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The Elder Scrolls: Ashlands part 2

(ETHAN WOODGATES)

5th of Mid-Year 4E 261

It had been two years since Trupil had last encountered Restalax and the suspense grew on his mind; what if he didn’t get justice? What if Restalax won? There were so many questions demanding answers and Trupil knew that he didn’t have them, his father would have known everything; he was an infamous assassin for a time after all.

Trupil was still running errands for Lleril Morvayn to track Restalax down but so far he hadn’t even heard a rumour. Trupil had the time to train and hone his skills for the previous two years and he could be grateful for that at least. Trupil had thwarted any hopes of Restalax’s plans going discreetly the last time they met two years prior and Trupil hoped that would be a benefit to him. Restalax had other plans.

Trupil was growing impatient, he wanted justice but to him it was more than that: revenge! Trupil sometimes went out to eavesdrop on conversations to see what information he could dig up from the crowds of the otherwise clueless civilians. Finally, he had found a lead, two dark elves (Dunmer) speaking in the “Retching Netch Corner-club” nearby to Morvayn manner.

‘You hear about that Trupil feller?’ One of the elves whispered to his friend.

‘Do you mean Strago’s son?’ The other asked.

‘Yes, that is the one… He is deadlier than ever or so our “great councillor” Morvayn says.’ The first elf whispered.

‘Maybe he is.’ The second elf suggested.

‘Maybe he isn’t.’

‘Maybe his is listening to our conversation.’

‘Maybe we should stop saying “maybe”’

‘So, he is looking for justice; a man by the name of Restalax Faripond.’

‘He is toying with the affairs of a dangerous man.’

‘Aren’t we forgetting something here?’ The second elf asked, ‘Trupil Poldeskyr is one of the deadliest men alive.’

‘I heard Restalax has established a base in Windhelm; concealed by the “Gray Quarter”. Maybe there he is plotting to do whatever is up his sleeve.’

Trupil didn’t need to hear any more; he left the corner-club and went directly to Lleril with the information he had learned.

‘May I speak?’ Trupil asked.

‘Of course my friend, what have you learned?’ Lleril replied.

‘I have discovered one of Restalax’s possible locations.’ Trupil said optimistically.

‘Let me guess, somewhere where the Dunmer are not liked?’ Lleril asked.

‘They are vaguely tolerated in this particular city.’ Trupil laughed.

‘You are joking; Windhelm is your best lead?’

‘I am afraid so.’

‘Then that is where you must go, just keep our intentions discreet. You should rest; you have a ship to catch tomorrow. I will make sure it is there to take you directly there.’

Trupil nodded his head and left Morvayn Manor to gear up in his hut on the edge of the town.

The following morning, Trupil left his hut to meet up with Fraznek who the councillor had assigned to help Trupil’s intentions remain confidential. The ship was different this time and it had a Nord captain; a man who had the pride that could be smashed into a million and three pieces in an arm wrestle or a drinking competition. He looked at Trupil with a heart stopping frown and turned to Fraznek who he greeted like a brother, Nords didn’t hold other races in high regards and thought that Skyrim was their land and that only they had the right to live in it, not like Trupil liked the cold anyway.

The ship sailed gently all the way to Windhelm; upon arrival in Ysgramor’s city, Trupil could tell that the whole place was as depressing as the slums the Dunmer refugees were forced to live in during the civil war between the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion. The docks had a few ships none of which bore any significance unlike the ships that were sometimes docked at Raven Rock.

The guards looked worse than some of the beggars in the city and the walls were tall, especially from the docks. Snow fell heavily on the daunting city; Trupil could smell a trace of smoke in the air. The distant noise of wolves hunting in the snow that had set on the ground as far as the eye could see. Shouting filled the docks, unhappy merchants and sailors communicating loudly to their colleagues; Trupil found it mildly reassuring to know that if he exposed Restalax here then he would have plenty of witnesses to ensure his execution or imprisonment.

The gates were large but unguarded so just about anyone could get into the city from the docks. When Trupil had walked through the gates, he could see a stack of barrels. Fraznek looked at the barrels and climbed them and jumped into the courtyard behind the stack where there was a black door with a golden handle. Trupil followed Fraznek through the door and into a sewage system.

‘The guards on the docks were talking about a prisoner who was caught in the possession of skooma; you need to find out what he knows, quietly.’ Fraznek ordered.

‘Is there anything else I should know?’ Trupil asked as he pulled a mask up to cover his mouth and nose (it also looked good with his hood).

‘Yes. You need to be undetected as the guards here are not fond of Imperials such as yourself and would not grant you access to this prisoner.’ Fraznek said.

‘How many guards will there be in the prison?’

‘It is linked directly to the barracks; a lot.’

‘Well will they be coming into the prison a lot?’

‘They are all mostly off duty and resting; you should be fine.’

‘Should?’

‘Voice down before they hear us.’

Trupil silently disappeared into the shadows that had engulfed the sewers. There were perches for the torches on the walls but they were holding nothing, the stench was almost unbearable but Trupil had his mask covering his nose which dulled the smell enough for it to do no harm.

Trupil continued through the sewers until he found a ladder, up the ladder was a small hole in the wall that Trupil could fit through with ease. He crawled through the hole and he was then looking over a blue carpeted hallway. One guard stood at the end and there were no others in sight. Trupil dropped down silently and slowly crept up to the guard. He strangled the guard until he fell unconscious and hid his sleeping body inside a barrel. Trupil left the room completely spotless although there were the cabbages from the barrel all over the floor.

Trupil snuck his way into the chamber with the cells where a familiar face sat on the other side of the bars.

‘M’asslo, what are you doing here?’ Trupil asked quietly.

‘I was arrested in Blacklight the last time we met and I escaped the Dunmer and they then put a bounty on my head, the guards here found me carrying skooma and now look at me.’ M’asslo spat.

‘I need answers, where is Restalax?’ Trupil asked.

‘He’ll be gone before you know it Imperial.’

‘He is here then?’

‘Yes he is, he has a base in the “New Gnisis Corner-Club”, if he is still here that’s the place to look.’

‘You do not speak like a Khajiit.’

‘I was raised by Argonians; you got a problem?’

‘No problem but I will ask of you one favour.’

‘Go on…’

‘Do not let Restalax know about my presence here.’

