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2 yrs ago
Current Sometimes I wonder whether or not my trust is misplaced or not, especially when it seems that the trust I place in some people isn't reciprocated.
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2 yrs ago
All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.
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2 yrs ago
Currently in exam periods at University after a full month of mobilization and a constant strike Things arent looking well so ill either be busy trying to save the semester or not because its lost
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2 yrs ago
I should re-read the Lord of the Rings one of these days
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3 yrs ago
Is it wierd that, whenever I am stressed I want to RP? I don't know, helps keep my mind off of certain things. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
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”And so the dead shall bury the dead.”

- Ethrain, lich and necromancer of the 2nd Era


5th Midyear - Late Afternoon
Somewhere by the docks

It was a quiet and typically balmy evening down by the docks of Gilane, the scent of the ocean hung around the air as three sharply dressed mercenaries sat around a table - each with an ale in hand and a smile on their face, and the fourth member of their party was jumping around in a show of bravado for his comrades.

“Gilane is the place to be, and our enemies don’t want to cross us, I’ll slash their guts out and wear them as a necklace...” Grinned the small looking Imperial youth, with his humble looking shortsword in hand.

“Sit your arse down, Jon - before you have your own eye out with that needle! You’ll be slashing at air and nothing but,” chuckled a dashing looking Breton, whose appearance alone commanded attention. The way he spoke oozed charisma and his eyes twinkled - the obvious leader of the group.

“Ahhh, shut up Laf. I’m just excited to be here - be off that fuckin’ boat at last. Stretch my legs on the warm sands of Gilane-”

“-And I’m ready to stretch myself around Gilane in other ways. Lock up your daughters!” Was the guffaw that erupted from a mountainous looking Nord in plate armour. He had a steel axe slung over his shoulder and his voice was loud and full of an unmistakable arrogance. He raised his tankard to his thin lips to down the rest of his ale.

“Now now, behave yourself Hercules,” spoke Laf, patting the Nord on the back with a content laugh. “We have to be on the job tomorrow, let’s make this a night that we’ll tell stories about forever! We’re just a bunch of ragtags, my friends. Let's be victorious in our endeavours together!” He stood up from his own seat and spoke to his friends, “let us make these red sands redder with blood stains!” Both Jon and Hercules laughed and cheered for him - raising their glasses. The fourth, a Khajiit, remained hunched over his ale - a sombre disposition painted upon his features. Clearly he was displeased by his companions. An impressive looking spear was propped up against the table beside him. He remained silent.

“What say you, Arin?” asked Laf, with a grin, patting his Khajiit companion on the back as he had done so with the others. Arin merely nodded his head and took a set of large gulps from his tankard. “Whatever you say, boss.”

An athletic swordsman, an armoured Nord warrior, a Khajiit lancer, and a Breton mage continued to enjoy their first night in Gilane - little did they know that it would also be their last...

Having crept so close to them that he could already smell their stink on the air, Gregor dashed out from behind one of the many crates that stood uselessly along the dock’s pier and charged into the woefully unprepared and utterly surprised group of mercenaries. The lower half of his face was hidden by a scarf and, combined with the all-black battledress and hooded cloak that was his signature, Gregor looked like a villain from the children’s horror stories of his homeland. Before anyone could properly process and react to what happened, Gregor’s crackling claymore struck Hercules across his shoulder, finding a weak spot in the plate armor, and a spout of blood arced through the air while tendrils of lightning surged over his body, seizing up the big Nord’s muscles. He hoped that the other mercenaries would be so taken aback by the sudden attack that they would back away towards the edge of the pier, where something even worse than him was waiting in the wings.

“What the FUCK?!” Hercules cried out in shock before throwing his tankard down onto the table, grabbing his battleaxe - the weight suddenly more than he had remembered it being. A combination of being smashed in the shoulder and smashed from the ale. He pivoted to face a man in black as his friends all armed themselves too. Jon plucked up his shield and wiped his brow with a smirk. Laf clapped his hands and lit them up with Magicka that was forming there. The Khajiit merely stood, collecting his lance stoically. He did not yet believe this intruder to the party to be a threat. He was outnumbered for a start. “Be careful, Hercules. Don’t be arrogant,” he remarked to the Nord - who was absolutely going to be as arrogant as he could.

“Let’s dance then!” laughed Hercules in the direction of his attacker as he clumsily drove himself forward, waving the axe haphazardly at Gregor. “This one means business I see…” the Nord growled, backed by the Breton who shot at him with golden restorative magic. “Arin, Jon, get back. Let’s see how this plays out for our new friend here,” said Laf as he watched, waiting for the scene play out.

Distracted as they were by Gregor’s sudden appearance, none noticed the pair of scaled hands that grabbed the edge of the pier from underwater. Jaraleet climbed silently, with the soft sound of the dripping water being the only sign of his presence as he made no sound with his footsteps as he approached their foes. It didn’t take too long for the Haj-Eix to pick a target, deciding to take out the Khajiit lancer first; both he and Gregor fought using swords and long ranged weapon like a spear could very easily complicate things for the both of them.

With a target decided, things occured in a split second. Jaraleet wrapped one arm around the Khajiit’s neck and before he or any of his companions had time to react, the Argonian threw himself back into the water along with his fellow betmer. Once they were under water, Jaraleet wasted not a second in pulling his dagger from its sheath - sinking the blade into the Khajiit’s shoulders so as to reduce any possibility of surfacing for air for his foe.

As the Argonian reached for his dagger, so did the nimble Khajiit. Arin pulled it from his side and thrust it backwards - fighting against the grip of the new foe, the water, and the sudden pain. He was in trouble.

Meanwhile, up top, Laf and Jon were left aghast - the situation was getting out of hand; “where in Oblivion are Alexei and Thom?” yelled Laf as he shot a fireball from his right hand towards the cloaked fiend who was closing in on Hercules. “We could use the backup - Jon, go and find them!”

A single fireball was hardly enough to deter the menacing Imperial. He swiftly conjured a ward and Lafayette’s spell detonated harmlessly against its shimmering surface. Gregor did not break his stride, emerging through the roiling cloud of smoke left behind by the fireball’s impotent explosion, and continued to bear down on Hercules, brandishing his claymore with a flourish. He had seen how Jaraleet had already taken the Khajiit down with him into the murky depths below. Their plan was working. Once again, Gregor’s blade arced through the air, seeking Hercules’ flesh, but the Nord was ready for him now and blocked the attack. No matter. Gregor was merely buying time.

Hercules once again hurled his axe forward toward the Imperial, his initial wound closed for now. Who is this man? he thought as he felt an almighty strength behind his blade, and a feeling of absolute dread when his eyes met that of his foes. He had little idea of what was happening behind him, except for the Breton mage, Lafayette’s failed attempt to push the Imperial back had been futile. Sweat formed upon his brow but he tensed his arms, muscles rippling under his armour. “What in the fuck, Lafayette?” he cursed aloud, so sharply that spit flew from his lips. Hercules pushed back against Gregor, letting his size do the talking - he was much larger than this man, he would use it to his advantage.

The Breton mage once again rubbed his palms together, forming up another spell - he waited for the arrival of the last two members of their group.

While the rest of the group continued to fight Gregor, under the waters Jaraleet and Arin continued their struggle under the murky depths of the harbor. Unfortunately for the Khajiit, the long time under the water, coupled with the wounds that the Argonian had inflicted, meant that what energy he had to resist was quickly dissipating the longer his fight against Jaraleet went on.

His attempt at stabbing the Haj-Eix with his dagger had been unsuccessful, as Jaraleet had easily enough dodged the blow from the dagger, with the Argonian only receiving a shallow cut to his side for all of Arin’s efforts. Realizing that he was wasting too much time dealing with the Khajiit, the Argonian sunk his dagger into his foe’s throat, making sure to perforate the jugular to ensure that there would be no chance of survival.

Letting go of the soon to be deceased Khajiit, Jaraleet swam away from Arin but not before turning one last time to face his victim. “There’s no point in struggling. Accept the call of Sithis and return to the Void.” The Haj-Eix mouthed under the water before turning back in the direction of the pier. It didn’t take him too long to swim back to the surface and to climb the dock’s pier, accustomed as he was to swimming with his gear in person.

Back on to dry land, Jaraleet began approaching the Breton mage. With the Khajiit out of the way, the mage presented the biggest threat to the success of their mission so it was imperative for him to be taken out.

With their Khajiit foe taken care of and Jaraleet joining the fray proper, Gregor stopped wasting time. He had fought Nords before; their prodigious strength and size were always a problem but he knew that they rarely possessed finely honed technique. The Imperial stepped in quickly and locked the shaft of Hercules’ battleaxe into the large and complicated crossguard of Gregor’s claymore. He twisted his body, stomped down on Hercules’ foot and ripped the battleaxe right out of the Nord’s hands. This would have been the moment for Lafayette to intervene, Gregor knew, but Jaraleet would take care of that. It was nice to have a partner in combat he could rely on, Gregor thought to himself while swinging his claymore at the now-disarmed Nord, forcing him to either evade the attack or suffer the consequences.

Hercules snarled in the face of Gregor, before jumping back out of his range, taking side by Lafayette who had been busy forming up thunder magicka in both of his palms. The thunder would almost certainly tickle the drenched Argonian who had found his way onto the pier. Hercules panted, to catch back his breath. Without Jon, it was one on one now. But Lafayette knew that their backup was on the way soon, and then their attackers would be outnumbered. Just why they were attacking was a mystery to him. “Bet you long for your old job, Hercules!” he jabbed at his friend by his side, “you know that right now, Lafayette, I’d rather head to Sovngarde standing for something meaningful…” was the hulking, wounded Nord’s reply. “I’m not going to allow it,” smirked the Breton, as he saw off in the distance three figures rushing towards the scene.

