8:13pm, Last Seed 16
Keegan was a mer on a mission.
As soon as he heard of the name Horace Fontaine, Keegan knew exactly what he needed to do. And when the vampires attacked, he knew it was the moment.
Horace was not brave man; Keegan knew all too well. For all of his bravado and ambition in his letters, Horace was a rather timid individual in person. Horace was the first to run when the frenzy spell exploded, without regard for anyone in his way and without regard for direction. Unlike the crowd vying for the gates, Horace took off deeper into Castle Evermore, until he had found an administrator's office and locked himself inside.
Keegan followed not far behind. He could see his fellow mercenaries pursuing what was undoubtedly the baddest vampire. Keegan didn't care. Horace was what forced him into this mercenary mess in the first place. His "comrades" and those nobles did not matter in the slightest.
It was laughable that a simple door was all that stood between Keegan and his debt owner. Was Horace really stupid enough to think that a locked door could stop vampires? Or anyone determined enough to get him? A strong boot was all that's needed, or in Keegan's case, a bit of alteration. The door swung open and there Horace was, cowering behind the administrator's table.
"No, wait, wait, please!" Horace whimpered; it was absolutely pathetic. "Don't kill me!"
Keegan said nothing. He aimed his dwemer staff (retrieved just minutes ago from the basement stash) toward the table as he slowly advanced on a bunched up Horace.
Horace, on the other hand, couldn't even bring himself to look at the intruder. The frenzy spell had heightened his fear and all he could do was mutter prayers to the divines.
The same spell had no effect Keegan. He had long grown accustomed to illusion magic.
"Don't hurt me, I beg you!" Horace finally peaked over his shoulder, when he felt the intruder stepping around the table and standing over him. "I don't know who you are or what you want, but I have gol-"
Then Horace saw who the intruder was, and for second, there was only disbelief on his face. But Keegan was not in the mood to entertain. He needed to leave this gods-forsaken castle before guards or vampires stumbled upon him. So the mentioned of gold pushed him, already impatient, over the edge. Fueled by anger, Keegan found the unbelievable strength to grab Horace with one hand and threw him on the table.
"You? Keegan! What? How-"
"How am I not dead?" Keegan snickered. He jabbed the blades of his staff right up against Horace's neck. "How did the bounty hunters miss me? How to trick me again so you can ruin my life for the second time?"
"Look, there's bad things happening in this castle right now." Horace squirmed on the table. "People are dying! I need to-, I mean, we need to leave before I'm-, I mean, before we're dead too!"
Keegan shook his head. He pressed his staff firmer against Horace's neck. "You are the only one dying here, if you don't give me what I want, and you know exactly what I want from you."
"No, you have to understand, I had no choice!" Horace croaked. The staff blades were beginning to wedge into his skin, making it harder to speak. "The creditors came after me when the theater burned. They would've taken everything from me! I have a family to feed, so I had to give them something else to go after!"
"So you made me the scapegoat instead of owning up to your own mistakes." Keegan withdrew his staff, but before Horace could sit up, he slammed staff shaft into Horace's face. "You selfish prick! You knew better than to schedule that pyromancy performance! You could've taken safety precautions! But no, you were busy giving yourself a pay raise!"
"Selfish?" Horace finally shot back. He spat out a glob of blood from his mouth and raised his voice to match Keegan's. "Do you know what I had to do to keep my brother out of jail? Do you know how much it costed to send Ariane, my niece, to the College of Whispers? Do you know how I much I paid the healers to cure my mother's illness? Do you know how many starving performers like yourself I sponsored?"
"I don't know and I don't care." Keegan dismissed. He grabbed Horace again, throwing him into a chair this time. Then Keegan grabbed a blank parchment, a quill and a pot of ink. "Rescind my debt, transfer my crime to yourself, write it as your will."
"My will, why-"
"Hurry up!" Keegan slapped Horace with the staff again, then pressed the blades up against his neck. "Are you deaf!?"
