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Thread: [M] Skyrim: Rise of the Stormcloaks

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    Recruiting [M] Skyrim: Rise of the Stormcloaks

    Link to OOC here
    Elisif



    It was very early morning in Solitude. The first day under their new King Ulfric. Though the Moot had not met to inaugurate him as of yet, it would no doubt be soon. A few would not stand for it, but many would support Ulfric Stormcloak to their deaths. Even Jarl Elisif herself was forced to give her allegiance to him and his cause. The very man that had murdered her Husband Torygg weeks earlier, was now her superior. Elisif cringed at the thought. How someone so fierce could gain the love and adoration of his subjects was beyond her understanding. It was unclear to her how people could value brute strength and power over understanding and kindness. They failed to understand that the only reason Torygg agreed to the White Gold Concordat was to end the war and prevent more bloodshed. It seemed to make the most sense at the time and Skyrim needed--deserved-- a break from conflict.

    Ulfric Stormcloak didn't seem to agree with him. He challenged him to a duel and as his blade pierced the heart of Lady Elisif's beloved, said:

    "How can a man who cannot defend himself, defend his people?"

    Elisif had been in mourning for at least a month. Then she became inherently angry for the next and this was her current stance. She... was... furious.

    It consumed her. Every waking moment she was thinking about how to rid Skyrim of the tyrant Ulfric. She was angry because though Torygg's death seemed unjust, it was actually by the rules. He was challenged to a duel and he accepted and he lost.

    "There has to be a way to expose Ulfric for the tyrannic racist he is!" She shouted inside her mind, sitting on her throne in the dim light of morning. She had been sitting there all night without a wink of sleep. How could she sleep? She was too frustrated to sleep. All of her emotions were running high-- but alas-- her face appeared as calm as a trickling stream. It would be unlike her to show that she was having any negative emotions. She struggled to appear the steadfast leader that her people needed.

    Her people... she cared so much for even the smallest of them. To see the people gathering in the marketplace for trading and their children running and playing tag was perhaps the only thing that kept her going. She wanted to see this peace again.

    And by the gods, she would find a way.

    "My lady?" a stewardess peeked out of the kitchen, "Can I get you anything?"

    Elisif turned to her with a warm, but tired expression from staying up all night, "My dear servant, I require nothing. In fact, I was thinking of making a trip to one of the Inns for nourishment. I wish to see how my people are fairing."

    "M-my lady..." the woman stuttered.

    "Yes, what is it? Please do not be afraid to let me hear your voice." Elisif replied.

    "I would be afraid for you to leave the palace." the stewardess' faced softened, but showed slight worry.

    Elisif stood up and the woman bowed her head. Elisif placed her right hand on her shoulder and looked her in the eyes, "My dear servant, I shall be fine."

    The woman nodded and smiled cautiously, "Very well, my..." she whispered and trailed off, "...queen."

    Elisif smiled kindly, "Please, do not address me as such. I have not been given that title as of yet, though you may wish it upon me. Plead to the gods for me to be guided along the best path."

    "Yes, my Jarl." She bowed one last time and excused herself.

    Elisif watched her scuttle back into the kitchen where they had only now begun preparing breakfast. She felt as though someone was watching her, however and turned around to Falk standing in the doorway behind her. He was looking at her suspiciously.

    "You don't intend to go out alone in the wee hours of the morning, do you, my Jarl?" He asked.

    Elisif smiled and let out a small bit of laughter, "I haven't the slightest idea what you would think I would do so, Sir Falk Firebeard."

    He sighed and stepped towards her, "If you must go into town have a few guards follow you and for Sovngarde's sake, wear a disguise."

    Elisif nodded, "Please don't worry about me. I know that I am young. But, I can take care of myself."

    She went back to her quarters and put on some less recognizable clothes and a cloak to not only hide her face, but to shield her from the cold and snow that had come over Solitude this month. Her guards kept back from her so that it wouldn't be obvious that they were following her.

    She wondered how the new Stormcloak guards stationed here were treating her people. Especially since all of them had supported the Empire.

    She managed to walk down to the shopping district where the market was just beginning to set up. Everyone seemed to be proceeding as normal. But, really, what else could they do? These people had to make a living. She smiled to herself, admiring their ability to continue on even though they might be hurting on the inside. She did not want any of them to lose that.

    "Fine work sir. May I have a look at your wares?" She asked a man who had just finished putting out fruits and vegetables for sale and walked up to his cart, browsing his inventory with a soft smile.
    Last edited by lain; 12-03-2016 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Hated my other intro. lol

  2. #2
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    A few days earlier
    "All of them, Boethia"

    Those four words were whispered as supplies at a Nord military camp were poisoned with a frenzy potion. Only two guards were on duty so it would be easy to finish this mission. As a lone Dunmer hid in a bush the first of the soldiers woke up. These Nords were Stormcloaks and, whether on orders from Ulfric or not, they were threatening New Zainib. Some had gotten drunk and thrown empty mean bottles at the ashlander camp, screaming about cleaning the filth out of Skyrim. Ali Drel, the ashkhan, had tempered her guards, telling them to only engage if the Nords attacked, even if some of her fellow ashlanders would rather have cracked some Stormcloak skulls. But she knew better then to directly engage these soldiers, as that might enrage their leaders and cause more trouble, and since more Dunmer were coming to their camp to escape their marginalization, mostly in Windhelm, she knew it would be a bad idea to attract a war with an overwhelming force. And so she waited, first for nightfall when she donned her Boethia armour, and now she waited for the Nords to have their first meal of the day, and soon to be their last. One of the Nords, a female Nord, didn't eat first though, she went to a nearby hot spring to bathe, Ali knew a new friend of hers, Jenassa, would be waiting by that hot spring. And so she watched. Activating her invisibility spell she sneaked around the camp, planting suggestions in everyone's minds as they ingested the Frenzy potion-spiked food and drink. And then the fight broke out. The camp tore itself apart, with the Stormcloak commander barely surviving. Ali revealed herself to him as he slowly bled out and the effects of the potion wore off. "What are you doing here, Dark Elf bitch?!" he snapped. "Just making sure my mistress gets what she wants" she said. "And what is that? And who is your mistress" the dying Nord asked. "All of them" she said, pointing to the dead Nords. "All of them Boethia" she whispered as she drove the sword of one of the soldiers through his chest, putting him out of his misery. She went back into her yurt, grabbed her supplies and went to bathe in the hot spring. Jenassa was bathing as well, the corpse of the other Nord woman was in a nearby tree, half undressed. "I made it look like a hagraven got her" Jenassa said, smiling. "You paint such lovely pictures" Ali said, washing herself clean and changing back into her ashkhan outfit, putting her armour into her backpack. She went back down to her camp and spoke with the head of the guards. "The Nords wont be bothering us again, and now I must go and find some supplies, and a way for us to actually grow food here" she said to him as she hooked her cart up to her horse. "I will protect the camp in your absence, with advice from the Wise Woman of course" he said, saluting Ali as she rode off.

