Recent Statuses

2 mos ago
Current Probably not the most classy of things to quote a guy who is accused of sexually assaulting his then 7-year-old daughter there, bud.
4 mos ago
If people actually ditch RPs after a week of no posting, it's no wonder nobody finishes games. People have lives folks.
4 mos ago
@Lady Selune , I had the same problem, and that's why I decided to start GMing. You'll never have a hard time finding a game if you always run it. ;D
5 mos ago
My so-far fool proof system for interest checks is I complete the OOC first and then cherry pick sections of the setting and rules/standards and spruce it up with formatting and graphics
6 mos ago
Best way to ensure you join a game with staying power is pay attention to people who are a part of long lasting RPs and avoid people who flake or start multiple games in a short period of time.


Lowering the site's value since January 2012.

Most Recent Posts

The Cat’s Cradle

Stormy and Dervs collaboration

2nd Midyear, 4E208CE, mid-afternoon

As the Breton made her way through the streets once more, alone this time, she took from her satchel an apple - a taste for fruit today it seemed. Alim was on her mind, their meeting today had been quite strange indeed and had left her feeling bothered and bewildered to say the least. It was hard to turn that feeling off. She took a bite of the apple, enjoying the sumptuously sugary taste of it. She surmised that the events of the last few days had taken their toll, the sugar was perking her back up - maybe that’s why she had been presented with an unusually keen sweet tooth all of a sudden.

Eventually she found herself breaking free from the crowds as they all dispersed on their own merry way. She started to hum to the bard’s song to herself, and her pace slowed down. She really had nowhere to go and wanted to find somewhere peacefully quiet to enjoy the winding down of the day - the effervescent violet twilight of Gilane.

The midday breeze caught her skirt and fluttered it against her skin as she strolled along, taking another bite of the fruit, singing the lyrics of the song under her breath to herself with a relaxed smile on her face;

“That Hammerfell sky,
Burns within her eyes,
She looked at me and made me want to catch on fire…”

Something caused the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end, and she slowed to a wary halt - taking a look around but she could see nothing. Nothing… she thought to herself, before continuing her walk.

”So when I’m all alone tonight,
And I can’t find the words,
When we say goodbye, lover, it hurts…”

Once again, she felt uneasy and her voice tapered off. She took some prudent steps forward, unable to shake the feeling that she was being watched. She felt paranoid but not so much so that would make her call out.

Then it happened. Glass shattered at her feet and a billowing smoke reached her nostrils and she felt someone snatch her tightly from behind, and everything went dark before she had an opportunity to open her mouth to scream.

The apple fell to the ground and rolled to the entrance of the alleyway silently - no more evidence was left behind...

An unknown location in Gilane…

The room was shuttered, with no windows to illuminate the darkness within, not that it would have mattered to Raelynn; a sack had been affixed over her head and her hands were bound behind a chair, which in turn was tied to the legs. Had Raelynn been in another circumstance, she might have appreciated the delicate and talented knotwork that years at sea had afforded Zaveed of Senchal. Both inside the bedroom and on the deck of a ship, it was an underappreciated talent that had served him well.

He sat across from her, at a desk, using the elven dagger that stayed strapped to his back to tidy up his nails and clean them. Without changing his focus, he spoke after a length. “Well, you’ve certainly been conscious for a spell. Your breathing has changed and your posture is more tense. My sincere apologies for the improper accomodations, my dear; you would have not come had I simply asked, much to my disappointment.” he said to the Breton cordially, glancing up to see what the bagged face would do. In the dark, he could see perfectly. Even without the bag, he doubted she’d be able to make out his features. A shame; hard for one to become smitten by the kitten if she could not behold his rugged and handsome features. Oh well, duty demands precaution, he reminded himself.

She was unsure of where she was. She was unsure of how she had found herself here. The only thing she was sure of, was that she shouldn’t be here, and that she wasn’t alone. The last thing she remembered was waving goodbye to Alim, watching him leave. Why didn't she go with him? She tried frantically to move her arms but it only caused her pain and discomfort, the tension in the twine nipped at the delicate skin of her wrists. Whoever had done this - well, it wasn’t their first time. She didn’t want to speak to him - whoever he was, but she would have to. She was frightened. The bag over her head made her breath feel hot and suffocating. She wasn’t going to get into too much of a panic in front of him. She had to remain calm. Her life now depended on every single word that she would utter.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Her tone was sharp and cold - even if the bag did muffle it slightly. She had to be strong. She was alone and at a disadvantage. Why am I here? she thought. Twiddling her thumbs behind her back - in some sense of false hope that moving would loosen her restraints. Is this because of my Father? Is it…. Because of Nblec? She tried to keep each breath steady and quiet. She felt entirely vulnerable, not knowing who was looking at her. Where his eyes were. Where he was, she could only hear him - it sounded like he was in front of her. She had to rely on everything but sight now.

“A mutual acquaintance of ours wishes to speak with you again, it would seem; perhaps to correct the course you’ve set yourself on with your current lot of friends.” he clucked his tongue, setting the knife down on the table with a careless toss, a tease of it being so close, yet so far out of her reach. “Terrorists, murderers, just general sordid sorts that are turning this pretty jewel of a city red. You apparently were quite the actress the day that Nblec Mrazac and his two personal guards were murdered, enough so that more people reported what you looked like than those who grabbed him and slayed his escort detail. Perhaps you could illuminate what it was you hoped to accomplish for me?” he asked.

“Governor Rourken,” she began without skipping a beat. She knew very little about being on this side of an interrogation - but she knew enough. She would tell him only part of the truth. She would craft a story for him and play to him that way. She had no choice as she was once again reminded of the imminent danger as she heard metal hit wood. A dagger. “I was at the parade, you’re right. I remember that I fainted from the heat. I’d been here but a day - I’m not accustomed to this weather,” she softened her voice, her tone changed to that of a woman recalling an event as opposed to a woman crafting a cunning lie. “I’ve lived in Skyrim for many years - it’s positively baltic up there. Even now I feel as though I might faint at a given moment… What are you trying to say? Who is Nblec Mrazac?”

The figure got up from the chair, a different blade in his hand, and he walked about the table until he was behind her. Suddenly Raelynn’s hands were free, although still somewhat tangled among the ropes as he ran the back of his hand along her cheek, delicately, returning to his seat with measured strides.

She gasped as she felt the restraints cut away and instinctively she stretched her hands to ease the pain that they were feeling - the rope being cut allowed the blood flow to continue properly and she breathed a sigh of relief, her lower lip still quivering. He was behind her now, his presence was powerful, but then it would be - he had her in the palm of his hands.

“For someone claiming to be so frail of constitution, there’s nary a bead of sweat upon your brow or from your glands; your scent is fragrant, and not of your body fighting to regulate itself. For a woman who fainted, you were mighty sprightly as you had vanished from the scene as soon as the two guards were slain in cold blood. Perhaps you would like a reminder of who your friend was?” he asked.

Reaching over, he took Raelynn’s hand into his own, ever so gently, as if it was a caress from a lover. Then from his other hand came a thin nail that he pressed just under her own. “The funny thing about bodies and torture, they leave so many clues behind.” he said gently, holding her hand all the while. “Tell me, did he scream, did he beg? What will you do, I wonder.”

As the sensation of pressure under her nail began she flinched. Fear rendered her unable to move in her seat at all. Her toes curled in horror over the soles of her sandals. Everything about this situation was making her recoil. The way that he spoke about her scent unnerved her too, it reminded her of Sora’s words. This stranger was a Khajiit alright, they were seemingly obsessed with smells. “Please,” she said feebly in barely a whisper, “I don't know anything. I ran because I was embarrassed, wouldn't you?” She sped up her breaths now that he was in front of her - if he was paying such close attention to her body, she would give him something to notice.

“I was being hyperbolic… I… Can you blame me? I've been drugged and dragged here - I don't know where I am, who you are -- stop touching me!” She was agitated now, the lack of visuals, the heat under the bag, the pressure under her nails as she felt one of them crack. She didn't want to break - not this soon. She couldn't. She would protect the others, She would protect Gregor. “Just let me go; this exercise is useless.”

“Useless?” Zaveed scoffed in turn, a rumble of a laugh escaping from his throat. “Oh, Raelynn, my dear; nothing I’ve done has ever been useless. In fact, your paramour was quite resistant to my… charms.” he left enough of a pause to let her imagination wander. “But eventually, he succumbed, just like dearly departed Mrazac. What did you learn from him? Did he beg to be let go, like you are now? For you to let him see his family once more? He was quite a family man, you know; this city was his home, and he loved it. Myself? I couldn’t care less for his fate, just another body discarded like spoiled meat. It takes quite a bit to make me feel alive, but this? This does nothing for me.” He said, suddenly pulling the nail free and setting it aside.