"Alright, fine!" Horace relented. He began writing, and several minutes later, his will was signed. "Is this what you wanted? Let me go now; I promise to send this to the authorities and-"
As Horace tried to stand up, he found himself forced back down by Keegan. For the third time, Keegan took Horace by his shirt collar, and slammed him back onto the table. Keegan's dwemer staff now shimmered with electrical charges, and Horace felt them dangerously close to himself.
"How stupid do you think I am?" Keegan almost laughed. "We both know that if you leave here tonight, you'll just get another bounty hunter, and maybe even raise the bounty so bigger names can come after me."
Horace held breath. His eyes darted all over the room as pieces began to fall in place.
"But if you fall victim to the vampire attack here tonight, maybe you'll have a change of heart before you die." Keegan explained. "Maybe your last act of mercy, however unlikely that may be, is to pardon an Altmer you've so relentlessly blamed."
When it all made sense to him, Horace felt a genuine tinge of regret, for creating a killer out of the meek magician he exploited for many years. Then he finally fought back, like a desperate rabbit cornered by a pack of wolves, for his dear life.
The fight was short. Horace tried to shove Keegan away. Keegan stabbed his staff blades into Horace's shoulder, pinning him against the table. Blood spilled, and a pained cry filled the room. The Keegan ripped his staff out, and Horace's opposing hand raced to cover his mangled shoulder.
"You are just as selfish as me." Horace taunted between gasps. "If you think you are somehow righteous, then you're sorely mistaken."
"The only person anyone truly cares for is themselves." Replied Keegan. "As I have learned from a deceased foe; the divines care not for who is right, but only who wins."
Keegan raised his staff, and with venomous hatred and steeled determination, drove it toward Horace Fontaine's neck. Keegan was never a killer, and he never could be one. But just for this once, he had to kill to save himself. Memories of his sufferings from the interrogators in Hammerfell, to the Corsairs of Wayrest, and the Kamals at Skyrim, forced his hands forward. Then metal pierced flesh, and it was over; Horace's death was almost instant.
The minute after felt surreal. Keegan's head swam and he collapsed onto the chair. Despite how much death he had seen in the past month, his first kill was a numbing experience. He took deep breaths to calm himself, smelling the ferrous odor of blood spilling out of Horace. Keegan moved the will and quill so it looked like Horace had just written his last words before dying. Then Keegan found Horace's gold pouch had fallen free during their struggle. He pondered for a while on whether or not he should take it. Perhaps give it to Ariane? No, that would take too much time and raise too much suspicion. Plus, he needed all the money he could get to reach Summerset.
The sounds of armored footsteps and panicked voices pulled Keegan back to reality. He grabbed the coin purse and ran out. Several guards were headed his way, shouting for Keegan to stop. Keegan paid them no mind; he conjured a familiar to distract them, while turning himself invisible to slip by.
Leaving the castle itself involved smashing through a tainted glass window that overlooked a part of the city without walls in between. Keegan jumped out of the three-storey castle, using oakflesh to fortify himself and feather to slow his fall, so that he only sprained his ankle instead of breaking his legs. Keegan found himself to be the third person back at Used Sundries. Alim and a Breton woman had already made themselves comfortable, and was celebrating in an intimate manner. Sevine, who was supposed to guard Used Sundries, was sobbing in her room, with a letter and a bottle of alcohol. Keegan sneaked past all of them, grabbed his bag and went back out. He's done with this company.
At the docks on the Bjoulsae River, the last batch of fishers were turning in for the day. There was only one boat not yet tied up. Keegan dashed for it and caught the boat owner just about to head to shore.
"Wait, wait! I require passage out of the city." Keegan hailed the sailor.
"It is too late." The sailor replied. "And your request is rather suspicious."
"Please, I must go tonight." Keegan presented Horace's pouch of gold. "There's an emergency back home; I need to find my parents as soon as possible."
It was a lot of gold, so the sailor reluctantly agreed.
Keegan Vasque, the mer once known as Thaleruim, sailed off into the night, determined to return to the home he had once ran away from.