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> The Cube, parts 1, 2, and 3: AGAIN., NO, it's NOT new!
post Mar 13 2006, 07:01 PM
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From: England, home to the centre of time

Okay, due to some STRANGE forum error that occured, that contents of one of my thread got splattered all over another thread (yes, I STILL maintain that this is what happened. As proof, take a look at everyone elses posts, do they mention the story once, even notice it? No, that's because it originally was not there.)

So here it is, in all 3 parts, all over again. (I like to keep an internet record/backup)

Lucius stood on the worn pavement of the decrepit street, smiling happily at those who walked past.  Today had been good for Lucius, for he had sold many of his goods.  Lucius was a trader, quite a dodgy one, it should be added.  He owned a small shop down an alleyway in the street, a pathetic one roomed shop that is, that also served as his home.  The street that Lucius was standing shared the persona of his shop/house.  It was perhaps once cobbled, but now it had an uneven mud track running through it instead, with an open sewer running on it’s left side going north, various stinking fluids, and a few vermin corpses ran through on a constant basis, It wasn’t pleasant, but Lucius had got used to it after his first year living here, as had most people presumably, for they seemed oblivious to the smell too. 
  The street itself had terraced Imperial buildings running on both sides, all of them old and in shambles; the wood that formed their facings was either green from moss or rotted.  Every window in the street had a layer of grey grime on it, making it quite opaque, they clearly hadn’t been cleaned in years.  Clothes lines hung overhead, watching down on the scum underneath.  At intervals there were alleyways disappearing into darkness, occasionally you could see the glowing eyes of a homeless Argonian, or hear the occasional purring of a destitute Khajjit or the grumblings of a Bosmer perhaps.
  Lucius held a lot of similarities  to the street that he lived in, His eyes had wrinkles around them from endless years of squinting in the darkness of his alleyway home, his clothes were perhaps once white, but now they were torn and grey, with dirt and grease smeared all over them.  His skin was similarly greasy, with blackened fingernails, and muddy palms.  Lucius’ Hair was grey and disheveled, it had no order. However Lucius was no different from the rest of the inhabitants of the street, if anything, he was clean compared to them.  It was ironic, that the race that ruled Tamriel still had many of its kind, Like Lucius, living in slums. 
“Psst, Lucius!”
Lucius jumped; his train of thought broken.  From behind him, a pair of red eyes emerged from the shadow.  Lucius turned and saw them, they frightened him, his stomach felt suddenly leaden, and he was slightly dizzy, as he replied:
“Yes, get in that hole that you call a shop, now!”
Lucius didn’t argue, for the eyes looked dangerous.  He slowly walked into the dark alley, past the shadow whose eyes followed him.  He walked to the end, where there was a grimy stone wall, with one wooden door in it.  The Door had once been quite highly decorated, but the woodworm had taken its once fine characteristics and eaten them, quite literally.  The door gave a deep creak as it opened, as if to scream in pain.  Lucius stepped in, and too late, did he realise his mistake:  From the shadow a cloaked figure emerged, and with haste swept into the dark shop, choosing to sit in a chair in a particularly dark corner.  Lucius sighed, and closed the door behind him, if he had any chance of finding out whom this person was, he had just missed it.
  From out of the corner came a voice, it was chalky, grainy and deep.  It was that of a Dunmer obviously.  That explained the red eyes, anyway.
“You have something that I am in need of Lucius.” spouted the figure in the corner. 
“Ho….how, do y-you know m-my name?”  Lucius choked.
“That Argonian, the one that supplies you with your clearly stolen wares:  For a price, he would tell me anything, and he told me all about you and what you have for sale in this home fit for a guar” Replied the Dunmer.  “He told me that he sold you an amulet with an enchantment on it, I am here to get it from you, and so you will fetch it for me, now.”
