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Private {18+} Ascension

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

  1. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Elrasur walked in silence, keeping an eye, as well as an ear, out for trouble. They had already suffered one ambush since arriving in Skyrim, and he wasn't eager to fall prey to another. Travelers and merchants along the road grew ever more scarce, as they headed towards the Reach. The former assassin had never been to any part of Skyrim, but he had heard stories and the conversation from earlier was still at the back of his mind, so he was cautious. They arrived at a crossroads, where a ruined tower dominated the landscape, but a smaller boulder, about the size of a man, was also placed in an odd way. Words had been carved into the stone, clearly older than the crude slogans that had been scratched into its' surface. Thalien, their leader, wondered whether the phrase was a warning or a benediction to those taking the Reachward road. "Why not both?" Elrasur suggested, "where these forsworn are involved, that seems likely."
     
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  2. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Lilliana shook her head in answer to the dunmer womans' question. "I'm not a sell-sword at all, actually. I'm a scribe." Realizing the word might not translate, she mimed writing with her quill. "I lived in the Imperial City for some time, yes. Before..." she shuddered as she remembered the night she'd fled from the archives, and the desperate, day to day survival she'd gone through while living in the under-empire. "Before I joined these people. Adalia-" she pointed to the redguard woman, "saved my life. I don't have anywhere else to go, so I travel with her now." She explained. The imperial got the impression that the dunmer wasn't sharing everything, but decided not to pry. She had secrets of her own to keep. "My name's Lilliana. What's yours, if I may ask?"

    Ahead, Adalia glanced over her shoulder at hearing someone speak her name. She saw the girl she'd taken as her ward speaking with the dunmer who had joined them less than a day prior. The storm mage was less than pleased about that. The dunmer hadn't spoken so much as a word to the others, and her one armed friend had left with the soldiers headed to some imperial outpost. She made a note to keep a close eye on the dark elf, but didn't stare. Instead, she called out to Orien "these forsworn- you've fought them often?"
     
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  3. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Iornath paused at the marker, all his senses on high alert. The boulder, if not the writing upon it clearly marked the beginning of Forsworn territory. Yet...Skyrim was under the control of the empire, they would never let such a blatant sign of resistance stand. Yes, it seemed various groups that had passed through had taken the time to scratch their own slogans or sigils into the rock face, but none had defiled the stone itself. Realization struck him as he pondered it. "This is a lure. Any imperials that attempt to move or destroy this marker are doubtless ambushed by Forsworn lurking in the hills. I would recommend not tampering with it."


    Rajeem felt somewhat out of his depth, even as he stepped off the ships' gangplank. The dark castle loomed ahead, sinister and domineering. The group, accompanied by imperial soldiers and their captain, made their way inside, the one-horned argonians' hand never far from his falchion. He stuck to the center of the circle of soldiers, aware that the illumination from their torches made him a good target for anything lurking in the dark. They came to a halt as the captain realized they were one short; a soldier had gone missing. After a short search, one of the imperials returned, with a bloody scrap of uniform. Rajeem cursed and drew his falchion "I think it's safe to say we're not alone in here anymore."
     
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  4. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Cyrius stared at crude warning etched into the boulder along the road. It had obviously been placed there, rather than falling naturally. Thalien read the inscription, and wondered whether it was a warning or a blessing. The white-handed dunmer, Elrasur, suggested it might be both, and Cyrius found that he agreed with the elf. He didn't know much about the forsworn, other than that they liked ambushes and were fierciely territorial, but he had heard that they were obsessed with their 'old gods'. The imperial seriously doubted the etching referred to the old pantheon of aedra. "I suppose that confirms their presence" Cyrius drawled, resting a hand on the pommel of his sword. He swept his eyes over the craggy foothills and cliffs around them, but saw very little. If they were being watched by anything besides the old gods, he couldn't see them.


