Still haven't thought of a title, but here. (IC)
Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:42 PM
A chill wind blows across the sea, ice crystals glinting in the silvery moonlight as even the mist from waves breaking upon the rocks succumbs to the cold. The brilliant auroras above the northern sea dance in the sky, setting it alight with ribbons of amber and green. Somewhere along the ridge, the low roar of a sabercat rings out and is quickly carried away on the arctic air.
A lone figure moves purposefully along the coast, no torch to light his icy and treacherous way. It moves in darkness so deep that it seems to not only conceal the figure but to radiate from it, a black aura seemingly sapping what little illumination the moon provides. Before long, the figure halts before the visage of Sithis, carved into a singularly out-of-place door among the rocks. Even as the boot of the figure crunches its way into the snow, an otherworldly voice speaks out.
"What is life's greatest illusion?" it growls, coming from nowhere and from everywhere at once.
"Innocence, my brother." replies the figure, in a masculine voice just as disconcerting as the first albeit far more substantial.
Without so much as a rasp of hinges, the door draws open under it's own power and the figure steps inside, illuminated in sanguine light from blood-colored torches. The magic that powered the door, the sconces, and the very stone of this sanctuary in which the figure stood was timeless, more ancient than even the Gods themselves, and the figure stood for a moment to savor the sensation of that dark power as it reached across the very boundaries of time.
Though he made no sound, he mouthed "Hail Sithis" before continuing into the main chamber. His family undoubtedly had been awaiting his return.
Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:32 PM
The words still filled her ears as she looked upon the large moon and unnaturally bright stars. Ill omen, it was. Of all days, why did she arrive in Windhelm during a full moon? Even if the crowded city streets were quiet with nary a soul around, the moon watched her. She mustn’t let that stop her from this side job.
Her eyes scanned the house in front of her. The old man had gotten paranoid. It was obvious for there were three times the guard for such a small abode. That meant more people that hadn’t been disclosed and who would only make the risks higher. Her client would pay extra for that.
Shifting, her back pressed against the rough stones behind her, feeling the deep hollow that had been melted away by dragon’s breath and age. It still hadn’t been fixed and it was claimed that the dragon born had slain a blood dragon in these very streets. A few wild rages of the dragon left pockets of missing stone. For the last few hours the stone niche had been her hiding place. It was deep enough to hide her slight figure, she was wearing dark enough clothes to blend in, and the frost her breath would make in the cold city was hidden by her muffler. It was also something everyone was used to. They felt safe with the guard’s right above and the familiarity of the score. It gave her the perfect vantage point of the house of Cruel-Sea.
Her bare fingers moved to her belt and flew over the small vials, counting. The tips of her fingers moved over their cork stoppers and she could place what they were by the marks she had made in them. They were harmless: a thief couldn’t steal from the dead so it was best only to kill when needed. Even then, sometimes she was able to slip away. Killing… it wasn’t her job. Deftly thrusting her hands back under her cloak, she let her fingers touch the small set of knives at her belt before moving onto her treasured pair of daggers. Up close and personal was just as much as her style as shooting afar with a bow. In most cases, she left her bow at home. For quick reaction it just did not do.
Another movement caught her eye. Green eyes narrowed unhidden by her customary illusion spell. The spell took up as much energy as she was able to regenerate. While it didn’t bother her and she could bring it up in a snap, it was wearying when not needed. Focusing her eyes in the dark she could see that it was him again. Her eyes followed the burly Nord as he circled the house that was pegged. By all accounts it needed to be lightened of a few choice items. Never had they said a companion would be in residence. “By the…” she muttered. As she watched, the other hired swords took the same path while the Nord’s was sporadic. At one point he was near none of them and she wished she had brought her bow. The Nord had been at far too many of her previous heists.
Seeing the guard reset, she knew she had no reason not to commence. Slipping past the guard patterns was easy. One, two, three of the items were in her possession. All she needed was the one closest to the eldest Cruel-Sea… Zev moved quickly trying to exit. She knew if she left and then entered through the window, she would have the place cleared. Getting to the side door, one she hadn’t entered from, her lock pick was out and she was making quick work of the tumblers. As the last one fell into place, she heard the heavy tread of someone. It could only be the Nord. Tossing a look over her shoulder, their eyes met for a long moment. She could see the shock on his face and she hissed before flicking the door open.
Locking a door was easier. On the other side of the door she heard a heavy pound of his hand before he took a few steps back. He was going to get that door open one way or the other. Mentally she tried to remember where the other men would be in their routes. Looking down, she quickly began off in a larger set of footprints that marked the snowy ground. It always did help that she was prone to move about on the balls of her feet. Even if it was hidden beneath her cape, her tail helped keep her balanced even as it proved annoying for most other times.
Rounding the corner, she could see the guard in front of her. She was also right under the window she wanted to be. Zev was already pushing open the window when she heard the loud crash and the startled sound of the guard. The Nord had gotten out and she was already slipping back inside.
What she saw made her mouth drop. “Shadows didn’t hide me…” Zev said with a croak as she saw the red glow of candles and bloody effigy in the corner of the room. Her eyes darted around the room before lighting back on the makeshift altar. A handful of steps closer and she could read the name “Edamithis – Solitude.” The name was written on a large flat piece of gold in blood it was attached to the pendant she caught. Its necklace was wrapped around the human heart that was placed in the center of a bleached white ribcage.
No stranger to death, it took her only a few moments to overcome the shock and take the necklace. There were also a few other nice items she swiped. She considered ripping off the extra flat piece of gold, but opted to glance back out the window. The Nord must have figured out where she’d gone. He wasn’t nimble enough to scale the wall, but he was gone and the guard was below her. Perching on the ledge of the window, she thought of her options. About that time she heard the door crash open behind her. Glancing back once more, her eyes met the Nord’s. Under her cowl, she smiled. Her eyes must have shown her mirth for his filled with fury and he drew his blade. “By the Jarl of Windhelm. You are under arrest for crimes against the…” The words were but a yell on the wind as she leapt from the window and pounced upon the hired hand who stared stupidly up at her.
