Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Stormflyx
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14th Suns Dawn - Evening
Jehanna, High Rock

From behind the glass of the window she watched the motions of the storm against the seamless sea beyond the stone walls of her home. The rain pooled against the pane as it fell heavy and abundantly from a black sky. The only reprieve from the darkness being the flashes of lightning, striking anywhere they pleased. Rolls of thunder accompanied - like the rumbling growl from the maw of a beast it sang out as warning.

The worst storm in over ten years. It had to be.

Sullen amber eyes watched out at the scene, and in her worry she began to fear that the relentless wind would bring down all of the stars and drown them. “The house is built strong,” she whispered in an attempt to reassure herself, placing a hand over a pendant on an extravagant golden chain. A chunk of rock, black as obsidian that was forced into a gilded frame in the shape of a heart. In her other hand, a cup of hot tea. Now that was something she could be thankful for - for a hearthfire and for hot tea. If it was cold outside, she could not feel it in here. The woman took one last longing gaze out towards the port. “Be safe, my love,” she whispered once more before drawing the curtains closed. It did not do to dwell on that which could not be helped.

Tonight, Cordelia Cortoran wished that she had a dog, or even a cat just for company. Another soul to hide away behind the walls and curtains with. To climb under the covers with and wait it out. He’d offered to bring her a dog once. She didn’t understand why she had turned it down now. Probably a prideful reason. She moved around the room, sipping from her cup. She felt rather too upskuttled to take a seat alone, or to read or paint or do any such activity. Not while the sky was at war with the land. There was a nervous feeling in her chest and pacing helped. Counting her steps around the room helped.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.


It was not the sound of thunder but the slamming of the front door into the wall as it was blown open by an unholy force. It had been enough to shake the floorboards across the entire floor, and it would be a miracle indeed if the handle had not gotten wedged into the stonework. The painful groan of wind that came bellowing after threw open the door to her office in much of the same manner. The parchments from her desk were blown up into the air and the candles were snuffed out.

As if by instinct, Cordelia looked first into the glass of a floor length mirror and in a sudden burst of light, she swore that she saw the smiling face of a child behind her. A shriek escaped her lungs and she brought her hand to her mouth, chastising herself for such an outburst. When she turned with the noise, the room was empty, and so was the hall. “Impossible,” she breathed, her hand tilting slowly as she tried to make sense of it. The tea was tipped from her cup and onto the rug beside her. Absent mindedly Cordelia counted again. Fright was the startled lump sitting in her throat.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.


That’s when it happened. Everything changed, it was as though everything around her stopped, the house held its breath as a presence swooped down.

She felt The Cold enter, and her eyes were drawn to a long shadow in the hallway outside her door. She had heard his two heavy feet booming, and the lighter tapping of something else. A cane. In only seven slow footsteps he appeared in the doorway, soulless and dressed in a malignant smile. She could only see his mouth. The rest of his face was obscured behind the wide brim of his hat. Water had collected there, and it spilled and dribbled to the floor, splashing his boots.

His clothes were soaked too, and he left behind him a trail of water. As if a maid had emptied a bucket in a line to wash down the floors. There was nothing clean about this. He was tilting onto his cane, his weight resting on the brass handle. The man's hands were wrong and the violent intentions he wore as his shroud became the pestiferous atmosphere that followed him. It was so thick she could practically see it, in waves and swirls of red - the dying embers of a fire.

How she wished that she could see his face. She feared what was absent in the shadow cast by the hat. She feared the razor sharp teeth in his mouth that glimmered like a string of broken pearls. It was wrong, and most of all - his posture in the doorway, and the smile he bore told her that he was not leaving. Instinctively she reached out for the iron poker settled in a stand by the hearthfire, her trembling fingers wrapped around the handle and metal scraped metal as she pointed it towards him.

“Cordelia…” he wheezed, water pouring from his mouth when his lips parted. The name was squeezed from his throat in a death rattle. “Put it down…” The hand not on the cane raised and motioned to her to drop her makeshift weapon. As if under his spell, she did as she was told.

“Come to me Cordelia,” the Drowned Man commanded as his hand turned so that his palm faced upwards. It was blue and the skin was pruned, curling back against his bones. His fingers twitched in a rigid manner to beckon her over.

He moved too. Three more heavy steps. His water came with him, and now it trickled through the room and seeped into the rug. He let go of his cane and it remained upright, even when he leaned to take hold of the back of her wooden chair. He pulled it towards him, slowly, slowly. But the sound, the dragging of wood on wood was amplified. As if it was carrying the weight of the world. It became the screech of a dying animal. “Stop fighting me…”

The discordant screech grew louder, and the flickering dim red burned brighter, hotter - like crimson, she could feel it scorching her and yet everything was cold. Her jaw trembled, but her mouth remained shut. Her heels were trying to dig into the ground, but the water had travelled and there was nothing to stop her, no grip could be found, her throat too dry to scream and mouth locked shut. All that came was a pathetic moan. Her eyebrows raised and the lines on her forehead were harsh, the mask of her youthful beauty slipped away as she faced her fear in the form of the demon in the room.

Pulled by his otherworldly presence, she moved. The soft shuffle of her slippers was contrast to the heavy breathing and constant dripping of the Drowned Man. Outside, lightning flashed again - several times. It was an angered flickering strobe, and in that harsh and sudden light, small and dirty hands appeared around the door frame. Several heads peaked around. Bright eyes blackened with coal. Hair slick and oily.

The children watched in silence with their mouths hung open and they didn’t blink. Their complexions were grey like statues and their cheeks were gaunt. They appeared in the light and were gone again in the dark.

“What do you want?” She asked quietly through pursed lips. Her face was red with strain and she continued struggling against his grip - blinking fast. The gaunt children at the forefront of her mind, innocent spectators of her walking nightmare. She held onto the hope that she would soon wake up.

Like this she looked as innocent as a prey animal, eyes wide with nowhere to go but to the darkness and to the Drowned Man, wherever he wanted to send her. Whatever he wanted to do... Her warm chocolate hair fell in waves to the middle of her back, brushing against the silk of her floor length gown. The buttons exquisite, she clutched at them, fingers tugging with nerves. Twisting at the embroidery as she tried as best as she could to resist.

The hand of the Drowned Man balled into a fist, his bones creaked and his teeth began to grind together. The air was being sucked from the room, she could feel it. Like a heavy weight pressing against her chest - the thrumming of something against her, something chewing at her insides. Pure dread.

Where was the beast in the clouds to use its roar to threaten her spectral intruder?

“I’ve come for what’s mine, Cordelia,” he answered, as more water fell. The closer she got, the more her senses were aggravated by everything he was doing. Now, amongst everything else, she could smell salt as if it were a perfume. A finger pointed to her chest, to the heart shaped pendant around her neck. The bone of that finger was dark and rotted.

When the distance between them was closed, and there was only the chair between them, his sheer force of will had her climb onto it, and from a beam above a rope fell. She looked up and whimpered again. From behind her teeth she pleaded, her hands tightened around her chest.

“Your time is over, Miss Cortoran.” If it was possible for a creature full of water to purr, he had achieved it. It was an uncomfortable gargle that seemed to even stop Cordelia’s breath, and yet... The way that he said her name - if only the water had not been filling his throat she might have recognised the voice. He let the rope drop over her head until it touched her shoulders and he smiled at her helplessness. How could she have not noticed it there, all this time?

His gnarled, cold hand cloyed at the fabric of her nightgown until he prized apart her hands to find the pendant. Her last defence was broken with his unyielding strength. Her wrists cracked but she did not make a sound. His deathly touch had frozen her, and when his fingers touched the stone his crooked mouth upturned into an eerie grin again. His lips parted to speak, and there was nothing but darkness in his mouth.

“The Heart of Jehanna…” he rasped, a happy sigh that lingered on a long breath. His fingers grew tighter around it. Whatever it was, the sensation of joy that he felt began to fill the room. But it was a numb happiness, the kind of happiness that shouldn’t be found in the walls of a pretty stone house built of love. It was a harsh laugh of complete despair - a mockery of happiness and his jaw fell slack as he did it.

“Oh beautiful Cordelia… Now do you believe me?” He asked, letting the stone fall into the sodden pocket of his overcoat before he ran his skeletal fingers through her hair, in a way that was derisive of affection. It was meaningless and as cold as he was. It served only to make the woman uncomfortable in the moments before her end.

Behind him, each of the phantom children laughed in an unsettling harmony that married innocence with corruption.

“When he finds me,” Cordelia whimpered finally, trying to find strength in her words and fight back against him as a thread of sanity and memory came to her in his happy weakness. It was the tiny sliver of hope she had held onto, the love that had built the home. “When he finds out what you’ve done to me he’s going to come for you,” she croaked- swallowing back what little she could. Her jaw was clenched and eyes red with stinging tears. Every part of her body had betrayed her on this night.
And still the ghoulish children watched from behind the door, unflinching.

“Not if I come for him first…” The sudden and unexpected inflection of malice in his whisper was the knife that cut through his spell, the poison that pushed the mirage back to the corners and so Cordelia saw his face… All that was not there, and all that was.

Her eyes widened with realisation and her mouth opened to scream… “Y-“

Too late.

The chair was kicked from beneath her and when the rope became taut, she choked and was gone. The structural beam above her head splintered as a long crack ran through it but it was not enough to break. After all, the house was built strong.

He left. Pendant in his pocket and boots thudding across the wet floorboards. The bare feet of the children behind him made no sound and left no trace.

Then there was only the gentle swaying from above and the wind catching in the silk of a white nightgown.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Stormflyx
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Stormflyx M O T H E R N I G H T

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17th Suns Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock

Captain Ravana was a man of high esteem, with a stride and a swagger that had him own every establishment he entered. His heart belonged to his Lady, but the same could not be said for his manhood - which he shared frequently and fervently whenever he spent time upon land.

The only true loyalty he had was for his ship - the Kismet. A striking and unique vessel, possibly more famed than he was in the port towns of Tamriel. It could be said that if his heart belonged to his Lady, then his very soul belonged to the Kismet. A worthy receptacle she was for such an essence too. The two had been entangled in life for over fifteen years. They had been witness to spectacular events, to great loss and tragedy, and equally to significant joy. Truly, if Captain Ravana ever had the patience to sit down and pen his story - he would produce a tome revered by even the most uptight of scholars.

It was outside of a tavern called ‘The Shy Lute’ that the Captain emerged with a smile from ear to ear, alone. He was dressed in his usual garments - namely cotton trousers tucked into light boots with a silken knee length sleeveless coat in a plush burgundy. His bracers too, were equipped and of the same hue as his jacket. He was as sharp looking as his gaze, which unlike his warm smile carried a cold dissonance to everything - and it was exactly that umber stare that attracted women to him. The air of mystery that didn’t quite permeate his charm, but instead sat alongside it.

Ravana lifted his arms behind him, to fasten his hair into a loose ponytail in a fashion that revealed the foreign, yet stylish shaved sides of his head. His beard too, was well groomed, as if it had only just been trimmed and styled. His heavy eyes closed briefly, remembering the feeling of exhilaration he’d experienced sitting in his bath, waited on hand and foot by several beautiful courtesans. His hand balled into a fist and he brought it into his chest—at his heart, as if to give thanks to the higher powers that had allowed him such a truly memorable evening…

“How did you come to be here again, Falnon?” Asked Ravana with a curious glint in his eye and a quill in his hand - nib tapping impatiently at the parchment on the desk.

In front of the desk was a short young boy, no older than his sixteenth year, surely. His face was slightly sharp and his eyes were a hazy shade of blue, sat under the shadow of his messy blonde hair. He was completely youthful in his appearance, still sporting the rosy glow upon his apple cheeks of childhood, the glow that stays there until the harshness of the world peels it back.

He was dressed in a simple white shirt and waistcoat, and some even simpler brown jerkin trousers. The shirt was splattered in red stains from wrist to shoulder, and across the chest. He held in his hands a washcloth and he turned it over again and again, intimidated by the Captain, even as relaxed in his seat as he was.

“Well, I er— just found me way ‘ere honestly. I’m an orphan and Bronn brought me on board to do cleaning for yer all I think…” Falnon said, his hands wringing through the cloth in his hands as he tried his best at telling the tale of his mediocre origin on the Kismet.

The young boy cleared his throat, and couldn’t help but look around at Captain Ravana’s quarters, all of the exciting things he had in there - a painting on the wall - and a cabinet filled with a porcelain tea set, of all things. “Wasn’t really the best at the cleaning, too small—anyways so they had me took down to the kitchens and I peeled the potatoes mostly until Joanna decided she’d train me up a bit—specially since ‘er ‘ands were getting a bit stiff and hard to make work…”

Ravana smiled, and in his eyes too, he placed an elbow on the desk and motioned his hand for the boy to continue and then he placed his head into his hand. He appeared to be enjoying the story.

Falnon nodded, and loosed his hold of the tattered cloth. “So, then she taught me ‘ow to make a few more difficult things like soup and ‘ow to cook a bird up properly. She said it was the basics of cooking - the fun-di-men-tles,” he said, emphasising each syllable as if to make them count - or make sure he got them right. “After I’d done that for a year or so she was showin’ me ‘ow to do all the cakes and more complicated things…”

“Like your apple strudel?” Ravana asked, his smile still present and hand now relaxed, the quill at his side. “I do enjoy that dish, young Falnon, you also make a stew with beef and some kind of cake?”

“Dumplins’” Falnon said with a happy smile, it filled him with a sense of pride that the Captain enjoyed his food.

“Yes, yes dumplings! I do enjoy those as well — Falnon, you’ve a bright future on the Kismet,” Ravana said, picking up the quill into his hand as his expression darkened. “So you can imagine my level of disappointment to hear of the trouble you’ve been in…” He added, his voice as sharp as a blade. “I don’t wish to see you squander your opportunity here by frightening the crew with ghost stories... You know the ones I’m talking about, yes?”

Falnon was brought back to the night of the fourteenth...

It had been late - too late to have still been working, but on that night in particular, he’d been taken over by a spell of inspiration. Chocolate cake! With no idea as to why, he just wanted to create something new, something fresh. Chocolate cake with cherries had been that creation sitting at the forefront of his mind.

The young Nord recalled cracking an egg against the bowl, and being surprised at how loud it had seemed… It had made him hesitant to crack the second - but when he finally did, he found that it was completely normal, in fact his curiousity at the noise was overcome by surprise at the fact that there were two yolks in the second egg. He then simply remembered shrugging it off as having been a sound from the upper deck, the crew messing around as they often did when there was nothing else to do.

Then came the whispers.

Whispers from somewhere else - he had no logic to attribute to that, it was a primal instinct that made it clear the voice came from beyond. A shuddering, resonant hum and breath - disembodied from life, speaking through a hole in the void. He couldn’t make out the words, but he knew that the voice was desperate to speak a message, desperate to be heard. He could feel heartbreak in the murmurs. Then frustration. The whispers came faster, and in a circle around him - not just from one direction but from everywhere.

A brass lamp on the wall shook and the flame snuffed out.

Thunder bellowed from the beyond too, a flash of lightning lit up the dark kitchen and in that split moment Falnon made out the shape and spectral form of a woman reaching for him. Her mouth was open and she trembled fiercely, he saw her screaming herself hoarse but no sound came - just the flickering lightning that danced around her in a purple aura until she was gone…

Falnon was gone too, bolted up the stairway and out of the kitchen - tears streaming from his wide, frightened eyes, screaming. He’d ran head first into Bronn - and in his distraught retelling of the event he attracted quite the crowd. There was a distinct split between who those who believed him and those who laughed at him. Bronn had been one of those in the latter… The disappointment in his rich eyes had been cut through with quick anger, anger enough for him to raise a hand--

“Falnon?” Ravana snapped impatiently, observing that the boys eyes had glazed over and he was shivering. “Do you understand?” He asked again, sternly, but not without a measure of concern for the boy too.

“Aye, aye. I promise I won’t again— I just heard something,” Falnon stammered, hands clenching again - sweating under the pressure of the Captain. His instant flip had caught him off guard. “I know it weren’t real Captain,” Falnon began, lying, voice frantic and panicked. His small hands came up to his chest, together as if in prayer. “I just got frightened down there after dark last night, you know?” He added, voice shaking and a tremble beginning in his chest. He felt the anguish of the silent scream once more and every hair on his body began to prickle and raise from his skin.

Ravana simply nodded, closing his eyes and taking a breath so deep that his nostrils flared. “You’re a good worker, we’ll let this one slide. But Falnon?”

“Yes Captain?” Falnon gulped, holding his breath.

“I’ve a ship full of real passengers today— they can’t be hearing your delusional stories. I don’t want them to be scared… Do you understand?” Ravana asked, his voice low, eyes glowering.

