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18+ An Era of Dusk

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Madrar, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    As he walked along, Sothas glanced notice Aylira and Balgur conversing. That his dunmer friend was getting along with anyone was something of a surprise to him. Ever since they'd begun traveling together, years ago, she had been the surly, withdrawn one, while Sothas had been the one to do most, if not all the talking. Usually, that was for the best. If nothing else came of the task they'd taken on, at least the dark elf would have opened up to her companions a bit. Maybe. Or perhaps they'd all find out what had happened to the villagers the hard way. Anything was possible and Sothas was on his guard the closer they approached Morthal. Argus hadn't had the opportunity to be forthcoming about what he and the others had found inside, but he had mentioned the capital of that swampy hold. As if their nordic spokesperson had been thinking the same thing, he glanced over his shoulder and called him up by name, mentioning there were things they should discuss.

    With an agreeable nod, the heavily armed and armoured argonian left his place in line. His long strides carried him past Aylira, Balgur, the altmer woman, Merric, Lorkas, the khajiit with the big blade, and Thorian. He was as keen to discuss the recent events as Argus was, presumably. The second run in with the stormcloaks had not unsettled him as much as it had some of the others, but he was still curious. Too curious, Aylira would say, scowling the whole time. Reaching the armoured nord, he inclined his head "what do you wish to discuss? I assume our destination is not too far now."
     
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  2. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Argus nodded back to the argonian, even as he lengthened his pace slightly, urging him away and ahead of the group. "Our destination is one of the things, yes" he admitted. The truth was, Sothas seemed a reliable sort, and someone he wanted close by, in case things went back end up in the near future. Maybe that was odd, seeing as Lorkas was the only other nord in the group...but the mage seemed to distrust him. Remembering back to the farmhouse, the sudden urge to take the stone, by force, if necessary, perhaps Lorkas was right to be wary. "Things aren't adding up. We had barely been hired an hour to investigate the abandoned farmstead when the stormcloak captain comes to chase us out of town." Argus shook his head, ordering his thoughts. Doing so on the road was almost certainly a bad idea- he still remembered the warning of the soldier at the barricade.

    "That's not the only thing that makes no sense- we found evidence suggesting that the bandits were fleeing towards Morthal. Presumably with the family in tow. Why there? It's isolated, certainly, but the people would remember a band of brigands dragging peasants through town." He grumbled with frustration "and why would they bother staking out the farmstead first? In all my years of adventuring, I've never known bandits to be the most clever or patient of individuals. Or the smartest." Even as he spoke, the image of the odd, purple-ish stone forced its way into his mind. Almost as if something else wanted him to remember it. Though no words filtered into the back of his mind, he got the message. For some reason or another, Argus' patron wanted him to acquire the item."Then there's that damned stone" he added, mostly to himself.
     
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  3. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Sothas listened intently to the mans' worries and the more he spoke, the more Sothas nodded. Things weren't adding up. In his years as an adventurer, he'd passed through countless villages on some task or another. More often than not, he would pass through that same village on his way to collect payment. At least one of the villagers recognized him, more if the village was particularly small. Granted, he was already bound to make an impression just by the gear he wore and his race. But he guessed that a group of brigands, with prisoners tied up passing through even an average sized town would draw at least a little attention. Skyrim was a big place, where one could move around without drawing any attention whatsoever. A thought occured to him then; and it was a particularly unpleasant one. "What if these bandits are in the employ of someone? Someone with ties to the stormcloaks, perhaps? They would have no need to fear the guards if that was the case."

    Argus seemed distracted for a moment, as if pondering his answer, or something else that was weighing on his mind. "Then there's that damned stone." The human spoke so quietly that Sothas wasn't even sure the words were meant for him. No one had mentioned any stone, at least not to him. He frowned and glanced down at the man. "Stone?" He repeated, curious as to what any stone would have to do with the current situation. "What stone is this?" It seemed there was still something that he had not been alerted to. Perhaps something they had come across inside the farm house.
     
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  4. Harkatti

    Harkatti Sorceress Supreme!

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    Zarr watched the big argonian make his way to the front of the group, and start talking to the man who'd introduced himself as Argus. She considered sneaking ahead as best she could and eavesdropping on them. A quick glance at the dark elf talking with the orc soldier dissuaded her though. The woman already didn't like Zarr, it seemed, and she wouldn't appreciate the khajiit spying on her friend. So instead she grabbed Drens' wrist, pulling him back towards the rear of the group. She was well aware that the action didn't make her any less conspicuous, but she didn't want the others overhearing them. "Dren" she said quietly, "these folk haven't turned us over to the Stormcloaks yet. What if they aren't as cutthroat as you say?" Imagining his incredulous reply, she amended "I'm not saying trust them...just...cooperate, so long as it benefits us."
     