Zev was up and off at a sprint. Safe with her goods… In a few days she would be in Solitude for another job. Maybe she would look up Edamithis. It was an intriguing thought.
Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:23 PM
His luck started to go downhill on a day like any other. Matais stood over the alchemy table attempting his latest potion. He put in a few chaurus eggs, and an ice wraith tooth and brought them to a gentle boil, then distilled the mixture down to a stronger form. Time for a test, he thought, then drank the foul mixture. After suppressing the gag reflex he looked down at his hands. They faded before his eyes. Good, the invisibility worked. It'll be much easier to flee if I have too. He turned on the flame under a retort and became visible again. That's right, if I do much more than go through a door I become visible again. This time Matais mixed a triple portion of luna moth wings and chaurus eggs. He bottled two potions. It's cheaper, but I don't really have a good source of eggs. I might have to substitute ice wraith teeth or even vampire dust. Ice wraith teeth and moth wings can be farmed, and there are enough vampire hunters out there to produce a decent supply of vampire dust, but chaurus eggs are a bit hard to come by. No one wants to go up against them just for the eggs, and no one has had much luck domesticating them.
Matais turned off the flame and walked back to his room. There he saw his girlfriend, Camilla Vici. She's talking to him again, thought Matais, staring at the Khajiit across from her. They're more than friends, I'm sure. She wouldn't...
Matais slipped behind a corner and downed one of the invisibility potions. As long as they can't see me, I can know for sure. He walked into the hallway unseen by the others and followed the two back to Jo-Jasha's room. I knew it, she's seeing someone else behind my back, Matais thought as he slipped out of the room before the potion wore off.
The next day after classes were over Matais stayed after “to try a few new potions.” After the other students had left he went to the enchantment lab. She's and enchanter, so he'll die by enchantment. He's into destruction so...
Matais still had yet to find a good lightning spell and everyone knew Jo-Jasha favored lightning. Maybe I'll just poison her. After all Jo-Jasha is the third best alchemist in class. Matais pulled out a Khajiit amulet he got off of a trader. What better way to trick him to put it on than to make him think it was his? Matais carved “from a friend” in the back of the amulet and placed it on the alter along with a common soul gem he had stolen from Camilla's room. He merged the two with an cursed effect that had been forbidden for more than one hundred years, Fire damage on self, constant effect. I knew it would come in handy to learn a few forbidden effects, he thought. Matais then went to the dormitory, drank an invisibility potion, and placed the amulet in a drawer in a drawer.
After that he went into Camilla's room, which was just down the hall, and started to pour one of his “nightshade” blend potions onto a sweetroll he saw on the table. Just as he did it Camilla walked in. Matais was almost out of the room when the invisibility wore off. “Matais, what are you doing here? And invisible? Were you trying out a new spell or what?”
Matais was sure she had found him out. If I get caught, I'll end up in prison, he thought. Worse yet, the two of them will end up together, and all of this will have been for nothing. Out of fear Matais flung a fire bolt at her and she flew into a wall. Thinking quickly, he drank the last invisibility potion and snuck out of her room and back to his, avoiding the crowd that was gathering along the way.
The next day the Jarl's security forces finished the investigation of the two deaths that night. While there was no doubt that the vain Khajiit wizard Jo-Jasha had been murdered by him, his corpse found laying burnt on the ground with a necklace from her around his neck, her death was still a mystery. Jo-Jasha would be the obvious suspect, as there must be something bad going on between them, yet she was found dead by fire, when everyone knew he preferred lightning. “He must have tried to cover it up by using a different spell.” one of the guards suggested, and the others agreed. Stranger still, a poisoned sweet roll was found in her quarters. Why try to poison a person, then burn them to death?
The next week Matais had been going to the alchemy class when he heard a scream. Running into the lab he found a dead, burning student laying on the floor, a burned potion bottle in her hand. Upon investigation it was found that the formula for the potion had come from Matais's own work, and was in fact a fire effect potion that wasn't properly labeled. Believing it to be a Fortify Destruction potion, the student had drunk it, only to be killed by it. As far as the Dean was concerned, it was Matais's fault she was dead, despite the fact that the potion was stolen. Matais was forced to pack up his things and leave, though they said he would be eligible for readmission in two years.
Matais downed the last few drops at the bottom of his glass and stood up. He flipped the barkeep a Septim tip and walked upstairs to his room. He laid down to try and sleep it off. Tomorrow I'll have to brew a few more potions if I want to keep my room, he thought as he dosed off.
Later that night he awoke to the sound of a strange woman's voice. As he stood up realized he was in a cabin he'd never seen before. A woman wearing a shrouded set of black leather armor looked at him from atop a bookshelf.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:27 PM
‘Bu----ut….’ That little voice in her ear whispered. With a frown, she glared. Her glare was focused down at the little weasel in front of her. Almost immediately, the fences price for one of the jewelry sets went up. “It’s enchanted,” she bit off, curing her lip, distastefully. Reluctance was written on his face. “When have I lied about magic?” Zev asked with a brisk note to her voice. She knew he would cave and give her the proper amount. “Push it up, and we can move on to another item.” As she said the words, her brows rose as daring him to say otherwise.
A few more arguments, a few more gestures, and then she was off. Zev was more than a few septims heavier, but with much less cargo. Having too much of the stolen goods was never a smart move. Morthal, and its fence, was one of her least favorite places to unload… but she knew she might not have the time to visit her contact in Solitude. The Argonian wasn’t much for dealing with a hot market. Always played it on the safe side and he always knew when there was going to be a heist big enough that he might get pinned for it. Couldn’t blame him, even the black markets wouldn’t take goods stolen to close to their hold; too much risk that it will be placed for whosever the item belonged to.