“Aye Captain I do, I’ll not say a word I promise,” Falnon said with a smile of relief.

Ravana nodded again, and just like that the authority slid from his shoulders and drifted away - as it hadn’t been there in the first place. “Tell you what boy, make your beef stew and apple strudel tonight!”

Falnon nodded enthusiastically, he patted down his shirt - those damned tomatoes had gotten him again… He would have to change if there were to be real passengers. “I will! I’ll make it the best one yet!”

“Then I look forward to it,” Ravana said with a hand on his chest, bowing his head appreciatively towards the young chef. “Oh and maybe later, when our passengers are sleeping, I can give you a sword lesson? How about it?”

Well, that was enough to make Falnon’s heart burst in his chest - that his Captain enjoyed his work, and wanted to give him a sword lesson. The Captain Ravana - the boy was star struck, and it showed in his face as his jaw dropped.

“That way, you shall have nothing to be frightened of on the ship you call your home…” Ravana finished, standing from his desk to approach the Nord. The two shook hands, and Falnon went on his way, Ravana followed behind him - out and up the stairs and onto the deck. He strode across. She had been polished, he could smell it - and her sails had been starched. The Captain smiled as he made his way over the deck - that familiar sound his steps made was comforting, and his crew all knew his gait. Each stopped and gave him a bow of acknowledgement, whatever it was they were doing, they stopped doing it to smile at him.

At his own pace, he made his way to the wheel of the Kismet, taking it into his hands with a look of triumph in his eyes as he looked out to Daggerfall — the city he would leave behind soon enough. In the same breath, his eyes peered out across the sea too…

“Adventure awaits us once again, my Queen…” he sighed, holding onto the moment for as long as he could.

Dro’Sintaba’s eyes watched the small frame of his new employer as she wove through the crowds and towards the ship. He chastised himself for admiring the shapes of her in those suede leggings, and focussed his attention instead to her jacket - royal blue with square, fringed shoulders. He’d recognised silver buttons too - and there was a gold piping around the edges. “Why are you dressed like that?” He asked accusingly with a forlorn sigh, catching up to her side to peer down into her curious and awe-filled green orbs. “You look like you’re the captains first mate. Are you the captains first mate?”

“No, I like to impress is all… And I like this jacket very much.” She responded with a look of bemusement, running her hands over the velvet, finding a sense of joy in doing so.

“And why do you have this little toothpick?” Dro’Sintaba asked, flicking a finger at the sword sitting on her hip. “You don’t have the skills of a fencer. I know that much, kid.”

“Excuse me, that’s a rapier - and I can too use it.” Ms. Vasellius replied, clearly growing impatient with his comments.

“Whatever,” Dro’Sintaba huffed, unable to bring a hand up properly to rub his tired eyes, they were busy carrying her belongings. He had to keep reminding himself it had been good pay, half now, and half once they arrived in the Imperial City. A ship to Anvil seemed the least taxing method to carry it out. Once in Anvil, they’d caravan, he’d receive the rest of his money and leave Ms. Vasellius to her own devices. He hoped. He really hoped that would be it, but the manner of his hiring by her hand had been a curious one.

They’d met in ‘The Shy Lute’ two nights prior, she was hooded and attracting attention even then. If only she’d had the toothpick he might not have gotten himself embroiled in whatever scheme she was planning. Because if there was one thing he’d learned, it was that mysterious women in taverns seeking a hireling were usually up to no good. Ms. Vasellius was a magnet for trouble, it seemed. Still, he wasn’t one to let a woman be hurt and so he’d intervened when a scabby looking Breton had made an unsavoury proposition. The rest, as they say, is history. The Breton got two or a few more cuts to scab over after that, Ms. Vasellius got her bodyguard, and Dro’Sintaba got himself some work. It was a win win win situation.

Dro’Sintaba watched the petite woman practically skip her way onto the Kismet, her raven hair bobbing around in it’s loose ponytail - tied with a ribbon in the same hue as her jacket. What he’d gleaned so far was that she was too cheerful, too talkative, and too much trouble. She was most certainly hiding something, and the skeptic inside of him assumed it all to be an act. He had plenty of time to find out who was really in there.

As he watched her provide the attendant with their receipts, he sighed again. He’d been in Daggerfall for too long, and it surely felt good to be leaving now - but like this? It was strange - he felt something in his chest, a flutter of anticipation perhaps? Dro’Sintaba gave a friendly nod to the Altmer attendant. A man whose height almost threatened his own, with flowing blonde hair to the small of his back - he was as androgynous as many Altmer were, it was simply his absolute boyish figure that gave it away - not a slight curve on him. In fact he looked so frail and willowy, that it seemed a strong enough breeze might just carry him away into Oblivion.

Ms. Vasellius’ bags were collected by someone else and escorted away - she went alongside the escort, and the two were chattering happily all the way across the ship. It was annoying. The Cathay-raht decided that from now on, he’d refer to her as ‘Vas’ - whether she liked it or not. Then, the Khajiit simply made his own way across the deck, taking himself a seat on a barrel by the railings. His eyes were drawn to a dominating figure by the wheel - a smirking redguard with grim eyes, dressed in finery with a scimitar at either side of his belt. Strange he found himself thinking, and then found he wasn’t thinking too much about it at all - electing to simply sit in meditative silence - enjoying the gentle rocking of the Kismet on the easy waves of the port.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Dervish
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Dervish Let's get volatile

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17th Suns Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock

The uneven patter of pointed feet crossed the leathery grey surface of scales, the six legs moving in a precision that all insects seemed to have, bringing about an instinctual revulsion from those who typically walked upon two legs. There was no personality, just an almost clockwork like rhythm that spoke to the extremely rudimentary intelligence that occupied the insignificantly small brain; the cockroach that crawled across the Argonian’s face was a product of eons of little more than instinct, never to serve a function more than to produce a significant amount of offspring before perishing to the cruel wheel of nature’s cycle.

These were the thoughts that passed through Lurks-at-Dusk’s much more advanced and significantly larger brain as with the stillness of a crocodile he waited for the cockroach to approach his lips before suddenly shoving it into his maw and biting down into the hard carapace, the juices splashing across his tongue as pointed teeth pulped the insect that had become his first meal of the day.

The Argonian stretched on his makeshift bed, a few sacks of what he assumed was flower or grain, and his eyes adjusted to the scant amount of light that seeped through the levels of deck above him, and he knew that the ship had not made port because of how it still moved across the waves. On either side of him, across from only a few inches of specially prepared wood fastened together but what he hoped were talented shipbuilders and artisans was the wrath of a large body of water that likely contained large animals that would love to bite into him much the same way he bit into insects.

The thought didn’t particularly trouble Lurks-at-Dusk. After all, he was an exceptional swimmer and could breathe underwater thanks to the physiological gifts the Hist bestowed upon all Argonians. He wondered idly if he would take over as the captain of the sunken Kismet, the underwater scourge of a ship that could not sail, or move from the sandy seafloor long after the crew and passengers of the vessel he was currently on had perished from not having lungs that could breathe water or those large animals who wished to bite into the hapless dry skins like his breakfast had a rare delivery that only tended to happen after a battle at sea or a particularly unsavory storm.

The Argonian decided that it would be a rather boring life, and eating exclusively raw fish and being unable to have a conversation would grow tiresome. After all, just because he could breathe underwater didn’t mean he could speak underwater. That would be silly.

He pulled himself up from the sacks, working his jaw around and running his tongue across his teeth, claiming the rest of his meal that had not slipped down his throat quite yet. It wasn’t quite filling by any stretch, but the Argonian certainly knew that there was other food on this vessel that was certainly adequate and dare he say quite enjoyable. The young Nord boy, Fally, Faldor, Fanon? Something of that nature, was quite exceptional at putting a bunch of ingredients together into something decidedly more appetizing than Lurks’ traditional signature dish, a freshly killed squirrel on a stick roasting over a fire. He doubted very much that there would be any rodents on the ship, perhaps a rat or two, but those likely wouldn’t make it into a cooking pot unless the boy was one who appreciated fresh meat and had a sense of pragmatism that wasn’t tempered by the squeamish sensibilities of dry skins.

Lurks-at-Dusk didn’t require much preparation to make himself presentable to head topside; he was still freshly waxed from the night before and wearing the same blue tunic and tan trousers without any footwear. It seemed appropriate, given their current nautical inclinations. His shirt didn’t quite match the sea, or the sky, or any other natural phenomena, but the harbour district of Anvil didn’t exactly have a lot of options for him to steal on such a short notice. It had taken him over two hours to find something his size, after all, and he wasn’t exactly going for the wealthy traveler sensibility this time around. This trip, he simply was a transient worker who had scrounged up enough coin to pay his fare, hoping his next port of call would bring him better windfall to feed his wife… husband? Kids? The Argonian’s throat swelled and his tail stiffened for a moment, a minute reaction that made him realize perhaps he didn’t think of a story that would be convincing and not something he’d tried a dozen times before.

By the time he made his way to the surface of the Kismet, he decided he would improvise. It was not as if he could get away with taking the belongings of those on board; that would be stupid. After all, there was no way off the ship that did not involve quite a bit of swimming that he did not feel quite refreshed enough to tackle, ignoring the simple fact the Argonian had no idea where they were exactly save for a vague direction of where the mainland was. He did not fancy swimming for days to find himself as the first person to step on Thras for thousands of years; the Sload from the stories seemed to be particularly unsavory and he did not fancy someone using his dead body as entertainment. He was not a good dancer in life, and he assumed he would somehow be even worse in death.

There were others on the ship, and to his pleasant surprise, there were other Argonians along this particular voyage. He barely recalled the destination, it hadn’t seemed important when he handed Captain Ravana, a rather handsome Redguard man with a rather fetching plumage of dark hair on top of his crown, the admission for sailing. All Lurks-at-Dusk knew was that he was growing bored of the Daggerfall cuisine and he was pushing his luck with the guard for the rather sizable pile of goods he had stockpiled in a cabin only ten minutes out from the city; someone would be happy when they discovered it, which brought him joy. Perhaps that one person’s good fortune would make up for the dozens of others who had decidedly bad days when the Argonian took their things.

As his eyes adjusted to the light, Lurks-at-Dusk realized that the Kismet was still in port. What day was it, he wondered. Hadn’t he boarded the day before, or was it earlier in the day? He could have sworn they set sail by now, or maybe that was just a particular dream he had. It had seemed so real, so vivid. Perhaps it was the drink he had yesterday to try and convince the captain he was down on his luck, or heartbroken, or something, and he needed a place to stay. Maybe Ravana had let him aboard the ship early out of pity or compassion? Or did he pay him in some treasure he had pilfered in his pack? He didn’t recall exactly what he deemed worth holding onto, but he certainly didn’t stuff that gold-rimmed conga drum or the engraved mammoth tusk in his pack; they simply did not make back packs that size for whatever reason.

Lurks-at-Dusk shrugged as he took in the salty morning air, enjoying the sensation of the large vessel bobbing upon the shallow waters… like an apple.

The Argonian’s stomach growled. He decided it was time to find the Nord boy, for it was a better use of his time to have someone prepare him a meal than to hunt for insects below deck. Besides, the boy seemed easily impressionable; maybe he had something enticing to share about his crew. Lurks-at-Dusk did not care for salacious details or off-putting affairs of cardinal instinctual desire, but rather what kinds of sentimental goods they had sequestered away. A family pipe passed down for generations? A necklace belonging to one’s grandmother?

The Argonian’s mouth salivated at the thought. No, he thought to himself, that would be because I smell something delicious.

Treasures could wait; they sat around waiting for him for years. Good food was fleeting, and Lurks-at-Dusk was a man of sensible priorities.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Lauder
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Lauder The drunk kind of hero

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17th Suns Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock
A collab with @Stormflyx

It was always a good omen to nearly be late to boarding a ship, at least, that is what Drujha would tell herself as she had pushed her way through crowds of people to merely make it in time. The lass had justification for such near tardiness, however, having spent the night compiling notes and omitting facts from those notes that merely did not help her in the slightest. After all, what good was knowing what strange name a daedric went by when she could refer to such by the more common and well-known name. It lowered the likelihood of forgetting the name and confusing one daedric name for another, though that was but merely a task that she frequented as her notebooks increasingly became more akin to scribbles as she omitted information.

However, such information was not important when one had to be somewhere at a certain and she knew that the frantic pace could have been avoided had she just taken a night away from the obsession… but how could she resist when there was so much to be done? Drujha was merely happy to make it, panting as leaned against the railing to gain her bearings before she realized a most crucial fact.

“Kaoc,” the lady cursed as she pushed herself off the railing to bring her hand to her chin, thinking of a way to get the private room that she would need in order to continue her study without arousing notable suspicion. Drujha looked around for a moment before she began to mutter to herself, “Perhaps walk in and take it? No, would likely be kicked out.” She looked to the sky, “Beg? No, might as well be a soft-skin.” It seemed for a moment that the argonian would not have any ideas before her right hand had drifted to feeling against the bandages on her forearms, feeling the places where she had carved or burned symbols into her skin.

“The captain,” Drujha muttered to herself, looking in the direction of the upper deck and for a moment she bobbed her head back and forth as she weighed the options. Then, a sweet, innocent smile came to her face before she began to skip into that same direction. She seemed to be cheerful and in good spirits as she made her way over the Main Deck, even letting out a slight giggle as she stopped right before the stairs to the upper deck.

“Oh captain, may I speak with you?” Drujha called to the upper deck, not daring to intrude without permission.
An argonian Ravana thought to himself as he eyed the woman at the stairs. There had been a number of argonians on the list - two male, one female, and this one in the cloak was a female. She was quite a curious thing with big eyes, and even if the beastfolk were not his flavour in the opposite sex, he was not above being generous with a paying customer. “Madam,” he began, walking towards the top of the staircase, a hand on each hip. And his legs parted in a powerful stance. He gazed down at her. “Of course you may, come-“ he said, waving his hand as if to beckon her.

The argonian eagerly skipped up the stairs, her cloak flowing as she did so. She stopped two steps below him before she moved her hand forward to offer her hand in formal greeting. “I extend the claw of greeting, captain,” she said with a bubbly voice.
“I wanted to talk on the matter of private rooms,” Drujha started, keeping her voice happy as her wide eyes peered into the captain.
“As far as I am aware, they are all booked…” he answered curtly, shaking her hand as he did so. He could already sense where the conversation was headed, and after having shook her hand, he turned on his heel and made his way across the upper deck towards the railings - a favoured spot. “I am not in the business of pulling strings my dear… But, do share your concerns…”

“Well, you see captain, I am a researcher!” She announced proudly as she followed the captain, “However, my studies are something that are best left away from prying eyes.” Drujha stopped for a moment to fiddle around in her bag before taking out one of her notebooks to show the captain, however, she did not open it to show what contents lied within. She threw a look over her shoulder before stuff the book back into the satchel, seeming paranoid about having the contents of her studies being seen.
The argonian looked the captain up and down thinking of the best way to convince the man that she needed the room, rather than some other individual. “Why, Captain, perhaps you could even help in my endeavors! After all, a seasoned man of the sea is likely to have great insight as to what kind of warfare is raged on it, no?”

Ravana’s eyebrow raised, the woman certainly had some nerve behind her, and he only half disliked that about her. She was obviously an upstart, he had once been one too… And so he continued to entertain her. “I understand research, yes.” His golden gaze squinted at the sight of her book, he was slightly curious as to what this woman was doing. She was… twitchy.

He chuckled from the bottom of his throat, “you’re not a researcher, are you?” He asked, moving his arms behind his back, hands interlocked, his posture was graceful and he deliberately straightened up for Drujha - not to intimidate, but simply to make his silhouette more impressive, to cut the shape of a confident Captain. The man he absolutely was. “Do you work for a newspaper, miss?” He asked, his eyes glittering. This wasn’t the first time a reporter had tried to sneak on board and get insider information on him, on his crew, on his lifestyle. The man behind the curtain.

“A reporter?” Drujha echoed to herself, her smile and wide eyes disappearing into a look that could only be described as cold as her now narrowed eyes peered emotionlessly into the captain. She took a step forward, her short frame stretching to what height she could muster as she lowered the hood of her cloak. A palpable tension formed into the air as silence overcame Drujha, trying to pin words to this offense and trying to think of something to say that would not get her thrown off the ship. Then, she began to speak very quietly, in an unnatural cold tone.

“You take me for some cheap reporter? You must be a hatchling to make assumptions with people that you have just met, Xhu. An egg spent too much time in the shade. I have spent years attaining what spells and power I have today, and while I can understand denial for my request, I will not be compared to some lowly reporter.” She paused for a moment, allowing her words to sink in, “I am a mage, soft-skin. A mage that has been studying too much and too long to be compared as such.” Her hand drifted over her satchel and held it tight as her yellow eyes glowed with offense, bringing it closer as another silence came over her.