    Elwyn drew her sword as one of the imperials walked over with a torn, bloodied scrap of cloth. Cloth that had once been part of an imperial uniform. Judging by the reactions of the other soldiers, none were overly pleased by the discovery. The former justiciar was more disturbed that she hadn't noticed the soldiers' death. She had the keenest hearing by far, besides maybe Athara, and she hadn't seen the other woman react one way or the other. The one horned argonian, Rajeem, drew his own blade, commenting that they were no longer alone. "And whatever is in here, it isn't friendly" she added, before brushing her fingers against Atharas' wrist "can you see anything?" She whispered.
     
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  5. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    Adalia asked him if he had fought the forsworn before, and he nodded "not often, but yes. As I said earlier, they are skilled trackers and prefer ambush tactics." He pointed ahead, where the road narrowed, then gestured to the ominous totem. "We should be on our guard. I heard that the Reachmen have been claiming this land as theirs for centuries. Before the emperor came to power. They won't take kindly to us trespassing." Though he doubted the forsworn would strike so close to such an obvious indicator of their presence, he rested his hand on the hilt of his gladius. His other hand tingled with unspent magic as he eyed the rocky hills.

    He noted the young imperial speaking with one of their newest companions, the quiet dunmer with the headband. He turned away, hiding the distrust in his eyes. He wasn't sure what, but something about her rubbed him the wrong way. Perhaps it was just him being more paranoid than was healthy. He was a wanted man, after all. "Lilliana, stay close. You haven't any armour, and in my experience, they prefer softening their targets with javelin and arrows before they move in for the kill." He found himself wishing that he had a column of heavily armed and armoured, and more importantly shielded legionnaires with them. The battlemage sighed, knowing they would have to make do, before continuing along the road.
     
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  6. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Adalia grimaced, catching the former soldiers meaning. If the forsworn truly believed the Reach belonged to them, they would fight tooth and nail to defend it. If they were really going to travel through the Reach to get to High Rock, she predicted a lot of trouble. Worse than the bandits that had ambushed them when they had first come through the pass into Skyrim several days ago. "Well, at least we have your experience to call upon, if they do come looking for a fight." What she didn't mention was that she wasn't sure they would be as fortunate as they had been with the bandits. Despite having a day to rest in Falkreath, they had split their group and those headed towards Markarth would have a harder time fighting off any attackers, forsworn or not. Lilliana frowned, surprised by the concern in Oriens' voice. She glanced at the elf woman, but she wasn't sure why their was a sudden unease in his voice. Did they know one another? Or was the battlemage being honest when he mentioned concern for her wellbeing? She managed an apologetic shrug, before joining the redguard and imperial.
     
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  7. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Vintor eyed the blood soaked uniform with trepidation. He hadn't thought the job would be as simple as it had sounded but he had been hoping that whatever had killed the garrison would have moved on by now. Unless, of course, whatever had killed the garrison had been there long before the imperials had moved in. An old castle like this, the former paladin wouldn't be surprised if it hosted all kinds of unpleasantness. Tightening his grip on the mace in his right hand, he swung the torch in a slow arc in front of him, eyes on the ground. The dripping noise was still present, grating on nerves and only adding to the sense of uneasiness that hung in the air. Now, though, there was a new, more visceral sound; the wet tear of flesh along with distinct...eating noises. They came from the rear of the chamber they had entered, and together, the group edged forwards.

    As they moved closer, a hunched figure could be seen over a body in imperial armour. Fresh blood spread around the corpse and the...thing feasting on it. The creature wore torn robes, but was emaciated to the point that they merely hung off it's body. The light and the curses of the soldiers drew it's attention. It turned a gaunt, bloody face towards the party, gobbets of flesh splatting to the floor as it opened it's may to reveal needlelike fangs. It unleashed a snarling shriek, then dashed into the darker shadow, hauling it's prey with a strength Vintor would not have expected for such a thin creature. "That- that thing...I think it used to be the overseer" the captain gasped. "Whatever it was," Vintor said, "that thing has no loyalty to your empire any more."
     
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  8. Drahkma

    Drahkma Dashing Imperial Officer.

