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#11435609 Aug 21, 2015 at 06:24 PM · Edited 8 months ago
214 Posts
An old man, withered and blind in his age, sits in a wooden shack by a fire. His twisted wooden staff leans on the chair upon which he rests, and a much younger man sits across from him, holding a quill and a book filled with blank pages.

"Master," says the young Nord, arming his utensil. "Are you ready to begin?"

"Yes..." The old man's voice is tired. The hood that usually covers his head now hangs at his shoulders, revealing his bald and liver-spot-ridden head, which is compensated for in his long flowing beard. He wears the blue robes of a mage, and hunches naturally in his seat. "I do believe I am."

"Very well. What is the title?"

"I think...hmm." He strokes his beard thoughtfully. The old man knew the contents of the book, but not what it would be called. "Perhaps...yes. I will call it...'Unifying Dawn.'"

"A fitting name. Let us begin with a foreword."

The man nods. Taking a deep breath, he closes his eyes, and sits just a little bit straighter.

"Foreword: Before reading the true contents of this book, I feel the need to clarify some things. This is not a tale of heroes of grandeur. This is not a tale of the incarnation of a god, or mortal men with the souls of dragons; this is not the tale of heroes fated to save the world through the will of the gods, or of great warriors who rise up to the impossible task of protecting the people of this realm. This story is far from any of these things. This, dear reader, is a tale of..."

***


"A Somber Assassin..."


Whiterun. The commercial core of the Nordic homeland. Due to its central location, it serves as a prosperous trade hub for the High King's province, as well as a common stop for travelers of every sort. Its warm inns, friendly populace, and beautiful architecture -- especially the Jarl's castle, Dragonsreach -- all add to its inviting aura.

Stelio Kontos is here for none of these things. He is not a traveler on his way to Rorikstead to visit family, or a lone mercenary looking for work and a warm place to spend the night. Kontos -- or, rather, Rambaldi -- represents the antithesis of everything this city is known for. He is the moon to this city's sun; dissent, the cold of night, and death. He is here as an assassin.

Perched atop the highest pyramidal spire of Dragonsreach, you, Rambaldi, spot your prey. Behind the two expressionless masks you wear, an unseen face of sullen, familiar regret takes shape. You watch as your target, Lucia Gray-Mane, climbs the stone steps leading to the Jarl's castle.

Jarl Lerod Gray-Mane's daughter, Lucia, is eight years of age. She is of fair skin, has blonde hair, and gleams with crystal blue eyes. The middle child between two younger sisters and two older brothers, she is an aspiring alchemist under the tutelage of the owner of a local potion-shop. She spends her mornings there, and her afternoons either playing with her friends or helping her sisters clean. She is likely to be arranged to be married later on in life, to the Jarl's benefit, and he cites her as his "Crown Jewel," often and in great measure. These are the things that your mentor Fisher has told you about the girl you are here to kill.

You eye a group of children waiting at the bottom of the steps, where the Wind District ends and the Cloud District begins. You judge they are her friends, waiting for her to come back to play. The sun sets as Lucia enters the castle which you have been watching her from, and when she exits, night has fallen. She runs to meet her friends; you overhear the words 'hide-and-seek.'

Sithis requires a new servant, Rambaldi. Deliver her.

***


"...A Hopeful Blacksmith..."


As night comes, the Skyforge looks even more beautiful. It's embers seem to illuminate Xilliad's soul as they do the darkness around him, and he cannot help but admire.

"Liad," says his tutor, Djolharr, "stop staring and hand me that blade."

"Oh, yes, sir." In the way you always excitedly did, Xilliad, you rush to hand him the shortsword he had been working on. It was almost finished, only requiring one last bout of hammering before being absolutely perfect. The decorative pattern -- the trademark of Skyforge steel -- is reminiscent of ancient Nord weaponry; a subject which Xilliad is quite knowledgeable in. Since the Companions were cured of their secret Lycanthropy, the Skyforge has burned brighter than ever, and now weapons of old are commonplace in the hands of patriotic Nords. Xilliad knows this, and hopes he can create it himself one day.

You look to the stairs that lead down to the Plains District, and smile at the group of children running around and having fun in the torch-lit night. A tad dangerous, perhaps, but you note that the Guard is keeping a firm eye on them.

Djolharr shoves the blade into the wooden bucket to his side. Steam rises from the water inside, and the gray-haired blacksmith hefted it up to take one final look at it. He nodded to the sword and placed it in a pile with many others. The man sighed a deserved sigh; one he had long awaited, slaving away at the forge all day creating weapons for the Companions.

"Last one," says Djolharr. "Let us make...an axe." He looks to his young apprentice, his long beard shifting as a grin took his face. "You are familiar with axes, yes? Let us see you make one." He rises from the seat, gesturing to it with one hand while offering his hammer with the other.

These late, working nights are ones you remember, and have come to grow fond of. These nights where you will not just simply observe, but really work under the guidance of a master of his craft. On these nights, Djolharr whispers old tales of the Companions and the Skyforge, and speaks on his philosophies and worn-out stories of his adventures. Both of you have come to know each other very well through these nights, and you are thankful for them. These nights make you miss home less. You take the seat gladly, hammer in hand, and Djolharr guides you through.

You hear a scream. It happened at the same time the hammer struck hot iron, so it was muffled, but you are sure that you heard it. Djolharr did not seem to react; perhaps he was unconcerned, or didn't hear. It sounded like a young girl; one of the playing children? You look to the small sliver of Whiterun that you can see, and the Guard seems either none the wiser or uncaring. Maybe it was nothing.

No, it was something. You were positive. But you have little time to think about it as a hooded figure -- a mage? -- approaches you. The inclined, stone path leading to the Skyforge is covered in shadow, and you can hardly make them out, but they are coming.

"Who goes there?" Djolharr takes one of the blades from the pile and points it at the approaching mage. "State yer business." The old man looked scared, and even if you tried to help, Djolharr would only push you away.

The woman stopped just where the Skyforge's illumination ended. You knew she was a woman, now, being able to read her figure more clearly. A pale, white hand erupted from the sleeve of her pitch-black robe, and a bluish-white stream of electricity shot in an arc straight into Djolharr's chest.

The Lightning spell knocks your tutor back behind you, and he groans. The woman revealed her other hand, and they both crackled with the power of Sparks. Red eyes set their sights on you, and one word comes to mind: Vampire. Time is of the essence, Xilliad.

***


"...A Wandering Huntress..."


There had never been any issue with other Vigilants. Short chit-chats, the exchange of bounties and payment, and the occasional special assignment. There had never been a reason to resent these servants of Stendarr; good people, better warriors, and the money Eohlwyn Stryker needed and gladly earned. That is, until she met the Redguard Maltar.

Pompous. Overzealous. Too...religious. Asshole. All words to describe the head of Whiterun's Vigilant office, Maltar Thelonore. One of their many Halls was located just near the main gate of the capital; it was some house that used to be a fletcher's shop, a hunter's shop before that, and a blacksmith's shop before that. There, the Vigilants were led by this ex-Companion who didn't have the money to leave Whiterun after being kicked out, and quickly rose the ranks due to his combat prowess and charisma. But you, Wyn? Hated the guy. Not only was he a generally bad person to you, but he also went out of his way to give you a special assignment when you were just turning in your latest bounty. You hadn't even planned to stay in Whiterun, much less do a job for the office there. You quickly had to get over it and accept the job, though, and simply decide to do it as quick as possible and be on your way.

The job was a Vampire Lord and his followers. Sightings of secret meetings in the dark, suspicious visitors to the city, and an alleged witnessed transformation into the Lord's true form led the Vigilants to launch an investigation. Not many were willing to take on the heavy-duty assignment of taking down the most powerful breed of vampire, and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong Redguard. For the past three days, you would patrol the city in the shadows after sunset, but to no avail. No secret meetings, no Vampire Lords.

This is the fourth night. As you walk your usual route, through back alleys and little-known offshoots, you catch glimpses of small, human forms in cramped spaces. Children, playing hide and seek. Given the nature of your investigation, it wasn't a good idea for children to be out at night. But you guessed that there were no vampires to begin with, given your thorough, fruitless investigations each night.

That is, until you heard the scream.

Well-honed instincts kick in, and your ears zero in on where the scream had come from. A little girl? Definitely one of the playing children. Your feet almost automatically carry you through a series of alleys to reach the main plaza, where the Temple of Kynareth was located, and you hear soft sobbing coming from inside. The guard seemed complacent to the obvious noise. Queer.

As you approach the wooden doors of the temple, two guards come in from either side of your vision to block your path.

“The temple is closed,” the guard on your right exclaims, his Nordic accent heavy. “Go home, Vigilant.” As you look closer into the eyes of the guard that spoke to you, you note glazed over white orbs with pale irises, and a faint, nigh-unseeable glow of seafoam green. These qualities are familiar to you, and as the realization paints your face, you see the two men in front of you slyly reach for their swords.

These were thralls of a Vampire, and their master -- or masters -- were inside.

***


"...A Vengeful Pirate...


Cold and wet. These are the words to describe every physical feeling, thought, and emotion that Stares-at-Storms was experiencing right now.

Your ship has been torn apart. Your crew is dead, save two: you, the captain, and your first mate, Brunonia Bari. She had left the crew just two days before, and you hadn't found a replacement by the time the ship was destroyed. Apparently she had family in Skyrim -- made little sense; she was an Imperial -- and wished to take an indefinite leave from the life of a pirate to spend more time with them. You reluctantly accepted, as the bond you two shared was unlike any other: one of mutual respect and, at times, fear for the other. You were friends.

But now was not the time to be reminiscing. Your ship is in pieces thanks to an unknown enemy, and night was beginning to fall in the northern region of Skyrim. You had to get somewhere to sleep and be warm fast, else you may fall ill and die. Skyrim was an unforgiving land, and even more so to those who did not know it. But you did, at least a little.

You knew from where your ship had gone down that the nearest town was Dawnstar, the capital of The Pale. Head South enough, and you would likely be able to see it at some point. And, as luck would have it, you did. Passing over a snowy incline riddled with snowberry bushes, you spot the sad-looking grouping of dozens of wooden houses, one -- the Jarl's lodgehouse -- standing out amongst the rest with beautiful Pale banners adorned along the side and front of the Jarl's home. You approach with a renewed vigor and make it to the Hold capital in just a few minutes.

When you are close enough, a clearly distrusting guard halts your progress and asks you to state your business. You almost automatically respond with the typical monologue of visiting family in a more southern Hold and needing a place to sleep, and he lets you pass.

You find your way to the local inn, Windpeak. Once inside, your tensed muscles relax as the warmth of the fire overtakes you, and a khajiit woman asks you what you need. A room, a drink, and food is what you ask for and hastily receive, paying with what little gold you could grab as your ship was engulfed in flames.

After eating and dodging the idle chit-chat of the patrons of this tavern, you head to bed early. What you did tomorrow was a mystery; you had no transportation, no money, and no idea where your first mate could be or who attacked your ship. But sleep was a solid option for now, and your aching muscles were relieved at the softness of the bed upon which you now lie, and you fall asleep almost immediately.

And then you were on -- wait, your ship? You seemed to be viewing yourself from a third person perspective, and your whole crew was with you on the main deck, including Brunonia. You and your crew were speaking, but you heard no sound. You heard birds chirping, and the waves of the ocean crashing against your ship, but no words.

Brunonia approaches you. Comes in close. And when you could feel her breath on your lips, the skin of her face suddenly and quickly burned off, revealing a bare skull, jaw opened unnaturally wide. And then you could hear it; her scream. And as that scream pierces your ear drums, you note that your whole crew begins to...change. Their forms become enveloped in a swirling red aura, and their eyes take on the same color. Their skin rots, but not to the point of being unrecognizable, and they seem undead. The most change comes to Brunonia, though; her entire form shifts and contorts into disgusting ways until reforming into...an argonian?

Not just an argonian. You. Stares-at-Storms stared back at you, a rotting, nightmarish version of yourself. The Stares-at-Storms in front you draws his blades, warped and disgusting-looking proxies of Firebrand and Frostbite. Time slows, and the blades begin to swing in reflected arcs, aiming for your neck.

You find you suddenly have control of your body.

***


"...A Fortune-Seeking Plunderer..."


Three centuries ago, Winterhold might have been an eyesore. But after recovering the Helm of Winterhold, getting over the mistrust of the College, and focusing on rebuilding the shattered capital, it now thrived as many of Skyrim's cities did.

