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  • The Break ~ 5th/6th of Heartfire Feb 3, 2013

    ‎"Who did this? How did this happen!?" Jorlen's indignant inquiries were fueled by bewilderment. Uthgerd had been fine that morning. Now Jorlen was kneeling over her body, which bore a bruise on the forehead, and a series of wounds from a blade. One gash across her cheek; a stab wound in her throat; and evidence of a blade driven between her armor into her stomach. Blood was pooled on the floor around her, and some loose items which had adorned nearby tables and shelves lay in disarray. As he looked at the scene, the thought suddenly hit Jorlen- "I shouldn't be here. I have to get out of here." Jorlen pushed through the guards standing around and walked, going somewhere, anywhere. He sat down on a bench next to the Gildergreen, his head in his hands. He stayed there for a while, until he grew weary and retired to Breezehome for the night.

    ~~~

    Jorlen woke late the next morning. He had not slept well, and now he felt disoriented. Indeed, he was now an aimless creature; he felt no desire to set out for Kynesgrove. "Let the world end," he thought, "is it really so worth saving?"

    He ambled downstairs and picked up a bottle of wine off the floor. He uncorked it, took a swig, then set it down on a table next to the hearth. He looked around before going to the cabinet where he kept the food supplies and taking out a preserved hunk of venison and the salt to cook it with. After cooking a chop, he sat down with his meat, wine, and a couple of apples. He ate until he was full, then lounged around the house for a couple hours before he dressed to go out.

    He strolled up the street to the market, and took up a position to watch everything that happened. As he observed the buying and selling of various wares through the light drizzle, Jorlen overheard a particularly pretentious farm owner comment on the dragons returning.

    "That damned Dragonborn had better make the dragons go away somehow! I had two of my fields burned last week by one of those scaly beasts!"

    Jorlen approached the man and said, "I don't think you understand how hard it is to kill one dragon, let alone all of them."

    The man retorted, "I don't think you understand what that land cost me! The Dragonborn was put here to kill the dragons, so that's what he should do! Wait a second... You're him! If you did your job better, I'd still have two of my fields!"

    Jorlen was almost unable to comprehend the idiocy of the man who was lecturing him on his "duty". When Uthgerd was alive, Jorlen happily chose to pursue his destiny as Dragonborn, but her loss was tremendous. For this man to expect Jorlen to act as a beast of burden and to "do his job" despite the loss of his love was absurd. And for Jorlen, it was the last straw.

    He pulled his hammer from his back, and raised it up over his head. As he smashed it down on the man's skull, Jorlen heard a whimper of terror. The impact knocked the man down, and allowed Jorlen to deliver another blow to the man's stomach, killing him. A cry rang out, and guards were gravitating to Jorlen's location. Commander Caius joined the fray, and soon Jorlen was struggling to fight back against four guards. He swung his heavy weapon at them, keeping them at bay; it was working for a short time, but much longer and Jorlen wouldn't be able to handle the guards. Luckily, he was able to use Unrelenting Force to drive them back, allowing Jorlen to run away and heal himself. At one point, he ran through an alleyway and found himself facing an old woman. He swept her legs out from under her and brought his hammer down.

    Soon, Jorlen was able to kill one of the guards, and at this point, he decided to get out of the city. He shouted the posse away, then made for the gates. As he burst through, a guard ran to meet him. The two gate guards to his sides closed in, but not before Jorlen had rummaged out his scroll of mass paralysis. Unrolling it, he spoke the incantation on the parchment as quickly as possible. Immediately, a wave of magic shot out in all directions, freezing the guards in their tracks. After this, Jorlen wasted no time hurdling over a stone wall to the Stables. One of the stable-keepers cried in protest as Jorlen made for a black mare, but Jorlen's only response was to swipe the man's legs out from under him, then swiftly crush his ribs. Jorlen was about to get on the horse, when he realized that his being Dragonborn might make anonymity difficult. He plucked some red flowers from the dirt, ground them in the palm of his steel gauntlet, then added a few drops of water to create a makeshift paint. He streaked it around his eyes, and then began riding off in a frenzy.

