to his belt and threw it to Daud. "Your payment for the job. If you think this is something you wish to continue then you are free to ask any questions and I shall answer. If not, I suggest you take your coin and speak of this to no one. I assure you, my associates and I take discretion very seriously. Speaking of your brief involvement will have consequences."
     
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  11. Delusional

    Delusional Connoisseur of Hallucinations

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    The crisp wind tugged at Tristan's robes as he trudged through the forest. The moons still hung high above him, two gleaming orbs penetrating the pitch black night sky, streaming through the autumn canopies of the Rift. According to the map, the marked location was just up ahead. Tristan sighed deeply, eager to conclude his journey.

    As Tristan trekked through the forest, breathing heavily, his aged bones aching, he reminisced of High Rock and the Priesthood he left behind to serve Sheor. The small, cozy monastery, seated atop a commanding bluff, gale winds from the ocean brushing up against the settlement, whistling through the sturdy buildings and rattling the foundations. His fellow priests, living pious and devout lives, spending much of their day within the temple in prayer. High Priest Phinias as his thoughtful and philosophical musings, and all the young acolytes, training to become brothers in the priesthood. Sorrow washed over the Breton as he reminisced of his home; then he remembered his purpose. He was a servant of Sheor, placed on this planet to serve the Breton god of strife. Tristan shook the sorrow from his mind as he continued through the Rift and its beautiful vegetation.

    Soon, Tristan spotted a dim glow through the trees and shrubbery. He quickened his pace, anxious for respite. Eventually, the foliage parted and gave the Breton priest a view of his destination--a narrow crag in the cliff face, emanating with a flickering yellow light. There was no doubt that he was finally here. Tristan smiled slightly as he approached the cave.

    The Breton slowly and carefully slipped through the narrow entrance, his robes brushing up against the jagged rock. He felt his feet collide with a pile of stones, sending them tumbling across the cave floor as he gazed upon the campsite before him. It was not a large camp; it consisted of little more than a small campfire and a few personal bags of supplies, most likely belonging to the tired man who was seated along the edge of the cave, leaned against the wall, dozing off. Tristan slowly approached the man, each step deliberate, as he withdrew the parchment that had the map with the marked location scrawled into it.

    "Uh, hello?"
     
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  12. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    "Good enough for me." The man said as Daud returned, he reached to a small coin purse tied to his belt and threw it to Daud. "Your payment for the job. If you think this is something you wish to continue then you are free to ask any questions and I shall answer. If not, I suggest you take your coin and speak of this to no one. I assure you, my associates and I take discretion very seriously. Speaking of your brief involvement will have consequences." Daud pocketed his coin, then thought for a moment. "I actually do have a few questions, I'll ask them straight up." He cracked his knuckles. Daud lifted a finger for every question he would ask as he asked it. "Who are you? How did you find me? Why did your organisation choose someone so infamous for jobs like these? How did you find me?" Daud then stopped a moment, he had been found by the Vigilants and this mans organisation. "My last and most important questions. What will I have to do in order to join this organisation, the terms and conditions, if you will?"
     
  13. AS88

    AS88 Well-Known Member
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    "Uh, hello?"

    Gattuso tensed momentarily, then relaxed as he saw the lithe figure slink into the crevice. He stood a moment, taking in the sight of this short, skinny Breton, swaddled in robes clearly from some kind of clergy, yet aged and faded from years of wear. He looked weary and withered, not like a man capable of killing with ease. He was good.

    "The note, if you have it."

    Gattuso took half a step forward, and took the folded parchment from the priest's hand. Maintaining eye contact with his visitor, Gattuso crumpled the map and threw it onto the fire behind him, causing a brief flash of flame as it caught then settling into the rest of the smouldering pile.

    "You look tired. Sit."

    The Imperial motioned to the other side of the fire, and re-established his leaning spot on the wall. He allowed the Breton to take a seat and a drink while he thought back to Jax's instructions. Gattuso had been told that he'd been in this game long enough to judge whether or not this priest would be any good to the company, so Jax had left the initiation process completely up to Gattuso, with the proviso that ideally he didn't get the man killed. It had taken a few days so organise, but he'd come up with something a little different for the Breton. The company had its friends, and it had its enemies. Maven Black-Briar happened to be one such enemy, an influential one at that. The Imperial shook these other thoughts from his mind and returned to the job at hand. He smiled warmly at his guest, and extended his arms out in a welcoming fashion.