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  5. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Argus paused for an instant as he realized that the words really had just slipped past his lips. There was really no reason for him to keep it a secret. Besides, Lorkas currently held the stone and he could reveal its existence whenever he wished. At the moment, lying to Sothas would do little more than make the argonian suspicious. "A..gemstone of sorts. I think its' magical, or at least has some enchantment on it." He turned to see Lorkas, still walking alongside one of the khajiit women. Whether or not the mage was aware of his gaze, he couldn't tell. "Lorkas found it on the second floor of the farmhouse. It seems unlikely that some farmer would keep the thing as a trinket, laying around for anyone to find. If, against the odds, the stone did belong to the farmers, why didn't the raiders take it with them?" Despite voicing his concerns, he did not feel even a little relieved. If anything, the existence of the stone, and the circumstances around its discovering, only made Argus more frustrated.
     
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  6. Andre Marek

    Andre Marek You can run, but you'll only die tired...

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    Lorkas nodded in agreement at the Khajiits question amd shrugged, "Oh no doubt I could have joined up and spent eve more time traveling than I have. However, it wouldn't have been on my time. My life would have been in someone elses hands. Every action I took, dictated by someone else." He glanced at her as he spoke, "That's not the life for me. I guess I like freedom too much. What about yourself?"

    As they walked, Lorkas and Kaliir had drifted nearer the back of the group. From this position he caught Argus glancing over his shoulder and staring at him for the briefest of moments. The look was enough to confirm for him that his slight distrust of Argus hadn't gone unnoticed. He hoped he hadn't made an enemy.

    Again, he slipped his hand into his bag and felt for the stone. It was perfectly inert, giving off none of the pulses from earlier. Lorkas wondered for the second time what had caused it. "
    By the way, what do you think of our spokesperson? Is it just me or does he seem just a little..." He paused for a moment, looking for the right word, "...distracted?"
     
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    #106 Andre Marek, May 25, 2020
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  7. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Thoras watched the argonian, Sothas, make his way past others of the group until he was beside one of the two nords. With a smile and a clap of the hand on the man, Merrics', shoulder, he took his leave. The argonian and the nord were now in conversation, and an intense one at that. The dark elf sauntered up to the pair, noticing Argus throwing a glance over his shoulder towards the mage. He wondered if the pair had decided that man was trouble.

    He got into earshot just as Argus was mentioning the raiders' leaving a stone behind. " I think you are giving this too much thought, my friend. Things, especially small things, are lost all the time." He shrugged, "especially if the owners of those things are in the middle of ransacking someone elses home. Just a thought."
     
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  8. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    Sothas didn't get a chance to respond to his last round of questions and suppositions. The outlandishly dressed dunmer made his way to just behind them, and added his own opinion. Rather than be irritated by the question, the nord nodded. After all, the elf did have something of a point. If the farmers had put up something of a fight, or at least struggled, things could have been dropped. "Then who are the owners of that particular gem?" Bandits would have just sold the thing, Argus believed. Most didn't have the magical aptitude to appreciate arcane artefacts. "More importantly, is the owner of this gem going to come looking for it? Or will we run into them when we reach Morthal. You found the letter, what do you think?" He glanced once more over at the mage, wondering if he was thinking the same thing. Lorkas was reluctant to part with it, but Argus was starting to wonder what would happen if they came across a rather annoyed individual seeking the lost gem.
     
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  9. TheShadedOne

    TheShadedOne The Angry One

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    She nodded as the mage gave his reasons for not joining up with the army. "I can respect that. Making your own decisions and being responsible to no one but yourself." Then he asked her about herself and she hesitated. It was fair, she supposed, but she wasn't sure she wanted him knowing about all her past. Just like she was sure he wasn't telling her everything. "I'm a lot like you, I guess" she said with a shrug, "I like my freedom and I don't like people telling me what to do." She watched the mouthy dark elf move up and join the argonian and nord for a moment. "I'm a city girl. Spent most of my life there. I'm not so used to..." she gestured to the surrounding countryside "all this."

    The nords question about their 'spokesperson', their self appointed leader, had her attention back on the three at the front. "He seems to be awfully...talky for a nord." She paused, glancing over at the man beside her. "No offense. But I think you're talking about his reaction in the house, yes? He was definitely interested in that stone you carry." As they walked she saw him glance back towards them. "You think he knows something about it? That being said, what do you know about it? Anything?"
     
