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18+ When Gods Fall

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Harkatti, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    The year, is 221, of the fourth era. It is a time of strange occurrences. In the early days of Last Seed, witnesses reported tremendous flashes of light coming from High Hrothgar, bright as any lightning storm. Since then, none have seen or heard from the Dragonborn, and any who make the pilgrimage up the 7,000 steps, do not return.

    Wider abroad, more disturbing news reaches the ears of nobleman and peasant alike. All throughout Tamriel, reports of riders, hooded and cloaked, roaming from village to village. Where they go, death follows. And the dead do not rest easily. Villages have been seen sitting silent, filled with plague-riddled corpses. Not even a week later, those very dead rise up and lay siege to other towns and villages nearby. Not even the gods can offer safety from this epidemic of rot and death.

    Cities have closed and barred their gates. Guardsmen watch the few travelers allowed inside with great suspicion. A call for adventurers, though bleak, and without much hope behind it, has gone out. Those either brave or mad enough to answer it, will either be marked as the greatest heroes of the age, or just another group of corpses, come back to haunt the people they tried to save.


    ~~~
     
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  2. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    The walls of Whiterun stood before Arenaya Norstrae and her imperial companion Cadrian Alessio. It had been a long journey, rife with horrors and danger at every step. The dead were everywhere. Most of them, however, were no longer behaving as a corpse ought to. From their journeys' start, in Bruma, to its end in Whiterun, rotting bodies pursued the living. As far as the altmer sorceress could tell, the dead had one purpose; to slaughter who ever survived the mysterious plague that spread throughout Tamriel. Those that did not rise again served as meals for those who did. Arenaya wasn't sure which fate she preferred.

    Corpses, the proper, unmoving, but no less foul, decorated the ground at the base of walls. In some places, they were stacked two or three bodies high. Their approach had not gone unnoticed- several soldiers, in the golden yellow of whiterun hold guards, marred by blood and filth, watched them warily. Eventually, one fellow who was lacking a helmet, possibly a captain of commander of some sort, shouted down to them "State your purpose or begone! You'll draw the dead like flies to plops, standing out there!"

    Arenaya rolled her eyes, while Cadrian remained a silent shadow, behind and to the left of her. "The call for aid has not gone unheard...though how much longer we will be willing to aid you, depends on how long you intend to keep us waiting." The bare-headed man disappeared for a moment, and the sorceress' keen elven hearing picked up the sounds of an urgent discussion. With a great clanking of chains, the gates began to swing open. It stopped just wide enough to admit the pair. The second they were in, a group of guards slammed the heavy wood and steel gates shut. A heavy wooden bar was slid across, effectively locking it.

    "Get yourselves to the jarl up at Dragonsreach. He'll want to know someone out there is listening." The guard captain instructed, pointing to the building that dominated the horizon. The altmer and her bodyguard headed deeper into the city, taking in what little there was to see. Arenaya had heard that Whiterun was the trade hub of Skyrim. There was little evidence to support it. Suspicious eyes watched them from windows and half-opened doorways. Braziers blazed on every street corner, with grim faced nords gathered around them. Desperation was clear in their eyes.

    "You didn't tell the guard our reason for being here." Cadrian murmured beside her, carefully watching a small crowd of emaciated civilians shuffle by.

    "And we're not going to. As far as these poor fools know, we're here as saviours." Arenaya informed her loyal companion, "they don't need the finer details."

    The pair had reached the staircase leading up to what she'd been told was Dragonsreach. Four guards watched them with blank expressions, even as the elf and man passed through the doors. Inside, torches and braziers provided enough light to illuminate most of the grand hall before them. At the end of the hall, a blonde haired man, presumably the jarl, sat. Or maybe slumped was a better word. The man seemed drained, his hair mussed, deep, dark circles under his eyes.

    When he noticed the pair approaching, a spark of life appeared, and he stood.
    "You have come. You have heard the call. Welcome! Welcome brave adventurers!" His voice rose with excitement.

    A small smirk graced Arenayas' narrow face.
    "Yes, we heard your call. But the road was long and perilous-" that part, at least, was true. "We offer you our formidable powers, but it is not without price. A price in gold."

    The smile on the jarls' face froze, then transitioned over to a snarl.
    "You would demand gold from us?" He exclaimed, voice rising again, but with fury this time, "in our time of greatest need, when my people are on their knees, you would bleed us even more!?"

    Ignoring Cadrians' mildly disgusted expression, the altmer shrugged,
    "if you prefer, we could leave...I'm sure others would be more...accomadating, to our most reasonable demands." She started to turn, and had to work to hide her smile as the jarl scrambled after her.

    "Wait!" He shouted, clearly intending it a command, though it sounded much more like a plea. "You will have your gold...as much as you can carry, if you hold to your side of the arrangement."

    "Then we have an agreement." She replied, keeping her own tone aloof, "I am glad you saw things my way."

    As soon as they left Dragonsreach, Cadrian spoke up, though he was wise enough to keep from voicing his displeasure. "What now, mistress?"

    "We wait. The dead outnumber us by a fair amount. We can't hope to hold them by ourselves." Looking around, she spotted a sign, shifting in the breeze. "An inn. Excellent." She said, leading her companion out of the chilling breeze and depressing grey skies.
     
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  3. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Karon Ashur rested a gauntleted hand on the pommel of the longsword at his hip. He stood upon the sturdy wall of whiterun hold, and looked out across the plains. The day was dark and dreary, suitable for the mood of the people of the city. The breton knight had arrived at the city several days ago, and fought off several assaults of the walking dead. Though they were nothing but strangers, if unfortunate strangers. He realized that to the people of whiterun, a good amount had once been friends or neighbours. The guard had done a good job of fortifying whiterun proper, but little news reached the defenders. Karon doubted it would be good. Few of the settlements in the hold had any real hope of defending themselves against the hordes of undead. The lack of refugees only supported the knights' suspicions. Word was that supplies were beginning to run low. Desperate didn't even begin to describe the situation.

    Noise further along the wall, towards the gate, drew his attention. The current captain of the watch was questioning a pair of unlikely travelers. One, was a robed altmer woman, while the other was an imperial that was clearly no stranger to a fight. While the imperial stayed silent, the elf woman shot back a testy reply to the guard captains' inquiries. If he heard right, news of their plight was getting out to other adventurers. Interested, Karon watched as the elf and her silent companion made entered the city and made their way towards dragonsreach.

    A while later, pausing in his rounds of the wall, he noticed the pair moving to enter the Bannered Mare. His curiousity was piqued, though he knew better than to abandon his post. The knight continued his vigil until one of the guardsmen, uniform torn from the latest skirmish with the undead, arrived to relieve him. Karon thanked the man, and descended to the ground level. The inn was not far, and the breton had not seen the objects of his curiousity leave. The wind tore at his armour as he walked the distance from wall to inn, and a particularly vicious burst of it followed him inside, causing several candles to sputter wildly.

