haute ecole rider: Well it's not a knight actually, just legion cavalry. The knight was back at the Wawnet Inn.
Linara: Where that bandit got his suit of Daedric armor will addressed in the following two segments.
D.Foxy: The dagger I was thinking for Teresa was a main-gauche, that she can parry with. Something like this or this in design. I have been toying with the idea of an Anelace too, although at a foot and half long, it is more than I originally had in mind.
ureniashtram: Water is indeed Teresa's friend. Writing the TF has shown me just how useful water-breathing can actually be.
mALX: Indeed, the cavalryman is next.
Destri Melarg: Oh noes! Not Mr. Bigglesworth upset!
Tony Montana it is. I think I was actually confusing his last name with Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride.
The opening of this chapter is indeed completely different. Teresa got laid in Weye by two people this time around! Likewise, even Teresa's encounter with the bandits a bit different. I worked in Raven at the beginning, and changed the gear of the bandits. The biggest thing being the boss has Daedric armor now. Not to mention Teresa now has mithril arrows.
Acadian: Water does more than make wood elves clothes fall off! It also can be lifesaving.
As much as Teresa would like to be summoning critters, she has other things on her plate in the near future, such as a cardio-exercise program to improve her endurance. This encounter and the one with the conjurers at Belda has shown her that she needs to toughen up physically. She also is starting to see that she needs some way to deal with people who get up close to her, such as the Khajiit did here, and the ghost did at Castle Magia. Once she gets to Bravil, there will be even more work for her to do (and magic to learn). So conjuring will have to wait.
Plus, her teacher is off in Anvil. As we will see sometime in the future. Rest assured though, she will indeed learn to call up the animals of the forest one day. Imagine being able to summon a horse? Now that would be a handy trick. Of course Teresa would have to learn how to ride first (but that is on her plate for Bravil as well, thanks to the some equestrian friends she has yet to meet).
Verlox: Perhaps not as manly a rescue as you might think...
treydog: She has indeed come quite a long way from the girl who squeaked "eeep!" and fell on her boat when faced with Baurus in the prison tunnels!
Your mention of the Shootist reminds me of the rl Doc Holliday. He was just an ordinary dentist before he became terminally ill with tuberculosis. He became a gunfighter, and a very dangerous one, afterward because he literally had no fear of death. Being killed by a bullet would be blessing compared to what was in store for him. So the same way, he never flinched, or hesitated, or had to work up liquid courage before a fight.
Next: Teresa has survived her encounter with the bandits. Now she learns that her savior is not quite what she thought, nor was her enemy.
Chapter 23.5 – The Rider
Teresa bent forward with her hands on her knees and gulped for air. Her blood was pounding in her temples, and she felt the familiar post-combat tremble already beginning to set into her limbs. The wood elf's shaky fingers drew forth a Restore Fatigue potion and she gulped it down between breaths. She had to spend more time running! She had thought she was in good shape until meeting that armored bandit. Now she could see that she still had a long way to go. If it had not been for the nearby lake, Teresa thought, or the legionary, things would have gone much worse.
The rider had passed by her after stabbing the marauder. Now he slowed his horse and came back in a wide turn. Like all the other legion horses she had seen, his gelding had a powerful neck, broad shoulders and chest, and a back that was both wide and short. Graceful and quick-footed, he seemed to glide over the grass with a long, easy stride.
Teresa looked at the rider with a faint smile as he dismounted beside her. He wore the same dark-tinted plate armor that all Imperial Legionaries did, and his head was encased by a full helmet crowned with a red horsehair crest. That is when Teresa noticed the way his armor gently curved outward at his wide hips, inward at his midsection, and then out again at his chest to form a familiar hourglass. The face that stared back at her through the Y-shaped slit in his helm was somewhat softer than she was used to seeing on a soldier as well.
"You're a girl!" Teresa gasped with wide eyes.
"Your grasp of the obvious does not fail you citizen," the legionary said dryly as she drew her arming sword. "Stand back, this one might not be finished yet."