Slinking off, she hugged the outskirts of the town. Her eyes searched the darkness, studying the thresholds of the houses she passed. Once the thieves guild began thriving again, some myth about a Daedric relic having been stolen given them bad luck, they started a fairly good system of marking houses that were safe for their kind. For the most part, no one important had caught on. Looking at one of the only houses in Morthal that had the correct markings, she made a face. Another one of the reasons she hated the place.
With a shake of her head, she opted to head out of town instead. Sure, it was dark and there was wild life abounds. Anything was better than old man Ruther. With a shudder, she picked up the pace knowing she wouldn’t make it to Solitude, at least she’d make it to somewhere she could camp down at.
It wasn’t too much of a shill job. Just a small get in, drop the piece, get out. When she scoped out the house it was easy to get down the families routine. There weren’t even any town guards around. It was in and out, no one the wiser. “What a bore…” she muttered, settling deeper into her bed of straw. She always was fond of stables. The sound of horses, the early nature, the multiple exits, and lack of helping hands past certain hours of the night; especially so in unused stalls.
It was also the way in which the horses got so quiet for a moment as someone entered. That break in the sounds around her always woke her up. Even more than the sun on some occasions. Case and point how the sun was breaking the horizon while she still snoozed. With a shake, she slowly stood. If she only hunched slightly, her slight frame didn’t pass the stall walls around her. She could peek over, and did, to see where whoever had entered was. Judging the man’s timing and factoring in several other things, she snuck past him easily.
Knowing she hadn’t been seen last night, she glanced back at Solitude. ‘The Argonian will have coin for the other items I swiped from Windhelm…’ Zev thought, reasonably. She knew herself well enough to know she was curious about that Edamithis fellow. Zev also knew that was one of the reasons she wa turning back to the city.
Passing through the gates with nary a glance from the guards, she let herself really enjoy the full effect of walking into Solitude. It was the middle of the day, she couldn’t be wanted yet, she was lite of merch, and she had no stolen goods from anyone here. Zev could almost imagine what it was like to be a normal citizen. As a woman to her side gasped, she automatically checked her cowl. Not quite normal. Having been raised by the Khajiit she was the only Bosmer she’d ever seen with piercings. Almost no being besides the Khajiit favored them and she hadn’t gotten use to extending her small illusionary spell to her ears.
As she walked forward, she had to stop herself from whipping her head to the left as a familiar name was called upon the wind. Instead, she slowly looked toward The Winking Skeever as a pair of men jostled each other in greeting. Edamithis looked normal. He didn’t look mean or curler than other men. Nor did he look good. Why would someone wish him dead? Another note, how easy would it be to kill him? Her hand flickered over the little vials at her hip as the thoughts coursed through her mind. She could feel each of the indentations and knew which two, together, would bring death in a short amount of time if applied at the right place.
Zev wasn’t sure when she’d decided. One moment she was touching the vials thinking about it, the next moment the vials were open and she’d dipped her extra slender lockpick into one and then the other before capping them. ‘Is this really happening? Kill because I saw some name in my last sweep job and because I was bored on the shill job here?’ Taking in a breath, she thought about a pale faced nord in peasantry. Feeling the leech of her small magical abilities, she moved out of the buildings shadow she’d gravitated toward on the other side of the road. Knowing she didn’t have long, she rushed across the way and brushed in-between the pair of men and tripped. When the other man grabbed her arm she purposefully flung it off and, in the process, fell back against Edamithis.
“You okay lass?” For a moment she was looking him dead in the eyes. In the next heartbeat she had muttered an apology and broken away.
As she slipped into the tavern, she was quick to duck around the patrons and out the side door. Letting the illusion drop, she stayed to the alleyway planning to visit the Argonian. She didn’t need to look when a loud cry and commotion erupted behind her. Both of their purses were in her possession and her poison had done its job in form where she’d place it at the sensitive inside of his arm, just at his elbow; perfect place for a blood poison.
Zev was a killer. Solid two hands now.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:00 PM
“Only one tonight, my lady,” the Speaker said, his eyes watching Irinde's face.
Despite her flawless and approachable appearance, taking the wrong step around her would quickly have you slumping at the end of her blade. There was a reason why Irinde was the leader of Dawnstar Sanctuary and she expected nothing but perfection from everyone that she surrounded herself with.
Thinking for a moment she finally lifted her gaze from the floor and crystal clear blue eyes stared at the man standing before her. Her long pale blonde hair shift and fell over her shoulder. She watched him for a moment and then turned to the eager young man waiting just inside the doorway. “Bring me Vahlok,” she said and watched as his face and shoulders slightly slumped at the rejection that he would be choosen for the contract. The Speaker nodded at her selection and then quietly moved out of the room.
Several moments later there was a knock at the door and Irinde answered, “Enter.” A small woman entered the darkening chamber that could easily be mistaken for a small child. A faint smile curled the edge of Irinde’s lips. “Aia… I have a task for you.”
The young woman smiled and nodded coming to a halt in front of Irinde who towered over her. “I would like for you to seek out the one name Matais. Take this,” she said handing over a small vile of liquid that had a faint green tint to it. “Tonight he will be summoned to the cabin and this should aid you in your transport there. Once you have made contact and he accepts the summons give him directions to Dawnstar and then return home. Be sure to mention that he has 24 hours to reach his destination otherwise his invitation is void.”
Irinde turned, clasping her hands behind her back and walked back over to the window. The full moon was now high in the sky and it’s light bathed her giving her pale blonde hair a glowing effect. She had heard mumbles of Matais’s gifts with potions and his affinity with fire; he could be useful in her arsenal of assassins. Granted he would have to pass several tests to become a member of her household but if rumors were true, he would succeed.
Trained eyes moved over the landscape focusing on the slightest movements in the shadows. It was beginning to become unbearable again, the desire to fulfill a contract but she knew that unless it was a near impossible task her place was at Dawnstar. She turned and looked back at Aia. “That is all,” she said with a smile and watched at the child-like woman disappeared from the room.
