Brought to you by Mortarion and @Greenie
14th of Midyear 4E208, early morning, Underground tunnel.
“How could it all have gone so wrong.
” These were the thoughts that filled Jaraleet’s mind as the Argonian ran through the tunnels that they had once used to infiltrate inside the palace. He was no fool, he knew that the Poncy Man and his insurgency would try to get rid of them once they no longer saw any use in the group….but he hadn’t expected for them to attack them now
. If it hadn’t been for Zhaib and Janelle’s spell they would all be dead now, their bodies riddled with the bullets from the rifles that Irranhu had stolen. His thoughts came to a sudden halt as he heard a moan of pain and his heart twisted as he looked down and saw who he was carrying in his arms: Meg.
As they had been running towards the tunnels, one of the insurgents had seemed to recuperate faster than his comrades and he had, unfortunately, managed to hit Meg in the leg as the Nord woman was making her way towards the entrance of the tunnel. “Don’t worry Meg, everything will be ok.” The Argonian said softly as he continued running through the underground passage. Now was not the time to let his mind be distracted with iddle thoughts, he reminded himself; his priority was to find Meg a healer who could look at the wound in her leg.
"Y- y'sure?" Meg wasn't. This hurt more than any would she'd had ever received, and it was all she could do to keep herself from screaming in pain or throwing up do to it. She barely even realized she was being carried by the argonian. One moment she'd been fine, the next she had let out a scream unlike any she had before and crumpled to the ground.
"What... happened?" Blinded by her own tears, she couldn't really make sense of anything right now.
“I am, I am, trust in me.” The Argonian replied, trying to make his voice as soothing as possible to ease Meg’s worries but he couldn’t help the worry that crept into his voice. “You were shot, by one of those drykillers from Irranhu.” Jaraleet answered, his voice cold and full of rage as he remembered the moment and his grip on Meg tightening ever so slightly before he relaxed again.
“Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” He repeated once more, giving Meg a brief smile. “If I could survive a shot to the gut, you can survive this. I know that you can.” He finished, giving her shoulder a light squeeze to try and reassure her.
Meg wanted to reply something coherent, but she was having a hard time. Even if she could, she knew very well she wasn't as strong as Jaraleet. Cuts and bruises she'd endured her whole life were nothing compared to getting shot. Why hadn't she run quicker than that? Forcing herself to calm down was an impossibility, so she tried to focus on anything other than the nauseating pain. Eventually however she simply passed out, which perhaps was for the better.
“Meg? Meg?” Jaraleet asked, worry plain on his voice, when the Nord woman didn't answer to his previous words. He paused to look down for a second and breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that she had just merely fallen unconscious. “You rest now Meg, I’ll make sure that everything will be alright.” He said softly as he began running again, focusing his mind entirely on one task: getting back to the Three Crowns
and getting the Nord woman medical help.
The carnage that greeted them at the hotel did little to phase the Argonian, who ignored the wailing cries of those who had survived the Dwemer’s assault on the building. A lifetime of being an agent of the An-Xileel had deadened him to the horrors of slaughter and death, and the Argonian’s mind was focused on the task of getting Meg medical help above everything else.
The Argonian made a beeline towards the infirmary located in the hotel, kicking the doors open only to find himself greeted with more chaos. What staff was in the infirmary was occupied treating those who had survived the centurion’s assault, but it was clear that the vast majority of the wounded wouldn't survive. Spotting a bed that was mercifully empty, Jaraleet made his way there and gently deposited Meg in it. “Everything will be fine Meg, we are back in the hotel. I'll go and get you some help.” The Argonian said softly before he turned back to the chaos that reigned in the infirmary.
Quickly spotting a nurse that was making her way through the room, Jaraleet intercepted the woman in an instant. “You.” The assassin said, his voice cold and bereft of any sympathy or mercy, as he grabbed the nurse by the wrist. “You will help her,” He continued on, using his free hand to point at the bed were he had left Meg. “Is that clear?” He finished, his voice indicating that the woman had no choice in the matter whatsoever.
