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Another plopsty RP intro
Today had not been a good day for Solenne.
The morning had started out well enough; the sun was out and warming up open parts of the forest while clouds occasionally passed overhead and offered brief respite from the heat. A slight breeze rustled through the trees, a calming, natural white noise that relaxed the small Bosmer and put her at ease. She sat on a lofty tree branch, leisurely dangling one leg while reclining against the sturdy trunk. Today was one of Solenne's rare lazy days where she didn't make too much of an effort to hunt or move around. The last sale she had made in Morthal had provided her with more money than anticipated, and she looked forward to purchasing a room at the Winking Skeever in Solitude.
After a quick stretch and one final gaze through the treeline to the grassy land ahead of her, Solenne slid off of the branch and landed softly on the ground below. Not far in the distance to her right she could see water, the start of many waterway connections that would eventually open into the northern sea. A strong wind blew from the north, the sign of a possible, but distant, oncoming storm urging her to be on her way. With a quick shrug she shouldered her pack and began heading northwest on a meandering path that would eventually take her to Solitude.
After a few hours of walking, Solenne's good day started to take a turn for the worse. The path she was following took her across a small bridge - one where, right next to where the earth turned to stone, some giants had decided to set up a camp. Giants don't normally stay in areas where other people will commonly go through, Solenne thought to herself as she edged near the massive tents and fire. This doesn't feel right. The sky overhead seemed to mirror her sentiments; what had just hours before been a blue sky had turned cloudy and dark, and a chilly wind that carried a storm blew fiercely against her.
Removing her bow from her back and loosely nocking an arrow, Solenne cautiously made her way along the outside of the camp, peering into the far tent in an attempt locate one of the giants.
The morning was calm and quiet as fog rolled across the valley, blanketing the ground and gradually disappearing just before the treeline of the Great Forest. It surrounded the silhouette of Chorrol, casting an eerie, ethereal feel on the distant city. The silence was almost unsettling; there were no birds or other animals to be heard, and even the wind had ceased rustling the leaves in the trees.
The quiet was broken by the soft whizzing of an arrow piercing the air before embedding itself in the neck of an unfortunate deer that had decided to leave the relative safety of the trees and make its way into the open. A small Wood Elf, Solenne, slipped off the branch of a nearby tree and landed quietly in the grass, leaving small imprints in the dew-covered grass as she made her way over the deer. The arrow had proved fatal, killing it the instant it was struck. While the deer wasn't quite as large as she wanted it to be, she could tell by the feel of the fur and skin that it would still make leather of excellent quality. With a decisive nod, the Bosmer got to work skinning the animal, working quickly and cutting with practiced ease. A short time later she was wrapping the skin up and adding it to the pile tied to a makeshift backpack.
A short time later Solenne stood up, looking over the large stack of skins tied to her backpack. It was becoming a bit of a burden to carry all of them, so now seemed like a good time to take them into town to get some money for them. She hadn't stayed in an inn for quite some time, mostly because she preferred sleeping outside anyway. There were hardly any people to deal with, and nobody outright staring at her as she made her way through town. However, over the past few days she'd been followed by a strange sense of foreboding that had made her unnaturally anxious. The Wood Elf knew she could take care of herself in the woods; she had been practically all her life. Solenne was respectfully cautious of nature and all its inhabitants she came across, knowing full well just how powerful they were. But she had never been afraid of it. This was such a strange, strong feeling that she decided it was wiser to sleep inside of a locked room until the feeling passed.
Shaking her head and hauling her skins on to her back, the Solenne threw a glance over her shoulder at Chorrol as she set a brisk pace in the opposite direction. The residents and shopkeeps had made their feelings toward her known right off the bat. Most of them refused to list decent prices for her skins, and some flat out ignored her as she stood in front of their stall. She would be taking her business to the Imperial City instead. She huffed softly and blew some unruly hair out of her face, watching glimmers of sunlight start to peek through the trees as she trekked through the Great Forest.
