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> The Shadow and the Flame, The Emperors Final Hour and Command.
Black Hand
post May 3 2010, 11:08 AM
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From: Where the sun shines everyday in hell.

A hundred and twenty numbered ages in the void that fated folk had grown deep-schooled in evil. Then the Bright Gods resolved to punish those faithless spirits, and shatter the unruly caitiffs, those huge, unholy scathers, loathsome to the Light. They repented exceedingly that they had gazed upon Oblivion, and seen there the first of dark kin, and welcomed them as brothers and sisters.

The Principalities of Victory beheld how great was the wickedness of the wayward spirits, and saw that they were bold in sin and full of wiles. They resolved then to chasten the tribes of daedra, and smite darkkind with hammer and hand.

But ever shall Darkness contest the Light, and great were the Powers that breathed the void and laid waste upon one another, and no oath might bind them, so deep were they in envy and perfidy. For once the portals are opened, who shall shut them upon the rising tide?
- Excerpt from 'The Waters of Oblivion'.

The days dying light filtered in through the cell bars, casting stripes on the face of the aging Breton. He pondered at his time here as he considered tying his rags together for the thousandth time. He would make a rope and tie it to the bars and hang himself, but the only thing that kept him from it was his hate. A desire for revenge against everything and nothing.

He finally lay down on the rotting straw and threadbare cloth called his bed. Almost as soon as he lay could he feel the telltale movements of bedbugs inside it. After five years, he just didn't care anymore. He closed his eyes and tried to go to sleep as the images of his regrets played through his mind once more.

He dreams of clashing steel sparking, torches in the dark and the screaming of children as their mothers cry. He shudders in his sleep and lets a moan out. Another is close enough to hear him.

"Hey! Breton! Keep it down! I'm trying to sleep here, you fetcher!" The Dunmer spits out.

The Breton gets up from his slumber and grabs the clay flagon of water at his small table, made of decaying wood, and pours himself a drink into a small clay cup. As he rears his head to drink, he glances at the scratches on the wall that signify the passage of him time here.

"Hey! Fetcher! Did you hear me? I'm talking to you!" The Dunmer cried again.

The Breton slowly walked over to the cell doors and gazed back coldly at the Dunmers red eyed visage. Teeth showed themselves in the dim light as the Dunmer thought he finally had a reaction from him.

"Five years and you finally look at me! Not so powerful now, are you Breton? Why don't you use that Magic and make the bars disappear? Heh? No? Hahahah----AAAAHGGHHH!!!" The dunmer stopped mid-mock as the Bretons cup flew through the air and landed through the Dunmers cell smashing into smithereens on his skull.

Blood riveted down the side of his face as the Dunmer called out for the guards. To his chagrin, footsteps started coming from the shadows in the dank prison in the distance.

"Baurus, lock that door behind us!" Came a distant and feminine voice

"You hear that? They're coming! For you! You're going to die, Breton! You're going to die!" crowed the bloodied Dunmer triumphantly.

"My sons,....they're dead aren't they?" came another voice, closer then the last time this one old and regal sounding.

"We dont know that for certain sire, for now, we need to keep moving!" Came the feminine voice again, closer still.

"No, they're dead, I know it." The regal voice replied.

The Breton gazed at the dark figures plodding determinedly towards his cell.

"My job right now is to get you too safety." the Feminine voice said resolutely, as three figures appeared before him, two in armor and one in flowing robes.

The women who had been talking looked at him with a stunned look and then spoke to another just out of view: "Whats this prisoner doing here? I thought this cell was supposed to be off-limits?!"

"Usual mix up with the watch, I--" the other offered weakly.

"Never mind! Get that gate open." She pointed with a commanding tone.

"Stand back prisoner! We won't hesitate too kill you if you get in our way!" Said the figure appearing from the side.

The Breton looked at the four figures now, three in armor, one in robes and then slowly complied.

"No sign of pursuit." One said.

"Stay put!" one of the men said, approaching the Breton and pointing at the ground where he stood.

"Good, were not out of this yet." Said the woman responding to to one of the other men.

As the group filled up the cell, the old man in the regal robes stitched with gold and immaculately designed and tailored looked at the Breton out of the corner of his eye.

His stride was slowed as he took in more of him, until full blown recognition hit him. He knew that face.

Piercing green eyes, long aquiline nose, thin face, a brow that gave him the look of an eagle descending upon his prey, combined with his thin, wiry frame, and hair in a wild mane from years in prison, it served to give the Breton a particularly sinister look.

"You! Let me see your face!" The old man looked him over closely, his face breaking into astonishment.

"It's you! The one from my dreams!" The old man brought his hand to his mouth.

"Then...the stars were right....and this is the day...Gods give me strength..." the old man trailed off. He was not unlike a someone who had just seen a ghost.

The Breton swallowed and rasped out a question. "What's going on?"

The old man, staring at the wall looked back at him and blinked several times before he replied.

"Assassins attacked my sons, and I'm next. My Blades are leading me out of the city along a secret escape route....by chance...the entrance to it,....is in your cell...." the old man trailed off.