It seemed as if the nurse had indeed done what the Argonian had ordered; by the time Meg came to consciousness once more, the pain that had been assaulting her was quite numbed down. She could finally seen the state of her leg, bloody and reminding her of how Jaraleet's wound had looked. Bringing a hand to her mouth, she managed to quell the nauseated sensation that had returned. She didn't feel good despite the numbness of pain, and she was quite sure despite healing and potions, she wouldn't be walking for a while.
"This... ain' good," she mumbled, attempting to sit up. She was going to be a burden when they had to leave Gilane, and fast.
“Easy there, easy.” Jaraleet said as soon as he noticed that Meg had woken up once again, placing a hand on her shoulder. He debated inwardly for a second whether or not to tell her how bad things were before deciding that it’d be best to be honest with Meg. “Yes, things aren’t looking too good.” He finally said with a sigh, shaking his head slightly. “I take it the pain is less than it was before?” He asked her softly, a note of worry in his voice.
Meg nodded, though she was looking around herself. There were others here... but no one she knew. She could recognize the building structure and colours as the Three Crowns Hotel, but she didn't understand why there were so many others injured here.
"I don' think I can walk though..." She slowly pushed herself up on her hand, looking at Jaraleet, a question in her still groggy eyes. "Where're the rest...?" What had happened at the palace had to mean no place was safe for the group, and now that she could think, Meg knew they had to get out of here. "We- we need t'leave."
“We do, Gilane is no longer safe for us to stay in.” The Argonian said with a sigh, shaking his head slightly. “Alms it everyone is here on the hotel. Alim….Alim was captured while trying to hold back a group of Dwemer soldiers so that Rhona and Brynja could escape. We have no idea were the two of them are, but Alim has probably been carted off to one of the Dwemer’s prisons.” He finished, taking Meg’s hand in his and giving it a light squeeze. “We are currently gathering our things and then we are leaving.”
"Knew that would happen..." Meg let out a breath, shutting her eyes as she listened to the argonian speak. Alim gone. Brynja... It was hard to bear the stinging of her tears, and when she finally opened her eyes, though she was calmer, her tears nonetheless rolled and dripped off her chin. "Well... looks like we're gonna havta save him then, eh?" She pushed herself up completely, though when she tried to move her leg she found it rather difficult.
"Shit." This was going to be a problem. "Shit..." Her hands clenched into fists, her eyes falling on the scars that still decorated her knuckles. "My stuff... it's in m'room, in the chest. A chest piece... a bow. There's a pouch with septims..." She took in a breath and let it out quickly. "I need t'drop tha' off for Zahir. He's... he's gonna be waitin' for me..."
“I’ll go and get them, don’t worry. For now you need to get as much rest as you can Meg.” The Argonian said softly, placing one hand in her shoulder before giving her a pleading look. “Please, take it easy.” He said, chewing on his lip for a second as he thought about what to say about the matter of Zahir. “As to what happens with Zahir….we’ll have to see if we can find him.” Jaraleet finally said with a sigh, shaking his head slightly. “Is there anything else I need to get back from your room aside from what you mentioned before?” He added, wanting to switch away from the topic of Zahir. He knew that Meg cared about the Redguard orphan, but right now there was no time to worry about him.
“I can’ just leave him like- withou’ nothin’...” She knew it had to be selfish and stubborn, but it was her own fault she had asked the boy to trust her. Why had she taken that responsibility? Now she had to leave without warning and would only be leaving behind memories of broken promises. What if he ended up getting beaten up or even worse because he had no gold to spend? Maybe it would have been better if she had never met the boy… Her mouth trembled before she composed herself yet again with a deep breath. “That’s all. Don’ think I have any other shit.”
“Meg…” The Haj-Eix began before letting out a sigh. He knew this was a battle he couldn’t win. “Alright, we’ll try and find Zahir after we gather our things.” He conceded,shaking his head slightly “We’ll give him your money, maybe see if we can get some food from here too, and then we’ll explain to him why we must leave, ok?”