You didn't really feel that positive energy, though, Elanna. In fact, you felt a ton of negativity as you were knocked on your rear by a terribly impolite wizard launching your things at you with an Alteration spell. You shrugged it off with a hint of regret, though, and made your way through the streets to the Frozen Hearth, the local inn. The warmth and smell of cooked food were inviting, and pushed the thoughts of your recent ousting away. You stayed the night, planning to leave in the morning and locate your good friend Josmhirr, but it seemed that he had found you.

"Is what they're saying true?" He asked. "Did you...actually set an entire room on fire? I didn't even think you could do that. The walls are stone!"

"Well," you reply, trying to recall, "I guess I'm getting pretty good at Destruction spells." You raise your finger in the air matter-of-factly, and Josmhirr laughs.

"Come on. I got this Nordic blade that a guard in Dawnstar says is his 'ancestral blade.' He's going to pay a lot of money for it. If you accompany me, I'll give you a cut, and we can go on some dives there."

You accept with a grin, glad to be in the company of one of your true friends again. With the sun still young in the sky, you embark on your next venture with an excitement that, quite possibly, only you have truly known. The excitement of new tombs to plunder, and experiences to be had that were uniquely and truly yours.

Josmhirr decided to cut through the mountains, past the gargantuan statue to Azura and directly out into Dawnstar. A dangerous path, to be sure, but the Khajiit knew his way well, and you both could easily handle any dangers that awaited your path.

Not far into your journey up the mountain, a group of well-armed figures approach from behind. They are walking much faster than you, and you and the Khajiit turn around before they pass you.

"Where are you two headed?" The man in lead asked. He was a Nord, and his accent was heavy. He was wearing fur armor and boots, and a greatsword was strapped across his back. His mohawk erupted from his head, and he was large enough to be menacing. But his voice was friendly, so you trusted him.

"Dawnstar," Josmhirr says. "Delivering a sword." You twitch slightly at his abhorrent lack of mistrust, but bite your tongue.

"I see," the Nord says back. "We're heading that way as well. Perhaps we can travel together, provide some protection?"

Then something seemed...off about them. Perhaps it was the hungry look in their eyes, or the subtle, dried blood stains on the man closest to you's armor. Or maybe it was the longing stares the four men that weren't close to you were giving you.

Cannibals. You may not be able to take them all down. You could turn back, return to Winterhold, and go around the mountain; but that would waste precious time and resources. You could accept their help and try to trick them into a position where you have the advantage; in fact, this seemed like the best option, and Josmhirr's look -- something literally only you could know the meaning of -- corroborated this.

It is your choice, though. The Khajiit did not speak, and looked to Elanna Moorsly for an answer.

***


"...A Self-Exiled Noble..."


Antiquas. A name that inspired respect -- and, admittedly, a touch of fear -- in the land of the Bretons. But it was just another name in Skyrim, and it held no weight or meaning to the Nords. And that was just how you liked it, Dacian.

You felt even less weighed down by your name in Riften, where the two ruling families, Black-Briar and Red-Stone, made everyone who wasn't part of their respective folds feel invisible. Some may not like this air of exclusivity and superiority emitted by the nobles of Riften, but you enjoyed it thoroughly. To be cast aside was to be ignored, and to be ignored was to be safe, in your situation.

You have stayed two nights in Riften so far, and have already experienced the city's 'charm.' The first day, a thief tried to rob you, only to be stopped luckily by one of the few guards that haven't been paid off by the Guild. The second day, you were knocked down on your arse a successive three times by Black-Briar nobles on horseback. And now, on your third afternoon in Skyrim's City of Thieves, the worst has come to pass.

Si Si is missing.

Your trusted companion had been tied up in the stables just outside the city, and you never thought you'd have to dealthis! Until the sun set and beyond, you searched in and around the capital for your beloved horse, but to no avail. Si Si is gone, and you can hardly sleep in your rented bed that night worried sick about your steed. You decide to go for a walk to clear your head.

You enjoyed walking at night. The sun and heat in general has always felt harsh for you, growing up in High Rock, so the cold dark of the night was welcoming when you began to get sick of it. While thieves were an obvious concern, right now you didn’t care. This time, though, you carried your trusty blade on you, just to be safe. And it seems the justification for said sword is coming towards you now.

Two Thieves Guild Khajiits -- signified by their uniform leather armor -- approach you. One male, one female. Your excellent vision discerns that they look alike, both with black fur, blue eyes, and similar facial structures; siblings?

“You should not be walking around at night,” the presumed sister says.

“It is unsafe for the...ill-armed,” whispers the other. They both draw two elven-made daggers each and pose in a threatening manner. “How about handing over that sword, eh? And any gold in your pocket.”

Oh you’ll give them your sword, alright.

***


"...A Deadly Thief...


The Rift is a beautiful Hold, but its capital is quite possibly the most criminal-ridden in all of northern Tamriel. But you suppose that shouldn't matter much to you, Dar'anjira, seeing as you are a criminal.

If anything, Riften was a nice place for you to get lost, following your most recent escapades involving thievery and murder. You came here often, either to get lost in the crowd or meet up with old contacts and fences. Usually a combination of both, though, with the latter bolstering the need for the former. You sit across one such contact now: an old, bald, fat half-Imperial named Boreas who seemed to be perpetually chewing on something edible. You sit on a public bench in front of the his homestead; that of the Black-Briars, an old, powerful family, with connections all throughout Skyrim and beyond. They made use of your kind -- freelance thieves and assassins -- often.

"You know what we strive for," Boreas says, bits of meat splattering out of his mouth. "I have one final job for you. Five-thousand gold, for one final theft."

You nod. Throughout the last few months, you've been enlisted as one of Boreas' many hired thieves to make his dreams of becoming Jarl a reality. You cared little for politics, but he paid well and offered you protection from those that would seek to capture you. The fact that he was able to speak about this freely and publicly with no caution attested to his confidence in his information network. Just now, there are likely a dozen lookouts.

"The job is simply a key. It is always on the Jarl's person, and obtaining it would be virtually impossible. Sending more than one thief is asking for trouble, and you're my best." He guzzles down half of a bottle of ale before continuing. "Can you do it?"

Of course you can do it. You're one of the best. "Yes, Boreas. I will get this key for you. Do you have any more details?"

"It is a rusted iron key, meant for a large chest in the Jarl's keep. Jarl Berthe wears it around her neck, tucked neatly under her clothes. I'd wager the best time for it would be when she is sleeping, but I'll leave the performance of the job to you." The old Black-Briar smiles at you. "I trust you will get this done. It is of the utmost importance."

A job to end all jobs. Certainly not a fortune, but hell; you could buy a house with that gold. The sun is setting, and the time has come for you to retrieve Berthe's key.

***


"...And A Righteous Warrior.”


As your dory makes its way onto the shores of the island upon which Castle Volkihar stood, you feel a sense of dread.

You are not afraid, of course, Zanik. You have hunted and killed dozens, possibly over a hundred vampires in your time, and this job was no different. This was the castle for a great clan of vampires that was wiped out in the second century of the fourth era, Clan Volkihar. They were long since killed or run out of Skyrim by the revived Dawnguard, but there were rumors of more of the wretched children of Molag Bal sighted entering and exiting the castle.

Your partner gets off the craft before you, helping you onto land just after. His name was Tepegrog, an orange-skinned orc who wielded an ancient axewith a unique enchantment; deadly effective against vampires. You have worked with him before, but you never became particularly close. Being a Vigilant, for most, requires the use of paired or large-group expeditions regularly, and you have grown used to it.

As you walk the short path past a watchtower and over the stone bridge, you note cracked, withered away statues of gargoyles. No doubt the familiars of the centuries-dead vampires that used to live here.

The lock on the door is broken. It appears to have happened from age, but the fresh, non-rusted section of the broken metal you see leads you to believe that it was recently torn off. You continue inside.

"We should search this floor first," says Tepegrog. He hands you a lit torch and you begin making sweeping rounds of the castle's rooms, lighting the long-unlit wall torches as you go. You pass coffins, rotted away corpses and skeletons on dinner tables, blood potions on shelves gone stale, and a myriad of other vampiric vices.

After checking every room, you meet back up with Tepegrog in the main dining hall. Nothing. You both agree to check for any underground catacombs, and after about a half an hour of searching in and around the castle, you find a door. Another broken lock, this time more clearly taken by force. Once inside, you find yourselves in a series of catacombs, and note obvious footprints in the age-old dust that has collected on the floor. Your partner leads the way, following the prints.

As you go along, you note what looks like dog collars rusted and stuck inside of disgusting, gelatinous masses of black goo. You had read about these; Death Hounds.

Carefully lighting the way you go so as to have a clear path back, you eventually find yourselves in a large chamber with alchemy stations, enchantment tables, forges, bookshelves -- of which there were few books actually on the shelves, as most were on the floor -- and storage chests.

It takes you a second to notice them. An altmer sifting through one of these chests, with two nord warriors at his side. The elf was very clearly a vampire, and he did not seem to notice you; in fact, he seemed positively absorbed in whatever he was searching for, mumbling things like "Where is it?!" and "It has to be here!" that is, until one of his thralls alerts him to your presence.

"Master Scarlen! Vigilants!"

Their master whirls around in shock, and almost immediately replaces that shock with a sick grin from under the hood of his royal vampire armor. You ready your crossbow.

"Thank you for showing up at such an...opportune time," Scarlen says. His fingers interlock into a devious yet 'thankful' gesture. "I've been positively enraged by my inability to find what I've been looking for."

"And what is that?" Your partner asks forcefully, axe in hand.

"No matter. All that matters now is that I get to take out my frustration on your delicious necks."

As Scarlen's form shifts into that of a Vampire Lord, his body writhing in darkness -- and relishing it -- you instinctively fire your crossbow in his direction. Dead-center, but blocked by one of the nord's shields. Tepegrog charges the thrall, but is lifted up off of his feet and choked mid-air by one of the Lord's powerful Telekinesis spells. His body is placed as a meat-shield between you and the vampire as he gasps for air, and the nords charge you with shield and sword both. Tepegrog's throat will close soon; you must act quickly.

***


“Keep these things in mind, dear reader, as you delve into yet another tale of adventure, sacrifice, magic, gods, and The Elder Scrolls: Unifying Dawn."
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#11439714 Aug 23, 2015 at 01:54 AM · Edited 2 years ago
329 Posts
His instincts kicked in. With a quick push down to his legs, he leaped backward just as the petty demonic knock-off swords swished through where his neck had been. His characteristic snarl - fangs and all - drew itself as he down toward his hips, where the real Firebrand and Frostbite were. Only they weren't. A quick glance of surprise was all he needed before he rolled off to the side, the demon blades sinking into the wood of his ship.

Storm snarled, glancing around the deck once more. What was this supposed to be, a nightmare? He certainly wasn't scared. And if this was in his head, he could play the game, make it his, and beat it. He just needed to know how...

As his demonic counterpart came down at him again, the Argonian roared and dove ahead, going for a straight gut tackle. The pair rolled around on the wood, trying to gain dominance over the other, until the demon punted Storm straight off him and leaped again. Frostbite and Firebrand dug deep into his black steel bracers, the scaly man falling to his knees.

The boat around them lit up in flames, a small circle around the pair erupting yet not going any further. Their struggle seemed infinite, Storm staring sharply in the dark pits that served as the demon's eyes.

"Die!"

The demon pulled back sharply, sending Storm forward from the released momentum, and straight into the knee. Storm hit the deck, dazed, as his counterpart stepped over and brought his sword back.

Then he woke up.

---

Dacian stood there, stock still as the thieves drew their weaponry. Then he smiled, lopsidedly. And tilted his head. Certainly weird, but he seemed to follow through with their demand. Falling to a knee, he grasped at the decorated hilt of his heirloom, drawing it without a word and resting the blade in an open palm. He lowered his head, smile ever-present, and held it out as an offering.

"Of course, of course, who am I to refuse such a...generous request?"

And as a thief drew close - ever cautious of this enigma - and reached for the sword, Dacian looked back up and the blood ran cold in his veins. He was staring into the murderous orange eyes of a vampire, his fangs visible in his toothy smile. A wave of fear washed over both, their legs unable to move. A vampiric magical power, perhaps?

He moved in a blur. The sword flipped from an offering to a firm grip in his right hand, sinking deep through the leather armor and into the Khajiit's flesh. The man would've gasped, had the vampire not sunk his teeth firmly into his throat, making his cries soft groans. A moment later and Dacian pulled back, the remnants of the thief's jugular in his mouth. Giving the body a kick, he wiped the blood of his blade with his index finger and thumb, letting out an "mm" at the taste.

