Part 1 Chapter 4: Tarhiel of Imperials
Nimbok was jumping tree to tree, not looking down as he was the last 7 hours. Hes really mad at himself for not getting a map before he left, but he had to leave quickly. He already encountered 3 camona tong enforcers. He found another big gap, so he took out his rope, attached it to a branch. In the distance, he heard people. Thinking they were Camona Tong, he knew he had to avoid them. But then he also knew he was running out of food. Maybe, just maybe, he could kill them and take their food! So he grabbed his rope and jumped, barely noticed the water below. But instead of making it to the next branch, he heard a cracking noise. It took him few moments to realize it, but when he did, he was yelling at the top of his lungs.
Sylvestor drank the clear water offered and was surprised at how it went down, it was normally a sip of wine for him, but he knew now that he had to keep his mind as clear as ever. "sparring sounds great, i don't have anything bigger than a shortsword, and it's a small elven one at that.. so we might need to start searching for a bigger blade for myself." Sylvestor finished his small ration of fruit and started to put things back in his pack when they heard a splash in the bogwater back and to their left. They ran back pulling out their weapons as they did so, the sight they saw was not expected. It was an imperial. This far into the Black Marsh you don't find many of those races. Not yet knowing if he was friend or foe they approached warily. One question entered Sylvestor's mind: How the heck did he get that far into the middle of a bog? He decided intimidation was the best move right now, he showed his teeth, and yelled at the man "What are you doing here? my friend and I are in kind of a hurry, so the faster you respond the less likely your chances of dying" Sylvestor continued to glare down at the man, but he could see that he wasn't moving, he would sink to the bottom if he didn't do anything, Sylvestor saw this and sprinted towards the edge of the water throwing down his daggers. He jumped in the mud/water concoction and grabbed the man around his neck and shoulders, he felt his raiment sinking him down but Vanir was ready to help with his spear, Sylvestor grabbed the end and was pulled to shore. " Thank you Vanir, we should try and revive now, what do you suggest?"
Vanir drew his spear, "Tell us what you're doing here and then grab onto the spear: we'll get you out of there. And stop struggling so much! It'll only make you sink faster!" Vanir could tell that this man wasnt as used to combat as he and Sylvestor.
Vanir raised his shield just in time to block another blow. It sent him staggering backwards. The ash vampire took another two swings. He dodged them both. Then he raised both hands upwards, hoping to crush Vanir's shield against him. Instead, he swung down and Vanir block and twisted the shield sideways, throwing the beast off balance. He took in two swings. It roared in anger. It cast some kind of fortifying spell, and swung at Vanir in a mindless rage. He blocked, parried, and dodged, but one hit him square on the chest. He was sent flying against the wall. Falling to the ground, he looked up. The beast was readying himself for the killing blow. Vanir acted quickly. He cast a high level spell of light, blinding the creature and nearly himself, had he not covered his eyes and turned away. He pulled out his combat knife, a normal ebony dagger, and threw it at the creature's midsection. Using this opportunity, he grabbed his sword and slashed at its midsection twice. The creature fell backwards, blinded by the light and by pain. It flailed outwards. He avoided the arms and threw his body weight against the creature. It knocked it over, and he brought the bottom of his shield down on the beasts neck. He felt something snap, and the head rolled away. Nearby, soldiers were still fighting fiercly. A nearby Orc was wrestling a corpus infected creature onto the ground. One of the Knight Errants serving under him was pinned against the wall. Vanir grabbed the beast, attempting to pull it away. The beast finished off the Knight Errant, and threw a fatigued and wounded Vanir away. Vanir fell into a deep river that was nearby (I know there isnt a nearby river to Kogoruhn, but lets use our imagination) He tried to take himself back to the battle, but someone grabbed him out of the water and pulled him away from the battle. He looked up. A Dunmer female with a headdress stared at his wounds. An Ashlander, by the looks of her. He propped himself against a rock. She said she was from the Zanib camp and had ventured far out. She cast a spell, healing the wound on his chest from the beast that tossed him away. He looked over to the battle. The legionnaires were finishing off the surviving beasts. They had one, though he didnt know how. Perhaps they were just lucky. In any case, they were all filled with relief when the clashing and screaming stopped. They looked around. Someone yelled out. "General! General Vanir!" He raised up his sword to show them he was alright. A cheer let out in the ranks. He didnt like the attention very much, but he was happy that the men had high spirits. He got them up, and marched them to Khuul, where a special fleet of transport ships were arranged to take the men back home. He was returning to Indrilas and Indalse once more. He made sure to retrieve his spear from the rock. He found his helmet near the rock he was thrown against. He took a moment to examine the ash vampire's body to make sure it was dead. Though he didnt know it, this would be his last time he'd be called out to war for a long time.