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    The dripping, mixed with the whispered conversation of their imperial escorts and his fellow mercenaries grated on his nerves. The iron tang of blood was in the air and the vampiric knight found himself running the tip of his tongue over his fangs, eager for bloodshed. The first hint that they were no longer alone was a brief displacement of air behind and to the right of him. He spun on his heel, sword at high guard, and noticed one of the soldiers was no longer present. To his credit, the imperial captain quickly took note and they began to search for the missing human. As they advanced deeper into the dark room, Kyros was assaulted by the stench of fresh blood.

    He opened his mouth to relay that information when he saw the fallen soldier...and the creature feasting upon him. Though he knew he shouldn't have, the knight hesitated. The beast that stood before them was certainly no longer human, despite the overseers' robes it wore over its' gaunt frame. Before he could recover and strike, the beast revealed a mouthful of fangs, before darting away into the dark. Kyros swore and turned on the captain, grabbing him by his breastplate "what manner of work were your people doing here? He demanded, giving the man a good shake. "Answer me!" He was aware of the imperials pointing weapons at him, but he paid them no mind. He was too preoccupied with the feral creature that reminded him too much of what he might have become.
     
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  9. Rafen

    Rafen Well-Known Member

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    The road wound on, silent now that the majority of merchant caravans had passed them by, headed in the opposite direction. The group fell into smaller knots of conversation, leaving Caleb to his own thoughts. He regretted his earlier words to Lilliana, though she seemed to have forgiven him. He knew his concern was warranted, especially with her 'condition' coming to light among the group. He quietly laid a hand against the shortsword concealed beneath his healers robes. Years ago, in another life it seemed, he had sworn never to kill, even in defence of his own life. It was almost funny how he had managed to stumble his way into a group of hired murderers, then. Perhaps fate had a sense of humour after all. Or perhaps it was merely bad luck.

    From his position near the rear of the group, he watched Lilliana and Adalia as they spoke with Orien. He still didn't trust the legionnaire completely, but he had made peace with the man. How long that would last, only time would tell. The fact that he had so willingly agreed to a truce of sorts with him took Caleb by surprise. His hatred for the Empire and their ways was still strong but he found himself wondering if there were others like Orien, trapped in the vast beast that served the emperor. His eyes strayed back to the two women. Would he fight, kill even, to defend them? Only time would tell and Caleb hated himself for that. Whether he liked it or not, he was along for the journey. It was time he started acting like a part of the group. Clearing his throat, he joined the trio. "Orien, you've been to Markarth before?"
     
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  10. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    He walked alongside Adalia and Lilliana as they continue the cobblestoned road towards the capital of the Reach; Markarth. A city plagued by Forsworn and rebels alike, now a staging point for the empires' legions to march into the rebellious province of High Rock. From a little behind, he heard the healer, Caleb speak up. "I have" he replied, remembering the first time he'd seen the fabled 'city of stone'. "It is an impressive place, though rather uncomfortable to sleep in." Stone bed were not the best rated for comfort.
     
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  11. fellowknight

    fellowknight Devil Of The Details

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    Karsan Myre had, in the unfortunately brutal and recent chapters of his life, become distinctly familiar with despair. He knew it well, like he knew the shaved edges of his spearheaded hatchet, and he dreaded the task ahead for that very same reason. A light, small and fragile and coddled over the years, had nestled its home in his heart as he hoped to identify truth from so much myth and uncertainty. But he realized he might’ve been wrong to come here and hope. And the clarity brought on him by the cold horror in the beast’s hollow eyes, led him to realize something else: He might not survive his discovery of the truth, literally or otherwise.

    Then creature was gone, deftly hauling its mutilated prey with it into the black stretches of the chamber and possibly beyond, and Karsan released his axe from a white-knuckled grip he didn’t know he was holding. Shortly after, the sharp-eyed knight questioned the captain with more force than aversion, and Karsan had to step clear to avoid the barred weapons of the encircling legionaries. His gaze fell to the floor, and he squinted through the dark to make out blotted lines and smudges.