On either side of Jon, were two more Nords. One, another man - perhaps larger than Hercules - with a broadsword in his hand, and on the other side, another man with a broadsword - only his was lit with a flame.

The sudden attack from the part of the mage had caught Jaraleet by surprise, the lightning easily coursing through his entire body. It was only thanks to his training that the Haj-Eix merely fell to one knee instead of falling unconscious outright but, still, he knew that it was only a matter of time before he could no longer stand the barrage with which Lafayette was attacking him. Willing his body to move, Jaraleet moved one of his hands to pull one of the bottles of poison that he always carried with him while on missions and, using as much strength as he could muster, threw it towards Lafayette’s face.

The sudden impact disrupted the mage’s concentration, stopping the flow of thunder magicka from the Breton’s hands. Now free of the electricity that had been wracking his body with pain, Jaraleet quickly unsheathed his sword and dagger and closed the gap between him and the Breton, driving his sword through Lafayette’s throat. However, the short respite that the Argonian felt at eliminating the mage was quickly swept aside as he noticed the trio of individuals that were heading in their direction. Shaking his head, Jaraleet moved closer towards Gregor, giving the Imperial man a quick look “Let’s get rid of this brute quickly, we have more company incoming.” The Haj-Eix said before moving to attack Hercules.

Gregor agreed with a solemn nod and moved to catch Hercules in a pincer vice. If Jaraleet was the anvil, Gregor would be the hammer. While the disarmed Nord had to defend himself against the Argonian, Gregor circled around and brought the heavy weight of the claymore down on Hercules repeatedly. With Lafayette dead there was nobody left to save him from the Imperial’s blade and he fell to his knees, blood gushing from the severe lacerations across his shoulders and his torso. Lowering his claymore by his side, Gregor unsheathed his dagger and slashed it across Hercules’ exposed throat; he was done for.

But that did not mean he no longer had a role to play in the fight. Gregor looked at Jaraleet for a few seconds, his brown eyes inscrutable, before pale blue light began to swirl around his palm. Two tendrils of magic shot through the air and connected with the corpses of Lafayette and Hercules and, as if controlled by the invisible wires of a dark puppeteer, the Breton and the Nord rose from the ground, their eyes aglow with the same cerulean magic that animated them. Hercules’ axe returned to his hands and the spark of fire magic reignited in Lafayette’s, and the two zombies set their sights on the approaching trio of enemies.

“Now you know,” Gregor said softly to Jaraleet.

Jaraleet looked on as the corpses of their recently deceased foes stood again. He was no mage but he knew what the cerulean light in the eyes of the reanimated corpses meant: Necromancy. Gregor was a necromancer. “And so the final piece of the puzzle falls in place.” The Argonian said calmly, unperturbed by Gregor’s display of power. “We can speak about this later, for now there are foes to take care of.” The Argonian said, looking at the zombies and then at Gregor as a plan of action formulated in the assassins mind.

“Send them to distract our foes.” He said while reaching for two vials of poison. He handed one to Gregor, looking at the Imperial in the eyes. “Here, for your claymore. Should one of their reinforcements manage to slip away the poison shall take care of them.” The Haj-Eix said in a matter-of-fact tone, pausing briefly for a second as he thought. “You know restoration magic as well, if I remember correctly. If you have enough magicka, it would be wise for us to heal while your puppets distract them.” The Argonian added, falling silent as he opened the vial of poison and began carefully applying it to his blade.

As Jon, Alexei, and Thom approached the two enemies, it was Jon who was first crestfallen at the sight of his friend’s reanimated corpses, filled with an untempered rage, he took an emotional dive at Lafayette, his mentor, his friend. “God’s be damned!” he screamed out - his voice breaking, sobs held back as he swung to clip his blade into the shoulder of the vessel. “I’m so sorry…” he mouthed, eyes welling with tears - it would be his downfall to show such emotion on the field. It had been Lafayette himself who had tried to teach the young Nord to restrain himself and think clearly. Oh how the boy had failed him…

As Alexei rushed forwards, he swung his flaming sword with force - allowing the flame to roll off the blade and hurtle towards Hercules. He had to take down his own friends. Except this was doing him a favour, freeing him from the will of the Necromancer, sending him peacefully to Sovngarde - as he would wish.

With Hercules and Lafayette engaged, it was Thom who dashed towards the puppetmaster himself. The lizard looked worse for wear, which gave him cause to smirk. It was just like the Dwemer to hire such minions with foul tactics. He would put them down with ease like he had so many criminals already.

While Gregor was relieved to see that his intuition about Jaraleet had been correct and the Argonian was indeed the pragmatic operative he had assumed him to be, there was no time to dwell on the fact as one of the two Nords charged directly at him. Gregor preferred being on the defensive; it gave him the opportunity to observe and react instead of having to blindly trust on his own skills. He gripped his claymore tightly with both hands and methodically blocked and parried the ferocious strikes from Thom’s broadsword. Once again, his opponent’s technique was not astounding and Gregor’s superior experience and clarity of mind allowed him to read and dissect Thom’s combat style. After a few exchanges, he caught a wide swing on his claymore and pushed back, crackling arcs of shock magic traveling up the length of the massive blade and onto Thom’s broadsword, stinging the Nord’s arms and forcing him to back off.

Gregor’s eyes flashed dangerously and he went on the offensive.

Meanwhile, Lafayette and Hercules were more resilient in undeath than they had ever been in life and Jon’s sword having cleaved into Lafayette’s shoulder did not seem to stop him. Flames roared to life as the Breton sorcerer raised his good hand and doused Jon in a stream of fire magic, his face slack and devoid of any emotion at all. Hercules had taken Alexei’s firestrike to the chest and, while it was undoubtedly effective against the towering zombie, it was not enough to bring him down and Hercules met Alexei’s sword with his own battleaxe, gurgling something far beyond the speech of the living through his slit throat.

Jon felt the burning take over so quickly, it ran across his clothing and burnt through it effortlessly and met skin. He screamed in pain, it grew louder and sharper, his pain became a ringing sound in the ears of Alexei and Thom, who couldn't do a thing to help. The screaming stopped.

“No!” yelled Alexei as he pushed back against the undead Hercules with a swift kick to his chest he toppled him and rushed to Thom's aid. Everything was futile now, they had no hope of finishing this victorious, his grimaced at the Necromancer, and laid a healing hand against his friend. “We stood for something, Thom, we stood against the Dwemer - remember that…” it was in a low hiss of a voice, the Argonian would have missed it, the Imperial may have caught it over the sound of electricity and static. “Aye, you're right about it…” he replied in a pained groan as he swung his sword around again. He would die in glory, not on his knees. “For liberty!” he shouted out against the sun setting on the horizon behind the Imperial. He would go to it now.

In the heat of the moment, Gregor heard but did not really register what Alexei said and was focused entirely on not letting Thom disembowel him with his final attack. The Nord had seemingly resigned himself to his fate and that made him dangerous. Gregor had to duck low to avoid the whistling edge of the broadsword and actually found himself being forced back for a bit, grimacing as he mustered his full strength to block Thom’s slashes and thrusts. His mind reached out to direct Hercules but he found that his minion had already collapsed into dust and ash. Lafayette, on the other hand, was still intact after having dispatched Jon in the most gruesome of ways, and Gregor willed him to strike Thom with the same thunderbolt that had nearly incapacitated Jaraleet. The loud bang and bright flash of lightning, followed by Thom’s bellows of pain, created all the space Gregor needed to swing his sword high and bring it down across Thom’s neck with all the finality of the grim reaper’s scythe.

The Nord collapsed to the ground, instantly and irrevocably dead. His head rolled off the pier and into the water below.

Alexei, upon witnessing the death of Thom, rushed at Jaraleet, seemingly determined to at least take one of their foes down before he himself was taken down. Perhaps he thought that the Argonian would be the easier target, exhausted as he was after having to endure a direct hit from a thunderbolt, but that would prove to be the final mistake in the Nord’s life.

Jaraleet dodged the blows from the flaming broadsword, albeit he took a couple of glancing blows, and retaliated with strikes of his own. He didn't aim for immediately fatal strikes, going for shallow cuts that'd, instead, spread the poison with which he had coated his blade. The seconds passed by, Alexei continued to attack and Jaraleet continued to dodge the blows of the Nord, and then the poison kicked in. Alexei tried to swing his broadsword one more time but, in the middle of the movement, he suddenly lost his balance and fell to the ground, a cry of pain escaping from his lips as the full effects of the poison manifested themselves in his body.

Jaraleet approached the fallen Nord and knelt in front of him. “Sithis calls you now, landstrider.” The Haj-Eix intoned solemnly in his native tongue, driving his sword cleanly through Alexei’s neck. “[i]And now the river’s currents have carried you to the sea.[i]” The Argonian finished as the life left the Nord’s eyes. Standing up, he turned to look at Gregor and then at the raised corpse of Lafayette. “If it's possible, order him to burn the bodies. We were asked to leave no evidence.” The Argonian said calmly.

“Good idea,” Gregor replied. Hercules had already fallen apart when Alexei defeated him, dissipating the magic that had held him together, and Lafayette would similarly disintegrate, but that still left the rest. Gregor did not even have to look at the Breton zombie to will him into action and Lafayette immolated the corpses with a stream of liquid fire after Gregor and Jaraleet stepped back. Staring into the improvised pyre, Gregor opened his mouth to speak.