    Current day
    It took her the better part of a week to make it to Solitude, where she was told she could find what she needed. As she entered the city she looked around the market, it was clear they were still recovering from the Siege of Solitude, and the prices reflected that. Ali still paid for what was needed though, mostly some wood and seeds to she could make a garden for New Zainib to grow their own food. She looked after her people, there was almost nothing she wouldn't do.


    Thank you to Alice for making my sig and avi <3

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    Ulfric



    Along the icy road out of Solitude, a Stormcloak army marched south. At its head, rode a retinue of Nordic warhorses led by the rebel king, Ulfric Stormcloak. Fog crept from his nostrils as he exhaled, staring from dull, blue eyes watching the snow fall. A thick, gray fur cloak, coated with frost kept him warm, as did a suit of chainmail under his majestic plate armor, decorated with Nordic etchings, swirls of alchemical blue paint that sparkled when touched by light, and a breastplate with steel welded into the shape of a bear’s head protruding from its chest.

    The armor had been crafted in the Skyforge and presented to Ulfric by Eorlund Gray-Mane after the Siege of Whiterun. He had worn it almost religiously since on his campaigns throughout the war, and its magnificence had only added to his growing legend. Now he marched home atop a black steed, with a legion of Nords at his heel, and he truly was a high king of Men in all but title.

    A gust of chilled morning wind howled, whipping Ulfric’s thick bronze mane which had grown to a barbarian length over the course of this long campaign, with a graying beard to match. The extra length was kept in braids to keep it manageable and respectable, but the hair was too long at this point, and had to be put up like an Akaviri warrior in battle. The road was mostly quiet, but for the sound of hooves on the frozen cobblestone, and a gruff old man humming an even older tune.

    The grizzled old Nord riding beside him was Galmar Stone-Fist, his friend, mentor, and housecarl, and his father’s housecarl before him. Ancient and weathered, but still healthy as an ox. The cold gust of wind stopped his humming, and he shivered, took a drink of mead, cleared his throat, and started to hum again, but then stopped and turned to his king.

    “Ulfric, give me your damned cloak, would you?”

    “Cold, old man?” the High King asked with a smile. He undid his cloak and leaned over on his horse to hand it to Galmar. “We’re not even out of Haafingar yet.” Galmar took the cloak and scoffed, shaking his head.

    “At this pace, we’ll be lucky to reach Dragon Bridge by nightfall.” Galmar wrapped himself in Ulfric’s cloak, immediately relieved by its warmth. “Not that it matters, I suppose.” The old man paused for another drink. “I still think we should’ve just taken a ship.”

    “I’d prefer to march with my men.”

    “Heh, I think you’d prefer to parade your victory through your new kingdom,” Galmar retorted. Ulfric kept his quiet gaze on the falling snow. “I’m only speaking matter of factly,” Galmar added. “I know you, and there’s no point in trying to be someone you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate, and you deserve it, more than anyone. You don’t need to humble yourself.”

    “I do,” Ulfric said firmly. “Skyrim is my home, it is not my kingdom. Not any more than it is yours, or any Nord’s. I am no different from any other man, and I mustn’t forget that. I am High King because the Gods alone will it. I only do what I must for my people, and for my home.”

    “I don’t believe that,” Galmar shook his head. “And I don’t think you do either. But I know you try to, and that is what sets you apart from the rest of us. That is why we call you King. That is why these men and women follow you. That is why Skyrim loves you. You are a hero to me, brother. But you try too hard to be like Talos. Don’t forget to be Ulfric.”

    “Thank you, Galmar.” Ulfric finally turned to his old friend. “I will try.”

    “I know you will,” Galmar said, before finishing off his mead. “I’m going to need more mead.”

    “Did you send all of the messages I asked for?” Ulfric asked, referring now to matters of state.

    “Yes,” Galmar nodded. “I’ve sent couriers to each of the holds, summoning them to Windhelm to convene the Moot. I’ve also sent men to High Rock and Hammerfell, inviting their leaders to the Palace of Kings to initiate a dialogue. We’ll be able to reach out to the Emperor and the Argonians once we’ve returned to Windhelm.”

    “Good,” Ulfric affirmed, feeling more focused now. “Who did you send to Hammerfell?”

    “Ralof of Riverwood.”

    “Why Ralof?” Ulfric frowned. “I wanted to use his sword arm elsewhere.”

    “The Redguards are a proud warrior people like ourselves,” Galmar explained. “They respect strength. You don’t send a weak messenger to a strong king; you send a champion. I trust him to get the job done, and we can’t afford any incidents. He’ll be back before he’s needed.”

    “Fair enough. And the garrison in Solitude knows to be on their best behavior?”

    “They’d better. I put Soren in charge. He’s a good man, and his men are all honest folk; no criminals. I made sure he understands the importance of diffusing the tension. The people need to know we’re on their side. I’m sending the harder men to the Reach.”

    “Smart thinking. Hopefully they’ll come to realize we’re not the monsters the Empire makes us out to be. More bloodshed is the last thing Skyrim needs right now.” Ulfric finished, and they continued trotting in silence along the snowy road.

    “Why are we riding so damn far ahead?” Galmar turned behind him to Ulfric’s guard cavalry. “The war’s over, we’ve won. We’re not marching to battle, we’re going home! Drop formation and mingle with your fellow soldiers! What’s the point of marching if we don’t get to hear the skalds?” The Master of Horse laughed with Galmar, and the guard cavalry pulled back into the crowd of marching men and women. Ulfric and Galmar joined the pack as well, becoming engulfed in Stormcloak footpads, still cheerful in celebration of the recent victory; drunk and singing along with the spirited skalds. Maybe Galmar was right, the war was over, now was the time for a parade, not an army.
    Last edited by Canaan; 12-04-2016 at 07:52 AM.

  4. #4
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    "So did you hear?"

    "About what?"

    "The Wraith! He struck again, this time at the docks here in Solitude!"

    "What?! Who'd he kill this time?"

    "A Captain of some Stormcloak vessel, when that Fog rolled in last night. They found him hanging from the Crow's nest!"

    "And nobody saw him? Not even the crew?"

    "Not a one."

    Wraith sat a few tables away, listening to the conversation with amusement as he ate a hearty breakfast Lisette had brought him from the Innkeeper. Even now as she continued playing, she eyed him with a wink and a smile, the memories of last night obviously earning him some favor from the saucy Breton. She never even noticed when he had left her bed after their romping the night before, nor his return afterwards, giving him the perfect alibi should anyone come asking.

    He leaned back in his chair, pressing against the wall a few feet to the side of the window, his position giving him the advantage of an escape should he need it, though he doubted it. Taking a sip of his ale, he eyed the Bard with a wicked grin and glittering eyes that no doubt implied that he would enjoy her company yet again soon.