“Tell me, my dear; do you have family? Who would grieve the most to find you discarded in this room, alone and drenched in your own piss and shit? What could you possibly find worth enduring torture and death for?” Zaveed asked, suddenly up from his seat and walking around the table. Placing his hand over Raelynn’s, he whispered into her ear, almost like a lover. “I’ve done this so many times, I’m bored of it.” it came like a breath, and suddenly, his claws dug into the back of the Breton’s hand, burrowing themselves in her soft flesh.

“What would it bring you to kill me? I don't know anything. I have no paramour, Gods I wish I did! Maybe if I did I wouldn't be here and would be elsewhere… Please stop this, I have nothing to give you.” She thought of Gregor. Surely he couldn't have been here - but then she hadn't seen him today, she'd been with Alim. The things they had said to each other. If today was her last day, she was regretful of what she had done. She hadn't seen Gregor. No, he wouldn't succumb to anything, his resolve for his own mission wouldn't allow it and so she sat comfortably knowing that this Khajiit was lying. If he had captured Gregor…? Her captor would be the one to succumb to him. She winced as his claws burrowed into her. She wanted to cry out in pain, but that would likely satisfy him. She didn't know whether he was trying to seduce the truth out of her, or bleed it out. “I have nothing for you, please let me go. I haven't seen your face… I won't tell a soul, please.” She purposefully evaded speaking of Nblec for now, no matter how hard he tried to weasel the answers out of her. Complete denial was the only path she would go down. To tell him anything else would lead her into dangerous territory, put her at risk of saying the wrong thing...

Pulling his claws free, he grabbed Raelynn roughly by the chin, smearing it with her own blood; his disposition changed to something decidedly darker. He chuckled ruefully, his tone much more manic. “You call your life nothing? It’s all I want at this point, and if it is the only gift you have to give me this day, so be it. I will do this again, and again, and again, until there are no more bodies left to harvest from your friends, and believe me; we know who they are.” He released her, sitting on the table next to her, by the dagger. “Please, please, please.” he said, his pitch high and mocking. “Your begging is nauseating, if you expect to find compassion from me, perhaps you should have started with compliance. I want you to tell your little friends who I am, what comes for them. It’s a game, you see; will the cat find the mice first, or will they find him? What remains to be seen is if you are going to be around to continue playing this game, or if this will be where you die. I draw your blood, and you still continue like you have nothing to lose… you’re far more resilient than your bloody sob story of being too weak for this climate would suggest.”

Pulling a rag from his belt, he delicately began to clean his bloodied claws. “You may proceed to give me something, anything, of importance, and perhaps I will permit you to play the game I have set. If you do not, well, that dagger will be tasting an artery, and I will watch you fade like so many others. At this juncture, you waste my time, and you are of no importance to me. The Governor wishes you to be delivered alive, yes, but I assume that is what the fucking Poncy Man requested of you for your victim. It’s such a shame accidents happen; you terrorists are so fanatical you’d rather fight to the death than graciously accept her hospitality. It’s such a tragic, senseless tragedy, it wounds my very soul.” He remarked, his voice oozing with sarcastic sentiment.

All she could think about was how to get out of here without saying anything to him that implicate anyone. The Governor already knew that it was them - but Raelynn wouldn't be the one who would say something that confirmed it. That determination, it kept her going. Her heart was racing now in her chest - she could feel it against her ribcage. Should she choose silence? Or should she choose to speak. “You paint me as a terrorist. You're just a hired thug, a fucking creature. The highest bidder was it?” it wasn't often that the lady would curse, so when she would, she would spit the words with venom. This occasion was no different. “Who is it that orders you around to scare little girls? I wonder… Who pulls your strings?” Beneath the bag she smirked. “The Governor will not be the only one upset at my death. I'm powerful in my own right, if something terrible should happen to me it won't be long until someone else is being tortured for information. Such a vicious cycle.”

Raelynn could feel the blood pouring from her right hand where his claws had been siezing the flesh there. It felt hot and stung, she could feel that it was already swelling. “There is more than one way to skin a cat you see, I wonder what your price is…” It was a bold maneuver to attempt, and she was sure to pepper her tone with just the right amount of sweetness, she knew that hired thugs were loyal to only one master. Gold.

He leaned in closer to her, grinning broadly. “Everyone in this fucking city could die and I would not lose a moment’s sleep. Something terrible will happen to you, my dear; the only question of how many of the few people you give a shit about are you willing to throw away in your feeble bit of defiance, I wonder?” he picked up the dagger, and pulling Raelynn’s hair back roughly until she was staring up at the ceiling through canvas, the sharp blade bit into her pale flesh. “My price to spare your life is for you to tell me a tale that satisfies me here, and now. Choose your next words carefully, my dear; I’m one yawn from opening your throat and letting your spoiled pompous ass bleed out upon this room. Surely you’ve noticed that coppery stench that’s soaked into the wood and tile? They were once people like you who decided my time was less valuable than their lives.”

He hadn’t taken her offer. He’s ignored it completely, this was a man hell bent on getting what he wanted. What choice did she have now? He had her pulled so far back by her hair that she could barely breath, his blade pressing firmly against her throat in such a way that any movement from her would cause it to puncture further - dangerously so. She couldn't move, she was held there with such force it prevented anything. She had no choice now; “I’ll talk. I’ll tell you something.” It fell from her mouth like a sob. “Just… May I have some water, please?” She stayed completely still, her body stiffened - paralysed. A tear rolled down her cheek and onto her neck. “I don’t want to die here by you…” her voice was little more than a breath now. “You don’t need to hold me like this, I… I can’t fight you. Please just let go and I’ll talk now.”

“Now.” He snarled, pulling her hair more roughly. “Speak now, or perish.”

She yelped in pain as he pulled back on her once more, would she sell someone out? Who would it be. The quiet and menacing Altmer? Jaraleet? It could even be Brynja -- the new Orc arrival? She would not be missed. No. She couldn't, to name any of them would bring the heat to their entire group and operation. She had to divert the heat from them. It was the only way to keep Gregor's secret safe, and to continue to protect Calen, Alim… even Judena.She would not bend to his will. He only had to think that she had.

There was nobody else she knew - but wait, the Redguard, her father’s bodyguard. She had been seen leaving the cultural centre with him already. She knew he was capable in his skills should he be ambushed. To sell him out would buy her time, time to give the warning. If her captor let her live. And it was as her father had said - he was sworn to the Hawkfords. This seemed like such a time for him to swear in; “There is a man, a Redguard. Zhaib!” she said through sobs, weeping as only a woman could. “A shady fellow he is too, loosen your grip and I shall tell you more.” Her body shuddered, and her thighs twitched under the strain of his hold.

As if obliging, the blade was lifted from her throat, and Zaveed’s hand ran gingerly down the back of Raelynn’s neck before resting upon her shoulder. “Continue.” he spoke softly.

“You have to understand. I’m just a healer - this warrants protection and for me to be assigned a bodyguard - sometimes more than one. Zhaib is my bodyguard in Gilane, my family have wealth and they don’t like me to travel alone.” The feeling of his hand on her shoulder made her skin crawl but she didn’t show it - instead she leant against it in faux affection, her next words becoming more hushed. “He asked me to be there to do the distraction - you were right, it was an act. I didn’t know what for - I promise. I shouldn’t have done it, but my family trusts Zhaib and I trust my family. What was I to do? I ran back to my lodgings after that. I made use of the crowds. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to lie to you…”

“Of course you did, you just weren’t as brave as you thought you were. There is no shame in that; no one truly wishes to die when someone else could do it for them.” Zaveed replied. “Perhaps you might enlighten me as to what your family’s interests in this city is, then? Why are they caught up in the capture and interrogation of Dwemeri officials?”

“They just care about me, they’re simple folk who want to know that I’m not getting into situations like you have me in right now. They would have told me if they were plotting something, I swear it. Whatever has motivated Zhaib to do this has been an outside influence. I’ve been caught up in it. I’m sorry.” She was trembling in her seat, so much so that her teeth chattered as she spoke, her back was arched just so that each breath she took caused her chest to rise up and down under his eyes. She was using her body now to buy time.

“And finally, through so many lies, some truth. Was that so difficult?” he purred softly, stroking Raelynn’s cheek with the back of his hand. “I will be paying this Zhaib a visit, and from there, the remainder of your family in this city. I imagine their words will be just as enlightening.” he said quickly, standing up suddenly and sliding the dagger back into its scabbard. “You’ve purchased your life at the cost of theirs, but whatever should I do with you?” he pondered aloud, looking down at the pretty girl whose face he could not see.

“My family are in High Rock, you won't find them here… What will you do to Zhaib? What will happen to him?” She stopped her shaking, or at least tried to. Although it was gone from her neck, she could still feel where it had been. Another tear fell from her cheek and landed on her chest. “You have the power here, not me. I've told you what I know, can't I leave now?” She let a tone of defeat roll off her tongue, with any luck he would take pity on her now and that would be it.