    His thoughts immediately shot to the North. If he could escape Whiterun hold he was well off for the time being, but he had killed four people; if he retreated to the harsh glaciers and icy mountains, no one would be too glad to pursue him. He reared the horse around as he reached a crossroads outside the stables, and rode along the eastern edge of the city wall, avoiding the guards who patrolled the roads. When he was clear of the city, Jorlen moved back near the road and kept going. As he progressed further north, a blizzard came down to cover his escape.

    He rode his commandeered horse on the cobbled path northward for an hour or two, until he came to an old fort and the snow let up. He didn't want to deal with the bandits who most likely had captured the fort, so he decided to forgo the road which ran straight through the fort and headed up a mountain nearby. He came down on the other side of the fort, and kept going. On the other side, he noticed that the horse was braying from a wounded leg; he let it go free, and continued on foot.

    He soon came through the white forests of the north, which he wandered through almost aimlessly, having lost any real sense of urgency. He was out of the grasp of the guards, now, and it was left to him only to make his own way in solitude. He walked straight until the shores of the Pale became visible, and then he turned eastward. In the mid-afternoon, he stumbled across the ruins of an old fort.

    It was a short and stout little structure, with only one floor partially above-ground. Snow had drifted onto the rear and roof, and made the place, which was probably an old barracks, look like a secret hideaway. A bandit lazed about on the roof above the door. The Nord outlaw spotted Jorlen, and pulled her bow to attack. She launched an arrow down at him, and he ducked out of the way, retaliating with a stern 'Fus Ro Dah', which sent her careening back over the little fort. Jorlen approached the door to the fort, and was met with another female bandit, wielding a sword. She swung once, slicing the air next to Jorlen's head but missing, as Jorlen wound up for a powerful strike to the bandit's unprotected side, killing her. With the only two guards of the snow-blanketed outpost dead, Jorlen set to searching the bodies. On the sword-swinging woman he found a purse of fifty gold and a roasted goat leg, wrapped up in cloth; the archer had a ripe tomato and a potion of magicka. As Jorlen came around to the front of the fort and prepared to head inside, he heard a cry from along the path to the door. A steel-clad bandit was charging with a sword above her head, and Jorlen had to slide left to avoid the blade, which lodged itself in the door. Jorlen shouted the woman away, then turned to see two men, whom he thought must be her companions, running his way. He wasted no time in ducking inside.

    In the dimly-lit fort, Jorlen found a loose board with which to jam the door; once the pounding of the marauders ceased to be a concern, Jorlen set to searching the place. He made his way down a flight of stairs, which ended at a closed door. Kicking it open, he was greeted by two bandits, guarding a large corridor. One was charging him, but before the bandit could reach him, Jorlen had shouted him back. The man slid along the stone floor, and Jorlen ran to meet him with a deadly strike of his hammer to the man's head. The other bandit frantically tried to shoot Jorlen with her bow, but Jorlen dodged the shot and brought his hammer down again and again on the archer, who was cowering against a door. Yet another bandit came from a room to the side of the corridor, and this one found his end when Jorlen smashed his steel helmet against the bandit's helpless skull.

    Jorlen decided he would sweep through where the third bandit had come from; the room was a decaying library, full of unreadable tomes and a few bottles of wine. Jorlen took the wine, then moved to the next room, a similar library. On a table there sat a healing potion, which Jorlen took, and a filled soul gem. Jorlen made note that he should use this soul to recharge his hammer. A stairway from this room took Jorlen to a wooden door, behind which steps could be heard. Jorlen prepared himself, then swung the door open.

    A shirtless Nord ran toward Jorlen, and was killed in an easy strike, only to be followed by an Orc. Jorlen shouted the Orc back right as he landed a hit on Jorlen's torso. With the bandit down, Jorlen began beating the man to death with his hammer, and did not stop until the body lay limp. He then went down some stairs to the right of the doorway, and followed a hallway to a corner, around which there were two bandits. Jorlen was waiting to turn, but found himself impelled to action when he saw a most remarkable figure walking down the hall behind him: Commander Caius of the Whiterun guard! Jorlen was astonished that he had been tracked so far, let alone that the commander of the guard himself would come after him. He had to act if he wanted to keep the Commander at bay.