"Exquisite. Khajiit always taste the best." He lopsidedly smiled at the female, casually approaching her as if he didn't just kill a man. His hand firmly grasped around her neck, orange eyes pulsating sensually as he gazed into her own.

"You are a thief. Honor among thieves, correct? Who...took my horse? Black horse with white patches on either side of her belly. Proud, young...who took her? You will tell me."
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#11442336 Aug 23, 2015 at 05:46 PM · Edited 2 years ago
133 Posts
Xilliad is filled with two conflicting feelings at once; fear, and courage.

With out much thought, he hurls the smithy hammer at the Vampire and jumps over to his master. The Vampire sidesteps away from the hammer. The distraction gives Xilliad just enough time to drag Djolharr behind a table and kick it over for some measure of cover.

The Vampire lets out an inhuman screech that causes Xilliad to falter; still, he shrugs it off, ready for whatever is to come next. A few bolts of lightning fly just over his head. Xilliad doesn't have much time before the Vampire walks over here. He looks over to where the pile of weapons are. They're just a couple of paces away, to the right of the vampire. He waits for the Vampire to shoot just one more bolt of lightning....

He feels the table shudder as it's struck with magik.

GO

He dashes over to the weapon pile and grabs the blade he had just finished.

Xilliad faces the vampire, wielding the blade in both of his hands.

The woman gives Xilliad a look at laughs at him before sending another bolt of lightning at him; he tries to dodge it, but it hits him in the leg. There is a smell of burnt flesh in the air.

Grunting in pain, Xilliad drags himself to the table he had pulled Djolharr behind.

He pulls himself to his feet, leaning on the table, a sword in one hand. Pointing it at the vampire, he says, "If this is the end, then I shall die as a true Nord!"

The woman laughs. "Oh, is that so, boy? I like your spirit. Maybe I will keep you around as a pe-"

She is cut off as Djolharr had jumped to his feet and thrown his own sword that he kept on his belt at her; the blade strikes her in the belly. She falls to the ground.

Turning toward his master in alarm, Xilliad says, "Djolharr! Are you alright?!"

The old Nord groans. "I'll be fine, lad. Don't worry about me. But, you must run to the keep, and alert the Jarl!" Djolharr stumbles around a bit before sitting down and leaning on the upturned table.

Xilliad starts leaning down to tend to Djolharr. "Master-"

Djolharr pushes him away. "Go, boy! GO!"

Rising again, the sword in his hand, he starts to leave... but the vampire is rising slowly from the ground.

She gives Xilliad a furious scowl. "You... you... FOOL!"

She shoots a bolt of lightning at him, but he dodges to the right, the bolt just narrowly missing. He charges at her. The vampire is holding the blade that Djolharr had thrown at her, and she uses it to wildly swing at Xilliad. He parries it mid-charge and shoulder tackles her. She lands roughly on the ground, and tries raising the blade to Xilliad, but her hand is chopped off before she can follow through with a blow.

She lets out a yelp before pulling herself back, away from Xilliad. Scowling at Xilliad, she says, "What are you waiting for, boy? Don't have the guts to finish off a weaponless woman?"

Xilliad frowns down at her. "I... ah..." In his moment of hesitation, the vampire raises her remaining hand to fire one last bolt of lightning at Xilliad; before she can shoot it off, he stabs her through the hand and into her chest, finishing her off.

With the deed done, Xilliad rushes down the steps of the Skyforge and off to Dragonsreach.
Rex: Hero

Valeiro: Psycho

Kojasta: Mystery

Solljus: Villain

Abaddon: Shadow

Xirad: Warrior
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#11443316 Aug 24, 2015 at 01:35 AM
119 Posts
Slowly, the Vigilant Eohlwyn Stryker's mouth turned downward over the course of the day, thoughts of putting Maltar in his place filling her thoughts. As the day waned into night, when preparation and gathering of tools and ingredients turned into the hunt, she'd resolved to demand twice her asking price to spite the man.

Her expression lightened during the hunt, however. Kids laughing and playing, no doubt ignoring their parents curfews had an infectiously happy effect on her soul. It didn't happen often, and while she could appreciate the hushed, frantic merriment of after-hours youngsters, she didn't allow it to dull her senses. Indeed, if she had, the scream of abject terror instantly set a jet of adrenaline through her veins, and she found her feet moving of their own accord, a hard sprint taking her to the entrance to the temple.

The guards complacency and appearance noted, the supernatural more-so than the mundane, Stryker's eyes narrowed. A hand flying to the sheath at her side, the dagger sprang from it's home faster than the guard's swords could leave theirs. Ducking forward into the nearest guard, she plunged her dagger into his throat, a faint gurgling his only reaction as she ducked behind him in time for the remaining guard's blade to rend his companion's flesh. In her fervor, she'd been careless with her dagger's strike; It would take more time than she had to wrench it out, though she couldn't help but subconsciously smirk as her enemy had the same issue.

Thinking quickly, she shoved the guard's body to the side, grabbing his blade as he went down. With a wrenching heave, she slammed the pommel of the blade into the remaining guard's stomach, hard enough to knock the breath from his lungs. Taking the brief moment to fill her own starving body with air, she twisted, leaping upward to give the sword as much momentum it could before coming down on the unfortunate soul, cleaving into his shoulder with just enough force to stop the man from counter-attacking with his blade, only now at the height of an overhead swing.

There was no doubt the vampires, with their heightened senses, had heard the tussell. They likely knew their lookouts had been destroyed already. Wasting no time, she pulled her dagger, wiping it clear of blood. Free hand blossoming with the magic of "Detect life" momentarily, she let it take effect as she readies herself. Looping her little finger into the ring-like pommel of the dagger, she pulled her bow. Knocking an arrow and keeping three more on hand, she kicked the doors open, ready to let fly as many arrows as possible at her prey.

But not before identifying the situation. She had the advantage of speed on her side for now, but it wouldn't take long before she was hopelessly outmatched.
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#11446685 Aug 24, 2015 at 10:10 PM · Edited 2 years ago
55 Posts
Zanik moved on instinct, directed only by the knowledge of years of experience. Rational, controlled, thought took to long in a fight, and it was precious few seconds that Zanik didn't have to spare. While Zanik held no particular love for his partner, he would be unable to live with the thought of having a fellow Vigilant die on his watch, especially not against those filthy leeches.

A woman, screaming, caught in the clutches of a monster with bloody claws, just before it's teeth ripping out her throat. The sights of a crossbow slide into place, over the woman... A bolt flies out, spinning through the air, then pierces the woman's heart. A whispered apology to the woman, as the bolt kept going, into the vampire, but the woman was already dead... You can't always save them, Zanik...

But damned if I'm not gonna try.

Zanik's hands worked to reload his crossbow, his feet taking him to one side of both of the Nords, avoiding having to fight a two on one. He moved as if to fire once more at the Vampire Lord, but spun quickly, letting the bolt fly towards the nearest thrall as he dropped the crossbow, letting it trail behind on it's sling.

In it's place, the dunmer drew his mace, flames dancing across it's surface as it's magic came to life in his hands. Zanik charged forward with all speed, his armor deflecting the glancing blow dealt to him. The swipe was enough for Zanik to have to readjust, however, and instead of the smashing blow he had originally planned, he quickly increased his pacing.

At the last second, he jumped towards the Vampire, Zanik's mace leading the way directly into the vampire's fangs, "Suck on this!"
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11446729 Aug 24, 2015 at 10:40 PM · Edited 8 months ago
19 Posts
Dar'anjira stood up from the bench and sighed as the final rays from the sun grazed her thin blood red fur. She pulled her hood farther down over her head and turned back to Boreas briefly, "I won't keep you waiting long." She walked towards Mistveil Keep, stopping as soon as she got to the wall surrounding it, leaning on the wall closest to her and watching the people in the city go about their business. She watched and waited there until Secunda and Masser were high in the sky, anyone who walked too close to her in that time would find themselves with a few less coins in their pockets.

Once the time was right, she pushed herself off the wall and raised a hand up in the air as a veil of magicka enveloped her body, making her invisible to anyone. Anjira nonchalantly walked right past the two outside guards and made her way through the training grounds and into the barracks, getting on her knees as soon as she felt the invisibility wear off and starting to keep close to the shadows.

She looked around the barracks once she managed to get inside, seeing two of the guards were still awake, she immediately rolled out of their sight into the darkness nearby, hoping they hadn't noticed her. She waited for three minutes, listening to the two guards talk before she decided it was safe. She slowly crept past the sleeping guards and into the main keep, letting out a brief sigh of momentary relief once she was safe but immediately jumped back into action.

She stood up slightly straighter than her usual low to the ground crouch in some form of confidence and made her way up the stairs to the Jarl's quarters. Anjira sighed quietly as she saw the three doors on the top floor. She peered through the key holes in the first two doors on either of her sides and turned away from both, neither was her target it seemed. She got right up to the third door and tried to open it, only to find that it was, of course, locked. She sighs, lockpicking had never been her specialty.

Dar'anjira let out a deep breath and pulled out her lockpicks, slowly and way too carefully attempted to break open the lock, but not without breaking a pick or two. She had prayed to the gods the Jarl wasn't awake after the mess she had just made. She creeped through the door and into the pitch black room, looking at the Jarl's sleeping figure. The Jarl had started to stir slightly, fidgeting under blankets, Anji quickly rolled over and grabbed the key around the Jarl's neck tight in her left hand, cutting the rope very hastily with one claw.

She let out a deep breath and started to sneak back away, but just as she thought she'd be home free, the Jarl's eyes snapped open and her hand slammed against her chest, where the key had once been. Anjira clenched a fist around the key and just booked it out towards the balcony, jumping off of it and onto the ground below, running as fast as she could towards the stable. She chuckled to herself as she ran away amidst the Jarl's panicked screaming, "GUARDS!!! THIEEEEEF!!!", screams that loud could be heard all the way in Elsweyr.

Anjira, still laughing to herself, even though the guards were right behind her, booked it to the stables and onto the closest horse, barely giving it time to react to her presence before snapping the reins and making it start down the road, the key still in her hand.
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#11449040 Aug 25, 2015 at 01:46 PM · Edited 2 years ago
528 Posts
'An accident... Yes... An accident shall kill this beautiful child. Not a blade, not poison, nor the constricting of hands and snapping of neck, nor magic of any sort.

Depending on the way one dies, one's loved ones will react differently. If one were to be murdered - throat slit, for example - then the grief would manifest itself in the form of rage and confusion. This could adversely affect the course of this town's fate. People would waste countless hours of their meager little lives searching for the person who brought tragedy into them. Surely the Jarl would be among this lot. His grief would drive him insane, and the people under his rule would suffer unjustly. The town itself may even fall into ruin and never recover, for the man may seek to spend his entire fortune hiring people to locate the source of his grief.

But an accident... An accident is something that is far more easy to accept. Accidents, while tragic, all happen by chance. The castle staff will undoubtedly be disciplined, but in the end all they will receive is harsh words and perhaps a temporary leave of absence placed upon their heads. After all, it was a well-known secret that the girl did things like this almost every night. Yes... an accident will do just fine.

I shall appear before the child, pretending to be someone who is interested only in seeing that she win her game. She of course will not fear me, for her naivety and childlike innocence will make her see me as the very thing that I claim to be. I will then coax the child into following me to the abandoned house just east of the Vigilant Hall, near the gate to the city.

There, I will direct her to the old alchemy lab. She knows nothing of science, and the odors that hang in the air are undetectable to the untrained Man. I will tell her to stay hidden underneath the table with the most equipment set atop of it, then explain that I am no longer needed now that my job is complete. Of course she won't get the hidden meaning behind the phrase, but that matters not. The odorless vapors in the air will put the girl to sleep, and then mercifully suffocate her. She will be found the next morning.

I, meanwhile, will slip out of town while the moon still graces the skies. I shall make my way to the bandit camp that I took notice of when scouting the city. My sword shall drink deep of their vitae and for a time imbue me with their suffering. Their numbers are greater, but their skills lackluster. Once the last piece of human filth falls to the ground, I estimate I have a little under two hours to return to my place of temporary residence and play the part of a man who desires to see the memories of yesterday forgotten. It wouldn't be a lie. Of course I would drink a potion beforehand that would render the alcohol in whatever it is that I order useless. But the sensations that I will feel once my sword's enchantments have worn off will be so much like a hangover that nobody will know the difference.