‘Or…’

‘Or our next encounter will not go as “smoothly”.’

M’asslo nodded and Trupil disappeared into the darkness. The guards were still patrolling as normal and although they had no clue about Trupil’s presence, they didn’t make escaping undetected any easier.

Trupil decided that he would have to sneak through the barracks and into the jarl’s palace because the hole he climbed into the dungeons with couldn’t be reached from the inside. Trupil used the spell he knew whenever guards got close and although they would still be able to smell him they would not be able to see him.

Trupil snuck through the barracks with his spell and it worked as if he was not there at all. Then he managed to get into the jarl’s palace where he opened the door and left and managed to get out onto the streets of Windhelm un-noticed; the guards thought the door opening was due to the wind and quickly dismissed it. Trupil hid in an alley where he de-activated the spell to avoid suspicion.

When Trupil managed to get back to the place where he last saw Fraznek, Fraznek was starting to grow impatient.

‘You took your time.’ Fraznek laughed.

‘He is in the “Gray Quarter” in the “New Gnisis Corner-club” where he deals skooma to the Argonians to earn their loyalty.’ Trupil said.

‘Then that is where you must go; don’t die in the process.’ Fraznek ordered.

‘I’ll try not to.’ Trupil said as he pulled an arrow from his quiver and looked into the arrow-head.

Trupil looked at Fraznek, ‘meet me back on Solstheim, if at all.’

Fraznek gave a stern look and left through the door he had used to get into the tunnel.

Trupil looked into the head of his arrow and saw his reflection gleam back on the shiny yet deadly surface. Trupil had decided; he was going to kill Restalax.

That night, Trupil began his attack. He sat down inside the bar at the “New Gnisis Corner-club” and waited and just as expected Restalax turned up and saw Trupil, he panicked and ran. Trupil took off after him with no doubt that it was a trap, he shot after Restalax and climbed onto a rooftop to see Restalax from a better angle. He leaped off a building to grab hold of a ladder that rested up against the city wall. Restalax ran towards the cart and then hijacked it sending its original owner stumbling to the ground to be crushed by his own horses. Trupil ran after the cart and grabbed a rope that was connected to the cart and tied to the back in a neat knot. Restalax threw his dagger at the rope and the neat knot undid itself and Trupil was sent flying back as he grasped the knot. Trupil’s grip remained firm on the rope and he kept hold as he was dragged across the snowy road behind the cart which sped out of Skyrim and back into Morrowind.

Trupil reached for a stone that he saw on the road and grabbed it with ease; he threw it with force at Restalax but he caught it. Trupil drew one of his swords and stuck it in the ground but not deep enough and the cart dragged him and his sword still holding on. Trupil looked at his scimitar and removed it from the ground and placed it back in its hilt. He began to climb the rope and as he got closer to the cart he could feel it getting faster. Trupil finally got close enough to reach the wheel of the cart so he drew his sword and stuck it into the wheel; it broke and the cart gave way and collapsed and the horses managed to undo the reins keeping them and they darted off into the distance.

Restalax jumped to his feet and Trupil stood across from him as they looked at each other. Trupil drew his other sword and picked up the sword from the rubble as Restalax drew his sword and a dagger. Trupil had waited so long to get the justice he had craved for over twenty years.

‘Trupil, I expected that you would come after me.’ Restalax said.

‘I am here for justice Restalax, you killed my father.’ Trupil spat.

‘Your father’s death was crucial to the survival of Tamriel.’ Restalax shouted.

‘His death was crucial to the survival of your plot to take control of Tamriel.’

‘Guilty as charged.’

‘I will ensure you don’t get the power; you would rob us of everything that forged us.’

‘Yes; it worked well with you.’

‘But not as you expected.’

‘No, that is why you must die.’

‘Not if I kill you first.’

‘Is this justice or revenge that you seek Trupil?’

Trupil twirled his swords, ‘I will stab you twice to ensure both.’

‘Then you are truly lost.’ Restalax lunged at Trupil who dodged with ease and staggered him with a swift bash from the hilt.

‘So this is what became of the son of Strago Poldeskyr; dragged onto the path of revenge by anger.’ Restalax said as he stepped back.

‘I was not driven to this by anger, you drove me to this.’ Trupil spat.

Restalax lunged again and Trupil jumped back and punched Restalax in the nose with his left hand, Restalax laughed faintly. Trupil pulled his blade back to stab but Restalax still had the strength to defend. Restalax dived lunged at Trupil with intense force and their blades met and they tried pushing their blades together and Restalax gave in and dived back as Trupil pushed his two blades forward and with the sudden relieve of force stumbled forward. Restalax took advantage and swiftly slashed at Trupil’s arm with his dagger injuring him but not fatally. Trupil dived back in pain as Restalax looked at him grinning.

‘You never learn do you Trupil?’ Restalax taunted.

‘I have learned enough.’ Trupil spat, the way he said it indicated serious pain.

‘You have learned enough to know why you must die.’ Restalax continued, ‘but not here. Not now.’

Trupil scraped together the remainder of his strength and Restalax dodged his attack, kicked him in the leg sending him to his knees and then Restalax bashed Trupil in the face with the hilt of his sword and knocked him out and left him on the road.

10th of Mid Year 4E 461

Trupil woke up; he was in an unfamiliar room that looked like it was home to a hermit. There was a cooking spit and from it came rich smells of the fungi native to Morrowind. Trupil sat up quickly and an old Imperial walked into the room. The old man had a long beard and had dark robes; his robes were patterned in a dark shade of grey. His hair was grey and his face was wrinkled and he smiled faintly at the vaguely confused Trupil.

‘Trupil Poldeskyr, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.’ The old man smiled.

‘Where am I?’ Trupil asked.

‘Welcome to my home; my name is Quotallius Vanus.’ The old man said politely.

‘I’ve heard your name before, when I was a child.’ Trupil said in pain.

‘Your father and I were good friends,’ Quotallius explained, ‘he was an excellent warrior and we saved each other’s lives a few times.’

‘So I am told.’

‘He was killed by Restalax Faripond.’

‘I know.’ Trupil’s face hardened, ‘but I don’t know why...’

‘I am not surprised, the attack was random and Restalax was a close friend of your father’s beforehand.’

‘Wait. They were friends?’