    The elf and her companion were, as he'd guessed still inside, having taken seats at a table. Removing his helm, Karon ran a hand absentmindedly through his dark hair. As he approached, he noted that the elven woman seemed remarkably thin and pale. It seemed the road was no kinder to travelers than it was to refugees, these days. "Greetings." He said warmly, standing before the pair, "and welcome to Whiterun, though it's hardly my place to treat you as outsiders, being one myself. Am I right to assume that you too heard the plea for help?"
     
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  4. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Argus Drall strode through the ravaged landscape of Whiterun hold. The assassin walked alone, his senses alert for any sudden movement among the wastes. The clouds above threatened rain, and the wind was bitterly cold. The argonian drew his long leather overcoat around himself, and tightened his grip upon the hook-tipped staff in his right hand. All was quiet, for now. Of course, Argus knew better than to assume things would remain as such.

    Ahead of him, the walls of Whiterun rose defiantly above the flat plains of the hold. As he drew closer, he noticed the ruins of the stable, and the bodies fallen against the walls. Most looked to be the undead creatures that roamed the countryside in hordes. It was not surprising that the city had been assaulted. After all, Whiterun was one of the few places that the living could find sanctuary from the tide of death that swept the lands.

    Drall was several metres from the gatehouse when a voice called to him from above. "You there! Halt and state your business!" Though he did not move, the argonian noticed the quartet of archers taking careful aim at his robed figure. They were taking no chances. Unsurprising, considering the current atmosphere. Few traveled alone, and those that did were often the subject of careful scrutiny. "I mean you no harm!" Argus called up to the man who'd spoken, "I humbly request entrance to your city. As for my business, I have heard of a call for able bodies to beat back the undead. I may only be one man, but I offer my weapon regardless."

    The man atop the wall nodded. "You're not the first. An odd couple, elf and an imperial came through a little whiles ago. Breton knight showed up a few days earlier. We're not about to turn away another blade, that's for sure." He nodded to one of the guards beside him, who shouted for the gate to be open. With a grating of chains, and gentle squeal of hinges, the gates were pulled open. They stopped with just enough room between them to allow Argus entrance. Wasting no time, the assassin hastened inside, and as soon as his scaled tail had cleared the gates, they slammed shut.

    He turned and watched as a team of hardy men slid a huge locking bar against the gates. The crunch of steelshod boots on gravel drew his attention. The man he'd spoken to before had come down to speak with him. "You are expecting an attack?" The human grimaced and nodded. "Always. These are dark days, and we can't be too careful." Argus nodded his understanding, and the guardsman continued. "If you want to introduce yourself to the jarl, head up the hill, through the city, and up the narrow stair. That'll take you to dragonsreach. If you fancy an ale and company, head to the Bannered Mare. Same direction, but you'll see the sign."

    Argus thanked the man, and began making his way through the city. The ring of smithing hammers, the wail of infants, and the sounds of city life contrasted the grim silence of the wilds. It took him a little more than a quarter of an hour to reach the Bannered Mare. His feet were weary from the road, and the jarl certainly wasn't going anywhere. He pushed through the door, noticing an elven woman, who was speaking with a heavily armoured breton man, while an imperial male watched carefully. Choosing to watch the group for now, he took a seat in the corner, where he could watch both the room and the door.
     
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  5. Alty

    Alty Caw Caw

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    Lackluster.

    Lackluster was one bold word to describe the setting. Unfortunately, it was true. This spreading rot was strikingly different to the vividness of pale eyes. Then again, the eyes had doubtlessly outdone the visuals of this plague by a hundredfold, as they were very much alive in comparison to this eventful rise of the undead. For this assassin, this was beyond exciting. It was cruel; scary. It was thrilling.

    Morthaine withdrew her mind from the sickening sight of the many corpses about the stony wall, only to place it instead on strategy of getting past the minor limitation. Whiterun, she knew, was every bit more successful than the ruins of other holds, said for the idea of placing guards all about the stony barrier. Perhaps while others were going for a more sensible approach, she was standing at the back end of Whiterun rather than at the front gates. Even better, she was without a true plan. Antically, she was loyal to her own motto of there being "an alternative if the initial fails."

    She went from soundless and motionless to soundless and in the blur of a sprint. In her near-hidden advance on the obstacle, she took 3 details of this rush-into-battle: 1) The guard posts at the back of this hold were about ten meters apart, 2) she is unlikely to be seen unless a person were to perhaps turn their head and aim their direct sight at her, and 3) the stones were mildly damp. The hustle upwards was without difficulty. She leapt at the end of her sprint, a very soft "thud...tha-thud" indicating a push upwards from one foot, hence latching both feet onto the semi-slippery surface with a small press to assist the grip in her hands. Her movements were a tad sudden, but without a jolt, muscles slick in their work. Repeat.

    The only flaw, however: She did not think to think of rotation. As soon as she landed smack in the between of the two posts, a single guard (only four steps towards his next post) gave away his confusion with five seconds of stillness (because ten would have given Morthaine too much time), before he announced her presence with a loud, "Intruder!"

    She did not give way to the human instinct to freeze in her spot, and dove for the ground inside the walls of Whiterun as soon as the unsheathing of metal reached her ears. She did not land, but tilted her body into a safe roll, yet the forming of a bruise evident by her shallow grunt. She steadily reached for a kunai ever-so-carefully concealed by the white sash of her apparel-

    She was now pursued. She was flashy, and in the midst of that- probably foolish. She had original intentions of seeking trouble seeking the jarl to aid in this corrupting crisis, but she had only one excuse: the rebel could never be beaten from her. Not in jail. Not in torture. Not in death.
     
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  6. Signus

    Signus Active Member

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    Andros' ran a thumb along the blade of his axe. It had suffered a nick when encountering the spine of a particularly stubborn corpse. Well, walking corpse. Formerly walking, now. A small pack of the creatures had jumped the bounty hunter a few miles west of whiterun. He'd smelt them before he saw them. Before he'd even heard them, in fact. Corpses stank. It was a fact, even if the walking ones defied all reason, they still maintained the inherent properties of a corpse. Forewarned, Andros had matched the steel of his axe against rotting flesh. Steel, as it had countless times in the recent months, won that contest.

    He'd noticed the damage in the middle of cleaning the blade-and he wouldn't stand for it. His axe had served him faithfully for years, and was one of the few things that anchored him to his past life. And, if the nord bounty hunter had his way, it would deliver justice. Justice for a slaughtered family. Having it damaged felt like a furrow had been carved in that motivation, as if his deliverance had become that much more unlikely. Whiterun had been the nearest city. The nearest place with life, for that matter. Once they'd figured out he wasn't a shambler, they'd been enthusiastic in their welcome.