Lucius did not like the Imperatives that the Dunmer was using, but he clearly had little choice in the matter, not if he wanted to keep his head, that was.  He walked to the back of his shop home, and bent down, his fingernails wove their way through the holes in the floorboards, eventually finding a loose plank, and opening it up, revealed a myriad of items, amulets, pots, daggers, anything that he could sell.  After a minute of rummaging through his wares, Lucius found what he was looking for, a small bundle of white cloth.  As his hands touched it even he could feel the surge of Magick pulsing from it.  He walked over to the figure in the shadow, and held out his hand with the amulet resting upon his grimy palm.  At once, a gloved hand whipped out and snatched the bundle, and immediately threw off the cloth bundle to reveal a shining amulet, it wasn’t much to look at; only a dull metal sphere; but to feel it….to feel it was to….feel a power, unlike any other power, yes, that was Magicka.
  The Dark Elf stood up slowly and emerged from the shadow. 
“How much did that argonian sell this to you for?”
“50 d-drakes, he said that the e-enchantment was useless, but perhaps I could sell it to some i-idiot for an e-exuberant price.”
“It is useless, unless you are a thief, that is, and then it is everything you could want.”
Lucius was beginning to regret ever giving the amulet to the Dunmer.  He had just missed out on an opportunity to make a lot of money.  Curse that Argonian!
“I pity you Imperial” Said the Dunmer sharply “You were going to sell this priceless thing to some “idiot”, probably for less than 100 drakes I bet.”  He paused to sigh, and then continued “this is worth at least 50,000 drakes, if not more”
Lucius began to feel very faint; he could only hope that the Dunmer had some heart.
“Because I feel sorry for your state of affairs, I will give you a decent price for this” The Dunmer sighed again.  “About 10000 drakes should get you out of this hell-hole, and you can start a new life.” 
Without any more words, The Dunmer dropped a bag of gold on the nearest surface, which was an old broken stool.  He and the Amulet strode out of the shop, leaving the door open and letting the light flood in, revealing a flabbergasted imperial male staring wide eyed at a bag of gold.
  The Dunmer strode quickly through the slums; he simply could not bear the smell much longer.  As soon as he was in a richer part of town, he sat down near a fountain, which spouted forth crystal clear water, a fry cry from the mud of the slums.  The Dunmer took of his mask to reveal a young handsome face; it was that of Salvil Durethi, possibly the best thief in Western Cyrodill.
  Salvil looked around at his surroundings, He was in a walled square, and all around him were various stores, in buildings that were around three stories high.  All the stone here had a blue-ish tint to it, and the windows were of clear glass.  The Square was paved with the same blue stone, and the peoples of this place were well dressed, posh, and mostly Cyrodillic.  It was a far cry from the slums.  Off to Salvil’s left there was a gate leading to where he had come from, the slums.  Off to the right, on the other side of the square, there was an identical gate, probably leading to the rich residential part of the city.  Despite the high building and battlements, Salvil could still make out the huge spires of the central Citadel.  He looked at it for a long while, and took in all its characteristics, for tonight: He would be robbing it.

The specifics of Salvil’s mission were such: The citadel was inhabited by a very rich man, who was the governor of the city, obviously.  The man’s name was Cancuntius Pont, but that wasn’t important.  Cancuntius had a personal Sorcerer; he name was Andre Le beau, obviously a Breton.  This “Andre” had acquired, recently, a small cube.  This cube reputedly had great secrets of Magick sealed within it.  Many sorcerers wanted this item, and one such man had hired Salvil to get it for him.  The sorcerer, of course, was alien to the specifics of Thieving, and Salvil had managed to worm 15 thousand drakes from him, under the excuse of needing it for “expenses”.  Of course, back then, Salvil had not been expecting to locate the amulet he had acquired, so his excuse was closer to the truth than he originally intended. 