Then, that same innocent and coy smile came back to her face.

“It is rude to make assumption, captain! I did pay for this voyage and I think an insult like that is bad for future business!” Her words, though in a tone of that of an innocent girl, seemed cold as she warned him from making such an insult, “Anyways, I believe a mage such as myself and an astute captain can come to an arrangement on lodgings, xhu?”

Ravana did not flinch, for why would he? The deck was lined with his crew - men and women who had sailed with him for years. They were each in tune with each other because heads closest to the upper deck did turn, and activity slowly ceased as eavesdropping began. The hand of the redguard Captain flexed instinctively over the hilt of the sword but he did not need to touch it, instead, he tipped his head back and laughed up towards the sky. A loud laugh too, from his stomach - his hands returned to his hips.

“A good reporter isn’t cheap, my dear,” he said to her with a shrug and easy smile, finding himself again. He could go on, but to cause any more of a scene wouldn’t go over well, but his interest was certainly piqued in the Argonian now, he’d be making note of this one. “I meant no insult, as I’m sure you also meant no insult to me…” His head cocked to the side, and his smile became rather more devious in its harshness, his own gaze glowering down upon her from above. His lips were slightly parted and he drew in a sharp breath. “The private suites are taken, perhaps you’ll have more luck in convincing someone to share with you, or give up their lodgings to you. What kind of Captain would I be to deny them of that which they have paid for? Hmmm?”

The argonian continued to smile for a moment before she let out a sigh, though keeping a lighter smile as she looked up to the captain, “I suppose you have a point. No captain I know would do such a thing.” She cocked her head to the side before continuing on, “Though, do you know how hard it is going to be to convince let someone allow an argonian into their quarters? Rapid rivers are less hard to swim against.”
“Though can you blame me for trying the easier way?,” Drujha laughed lightheartedly as she gave a small shrug.

He held a silence for a while, he was as responsible as he could be but that didn’t mean he was above stirring the pot when he could, it was quite a trip to Anvil afterall, and he needed his entertainment too. He thought to the list of passengers and he smirked, deciding that yes, he would throw his dip a toe into this endeavour after all.

“Two Dunmer and a Nord.” He said quite abruptly, taking himself back to the ship’s wheel. He couldn’t give names, but if this Argonian was truly the type to research, this would at least give her something to occupy herself with - and he could enjoy the show from afar. “Maybe start there, miss.”

The argonian allowed a hand to hold up her chin as she thought of what the captain had just said, before she bobbed her head left to right. “Dunmer are right out…” she said very softly to herself before her eyes snapped back to the captain, her smile returning as she let out a laugh. “Thank you, captain! May rains be ever on your back,” she stated before turning and skipping away.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Spoopy Scary
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Spoopy Scary ☠️🌸soft grunge🌸☠️

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Old Ghosts

I am followed by men
I cannot see.
Accompanied by a chilling breeze --
it congeals -- drips from my skin,
thick icy water,
before it becomes one
with the fog-filled air.
Hovering stagnant
above churching waters
where I cannot draw breath,
trapped by my own refuge.
I know they see me,
how I imagined them.
As a slug removed from his shallow shell,
as a paper skinned husk, charred by fire,
as an empty head, throat retching,
as his brains spill from his mouth.
My childish wit hides –
this time—
and this time, they seek.
I await a dying candle,
while I’m choked by the sea.

Poetry had always been one of Garil’s favorite forms of art. The potential to divine so many different meanings from multiple readings, to invoke different emotions, each so complex and for different reasons, ought to have been the sole intention of artistry. This was not to say he was by any right an artist himself, or was worthy of critiquing art, but if an artist could not appeal to the commoner, then they have failed, no? This poem did appeal to Garil, even if it did imbue him with an emotion akin to a child eating fruit seeds, who then worried that a tree would grow from their belly and sink their roots in. Garil had no reason to worry or feel fretful; the Kismet was supposed to have been captained by one of the most capable sailors of the western hemisphere, or at least one of the most popular. Any dread was sure to be placated upon the very sight of a ship with the grandest of sails hoisted upon its mast, and the cocksure panache of Captain Ravana. Unfortunately, this was not the case, even under the shadow of their grandeur. Perhaps then, he could hide in this shadow until the sense of trepidation comes to pass.

Those few hours ago seemed distant now, as the dunmer sat lonesome atop the railings alongside the main deck. He coiled his ankle around a taut length of rope along the outside hull should he lose his balance – something which he highly doubted would happen, but such precautions were second-nature by now – with his other foot flat against the railing as well, with one leg arched and securely in the crook of one of Garil’s arms to keep himself upright. He had already conducted his business with the captain earlier; such a man he knew to be wisened against any form of payments outside of down payments in gold, but the bank of Daggerfall was more than willing to accept Garil’s writ for a loan, which he used to generously pay the captain for a private cabin on board the ship. Quite literally, he spared no expense.

Unfortunately, once again, it wasn’t quite what he expected. Rather, it was exactly what he expected, but the lavish living wasn’t quite his style. It felt too rich, the bed was too soft, and it felt like a place where he didn’t belong. Never mind the fact that he felt as though it put a target on his back. So, upon more investigating of the vessel, he found the standard quarters to be more to his liking. The woven hammocks felt better against his back and for his posture, and he had little enough belongings to keep it underneath. Now it just came to whomever he could find that wanted the room. He wasn’t necessarily interested in making money from the ticket either, simply giving it away was fine with him.

It wasn’t like it costed him anything, anyways.

He had preoccupied himelf with staring at the horizon, watching the seagulls float in the breeze, and swelling his cheeks with a handful of seeds. Before long, other passengers were beginning to board the vessel. Some had apparently awoken and come crawling out from beneath the deck – had that Argonian always been here? Others, like an Imperial woman came aboard followed by her pet Khajiit, and soon enough, another Argonian came aboard. Strange. He didn’t think there’d be so many of them out this way – not that it was a problem, of course. Just peculiar. He didn’t have much time to stew on such thoughts until the Khajiit came stomping over his way. Perhaps stomping would be the wrong term, as the massive Cathay-raht was woefully at a clear disadvantage when his weight caused the wood beneath him to creak slightly. Perhaps the pads of his feet could silence the thuds had he not been wearing footwear.

Perhaps coming his way would also be the wrong phrasing, as he barely given him any notice and instead sat atop a barrel some few meters away. Garil craned his head around curiously to get a good appraisal of the Khajiit and his belongings. Older, wears fine clothes, but there was also a ruggedness to him that spoke “adventurer.” If he had been doing so if he’s been around, he surely had plenty of stories to tell. He surely must’ve been quite capable too. So, then, was he an escort to the ravishing woman he accompanied on board? She looked quite fanciful – this Khajiit must have been payed a pretty septim for the company. That meant there was a certain level of trust confided in him, which was nothing to scoff at, Garil figured.

“Say, friend,” Garil commented abruptly, his voice distorted by the mouthful of seeds and nuts, “you look like you’re on a business trip, are you not? Or are you just enjoying the weather? It’s really quite lovely today. Perhaps a fine honeymoon with the lass?”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Greenie
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Greenie Inconsequential Inconvenience

Member Seen 0-12 hrs ago

17th Sun's Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock

They were an odd pair to be sure. A Khajiit and a wolf, walking side by side as if it were the most natural thing in the world, ignoring the looks of surprise and even fear that were sent their way from those passing by or those who worked by the docks. For his part, the Khajiit man didn't seem too intimidating. Dressed in an unassuming plain brown shirt and a pair of dark trousers, it would have been quite possible to assume he was simply a sailor like many of the rest. An open and friendly look on his face, his ears twitched whilst stormy grey eyes swerved this way and that, not pausing for a moment as he allowed himself to take in the many sights on his way to the ship. It wasn't S'Kandar's first time on the cusp of a sea voyage, but it had been a while since he had actually traveled by sea.

As for the wolf, it would be her first journey on a seafaring vessel. Much like the Khajiit man, she too was in fact not too intimidating if one could get past the fact that she was not your average canine friend. Her fur was a mixture of grey and white with darker tones of brown and black. Her tail whipped in the air, tongue lolling as she too seemed to take in the sight, sounds and smells. S'Kandar had been a little worried than the unfamiliarity of the Daggerfall as well as the scent and sight of the waves may put off Jashi, but it seemed he had been wrong and she was as eager as he was to head on this journey.

"S'Kandar is very proud of you! To think this one was worried you would find this whole experience daunting and unpleasant. Jashi continues to surprise him." S'kandar gave the wolf a grin, reaching down to pet her head and scratch her ears, though the chance of that was stolen away by her affection as she licked at his hand, causing the Khajiit man to break into a laugh. "Yes, yes, this one loves you as well, though a wet hand may not be appealing to those who wish to shake S'Kandar's hand." He effectively ignored his own words however, kneeling down right in the middle of the pathway, scratching the scruff around her neck. "If you like it here, this one's certain you will enjoy Anvil as well."

The thought of that final destination calmed his grin into a smaller, almost somber smile, and S'Kandar finally rose to his feet once more. He gave his wolf companion one last pat on her head and started forward once more, his mind preoccupied with thoughts of... her. Two years may have passed since that day, and the pain may have soften to a manageable hurt, but it did not mean he could ever forget his mentor, his teacher. He needn't have to close his eyes to be able to recall how she looked, so much smaller than he was. Her eyes had always reminded him of the night sky, and her lips as soft as a rose petal, yet fierce when the time to fight dawned upon them. How often had he wished to press his lips against hers? How many times had he forced himself to keep his fingers away from the long, black hair that had flowed down her back like the rivers of Skyrim?

A shaky breath left his lips, and the Khajiit man came to a stop yet again, curling his right hand into a fist and pressing it against his forehead, grey eyes shut tightly, ears flattening to the side. His tail which had previously been swaying peacefully was now rather low and almost perfectly still.

S'Kandar must stop with these thoughts, he chastised himself. He will not fail again. Not ever.

He took a deep breath, allowing it to fill him, and then slowly breathed out, relaxing his shoulders as he did. A few calming breaths later, he lowered his head and opened his eyes at last. Almost immediately his eyes fell on Jashi, who was looking up at him in an almost concerned manner.

"This one apologizes," he mumbled, feeling a little guilty. "Don't worry, S'Kandar was just a little... caught in the past. He will be fine."

With that said, the Khajiit man forced himself to stand tall, pushing his shoulders back and lifting his head, focusing on the vessel only a few more paces away. Anvil was still days away, first they had the sea voyage to contend with; he couldn't help but wonder who else would be travelling with them. Hopefully people with pleasant dispositions. It would be a very long and tedious journey if they proved otherwise. S'Kandar didn't want to think the worst of people he hadn't even met yet, he was just being cautious.

Just be as friendly as this one is with most everyone, he thought to himself as he made his way up the gangplank, and all shall be fine. That formula had yet to fail.

Just as long as no one was rude to Jashi.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Hank
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Hank Dionysian Mystery

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Of Cloaks and Swords
Another @Hank and @Stormflyx novel

Morning, 17th of Sun’s Dawn, 4E213
Aboard the Kismet, Daggerfall port, High Rock

“Easy, boy, easy,” the Nord blonde whispered into the horse’s ear. She pressed her forehead against his and stroked his flank with a loving hand. “This isn’t the first time, Charlie. Remember? You’ll be on your own feet again before you know it.”

Charlemagne whinnied nervously, but she sensed that he had resigned himself to his fate.

He was suspended in the harness that the ship’s cargo lift, a complicated system of pulleys and ballast that the sailors used to hoist heavy objects in and out of the hold, would use to lower him into the bowels of the Kismet. There he would be safe and sheltered from the elements during their voyage and Aurora was eager to see her treasured companion made comfortable before their departure.

“Ready?” one of the crewmembers asked.

Aurora nodded and stepped back. Charlemagne followed her with his eyes, dark and heavy-lidded, and scraped the deck with his hoof.

“Everything will be alright,” she promised him and smiled.

The sailors hoisted him up and opened the hatch the hold below. Charlemagne, to his credit, didn’t struggle or flail against the sudden lack of solid ground beneath his hooves. He looked quite forlorn, however, such a majestic animal reduced to a piece of hovering cargo, and Aurora felt pity for him all the same. With practiced expertise, the crew lowered him until he disappeared beneath the deck and into the hold, and Aurora heard a satisfyingly gentle thud as Charlemagne found his footing. The sailors had taken extra care to make sure he didn’t have a hard landing, just like she’d asked.

“Thank you so much, my darlings,” Aurora said and went around the men to shake their hands. All of them looked down in surprise to find a gold coin pressed against their palms and they tipped their hats at their grateful passenger.

For her part, Aurora took the stairs down and helped to undo the harness from Charlemagne’s massive frame before guiding him towards the area of the ship that would function as his makeshift stables for the duration of his stay. The corner of the hold had been cleared of supplies and fitted with a trough full of hay and a barrel of water. Aurora tied his reigns to one of the support beams of the ship and patted him on the flank again. “There you go,” she cooed to him. “See? That wasn’t so bad.”

She made sure that he was comfortable and able to relax a little before she made her way back to the deck. The fresh breeze and the sunlight were welcome sensations now that she was sure that Charlemagne was taken care of; she was finally able to enjoy the start of her trip. One of the cabin boys had taken her personal belongings to her private suite already and that meant that there was little left to do but to meet the other passengers and the captain. She smoothed over her clothes -- a white, high-collared coat, cinched at the waist, over an equally white tunic and cream-colored pants tucked into leather riding boots -- and cast her amber-colored gaze across the ship. Almost immediately, it landed on a remarkable sight.

A massive, hulking Khajiit, whose fur was as black as the night. It was like he was made to be her opposite, Aurora thought, and smiled at the idea. He was seated and merely looking about the deck, same as her, and she waved when she locked eyes with him. They were a startling shade of green, but it suited him very well. Aurora placed one hand behind her back and the other on the pommel of the gem-encrusted saber that was sheathed at her waist and approached him with measured steps.

“Good day to you,” the Nord said with a curious tilt of her head. Her rich and husky voice further betrayed her inquisitive feelings towards Dro’Sintaba. “Forgive me for asking, but you’re not with the crew, are you? Though I’m sure they’d appreciate the help, looking at those arms,” she remarked as she freely let her eyes wander.

The Khajiit in question had been lost in thought when a distracting motion of a hand pulled him out of it. Sharp as a tack he locked onto her with his intense gaze. He was sat hunched on the barrel, one foot flat on the deck, and the other tilting at the barrels side, knee bent. To wave back felt simply like too much effort. A nod of his head sufficed, and apparently had been enough for her to initiate further contact.

Dro'Sintaba made his best effort to straighten up for her, he moved so slowly - as if he'd been roused from the deepest sleep imaginable. There was something graceful about it, anyone else may have made it look as though they were lazy, but Dro'Sintaba's movements were calculated and powerful, slow as they were. He rolled his shoulders, placing a hand on the lid of the barrel beside him. "Not crew," he said finally, his voice was smooth and tone relaxed. He eyed the woman, she was just that - a woman, and so he spared her a glance of judgement and his gaze warmed up significantly. "Passing through, and you?" He asked, his green eyes with the slit pupils locked onto her own. They were as rich as her voice and presence were. The corners of his mouth curled to a slight smile.

His curt manner of speaking and the deep resonance in his voice reminded Aurora immediately of her former mentor. It seemed to be the fate of all large men, be they Redguard or something else, to become gruff and tight-lipped with age, though it was hard for her to estimate just how old the Khajiit actually was. “The same for me,” she said with a nod. “I’m on my way home. My name is Aurora Brightwind, and who might you be?” She offered her hand for him to shake and smiled up at him.

It was his own fault for asking a question, not that he'd meant it as further invitation but that was where they were now headed. "Aurora Brightwind," he repeated curiously, "doesn't sound Cyrodiilic…" His tone was borderline accusatory, and his eyes narrowed as he continued his stare at her. Finally reaching out his own hand to take hers. "A nice name, regardless of origin," the Cathay-raht added as he took a firm hold of her. "Dro'Sintaba," he said, offering a slight inclination of his head too.

She laughed, revealing two neat rows of pearly teeth and creating two dimples in her cheeks. “That’s because it isn’t, truth be told. I’m a Nord, but the Imperial City is my home,” Aurora explained before she ooh’d appreciatively at the strength of his handshake. Her grip had been quite dainty at first, but she winked at him as she tightened it and gave him a firm shake back. Her strength couldn’t match his, of course, but it would suffice to let him know that she wasn’t an ordinary woman. “Dro’Sintaba,” she said, echoing his repetition of her name, and looked up while in thought. “Don’t tell me, I know this one… a leader, or an elder, yes?”