    Satisfied with the repaired blade, he looked up, at the blonde haired woman in a blacksmiths apron. "How much do I owe?" He grunted, hand going for his worryingly light coin pouch.

    "Ten septims." Was the terse response. She wanted to charge more. By rights, she should have charged more. Repairing an existing blade took much more skill than forging an entirely new one. "You sure?"

    "jarls' orders. All defenders get a ninety percent discount."

    "I'm just passing through. Don't think I'm here to join up with the jarls' troops." Andros corrected her.

    She snorted a bitter laugh, "no one just 'passes through' anymore. If you're breathing, you're fighting." He understood her bitterness. By giving every sellsword and thug with a rusted blade a cheap repair or replacement, he was starving the cities craftsmen. He gave her fifteen septims, and walked away before she could protest. Or before the Thirst returned. He'd fed on an unfortunate, stupid bandit who'd thought to fatten himself on those brave or desperate enough to travel. That had satisfied him, for a time, but now, with the smells and sounds of life around him, it threatened to come back. A persistent ache in the back of his throat, that would only be satisfied by one thing.

    A shout nearby had him forgetting about the Thirst. For the moment, at least. "Intruder!" Obviously, it was one of the guards on patrol raising the alarm. The call was taken up by others and guards started to converge. Following, Andros saw a figure,features obscured, but he guessed a small male, possibly a female , leap from the wall to the ground below, rolling to absorb the impact. And running from the guardsmen. That alone clued Andros in. The dead did not run. At least not away from the living. She likely wasn't a threat to the city, but she was drawing the guards' attention from what was outside it.

    "Hey!" He made his presence known, startling the men who'd been focused on the shrouded figure that had, as far as Andros could tell, jumped the wall. That in itself was damn impressive, but he knew from experience fugitives could pull off nearly impossible feats when pushed.

    Approaching the nearest guard, who looked torn between continuing the chase and berating Andros for interrupting it, and demanded "you think abandoning your post for some thief is acceptable?"

    The nord stuttered "I-uh, well, they, ah- that is-"

    "It's not." Andros interrupted. "While you boys are down here, nobody is watching for the real threat." The bounty hunter jabbed a gauntleted finger at the mans' face. "If the dead get in,, it's on you. Now get your sorry arse back up there!"

    It was a gamble ,he knew. As he'd said, he was just passing through. The guards didn't know him. Didn't respect him. And they had no real reason to listen. But he knew soldiers in high stress situations tended to respond quickly to commands, especially if the one commanding happened to be in their face. The guard started to stutter a response, thought better of it, and began to return to his post, glancing over his shoulder once or twice. Andros turned away, and started after the wall-jumper. It was none of his business, but their actions had drawn his interest.
     
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  7. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    The sounds of the inn were what one would expect to hear in such a place. The clink of mugs and plates, and the laughter of men and women. It would have been convincing, if not for the fear. Tension was visible in every face, and everyone had a hand near their weapon. Even the bard seemed uneasy. Arenaya and her companion had taken a seat just inside the ring of light cast by the roaring fire. She shipped a glass of alto wine, while Cadrian ordered himself a small meal and a mug of water. The two of them sat in silence, Cadrian in his own private contemplation, while the sorceress wondered about the current predicament of Tamriel, and more immediately, Skyrim.

    Whatever or whoever had concocted the plague must have done so in secrecy. The war in skyrim was over, the corsairs off the coast of High Rock had been defeated, and aside from a few rumblings in Cyrodiil and the Isles, the dominion and empire were at peace. A mage or group of mages summoning dark magics would have been noticed for sure. Of course, there were all kinds of caves and dense forests throughout Tamriel where one might plot. Which brought up the question of why. If power was the goal, it made little sense to have undead slaughtering anyone who survived the plague. There was little point in ruling over a kingdom of the dead.

    Her musings were interrupted by a heavily armored man, breton by race. "Greetings." The man said kindly, "and welcome to Whiterun, though it's hardly my place to treat you as outsiders, being one myself. Am I right to assume that you too heard the plea for help?"

    Arenaya sipped her wine before answering. " There is little reason to be here otherwise, I should think." She nodded to her companion, "I assume you are here for the same reason. Breton knights are not a common sight in Skyrim." Beside her, Cadrian shifted ever so slightly. He doubted the knight was planning to cause trouble, but it was his job to ensure his mistresses safety. Even if she didn't exactly need him to protect her.
     
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  8. Rafen

    Rafen Active Member

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    Beran Masros regained consciousness with a groan. Pain lanced into his side and shoulders, as his memory slowly came back to him. He'd been escorting a small group of villagers to the safety of Whiterun, when the dead had caught them. They were in sight of the gate, but the dead were too fast, and the villagers were tired, and had to carry their sick, old and wounded with them. Beran had ordered the group to run for the gates, while he held them off. At first, the battle went well. Despite their numbers, the dead were clumsy, and focused on easy prey. Beran cut through the first few like a hot knife through butter. Within moments his greatsword was covered in gore, and the enemy finally switched their attention to the lone warrior in their midst.

    Many more fell, but now focused on a single target, their numbers began to tell. The creatures buried Beran in a pile of their own flesh, clubbing at him with rotten limbs, and clawing with filth-infested fingers. The veteran warrior resigned had resigned himself to death, when a contingent of guards, rode out, led by a breton in knightly garb. That was where Berans' memory faded to darkness. Obviously he hadn't been left out as a meal for the undead. The cot he lay on and the scent of healing herbs indicated they'd hauled his unconcious body into the city. With another groan, he forced himself to sit upright, noting that he'd been stripped of his armor and clothing down to the waist.

    White, clean bandages wrapped around his broad, scarred torso, and more around his upper arms. Looking around, he noted robed figures, healers, he presumed, tending to others, laying on cots similar to his own. Nearby, his armor was neatly stacked at the base of his cot, alongside his sword. "Where am I?" His voice was a deep baritone, fitting his massive stature. The nearest of the healers, a young man who couldn't have been more than sixteen seasons old, stared at him. "The temple of Kynareth, in whiterun. That knight fellow brought you hear, after you fell defending the villagers. That was a noble deed."

    Beran waved the boys accolades away. "I did what was right. Nothing more, nothing less. Help me get my armor on." The boy glanced at his gear and hesitated. "You really should be resting. Mistress-" the nord held up a massive hand, "I am fit to travel. More importantly, I am fit to fight. Now help me or find someone who will." The young healer glanced over his shoulder at his fellow healers, but all of them were preoccupied with their patients. With no other options, the boy began to help equip his massive companion.