I will sleep in, failing to hear the alarm bells that accompany the finding of Lucia Gray-Mane's cold body. When I next awaken I will stumble down to the hall and mingle with the gathered mourners; expressing shock and sadness over the tragic death of the so-called "Crown Jewel." These people will become my friends for a day. Then, when they have finished serving my purpose, I will trudge back up to my room and wait for further instructions.'


Unfortunately things don't always go according to plan...
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#11450652 Aug 25, 2015 at 10:30 PM
106 Posts
Elanna gave a polite smile, though her eyes didn't stop dancing between them all including her friend. She was still technically new to this, but she did know what those... stares meant. She gave the most cheerful expression she could, even though there was still a bit of.. distastes in her voice.

"We'd love to have you join us. What could be wrong with more company?" She kept her polite look, even though it looked more like this.

And then there was what was going on in her head... "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!? You're so stupid! How are you supposed to be able to outsmart these guys, you can't even imagine how you lit a whole room on fire in the fricken college!" Her internal struggle, however, wasn't able to be seen by anyone but her friend as she turned on her heels and started off down the path. Her eyes continued to dart back to look at the new group with her as she continued her way through the snow.
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#11493705 Sep 06, 2015 at 03:47 PM · Edited 2 years ago
214 Posts
"Hold on," said the old man's aide. "You're not telling it in correct order. Dacian didn't kill the thieves until --"

"Hush!" The elder Nord interrupted. "These things must built up to, my boy. This is a novel of dramatic, global proportions!"

"Isn't this more of a historical account?"

"Just keep writing, boy." The man wore a proud smirk on his face when his scribe resigned to his will. "Now, as I was saying..."

***


"Dacian Antiquas continued his search..."


Tears poured from the blue eyes that now stared upon the body of the thief's brother. Where she had at first been struggling to break free of Dacian's hold, she resigned to the vampire's will after she visibly took in the reality of her brother's death. The weight of such a thing could not be felt by anyone but her, and if Dacian had any lick of sympathy for her, he'd hesitate.

But he didn't.

And when it obvious that he wouldn't, the black-furred burglar began to speak, impeded by her grief and physical pain. "I-I'm not sure. The Guild has done no such thing, but an outsider may have --"

You tighten your grip. "Answer. Me."

"An outsider, Khajiit, named...named...Dar'anjira! Her name is Dar'anjira!"

"And where did she go?"

"I don't know! She's a client of Boreas Black-Briar, and stole the horse after being caught on some big heist." She attempts to dig her claws into your arm instinctively, and you reject this notion with yet another tightening of your hand. "Please...please don't kill me. I can give you money! The Guild will never bother you again!"

Boreas Black-Briar. You had your name. This petty cat was of no consequence to you now, and your sarcastic apology to the woman paints fear onto her face until you literally suck the life out of it through the neck.

You have done this before. You hoist both bodies over your shoulders and make your way down to the waterways below the main plaza. The stench that usually hung over this lowest part of Riften would easily mask the decay of the thieves, and you know that if the bodies are found, no one will be able to guess that you are a vampire; the feeding you just had made sure of that. And so you ascend the many wooden steps that take you to the main level of the city after the deed is done, whistling a tune your mother had sang to you as a child.

Boreas is a familiar name to you. It is impossible for it not to be if you have spent more than a day in the City of Thieves. He is the heir to the Black-Briar fortune, and the 'head of the serpent' as far as illicit dealings in Riften go. Word was that he had a network of thieves and assassins working directly under his command, and that he does not associate with the Guild whatsoever. But you know the location of the Black-Briar estate, and it will be easy to make your move. But for now, you are tired, and you sleep well-fed as you fall asleep to the sight of the rising sun.

When you wake up, it is mid-day. You spend a good amount of time investigating the town and interrogating the locals to discern the location of your horse, but you know that your most delicious source of information will come at night: Boreas Black-Briar.

As said night descends, you feel invigorated. The oxymoronic warmth of the Skyrim night fills your heart, and you are ready to descend upon this fat half-Imperial and drain him of every drop of information he has -- amongst other things.

As you stroll through riften, the sun setting, you notice something strange. No, more than strange. There are no guards. You are completely alone. But you smell something...familiar. Blood.

You look down into the waterways below riften, and it is soaked red. The bodies of guards float along the surface, and from thin air a trio wearing matching armor appears around you. Invisibility spells.

A Nordic voice speaks to you from under the masks. “It is not safe here. Daedra are attacking.”

You could not believe your ears, but your eyes quickly confirm the caped figure’s assertions. You suddenly see houses lighting aflame, and Dremora Lords wearing armor blacker than night beginning to surround you. They seemed to come from nowhere; perhaps they had.

“Die, mortals!” They all seem to shout in unison, and you instinctively draw your sword.

It is fight or flight, Dacian. Alternatively, you could search for Boreas amidst the chaos, but you would not have the aid of these strangers, and may be biting off more than you can chew by way of the Dremora.

***


"...but little did he know, his horse had been stolen by..."


The greatest thief in Riften, Dar’anjira; you can safely say that after what you just pulled. Now, a black horse with white patches on either side of her belly was your ticket to safety. The steed was strong, though, and fast for a horse of Skyrim; perhaps she was foreign to these lands? No matter.

As you ride, you hear the shouts and see the many torches of guards behind you. But you have done this before, and you will surely escape; after all, Boreas hired you for a reason.

And you couldn’t have been more right. With the help of your stolen steed, you make it to Shor’s Stone in about three hours, having lost the detachment of guards chasing you in one. It would be while before they could send word of you to the village, and you used the time to recuperate and catch a night’s rest at the local inn. When you wake up? No issues.

Well, except for one.

One of Boreas’ many messengers and doers of his dirty work, Mateas Hyliad, greets you just outside the inn. The cloaked figure is familiar to you, as he often worked as a middleman between Boreas and yourself at times when he was too busy or you could not enter Riften; the current situation obviously being of the latter sort.

The Imperial is leaning against one of the foundations of the building until you come out, and turns to face you from under his black hood. Blue eyes stood out from the grim face, and an ever-surprisingly friendly smile graces his lips. “You screwed up.”

“I know, I know,” you say. You do know; all too well. “But I got the key. Will he still take it?”

Mateas gestures with a side-nod for you to take a walk with him, which you do. The key feels heavy in your pocket. Boreas is not the type to kill his operatives for silence; you are not worried about this. What you are worried about is the possibly changed situation that is your payment.

“Anjira,” he says, leading you down the only road in Shor’s Stone, “he chose you for a reason. He did not even expect you to get the key; it was just an added bonus if you did. He simply knew you could get into the Jarl’s room, which would send a message that she’s vulnerable. And he also knew that you could get away.”

“Well I got the key,” you respond, audibly annoyed. “He promised me five-thousand gold. I expect that payment.”

“And you’ll get it!” he says defensively, throwing his hands up.

You sigh. You know what’s coming next. “But?”

But the Jarl did catch you. That means the job’s changed.” He grins a wicked but unmalicious grin. “They’ve relocated the box that key was meant to open. Since technically you mucked up the job, Boreas is now asking you to open the box and retrieve its contents. At 150% the previous rate, though. Seven-thousand, five-hundred gold for opening this box with the key that it’s meant for.”

You needed details. “Where is the box? How heavily will it be guarded?”

“The box is still in Riften. Only now, it’s being stored in the Temple of Mara’s basement instead of the Jarl’s keep, and the Temple has been given quite the beef-up in security.”

“How can I even get into the city? The entire guard will be looking for me.”

“The Guild might have plenty of guards in their pocket, but I have more. I’ll ride in with you and get you through the front gate, but the Temple is your game.”

Were you really willing to do all that again? Of course, it is an extra twenty-five hundred gold you’re looking at, and the Jarl’s keep was plenty fortified; only this time, you weren’t snatching something from right off of a woman’s neck.

“I accept,” you say, however reluctantly. Mateas smiles, and before you know it you are once again on the road to Riften.

The road was not terribly long, but the detours you had to take to avoid detection made a three-hour ride a four-hour one. It was of no consequence, though, as you needed the sun to set by the time you began your mission. And as a thief’s luck would have it, reddish-purple turned quickly to the blue of night as you approach the gate to The Rift’s capital.

But something is wrong. You see no torchlight in the hands of suspicious guards, nor do you hear the bustle of nighttime Riften. In fact, you hear something much different.

Fire.

Mateas opens the gates in a worried rush and climbs onto the back of the horse. You rush in, and you see figures clad in hooded armor -- the Thieves Guild -- fighting alongside three individuals in ornate, black armor with capes against the forces of Dremora Lords. You and Mateas look on as the city burns, and, well, you’ve been graced with two amazing opportunities:

Ride clear in the opposite direction, or try your luck and see if you can earn that seventy-five hundred. Either way? You’ll be fighting daedra.

***


"And as Dagon's warriors stormed Riften, Bal's children troubled Miss Stryker..."


Four vampires. One Nord child. You knew this before your eyes did, thanks to your spell, and you easily dispatched two of the bloodsuckers with your arrows before they were even aware that you had drawn your bow. Your third arrow found its way into the shield of one of the two remaining, but something else blocked you from attacking the fourth. He was holding a bleeding -- but alive -- child in front of him. One arm wrapped itself around the child’s waist, holding her up, and the other clasped her throat with a deadly grip.

You hesitate. The temple of Kyne is not just a place of worship; it is also a place to treat the sick and wounded, and you see the bodies of said occupants littered around the floor, sucked dry of blood. The child had likely come in to the temple to find a hiding place, only to witness the fruits of the vampires’ massacre.

The vampire holding the child begins to...change. You are familiar with it. In seconds, the silent grunts and pants of this ‘man’ become the growl of a Vampire Lord. The fingers wrapped around the child’s neck become clawed, and you note small cuts forming on the surface of her flesh.

“Vigilant,” the creature hissed. “I am not ready to die today. Take one step forward or back, and the child dies.” You see the worried eyes of the young Nord widen with more of the feeling. Your fingers, holding yet another arrow cocked in the string of your bow, quiver ever so slightly as you stare intently into the eyes of the vampire.

You hear footsteps. They are light, but your trained ears can hear a group of people culminating outside the Temple. The smirk that decorated the Lord’s face told you they were his reinforcements. Were you to look to the door, your detection spell would tell you there are three.

But there are other sounds; an alarm bell. The shouts of Nord guards in Skyrim accents. Keywords are evacuation, safety, and vampire. The pureblood’s face did not falter; he had complete confidence in his brethren outside, and ther were likely more. Were they trying to take Whiterun?

Time to act, Eohlwyn. Eliminate these petty excuses for undead, protect the child, and get her to safety. That is...if you can.

***


"...and the same was true for Zanik."


Tepegrog dropped to the floor, then, clutching his throat; alive. Scarlen managed to duck to the side of Zanik’s mace, but not enough to fully avoid the blow. The vampire recoiled as the side of his face became immediately and visibly bruised, a howl of pain ensuing.

“Agh!” Scarlen screeches. You see blood seep from in-between the fingers of the hand covering the wound, and a single eye clenched in pain. To be a Vampire Lord was to be a fearsome foe; he was not finished by a long shot, and you know this. But you note a frustrated resignation in his face. Perhaps you are eating up precious seconds of his time? Reason enough to continue the battle for you, but it would simply not come to that. “Sorry for such a brief…interaction. You two! Handle them!”

And then the Lord was a form of black, magical matter, quickly forming into a cloud of bats and scattering all throughout the cracks in the wall, broken windows, and other openings of the room; in mere seconds, he was gone, and to even think of catching him would be ridiculous. The notion would be squashed anyhow, as the vampire’s henchmen now moved in on you.

One went for Tepegrog, intent on finishing the orc while he was still recuperating. Your partner hastily stood and gripped his axe from where it had fallen, but the tired look on his face told you he would not last long against his opponent.

Then there was the matter of your opponent, who wields a steel greatsword raised high in the air to crush you in one blow. You will need to play this well; if you handle your aggressor quickly, you may have time to help Tepegrog, but it is no guarantee. And helping the orc immediately may result in your injury and, in great likelihood, your death.

The sword begins its descent.

***


"In similarly dire circumstances, Elanna Moorsly had to raise her blade..."


It would take two days to travel to Dawnstar. The first day went extremely well; you were well supplied, and with the aid of your new ‘friends,’ any wildlife -- including quite a few Frost Trolls -- posed almost zero threat to your well-being. But as night fell and it was time to set up camp, there was no longer time to stall. These predators made you and Josmhirr their prey, and to sleep would be to resign to death.

