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Private {18+} Ascension

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Madrar, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Elwyn wiped her bloody blade on the cloak of fallen bandit and sheathed the weapon. Her blood still rushed in her ears and she felt a chill run over her skin as adrenaline coursed through her. She surveyed the battlefield noting the corpses of the ambushers. It was clear from the bodycount that their attackers had underestimated the mercenary company. A quick glance around revealed that all but one of her companions were still on their feet. The robed man and the earless bosmer were both knelt by the young imperial girl. The altmer woman frowned-she hadn't noticed the bandits near their rear. She couldn't see any blood on the snow, but Elwyn knew from experience that the most serious wounds did not always show on the surface. The former aldmeri agent saw that the khajiit assassin, Athara, was still on her feet, and she couldn't suppress a relieved smile. The assassin was certainly an interesting individual, and she would have regretted it if the woman had died before they had a chance to become better acquainted.

    Cyrius watched the hulking orc dripping with the remnants of his victims with some mixture of both horror and disgust. The orc fought with no skill to be seen, merely smashing his way through the enemy. And the name he invoked...the vampire felt a shiver of revulsion shake his body, and he sneered as he shouldered past the orc. A dangerous move, he knew. Vampire or not he was not invulnerable and a mace to the back of the head would seriously hamper him. If not kill him outright. The imperial made his way over to where Thalien, Var'hess the hooded shadow that followed them, and the man with the dog mask stood over an unconscious bandit, apparently the leader of the outlaws. The masked one was voicing concerns about the bandits coming back in greater numbers, while the captain of their band of cuttthroats was stating that there were some questions the chief needed to answer.

    His thin lips curling in barely contained glee, Cyrius joined them "leave the questioning to me, captain. I guarantee it will not take long before we have answers. Some, at any rate." Thalien frowned at him, but nodded slightly, granting his permission. With strength that seemed out of place on his thin frame, Cyrius hauled the bandit leader off a short distance. He lengthened the mans bindings so that the leather cord that bound his wrists wrapped around the trunk of one of the many evergreen trees that made up the forest. The icy mixture of rain and snow brought the bandit back into the realm of conciousness. Something the man would quickly be regretting.

    "I hope you enjoyed your rest" Cyrius said conversationally, "you won't be getting much more of it, I'm afraid."

    The bandit was quite handsome, for a nord. A strong chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes, partially hidden by long blonde hair. Out of his armour, muscles were clearly defined through the soaked tunic he wore. The man, hearing his words, grunted and spat at the vampires' feet. "I'm not afraid of you. Damned imperial coward."

    "You know, I was really hoping you'd say that" the designated interrogator admitted with a wicked smile, drawing the flaying knife he kept at the small of his back. The weak sunlight gleamed off the cold steel of the blade. Something that drew the humans' eyes like a moth to a flame. "Now, let us see what you are hiding." A quick stroke of the blade parted the tunic, revealing the flesh beneath.

    The nord chuckled "if you hope to bed me imperial, you'll have to work on your looks. You're pretty, but not that pretty."

    "Charmed. I must admit, you and your band are very well equipped for common bandits. Steel and iron armour of good quality is a rarity in Skyrim these days."

    The other mans eyes narrowed "I don't know anything. Nothing you could use, anyways."

    The instant the nord stopped speaking, the vampires' wrist flicked, and a fine, red line appeared on the mans cheek. The nord swore violently, and strained against his bonds. "Blasted coward! Untie me and we'll see how good you are with that letter opener!"

    "Temper,temper" Cyrius admonished, wagging his finger infront of the mans face like a disapproving parent. The knife flicked out again, creating a parallel line on the humans other cheek. Predictably, this brought on another stream of invective, most of them directed at Cyrius' parentage. "Now, I haven't got all day. Let us start with your name."

    The man snarled, baring his teeth, but eyed the blade in Cyrius' hand warily. "Brom. Brom Horegsson."

    "See? You do know things. Now. About your supplier..."