She shook her head. "No... yer kind but I know we ain' got that much time." Meg winced as she tested her good leg, letting it settle on the floor. "Outside the hotel, there was a spot I'd drop things for 'im, we can hide it there. Won' take long. I don' wanna waste time an' let anyone else get hurt."
“Hey, hey, what did I say about taking it easy.” Jaraleet said as Meg winced when she tested her good leg. He let out a sigh at her next words, shaking his head slightly. “If you are sure, then I’ll go and retrieve your stuff and see if I can find some food for Zahir. You stay here and, I don’t know, try and write something so that the boy knows what’s up, alright?” The Argonian said, waiting for a moment to make sure that Meg would do as he had told her and then left to retrieve her belongings from her room.
"Aye," Meg replied, nodding a little. She would wait here- it wasn't as if she could move without any help. Once the argonian had left though she reached down into her tunic's pocket. Inside was her map of Gilane, wrinkled from all the folding up. She straightened it up before turning it around to its blank side, and as she did, she pulled out some leftover charcoal in her pocket to write with.ZAHIR, I HAVE TO LEAVE. SORRY I CANT STAY FOR YOU. BUT I WILL COME BACK. USE THE SEPTIMS PROPERLY. DONT GET INTO FIGHTS. BE SAFE.
TALOS KEEP YOU SAFE.
Shortly after Meg was done writing her letter on the back of the map, Jaraleet appeared. On his back he was carrying the backpacks in which the both of them kept their possessions. “Are you ready?” The Argonian asked once he had approached the bed, a note of concern in his voice. “You show me the way and I’ll carry you to the spot.”
The spot wasn't too far away, just outside the hotel gates in a secluded area where no one would think to go. Zahir had been the one to show it to her when they had first met, so she had trusted his judgement and it hadn't proven wrong yet. Meg could only hope he wouldn't hold it against her, but more than that, she hoped he remained safe and sound.
"Let's go," she said quietly once the money and note was dropped off. There was no sense lingering.
“If you are sure.” Jaraleet said softly, picking up Meg again in his arms before he began walking away from the spot. He knew that Meg was hurting, or would be soon at any rate, but now there was no time to stop, they had to get out of Gilane and rendezvous with the others. Luckily, despite having to carry Meg, Jaraleet managed to slip through Gilane’s streets easily enough and they soon found themselves in front of the city gates along with the others in the group.
Once they were there he made his way to where he, Sevari, and Latro had stashed their horses. “Here,” he said as he placed Meg on the horse’s saddle. “No idea how far away this oasis that Shakti is leading us to is, so it’d be better for you to ride the horse. Don’t worry, I’m used to walking long distances.” He told her, smiling at the Nord woman reassuringly.
Meg wasn't about to say no to the kind gesture. Even if she had wanted to, it would have been stupidity with her useless leg. "Thanks, Jaraleet," she replied softly, a weak smile on her face. She wasn't happy with the situation, but she was happy she had someone like him to depend on. Without thinking too much of it, she leaned over as much as she could without fear of falling and pressed her lips against his cheek. "I appreciate it."
Jaraleet was surprised when Meg leaned down to kiss his cheek, his hand moving to touch the spot where he had been kissed. He blinked, still somewhat incredulous, before he smiled at Meg. “It’s no problem, I’m glad to be of help.” He told her, taking her hand in his and giving it a slight squeeze before they started moving.
14th of Midyear, late afternoon, Oasis
It was probably the hardest journey Meg had ever made, and it wasn't even as if she was using her own two legs to make it like the times she had wandered the roads of Skyrim. When they came by the caravan, she immediately volunteered to sit in the wagon, even if it was being driven by the infamous Zaveed along with some Redguard looking woman who know one seemed to know. It didn't matter though. Her leg was hurting once again- while riding the horse kept pressure off of it, the jostling from the ride was enough to start the pain once more. The wagon was godssend for the Nord, and despite the clear negativity in the air, Meg was simply praising Mara she could rest under some shade. She did feel somewhat guilty to know the others were walking. At least Jaraleet could now ride on the horse though.