“I killed Nblec because I had need of his soul,” he said. He wasn’t sure why he was suddenly being so open and honest with Jaraleet but something, some instinct, told him that it was necessary. “My father’s line is cursed. We all lose our minds when we reach middle age, and then it kills us. There is no cure. I have a younger brother and sister and I need to save them from that fate. And myself, of course. The Ideal Masters of the Soul Cairn are willing to barter the secrets of lichdom in exchange for souls. Eternal life for eternal death. And Dwemer souls… a race that hasn’t been seen for more than a thousand years? I’m sure you can imagine that such a thing is the ultimate prize.” Gregor sighed and turned his head to look Jaraleet in the eye. “Do you understand?”

“I do.” Was Jaraleet’s simple reply, nodding in Gregor’s direction. “Thank you for your honesty.” He said, falling silent for a second as he thought on what to say next. “I will be honest too. As I'm sure you've noticed, I’m more than a mere soldier who deserted the armies of Argonia.” The Argonian said, closing his eyes. “I am Jaraleet of the Haj-Eix.” He intoned, letting out a soft sigh. “We are an order of assassins in the service of the An-Xileel, the rulers of Argonia. We have been trained since childhood to be the assassins and spies that our people would need in order to be safe against threats both from within and from outside.” Jaraleet continued on, opening his eyes and staring at Gregor. “I am part of the first generation of the order, and I was posted in the Imperial City when the Dwemer returned.” The assassin finished, crossing his arms behind his back and turning his gaze back to the pyre. “Do you understand?”

Now it was Gregor’s turn to nod. “That reminds me of something I said to Daro’Vasora at the party: ‘every society needs its own monsters to hunt the ones lurking in the night’. That’s what you are, for the people of Argonia. And it’s what I did for the people of Skyrim, when I hunted down and killed necromancers to take their black secrets for myself -- for a better purpose. I understand very well.” He paused and looked up as Lafayette’s stream of fire ceased and he shattered into dust. The spell had expired. His work was done; the corpses of Jon, Alexei and Thom were naught but ash and soot. “What are your goals now?” Gregor asked, glancing sidelong at Jaraleet.

“Technology.” The Haj-Eix replied as he stared at the pile of ashes and soot that had once been their enemies and that even now the wind was blowing away. “I seek the defeat of the Dwemer and to obtain their technology for my people. Never again shall we be trampled over or enslaved as if we were beasts of burden.”

“Fair enough,” Gregor said and laughed. “After what the Dunmer did to your people, I can’t fault you for that. And then it seems that our common goal of defeating the Dwemer still holds true, aside from our personal quests. Eternal life is not worth it if it has to be lived under the yoke of the butchers of White-Gold tower.”

Jaraleet laughed alongside Gregor, shaking his head slightly. “Indeed, it seems that we still have a common goal my friend. In fact, I believe we might be able to help each other more than we had previously thought now that we are aware of what the other is searching for.” Jaraleet said once his laughter had subsided. “Ah, but I think it'd be best if we left the area for now, wouldn't you agree. It would be rather awkward if we were to be caught here now, to say the least.”

“Yes, let’s.” Gregor sheathed his claymore across his back and pulled his hood firmly over his face. Before they left, he placed his hand on Jaraleet’s shoulder and said, voice earnest: “Thank you, Jaraleet. For understanding.”

“It’s no problem my friend. I should be the one thanking you, I doubt many people would take what I said half as well as you did.” The Argonian replied, smiling at Gregor. “Now, let us be off.” He said, setting off towards Gilane’s backstreets.
Courtyard Admissions


5th of Midyear, Early Morning
Three Crowns Inn, Courtyard

After leaving the conference room in which Daro’Vasora’s party had been hosted, Jaraleet hadn’t wasted time and had gone looking after Meg. Her sudden departure from the party had him worried, it seemed something utterly uncharacteristic of the Meg that he knew, and luckily, thanks to the help of a few of the Poncy Man’s employees that were still up, he had managed to easily locate Meg in the courtyard of the inn. He stood paralyzed for a few seconds, still not noticed by the Nord woman, as he wondered what to do. He wasn’t the best at approaching sensible topics, his chat with Raelynn back at the party had made that rather abundantly clear, and as such indecision paralyzed him as his mind thought about what to do.

In the end, he decided to clear his throat loud enough to catch Meg’s attention. “Are you ok Meg? I noticed your...sudden departure from the conference room and I was worried.” The Argonian said, opting to breach the topic at hand head on, as he slowly approached the Nord woman, his mind still unsure if what he was doing was the right thing.

Meg had been sitting on a low wall that closed in a few exotic trees, simply taking in the fresh night air as she watched the fountains nearby. Her talk with Gregor had her feeling all sorts of wrong, and she didn't know where one started and the other ended. It wasn't just confusing, but the assault of guilt at multiple things as well as not even finding out what she had wanted to made her feel like a failure.

She looked up when she heard the familiar voice; it was clear from the streaks on her face and her slightly swollen eyes that tears had been shed in private. "Oh... Jaraleet." Managing to crack a ghost of a smile, she scooted to the side, just in case the argonian wished to sit down as well.

"I..." Averting her gaze, she looked to the ground, ashamed but also scared he would get angry. "I'm sorry... I... I talked t'him."

It didn’t take too long for Jaraleet to figure who Meg meant when she said that she had talked to him. Gregor. She had spoken to Gregor in spite of what he had told her. Part of him was angry, angry of what this might mean come the future, but the sight of Meg’s tear stricken face made that feeling quickly evaporate. “It’s fine.” He said in the end, letting out a soft sigh.

He moved to the spot where she was sitting and moved to join her. “What happened?” He asked her softly once he had sat on the spot that Meg had made for him. “Is he the reason why you left so suddenly?”

Meg managed to lift her gaze from the ground so that instead rock she was now looking in the argonian's direction... barely. She was relieved; even though she knew he had a right to be angry with her for breaking his trust and doing what she told him she wouldn't. Even just thinking about that caused her mouth to quiver and her eyes to sting.

"I left... I jus' didn' know what t'say anymore. His words... They're... They jus' made my mind confused. He kept tellin' me about you... An' that I shouldn' think badly of you... But... I never- I told him I knew you didn'-" She grasped for words, struggling to make sense but not being able to, and it had her feeling not just frustrated but dimwitted as well. "I should've listened t'ya." Her voice cracked and she looked back down again. "I'm sorry, Jaraleet."

Jaraleet listened in silence, slightly taken aback by the confusion, by the hurt, in Meg’s voice. “By Sithis, what kind of mind games did you play with her Gregor.” The Argonian thought, mentally cursing the Imperial in a brief fit of anger. “It's fine Meg, what's done is done.” He said in the end, letting out a sigh. “I'm more worried about you right now.” He said softly, moving slightly closer to the Nord woman and placing one hand on her shoulder hoping that the act would, at least, bring her a measure of comfort.

Why was he being nice to her? It was like that day in the training gym, except she was the one who messed up this time. She didn't know if she was just too tired or mentally drained or perhaps all the alcohol she had drunk was still affecting her, but Meg couldn't take it any longer, breaking out into quiet sobs as she hid her face in her hands. Shoulders shuddering, she tried to stop herself, even gasping in her attempts to, but it seemed the dam that was her heart had finally broken.

When Meg finally started crying, all thoughts going in Jaraleet’s mind suddenly stopped as he tried, in vain, to think of something that might comfort the grief-stricken Nord woman. In the end, as his mind continued to refuse to provide an answer, Jaraleet moved the arm he had placed on Meg’s shoulder previously so that he was now holding her shuddering form, pulling her a little closer and hoping that, somehow, that'd be enough.

For a split second Meg stiffened, but in the next moment she turned into the hug, still hiding her face though it was against the argonian. It had been a very long time since she had cried like this, perhaps even over a year. By the time she was through she felt rather drained and empty, though not necessarily in a bad way.

She finally moved back; looking at the damp mark on the argonian's shirt, she felt a little embarrassed. "Uh... sorry. Yer shirt's wet..."

A split moment of worry crossed Jaraleet's mind when he felt Meg stiffen after he had hugged her, but he relaxed when he felt the Nord woman turning into the hug. He smiled softly at her, shaking his head slightly, when she apologized for crying into his shirt. “It doesn't matters, don't worry.” He told her softly.

“Are you feeling better?” He asked her softly, concern in his voice. “You know you can talk to me about what happened, right?”

Meg nodded, scooting a little closer to the argonian and resting her head against him despite the wetness from her tears. She didn't think he'd mind seeing his arm was still around her, and if she was being honest with herself, she wanted the closeness and comfort. "Aye... I know I can," she replied. "An' I am feelin' a li'l better... thank you."

She was quiet for a little moment before finally letting out a breath. "He said he was the las' one there, with Nblec... he was s'posed t'take off the shackles? An' that Nblec just... died. Like... he was weak hearted an' whatever y'did t'him was why he died." She tilted her head so that she could see his face. "It was like... he wanted me t'think it was yer fault. Oh- an' he said y'both had talked 'bout it."

“I'm glad to hear that Meg.” He replied when she said that she felt a little better, smiling towards the Nord woman. He didn't mind when she moved a little closer, albeit he wasn't expecting her to rest head against him but, in the end, it didn't bother him. He fell silent as she continued to talk, a frown drawing on his face as Meg mentioned how it seemed like Gregor wanted her to think it was his fault.

Seems like I'll have to have a chat with him again.” The Argonian thought as Meg mentioned that Gregor had spoken about the chat they had about Nblec’s death. “We had a talk about it, yes. There were a few things that made me wary….but nothing truly conclusive.” He said to her, shaking his head slightly. There were still many things he didn't know about why Gregor had killed Nblec, but the Haj-Eix was determined to find out the reason behind the actions of their unpredictable Imperial comrade.