    "Ha! You underestimate the sons of the north, dog. I'll tell you nothing."

    Cyrius' blade flickered in the weak light once more, this time opening a long cut on the nords side, over the ribs. "I like to think of myself as a reasonable man. Tell me what I wish to know, and you need not suffer."

    In response, the nord spat again, this time striking Cyrius just below his right eye. Slowly, with a very deliberate motion, he wiped the spittle away, and nodded. "Have it your way then." And went to work, blade moving almost faster than the eye could follow. Soon, the snow around the tree Brom Horegsson, one time leader of a bandit warband, was red with blood, and the forest echoed with his screams. By the time Cyrius had finished, the flesh had been flayed off the mans entire torso, leaving red muscles exposed to the cold air. And the man told him everything the vampire wanted to know.

    When his questioning was finished, Cyrius slashed the nords throat, leaving his body to thrash uselessly against the tree he was bound to. He licked the blood from his blade before sheathing it and returning to the group. "Thalien. Our friend had some interesting answers to my questions. As it happens, his group is not the only one working in Skyrim. A substantial force has built up in the ruins of Windhelm, under some lord or jarl calling themselves the 'iron wolf'. I imagine the imperial garrison would pay quite handsomely for the information. "
     
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  2. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Rajeem slowly lowered his bloody blade as the bandits routed back into the trees. Chasing them would be pointless, not to mention dangerous. Even though they had won the battle, the mercenaries were still in their territories. For all they knew an even larger group of outlaws could be lurking just out of sight. When no horde of nord barbarians charged them, and no volley of arrows rained down on them, the argonian bounty hunter ruled that as unlikely. Blinking melted snow out of his eyes, he cleaned his blade and sheathed it. Their apparent leader, Thalien, he thought the mans' name was, and his comrades had captured the unfortunate leader of the defeated nords. The pale imperial was dragging him off when the argonian reached their captain. "We'll be sitting ducks if we stay here much longer. You're the boss, but I'd wager my last septim those bandits will be back for revenge. They might be outlaws, but they're still nords."

    He had barely finished speaking when the first scream reached his ears. The argonian bared his teeth in something close to a sneer. He could guess what was happening to the man just out of sight, and didn't envy him one bit. It was not long before the imperial was back, sheathing a wicked looking knife behind his back. He reported to Thalien that he was part of a force that had formed in WIndhelm and reported to someone named the iron wolf. A title rather than a name, obviously, but it meant nothing to him. The imperial mentioned that the legion officials might pay well for that information. "Don't see how that helps us. There's a good chance the imperials already know about these folks. No proof he's telling the truth. Most folks say whatever they can to make the pain stop." He looked to Thalien, wondering about his opinion "personally, I never found torture worth the price."
     
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  3. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Adalia watched her fallen charge anxiously, wishing there was something,anything she could do to help. Caleb had mixed some concoction that he was saying should bring her back to wakefulness, but that still didn't tell the storm mage what had actually happened. She was fairly certain that no one had gotten past her to attack Lilliana. But the girl was still crumpled on the cold ground, wet snow piling up on her robes and mixing with her hair. Surprisingly, the earless bosmer, the one Adalia had spoken with just before they'd left the pass, walked over and knelt by Caleb. Magical energy poured from the elfs' palm, wrapping around the young imperial. Instead of healing whatever wound the girl had sustained, the magic twisted away from her before dissipating into nothingness.

    The redguard thought she saw her charges' eyes pop open for a moment, but she couldn't be sure. She could still feel the last vestiges of healing magic hovering in the air around them. She turned to the elf, frowning with concern. She was no healer, but she was pretty sure that wasn't supposed to happen. The elf jerked away from her and his hands slew to the slate and chalk, scribbling furiously. He rushed over to her and shoved the slate at her. Worried that there really was something wrong, she read the words Sylandres had scrawled, and then paused. Lilliana, a vampire? Impossible! She was much too...too...too what, exactly? Adalia had only ever met a couple of those night creatures in her life, and neither had been anything like the girl she'd taken under her protection. Sylandres was mistaken. The healing magic had failed for some other reason. Taking the tablet from him, she wrote: You're imagining things. There's no sickness upon that girl, and if there is, it is one you cooked up to make up to excuse the failure of your magic. She was so irritated by the elfs' speculation, and worried about Lilliana that she shoved the slate back at him harder than she meant to.