"Impressive," he responded quickly, the smile at the corners turned into a smirk, "something like that, anyway." He took in a deep breath, and as he did so it was as if the air he took in really did fill him, his posture straightened more and his chest puffed out, he brought himself to the edge of the barrel. "You are returning to your home… You are a businesswoman of some description?" He asked - although it was just as much of a statement as it was a question. She didn't look like a woman who'd simply been sightseeing, and her outfit gave much of that away. Aurora was dressed to impress, not relax.

He was perceptive and she inclined her head to indicate as much. “I am. My business is in rare and exotic goods. Antiques, artifacts and artworks, that sort of thing,” Aurora said and tapped her chin with an index finger while she looked Dro’Sintaba up and down again. “You have a keen eye for people and a distinguished honorific, but you’re built like a warrior,” she surmised and narrowed her eyes at him. Now it was her turn for a half-smile to tug at her lips. “And yet, I don’t see a weapon on you. My, you’re quite the enigma, aren’t you? What could it be that it is that you do?” she asked and tilted her head again. Suddenly, she clapped her hands together. “You’ve been a soldier before! You talk like one, at least. But I don’t think you are one now. Maybe… you’re retired?”

Dro’Sintaba gave her a moment under his gaze as he formulated his answer, his expression did not change, and he gave little away as to how he felt about her comments. “Weapons are predictable,” he finally said, lifting his hand from the barrel at last. He wondered if she would take a seat there, and then his eyes left her and he instead looked at his hand - at his claws. “An enigma is purely an abstract idea. The truth is far less exciting than that which your mind creates, isn’t it, Aurora Brightwind?” He asked, finally meeting her eyes again. His very posture could have appeared threatening in that moment to a passerby. There he was, like a predator about to pounce and unleash a claw upon the woman…

That very threatening image was shattered, however, when he simply took that claw to the underside of his chin and gave himself a gentle scratch. “Retired? How old do you think I am?” Dro’Sintaba asked, glancing at her again. Everything about his expression was stoic, and yet something playful twinkled in his eye in her direction.

"Old enough to be successful and retire early," she retorted. The twinkling in his eyes hadn't escaped her notice and she laughed again. "Well said, enigma! You don't talk like most Khajiit, so either you weren't raised by them or you're well-traveled enough to adapt your speech patterns to your current company. I still think you're not a soldier, but you don't like the idea of retirement, so… mercenary?" It was a tough guessing game, but Aurora enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to meet someone so out of the ordinary.

“Something like that,” Dro’Sintaba said again, truthfully quite enjoying the chase he was giving the Nord. “As for the speech - hmmmm, this one believes that Aurora is quite curious, yes?” He said, humouring her, giving her a typical Kahjiiti handwave to accompany his words. The gravel seemed to leave his voice when speaking in such a way, and it most certainly thinned out in its impressive depth. “But you’re right. I am a travelled mercenary of sorts. Not quite as interesting as a proprietor of exotic goods…”

It was then that the Nord snatched up the spot that had opened up on the barrel and she looked up at the massive Khajiit with a smirk. “Me, curious? Whatever gave you that idea?” she said, voice dripping with sarcasm, and tapped a playful hand on his knee. “And I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss yourself as uninteresting, my dear. You have the eyes of a Khajiit that has seen much. Who knows what stories you have to tell about your exploits?” Aurora let the question hang in the air and raised an eyebrow suggestively.

“I said the idea of an enigma is far more exciting, I didn’t say that meant I wasn’t interesting anyway,” he remarked with a smirk. Stories indeed he thought to himself, leaning forwards again, his elbow finding another barrel. He wasn’t surprised that Aurora had come to seat herself beside him, he was a little surprised at how openly touchy she was, however. It caught him off guard enough to give him cause to flick his ears back when she touched his leg. She was a lively one, and he made a mental note to send Vas her way when he got a chance, perhaps the Nord could teach the bratty Imperial some manners, or distract her long enough to stay out of his way.

“Exploits?” Dro’Sintaba asked, and for the first time, chuckled. “What kind of exploits do you think I get myself wrapped up in, Aurora Brightwind?”

She tapped her chin again. “Rescuing fair princesses from dragons and trolls, for a start,” Aurora proposed with a languid drawl to her voice, but she laughed and waved her own joke away. “Really though, a mercenary always has stories. And even if you don’t pursue trouble, Dro’Sintaba, I can’t imagine it never came calling.” Her eyes were quite serious now and she looked at him like a headmistress that expected one of her students to start lying any second. “It sticks to men like you like a cloak,” she said, her voice almost a whisper. She thought of her brother, Rolf, who had been tall and broad and severe. Now he was dead. Abruptly, Aurora sighed and looked away. “Sorry, I don’t mean to pry. We’ve only just met.”

In his own way, he scoffed at her. One single huff of breath from his nostrils, followed by another smirk at one side of his mouth. “I think you do mean to pry, Aurora. You make your business from prying, do you not?” Dro’Sintaba asked, leaning close to her although she had looked away - his face was just the shadow in her peripherals now. “A friend of mine once said that trouble finds me and that death accompanies me on my shoulders.” It was strange, there was nothing malicious in his manner, and he did not mean to impose on her space or be the chilling whisper that ran down her spine. Somewhere in the grit of his growl was a measure of shame.

The Khajiit pulled back and sighed. “My cloak is just a cloak, just fabric…”

There was nothing about Dro’Sintaba that suggested there was any reason not to believe him. Just from the way he carried himself, from his movements and his voice, Aurora had known that he wasn’t an ordinary person. He had seen things, done things, and his voice did send a shiver down her spine.

“And a fine cloak it is,” the Nord said with a smile and ran her hands over the green textile, stopping at his collar to adjust it properly. Perhaps it was better to let certain things lie, instead of her curiosity leading to her getting more than she bargained for. The tone in his voice signaled to her that there were things beneath the surface of Dro’Sintaba that should stay buried… for now, at least. “Are you traveling for work?” she asked.

The question was enough to snap him out of it, and he remembered that yes, he was working. “Something like that,” Dro’Sintaba said yet again. “Escorting several ounces of trouble,” he chuckled, relaxing back into his makeshift seat. As she moved his cloak around, he stole a quick glance at her, moving his arms back so they weren’t in her way. “Been some time since I was in Anvil, I’m rather fond of the coast there,” he said with a sigh, trying to push past the atmosphere he’d left hovering around the place.

“It is beautiful,” Aurora agreed, remembering the golden fields and sunrises of the expanse that lay between Anvil and Kvatch, and the view of the ocean from the harbor. She thought about what he said, a few ounces of trouble, and grinned. “You’re a bodyguard?” she asked as she looked up at him again and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “I heard an excited woman prattling away somewhere in the ship when I was belowdecks. Are you escorting her? I bet you are,” she theorized and wagged a cheeky finger at him, narrowing her eyes inquisitively once more.

"Excited woman prattling on? Sounds like the one," he said, deflating with a drawn out sight. "A walking headache… But, gold in hand." Dro'Sintaba brought a hand to his jaw and stroked there, in thought again. "Don't know her story, didn't ask. Know more about you, actually." He shut his eyes tight and groaned, the very mention of her brought the sound of her incessant chatter to his ears.

“Oh my, out of the frying pan and into the fire!” Aurora said and laughed, clapping her hands together. “You escaped one talkative woman only to run straight into me, eh? How very unfortunate for you.” Still giggling, Aurora gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “There, there, Dro’Sintaba, it’ll be alright.”

Dro'Sintaba immediately tensed up, his shoulder flexed as she touched him, his ears flicked back again. "Two talkative women that have me in common… Maybe I remove myself from the equation and she can be your pet project instead?" His eyes narrowed playfully, hiding the fact that he was actually quite serious. The Khajiit leaned in close to Aurora again, "what do you say?" he whispered in a deep purr, close enough to her ear and neck that she might feel his warm breath. If she insisted on touching and prodding at him - well…

She turned to face him directly and fixed her amber eyes on his. He was even more magnificent up close, she decided, and she had to suppress the primal reaction of fear that his feline menace evoked. She could smell him, too -- something earthy and animalistic. “No,” she whispered back. “I think I’d much rather learn more about you, big guy.”

“If only we were going to be trapped on a ship for a short time…” he smirked again, pulling away from Aurora - disturbing the gravity between them. “There really isn’t that much to learn,” Dro’Sintaba said with a nonchalant shrug before pushing himself off the barrel. She’d see his full height now, and he made sure to stand in her vision for just a moment longer than was necessary. Tall enough to block out the sun.

“As much as I am loathe to part from your company, I suppose I should go and see about a girl…” the Cathay-raht said at last, slipping his huge hands into the pockets of his cloak. He didn’t wait for a goodbye - he wanted to play on his enigma after all, and instead gave her a wave with the back of his hand after he’d created enough distance with his relaxed strides.

Being cast in his shadow sent another shiver down her spine, though of a different kind, and she bit her lip as she watched him walk away. “Fine, be like that,” she muttered to herself and laughed quietly before getting to her feet as well. There was someone else she wanted to meet and he wasn’t hard to spot; Captain Ravana, a name well-known to her from her travels to the western seaboard, kept watch over his ship at the helm of the vessel.

She climbed the steps to the upper deck and approached Ravana much in the same way she had Dro’Sintaba, with one hand on her sword and the other behind her back, and she stopped a respectful distance away.

“Captain Ravana, I presume?” Aurora asked and placed a hand over her heart before bowing slightly, showing proper deference to a captain on his ship according to Imperial customs. “It’s an honor to meet you. My name is Aurora Brightwind, one of your passengers on this voyage. Are the winds looking auspicious?”

The Captain had been watching out beyond the horizon, eyes narrowed and almost closed as he thought about the voyage ahead - enjoying the sounds of his crew at work. The sound of passengers arriving was even more enjoyable. It had been a while since he had carried passengers. He was an explorer more than anything else, but the opportunity had arisen and he had taken it rather happily. People generally paid good money to travel on a real ship - especially one like the Kismet. He inhaled the sea air, the salt that lingered in it was his absolute favourite perfume - so smile, and yet it invoked such a serenity within him.

He was deep in such a serenity with his jewelled hands resting gently on the railings and his stance relaxed - but at the appearance of Aurora he quickly straightened up, caught off guard perhaps. “Miss Brightwind, yes - I’m Captain Ravana…” he said with a warm smile, bowing his head to her - appreciative of her own etiquette. His eyes trailing her from head to toe as he did bow, he liked what he was observing. “The honour is all mine,” he began slowly before stepping closer towards her, “and the winds are always auspicious when you board the Kismet,” he concluded with a content sigh.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of such beautiful company?” Ravana asked with a boyish smirk, the hair in his ponytail caught the breeze behind him, and the light of the sun seemed to focus in on the various stones that he wore in his ears and on his fingers. They practically glittered as he reached out his hand for her to take.

He was so forward with his charm that Aurora was forced to hide a laugh behind her hand. Still, it was charming, and she wasn’t averse to compliments. “You are too kind,” she said and smiled as she took the offered hand. “I always make an effort to meet and thank the captains of the ships I travel with. It is only by your mastery and leadership that I get to traverse the waves, after all,” Aurora cooed. “And I am doubly grateful for your willingness to transport my horse as well. Your men were very gentle and attentive when they lowered him into the hold.” She could be charming if she wanted as well, and she inclined her head to emphasize her words.

“Now you’re being too kind,” Ravana replied, tilting his head back with his arms spread outwards as she took a backstep towards the railings again. There was a confidence about him that he revelled in displaying in his mannerisms. “I’m glad to hear they took care of him, truly — sometimes my boys are rowdy but I’ve got them on their best behaviour for as long as I have passengers like yourself…” Ravana’s elbow found a surface, and so he leaned onto the railing, one leg crossed in front of the other - his free arm was held out towards Aurora, as if inviting her to his side.

He’d recalled her name on the passenger list, he wasn’t so out of touch with the goings on of his ship like many Captains were - he liked to be in the know of who he was bringing aboard, that and he did in fact like to write out all of his own paperwork - for peace of mind. She was a suite passenger, and he raised an eyebrow at the recollection of that fact; “you’re not staying in the shared quarters, are you?”

She raised an eyebrow at that, impressed by his attention to detail. “I’m flattered that you remember. No, I’m not. I like my privacy,” Aurora said and did as his extended arm suggested, joining him by the railings. She looked out over the waves, towards the horizon, and briefly thought about everything she knew about the captain.

Explorer, charismatic, known to merchants as a reliable transporter of goods… oh, and an excellent swordsman, of course. How could she forget? She graced him with her most winning smile as she turned her attention back to him. “Say, captain… those swords aren’t for show, are they?”

That gave him cause to laugh, and he placed his hand on the hilt, tapping his fingers over it as he watched the woman, having noticed Aurora’s own weapon during his once over of her. “Do you think that they are, Aurora?” He asked playfully, giving her a grin, before her ran his fingers over his moustache, and down to his chin - outlining his mouth as he smiled. If there was one thing that he enjoyed, it was others stroking his ego, but Aurora seemed different - sharper. Ravana couldn’t tell if she was asking a serious question, or simply trying to beguile him.

“No, not at all,” she reassured him and brushed the back of his hand with her fingers. “In fact, I was hoping… well, you see,” Aurora began and shifted her body so that she was facing him entirely, and she leaned in closer with an enthusiastic look on her face. “Swordplay is something of a hobby of mine and I like to challenge every swordsman of renown that I meet to a duel. I know you’re a busy man, captain, but if you could find a moment to spar with me sometime during our voyage, I would be much obliged.” Her eyes were full of life and she smiled after glancing down at the two scimitars, wondering what his style was. “What do you say?”

The Redguard’s bronze eyes narrowed, and he sucked in a breath through his teeth before toying with his beard again. “I could duel you…” he began, his words soft and tone tinged with the enchanting promise of adventure. “Not many people I come across would challenge me.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards and his smile was suddenly boyish again - the sparkle in his eyes was too. He enjoyed a challenge, he especially enjoyed a challenge if it involved him being able to use his swords, and even more so if it involved a beautiful woman. “But you’re a passenger — it might seem untoward if I were to hurt you in any way,” then came the smirk. A quirked eyebrow too, and in his own mind he began to imagine the theatrical scene - letting it play out to his own direction.

Ravana pushed himself off from the railing, turning his back on Aurora to pace to the ships wheel again. “But I must say I’m intrigued at what skills you may have learned from… other renowned swordsman.” He glanced sidelong at her, a hand on his hip and the other on the hilt of one of the scimitars again. An odd hilt it was too, with a strange engraving on the top - deep etchings that looked labyrinthine in their detail.

There it was -- the inevitable moment that she was underestimated or not taken seriously. “Don’t worry about me,” the Nord replied without any outward signs of annoyance. “I can take care of myself.” She raised her left hand and gathered magicka in her palm, releasing it as a spell that fortified itself around her silhouette with an ethereal clang, almost like a suit of armor being fastened on her body. “You’d have to be trying to hurt me to get through an Ironskin spell.” Aurora tapped the railing with her index finger and cocked her head. “So, what do you say, my captain?”

“I don’t doubt that you can,” Ravana said with a tilt of his head and a smile. His eyes followed her movements as she applied her spell, he’d seen such magic before - and it was impressive, that was for sure. The competitive side of him knew that it wasn’t permanent, though. “I would, myself, be honoured to duel you, Aurora.” He gave her a showy bow, one arm held outwards.

“Get yourself settled in first, unpack - enjoy all the ship has to offer, and then we’ll duel--”

Ravana was cut short by the sound of approaching footsteps, heavy, up the stairs behind Aurora. A tall man with slicked back raven hair and an aquiline nose, his skin tanned and clothes light. “Captain, I don’t mean to intrude,” he began - he did not speak in slang like most of the crew, and his accent differed too - he enunciated his words unlike his colleagues who simply cut them off.

“Bronn,” Ravana responded, placing a hand in front of Aurora, to indicate he would resume their conversation momentarily.

“There’s some business to attend to in your quarters,” Bronn’s eyes shifted to Aurora, and then back to Ravana. They were grey and downturned, but in more of a distinguished manner than offputting. “I’m afraid it can’t wait.” His tone was curt, and he placed his hands behind his back, unwilling to say anymore.

Ravana nodded, turning back to Aurora with an apologetic smile. “Duty calls, my dear-- but come and find me when you’re ready,” he offered, gently taking her hand in both of his for a farewell shake. It did pain him to have to leave such a fascinating woman to simply have to deal with business, but alas, a Captain’s work was truly, never finished.