‘They were friends before the attack. They both fought in the Legion against the Stormcloak rebellion sixty years ago, they were just under twenty years old and they were the reasons the rebellion and all its prejudice was eradicated.’

‘He was a war hero.’

‘He took no pride in it; when Windhelm fell into the hands of the Imperials, many rebels and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak fell by his blade alone.’

‘Sounds like a respectable man; I didn’t know him well.’

‘You cannot blame yourself for that.’

‘I don’t.’

‘Restalax killed your father in cold blood when you were no older than five years old.’

‘I remember the day well.’

‘You threatened him that day; you said you would kill him and he laughed with his blade still dripping blood from the tip.’

Trupil stood up and stretched his legs and arms.

‘Trupil, your clothes were in a pitiful state when I found you, your blades are fine but in the few days that you were unconscious, I managed to repair them and adjust them for your purpose a lot more than they were.’ Quotallius said quietly.

‘Thank you.’ Trupil thanked Quotallius gratefully as he put on his newly modified light armour and sheathed his swords in his belt. He put his bow on his back and pulled his cowl over his head before strapping his quiver to his back comfortably.

‘Thank you for everything.’ Trupil continued, ‘I plan to repay your kindness.’

‘By killing Restalax you will do just that.’ Quotallius muttered politely, ‘it’s time he met his end.’

Trupil nodded at Quotallius, ‘I promise that I will kill him, or die in the process and if I die I will take him to Oblivion with me.’

‘Your father would be proud.’

‘He would?’

‘He has been guiding you and helping you; he has seen the man you have become and you have become him in some respects.’

‘What?’

‘He is with you. Did you really think fighting just comes naturally to everyone?’ Quotallius laughed.

‘No, I just thought I was gifted.’

‘And you are gifted.’

‘Gifted by whom?’

‘Your father had the same gift as you; I knew it since we grew up together in Cyrodiil.’

Trupil took a final glance at Quotallius, ‘I hope that one day we will meet again.’

‘So do I.’ Quotallius muttered.

Trupil left the hut to see the vast landscape of Morrowind; he could see the infamous Red Mountain in the distance and the sea separating Vvardenfell from the mainland, the sea had ships carrying money, fish, vegetables and people from one point to another. The distant towns looked dead, the large fungi dominated the distant ashlands and the nearby roads were empty.

Trupil began to walk along the road and down the hill which is where Quotallius’ hut was built on top of. There was a slope that obviously dug out of the steep hill to enable safe travelling; Trupil used the slope to his advantage on the way down to conserve energy for the long trip back to Solstheim.

Trupil started to walk down the slope; ignoring the faint pain he felt in his stomach, the road seemed like an endless path in Oblivion but eventually Trupil found a small bandit encampment on the side of the road. By then it had been a lot of hours of walking leaving Trupil tired and unable to fight too many bandits in open conflict.

Trupil hadn’t the strength to set up his own camp so he decided to deceive the bandits: he walked in through the main gates and the bandits looked at him eagerly, confused and wondering who this strange man who had just walked into their camp was.

A bandit approached Trupil; he saw the bandit and quickly glanced up before returning his sight to the ground.

‘Can I help you?’ The bandit spat.

‘No you can’t, but your camp can.’ Trupil replied and before the bandit could react, Trupil’s energy had suddenly restored and he had stabbed the bandit through the heart and thrown the fallen criminal’s sword into the chest of another bandit. The bandits were now enraged by Trupil’s skills; they charged at Trupil who swiftly dodged all incoming attacks and ran two bandits through with one swift blow to the stomach leaving them to slowly lose balance and flop to the ground in agony. Three more bandits slowly approached Trupil and although there were three of them it was obvious that they were frightened of this bounty hunter’s skills.

Trupil watched the three bandits get closer and waited. The bandits all attacked at once and Trupil lunged back, the three bandits’ swords met in the air and made a loud clashing noise; Trupil then lunged forward and slashed all three bandits twice across their legs with his swords and it forced them to the ground. Trupil then stabbed one of the bandits in the back as he lay there face down on the unsanitary ground. The two other bandits managed to drag themselves to their feet for a second round but Trupil had other plans; he sheathed his scimitars and grabbed his bow from his back and blocked an attack from one of the bandits with his Daedric ranged weapon before pulling out an arrow and sticking it into the heart of the bandit.

The other bandit didn’t waste any time as he lunged at Trupil. Trupil dodged the bandit’s attack before sticking one of the sharp ends of his bow at least two inches deep into his opponent’s back, the bandit cried out in agony as Trupil drew his lucky dagger and slit the criminal’s throat not paying attention to the large masses of blood that spilled out. Trupil didn’t have time to catch his breath because the next thing he saw was a bandit firing his crossbow at Trupil; this bandit was fast at reloading and luckily for Trupil, his accuracy wasn’t great but as Trupil ran for cover, bolt after bolt came flying through the air to skim or narrowly miss Trupil’s body. Luckily for Trupil, he got to cover and rested behind the rock waiting for the bandit to stop firing bolts pointlessly. Then when he heard silence, Trupil lunged out and fired an arrow that hit the bandit somewhere “inappropriate”, the bandit cried out in severe pain as Trupil fired another arrow at the poor soul’s chest with enough power to send him flying.

Trupil laughed at his victory but before he could claim the camp he heard clapping coming from the high balcony overlooking the camp; a young Imperial woman stood their looking down on Trupil.

‘Will I have to kill you too?’ Trupil asked.

‘No; you saved me from doing the dirty work I was hired to do.’ The woman replied, her shiny blonde hair resting firmly on her lightly armoured shoulders.

‘Well then; you must go and collect your reward.’ Trupil laughed.

‘I’m no Nord but I am no liar, I will not accept payment for a job I didn’t do.’

‘Just do it; you did earn it in a way; it’s a perilous journey to here no matter where you have come from.’

The woman laughed, ‘I agree but that is not my point, bounty hunter.’

‘How do you know I am a bounty hunter?’

‘I took a wild guess, and besides I have never seen anyone fight like what I have seen from you today.’

‘Well it was nice to meet you too.’

‘Where are my manners? I am Seladi Moniparke.’ The woman said proudly as she jumped from the balcony to directly in front of Trupil.

‘Trupil Poldeskyr.’ Trupil replied as he looked over the corpses he had brutally dispatched only moments before.