    Before he could write a response, Lilliana gasped and stirred. The first thing the young imperial noticed was the foul smelling mixture someone had shoved under her nose. The second, was that she was very, very cold. She coughed and sat up, taking note of Caleb kneeling nearby, along with a worried looking elf and Adalia.
    "Um. Hello." She shoved herself upright, looking around at the carnage of the battlefield, and suppressed a shudder. The corpses were not pleasant to look at, but what worried Lilliana more was the dark pleasure that stirred deep in her chest. And the desire to see more. She shook her head violently, then groaned. "I'm sorry, I must have fallen and hit my head or something. We should keep moving." She got to her feet and tried to brush off the worst of the snow. "The sooner we get somewhere dry and warm, the better."
     
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  4. The Seraph

    The Seraph When the Dawn Breaks, I shall be there

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    Adalia rudely shoved the tablet back to him, with angry words upon it. Sylandres calmly inscribed upon the tablet his answers, and handed it back to her. First off, my magic has never failed me, not once. Look upon me for proof. Sylandres, upon seeing Adalia's eyes shift to him, parted his robes to reveal a chest that had been stabbed, bitten, burned, crushed and reassembled time and time again. Secondly, she is not like any vampire I have ever seen, and I have had more than a few chance encounters. Her illness is unique, something that may not behave like any standard strain of Vampirism. I do not know what exactly she holds inside her, but I know she has a hunger in her. As soon as she was done, Sylandres took back the tablet and turned around to see Lilliana - an Imperial, not a Breton as he had originally thought - standing somewhat well. Her complexion had improved, the hunger in her eyes faded. Still, there was a suspicious air about her. Sylandres quickly wrote while walking to her. He put a hand alongside her face and worked his magic. Simultaneously, he let her read the words inscribed upon the tablet whilst nodding to his failing spell. Tell Adalia why this is so. Why does my magic fail?
     
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    #224 The Seraph, Sep 26, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  5. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    With the bulk of the bandits vanquished and the rest in full retreat, Orien sheathed his gladius and dismissed his magic. He turned back to the robed man, the storm mage, and Lilliana expecting to see the other imperial back on her feet. Instead he saw the earless bosmer and an angry looking redguard. The imperial strode over, keeping a close eye on the two men. The robed one, Caleb, didn't like him much, but he didn't think that had anything to do with what was going on. In fact both Aladia and Lilliana were keeping a close eye on the robed elf as if they expected he was up to something. Orien didn't know the elf nor did he have much reason to trust him. "What seems to be the problem?" The former legionnaire asked the redguard mage. She at least knew him a little better than the elf or Caleb. At any rate, she and the younger imperial hadn't outright called him a murderer yet.
     
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  6. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    The fighting was over. Uzar took a shuddering breath and struggled to contain the rage that still raced through his veins. His hands were covered in gore to the elbow and even the steady rain and snow mixture was having little success in washing it away. His breath fogged in the cold air even as he settled back into a normal breathing rythm. A fog seemed to be settling over his mind, slowing everything but at the same time soothing his rage. Whatever curse lay upon him was sated for now. He barely felt the imperial shove past him but he did see the disgusted glance. Whether it was at his appearance or something else, Uzar wasn't sure and didn't care either. The company of mercenaries he'd found himself involved with were a strange bunch even if they were capable fighters. The ground was littered with the bodies of the dead, a testament to the skills of the others. He was fairly certain he hadn't killed that many of the bandits. It was hard to tell what was happening, once the killing started. He grunted water trickled into a cut high on his cheek. The wound stung but he wasn't even sure when he'd gotten it. Or from who. Maybe he'd done it himself, with his wild swinging. It wasn't important, he decided. Nothing was important except keeping his urges in check until the next battle.
     