    ------

    Ali Drel had decided, since a lot of her food supplies were meant for her return trip that she would get a quick meal while spending maybe a day or two in Solitude. She walked into the inn, the smell of freshly baked bread, and stew, as well as the usual mead and pipesmoke got her blood flowing, not in the way setting off a frenzy spell in the middle of a group of enemies did, but it was definitely something she missed being in the ashlander camp most of the time. She looked around for a table, noticing a man winking at the bard. This man seemed strange, he looked like a Nord but his skin was grey, almost like hers. She shook the thought from her head, it didn't matter either way. She sat at a nearby table, her back to the hearth and, when the barman came over, she ordered some venison and a goblet of spiced wine and settled down to enjoy the atmosphere. Once her food arrived she started eating, looking around the inn, no one seemed to care here that she was a Dark Elf, it pleased her.

    -------

    Wraith had just returned to his meal when a Dunmer walked in, wearing clothes he recognized as that of an Ashlander. He remembered learning about the nomadic people during his lessons after he'd asked Grabriella about his father once. They were a noble, tribal people who lived similarly to the Khajit merchant tribes. Although it was few, to his knowledge, that ever traveled into Skyrim. Especially after the Stormcloaks won the Civil War.

    "You're pretty far from Morrowind, Ashlander. Can't say I know of any tribes in Skyrim, and it's rare indeed that such company goes unnoticed among the circles I keep." Wraith said, taking a swig of his ale. "I'll pay for your meal if you tell me the tale of how you came to be here."

    -------

    Ali looked at this man, the one she saw as she walked in. "Only if you tell me how a half Dunmer knows about the nomads of one the homeland of one of his parts, your father I am guessing considering you look more Nord" she said softly. Solitude was doing its best to hold onto it's cosmopolitan, pre-Stormcloak roots, as it still didn't discriminate against the Elven races, as it had been before and during the war. "There's a small ashlander camp at the hotsprings outside of Kynesgrove, we moved here just before the civil war and had mostly kept to ourselves. I'm here getting some supplies, it is hard to grow our own food since a lot of the area around us is rock, and volcanicly heated water" she responded. "What attracted you to me, might I ask? Couldn't have been just the fact that I am an ashlander well outside her ancestral home" she said. "Or should I say our ancestral home, Mr. Half-Dunmer?" she added, smirking a bit.
    __________

    "A lone ashlander, here in Solitude? I'd say it's odd enough to warrant attention from someone who's usually kept well informed of most groups in Skyrim" Wraith said, taking a last bite of his food. Picking up his mug, he moved over to the Dunmer's table and took a seat by her leave.

    "As for how I know of my Father's people..." he shrugged and took a sip of his ale. "I had an Alchemist instructor that was a Dunmer. One day I asked her about my father's people, and she began teaching me about their history and culture. Indeed, she began teaching it to me as a separate class. Every week she'd test me on what I had learned. I daresay my knowledge of my father's heritage far exceeds what Alchemy she managed to teach me."

    With a wave of his hand, he got the waitress' attention and paid for the elven woman's meal. "My name is Raven. Might I ask yours?"
    Last edited by Rayne7; 12-18-2016 at 05:33 PM.
    "Tragedy and adversity are the stones upon which we sharpen our swords so that we may fight new battles."- Simi in Infinity, by Sherrylin Kenyon

    Wanna wear a suit, carry a gun, and be a part of a family? Join the mafia!
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    (Thanks to Naraness for the Sig)

  5. #5
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    "I don't understand that woman... I miss Torygg." A snarky voice echoed in the throne room. It was Sybille, the court wizard of Solitude. "She's risking her life going out there so soon."

    "Aye, but she is of the sort that she needs to feel connected to her people." Falk replied with a slight sigh, having a seat and taking a quick bite of a bread loaf, "She has guards hanging back from her. No harm will come to her so long as she keeps her mouth shut... which you wouldn't understand how to do, now would you, Sybille?"

    "Indeed, not." The snarky vampire headed back to her quarters with a huff, "Don't let anyone disturb me, please. Not unless there are any extra prisoners..."

    Falk grimaced, "Right..."

    Meanwhile, Elisif had easily been found out and was surrounded by people. Some of them seemed excited-- while others seemed angry at her.

    "How could you let our city fall to the Stormcloaks?"

    "My Jarl, we support you and Solitude over any side in the war!"

    "Long live High King Torygg!"

    "Praise the new King, Ulfric! A true Nord to all of Skyrim!"

    That being said, a few of the common people began fighting among themselves. By this time Elisif's guards had come out and were standing around her.

    "Residents of Solitude! Please!" She said loudly so that it would resound against the stone walls, "I journey from my Palace, to see how the city's people--its lifeblood-- are faring, and I am greeted by way of a mob of complaints? Yes, we have suffered a great loss. But, your Jarl is not one to give up. For the time being please, refrain from needless bickering! I expect more from the residents of Solitude."

    Most of the ruckus calmed, but a brawl (probably drunken) had sprung out.

    "Guards, please separate the men." Lady Elisif commanded as the two men continued yelling insults at each other in slurs. She stepped up to them and lowered the hood of her robes to look at the men, "What do you have to say for yourselves?"

    They watched her silently.

    After a long awkward moment, Elisif waved for their release, "If you are caught again there will be greater consequences than humiliation."

    With that, she turned to head back to her palace. For clearly, she could not step outside without being bombarded with everything and everyone. No matter how much she wished it, her people were not her friends. She really had no idea what she was doing. But, what else could she do except pretend to be a fearless leader? But, also a kind leader? But, also everything that everyone expected her to be? Although, a lot of the people of Skyrim saw her as nothing but a puppet and a face for the Empire-- which was no more. If she couldn't even be that anymore...

    Lost in her thoughts, she had walked back to the palace and up the stairs, looking rather concerned and defeated.

    "Things not go as planned, my Jarl?" Falk asked, "I have some news that will no doubt add to the wonderful day Solitude is having."

    "Sure. Go ahead. I'm not sure what kind of news could make this worse... but go for it, Falk." She replied, sitting properly on her throne as Falk stood in front of her with some papers.

    "There was a murder out a the docks last night in the wee hours. A Stormcloak soldier. Hung up like some kind of sign to the other soldiers. We are investigating to try and find the culprit, but there was nary a trace of anyone. No one remembers seeing or hearing anything at the docks. They simply arrived to go about their work and there the body was." He stated in a matter-of-fact way and rolled up the report in his hands.

    "That is... not pleasing to hear in the least. I appreciate that some may still stand for the Empire... but now it simply not the time. Even if we must admit defeat for a while, Skyrim needs a break from Civil war. Please do what you can to bring this person to justice." Elisif stated, thinking that this was the end of the matter... it wasn't.

    "My Jarl, some are saying that the Dark Brotherhood could have been involved. It seemed an expert attack without a sound. Not many people without proper training could do such a thing." Falk said.

    "I see... Well then we have bigger things to worry about." She stood up and began to head to her quarters.

    "My Jarl--" Falk started again.