“I'm guessing it was what he said that made you feel like this?” He asked her softly, concern once more in his voice and a look of worry on his face as he waited for Meg’s replies.

"Yes an' no," was Meg's reply. It was hard to explain, but she felt she needed to make the effort- Jaraleet deserved that much, seeing how concerned he was. "It's ... when I went t'speak with him... I was gonna tell him I thought it was him, an' that he wasn' right puttin' the blame on you ... but I didn' even get t'that." She looked at her hands, remembering how tightly they had gripped her knees. "His words... the way he spoke... He wasn' mean or cruel, nothin’ like that- it was almost nice. It jus' made whatever I was thinkin' feel so stupid. Like, I knew nothin' 'bout anythin'. I jus' felt stupid, a li'l girl who knows nothin' 'bout the world.

"An' maybe he's right." She sighed softly before continuing. "He said that you'd want t'keep things hidden from me t'keep my innocence intact." Like I'm a wee child. "Is that true?"

Jaraleet listened in silence as Meg spoke, letting out a soft sigh when she mentioned that Gregor had said that he'd want to keep things hidden from her so as to preserve her innocence intact. “No, it's not exactly that. I'm not sure how to explain it….” He said, closing his eyes and falling silent shortly afterwards.

The seconds of silence stretched by and when Jaraleet next opened his eyes, there was a distant look to them. As if his eyes weren't looking at the courtyard of the inn but rather at some other, distant, place. “I do not speak of those things not because I believe you are some innocent child Meg….it's just, they are things best left not known.” He said, shaking his head slightly. “The things I've seen...that I've done, they could destroy people. They aren't things that I wished to learn, to have to do, but I just...had to.” He said finally, unconsciously pulling Meg just a bit closer as he closed his eyes again as if to ground himself in the moment.

"I get ya, honest." She glanced at him; the look on his face made her stomach clench and heart ache. What could have happened to him to make him seem so... vulnerable right now? It almost reminded her of her father and his refusal to speak of his days as a soldier. She hadn't been as considerate towards him as she was being towards Jaraleet though.

Meg reached out and took hold of his free hand, squeezing it a little as she spoke, the earnest look on her face matching her voice. "An'... I get that you'll pro'ly havta do what y'do again... not 'cause you wan' to, but because it has t'be done. The world's just like that, ain' it?"

“Yes, it's unfortunate, but that's how the world is.” Jaraleet replied finally, nodding to Meg’s words. “Thank you...for understanding.” He said softly, managing the ghost of a smile before he closed his eyes again and let his head rest back against the nearby wall. He just felt so tired all of a sudden. Maybe it was all the drinking throughout the night, or maybe it was the conversation he just had with Meg but, in that moment, Jaraleet suddenly felt so very tired.

“I should be the one thankin’ you,” Meg replied, smiling as well, though it wavered when she saw how tired the argonian looked. Another pang of guilt twisted at her- she had caused him worry and concern. And yet… she was also happy. It felt nice that somebody cared about her enough to worry like that. “Y’came all the way out here just t’see if I was doin’ okay. I’m lucky t’have someone like you around.”

With that said, she gave his hand one last squeeze before carefully letting go. “Y’look tired… you should sleep. Me too, truth be told. Mara knows it’s been a long day.”

“There’s no need to thank me Meg, I’m just glad that I was able to help you.” He said, smiling at the Nord woman as she squeezed his hand yet again. “Though, you are probably correct in that we should go to sleep.” He added, letting out a soft sigh. The mention of sleep reminded him of the upcoming day, of the mission that he was to undertake with Gregor for Salasoix.

“Come, shall we go to our respective rooms? I can accompany you to your room if you’d like?” Jaraleet offered.

Meg finally stood up from her seat on the wall, stretching out her arms before quickly stifling a yawn. "Soun's like a good idea," she replied with a sheepish laugh. "Hrmm... next time y'see me with a bottle in m'hand, do me a favour an' snatch it away real quick, eh?" Saying that, she reached out with her hand, not that he'd actually need help off the wall.

“Duly noted.” He replied to Meg’s comment, laughing, before he took her offered hand and then stood up from his spot against the wall. “Come, let’s go.” He said once he was standing up, making his way out of the courtyard. Soon enough they were in front of the room that they had been assigned to back when they first had arrived in Gilane and met with the Poncy Man. “And here we are.” The Argonian said, turning his back to the door so as to look at the Nord woman. “Goodnight Meg and, hey, if you feel….like that again, come and talk to me, ok?” Jaraleet said, speaking the last few words before his mind could process them.

Meg blinked at him before smiling. "Aye, I will." She had learned in the last couple of days that with some people it was best to keep quiet, but with others, it made a big difference to speak what was on one’s mind. Even if others thought negatively of him, Meg wasn't about to let their views mar what she thought or felt for Jaraleet. One mistake was enough.

"Thanks, an' you sleep well too." She gave him one last hug before opening the door and heading into the room.

“Good, good.” Jaraleet replied, smiling at Meg. He was surprised when the Nord woman hugged him but he quickly returned the embrace, nodding when she wished him a good night of sleep. “Thank you Meg.” The Argonian said as she returned to her room. Left alone, his mind quickly returned to its usual state and then it hit him what he had just told Meg.

He had told her to come to him if she ever felt like that again and he didn’t regret his words, and yet he couldn’t quite piece what had prompted him to say that. He frowned slightly to himself and began to make his way towards the room that had been assigned to him. He had a lot to think about, ranging from Judena’s words to him to the conversation that had transpired between him and Meg in the aftermath of the party. He had the sinking sensation that, for the first time in a long time, he’d have trouble falling asleep.
@JbcoolStill present as well.
And I managed to get my reply in, sorry that it took so long folks. I hope that it's good.

EDIT: Edited my post a bit due to unintentionally puppetering the Mantiraus. Sorry for the mistake folks.
The first thought that crossed the knights mind at Calanon's sudden return was that the elf had found something dangerous, which proved to be correct when not a moment after the return of the elven ranger a creature followed in pursuit. Instincts took over after the moment had passed and Nicademus pulled his sword from it's sheath, holding the blade in a defensive posture as he observed the monster that had followed after Calanon. He wasn't an expert in fighting against the kind of creature that the monster was, but years of roaming through the Southlands had taught him and it didn't took to long for the knight to recognise the creature for what it was: a Mantiraus.

And with the realisation of the creature's name came a second, far more sinister, thought. The creature shouldn't have been there. He knew all too well the dangers that roamed throughout the Southlands, but he had scouted near the village recently and there had been no sighting of a beast like the Mantiraus that was now facing the scouting party. "Something must have lured the creature here." He thought grimly, dreading of the consequences that could come if his suspicion proved to be true. Any further thoughts were postponed when he heard Alice, who was telling him to shout for everyone to stand together. "I'm afraid it might be a little late for that." He answered, shaking his head slightly. "The Mantiraus has already scattered us, and I doubt it'll let us regroup so easily. But I'll try nonetheless."

"Everyone, to me!" The knight shouted hoping that, by some luck, the beast would allow the group to regroup. Tense seconds passed but in the end the scattered fighters couldn't regroup, either because the Mantiraus didn't allow them to do so or perhaps because they had a better plan for fighting the beast. "Before you asked me for any advice, yes?" The knight finally said when it looked like regrouping was an impossibility. "You are a mage, no? If so, then I believe that you'll be the key to defeat this monster." Nicademus said, turning his head so he could look at Alice. "My advice is the following, stay behind me and try to hurt the beast with what spells you have. I'll ensure that the beast doesn't gets to you."

"Along with that, it'd best to be prepared to run at a second's notice." The knight added after a moment of consideration. "It could be that the beast will be drawn by our conversation and by my shout. Should that come to pass, make sure to run away from me. I'll stay in this spot and direct the Mantiraus to attack me if possible, between the two of us I am the one who has the best chance to withstand an attack from the beast on account of my armour." Nicademus said grimly, bracing himself in his place in case the beast came. "While I distract it, be sure to take the opening to attack as well. With any luck, we could end this battle in a single stroke should the gods favor us."

@POOHEAD189@Gardevoiran@BCTheEntity@Fetzen@Stormflyx@The Fated Fallen
4th of Midyear - Mid-Morning
Salosoix Hawkford’s Residence


The middle-aged Breton had started his day as he always did - by watching the sun rise over Gilane and enjoying tea. While the day started as it always did, his morning ritual brought him less pleasure - and it had been that way since the evening of the 2nd when his daughter and arrived at his Hammerfell home in a state. His mind was addled with terrible thoughts, and as he sat at his desk, he took off his spectacles and wiped the lenses with a small cloth.

He had sent for two of his daughter’s companions - Jaraleet the Argonian, and Gregor. He imagined they would be arriving soon with his favoured guard Zhaib. It had been at least an hour since Zhaib had left in pursuit of the two mysterious men. Salosoix was very much looking forward to meeting them, and had set out two chairs at his table for his guests.

The usual incense was burning in the corner, and his handmaiden was floating around to make sure the place was clear and tidy. The entire room had a magenta glow, and was decorated in turquoise, teal, and cerulean colours - flecks of shiny gold highlighting the furniture. In a word, the room was opulent - brimming with his many treasures. It was a cave of wonders. He smiled to himself as his eyes traversed the room, and then he heard the door open; his guests had arrived.

He rose from his seat - he wore some basic linens underneath a cloak that was far grander - a velvet in a deep emerald green hue - the collar high and grazing his square jawline, his once ash-blonde hair was now grey and slicked back - cut to chin length. His expression was stern as his guests entered.