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  7. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Adalia glared at the marks or battle on the elfs' chest. She was starting to grab for the tablet to write a scathing remark when Sylandres turned to Lilliana and cast another spell while holding the tablet up so the girl could see what was written on it. As he did the imperial legionnaire, Orien, walked over with his sword sheathed. She still didn't trust him, not completely, but he had helped Caleb and held off the remaining bandits. "He's says that Lilliana is some kind of vampire. That's why his healers spells won't work on her." She turned back to glaring at the wood elf "which is nonsense, of course. There must be some other explanation." Her indignant expression lasted for another three heartbeats. Until she saw the look on the girls face.

    "It's...difficult to explain." The former scribe said softly. "I don't know what it is, or if there's a cure or if it even can be cured." She backed away from the others cautiously, suddenly aware that she was standing close to three dangerous individuals who might be a little irritated she hadn't brought her...condition before. "I'm not a vampire- not really. I- I suppose the simplest way to explain it is to say I can sense emotions. Negative ones, anyway. Fear, anger, sorrow. Not just that. Pain as well." She stared at her boots as she continued "feeding off of those sensations is...the best and the worst feeling in the world. I don't want to feel good about other peoples' pain and suffering. It just happens." A tears began to trickle down her cheeks as she explained. Her greatest shame had just been laid bare to people she barely even knew, and she'd never felt so vulnerable in her life.
     
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  8. Rafen

    Rafen Well-Known Member

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    Caleb frowned, looking first to the bosmer then to the imperial girl in wet robes and with tears rolling down her cheeks. The revelation that the seemingly innocent young woman fed on peoples' fear and pain had him back on his heels, but he kept his shock hidden under the surface. He glanced at Adalia, who a moment earlier had been arguing back and forth with the robed wood elf by way of the tablet he carried. If she'd known about the...condition Lilliana had, there was no indication of it on her face. He then looked to the imperial battlemage. He didn't much like the man, but it seemed their concerns were both for the young girl overruled their dislike of each other. For the time being. Stepping closer to the distraught young woman, he placed both hands on her shoulders. "Lilliana, listen to me. You don't know me very well, but I've dedicated my life, to helping people. I swear, if it is within my power, I will help you be rid of this affliction." There was always the risk that the others would find out and see her as a danger was present but the healer was confident he could win a few of them over to his way of thinking. Besides, he certainly wasn't going to announce it to the rest of the company.

    Djor sheathed his weapons as the bandits fled the field. He wondered about pursuing them but only for a moment. The outlaws almost certainly knew these woods as well as Djor himself and there could be any manner of traps or ambushes waiting for them. He turned to where the captain of their group was speaking with the pale imperial and one horned argonian. He reached them just as the imperial mentioned something about the iron wolf, holed up in Windhelm. Or rather, the ruins of Windhelm. "I don't recognize the name" he said, "but we should not linger. Falkreath hold has been home to much worse than bandits for decades. We shouldn't linger."
     
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  9. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    Orien considered both Lilliana's and Caleb's words. He had never met a vampire while in the legion or at least he'd never been aware of meeting one and he doubted they'd reveal their secrets to him. There were stories of course. Of men garrisoning a seemingly abandoned tower or fort only to be be found drained of blood or torn apart come morning. The legionnaire glanced at the knight in scarred armour. He was fairly certain the man was like the mosnters from the stories but Lilliana didn't seem like that at all. It could be a ruse, of course, but he very much doubted that. For what reason could she admit her..illness.if Illness was indeed the correct way to describe what it was that was wrong with her.

    Caleb reacted to the confession first, stepping forwards and placing his hands on the imperial womans' shoulders and promising his help. Orien stepped forwards as well, "I'm no healer and not a powerful mage, but I'll do whatever I can to help. You have my word as a legionnaire of the fifth legion." Conversation from a few meters away drew his attention. The leader of their group was speaking with the one horned argonian, a nord in rangers garb and a couple of others. "I think we'll be on the march again soon. For now, I think it best we keep this between ourselves. I don't believe the others will care too much, with at least one vampire in our midst, but there is no reason the others should know."
     