“Oh, I’m sure. But do not worry, I seldom know what I will do until the eve is upon me. Being spontaneous is the spice of life, is it not?” he asked cordially. He returned to the original side of the table he’d first risen from. Scooping up the nail he’d threatened Raelynn with before between two fingers, he placed his hand over hers once more reassuringly. “You’ve left all too much to my imagination, and spoke little of consequence. Still, I am not without my mercy. You are so strong willed, I admire you. I’d wish we’d met under more pleasant circumstances; we could have been good for one another.” Zaveed said quietly. The air fell silent between them.

The silence was broken by a sudden thud as the Khajiit brought down a hammer that had been sitting unannounced down upon the nail between his fingers directly into Raelynn’s hand, breaking through the other side and into the table. For good measure, he struck it again, further burying it into the wood. Tossing the tool aside carelessly, he leaned forward to caress the Breton’s face once more. “Until next time, my dear. I hope you find your voice. Do not go anywhere; my associates will be around shortly.” he cooed, releasing her suddenly before stepping away from the table and walking towards the door, which opened silently before closing gently behind him, as if not to wake the occupants of the house.

The Board Sets

Three Crowns Hotel, 1st Midyear, 9am…

The Poncy Man was almost too fixated on the view of the cityscape and the harbor beyond to notice the door creaking open. Even as he registered it, he only remained sitting with his back to whoever had entered, hand swirling a cup of wine, the only thing helping him calm himself from the news. His sigh brought the smell of sea to his senses, closing his eyes and letting the sound of the harbor’s bells and the seagulls fill his mind. His mentor had always taught him to take his time in all matters of importance. Choices that would shape the future ought to be treated with the weight they deserve.

“We’ve come.”

Which was why he’d waited so long to send for his most trusted people. “Good, HoonDing has at least granted me relief in one thing.”

“What matter troubles you that you’ve sent for us both?” The voice spoke again.

Finally, the Poncy Man stood from his seat at the window and took the few steps to get to his desk, upon which sat the reports from the debriefings. Only one task of the three he’d given had yielded good results. One managing to fail so spectacularly that the broken bookshelf still stood in the corner, a testament to why he tried to keep his nerves in all things and a reminder that he was all too human to do such. “Perhaps I have become too trusting and generous in my age.” He began, “Associates of an associate of mine took refuge within this hotel of mine. By all accounts, they were men and women good for the work I had given them. I’ve relied on hearsay for the last time.”

A few moments of silence swept into the room before Hassan spoke, “So, that is why.”

“Yes.” The Poncy Man nodded. He turned to the other person in the room, “My dear friend, have you misplaced your tongue since the last time we’ve been together?”

The woman wore a snakeskin cloak that concealed her form, but the Poncy Man knew that beneath the concealing leather was one of the most powerful and talented assassins he had in his employ, if not most of Hammerfell. Her short spear was seldom ever without poisons, and she could throw a blade with as much precision as any archer could loose an arrow. Beneath the veil of her cloak gazed a pair of yellow eyes that might as well have belonged to a serpent themselves.

“Words will not sway the course of this discussion. What is the mission?” she asked. Always to the point.

“Keep them in your sight. They’ll never leave it, they will live their days in Hammerfell under it.” The Poncy Man took another sip of his wine, swishing it around his mouth before finally swallowing it, “Hassan may act as my liaison to them, the hand I outstretch before them.”

He nodded to Hassan, always the more visible of the two, but no less deadly with his blade. A student of the ancient Yokudan arts of the sword both long and short. His gaze once again settled on Nadeen, “The hand they will not see, though.” His face grew grim, “You know the purpose of why I summoned you of all my people to sit here. Am I understood?”

She offered a single slow and grave nod. There was only ever one reason she was summoned, and it was justice without a voice. The cause was simply too dire to leave to chance; her authority on the matter was absolute.

“It will be painless, should the time come.”

The Governor’s Palace…

A cloud hung over Gilane, even though the skies were clear. Razlinc Rourken stared down upon the city like an eagle might, seeing only the resplendor and beauty of the rooftops, and not the filth that accumulated in the streets below.

It seemed only appropriate that her attempts to govern with a fair and loose hand was allowing something dangerous to fester below. This insurgency was getting bold, and already too many of her people had died by the hands of those who could not tolerate coexistence. She gritted her teeth in annoyance; so be it. The city and its people needed security, and this order of chaos that shed blood without care and let rapists and murders back into the streets would need to be extinguished. The Dwemer would see to it; they were a people renown for utmost efficiency.

“Upon the table behind me is a list of those who arrived by ship on the 30th, the Intrepid. The customs officer was kind enough to provide that documentation after reports of insurgent activity were linked to individuals matching the description of several on board. Is your taskforce prepared, Major?” Razlinc asked the only other individual in the room.

A mer dressed in a flowing longcoat adorned with epaulettes that denoted his high rank within the Secret Police’s Counterinsurgency and Counterintelligence division sat calmly in his seat opposite Razlinc’s. He forwent the traditional beard, preferring instead to bear his chiseled jaw to the world and thin lips sipped at a cup of tea. “Only give the word, Madam Governor.”

“It is given. Do what you must, report your findings and actions taken at your leisure. You have my utmost confidence.” She turned to face her most trusted agent. “Your experiment, however… the conscripts and outsiders, are you certain it is wise to use them instead of our own?”

Kerztar smirked, he’d always used the most unorthodox means and he’d always remained the most trusted and competent officer of the High Command’s Secret Police all the while. “East of here, in the Reach, when our supply caravans were being raided by Nords I took the Reachmen clans and flushed them out of the mountains to be killed or captured in the open.” He took another sip of tea, “Before that, I wanted the trust of the Reachmen clans against the Forsworn and I gave them the locations of the Forsworn’s redoubts and Dwemer weaponry and now they wield them in our name as protectors and keepers of the peace in that region.”

Kerztar nodded, “These people know the lands and the cultures as they have changed since our absence better than we ever will in the foreseeable future. The people don’t bat an eye at my outsiders.” Kerztar folded his hands on his lap, “Responding to this incident with an iron fist and storming the streets with our own will only strengthen the insurgency’s cause. We will seem as what they want us to seem, a hammer poised to smash their way of life.”

“My outsiders and I are the scalpel.” Kerztar sipped at his tea once more.

Razlinc nodded, setting herself down in her seat. “Our objective has always been different from the other clans. If we are to remain in Volenfell and Tamriel at large, we need to maintain a level of trust and respect from the populace. It’s what the other clans simply do not seem to grasp.” She said, pouring herself a cup of her own tea. “You’ve long served my agenda and shared my vision, Kerztar. I trust you will do this thankless task with distinction and secure a future for our clan.” she looked down at the sheet. “This Khajiit and Breton in particular. If you do find them, bring them here. I suspect we may have an unfinished conversation.”

“The peace kept is thanks enough for an officer of the Secret Police. Recognition is failure.” Kerztar leaned forward to peer at the document Razlinc was looking at, studying the portraits, “You’ve had them here before?”

“I believe so.” She replied thoughtfully. “The inspector took note of this Daro’Vasora’s attire and journals being documents about our people, and she possessed some of our ancient craftsmanship. The next day, she arrives in our cultural center and was sent to me for a quick chat, you know how I am about people who have an interest in our civilization. She seemed quick witted and knowledgeable, it was her bodyguard that raised some suspicion, an Imperial man. He made an outburst that would suggest his sympathies are not with us. Raelynn Hawkford, the Breton, seemed to be something of an intermediary of the two. It was a curious encounter, not one I paid much heed to, but eye witness accounts tell of three individuals who sound cautiously similar to them at two separate raids. I should like to find out for myself if they are one in the same.”

“Then you will.” He stood and saluted, “By sundown, my men will be ready. I’d like to take the Captain of this vessel in custody and learn what he knows. We will both have a clearer picture of all these little coincidences soon enough.” Kerztar smirked.

11pm, Gilane Docks…

It had been a rather tense meeting with the Poncy Man earlier.

Roux was seated at his desk, going over his ledger, and wondering exactly what Vasora and her friends had done that had sent bloody Hassan to speak to him directly. The Redguard was always cordial and polite, but anyone who knew of the man’s reputation knew that him taking an interest in you was akin to having a mark of death hovering over your head; people simply disappeared if they crossed him or the Poncy man, and while the latter certainly had empathy and compassion, he wasn’t above cutting away the fat if it was causing the cause to choke.

Roux was starting to feel like the fat.