You sat around a fire, you and Josmhirr on one side and the five cannibals on the other. You made conversation, stories about your other travels on your end and something similar on theirs, as they drank mead and laughed with each other. You and your Khajiit companion, however, were notably not as jolly. You both attempted to feign ignorance of the obvious, but you guessed your nervousness was just as obvious to them as their cannibalistic habits were to you.

It was getting late. It was clear to you that the five men in front of you were staying up to outlast you -- and they would -- and you were getting tired. You wondered, though, why they didn’t just attack. They outnumbered you, and seemed very strong warriors. They could easily best you in a fight.

But then, your question was answered.

“So,” Josmhirr begins nervously, “how did you all meet? Are you all part of a mercenary company? You are very capable warriors.”

The supposed leader of the five speaks up. “Well myself, Gord, Hrolgar, and Sibill have been running a bounty hunting service for some time now.” You figure this is either a lie or a cover. “Nilus over there just joined up with us a few weeks ago. Proved himself a fine swordsman after a chance encounter in the wilds of The Rift. We’re heading to Dawnstar now, hunting a Redguard.”

Nilus, the new member, was a Bosmer. The only non-Nord in the group, yet surprisingly taller than the men he called partners. And what he says next lightens your heart and frightens you at the same time.

“If you two would like to live,” he says to both of you, “I would suggest drawing your weapons.”

“What?” Gord says, but hardly enough time passes between the end of his one-word question and a sword cleaving through his collarbone.

The three cannibals left stand up, drawing their weapons. Nilus looks to you both. “It’s even now. Come on! These man-eaters need to die today!”

***


"...as Stares-at-Storms needed to rise from his sleep."


And yet what he woke to was not unlike where he had just been.

Stares-at-Storms, you find yourself in the bed you slept in, but something is...different. Something is off, odd about your surroundings. You are awake; you know that much for sure. But there is a slight haze in the air, as if someone had sprayed too much perfume. A sweet yet suspicious aroma graces your nostrils, and you are reminded of the atmosphere of a skooma den.

Even more odd, however, when you exit your place of temporary residence and into the main room of the tavern, you find nothing unusual. The tenants of the other rooms are eating breakfast, the maid is cleaning, and no one seems to be experiencing the same strange mist that you are.

“You okay, Argonian?” asks the heavily-accented tavern owner. She is cleaning a glass, and giving you an inquisitive look while doing so. “Didn’t sleep well last night?”

“I suppose you could say that,” is your vague reply. “I think I...need some air.” You pass the shrugging Nord and exit the tavern, only to find the same strange haze covering the rest of the town. Perhaps the most unusual thing yet is the fact that you do not feel the Skyrim cold on your skin; in fact, it’s quite cozy feeling all around.

This investigation of the senses is cut short by two guards approaching you. A sight you were used to, but didn’t react to, much to your surprise. For some reason, you trusted them. You just did.

“Come with us, Stares-at-Storms.” One of them says. How did they know your name? “You are under arrest.”

This strange trust you are feeling is quickly overridden by the instinctual resistance to arrest that you have built up over the years. You draw your enchanted swords, ready to fight!

But instead of the red mist of battle, everything goes to black…

You wake up not an hour later in a prison cell. Your armor and swords are gone, and you are accompanied only by bars and a small, crappy bed behind you. Your head hurts, but you manage to sit yourself up and bring yourself to the front of your cell. Looking around, you see one guard sitting at a table, drinking and reading a book, and a staircase that most definitely led to the exit, along with where your items were being held.

“Hey,” you hear just barely. A man, whispering. “Hey, lizard.” You lean forward, trying to spot the man that is speaking to you. The only other prisoner in the jailhouse -- a long-haired, bearded Redguard -- is looking at you. “Yeah, you. You a visitor to Dawnstar?” You nod. “My name’s Hanir. Did you see the haze, too?” You nod again. “We need to get out of here. Every visitor to Dawnstar becomes a prisoner here, and I keep seeing the guards drag them away and never bring them back. I think I’m next.” He looks around, wary of the one guard that may be listening. His voice softens even more, and you struggle to hear what he says next. “The last prisoner that got carried away gave me these.” You see thin strips of black in Hanir’s hands. Lockpicks. “I can get us out, but I need a distraction. And the, uh...removal of that guard. You know your way around a sword? There’ll be more men upstairs.”

A choice faces you, Storms. You can wait, allow this man to die, and take your chance when it is your turn to be dragged away; or you can work with Hanir to escape right now and combine your skills to escape Dawnstar.

***


"Back in Whiterun, Xilliad ran to Lerod..."


The series of paths and alleys that lead to Dragonsreach are familiar to someone like Xilliad, who has spent much of his time running errands for Djolharr in and around the capital. These instincts carry you now, a honed sense of direction taking you straight to the Jarl’s castle.

As you run, you hear the screams. Not ambiguous screams; those were the case before, but not now. You hear women, men, and children all terrified for their lives as you run through the residential Wind District, and come to the conclusion that Whiterun is under attack. As much as you wanted to raise your blade and help them, you knew what you needed to do: get to that castle.

You finally reach the large wooden doors of Dragonsreach after a good bout of sprinting. Guards stop you at the door, suspicious of you given your reckless behavior, but quickly let you by when they see the look of utter fear in your eyes. The cold of Skyrim turns to cozy warmth as the heating of Dragonsreach overtakes your body, and you approach the throne of the Jarl, dead ahead.

“Jarl Lerod,” you say, breathing heavily.

The Jarl’s face is a young one. He is not like many Jarls, ready to wilt in their old age; he is spry, and takes an active part in the defense of his city. But he looked older than ever as worry washed over his face and made it white; he heard the screams too, and his daughter was out there.

“Xilliad,” he says, voice quavering. He knows you, as any Jarl knows his citizens. “What is going on?”

“Vampires,” was the only thing you could say.

The Jarl seems to gulp. But then, his face turns from fear to anger, and you smile at the lord of Whiterun’s resolve. “We must warn the Vigilants,” he began, rising from his throne. “If their investigation had any merit, we must evacuate the city. Frolm!” He beckons to his Housecarl. “Sound the alarm bells! I want the Wind and Cloud Districts to be the focus. Have the guard alert the Vigilants, Companions, and any guards in the bunkhouse. Quickly, go!”

The housecarl nods, and a detachment of guards form around him as if they found their natural place at his side. Frolm wore a set of fur armor, decorated with the bones of various beasts and a hollowed out troll’s skull -- his helm -- hooked to his belt. Just as they are about to leave, Frolm looks to you, Xilliad, and speaks with a booming, commanding voice. “You live in Jorrvaskr, yes? Equipment is there?” You nod respectfully. “Come on. We will escort you.”

You couldn’t really say no. You did have to get back to Djolharr, and Shor be damned if you won’t help in the defense of the city that you’ve called home for so long a time.

It was a relatively peaceful escort for your entourage. You noted multiple skirmishes of mages and swordsmen overpowering the guard, which concerned you, but your group was concerned with getting the Companions up to speed. A few fights here and there, but short and with no casualties. When you get to the mead hall that the Companions call home, you are not surprised that the Harbinger has already awoken and assembled his warriors.

Frolm enters first, with you and the other guards falling in step. The Companions’ Harbinger, Eorlund -- named after a long-dead keeper of the Skyforge -- greets Frolm with a gruff shaking of hands. The Harbinger is a large man, larger even than Frolm, and always wears a heavy set of steel armor, but never a helmet. His warhammer was daunting, steel like his armor, and was formed in the shape of a snarling wolf’s head. As was characteristic of a Harbinger, he had long, bright white hair and a flowing beard of the same color.

“What in the name of Sovngarde is going on?” Eorlund asks.

“We’re not entirely sure,” Frolm responds. “Vampires are attacking all over the city. They seem to have come from nowhere.”

Eorlund looks to you, Xilliad. “You saved Djolharr.” He gestures to the side, and you see your mentor sitting down, being treated by one of the Companions. “Thank you.”

“He is going to aid us in the evacuation.”

“Good. Grab your armor, Xilliad, and join these three --” he points to two Nords and a Dark Elf, the names of whom you’ve admittedly forgotten, “-- in the evacuation. You’ll run up to the Wind district and take the eastern sector. The rest of you, you have your orders. Go!”

Frolm, his entourage, and the Companions -- minus Djolharr and your three partners -- rush out of Jorrvaskr, and you have your orders. You find your room, quickly throw on your armor -- and your notably black ebony shield -- and join the Companions in the evacuation of Whiterun. You are familiar with the Eastern sector, and you have your orders: Herd the civilians into a group and escort them with armed force to the city’s exit.

***


"...but it seemed the city -- and Rambaldi -- had bigger problems."


And this was no exception for you, Stelios. In fact, what came next would come as such a surprise that any plan you may have made to secure your karmic balance would likely be thrown out the window.

Or, maybe not.

As your unique Bound outfit fades from the corporeal realm, you favor exiting through the front gate so as to not arouse suspicion. You would merely tell the guard you are hoping to reach Riverwood by dawn, or some such lie, and be on your way to do what you were so used to doing after a contract of this nature.

But you do not have the chance to fool the guards just outside the city’s gate, as those guards were dead, and all you would hear is a familiar voice coupled with a familiarly terrifying face.

“Hello, Stelio.” You would not have the chance to ask what he is doing then, though, as a telekinetic spell throws and subsequently pins you against the wooden doors you just exited from. “Funny seeing you here.”

As you try to ask what he is doing here, you feel your throat close. Were you really about die? You note three fellow vampires serving as his entourage, and none of them did you recognize as a Dark Brotherhood member.

“You were always too soft,” he continues. “Too idealistic. I bet you didn’t even kill the girl yourself. No matter. You’ve served your purpose, ‘Rambaldi,’ and now it’s time to throw away old tools. Would you like to know who performed the Black Sacrament, Kontos? I did. And yet even the Night Mother and Sithis could not foresee my betrayal. Serves them right.” A sickly grin creeps its way across the vampire’s face. “Fisher was too soft with you. After I take Whiterun, I will be sure to punish her for that, along with the rest of our...brothers. Goodbye, Stelio.” At that, he gestures to the side, which launches you to his right, down an incline and into a shallow stream.

As your vision goes black, you hear the words “Handle him,” come from Gabriel Thorne’s mouth, and you resign to your fate.

But to your surprise, you wake up. The moon still hangs in the sky; not much time has passed. You hear the running water of the stream you remember being thrown into, but feel not the force of the stream on your body. As your vision clears, you see three dead vampires around you and the best sight you have seen in the past few days: Fisher.

“Stelio. Stelio, are you alright?”

Your head hurt, but you could stand. And fight. “I am...fine,” you say with reluctance. “Did Gabriel…?”

“Betray us?” She helps you stand up. “Yes. I overheard him talking with his ‘friends’ after you left for Whiterun. When I realized what it meant, I rushed to come warn you. I was late, but...thankfully not too late, right?” She laughs, and you manage to chuckle softly with her. “Well, I suppose we should get back to the sanctuary, yeah? I should be takin’ over, now that Thorne is gone. And we need to tell everybody what happened. Oh, and uh…” She gestures behind you. You turn around, and you’re greeted with a beautiful white horse.

“I kinda stole a horse from the Whiterun stables. Ready to go?”

***


"Fisher was always quite, ah..." The old man drifted into thought.

"Sir?" The young man leaned forward, book in hand, an eyebrow arched at his teacher.

"Hm..."

"...Sir?!"

"Ah? What? Oh, yes, sorry."

"You're over a century old, master. I don't think you'd have a --"

"What?! A chance at romancing her?! You think me perverted! I was going to say she was...was..."

"Very...skilled, sir?"

"Yes, of course!" The old man scoffed and straightened his beard. "Now keep writing."
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#11494245 Sep 06, 2015 at 06:37 PM
133 Posts
Xilliad and his four comrades join the rest of the Companions. Eorlund is spouting out orders to all that are gathered; there is fighting all around. A group of five Companions run off to join some of the fighting taking place, another of three runs to the Cloud district at Eorlund's nodding to help with holding the keep. He turns to Xilliad, the two Nords, Djolharr, and the Dark Elf as they run up to him. Nodding grimly at their arrival, he says, "Good, you are ready. Djolharr, stay with me, I want you by my side, old friend. And, you four!" The Harbinger points at the remaining four with his warhammer. "I want you to go house to house in the Wind district, clear it out. Start with the Temple of Kyne; I doubt there are any still alive in there, but we must be sure. Try to save the wounded and weary, but if they cannot be saved, then move on. The whole city is in danger. Go house to house and ensure that as many innocents are saved as possible. Am I clear?!"