"Who are you guys?" the Breton asked.

The old man actually seemed amused and surprised at this question. "I am the Emperor, Uriel Septim."

It was the Breton's turn to be shocked. "F-f-orgive me, Sire..."

"What is your name, Citizen?"

The Breton swallowed deeply, and stammered out his response. "Armand Devereaux, Former Spearman of the Imperial Legion, Archer Division."

The Emperor seemed pleased by this news. "Ah..pray tell what offense brings you to my dungeons?"


The Emperor looked closer at the Breton.

"Did you?"

"There is a difference between desertion and what I did, but none that holds up in a court martial." Armand replied.

"Whatever you have done...it does not matter. That is not what you will be remembered for. Your new path is set before you."

The Emperor looked to the female Blade. "Captain Renault, I am granting this man a full pardon, and he is too accompany us."

She looked incredulously at the Emperor and tried to stammer out a protest but just gave the now former prisoner a dirty look and stammered out "Please, sire, we must keep moving."

The other two blades look amazed at the sudden turn of events and one of them commented "It looks like its your lucky day, just stay out of our way."

The Captain then set about tapping a few stones on the wall of the cell, finally reaching a slightly loose one, and pushing it in, it receded the protruded back out as a huge section of wall came grinding down as ancient machinery underneath the stone floor groaned to life.

As the quintet made their way into the gaping maw that the secret door revealed one of the Blades commented to the other quietly. "I bet he's kicking himself for this right about now."

As the Breton followed behind them all, he couldn't help but agree quietly.

This post has been edited by Black Hand: May 3 2010, 08:41 PM
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post May 3 2010, 04:34 PM
Post #2

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I regognise that quest tongue.gif, nicely told though. You depict cpn. Renault particularly well, and an interesting main character. The old breton is intreaguing too, I sense there's a lot of back story there which could lead to some dark places.

Only a couple of things I saw:
wizened face of the aging Breton - I wouldn't point it out but in the first paragraph I found the countersinking a little off-putting

the old man trailed off. - you might want to consider chanign one or other of these to some synonym.

Look behind you and see an ever decreasing number of ghosts. Currently about 15.
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Black Hand
post May 4 2010, 05:41 AM
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From: Where the sun shines everyday in hell.

Thanks Olen, I also added a few bits here and there to make sense of some things that didn't quite make sense to me in the beginning like the full pardon. Also, Armand isn't really that old by our standards, but he is in his early forties, and thus does have some wrinkles and aging that would depict him as old by the games standards where the life expectancy for Bretons and Imperials is mid fifties to early sixties, and even that's considered rare.


Armand followed close behind the Emperor who in turn was behind the Blades in their full suits of armor and katanas drawn. Armand had seen the rare blade style a few times before in his legion years. Usually held as prized possessions by high ranking Knights or the occasional lucky adventurer. He himself had never held one.

As the group descended further into the tunnel it sharply and suddenly transformed into ancient white architecture. Ayleid architecture. So this was a secret tunnel beneath white gold tower, he realized, knowing enough of the imperial palace to know that the Imperials most cherished building wasn't made by them, it was made by their former masters.

The corridor led to a set of descending stairs, to which Captain Renault led the party slowly but deliberately. Senses that had taken years to hone in the military and that five years of practicing inside a solitary cell, combined with daily workouts and mock fencing had only served to sharpen told Armand that there was something up ahead.

It was something to do with the air. These tunnels had likely not been used in centuries, air is stagnant in those circumstances. Something that no living creature could hide was the fact that they breathed, and in doing so created even the most minute currents of air. Pushing it aside. Someone who lived their lives in the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city, or even tending a farm daily in a small village would not notice such subtleties. However, someone who often had nothing to better to do then consider a mote of dust in the sunlight for hours on end, and in the spirit of doing anything to keep their minds occupied, grew to appreciate them.

The battle was on them before Armand could even whisper a warning, several figures dressed in red-blood robes jumped forth from the darkness, chanting and yelling as they were engulfed in yellow magicka. The rising clouds engulfed their forms and left them transformed in an alien armor with terrible visages. In their hands they held obsidian shaded weapons that seemed to glow with the color of hate in the darkness.

"Close up left! Protect the Emperor!" Captain Renault barked out.

Two of them descended on Captain Renault immediately, she took out one, but not before the other Assassin stabbed her in the neck. He kept on stabbing even as she tried to defend herself. Baurus and the other Blade weren't such easy prey, as they brought on onslaught too three other Assassins that advanced on them.

This left the fourth who saw the Breton and the Emperor, and a cold hate came from the eyes underneath his death mask. The Emperor unsheathed a short sword that gleamed a pure silver, his hand not showing the slightest tremble, nor his face the least trace of fear.

Before the Assassin could reach halfway to his target, the Breton flew forward with astonishing speed, his fists making a wet crunching sound as they made contact with vulnerable spots in the armor at the ribs, knees and neck. It all ended in two seconds as Armand snapped the assassins neck and like the way heat rises off a newly made fire and distorts the images behind it, the armor faded from view, leaving a red robed corpse.

