Okay. I know what I've promised - no more stories... but this is something I wrote under foreighn influence, in few brief moments of inspiration. Now, I have a neat idea to portrait events that precede Oblivion, as well as actual gameplay from it, from THREE different perspectives/character's eyes [Milanius/Derrick, son of Kaye/(still) unnamed Nord assasin woman], but since I am slower than a slug on Prosac, and also the fact that I don't play OB (yet) it'll be some time before you good people get another story. I am truly sorry, but that's how it is. Oh - and please, forgive my bad language at times this is, after all, something completely different, although it is logical continuation of my Prelude to Oblivion. So... have fun. Or not.
Prologue (Milanius): Street fight
There are things that I said I would never do
There are fears that I cannot believe have come true
For my soul is too sick and too little and too late
And my self I have grown to weary to hate
[Nine Inch Nails, THE LINE BEGINS TO BLUR]
It is such a refreshing feeling... to walk the streets, passing by buildings and landmarks and bars you knew once, in a different lifetime... to inhale that stenched, sour, yet somehow welcoming air of the city you thought you've forgot over the years - but it's the same now, just as it was more than a decade ago and it welcomes you in its arms, like a pauper mother, holding her newborn happily... beautiful and saddening feeling it is, to come back. To walk trough the labyrinth that is Imperial City and get lost in its slums. Alone in your crowd. Alone in my heart... but not in my head, I fear.
My mood had worsened slightly since Derrick and I have arrived to Cyrodiil. The nightmares have returned if full color, but now I have finally given up the running. One becomes resilient over the time, gets used to beatings and slicing and mutilation and pain, I guess. Now, every time I hear that miserable son of a bit*h laughing in my dream I scream from the top of my lungs: "Over here, A**HOLES !!! I am right HERE !" and afterwards, I laugh with him trough the lightning storm... Meanwhile, during my conscious hours, Derrick keeps warning me that I need to exercise more self-control in public and pray to Divines regularly. Hmpf. Although he’s a fine kid and one hell of a warrior, he is also the biggest dope. I am tired of explaining to him that you just cannot run from yourself, your destiny, or death, if it’s waiting for you 'round the corner. Or even madness. Yes, I fear that I'm getting closer and closer to that laughing banker's haven for coocooheads with every day we waste on futile work.
Derrick has me and himself running all over the place, dangerously close to corrupt Imperial authorities, all in desperate attempts to find Cosades and other Blades contacts. It's been a week already; so far, it was a fruitless search. Caius Cosades and all his family appear to have vanished from the face of the Nirn and we've only managed to find few remaining Cyrodiil City members of the Blades; they don't have a clue where he's went, but they assure us that Emperor isn't really dead, only staging his own assassination - a surprise, and not too pleasant, because the ol' bugger is now so paranoid that he hides away in his tower. Now we're stuck trying to contact someone high enough in the court to allow us a secret audience. I am not complaining at all this, though I fear that few guards on the street came very close to recognizing my face lately, because I poked my nose in the very quarters of Cyrodiil in which I used to frequent when I was a hatchling. But I don't care much anymore for things, not even my cover - the work, no matter how futile it seems now, keeps me occupied and less concentrated on the fact I'm still going to die like a dog... or, even better, like a rat. Hah, A Rat.
Right now, it is a beautiful, sunny day, I’m wearing only light clothes that do not hamper me in any way and I am just thrilled to walk. Wonderful sensation - I forgot how this noise, sounds of people bargaining, people cursing, people arguing about thousands of petty things, can make me feel better. I was born somewhere else but for fifteen years this was my home. Every stinking alley, every filthy spill on the cobblestone pavement, every corner with a tavern, littered with riffraff and harlots, makes my heart sing. Yes. I love this city in all its ugliness. I love my wh*res and my booze and I will never change, I'm sorry if that offends you, Mr. Holier-Than-Thou. Even if all these overwhelming feelings and desires I'm having lately are my swan's song and a caprice of my ruined organism, I'm not going to complain. I'll go to the Red Light district every single night when I'm not looking for information about Cosades or making money doing someone else's chores - and there, I'll do what I do best... but still, I will have to keep what's left of my mental acuity because of Them. Most of the guards might have forgotten me in years, but they don't forget... or forgive. The Rat Pack.