The Intrepid would set sail in two days’ time after resupplying and his crew was entirely accounted for, and hopefully he’d be able to find some more willing recruits to bring into the cause. The insurgency was becoming a numbers game; they really weren’t willing to risk their own when foreign labour could pay the ultimate sacrifice for them, it seemed like. A lot of people he’d brought to this city had died along the way, he knew. Most of them did their jobs well and didn’t stick out. So why did he bring Daro’Vasora to this place? Despite their history, he had a fondness for her, and he knew it was going to be dangerous. But she seemed so eager to help?

“I’m a piece of shit.” he muttered to himself, grabbing his glass of wine and deciding to step outside for some air. How long could he do this for, he wondered as he opened the door.

His eyes fixed on a prone form on the ground; Rutherford was dead, a crimson gash across his throat. Roux felt his own tighten at the sight, slamming the door and slipping the cross bolt in place. “Intruder! We’ve got an intruder!” he shouted, running to gather his blade back in the study.

Villaume was awoken from a dead sleep in the armory to the sound of the crew rushing around in a panic. He was confused, standing groggily and flinching when the rum bottle rolled off his lap and onto the floor. He ran as steadily as he could to the doorway that led into the hall, grasping a sword up on his way. “What’s this about?” He called, then once more when no answer came, “What’s this rushing for? Are we under attack?”

“Intruders, sir!” A crewman finally answered.

“How many? From where?” He asked, only growing more confused.

“I’ve no idea, sir.” The crewman said.

“Rally around me, you lot!” He yelled over the hubbub of cursing sailors. He’d finally gotten a group of eight together and they set to the task of securing the rooms. The first few were empty until they’d made it to some of the bunks, those crew who were sleeping there all had their throats opened. Villaume stumbled back, wide-eyed.

How could intruders have made it onto the ship without anyone noticing and wreaking this much death with impunity? “To the Captain’s quarters,” he said, before continuing louder, “Follow, now!”

He raced past his own men to the topdeck and there they found a scene no less gruesome than the last. Bodies hanging over the gunwales with open throats or crossbow bolts in their heads, corpses sprinkled here and there like broken dolls.

There wasn’t even a sign of a fight. No corpses of men he didn’t recognize, no blood that wasn’t pooled around a man that died where he stood without a clue. He feared the worst of Captain Roux. Villaume and his men rushed to the door of the Captain’s quarters but found it was still locked. “Captain! Captain!” He called, but no answer.

He turned to his men and pointed to the one with a boarding axe, “I want that door down now!”

The huge man only nodded, stepping up to the door and raising his axe above his head. He brought it down with a roar and splintered the door off its hinges. A good kick had the thing clattering on the ground. Villaume saw that the candlelight that usually lent Roux’s quarters a warm glow had been extinguished, leaving only pitch-dark shadow. “Captain!” Villaume called.

“I’m in here! Quick!” He heard Roux’s voice. Villaume waved to the others to follow him.

“Captain?” Villaume said in the darkness, voice lone amongst the shadows. Of a sudden, the door slammed shut behind him and some of the others, and there was a terrible raucous outside. The sound of men dying before all was silence once more. “A light, I need a light-“

He was startled by the feeling of air being displaced just next to him. The following second, he felt something hot speckle him followed by a choking from somewhere in the room. At another place, somebody grunted and then the sound of a heavy slam, twice, the second wetter than the last with the crack of bone. A white light enveloped the room, the suddenness of it forcing him to cover his eyes for a few seconds. Once his eyes adjusted, he dropped his hand to see Roux and a couple others trussed up on the ground, then the inevitable corpses just made seconds ago. The third thing he noticed was something sharp poking the side of his neck, giving him pause.

Through the doorway strode a figure sporting a pair of blooded Dwarven axes about his hips, a pair of pistols strapped to his chest, and Roux was surprised to see that the newcomer was a Khajiit; in fact, all of the attackers seemed to be of anything but Dwemeri stock. This new Cathay had granite-coloured fur with black stripes and ice-blue eyes and a mohawk of a black mane that gave him a rather daring and commanding appearance, say nothing of the two axes that his hands rested easily upon. He strode up to the table, plucking up the ledger to observe it, as if the occasion was completely mundane and normal. “My apologies, friend; did we interrupt something?” he asked, his voice was smooth and lacked a lot of the infliction he’d come to associate with Khajiit from Elsweyr, although his accent suggested he was original from there.

“What the fuck do you want?” Roux demanded, feeling far more defiant than he should have, considering the circumstances.

“Oh, it’s not what I want, but rather the job my employer wishes me to do. Mine has me running about the city, finding those responsible for that delightfully bloody terror cell that’s been running amok, and yours presumably wish for you to find more bodies to throw into the pyre that is their fanaticism.” The Khajiit said, carelessly tossing the ledger back on the table before crouching before Roux, a dangerously sharp claw lifting his chin so their eyes could meet. “Your friends have been rather busy in such a short time, no?” he asked.

“I have no fucking idea what you- urghk!” Roux tried to say, but the claw had pierced the soft skin just behind his chin. The Khajiit grinned widely, offering the Breton a wink.

“Now, my instructions were to bring the captain in alive, and anyone else who seems like they do more than shovel shit buckets overboard and chops rotting vegetables, but my employer isn’t too keen on how they arrive. Spells can fix most wounds, but mental anguish?” he clucked his tongue. “That takes some time to undo. I would know; I’ve been at this a while.”

“This is fucking preposterous! We passed our customs check-Oof!” Villaume was silenced by a hard right hook to his solar plexus, a blow that had him double over and fall to the floor.

“All of you have been gutless during this entire raid, let’s keep it that way.” The other’s voice came, deep and with the inflection of someone who was bored of this. The Khajiit’s comrade looked more racially ambiguous than anyone Roux had ever seen. It was only after a good look that Roux decided he was Ohmes-Raht, clad in the trappings of a Redguard warrior, a duo of even more foreign looking swords than the scimitars the Redguard carried sheathed on his back, elegantly curved. He’d an oddly curved dagger in hand dripping fresh blood and a pair of cold, flat eyes if all else failed. “We walk you off this ship and onto our carriage without further violence. A peep out of turn and I’m taking teeth away.”

The Ohmes started in earnest, sheathing his dagger and grasping up Villaume’s shirt in both fists, hauling him up though he was still gasping like a fish from the earlier blow. He held him up through the coughing and slapped a pair of iron shackles on his wrists.

Sensing the defiance was making way to the terrible reality of it, the Cathay stood upright with a spring, stretching his arms out and yawning loudly. “You must really see Sevari’s tooth collection, it jingles when he walks.” He said, staring down at Roux as the other Khajiit jingled one of a few pouches on his belt. “To your feet, while you still have them.”

The Breton reluctantly stood, glancing uncertainly between the two. “Why are you doing this, working for them?” he asked daringly.

The first Khajiit rolled his eyes and turned away for a moment. Suddenly, he turned back, axe in hand, and the spiked back end drove into Roux’s shoulder, prompting the man to scream out in pain. He was pulled towards the smiling Khajiit, who grasped his throat roughly. “You may wish to save your words for someone who has the patience for them, yes? Now come, you have a long life ahead of you.” he said, yanking on the axe and forcing Roux to follow, the spike still imbedded in his arm. Even through the blinding pain, the Breton knew that stopping or showing any form of resistance would only result in more pain and suffering.

He felt ashamed that fear stopped him from trying to fight back, and so he dutifully walked after the Khajiit, the deadly axe yanking him along like a leash. Villaume was no worse for wear, being led by a fist in his hair and a knife at his back. The empty night streets made their footsteps echo off the walls of the buildings. A carriage waited for them not but a short walk from the gangplank on which a lone Redguard man snored softly. The two Khajiit shoved their prey into the back of the carriage and the Ohmes slammed the door after them. The Redguard jerked awake in a small panic. “Keep your damned eyes open and get us home, Saffi.” The Ohmes said, taking a seat next to him.

“Home? Hrm. Wouldn't that be a welcome surprise?” the axe-wielding Khajiit murmured, heading to the back of the wagon and hopping up to grab a handhold and stand on the rear platform as the horses began to kick off into the night.

@Blitzy I'll try to get to it this weekend, been caught up in a lot of junk!

Five Finger Discount: Raiding the Local Garrison


Outside of the Guard HQ, close to midnight, 31st Second Seed, 4E208CE

In an abandoned storehouse a block away from the guard headquarters, a candle-lit table sat with a number of figures in darkened and light attire gathered around, staring down at a map that was hand-drawn by one of the members of the Insurgency that had once served as apart of the city guards prior to the invasion. It laid out the buildings around the guard outpost and the floorplan of the two-story building, including the high walls and potential blind spots for patrols and lookouts.