    "My friend, welcome to Skyrim."

    Gattuso left a brief pause for his voice to reverberate slightly in the small space as he took a swig of his mead. He turned back to the Breton and his voice lowered to his more normal quiet, calculated tone.

    "Now the niceties are done with, down to business. It's clear that you're an efficient killer, that isn't in doubt, but I want to see what else you're capable of. There's a pair of carts travelling from Riften to Windhelm due to set off in the next few days, guarded by some of the most dense but well-outfitted mercenaries you could wish to come across. There will be mead on these carts, I know that much, but I want to know what else."

    He paused again, and took a long swig of mead before setting the bottle down and clearing his throat of the sweet liquid.

    "You may have a couple of days in Riften to test your ears, and the cart is scheduled to make rest stops at Shor's Stone and Kynesgrove, if what I'm lead to believe is true."

    During this time, Gattuso had been idly looking into the fire, but for the next part he turned to the Breton and looked him right in the eye.

    "I don't want to hear about dead guards, and I don't want to hear about anything going missing. I want the information, nothing more."

    Having made his point, he returned his gaze to the crackling logs at the bottom of the fire.

    "We will meet at the Nightgate Inn, in one week. If you bring me the information I'm looking for, I'll be able to extend you an invitation to a very select group of professionals. Professionals who have skills in our shared line of work. Professionals who are able to earn and work in a way which they might desire."

    The man's robes shuffled slightly, but the man hadn't got up to leave. Gattuso eyed the Breton for the last time that night.

    "I'll see you at the Nightgate. Seven days."
     
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  14. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Jax sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he mulled over the questions. They always asked the same questions. He wasn't sure when he had started wishing they would ask something a little more...original. Sighing loudly Jax looked to his left, half-expecting to see his old mentor stood next to him with his thumbs hooked into his dagger sheathes, just like he used to.

    "To answer your first question, you can call me Jax. The rest...my company's previous leader sent a few feelers out. We have a lot of connections you would be surprised to know about, believe me. We have friends in high and low places, and one of these friends slipped us your name. You were conspicuous enough in your craft that tracking you down was hardly a challenge." Jax rolled his shoulder in an attempt to alleviate the tension building up in the muscles. It was his primary arm and often he found the muscles would cramp and stiffen if he didn't take enough care. It was just one of the constant signs that his lifestyle was beginning to stretch him thin and take it's toll on his aging body.

    "As for what you have to do, it's remarkably simple. You do as your told, accept the contracts we give you and enjoy the benefits in whichever way you see fit. If we deem you an acceptable member of the company then we will arrange for you to be killed." The last few words were delivered with a wry smirk and a knowing glint in the assassin's eyes. "A wanted killer and thief attracts too much attention, so it's easier for us all if the rest of the world believes us to be dead. It's far easier than it sounds, faking your own death. Usually the hold guards want to come across your body so much they believe anything that suits them. Other than that the job is really very simple." Jax folded his arms across his chest and looked at Daud expectantly, wondering if the young man had any more questions to add. He didn't much care if he had answered the questions adequately. He just needed to get back to base. If Gattuso was around they could discuss recon over some ale and then Jax could retire to bed and sleep off the past few days. Maybe he'd hole himself up in his quarters and feign injury just to take some time for himself.

    It wasn't that he didn't enjoy his work, he took great pride in it in fact. It was simply that since the dissolution of the company he hadn't had a single day where he wasn't cleaning blood off his hands. He needed to pause and take inventory. There were still names he had to cross out, and after his run in with Renard he was beginning to wonder if he needed to clean up the list of trusted contacts. The slate needed to be wiped clean, Jax knew this. He had reluctantly taken the helm of this operation and now he was going to do things properly, and that meant that change was coming. Once the current contracts were taken care of he would see to arranging a meeting and find out where everyone's heads were at. If they weren't all on the same page after everything that had happened then there was little future to be had as an organisation.
     