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  10. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    The dark elf beside him fell silent as they made their way even closer to the swamps. Whether she was keeping watch or just absorbed into her own thoughts, he couldn't tell. He, however was keeping a close eye on their surroundings. Not to mention his 'companions'. The masked elven woman in particular had his suspicions raised. He had seen a few Thalmor in his time in the legion. Mostly they'd kept their distance, but he'd heard of a few conducting 'interviews' of legionnaires who were thought to worship Talos. He wasn't sure how true the stories were, but he found it hard to believe the elf was just a random adventurer.

    The way she'd reacted around the stormcloaks had him on edge, and the furtive way she'd behaved since joining them made him think there was something she hadn't told them. Though to be honest, the elf hadn't really said anything to anyone since joining them back in Dragonsbridge. He moved slightly closer to the dark elf, Aylira. "You know" he said "the stormcloaks might also be on edge because we have on of those thalmor justiciars with us." He nodded towards the high elf just ahead of them.
     
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  11. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    The group of adventurers and mercenaries made their way along the road that stretched from the fabled Dragon Bridge to the swamps of Hjaalmarch. The sun had passed its' zenith a couple of hours ago and hovered above, giving little warmth to those far below. The bitterly cold wind that had blown away the rains of the previous night continued unabated, but was lessened as they drew closer to the gnarled grey trees growing closely together. Some barrier was formed and while the day did not warm much, the groups various clothing and cloaks kept them somewhat warmer. Some of them walked in pairs or trios, engaged in conversation while others kept a close watch on their surroundings. The warning of the stormcloak at the road block some hours previous still fresh in their minds.

    Merric was one of those keeping a close watch. He was new to these lands, though not as new to adventuring as he'd let on. Though he was no keen eyed ranger, his time on the sea had taught him how to spot approaching objects with relative ease. Besides the few soldiers at the barricade near Dragonsbridge, he hadn't seen another living soul. Even though he knew of the troubles that were currently plaguing Skyrim, it made him uneasy.

    Ahead, the road continued, winding back and forth slightly as it passed under the twisted, grey branches of trees that dominated much of Hjaalmarch hold. The breton noticed that the trees seemed almost hunched, giving them a somewhat sinister aspect. As they passed underneath the boughs, the air became still, with a scent of slight rot and stagnant water. Ahead, the road was partially overgrown by crawling brush and weeds, and submerged by brownish-green water in some places. The tops of the trees shifted slightly in the peristent wind, though there was no breeze to speak of at ground level. "What a lovely place," he muttered, mostly to himself. His hand drifted to hilt of his sword,though he wasn't sure what had him on edge.
     
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  12. Aethalia

    Aethalia Well-Known Member

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    Ysane kept to the middle of the group, even after leaving the stormcloak road block behind. Her second encounter with the former rebels in the same day had her unsettled, to say the least. Years of imprisonment and abuse did not simply evaporate now that she had a brief taste of freedom. So far, the others had yet to comment on her behaviour, even the pair of nords in their group. They had left the open spaces and hills that made up the terrain near the town she had met the others. Ahead, lay a swathe of stunted, grey barked trees with branches that stretched to block out the sun. Even the road seemed to have twisted and fallen into disrepair. As they passed under the twisted branches, Ysane felt someones' gaze burning into the back of her head. Resisting the urge to turn and look, she relied on her keen hearing instead. "You know" she recognized the gruff voice of the orcish soldier "the stormcloaks might also be on edge because we have on of those thalmor justiciars with us." Thalmor. It burned to be labeled as one of those foul murderers more than it had when her jailors had pressed the branding irons into her flesh. Fury overtook caution and she turned on the orc, eyes wide "what did you say?"
     
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  13. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    Balgur stopped in his tracks as the high elf spun to face him, eyes wide with anger. Or was it fear? Was she genuinely angry or was she surprised that she'd been found out? Whatever the case, she was clearly displeased with him. A wiser man might have backed down, knowing how dangerous an exposed spy with nothing to lose could be, but Balgur had never been known for being wise. Stubborn, though, stubborn was what he was best at. He jutted out his chin and glared defiantly at the elven woman. "You heard me" he growled, not quite readying his weapon, but tensing a little, ready to strike or defend himself.
     