    "This room is a f***ing meat pantry. It'll be back.." Karsan sniffled, gesturing at the blood trail that had been left behind. “Maybe not alone next time..” He quietly praised the sparing light and mixed whispers in the room as it perfectly concealed his welting tears and gave him precious moments to compose himself. He steadied his twitching arm and slipped the axe into its sheath, facing the silhouette of what he hoped was the Khajiit. "How about it, Cat? See anything?"

    -------

    Morva knew she couldn't satisfy Lilliana's inquiry before she'd even finished speaking. The girl’s wit was unmistakable and clearly she had been good enough at her ‘scribing’ to make a living of it, so.. why had the Empire lost the young Lilliana’s service? Did she anger one of her superiors, or had she simply abandoned her post, opting under the wing of her savior, Adalia? However, the Dunmer resigned on the assumption that if she herself was keeping a few secrets, the girl likely had twice as many of her own, so there really was no point in pondering.

    Luckily, Lilliana was beckoned to rejoin her friends before Morva had to lie again, and they arrived at a junction. It was beset by a large boulder on its side, impressed with runes-- no, crude writing, hand-carved sometime ago. The sentiment wasn't friendly, and she knew whose 'wrath' it implied, If unwelcome travelers were caught anywhere near or past the boulder itself. The landmark was less a warning then, more of a promise of ambush. "Old Gods," she wondered aloud, barely able to make English, or sense really, out of the weathered scratches. "Watching.. for us. Ambush, to cut off re-in-forcements."

    The lithe thief-mage inched closer to the landmark, smelling it for magik as well visually inspecting the boulder itself. Nothing, as far as she could tell and much to her expectations. Since the College of Winterhold had been forgotten, any magik that wasn't used to conquer, vilify, or horrifically reanimate the shattered populace simply wasn't commonplace. A part of her was expecting runic magiks, particularly of the destructive kind, to be on the ground for any unlucky stragglers; Confessors were particularly fond of those messy little traps. Mostly unsatisfied but not wanting to warrant suspicion, Morva discreetly resumed her position at the back of the group.
     
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  12. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    Athara drew her shortsword, keeping one hand free, ears pricked for the slightest hint of movement. Nearby, Elwyn asked if she could see anything and she shook her head. The darkness here was as strangely persistent as it had been in the hallway before. She scowled, blinking in a vain attempt to clear her vision, but she could barely make out anything beyond the circle of torches. "No" she murmured over her shoulder, towards the elf, "I can't-" her explanation was cut short as the group stumbled across the remains of one of their escort, currently serving as meal to something that had once been a man.

    The assassin swore and took and instinctive step back as the legionnaires and her companions readied weapons. In an instant, the beast shrieked, giving everyone a nice view of its fanged maw, before dashing off, hauling the dead, armoured soldier like he weighed little more than a coin purse. The word 'ambush' popped into her head as the grim knight turned on the imperial captain, demanding to know what, exactly the imperials had been in the run down castle.

    The one armed human turned in her general direction, wanting to know if she'd seen anything. Forcing herself to remain calm, she snapped "a human that'll be that things' dessert if he's not quiet." Though trying to hear anything with the rasp of weapons being drawn and the argument going on between the pair up front, picking up on approaching creatures was near impossible. "It's too damn dark in here" she growled, straining her eyes to see past the flickering torches.
     
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  13. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    The ring of legionnaires turned inwards as the undead knight seized their captain, readying weapons and demanding he stand down. Things were quickly getting out of control and they hadn't even discovered why the overseer was now some ravening, blood mad beast. Vintor stepped between the captain and knight, shoving them apart. "Enough!" He growled, "you fools will bring the whole place down-" he was silenced by the scraping of something remarkably like claws on stone.

    There was a clatter, followed by a cacophony of blood chilling shrieks. To their credit, the soldiers formed a tight circle, facing in all directions. Vintor joined them, readying his mace, as the first of their assailants charged into the circle of light. "Penitents!" Bellowed one of the legionnaires, but the former paladin could see that wasn't quite the case.

    The creatures had the same gaunt, corpselike complexion as the undead used en masse by the empire, but they moved more like...predators than mindless undead. Their jaws, too were different, stretching open like a serpents to reveal rows of glistening fangs, much like the first monster they'd stumbled upon. As they approached, one of the legionnaires tossed a spear.