    "Enough for now. I have had so little rest it is laughable. Take care of it, Falk." She left and entered her room, closing the doors behind her. A small smile came across her face, but it trembled slightly and whispered, barely audible...

    "Sithis, you might be the only one to save Skyrim. The only one able to do so from the shadows without disturbing the facade of peace the Stormcloaks have brought. I await the revealing of one of your servants to assist me. Thank you for hearing me." She began putting out the candles she had set out to summon the Dark Brotherhood. She felt oddly dirty about it, but really-- what other choice did she have? She hoped that it would help her city-- no-- all of Skyrim.
    Last edited by lain; 12-19-2016 at 02:40 AM.

  6. #6
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    Ali looked Raven over quickly; something about his introduction struck her as odd. Raven was an odd name for a man, but she didn't question it. "I am Ali'andra Drel, but everyone calls me Ali. It is....a pleasure to make your acquaintance" she said, smiling a bit. She looked up as Jarl Elisif came in, which she found interesting. She covertly activated her detect life spell. "Hm an interesting development" she said quietly, looking directly at the Jarl for a moment. She also noticed there were no blades hidden in the shadows behind the Jarl, which made her smile. Just then a fight broke out, the two men exchanging a few punches before being pulled apart and reprimanded by the Jarl herself. She watched as Elisif and Falk left. "Be safe, may your ancestors watch over both of you" she said quietly. She then looked at Raven. "I suppose we should get out of here too, I'm sure a man like you may become busy soon" she said, sliding a note over to him, a note that contained directions. "If you ever wish to get in touch with your father's side, go here and tell the guards I sent you" she said before leaving, disappearing behind the inn. She checked her hidden pocket for something. "All vials of frenzy poison are accounted for, good for a minute I thought someone had stolen from me" she whispered before coming back onto the main street. She decided to keep walking around Solitude, paying a quick visit to the Bard's College. She didn't have to worry about the supplies, she had hired a caravan to deliver them to New Zainib. Things seemed to be in motion that could not become undone, especially if a strange whispers she heard, of the Vanguard of Markarth, Vanguard of Whiterun and Vanguard of Solitude, who were rumoured to be trained somewhere in the mountains by three Imperial Legion commanders, were true.


    Thank you to Alice for making my sig and avi <3

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  7. #7
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    Before Dawn that Day

    Every day started the same. Frantic stirring in the throes of a nightmare, waking with his right eye aching like the knife was left in place. Starkad sat up stiffly, his pale flesh glistening in a cold sweat as the light from one of Nirn's moons wept through a moth-chewed curtain. It was during such wee hours that Starkad missed the hearth of his clan's hall. The bitter chill roused the memory of old wounds. Old breaks and pale scars throbbed, Starkad's body voicing its general discontent.

    Starkad stepped from his bed and crossed to the wash-basin in his room, breaking the layer of ice that had grown over the surface of the water. The wash raked icy fingers through Starkad's body, riddling him with gooseflesh and doing something less than flattering to his manhood. Shivering slightly, the nord looked at the haunting reflection that leered back from his mirror.

    "You look like horker shit," Starkad said to his reflection. He got dressed after a much-needed piss on the fir tree outside. Huddled close to the hearth, Starkad trimmed what he had left of the venison into the beaten-up cauldron some sweet old woman had given to him at Dragon Bridge. Starkad hated looking so pitiful that he needed someone's charity, but he wasn't so proud as to turn down the help. Hung on a spit over the fire, water set to boil, Starkad poured in the venison cuts, salt, diced potatoes, and leeks. Leaving it be for the time being, Starkad went to the second bedroom, peering through the door.

    Mara slept peacefully, bundled in blankets and furs. Her breath a faint whisper. Starkad smiled at the pang of guilt he felt for having to wake her up. She looked so peaceful, it felt criminal to interrupt whatever she was dreaming about. Stepping into Mara's room, Starkad took a knee by his daughter's bed and planted a soft kiss into her tangled gold mane. She smelled faintly sweet, like lavender.

    "Mmrm," Mara cooed, stretching catlike beneath the blankets. Eyes like the most brilliant sapphire blinked open and regarded her father's scarred face. Starkad just smiled at her, brushing her cheek with hands Starkad was certain were too rough.

    "Good morning, flower," said Starkad lowly with another of his rare smiles. Mara giggled through a yawn as small as she was, a slender hand reaching out and plucking a chunk of ice from Starkad's beard. He really needed to keep a candle burning under his wash basin.

    "Morning, Da," Mara replied, not quite half awake. Her arms wrapped Starkad's thick neck, her face nuzzled into the crook of his neck. Starkad chuckled, lifting the tiny thing out of her bed.

    "Come, Da needs you to finish making breakfast," Starkad said. Mara moaned a faint protest. "Oh, a thousand pardons, princess. Shall I send the servants to cook and hunt? Of course I shall, how foolish of me!" Starkad mumbled playfully, making his finest impression of a noble with far too many chins. Mara laughed, a tone purer than silver bells.

    "You're too fat, eating too much," Mara teased, poking Starkad in the stony slabs of his abdomen. "Drink too much, too..." Her tone was different, then. Subdued in a way that melted the mirth from Starkad's expression. Starkad sighed, cleared his throat, and kissed Mara on the head again,

    "I know, flower. I'm sorry. Do this for Da, and maybe I'll get you a sweet roll in town, hm?" Starkad set Mara down by the cauldron. Huddled in her gown, she took the ladle and stirred, those large eyes of hers peering over the pot. She nodded and smiled at her father,

    "The ones with juniper berry jam!" Mara exclaimed, her voice almost a squeak. Starked chuckled as he shrugged into his hunting furs and snatched his spear from beside the door.

    "Whatever the princess wants, of course." Starkad opened the door, the biting wind stalking into their den. "Remember, if anyone comes to the door who is not me–"

    "Latch and bar the door, grab the axe from under your bed, swing low. I know, Da."

    "That's my girl," Starkad muttered, casting a furtive glance to the skyforged greatsword mounted over the mantle. Starkad's sword, the family heirloom he was now burdened to bear. One of a kind, keen-edged as it was the day he inherited it, now a decorative reminder. Taking a shivering breath, Starkad closed the door behind him as set out into the wilderness of the Reach for game.

    Sunrise

    Starkad stood still, his eye wide and wild. Crouched low, axe in hand, breath escaping his snarl in a mist. It was right there, a healthy buck with Starkad's spear in its flank, but also riddled with Forsaken arrows. Across from the nord, on the other side of their mutual quarry, was the two Forsaken hunters. Both were male, a father taking his son on his first hunt, it appeared. They stood much like Starkad, arrows notched and half-drawn. Starkad was never much one for archery, and he was cursing himself for it now.

    If he had his armor, if he had Long-fang, he wouldn't be measuring his options. The Forsaken would be dead, cleaved as cleanly as beef under a butcher. But Starkad was clad only in his furs, armed with a woodsman axe. Not an axe made for combat – too awkwardly weighted. Savages the Forsaken might be, but the Reach was theirs. Starkad would have an arrow in his other eye by the time he made it to his spear.