  Anyway, it was approaching evening now, and Salvil was also approaching things, namely the citadel.  He looked about himself, he was looking for a tavern with spare rooms, at the moment, he was in the rich residential district, with its blue stone and clean windows.  Because it was evening, there were few people around, and fewer by the minute, most were heading home anyway, and Salvil could see people settling down in their homes through the windows, which yellow candlelight shone through, illuminating the streets, and giving them a peaceful and settling glow. 
  Salvil heard some tavern like noises up ahead, and he quickened his pace, he needed much time to prepare.  As he did this a guard came past, and queried himself as to Salvil’s slightly suspicious behaviour, however, upon Seeing Salvil enter the tavern, he put two and two together, and carried on walking.
  Inside the Tavern, Salvil quickly booked a room,  having done this; he had a quick drink, and escaped up the stairs.  He would need to be quick now, for it was quickly getting dark.  Outside his window, he could see Masser and Secunda rising up gracefully, like in a ballet.  Salvil got changed from his usual clothes, into black quilted armour; it was light and flexible, yet durable at the same time.  He placed a mask around his mouth, and covered his red hair with more black cloth wrapped around his head.  Salvil knew that this appearance would arouse great suspicion, and he decided to exit via the window.  Quickly stuffing his old clothes in a drawer, he opened the window and climbed out into the now pitch black night, but before doing anything, his hand clasped itself around the amulet, just to check that it was still there.  Salvil only used alleyways; there was no light, nor any people to see him, as he snuck his way towards the outer citadel walls.  As he got closer to them, he realised just how gargantuan the whole place was, he clearly had a long night ahead of him.
  Of course, there would be no way to enter through the gates; they were heavily guarded, naturally.  But luckily For Salvil, there was a set of steps leading from a lower tower outside the citadel up to a bigger tower that was built into the outer walls.  Upon the lower tower was a single guard, dozing.  Salvil went to the base of the tower, and prepared his grappling hook, he swung it high, and it served him well, it caught perfectly, such was the advantage of several years experience.  Salvil ascended the rope quietly; he did not want to wake the guard.  After all this preparation he didn’t want to fall at the first hurdle.  But everything went fine, Salvil got up onto the lower tower, and just to make sure, he cast a sleeping spell on the already dozing guard.  Without disturbance, Salvil gained access to the outer tower, there was little of interest in there, and all the weapons on the rack were either unsuitable for him, or inferior to his own, besides there was no point in causing any suspicion already. 
  Upon exiting the tower, Salvil found himself on the outer battlements, looking in; he could see the outer yards.  One building of interest was obviously the barracks, judging by its size.  It was built, quite literally, through the inner wall, the inner wall was still all there, save for the space above the barracks, for one reason or another, a hole had been left there purposely, for it resembled a graceful archway above the barracks.  For an attacking force, it made no difference, but for a single thief, it was deadly weakness.
  The only way to get to the Barrack roof would have to be to jump, and Salvil had limited time, already a guard on the battlements was on his way to the tower that Salvil had just exited.  The jump would make a noise, and probably break both of Salvil’s legs, if he managed to make the jump at all.  It was time for the amulet’s first enchantment to work; it was an enchantment of jump and slow fall.  Upon activating the enchantment, Salvil leaped for the Barrack roof, he came well within its boundaries, and when he started his descent, it was slow, so slow even, that guards down below and those sleeping in the barracks heard nothing as they carried in dreaming.