Irinde walked over to the heavy wooden table that served as a desk next to the fire place. Sitting in the center of it was a scroll… tonight’s contract. Nimble fingers began to roll it the length of the desk, back and forth until she heard the faint sounds of approaching footsteps. Her lips twitched and her crystal eyes flickered with excitement as she instantly recognized the sound of his footsteps.
Edited by Swan, 25 September 2012 - 09:22 PM.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:42 PM
"Irinde is looking for you, sir." he said quickly. "The Speaker is here. It seems a contract..."
The longer Vahlok kept his icy gaze on the young man, the more a tremor crept into the Initiates voice until finally he offered a quick bow in mid-statement and hurried off into a nearby chamber. The dark figure stood a moment longer, amused in his own quiet way by the fear he inspired in the new blood, and then set out for Irinde who was undoubtedly in her chamber.
No boards nor creaky hinges betrayed his movements, even as he entered Irinde's chamber and closed the door behind him. She, and in all likelihood only she, would have heard his approach. He strode purposefully but still silently across the chamber, stopping across the table from her and leveling his gaze at her eyes. Only after a moment did he pull back his cowl, letting the dim light fall upon his full face. Irinde was the only member of this sanctuary, and one of only three among the Brotherhood for that matter, who had ever seen his face and survived to see the following dawn.
"The mark?" he said, his voice but a whisper and yet somehow commanding of attention.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:33 PM
When he took the scroll from her fingers she slipped from her perch and walked over to the fireplace. “I think I have found another recruit. His name is Matais. I am sending Aia to retrieve him.” Irinde watched as the flames flickered in their quest to reach higher and higher. “He has an affinity for fire and is good with potions which could come in handy in this line of work.”
Irinde turned to look at Vahlok. He was reviewing the scroll with an intensity that mirrored her own when given a new contract. “How long do you think this one will take and when will you leave? I realize that you just arrived home and am sure you wish to rest before leaving again.”
As she waited she walked over to the side table and poured the two of them a drink. When she was done she turned in time to see him carefully tuck the scroll away. She took the few steps that separated the two of them and extended the second glass to him. “To help keep the chill at bay.” The two took a sip of the liquior and Irinde retreated to a chair by the fire. She motioned to Vahlok, “Join me and tell me of your last contract.”
Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:51 PM
"Best to wait, it will make for a longer story upon my return." he breathed, turning toward the door.
"I will return by daybreak."
He left the Sanctuary the way he came, compelled for reasons beyond his ken to make all haste to Solitude. As he reached the road, a hand sheathed in a dark, boiling purple aura emerged from his cloak. He held his hand aloft for a moment, then clenched his fist as the sound of hoofbeats began to emanate from the stone of the street. An instant later, a skeletal creature emerged from the air in a flicker of blue flame. Clearly it had been a horse once, but now was an ethereal creature, only bones and the light-less, cold fire of the realm of the Ideal Masters.
He leapt astride the creature and it began to sprint forward without command, speed matched only by the horror of it's visage. He left the road shortly thereafter, avoiding detection by travelling loggers roads and through the forest itself as the situation dictated, and before long he approached the great gate to Solitude.
Before he even entered the city, whispers of his marks' name fell upon his ears. His eyes narrowed as he approached the inn and the crowd that had formed around the already-cooling corpse. In his mind, he wondered what fool would dare such a bold kill. The Tong would not operate so far from their home, so he concluded that it must've been a mere unfortunate coincidence. Robbery perhaps, or a bar-room fight gone badly. Still, a contract had been lost, and a debt must be paid. It did not take him long to determine that the killer was a female, a wood-elf of rather odd appearance by all accounts. No trouble at all, he suspected.
Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:06 PM
‘My ears. That’s where he looked last before I broke free and went inside.‘ she thought, finally placing what was bothering her. She had, once more, forgotten to spell away the jewelry. No nord woman pierced her ears. No one but her cat family did that… She wanted to groan at the mistake. It wasn’t just that, she also wasn’t happy that woman from before would remember the odd wood-elf with piercings. If anyone thought it much past a simple death, Zev might have an annoyance on her hands. It was all she needed to have to avoid Solitude for a year or so.
‘Maybe I’ll get lucky and no one on the city guards will look into it… the Brotherhood will just see it as a convenient natural death and I got to do something interesting. No harm, no foul.’ She told herself as her fingers flicked over the vials on her belt again. Her fingers moved on the category her current inventory as she made her way around the winding streets trying to spot the Argonian during his rounds. IF she didn’t catch him then, he might not deal with her later. When her fingers felt over her lock picks and the smallest was missing, she literally stopped in the middle of the road.
Her mind went blank and it was only when the woman behind her swerved around her, that she moved from the lane. Mounting the steps quickly, she sat heavily on a bench and stared dimly ahead at where festival of the burning of King Olaf normally took place near the bard’s college. In her mind’s eye she could see that pick was probably laying somewhere around the inn’s threshold or maybe even in the victim’s clothes. Zev also knew that the one she had used to introduce the poison was one of her very finest, skinniest picks. The kind that typically fairly more expense and could only be obtained from the Thieves’ Guild.
After old man Heaver passed, his son had taken to make them for the Guild. He had this hairball theory that the DragonBorn had been the one to restore them to their former glory all those years past. It was said they had dealings with the Guild, but no one really said the DragonBorn was the master. Maybe it was just never made official. Well, young man Heaver believed full tilt that they had been involved. Not only that, but had been a Nightingale. The latter with which no one in the Guild believes even exist.
Nocturnal was the ‘patron’ of the Guild, for the most part. It was said that there are 3 chosen members of the Guild who made a pact with her and, in turn, she gave her blessing. The symbol for a Nightingale was a bird (nightingale) with its wings outstretched forming a circle and in the middle of those wings, before they met, was a full moon. It was this that young man Heaver painstaking added to the end of his higher quality picks. Namely, that almost hair thin, flexible and amazingly resistant pick she’d left at the scene of her crime. Such a rookie mistake.