Nimbok was still disoriented from falling in the water, and still didn't know if they were Camona Tong, but he still knew he had to reply."Camona Tong......I hoped to shake them off by...running through here....Already killed..three enforcers." Sylvestor couldn't see why Nimbok would lie about such a thing, so he decided he wouldn't kill him right away. "Camona Tong, I haven't seen any of them for months. You must've done something pretty bad to get them to send three of their men after you. Let me talk with Vanir for a moment" He left Nimbok to rest and pulled Vanir a few yards away out of earshot. "What do you think? do we leave him here to be hunted and killed by the Camona Tong or do we let him come with us?" Sylvestor didn't know what to think but trusted the opinion of a long-time war general a lot better than his own in these matters.
The disorientation wore off, and Nimbok made sure all of his belongings were with him. They were, and he climbed up the tree he was next to. They weren't Camona Tong, but he could still take some of their provisions while they were sleeping.
"Let's get him off well, but be cautious. I don't trust him, but we cant just let him die out here. I say we give him a bag of food, a decent weapon, and directions to the nearest village or city. Then we leave him. He says he's running from the Cammona Tong, but I've fought with and against Imperials. They're tricky and persuasive... for all we know he could be a wanted criminal from Cyrodiil or Morrowind. Besides, we're close to the slavers." Vanir grinned, pulling out a dusty book that he identified as one of the slaver's journals. He opened the back cover, revealing a key strapped to the back.
He didnt remember much of the travelling. It had been loud and long for him. He didnt want to join in the drinks or parties. He just wanted to go home, to be with his family. The ash vampire left a scar running across his face. When the ships arrived in Hla Oad, he said he was going to be off at the next stop. This bothered a few of the soldiers, who wanted their general to be with them for the whole trip. At last it arrived in Seyda Neen. In every port they had previously stopped at, they had seen large crowds of civilians, all cheering. It seemed that the war had ended. The Nerevarine had destroyed the Heart and defeated Dagoth Ur while the soldiers fought off the beasts. He got off the boat to a large crowd cheering. He scanned over the crowd, and saw what he was looking for. Indrilas and Indalse, standing on the doorstep of their house. He moved his way toward them. When he reached them, he picked up Indrilas, kissed her, put her down, then embraced Indalse. He put her down and she ran off to see the boats coming in. He went in and changed out of his armor, and he and Indralis sat on a hill, watching Indalse. He was at peace again. He would spend the next two years enjoying peace in the small village and watching Indalse grow. Then the slavers came...
After making camp with the Imperial, Vanir gave an Imperial Broadsword to Sylvestor (he always carried a spare in case he lost or broke the other). They sparred for a long time. It seemed that neither could get an edge on the other; they were evenly matched in using a sword. At last they were each too tired to keep fighting, and they sat down and ate a small meal. "Hey, what did you say your name was?" He asked the strange Imperial. Nimbok jumped down from the tree with the reply "Nimbok".
"Nimbok? You sound... familar. Cant place my finger on it. You from Vvarvenfell?"
Sylvestor stood by and let the General maneuver this conversation. The imperial looked a little nervous and kept throwing glances toward both of their sacks, he didn't like the expression he was using either, it made sylvestor worry. He decided he would throw him to the slavers first chance they got.. on the other hand, they could try trading him for supplies as well. All in all Sylvestor didn't like the sound of giving up someone willingly to be enslaved, but he knew it might come tot hat if Nimbok indeed posed a threat to their mission. Nimbok started getting closer to the trees as he said "Vvardenfell? Yes, I'm from Vivec. But I need to leave, But thanks for getting me out of that water. I hate water."