Aurora curtsied gracefully. “Of course, my captain, I understand,” she said. She hadn’t expected anything else, and besides, she was still wearing her riding clothes, which hardly made for suitable attire for a proper duel. Aurora held no illusions about underestimating him and appreciated the opportunity to prepare and find him at a time of her choosing. “Thank you for your time.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Lauder
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Lauder The drunk kind of hero

Member Seen 0-12 hrs ago

The Curious Argonian Mage

A collaboration with@Hank
Morning, 17th of Sun’s Dawn, 4E213
Aboard the Kismet, Daggerfall port, High Rock

A pair of glowing, yellow eyes moved along the ship, having stopped with the facade of happiness that she had put on whenever dealing with someone. Drujha would be on the lookout for a Nord, as she moved below the main deck, through the passengers quarters, keeping a firm hand on her satchel. Eventually, she would find her way to those Private Quarters that she so desperately wanted, the privacy offered by them would be put to better use under her watch rather than some Nord. At least, she hoped that the door she chose would be that of the Nord and not one of the slavers that she would avoid for as long as she could.

Two Dunmer and a Nord.

It was a one in three chance that Drujha pick a door that the Nord used, and a two in three chance of meeting one of those slavers that would likely remark that she was but mere help. Drujha let out a sigh before she stepped to one of the doors, raising her knuckles to knock on it, then hesitating for a moment. She had to reassure herself of the chance before she plastured the large smile on her face again, mentally preparing herself to talk with someone from the proud north, leaving race aside for just a moment. Her knuckles went against the wooden door, a hand inside of her cloak as she kept it close to the axe she carried on her side.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

After a few seconds the door opened and Aurora appeared in the opening to greet her visitor, strange as it was, for she hadn’t expected any. She looked down to find an Argonian woman with a toothy grin -- or was it a smile? -- looking up at her. Aurora had taken her coat and boots off after settling into the room and was now left bare-foot and dressed only in her white tunic and cream-colored pants. “Hail, Argonian,” she said and scratched her head, surprised. “How… how can I help you?”

Drujha mentally thanked the Hist for letting the room be that of the Nord, a calm flowing through the tension that the odds of meeting a slaver caused her. The argonian’s own darker apparel contrasted that of the Nord’s brighter, the Black Marsh meeting the frozen lands of the north, Drujha could not help but make such a mental observation. Then, one of her bandaged hands went forward as she spoke with that naively, innocent tone, “I extend the claw of greeting, friend! I wanted to speak on the matter of rooms!”

“Claw of greeting, eh? I like that,” Aurora said with a smile and shook the offered hand. “My name is Aurora. What about the rooms?”
“Drujha,” she started before hiding her hands in her cloak, before going into her explanation, “I wanted to see if, perhaps, you would allow me to use your room. You see, I am a researcher and I do not wish to allow… prying eyes to view it before it is ready.” Drujha paused for a moment as she cocked her head to the side, still smiling as if she were not coming across as a beggar wanting whatever someone allowed..

“I would have asked one of the Dunmer, but… I am sure you can imagine how that would go,” the argonian continued with a light laugh.
Taken aback but also amused by the Argonian’s audacity, Aurora was unable to repress a laugh. “Before it is ready?” she asked, deciding that her curiosity was more pressing than expressing her unwillingness to vacate her room. “What might it be?”

“Things,” Drujha said, obviously not wanting to divulge the information just because someone asked, “While I would be more than happy to share my findings, there is no finding a Clear Stream from it. Nobody understands the scrawlings of an argonian these days, xhu?” She pushed her cloak aside to show the satchel, carrying the many notebooks about her presumed research.

Aurora frowned, though she was secretly relieved that Drujha had given her an obvious and convenient reason not to acquiesce to the request. “Well, Drujha, I’m sorry, but I’m not in the habit of letting strangers perform research in my chambers, especially if they won’t tell me what it is.” The Nord crossed her arms resolutely and straightened up, making the most of the height advantage she had. “I’m not a scholar, really, so your research doesn’t interest me anyway. Unless it concerns ancient artifacts…” she said, trailing off, before noticing herself slipping. “Err -- either way, my answer is no. I paid for this room, fair and square.”

“Ancient artifacts,” Drujha echoed, her own curiosity rising at the mention, unlike the nord, however, her mind wandered upon it as she gave an interested look over Aurora. “What kind of artifacts?” the argonian took a step forward, “Ancient Nord? Dwemer?” Drujha then got uncomfortably close as she said the last, “Daedric?” Her smile morphed into one that was consumed by obsession and lust, “Do you have any with you?”

Aurora had to resist the urge to take a step back to maintain her personal space, but she didn’t want to give Drujha the idea that the Argonian was welcome to enter her room. “I believe that is none of your business,” Aurora retorted, her tone now decidedly icy, and she narrowed her eyes at Drujha. “And I’d be much obliged if you maintained a respectful distance.”

Drujha’s eyes widened at the realization of stepping into another’s personal boundaries, immediately stepping back as her smile disappeared into a slightly hurt expression. “I am most sorry! Murky waters have clouded my mind,” the argonian said as she entered into an apologetic bow to attempt to make amends for her rudeness. “It was never my intention to be rude, it is just that certain artifacts could do wonders into advancing my studies,” she explained as her shoulders drooped. Her eyes avoided meeting the gaze of Aurora.

“I-” she began trying to find some words, “I just have a very deep interest in certain things in this world, sometimes I let my desires come before my manners.”

That softened Aurora’s disposition somewhat. In a way, Drujha reminded her of herself when she was younger, and the way she had practically assailed Azar with an endless array of questions. She rubbed her chin and relaxed into the doorpost, waving the other hand in a reassuring manner. “It’s quite alright, Drujha, you are forgiven. Curiosity isn’t a bad thing,” the older Nord said. “To answer your question: no, I don’t have any artifacts with me, just some paintings by the hand of a rising Breton star. Nothing, I wager, that interests you,” she added with a knowing smile.

“Tell you what,” Aurora said and peered her head out of her room and into the hallway. “I haven’t heard any movement coming from the cabin next to mine. Maybe the person that rented it isn’t using it very much.” She glanced back down at Drujha. “Maybe you’ll have more luck with them! Whoever they might be… I haven’t seen anyone enter or leave, either.”

“Dunmer,” Drujha said disappointedly, looking at the door for a moment before looking back at Aurora with a small, yet forced smile. “Thank you, Aurora. Hopefully, whatever Dunmer owns that room does not act like what I have heard,” the argonian sighed before going to look through her satchel. She brought out a book and offered it to the Nordic woman, more as a sign of goodwill than genuinely wanting to give away anything, “Here, you may have no interest in anything a scholar writes, but maybe this will satisfy your earlier curiosity.”
When Aurora took the book, Drujha was already skipping away. The book had a title on the front.

”The Lusty Argonian Maid Vol. I”

"What in Oblivion…" Aurora muttered, staring at the glossy embossed title in disbelief. It was such an absurd gift that she began to laugh and eventually found herself doubled over and gasping for breath. She had no idea whether this was Drujha's idea of a joke or if she handed her the wrong book by accident. Either way, it was fantastically funny and her opinion of the Argonian shot up a few notches. "Thanks for the laugh!" Aurora yelled after her but it had been minutes and she didn't expect Drujha to hear her. Still sniggering, Aurora closed the door and tossed the book into her open trunk.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Amaranth
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Amaranth the Kasaanda

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17th Sun's Dawn ... or maybe the 16th, who could know these things?
Daggerfall, High Rock

Frygga staggered her way from a tavern, clutching her glaive for support. She had spent the night drinking and brawling, as all good sellswords do, and was not the only one stumbling from a tavern. Some, she could see, supported themselves on greatswords as they puked their guts out on the streets. Others relied on large longbows as walking sticks as they swayed back to wherever their next job would find them. Frygga was not weak enough to lose her breakfast over some watered-down Breton ale and instead leaned on her glaive as she watched the early morning scenes unfold. She was getting out of here. On a ship, yes, she had booked passage on some Redguard's ship that was bound to leave today... or maybe tomorrow. Either way she needed to get to the harbour. She would sleep off the headache on the ship that was sure to come soon whether they left today or tomorrow. The large Nord hefted herself from her glaive and rolled her shoulders before stalking down the street towards the sound of gulls and the smell of fish.

It had been her last night in this forsaken city of greedy nobles and court schemes and she had properly celebrated her departure with rounds of ale for every man in the tavern, as well as plenty of impromptu wrestling matches over who could drink more. The answer was Frygga. It was always Frygga. If she could not out drink you, she would certainly convince you she could when she picked you up and threatened to snap you in half like a twig. But it was all in humour of course. Sellswords had an odd sense of humour and Frygga even more so. You had to in that kind of work. When your two greatest enemies are boredom and death, your view of things tended to become a little warped. So sellswords found it intensely funny when Frygga picked up a smaller man and told him he would be inside out if he didn't admit she could drink more than him. And it was even more uproariously funny when the man's Orcish friend told Frygga she would be in two pieces if she didn't leave his friend alone. And the best joke of the night was when both of them came to blows and ended up bruised and bleeding but convivial on the floor of the tavern. Frygga rubbed her sore neck at the memory. That was one thing she would miss about Daggerfall. The fights.

The docks smelled heavily of fish and it reminded the Nord of Skyrim. The cool air and creak of ships invigorated her and helped to wake her up a bit. She brushed off her fur and leather tunic and adjusted the one good sleeve of the thing- Don't want to looktoo much like she just woke up- and looked around for the ship she had booked passage on. It was a fairly distinctive ship and she let her animal instincts tell her the proper area to look.

It didn't take long for her to find 'the Kismet' and she thumped her way up the gangplank with her glaive, her free hand instinctively checking her baldric for her double war-axes. You could never be too careful with seamen. They were often as treacherous and fickle as the sea on which they sailed. Damned gods-above knew how many had attempted to rob her and had been counter-robbed in the process or how many nobles had paid her to toss unruly sailors into this very harbour. Still, she knew not to provoke the seafarers and so she patted her axes to make sure she still had them, and then dropped her hand to her side again as she stepped onto the ship. She recognised the Captain and he seemed to recognise her and, even though he was engaged in some no-doubt frivolous conversation with a blonde strumpet, gave her a knowing nod that was sea captain speak for 'Yes I saw you board my ship and yes, I am okay with it.' Frygga responded with her own nod that was Frygga for 'Thanks.' and dragged herself like a wounded wolf below decks to find a bunk to hunker down in.

The bunk she settled on was a corner bunk, chosen because for one, it had no items scattered around it, which suggested it was free and two, it was a corner bunk, which meant it was harder for anyone who wished to run her through to sneak up on her while she was sleeping. Not that she suspected anyone would want to do that to her here, but well, old habits.

Frygga lodged her glaive between the roof, the wall, and the floor so it wouldn't fly off and hack an arm off while the ship rocked back and forth and clambered into her hammock. She nodded at a passing sailor and removed an axe from her belt and began to dig under the nail of her finger for dirt with the blade. Her stomach growled and Frygga growled back. She really just wanted to slowly drift into sleep, rocked gently by the ship, but alas, it appeared her stomach would not permit it. She slung her axe back into her belt and swung her legs onto the deck. Rubbing the bridge of her nose in annoyance, the Nord stood up and set out to find the galley. She swayed slightly and took a deep breath in response. Nords were natural sailors of course, so it wouldn’t take her long to find her sea legs. The swaying wasn’t from the ship alone. Frygga started thudding down the cramped quarters, intent on interrogating the first sailor she encountered about the location of food on this creaking tub.

The first unfortunate soul was sleeping soundly and snoring unsoundly in a hammock a few rows down. Frygga knelt over him, and narrowed her gaze, focusing hard on his face, as if through sheer will she could wake him. No, but she was merely steadying her mind and her body. Instead she shook the man violently, speaking to him in an angry hiss that she used to wake up comrades when they were being attacked during the night. It spoke of imminent danger and a need to pay attention immediately. The poor sailor woke right up and his hand fumbled for his boots, but Frygga just barked harsh laughter and spoke in what passed as a normal tone of voice for her. "The Galley, man. Which way?" The bewildered seaman grumbled a curse under his breath and pointed before flopping back down. Frygga laughed another bolt of laughter and resumed her thudding down the corridor towards the galley.

The ship's galley seemed empty save for the presumed cook, a young boy, not yet fit to be called a man. But he did have the look of a Nord, which raised Frygga's opinion of him slightly. "Speak pup, are you the cook?" She thundered, already ransacking a cupboard for anything vaguely edible. The Nordic woman did not wait for an answer and was already eating a hunk of bread, ignoring anything the boy was saying. Despite her nonchalance, she clapped the boy on the back jovially with one hand, the other still holding the chunk of half-eaten bread. "Thanks, pup." Frygga stated as she allowed herself to crash back into one of the galley chairs, nearly instantly falling asleep.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Jorick
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Jorick Magnificent Bastard

Member Seen 2 yrs ago

17th Sun's Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock

A methodical tapping, wood on stone, preceded Lywend as he made his way to the harbor. Magical and useful though it was, lately he'd found his staff to be of more use to him as a walking stick than a weapon. He'd spend the last three weeks in and around Daggerfall chasing old wives' tales only to end up finding that the vaunted 'ghostheart' mushroom said to be part of a ritual to return life to the dead was nothing more than a variation of the common white cap mushroom. The alchemist who had examined his findings was familiar with the plant and the superstition, and she was quite sure the plant wouldn't bring so much as a fly back from the dead. The woman had at least paid well for the basketful of a variety of white mushrooms Lywend had spent a couple days gathering from the countryside, so he'd been able to book passage on a ship out the city. Cyrodiil wouldn't have been his first choice of destination, but Anvil was the only destination on offer that he hadn't already scoured in his pursuit of some kernel of truth among folklore and fairy tales so it would have to do.

The Kismet was rather easy to spot along the docks, and he headed for it with no hurry in his step as he carefully navigated the crowded area. While he was no sailor, Lywend had spent enough time on ships in the last decade to appreciate the obvious fact that this one was a fine vessel indeed. If he was lucky, the exterior looks would not turn out to be a facade like the last ship he'd traveled on. He could tolerate rats and unsavory company well enough, but all things considered he would prefer cleanliness and a crew that knew better than to steal from passengers. There was no accounting for the other passengers, of course, and Lywend was already resigned to the need to keep an eye on his belongings at all times.

As Lywend climbed aboard, one of the sailors hurried over to help him up with the last few steps of the gangplank. It was an unnecessary helping hand, but the appearance of frailty was clearly a downside of using the staff like a walking stick. Rather than waving the man away, he accepted the assistance and murmured a few words of gratitude before the fellow scampered off to finish whatever he'd been doing with a coil of rope that had been left sitting on the deck. At the very least, that was a good sign as to the temperament of the crew of the Kismet. Lywend looked round for Captain Ravana, a fellow he had heard much about after asking in the common room of the inn he'd been staying at, but the man was nowhere to be seen. There would be time aplenty to speak to the captain, so he left off his searching and made his way down into the ship to claim a hammock for the voyage. Perhaps he could even get a nice nap in before the Kismet was due to depart. A quick question to a sailor heading up to the deck got him pointed in the right direction to the passenger quarters, and he left the man with a smile and a friendly pat on the shoulder before going on his way.

The simple quest for a place to catch a few minutes of sleep was violently interrupted as Lywend stepped into the passenger quarters. There was a woman present, dark-haired, and he almost spoke a name aloud before he caught himself. Keep your damned wits about you, fool. Of course that's not Birie. The mental self-admonishment was enough to push him to get a hold of himself and wipe the shock off of his face. That happened sometimes, and it was always jarring. Just the sight of a dark-haired woman could slam him like a cold wind, chilling his thoughts and bones as a little spark of hope flared to life that somehow, against all odds, Birie was actually alive. The sour feeling in the pit of his stomach as that hope curdled into painful memories of failure was never pleasant, and Lywend would have just as soon avoided it if possible. Apparently he was doomed to forever pine for his lost love such that her memory would never leave him. It was a bittersweet feeling, and he reveled in it as he made his way to an apparently unclaimed hammock and busied himself with checking to ensure it was properly secured and putting his weapons and pack underneath it.

As he worked, Lywend could hear the unfamiliar woman chattering with someone else, perhaps a sailor. If only his mind had given him a moment to think, there was no way he would have mistaken the woman for Birie. This woman was a cheerful chatterbox, whereas Birie was more reserved and serious in her mannerisms. That stark difference was reassuring: if he kept it in mind, perhaps he would be able to avoid feeling like his heart was jumping up into his throat every time he spotted this stranger on the ship. And when has life ever been kind enough to you to allow such peace of mind? The bitter thought brought a slight smile to Lywend's face as he settled down onto his chosen hammock. His eyes drifted closed as the swaying of the hammock slowed to match the natural rocking of the ship on water, but Lywend got no rest. Instead his mind was filled with memories coming to the surface unbidden, summoned by that cursed moment of empty hope, and he drifted on that roiling sea of mixed joys and sorrows as he waited for the ship to depart.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Scrub Mage
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Scrub Mage Ascended Sleeper

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17th of Xeech
Departure from Daggerfall

"The Nut is planted, hidden and tucked. By the time one arrives in Anvil the Nut will have sprouted, and is no more."