Her fingers tightened on that empty spot in her pick case as her eyes caught the Argonian she was looking for. Pushing the possible ramifications of her mistake aside, she saw the slight nod of his head. Even though he dealt with the Guild, he much preferred information exchange rather than goods. One didn’t just show up and trade, if you didn’t have an appointment, you hoped he gave you the time of day and waited on his leisure... With that, she started the careful business of following him to his particular place of residence.
Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:18 PM
Though the house was unimpressive, the decor was anything but modest. Baubles of questionable authenticity littered every surface but a lone wingback chair, upon which the Argonian sat, blood dripping from his slackened jaw. Vahlok supposed that when one deals with thieves and cutthroats for a living, a bit of caution is warranted no matter how invaluable you may be, but a few high-end locks and a single thug served as no impedence.. After re-engaging the locks, Vahlok moved quickly, knowing that the elf woman would be only minutes behind. He moved silently behind the quivering, rasping Argonian, occasionally shushing him with a whisper. From beneath his cloak he drew a sackcloth hood and placed it over the Argonians head, pulling the drawstring tight. Positioned in front of the door as the chair was, it should make for an interesting view for the elf when she arrived.
Even as he began to take his first step toward concealment, Vahlok paused and knelt before the chair, opening his hand and dropping it flatly into the pool of blood between the feet of the Argonian. Never one for theatrics, he nonetheless strode to the wall directly behind the chair and pressed his open palm against the wall, leaving a telltale handprint. One way or another, the Brotherhood would have their kill and their glory before the night was through.
Posted 08 October 2012 - 11:30 PM
Following the fence as he went from back door to back door, she kept as much distance that she could, only keeping him just in view. Zev knew the power of an unsullied name. They may not know it explicitly, but some might suspect her trade. Knowing that was a very real possibility, she knew the Argonian didn’t wish to be seen with ‘her kind.’ It frankly rankled. No matter what he said, without the Guild he would be no better than a rat-beggar asking for alms, or an upstanding citizen in society. Never knew which way it went, honestly.
Finally, he gave her a look and started back to his house. Seeing that, she let him leave her view. There were other paths to his house. If he didn’t wish to be seen around her, it also meant the things she sold would have less of a chance to be tracked back to her.
Enter from the front door was also a less than ideal situation. The area he lived in had several entries. Knowing the Argonian as she did, only one of those extra entries was used as a second exit. Zev had a fine ear for traps and a deft enough hand to deal with one, if need be. She didn’t like it but she could do it. In this place, she never had the luxury of feeling around the doors. Instead she always went for the concealed back entrance.
Pressing her ear to the door, she slowly turned the handle. The moment she heard a sound, she eased it back. With a sigh, she moved back and let her mind churn over what that sound might mean. All the other times they had just been high end locks that you had to pick just right in order to get past. She could tell he’d upgraded the back door. Hoping she would be to fool hardy to notice? As she thought, her eyes roved over the back of the house. They latched onto a window. It was too small for a grown man… but just right for a slight elf such as herself.
Making her way through the house to his study, she was surprised when she didn’t come across his hired hand. Merc and cook, he was an interesting fellow. Normally, she was able to find him and disarm him before he could take a shot.
Shaking her head, she pushed open the door to the study. As she did so, she could have sworn she heard a groan. Slipping in, it too her eyes a moment to adjust. When they did, she saw Argonian behind his desk, in his normal char, in his richer looking clothes. It was how he normally greeted her… but not this time. This time he was slumped in his chair and blood was on his fine clothing. There was a coarse sack over his head but she knew it was him by his size and his scaly hands.
As her eyes raced up and down, they started to blur with the unreality of the situation. Her lips parted, but no sound came out of her dry throat. Her fingers clenched and uncurled of their own accord as her body screamed ‘RUN’. Zev would tell the Argonian was still alive, and she knew not the purpose. Her eyes went back to his covered head and noticed a stain on the wall. As the stain became recognizable as a bloody hand print, her mouth snapped shut and she paled. The myth was that the Brotherhood left such a sign when they knew. She thought they were just a myth. Pressing her back against the wall, she stared at the mark and watched as the blood slowly rolled down the wall.
It was fresh.
“I just…” Zev said before her voice faded. Excuses didn’t matter to them, the rumors said. “It was just…” Reasons meant nothing, people whispered in dark corners.
“Thief?” The Argonian gasped. “Did you…” She watched his hands move. They could barely raise. He must have been roughed up. He could barely stay upright. “If you… I shall… forget this…”
‘Only death mattered to them.’ As the thought entered her mind, she felt it sit there, heavy. Zev wasn’t sure when she’d made the choice or what had made it. Once moment she was motionless, the next her bow was in her hands, an arrow readied. From a distance she could hear the Argonian ask what she was doing, what was that noise, why wasn’t he free. They were in short gasps. Then, all she heard was her arrow fly and a resounding ‘THUNK’ before blood spurted from the Argonian’s throat further staining his fine clothes. “Then there was silence and my innocence was gone.” She said under her breath. “A life for a life.”
Posted 15 October 2012 - 12:56 AM
He stepped from the shadows behind the elf woman a moment after the Argonian breathed his last. He strode past her, footfalls silent, like a spectre, halting a few paces from where the corpse sat and pivoting after a momentary examination of her handiwork. He leveled his gaze upon her, the shadows cast by his cowl concealing his face entirely, and examined her for a moment before affording her a quick nod. This was not the outcome he had anticipated, but he was pleased nonetheless with her initiative. The shifting he felt in the Void indicated that he was not the only one.
"We are messengers of death. Harbingers of the wrath of our Dread Father." he muttered, stepping toward her.
"There is a door, carved into the cliffs along the shore of the Sea of Ghosts near Dawnstar. When questioned, answer with 'Innocence, my brother' and be welcomed.
A few more steps and he stood side by side with the woman, and he leaned close to her as he passed. The scent of death had seemingly permeated his very skin and would fill her nostrils. A cold hand fell upon her shoulder and squeezed, gentle but chilling to the very heart.