The more eager of the two to meet Raelynn’s father, Gregor, stepped into the room first. He had been tempted to dress up for the occasion and break out his all-black battledress, but it would have made traveling through the city much more of a hassle (as the guards would be on the lookout for an outfit fitting that description). So, Gregor was dressed in his new clothes instead. He cast an appreciative glance at the resplendent interior, but very swiftly focused his gaze on the man in front of him. Salasoix’s green cloak immediately made him regret his decision. “Sir,” the Imperial said and bowed respectfully all the same. “It is a pleasure to finally meet with you.”

“I concur as well, it's a pleasure to finally meet your Mr. Hawkford.” Jaraleet said as he entered after Gregor, bowing respectfully towards the elder Breton and letting his gaze cover the room in a brief second before turning his attention towards the head of the Hawkford family once more.

“Please, gentleman. There is no need for formalities - call me Sal.” The Breton man said, in a pleasant tone, only a half smile played upon his lips as he eyed up the two arrivals over the top of his spectacles. Paying particular attention to the Imperial. He took his seat once more, and with a wave of his hand he beckoned them to sit in their respective seats. “The pleasure is all mine, or at least it will be if we can come to an arrangement this morning.” He did not mince his words, nor did he bother with further small talk. His warm tone had subsided and was replaced by one far more pressing.

He leaned back into his seat and raised a hand - clicking his fingers to grab the attention of his Redguard handmaiden. “Rhoka?, Rhoka!” he expressed impatiently until she scurried to his desk to meet him, “can you please get some refreshments for our guests - anything they’d like”. He glanced over at Gregor and Jaraleet with his half-smile again.

“Just some cold water for me, thank you,” Gregor said. It was shaping up to be another hot day. He noticed how Salasoix paid extra close attention to him -- no surprises there -- and made an effort to meet the Breton's gaze levelly and to return his half-smile with one of his own. He could immediately see how this man had raised a daughter like Raelynn. He was authoritative and his demeanor demanded respect. With no intentions of doing anything to avoid meeting expectations, Gregor waited patiently while Jaraleet placed his order and for Salasoix to explain his desires.

“I will have come cold water as well, thank you very much.” Jaraleet replied before turning his attention to Salasoix once more. It hadn't escaped the Argonian’s attention the way that the elder Hawkford paid extra attention to his Imperial companion but, he supposed, that made sense given the...closeness between him and Salasoix’s daughter. “Well, what is that you wish to talk with us about?” The assassin asked, wondering what was the reason that the old Breton had summoned him and Gregor to his Gilane residence.

“Just water? How exciting for you both - Rhoka, do as our guests request, and why don't you bring some of that Knafeh too?” Jaraleet was bold, he liked it. He turned his head and gave a smile to him, taking a deep breath before he began to speak, “well my dear daughter seems to believe that you two are the most physically capable in your party. I trust my daughter's judgment…” his eyes moved from Jaraleet to Gregor, where he proceeded to look him over from above the spectacles again, “...sometimes.” He chuckled dryly before leaning forwards, elbows on the desk and his hands meeting each other in front of his face as he exhaled. “I have work for capable men -- and before you ask, yes you will be adequately compensated.”

He dropped his hands and got to his feet, moving to a drawer at the back of the room and plucking out two green velvet coin purses. “Two hundred and fifty septims each, of which you will receive fifty today -- a deposit if you will.” He moved back to his desk, letting the two purses hit the desk as he dropped them. The hefty weight clunking against the mahogany. He hoped it would grab their attention. His own eyes even seemed the glisten at the sound. As he took his seat, he spilled out some of the coins onto the desk in front of him and began slowly and methodically counting. “This mission is very important to me, boys. I require you to keep this one to yourselves…”

His voice grew cold and he met both of their eyes with his - an icy blue that matched Raelynn’s exactly. “It seems that our Dwemer overlord has been inviting undesirables to this beautiful city…” He slid the pile of fifty septims to Jaraleet first, before turning to count from the second coin purse. “Nasty little creatures who stalk the innocent in the night… Not very good now, is it?” He asked with a weary sigh, coins clinking in one hand, fingers strumming against the desk in the other. The air around him grew tense until Rhoka arrived to break it with a pitcher of ice water, glasses, and a pastry selection.

“Thank you dear,” he said sharply, dismissing her with a wave of his hand. “Oh and Rhoka? Can you do a better job of cleaning the walls…” The redguard woman bowed her head and scurried off again. “As I was saying - fucking undesirables.”

That was cause for Gregor to sit up even straighter. He had come from a reasonably wealthy background but life on the road was rough and he hadn’t exactly come into a lot of money lately. Two hundred and fifty septims was a very significant sum of money to him in the current state of his financial affairs. “Undesirables,” Gregor repeated and cleared his throat. “Do I take this to mean criminals, sir? Or something worse? I have plenty of experience either way. Vampires, bandits, necromancers, murderers -- it’s all the same to me,” he said matter-of-factly. It could be construed as a boast, but Gregor merely wanted his potential employer to know the full range of his abilities and previous encounters. He tried to ignore that he was speaking to Raelynn’s father. Business was business.

“Fantastic, bravo,” he said with a smile as a laugh escaped him. He turned to face Jaraleet with a shit-eating grin, “perhaps you would like to recite your resume of achievements, too, Argonian!” He delighted in potentially embarrassing this man in front of his colleague. His laughter quickly dropped and his expression changed entirely - cold and incredibly serious, “the kind of verminous scum that would hurt even innocent women and children, Gregor. Criminal enough for you?”

Gregor shifted in his seat and an almost imperceptible frown appeared on his face. “Quite,” he said tersely.

Jaraleet chuckled softly at Salasoix’s words, but his mood changed as quickly as that of the head of the Hawkford family. “I would have no problems taking on this task for you, sir.” He said, pouring himself a glass of water and taking a sip. “Tell me the name, and location, of our target and it will be done.” The assassin said, his voice now serious as the topic had seemed to return to the work that Salasoix had in mind for them.

“That's what I like to hear.” Sal said in a resonant voice, “if you are both to partake in this mission I require your word that you will follow my instruction to the letter… Don't think I didn't hear about the capture mission. Quite catastrophic…” He lifted his own glass to his lips, and continued counting out Gregor's coins with his free hand. “Mark my words, if either of you fuck this one up…” A dark laugh was spat into the glass at his lips, “I will not be quite as forgiving as the Poncy Man. So it is a good job that my instructions are clear.”

Annoyed, Gregor opened his mouth against his better judgement. “As I recall, the problem with the capture mission was that the target died. You are sending us to kill people now. So, I don’t think that’s something you should worry about.”

He placed his glass back down onto the table, twisting it in its spot just so - as if to make it sit in a specific way. Once he was satisfied he raised his eyes to the mouthy Imperial, about ready to chastise him there and then. He narrowed his eyes and drew a breath, holding a stare upon Gregor. “You're right,” he softened into his seat and placed the last coin on the pile of septims for Gregor’s deposit before sliding it over to him, a friendly smile replacing the previous expression. “I just need you both to understand that the stakes are high, at least to me anyway. I've heard some tales of a sordid creature… a filthy Khajiit who has some rather grotesque methods. These are his henchman if my information is to be correct.” He waited with a smirk to watch the penny drop, and for Gregor to bite onto the hook.

Too hungry for blood to be cautious and wary, Gregor tore into the hook like a shark does to horkers. “I see,” he said, but the intensity in his gaze betrayed his emotions. “They will die, to be sure, but is there no chance that they know more about where this Khajiit makes his lair?”

“You get ahead of yourself,” he purred from his side of the desk, his eyes moving to Jaraleet with another playful grin, “is he always this impatient? Does he know nothing of planning?” With his hands now free he strummed his fingers against his desk and laughed dryly once more. “Gregor, Gregor… I want to get his attention and draw him out of his cesspool and into the light of day.” Sal’s head tilted to the side and he brought his hands together. “Missing henchmen will get his attention and slow down the sepsis he is spreading.”

“You'll do only as I ask, nothing more, nothing less. Are we on the same page?”

“I understand.” Jaraleet said, his voice firm and resolute. He could understand what Salasoix was asking of him and Gregor, it was after all what he had been molded all of his life to be. A tool of murder. One that was, ultimately, disposable if the situation called for it. “I understand,” he repeated, taking a second to look at Gregor. “What is needed of us, what is expected of us. The job will be done.”

Taking the Argonian’s cue, Gregor kept his thoughts to himself. Salasoix was his employer now, he would have to do what was demanded of him. “Nothing more, nothing less,” Gregor echoed, his voice flat.

The Breton opened a drawer from his side of the desk and removed a rolled parchment from within, handing it to Jaraleet. “The location is marked on the map, you will be there and ready at sunset on the fifth, that's tomorrow evening - no earlier and no later.” He had another drink from his glass, obsessively placing it in the same manner as he had before, “dispose of the men quickly. Oh, and when I say dispose… Leave no trace of their bodies. I want it to look like they were never even there.”

He brought his hands back into a point, elbows on the desk and a smile on his face. “I will have your payments dropped off so you don't have to come back and we can pretend this never happened.”

Jaraleet nodded as he took the rolled parchment from Salasoix’s hands. “I understand sir.” He replied. He could easily understand what was asked of him, and that brought him a sense of comfort and familiarity that had been sorely lacking in the last couple of months. It seemed as if, for a second, he was back in Argonia taking orders from his An-Xileel handlers. “We will accomplish our mission.” The Argonian said resolutely before turning to look at Gregor. “Shall we leave?” He asked his Imperial companion, knowing that there was nothing else to be discussed. They had their mission parameters and that was all they needed to complete their mission.
8th of Last Seed, 5 AM

Tsleeixth had found it difficult to get any sleep throughout the night, frequently waking up as the ship was rocked by the waves as it made its way to Jehanna. And so the Argonian found himself on the upper deck of the ship, leaning against the handrail and gazing towards the horizon as he tried to order his errant thoughts. Could he have done something different? Was the main thing that he pondered, his nails digging further and further into the nail of the rail the more he pondered the question. He didn't doubt that going up into the airship had been the correct choice, not in and of itself, but rather what he had done once inside of Tmeip'r’s mobile base of operations bothered him. Maybe if he had forged on ahead instead of waiting for the rest, or if he had personally helped in the battle against the Sload necromancer rather than letting his thrall support Sadri and Alim, things might have turned out differently.