Walking through town was hardly eventful, and Dances-In-Milk saw no point in dwelling on time spent meandering along cobblestone roads and navigating to the fish-stunk port. The last time he had strolled through Daggerfall he had been mugged, and his hurried, almost lumbering, footsteps carried him to his destination with zeal. His face was scrunched up in a well-worn irritation, and by the time he had found his way to the port he was ready to tuck himself below deck. His satchels dangled at his sides, and the quiet clanking of glass reminded him that he needed to buy leather inserts to prevent the tools from crashing into one another. It had been some time since he had traveled with his lab disassembled, so the feeling of it hanging at his side brought him a droplet of comfort.

The gangplank was already well-walked by the time Dances-In-Milk found his way to the Kismet, though the name dribbled out of his mind and became nothing as soon as he had determined this was the vessel which would carry him to Anvil. The wood croaked and creaked underfoot, but for each wooden squeal his bone answered with its own dirge of youth. Age was catching up with the Saxhleel, but there were more important things to do than wither and die. It had taken him longer to climb the plank than he had hoped, and he kept his countenance low. This was not his first time on a boat, and it would likely not be his last. Digging in his bags he procured his writ of passage, and wore it on his person should anyone question his place on the floating wood.

The old creature crawled beneath deck, going out of his way to keep others out of his way. The walk through Daggerfall had left him tired, and though he didn't want to sleep until the boat had left port, he at least needed to catch his breath. His legs weren't what they used to be, nor were the shoulders which supported his bags, nor were his lungs or heart. The more time he spent standing up, the more his precious years dwindled. It would be like eating Nightshade, only less preferable. If only his employers had been willing to give him what he was owed, then he might have been able to afford a private suite in which he could lock himself away and avoid the mess of strangers. Instead, the cretins had given him scratchings of paper to turn in to a bank, something which everyone involved knew would result in Dances-In-Milk missing his boat to Cyrodiil. Were he less short on time, he would have mixed some form of laxatives into their healing potions, but even then, he felt such retribution would have been beneath him. Then again, he needed that money to rent a carriage to Skingrad, and he knew his bones would shout and stab at his flesh for walking the road instead.

And, as a result of their undercutting him financially, he was supposed to sleep in one of these nooks. The Saxhleel looked to his legs, back to his temporary abode, and knew that it would be less than comfortable. With legs so curved and bent and scales so burnt and temperamental, he knew each wave they crossed would be like swimming in Oblivion. Already irritated with his choices, Dances-In-Milk decided to walk to the deck of the ship, where he would remain until absolutely necessary. The fresh humidity would do his scales wonders, even if the smell of salt was all too familiar. And, worried some sod would take his precious Calcinator, he made sure not to leave either of his satchels behind in the crammed space.

So, shoulders still irritated at having to carry their load, Dances-In-Milk made his way to an unneeded space on the deck, uncorking his jug of milk not only to drink, but to rub a dropping of on his scales like an all-too-watery ointment. After about a third of the jug had disappeared, he corked it again and stashed it away. The Nords could call him a milk-drinker all they wanted. Indulging in the humidity, the old beast rested his elbows on the side of the deck, and rested his head. Despite his intentions not to, he began a very light napping, still aware of the sounds around him but unaware as to their meanings and intentions. The difference between daydream and dream were impossible to sift through, and in his dozing mind the old Hist call rang just loud enough to keep him from snoring himself awake. In his sleep the smell of moist wood reminded him of a home he'd left long ago, and he soured his face.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Peik
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Peik Peik

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17th of Sun's Dawn

“First impressions: Disappointing.”

To some, perhaps the sight of a horse suspended above the wide carrack would have been an interesting sight – to others, likely not. While the hooves dangling down from above his eyesight added a quality to the scene almost dreamlike in its bizarreness, the faint smell of foamy horse odor, combined with the foul stench that the heaving sailors emanated, was far too overwhelmingly pungent for Eno’s fragile nostrils to let him find anything worthy of wonder in the mise-en-scene – men, mer, and animals, nothing more, nothing greater… perhaps except the quality of the woodwork all around. The gangplank underneath his sandaled feet did not even let out the slightest creak as he and Llaran walked up towards deck. That was commendable. But the horse being lowered down with ropes, looking him in the eye as it slowly disappeared from sight, was not. That was just absurd.

Just as he did not like men and mer, Eno also did not like animals; not only were they erratic and loud, but also, they were creatures without a sense of proper hygiene. Perhaps except cats, who had a mind to clean up their filth; no wonder some folks treated their more sophisticated subspecies as fellow sapient beings, he mused to himself. Perhaps there was merit in the idea – after all, they were often more hygienic than Nords, although the tall woman who’d just passed by him seemed to prove an exception to the norm. The soft smell she exuded was either perfume or enchantment, but either way, it was not bad taste, just overtly feminine; likely daisy with a small hint of ginger. He thanked the forces of fate for providing someone to shroud his nostrils from the stench of foul sailor.

“Faster, boy,” he urged Llaran as they walked down the main deck towards their room, which, they were told, was to be stationed underneath the quarter deck, thankfully away from the rabble. Finding himself dissatisfied with his spear bearer’s pace, he sped up his steps, moved in front of him, and feeling courteous, opened the door and held it open so that the fatigued boy could move in. “Thank you, master,” the young Dunmer huffed out as he moved in and finally found a chance to put down the two chests on his back. Eno wasn’t very elated about having two chests instead of one or three, but he did not want to strain Llaran further by adding another chest on top of the other two, and, well, they hadn’t been able to find one large enough for both their possessions.

“Well, we’re here, master, aren’t we?” Llaran asked once they entered the room, his eyes glinting with excitement. Dragging the two chests inside, he shut the door afterwards, and set out to reorienting the things in the room in accordance to his master’s wishes while Eno lied on the bed.

“Yes indeed,” Eno replied blandly from his resting spot. He watched Llaran’s movements, trying to see if there were any improvements in his motor skills.

“And, uh, the spear?”

“Put the shaft on the table, leave the tip as it is.”

“If that’s all, can I, uh, walk around the ship a little bit? There’s some interesting folks around, don’t you think?”

“Yes. So no.”

Llaran faced Eno with a quizzed expression.

“Stay put for now.”

The young Dunmer pouted. The fact that his master did not let him sate his curiosity was perhaps the worst thing about him.

“Do as I say, and I will give you another lesson in wrestling when I return.”


“You know it.”

With that, Eno left the room and headed once more towards the deck.

Outside, with nothing surrounding him but sails, rigging and clear sky, Eno felt safer than he did below deck, where he was surrounded by thick planks of wood not only below, but also beside and above as well. Normally, he would have chastised himself for feeling ‘safer’, for that would mean that factors aside from himself played a hand in his safety – for Eno, heresy. But perhaps because of the mental toll of their journey, or perhaps because of reasons as of yet unknown to him, he chose not to. He switched expressions to the default ‘disgusted Dunmer’ in case of someone interrupting his solitude, and walked over to the railings on the starboard side, his fingers trying to get a feel for the softness of the wooden railing. There were sailors around still, but on this side of the ship, the salty, almost citric smell of the seawater was dominant enough for him to be able to ignore them, and focus on his eyesight, as irritating as it was underneath the sunlight.

The first subject that was to walk up the gangplank was, given the clothing and the staff, an awfully conventional mage. The woodwork on his staff disappointed Eno to a degree that he did not deem the man worthy of further observation; it wasn’t even lacquered, for Vehk’s sake. Most of these so-called mages were in reality craftsmen’s apprentices, he believed, not actual magicians. They simply replicated whatever was taught to them and sought no more than the technical values of whatever it is that they wished to replicate – it was a true disgrace, sullying the meaning of the word, yet not even adding anything more to it in the process.

Then came up an Argonian so disgustingly weak that Eno could not help but admire its tenacity. With its thin, crooked limbs and skittering gait, it seemed almost insectoid to Eno, not unlike the scribs that populated his once-homeland. He watched it silently disappear down the deck, like a cockroach hiding within gaps between flooring and furniture. This did not bode well to Eno, who was convinced that the ship was carrying its fill of beasts already, be they human, horse, cat, or lizard. Being a Dunmer certainly had its charms – there was no judgement on why you disliked everything and everyone. Eno silently wondered if he was vitriolic by nature of his character, or by nature of his race. Or was his character a product of his race?

“Too much think, load of junk,” he reminded himself, as his childhood tutors used to remind the more questioning students amongst his group. He procured a half-carved Idol of Vigor from his pocket and began whittling on it with his pocketknife, trying to deepen the gap between the idol's head and its shaft.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Fetzen
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17th Sun's Dawn
Daggerfall, High Rock

Traveling around the Iliac bay had been an interesting experience, but like all good things it ultimately had to come to an end. It was safe to say that Ercanoriel hardly knew this sprawling city, but finding the docks still had not been particularly difficult for the smell and the amount of people working here. Why so many seemed to have an unbroken, enthusiastic relationship with the sea had become a mystery to the Altmer almost the moment he had entered this part of the city. Just as with every pond, be it oversized and salty or not, the downsides of water became apparent when it was standing still for prolonged periods of time. The shallowness here left not much room for algae, fish and whatever happened to be dumped into the docks to disperse its respective odour -- some of it being sucked through Ercanoriel's nostrils right now. He found it a little provocative, but for the Argonians he had seen roaming around here this must have been like a cheap copy of their murky paradise called Blackmarch.

However maybe the true reason for him to feel a little uncomfortable was that all of this reminded him of his departure from Sumerset ? That had been the last seaborn voyage he could remember and, as he had to add with an internal sigh, for this particular destination it had also been the last one. Despite the fact that his life had practically just begun. Ercanoriel raised his view further up from the massive wooden boards he was walking on and allowed it to roam around freely along the multitude of ships present. He searched for a particular vessel namend Kismet, hoping that it had a clear marking on its hull since for him they all looked similar. Nautical affairs clearly weren't the mer's forte, but at least another thing he remembered from the Sumerset transition was that he did not get sea sick easily. A small plus along a lot of minuses he was not looking forward to.

From aboard the Kismet one probably would have been able to spot Ercanoriel with ease: Not only was he huge, but also his attire of choice was quite a bit brotherhood-ish, at least according to clichés and rumors. The Altmer had wrapped himself in a decent amount of almost pitch black linen, the most notable part being the massive hood that protruded so much from his head that his face was well hidden inside the shadows cast by it. Ercanoriel fully expected people to regard this as awekward, silly, provocative or whatever other connotation could come to one's mind, but for him the reasoning was dead simple and straightforward: Damn the sun! A disturbingly little amount of it had the potential to convert his skin into a Masser-like surface: Bloody red and littered with craters! Almost needless to mention that this held especially true if one was completely surrounded by reflective water.

He meandered towards the Kismet slowly, but still there was this clanking sound giving away that he had stored his armor in his large rucksack. Making every part fit by stacking them into each other had taken quite a bit of time, but this way they were hidden from any thief's plain sight and maybe even protected from rats gnawing on some of the leather straps. One could never know... He would have hidden the axe too if this had been possible, but since it hadn't he had strapped the weapon tightly to his back. Now he stood at the lower end of the boarding plank and felt his stomach drop into the depths. That guy at the other end who had just taken a look at a piece of parchment that looked very similar to his own... Compared to Ercanoriel's stature he barely had that of a needle, but still his sheer presence stung greatly since the man was an Altmer. How great!

Hoping that the attendant would do nothing but just reach for the receipt and take a quick look at it Ercanoriel started to climb the plank. It quickly started oscillating beneath his steps, but even without this welcome excuse he would not have dared to look anywhere else. Maybe the Altmer did not even have to take a look at every person's face, so why give him the opportunity for free ? Of course the attendant tried to penetrate the shadows protecting the new passenger's face, also there was a patch of warmth Ercanoriel felt crossing his face that told him that some light had indeed leaked through. A small amount, but it was enough for this member of the ship's personnel to spend at least as much time on looking at the receipt as on trying to decipher more of the figure standing next to him. A sensation Ercanoriel couldn't run away from at this point, so hopefully that little lookup in the ship's manifest wouldn't take long!

The attendant gave an acknowleding nod that almost went unnoticed since the hood also put some limits on the sideways field of view. He was good to go, but... where ? He could spot a redguard in very neat looking clothes manning the wheel. If this deck was a chessboard than he had just found the black king who had sent all peasants forwards, but what when they and all the other figures present would inevitably find out that he belonged as much to the white side of things as it was possible ? Then maybe he'd find out what each person's definition of 'Checkmate' was in less abstract terms. Chess was a noble where no figure was 'beaten', but experience told that many people didn't care much about formalities...

Ercanoriel opted against going below decks right away. He wanted to see who was roaming around here and who else was coming, but preferably without being all too noticeable himself. Next to a bunch of crates he carefully put the huge axe on deck so as not to cause any unnecessary scratches, then sat down himself with his legs halfay bent. His eyes spotted a surprising number of Argonians, also a quite massive Khajiit with black fur. Someone apparently had enough natural authority to speak with the Captain right away -- or maybe the man was particularly talkative ? Anyway... as long as this wouldn't delay the ships departure. Earlier departure meant less people and less people were a good thing! Now unfortunately he had not even remotely enough funds to try and bribe somebody in exchange for a little bit of scheduling sabotage.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by LadyTabris
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17th of Sun’s Dawn, 4E213

Sigri Fire-Caller waited until the absolute last minute to board the Kismet. The Nord paced back and forth on the wharf, belongings clutched in her left hand. She was, despite the appearance, grateful to be returning to colder waters in Cyrodiil, though the method of transportation left her with a lot to be desired. In fact, she expected the journey to feel like nothing less than a jaunt through Oblivion.

When Sigri finally had to cross the boarding plank, when it could not be put off any longer, she did so with butterflies in her stomach -- only an inkling of the nausea to come, she thought. The steps she took down the stairs to below decks were agonizing as she moved, carefully and uncertain, as even without the sails down, the ship rocked gently in the waves.

The walls of the cabin were stifling; as was the heat. Sigri was already dressed down about as far as she could be without receiving comments, which she had little patience for in her state. Wrapped simply in her skirt, which was perhaps indecently short, usually worn with thick, protective leggings, and the remains of a shirt, wrapped around her torso, covering what little cleavage she had. Still, sweat pooled on her skin, leaving her hair feeling uncommonly gross, and she was certain it let off an undesirable odor, though she had more pressing concerns.

As much as she loved the rivers back home, the open ocean was a different beast entirely. Sigri couldn’t stop thinking about it with nervousness as she stowed her belongings. She had little of value, except the coins in her purse, on her person, so she thought nothing of leaving the meagre pack unattended. In truth, she hardly considered the idea that someone might actually take her things, so she turned and headed above decks on already-unsteady feet.

Though staring at the open ocean was disconcerting, it was preferable to the enclosed decks. She had discovered that on her way to Daggerfall, her first ever trip on a boat. The rivers near where she called home were comfortable. Immersed in the water, it didn’t feel as though she was being helplessly tossed around, the contents of her stomach forfeit, but instead she could flow with its movement. The ocean, on the contrary, was unexpectedly terrifying. She was a good swimmer, and yet, the ocean had no banks she could fall back on. Even swept away in a river’s current, all you had to do way stay afloat until it broke, so you could return to the bank.

The ocean had no banks. With water as far as the eye could see, Sigri couldn’t help but consider, as she endlessly gagged in attempts to empty her already-empty stomach over the railing, just how easy it would be to be swept away in it.

Though the pay for the job had been good -- she was hoping to send some back to her son and his grandparents -- she wasn’t sure it was worth the sea travel and the heat, and that didn’t even consider the four people she had killed over the course of it. Her count was at seven now, and she couldn’t quite forget it.

Sigri stumbled over next to the ship’s rail, as out of the way as she could manage, and leaned her back against it. The butterflies had yet to develop into unforgiving seasickness, yet she waited, anticipating its arrival and making it all the worse.

The rocking of the ship was unbearable, so Sigri tried to look around the decks. She saw the captain, speaking with another Nord. While once she would’ve felt glad for the companionship of someone from her homeland, she didn’t have it in her for friendliness yet. Despite it being a futile effort, destined to end up overboard with the breakfast she’s eaten this morning, the Nord took a swig from her flask. While once she might have cringed at the harsh flavour of blended liquors -- the dominant one seemed to be whiskey today -- she was well used to the burn by now, and simply wished the contents of the flask would stay inside her long enough to take the edge off of another sea journey.