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  10. The Seraph

    The Seraph When the Dawn Breaks, I shall be there

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    Sylandres felt his heart sink as the poor girl began to sob. Damn it, damn it, damn it! thought Sylandres, The one time I step up and do something confrontational, this happens! Sylandres quickly scribbled into his tablet and then held it aloft for Lilliana to read. I am sorry. This was not my intention. For what it is worth, I shall not shame you any further for your nature. Sylandres took away his tablet and faded into the crowd. As he lingered on the edge of the path, observing the group, he thought back to that night. His old friend, Talien Greensmoke. The old veteran barely managed to escape, and with his dying words commanded Sylandres to seek revenge. He did not. Sylandres pondered on why he exposed Lilliana. FInally, he came upon an answer. Spite. That is why I did it. Adalia just had to be so rude, so inconceivably rude! I still should not have done it. I did not kill that noble, why should I hurt a little girl now? I am better than that. I shall rise above myself. Sylandres gripped his staff, his fingernails pressed against the metal, and gazed up at Masser and Secunda, trying not to remember painful nights.
     
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  11. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Lilliana wiped at her eyes with her wet and cold sleeve, not meeting much success. She was grateful to the elf and Orien and Caleb for not simply deciding to abandon her at the side of the road or worse. She had never admitted her illness to anyone before and wasn't quite sure why she'd done so now. She had no real reasons to trust anyone except Adalia and even she might have less than pleasant motives for rescuing her from the pair of thugs that had chased Lilliana into the under empire. Yet...she did and it felt like a weight had been lifted off her chest after the words had spilled out. She nodded thankfully to the elf with the tablet and let Adalia wrap her in a warm, comforting hug at the same time. "Thank you- all of you" she shivered, very aware of the freezing temperatures and continued rainfall. "We'd better get moving if we're going to reach Falkreath today and it's not getting any warmer out here."
     
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  12. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Thalien cleaned the last of the blood of his sword and sheathed it before taking in the battlefield one last time. They had won and more importantly, won without taking any casualties. Considering the size of the bandit force, that was a surprise all on its own. Cyrius returned from interrogating the bandit leader and reported that they were not merely some random marauders. According to the man, they were part of a large force being built up in the ruins of Windhelm and serving a man known as the Iron Wolf. The one horned argonian stepped in, mentioning that torture wasn't all that reliable. Thalien nodded to him "true, but his statement seems just absurd enough to be honest." The nord ranger, a quiet fellow who Thalien hadn't heard speak before, admitted that the Iron Wolf wasn't a name that was familiar to him, but that wasn't what concerned the captain.

    "But we should not linger. Falkreath hold has been home to much worse than bandits for decades. We shouldn't linger." Thalien noted the mans' repetition and cast a glance at the surrounding forest. It was silent, save for the patter of icy particles falling through the trees and striking the snow covered ground. "I agree. Falkreath should not be more than a couple hours march from here. If we move now we should make it there before dark." He turned to the others and shouted "prepare to move! We can tend our wounds and rest our feet once we get to Falkreath!"

    He turned and lead the company onwards, through the pine forest. Beside him, Joren glanced over "Are you going to mention this 'iron wolf' to the jarl or whatever imperial captain is stationed there?"

    Thalien nodded "if there really is someone rallying bandits and rebels, he could be as much trouble for us as the empire. But I'm more concerned the survivors will tell him or someone, where we are. Markarth is quite a walk from here and I'd rather not be looking over my shoulder the whole time." Joren nodded once again, then faded into the rest of the group. The rain was still steady but less icy and the ground itself was beginning to the forest floor rather than ice and snow. They couldn't be that far from the city itself.
     