Xilliad and the other Companions nod. "Yes, Harbinger," one of the Nords says.

Eorlund nods at the men. With a flourish of his hammer, he gestures on to the battle with Djolharr, and together they charge in to take on a group of vampires seemingly about to overwhelm a group of guards. Xilliad gestures towards the others. "Let's go! There's no time to waste," he shouts! He down the stairs of Jorrvaskr and towards the Gildergreen, his compatriots close behind. They notice two guards holding off a group of a vampire and four thralls from a couple of children, and run to help them.

Xilliad charges into the vampire with his shield, taking it completely by surprise and knocking him down. One of the guards lets out a shout of joy upon the arrival of reinforcements... only to be cut off as a thrall slashes his throat open, splashing blood on the children and causing them to cry. The Dark Elf, a female archer, stands off a ways and takes a couple of shots at the thralls. She hits one square in the head, causing him to fall to the ground. The two Nords, both wielding Battleaxes, charge in on the other thralls, one of the Nords killing a thrall and the other being blocked.

Xilliad slashes down at the vampire with his sword; it dodges out of the way, and tries to counter with a firebolt. Xilliad blocks it with his shield and then thrusts toward the vampire, hitting it in the leg. It lets out a stream of Flames that Xilliad absorbs with his shield before swinging out and taking it's head off. Looking back at the others, the thralls are dead; two of them from the Nords, two with arrows sticking out of them from the Dark Elf. The surviving guard is stooped over the children, trying to comfort them. He turns to the Companions and Xilliad. "Thank you," he says.

Xilliad nods and asks, "Are the children alright?"

Shaking slightly, the guard nods in turn. "Yes, I think so..."

Xilliad sheathes his blade and walks up to the guard, placing a gauntlet covered hand on his shoulder. "Hey, it will all be alright. Don't worry, my friend. Take the kids out of the city, keep them safe. Alright?"

The guard clears his throat. "Ah, alright... thanks... I'll get to that!" The guard pulls out his sword with one hand and grabs one of the children's hand with the other. "Let's go, children! We must get out of here!" They run down the stairs into the Plains district.

Xilliad turns to his partners. "I never caught your names..."

The Nords laugh. "It's alright, we're fairly new to the Companions," one of them chuckles. "I'm Kili, and this is Fili. We're brothers!" The Dark Elf comes up to them, sheathing her bow behind her back.

"My name is Evelea." Xilliad remembers her now, she had been a member for some time; she was just reserved and stayed to the shadows of the mead hall.

Xilliad runs a hand through his hair. "Kili, Fili, Evelea. Right. Let's go kill us some more vampires."

Just at the moment, a large mass of vampires and thralls came running down the street from the other stairs to the Plains district, grouping up outside of the Temple of Kyne. A group of them splits off from the main force, walking proud and confidently towards Xilliad and his new friends.

Xilliad looks at the group of vampires, then back at his comrades. "Who's ready to die today?!" He turns back to the vampires, and charges them with his shield raised again, shouting, "FOR WHITERUN!"


Rex: Hero

Valeiro: Psycho

Kojasta: Mystery

Solljus: Villain

Abaddon: Shadow

Xirad: Warrior
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#11495286 Sep 07, 2015 at 03:46 AM
119 Posts
A bad situation, all around.

Detect life still in effect, her gaze never wavered from the vampire lord. Her quivering hands stilled with tranquil fury, Stryker's infamous (To the vigilants who'd been on the wrong end of a bar-brawl, at least) glare targeting the Vampire Lord. Would that he had any self-preservation, he might leave the girl be and run, but both Eohlwyn and her enemy weren't about to give quarter.

It was a good tactic, though. Silent for a moment, their standoff allowed one of the vampires time to wrench free her arrow from his shield, enough time to catch his breath from being yet another vampire to add to her kill count, only to begin circling. Eohlwyn's hesitation seemed more an interest to keep the girl alive, and this vampire wasn't an imbecile. The pretty little neck of the vigilant looked scrumptious, and if he could only have a little more. . .

Shadows meant nothing to Eohlwyn, though. Sufficiently aware of the auras and outlines of those in the vicinity, the entire exchange lasted less that a few seconds. Reinforcements on their way, Whiterun seemingly under attack - Eohlwyn couldn't think this far ahead. First death, then protection. Kyne... She thought, as the world suddenly became very chaotic. "Put her down, before I put you down, insol" schwaff "ent cur!"

There's an extremely subtle art to assassins and intelligent monster hunters such as the Vigilants. If one were raised in High Rock, undoubtedly they would at least be proficient in it's use, cut-throat the politics are from nobility to the commoners. The former have to cajole and cavort with their enemies on a daily basis, so a degree of eloquence is required when the time comes to lead an enemy to their doom. The veterans of the latter were incredibly skilled, but ultimately understood that those they hunted were stronger, faster, and just as clever as they themselves could be. Combating an enemy like that, one had to use every advantage they had.

The Vampire Lord was probably amused. How cute, he likely thought, this little vigilant girl seeks to intimidate me! Mid-sentence, amused by this outnumbered vigilant with naught but a dagger, a bow, and her barbed arrow, he had only enough time to begin moving as her arrow flew from it's string, mid-word. Superhumanly reflexive though he may be, it takes far more power to process both what she was saying and the incredibly subtle release of the drawn arrow. As the arrow, tipped with potent poison as was her standard, rocketed towards the Vampire Lord's eye, Eohlwyn herself sprang into action.

Shooting forward, Eohlwyn flicked her wrist at the vampire now in her periphery, her dagger flying from her hand. She need only deter him, long enough to confirm the Lord was dead. A hand now free, glowing purple light blossomed from her hand as a spell of conjuration was woven. The extremely faint beginnings of a hilt of daedric origin began to blossom in her hands.

Eliminate, save, protect, decimate.

Eliminate this Lord. Save the child. Protect the temple. Decimate the vampires.

Kyne, guide me.
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#11496145 Sep 07, 2015 at 09:39 AM · Edited 7 months ago
19 Posts
Dar'anjira looked out upon the chaos the now engulfed Riften and let out a sigh, she quickly hopped off the horse but stood the for a few seconds. She couldn't believe she was stupid enough to try what she was about to do. "S'rendarr guard me..." she looked up at Mateas on the horse, setting her hand on his knee "Run and hide in the woods, I'll find you when I'm done here. Keep the horse safe." She hoped Mateas would listen to her and not just run away. She turned to face the burning city of Riften and let out a deep breath. She pulled Liskina out of it's sheath, and at the same time cast an invisibility spell on herself, she ran through the gates into the depths of the town, towards the Dremora.

Anjira didn't stay hidden for long as she found a Dremora almost immediately and jumped on it's back, stabbing it through the head with her knife and jumping back off as her invisibility wore off. She dashed straight through the battle in the center of Riften, hacking and slashing anything in her way with Liskina and a bound dagger, not stopping to check who she was fighting at any moment. Eventually she made her way to where the majority of the Thieves guild, including the Nightingales, were fighting the Dremora and jumped in with them, she had run into them quite often in her line of work. Anjira looked around at all of them with a smirk on her face, giving them a small salute before continuing with her Daedra massacre, this time with the Thieves Guild by her side. She and the Guild managed to fight back the Daedra for just long enough to escape the horde that had gradually surrounded all of them.

Anjira danced through the roads with her daggers, skillfully slicing anything in her way to clean chunks. She ran towards the temple of Mara, right past where the guards would be protecting the temple, if they weren't preoccupied. She quickly dashed inside and closed the door behind her, kneeling down to catch her breath briefly after all the fighting she had to do just to get here, a small Ta'agra curse escaped her lips. Almost immediately after the doors had shut, a priest had run up to her and started to check her body for wounds, "Are you wounded, miss? Do you require healing?" the worry in his voice was genuine and apparent.

She just shook her head and looked around the room, she sighed "No, no... I'm fine.. please, others need more help than I do." eventually the priest would leave and she'd find herself alone, out of view of the others at the least. She casts her invisibility spell on herself and sneaks down to the basement of the temple to search for the chest she'd been sent for. Eventually she would find the chest at the end of a hallway, guarded by only two people. Anjira would sneak behind the both of them and slam Liskina's pommel into both of their skulls, knocking them out clean. She took out the key and unlocked the chest, taking a large sack out of the corner of the room and dumping the contents out on the floor before filling it with the contents of the chest before her. She holds it under her cloak and activates her invisibility spell for the fourth time that day alone.

She made a mad dash through the temple of Mara and kicked down the door before running back into the horde of Daedra throughout Riften. She dashed through the streets, slicing any Daedra between her and Black Briar Manor, arriving only a few seconds later, she was mumbling to herself when she arrived, "That renrij better not have gotten himself killed..." she hissed those words as she rammed down the manor's door and looked frantically around the large room before her.
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#11516644 Sep 12, 2015 at 02:27 PM
329 Posts
"...Alright fine."

With those simple words, the Argonian shakily got to his feet. With an intentional trip up, he stumbled and smacked rather harshly against the bars of his cell. He let out a groan and slipped further down, knees finding the hardened floors beneath him. He 'desperately' clung to the metal between his fingers and he gazed about with clouded eyes.

"Whe-where am I?...What di...what did I do?!"

From the corner of his eye, he watched the Guard shift from his post, obviously disgruntled by his sudden noise and whining. He forced the corner of his mouth to remain still, despite the urge to grin.

"What did you do to me! Foul fiend!"

"Oh shut up already, lizard," The Guard snarled, moving away from the door and over to Storms' cell. "Whatever happened doesn't matter to you, does it? You're a prisoner now, and your turn is almost coming."

"That's where your wrong."

The Guard blinked beneath his helmet at the sudden shift in tone from the scaled prisoner, and any further words were outright silenced when a pair of hands shot through the bars and grabbed at his neck. His croaks turned to gurgles, the sharpened nails of the Argonian puncturing through the flesh. With a twist of the hands, his neck was snapped. Storms stood tall over the dead, glancing casually up at the redguard.

"Done yet?"

---

To say Dacian had become disgruntled was an understatement. Why couldn't it be simple to go and find his horse!? First it got stolen in the first place, then he learned it was by one of the Black-Briars' favorite thieves, and then Daedra of all things had to attack Riften!?

He was angry. And it was taking all his willpower to keep his inner vampire from letting loose and just killing anything he saw.

So Dacian remained relatively close by the black cloaked individuals, swinging when he could and letting loose a torrent of fire from his free hand when he didn't. That is, until the Khajiit arrived. And he took a sniff, and the scent of his beloved stead filled his nostrils.

'The thief,' he snarled in his head, eyes locked on her furry self.

The vampire remained silent, cutting down who he could until the Nightingales and the khajiit herself took off to other locations. And he was right on her figurative and literal tail. To the Temple of Mara, where he joined the brief guard defense, and after her toward the Black Briar residence. But as soon as she cut through another area, as soon as they were alone, he closed the distance and hauled her against a wall.

"Where. Is. My. Horse?!"
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#11559302 Sep 24, 2015 at 01:11 AM
106 Posts
Elanna had blinked once before Josmhirr had yanked her to her feet. She almost fell over before her blade screeched from it's metal sheath. One of the brutes stood, drawing his sword faster and stepping in front of Elanna. Her free hand shook a little bit, could she really beat this guy? How could she even beat this guy, she hadn't even had a real sword fight before.

Before she could keep thinking, her arm moved up to block the swing that came down at her head. The chinking noises, as well as clanks, spread throughout the camp. She had mainly been on the defensive, being pushed back away from the other two that were fighting. She was a bit away from the camp now, their feet making crunching sounds in the snow. She started to breathe heavily, the brute none relenting and seeming to not tire. She took a quick breath in before moving forward into the block, throwing her body against the man, pushing him a few inches back in the snow.

As he stumbled back, Elanna jumped away, far enough to where she would hope to focus on her magic fast enough. Purple lines moved across her left arm, going into a ball on her hand. The purple ball was crushed before she threw her hand open at the ground.

With a loud howl, her Companion sprang to life from nothing. With another loud howl, the companion jumped at the brute, grabbing right onto his sword arm and digging it's fangs deep into the flesh.

Blood went down the magic's mouth and along the man's arms, causing the cannibal to do a growl of his own. Elanna watched for a moment, trying to catch her breath from the use of her magic while tired. As the man swapped his blade to the other hand, and began to chop at the wolf, Elanna charged forward with her sword pointed out in front of her.