"By Akatosh!" Baurus exclaimed as he finished off the remaining assassin.

"Captains Down!" the other Blade excalimed

"Captain Renault?" the Emperor said to the body.

"Im sorry, shes dead sire. But we have to keep moving." Baurus said in a low tone, consoling him.

"How could they be looking for us here?!" the other Blade said in frustration, glaring at Armand.

"I don't know but its too late now." Baurus responded to the other Blade, revelaing by his tone that he was a superior officer. "Don't worry sire, we will get you too safety." he then said to the Emperor.

"They won't be the first to underestimate the Blades." the other Blade said resolutely.

"Lets move out. But...not with him..." the other Blade said.

"Commander Gilroy? I said he was to--" the Emperor started.

"Sire, please. I do not trust this man, he is a prisoner, and he could be working with the assassins at worst, he could impede our mission to protect you at the the very least, protocol is very clear in this situation, and with all due respect sire, its my call, not yours." the Commander said with a intense look.

The Emperor looked at the Assassin that Armand had killed so easily and clearly wanted to voice a disagreement, but instead walked to the corpse of Captain Renault and unhooked a steel shortsword that had served as her backup weapon, and picked up her torch.

"Take these, Armand. Find your own way out, but I do not think that the Gods intend for us to part for long."

With that the trio left him standing alone in the corridor and exited through a wooden door, and then the clicking of a lock could be heard.
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Black Hand
post May 4 2010, 06:12 AM
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From: Where the sun shines everyday in hell.

Looking around trying to consider his next move, short of going back to his cell when he had just been pardoned by the Emperor who might not make it out alive, nor any of the witnesses to it, there really was nowhere to go. It wasn't just self interest that made Armand protect the Emperor it was an ingrained sense of duty that he had acquired after serving his twenty years in the Legion.

Well, nineteen years, almost twenty. Five more posted in the Imperial dungeon, with fifteen left, he mused to himself.

Just then, the senses that he had honed to perfection came onto full alarm once more. Apparently the sounds of battle had awoken other inhabitants of the tunnels. A weak section of wall gave way as two of the largest rats he had ever seen, complete with red eyes and yellow teeth dripping saliva, accompanied with jutting rib cages that was a sure sign of starvation driving them to a near frenzy with all the blood they smelled.

One of them didn't take interest in him and instead began to feast on the body of one of the Assassins, the other one it seemed wanted to kill its next meal first and with frightening speed ran towards the Breton.

With equal speed the Breton unsheathed his weapon, which was the melee weapon he had been trained with for years and made short work of the ravished rodent, followed by other one who was to interested in its meal to notice the blade poking through his heart until it was too late.

Examining the small section of wall that was now open to him, and he could see sunlight poring in through the rafters. Freedom! Was his first reaction. As it turned out not quite, but one step closer.

It appeared the new section was the insides of an old mine, the kind that adventurers might make a foray into in the hopes of receiving gold and treasure, sometimes they found only their own blood.

Indeed, there was such an adventurer who had once had some hopes. There was evidence of a fight that had taken place here and the adventurer did not survive it. His corpse was just a pile of bones at this point in time. But, his gear was almost entirely intact. A few lock picks, a leather cuirass, a pair of leather boots, a dagger made from iron, a leather quiver with some rusty iron tipped arrows and....a bow!

Examining it closely, it was both well used and slightly rotted from years of laying there. The string was nearly rotted away, but with some field work from the fat in the rats' corpses he managed to bring it back to a usable state.

Breathing in as he drew back on the string with an arrow nocked, he made the perfect bulls-eye on an old well bucket hanging over the depleted water source. The action brought back old memories.

Welcome to the Archer Division gentlemen! Here, we do not wear heavy iron to impede our movements! We are mobile! Here we do not carry around heavy hammers and claymores to take our time in striking! We are agile! We wear leather armor, we use short swords in the unlikely scenario that we must fight up close! We are hostile,...from a distance! Here, we pick them off before they get to us! Now, we are going to shoot these bows until you can hit a gnat in a windstorm at midnight!

Examining further, Armand came across the body of a goblin, likely the assailant that killed the adventurer, though he didn't get off any easier as his body showed signs of bleeding out. On his person he found another dagger, some more picks, a couple of scrolls and an old key.

From the way he was positioned, the goblin was heading towards the wall he was facing. Coming closer he felt wood in the dark, and a keyhole. So it was a door. A door meant someplace other then here, so clicked it open and headed through it.

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post May 7 2010, 10:12 PM
Post #5

Wise Woman
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Yay! Another story, and with "Oblivion-setting" Sweet, very sweet. I noticed the Emperor didn't die!! Now that is interesting, indeed!

I hope you will continue this...it's so well written, ehhh maybe I've pointed it out before...you really are a master of words!

More please, Blackie!

Chomh fada agus a bhionn daoine ah creiduint in aif´┐Żiseach, leanfaidh said na n-aingniomhi a choireamh (Voltaire)


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