"Welcome to the Family." he breathed into her ear, and a moment later he was gone.
Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:22 AM
Zev wasn’t sure what to expect when she saw the arrow hit its mark. It felt like very long moments as she looked at the piece of wood that ended the Argonian’s life. In reality, it was bare heart beats that she stood there still in an archer’s stance, her fingers devoid of the arrow she’d let fly.
Her body jerked as the air was displaced at her side. She had been her caravan’s hunter and had amp training in knowing when danger was present; she was a good thief and more than skilled at sensing others… yet she had not felt anything until the dark dressed man passed her. Zev wasn’t that full of herself to think that she was the best at her trade, she was far away from being a Grey Fox, but she was no slacker in her studies. Up and coming potential was what she was.
Dressed head to toe in black, he could blend in with any shadow and she would not see him.
As the thoughts came and went from her mind, the man turned. When she felt his eyes on her, her fingers twitched, wanting another arrow to fill the empty grip. Instead she forced her arms to drop to her sides. With the quick, sure movement the man had, she knew she wouldn’t be able to draw an arrow before he would be upon her.
‘Felt’ his eyes on her was the imperative word. She could not tell his race or skin tone, she could not even see the glint of his eye as he silently appraised her. Zev knew he was weighing her. What she didn’t know is what tipped the scales. All she knew is she felt a great sense of relief touch her at his nod. His silent stare felt as long as her first run in with their Guild Leader. This man, however, had every reason to appear more deadly.
When he finally spoke, a bare murmur that would have been lost had the room not been silent, she was startled to hear a normal tone. As he moved closer, she tried to digest his words. Why was he telling her about a door and a response? Had he heard her words from before and was mocking her? There was no trace of mockery in his words or stance… ‘Instructions, he’s giving me instructions,’ it dawned on her finally as he stopped next to her.
Not certain of his intent, she forced herself to keep still as her eyes followed him. Even as he leaned in, she could see nothing of his features. Zev almost fancied she saw a gleam where his eyes may have been. Speculation was cut short and her jaw clenched as the overwhelming stench of blood registered on her senses. It bordered on sickening and even under the heavy metallic scent lay the deeper note of rotting flesh.
The man was more than familiar with death. As his hand rested on her shoulder, she felt a cold seep from him to her. It seemed to settle inside her making her coldly accept what she had just done. The man she killed before and the other her arrow claimed moments before had set something into motion that she could not change. As his final words touched her ears, her eyes widened. Before she could respond, he was gone and the words echoed in her ears:
"Welcome to the Family."
Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:23 PM
What would they do if she never showed? Would they care, would they find her? The fact someone had managed to find her in Solitude so quickly, knew she would find this fence, and was waiting… Zev knew the answer. In chaos there was order. The Void always had its ways. Lore said the Brotherhood was watched by Sithis and the Dark Mother. Zev wondered which had seen fit to expose her. Not as if she could touch a God.
Two dead in Solitude and no one cares about a silly little elven woman who could have been one of the Gray sector. Maybe she should have thought a lot harder before she killed the other guy. Then again, she was never one to think things through all the way. Weakness of mind, perchance; it was an evil malady.
With a shake, she brought herself back to the present. Making quick work of it, she lifted a few items she knew were most valuable, and lease suspect. She also managed to crack the safe he lizard had hidden. Even more impressive was the shiny new dagger she saw there. Her fingers reached out to caress the sheave. It was too ornate to steal and sell… someone would know. That disappointed her. It did not stop her from drawing the dagger. As she did, she saw her reflection before. Tilting it in the light, a sheen of green flickered along the blade. ‘I could keep it…’ once the thought entered her head, she had the coin purse tucked away and tore off a strip of a surrounding red curtain. Quickly winding it around the dagger she covered its sheave. Now it looked more like something she might own.
Quickly shoving it next to her older dagger, in a shoddy black case, she was out of the room. As swiftly as she could, she retraced her steps. Mindful to lock the doors behind her she even reset the trap she had disarmed. Not very well, setting traps wasn't her strong suit, but it would pass muster.
Turning, she was ducking down passageways and out of the city before she'd fully decided to go. Once past the gate, Zev couldn't help but look over her shoulder. With a shudder, her feet began taking her south east...
Staring at the normal sized door at the back of a cliff, she wasn't, it wasn't... It looked like homage to the bleached bones of a long dead, dissembled human. The red light that radiated from the door was threatening enough to frighten anyone away. But it was right outside of Dawnstar. Did the populous know and just not discuss it? All the places she’d been with her family’s caravan when she was a child, her and her friends would go crazy trying to find every nook and secret of the town. That was how she found Riften’s Guild and the dashing rogue Arnd that convinced her to stay. Then again, that didn’t end so well considering she couldn’t return to her caravan, if she even found them, and the guild has yet to relocate Arnd’s whereabouts.
‘Joining the brotherhood could boost my odds of survival… or see me to an even earlier grave.’ Even as she thought that, the decision was taken from her hands as the door began to speak.
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
For moment, she just looked at the door, guessing herself again. Soon the words "Innocence, my brother,” tumbled off her lips, a bare whisper of air. The door swung open with an eerie creak and darkness met her. Peering in, her eyes adjusted some and she made her first hesitating step inside. Pressing a palm against the roughhewn rock wall, she blinked as her eyes fully switched over from day to night vision when the door closed behind her, almost nipping her heels. Eyes wide and blinking, she started down the stairs.
Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:40 AM
The estate was rumored to have more magical items per person than even the mage's college. The guards were trained mages and carried staffs to cover the areas of magic which they didn't study. I won't be able to take them on directly, Matais thought. I may be good, but even I couldn't handle that many enemies at once. Though he was on his way to the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary a woman named Aia had given him directions to, he didn't want to show up empty handed. In stead of taking a carriage directly to Dawnstar he had swung by the Apothecary's in Winterhold so that he could mix a few more potions. For the most part they consisted of invisibility potions, though he created several more of what he called “money potions”, potions which he couldn't use but which were worth more than one hundred gold each, making them useful only in trade. My coin purse is a bit empty, he thought, I need to have at least a few hundred coins in it before I arrive. Afterwords he walked across the ice to just outside the Sunrise Estates.