‘I have heard of the name “Poldeskyr” before, you are Strago’s son?’

‘That’s me.’

‘That explains your unmatchable skills.’

‘I never really knew him.’

‘Why’s that?’

‘He was murdered when I was a five years old, I can’t even remember his face.’

‘That’s sad and yes I have heard of Restalax Faripond’s betrayal.’

‘Seems like everyone has; I am hunting him.’

‘A noble quest is it?’ Seladi laughed, ‘not many of them.’

‘No, it’s justice and it’s slightly personal.’ Trupil muttered.

‘You look completely wiped out; my parents always spoke of the deeds of your father in his legendary life. I’m sure they would love to meet you.’

Trupil accepted the offer, ‘I suppose it would do me better than staying here all night.’

Seladi led Trupil to a small hut in a new looking mining town.

‘Our town was built twenty years ago but we keep our homes in tact.’ Seladi said as she led him through the town market, the mines overlooked the town and Trupil kept his head down.

‘Seems like a fine place to call home.’ Trupil smiled.

‘It is a mostly imperial settlement but we do have some Dunmer and one mad old mage to protect us.’ Seladi replied.

‘So this man is Altmer I assume?’

‘Yes he is but he isn’t like the Thalmor; he keeps to himself and treats us like equals to him, a nice old man if you ask me.’

Seladi brought Trupil to a door where there was a neat pattern.

‘This is your home?’ Trupil asked calmly.

‘Yes it is, welcome.’ Seladi replied with a faint smile.

Inside the house was a nicely furnished room where everything was styled like an Imperial tavern.

‘Seladi, you’re home early.’ An old woman called from across the room as she looked over her shoulder.

‘Yes, I had help with my contract so it took less time.’ Seladi replied gently.

‘Who’s this dashing young man you have brought in?’ Seladi’s mother asked.

‘Trupil Poldeskyr.’ Trupil interrupted kindly.

‘Strago Poldeskyr’s son, where did you find him?’ Seladi’s mother asked.

‘He was mopping up the floor of the nearby bandit camp with the corpses of every bandit in there.’ Seladi replied.

‘Well then boy, you’ve done us a service, I am Liquiel Dastercrook.’ Seladi’s mother proudly smiled at Trupil as he pulled his hood down to reveal his dark hair.

‘What service?’ Trupil asked.

‘Those bandits that you killed have been pestering us for months; they killed a lot of innocents and I put myself forward to bring justice to their families but you did that for them.’ Seladi interrupted, ‘this town is in your debt.’

‘This town owes me nothing.’ Trupil answered modestly.

‘My father will love to meet you Trupil.’ Seladi smiled.

‘Speaking of that old coot, he was down at the docks fishing.’ Liquiel muttered to Seladi.

‘I suppose he will need a hand then?’ Seladi replied.

‘With all the fish he brings back, I think he will need help or he will hurt his back.’ Liquiel laughed.

‘I will go to help him then?’ Seladi asked.

‘Yes, and take young Poldeskyr here with you, might save you the effort.’ Liquiel ordered politely.

Trupil nodded.

Seladi and Trupil left the house and quickly made their way through the streets and to the docks with no hassle. Seladi’s father sat there with two barrels full of fish looking out over the glistening water.

‘Father, do you need a hand getting these barrels home?’ Seladi asked gently.

‘Sure, is this young man who I think he is?’ Seladi’s father asked.

‘What do you think he is?’ Seladi asked.

‘The swords bare resemblance to that of Strago Poldeskyr’s.’ Seladi’s father whispered to Seladi, Trupil could hear him clearly though.

‘They are his swords.’ Trupil replied.

‘And you are..?’ Seladi’s father asked.

‘Trupil Poldeskyr, Strago’s son.’ Trupil replied.

‘Well the swords are all the evidence I need, welcome to our town, Youwaq Firal.’ Seladi’s father greeted Trupil in a friendly tone, ‘I am Oberith Dastercrook.’

‘Father, I was sent by Mother to help you carry the barrels home.’ Seladi said.

‘I’ll do it.’ Trupil offered as he picked up one of the barrels, Oberith picked up the other.

Seladi departed for the market to buy vegetables leaving Trupil and Oberith together.

‘So you are Strago Poldeskyr’s son?’ Oberith asked.

‘Yes, I don’t really remember him well.’ Trupil replied.

‘Why’s that?’

‘He died when I was five.’

‘Some rumours said that you were dead too.’

‘Well those rumours were false.’ Trupil laughed.

‘Yes they were, you look like him; his description matches your appearance quite well.’

‘He was murdered right in front of me when I was five years old; anger sent me into training and now I thrive to bring his killer to justice.’

‘That’s what led you to Morrowind then?’

‘He’s here in Morrowind somewhere.’

‘I know.’ Oberith smirked, ‘what will you do when you find him?’

‘I am going to kill him.’

‘Restalax Faripond is the man who killed him, right?’

‘That’s the man, I was there, and all that has changed after all these years is his hair colour.’

‘I too want to see him dead; perhaps you can kill him on my behalf too?’

‘With pleasure, what has he done?’

‘He killed my brother thirteen yeas ago and he killed my nephews.’

‘I will make sure that they get their justice.’

Trupil and Oberith entered the house and put the barrels down in a store room behind the large room where the entrance/exit was.

‘Trupil, you fancy a drink down at the tavern?’ Oberith asked.

‘No thanks, I have matters to attend to.’ Trupil declined politely.

‘If you need me I will be down at the inn, trying my hardest to not stay sober.’ Oberith joked. Trupil nodded.

Oberith left the house leaving him with Liquiel.

‘Seladi is probably in the market, a group of thugs generally bother her, would you check if she is alright?’ Liquiel asked.

‘Alright then, I will step in to give her a hand if she is in trouble.’ Trupil replied as he left.

‘What a role-model.’ Liquiel said to herself.

Trupil quickly made his way to the square where he found several men harassing Seladi.

‘You shouldn’t be fighting our battles Seladi, you are a woman.’ One man said.

‘I don’t care much for your sexism.’ Seladi replied.

‘No, I don’t want you fighting our battles when you should be nursing children and cooking for real warriors.’ Another man said.

‘Maybe you should get of your arses and go to battle then, or are you all cowards?’ Seladi spat.