    Even with Berans' instructions, it took a little over ten minutes to completely armor his torso. When finished, the veteran warrior thanked the healer, retrieved his sword, and left the temple. It was a grey, gloomy day out, threatening rain, or perhaps snow. The wind carried a chill bite, and carried the sounds of alarmed voices to him. Concerned, Beran rushed towards the noise, moving surprisingly fast despite his size.

    He arrived at the scene to see a masked and armored man ordering a confused guardsman back to his post. Closer, a shrouded figure, who Beran initially took as a small man, stood, one hand reaching for something in their clothing. Upon closer inspection, he realized that the figure was in fact a woman. Her eyes were surprisingly bright, standing out against her pale face and dark hair. The massive nord held out his free hand, palm facing forwards,letting the tip of his greatsword rest on the ground, to show he meant no harm. "Are you alright?" He asked.
     
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  9. Alty

    Alty Caw Caw

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    "Hey!"

    Her hand was gripping a hilt beneath her sash, but it wasn't fully unsheathed. Her focus went from her pursuers to her "savior" before they could ever turn to the confrontation. She didn't use the distraction; instead, she rolled her shoulders with little stir. Her feet shifted to hold herself straighter, left toe jutting towards the masked axman, as if it were going to engender a thorn at the tip.

    "You think abandoning your post for some thief is acceptable?"

    Not a demand, but a bellow. Her eyes flickered like an agitated flame at the petty stutter in the guard's voice, though her pupils were akin to two throwing stones aimed at the large frame of the stranger. It was nice, how he'd come to save her from the start of a mass brawl, but in her other mind, he had taken away her toys as soon as she got them from the box. The thin cover about her face was having a quarrel between folding towards or away from her mouth. She was breathing a little hard through this past excitement, or perhaps it was the flare of nostrils in a bit of frustration.

    "...get in, it's on you. Now get your sorry arse back up there!"

    Her brief scrutiny ended when the guard made a single move towards her in retreat, in which she stiffened her stature as if to size up her chaser, though the clamp around her throwing blade loosened. She felt every fiber of her right knuckles relaxing after being white from pressure. The guard passed without trouble, but she could not help but allow a concealed sneer to erupt across her face, for the visible hairs on the guard's neck were standing upwards. Her pristine irises were still holding him hostage, and she knew it as he continuously glanced backwards in his suspicions. She was ripped from her wordless mocking when she felt the other party making another (friendlier) advance.

    Her face was remodeled. Instead of maintaining snarkiness, the majority of her expression became stone. No tension was present on her skull, but adrenaline was still present in a furling left finger. A sharp exhale expressed her notice of a second party from behind the first. He approached, and with acknowledgement of his eye on the hand secured around the kunai, she relieved the hilt from the imprisonment of her hand. She let the blood flow back into her right wrist and palm, the hand resting at the satchel about her thigh and waist.

    However, her peace wavered when he began treating her as if he were trying to tame a hawk.

    "Are you alright?"

    She raised a brow at the lower of the greatsword, but further confusion displayed on her face when he held out a hand. Did he want her to sniff it? Was he going to take her to a ballroom?

    "Are you offering your hand for me to cut it off?", she deadpanned. Her voice was clear, but it had a form of roughness to it, though not unpleasant.
     
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    #9 Alty, Jun 13, 2018
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  10. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Of all the lands she'd been to, Khajira liked Skyrim the least. It was always bitterly cold, even when the sun was out. The city of Whiterun was no better, and this...invasion by the walking dead did nothing to improve it. As if to prove her point, the wind blew, slicing through her fur with icy talons. The khajiit drew strange looks as she made her way through the city streets. Even though Ulfric and his regime were gone, Khajiras' fellows were a rare sight in the home of the nords.

    She was well aware a few of the looks directed her way were somewhat less than friendly. The plague, and the arrival of the walking dead, had made everyone suspicious and afraid. The stone walls and sturdy gates could keep the dead out, but not the fear they brought with them. Or the horrific stories told by those that managed to survive long enough to reach the city. Khajira shivered as the wind blew again, and looked around, seeking an inn or tavern. The smoke from the braziers in what she assumed was the town square.

    A sign, swinging slightly in the wind, advertised the inn known as the bannered mare. Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she hadn't eaten since the night before. She pushed the door open, and looked around. Most were nords from the town, but she noticed some others, as well. It was likely, they were some of the adventurers who'd responded to the call for help that had gone out. An altmer sat with an imperial, speaking to a heavily armored knight. In one corner, sat someone as unlikely to be in the inn as Khajira herself.

    Putting her curiosity aside for the moment, she approached the bar, where the innkeeper, a tired looking brunette, wiped at a flagon with cloth. She noticed the khajiits' approach. "What can I get for you?"

    "This one would like a pair of salmon, if you have them. And a bottle of ale." She dropped a pouch of coins on the counter between them. The innkeeper grabbed it and turned away, calling for someone named Saadia. A few minutes later a steaming plate of salmon sat before her, making Khajira work not to drool. "Enjoy" the redguard who was apparently the Saadia in question said, before bustling off to take another patrons order. It did not take her long to finish her meal, and as she sat, enjoy the cooled bottle of ale, she watched the others.

    As she'd noticed when first arriving, the altmer and breton were in the midst of a conversation, though the elf woman didn't seem to be in the mood for talk. Khajira decided to avoid her for now. Instead, she focused her attention on the argonian sitting in the corner, one eye on those inside, the other on the door. Clearly someone used to watching their backs. Finishing her drink, she stood and made her way over to him.

    "Khajiit was wondering if you could use some company." She inquired politely, leaning on the free chair at his table. "It seems we are not the only two summoned here." That was a guess, of course. For all she knew, the elf, her imperial shadow, and the breton had lived in Whiterun for years. Doubtful, but possible.
     
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  11. Rafen

    Rafen Active Member

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    The woman seemed somewhat less than pleased and a little confused. " Are you offering your hand for me to cut it off?" She asked gruffly, her pose guarded. Beran let his hand drop to his side, "I'd rather you didn't." He said, " it seemed you were in need of assistance. Clearly, that was not the case. I am curious as to why you decided to scale the walls rather than walk through the gate,though." He didn't really expect an answer. Not an honest one, at any rate. He assumed she was some type of fugitive, or perhaps and assassin of sorts. Which brought his attention to the masked axeman, who stood watching the pair. Obviously he wasn't pursuing the woman. Not at this moment, anyways. Though the way he stood indicated he knew how to use his axe as well as Beran did his greatsword. And the woman between them seemed no less competent with the bastard sword on her hip.