Ordinarily it wouldn't be worth the risk to break into such a heavily fortified place, but there was a prize inside which made it worth breaking into. Besides being a skilled mage and a racist, he was also a collector of Daedric artifacts. According to one of Matais' contacts, near the end of his life the old man had managed to acquire several genuine Daedric artifacts, including, most notably, the Black Star. A corrupted version of Azura's Star, it was said to be an infinitely useful black soul gem. Unable to find a steady source of black soul gems while at the college, Matais was forced to forgo the best source of grand souls he knew of, people. But with the Black Star in his possession, a steady stream of soul gems would no longer be necessary. He would merely need to enchant something between contracts and he could reuse it as much as he wanted.
Matais ran to within a few paces of the guards, kept safe by one of the invisibility potions he had brewed. There he saw one guard, much younger than the others. After charging one of the few illusion spells he knew, Matais cast “frenzy” on the young guard, and watched as the guard summoned a flame atronach and began shooting flames at his allies.
“What do you think you're doing?” yelled another guard, as he readied a frost spell. “Insolent s'wit!”
Matais drank another potion and ran by as he heard another guard say “wait, he's under a spell”. As he started to open the door he looked back and saw the guard cast a calming spell on the teen.
Matais ran up one side of the double staircase before the door. Stupid, he thought, now they will know you're here. He followed signs within the manor, drinking another potion along the way to avoid those he saw, until he found the Enchanting room. I really need that invisibility spell I saw at the store. Inside the room he saw an Altmer looking at one of several enchanting tables. Is that what I think it is? Matais thought, startled. Dawnbreaker, the sword said to be the bane of all undead. Maybe I can take it while he isn't looking. Matais reached up to unfasten the scabbard from his side, just as the effect of the invisibility potion ended.
“By the Eight Divines! Thief!” yelled the high elf as he drew the very sword Matais had tried to steal. Matais threw up a lesser ward as he downed another vile invisibility potion. Definitely need that spell. He disappeared and the elf started to look around as two other men entered, a dark elf and a wood elf.
“Look around. He's here somewhere.” Matais backed up to a wall, hoping they wouldn't bump into him. He slowly made his way over to the enchanting table the man had been using, where he saw it. A star shaped soul gem, about the same shade of purplish-black the black soul gems Matais had managed to acquire before. That potion will run out soon anyway. Uncorking another invisibility potion, Matais quickly grabbed the gem and stuck it into his pocket. The guards ran towards him, spells ready, as he downed the last invisibility potion he had.
Matais rolled to the left, barely dodging a fire ball, and sprinted to the room's attached balcony. He stood on the rail and jumped as far as he could, dislocating his shoulder as he tried to grab the branch of a tree on the way down. Casting a fast healing spell with his good arm, he sprinted out of the estate, drinking “restore fatigue” potions as he ran, the guards chasing him across the ice.
Stupid, stupid. Matais realized that he didn't have a chance. Six guards followed him as best he could tell, and if he got much closer to Winterhold, the guards would join in as well. Very well, time to do something even stupider. Matais turned right, running through the middle of a giant camp. Soon after passing through it he turned around. The guards followed him through the camp, only to see one of their number go flying into the air as a he got hit by a giant club. Looking at the giant, they saw it was on fire, attacking the nearest potential enemy.
Matais switched the fire bolt spell in his hand for something a bit less conspicuous as he ran to Winterhold stables in the hope of getting a carriage ride to Dawnstar.
Matais walked up to a strange door which buzzed with magic in the ice. "What is the color of blood?", the skull-door said in a hollow whisper.
"innocence, brother." Matais responded with the code phrase.
The door opened and Matais entered.
Edited by TheUnknowable, 30 October 2012 - 07:45 AM.
Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:12 PM
What he wore:
Eminent Robes of Destruction
Fortify Destruction Ring (20%)
Fortify Magika Amulet (40 points)
Circlet of Restoration (20%)
Steel Dagger (fire, 25 points, greater soul)
37 Iron arrows
Steel bow (soul trap, 3 sec, common soul)
5 Petty soul gems (empty)
2 Petty soul gems (petty)
3 lesser soul gems (empty)
4 common soul gems (empty)
1 common soul gem (lesser)
1 common soul gem (common)
3 greater soul gems (empty)
2 grand soul gems (empty)
5 black soul gems (empty)
2 black soul gems (grand) (bandits)
Black star (empty)
assorted cheap gems
assorted alchemy ingredients
a dozen or so potions (restore health, restore magicka, restore stamina, one resist frost, one enchanter's draught)
2 Apple Cabbage stew
1 Roasted Chicken Breast
2 Black Brier mead
1 Alto Wine
1 Cyrodiilic Brandy (an investment, or to celebrate, got in trade with a Kajiit caravan from Cyrodil, worth about 200-300 gold)
Books (The Lusty Argonian Maid I and II, Verities of Daedra, Frostfall 2525, etc.)
Mysterious note (we know)
And the Brotherhood armor
So that's it, thought Matais. All that I own, so little it can fit on a bed. I definitely need to earn some more coin. Maybe I should take a contract or two, especially if my shop doesn't take off. Matais put his things back where they should be. I'll give it a few days. If I'm not selling enough by then, I'll have to take a few contracts.
Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:19 PM
He reached the Sanctuary with moments to spare before his prediction, the sun peaking over the horizon just as the door swung shut behind him. Disappointed to have missed out on the kill that evening, he shook the melting snow from his cloak and made haste to Irindes chamber, entering as silently as he had before and drawing the door closed behind him. He afforded her a quick nod and leaned back against the doorframe, eyes drifting across the room to stare at seemingly nothing. He still felt it, the shifting in the chaos that lay just beneath the veneer of reality. The force of this rippling grew stronger by the hour, and he suspected that before this new day was done that he would have to seek council on these stirrings... but that conversation was for no ears but his own.
