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18+ The Eternal Cycle

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by Thesius, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    It has been fifteen years since the end of the dragon crisis, the death of Alduin, the World Eater, and the disappearance of the person known only as 'dragonborn'. It has been ten years since the brutal civil war came to an end, with the Stormcloaks and Ulfric, victorious. It has been five years since the assassination of Ulfric Stormcloak, the High King of Skyrim. Now, Skyrim once more hangs on the brink of war, with the imperial legion lurking at the borders and bandits running rampant in the wilds. Murmurs of nord supremacy are spreading from formerly rebel aligned holds, such as Dawnstar and Windhelm. Already, blood stains the snow red in those places.

    Yet, there is a cautious, hopeful stability throughout the rest of Skyrim. The people tenaciously cling to their independance, but maintain law and order throughout their respective holds. Though bandits may rule the outskirts and ruins, the hold guard maintain a vigil on the walls and roads. The jarls know that another civil war, so close to the last, may well destroy Skyrim once and for all.

    It is the hold of Falkreath, claimed almost entirely by great forests and crumbling towers, that has drawn the least scrutiny. Already known as the 'graveyard city' Falkreath has grown in the decade and a half since the dragon crisis. Still, it is somewhat less than the rest of Skyrim, and so no one pays much attention to the inhabitants of the hold. Or the disappearances. Or the murders. Sidgeir, jarl of Falkreath, is proud and independant. But even he knows when he's outmatched. A call for adventurers and mercenaries has been issued throughout Tamriel. Time is of the essence. The eldest of the nords talk among their ales and pipes, whispering that such troubles have come before...that this is just part of an endless cycle.
     
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  2. Thesius

    Thesius The Imperial Paladin

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    The rain was constant. Well, maybe not constant, but pretty damn persistent. The orcish paladin shot a disgruntled glare towards the dark grey sky. His displeasure, as always, had absolutely no impact on the weather. Grumbling, he trudged onwards, tugging his worn cloak around himself. "Why couldn't the note have had people go to Solitude, or Riften? Those places are nice all year round. More or less." But fate didn't work that way, apparently. Arkay, apparently, also didn't work that way. Ever since he'd had the summons shoved into his hand, he'd felt a small but insistent urge to visit the 'graveyard' town.

    He passed through the gates, ignoring the half-hearted scrutiny of the guards who had no desire to leave their warm, mead and food stocked guardhouse. Murtagh was aware of an inn in Falkreath, morbidly named as everything else in the town. The Dead Man's Drink, that was it. It had grown since the end of the war. Up, mostly, adding another floor to the inn. Murtagh wasn't picky about where he stayed, so long as he got out of the rain and the cold. He pushed the door open and took a look around.

    There were a few regulars, but no one that stood out to the paladin of Arkay as anyone specially geared up for an adventure. A few of the typical merc types, lurking in the corner or getting a drink. None were foolish enough to bother the already grumpy looking orc. They became even less likely after he set his warhammer within easy reach beside him. Situating himself with a good view of the door and room he was in, he ordered a bowl of rabbit stew.
     
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  3. Rafen

    Rafen Well-Known Member

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    Djor kept his hood up as he strode without hesitation through the woods of Falkreath hold. He knew the surrounding landscape like the back of his hand....which was just the problem. Not everyone remembered the massacre his family had perpetrated against the people of Falkreath, but some did. And those few were not the forgiving type. Djor had spent the better part of his adulthood trying to redeem his clan name, but that was hard to do while dodging assassins and bounty hunters. Falkreath hold was outside Whiteruns' jurisdiction...technically. That wouldn't stop any particularly determined bounty hunters though.

    He brushed a low hanging branch out of his way, and stepped out onto the road. Wanted in Falkreath or not, leaping out at guardsmen on a dark and stormy night was an excellent way to get stabbed. He was still far enough away from the gate that it was unlikely he would be seen, unless there happened to be someone right behind him, or coming down the road at that time. Seeing no one, he pulled his cloak closer to his body. Without the protection of the canopy above, he was exposed to the sheer volume of water falling from the sky. Fortunately, his cloak was doing an adequate job of keeping him dry. For now.