    "Shit..." he hissed. Slowly, Starkad slipped his axe into the loop on his belt, backing away from the buck. Pride is for Jarls and Thanes and those with the luxury to feed it. There's always another deer... Starkad thought, lips pursed into a tight line. He backed away from the buck, hands up in a placating gesture. Starkad's breath hitched as he waited for the sharp thud of an arrow in his flesh, but it never came.

    Together, the Forsaken approached the buck, never breaking eye contact with the nord opposite them. The adult slung a coarse rope around the buck's antlers, dragging the still-warm carcass away. Blood smeared in the snow, appearing black in the waxing light of dawn. Starkad crouched in place, waiting for the Forsaked to cross over the ridge of a nearby hillock. He then waited a few moments more, sighing a breath of relief when they didn't return.

    All was not a waste. Starkad was short a big catch and a perfectly made spear, but at least his snares were fruitful. A brace of hefty hares, enough for a few meals and their pelts would fetch something at Dragon Bridge. Slinging the hares over his shoulder, Starkad made the trek back home, cursing Talos and the Forsaken under his fogged breath. Back at his little cottage, Starkad stole a glance through the cracked window, seeing little Mara humming one of her mother's favorite songs to herself, rocking to the tune as she poured out two deep bowls of the venison stew. Starkad could smell it from where he stood, and marveled at his daughter's mastery of spices.

    "Da's home, flower. Pour me a flagon to break fast, will you." There was a pause. Starkad was sure he heard a little sigh.

    "Yes, Da. Any luck?"

    "Just some hares. The deer seem to be wising up to your old man."

    Mara giggled at that.

    In short order, the hares were gutted and skinned, their hides cleaned and cured, hung on a line to dry. Salting the meat, Starkad hung them in the larder before joining his daughter to break his fast. A heaping, steaming spoonful was halfway to Starkad's lips when we felt her tiny hand slap his wrist. An eyebrow arched over Starkad's good eye, regarding Mara, who was trying so hard to look stern.

    "Da, no food until prayers!" Mara exclaimed, chiding. Her hands clasped tightly around a few of his fingers, gold-topped head lowered.

    "As the princess commands," Starkad mused, lowering his hand in kind. He have Mara's fingers a gentle squeeze. "Meyz nu Ysmir, Dovahsebrom. Bless this day, as you have blessed those past..."

    Presently

    "Damned wobbling cart and accursed Reach with it's blasted landscape..." Starkad muttered and cursed, prodding the pale mare in the flank with a quarterstaff. It should have been a spear, but the Daedra-bitten Forsaken had taken his last one. The staff in his hand would be a spear by the end of the day, he just needed to get the iron heads from the blacksmith.

    "Da, you curse so much," Mara giggled, "No wonder your breath stinks!"

    "Ah, but with this breath, I am mighty like Ulfric! Death spews from my mouth like the Thu'um! Cower and despair!" Starkad bellowed, snarling and lolling his tongue. Mara laughed, muffled by the scarf over her face. She bounced happily on the wagon bench, only her brilliant blue eyes visible through all her winter clothes. Eyes richer than any gem in any crown in all of Nirn.

    "Eew!" Mara screeched, pulling her scarf up higher. They shared a laugh. "Da, did you ever fight a dragon?" Mara asked tentatively. "Your sword, over the hearth..." Starkad raised a hand to stop her.

    "Dear flower, I've fought dragons, giants, and trolls. But greater monsters lurk, the most dangerous in creation, and I have fought and slain more of then than I care to recount," Starkad spoke in a grim dirge, Mara's breath catching in a gasp.

    "What monsters, Da? Daedra? Werewolves?"

    "Nay, beasts of endless shape with claws and fangs of steel. Look yon, and behold." Starkad gestured to Dragon Bridge as it crawled into view around the bend. People milled with purpose, going about their daily business.

    "People, Da?" Mara asked, confusion flavoring her voice.

    "Aye. Dragons and trolls, they have their nature. A nature that cannot be denied. But People, no matter from where they hail, have a choice. No man, mer, or beast in born wicked, flower. They choose to become monsters," Starkad's tone had become hard and grim. His right eye stung again. "Always remember this, flower. Promise me." Starkad cast his darling daughter a glance with his one eye. She hugged her jacket and cloak tightly about her, eyes wide in fright.

    "Y-yes, Da. Always." Starkad managed a tight smile, reaching up to his daughter and giving her a soft pat on the leg. Together they crossed the Dragon Bridge for which the town was named, merchants and travelers swerving to avoid the surly cuss with an axe at his hip. Starkad liked it that way. Sadly, the Stormcloak guards were not so easily stirred.

    "Halt," ordered a thickly set Stormcloak. Starkad obeyed, tugging the reins of the mare. "What business do you have in Dragon Bridge, traveler?"

    "Furs and hide, same as always, "Starkad sighed, hoping the irritation wasn't too plain on his tongue. The Stormcloak regarded Starkad, measuring the man, all his scars and knotted tattoos. Then the brooch on Starkad's breast and the sullen blue cloak pinned through it.

    "You fought for Ulfric?" The guard asked, his voice doubting. Starkad remained as stone, hand tight against his quarterstaff.

    "Since the Empire saw him as just another upstart."

    "Why did you resign? Big fellow like you could knock some sense into those mewling nobles in Solitude," the guard barked a laugh, but Starkad was not amused.

    "I gave enough for Ulfric's crown, kinsman." The guard's hand tightened on his sword. Starkad wondered what it must be like to be so delicate that mere words caused such wounds. Starkad pointed to his right eye, scarred forever shut.

    "Plenty of one-eyes still march with Ulfric, kinsman," the guard spat, stepping forward. Starkad remained unmoved, but his eye flared wide. The guard stopped under that glare. "Or are you some milk drinker? That it?" Starkad had a gleeful image of cleaving the guard's teeth to the skull, laughing at how little brains spilled to the cobble.

    "A soldier in a uniform who threatens a child and a veteran dares call me a coward? You, some nameless whoresson bastard, calls the Ice Wolf a milk-drinker?" Starkad snarled, spittle flying like venom. Mara had slunk to the far side of her bench, hugging her knees to her chest.

    "Ice Wolf?" Terrible realization dawned. Starkad could see the wet gleam of piggish eyes through the Stormcloak's visor.

    "Oh, yes. Now will you let me by, or am I going to need to stick you until you squeal like your mother did when that troll had its way and sired you?" There was a long pause between the two men, Starkad's thumb brushing the curve of his axe. The Stormcloak stepped aside, cowed, but sullen. Starkad clicked his tongue and ushered his cart forward without another word.

    "I'm glad you never get mad at me like that, Da..." Mara said soberly, her voice trembling. Starkad smiled at her, patting her leg.