The spellsword let out a sigh, followed shortly afterwards by a mirthless chuckle. Different. That word seemed to be on his thoughts a lot as of late. If things had been different maybe he wouldn't have been nearly killed by an angry mob and left crippled...if things had been different Roze would still be alive. Another sigh left his mouth as he thought about the Breton, his hands balling into fists as frustration surged within him. "If only we had taken care of Tmeip’r sooner..." Tsleeixth muttered bitterly to himself. He had learnt of the Breton's passing a short while after he had returned to the Kyne's Tear; following his escape from the airship, he had been too exhausted and had quickly passed out as soon as he was back in the, relative, safety of the ship and had only learnt of the gruesome news once consciousness had returned to his body.

He had been amongst those who had volunteered for the gruesome task of gathering the Breton's remains so that she could receive a proper burial. He hadn't been as close to Roze as others in the company had, not like Sagax and Do'Karth who had also volunteered for the task, but the Argonian still felt it was the least that he could do for her. She had helped him, back in Bthamz when he had been wounded trying to negotiate with one of the Ashlanders, and they had shared drinks while in Windhelm before the Kamal had invaded....and part of him felt guilty for her death. As his mind liked to remind him constantly, he had been on the airship and had been part of the group that had confronted the Sload so, in his mind, part of the blame for her death lay on him. It had been a gruelling task which had been done in silence by those that had undertaken it with their only communication being the occasional glances that they had directed towards each other.

The way that Sagax had acted after they had been done with their grim labour hadn't gone unnoticed by Tsleeixth, it was clear that the Imperial wanted to be left alone and, as such, Tsleeixth hadn't approached him. Still, he felt guilty for not being able to support his friend in his time of need like Sagax himself had done back when they had been in Solitude. "Maybe once we are in Jehanna he'll be more open, more ready, to talk about what happened." Tsleeixth thought, letting out a soft sigh and shaking his head. There was no point in speculating about what would happen or how anyone would feel in the future. All that any of them could hope for was that there would be no more troubles during the rest of their voyage towards Jehanna.

Moving away from the handrail, Tsleeixth turned his back to the horizon and began making his way back to the interior of the Kyne’s Tear. He knew that sleep would continue to elude him for the rest of the night and that the same questions that had drove him to head to the upper deck for fresh air would continue to haunt him incessantly. “Perhaps I should see if I have something to drink.” The Argonian muttered quietly to himself as he made his way towards his allotted hammock, the thought of passing through the rest of the night in blissful, drunken, stupor sounding more and more appealing with each second.



10th of Last Seed, 10 AM

He had debated internally whether or not to go to the funeral service that was to be held in the local temple of Arkay but, in the end, Tsleeixth had decided to go; even if he didn’t believe in the Divines, he still felt the need to pay his respects towards both Roze and the recently deceased Ashav. And so Tsleeixth found himself standing in the back of the temple, head bowed low and silent, tears streaming from his eyes as the high priest performed the final rites for the two departed members of the company. In the end, he was amongst the last of those remaining in the temple before he approached the two caskets.

“Goodbye Roze, I….I wish we could have known each other better….that I could have repaid you for saving me back in Bthamz before Sithis called you back to the void sister.” The Argonian spoke quietly to the casket. “May the Hist embrace you as you rejoin the one.” He finished before moving to the casket that held Ashav’s earthly remains. “What happened to you Ashav? I’m no fool, it was all too easy to notice the change that took ahold of you after Dawnstar….the way you began drinking more and more until it seemed like there wasn’t a minute were you weren’t drunk. And yet I still find it difficult to believe that you’d….do such a thing as the one you did.” Tsleeixth said quietly, shaking his head slightly. “Would you really take your own life? Maybe I’m a naive fool but, no matter how much I think about it, I can’t picture you as the kind of man who would do something like that.” The spellsword continued on, letting out a soft sigh. “In the end it doesn’t matters, what's done is done and you are no longer among us. I only hope that you've managed to find your peace in the afterlife.” He finished, stepping away from Ashav’s casket and towards the door that led outside of the temple. Tsleeixth gave one last look to the coffins before he crossed the door’s threshold back into Jehanna’s streets.

Once he was outside, Tsleeixth began to walk away from the building at a brisk pace. He had no place in his mind to go, only a desire to put as much distance between himself and the Conclave of the Golden Tomb as possible. He wasn’t sure for how long, or exactly in what direction, he had been walking but Tsleeixth was brought out of his stupor when he heard a voice announcing the latest issue of the Tamrielic Gazette as loudly as possible to stand out amidst the chatter and other assorted noises that filled the air of the city. “Maybe reading something will help me, get me to focus on other things.” The Argonian thought, a sense of dread and nervousness quickly growing within him as he became more and more aware of the high number of Nords walking through the streets by each moment now that he had been brought out of his stupor and was aware of his surroundings.

Much like it had happened when he had wandered through the streets of Solitude, thoughts of Dawnstar and its mob of furious citizens began bubbling up within Tsleeixth’s mind second by second the longer he stood in the busy streets. “Yes, yes, I definitely need something to distract myself.” He muttered to himself, letting out a nervous chuckle. It wasn’t too difficult to find the source of the voice, which belonged to a Breton boy as it turned out, that was peddling the newspaper and even less difficult to secure a copy for himself.

Taking a second to orient himself, and paying the Breton boy a few septims to ask for directions just in case, Tsleeixth began making his way back towards the Howling Wolf Inn while leisurely reading the articles as he walked. Much like he had hoped, the gazette provided a much needed distraction for his thoughts something which, in turn, allowed him to calm himself down. That is, until he reached the section dedicated to Skyrim and he read a particular bit of news.

Stormcloak hardliners seize Dawnstar. Local guards, leaderless with Skald's death, either defected or retreated to Whiterun. An extremist group known as the Neckbeards (responsible for slaughtering Argonian refugees) have been appointed as the town militia, replacing guards in law enforcement capacities.

The world seemed to freeze in place as he processed the information, and Tsleeixth found himself reading through the article one more time as if he wasn’t sure that what he had read was true. But, no matter, the article remained the same. Part of him wanted to weep openly in the streets, from sorrow, fear, or outrage he wasn’t sure, and another part of him wanted to laugh like a maniac at the mere thought that the bastards who had nearly murdered him and who had slaughtered his fellow Saxhleel were now in control of Dawnstar. So absorbed in his thoughts as he was, Tsleeixth didn’t notice the pair of Nords that were approaching him until they clashed against him.

He stumbled back due to the impact but managed to catch himself before he fell into the ground. Unfortunately the two men that had bumped into him hadn’t been so lucky and fell to the ground on their behinds. The reason for which became apparent in a second as Tsleeixth saw a pair of bottles rolling away from the outstretched hands of the pair of Nords but he didn’t have much time to think, or do, anything before the pair in question was standing up once more, a look of frustration written plainly on both their faces.

“Look at what you made me do you filthy lizard! You made me drop my drink.” One of the nords, a blonde man with a broken nose, slurred drunkenly at him. “What the fuck do you think you are doing standing in the middle of the street anyway.” The blonde continued on, giving Tsleeixth a push for good measure.

Tsleeixth, for his part, remained silent as memories of the events that had transpired in Dawnstar started flooding his mind at the aggressive look that the two Nords had regarded him with. Had something like this occured but a few months prior, Tsleeixth would have stood his ground against the two drunkards but, as things stood, he stood rooted in place with nary a word leaving from his lips a fact that didn’t escape the two Nords despite their drunken state.
“What’s the matter, not gonna say anything?” The second Nord, a brutish man with a mane of red hair, growled at him, pushing him much like his fellow drunkard had done but a few moments ago. “Think you are better than us or something? Is that why you aren’t saying anything lizard?” The redheaded drunkard growled, growing more and more frustrated with Tsleeixth’s silence as the seconds went by.

“You and your fucking kind are always making trouble for us Nords, just like the damned cats and Dunmers.” The blonde drunkard spat as he approached Tsleeixth, giving the Argonian a punch in the face that sent the later to the ground. “C’mon Hrol, let's teach this lizard a lesson.” The blonde Nord said to his redheaded compatriot.

“Heh, read my mind Haening. We gotta teach this lizard well and proper so an accident like this one doesn’t repeats itself, don’t we?” Hrol said to his blonde friend as he cracked his knuckles, prompting Haening to let out a sinister chuckle before nodding in ascent with his friend.

As the pair of Nords had become progressively more aggressive, Tsleeixth’s mind had begun to recall the memories of Dawnstar with more and more intensity. Lost in his memories as he was, Tsleeixth didn’t do anything as he was kicked and hit by Hrol and Haening his mind torn between the assault he was currently enduring and by the memories of the one that had nearly cost him his life but a month ago.

The beating continued on for a few more minutes until both Nords stopped for breath, exhausted by their vicious attack on the defenceless spellsword. “Pathetic.” Haening said, spitting on Tsleeixth’s face. “If they are all as pathetic as this lizard here it’s no wonder they got butchered at Dawnstar. They probably dropped to the ground and started whimpering at the first blow.” The blond Nord mocked cruelly.