    His normally dour expression turned into a brief smirk as he pictured himself, a veteran ranger, catching hypothermia and dying in the wilds because he neglected to take care of himself. Taking up a brisk pace, he hurried to the gate, offering a nod to the guards, who barely glanced at him as he swept past. He didn't predict much trouble from the guardsmen themselves. He had stopped many times in Falkreath to offer aid or purchase supplies.

    Therefore, he knew just where to go to find the Dead Man's Drink. Which, coincidentally, was also where he was supposed to meet his new comrades. The door was lit by a small, flickering lantern, mounted on the wall. The sign with the name painted in large letters was swinging in the wind, lashed by rain. The ranger pushed the door open and stepped inside, taking a quick look around. Most people were too busy with their own meals or conversations to take much notice of a single man coming in from the rain.

    Djor stepped inside, water droplets falling from his cloak. He glanced around and immediately noticed two things. One, was the large orc man in heavy armour, a warhammer beside him. Clearly, he was not a regular. The second, was the two men in the right corner of the room. They'd frozen in place, eyes locking onto Djor just as his gaze found them. Their hands went to their belts, but the ranger could not see what they reached for. Not wanting to get the orc involved, he picked a seat that offered him a good view of the two men and the door against the far wall of the tavern.
     
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  4. Signus

    Signus Well-Known Member

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    Soric Dane rode out the bumps and holes in the cobbled road that lead to the hold capital of Falkreath with an expression of strained patience. In truth, he hated carriage rides. They always left his stomach feeling unsettled like the sight of an opponents blood on blade never had. Of course, could only be a good thing. A master swordsman who couldn't stand the sight of his enemies blood would almost certainly not get very far in life. Finally, thankfully, the covered carriage came to a halt. Soric heard voices, the drivers and someone elses, speak briefly, then a firm knock at the door of the carriage. Soric reached out and opened the door.

    A wet, annoyed looking guardsman stood in the rain that had persisted since the carriage had entered Falkreath hold. "Good evening, guardsman. What can I do for you?"

    The guard, a nord wearing an open faced helm, seemed less than amused by Sorics' cordial attitude. "Evening," the man grunted. "What brings you to Falkreath, breton?"

    "Business, as a matter of fact. On behalf of your jarl." He held up the folded piece of parchment, and the guard thrust out his hand, palm up. Soric handed it over and waited as the nord read the summons. Satisfied, the guard handed it back.

    "Right then. On your way, and cause no trouble."

    "Might you direct me to the nearest tavern? I would guess that is where the others will be meeting."

    The guardsman sighed as water drops continued to strike his helmet and roll off of it. Odds were, he just wanted to get back to his warm, dry, guardhouse, rather than stand around giving instructions to strangers. "Take the road in. Turn right. 'Bout halfway down the street, you'll find the Dead Mans Drink."

    "Many thanks" Soric called, as the guard grumbled a reply and turned back towards the guardhouse. Soric relayed the information to his driver, who sent the carriage clattering onwards.

    A blessedly short amount of time later, they were outside the tavern. Soric tossed the man his pay, a not inconsiderable amount of hold, and walked inside. His eyes found the orc first, and little wonder. The orc was tall, well built, and carried an intimidating looking hammer. But he also seemed the only potential contact in the place, aside from a hooded figure at the far wall. Soric stepped over and took a seat opposite the orc. "Good evening. Soric Dane, master swordsman of High Rock." He said, waiting some acknowledgement.
     
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  5. Madrar

    Madrar The Shadow in the Dark.

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    Nurian the masked strode through the gates of Skyrim, his appearance almost definitely different to those who had come before. His dark robes and silvered mask gave him a distinctly sinister appearance, though his intentions were anything but. The guards, unnerved by the tall apparation that appeared before them out of the gloom of night, didn't know that. Both men rushed out, spears in hand, moving to block the gates, and access to the town of Falkreath. Fortunately for them and Nurian, they didn't go so far to attack him. It would be difficult enough for him to gain entrance without killing or crippling the men.