“Wo-” A voice jolted Sigri out of her brooding as a deckhand nearly tripped over her leg. She shifted the leg but didn’t apologize. Instead, she spotted a bucket of fresh water in the gangly boy’s arms. Seeing the opportunity, she snatched it from the boy’s hands without protest.

“I’ll be needin’ this,” Sigri grumbled. She set it down next to her, hoping the water would keep her going when liquor couldn’t do its job. The boy didn’t say a word, but Sigri wasn’t sure if he was put off by her lack of manners or perhaps her scent; the smell, she would admit, was far more rancid than her usual musk.

She sighed, regretting that she didn’t thank him, at least, that would have been polite, but she let it go. There were worse offenses. With one hand, she splashed a bit of water on her face, slicking back her messy brown hair. The brief reprieve it offered from the heat was welcome; the nausea was not.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by POOHEAD189
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POOHEAD189 Warrior

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Accidents Happen (As do Friendships)

Vas & Beren Collab

17th Suns Dawn,
Aboard the Kismet, Daggerfall

The Imperial had been left alone for around ten minutes then, her two suitcases were sat beside her as she stood - hand on hip eyeing up each hammock. There were also a number of more solid beds too, but - seeing as she was on a ship, she wanted the full experience of being on a ship. “Ms. Vasellius” eventually settled on a hammock by a porthole, and she stepped over towards it - placing a hand either side so she could peer out. It was all just sea and nothing but… Nothing but freedom.

Vas grinned, and a soft chuckle spilled from her full lips, dimples appearing in each cheek to accompany her bright smile. “This will do,” she sighed, stepping back to tackle the hammock. It was a little higher than she expected, she couldn’t just [i]fall[]/i] into it… But she was a bold and adventurous girl, and so she gripped at the rope with both hands to pull herself up. Success! She’d brought her torso into the netting, and it was actually more comfortable than she was expecting - so comfortable in fact that she rested too much of her weight upon it and the hammock wobbled, threatening to toss her out.

Vas lifted her leg, pressing the tip of her boot into a hole in the netting and pushed forwards. It was unfortunate timing, the ship rolled on a bigger wave than had been expected and Vas slipped, her foot was ensnared in the rope and she lurched forwards. The young woman squealed, but managed to stop herself by placing her hands out - but now she was in the embarrassing predicament of being caught in the hammock by her foot. Sure, she could pass it off as a handstand to any passers by to alleviate any humiliation - but she was still stuck. “For the love of-” she groaned, twisting her foot this way and that to try and free it.

Meanwhile, Beren stepped onboard the Kismet, closing his eyes and breathing in the ocean air. He’d always enjoyed coastlines. It reminded him of home. The loud footsteps of his boots on the thin floorboards was also cathartic. He suspected he would enjoy the journey. A chance to finally relax and just let the ship sail him to his home province.

First thing’s first, he needed to put his stuff up below decks. Passing by a few Argonians he saw speaking to a man who he suspected was the Captain, he set off downstairs. Many ships followed a uniform layout, and this one wasn’t much different from the rest. He found the passenger quarters without much difficulty. Though he did find a woman stuck in one of the hammocks, struggling.

He dropped the bag dangling off his broad shoulder immediately. “Oh, hey,” he said, announcing his presence as he approached her. “Let me help you, one second.” Vas would make out a tanned skinned, muscled man a few years her junior crouch beside her. Strong, dextrous hands held her leg aloft while he untwisted the spun knot she’s managed to get snagged in.

“This won’t happen often in the trip, will it?” he asked with a grin, eyes bright as he undid the coil and set her free. He placed a hand on her shoulder and collarbone to make sure she didn’t fall flat on her face. “You ok?”

“Oh, I shall be…” Vas groaned, letting her legs come down safely, until she found herself sitting on the floor. It was nice to be the right way around again, and as the blood returned to the rest of her body she felt a sense of relief. “Thank you,” she said, with a bashful smile. “Just in the knick of time, that,” she added, laughing softly and rubbing the back of her neck. She was only slightly embarrassed. More so by the fact that her rescuer was a man -- well built, but with kind eyes, and a gentle hand. “Thank you,” she said again, blowing a section of hair out of her face.

Smiling, he suddenly felt a bit embarrassed himself. “Oh, of course,” he replied, not knowing what else to say. Offering her his hand, he helped her up almost too easily. She would feel like she was lighter than a feather for a moment. Setting her up on her feet, he noted she was quite pretty, with spirited eyed.

“I, uh…” he looked around the room. It had been so easy coming in to help her and now he felt like he was the bashful one. Changing the subject, he looked from her to the hammock. “How’d you get stuck?”

“I got… excited to be here. I think,” she said quietly, sucking air through her teeth as she gave an awkward smile. “Never slept in a hammock, never even been in one… Obviously,” her voice quietened, and she placed her hands behind her back. His embarrassment only seemed to transfer to her. If she hadn't been caught up there, he could have been getting on quite easily with his own settling in. “Sooooooooooo,” Vas said, a small laugh punctuated it for good measure.

“I suppose you’ll be picking your own hammock now… Be careful! They bite!” she said, with another laugh, immediately regretting the words. “I mean I’m sure you can manage a hammock, you look really strong--” as if to demonstrate, she reached forwards and pinched at his upper arm, unaware that it wasn’t really socially acceptable to just touch someone like that. “You’ll definitely be fine,” she giggled again, only this time she inhaled a little too much through her nose and snorted. Her eyes immediately fell on a sleeping passenger to the side. She hoped he wouldn’t wake up.

Beren grabbed his things, placing a finger to his lips as he noticed the sleeping man when she did. He was surprised the passenger hadn’t already woken up. He slept even more heavily than Beren, and that was something to boast about. Looking to his left, he dropped his things in the hammock and made sure the sack was tied tightly. “Yeah, I think I’ll be ok,” he said quietly. Easing back, he idly stretched his left arm and turned again to face her. “Weee probably should talk somewhere else.” he whispered to her, giving a subtle wink. “Messhall? I haven’t eaten today.”

Vas smiled back, bringing a hand to her own mouth to stifle a giggle - the sudden realisation that she’d probably almost woken the poor man up tickled her. She nodded quickly at Beren - she had also not eaten anything yet, and the mention of food was enough to make her feel the hunger that had so far been quiet. No words needed to be said, and she made her way to the door and out of the shared quarters. “Do you think the food is nice here Mr?” she asked in a whisper as he followed along beside her.

He led the way, hands in his pockets as he kept close by enough to face her when he spoke to her. He nearly said ‘it doesn’t matter to me,’ but that probably sounded a bit too dismissive. It honestly didn’t matter too much to him. He had a fast metabolism. It came with the physique. He needed to eat a lot to keep his energy up. He put on a moment of pure swagger and snapped his fingers, pointing at her. “I’m mister right,” he said, with such an exaggerated look of bravado it was too obvious he was joking.

He tried to hold in the laughter of how stupid he felt for making a joke so suddenly, but he let the chuckle subside naturally. “I’m Beren.” he said, drawing in a breath as he shrugged. “I hope the food is good. As long as it’s edible to people I think I’ll be fine.” Suddenly, his stomach erupted into a growl and he gazed up at the ceiling as if to see if Akatosh was testing him. “Yeah, that outta tell you all you need to know about me…”

"It's nice to meet you Beren, I'm…" she paused, taking a look from left to right. "My name is… Ca-" she stopped abruptly and coughed, a little too dramatically, "Saffine, Saffine! My name is Saffine." Her eyes widened and she rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet, before reaching out to grab Beren's arm. "Come on," then she was hurrying down the hallway, "you're hungry - we should get you something soon…"

He blinked, looking at her incredulously when she seemed to be struggling with her own name, before he was whisked away toward the messhall, wide-eyed. “Well when you’re right, you’re right.” he said, trying to keep up. He knew he could but he didn’t feel comfortable running full tilt inside of a transport ship.

They made it into the messhall, picking two seats next to one another and getting what food was available. Beren grabbed a pitcher of water, two potatoes, and apple, and some ham. It’s safe to say that while he wasn’t rude or messy doing it, he inhaled the food within minutes, pausing every bit to speak to her. “You know this isn’t half bad,” he said, commenting on the food. Wiping his mouth with a napkin, he cleared his throat. He turned to Saffine, leg crossed onto his knee. “What brings you on the ship, Saffine?”

“Just… taking a trip to the Imperial City, you know,” Vas commented, as nonchalantly as she could manage - taking a large bite of bread to prevent herself from saying anything else. It had been embarrassing enough already. She’d also already slipped up more than once, and that sat heavy on her. Travelling in a ‘covert’ way could hardly be covert if you kept messing up your name and getting stuck in hammocks. She swallowed the bread down. “Where are you headed Beren?” she asked quietly, taking a drink of water and wiping her lips with the back of her hand, her eyes aglow with curiosity.

Beren couldn’t guess she was deceiving him. He wasn’t gullible, but someone so endearing and clumsily sweet was the last person he would expect to lie to him. He ate a loaf of a roll as well, patting his broad chest with his fist to help it go down. “Oh, I’m just wanting to go back to my home province. I’ve spent enough time in the west, I think.” he told her, turning to her, his dark eyes threatening to swallow her up. “Y’know, I think I’d feel better dungeon diving in Cyrodiil, maybe visit my family after a few months.” He smiled and shrugged. “I guess we have similar reasons. If you’re in the Imperial city, you can come and visit me. I’ll be close by. Probably on one of the port cities outside of it. The city can be expensive to stay in.”

Vas blinked up at his eyes, her own green eyes were round and big, made only bigger and more doe-like by her long lashes. “You’re from there!” she said, taking another drink of the water - and a bite from the bread again. “I would like that -- to visit you I mean!” Vas said enthusiastically, before taking a glance to the side and shrinking back down. That wasn’t going to be possible.

The woman raised a finger up behind her ear and scratched, giving a nervous chuckle again. “I mean, that’s very forward of me to say that. I- You’re nice and all, but I don’t really know you yet and you don’t really know me either, you could be anyone. Maybe you’re not really as nice as you seem now, you hear all these stories and horrible things…” she rattled on, unaware of how awkward it might be making Beren feel, until - “oh but I’m not saying you are! Oh shucks!” Her eyes fell down again and she shoved the bread back in, her cheeks turning red as the apple he’d picked up.

Beren laughed at that, clearly amused. Not in a haughty way, but he appreciated people’s differences and she had a quality he found fun. “Hey, it’s no pressure. We did just meet and you’re right to be wary.” he told her, and before he could speak again, he hiccupped. He felt more in his throat. “Oh great.” he whispered, and downed some more water, quelling that bit of throaty rebellion before it gained a foothold.

“Sorry, I eat too fast sometimes.” he said. Regaining his composure, he smoothed his mane of hair. “Did you grow up in Highrock?”

“I did,” she replied, after emptying her full cheeks. “Wayrest actually, and then um, Daggerfall.” She immediately chided herself for saying it, and it showed on her face in a scrunching of her eyes. “I’ve also moved around a lot to other places not just those. Are you from High Rock too?” she asked, forgetting that they’d already discussed his origins not even moments ago.

He didn’t know how to respond to that. “Uhm,” he said, hesitating. “Uuuuh no, I live in Cyrodiil, on the southern coast. Near Leywiin.” He decided to move along so she nor he got too caught up in the who said what. “It’s beautiful down there. Lot of good fishing and beautiful scenery, and the people are nice.”

He thought back to his home. Maybe he would return after a few months of spending time in central Cyrodiil. He didn’t know. He had plenty of coastlines and ocean now that he was on the Kismet. Maybe his need for tropical climate would be sated before they reached their destination. “I’ve only been to Cyrodiil, Hammerfell, and Highrock. And Blackmarsh for a bit, but not far. I was young and I wanted to say I stepped foot in there.”

“I’ve never been to Cyrodiil, well — not since I was a girl. Silly really, for an Imperial to not really have been there…” Vas commented, scratching her head a little, she wanted to move the conversation along, she didn’t really want to keep talking about herself. “You said that you want to go dungeon diving…” amazingly, something that she could remember and recall. “Is that what you do all the time then? Is it… is it exciting?” She asked, suddenly her elbows were on the table and she was leaning towards him with a smile again. “Do you ever find things?”

He leaned back a bit, not overtly but just enough to where their faces were not inches from each other. “That’s why I do it,” he admitted, meaning the excitement. That and, it often did do good for many people who didn’t want to risk such dangers. “I find lots of things down there...monsters, beasts, gold sometimes. Magic items too, but I try not to touch those.” Beren admitted. “Magic items have a tendency of exploding around me.”

"Exploding?!" Vas asked, her eyes suddenly wide. "Monsters? What kind of monsters?" She asked quickly as her foot tapped under the table with excitement. "I've never even seen a monster… just people," the woman added with a sigh of disappointment.

Despite himself, Beren felt delighted to tell her about some beasts he had faced. He had always felt like it would be arrogant to give tales of himself, but if she asked he would happily oblige. “He also wanted to give her something to be excited about, hearing the sigh in her voice. “I’ve faced a few monsters, mostly skeletons and ghouls. A few beasts too, but I tend to run away when that happens. I hate the idea of harming animals, especially if I am the one stumbling on their home. I fought a necromancer as well. He nearly killed me, but I finished him before he could take me out.” Beren spoke matter-of-fact, as if he was recounting simply for an honest record rather than boasting.

Vas simply sat and listened intently, nodding occasionally. She felt so… inexperienced in a strange way. It’s not that she would have wanted to be cornered by the monsters that had haunted Beren’s adventures, more that she wished she could take a glimpse at life from his eyes. Maybe he’d like to do the same to her. “That all sounds so, frightening actually,” she said eventually with a creased brow. “It’s hard to imagine how one becomes part of that life... “ She eyed him nervously, before cracking a smile. “I suppose I should feel safe with you on board then. Not a lot could stop you!” She thought of her bodyguard too, between the two of them - and some of the other stranger characters on the ship, she was expecting an interesting journey indeed.

The young man smiled at that. It was reactions like that, that made everything worth while.

“Say Beren,” she began, clearing her throat. Apparently eating that much bread dried it out something fierce. “Maybe if we get time, in the spirit of getting to know each other and all, maybe you could help me learn how to do… stuff that you do. Fighting beasts and the like…” She would ask Dro’Sintaba, but he seemed less interested in teaching, and more interested in her gold for the bare minimum. Was it a mistake bringing him along? Could she have done it alone, perhaps? “If you’d like to, that is…”

Beren perked up at that. “Yeah, definitely,” he said, answering before he had any time to think on it. He wanted to help people and this was the best way to do it, probably. He also loved the idea of teaching someone how to do what he did. She likely had some things to teach him as well. “I’m no master like the one who taught me, but I can give you some lessons and show you some moves. They’ll be useful if you ever find yourself without your sword, especially. But they’ll be effective in most situations. We can start tomorrow after the ship’s sailed, if you want.” He had an eager, open way about himself when discussing the possibilities of taking on a pupil.

That made the woman smile from ear to ear -so much so that the dimples were even more prominent. “I have a sword. I’ve trained but only ever in a classroom. Um, never used it.” Vas said, before glancing around the mess hall. “I’d really like to learn from you! In fact, oh-
She said, fumbling into her pocket for a few seconds before pulling out a small handful of septims. “How.. how much do you charge for it?” She held them out to him in her hand. They were new and shiny, and she smiled again.

Beren laughed shyly, holding his hands up. “Whoa whoa, I’m not opening up a school.” he told her, gently placing his hand over hers and closing it around the septims, letting her keep them. “I’m helping out a new friend. Maybe if I get experience teaching other people, I’ll start charging if it becomes a thing. But it’s on the house.” He squeezed her hands a bit in his own. “I want to help out.” Before he let go of her.

Surprised, she kept her hand closed and brought the coins back to her pocket. Vas’s cheeks turned slightly red. “On the house,” she repeated with a smile, tucking a strand of hair back behind her ear. She found herself wondering how a lesson with Beren would differ to lessons she’d already had, and found that her anticipation was a happy feeling. “Anyway… I should…. I should get back to the quarters,” she said, quite abruptly. Having realised they’d been away for quite a bit of time.

Vas had enjoyed Beren’s company - and she made that clear by beaming down at him when she stood up. “Thanks again for untangling me,” she laughed. “I’ll see you around Beren!” With that said, she had scampered off.

