"Sir, I will not hesitate to run you through! This is no way to treat the honorable, prisoner or not!"
"Anzier, what do you know of honor? Your mother turned whore after her husband died and you were likely a bastard anyway." The dark figure laughed a hearty chuckle as he continued, "besides, there's no room for honor in battles like this."
"You swore we were going to restore the honor--"
"Stop right there, I swore nothing. You assumed that our fight would bring honor, you were not told anything except that you'd be well payed and recieve glory."
"I have no time for your mad rantings, Hunjie'r. Cousin or no you live and die by the same rules I do - the same rules all Redguard do!" A sword is unsheathed, a slash or steel, and Hunjie'r bleeds from his side. Immediately a wave of ex-Alik'r wash into the room and surround the lone Redguard with Scimitar in hand and bloody.
Suddenly my eyes opened and I was back on some road in Skyrim. What a horrid dream . . . what a horrid memory. I was sweating, and in this cold that can't be good so I quickly dried off and found new smallclothes in my pack. Somehow I ended up alone on the road again, in unfamiliar areas on some half-beaten trail. As much as I hated my past, at least I stopped seeing that poor merchant girl's face in my sleep. I did what had to be done, there was naught else I could do at the time. It was either ease her pain or end it. She chose, not I. Why do I keep having to convince myself?
It was nearly dawn, so I decided to go ahead and get my camp packed up. I burried the fire in dirt, scattered the remains of food and coal across the trail and in the woods, and packed up my bedroll. Just as I finished I heard a noise in the brush. "Who's there?! I am no man's fool, I know you're behind the bushes, come out. I have no time to fuss with followers or stragglers, if you need something let it be known."
A Khajiit made his way from behind the brush, dressed all in deep blacks and reds. A familiar sight, but I couldn't quite place it. He was hunched slightly forward with his hands at his hips where two daggers rested. The Khajiit was light-brown and white, with hints of grey, and his right ear was cut from some fight to be half the length of his left. He looked at me deep in the eyes and said, "The only thing Ab'der-Krin requires is this one's soul for Sithis!" And with that he lunged at me with two iron daggers. A rather foolish notion as I was wearing my armor ready for travel. Quickly I spun right and pulled one of my swords, a strong Orcish longsowrd green and shimmering, in time to parry a second attack. This cat was quick, I must alott him that much.
"This Redguard must die, and Ab'der-Krin will take his soul."
I quickly rushed and feined a thrust with my sword, as he juked to the left I pulled my second sword and cut him deep in the thigh. "This one talks too much, silly cat!" As he kneeled on the ground in agony I used my swords as sheers and dislodged his head at the shoulders. With no idea how many more might be coming I quickly searched the Khajiit's body for anything usefull. I found a note giving this Ab'der orders to kill me. Something about a black sacrament and the price being paid. It was signed by Astrid. I needed to discover what was going on, and soon. I can't be running from two death's at once, one past was enough. This had to end.
I sought out the first inn I could and started asking questions about the Dark Brotherhood and some barkeep told me of a young boy that was trying to contact them, way up in Windhelm. So it was obvious where my next stop had to be. I found passage on a carriage and attempted to sleep on the way, much to my dismay sleep eluded me yet again.
The carriage came rocking to stop in a location near as dismall as my sortid past, Windhelm - high seat of Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the Stormcloak Rebellion. As I made my way across the bridge that led to the city gate I heard a couple of guards talking about who should stop this Aretino boy from contacting the Dark Brotherhood. At least I knew I was in the right place, and probably not too late. It was time to locate the boy.
I asked around town a little was pointed towards an old house, abondoned and giving off a rather creepy feeling. I knocked at the door and there was no answer, so I pushed on the door and it wriggled. I decided to force the lock with a dagger I took off the Khajiit a few days earlier. I entered to candle lighting and the sound of some boy's voice begging and crying. So as I climbed the short stairwell and turned the corner I came upon the young lad, a young Imperial boy with various dark things strewn about the floor in front of him.
I stood there, silently watching for several minutes before he looked up and noticed me looming over him. He became overwhelmed with what appeared to be joy and immediately started telling me about this old crone that ran an orphanage over in Riften. The gist was that he wanted me - well, the Dark Brotherhood - to kill this woman they called "Grelod the Kind". It was apparently an ironic suffix, as she was supposedly horrible to the children. Needing more information on the Brotherhood and seeing no other way to go but forward, I opted to at least go check out this orphanage. So yet again I charter myself a carriage and head out.
I awoke with a start from yet another horrid nightmare about my now dead cousin, Hunjei'r. I know there are still those from his order, and by now some from the Alik'r, that want me dead. I can only imagine what lengths they'd go through, but surely not contracting the Dark Brotherhood. The Alik'r, whether current or former, aren't ones to rely on outside help for the likes of me. The carriage driver announced that we were close, and sure enough I could see a city wall over the ridge as we passed a couple of watch towers.
I entered the city and immediately to my left there was some Nord looking all tough and brooding. I ignored him and moved on, no time for the likes of him, I had work to do. Making my way to the orphanage I could tell that the city was dank and dangerous. There were probably a few hundred ways for a man to die in this city that he'd never be found or even missed. Finally, after crossing a couple of wooden bridges over the waterway, I found the building. Uninteresting enough, but certainly not a happy place to be . . . no place for children.
I entered in time to here Grelod the 'Kind' give some speech about how nobody wants the children and they may as well give up hope and all go to bed. I waited for the orphans to make their way to bed and snuck around the corner in time to see Grelod standing in a doorway across the room from me. She had her back to me and was getting ready to close the door. I slid the dagger I picked up from the assassin out of my pocket and threw it. It lodged itself in the base of her kneck, causing her to fall to the ground just as her hand was pushing the door shut. I think the door slamming muffled the sound of her body hitting the floor - either that or nobody cared that she went down.
Making my way back to the Aretino boy post haste I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing. I still don't know if it was the right way to go about it, but I had to get at the Dark Brotherhood, I needed to know why I was being targetted. More importantly, I needed to know by whom.
Back at the Aretino house, the young Aventus gave me some heirloom of his family's that would ultimately pay for the travelling I had done and maybe a room for the night - I was tired, after all that. So I went on to the inn near the front gate where I was met by a courier handing me a letter. He said he didn't know who it was from, but it was addressed to me and they told him to be here on this day. It's a little unnerving that somebody could not only have a contract out for my head, but know exactly when and where I would be. I was obviously being watched rather closely.
I went into the inn and grabbed a room for the night, waiting to read the letter until I was alone in a locked room. The letter simply had a black hand on it and said "We Know". I took out the letter I got from the Khajiit days before and noticed the pen was the same. My note must have come from this Astrid, as well. This was all rather quarrellsome and had me more than a little concerned. Not that there was much to do about it from where I sat.
So the Dark Broherhood knows, fine. What do they know, however? Do they know I killed their Khajiit? Do they know I took their contract? Do they know that I am seeking them out? More and more questions with fewer and fewer answers. This was becoming quite the daunting retirement. Only time would tell, but I needed sleep. No man can win a battle without some rest, my grandfather had taught me that much. Mayhaps I would smith a new helm in the morning, smithing always set me at ease.
If you enjoyed this, you can find links to each of my blog series on this forum thread.