    "Alright, hold it right there, stranger." The older of the two said, holding up a hand to enforce his command. "State your business in Falkreath, and your reason for being out this late."

    "Apologies. I am Nurian, the masked, as you can see from my appearance. I've come at the call of the jarls, to offer my services. As for the late hour; it is quite a walk from Solitude to Falkreath. I've not the means to pay for a carriage, nor a horse."

    The guards glanced at each other, doubt written all over their faces. "If you're here on the jarls' summons, let's see it." The older man barked, holding a hand out. Nurian handed over the official letter, and the guardsman read the letter, then sighed and handed it back.

    "Okay. Head on through, but we'll be keeping an eye on you. If you're anything like the others, you'll want the Dead Mans' Drink. Just down the road there."

    Nurian nodded his thanks and followed the guards instructions. The inn was right where the man had said it would be. Pushing the door open, he saw that he was not the first non-human to arrive. An orc with a warhammer next to him, sitting with a human man across from him. The altmer looked around and noted a third man sitting against the far wall, obviously trying to avoid attention. He was failing, Nurian noted, as two men were approaching, hands reaching for something at their belts.

    Nurian made a beeline for the man sitting against the wall, making a show of throwing his arms out "my friend!" He shouted, "it's been too long since we've spoken!" The altmer helped himself to a seat across from the man, and leaned in conspiratorially. "You seem to have drawn some unwanted attention." He said in a much lower voice.
     
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  6. Rell

    Rell Champion of Malacath!

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    Hafnar Thelgn stomped through the muck and puddles with the stoic demeanor of someone who'd had to do it dozens of times before. Falkreath hold being Falkreath hold, the rain didn't show any signs of letting up. His axe rested over one shoulder, bouncing slightly with his stride. The paired smaller axes, slipped through loops on his belt, did the same. The tattered cloak he wore slung over one shoulder did little to keep the rain off of him, much to his annoyance. He may have been a soldier once, but at least back then he'd had reliable equipment. Though, actually getting his hands on that equipment had been something of a chore.

    He came upon the guardhouse soon after, soaked, grumpy, and ready for a good drink. Or two. Or maybe three. He knew he was there to meet one of the jarls' functionaries, and perhaps a couple of his new companions. He very much doubted he was the only blade for hire to hear of the jarls' call for aid. The guards spotted him and moved forwards to intercept, spears at the ready. Hafnar lowered his axe, to appear at least a little bit less threatening.

    With a start, he realized he knew of the men approaching him, spear at the ready. "Thorig, if you poke me with that twig, I swear I'll toss you over the gods damned wall!"

    The guard on the right halted, cocking his head as if he hadn't quite heard right. "Hafnar?"

    With a roll of the eyes, Hafnar said "no, I'm a ghost, sent to haunt you for past misdeeds. Of course it's me, you horker brain!"

    Thorig lowered the spear immediately, motioning for his fellow guard to do the same. "Hafnar, what are you doing in Falkreath?"

    "Freezing to death, what's it look like, "Hafnar said, plucking at his soaking cloak. With a nod, the two guards ushered him into the guard house.

    "Sorry. Been a bit of a strange night." Thorig apologized as Hafnar took of his cloak and hung it beside two others on a hook.

    "Strange how?"

    "Well, first we had some angry looking orc. Then a fella who had this hunted look about him. Then some fancy bloke in a carriage, and not half an hour ago, the strangest yet; a man that wore all dark robes, with this black mask. Seemed mighty sinister to me."

    "And you let him anyways" Hafnar said, accepting a bottle of ale from the other guard and taking a seat by the fire. "Some guard you are" he chuckled, then sat back. "So, what's got ol' Sidgeir in a fuss that he's calling in all these strange folk?" Thorig looked disturbed, and told him.
     

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