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  13. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Athara cleaned and sheathed her blades and flashed a smile at Elwyn. The khajiit assassin had been in her fair share of fights but never something as chaotic as a full scale battle. They'd captured the bandit leader and she couldn't help but smirk at the doomed fellow as the pale imperial dragged him off for 'interrogation'. The others milled about either waiting for further instruction or looking to their captain for further instruction. The robed man Athara took for a healer of sorts was talking with a robed elf, the imperial battle mage, and the redguard who still kept near her young charge. There seemed to be some sort of convsersation going on but she was not terribly interested in what was going on with the group. Before she could join Elwyn and make sure she was uninjured, the half nord man ordered them to get ready to move.

    Scowling as rain continued to fall from the sky, she pulled her hood up and fell in with the others. They continued on leaving the corpses of the battlefield behind, headed towards the city of Falkreath. The farther they walked, the less snow and ice there was. But that didn't stop the rain from pouring down and she could hear thunder in the distance. She singled out their leader and shouted "in Falkreath by midday, you said!" She looked around at the surrounding forest and blinked even more rain out of her eyes. "I don't see any city!" So focused was she on the man that she missed the knot of roots and the rabbit den it hid. She sank into the muddy hole up to her knee and nearly fell over. Spitting curses, she yanked her leg free. "I hate this accursed province already" she growled.
     
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  14. The_Lost_Foxtrot

    The_Lost_Foxtrot Luwd uf Shoduws

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    Mathias eyed the pale Imperial as he dragged off the bandit leader, a cold and indifferent look in his eyes while staring at the outlaw, while he wasn't against the idea of interigation, he wasn't one to seek it out at the first oportunity either. He sat down on a small rock, grunting as he reached for one of his viles of 'medicine', his hand froze in motion when he didn't feel the dark green glass in his satchel, dread filling up his stomach as he began to franticly seach his robes and pockets. A small set of curses left his lips when he didn't find anything, piercing purple eyes shot up as he scanned their surroundings for even the smallest hint of a glint, anything that could be recognised as one of his flasks but found nothing.

    He breathed deeply through his nose to calm down, taking off his mask to breath easier as he ran a gloved hand over his face. The cursed assassin would have to find new ingredients when they reached Falkreath soon, maybe he coud trick that healer into hopefully sharing some herbs or temporary potions, Caleb, he thinks his name was. Mathias sighed quietly as he lifted his hand from his face, a scowl reaching his expression when he stared at his shaking hand and couldn't seem to stop it either.

    He looked up when he heard the Imperial came back, informing that the bandits was actually under the command of a new rebel leader call the 'Iron Wolf' holding up in the ruins of Windhelm. Their captain ordered everyone to gather up and move forward to Falkreath, Mathias grunted once more, but this time pain coursed through him as he stood up, his shaking hand gripping his side tightly on reflex, how long ago was it that he took his potion now? it had to be when they last set up camp some time ago before they crossed the border. The Infamous Grimm inhaled deeply before breathing out through his mouth, strapping his mask to his belt instead so he could get cold air in his face, usually helped with the nausea that came apout from time to time with the pain and simply pulled his hood lower over his face to shelter himself somewhat from the rain, and to hide his paling skin from the others, it wouldn't help his reputation or work if the others found about his little....problem, not when they would reach Falkreath and possinbly drop him off there if they deemed him a burden to their mission.
     
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    #234 The_Lost_Foxtrot, Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  15. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    As the fight ended, Vintor made a show of looking around before walking over to where Thalien and several others had gathered. "Well it looks like no one has stabbed anyone else in the back. Loyal enough for you?" He asked their self appointed captain. A kink had worked its way into his shoulder and he scowled behind the faceplate of his helm as he attempted to work it out. The bandits hadn't been expert fighters by any stretch of the imagination, but a couple had landed some good blows on him. His masterworked plate had held, though and save for a few bumps and scrapes, he was in one piece, more or less. He'd ignored the rain during the battle but now it drummed a near constant rythm on his helm, only broken up by the branches overhead.