    The corner of his lip turned up a fraction. The closest he came to a smile these days.
    "It seems we are offering assistance to the wrong person." He said to the masked man. "If the situation had played out a little longer, I believe the guardsman would have been the one in need of 'rescue'." The faint smile faded however, as he pondered their situation. Whether the three of them were willing to work together or not, one thing was certain; they were trapped inside Whiterun. Perhaps the dead were not battering at the gates this moment, but he felt it would only be a matter of time. He shifted, lifting his greatsword one handed to rest the flat of the blade across his shoulder. It was easier than carrying it around on his back, only to have to take it off his back in order to draw the blade fully. He glanced up at the cloud covered sky, "I suggest we head indoors. If my memory serves, the inn is nearby." He awaited their response.
     
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  12. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Argus watched the altmer and breton converse with detached interest. He was more curious about what had landed them in Whiterun of all places, rather than one of the other holds. That was, if the other cities still stood. Some, like Mothal and Falkreath had no walls and would be easy prey for the hordes of shambling corpses. But surely Markarth, Solitude and Windhelm survived still. All were as fortified, if not more so than Whiterun, and Markarth had natural defenses in the form of the mountains.

    His wonderings were interrupted as the door opened once more, letting in another blast of freezing air. With it, a small khajiit woman, tan furred, and wearing leather armour, wielding a glaive stepped inside. She performed a cursory glance of the room before making her way to the bar and ordering food and drink. Argus guessed she too was responding to the call for aid. Whether she was motivated by gold or an honest wish to help, he had not yet determined.

    To his mild surprise, after the khajiit had finished her meal, she sauntered over to Argus' table, unoccupied, except for him. "Khajiit was wondering if you could use some company." She said, before mentioning what Argus had already determined. He motioned for the chair opposite him. "Please. The road was long and lonely. I would enjoy the opportunity to share news in warmth and comfort."
     
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  13. TheDreamersverse

    TheDreamersverse Brit Fahiil Vahdin

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    Whiterun, the city stood proud and alone at the top of the hill. She had gotten the summons from the Jarl as many other adventurers had done, though that was not the only reason she had come to the city. Laraen was on her way back from Riverwood attempting to help some of the last settlers there get to the walled safety of the city. Upon her arrival she found houses burning and the groans of the dead to greet her. After climbing onto one of the broken houses roofs she took aim and shot 3 arrows each one killing the undead. She climbed down and decided to attempt to search for survivors, as she approached the house at the back of the town she heard crying coming from one of the rooms. She drew an arrow and walked in, inside she found a small child huddled in the corner, one of the undead, presumably his father, crawling towards him. Laraen shot the thing in the head and walked up to the small boy slowly. "No! Just leave me alone!" He cried. Laraen crouched down a quietly stated "I'll not just leave you here to become a snack, I can take you somewhere safe. Please come with me." The small boy wiped the tears from his eyes and looked up at the Bosmer archer. He looked around at the ruined house and simply nodded before standing. Laraen slowly reached out her hand for the boy to take, he grabbed her small hand hesitantly. "Now a young handsome lad like you must have a name," she said trying to distract him from all the corpses surrounding the town. "My name is Opher... It was my pa's name..." He responded sadly. "Well Opher, your with me now and I'll be sure to get you to Whiterun, I've heard it's very safe there." The duo was almost out of town when she heard the growling, looking behind she saw a large group of the undead approaching. Looking to the boy as she grabbed for her how she said, "I'm going to need you to hide, I can't concentrate on you and the undead at the same time. Go hide behind the old inn!" She ordered the boy, as she looses and arrow hitting and undead in the chest, slowing it down. In a manner of minutes, and lots of arrows and blood splatters, the undead were actually dead. Laraen turned around to find Opher, but she could see that he was no longer where she had told him to hide, then she heard the chilling scream of a frightened child and ran towards it. She rounded the old mill and found the boy laying on the ground, dead. Seconds later a walking corpse approached, and continued its meal. Laraen silently backed away, heading towards the city and a stiff drink.

    An hour or two later she finds herself sitting at the bar in the Bannard Mare, drinking an Ale and wishing for something harder. She looks around and finds an Argonian and a Khajit sitting in the corner. She smiles to herself and thinks,
    This sounds like the start to a joke. Looking further around the cramped inn she noticed a female Elf, but not a Wood Elf like herself, one of the Altmer, along with an Imperial who seemed to be her bodyguard of sorts. I wonder if all these people are here to help with the fighting of the undead. A small while later she notices a Knight walk into the tavern. A Breton she noticed upon closer inspection, with pale blue eyes and dark hair. The Knight walked up to the Altmer woman and her bodyguard, and even though the Inn was loud she could hear their conversation clear as day. "Greetings, and welcome to Whiterun," the Breton Knight states "Though it's hardly my place to treat you as outsiders, being one myself. Am I right to assume that you too heard the plea for help?"
    "There is little reason to be here otherwise, I should think. I assume you are here for the same reason. Breton Knights are not a common sight in Skyrim." The Altmer woman says in way of an answer, having heard all that was needed, I walk up to the trio and announce my arrival "I do so believe that most the have come here are here from having heard the Jarls plea, do you not think? Allow me to introduce myself, I am Laraen Springdale. I've just arrived from Riverwood, as I was attempting to save the last of the townsfolk staying there."
     
  14. Rell

    Rell Member

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    Hallen Vaeur strolled through the desolate streets of Whiterun, protected from the chill wind by a cloak he'd acquired from a bandit who no longer needed it. He was uncomfortably aware of the curious and sometimes fearful stares directed at him. Hallen didn't think it was because of the finery he wore under his armor, or the leather patch that covered his left eye, or the jewels in his ear. It was because he was new. He'd arrived just a few hours ago, a little after dawn. Already the breton raised redguard had spoken with the jarl and offered his services, such as they were. He knew he wasn't the only one to answer the call- he had seen the breton knight patrolling the walls. Hallen hadn't yet had the chance to speak with him, but he was sure they'd run into each other sooner or later.

    He was nearing the inn when he noticed her. A girl, all skin and bones, shoulders hunched against the wind. If she had parents, he didn't see them, and in these troubled times, there was no chance they'd let the girl roam alone. An orphan, then. Like Hallen had been, but much less fortunate. She glanced up as he approached, grey eyes a little lighter than the clouds above. There was no hope there. No spark of mischief that most children had. He knelt down before her, reaching into a pouch on his belt. "Don't be frightened." He told her, his voice unlike those of most redguards she'd probably met. Having been raised by bretons' he'd slowly developed their accent as he grew up. From the pouch drew a single gold coin. Pinching it between two fingers, the rogue held it up for her to see. She started to reach for it, but he held up a finger from his other hand, motioning for her to wait. "Watch closely." He instructed, and began to tumble the coin from his thumb to his pinky finger and back. After three back and forth passes, he rested it on his thumb, shifted his wrist and flipped the septim into the air.