    The mans' intended target dodged out of the way with ease, then, gathering itself, sprang the last three metres, up into the air, landing feet first on the soldiers rising shield. The sudden, unexpected weight knocked the man back, and the penitent-thing crouched over its' victim, tearing into his face and throat with unrestrained savagery.

    Stepping forwards, Vintor slammed his mace into the back of the things skull, rewarded by a wet crunch and the beast went still, slumped over the luckless legionnaire. "Beware!" He shouted, "there's something different about these penitent!"
     
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  14. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Rajeem was about as thrilled as everyone else when they came across the dead soldier and the...thing that had made a meal out of him. He was even more 'thrilled' when the tension between the knight and imperial captain was broken by a chorus of screeches. The source of which revealed itself to be a pack of what one of the soldiers identified as penitents.
    fr
    He had seen penitent before, of course, but never close up and never as enemies. As battle was joined, the argonian became aware that one of the beasts was staring at him hungrily, it's oddly stretched jaws showing off far too many teeth. It crouched down, readying itself to spring at Rajeem. Forewarned by the grisly fate of one of the soldiers, he sidestepped just as it leapt for his throat.

    It landed with a feral snarl, scrabbling around on all fours like some sort of hairless, maddened dog. It's head snapped up to glare at the bounty hunter, and Rajeem seized the opening, kicking it square in the face. It scrabbled back, avoiding the downwards chop of his falchion. It straightened into a crouch, and hissed at him, baring fangs. "Oh, shut it!" The argonian snapped, lunging at the same time as the altered penitent thing. His blade punched through the hollow of its throat.

    The beast gurgled and snapped at him, apparently not taking the hint that it should be well and truly dead. "Just...give it up...you gods-damned freak!" The argonian ground out, twisting and yanking the blade, opening up the things' throat and tearing muscle and flesh. Finally, his blade came out one side of its throat, leaving the penitents' head attached to its body by a thin flap of gristle. It slumped forwards, leaking foul smelling gore onto the stonework.
     
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  15. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Athara's response was somewhat less than comforting, as was the chorus of bloodthirsty shrieks that followed her words. Elwyn snapped her fingers, summoning a flame that danced and flickered on her hand, while she readied her sword in the other. A pack of pallid, fanged abomination scurried into view, maws hanging open, eyes locked onto their would be prey. "Make a hole!" She shouted, tossing a bolt of flame through the gap created the pair of soldiers in front of her.

    Her intended target was forced to dodge aside, before it fixed her with a baleful gaze. Scrabbling forwards on all fours, it dodged the swing of the first legionnaire, but the second soldier caught it by surprise and it staggered. Right into a gout of flame the altmer spellblade unleashed. Its skin burned away like old parchment as it's bony limbs thrashed their last on the stone floor.
     
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  16. Screeching Spasmodically

    Screeching Spasmodically Spasmodic Screecher

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    Trudging alongside Adalia and Orien, Lilliana quickly perked up at the mention of Markarth. She had never been herself, but she had read about the 'city of stone' during her work in the Imperial City. "I read it was built by the dwemer, ages and ages ago. Apparently steam pipes run underneath the entire city, and there's a whole city underneath it." She realized Adalia was giving her a strange look out of the corner of her eye. "What? I thought people would like to know about our destination. It's not just stone furniture that makes it so fascinating." She said defensively.
     
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  17. fellowknight

    fellowknight Devil Of The Details

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    Karsan pinched his nose, and sighed deeply, shakily. "..Great. We have a blind cat, the dead guy's lost his temper, and we're all mince-meat to-be for a bunch of.." A scrape, rasp and harshly carried throughout the room, cut him off. His heart skipped a beat and he shakily drew his axe at the chorus of shrieks that followed. "..no. No, no, no, no.."