‘Seladi, it’s high time you realized that you are pathetic and useless to everyone.’ The third man said.

‘Is there a problem?’ Trupil interrupted.

‘No problem here.’ The first man said.

‘I thought not, now sod off.’ Trupil ordered.

‘What are you going to do, slap us?’ The third man laughed.

Trupil drew an arrow from his quiver, ‘you see this arrow, I retrieved this from a penis I severed on the field and unless you want to lose your manhood I advise that you and your friends do one.’ Trupil threatened.

‘Go on then!’ The second man laughed.

Before anyone could react, the arrow was digging into the “happy-spot” of the second thug. The man cried out in pain.

‘I warned you.’ Trupil spat as he withdrew the arrow and blood ran down the second man’s legs.

‘Kill the bugger.’ The first thug shouted.

‘The second thug limped back in pain as the other two drew their daggers and approached Trupil over-confidently. Trupil dodged as they attacked and before they knew it he jumped into the air and kicked both of the thugs in the face before dropping down and knocking them out with his hands.

‘Problem resolved.’ Trupil spat.

‘That was disgusting but they deserved it.’ Seladi laughed.

‘I told them what would happen and the fools didn’t heed my advice, so I stuck to my words and now one of those poor sods will regret his mistake until death.’

‘Thanks, who warned you that this might happen?’

‘Your mother was concerned about some thugs that have been harassing you; those imbeciles are who I think she was referring to.’

‘You’re correct, but I don’t think they’ll be a problem anymore.’

‘Well, your father is at the inn if you need him.’

‘I am sure I’ll be fine, thanks. I overheard a conversation that mentioned Restalax, he’s here.’

‘Looks like I’m going to have to make an attempt on his life.’

‘Be careful.’

‘This is hardly my first dance.’

‘He is rumoured to be as deadly as you if not deadlier.’

‘His skills are rusty and I will take advantage of that.’

‘They said he is tucked away in the meadery.’

‘Then that is where I will check first.’

‘You need an extra blade?’

‘Maybe, I could do with a hand.’

‘Then that’s settled, I will go in with you.’ Seladi said as she pulled her hood up.

‘So hoods are not a forgotten fashion.’ Trupil joked as he pulled his hood up.

They overlooked the meadery from a watchtower’s roof, the jump was not far; three stories at most. Trupil saw a wire that was attached from the watchtower’s spire on the roof to a window on the top floor of the meadery, probably a couple of stories drop on the inside of the window. Trupil grabbed his bow and prepared to use his bow and the wire as a zip-line directly into the meadery.

‘When I smash through, you follow.’ Trupil ordered and then he was gone, he sped along the wire and just as he expected the window smashed on impact. Restalax looked up to see Trupil drop down onto two of his men.

‘Trupil my boy, have you come to die?’

‘No, I have come to live.’ Trupil spat, ‘at the expense of your life.’

‘Kill this man.’ Restalax ordered and several thugs jumped out from behind wooden beams. Before Trupil could engage the threats, Seladi jumped down from the smashed window’s empty frame and landed on a thug, stabbing another with her sword and throwing a dagger into a third.

‘Restalax, face me or are you a coward?’ Trupil taunted as he drew his swords.

‘This is not cowardice, this is intelligence.’ Restalax laughed as he snapped his fingers and a couple dozen thugs stormed the room.

‘Your thugs won’t stop me.’ Trupil spat and then he killed three before Restalax could even process what he had just heard. Trupil cut at the legs of the fourth thug and dodged an attack from the fifth allowing his opponents blade to kill his downed comrade leaving an opening for Trupil to kill the fifth. Seladi shook her head and then ran at a thug, narrowly dodging their attack before lodging her blade into her opponent’s spine, paralyzing him.

Trupil saw Restalax fire an arrow at him and with ease he had managed to catch the arrow in mid flight. Restalax looked in disbelief as Trupil cu down two more of the thugs. Trupil lunged across the table and swiftly slit the throat of a thug that had a large opening to attack Seladi before he could get close enough to deal the killing blow. Seladi bashed the face of a thug with the hilt of her sword and then she dived back and grabbed a bottle from the table and smashed it on the head of another thug before throwing her sword into the chest of the thug whose face she had bashed just moments before. Trupil threw his lucky dagger directly into the eye of one of the thus before diving away from an axe that was coming in his direction.

Trupil fired an arrow at a chain that held a lantern in the air, the lantern fell and the wood started to burn, the smoke got thicker but it killed the remaining thugs.

‘And now it is time to find Restalax.’ Trupil muttered to himself.

‘I’m going with you.’ Seladi continued, ‘we make a good team.’

‘I have to settle this alone, you must understand.’

‘You are not the only one who has lost family to this madman, I want justice too.’

‘I cannot argue with you, come on.’

Trupil stayed low to avoid inhaling the smoke and killing himself. Seladi followed silently. Trupil stopped due to a smash he heard coming from the cellar.

‘What a clever fool!’ Trupil spat as he looked at the ladder.

‘What is it?’ Seladi asked.

‘He is going to try to escape via a secret passageway in the cellar.’

‘And how does he know there is one?’

Trupil looked at Seladi with an expression that explained everything, ‘he wouldn’t set up his skooma operation in a building with no alternate escape.’

Seladi followed Trupil into the cellar where there was indeed a secret exit, the hatch was open.

‘He can’t be far, let’s go.’ Trupil sighed.

They climbed down into the sewers below.

‘It smells like Riften down here!’ Trupil exclaimed.

‘Let’s kill Restalax and be gone before this smell kills us.’ Seladi spluttered.

‘I agree.’

They quickly scampered along the side of the sewage-water until they came across a small passageway that led to a large room where Restalax stood waiting with more thugs.

‘Trupil, are you ready to join your father?’ Restalax shouted.

‘I am ready to kill you!’ Trupil replied.

‘After all these years it ends in a sewer…’

‘I find comfort in knowing that you won’t make it out of here alive!’

‘Trupil, your arrogance resembles that of your father’s; it doesn’t have to end like this.’

‘If it doesn’t end like this then how would it end?’

‘You have been a thorn in my side for way too long boy; I will put an end to it.’

‘You are more than welcome to try but this time I will not stop until you are dead.’

‘Enough of this, let’s settle this once and for all.’ Restalax drew his sword and his dagger.