Part 1 Chapter 5: Company
An-Jar was given to the Dark Brotherhood as a hatchling to be trained in the ways of the Shadowscale. For many years he served Sithis, slowly becoming more and more disillusioned with the Brotherhood's brutal tactics. While on an assignment in Vvardenfel, he defected, and joined the more honorable Morag Tong. Currently, he is in his homeland, the Black Marsh, hunting down a renegade slaver...
An-Jar slowly approached the small group, using the deep swamps for cover. Having overheard their earlier conversation, he began to consider enlisting their aid in tracking down the slavers he was hunting.
"Alright... I had a few assignments in Vivec in my earlier years in the Legion. If you were in Vvarvenfell at the time that the Nerevarine defeated
the Sixth House, then you might know me. In any case, if you want to leave, then leave. No skin off our noses." Vanir grinned at Sylvestor. He was worrying the Imperial. Vanir stopped. He scanned the area, without saying a word. Silently casting a Detect Life spell, he looked over the area. Mostly bugs and small animals, except for one. A tailed beast, most likely an Argonian, was moving. It was getting closer.
"Sylvestor, ready a knife. There's an Argonian approaching from those swamps straight ahead of us. Nimbok, if you want to leave, now's your chance. I'm going to get their attention." He knew he had nothing to lose. It was two on one, and unless he was an extremely skilled assassin, he wasnt going to defeat both seasoned warriors (if you could call Sylvestor a warrior ... more of an assassin or rogue). "Come out of hiding! We know you're there! Come out with no weapons drawn and we will not harm you." Sylvestor gave him a look that said he shouldnt have been so loud.
Sylvestor, elven daggers drawn, approached yet another mysterious figure. Sylvestor bent low to the ground, getting on all fours, ready to pounce on the Argonian if need be. He strained his ears for any sound of movement and could tell the Argonian was moving anxiously; as if he couldn't decided wheter to show himself or run away. Sylvestor risked a glance behind him to see what the Imperial was doing.
Nimbok took the oppurtunity to leave. He climbed up into a tree and jumped onto another. He knew that he wasn't going to leave them. He knew what was going to happen. Vanir got no answer, so he drew his spear. With nothing to do but wait, he crouched patiently, spear at the ready.
Indralis was outside helping Indalse with the dinner. Indalse's birthday was three weeks ago. She was 14. He was behind his house sparring against three guards. They all attacked him at the same time from different directions (wooden swords) because this would simulate being in the middle of a large battle, where the enemy was on all sides. Then they switched positions. A guard was in the middle. He had kept just as active as he was two years ago, after the war. After once more disarming the guards, he dismissed them to their barracks. Then he heard voices from behind the hill near the silt strider. He wasnt armored, but wore a sleeveless tunic and some black pants. He was armed with an iron war axe. He walked over to see what was going on. Dunmer with torches and weapons marched toward the village! He yelled out a raw throated battle cry and jumped onto one. The Nord threw him against the wall and thrust a knife at him. Vanir ducked, and slashed at the Nord's stomach. It cut him, but he didnt stop. The others ran and attacked the village. The attacking Nord fought like a mad beast, writhing and flailing. Vanir dispatched him and checked on Seyda Neen. Houses were burning! The guards were busy, but being cut down fast by the brutal men. One was figthing particularily well. A Dunmer in Bonemold armor, no helmet, was cutting through his men like butter. Then the last one fell. The village was vunerable without the guards. They grabbed the able bodied as slaves, and killed the rest. Then they reached Vanir's house. He burst through the door before them, and fought to protect his family. The Dunmer raised his hand, and three knives hit Vanir. He wouldnt have it that way. He slashed at the attackers until they pulled away. They threw another torch at the house and left the village. Vanir jumped into the way of one and slashed right through the neck. The head rolled into the river, turning the section of water red. He fell against the outside wall of his house, and fainted.
When he woke, he looked around. His wife leaned over him. He was shirtless, and soon found out why. He had a deep cut across his chest and right arm. Then there were the knife wounds. He tried to lean up, but she pushed him back down. He looked around. Seyda Neen was gone. Arille sat with a bandage around his head, and Elone was tending to him. Indrilas said that Fargoth had moved to Suran as soon as he was able to. Indalse... she was taken. At this time he got up, oblivious to what the others said.