The companion disappeared as the sword passed through it, but before he could move away or refocus on his target; he was slammed into the snowy floor. Elanna pulled the blade from the man's chest as she sat up, before she started stabbing repeatedly into it. She must have been stabbing the man for a good minute, blood covering herself and soaking the snow, before Josmhirr pulled her from the corpse.

The Khajiit pulled her into his chest, rubbing the back of her head as she buried it into his chest. "Is he... Dead?" She began to feel cold, the adrenaline rushing out of her body almost as fast as it had come on. Josmhirr could only nod as he lead her back to the camp, where he would hope that their other.. 'friend' was still planning on being nice.
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#11562210 Sep 24, 2015 at 06:29 PM · Edited 2 years ago
528 Posts
After taking a moment to realign himself - something that's accompanied by several loud and satisfactory pops and cracks - Stelio nods to his friend. "To where do we ride? Back to the Sanctuary in Dawnstar?" Normally it would be in the man's nature to spend one or more minutess over-analyze everything, but this sudden and unexpected betrayal by the Vampire Lord had pushed common sense out the proverbial window. Following Fisher's lead was the only thing that made sense to him at the moment. "We will make it back there eventually," was Fisher's tepid reply. Stelio did not pursue the subject more. Time had become a rare and precious commodity to them both, and to squander any more of it would surely come with dire consequences.

And so they rode - as fast as their steeds could take them - toward the small village of Riverwood. Were either assassin more in the mood to reflect, they might have appreciated the beauty that accompanied the rising sun. Snow glittered like diamonds, birds soared and chirped, and other various forms of wildlife flitted about on their usual daily routines. Aside from a few chance encounters with the occasional traveler or caravan, the party of two made what they both prayed was a clean getaway.

Just before coming into line of sight of Riverwood, Stelio and Fisher retreated into the woods in order to change into less conspicuous clothing. The two agreed that it would be best to play the part of a romantic couple on a simple journey to see the sights of Skyrim. Whiterun would be their next stop. The first person to tell them of the tragic passing of Lucia Gray-Mane would receive the proper amount of shock and appall. From then on they would wear a shroud of grief. After all, what monster would take the life of a poor, innocent child?

As luck would have it, they didn't have to put on the act until asking for a room at the Sleeping Giant Inn. The inn's proprietor had told them that perhaps it was best to stay away from Whiterun until things had calmed down. "Calm down?" Fisher had inquired with a slight cant of the head. "Has something happened?" As soon as the gossip had finished spilling from the elderly woman's lips, Fisher placed a hand over her own and buried her head into the crook of Stelio's arm. "How absolutely horrible..." she muttered. Stelio rubbed and stroked Fisher's shoulders, and kept on doing so all the way up to their room. But once the door was closed and locked behind them, the act dropped. The two shared a look, and then Stelio spoke clearly for the first time in hours.

"Tell me everything."
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#11568350 Sep 26, 2015 at 04:32 PM · Edited 2 years ago
55 Posts
Frustration bubbled in Zanik like a gaseous swamp, putrid and helpless. He had come to this cold and miserable place, his quarry had escaped, his incompetent partner's life span could be counted in minutes, and now he had this leech-lover trying to kill him. Well, to the Princes with it! To the Princes with them all!

"Stendarr take you-"

Zanik dropped to a knee, bringing his shield overhead to block the downward stroke. It came in heavily, shaking the shield, and numbing Zanik's arm from the impact, but leaving him very much alive. Before the man with big sword had recovered, Zanik struck out. He brought his burning mace in and up, directly into the man's groin.

"-Leech lovers!"

The man dropped his weapon, and Zanik dove forward with his shield, slamming it into the man's chest and driving the newly emasculated thrall back towards Tepegrog and the remaining lackey. Tepegrog fell onto his back, unable to hold back the fighters, and having no desire to do so in either case. The handle of his axe went up, absorbing the impact of the falling body as Zanik stepped passed the both of them, squaring up with the remaining thrall.

"He shouldn't be much trouble."

Tepegrog didn't respond, only taking up his axe to deliver a killing blow to the immobile figure.

The remaining thrall considered his new opponent, but as fierce as he may seem, and as much as he may want to flee, he knew that to come back to his master empty-handed would be his end. With this thought in mind, he charged at Zanik, swinging viciously. The dunmer slowly stepped backward under the assault, his shield absorbing most of the impacts, but quickly beginning to numb once more, his hammer parrying blows that his shield was too slow to reach.

Tepegrog, meanwhile, had dispatched the remaining lackey quickly and was now beginning to circle the fight. It was in that moment that the thrall realized he was now outnumbered. Fear began to mount... The thrall's eyes flicked from the Dunmer, then to the Orsimer, then back... In a final desperate maneuver to take someone with him, the lackey threw himself into Tepegrog, moving quickly to get in before the axe got in the way...

And was swept aside. The orc gave a toothy grin as the last thrall fell, and then grimaced as he looked down to his side... And the dagger that resided there. He looked back at Zanik, to which the dunmer could only sigh, "You always this bloody?"
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11579852 Sep 29, 2015 at 05:52 PM · Edited 2 years ago
214 Posts
"As we go on, dear reader, I must remind you that all of this was fated to happen. Yes, yes, written in the tapestries of prophecy, each of these eight individuals was entirely destined to these outcomes."

"What about the ones that died?"

"None of them -- wait, did they? I can't seem to recall."

"I feel like you're making this up, sir."

"Shush! I was there! Just keep writing. I would like to call some of the upcoming events the 'Nexuses of Fate,' if you will. For at the points where these pirates, swordsmen, and spelunkers meet, you see this story take a fantastic turn, the events of which decide the outcome of this entire novel. And now, we continue to our first meetings..."

***


"...where Dar'anjira and Dacian decide how their first encounter may go."


This was the first clash of fate. The first of many in this story of a ‘unifying dawn,’ where the horse-obsessed vampire and the horse-thief finally met.

And, as you already know, Dar’anjira and Dacian, it wasn’t exactly a peaceful meeting.

Dacian, you note very quickly the sack of loot that your target carries -- its contents unclear, even to her. In this moment, you feel ready to rip her throat apart and slobber up the insides. But you know that, in order to find your horse, you would at least need to question her.

That said, Dar’anjira, you are indeed in a sticky situation. You have the option of hearing him out, but the clearly vampiric traits may deter you from that path. You could fight back -- you’ve gotten out of stickier situations before with just your dagger and your wits, and you weren’t Boreas’ favorite thief for no reason. But perhaps you could make use of this vampire, and allow him to follow you to Boreas and then to his horse -- you weren’t really planning on keeping it anyway, and you could use the help in getting through the city. Even a vampire couldn’t kill you at that point, right?

Right?

You both hear a loud BOOM! It would seem that outside was getting more and more dangerous by the second. But will you give in to your vampiric urges, Dacian? Or will you get as much information as you can from her, and then bleed her dry?

And Dar’anjira; what will you let him do?

((An unfortunately short post, Qu and Kyru, but I felt it necessary for you both to debut a piece of collaborative posting instead of inserting a deus ex like forcing a combat scene so you both have to cooperate. Please see my most recent thread on collaborative posting and consult each other before posting.))

***


"Meanwhile, Eohlwyn becomes closer and closer..."


If this arrow were flying in slowed time, we would see a few things. First, we would see the arrow fly from its quiver, the counterintuitive motion of the arrow -- a spiraling, silly looking wobble rocketing at the Lord. The next thing we might notice is a tensing of the vampire’s muscles; his shoulders shoot up, his hands go stiff -- stiff enough to drop the child -- and his face contorts into such fear you would think he was not the embodiment of fear itself. Then again, to Eohlwyn, he was not.

But this was regular time. The arrow whirred across the temple’s main room as a fast bird might, only faster. The creature’s eyes instinctively shot in brace for the oncoming projectile, but of course it was no help. The barbed tip of the arrow hooked itself into his right eye, immediately spilling blood from the point of impact. The child dropped to the ground, and cut marks were extremely visible on her throat. Her captor, though, was in considerably more distress, wailing and grunting and, finally, just whimpering as the paralysis poison takes effect and he falls to the ground, drool and blood dripping from his orifices.

The warrior was no problem. He was not a Lord, and seemed to prefer the defensive over the offensive; he was scared of you. The dagger stuck into the wooden portion of his iron shield, and was immediately tossed to the side rather than being used against you. The child was a priority, but even you could not turn your back on this weakling.

He swings. Perfect.

With the ethereal blade fully formed, you deter his blade so that his entire side is open to you. As you lunge, his shield begins to go up in defense, but you land so perfectly in between his shoulder and heart that the metal edge just barely scrapes the blade before falling with a thud to the ground, followed by its owner.

You turn around, and the child is mortified. Mortified, but grateful.

“For Whiterun!” you hear outside the temple. Guards? Well, yes, but you thought you recognized the voice. Was that the town blacksmith’s mentee?

There was only one way out of the temple, barring any windows, but they were locked from the inside-out. You could break one of the windows, take the child out of the city through the backroads, and try to reunite her with her family through the evacuation teams; or you could simply walk out the front door and aid the escort that was out there right now, helping with the evacuation and, by extension, this little girl. The former option has less risk, but the latter more opportunity to defend the city. The choice is yours.

***


"...to meeting Xilliad, who suffered a great loss."


Your allies are rallied by your shout, Xilliad, and you feel the heat of battle invigorate you on this cold Skyrim night like a fire lit inside your heart. This is what it meant to be a Nord; nay, it was what it meant to be a warrior! You know this all too well as the four of you -- siblings in arms -- charge at the group of vampires, weapons and shields raised in the air.

That particular skirmish is easy. With the aid of the guard you are helping, you easily dispatch all of the vampires and their thralls with your superior weaponry and a healthy dose of teamwork. When they are all killed, the guard thanks you in great amount for your aid; they would have died if it had not been for you and your friends. But what happens next? It does a little to discourage your group.

You observed success around you. You catch Frolm and Eorlund evacuating houses, eliminating vampires, and what would seem to be winning. But this goes on for only so long, as you realize a terrifying fact: they aren’t running out of forces.

More and more vampires sprung up from the darkness. It seemed that with every group slain, two more arose from the shadows, armed with more powerful spells and with stronger weapons. Gargoyles began appearing, summoned by the Lords of the battalion that was invading Whiterun, and you even noted Whiterun citizens being turned on their fellow man by the beasts’ powerful Illusion magic. A sad sight, to be sure, but you had little time to contemplate it; you were in this battle too.

Pinned in front of the temple, you fight on. Kili and Fili fight expertly together, and Evelea’s skill surprises you for one who was so antisocial within the Companions. You suppose personality did not equate to combat worth. The guards you joined put in their own effort, as well, and you all kept each other safe. But the onslaught was going to wear all of you out eventually, and the opposition was not letting up.

And then the worst came to pass.

Even in the midst of combat, you keep an eye on the other groups. And just as your sight shifts to Eorlund for the split second it has to, you note a spire of bloodied metal rising from his chest.

Stabbed in the back. By one of his own men. He was under one of the vampires’ thrall spells. The Companions had one less Harbinger; the man who had given you a home in Whiterun. The friend of your father who recommended you learn from Djolharr. And there was still no shortage of enemies.

Perhaps it is time to retreat, Xilliad. You could avenge Eorlund, but could you really stomach killing a fellow Companion? It wasn’t his fault he fell under the spell, but it was his hand that drove the sword through the Harbinger’s heart. Even if you killed him, though, you’d be abandoning your group, and the wave of vampires seemed endless.

Will you give way to emotion, Xilliad? Risk your life knowing you will be able to, at the very least, avenge your comrade? Or will you order a retreat, knowing that you could persuade your entourage to flee?

***


"Meanwhile, Storms' luck seemed to be turning around..."


“Already got it unlocked durin’ your...business.” The Redguard’s cell door opens with a creak, and you hear a quiet, guttural chuckle come from Hanir as he tiptoes over to you. A few quiet manipulations of the tumbler later, your door opens with not a sound. Hanir does a ‘come’ gesture to you, and you exit the cell, looking around for a collections box of some sort. You see no such thing, the only container being a lockbox containing some of the warden’s personal effects, none of which would you useful to you.

You hear a voice from the ground floor of the prison. “Snef, you down there? Boss wants the next one.” Hanir and yourself look at each other with worry; you cannot speak, as your very clearly Argonian voice would give rise to suspicion.

Hanir’s Nordic accent was surprisingly well done. “I’ll bring him up in a moment, here.” The guard offered help. “No, don’t worry, I’ve got it; just a scrawny Redguard, after all.” Hanir shrugs at you with a playful smirk.