The building’s ground floor, from East to West, was the barracks containing twenty beds which were separated by privacy walls, a privy to the North of that room, and a common area to the West, which branched off into an armoury, which was kept behind a locked door with no windows, a reception area, and a cafeteria. Adjacent to the reception area was a walled in, open-topped area that was used as a training area, and a separate entrance lead into a prison, where the upstairs was for temporary holding and prisoner belonging storage and reception, and a locked and barred stairwell down lead to a number of prison cells. The yard also contained a stable that housed a number of horses and camels and supplies, as well as prisoner transport wagons.

The second floor of the building housed a limited officers quarters, a private room for the commander of the guard, and the administration offices. It was likely where the documents were kept, although the prison itself was a likely place to look. Daro’Vasora looked around at the familiar faces around the table and mused that it almost looked like they were about to tell each other spooky stories to pass the time with the dim and haunting lighting.

“Alright, let’s go over the plan one last time. We’re not here to free prisoners, and we are going to avoid killing anyone if possible; in and out as quickly as possible without being discovered. I will unlock the front door, and someone will have to subdue the guards who may be present without waking up everyone who’s asleep. From there, I’ll get us upstairs and get those offices open and begin looking for paperwork. Someone’s going to have to find the prison keys and do something similar for the prison itself. In and out, no stupid shit.”

“What if your stupid shit, works?” Alim asked to the utter silence of the group. “Don’t answer that. Anyway, I believe I should be adequate in...pretty much all of that. I can subdue the guards or infiltrate where you like. Or both, and Anifaire can see where they might have the documents and uniforms?”

Anifaire nodded aimlessly, completely unsure if that was even something she could undertake. But, anyone could just look for documents. It must be simple enough. She looked down at the map another time, furiously trying to remember the details in case she needed them. The Altmer felt entirely out of place in a resistance mission, but she glanced over at Alim and tried to remember what he’d said to her. Her stomach churned.

"Sounds good t'me," Meg chimed in, lifting her gaze away from the map to look at Daro'Vasora instead. It had been a long time since she had snuck about in a place like they would be breaking into, but she trusted herself not to get into any trouble. "I'mma see if I can find that prison key."

“I don’t think I’m… fit for this,” Rhona said quietly, “but I uh… I can serve as a distraction. Or, I can create a distraction.”

“I’m going to say this as gently as possible,” Daro’Vasora said, looking over towards Rhona with studious eyes. “But I’m not sure why you signed up for this job after everything you went through, and if you don’t think you’re capable of this sort of thing, why be here? Go back, you’ll be safe there.”

Rhona’s brows furrowed over the way Daro’Vasora addressed her, she opened her mouth to speak, when Mortalmo took a single step forward. “She is entirely capable of providing aid to this endeavor.” He cast a meaningful glance towards the Breton, before turning his focus back towards Daro’Vasora. “And if we do not all do our part to strike at the Dwemer interlopers, I do not suspect that any of us will be... safe. Surely, furred one, you must concur?”

“It’s up to Rhona, of course.” Alim said, leaning back in his chair. “But I think she’d make a fine distraction. It’d make my job easier, at least. And then if we get into more trouble we could use her knife.” The Redguard turned to her. “That is, if she’s light on her feet.”

Daro’Vasora pinched the bridge of her snout, tail flicking. “I’d prefer we don't put anyone at needless risk as distractions or bait, but if that's what you lot feel is right, I won't object. Rhona, you stay close to Durantel, Durantel?” she looked up at the Altmer, her tone lacking its typical edge and instead seemed to carry an air of sincerity.

“Keep her safe. I want everyone to make it home tonight. That goes for everyone; if you aren't sure, stick with a partner and don't put yourself at needless risk. Each of us is worth more than the entire sum of the stuff we're after. If anyone has anything else, let's wrap this up and get moving out. Remember; prisoner manifest, patrol routes, and as many sets of uniforms as we can make off with. If any of you mages know a feather spell, you’re going to be a huge help.”

“I can do that one,” Anifaire said, her voice a pitch higher as she hurried to interject. A sense of pride rushed over her.

Having remained silent in the hushed conversation so far, Sol’s eyes darted around the group, settling on Rhona dubiously. He hadn’t seen her in action so he couldn’t exactly judge her ability - but her hesitation was worrisome. However, it appeared that Durantel had her back, surprisingly, as Sol would do so for whoever needed him. He had no magic or lockpicking skills to offer, but he could put down a soldier quietly enough… guaranteeing their life was another matter entirely. Usually when one met him in an altercation, it only ended with one party deceased.

“Put me where you need me.” He said simply, voice muffled by his headgear and nodding at Daro’Vasora. He had to admit, for someone who was reluctant to take the job, she was doing a fine job at leading so far. Even back at the Dwemer ruin, which seemed eons ago now, she had succeeded in guiding himself and the others across the foe-filled darkness. A prison job seemed like nothing compared to that.

“Alright, Solandil, you stick with me unless something comes up. Let’s get to it.” She replied.

With that, everyone began to file out of the room and before long, were creeping throughout the streets and taking it slowly, keeping an eye open for patrols and guards that would not hesitate to oppose them. Lead by Daro’Vasora, the team made good, if tepid, time. The closer they drew to the guard headquarters, the more it felt like they were about to enter the lair of a dangerous beast. They saw the structure soon enough, the second story of the building over a three-meter wall, a gate barring the way with a pair of guards stationed outside of it. They moved around the sides, where it was mostly open ground, and all were aware of the lookout tower coming out of the top of the building, one guard visible doing periodic checks on all sides, but not with any sort of routine or particularly rigid discipline; whoever was up there was likely bored and after night after night, week after week of no real issues due to the harshly enforced curfew, complacency probably was a trait the guards all shared.

One way or another, that was about to change.

The team was given a pair of grappling hooks and ropes to get over the walls; one for getting over, the other for getting down. The problem was, however, sound; using them in such a quiet night might attract attention from the guards outside. The wall, however, looked like it was pitted and worn down from the elements and years of exposure that a few of the more agile climbers could make it up without too much difficulty, but it would take time, and they would be exposed if anyone happened to see them climb up.

“I guess this is the point of no return; those two guards need to be taken away from the gates, be it by force, or that distraction Rhona was alluding to.” Daro’Vasora mused, eyeballing the walls. She grabbed a handhold, testing its support. “Well, figure it out, I’m going over one way or another.” she said, reaching above to dig her claws into a hand hold and soon was beginning her nearly silent ascent.

"I'm thinkin' might be best t'keep the dead bodies a low count," Meg muttered, looking to the others. A dead guard would be easier for the night, but who knew how that would pan out when the corpses were discovered. They would simply have to be as stealthy as they usually were, or more.

“No sense in wasting time,” Rhona said under her breath, “Right. I’m on it.” She looked once up at Mortalmo saying, “Keep an eye on me in case this doesn’t work.” The Altmer nodded. And with that, she made her way down the cobblestone street towards two Hammerfell guards standing in the glow of torchlight.

She held her staff in hand, her grip tightening in fear, knowing full well that she couldn’t let them down. She had to pull this off just right, her mood, her tone, and outward expression. If she messed this up, it might spell disaster for the group. Rhona took a deep breath, and tried to steady herself. Her heartbeat slipped and fluttered, where was this coming from? She would have never had volunteered for such a thing before. Why had she opened her mouth in the first place. But it was too late, there was no going back. The guards had spotted her, and she raised a hand in a friendly gesture.

“H-hello!” She called, her anxiety rising as her voice cracked.

“What are you doing out at this hour? Don’t you know that there’s a curfew?” One Redguard confronted her, moving his hand to the hilt of his scimitar.

“I’m terribly sorry! I’m aware, I… I seem to have lost my way! I just arrived in the city today, and I was trying to find the inn I’m staying at but I can’t seem to remember which road to take, or what part of the city it’s in.” She hoped that this would give her companions time to start moving.

Silently sending up a call for help and success to Talos, Mara, and any other magnanimous divine being, Meg took a small breath, steadying herself. She could hear Rhona in the distance and hardly wanted to waste her efforts. She too eyed the wall like Daro'Vasora; while she didn't have claws like the khajiit, there seemed to be enough place for fingers to grab on to. For the height of the wall, she didn't think it would take her too long. A small nod to herself and the Nord began her climb, a little unsure at first but building up speed as she went. The trick was confidence, at least for her, and of course determination. She refused to be the one to bring anyone down.

Alim grinned, and he slipped back behind cover again, having just watched Rhona go to work. She would be fine, he knew. She might not be confident in herself, but he had confidence in her. Speaking of which, he thought, glancing at Anifaire. “I’ll climb up and hook the rope up top, you can climb and follow.” he whispered to her, giving a smile and a wink. With that, he turned around, hesitated for just a moment before he began to ascend as if it was a paved road one walked upon.

Anifaire had been nervously standing behind Alim, eyeing the wall in doubt. She had no doubt she’d have never made it over. With Alim’s words, some of the tension leaked out of her muscles. A rope, she could handle. She smiled at him gratefully, which turned to surprise as she watched him scale the wall like a cat. She wrapped herself tighter in the worn cloak, clean but in bad shape, hiding her nicer clothes. She had a sudden concern they may rip.