Decades ago, right after I've escaped from my foster father’s home I've rummaged trough the countryside for days, trying to get as far away from that bloodsucking bast*rd. It was on a road to Imperial City where I first met them - a small band of brigands that looked rather pathetic, but I soon learned just how deceptive surface looks could be. The band, consisting from one nasty looking Imperial man with a bright red scar over the left side of his face, and a bunch of juveniles, some even younger than me, was waiting for someone to rob blind. I was fairly fortunate; they wanted to cut me to shreds first, when they didn't find much items of value on me, but their leader became curious when I told him, during my whimpering sob story, that I knew how to utilize herbs of all sorts for healing and refreshing. It wasn't entirely the truth, but I experienced an unseen stroke of luck when he dragged me off the road, toward the edge of nearby forest, to test my words. There I found several ingredients that were perfect for making restorative potions (Gods bless my dead mother for teaching these things to me when I was still barely walking) and soon after we came back to the road the scarred man was grinning and patting me on the back... it was on that day I became a gang member. And, oh dearies, what a gang it was...
I was still remembering those days when my life took a violent course; then, all out of the blue, without a slightest warning pain struck me down - literally. At one moment, I was headed toward a really worn-looking pub, about to enter it... and before I knew what hit me, my stomach and head became the explosion of white-hot, ripping pain. I fell down, nearly in front of the entrance to the pub, and shrieks of pain came out - somehow - trough my grinding teeth. The only one who bothered to see what the hell is going on was one semi-interested prostitute. She came to me, cautiously, because she might've had brushes with all sorts of lowlifes and drunken scum; still, she came up to me, while I rolled on the cobble like a beheaded snake, and grabbed me by my right arm and back of the head once she realized I was not a threat to her.
"Hey, stra-aanger, what is the matt-ter ? Do you need a-a healing p-potion or sh-om-mething ?", she garbled the words trough the ugly, browned teeth she had and I raised my eyes to her, trough the mist of pain... looking at her face, with that poor excuse for a jaw and few ugly scars that didn't manage to ruin her looks entirely, in some unknown way, managed to cast the pains off slowly. I tried to smile and say "Everything will be fine, thank you" to her, but I only managed to smile. She smiled back, revealing even more the fact that she was in a dire need of a dentist and then I had this flash of... I don't know how exactly to call it... overpowering urge. Yes, it was an unbelievable urge. My head cleared up and in my mind I saw myself on top of that woman, strangling her, beating her... violating her. It was damp and warm day, but I felt shivers at that moment. The picture was so horrifyingly vivid and real that she also froze, her ugly smile gone that very moment, because she'd seen the fright on my own face. But that wasn't the worst part of it: while the vision continued, complete with her screams that were oh so loud and real in my head, I started to feel excited... thrilled... I felt my manly pride rise up, as if I was a horny teenager, looking for the first time at Dibella's maidens from the dark alley near their Temple... but my sudden excitement was the product of that damn vision and that had scared the hell out of me. In my life I've killed more than several women; most were smugglers from the coastal regions of Vvardenfell, and I've even fought a band of Mabrigash Witch-warriors once, in lower Ashlands... but this ?! This was pure horror. I have never violated a woman, nor did I have the slightest urge to commit such atrocity... until today. This was not me. This was simply not my own wish or mind or desire.
I was in a state of shock and disgust with myself, even more because I nearly reached climax. I disregarded the threads of pain, still weaving around my belly, and tried to pick myself up from the stone road. The ill-toothed prostitute didn't want to test her luck with me anymore; I have no idea what kind of facial expression I made at her, but she was backing up rapidly. Moreover, at that very moment when I managed to get to the wall, trying to stand on my own two feet somehow, a tall, well build figure came up from the lower part of the main street and into the back alley where I now stood. At the first glimpse of each other we were both stunned and in disbelief. The recognition in each other's eyes was immense, momentary, despite the fact we were both much older now: for me, it meant a surge of adrenaline and a brief though to myself - I might just die right now, regardless of anything. For him... I do not remember the face with a scar to be that furious, that wrathful, because in all my years I've never seen my old brigand lieutenant that angry. He drew his old orcimer battleaxe that was flung over his back, the same one that he must've carried over all these years, and charged at me, screaming. It all looked as a badly written joke at this point, but my old criminal mentor had found me (in the entire bloody city, what were the chances ?) and now he was going to kill me.
Promptly, I backed up some twenty paces and hurried as I torn the Oracle's ring from the neck strap, to put it on my right index finger... and right after that exactly NOTHING happened. I didn't even had the time to blink at this cruel twist of fate; it was this raging animal that taught me two simple rules of engagement - the first was "React first, Think later" and I did just that. Thankfully, the narrow alley was now empty, ridden of crowd that scurried to safe distance so they could watch the show, and I used my enemy's anger against him. When he swung the huge axe toward my right side (he was left-handed) I threw myself low, left and forward, dodging his swing only by inches... at the same time, I managed to steal the chance and kick him right in the knee with all strength I had then - this made him hurt, but also even more furious. I backed up again as he turned 'round himself and then, I first started a short conjuration spell that granted me a Shield; before I could finish the second one, which would obtain me a Sword, he swung again and I had to block.