“Alright,” he says, and you hear fading footsteps. Out of habit, your eyes wander to the guard you killed; but when you look, the guard isn’t there anymore.

Well, his armor is. His body isn’t. In place of the corpse, you see plasma similar to the kind you might see after killing a specter, or after the defeat of a summoned familiar. But instead of the regular hue of blue, you see an electric red. Strange, but you had no time to ponder it.

“Well, either way, we’ll need to fight through those guards. Our equipment’s probably upstairs. Unless you happen to know any invisibility spells, we’ll need a way to approach this fight smart.”

Amidst the pile of armor, you catch an iron sword and dagger. It would only occur to him later that every single person he cut down in this town would melt into the same red plasma; and he would learn it soon. Time to go, Stares-at-Storms.

***


"And Stelio...wasn't sure at the moment."


“Gabriel seemed a little off…”

Fisher would go on to explain the situation to you in great detail. It would turn out that Gabriel Thorne had been acting strangely and, when finally questioned about it by a close friend of his, killed three full members and a single initiate. ‘Impatient’ was the word of choice to describe him in the moments leading up to the massacre, most likely due to your presence in Whiterun, Stelio. He apparently left his journal, which Fisher took the liberty of reading on the way to your rescue. Apparently this attack had been in the works for years, along with multiple across Tamriel in similar centers of political, military, or -- in the case of Whiterun -- economic importance. How or why they went about this was all but unknown.

She would go on to tell you that many of the higher-ups in your sanctuary, along with members of other sanctuaries, had been in on it. Meaning that your particular sanctuary and likely many others were in a scramble to find some semblance of leadership. She told you that she would try to become the Dawnstar branch’s new leader, and would be taking possession of Shadowmere (once Gabriel Thorne put his betrayal to light, Shadowmere refused to appear to him).

But the next thing that Fisher told you would be the most mind-boggling of all. At the moment Gabriel set off to Whiterun, the Dark Brotherhood received a contract.

A contract from beyond the physical plane.

She would not give you any other details besides the fact that this particular contractor asked for you personally, referring to you by name. She likely didn’t know any more than you did, if you were to take a guess.

In any case, it was imperative that you returned to Dawnstar. When night fell, Fisher led you out of the building you were in and to the outskirts of Rorikstead, where your horse was tied up. You could not spare another moment; the Night Mother awaits you, child.

Ride, Stelio!

***


"And while Zanik was in danger of losing a partner..."


“If I can help it, yes. Call it an orc thing.” Tepegrog wiped some blood from his grinning face, unintentionally emphasizing the point. On one knee, the orange-skinned Orsimer pulled the dagger from his side with a loud grunt and began applying pressure to the wound. Unable to fully stand, you are compelled to help him stand, and come to his side regularly. He points to an old, rickety chair, which you set him down in to begin treating his wounds.

“I won’t make it out if there are any more of them.”

“That was likely the last of them,” you say. You searched most of the cavern, and the look on that final opponent’s face told you that he wasn’t expecting reinforcements.

“Hey, look,” Tepegrog says. His fat finger points to a dresser, atop of which lay a much less decrepit-looking journal; once opened, it reads ‘Journal of Scarlen Mayer,’ in which you would read about the attack on Whiterun, Riften, and several other cities around Tamriel.

But why were they here?

This was news to report to your superiors at Vigilant Castle (created out of the remnants of the old Dawnguard fort). If vampires were making a move on multiple fronts, it wasn’t even guaranteed that the castle was still standing, but to Oblivion with it if you weren’t a man of duty.

Those were definitely the last of the vampires. You could freely search around the castle you were in or head to the one belonging to the Vigilants immediately. Either way, Tepegrog needed a healer.

***


"Elanna and Josmhirr gained one."


“Cultists of Namira,” says Nilus the Bosmer, sheathing his blade as he approaches you. His features become more clear to you now as he removes his helmet; long, flowing, chocolate hair framing his angular face, along with warm, golden eyes. These eyes, though, were not decorated with the hunger that the three dead man that lay before you exhibited. Definitely not a cannibal.

“And who exactly are you, then, Wood Elf?” Joshmirr held you close with one hand, his blade pointing to Nilus in the other.

“My name’s Nilus Beither. I’m from Valenwood, as you can tell, but I’m employed by the Dominion. The cult hasn’t managed to spread to the Summerset Isles, and I plan to keep it that way. I’m one of many sentinels posted around Tamriel. There are also reports of strange activity in Dawnstar, which I was on my way to investigate. You are heading that way, correct?”

Josmhirr nods; he seemed trustworthy enough. The Khajiit lets go of you and sheaths his own blade. “Do we get going, then? It’s about a half day’s trek left to Dawnstar.”

The Bosmer nods. “Yes. When we finish our business there, we can go our separate ways. Until then, I could use the help; I’m guessing you could, too.” You both nod at him. “Let’s go.”

And so you were off, leaving the bloody mess behind you. After gathering your things, Nilus let out a strange whistle, to which a fox came running. Nilus pet the fox, gave it a whisper (in a language that did not sound like your own), and it went running off. He said it was for scouting, in case any more Light of Namira baddies came your way. That was a Wood Elf ability, you remembered; allying with animals.

After about 13 hours of on-and-off resting and walking, you finally find yourself at the mountain’s base. Dawnstar is in your sight; finally! But what you see is possibly even stranger than the cannibals. From outside the town, it seems that the whole Pale capital is covered in a pink haze.

“Looks like some sort of magic. Here.” Nilus then placed a protective ward on the three of you that would last, give or take, fifteen minutes; once you entered the town, you had about ten minutes left, but Nilus reassured that he would re-apply the ward before it ran out; it simply took a lot of magicka to guard all three of you.

And then, well...you find yourself in a familiar scene.

Three guards approach you. “Elanna Moorsly, Nilus Beither, and Josmhirr, you are under arrest!” How did they know your name? “Come peacefully, or we will use force.”

You could come peacefully. Something strange is going on, Elanna, and you would undoubtedly find out whether you went with them or not.

The question is: will you?

***


"You don't remember?"

"I'm old. I forget things."

"And so you decided to write a historical account of the Division?"

"Yes. Why shouldn't I? Now keep writing..."
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#11613526 Oct 08, 2015 at 01:41 PM · Edited 2 years ago
528 Posts
And ride Stelio did, over hills and dales. His mind was racing faster than the hooves of his horse. A contract from beyond the physical plane? In a way the world was overrun by beings considered "supernatural" in nature, meaning that this statement only served as the door to unlocking a series of questions too difficult to grasp. "Aetherius, Aurbis, Llesw'er, Mantellan Crux, Mundus, the Realm of the Hist, Sands Behind Stars, The Far Shores and the Void." The man would repeat these names over and over, but none of them made sense. Could it be that it was a spirit - one from behind the Veil - that had requested his services? But why his services? Gabriel may have betrayed the Dark Brotherhood, but he had his points. Stelio was not exactly what you would call "an obedient dog." Then why? Why?
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#11621270 Oct 10, 2015 at 10:44 PM · Edited 8 months ago
19 Posts
Anji immediately pushed her dagger up against the throat of what she thought was just another Daedra, once she managed to get a good look she relaxed her guard very slightly but never lowered her weapon. She conjured a sword into her free hand, just for assurance “What do you want?” she hissed those words at him, obviously annoyed “Can’t you see I’m busy?” The screams and explosions just outside only got louder and louder, forcing Anjira to look back to the door a fair few times, “If it’s not important, can we save it for later?” She turned back to face the man again, only now noticing that he was a vampire.


Dacian scoffed, letting his teeth glint as he glared into the Khajiit's eyes. He bit his urges back, and stepped back, dropping her onto her rear. Still, he pointed his sword and left it hovering a centimeter from her throat.

"My horse, you stole her! And don't deny it. I can smell her all over you." His stance hadn't laxed a bit. "Don't tell me and I'll leave you to die with the dogs of this city. It’s not like a thief like you needs your knees."


Anjira put her, now useless, dagger back into its sheath but kept her sword pointed at Dacian, "Your horse is fine, no worries.” her guard relaxed a bit “She’s a strong horse, I have no wish to hurt her.” The sword's tip seemed to extend a little as she tries to push herself up to her feet, she tries to push his sword away from her throat “Son of Bal...” she hissed those words as if they were a curse, “...What do you really want from me? I doubt you’d hunt me through all of that-” she points behind her to the chaos just outside, “-just for your horse.”


"Don’t speak like you know me, Thief." Dacian's frown deepened, bringing his sword back and pushing it into his sheath. Shutting his eyes and taking a gulp, the vampiric features vanished completely from his face when he looked back up. Still, his blue orbs reflected his anger, annoyance, and hidden concern. Concern for his horse, most like. "I want my horse back."


Anjira kept her attention on his eyes as he lowered his sword, her grip on hers loosened and the sword vanished a moment later. She crossed her arms and stared at Dacian, "If you want me to lead your horse, you have to promise me a few things. One, you help me bring this-" she pointed to the large sack on the ground behind them "-to that cowardly draj, wherever he is.” The single Ta’agra word was spat out like it was the worst insult she could think of, “And two, you help me get out of here and fight off the Voidwalkers." Anjira smirked slightly, knowing he couldn’t let her die if he wanted his horse back, and held out her hand to him “Do we have a deal, Son of Bal?"

Dacian's scowl deepened to a near impossible degree, a snarl building up in his throat. He was not in a position to complain, however, or to try and manipulate the situation. This Khajiit already proved to be strong willed, if her defiance to his presence was any sign. Plus, if he went as far as to drain her and leave her, he would be left without a guide to his beloved Si Si. So, with grit teeth, the Vampire slowly nodded.

"Deal. On your lead, miss." With mock politeness, he pulled away and bowed, arm out to his side pointing toward the chaos.


Anji’s smirk grew, she turned around and picked up the sack behind her, turning back to him with a genuine smile on her face "Come on then, let's go find that draj." she started towards the stairs to search the rest of the manor before turning around to look at the vampire "By the way, have a name?" the curiosity was obvious by her expression.


Dacian grunted, eagerly moving ahead. He wanted out, and sooner the better. Until she questioned for his name. Pivoting on his heel, he stared back before chuckling, and shook his head once.

"Names are for friends. So I don't need one."


Anjira shrugged and started up the stairs "Suit yourself, vampire. Look for a fat Imperial, named Boreas. Call me if you find him!" the last sentence became muffle as she started running up the stairs to check the rest of the house, leaving Dacian by himself at the bottom of the stairs.
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#11632662 Oct 14, 2015 at 12:08 AM
119 Posts
As the last Vampire fell, Eohlwynn released the ethereal blade in her hands, Magicka seeping out of it as it once again became nothing but ambient energy in the air once more. She made her way to the child, kneeling as she extended a hand. As the child hesitantly took it, Eohlwynn hefted her to her feet, where the huntress began checking over her wounds. No bite-marks, that was good. Her hands glowed with a warm, dull light as her healing spell took effect. Continual healing was simple, but draining, and Eohlwynn only spared as much as it would take to close any wounds the girl had.

Pulling one of the potions at her hip free of it's corded stopper, she handed it to the girl, as well. "Drink this," Her tone was surprisingly gentle, despite her ferocity mere moments ago. She didn't wait to see if the child needed more prodding. The potion wasn't bitter, but it wasn't exactly apple juice, either. Jogging over to the felled Vampire, she wrenched his shield from him, digging out her dagger as well. Hefting the shield in one hand, she shuffled back to the girl, hefting her up as well. "You're going to need to hold tightly." She said.

As she stood up and made for the window, she paused at the ledge. Her first glance was to the Vampire, who likely lay dead now, with his remaining eye staring into nothingness, despite his prey and his predator sitting in the window sill he was looking at. A smirk appeared on her face, before she glanced at the shrine of Kyne, offering up a silent prayer of thanks.

And with that, the Huntress was gone from the Temple, moving towards Whiterun's exit with as much stealth and speed as she could manage. Whiterun wasn't her home, and while she no doubt could empathize with their plight, this debacle was on the head of the Vigilant's shoulders. As a wandering member, she had no right nor privilege to exact retribution on his failings, but then again she wasn't exactly the one to follow rules. The Vigilants weren't that lenient with their prey, and it had worked out in their favor, and she had the luxury of not having to deal with base politics, wanderer that she was.

But this? Slipping through his fingers? The zealot was either hilariously incompetent or coin had been exchanged. Neither one was forgivable.
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