Beside Anifaire, Solandil too awaited for an easier path up the wall to become available. While he could manage stealth on flat ground, climbing freely up a wall in his armour was just a recipe for disaster. He was no gymnast, and his cumbersome clothing would only make a difficult task even harder… and louder. Thankfully he wasn’t the only one present with failings in climbing, and he watched on as Alim scaled the wall in seconds. The man was even more nimble than Daro’Vasora, and that was saying something considering the naturally agile feline specie which she belonged to.

The spellsword vaulted over the last parapet, landing deftly and methodically untangling the rolled up rope. Placing the hook on the edge of the wall, he silently lowered the rope for Anifaire, and Sol as well when he saw his presence waiting expectedly. “Take your time,” Alim whispered, his voice only barely comprehensible, but filled with patient and care.

Anifaire grabbed the rope first, nervous to be the only one left on the group. Hauling herself over the wall took far longer than it did for the others, but there were just barely enough footholds for her to manage it. Her hands were sore and a bit cut up from the rough rope. At the top of the wall, she paused to catch her breath, giving a grateful smile to Alim through her winded panting. The height on the other side was out of her mind as she swung down, gripping the top of the wall, desperate to have her two feet on the ground again. She scrambled down, tripping just a few feet off the ground. The Altmer landed on her side with a thud that she thought would bruise later.

Waiting impatiently at the foot of the wall, Sol scanned his surroundings carefully to ensure no-one would happen upon them on the other side. Rhona was distracting a handle of guards, but there was no telling if one were to show up at the wrong place and time. Hearing a soft thud on the other side as Anifaire finally made her way up and over, Sol began his own ascent as quickly as he dared. Armour plate clinked together lightly, but the sound wouldn’t carry much in the night air. Soon Sol had joined Anifaire and Alim on the other side, but Daro’Vasora had already set off to begin the dangerous task of infiltrating the building. Squinting in the dark, Sol followed the disappearing figure of the Khajiit.

While Alim worked on fastening the grappling hook, Daro’Vasora was nearly off the wall on the other side, having pulled herself over the precipice without incident and her nimble and light frame was well-suited for this sort of thing. With feline grace, she touched down nearly silently and like a ghost, she made her way across the courtyard, her eyes looking for movement in the dark that would betray her position while her soft-soled boots touched down without sound, her heels touching down while the movement of her foot rolled across the dirt evenly until finally her toes pushed off from the ground. It was so automatic after years of practice, but it prevented her feet from creating a loud cadence of a singular impact point like a soldier on the march. Out here, in the open air, it wasn’t a huge deal even in the dead silence of night, but in a cavern or tomb even the most minute sounds echoed off of the narrow chambers. If one wanted to get in and out without incident, you had to know how to avoid trouble.

And here she was marching right into it.

Alkosh, I hate being responsible. she thought darkly, hearing the commotion at the gates with Rhona and she hoped that the guards weren’t quick to the blade. A part of her felt like she should have volunteered herself to protect Rhona, but she knew her skills were best utilized elsewhere. There was no way she would be able to handle a couple of skilled Redguard warriors in an honest fight, so it would have been stupid to risk it. For now, the best thing she could do for the others was to make the way accessible.

Reaching the front door and testing the handle, it refused to budge, much to the Khajiit’s expectations. Absentmindedly, she surveyed the lock, identifying it as one that required a more curved feeler pick and her finger traced down to the fourth pick set on her shoulder, sliding it out from the hoop. Shoving the tension wrench into the narrow lock, she felt it settle at the end of its traversal and began to apply pressure against the plug. The pick came in like a sickle, pushing up on the pins in succession, the lateral force preventing them from falling free once they hit the bottom of the channel’s cut and shearline that corresponded with the shape of the key. It only took a couple of seconds of fiddling with each pin head until they all were settled and not returning to their resting position and with a twist of her wrist, the well-lubricated plug rotated easily. The door was unlocked. Turning to look towards the others, Daro’Vasora decided to wait for backup before opening the door and confronting what might lay on the other side.

"Nice," Meg whispered as she quietly scampered over, complimenting the Khajiit’s prowess at picking the lock. Her climb up the wall had been without incident for which she was grateful, but the cynical part of her mind reminded her that this was just the start of the mission and things could easily go wayward. After a moment's decision, the Nord carefully pulled an arrow from her quiver, holding it and her bow loosely as she waited for the others. Better to be prepared; if there was someone on the other side of the door, she didn't want them getting the best of her group.

“And what part of the city are you trying to go to?” The Redguard’s companion spoke up, in the dark, she could barely distinguish the features of the Dwemer guard. It was the distinct facial hair that helped her identify him.

“Oh goodness, I don’t know! What is the name of the inn… let me see.” Rhona tapped her chin thoughtfully, actually trying to name an inn or part of the city clear across on the opposite side of Gilane. Nothing was coming to behind and she began to panic.

“Well? We don’t have all night.” The Redguard growled.

“I know it was near the market, close to the harbor, I found it on my way into the city after leaving the ship.” She said, chewing on her lip.

Nocturne, guide me, and my friends, she thought to herself.

“The harbor is located clear across the city.” The Dwemer commented, “It is after hours, and we strictly enforce our curfew hours. Surely the inspectors forewarned you?”

“They did, yes, I seemed to have let the time get away from me, is there any way you could point me in the right direction?” She asked, the last thing she needed was an arrest. Where was Mortalmo?

Daro’Vasora noticed that the situation at the gate wasn’t going entirely smoothly, and time might not be an ally for this particular assignment. “Well, I guess it’s time to wing it. Meg,” she said, turning to the mousy Nord who had joined her. She gestured at the bow. “You might have to use that. See if you can get a shot on the guy in the tower; if it comes down to them verses any of us, the choice should be pretty clear. If it sounds like Rhona is in trouble, don’t hesitate.” She turned her attention to the door. “Fuck it, here goes.”

She entered the station, her eyes adapting to the dark; only moonlight gave the reception area any light, and the Khajiit assumed that no one was at the desk because no one was going to be waiting around after curfew to take complaints and reports from people who were legally barred from showing up. All the better. It gave her a bit of freedom to skulk around in the shadows, and she found herself behind the reception desk before long and she very carefully began to pull out drawers, searching for any papers that would have been of use; most of it was typical stationary, most of it not filled out in the slightest, but there wasn’t even so much a list of names. Instead, hanging on the wall in a small locked cabinet that had a simple lock that gave way easily were a few sets of keys; not knowing which was which, she grabbed the bunch carefully, wrapping each one with paper to keep them from shifting and ringing, and brought them to the door, putting them gently down in the door frame; one of them had to get into the jailhouse.

That done, Daro’Vasora began to ascend upstairs, stepping very carefully as she could closer to the wall to give her some concealment if someone looked down the stairwell, the stone steps were also fortunate in the sense they were incapable of creaking like wood. When she reached the landing, she glanced back down and hoped that someone was capable of dealing with the armour sets they needed to acquire. Maybe she should have told them to barricade the barracks door just in case, she thought shrugging the thought off and heading further ahead.

The room opened up into an office, with a number of desks and cabinets with piles of papers, maps, and all manner of signs of working life present, like personal momentos like a little wooden horse on one, a dagger on another, a half-finished doll on another. Daro’Vasora reminded herself what she needed to look for, Prisoner transfer list, guard schedule. she knew she’d have to jot it down when she found it; if it was found that’s what the raid was going for, the guards may change everything.

Suddenly, she didn’t feel very grand about this whole plan.

Finding some blank stationary and and inkpot and quill, she set it up by a window that had enough moonlight for her to read clearly and began her search. She didn’t hear the door down the hall open.

Mortalmo clung to the shadows, watching silently as the two guardsmen scrutinized Rhona. It did not appear as if her ruse would be holding up for much longer, what with their harsh and questioning tones, and the way their bodies seemed to tense as they drew closer. Taking the path of a wide half circle to avoid their line of sight, he began stalking towards them. He wrinkled his nose in distaste. The dearth of usable cover made the situation further from ideal than he would have liked.

“Mm. We should just take her in, you know the rules. Any persons outside after dusk are to be taken into custody, and questioned.”

“You’re right...” The Redguard turned his attention back to Rhona. “What did you say your name was lass?”

He was nearly upon them now, and sent a quick prayer to Auri-El that Rhona’s presence was enough to prevent either from deigning to turn their heads. Clutching a sharpened dagger in each hand, Mortalmo recalled Daro’Vasora’s notion that killing should be avoided if at all possible.