Teresa stepped aside as the legionary cautiously approached the fallen bandit. Stepping on his wrist with one foot, she knocked the longsword from his hand with the point of her blade. He made no sound when she followed with a boot to the midsection, nor when she planted one foot on his back and pulled the helm from his head with her free hand. Drawing back his head by the hair, she revealed a face with dark Nibenean features, eyes open and glassy in death.
Teresa marveled at the caution the legionary took with an enemy who was so plainly dead, and took mental notes to emulate her. Being careful never hurt, the wood elf thought, especially if someone might only be pretending to be dead…
"That was clever work with your spell citizen," the legionary said as she rose and sheathed her sword. Teresa thought she detected a Nordic accent to her voice, and noticed that her eyes flashed blue through the slit of her visor. "You made him an easy mark for me."
"I'm Teresa," the wood elf said, feeling her breath returning to her. "Thank you for your help. I thought I was going into the lake for a moment there!"
"That's what we're here for citizen." It was the response that Teresa had come to expect from any soldier. She wondered if they were all taught to say that?
"I did not know there were women in the Imperial Legion?" the wood elf asked as the legionary knelt beside the dead bandit and began stripping the armor from his corpse.
"There are more of us than most people think," the other woman replied. She drew off her helmet with a cascade of straw-colored hair. Her features were angular, with high cheekbones and a strong chin. Not pretty, but attractive in a certain, rugged fashion. "I'm Valfreya by the way."
"How come you are alone?" Teresa said. "I mean, don't you soldiers patrol in groups?"
"Not anymore," Valfreya answered as she pulled the back plate of the bandit's Daedric cuirass off and threw it aside. "After the fighting at Kvatch, Bruma, and the Imperial City there aren't enough of us to go around. We only work in groups now when there's something big."
"Oh," Teresa breathed. Vols had told her that the Fifth was low on people. It was why he had been assigned to train new ones. Yet she had never imagined it was so bad. Still, that did explain why she had been seeing only one guard at each side of the district gates within the city rather than the usual two. She wondered if the group of soldiers she had seen at the Wawnet Inn weeks before had been on some special mission?
"Listen, what's your name…Teresa? give me a hand with this fetcher," the legionary motioned the willowy Bosmer down beside her. "I have to confiscate his weapons and armor so other outlaws don't come along and take them. We've been seeing more and more of this Daedric dreck showing up on bandits since Bruma. They were supposed to have collected it all after the battle, but a lot of it seems to have walked off on its own."
"Sure." Teresa knelt down in the grass across the body from the other woman and began unbuckling the greaves from his legs. At one time she would have felt squeamish about stripping a corpse, but she had gained enough practice in the last few months that it was almost second nature to her now. She had been hoping that the legionary would leave the armor. That way she could have sold it herself.
"What are you doing out here by yourself anyway?" Valfreya asked as she pulled off his gauntlets and threw them into the dish of his face-down backplate. "Ever since the Crisis there's been a rise in bandit attacks. You are asking for trouble traveling alone."
"I just came down from Weye, on my way to Bravil," Teresa explained. "I normally don't have any trouble with bandits because I stay off the roads. But there was some good summer bolete growing by the roadside down there and I stopped to harvest it."
"Oh, mage eh?" the legionary chuckled. "I should have guessed from that spell. You don't look like a magician though."
"I'm not really," Teresa bit her lip. "I only know a few spells is all, and I can mix some potions. I'm mostly an archer. This fetcher's armor was too much for my arrows is all. Even my new mithril ones. Someone's enchanted it with a Shield, that may be why. He must have killed a legionary to get the helmet I suppose."
"That's what I thought at first too, but I know that move he used to try to ward off my lance. I was taught it as a recruit." Valfreya stripped away the last of the mail from his arms and cut away the padded tunic beneath it. Holding up his arm by the wrist, she revealed a red tattoo of a dragon against his olive skin.
"He's Imperial Legion," Valfreya spat, "a deserter!"
"Damn…" Teresa whispered. It seemed hard to imagine a legionary deserting and turning to banditry. Yet there was the proof before her eyes. What would Vols say if he could see such a thing?