  One Thing that Salvil did not notice though was the various wooden bars blocking his path through the archway on the roof, probably because they were dark, and the night hid them well, He was thin though, and could probably squeeze through. The other problem being that of one of the guards down below in the inner courtyard, intently watching everything.  Salvil watched from the darkness, he noticed that the guard swept from left to right with his eyes at a reasonable pace, meaning that he would have but a few seconds to squeeze through one of the gaps.  Salvil took a deep breath, and waited for guards eyes to get the furthest away from him, then without hesitation, he tried to squeeze through the gap, but it was a little tighter than he thought, and the guards eyes were getting nearer and nearer, and Salvil struggled and struggled, and nearer they came, until they were upon the spot that Salvil was at, but all they saw was a bunch of wooden poles, for Salvil had managed to get through, bare milliseconds from disaster.  But it had not come without sacrifice, Salvil had perhaps made a little too much noise, and one of the guards was now ascending one of two sets of steps to his position, a querying look on his face.  Salvil had no choice but to descend the other set. These unfortunately led to some store room that Salvil did not want to get to, the only way to actually get into the citadel was via the other stairs, which led to the inner courtyard, which of course held the entrance to the citadel.  Salvil had no choice; he would have to go back the way he came, where a guard was now sniffing around.  Salvil waited until the guard began inspecting the wooden bars, then he raised his head up until he could see the inner courtyard, it was reasonably small, with a few carts scattered about, there was a moat just before the walls of citadel keep, and a drawbridge was lowered, with a large wooden gateway behind it.  The scanning guard had left now, and the other two were a dozy lot, it wouldn’t be too much trouble to sneak past them and get into a small maintenance door leading to the citadel, all he had to do was get past the inquisitive one.  He looked again in his direction, but the guard wasn’t there, he had squeezed through the bars, and had gone snooping around on the other side of the barracks roof, there is such a thing as inquisitive, but then there is too inquisitive.  This guard fit that bill pretty well. 
  Salvil carefully got himself down into the inner courtyard and hid himself behind a cart in the far corner from the maintenance door.  He realised that the two dopy guards had some form of routine.  One guard circled the whole courtyard, while the other went up and down the middle.  Of course, he would still have to be careful.  When the first guard was walking around the other side of the courtyard, Salvil ran to a cart near the middle.  He was hidden from both at the moment, but soon the first guard would see him, so, when the first guard was just coming over to Salvil’s side of the courtyard, and the other guard was walking away from him, Salvil tip toed over to another cart, and hid behind it, so that now both guards again could not see him.  From here, it was a matter of quickly hopping from one cart to another, before the first guard came round again, and soon, Salvil was sneaking through the Maintenance door, into the Citadel itself.

Salvil now found himself inside a small room with two doors and a table.  The door behind him led back out to the Inner courtyard of the citadel.  The Door in front of him possibly led into a corridor of sorts.  On the table, there were various tools for fixing armour.  Salvil ignored all of these and put his ear to the door, judging by the lack of noise, the way was clear.  Salvil was right, it was a corridor, and according to local lore, the Sorcerer lived on the southernmost inner tower of the citadel.  Salvil was in the southern part of the building now, so he would need to get as high up as possible, that was the first plan.  Salvil headed east along the corridor, and sure enough, there was a turret of stairs at the end.  He ascended it carefully, now slightly bemused at the lack of any persons in the vicinity of the corridor.  His bemusement, however, was turned to alarm when his superior senses detected one guard ascending the stairs below him, and one was descending them from above.  And Salvil had no-where to hide.
  Salvil looked around frantically; there was only a tapestry on the curved wall next to him, and nothing else, no rafters, no windows, nothing.  Minutes later the two guards met halfway up the stairs, next to a tapestry, which was still, save for the occasional flutter with the wind.
  “Anything to report?”
  “No, save for poor old Varo”
  “What happened to him?”
  “He’s stuck on the barracks roof”
  “Come on, let’s go jeer at him!”
  “Hah!  Yeah, let’s go”

As the two Guards both descended the stairs, the tapestry slowly pulled itself back, to reveal Salvil tucked up in a secret alcove, one hand wiping the sweat from his brow, the other holding back the tapestry.