Trupil looked at Seladi and they both drew their blades. Trupil’s swords were gleaming in the dim lighting.

The thugs stepped forward and attacked the two bounty hunters.

‘I don’t think I will stay around long enough to watch you kill each other, I will be seeing you all soon.’ Restalax laughed as he ran off and escaped, leaving Trupil and Seladi to fight the ten thugs that were down in the sewers. Trupil killed all ten of the thugs really quickly before running after Restalax but he was gone.

‘Trupil it’s too late; he’s gone.’ Seladi sighed.

‘I know.’ Trupil muttered as he sheathed his swords.

‘What now?’

‘We hunt him down and kill him.’

‘Good plan.’

‘Thanks, I came up with the idea myself.’

‘Well obviously.’

They exited the sewers through a cave that had an exit just outside of the town; it was well concealed within the valley, just like the town that it overlooked. The sun was rising by then and the town looked vibrant and full of life already. Trupil looked at the port where he saw a ship leaving; was Restalax on board?

Trupil dug his sword into the ground, ‘damn.’

Seladi put her hand on his shoulder, ‘this is not over.’

‘Those are the words I have gone off for the past twenty-two years since he killed my father. They have had no effect.’

‘They will.’

‘I hope you’re right.’

The burning meadery was giving off smoke in the distance as several men desperately tried to put out the blaze.

‘Where is that ship headed?’ Trupil asked as he looked over to the ship sailing out of the town port.

‘That ship? I think it’s headed for Black Marsh because of the Argonians on the deck.’ Seladi replied, ‘why?’

‘Restalax could be on board, no – he is on board.’

‘How do you know?’

‘He would want to leave quickly and by ship is his safest option; he is on that ship.’

‘What’s your plan?’

‘Let him go, he won’t be out of Morrowind for long.’

‘Why would he return here?’

‘He plans to overthrow the Dunmer power here and he wants to take control for himself.’

‘And that means…?’

‘It means that if he succeeds then you will all be slaves.’

‘We have to stop him.’

19th of Frostfall 4E 261

Trupil rested in his hut in Raven Rock; Seladi had accompanied him to the settlement on the forsaken isle of Solstheim and had rented a room at the inn. The night was quiet until there was a large explosion. Trupil darted up and put his armour on, he then grabbed the rest of his equipment and he ran outside of his hut; Raven Rock was under attack. High Elves stormed the outside of the Bulwark, there were thousands of them.

Within seconds of leaving his hut, Trupil saw Morvayn manor get bombarded by several boulders from the catapults, Lleril ran out of the smoked entrance and approached Trupil.

‘Trupil it’s the Thalmor.’ Lleril said.

‘I know; what are your orders?’ Trupil replied.

‘Help me keep them from passing the ancestral tombs.’

‘I will take the Bulwark and try to persuade them to turn back by firing arrows at them.’ Trupil ran up the stairs and onto the Bulwark where he fired arrow after arrow into the raging crowd of racist Altmer that were trying to get into the town. The elves fired back but Trupil was too fast for them to hit.

Seladi dodged the boulders as they fell down on the streets of Raven Rock, debris was flying everywhere, and then she climbed up a damaged building to get a view of the attackers. She fired arrows from a long rang with precision that killed several of the attackers before they even knew that arrows were coming at them from an impossible range.

Lleril and eight guards held the front gate by firing crossbows up the steps at the attackers as they charged down, they were behind a barricade but they knew that they would be overpowered if they didn’t get assistance. Trupil dropped behind the Bulwark to behind the barricade.

‘Trupil,’ Lleril called, ‘you need to find Captain Farith, he is our new captain here and he could do with a hand.’

‘Alright then…’ Trupil nodded, ‘where is he?’

‘He’ll be holding the docks from incoming enemy ships.’

Trupil nodded and then he ran to the docks where he found Captain Farith.

‘They are preparing to dock, fire the catapults!’ Farith ordered.

‘Captain Farith?’ Trupil asked.

‘What do you want?’ Farith spat.

‘I was told you could use a hand.’

‘I need several thousand hands to do this.’

‘What would you have me do?’

‘The ship needs to be silenced, I need someone to get on board and destroy it.’

‘How will I get there?’

‘Swim.’

Trupil laughed faintly and then he dived into the water and began to swim towards the Thalmor ship.

‘That boy will get himself killed.’ Farith muttered.

Trupil silently approached the Thalmor ship; those on board were unaware of his presence. Trupil climbed a rope that dangled off the side of the ship from a window, the window was large enough for a person to fit through and Trupil took advantage of that, silently. Inside was a map on a table. Trupil grabbed the map and other documents that looked important before kicking the door open and killing to soldiers before they even knew what had happened. The other soldiers turned to Trupil and didn’t hesitate to charge at him; Trupil dodged easily and a boulder smashed through the deck taking several elves with it.

The ship began to collapse; Trupil had to run all the way to the front of the ship to get off because the sides had been blocked up by fallen sails, crates and corpses. Trupil ran along the deck, dodging sliding crates as the ship slowly capsized and dived out of the way of plummeting boulders. Trupil knew that his only chance of getting off of that ship before it went down was to get to the very front and board another ship; not quite as big but it had something on board that looked like an asset to the Aldmeri Dominion, best destroy that.

Trupil ran up the thin platform and lunged onto the smaller ship a split second before the larger ship suddenly capsized. Several elves looked at Trupil and drew their bows; Trupil was out of luck. Crossbow bolts and arrows killed every elf on the deck, Fraznek and a group of Redoran Guards all wielding bows and crossbows. Fraznek stood with three arrows all ready to fire.

‘Trupil, we need to secure this weapon!’ Fraznek ordered.

‘Whatever it is, it is dangerous; I have a better idea.’ Trupil explained.

‘What’s your plan?’

‘We have to destroy it.’

‘It could benefit us!’

‘At what cost?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Then we cannot risk it.’ Trupil looked at the item that looked like a large crossbow holding a large metal bolt; it could’ve been exactly what it looked like, what could it have been capable of? Trupil then pushed the giant crossbow into the water from the deck. Trupil watched as the giant object broke apart into several pieces as it sunk.

‘What have you done?’ Fraznek asked.

‘I destroyed it.’ Trupil answered.