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  15. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    Daud listened to all the man said, without a word or changing expression. When the man was finished, Daud spoke. "One last question. What are the benefits?" Daud almost thought this man, Jax, would remark a sarcastic answer. "And do these 'benefits' change on varying contracts? Other than that, I'm good to go."

    Daud didn't think he'd miss being in charge, this would be a nice change of pace. Less organising for Daud to do, it would be handled by others. He wondered if Jax would ever respect him, but it didn't bother him that he didn't.
     
  16. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    "And do these 'benefits' change on varying contracts? Other than that, I'm good to go."

    Jax pursed his lips in slight irritation. He was reaching a point where his patience was starting to wear thin. He simply wanted to be done with this now and go back to his chambers.

    "The benefits, namely coin, will depend on the contracts. But more precisely, your earnings will depend on how well you carry out your instructions to the letter. If a client wishes something to be done a certain way and you fall short of what is required of you, then that will be reflected in your pay."

    Jax was careful not to show his exhaustion in his face, going to far as to square his shoulders and straighten up, as if improved posture would help wake him up. "Now if that's all, you have three days to sort out your affairs and make whatever arrangements you require. I'm giving you a map to the company location. If you don't arrive withing three days we will consider our agreement null and void. This is simply to ensure our own protection. Admittedly even if you show up when you're expected I wouldn't expect the warmest of welcomes, but if you do arrive on time I'm sure the others will at least try to seem cordial. Now, I have pressing matters I need to attend, so until we next meet, farewell and watch the skies."

    Such pressing matters were a bellyful of ale and a warm bed but the recruit needn't know that. Nodding brusquely Jax turned on his heel and began to walk away, his feet treading a familiar path back to the dwelling he reluctantly called 'home'. It was hardly a home in reality, a more apt term would be 'lair' or 'den' perhaps, but those words suggested dramatics that Jax loathed.

    By the time Jax finally came upon the craggy rock formation and dark entrance to the cave the moons were past their nightly peak and tendrils of morning light were beginning to snake their way across the vast expanse of sky. A hoarse cry carried through the air and Jax winced, looking over his shoulder with trepidation as the increasingly common sight of a dragon circled in the air before lazily drifting over the Jerral Mountains. The sight of the monstrous beasts would never fail to send a chilled spike of fear lancing through the assassin's heart, even now after the apparent 'Dragonborn' had taken care of things and in doing so had postponed the end of the world. Jax was normally one to scoff at such tales, content to wait in his own paranoia whilst the creatures from ancient myth and legend lingered within this realm. If the prophesied warrior was as great and powerful as the bards claimed, then why were villages and towns still afflicted by the terrors that prowled the skies? Grousing about the matter would change nothing, so rather than waste precious time in complaint, Jax headed down into the dark of Crystaldrift Cave, his boots skidding on loose rocks and dirt as he descended into the mouth of the cavern.
     
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  17. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    Daud was given the map as the conversation concluded and he left, back to Riften. Daud conducted a murder that would seem to be a fortuitous death, saving the life of a young girl and leading Daud down a new career path. He didn't wonder what was in store for him, nor did he feel any sort of excitement. He simply walked into the Bee and Barb and went to bed, he had 3 days and would set out tomorrow, he had more than enough time to get there.

    Daud awoke rather startlingly, having awoken from a nightmare. He made his way down to the bar and just sat at the counter, he ordered some ale and took sips out of it every few minutes. Was he really ready to start all over again?
     
  18. Delusional

    Delusional Connoisseur of Hallucinations

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    Tristan listened to the rugged Imperial man intently, his gaze locked upon the eerie, icy blue eyes that almost shone from shadows that danced along his face, emanating from the fire's glow. He paused often, letting his words sink in and giving Tristan time to reflect, which he graciously took and did indeed reflect. His life was a life devoted to Sheor, and he would not go against his god's will, even if it means he wasted close to a month crossing High Rock and Skyrim. As such, Tristan took every opportunity presented to him to delve into thought and prayer.