    The girl tried to follow its' trajectory, but Hallen was too fast, snatching it out of the air with his free hand, and secreting it away in his sleeve, before opening both in front of him. The child frowned, confused. Smiling, he reached out, until his hand was behind the girls ear, before releasing the coin to his hand and holding it up in front of her. A surprised chuckle left her mouth, and Hallen joined in. Then he removed his coin purse from his belt and deposited it in the girls lap, along with the one he'd used to perform his trick. It was probably more coin than the child had seen in her life. Her eyes widened, and jaw dropped. A moment later she was up, running for the inn, the pouch clutched tightly in one hand.

    Rising to his feet, Hallen followed, pushing the door open, and breathing a sigh of relief at the warmth inside. He glanced around, noticing the...unique assembly of individuals. An argonian and a khajiit sat at one table, and on the other side of the inn, were an altmer woman that looked like a mage or sorceress, and an imperial who seemed glued to her side. The altmer was talking to the breton knight he'd seen earlier on the walls. Another elf, this one a bosmer, joined their conversation, mentioning how she'd just come in from Riverwood. Hallen decided not to join them. At least for now. Instead, he approached a group of nord men, who were already deep in their mugs.

    Holding up one of the other pouches, retreived from his trouser pockets, he asked, "would any of you fine gentlemen be interested in a game of chance?" He shook the pouch, the dice inside clattering together, including one of his very 'special' dice. The nords looked at each other before one shrugged, and shoved an empty chair towards him. "Why not? Honrick here's got some coin he needs taken off him." With a chuckle, Hallen sat, and prepared to regain his money.
     
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  15. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    The altmer was somewhat less than courteous with her response. "There is little reason to be here otherwise, I should think." She nodded to her companion, "I assume you are here for the same reason. Breton knights are not a common sight in Skyrim." Karon inclined his head briefly. "As you say, madame. I arrived several days ago, just before the last assault by the by the dead. I only wish more of my brethren could be here with me. Perhaps we would have taken less losses."

    He turned as another elf, this one a green eyed bosmer woman joined their conversation. She introduced herself as Laraen Springdale, mentioning that she had just come in from the village of Riverwood. "Riverwood? Gods, we've not seen any come from that direction for days." He glanced hopefully past her, his heart sinking as he remembered the key word she'd used. Attempting. "I take it you were unsuccesful." Karon said grimly, "is it as bad as we've heard?"

    He looked away briefly as a young girl burst through the door and ran to the innkeeper, handing over several coins from a large purse. A man followed after her. He wasn't particularly tall, but the leather patch over his eye indicated he was no stranger to violence. A leather and mail cuirass covered his torso and upper thighs. Below that, Karon noticed a surprisingly rich looking tunic of deep blue cloth. A bandolier of knives crossed his chest. Rather than approaching any of the armed adventurers, the redguard went to a group of nords who looked more than a little drunk, and began a game of dice with them.
     
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  16. Signus

    Signus Active Member

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    " Are you offering your hand for me to cut it off?" Under his mask, Andros smirked at the womans' response. Now that the immediate threat of a fight was over, he had a chance to get a proper look at her. Her face, what he could see of it, was pale, with a single scar, and unusually bright eyes. Her hands were missing a finger on each hand, though he doubted they were voluntary amputations. She'd had run ins with unsavory people in the past, no doubt. The only question remained was if she was going to cause him trouble in the immediate future. She certainly wasn't acting grateful. Odds were, she was as much a team player as he was.

    The massive, bald nord suggested that she was more than capable of taking care of herself. The bounty hunter didn't disagree. She wouldn't have risked jumping the wall if the feared a few guards. He stiffened as the man suggested heading indoors. Out here, after the brief encounter with the guards had distracted him from the demands of the thirst. But inside, among crowds of people, he wasn't so sure he could properly control his bloodlust. "You go on ahead." He said, stepping away, "I'll find my own way there."
     
  17. Alty

    Alty Caw Caw

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    Hidden amusement grasped only the corners of Morthaine's scarred lips. She was hearing the chimes of an upcoming journey. She was targeting hell with this low-key fool. What could she, an assassin labeled an enemy to both good and evil, that had purposefully thrown herself into chaos after her stunt, need assistance for?

    "I am curious as to why you decided to scale the walls rather than walk through the gate, though."

    Concealed coyness dropped once more into void emotion. She did, despite no true indication, acknowledge his prodding towards a verbal explanation. Throughout her life so far, her vocals were largely useless. Her actions justified far more than words ever could. She said nothing in this instant, not even towards the joke that followed. No pride was taken, and no humble words were spoken. However, there was a brief twitch in an eyelash when the man smiled. She vaguely sensed he was not the type for such feeble gestures.

    Willingly, she eased her composure by half a degree, and allowed for visual studying of her surroundings, now that she was inside Whiterun's barrier. It was more secure than where she was before she decided to invite herself in. She wasn't about to keep this in mind, however, due to the upcoming adventure. After all, the only reason (or excuse) she had for being here is coming to the summoning of ... heroes...

    "I suggest we head indoors. If my memory serves, the inn is nearby."

    She redirected her conscientious gaze towards the fellow nords. She did not have to look up, she could feel her tresses in the confines of her hood sticking to her skin due to the humidity. She was to agree, if the peripherals of her awareness did not get snagged on the unease of the bounty hunter. In any situation, unease was like bait to her.

    "You go on ahead."

    The bait was piling up, from the statement without excuse to the shifting of the warrior's feet... to flee?

    "I'll find my own way there."

    Her head was now cocked to his location. She wasn't a killer. She was a chaotic aid to this land. It was her job as a blood-shedding janitor to pick up messes wherever she could find them. Her intentions were clear when she placed one foot towards her "target", though her voice was directed towards the greatsword-wielder.

    "I'll be there eventually."

    Simple answer with a voice of meaning. She was an assassin tracking the bounty hunter, not that she knew his occupation. A fox chasing the hound. Her eyes flickered in the shade of her cowl, attempting to capture what ever dark steel for eyes lied underneath the mask. "Trouble in the immediate future" was possibly a perfect hit on the bulls-eye.
     