‘We could’ve used it…’

Trupil pulled the documents he had found on the table on board the larger ship, ‘we won’t need that prototype if we have the plans.’

‘How did you get them?’

‘They looked interesting so I “borrowed” them from the larger ship’s captain.’

Fraznek laughed, ‘we need to get below deck and finish off any survivors.’

Trupil went down the hatch first and killed two unaware elves that were investigating the sudden splash, no doubt. The elves scattered across the maze of crates (making things easier for Trupil), they were looking out of the windows on both sides.

Trupil slowly crept up and slit the throat of one of the elves before throwing a knife at another one. He silently dropped the bodies overboard through the windows; the elves got suspicious about the splashes but remained still.

Fraznek fired two arrows at the two elves on the other side of the ship.

‘Ship’s clear!’ Fraznek shouted.

‘What now?’ A soldier asked.

‘Back to the boats, we need to get off of this thing.’ Fraznek ordered.

‘We secured the ship; wouldn’t it be easier to claim it too?’ Trupil asked.

‘If you want to sink with it, be my guest and stay.’ Fraznek said clearly.

‘Sink?’ Trupil was confused.

‘We are going to sink the ship once we get clear of the boulders.’

‘I need to obtain something from the captain’s cabin, give me a few minutes.’

‘I cannot do that.’ Fraznek frowned.

‘Why can’t you do it?’

‘We don’t have time.’

‘Well then I suppose you will have to sink me too.’

‘Men, get down onto the boats!’ Fraznek ordered.

The troops flooded onto the boats and Fraznek followed.

‘Trupil, we have to go!’ Fraznek shouted.

‘Not yet!’ Trupil replied as he ran into the captain’s cabin and began to search for the information he was looking for.

Fraznek gave the order and the boats departed from the ship, leaving Trupil on board.

Trupil rummaged quickly through the documents that where spread out across the table, he found more plans to the weapon that he had found on the deck, the plans contained more diagrams but these plans were more complicated – more Dwemer in terms of structure and shape. Trupil carefully placed the documents into his pouch and before he could do much else, a boulder smashed through the cabin and sent Trupil flying back out onto the deck. Trupil staggered back to his feet, he threw himself wearily to the edge of the deck and managed to stumble overboard. Seconds later the ship began to sink.

Trupil struggled as he swam back to shore but he had recovered from the shock of the moment when the boulder smashed through the cabin. Once he reached the shore, he was aided by some troops who were able to spare a hand.

‘Where is Fraznek?’ Trupil asked.

‘On the Bulwark, overlooking the battlefield, we are outnumbered three to one, we may have to surrender.’ A soldier replied.

‘No, we won’t.’ Trupil assured the troops. Trupil managed to regain his strength before joining Fraznek on top of the wall that protected the mining town.

‘You live.’ Fraznek gasped.

‘And I have the plans.’ Trupil smiled, ‘but we can marvel at them later.’

‘We have more pressing matters.’

‘Who is leading the Thalmor?’

‘An Altmer by the name of Firlon, he is pretty cagy from what I hear.’

‘He’ll be dead soon.’

‘Aren’t you forgetting something?’

‘I don’t think so.’ Trupil smiled before jumping off of the wall and into the crowd of Thalmor attackers, killing several before they could even bat an eyelid. Trupil dived over the back of a staggering elf attacker and stabbed a second attacker before knocking out the staggering attacker with the hilt of his sword. Two elves charged at Trupil with axes, he dodged the oncoming attacks and dispatched of the two elves swiftly and painlessly.

Trupil sheathed his swords and drew his bow, he knocked one attacker out with the end of his bow and lodged an arrow into the heart of another attacker before using a third attacker to jump high enough to get a clean shot, he fired an arrow directly at a rope holding a wooden shelf in the air and the wooden shelf fell onto at least ten elves, killing all that were caught underneath it. Trupil fired several arrows into the crowds of elves, killing many swiftly.

The elves were still outnumbering the Dunmer soldiers of Raven Rock, Trupil dived away as the survivors returned the fire with extreme force. Trupil managed to take cover, arrows were flying everywhere, Trupil needed to take a risk in order to survive and he knew it; he dived out into the open and threw a few throwing knives into the crowds, it helped as he ran from cover to cover, arrows skimming his body and whizzing by his ears. Trupil dived into a ditch where he was out of the heat. He was covered by the Redoran forces that had been encouraged by Trupil’s bravery and fired relentlessly at the crowds of Thalmor soldiers.

Trupil poked his head out from the ditch and looked around to see if he could spot this “Firlon” that he had been told about. Before long, he could see Firlon in a camp on the edge of what looked like a pit that the Thalmor had dug. Trupil saw his chance and stealthily snuck past the battle and hurled himself up a tree just outside of the camp. The tree concealed Trupil well, unless the soldiers were to randomly look up. Trupil lunged down from the tree and his swords instantly lodged into the backs of two elves; they squealed and then there was silence, half a dozen Thalmor soldiers stood watching in shock as Trupil swiftly freed his blades and readied to spill more blood.

The elves all attacked Trupil at once, Trupil managed to kill all six with ease. Enraged, Firlon lunged at Trupil with his sword; Trupil blocked his attack and kneed Firlon where he was certain it would hurt before jumping up and kicking him in the face and dropping back, Firlon staggered back and fell to the support of the table he was sitting at moments before. Trupil stood up and ran at Firlon and held his blades to Firlon’s throat.

‘What do you want?’ Firlon asked.

‘I came to kill you.’ Trupil spat.

‘Well, I’m afraid you won’t be doing that…’

Trupil grabbed hold of Firlon and threw him to the floor, ‘I need answers first though.’

‘And if I refuse to answer?’

‘Your death won’t be painless.’

‘What do you want to know?’

‘Why are you attacking Raven Rock?’

‘He, he paid us.’

‘Who’s “he”?’

‘Restalax Faripond.’

‘You’re Thalmor, why would you do the job of mercenaries?’

‘We saw it as the perfect opportunity to test our weapon, but you destroyed that, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, we did, you may live if you call your men off.’

‘I don’t take orders from you!’

‘Then you die.’ Trupil stabbed Firlon and threw his corpse into the ditch that had been dug.