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  14. Aethalia

    Aethalia Well-Known Member

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    The orc didn't back down, instead choosing to glare defiantly at her. Her eyes narrowed as she glared back, less than a blades length from the man. How dare he make such accusations, when he so brazenly wore imperial gear in the middle of Skyrim? With a hiss of steel on leather, one of her curved longswords cleared its' sheathe. She restrained herself from drawing blood, instead resting the cool edge of the blade against the side of the soldiers' throat. Her nostrils flared and her cheeks darkened further in anger. "You should not speak about that which you know nothing about,orc. I would be doing these others a favour if I were to put an end to your baseless assumptions here and now." She knew her sudden outburst would do little in the way of making friends among the others of the group. There was a real threat that they'd simply decide to side with the orc and hand her over to the nearest patrol. In that moment, however, she did not particularly care. The orc would withdraw his accusation, or he would pay in blood.
     
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  15. Morbidbread

    Morbidbread Fight for the lost

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    Thoras listened to Argus inquiry, head tilted slightly. "That, my friend, is the question, isn't it?" He shrugged, giving off a carelessness that he didn't feel. "The answer is, I don't know. It'll be interesting to see who comes after us." Argus mentioned the paper Thoras had found in the dead fireplace at the farm house. "I'm not sure the stone our mage friend found and the letter fragments are connected. It would be one hell of a coincidence, at any rate." He paused to ponder the connection between the two. "From what I could make out, the farmers had been guaranteed safe passage to Morthal. Whether someone abducted them before they could leave, or this 'captain' double crossed them, I haven't the slightest clue."

    He looked back to the mage, Lorkas, speaking with the aggravating khajiit woman and shot them both a disarming smile. He didn't know if they suspected him of treachery or simply weren't fond of his mannerisms, but he would be sure to keep a close eye on the pair. Especially if the stone the mage carried was dangerous in some form. "Do you-" he only got that far when he heard the rasp of a blade leaving its' sheathe. The dunmer paused and turned, mildly surprised to see the scarf wearing elven woman holding a blade to the orcs legionnaires' throat. "You should not speak about that which you know nothing about,orc. I would be doing these others a favour if I were to put an end to your baseless assumptions here and now." Thoras frowned, wondering what had just transpired between the pair.
     
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  16. Rafen

    Rafen Well-Known Member

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    Dren and Zarr safely at the back of the group, spoke among themselves as they followed the others towards Morthal. He didn't know much about the place, other than that it was a town, and according to the stormcloak manning the barricades, in a swamp. As they walked, Zarr got his attention and suggested that they ought to cooperate with the others, even if they didn't trust them. Normally, he would have been against even that and his first thought was to protest. But she made a good point; so long as working with the group benefited them, there was no reason to make a run for it. "Yes, I think you're right. Besides, at this point I'm not sure we have much of a choice-they won't appreciate us trying to back out now. But-" and he placed a hand on his companions' shoulder "the instant this starts feeling wrong, to either of us, we take the risk, agreed?" Before Zarr could say anything to that, the elven woman who had quietly joined them back at town, whirled on the orc in imperial gear, placing a blade at his throat. Dren froze, not wanting to get between the pair, especially not with the wild eyed fury that was in the elfs' eyes.
     
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  17. TheArgonianDrell

    TheArgonianDrell Well-Known Member

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    Sothas looked from Thoras to Argus, having not heard of any gemstone since their departure. Granted, he wasn't entitled to anything they may have found inside that house. On the other hand, the dark elf and nord beside him seemed confident someone, at some point, would come looking for the lost stone. The conversation turned towards the letter that Thoras had apparently discovered, hinting that a 'captain' was either sending or guaranteeing passage for the lost farmers. The elf brought up the question of the captain, whether it was the stormcloak captain or not, having betrayed the farmers into the hands of the bandits. "If that is so, can we expect a warm welcome in Morthal? It may be the farmers weren't taken by bandits, but by soldiers."

    Before either of his companions could respond to that theory, there was a commotion towards the middle of the group, behind them. Sothas spun around, expecting some ambush by bandits. The truth was much more surprising. The altmer woman, who had been quiet up to this point, had drawn her blade and was currently holding it to the orc, Balgurs' throat. The former soldier looked like he had no plans of backing down, nor did it seem the elf would shy from spilling his blood. The heavily armed and armoured argonian left the others at the head of the group, stomping over to the two of them. "What madness is this?" He shouted, looking from one to the other. "We've not been on the road for a full day and you are already at each others throats?" He glared at the elf, "sheathe your weapon," to Balgur, he said "and apologize for whatever slight you have committed against her."
     
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