Tremendous force of his blow threw me against the tavern's outer brick wall, more than ten yards away. I was left without air in my lungs as my former commander continued to charge and swing. Somehow, I still managed to conjure a Sword, and it was just in time. Once I felt the cold, tingly sensation of the unworldly weapon, light as a feather in my right hand, I dodged and forced him to expose his right side - and then, I put in effect his second rule: "When you do battle be sure of yourself - swing to strike and strike to kill". Even a measly apothecary apprentice was smart enough to remember this and it served me good over the years... and now, the maxim came back to bite its own creator. I plunged the blade as deep as I could into his poorly protected right side and then drew back, to watch him cry out in pain and disbelief. He still didn't end his attacks; he was far too proud to ever admit defeat. Another swing, another block, then dodge; back down and dance around him, swing and thrust and block - then conjure the Sword and Shield again - and then, back to slicing and dodging... few minutes later, he was a collection of wounds, bleeding from all the cuts that were fortunate enough to bypass his light leather armor. I was panting heavily, but still holding the Sword and Shield, with a venomous look on my face. This was a man who let everyone sacrifice me and take the fall for what I supposedly did, which eventually brought me to Morrowind in the first place. This was a man who had betrayed me, even after all that he's taught me, after all the years we spent together... I felt the fury again in my head and bones and for the first time I charged at him, bashing him with the shield on impact and throwing both of us on the ground. He finally dropped his infernal axe and now I was sitting on top of him, striking the last blow into his guts. It was all over and suddenly I stopped and looked at him. He was dying, but the rage didn't leave him yet.
"Miiii....Miiil-aaa-nn...", he was barely forming words as I sat over his future corpse, with my damn pride still heated and hard as stone, "We... will find you... an-nnd then-n, youuu-oure... DEAD !" As he spat out that last word, he also spat at me.
I would've probably turned him into minced meat then and there, but the sensation of his spittle stunned me. It was like someone threw me out of that diabolical trance; my heart was beating like it wanted to relocate somewhere out of my chest, every part of me was shaking, my clothes were soaked with sweat... and my trousers were now stained. It was all over, my Bound arms had disappeared and the frenzy had left me. I clenched teeth and grabbed his bleeding, pain-stricken body and I whispered to him, trying to sound calm and ruthless:
"Falco... now you know I still draw breath. I will heal you, because you meant something to me once, and because I want you to relay a message to the rest of the Rat Pack. I've betrayed you people years ago to the Imperial Guard, but only because you have forsaken me first. In my mind, we are even from that day onward; however, you are free to try and kill me, I won't stop you. But... the one who comes to do battle against me won't die alone. I will slice him or her to shreds and after that, I'll find any and all friends or relatives that he or she has and murder them one by one in the most painful way possible. Hell, I'll even kill their pets, if they have any... and once I am done with the killing I will burn everything they owned and then pi*s on those charcoaled remains. That is the message I have for you: feel free to try anything against Milan, but before you do that, be sure to make your loved ones pray to whatever gods you worship, because when I arrive it will be too late for further praying. Now stay still, you god damned scum..."
I've raised myself, still hazy and unsure of my balance, and I started a simple Restorative incantation; it was not meant to heal him completely, only bind his worst wounds and prevent him from bleeding to death. As scarce crowd began to disperse he didn't utter a word, not even when he was able enough to pick his weapon up and drag himself into darker corners of the street and as far away from me... no, he was still a silent, vengeful picture of anger when he disappeared, aided by another shady characters who gave me equitably enraged stares. Rats. If I’ve managed to scare one of their leaders enough they will probably ponder what to do for some time and then hunt me down... maybe I've bought us some time. Maybe Derrick and I will manage to contact the Court by then and all this will not be of much importance…
Maybe... but I didn't die today. Falco was, as I remember him, one of the more dangerous people in the underground. Even the Dark Brotherhood respects him and the whole Rat Pack, avoiding confrontation. But I have no such luxury now; yet, I feel both encouraged and deeply disturbed. Encouraged, because I didn't die, as far as my damn prophecy goes. Disturbed... disturbed because I felt something monstrous grow inside me, something that would gladly and cheerfully do all those things I said to my former mentor and protector. I felt sadistic pleasure from some part of me that I wasn't even sure it existed - and now, as I return to our safehouse, barely walking, I am scarred. The sun is still shining; yet, I feel like I'm in the heart of Skyrim, bare-naked. Pictures of that poor prostitute’s mutilation and misuse were still haunting my mind, pictures that just wouldn't go away. For the sake of Nine, I love and respect women… I love them and would never physically attack one if she wasn't about to strike me with a blade or spell - and even then, I'd try to get myself out of that mess, somehow... what has happened to me today ? What am I turning into ?
And why, WHY... why am I hearing echoes of pleased laughing in my head ? What in the hell is wrong with me ?!?