    Running around the corner ahead and into the room, Jorlen immediately let loose a ferocious swing toward an iron-clad bandit sitting on a bench. This one was tough, so he never let up until the bandit was on his knees. At this point, the Commander had heard the commotion in the room, and had run down the hall, only to be met by the other bandit in the room. While Caius and the one bandit fought, Jorlen killed the other bandit and was groping along the wall for a lever to lower the iron grate guarding a wooden door opposite Caius. His hands found the lever, and just as he lowered the bars, he jammed the lever back up and hopped over the ascending barrier. He was through the door and hopefully free of the persistent guard.

    Jorlen then found himself in a cellar, which was, like the rest of the fort, infested with bandits. However, he did notice that there was a portion of the cellar which held a cage, occupied by a werewolf; there were also numerous wolf heads on pikes. It occurred that these bandits must be werewolf-hunters. Jorlen swept through and killed the bandits just the same. Eventually he came to a door barred by a plank, and upon lifting the plank, he found that this was the door he had bludgeoned an archer to death against. As he prepared to exit, Commander Caius sprung from a side room and blocked Jorlen's path outside. He wiped his brow and said, "You're one tough bastard to keep up with. But I'll be damned if I don't take you in for what you did. You have committed crimes against Skyrim and her people. What say you in your defense?"

    "Those people I killed, they considered me an object devoted solely to the purpose of saving their little world. I have everything taken from me, and they expect me to be the good little Dragonborn of legend still. If I let you haul me to Dragonsreach, you'll try to make me some deal where I avoid the headsman's axe for a little while so I can 'fulfill my destiny.' I'll do no such thing." With that, Jorlen planted his feet, took a deep breath, and practically roared, "Fus Ro Dah!"

    Jorlen hurried up the stone steps to the wooden door out of the fort, his mind abuzz with rage. It had taken the act of vocalizing his thoughts to bring Jorlen to the realization that he hated the people of Whiterun; he probably hated everyone who would look to him for help if they knew who he was. As he ran over the snow in the orange afternoon light, he decided he would never help anyone good and innocent again. All the years of teaching by his father and mother had culminated in his discovery that he was Dragonborn, and the loss of Uthgerd had showed him that those lessons could only be applied in good times.

    Jorlen did not travel far before he found an abandoned lighthouse overlooking the great glaciers near Winterhold. A slain horse lay nearby, saying to Jorlen that this place would not be inhabited. He pushed the door open to the lighthouse and walked in.

    He found the residence in complete disarray. Odds and ends lay strewn about, blood was spattered on the floor, apparently having been let from a body which lay in the middle of the lighthouse's main room. A strange axe, appearing to be put together from the parts of a dead charuus stuck from the corpse's abdomen. Jorlen picked it up and examined it; he had seen one once before, by the body of a dead Falmer.

    Jorlen made his way to an adjacent bedroom. On a table next to a bed there was a journal. Jorlen contemplated reading it, but decided against it; he would not let himself get wrapped up in what had befallen the former occupants of the lighthouse. Taking a seat, Jorlen listened closely to an odd clicking coming from near the room: there had to be Charuus nearby. There was no way he would able to sleep here, Jorlen thought, so he had best be on his way. When he walked back out the door, the sky was a greyish-purple color, and the wind had picked up. Jorlen decided that he'd best keep going east.

    As he descended the snowy slope from the lighthouse to the frigid coast, Jorlen noticed a pack of wolves stalking him at a distance. As he came closer and closer to the water, they started to move in, but were interrupted by a snowy sabre cat. The massive cat was bounding over the drifts of snow toward Jorlen, and in a few seconds it would be on him. He had to act fast and get away. He kept his eyes averted until the last second, when he turned and shouted the wolves and the cat halfway back up the hill. Then he set off at full sprint along the water. A huge, rocky cliff was to his left, and so Jorlen used that to camouflage himself from the predators' eyes. When they gave up their chase, he stood up normally and kept going, over the small mountain next to Dawnstar and into the city. He made for the nearest inn, keeping his head down.

    He entered quietly, hanging back near the door and observing his surroundings. A woman was babbling to a priest about some curse and her nightmares; good, thought Jorlen, the townsfolk were to busy to notice him while he discreetly rented a room. In the room, he ate the food he had scavenged that day and drank the wine he had. He went to sleep drunk and alone.
    Rextoret likes this.
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