"I'm getting Indalse... I dont know when I'll be back". He got his armor and weapons, and got moving. He took the surviving guards with him (three were only wounded, not dead). Over the months of travelling, they left Morrowind... into Black Marsh. There, he changed companies and met Sylvestor...
Once again, An-Jar looked at his writ.
The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.
An-Jar seethed with rage. Gadaves and his band had attacked an entire village - of their own people, no less - and escaped into Black Marsh. The Empire could not stand for such a blatant attack, and certain officials had put out the writ... and An-Jar intended to collect. Sylvestor decided to wait no longer, his acute senses gave him a pretty good idea of where the argonian was, he tensed, ready to jump. Took in a deep breath and lunged at the unwelcome visitor. He put his paws on his chest and pinned him to the ground. Sylvestor recognized him as being from the Morag Tong by his armor, but the recognition went beyond that, he had seen this argonian in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary multiple times.. they must have sparred together a dozen times. His name was An-Jar and he betrayed the Brotherhood.
"Why you Morag Tong scum!.. I have a mind to slit your throat right now, you deserve it in my mind".
Oh no! It's the Dark Brotherhood!, An-Jar thought. Chanting quickly, he cast his most powerful paralysis spell on his attacker, and then quickly went invisible. From the shadows, he taunted his attacker, who he now recognized as a former Dark Brother.
"Your pathetic Sithis shall never take me, Brother!" Sylvestor definetly didn't see the paralyze spell coming, he froze up and rolled to the ground, not being able to move at all for a few seconds. He new all he could do for now was listen to the taunts and try to sniff out where the attacker was. As he felt his muscles starting to loosen up another thought came to mind: Vanir was right there, he must have heard what An-Jar had said, his secret was out.
Sylvestor got to his feet and contemplated whether or not he wanted An-Jar dead or not. On one hand, he was probably hunting down a slaver for a contract or else he wouldn't be in the Black Marsh, on the other... An-Jar might want him dead and he might end up killing him in self-defense..
He decided he wouldn't kill anyone or anything until his life was directly threatened, he circled around waiting for An-Jar to make a move. Sylvestor didn't respond to any taunts knowing this would only spark more anger. "I didn't come here for you An-Jar, I'm not on a job right now". An-Jar was rather confused at the moment. On one hand, his assailent was a member of the Dark Brotherhood, the hated enemy of the Morag Tong. On the other hand, Sylvestor had made no aggressive moves since his initial attack. Should he dispatch this assassin?
After a few moments thought, honour won out, and An-Jar sheathed his blade, Shadowbane, though he kept a powerful calm spell prepared.
"What are you doing in the Black Marsh? Argonia is no place for a Khajiit ," he switched his gaze to the Dunmer, "Or, for that matter, a Legionaire. You keep strange company, assassin."
"I get along well enough in this marshy land for being a Kajiit, My friend Vanir has lost his daughter to slavers, we met up last night and we are tracking the slaver down together." Sylvestor talked with a smile on his face, remembering the good but dark times An-Jar and himself shared when they were so young. "So now that you're in the Morag Tong you must have a writ for someone out in this marsh.. who would that be?"
"Gadaves Orethera - a Dunmer slaver who attacked Seyda Neen and made off with several fellow Dunmer, including someone's daughter. Her mother put out this writ, and I was free.... Wait a second! *mumbles to self* Vanir... Vanir... Yes, the wife mentioned someone named Vanir *end mumbling* What a coincidence! A Dark Brother, a Morag Tong Assassin, and an officer of the Imperial Legion, all hunting the same person. What are the chances? All we need now is a priest!" They all laughed, which surprised each of them, thought they didnt show it.
"Well then, there's no point in hunting the same guy apart, come with us and we'll all have better chances of survival in the case of a mob attacking us. I know from the many times you beat me in spar-matches that you're a good fighter, it's a shame that you left the Brotherhood. Oh well, i'm sure our differences won't spark too much contention.. let us continue our journey through his forsaken swamp"
"Agreed. But never insult my homeland again, or I shall have to skin you alive. Some Khajiit may like lizardskin boots, but I hear that fur is extremely comfortable as well."