    Soon enough, the man stood and exited the cave. Tristan remained unmoving, letting the faint breeze whistle through the small crag in the rock face where the cave lay through; listening to the crackle of the dwindling fire as its once-luminescent glow dimmed, until it was just a pile of embers and burnt firewood.

    Oh god, Sheor, what should you have me do? Would you have me seek out this shipment and do as the man instructed, trailing it and spying on it in an attempt to dig up secret information, or would you have me return to the priesthood with my brothers to carry out your work and word there? O Sheor, how should I proceed? I am your servant; your utensil. Tell me, my god, what your bidding is, Tristan prayed, bent over himself, hands clasped together.

    It wasn't until the budding morning light streamed through the crag into the cave that Tristan had decided. He stood from the gravely cavern floor and made his way out of the dank cave and into the forest outside. Frost tipped the grasses all around him, and the crisp and fresh morning air nipped at the robed priest as he began to trek through the forest, heading for the nearest path. He was not afraid of becoming lost in the endless sea of trees, for he had Sheor, his eternal guardian and light, his supreme navigator.

    It was several hours before the aged Breton reached his destination. Across the deep blue waters of the lake, Tristan could see the outline of the Skyrim city of Riften through the distant fog. He gazed at the city for a moment before turning and continuing around the lake, eager for a warm bed and even respite for a day or two while he waited for the shipment to depart.

    The walk around the lake did not take long at all, and the Breton finally found himself at the gates of the walled city of Riften. He tried to enter the city, but was stopped by a guard stationed outside.

    "You cannot enter without paying the visitor's tax." His heavily accented voice was gruff and demanding.

    "Oh, visitor's tax? I did not know that there was such a thing," Tristan replied, surprised.

    "Uh, yeah, visitors tax. All visitor's to the city of Riften must pay a tax of fifty septims."

    Without saying a word, Tristan produced a coin purse from his robes and withdrew a single septim. Sunlight glinted off the coin as it lay in the Breton's palm while he tucked the purse back away within the folds of his robes. The guard started to object to the absurd gesture, but Tristan retorted with a simple flash of a dagger, which successfully shut the obviously corrupt guard up. The priest approached the man and pressed the coin into his hand.

    "There is no visitor's tax, but here's a septim for trying," Tristan whispered as he passed the guard and slipped through the large wooden gates of the cesspool that many called Riften. The Breton almost felt remorseful for his actions and cheating the guard out of a little coin, but he realized that the world he was about to enter--and not only the city, but this Company as well--was a dog-eat-dog world; a place that held no haven for the pious. He knew that his actions would require hours of prayer in order for his lord to forgive him, but for now, it was time for rest. Tristan smiled warily at the notion.
     
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  19. AS88

    AS88 Well-Known Member
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    As Gattuso slinked out of the small crevasse in the rock face and emerged back into the rest of Tamriel, he shuddered slightly as his cloak was caught in a gust making a break from the rest of the breeze. Following a deep whistle and a clap, his old nag came ambling around another small hole in the rock, from behind a Snowberry bush. He patted the old mare softly on the neck and remembered their first meeting as he swung his right leg over her worn old saddle and gave her a gentle tap with the stirrups. Gattuso had always been comfortable around horses, a result of his privileged upbringing and the ample coin spent by his parents in an effort to make him a suitable and capable heir. He was, of course, trained on the finest fillies and stallions when he was younger, but these days he preferred simple, even scraggly looking mares to avoid any raised eyebrows and lessen the chance of a theft leaving him in a difficult position.

    He wheeled the horse around using her worn reigns and uttered a few quiet words, sending the horse into a slow trotting motion back towards Gattuso's bed. The soothing motion of the mare almost sent the Imperial to sleep in the saddle as the light slowly began to creep up behind him and outshine the retreating stars. The freshness of the morning woke Gattuso up a little bit as he reached into a pouch to snack on a few berries, and he decided to make a stop on the bank of Lake Honrich to allow his mare a short drink and a little rest.