He waved goodbye to her as she zipped away, and then he took a deep breath, talking to himself. “She’s a nice girl,” he breathed, and stood up to get a second helping of food to hit the spot before he went on deck. “Let’s see who else is on this ship.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Stormflyx
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The Box

Having left Aurora to her own devices, Dro’Sintaba made his way across the deck. She had left an impression on him that was just as troublesome as anything else on this journey was going to be. Namely, Ms Vasellius - a woman who had also been left to her own devices. He shook his head, an attempt to stop thinking about the blonde. It didn’t take much to do so, it took only a redhead struggling with cargo to erase Aurora from his immediate thoughts…

He watched her for a moment, she was strong looking. Must have been 6’3”. A nord too, most definitely. Thick auburn hair in a single braid over her shoulders. Her arms toned and freckled - kissed by the sun itself. He smiled, feeling that voice in the back of his head warn him about staying out of yet more trouble. Of course the khajiit ignored it as he approached the woman, removing his hands from his pockets to take up the other side of the barrel she was attempting to lift. It was indeed heavy, but between the two of them it’s weight was not an issue. “Let me help you,” he said, meeting her gaze.

“Oh thank t’Gods! I’m running behind schedule as it is, yer saving me hide.” She replied with a relieved sigh, “I need to get all this down t’below decks. Rex fuckin’ nipped off… Captain aint gonna want this on the deck when he sets sail,” the woman added with a shake of her head. “You’re a strong one like, I shouldn’t really let yer help me, but it needs doing… I’m Cerys by t’way.” If she’d had a free hand, and if his had been free too - she would have offered to shake it.

“Dro’Sintaba,” he replied in a low rumble. “Happy to help,” he smiled. He did wonder what Vas was getting herself into, but knowing that they were on quite a busy ship, he saw no reason to worry about her.

Meanwhile, Vas had set about for a look around the ship. She was a nosy woman, and unashamedly so - and perhaps if she’d stayed with Dro’Sintaba, or with Beren, one of them might have advised against her traipsing around and into the staff quarters. There was also the very real chance that she had no idea that was where she was walking, and the airy smile and happy eyes signalled to that. She quietly hummed and stepped across the timber and absent-mindedly wondered about what would be for dinner later. She was hoping there would be lots of sweets.

It occurred to Vas that she no longer had a curfew, and that each step that she took was of her own volition. Nobody to tell her what she must do, and more importantly what she mustn’t. She stopped for a moment, dead in her tracks - pressing the tips of her forefingers together. She bit down on her lip and stifled a laugh.

What was able to pull her from the whirlwind of her own thoughts were the faint sounds of conversation, and something important at that… “-At the feast, you’re to bring him to me, understood?” It was a distinctly masculine voice that she heard, from behind a door. Serious and somewhat nasal. Vas stopped in her tracks, her own quiet humming tapered off and she instinctively took her place against the wall. “By any means necessary…”

“Aye, if only weren’t for passengers we’d ‘av easier job o’it-“ was the sound of another voice, a boy, no - not a boy, and older man for his voice was cracked and hoarse. “But they’ll at least be a distraction…”

“We can’t waste more time, The Ritual is important… do you understand?” The nasal one asked, and Vas could sense the importance of those words on her own skin - it began to grow cold and the atmosphere was frail enough to collapse beneath her feet. ritual?? she mouthed until she found herself holding her breath, cupping a hand over her mouth. There was a choking sensation of something terribly wrong in the air - even she could tell. She wanted to find Dro’Sintaba and tell him, to tell anyone what she’d heard… It was too secretive and intense to be anything other than malicious.

“We’ve waited a long time for this Rex, everything is ready - he is ready… This is what I’ve been waiting for,” came a sadistic hiss.

Vas stepped to move away…


The loose board of timber bit back under even the soft weight of her foot. Groaning out a sigh of defiance against her feeble attempt at stealth. The Imperial took in a sharp breath and silence followed from behind the door. Silence, and then footsteps. It swung open a face leered around the frame. Wrinkled, with drooping jowls - the skin of his face like tanned leather. Just worn and worked by the sea. He appeared older than the strength that was in the hand that grabbed at her collar, pulling her inside.

Behind the door was a taller gentleman, who would have looked more refined if it wasn’t for the oily sheen in his hair. His eyes were piercing, small downturned grey beads in his gaunt face. Were it not for the colours of his clothes, he would have looked like a phantom.

“Well well well,” he spoke at last - head cocked to the side to eye up the woman like a hawk might clap eyes on his prey in long grass. Fingers twitched at either side of him. They were long and bony, like claws. “Who do we have here? A little rat perhaps?” He asked, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth, a thin and harsh crack in his face.

“I’m…. I’m Saffine,” she answered, breath catching in her throat and her heart racing. “I got lost, that’s all.”

“Don’t lie. Did you hear something you shouldn’t have?” He said accusingly, taking a single step towards Vas. Had she not been in the clutches of the other man, she would have taken one back in turn. She nodded, swallowing back anything she might have wanted to say.

“Oh dear, oh dear, little rat” he replied - a bitter sugar stained his tongue with derision, but his eyes were alight behind his pupils. Two bright lights dancing and Vas couldn’t look away. “Are you scared?” He asked, lip curled in delight as his hand reached into the inside lining of his cloak. She had no answer to that question, and that was enough of an answer for him.

The grip around her collar tightened and she began to feel her pulse in her throat, a heat in her forehead. “Let her go, fool,” spat the greasy one - and Rex did as asked.

“B-b-but Bronn she’ll run off, she’ll say summink,” he stammered - seemingly also frightened of the other man. He however, simply sighed out a rasp of a laugh.

“No she won’t.” He smirked, removing his hand at last from his pocket - there in his palm was a small wooden box.

“But Bronn, we can’t — we’ll have to,” Rex began, his eyes widening at the sight.

“Hush, there’s time. Now wait outside,” Bronn snapped, the hypnotising lights behind his eyes flashed red and Rex slunk away like a tortoise recoiling back into its shell. He waited behind the closed door - standing watch in the hallway. Vas finally took her step back to move, but was met with the solid wall, blocking her from escape.

Bronnl held the box in front of him, and started to turn at a handle in the side and as soon as he did, a soft melody began to play. “What is that?” Vas asked, a bold inflection suddenly in her voice— resistance.

Bronn smiled, his smile like a crack through porcelain, “It’s going to help you relax.”

“I don’t want to relax,” she replied - that resistance forming a barrier from within that gave her the posture of a vanguard. Strong, and growing stronger. “If you knew who I was, you’d stop that at once,” her green eyes flashed and narrowed, but the melody was in between her ears now, like a quiet and enchanting purr from somewhere unknown. A beckoning jingle, pulling her to rest.

“And, just who, my dear, are you?” He asked with an amused look on his face.

Outside of the room, Rex clasped his hands over his ears and looked to the floor, counting backwards from ten, over and over.

“My name is Car… Car…” Vas spoke, the words slurring until she found them; “Carlotta Va—,” her eyes glazed over as Bronn drew nearer.

“Carlotta? But you told me you were Saffine…” he hissed, that mocking tone had returned and was sharp as a knife. “You don’t know who you are now, do you? Perhaps opportunity has knocked sending you my way. What are you running from?” he grinned, words laced with curiosity and mockery of the young woman in front of him. In the now dim gloom of the room his teeth looked sharp too - misshapen in his mouth. The melody was playing over and over in her head, in her heart, in her body, in the room - and in the lights dancing in his eyes. The lights that she followed with her own.

Vas moved, as if to grab for her rapier - but her fingers found only air.

Bronn closed the distance between them, and she was able to break from his eyes to look at the box - the lid was stained with an etching of a skull with smudges of something else in russet, and when she opened her mouth to scream the lid sprung open on the final melancholic note with an eerie pop. She felt a twist in her chest and from underneath the lid a smoke burst out. Bronn held the box right up to her face and Vas inhaled it all. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head and she dropped to the floor almost immediately.

After a long pause, and having heard the thud, Rex returned to the room. He pushed the creaky door ajar, moving Vas’s limp body in the process. The corner of the door caught her forehead and he winced at the sound of wood meeting bone. ‘B..Bronn?” He asked as he looked down at her, he wasn’t sure if she was…

“She’ll live.” Bronn answered in a cold fashion with a nonchalant wave of his hand, staring down his nose at her on the floor - giving her a gentle kick with his foot. “Take her. Quickly, back to her quarters,” he commanded, placing the music box back into his pocket.

“We keep an eye on this one. She could be another… She has potential...” he sneered, looking at the filthy, lying harlot with disdain.

“She’s going to tell the Captain what she heard…” Rex muttered, words that brought the red back to Bronn’s eyes.

“Saffine here is not going to remember a thing,” he tapped his chest - the box. As if it wasn’t the first time he had to remind Rex of his skills. Bronn’s eyebrow raised as a warning, and Rex shuffled awkwardly. “Take her back upstairs. It’s quiet still,” he hissed, moving to the furthest wall of his suite, placing his claw-like hands on the paneling which he pulled back to reveal a narrow gap. “You know the way Rex.”

“I’ll have to convince our Captain to close off our quarters to wandering strangers… We can’t risk more… rats infesting our living space. That would be bad for everyone involved...” Bronn continued, his lips pulling into a smirk again. He walked to his desk in the corner, opening a drawer to remove a vial. “Besides, it’s time for his tea…” He gave one last look in Rex’s direction and watched him struggle to load Vas over his shoulders. “This might all work in our favour… They’ll be pleased with us. Pleased with you.

That was enough to bring confidence back to Rex, and he found an extra ounce of strength within himself to make the climb, reappearing in a corner away from the entrance to the space set aside for the passengers. Bronn was right, it had been quiet indeed, there was only a gentleman seemingly sleeping in his hammock, still, he stepped carefully toward an armchair and placed Vas into it. He felt the woman stirring back to consciousness - and took it as his time to leave.

There was one thing that Rex did know to be true. Cerys was going to be angry at him for leaving her with the cargo for so long…

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Stormflyx
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with @Spoopy Scary

17th Suns Dawn,
Aboard the Kismet, Daggerfall

Dro’Sintaba had been enjoying the gentle swaying of the Kismet on the waves. A closed fist held his chin up, and his other hand held a distance away from his face a weathered looking book, not too big of a tome, perhaps a collection of poetry or short story. He was concentrating on the words from behind his bespoke spectacles. The spine was cracked, and he held it mid-way through the pages.

A long sigh left his nostrils, and his tail flicked at the sound of a distorted voice. It was not the time to be annoyed by it, he was sitting on a boat after all, in the open. He’d wanted a quiet moment but they couldn’t always be afforded in public places. His mouth quirked slightly at the gentleman’s words. “If I was on a honeymoon, do you think I would be out here with a book?”
The Cathay-raht asked with a careful measure of humour, bending the page back, and placing the book away into the folds of his jacket. Next off was the glasses, and he squinted his eyes before re-opening them, turning his head to the owner of the voice. A Dunmer. A rather modest looking fellow too, thin and covered in his threadbare clothing, the warm hues setting off the rich crimson of his eyes nicely. Modest, but clearly knows how to dress himself, and most likely more than that… Dro’Sintaba’s eyes narrowed with curiosity.

“Business trip. We’ll go with that,” the khajiit concluded, eyeing up the Dunmer still. “What about you then? A holiday away from the politics of Daggerfall is it?”

“Quite bold to pry into my affairs after hiding your own.” Garil chirped without much admonishment or subtlety, craning his neck forward and invading Dro’Sintaba’s personal space as he deliberately avoided the inquiry. The stranger was tight lipped, and yet was quick to question Garil’s own motives. It was like staring into silvered glass, so he couldn’t bear to criticize the khajiit’s conduct without criticizing his own, but he could safely call him out without repercussion -- after all, he had asked first. Fidgeting with the red shawl that was draped over his shoulders and shirtless body, shielding his pecs from the cool ocean breeze, he continued, “But let’s suppose you were on a business trip, I wonder still what you would be doing with a book. What awaits you in Cyrodiil, friend? A scandalous affair? Don’t you worry, us dunmer tend to be a promiscuous sort ourselves…”

“Can’t a man enjoy a hobby?” Dro’Sintaba retorted, closing his eyes and making a mental note to look around next time before sitting for a moment of quiet contemplation. “Nothing waits in Cyrodiil except the other half of a payment for a job.” He hoped that would satisfy the Dunmer’s curiosity enough - and he was certainly not about to entertain the idea of anything seedy, as he had tried to suggest. It seemed to satisfy the Dunmer enough as he nodded and withdrew his head.

“What are you planning in Cyrodiil then?” he asked after a pregnant pause, his tone flat as he cast a sidelong glance at the man. “Don’t tell me, you’re going to find yourself a harem perhaps?…”

“That’s one possibility.” Garil answered as he reached his hand into a pouch of nuts and seeds, acquiring a small handful before pouring them into his mouth. Then he proceeded without much consideration, “Mmf, Sheer-o-dill ish phull of wonderth, sho thereth pwenty to shee ofer d’ere, ah’m shure.”

A quick swallow of half the food in his mouth he added with barely any clarification, “Old Ayleid ruins, swaying grain of the Gold Coast, the White-Gold Tower-- they must be beautiful sights. What do you think of that?”

Dro’Sintaba openly curled a lip at the sound of the Dunmer’s chewing in his ear, and he rolled a shoulder in response. “I’ve seen them before. They do have a beauty about them if you like that. Maybe I’ll head to the Gold Coast,” he offered with a shrug. The truth of it was, he hadn’t paid much thought to further plans once he arrived there. Just his payment, really. High Rock had been interesting enough of course but he’d long grown impatient of it. “Perhaps I’ll cross over to Hammerfell, who knows, really…” Dro’Sintaba certainly didn’t.

“Been a while since I was in the company of a Dunmer,” he added with a sigh, it was an attempt at being friendly, even if the rumble of his words in his throat felt more accusatory when they left his mouth. “Do you have a name?”

“Garil,” the Dunmer answered with a dismissive wave of his hand, as if to downplay the significance of his answer, “but I’m not like a lot of Dunmer. I’m what you’d call a n’wah -- I don’t come from Morrowind, but by Oblivion, I can hardly say I come from anywhere. Truly, I suppose you could call me a child of the road and stars for they are what have guided me all this time. I’m a farmhand by trade, and you, sera? Your manner’s quite unlike your kin, so could it be you’re quite like me? Outrunning your ghosts, going where the wind takes you, and finding work along the way? To be so old for a cat and to wear so many stories on scar-sprinkled skin, surely, there’s one or two of them worth telling!”

Garil twisted his neck around, left and right, prompting a string of popping sounds to crack from his neck, before taking a long, deep breath. He swept a long glance across the sea before it landed on Dro’Sintaba and added, “I hope to hear a few of them before this voyage is over. I smell a storm coming. It’d be a shame to see you done in by a spattering of water, khajiit, there’d be something ironic about that.”

Dro’Sintaba didn’t appreciate the suggestion of drowning - or the level of humour in his voice as he spoke, he raised a brow in suspicion and in a way, disbelief. “You talk a lot, don’t you?” he asked with yet another sigh. “And you’re nosy.” He held a breath for a moment, meaning no offense - it was just a correct observation, and he was quite often just a man of few words. It seemed that Garil had more than enough to make up for it. He was slightly poetic in his speech too, and in a way Dro’Sintaba was envious of that quality.

“Indeed.” Garil replied with a toothy grin.

“My name is Dro’Sintaba,” he said, pre-empting the Dunmer’s next question or curiosity; “I'm a travelling mercenary. Have been for many years, trying to retire. Maybe this is my last job but I can’t seem to stop.” His tail flicked at his own admission, he tried to keep his cards close to his chest but at the same time, he was old enough to realise that the truest facts of a person were not always worth hiding, and that his life wasn’t that interesting. “If you like talking, you should meet my companion, she’ll have your ear off.”

“Is that so?” Garil chirped before unraveling his foot from the dockstay and stood atop the rail. He clutched one of the backstays for support and, smiling wryly, looked down at the khajiit. He would still probably stand only at an equal height if Dro’Sintaba decided to do so as well. “Well then, that makes me a lucky mer! My apologies, sera. I might be nosy, but I’m not daft. I’ll leave you to your peace. Hopefully soon you are willing to share your stories, and in turn, I, mine. Over supper, friend?”

As the ship swayed on the water, the dunmer swayed with it along the railing’s edge, kicking out a foot to balance himself while his back hovered over the water, and by pulling on the mainstay was he able to right himself before hopping off and landing on the main deck. His bare feet slapped against the woodwork, and he slipped them into a simple pair of sandals before walking backwards away from Dro’Sintaba.

“If you know anyone in need of a private room, send them to me! I find the still air stifling and the beds uncomfortable, but I’m sure there’s someone who enjoys that sort of thing.”

The khajiit sighed again, closing his eyes. He'd been a rude git, again, hadn't he? It felt too late to change the Dunmer's mind about their conversation, not that he really had much to talk about anyway. He felt an embarrassment sitting on his chest over the whole thing. Maybe later he'd approach the gentleman and try to make up for his social faux pas. But Dro'Sintaba knew already that he wouldn't. Supper would involve him sitting as far away from the din of idle small talk as he could.

This was going to be a long, long voyage. "Fucking hell," he growled under his breath, admonishing himself.
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