"Point taken, I love swamps.. they're so.. muddy, really lovely this time of year" Sylvestor threw on a big fake smile and started backing out of reach of An-Jar's fists. Sylvestor continued on down the trail motioning for the rest to follow. An-Jar, taking Sylvestor seriously, started lecturing his companions on the many virtues of life in Argonia, like the scenic veiws, the plentiful opportunities for a relaxing swim, and the breathtaking beauty of the land itself. Sylvestor tried to interrupt the rants about the swamps, but An-Jar didn't seem to hear him, Sylvestor didn't know what province he was born in but his earliest memory was of the countryside in Cyrodiil.
Vanir stood in shock. He was in the company of an ex (?) Dark Brotherhood assassin and a Morag Tong assassin that had almost the same goal as him. He gave Sylvestor a startled look, then glanced over to the Argonian. As muscular as most Argonians... judging by the spell he cast, and the timing, he was an extremely skilled assassin. Vanir spoke.
"So we've got the same goal? Kill the slavers. And I suppose there's no harm in working together." He was catious around this one. It startled him at how fast he had taken down Sylvestor. However, it would be nice to have him in company. Better than that Imperial, anyway.
"No harm at all - unless, of course, you cross me," An-Jar replied.
"Dont worry about that. I'll take whatever help I can get to get my daughter back." Sylvestor had been quiet throughout this time. Vanir took the Dark Brotherhood incedent lightly, though, as his own brother was a member of it.
Sylvestor turned to Vanir, this is not how he had wanted him to find out about his past. "Vanir, I worked for the Brotherhood, but only to support myself, I didn't take cases to kill children, married people, or total innocents, only those who have betrayed the trust of others.. I haven't taken a contract for nearly two years now.." Sylvestor reached into his bag and pulled out his Dark Brotherhood armor. "well I like the fit of this better then my raiment, and now that you know the truth I may as well wear it now." Sylvestor ducked behind the bushes for a few minutes and came back a few minutes later with his armor on, "Well, shall we continue on then?"
"Sylvestor, you have always been more or less honorable. You really should join the Morag Tong," An-Jar commented.
"Come on, we've been gaining on them" He slung his pack over his shoulder and joined the others in chasing the slavers.
Sylvestor replied to An-Jar after Vanir's comment,"Hmm, ya think so? How's the pay in the Morag Tong? Do they have housing? I was able to live in the Brotherhood Sanctuary... I haven't bothered to buy a house, not knowing what was going to happen and when i'd have to just pack up and leave on a whim." Sylvestor was genuinely considering this idea, he knew the Morag Tong only took on writs that required killing people of total wrongdoing.. a value that the Dark Brotherhood did not believe in. "I'll consider it An-Jar" He was glad that him and An-Jar were getting along so well after there fight earlier.
"We are usually payed 1000 to 1500 gold for each writ, and every writ MUST be lawful - we don't kill for pleasure. The highest I have ever been been paid for a single writ was 10,000 gold, but those are rare. As for housing, every one of our various santuaries are available for the use of any member," replied An-Jar.
"Sounds good, I'd like to leave my days of satanic worship and killing behind, the Brotherhood taught me a lot, but I think i'd like to use those skills to uphold law instead of tearing it down. When we've sorted out this whole slaving incident i'll have to go back to your headquarters and sign up." Sylvestor said.
Part 1 Chapter 6: Another encounter
Nimbok kept following them listening to every word they said as he finished off the last of his rations."The slavers! That's it! I could warn them and when they are killed by them I could pick the supplies off their dead bodies!" It was seemingly the perfect plan, but he didn't know where the slavers were. He would just have to kill them with his own throwing knives. As he was sitting contemplating the plan, he accidentaly slipped and fell into a nearby bush.
"What was that?" An-Jar whirled around and nocked an arrow. "Identify yourself, or I will shoot!" Nimbok knew he didn't have much time to respond, so he kept his head down and didn't talk. He threw a throwing knife at An-Jar's leg in an attempt to distract him. He then attempted to run towards a tree. A knife flew out of a nearby bush, hitting An-Jar in the leg. Not surprisingly, his enchanted Morag Tong armor protected him from the worst of the damage. In response, An-Jar cast the most powerful spell he knew - Black Winter - and a bolt of frost and paralyzing energy shot from his fingertips towards the fleeing Imperial. Then he drew his poisoned blade and chased after him.