He eventually, minutes later, stumbled out of the tiny alcove; it was too small for a Dunmer, big enough for a Bosmer perhaps.  Nevertheless, Salvil ascended the rest of the stairs in the tower.  At the top there was no door, but instead a small hall, with some chairs tucked up against the north wall, and a side table between them, on the floor lay a fine red rug.  There were a few doors leading away in various directions.  Stepping into the hall, Salvil found his bearings and opted to go for the southernmost door, which should theoretically have lead him to the sorcerer’s tower, he wasn’t wrong either, upon ascending another set of spiral stairs (this time occupied by no guards, thankfully), he found himself behind a door which (judging by his view through the key hole) led to a wide corridor filled with contraptions that puffed various colours of smoke, stirred bowls full of anomalous liquids, and rotated various precious soul gems, on the left side of the corridor there was a door, and a guard was looking at a contraption that made various spheres go around in circles.  It looked more like an alchemist’s lair than a sorcerer’s tower, and Salvil was just about to go back down the stairs when A Bosmer dressed in an exquisite robe burst out the side door and told the guard that “Mr Pont’s private Sorcerer and alchemist, AKA myself (and upon saying this he pointed to himself in a silly feminine way) does not want to be disturbed, for he is once again studying that Infernal cube” and having said this, the Sorcerer shut the door again.  Salvil began to make plans.  First, he needed to get past the guard in the corridor.  Second, he needed to distract the sorcerer from his studies.  Third, he needed to steal the cube and manage to make sure the Sorcerer didn’t notice. 
Salvil waited for the guard to turn his back, then, he opened the door very slowly (thankfully the sorcerer had a habit of oiling all of the doors in his tower) upon doing that, he quickly somersaulted up onto the rafters.  Luckily, the sorcerer’s room was obviously bigger than first imagined, for there was a large space in the wall, and from it, came the sound of a singing Bosmer.  Salvil shook his head, but from the darkness of the rafters, nothing noticed.  Salvil had a way in, but he had to distract that Bosmer.  Looking up, he saw various poles tied to the roof.  Taking his knife, he slowly cut one of them off, and looking downwards, he spotted a contraption that was precariously balanced on its plinth.  Slowly, Salvil used the stick to push it a little further off the plinth, and leaving it wobbling, he discarded the stick in the rafters.  He positioned himself near the space in the wall and waited, though he didn’t have much time to wait, since the contraption soon went crashing down to the floor, drowning out the Bosmer’s singing, and almost giving the guard a heart attack.  As soon as the Bosmer quickly rushed out of the room, Salvil slowly got himself in, he found himself on a balcony, overlooking a large Laboratory full of soul gem’s, book’s, and enchanted items.  He quickly got down onto the floor, and searched for the cube.  He found it sitting at the desk, among many pieces of paper with scribbling and notes all over them.  Salvil quickly took the cube, and as he did, he felt its Magick flow through his veins……it was powerful……indeed.  Salvil took himself back up to the balcony and looked through the space down onto the Bosmer below, who was ranting, raving, and crying at the loss of his contraption.  The Guard was in a corner, trying his best to avoid the flailing arms of the Sorcerer, who was under the impression that the guard had done it.  Salvil smiled to himself, he loved causing chaos. 
The amulet was now to prove its worth.  Salvil took it from his neck in order that it could serve him one last time.  This was no ordinary amulet, it had the ability to duplicate anything, its sphere was in a fact molten, and various Magicks would manipulate and harden it until it resembled what its owner wanted.  In this case, Salvil wanted it to resemble the cube.  After about a minute of manipulation, it did so.  And Salvil placed the fake cube where the old one had been.  Then slowly, he made his way back.
It wasn’t hard; most of the guards were gathered at the barracks, jeering at the inquisitive, now stuck, “Varo”.  Salvil made sure to avoid that area.  He made his way back to the tavern again through alleyways.  By midnight, he was back in normal clothes, sleeping in the room that he had hired.  In the morning, he headed out of the city via carriage, and made his way to Anvil, where his client was, hopefully, the client would keep to their end of the bargain, and pay the 250,000 drakes he was promised.

Life was good being a thief.


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