At the mention of the massacre of the Argonian refugees something within Tsleeixth seemed to snap and the world suddenly became clear as the memories of the beating at the hand of the mob receded to the depths of his mind. “What did you just said?” The Argonian hissed, standing on wobbly feet and regarding the blond Nord with a look of pure hatred.

“I don’t like the look you are giving my friend here, maybe we should extend this lesson a bit more.” Hrol said, throwing another punch in Tsleeixth’s direction which the Argonian easily sidestepped.

As the redheaded Nord tried to regain his balance after missing his punch, Tsleeixth took ahold of his wrist and began channeling magicka to generate electricity. He made certain to control his output so as to not cause any permanent damage but, to Hrol, such distinction was unnoticeable as he began to cry in pain as the electricity course through his arm.

Haening, at seeing the pain in which his friend was, let out a cry of rage and charged at Tsleeixth in a blind fury, causing the Argonian to let go of Hrol’s wrist. “Fucking lizard, you are one of those damned mages.” The blonde Nord hissed in contempt, eyeing Tsleeixth warily as caution and fury battled within his mind; in the end, fury won against caution and Haening charged towards Tsleeixth once more.

With his mind now clear, Tsleeixth easily incapacitated Haening, in much the same way that he had done with Hrol, in the span of a few moments. “Listen to me clearly.” The spellsword hissed, grabbing the blond Nord by his shirt. “I want you and your friend to be more careful with your drinking habits in the future.” He continued on, voice cold and full of fury. “And I don’t want you to say such vile things like the ones you said about the murder of my brothers and sisters again. Am I clear?” The spellsword finished, his eyes burrowing into Haening’s.

When the blond Nord nodded in agreement Tsleeixth let go of him and, after giving the pair of Nords in the ground one last withering look, turned his back to them and began walking away in the direction of The Howling Wolf Inn. The day had given him ample things to think about and he’d need some privacy to think them over.



10th of Last Seed, 5 PM

The sound of a bottle being placed down reverberated throughout Tsleeixth’s room, promptly followed by the sound of a sigh. After his altercation with Haening and Hrol it hadn’t taken too long for the Argonian spellsword to return to the inn and Tsleeixth had headed for his room almost immediately, his only detour being the purchase of a bottle of alcohol from the bartender.

After that, he had sequestered himself inside of his room and had begun drinking. He let his thoughts wander more and more freely with each sip of the bottle’s contents and yet they kept returning to Dawnstar, the confrontation with Tmeip’r, and his recent altercation in the streets of Jehanna. And as he thought more and more about those events, a sense of bitterness started gnawing at him with each second that passed.

Yes, he was bitter. That much had become clear to him. He was bitter at himself, at his powerlessness, at his weakness. The events that had recently transpired stood as a testament of said powerlessness, of the weakness that plagued him. He clutched the bottle again and took a long swig, letting his mind focus on the burning sensation of the alcohol as it passed through his throat for a brief moment.

If only he had been stronger, he’d have been able to prevent Skald’s death and the massacre that ensued. If he had been more powerful they’d have been able to take care of Tmeip’r without incurring so many losses. If he hadn’t been so weak he wouldn’t have become paralyzed and let Haening and Hrol beat him for so long before fighting back. These thoughts, and more like them, dominated Tsleeixth’s mind.

“Never again.” He vowed quietly, taking yet another sip from the bottle. Never again would he find himself in that position. He wouldn’t let his weakness, his powerlessness, drive him to those situations once more. Never again would he allow himself to be in the place that he had been in the aftermath of Dawnstar or of the battle against Tmeip’r. This was the conclusion to which Tsleeixth had come. And for that, he needed more power than what he had now.

In the depths of his rucksack, as if reacting to the thoughts of its new owner, the coral necklace that had once belonged to Tmeip’r briefly pulsated with a baleful red light before falling dormant once again.
"A pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Lazarus." Kharon said, bowing his head slightly in the direction of the slender man that the Rogue Trader had identified as the chief medical officer of the vessel. "As for an answer to your question my lord." The magos said, pausing for a brief second before continuing on. "What brings me to you is what I'm sure brings most people towards a Rogue Trader such as yourself. That is to say, I'm in search of new horizons and the opportunities that they bring." Kharon continued on, moving closer towards Drake at a slow pace so as to not arouse any undue suspicions regarding his intentions. The fact that the rest of the Rogue Trader's retinue had kept their hands close to their weapons hadn't escaped his attention, and he couldn't truly blame them given their present situation but, still, the fact that they were expecting trouble at any second wouldn't help him in his goal of striking a bargain with Drake.

"Perhaps it would be wise to move this discussion to another place my lord?" Kharon offered to Drake. "Your retinue is welcome to come with us as well if you so wish." He added, hoping that would win him some trust with the noble. "I do not know about you, but I would prefer any further discussions to take place somewhere where we might not be disturbed by inopportune meddlers." He said, turning his back to the Rogue Trader briefly to glance at the gathered crowd of lowlifes his mechanical eyes glinting with green light. While he had come with no weapon in hand, aside from his mechadendrites, he hoped that his rank as a Magos and the long time that he had spent in Nab's Holdout would be enough to intimidate some of those gathered in the crowd enough to prevent them from doing something foolish.
1st of Midyear, Afternoon
The Three Crowns Hotel - Gilane, Hammerfell


In the aftermath of the failed mission to capture and deliver Nblec Mazrac to the Hammerfell resistance alive the day prior, Jaraleet had been in an uncharacteristically foul mood which had seen the Argonian assassin ignoring the rest of the group and sequestering himself in the gym that the Three Crowns counted amongst its amenities. The failure of the mission in and of itself would have been cause enough to frustrate the Haj-Eix but what had truly set him off had been the fact that, according to Gregor, Nblec had perished as a result of his interrogation techniques, the Dwemer’s body being unable to endure the strain through which Jaraleet’s methods had put it through the Imperial man had claimed.

Jaraleet knew for a fact that was untrue. He had been trained ever since he had been a hatchling in the forms of torture, he knew how to inflict the most pain while causing the least amount of actual damage to someone’s body. He knew just how much a body could take, had experienced how much pain, how much damage, someone could take on his own flesh. His training as a Haj-Eix had ensured that he wouldn’t commit such a basic mistake as killing an interrogee by pushing them beyond the limits of what they could endure. What puzzled Jaraleet was why would Gregor claim such a thing? Mere ignorance on the Imperial’s part? Or was there more to what the Imperial warrior had said? Could Gregor have been lying? And, if so, why?

These questions, coupled with the failure of the mission and the fact that he was held as the one responsible for said failure, had driven Jaraleet to his present mood, which the Argonian hoped to excise his mind of via exercise.

“So, this is where you’ve been hiding. I suppose mucking up an assignment and getting the words ‘kidnap’ and ‘murder’ mixed up is something of an embarrassment.” A voice came from the doorway. Daro’Vasora entered the gym, her hand running across a rack of weights as she entered, not looking at the Argonian. “I suppose it was a bit much to ask that we trust someone that barely socializes after mysteriously tagging along with the group after the Rangers went to shit, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.” She said, finally turning her gaze to Jaraleet. “Was I wrong?”

“You are.” Came the simple reply from the Argonian as he paused in his exercises and approached the Khajiit woman. “Nblec Mazrac didn't die due to what I did.” Jaraleet said, looking at Daro’Vasora straight in the eyes. “I don't expect you to understand, but I can assure you that I took the utmost precaution in making sure that Nblec wouldn't expire in the course of the interrogation.” The assassin said in a cold, detached, tone, utterly unperturbed by what he had put the recently deceased Dwemer administrator through.

“Torture, was it? I don’t recall the Poncy Man asking for anyone to torture and interrogate the man you were asked to bring in.” Daro’Vasora replied conversationally, although her eyes narrowed in dangerous slits. “In fact, I’m reasonably sure that no one in this insurgency knows what particular skills and talents any of us have. It seems like an excessive liberty that you lot indulged yourselves in, in fact, if I were to be a betting woman, I would think that the whole idea was to bring in a sympathetic figure of the Dwemer administration to potentially turn to our cause. Hard to do that when you’re ripping out fingernails or whatever it is you do, but this brings into question; how does one as unassuming as yourself with such a wholesome personal story come to acquire the talents of interrogation, I wonder? Others say you were a hunter and a soldier, neither of which require the delicate balance of knowing how to extract information through controlled brutality. The fact you readily admit to violating the Administrator in such a way casts quite a bit of shadow over you, Jaraleet. Or is it something else, I wonder?”

Jaraleet chuckled darkly once Daro’Vasora was done with her tirade, shaking his head slightly before he regarded the Khajiit woman with a look that carried a slight hint of pity. “You are a fool Daro’Vasora.” He said simply, crossing his arms over his chest. “Nblec was never going to live, not really. Did you honestly believe that the Poncy Man would try and turn him into an agent of the Hammerfell resistance? At best Mazrac would have been drugged into a stupor to make him blabber what information he had and then disposed. At worst, and to be frank the most likely case, is that he would have been tortured for the information he had, if not by the agents of the Poncy Man then surely by agents belonging to other cells.” The assassin said nonchalantly, as if he was explaining the most obvious thing in the world.

“As to where I came to acquire such talents...well, sometimes soldiers are called to perform immoral acts for the greater good. But, then again, you've never been a soldier. I doubt you'd understand.”

“I understand more than you give me credit for,” the Khajiit mused, her arms crossed. “And what of it? It wasn’t our call to make. For a soldier, you’re pretty daft at understanding the fact we need allies. This hotel that we are staying at for free and the resources and contacts we stand to gain? Jeopardized because of the likes of you because you have a short-sighted bloodlust. If Mazrac blabbed and told you something vital, you’re asking these people to take the word of someone they don’t know who murdered a person they instructed you bring in to them, demonstrating an incredible inability to follow simple instructions.