    Karsan whirled around and shifted like a cornered animal, unable and unsure of how he might be horrifically devoured, or from where. He was so preoccupied with the swarming mob, he hardly noticed the drooling, bony mass of claws and teeth that scaled the defensive circle and collide with his chest. Had it not been for a legionnaire's stray blade that clipped the thing mid-air, the impact might've killed him. A mercy, he'd recall later on.

    In a ravenous fluster to right itself, the beast pulled scars along his chest and across his cheek before he could shove it off. Within moments, he scrambled to his feet and found the beast in clear view, just as it drew another charge and took a swipe that left his ribs bloody, and landed on all fours-- barely noticing the axe that Karsan had left in it's skull. Embracing the temporary triumph through his blistering pains, Karsan glanced back at the dead beast, and froze with cold realization. It hunched at the shoulders and stalked closer, sensing the crippled man's vulnerability.

    "No.. No! S-stop and.." He faltered back, watching his killer close in. He stood his ground. "Stop and realize you're dead, you greasy little c**t!"

    It jumped again. And this time, so did Karsan. They clashed and went to the floor, Karsan screaming, putting all his weight on the beast's head even as it scratched at his sides, until finally he felt its skull give and splatter a dark gore. Karsan warily came to his feet and unsteadily wielded the axe against the many deformed, nightmarish faces that surrounded them, terrified he'd recognize one of them.
     
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    #317 fellowknight, Dec 15, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  18. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    The group of mercenaries made their way onwards, passing into the rocky canyons and windswept hills that made up most of the Reach. Thalien, never one to believe that fate would be so kind as to allow them to pass through the contested territory without incident, was continuously keeping an eye on the surround. So it was that he saw the slight cascade of rock out of the corner of his eye. He tensed involuntarily, hand wrapping around the hilt of his sword. After a few tense moments, he relaxed slightly, though his hand did not leave the hilt of his weapon. "Be aware" he said in a low voice, "we're no longer alone."

    They continued along, unassailed by forsworn or anyone else, for that matter. Still, the feeling of being watched grew, though the mercenary could not tell if it was his own paranoia or an actual presence. He was about to request Iornath take the high ground and look around when they came across a fork in the road. A battered sign announced that one route would lead them to Karthwasten and later, Markarth, while the other would take them back towards Whiterun.

    Taking the Karthwasten route, the troop continued without incident. As they neared the reachman village, the peaceful early afternoon was interrupted by the scent of burning wood, the clash of weapons and the screams of men as they fought and died. Thalien swore and drew his sword. There were certainly other paths that would lead to Markarth, but none that wouldn't take an obscene amount of time. "Follow me!" He snapped to the others, rushing towards the sound of battle.

    It was not long before they came across Karthwasten. Buildings burned, townsfolk screamed and fled, pursued by oddly armoured and tattooed individuals with primitive looking weaponry. A cohort of legionnaires and perhaps a dozen others had formed around one of the few buildings not on fire, urging townsfolk inside. However, the sheer number of forsworn raiders was beginning to show, as three imperials went down to a hail of javelins. Pointing with his blade, Thalien indicated the pocket of resistance. "We'll need to join with them if we have any hope of winning this."
     
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  19. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Elrasur sighed as they came across the battlefield that had once been a village. Fires burned and combatants ran to and fro, hacking at one another with reckless abandon. Their captain drew his sword and rushed towards the fray, calling for the others to follow. The former assassin made to do just that, but before he had made it more than a dozen strides, he was cut off by a poorly clad warrior, wielding a crude but deadly looking axe.

    The man opened the fight with a heavy downwards swing that would have cracked the elfs' skull and spilt his innards, had he remained in one place to receive the attack. Instead, the dunmer backtracked quickly, drawing his own blades in the blink of an eye. Rather than attempt to match the forsworn blow for blow, he circled around, narrowly avoiding a disembowelling swing.

    What the elf lacked in reach and strength, he more than made up for in experience and speed. One blade went up, an obvious feint that his opponent fell for, shifting the shaft of his axe to parry. The other blade went low, jabbing through makeshift armour to punch into mans' heart. Elrasur withdrew as the forsworn, fell the ground, gasping his last breaths.
     
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