    "If you were as fat and stupid as that trolls-arse, I might." Starkad huffed with a mirthless laugh, but Mara chuckled with enough richness for the two of them. Pulling his cart to a stop, Starkad stood beside the bundles of furs at the back, ready to peddle his wares.

    "Mara, go fetch Da an ale, then stay by my side until we are back home."

    "Yes, Da..." she sighed, snatching Starkad's tankard, which was nearly the size of her head, from the travel chest in the cart. Pinching two septims from their travel funds, she tottered awkwardly to the tavern to fetch her father's drink. Starkad watched her the whole way, until she vanished inside of the building. Perhaps he was too protective, seeing only the worst in people. Perhaps the eye in which he saw good was the one taken from him. Starkad watched the mouth of the tavern, heart thundering and fingers drumming at the cheek of his axe. When Mara returned, tankard overflowing, Starkad felt the tension ease out of his limbs.
    Last edited by StormWolf; 12-30-2016 at 06:46 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Denraven
    It's longer and whiter than mine.

    "The bullshit stops when the hammer drops" Viking proverb

  8. #8
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    Default A Rayne and Lain Co-Post

    "I may do that." Wraith said, watching the dark elf leave, a curious expression crossing his face momentarily at her abrupt departure. Shrugging, he stood and winked at Lisette one last time before walking out into the city proper. It had changed very little over the past few years since the Emporer's death. The Stormcloak's victory had made more of a change, adding a few Stormcloak guards more as a deterrence to any would-be revolutionaries.

    "It's been a while since I've seen you here."

    Wraith stopped and turned his head to the side, looking behind him. Sybille stood in the shadow of a building, hood pulled low around her face, revealing only a grin. With a shake of his head, he turned and faced the Court Mage.

    "Haven't seen you since you hired me to take out that Mistwalker north of the Nightgate Inn. Almost got turned myself on that one." Wraith said, returning her grin even as he offered an arm.

    "My offer on that still stands." Sybille said, taking the arm in hers. "Won't a certain bard be angry should she see you with me?" she teased.

    "Know about that, do you?" Wraith chuckled. "No, she knows it was just a good romp."

    "I heard a curious rumor this morning." She said, looking at him for a reaction. "I heard there was a Stormcloak ship-captain found hanging from the mast of his own ship. You know anything about that? Some believe it was the Wraith of the North."

    Wraith shrugged. "Don't know anything about it. I was with Lisette all night."

    "Indeed. I thought as much." Sybille said, giving a knowing smile. "You sticking arou- are you okay?"

    Wraith had stopped, his head cocked to the side.

    Listener.... a voice whispered through his mind. Another prayer requires your presence. The High Queen of Skyrim summons the Brotherhood. Go to her tonight, enter her chambers alone, and bear witness to her request.

    Yes, mother. I will do as you ask, he responded. Looking to Sybille, he grinned. "It appears I will be sticking around, yes. Meet me on the balcony of the Proudspire Manor when the moons reach their Zenith. I'd like your assistance with something."

    Sybille raised an eyebrow and turned on him. "And who do you think you are to ask anything of me? Assassin you might be, but you're no threat to me."

    Wraith's eyes hardened, and he stepped close to the Mage. "I'm a threat to everyone, Sybille. Besides, this will be something you'll be interested in."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He stood over her bed, looking down upon the woman who slept unaware of his presence. Her long blonde hair and soft jawline framed a face that was teasingly innocent in nature, especially when she slept in spite of what was certain to be fitful sleep. If not for a deep frown he might've said she appeared peaceful. Most importantly (to him anyway) was the fact that her deep breaths and movements indicted that she was in a deep sleep.

    A quick survey of her room revealed a dagger on her night-stand, a sword under her bed, and no other weapons with her reach. Sybille, the Court Mage, stood in a corner watching him with an amused smile. A candle still burned, providing heat in the otherwise cool air, providing him enough light to see the Jarl's sleeping form under the covers even as she shifted yet again, moving her hand further away from her weapons.

    Picking up the dagger and sword, he removed them from Elisif's reach, setting them upon the mantle before turning back to the Jarl that had dared pray for the Night Mother. With a smile upon his lips, he sat on the edge of her bed and observed the shadows playing across her face.

    "The High Queen of Skyrim has a request, milady?" he asked, stroking his fingertips against Elisif's cheek, causing Sybille to raise an amused eyebrow at his theatrics.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elisif stirred slightly, a smile faintly appearing on her pink lips. "Tor..." she muttered with a sigh, clearly not awake yet. As her consciousness returned, she realized there was a problem. Her husband had been dead for two months. So, that meant someone else was stroking her cheek in the morning. She swatted the hand away and shot upright, her golden curls in a mess as she looked at the figure clad in red and black with her icy Nordic eyes. Catching her breath, she covered her chest with one hand and pushed her long hair back with the other. It was clear why he was here. She herself had summoned him.

    "I heard that your organization had a preference of disturbing their clients as they slept." She took a deep breath and exhaled, throwing the covers off her and putting her legs over the side of the bed. "Perhaps I can make myself decent before we discuss--" she interrupted herself, "Sybille?" She blinked, her eyes adjusting to the darkness of the room, "What business do you have in this?"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "The Listener requested that I be here." Sybille said, a note of amusement coloring her voice.

    "By all means, your Majesty. Don't mind me; there's nothing you have that I haven't seen before." Wraith said, standing and walking over to the table where a teapot had been set. "I took the liberty of making us some tea, hope you don't mind."

    After pouring a cup for each of them, he turned back and handed one to Sybille, then set one on the nightstand for Elisif. "So, you requested my presence?" he asked, keeping his eyes on hers even as he took a drink of his tea as an act of faith, to prove he hadn't poisoned the drink.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elisif stood up with mild irritation. "What a condescending pervert." she thought, going behind a screen to change clothes modestly. She emerged wearing her fine clothes, minus her circlet, as that seemed unnecessary at the moment. Flicking her hair out of the neck of her clothes, she walked over to the table and sat silently. She reached for a cup of tea and put it up to her mouth, but she was overcome with nausea at the smell of it. "I'll have to pass..." She muttered, setting the cup down.

    "Down to business..." she paused a moment, brushing her lap and getting more comfortable, "I suppose you could say that. But, I see no reason why the Brotherhood would help me for anything other than a personal reason. Getting involved in politics seems... counter intuitive. There must be something in it for the Brotherhood to even respond to my request." She tucked her hair behind her hears, struggling to keep composure as waves of nausea pulsed through her. "H-however," she cleared her throat, "Simply killing Ulfric would no doubt bring another uprising. At least doing so so swiftly. It would also make it incredibly obvious that I was behind it. Since he killed my husband in front of me... and everyone... two months ago..." She covered her mouth, not only to cover her emotions, but because she felt as though she were going to be severely ill. "This whole process... simply makes me..."

    And there it was. All over the man's boots as she leaned forward in her chair. Why did she have to have such a weak constitution? Of all the times to be unable to cover up her insecurities...