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  18. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    It was all the caravan could do to trudge along the beaten road. Emaciated horses with bleeding harness sores pulled crude wagons at a snail’s pace, mere inches away from death. Their drivers, all gaunt and bony, no longer had the strength to whip them and were simply grateful to be moving at all. Behind them, a ragged carpet of villagers marched in columns of four. Their feet, many of them without shoes, had become hard and blistered, and could only dragged and shuffled rather than lifted. Their eyes were sunken and tired and their clothes were in rags. The men formed a tired front and rearguard to protect the women, while the children old enough to march formed the center. The babies and the youngest had to be carried as it was impossible for them to keep up. They could not ride in the wagons as there was no room and the villagers would sooner die than abandon them. Many of their friends and neighbors had done just that and this had created many new orphans for the rest to take care of. The few soldiers left to guard them were at their flanks. Their weapons and armor had become rusted and caked with black blood and their once-smart uniforms had been reduced to the same rags their charges wore. The golden yellow of their Whiterun tunics had faded to a light brown, their fur and leather trousers fading to grey, their once-shining leather boots now dull and peeling. Many of the soles had started to become undone and had to be secured with glue made from boiled fat. Their hair was matted, almost rotten and their beards had become long and unkempt. The guards from other holds and the mercenaries and volunteers that had joined them were in the same sorry state. The entire caravan sang folk songs in unison to keep from falling asleep.

    The only things still in good order were the wagons themselves. Though their wooden wheels and frames were roughly cut and clearly built in haste they had remained sturdy through the entire ordeal. The wagons contained no personal effects, the villagers has cast aside such unnecessary ballast long ago, but every square inch was crammed with food. Apples, cabbage, carrots, leeks, potatoes, four, even livestock were all loaded and protected by large metal cages. These cages protected against the assaults of the dead and the frost enchantments placed around the cages kept the produce fresh and the livestock asleep. This was necessary as there was no extra food for the chickens or rabbits and the cows, which could not be carried, were given nothing. The caravan was nearing starvation despite this bounty. Everyone was thin and hungry, mothers no longer had milk to feed their babies and only the children were fed. Even they wept with hunger or slept on their parents’ backs to dull the pain as the bread that could be spared for them was never enough. This voluntary starvation was due to the cruel fact that, hungry as these people were, their destination needed it more. The fields of Whiterun, once the breadbasket of Skyrim, had become empty and fallow. The undead, the plague they carried and the needs of the citizens had either rotted, destroyed or consumed every farm between Helgen and Windhelm and the city of Whiterun was now literally eating through its reserves. Without this caravan the city would soon starve.

    This ragged caravan, now almost as thin and filthy as the dead they fled from, was all that was left of the village of Rorikstead. The famous farming village had been instrumental in keeping Skyrim fed through the terror of Aldun, the rise of the Dragonborn and the war against the Stormcloaks and it had always prospered. But the village’s hardships had increased with every new crisis and the plague of undeath was what finally broke their will. They had been a safe haven for refugees from towns like Morthaal, Dawnstar, Falkreath and Karthwasten and had built a sturdy wooden wall to protect them. Their newfound laborers and soldiers had sold their lives dearly but as losses mounted it became clear that they had to leave. What was once hundreds of men and women had now shrunk to dozens and those fallen had all to often had to be put down again. Yet even in this darkest of hours the people of Rorikstead had held onto hope.

    Elspeth was that hope. She was an Inquisitor of Stendarr, a holy warrior who wandered the Empire righting wrongs and defending against extraordinary threats. She’d been doing this for over a hundred years and fighting the undead was something she excelled at. She had welcomed the refugees into Rorikstead. She had rallied the defense of the village when it had survived attack after attack and she had led this caravan for eight days with no food and little rest. They had been attacked twice and lost many men. She had had to resort to rather distasteful mean of keeping order, even going so far as to kill two men who were trying to steal food from the wagons one night. The villagers were initially shocked that she would do such a thing when there were so few of them left but she did what had to be done. Discipline had to be maintained if they were to make it to Whiterun and when that discipline broke down restoring it took an iron rod, not a gentle hand. Everyone saw and understood her actions and no one tried to steal anything since. Her actions were harsh, and regrettable, but she had ensured their survival.

    She now lead the caravan, her ebony plate armor a dull matte from days of marching but her wide brimmed hat as clean and proud as ever. She was just as tired and hungry as everyone else but her Flask of Eternal Purity sustained her. Its waters could heal even the most grievous wounds and restore vigor to even the weariest of travelers. Most important of all, so long as it remained intact it would never run out. It had given her the strength to both lead this caravan and she had shared it with many others when their strength faltered. What awaited them next would energize them more than the flask ever could. As they crested a tall grassy hill the walls of Whiterun came into the distance. Its once crumbling walls and wooden towers had been restored and replaced during the war by the Stormcloaks and those defenses had proven life-saving. New stone battlements were now patrolled by regular guards while archers in the new towers, similar in size and make to the old watchtower to the west, guarded against the dead. The old wooden gate had been refurbished with new planks and iron bars and was even guarded by heavy ballista and buckets of boiling oil. Elspeth knew the tension of the guards and the citizens mounted daily but at least, when compared to Rorikstead, they were safe.

    Now she had to get these people to safety. The dead littered the fields directly around the city, as if they needed another reminder that Skyrim wasn’t safe. The villagers needed to be rallied or they may panic and stray. The sight of Whiterun’s gates would surely give them courage but she would help just in case.

    ”Everyone!” Elspeth shouted, turning to face her charges and stopping for the first time in days. “Our long journey is almost over! Whiterun, our refuge, is now in the distance! Our safety, our refuge is at hand! With your courage and stamina we have brought these provisions to the city and in their mercy they will take us in! The food and rest we have all wanted for eight days will soon be ours! The safety our children deserve is nearly upon is! We will rest and we will recover and then, once we have regained our strength we will rebuild our lives, rebuild our homes and rebuild our country! And over the dead who took our homes we will triumph! Onward! To Whiterun!”

    A deafening cheer erupted from the caravan, a cheer loud enough to come from a victorious army even though they were less than a hundred. Parents and children hugged, young lovers and old couples embraced and kissed and horses and cows whinnied and mooed with excitement. The entire caravan was animated with new life as they crested the hill and saw the city and this new life carried them forward. To make matters better, the dead that should be assaulting them even in daylight were in still pieces, as if freshly hacked by another group that came before them. Elspeth knew of a large but contested exodus from Riverwood the day before after the dead took the city and it seemed they had reached safety. Whether or not they had made it, she was about to find out. The guards and villagers shared none of her reservations. Their renewed energy gave them a spring in their steps and the guards led them in a fresh verse of Ragnar the Red. Everyone, even Elspeth, joined in the singing and by the time they’d reached the gates they’d sung themselves hoarse.

    “Halt.” One of the guards outside the gate commanded as
    Elsepth stopped in front of him. He and his partner were tall burly men with slightly rusted Whiterun armor and kettle helmets and they wielded large steel halberds in addition to their regular swords and shields. Elspeth however was a tall woman of almost six feet and her armor and hat made her look taller. She was not to be intimidated. “State your business.”