Like a serpent finally uncoiling, Mortalmo rose to his full height and sprinted forward the last few meters, before plunging a blade deep into the neck of either guard. Any cries or shouts that would have escaped their mouths were quickly replaced by the gurgling of blood welling to their lips. Mortalmo unceremoniously shoved the Redguard to the ground, before doing the same to the Dwemer. They twitched and spasmed, eyes wide in silent agony. Mortalmo considered them as he began to speak. “They pose a miserable sight, do they not?”

Rhona’s brows rose in surprise at the sight of Mortalmo plunging his blades into the guards, she stared back aghast, “Mort-”, she corrected herself immediately, “Durantel what did you do?”

“No it doesn’t matter.” She sighed, “we need to move their bodies. C’mon then. You grab one, I’ve got this one.”

With her bow already strung and arrow at the ready, Meg didn't have to do much in preparation aside from training her arrow on the tower, and waiting. It wasn't a long wait either; she could see the guard abruptly standing up from whatever they'd been preoccupied, letting out an urgent call as he began to sound the bell. With all that racket, their mission was sure to fail. The risk wasn't worth it.

"Oh no y'don'," she muttered under her breath. Adjusting her aim the slightest bit, Meg let her arrow fly. Without waiting to see if the first one struck, she immediately pulled another one from her quiver and nocked it. The guard seemed frozen in place and the ringing of the bell came to a trailing pause; Meg let her next arrow fly, and this time she saw it hit him square in the chest, sending the guard toppling out of sight. Hopefully Durantel had taken care of the rest below; there wasn't anything else she could do from here.

As the others had already entered and headed off to their assigned tasks, she had no need to worry about someone waiting to attack on the other side of the door. Still, habit had her walking with light steps, peeking inside before even thinking to step in. Green eyes scanned the area, or attempted to. There wasn't much light aside from the moon, so she had to strain her eyes. From what she could see once her eyes adjusted to the darkness, they had entered the reception area. Prison should be t'the left then. She looked down as she lifted her foot to step inside; sure there were no tripwires or runes here, but once again there was the force of habit. In this case it wasn't a bad thing, as she easily spotted the small bundle of papers in the doorframe.

Crouching down, she reached out and put her hand on one; it was easy enough to feel the keys wrapped inside the paper. Smiling a little at the sense of caution, she felt the other two bundles; just like the first, they too were keys. Well, it seemed at least she didn't have to worry about finding the keys... then again she only need one of the sets, but who could tell which was the one she needed without seeing the door she'd have to unlock and testing the keys? Assuming for the time being that no one else needed them, she scooped up all three sets, still wrapped in paper, and shoved them under her belt. Once she figured out which one she needed, she'd try to return the other two.

Making sure the keys were secure, she finally headed into the reception area and to the west, recalling the blueprints they had seen earlier in the night. Keeping close to the walls to avoid any unwanted collision, Meg silently made her way further west into the reception area until she finally reached the closed off training area. Ah hah. Not far away would be the entrance to the prison. Slightly proud at not botching things up yet, Meg headed through said entrance and soon came to a pause, deliberating whether she ought to head up where the office would be, or whether she should first unlock and unbar the door that lead down to the cells.

Well, no use havin’ keys on me if I don’ go an’ try ‘em. With that thought, she headed for the door, carefully pulling out the first set of keys from it place under her belt and unwrapping the paper. She then resisted the urge to let the piece of paper fall to the ground, tucking it under her belt with one hand as she scrutinized the keys with both her eyes and fingers. Hm... Turning toward the door, Meg reached out and tentatively felt the lock. They didn't quite feel as if they would be a match, but better safe than sorry- until she found the right one, she would test each and every key.

The first set was a dud. 'Course it's the wrong one. Her own thoughts were dripping with sarcasm, and if she wasn't in the current situation and instead in a 'fun' tomb raiding adventure, she might have even laughed. At the moment though, there was not even a twitch to her mouth as she wrapped the set and stowed it under her belt once more. Out came the next set instead. There would be no breaks here.

Mara give me patience, growled her mind when the fifth key in the second set ended up not fitting as well. Perhaps the goddess heard her annoyed silent call, because the sixth key slid in as easily as a knife slipped into soft butter. Now the Nord allowed herself a little grin. There y'are, m'pretty li'l key. She pulled the key out without unlocking the door, and with it still in her hands she swiftly headed back to the reception area, ready to deposit the other sets back where she had found them.

Anifaire, trying her best to make her footsteps fall silently, but failing utterly, made her way to the doorway where Daro’Vasora and Meg had disappeared. She felt clumsy and conspicuous compared to her far more light-footed companions. Her clothes ruffled with each step as she silently berated herself for her ill-suited skillset.

Hurrying to get out of the open, she entered the reception area ahead of Alim and Sol, but found no one else in sight by the time she arrived there. She walked slowly across the room, stopping to poke carefully around at the desk.

The Altmer began reading documents and opening drawers, finding nothing that seemed to match what she was looking for. Several minutes passed. Her nerves eased more the longer she stood there without incident. When she began flicking through documents in the third drawer, she realized how stupid she’d been; there was no way the others passed through here without searching already.

She shoved the drawer shut just a bit too loudly. The wood clacked against the desk and she jumped up, standing stiff as a board. Moments passed, Anifaire afraid to so much as breathe, but no one came. Slowly releasing her breath, she moved as far from the desk as she could, backing away from the training area.

Her thoughts were moving faster than she could think them, racing away from her grasp each time she tried to grab one. Finally, she settled on one thing: she couldn’t just stand around being of no use to anyone else.

Determined, she tried to remember the map she’s studied and headed for the door opposite the training room. She turned the knob slowly, the door sliding open inch by inch without a sound. Anifaire moved as slowly as she could, dreading the tap, tap, tap of her own footfalls. Compared to the silence of the building, they sounded like an earthquake.

She took about three steps into the room, scanning each corner until she turned directly to her left. There, next to her, was a guard. She stumbled backwards in surprise. She tripped over the corner of her cloak and lost her balance, tumbling against the wall. With some success, she caught herself and stuck there, hanging onto the wall, utterly still as she waited for the guard to move.

To her surprise, he didn’t.

Slowly, she straightened herself and backed away from him, the slow rise and fall of his chest, the light snoring. As quietly as she could, she scrambled back into the reception area, swinging the door shut. With the solid door between her and the sleeping guard, she let out a huge breath, leaning her back against the door and sliding down to the ground. She stood there quietly, trying with all her might not to panic.

Alim poked his head into the room, then sauntered in, casually eating a banana. “Good job.” he said with his mouth full. He glanced at the sleeping guard, and raised his facewrap before he shook the man’s shoulder roughly. After a few shakes, the guard came to groggily, then snapped to attention. “Captain? I wasn’t asleep I-”

Alim slammed the butt of his dagger into the man’s head, and the guard toppled, falling off his perch and onto the ground. Alim’s next words were somewhat normal volume. “It’s easier to deal with them that way.”

Anifaire choked on her words, opening and closing her mouth a few times before she finally just nodded in agreement. Sol, having followed Alim into the room, looked at the dead guard apathetically, and wondered if it was even worth hiding the body at this rate. The stealth part of their mission wasn’t working impeccably so far, if the brief ringing of the bell earlier was anything to go by.

"Oh, hey." Meg had just re-entered the reception, not expecting anyone there but nonetheless glad to see not just Anifaire but Alim and Sol as well. The latter two seemed their usual selves, while the former much more perturbed; Meg suspected it had something to do with the guard guard she'd nimbly stepped over on her way here. "Glad t'see y'both're fine, unlike that milk drinker there. Here." She held out both hands, each of them holding a set of keys. "Reckon you'll be needin' 'em. Managed t'find the one for the prison."

Anifaire accepted one pair of keys, daintily grabbing it, worried about dropping them and making a loud noise.

Daro’Vasora’s eyes caught a parchment that contained a list of names, followed by districts and streets, she presumed. It looked to be what she was looking for. A grin creeped upon her face.

“Got you.” she said.

“Gotcha!” A voice came behind her, that certainly didn’t sound like anyone she knew. Suddenly, rough hands grabbed her shoulders and shoved her hard against a desk, rattling the contents and winding her. One of the guards, she presumed, stared at her with malicious intent. He sneered at her, “What do you think you’re doing, thief? Coming into the - ARGH!” he shouted, claws tearing into his arm enough to draw blood and loosen his grip. The Khajiit headbutted him and grabbed the parchment, shoving it into her shirt as she scurried behind some furniture, wincing at her back. She considered herself lucky the brute didn’t simply smash her head against the desk and beat the shit out of her.

“Everyone, up! We’ve got an intruder!” He shouted. Daro’Vasora’s heart raced.

Oh, fuck.

She moved low to the ground, trying to keep coverage between her and the man who was moving much quicker than she was. The sound of a sword leaving its scabbard chilled her; she knew of the reputation of the Redguards and their prowess with a blade, she simply couldn’t compare. Her mace was soon in hand, and she held her breath, slipping behind a desk and waiting for her quarry to draw near.