    She coughed, finishing up and feeling as though she were going to pass out into that disgusting puddle she had just made. "I---I'm sorry. By the nine... I've made a fool of myself again. Please... just... give me a moment..." She breathed heavily, the ill feeling slowly passing, "There-- is a washbasin-- right over there..." she nodded her head in the direction, "I suppose... you have probably had... much worse things on your boots..."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Taking a look at his now vomit-covered-boots, Wraith raised one experimentally, pleased to find that the vomit sloughed off just as easily as blood or water. Taking a wet rag from a snickering Sybille who couldn't contain her mirth at the disgusted assassin. With a glare at the Court Mage, he wiped off his boots and resettled himself away from the mess. "If you have any servants that can be trusted, I would suggest fetching them to clean this before the smell becomes impossible to get out."

    Looking back with concern at Elisif, he responded to her words. "Strangely enough no, I haven't. Aside from the occasional blood, guts, and mud, I've managed not to have vomit or shit on them. But I'm sure it was bound to happen sometime. Are you alright? Do you need a tincture, or potion?" he asked, genuinely concerned that she was ailing. "I could have my alchemist specialist brew something if need be."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elisif clutched her stomach, "Terribly sorry... but I think I'm alright now." She glanced at Sybille, who seemed to be enjoying this quite a bit. "Do you... know each other personally?" She found it odd that Sybille laughed so much. She hardly ever laughed like that. Though Sybille was typically not a fan of Elisif's, she didn't think she would have the nerve to laugh at her Jarl being embarrassed.

    Elisif shook her head, "Actually, I'm not sure I want to know..." she stood up, "I will fetch a servant."

    She left the room briefly and returned with help. Everything was cleaned quickly by the nervous looking servant. Elisif felt her plans slipping away. Rumors were no doubt going to spread...

    When the servant left, she had an idea, "I need you to kidnap me. Or make it look like you did. I can't plan and discuss what I want to do here acting as a Jarl. My steward, Falk, can maintain things in my absence. I should leave for a couple of weeks. Maybe then return, pretending I escaped before you killed me. I will say--- I was being interrogated."

    She glanced at Sybille and then back at the man, "What do you think? Mr... do you have a name?"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "That could be....problematic. The Brotherhood was nearly destroyed four years ago, if you go missing and it's linked to the Brotherhood then the other Jarls or your Thanes may decide to hunt down and finish the job." Wraith shook his head. "On the other hand, you could claim that the Dark Brotherhood was warning you of an attempt made to put a contract on your life. In fact, I know of two such individuals who have indeed made such efforts. I could eliminate them for you, and it would also make some progress on the elimination of nobles who support Ulfric."

    "As for payment...the Dark Brotherhood cannot continue as it has." he paused, taking a sip of his tea. "There are no longer enough shadows to hide all of us. We need protection, Sanctuaries that are legitimately owned. We also need allies among the nobles who we can call upon for aid. Those are few and far between- and usually they are on the low-end of the totem pole."

    Standing, he moved to stand in front of the mirror, purposely turning his back on them, though he listened intently for their movements. "But those things require trust, and you don't trust me or the Brotherhood. Just as I don't trust you." he turned back around, looking her in the eyes. "Trust must be earned, Your Majesty."

    "You ask my name, yet you know it. You've been hearing of me for sixteen years. You even heard of my actions last night. And if you look outside, you'll see one of the reasons of my namesake." Wraith grinned, and began walking towards Elisif with his arms out to either side to show himself unarmed. "I am the Wraith of the Mist, the Listener, but most importantly, I'm the Assassin that stands before you, and offers you the chance to do what an army could not. And place the rightful Ruler back on her throne."

    He stopped in front of her, letting her see his silvery white eyes as he made a motion towards a window he'd opened before waking the Jarl. A black raven swooped in and landed upon his arm. "This Raven has been magically bound to me. His name is Dread. Anytime you wish to speak to me, you merely have to speak your message to him, and he will find me."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elisif jumped up, since it looked as if he were about to leave, stepping over briskly to him and grabbing his free arm, "Don't leave." She looked into his eyes intensely, hers showing nearly the same ferocity as his. She knew this was her only chance. She needed to start something now.

    "Take Proudspire Manor. It's not far. There is a back entry to it as well so no one will see anyone coming or going if you are careful. I... can throw in 5000 gold to get you started and to guarantee my safety. That being said... make sure my servant you saw earlier has good reason to keep what she saw a secret. But, don't hurt her." She let go of his muscular arm, shifting her gaze away and to the floor.

    "Another thing... I wish to be trained. Ulfric asserted that my husband could not defend himself or his kingdom. I will not fall into that category. I will take his head off myself when the time is right." She went over to the small safe in her room and opened it, retrieving a coin purse and a bag of jewels, "I am trusting you now. Accept my offer if you trust my intentions are sincere."

    She set the purses on the table in front of the window and awaited his response. Her normally cool and gentle eyes burning with the embers of revenge.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wraith looked down at the hand on his arm, then up into the burning eyes of the would-be Queen. Indeed, seeing the fire in her eyes, he could believe that perhaps she had the determination to go through with her plan. Seeing her retrieve the jewels and coin from the safe, he moved closer.

    "This isn't going to be quick, nor easy. This isn't just one, or even a few assassinations. And not just assassinations, but coercion, political machinations. We're going to turn his supporters against him, and the ones we can't turn will be killed. You'll also need to marshal some forces of your own, but covertly." Wraith looked her in the eye. "A lot of people are going to be killed. You need to know now that going through with this will require a lot of blood to be spilled."

    "And you'll be the reason for it. Right now there is a certain measure of peace, but even a shadow-war will result in several lives being lost." Sybille said, moving from her place in the corner. "You must prepare yourself for that."

    "This won't be the only thing we'll ask for. We'll need more safehouses throughout Skyrim, and a certain level of discretion from the law." Wraith turned away. "As for your training, we'll wait until you're feeling better."

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elisif nodded. She hated to think she would be responsible for so many lives. But, if she were to become high queen, no doubt decisions like that would be a daily thing.

    "Let's just work on getting things organized. Perhaps I will need some help from the Thieves Guild as well. I'm sure Maven Black-Briar would be an invaluable ally. I'm sure you have worked with her before as well. She is very discreet if you have the coin. Or if you can further her business interests."

    "Ulfric must be exposed for who he really is. A prejudiced man who cares only for himself and other nords. Always be on the lookout for information and experiences that would work to achieve that revelation on his followers. Hopefully he has only confused them and not totally brainwashed them with false promises."