    Doing his best to ignore the growing headache, he turned towards the pale imperial, Cyrius, he thought his name was, and listened as the man reported what he'd learnt from the leader of the bandit group. "Hmph. Seems like the nords didn't learn their lesson the first time the imperials crushed them." Thalien was calling for the others to begin moving towards Falkreath. He wasn't well acquainted with the city but it had been some time since he'd been anywhere near Skyrim, nevermind Falkreath hold itself. While the province was officially under the control of the Empire, he couldn't help but wonder how many jarls had thrown their lot in with this 'Iron Wolf'.
     
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  16. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Thalien lead the company of mercenaries on, barely refraining from snapping at the complaining khajiit woman. What a sorry bunch I've found myself in charge of. Confident killers all, and solid in battle, but get them a little wet, and they mewl like newborns. He glanced over his shoulder and shouted "not long now!"

    Of course, he had no actual idea how far off they were from Falkreath. He'd taken the opportunity to study a brief map, though every path in the hold seemed the same to him and the rain wasn't helping. Then, as if brought into being by his silent irritation, the gates of the city were in sight.

    The rain was tapering off and fog was rolling in from the mountains. The sky above was slightly lighter, but still covered in clouds. However it wasn't the sky that interested Thalien. The gates to the city were wide open, a pair of guardsmen standing in the arch of the gateway, keeping dry. Each man clutched a spear in his hand.

    "We had better find the jarl, or who ever's in charge here." He murmured to his companions.

    "Ask the guards, first." Joren suggested, "they don't look like they're too happy to see us, but if we talk to them, it might put them at ease."

    Thalien nodded, accepting his friends' suggestion. He was slightly surprised that the pair wore chainmail hauberks and purple-blue tunics, rather than legion gear. Locals, almost certainly. They eyed the approaching group of mercenaries with more than a little trepidation. "Good afternoon" Thalien said, "I'm looking to introduce myself to whoever's in charge and find lodging for myself and my companions."

    The men glanced at one another, before the one on the right, seeming slightly older and perhaps more experienced, nodded once. "You'll want the jarls' longhouse, then. Center of town, can't miss it. For lodgings, the Dead Mans' Drink. Not far from the gates. Should be enough room for your comrades." The guard glanced at the assembled cutthroats once more. "Not here to cause any trouble, are ye?"

    "Not if we can help it. We're passing through on our way to Markarth. But first there's information your jarl might find interesting."

    "Aye? Best be about your business, then." The guard said, waving them through. The company trooped into the city, and townsfolk either hurried out of their way or stopped to stare. Several imperial legionnaires were noticeable, standing out from the local guardsmen with their heavy armour and crimson uniforms.

    The sides of the roads were overgrown, and here and there, slumped people could be seen, dead or resting. Gaunt children rushed past, and adults shambled about their business, clad in cloaks and common tunics, often stained. Smoke rose from several chimneys, and braziers steamed in the light rain.

    Near the town center, a gallows could be seen, with several corpses swinging gently. Someone was shouting, but they were too far away to make out the words. He turned to face his fellow mercenaries. Pointing at the tall breton knight, the dunmer with painted hands, and Cyrius, he said "you three and Joren, follow me. Var'Hess, you take the others to the inn, Dead Mans' Drink. We'll meet you there."
     
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  17. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Elwyn smiled slightly at Athara's complaints, and made her way to the khajiit womans' side. "Not exactly as romantic as I imagined, I'll admit. But at least we've made it through with our skin intact." As she spoke, they came across the city of Falkreath itself. The rain was coming to an end, but a fog was quickly rolling in from the mountains.

    Their leader stopped to talk with the guards and got them admitted into the city. The place seemed no better off than Bruma had been. People in the gutters and hollow eyed children running back and forth. "This place seems more a graveyard than a city."
     
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  18. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    The city of Falkreath was much as Orien had expected. Desperate looking people made their way through the streets and he got the sense that the rain and miserable weather was the least of their trouble. He hadn't been in Falkreath last time he'd fought in the province, but the scenery was much the same. Just less burning buildings this time around.