    On the bank, Gattuso stared blankly into the morning mists as he thought about his late-night visitor. He had expected the man to be unassuming, but not quite so unassuming. A flicker of worry flitted into and out of his mind, that the man was simply a wanderer looking for somewhere to rest, before he remembered taking a half-second glance at the dog-eared-yet-intact map that the Breton had brought with him to the meeting. He unfastened the top buckle of his armour as he sat back on the lakeside, and rooted half-heartedly through his pack. His hand stopped as it found two things at once; his water pouch and an unopened bottle of Honningbrew. He paused another second and looked out across the misty lake, now beginning to clear as the morning sun began to take hold of its territory and his horse idly munched on a few spots of grass. Thinking of what was to come today, he thought of the cave he was currently calling home, and wondered how Jax's recruitment meet had gone, estimating that he'd probably be back by now.

    Ah why not, one won't hurt. Jax can wait another hour.
     
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  20. Aerin

    Aerin IOK's Token Brit

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    Entering through the hidden entryway at the rear of the cave, Jax yawned, stumbling a little as his foot caught on a loose fragment of shale. Muttering under his breath he continued forward, glad to finally stand within the comforting shadows of home. Slipping back the battered leather of his hood Jax stalked forward and simply shook his head in warning when he noticed Vazir step forward to speak. The man had been there since the start of everything and he knew well enough when to avoid the company leader's darker moods. It seemed Jax would be in a foul temper that evening, something that sent an uneasy chill to the redguard's bones.

    Jax looked around the main area briefly. Vazir had returned to the main table to eat with Meera, a sullen and brooding argonian. Carth was busy training with his knives in the makeshift armory and training ring, and Falere was beside the hearth, no doubt concocting his latest bottled terror.

    He could not see Gattuso.

    Narrowing his eyes Jax straightened his back and raised his voice to the room. "Where is he?"

    Carth halted his training and glanced up at Jax, a scowl on his face when he noted the assassin's wrathful glare. Pushing his lanky blond hair from his face the firelight illuminated the intimidating cross work of scars that patterned the man's arms and shoulders. "Not seen 'im. might be he's still on the job."

    Jax turned to Carth and shook his head. "No. If he's not back by now he's like to be drinking or whoring. If he drags his arse back here send him to me."

    "Have there been complications?" Meera's voice was raspy and grated upon Jax's already thin nerves. The only response she received was an unintelligible grunt as Jax moved to grab a bottle of wine from the table before stalking off to his private room. Once inside the cramped chamber Jax rubbed at his tired eyes, wishing they would cease to burn with exhaustion. Uncorking the wine with his teeth Jax took a healthy swig before removing his armour. Eventually he was dressed in a simple woolen tunic and his leather trousers and boots. It was enough for him to feel comfortable despite the frigid temperature of his room. Stone walls looked upon Jax unforgiving as the man scowled and drank once more from his prized bottle.

    With a surprisingly amount of grace Jax walked over to the wooden crate that served as a desk and table. Sifting through various sheets of parchment his eyes alighted on one in particular, and with much care he gently lifted it up to the flickering candle he had lit upon the crate. Sighing to himself Jax sat down on a the chair he kept nearby and set about locating some charcoal. Finally he gripped the thin black material between his fingers and scanned the list.


    Greta - Alive
    Jusef - Alive, but believed to be bribed
    Harolld - Dead
    Vinio - Alive, last known location Rorikstead
    Berath - Alive
    Renard - Alive
    Lena - Alive, affiliation with Maven a concern.
    Other names littered the page, various notes scribbled at the sides, but those first few seven had clearly been penned with great care. It was with this same level of attention that Jax made an amendment to his list of known and trusted contacts.​
    Renard - Alive, Bribed by others. Greenbite.
    Leaning back in his chair Jax glanced once more over his list and steadily drained the bottle of wine. If Gattuso hoped to make Jax wait he would be disappointed. Jax was in no mood to sway to the imperial's whims tonight, instead he hoped to lose himself to a dreamless sleep, Oblivion take whatever Gattuso had planned. Any talk could wait until daybreak. Jax shuffled over to his meager cot and slumped down into the welcoming warmth of the blankets that he had pilfered from a local inn. Closing his eyes he sighed happily, a minuscule smile playing on his lips as the wine bottle slipped from his lax grip. ​
     
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