"The contract is complete." he said quietly. "By a new Initiate, no less. The Dread Father favors us, Irinde, to send us so many potential Brothers and Sisters. I suspect that he has great plans for us in the coming months."
Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:35 AM
To whom it may concern:
Greetings, fellow children of Sithis. My name is Matais. I am an apothecary and enchanter who works for this sanctuary. I hereby offer my wares to those in this sanctuary who have need and coin enough for them.
I am in need of several supplies. While I am not yet desperate enough for them to bother searching apothecaries, I am willing to purchase them should you happen to come across them in your travels. I do not even care if these supplies are stolen or not, as they will be used for crafting.
Will pay half market value (yet still more than a store or fence would pay):
Rings and Necklaces (unenchanted)
Soul gems (filled)
Elven, glass, orcish, ebony, and daedric blades (unenchanted)
most alchemy ingredients not listed below
Will pay full market value:
Soul gems, including black (unfilled)
Ice Wraith Teeth
Luna moth wings
Nirnroot (both standard and crimson)
Human flesh (should be easy enough)
Mountain flowers (all three colors)
Blue butterfly wing
I am looking forward to doing business with you.
Matais left and went to his quarters. Long day, thought Matais as he flopped onto his bed. What he needed was a nice, long nap. When he woke up, he'd feel much better.
Matais sat in front of a mirror, combing his fur. He examined his face. Fur and whiskers combed, fangs and claws cleaned and sharpened. He opened the drawer in front of him. A necklace of Khajiit design which he had never seen before sat there. Matais picked it up and turned it over. “From a friend.”
Camilla must have left it for me. He slipped the chain around his neck, and burst into flame. As he felt his fur burn and his skin begin to heat up he knew he must remove it. He wrapped his hand around the necklace and tried to pull it off, but he no longer had the strength. He collapsed on the floor, soon dieing from the flames which consumed his body.
Now he was walking down the halls of the Mage's college students quarter. Jo-Jasha was starting to improve, he thought, with a bit more practice he'll be caught up in Conjuration class. Then I won't need to tutor him as much and I can spend more time with Matais.
He walked into his room, only to see himself reappearing.
“Matais, what are you doing here? And invisible? Were you trying out a new spell or what?” he said. The double throw a fire bolt and he was thrown backwards, against a wall. Darkness and cold overcame him.
Matais woke with a start. What was that? He'd never dreamed of being another before. Jo-Jasha and Camilla though? Why would I dream of being them? I must just be nervous. They're the first people I murdered. It may take awhile before I get used to it.
As Matais dozed off again, strange words in a strange voice came to him. “Thus shall it be. In taking one of my gifts you have gained both. Whenever you sleep you shall see your victim's death through their eyes.” Matais was to tired to worry about it. It's only a stress-induced dream, he thought, as he dozed off again.
Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:51 AM
One of them suddenly seemed to stand straighter and their eyes met for a brief moment. The woman wasn’t looking at her, Zev felt, rather she was being looked through. It was more than eerie. Zev was happy when the contact was broken and the woman hurried away.
Shaking her head slightly, she started down the stairs giving the woman who had ran off plenty of time to get ahead of her. As she reached the bottom of the stairs she smiled slightly at the sight of the alchemy table and garden. Idly walking past, her eyes wandered over the various plants that could be used as poison agents. Mushrooms and belled plants, vines and fungus; the pop of color that the nightshade brought to the poisonous garden almost seemed cheery.
Continuing on with no real goal in mind, she stopped again when she was confronted with a very large circle stain glass ‘window’. ‘It’s a cave… is it lit from within?’ Zev wondered. In a similar fashion of the door to the brotherhood, this was more a glorification of human remains in sinister red. It was then that a door opened and the low sound of moans reached her ears. Swiveling toward the sound she took a few steps forward and saw someone shutting a door behind them. With the door shut, so to was that quiet weak sound of pain, a human that sounded reduced to a bestial whine. Without thinking she took a step back, bumping into something.
“Oh, hi there!” [coor=darkseagreen] a small voice said behind her, Turning again, she looked into the eyes of a child. Zev had run into her table. [/color] “You’re new here aren’t ya?”
Zev was unsure if she should nod, or try to pretend otherwise. As if she spoke the little girl laughed. “I know you’re new. You can’t hide that from me. Name’s Babette, I’m a whole lot older than you, but I fooled ya didn’t I?”
Blinking, Zev made a hesitant smile and took in a deep breath. Her words made more sense when the particular blend of earth and dust reached her nose. “Vampire. I get it now.” When the girl grinned, Zev shook her head again. “Any suggestion of who I should be going to?” She watched as the girl cocked her head in thought.
"For you? Probably Irinde… You look like you'd be fun to play with. Maybe we can play together after you see Irinde? She's down that way, all the way down that way."
“Depends on what you mean by ‘play’,” Zev returned, cocking a brow. “If I’m to be prey, no. If it’s a shared contract, maybe.” Her diagnosis of the vampire must have been right for the little girl peeled off laughter.
“... You kinda remind me of him. HE’s been long dead, after bringing us back. (Potentially referring to the DragonBorn who brought them back from near extinction in the Skyrim era since she was alive then.) It's been a while since someone interesting joined; long while. There was this mage guy but he don't talk much. I’ll see you later!”
Zev gave her a faint smile and started off ‘down that way’. As she kept on she found out that it really did just keep going. There were various rooms and a few offshoots, but mostly a tunnel like maze that would be hell to get out of in a fire. Finally, she made it to a larger open room with a bunch of benches and an upraised platform with a large chair on it. Reminded her almost of what she imagined a throne room to be, not that she’d seen one before. Moving off to the side she tried to blend in as she watched those in the room. She wasn’t quite sure who Irinde was and she want’ ready to draw undue attention to herself.
Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:17 PM