“So what, maybe they kill him and interrogate them at their leisure? That’s the point; it was their decision to make. Ever consider this was a test to see if they could trust us with something actually vital and important that could actually make a dent in the Dwemer occupation? Or would you rather blindly go on raids again and watch as 90% of our outfit is slaughtered? Tell me, Jaraleet, oh wise one, what was the plan here?” She stepped closer to him, staring him up in the eyes.

“Or do you think they’re benign and not above discarding of us as they see fit if we endanger their operations? They have an entire network of people doing all sorts of dirty work, we’re going in blind. Want to find out what happens when you fall asleep and they decide that you aren’t worth the bread they feed you?”

“I didn’t murder Nblec.” The Argonian repeated coldly, staring back at Vasora with a harsh look. “And I didn’t torture him for such a petty reason as sating my bloodlust or any other inane reasons like that. I did what I did because it seemed necessary at the moment and if the Dwemer hadn’t raided the safe house in which we were holding Nblec I’d have handed him over to the Poncy Man so that he could verify the information I obtained first hand.” He continued, letting out a dark chuckle when Daro’Vasora asked him if he thought that the Poncy Man and the rest of the Hammerfell resistance were bening.

“Oh, I don’t, not at all. I know full well that you, me, and the rest of our group are disposable pawns to them. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case truth be told.” He said with a shrug. “But why does this bothers you so much? It’s not like you care about the Dwemer, do you? Or are you perhaps worried that I’m a risk to you and the other members of the group? If that’s the case, well, I must admit that I’m surprised to see that you care so much after your….candid words to Rhea in Anvil I thought you didn’t care about anyone in this little group of misfits.” Jaraleet said, regarding the Khajiit woman with an inquisitive gaze. “So, again I pose you the question, why do you care so much?”

“You’re right, I don’t care about you, I care about the people I’ve been with since this whole sordid mess began, you’re just a tumour that grew out of nowhere and immediately started causing issues. I won’t hesitate to cut you loose if I have to.” She replied darkly. “I decided that the best thing for everyone is if we had a chance to get out of Anvil and Cyrodiil and everyone could go their own separate ways, but here’s a chance to actually do the right thing, a foreign concept to you, I’m sure.” she said, stepping away from Jaraleet and talking a walk about the room, taking in the details and needing space from the Argonian. “My uncle died in Imperial City, and in my grief, I did some stupid things, I’ll admit. Here’s my chance to try and make the Dwemer suffer a bit for what they did to him and maybe ruin their machinations along the way. We were never going to beat them honestly, but Jaraleet… whatever it was that prompted you or whoever to torture and murder that man did is not the way to do it. There’s going to be reprisals, you know that, don’t you?” she asked, looking at him from across the room.

“Why are you here, with us, doing this?” She asked, a bitter tone in her voice. “Why are you latching onto us like some overgrown parasite that doesn’t know where else to inflict his miasma? There’s a dark cruelty to you, and you clearly aren’t the sort to think things through. Great, you planned on obtaining information by torturing someone who was popular with the locals. How do you think them and the Dwemer are going to react when they find out what you had a hand in doing?” she asked. “It’s going to be harder to do anything because heroic acts like freeing prisoners is going to be hard to suppress with the people, but finding out that the so-called freedom fighters are terrorists who are worse than the occupiers? What were you thinking?”

“That I was doing a necessary evil.” The Argonian stated simply. “Make no mistakes Daro’Vasora, I don’t do the things I do out of a desire to inflict pain or to be needlessly cruel, but rather because they are necessary steps. I’m fully aware of the nature of my acts, and I’m willing to pay the price for them when then the time comes.” Jaraleet continued, letting out a sigh. “For every one of these so called ‘heroic’ acts there’s someone like me behind them, doing the dirty deeds that need to be done to ensure victory for whatever group they support. So it has been throughout the length of history, it is a simple fact of war nothing else and nothing more.”

“The truth of the situation is that, sooner or later, everything in war becomes a calculus of result versus costs. What is one willing to sacrifice to ensure victory? I’d say that, historically speaking, the side who is willing to sacrifice the most is almost always the assured winner of a given conflict.” He said calmly and by memory. “As for why I am here with your group right now? It’s because our goals intersect. I seek the defeat of the Dwemer, same as you do.” Jaraleet said, letting out a tired sigh.

“What is the point of this bitter tirade of yours anyways? If you believe me to be such a detriment to the group such a...parasite as you put it, why not cut me off? I’m sure you could that do easily, as you yourself noted I haven’t been with your group all that long and I doubt you’d get anything more than some token complaints if you decided to do that.” He pondered, tapping his ching as he thought. “Or is it merely that what I did was just a reminder of our current situation, of it’s costs, and I’m just simply a convenient scapegoat for your frustrations?”

“Unbelievable.” She breathed, turning her tone to a mocking approximation of the Argonian, “‘I did what was necessary by not following orders because it’s way easier to interrogate and torture people on the go than follow simple instructions’. None of that was necessary, you elected to do it yourself. And up until now, I didn’t think you were a risk to everyone’s well being, but congratulations; you’ve just made life worse for us all and potentially put us on a dark list for those whose roof we sleep under. The winners of wars aren’t the ones who are willing to sacrifice the most; the Rangers were willing to sacrifice nearly every man and woman in its ranks to free prisoners, and look where that got us. Pick up a history book sometime, Jaraleet; wars are won through superior logistics, alliances, and having the manpower and talent to use it, not squandering resources on stupid-ass risks with no potential pay off.”

She crossed the room suddenly, jabbing a pointed finger into his chest. “None of that was your call to make. You want our interests to keep coinciding? Then start acting like you belong rather than acting on your own twisted personal whims. I have my own goals, and right now, one of them is making sure that we never end up in a situation like we did in Imperial City or the Rangers again; acts like you did are going to add up. The Dwemer have a loose grip here, but you know full well what happens when that tightens, or did you think that some low-level government stooge was going to contain some big war winning secret that you felt it was worth risking all of that instead of just bringing him him like requested? You want to defeat the Dwemer? Then maybe not be a fucking lone wolf and start following orders.

“If you can’t do that, fight the war on your own terms, but don’t drag everyone else down with your stupid ass. I’m not going to stand here and watch as you and people like Gregor start to erode what little guarantees the group have of protection because you are incapable of seeing a picture bigger than what’s immediately in front of you.” She said, turning to leave. She stopped at the door frame, looking back. “You know there’s very little chance this little chat of ours wasn’t overheard by one of them, right? The walls have ears, the ceiling has eyes. You may want to consider what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish something great, or wither away into the dirt because you spent yourself on something so incredibly petty that it’s less noteworthy than a man who dies in a cavalry charge.”

“I already decided that a long time ago Daro’Vasora. So, go and do what you think is best for this group. Be it keeping quiet or handing me over in a platter to the Poncy Man to ensure that you and your friends will be safe, I won’t hold it against you.” The Argonian said with a light shrug, unperturbed by the Khajiit’s words. “Just remember what I said, you might not share the same beliefs that I do but, who knows, it might prove useful to you one day.”

She let out a terse smile. “Turn you over? I may barely know you or consider you one of us, but you’re way more so than a man who won’t tell us his own name. All I ask is that you think of the others first next time; we’re in dangerous territory and we can’t afford missteps when potentially everyone is an enemy. We need to know which is which, understand?”

“I understand. And I apologize for putting the group at risk, I will endeavor to be more careful from now on.” The Argonian conceded, nodding slightly in Daro’Vasora’s direction before he turned his back to her and resumed his exercises.
Kharon's current situation in Nab's Holdout wasn't ideal, to say the least. His venture into the Kronus Expanse in search for xeno-tech to bring back to Stygies VIII and further the xenarite cause had been a resounding failure, stripping the Magos of what few resources he had managed to scrap together, due to a combination of losses to attacks from both xeno, and human, pirates and to the depredation of corrupt bureaucrats and other such individuals that characterised a vast majority of Imperial governance throughout the Imperium, and leaving him stranded in Escalon Seven, where Kharon had seen himself forced to repair the settlements machinery to sustain himself while he looked for an opportunity with which to salvage his disastrous endeavour.

And such an opportunity had seemingly manifested itself, as if by providence of the Omnissiah itself. Despite his present situation, Kharon was still a magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus and, as such, information still reached his ears both through rumours and unprotected data-transmissions. Which is how he had managed to hear about the arrival of the Golden Aquila to Escalon Seven's atmosphere, a vessel that, based on its schematics, belonged to a Rogue Trader if Kharon's estimations were correct. Still, Rogue Trader or not, the arrival of the Aquila presented the Magos with an opportunity with which to leave Nab's Holdout and, if necessary, eventually return to Stygies VIII, which was precisely why the magos now stood in front of the landing site amidst a very small crowd of people who had seen, or known, about the landing shuttle and had headed towards the area where they knew the small vessel would touch down. The reaction from, who he guessed was, the owner of the Aquila wasn't unexpected, given the reputation that Nab's Holdout had, but, even so, the fact that the man was clearly reaching for a weapon was something that wouldn't stand.

"Peace my lord, none here wishes you harm." Kharon said while making his way to the front of the gathered group, knowing full well that, given the chance, more than quite a few of the gathered individuals would be more than happy to hurt the occupants of the landing vessel for any riches that they might have. "Let me be the first to welcome you to Nab's Holdout." The magos said, raising his mechanical hands to make the sign of the aquila in, what he hoped was, a placating gesture.
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