It was well past midday by the time the Solenne made it to the Imperial City's gates. She was now part of a loose, motley group of traders, wanderers, and farmers making their way into the city. The bustling, chaotic sounds of the city never ceased to irritate the young Bosmer, and with her heightened anxiety bearing down on her, today was no exception. Normally she would take the time to walk a full circle around the city, occasionally crisscrossing down different alleys in order to take in the new additions to the city. New buildings would glow and tower above her, old tenements and housing towers leaned further over the roads, ready to topple if the wind blew too hard in the wrong direction. Despite her distaste for the city and most of what she encountered while in it, Solenne had to admit that the ability to build such massive and breathtaking structures was impressive.
She broke away from her group, slipping down an alley that she vaguely remembered from the last time she visited the city (had it really been years ago? skies above it had). It was a bit narrow and twisted and wound itself to be a bit out of the way, but it had been quiet and nobody bothered her, especially if she threw a glare their way. This time was a bit different, however. Even before Solenne had made it inside the city, she had noticed a distant, dull roar behind the normal sounds of the city. She thought perhaps she was just hearing things, but now that she was working her way further into the city, there was no denying it. Something was making a terrible racket, a racket that sounded an awful lot like cheering and screaming, and pounding that made the whole city around her shake.
Sure enough, as she rounded a corner, Solenne got her first glimpse of the gargantuan structure where the noise was originating from. A giant coliseum, stretching as far as she could see from her opening, seemed to have risen from the ground right in the middle of the city. She'd heard vague rumors of this "Arena" in neighboring towns and even into other provinces, but had assumed they were only dramatic stories of a fighting club. The real thing was far larger than any stories that she had heard. I wouldn't want to be caught dead in that place, Solenne thought as she imagined the sheer number of people that the arena could hold and the type of people it housed.
Tearing her eyes away from the looming wall, Solenne turned right onto a main street, scanning the signs hanging from the buildings that would indicate where the shop she frequented sat. She had only traded with the shop owner once before, but although he was quiet and barely spoke to her his prices were fair. Who knows, she thought to herself, he might even give me some extra coin for my better skins and I can spend a few days in an inn. It was highly unlikely, given how most people in Cyrodiil seemed to regard her, but she could hope. It wasn't often that she felt optimistic.
After a couple more minutes of wandering down the street, Solenne found the sign she recognized and turned to go into the shop, bumping into someone who was in a hurry to leave and mumbling an apology as they scurried away. Rolling her eyes and making her way up to the counter, Solenne heaved the pack of furs and skins off her back and onto the counter with a thud. The shopkeeper, a large gruff-looking Nord, appeared from a door behind the counter, giving her a quick look-over before approaching her.
"What can I do for you?"
"I'd like to sell these deer skins. Some of them are a bit small but they're all good quality."
The shopkeeper briefly looked through her pile of skins, searching for any unwanted marks or problems. Solenne waited patiently. She had lugged 20 hides around for who knows how long (2 weeks, actually) and was hoping to get close to almost 200 septims for them. She didn't think that would be a problem considering their condition. She took her hunting very seriously.
"50 septims," the shopkeep grunted, crossing his arms and frowning at the small Bosmer standing across the counter.
Solenne blinked in suprise. "There are 20 pelts there."
"They are all excellently trimmed and maintained."
"Eh. They are a bit small. My son could catch bigger game."
She bristled. "They aren't so small that you can't make quality leather from them. 50 septims is not a fair price."
"It may be a bit low. But then, I don't treat thieves fairly."
His last comment caught Solenne by surprise, and it was clearly visible on her face. "I am no thief."
The Nord laughed, waving in someone coming through the door behind her. "Whatever you say, little Bosmer. But I think these people will take my word over yours. I saw you take these hides from other hunters. No need to deny it," he said with a wink.
Solenne felt a chained hand clamp down on her left shoulder, heavy and gripping like a vice. She looked up into the face of an Imperial guard, sneering down at her through the gaps in his helmet. "We've been watching you, Elf. We know of your prowess with a bow and think you would make an excellent addition to our group of fighters." Solenne's flight response kicked in and she made to pull away, trying to use her small size and nimbleness to get out of the shop and into the street. The guards were ready, using their larger stature to trap her and get her wrists tightly bound behind her back, but not before stripping her of her bow and the iron dagger strapped to her calf.
"Who knows," the guard continued as Solenne continued her futile attempt to kick free of her captors, "maybe I'll even bring my sweetheart to the next event to watch you fight for your life. Nothing gets people going more than spilled blood. And the next festival is supposed to be a big one."