    Their captain selected four of their number to accompany him while instructing the khajiit, Var'Hess, to take the others to the inn. He stepped to the khajiit mercenaries side. "If you have no objections, I would like to look around a bit."

    "This one does not mind. But take care you do not get left behind, hmm?"

    Orien nodded his agreement and set out, meandering down the wet streets. He found himself drawn in by the shouting coming from the town center. It seemed...strangely familiar. It was not a group of voices united in one cause. Rather, a ragtag response to the shouts of a single man.

    The town center, and the source of the shouts soon became apparent. A thrill of fear shot up the legionnaires' spine when he saw who stood on the gallows. The black robes were not unique by themselves, but the tattoos that swirled and twisted on the mans' face with a life of their own were a dead give away. The Confessors were in Falkreath.

    On an impulse, Orien pulled his hood down, ensuring it covered his face sufficiently. He stood at the edge of the crowd, noting a line of legionnaires standing at the base of the gallows, between the Confessor and the crowd. Neither the robed man nor the soldiers had noticed his presence.

    "The old gods are dead!" The Confessor shouted, "there is only the God Emperor! It is by his will that we live and die!" With a dramatic flourish, the robed sorcerer-priest gestured to the hanged men, swaying in the breeze. "Behold these blasphemers! They dared to spread their heresies among you! Behold the fate of those who worship false gods! The God Emperor revealed these foul vermin to us! He-"

    "That's a lie!" A young man, haggard like the others, but with a righteous fury in his voice, shoved his way forwards. His kinsman parted around him, like waves from an island. "The gods grant us the strength to resist, in the name of the nine!"

    The Confessors' eyes widened with rage, and he pointed "seize him!" The man all but shrieked. The legionnaires sprang into motion, shoving and bludgeoning townsfolk out of their way. Robed figures moved among them, acolytes of the Confessor the gallows. Crying out in pain and fear, the crowd dispersed.

    "No! Stand, fight for heritage! For your ancestors!" The young nord bellowed, just as one of the robed acolytes reached him. The nord pulled a short blade, but the acolyte was faster, stretching out a hand. The nord convulsed and his eyes rolled up into his head before he collapsed. The legionnaires grabbed the mans' arms and began dragging him to a nearby building.

    Sickened, Orien turned away. There had been no Confessors with the fifth legion. Why, he had never been sure, but he was more than a little glad for it. He knew full well what awaited the unfortunate nord. He backtracked towards the gates, keeping his eyes open for the local inn.
     
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  19. Aethalia

    Aethalia Well-Known Member

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    With a scrap of cloth, she wiped the blade of her axe clean and fell in with the others. The fight had done wonders to clear her mind. The others continued to march onwards to Falkreath, she noticed the masked warrior she'd named earlier seemed weak on his feet. "Are you well, pretty bird?" She could see no obvious injuries on him, but that was no guarantee of health.

    She noticed his hands were shaking and her eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "It would be a shame if you were to become...a burden." She ran the pad of her thumb along the edge of her axe as she did so, her facial tattoos curling as she smiled wickedly at him.

    Her mind wandered as they approached the walled city of Falkreath, and she barely listened to their leaders' orders. As the others wandered off, she leaned against a wall, under a roof that offered some protection from the light rain that still fell.
     
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  20. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Despite her foul mood, she grinned at the elf womans' words. "You could say that. Though, 'romance' doesn't typically factor into most relationships I've been in." The remark was flippant and she winced as soon as the words were out of her mouth. She was too used to casual sex with strangers, which usually didn't last more than a night, maybe two. But Elwyn was different, even if neither of them knew much about the other.

    She opened her mouth to apologize, then clamped it shut. Thankfully, the elf continued, either not picking up on her foolish words, or choosing not to respond to them she remarked on how barren of life the town seemed. "Graveyard is the right word, alright." She murmured, glancing around at the nords making their way through the town.
     
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