    “My name is Elspeth and I am in Inquisitor of Stendarr.” Elspeth said with her usual iron calm. “These people are all the remains of the villages of Rorikstead, along with refugees from all over western Skyrim. Rorik is dead but both Jarl Idgod of Morthaal and Jarl Sidgir of Falkreath are with us. Their towns have fallen as well.”

    “I…see.” The guard said, taking a moment for absorb this news. “Shoar’s bones, it’s worse than the Jarl thought.”

    “Other cities have survived.” Elspeth said, trying to comfort the man. “And you and I still stand. All is not lost.”

    “I hope we can keep it that way.” The guard admitted. “Is anyone in your group from Riverwood by chance? A brave warrior named Beran led a few survivors here yesterday but it wasn’t anywhere close to the entire village. I was hoping…”

    “I’m sorry.” Elspeth said with a frown. "We have no one from Riverwood. It was nothing but corpses and empty ruins when we passed it this morning, though I do remember seeing a young bosmer girl running out of the village. Perhaps she led more survivors here?”

    “I’m afraid not.” The guard said. “She’s already arrived and she came alone.” He looked at Elspeth’s caravan and realized she had over a hundred people with her. Having so many new mouths to feed wasn’t going to make the Jarl happy. “Exactly how many people do you have with you Miss Elspeth?”

    “Eighty-seven.” Elspeth said. “Thirty-nine are able to wield a sword.”

    “That’s a lot of mouths to feed.” The guard admitted. “Food in the city’s starting to become short. Short enough to where we’ll have to close down the inn and market and start rationing. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to….”

    “We can assist with that.” Elspeth said, gesturing to the carts. “We carry with us Rorikstead’s entire harvest.”

    “You mean everything in those wagons is…food?” The guard asked, his mouth agape.

    “That’s correct.” Elspeth said with a small smile. It seems their provisions wills be well-received.

    “By the gods! There’s enough food here to last us for weeks!” The guard exclaimed. “Divines bless you Miss Elspeth! We’ll get the gates open for you.”

    “Thank you.” Elspeth said. “Walk in Stendarr’s light."

    The caravan flooded into Whiterun, amazed beyond belief that they were not only alive but safe. Once again they erupted into cheers and singing but also flooding Elspeth with thanks and gratitude for keeping them alive. Elspeth was too tired to do more than politely accept these accolades but inside she was warm with pride. She had given these people the strength to save themselves and now they could all rest. As if reading her thoughts a wave of exhaustion came over the caravan. There wasn’t enough room at the temple or the Bannard Mare for all of them so the guards allowed them to set up a makeshift rest stop against the walls. Some of them partook in their provisions now that they were free to do so and others started to unload them with some help from local volunteers. But most of them, especially the children and guards, simply sat against the inside of the walls and slept. Elspeth, feeling that this was an excellent idea, slumped against the base of the walls by the guard barracks and joined them, her hat shading her eyes as she drifted off to sleep.
     
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  19. Signus

    Signus Active Member

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    Andros didn't wait for the big nords' reply. He turned on his heel and strode away at a steady pace, doing his best to ignore the pockets of civilians he passed. It was far from easy. He'd ignored the thirst for several hours now, and it was demanding he sate it. Claws of dry pain raked his throat, his head swam, and his steps became unsteady.

    Eventually, he stopped by the rear of a building, bracing himself against its side. Not that it helped much. His heightened senses could hear joyous shouting and singing from near the gates. He could smell their blood....somewhat diluted by the wind, but no less alluring because of it. It called to the predator in him, urging, no demanding he feed. Revulsion grew as he attempted to force down the unnatural urges.

    Footsteps, too soft for mortal ears to pick up, sounded from behind him. He turned, a little too quickly, and found to his disbelief, the nord woman he'd left with the giant of a man. In any other circumstances, he would have found her pursuit amusing. Perhaps he would have even tried a dry witticism. Now though, he nearly screamed at her for her foolishness. He wanted to shout for her to run, to leave before his thirst finally won out. But he could do none of that.

    The woman would not listen. If anything, she'd want try to kill him. Perhaps she'd succeed, perhaps not. In any case, both outcomes were unnacceptable. So instead, he drew upon his not inconsiderable willpower, and managed a single word. "What." It was spoken without any real malice or curiousity behind it. But the question was there 'why are you following me?'

    His body language shifted slightly, preparing for imminent combat. In a casual, practiced motion, he readied his axe, hands evenly spaced on the haft of the weapon, but no raised to strike. Not yet.
     
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  20. Alty

    Alty Caw Caw

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    The assassin did, indeed, pick a pace behind him, lingering in his trail by the length of a carriage with its horse. She maintained a walk of business, though her feet would rotate as to muffle her steps in her languid strut. She would count every little falter in the man's step, if she weren't glancing left and right among the rooftops, reasons unclear. Perhaps it was for shortcuts in the chase. Perhaps it was for possibilities of her own escape. Perhaps it was-

    Curse her keen sensitivity. In the blurred corners of her vision whilst looking at her possibilities of direction, she found the man taking cover behind one of Whiterun's many structures. The action appeared to be rather timid in her eyes. She slowed, not quite approaching nor trapping the man. She went as far to take a single step toward him seconds after she was heeded.

    It was a sight. The man that stood upright on first impression was now seemingly shaken. She wanted to simper at his dependence on the side of the house. Wanted to. Yet her eye fixated on the slightest of crazed looks. She felt rigid in her neck , though her face remained overall within the umbrage of her hood.

    "What?"

    She betrayed herself in that brief moment. She felt a flinch in her biceps, but quickly repaired her composition with internal scolding. She didn't speak. She was, however, doing something in the shadows of her face. Judging? Wondering?

    She blinked at the subtle move towards his axe. She reacted only by standing still, and keeping her hands immobile at her sides. She didn't feel threatened, but she did feel regarded with wariness. After a few moments of uncomfortable silent exchange, she made a move of her own. She moved her right hand to her face with liquidness, though the move itself may be sudden.

    She pinched the cover just above the tip of her nose, keeping ease even while she moved it down to reveal the lower part of the scar, of which ran dead-center through her lips. Her mouth was a line of placidness. She inhaled, focusing on the nearest scents. There was the humidity of this region, the story of this harsh time, a bit of blood. She eyed his axe, dipping her head vaguely. It seemed decently cared for, as if this man visited the forge every so often for a chip in the blade. Perhaps he killed quite a few victims of the contagious disease recently. She straightened, taking another step.

    "What keeps you from the crowd?"

    She released the cover about her mouth without returning the rim of it over her nose. Her hands were free of any movement towards any weapon. Her quizzical eyes were prodding through his mask.
     
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