Vanir was getting aggrivated with this Imperial. However, he let the Morag Tong assassin do the fun work. He looked over to Sylvestor. "He offered to let you join the Morag Tong... but would you consider living with my family at Seyda Neen? We can house you, give you food, and you'll pretty much be part of a real family, not a group of cold blooded killers (referring to the DB being a "family"). You can still be in the Morag Tong... I will tell you that one of their main sanctuaries is not far from Seyda Neen... What do you say? We both win, and... I know a certain Kajiit named Ahnassi who lives nearby in Pelagiad... we have the time to talk about it, but perhaps in a safer place." Vanir smiled, but he was worried that Sylvestor would dismiss thoughts of a life with a family involved while still being an assassin.
Sylvestor listened to Vanir's request and was, quite frankly, honored to be offered such a thing. "I would love that, thankyou Vanir, It will be nice to have a real family. We'll talk out the details tonight around a great fire and a hearty dinner. As for Ahnassi... is she pretty?" Sylvestor gave a merry wink and checked on An-Jar's progress. Nimbok started towards the trees, but he tripped again. He got up after he saw the spell fly past him. He got up and started climbing the tree. He decided to use another knife out of his limited supply. This time he aimed for the head.
"My wife would love to have you in the family, and Indalse would probably idolize you... she's never met a Kajiit before... or an Orc," he added, smiling, "Ahnassi... as a Dunmer, I cant say, but we are good friends and she has been looking for a mate. However, she's a member of the Thieves Guild." He tried to imagine an assassin and a thief getting together... surprisingly, he thought it would work. Vanir glanced over. An-Jar was still after Nimbok, who had [frantically] thrown a knife at An-Jar's head. Vanir nudged Sylvestor to look and they both gasped at what had happened.
An-Jar cursed as his spell missed. It would be a good thirty seconds before he could cast that again. Fortunately, the Imperial tripped. "Perfect," he muttered to himself, closing quickly with the unknown attacker, and almost feral grin passing over his hooded face. Just to be safe, he cast another Chameleon spell, and his caution was well rewarded when another knife flew by - at head level. Oh, now he will pay. Nimbok got settled up a tree and looked to see where the Argonian was. He was nowhere to be found. Wow. I must have actually got him. Thinking he was safe, he jumped onto another tree.
Sylvestor heard An-Jar whispering "Sylvestor.. take him down, I'm too frustrated to contentrate on it." Sylvestor dropped to all fours and started towards the tree, he leaped up, gracefully jumping from branch to branch. "You should have left when you had the chance Imperial" he said imperial with a bit of a roar and started clawing at Nimbok's heels. Vanir could barely identify the lines in the empty space. An-Jar had saved himself just in time by casting a chameleon/invisibility spell. This was a skilled assassin indeed. Of course, the Morag Tong were like that. He trusted that An-Jar and Sylvestor would be all right, so he concentrated on the thought of Sylvestor joining his family. There would be some legal stuff involved, but it would turn out alright.
Nimbok couldn't see in the tree, but he felt a sharp pain from his feet. He took out his dagger and thrust it in the direction of the pain, let go of the dagger and jumped to another tree. He didn't know if he just stabebd the tree, or something else. He knew he was almost away from them. Sylvestor gasped, the Imperial had gotten his shoulder, he immiediately knew that he had hit nothing vital, but the pain was enough to make him stop the chase, he fell from the tree and hit the ground after a fifteen foot drop, he rolled into the fall but it still hurt. "Let him go, come get this blasted dagger out of me, Vanir"
He rushed over and carefully removed the knife, careful not to make the wound any worse. He cast a healing spell, but he was still forced to bandage up the shoulder.
"It's pretty deep. You'll have the bandage on for quite a while. It'll heal up, though, dont worry."
Sylvestor sat up, grateful for Vanir's help. A short, stabbing pain went through his shoulder but it was bearable. Although one thing was certain: he wouldn't be leaping through trees for awhile. He'd be lucky if he could draw his bowstring. "Well, it's getting dark anyway.. may as well make camp now." An-Jar and Vanir sat and talked about the recent events in Morrowind, catching up on what had happened. Before this, however, they had to convince Sylvestor to get some rest after the wound. They had been running all day, and he was wounded badly in the shoulder now. They got him to rest on the bedroll Vanir brought. For the first time in many days, Vanir had time to catch his breath.
End of Part 1