    She took both of his gloved hands, "Wraith, thank you. We will make Skyrim a safer place. Do your best to not bother any commonfolk. They need peace." She paused and met his eyes again, "We have made a contract. Show me your face and tell me your real name. If anyone becomes suspicious of you, I'll do what I can to quash it." She released his hands and waited for him to show the rest of his face, "Sybille obviously knows who you really are. So, it's unfair to keep that from me now that we are partners in this." She folded her arms loosely, looking at the crow and then looking out the window and then back at Wraith. She softened her face and gave a gentle smile. One that would have you feel you were being hugged by your mother. "You can trust me with your life. I won't break any contract unless you break it first." She laughed softly.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wraith pulled his hands from Elisif's, his eyes hardening. "Trust? I'm an assassin. I trust Sybille because it's to our mutual benefit that she conceals my identity. I trust the guards around the Palace to arrest or kill me if they find me on the grounds. The matron of my family, who helped raise me, nearly allowed me to be killed for the sake of the family of a whole." he paused. "She did what she believed was necessary for the survival of the family of a whole. That is what I trust. You want my trust? You'll have to earn it."


    Turning away, he started for the door, then stopped. Looking back over his shoulder, he flexed a hand around the hilt of a dagger. "One of your own Thanes wants you dead. A recently made one. And you're going to play a part in his death. But first, I'm going to go do my part to earn your trust."

    With that, he walked out of the Jarl's room. Sybille looked at Elisif, then walked over to the door and looked outside the door. "He does that as well as any Nightwalker." she muttered, then turned back to the Jarl. "You would do well to tread lightly with that one. He is...different. Capable. Not like your average mercenary."

    "Earning his trust won't be easy, I assure you." Sybille said, looking intently into Elisif's eyes. "If you'll excuse me, I'll make a tincture for your morning sickness."
    "Tragedy and adversity are the stones upon which we sharpen our swords so that we may fight new battles."- Simi in Infinity, by Sherrylin Kenyon

    Wanna wear a suit, carry a gun, and be a part of a family? Join the mafia!
    http://role-player.net/forum/showthread.php?t=65717

    (Thanks to Naraness for the Sig)

  9. #9
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    Elisif held her stomach and look up at Sybille rather confused, "But, that's something that only..." She trailed off, and blinked as her eyes watered, "You think that... I could be...?"

    Sybille smiled, in the way that only she could, meaning that it wasn't a full smile. "Our King lives on. Isn't it obvious? You've been ill for a while now. And I can smell fresh new life from a mile away."

    Elisif grimaced, "Why do you have to say it like that? It's disgusting."

    Sybille stepped over to her and put her hand reluctantly on her shoulder, "Sorry, My Jarl. Congratulations. But, you may want to rethink the some of your plans. I might suggest that it doesn't get around you are with child. If Ulfric heard that the High King lives on, he might not be too happy about it."

    "I-I'm not sure what to do now... But, I'm so..." She smiled, tears welling up, "I'm so happy!" She started to sob and hugged Sybille, who was obviously not thrilled with the action.

    She awkwardly patted Elisif's back, "Y-yes."

    "And so... ill..." She let go of Sybille and sat down on the edge of her bed, holding her stomach.

    "I'll get that tincture." Sybille walked towards the door.

    "Thank you. For everything." Elisif said, "I know that we don't always... get along. But, you are a valuable asset to the court. Torygg always spoke highly of you."

    "I'm happy to know that. He was a good man. If only Ulfric hadn't been so hasty to make a point... he might have had a powerful ally." Sybille let out a sigh, "But, I digress..."

    Sybille left the room and returned with a small potion, setting it on Elisif's end table, "Take it anytime you feel the nausea return. I'm not a master alchemist, but I know a thing or two. Try not to stress."

    "That won't be easy." Elisif sighed and looked over at the crow in her window. It was an ominous reminder of what she had begun just minutes ago. "You could have mentioned this beforehand, you know."

    "I wasn't entirely sure until I saw you lose it on Rav-- I mean, Wraith's boots." She began to snicker, remembering the incident all to clearly.

    "What exactly is your relationship to him?" Elisif asked, an eyebrow quirked ever so slightly.

    "Oh, that is a long story. Or perhaps a brief one. But, not a small one." She laughed, "I won't continue."

    "Please! Don't!" Elisif felt nauseous all over again, taking some of the anti-nausea potion like it was a bottle of mead.

    "You are the one who asked, Elisif." Sybille shrugged, "Let me know if you need anything."

    Sybille took her leave, leaving Elisif alone in the cold, stone room. She lay on her back on her bed, hands clasped over her stomach. Tears welled up again. She was part happiness, part grief, part worry. All balled up into one incredibly intense feeling. "Oh Torygg... I wish you would have known before you..." She turned onto her side and wept softly.

    "I miss you so, my love..."
    Last edited by lain; 01-02-2017 at 04:44 PM.

  10. #10
    RPAs White Knight
    Fox Xalian's Avatar
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    Hidden camp somewhere in the Reach south of Dragon Bridge

    Three figures stood in a tent looking over a map of the area a few kilometers south of Dragon Bridge. "A Forsworn group is moving north to try and raid Dragon Bridge, they seem to think that a strike there, outside of the Reach will show that Ulfric can't protect his new kingdom" one of them, a Redguard looking woman, said. "According to some of my newly trained scouts a small Stormcloak patrol is passing across the Dragon Bridge, one saw them as they passed his group of traveling Talos Priests, we can't let them kill those Forsworn either" the Bosmer looking one said. They looked over the map and devised an ambush plan. They had managed to ally with a couple of Forsworn camps and so were allowed some Forsworn outfits and weapons, they would pose as a rival Forsworn group to attack. A few minutes later the archers were in position on the cliffs on either side of the road, the mages were closing up the Forsworn's rear flank, and the warriors and knights were moving to close up the way forward. A single flaming arrow hit the ground, signalling the start of the ambush. The Forsworn who nearly got hit, a Brairheart in the middle of the formation, looked at the ammunition in confusion, but only for a couple of seconds as a rain of arrows struck the Forsworn, but unfortunately the Stormcloaks had used a lesser used path and were caught right in the middle. Two Stormcloak soldiers and three Forsworn fell in the first strike, just as the warriors and mages fell on them from both sides. Quickly a few of the Vanguard's soldiers fell, along with the remaining Stormcloaks and most of the remaining Forsworn, including the Briarheart who had his "heart", the Briar Heart that was implanted into his chest that gave him his name, extracted by one of the more stealthy warriors, a young Khajiit girl who they had recruited more recently. After a couple more minutes the remaining Forsworn had died and the Vanguard returned to their training camp in the mountains.

    Back at camp the three women were having a heated discussion back in their tent. "Adra, why didn't you tell me there was another path?!" Lucine, the Redguard, said to her sister, the Bosmer. "I didn't know about it, but I have my scouts looking into it, dearest sister" Adra said, a little bit of snarkiness showing through. "I'm just glad we let that Khajiit thief live, she came in handy killing that Briarheart" Amber, the Breton, said. The other two agreed. They quickly got cleaned up and traveled into Dragon bridge, posing as a merchant caravan, selling off weapons to collectors, mercenaries and adventurers who hadn't yet taken an arrow to the knee.
    Last edited by Fox Xalian; 01-06-2017 at 06:44 AM.


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