Footsteps were upon her, and she heard scrambling in the adjacent room. Time was short, as soon as she saw the man’s shin’s, she drove her mace hard towards them, striking the man hard in the unprotected legs; the sound of cracking bone filled the air, along with his agonized scream, which caused Daro’Vasora’s ears to pull back in pain and anticipation; nothing good was coming from this.

She drove the mace down hard into the man’s sword arm that was bracing him against the floor, and his grip released on a rather curious looking sword; it was a scimitar-like blade similar to what the other guards used, but much longer and more ornate. It looked like a family sword, or a custom order. The Khajiit immediately rebuked her mind for travelling to such trivial thoughts when her life was imperilled. She scooped up the blade without much of a thought, keeping it from the man’s hands, and sprinted towards the staircase, shouting down, “Time to go!” as she ran towards the door for the others’ benefit. They were going to be in a world of shit if the guards mobilized, and the officers upstairs certainly were about to.

Having returned to the prison entrance with a single set of keys, it was with relative ease that Meg unlocked and unbarred the door, feeling relatively proud of herself. With Alim and the two Altmer taking care of the prison’s upper level and the armoury, she had decided to take a little tour of the actual prison cells and see if there was anything or person that may have useful information with them. Wary of prison guards, she once more kept to the walls, keeping her steps as light and noiseless as possible. The trek down wasn't too long, and it was actually sparsely lit with torches places in sconces at small intervals. Of course, while this made it easier for Meg to see where she was headed, it also meant that her shadow could be seen slinking about for anyone who cared to pay attention.

None of that mattered however when the sound of commotion sounded from upstairs, followed by a voice she clearly recognized as Daro'Vasora's telling them to get going. Shit. As if that wasn't enough, there was the sound of someone moving towards her, probably wishing to see what in Talos' name was going on upstairs. Whether she wanted to or not, Meg had no choice this time. Grabbing her sword, she took the guard by surprise, slamming the pommel up against his face. By the sound that followed, she could tell the hit had broken his nose.

"Argh!" He stumbled to his knees, holding a hand against his nose. Taking the opportunity once more, she slammed the pommel against the back of his head, rendering him unconscious.

"Hey, let us out!" Meg's eyes jerked to the cell where she could see she had garnered an audience. This was becoming more of a commotion than she had wanted. This was why she'd rather deal with undead who couldn’t talk more than a snarl here and there.

Maybe it was a good idea though. From the sounds of it, the guards upstairs had been alerted... a distraction could be exactly what was needed so she and her comrades could escape.

Within a couple of minutes, most the cells were unlocked. I'm gonna regret this the Nord thought to herself as she unlocked the last cell and turned on her heel, not waiting to see if the Redguard inside came out or stayed where he was. Whatever the case was, there were more than enough prisoners on the loose now. As she scurried up the stairs and headed for the reception door, she could only hope enough chaos was being caused so that her band of five would go unnoticed.

Meanwhile, Alim and Anifaire had made it to the upper levels of the prison. It was dark and filled with pitfalls and iron bars. However, Alim knew prisons (you could guess why) and oddly enough, most prisons around Tamriel were similar. The guardposts were placed near each exit and the warden’s office was above the prison. He didn’t know why. Perhaps to keep an eye on the prisoners. Either way, he was certain the armory was close. They always kept it near the outer edge of the prison, close to the guard posts. Sol followed close behind the pair, keeping close to ensure he didn’t become lost in the dark corridors. Having failed to locate Daro’Vasora (And deciding that the smaller rogue would be more than adept at finishing the job without him), Sol had followed Alim and his fellow Altmer in acquiring the uniforms. If any Redguards showed up, at least they had an extra pair of hands (and swords) available to put them down.

As they moved, Alim could feel the unease rising in Anifaire, and he grabbed her hand gently and guided her forward. “Keep low,” he whispered.

Anifaire ducked quickly, a bolt of fear piercing her chest. Her grip was tight, both on the key rings in one hand and on Alim’s in the other, knuckles slightly white. She nervously watched Alim, not wanting to stick her head into the open to check, and not daring to say a word.

It took another uncomfortable minute, but Alim found a door that looked suitable for the armory. Thick oak with iron bars riveted to it to give it strength in case of a riot. Luckily, they needn’t break it down. Merely unlock it. He unlocked the door with a simple twist of his wrist, and opened it to reveal the armory.

He breathed a sigh of relief. He was used to disappointment on missions like this, but he didn’t want that to be Anifaire’s experience. Iron and steel swords gleamed on the racks, amongst other weapons set in piles and locked in chests. Shields adorned the walls, and suits of armor were set on stands so that guards could grab them at a moment’s notice.

“Let’s get what we need and leave.” Sol said in a hushed tone to the others, glancing over his shoulder into the darkness beyond as noises filtered through the air. With the call to arms having gone up, he doubted they had much time to dither over what to take. It was a small victory having found their target, but it would mean nothing if they were caught in the middle of a dozen tired and angry Redguards. Even less so if the blasted Dwemer got a hold of them.

To say they had kicked the hornet’s nest would be an understatement; the entirety of the guards who had once been sleeping were now awake and getting their arms and some light form of protection on to address the situation, and it became something of a free for all to escape. Thanks to Meg, a number of the prisoners were let out of their cells, which while aiding in the group’s escape, likely allowed a number of horrors back into Gilane’s streets to prey upon the innocents. It was a bit too late to worry about that, however; it certainly helped conceal their identities from the authorities, save for the officer Daro’Vasora had assaulted. It would have been hard for the man to forget the female Khajiit that broke his arm and stole his newly acquired sword. While she made off with the guard patrol list, it was likely that it would be changed around in light of the attack, but it did at least provide a list of names. It wasn’t a grand victory.

Solandil, Alim, and Anifaire managed to bundle together four complete sets of armour thanks to the feather spell Anifaire had cast on the bulkiest of the items and Solandil’s formidable stature to do much of the heavy lifting; Alim had also managed to buy some time by blocking the barracks door with a desk. Nobody managed to find a prisoner transport manifest, but considering they managed to get back to the safehouse and off of the streets without anyone being seriously hurt or caught, it was arguably a success of sorts. Although blood was spilled by Durantel, he and Rhona helped clear a way for a clean escape for not only the group, but the prisoners, and Meg saw to the lookout not being able to say where the people of interest fled to thanks to her archery.

The Poncy Man did say that the most important thing was that nobody got detailed or killed, right?
I'm sorry, it's been a hellish week for me having any time off/ being able to focus on writing. I think I'm going to bow out for now so you aren't waiting for me, but maybe a bit down the road when I kind of get things sorted, I'll come back if you got space. Thank you for your patience with me and I'm sorry for the trouble!
@LetMeDoStuff Still working on it! Just got busy the last couple days because we had snow apocalypse going on and work things. I am terribly sorry for the delay.
@LetMeDoStuff Sorry about slowness on my end! I got caught up with urgent replies the past couple of days and I work long hours, so I haven't had a chance to sit down and start just yet. Hopefully before work tonight or tomorrow, but I am off Wednesday and Thursday so I'll be able to knock something off of good quality then.

<Snipped quote by Dervish>

More than fine to have you on board. I do like to consider the vulnerabilities of humanity during Halo as its peak moments of interest. ODST was one of the ways of capturing that but I wanted an even deeper character narrative, one that is set within a similar setting to Reach. Kind of a blend between the two, I suppose. The first time I tried the RP it was with Spartan IIIs, obviously being one of the weaker ones, but the powerplaying was over-the-top. Plus, who doesn't love the wittiness and humane lifestyles of the UNSC troops?

Speaking my language, good sir.

That's part of why Reach was probably my favorite Halo campaign overall (although, 3 and ODST were my two favorite narratives). I felt it best captures just how bleak and hopeless most of the war was, as well as emphasized just how superior and devastating the Covenant was. I feel like 4 and 5 kinda messed up what made Halo such a refreshing setting by making humanity super powerful and more capable than any of the Covenant species after the war. You'd think losing almost all of your colonies and having your home planet nearly destroyed would leave very little military personnel and resources left to pursue things like the bloody Infinity.

Onto the RP stuff, probably going to go with an ODST scout/ designated marksman or exotic weapons specialist. Normally I find sniper characters way too overdone or too cool for school, but hell, I was a recce soldier IRL, I'd like to think I'm grounded.
Hey, I've been having that ol' Halo itch recently and I've been eyeballing this up. I may get a sheet worked on and apply if you're okay with giving me a few days/ are alright with a more moderate posting rate!

I will say this looks really well thought out and the lack of playable Spartans is very appealing; I really like character driven stories that aren't about being an uber badass, so a somber survival tale is right up my alley.
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