The Redoran troops gave out a cheer, they had defeated the elves – Trupil had encouraged the soldiers to overcome their enemy. The battlefield was an ash waste of corpses and ash, arrows littered the ground and swords of fallen soldiers were being collected.

Trupil met up with Lleril on the battlefield.

‘Ah, Trupil, you have saved us.’ Lleril cheered.

‘At what cost?’ Trupil replied.

‘Yes, I understand your pain: it takes a monster to do something like this.’ Lleril put his hand on Trupil’s shoulder.

‘I have obtained plans for a weapon on board the ships, it seems like they were trying to test it on us.’ Trupil grinned as he passed Lleril the documents that he had obtained from the second ship.

‘This is interesting.’ Lleril scowled as he looked through the documents.

‘Before I killed the leader of the attackers, I managed to find out that Restalax had hired them to do this.’ Trupil’s grin turned into a frown.

Lleril looked at Trupil in shock, ‘why would the Aldmeri Dominion do mercenary work?’

‘To test out their prototype I think. The prototype which you now have plans for.’

‘We will put it to good use.’

‘I hope you do, I should get some rest.’

‘You may want to reconsider your plans, Restalax was sighted going east during the battle, if anyone saw him, it’s the Skaal in their village.’

‘Where’s Seladi?’

‘She has gone after Restalax.’

‘She underestimates him, going after Restalax alone is suicide.’

‘Be careful.’

‘I always am.’ Trupil grinned before running off and disappearing into the ash.

Before long, Trupil found himself trudging through the layers of snow that covered the northern part of Solstheim; it was cold, very cold. He managed to take a shortcut through the forest in an effort that it would get him to the Skaal village faster…

Not long after his decision to use the forest, he stumbled across what looked like a bear mixed with a wolf mixed with a man, a werebear; known for their deadliness and power especially among the Skaal. Luckily, Trupil hadn’t been spotted so he dropped into the snow to provide visual cover. It was cold but at least Hircine’s servant couldn’t see him, but he could smell him. The werebear stumbled about looking for Trupil, it dug at the snow not far from where Trupil had buried himself, the beast didn’t give up but still it left the area. Trupil let out a sigh of relief and suddenly the werebear grabbed him and pulled him out from under the snow, Trupil darted up upon impact with more snow and fired arrow after arrow at the beast, not stopping until he was certain that it was dead.

Trupil continued to progress through the woods, he ran into nobody as he travelled for what seemed like hours in the freezing cold conditions of the northern part of Solstheim. Howling in the distance kept Trupil’s hand firmly on the hilt of one of his scimitars.

After a while, Trupil saw a cluster of houses in the snow, their roofs covered with it, the ground was covered with snow; Trupil let out a faint smile to show that he was happy to see that not the entire island was covered in a thick layer of light brown-ish-grey ash.

As Trupil wandered into the village, he saw some of the people who lived there: tall, sturdy, strong and they all seemed to possess wisdom beyond any other Nord that Trupil had stumbled across in his travels. An old woman approached Trupil with a different attire to the rest of the villagers, she wore Nordic armour, and Trupil knew that she was definitely a strong warrior: an axe and a sword were sheathed at her belt.

‘May I help you?’ Trupil asked, curiously.

‘Well I would have assumed you were looking for that man, like that young lady who passed through an hour ago.’ The woman replied gently.

‘Yes actually, I am.’ Trupil chuckled.

‘Then you’re out of luck, he left the island on a ship, it bore house Redoran flags.’

‘What?’

‘The ship’s flag was Redoran.’

Trupil’s eyes flared with confusion, ‘but house Redoran want him dead for the crimes he has committed and the crimes against house Redoran he plans to commit.’

‘My best guess is that the ship was stolen, or maybe disguised with Redoran colours to ensure that nobody could follow them.’

‘Where do you think the ship is going to?’

‘Valenwood, the amount of Bosmer I saw on the ship made that obvious.’

‘Looks like I won’t be catching up for a while then.’

‘Stay the night; it has been too long since a great warrior has stayed here.’

‘I’m no “great warrior” sadly.’

‘Your father was.’

‘You knew my father?’

‘Strago used to come here a lot, always solving our problems, he was a good man.’

‘Did you know him?’

‘Yes, I met him outside the Temple of Miraak when I planned to go down into that forsaken crypt and save my people from his curse.’

‘And he went with you?’

‘Yes he went in with me; he helped the last Dragonborn save my people and became a friend of the Skaal.’

 ‘This must’ve been…’

‘Sixty long years ago.’

‘I didn’t catch your name.’

‘My name is Frea.’ The old woman smiled.

‘Oh, so you’re Frea, my father told a story about you once.’

‘Your friend is here. Seladi is her name, I think.’

‘Why?’

‘She saw Restalax leave on the ship, she was cold, I could see it in her face, I offered her a warm bed and she accepted the offer.’

‘Am I able to see her?’

‘As long as you aren’t going to bring chaos down on our village, I think it can be tolerated.’

Trupil chuckled, ‘thank you, where is she?’

‘In my hut, the one that is just past the forge, you can’t miss it.’

Trupil gave a nod of gratitude then bounded up to Frea’s house where he opened the door and entered, he closed the door behind him.

‘Seladi, are you there?’ Trupil whispered.

‘Trupil – what are you doing here?’ Seladi called back.

‘I was sent by Lleril.’

‘Were you sent for Restalax or me?’

‘A bit of both, Frea said you were here.’

‘Who’s Frea?’

‘The woman who let you stay here – her name is Frea.’

Seladi stepped out from a doorway on the right hand side of the room, she looked wary.

‘You should get some rest.’ Trupil said gently, ‘you have no idea where Restalax is off to – and how far away that is.’

‘How far is he going?’ Seladi asked.

‘I think he’s going as far as Valenwood if not further.’

‘He’s afraid of us?’

‘Not likely; he’s probably waiting for us to let our guard down so he can slip back into Morrowind.’ Trupil’s gaze turned to the ceiling, ‘so we’ll wait for him.’

‘And what if he never comes back?’

‘Then we’re well and truly wasting our time.’ Trupil laughed.

‘What’s your next course of action then?’

‘You’re going to stay with Lleril here on Solstheim and I’m heading to Valenwood to track this bastard down.’

‘What happened to “waiting”?’

‘You are doing the waiting, I am doing the hunting.’ Grinned Trupil fiendishly…