Solenne finally stopped struggling, breathing heavily and glaring daggers at the guards around her. "What are you talking about? Where are you taking me?"
A hearty laugh echoed through the small, wooden shop. "Where else? You're headed for the Arena," a guard voiced as a sack was put over her head and the world went black.
Solenne had just barely regained consciousness after encountering the guards, only to find now that she was in pain. A lot of pain. The fact that she somehow seemed to be moving and rolling and bumping around didn't help. It hurt to open her eyes, thanks to the giant bruise forming on the back of her head from the sword hilt she had been hit with, but from the sounds outside and the course wood scratching her face it seemed that she was in a wagon slowly making its way to the Arena.
It would probably be best to just keep her eyes closed. Since the sack covering her head had been removed, opening them only brought pain, and what she could make out through her swimming vision was just darkened blobs that were more likely than not other prisoners. Well, Solenne thought with bitterness and a touch of amusement, if I end up dying here, at least I won't have to deal with the Arena. She didn't think she would get that lucky.
By now she could tell they were getting close to the Arena; the roars and chants of attendees and other fighters had grown deafening. Sure enough, the wagon lurched to a halt a moment later, and the reality of what Solenne was about to experience hit her like a ton of bricks. She would be forced to fight other people imprisoned here, pitted against fighters who were bigger, faster, stronger than her. Ruthless prisoners and those experienced in combat, determined to either live or attempt, however foolishly, to make a name for themselves here.
This didn't make any sense. She was just a hunter, one people shouldn't even be aware of, considering the fact that she rarely visited towns and cities. How could she have attracted any attention to herself? Why did they want her, of all people? Solenne was still trying to wrap her head around the whole situation when she heard the wagon door open and a guard started berating one of the other occupants, an Argonian, to get out. She winced and groaned slightly as she felt herself being pulled across the floor of the wagon and unceremoniously thrown over the shoulder of a guard. Taunts and jeers were being screamed at them one right after the other, particularly aimed at the Argonian.
Solenne tried to block out the roar of onlookers and the sounds of a brief fight that seemed to have broken out nearby in an attempt to open her eyes and take in her surroundings. Everything was still a bit hazy, but from what she could make out, they were making their way down a series of winding, bleak hallways. The path they were taking seemed to go on forever, but given the size of the Arena, she imagined someone could walk through the hallways for a whole day and not even get through a quarter of the building. She hadn't made much of an attempt to map the course they were taking; after they had walked for 5 minutes and she realized all the hallways looked the same, there didn't seem to be much of a point.
They eventually reached their destination, where Solenne was jarred back to complete consciousness after she was tossed into what looked to be a fighting ring on a sandy dirt floor. She looked around her, grumbling under her breath and massaging the shoulder that had brunt the majority of her fall. They seemed to be in a miniature version of the Arena; they were surround by rows of seats, but this room was tiny compared to the enormity that was the main fighting area.
She turned around to see two other occupants in the ring with her, both standing in fairly defensive stances. One looked to be a Breton; tall and clearly of great strength as well. While he was angry and certainly looked intimidating, he looked too.. Clean and well kept to be a common criminal that would normally be thrown into the Arena. The most interesting thing she noticed from her brief inspection was the dark blue streaked along the right side of his face. A beautiful color, she thought, but it probably wasn't chosen for its pleasing hue alone. The other occupant was the Argonian, a sash tied around his face so that it covered one of his eyes. Is he blind? Solenne frowned as she thought. If he was, it didn't look like it hindered him very much. He was lean and fit, and didn't look like he was any stranger to fighting. His dark red scales stood out against the dark plain clothes he was wearing, and his tail flicked calmly as he looked between her and the Breton with his exposed eye.
The Breton soon threw a challenge to the Argonian, asking if he was friend or foe. Solenne shrank back slightly at the tone. It was a given that anyone in here would be less than friendly to others, especially if they're strangers. But the fact that he was asking rather than flat out attacking was a good sign. Right? Maybe they could join together. That would increase their likelihood of surviving, surely.
She took a deep breath and slowly stood up, patting the dust off her shaky legs. "I don't know if this counts for anything. But I'm putting myself in the 'friend' category." Solenne looked between them, exuding calmness but ready to run at the first sign of danger.Gidian the Diva likes this.