When they finally reached the oasis, it felt like days had passed, even if it night had not even come to pass. It was hard to even imagine such a place could even exist in the expanse of all the sand and heat, but here it was. A reprieve, a gift from the gods. Despite her soreness, Meg couldn't help but grin tiredly as she peeked out from the wagon, taking in the scent of sand, water and vegetation.
“You seem to be happy to be here, Meg.” Jaraleet commented as he saw the Nord woman peek out from the wagon. “I understand, I’m happy to be here too after the march through that blasted desert.” The Argonian laughed, shaking his head before settling on a smile. “There seems to be a nearby river, want me to take you there?”
"It was so bloody hot," she muttered. "Can' imagine how it was for y'all out there." The prospect of heading by the river was a nice one though, and the slight grumble in her voice disappeared. "Aye! Er... lemme try t'walk though. Don' wanna forget how to." Truthfully, she was just rather embarrassed now, especially with everyone there.
“If you are sure…” The Argonian said, a slight hint of reproach in his voice. “But if I see you wincing, I’m carrying you there whether you like it not.” He said, frowning slightly, as he offered Meg his hand so she could step down from the wagon.
Meg grabbed on to his hand and stepped out, putting all of her weight on her good leg, hopping about a little until she was sure she wouldn't fall over. "Isn' it amazin'," she marvelled, "how things're green in here?" She leaned against Jaraleet, not ready to topple over quite yet. "The sound of the river kinda reminds me of back in Riften when I was a kid."
“It is, never seen something quite like this in my life.” Jaraleet said, taking in the sights of the oasis. When Meg leaned against him, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders without thinking, not quite realizing what he had done. “Hmmm, tell me about it.” He said softly, pausing for a second as he realized that he might not have been all that clear. “About your childhood I mean.”
Meg blinked a little before grinning once more, shoving any notion of pain to the side for the time being. It was the first time he’d asked, and she was more than happy to divulge a little bit about herself. “I was born in Riverwood,” she started, mentally going back in time to try and remember. “Ma died when I was real small… Pa didn’ take it too good… but when he returned t’hisself, he decided t’move t’Riften. He used t’live there ‘fore he met Ma, y’see. He knew folks there, friends I s’pose? So we moved there an’ he’d go work as a bodyguard for rich skeevers.” She rubbed her neck sheepishly with her free hand. “I was s’posed t’stay in the house or head to Mara’s temple but… eh. I like t’wander ‘bout. Good thing too, that’s where I learned it all, sneakin’ about, sticky fingers… ehehe.
“But yeah, there were canals all ‘round, an’ even though I’d keep away from ‘em- I can’ swim- ‘t’was still nice listening to the water.” Her nose wrinkled. “Didn’ smell too great though.”
“You know….” Jaraleet started once Meg had finished talking, pausing for a brief second as he thought on what to say next. “Maybe once things have calmed down, if they do at any rate, you could….show me around Riften maybe?” He asked her softly, an edge of uncertainty to his voice. “Maybe I could teach you to swim too, if you are interested that is.” He added after a second, chuckling softly. Who knew what the future had in store for either of them but….right now, there wasn’t any harm in allowing himself to hope for such things, of this Jaraleet was certain.
Meg let out a small chuckle, hearing the note of hesitantion in the argonian's voice. "Sounds like a plan t'me," she replied with a nod. "Though I don'- well, I don' really live anywhere, but Pa's house is in Whiterun an' that's quite aways from Riften. Y'should visit the whole of it, bet you'd like it. Markarth's beautiful if ya like mountains..." She let out a small sigh. "It ain' hot like here, tha's for sure."
She blinked as she remembered his other comment. "Swimmin'? Me?" She looked a little nervous at the prospect. "I dunno... sound's kinda risky. Last time I tried was 'cause I was 'bout t'drown." She was referring to the dwemer ruins, of course.
“Hmmm, never been to Skyrim. It would certainly be nice to visit….” He replied wistfully, smiling ever so slightly. He chuckled softly when he saw the look of nervousness that crossed Meg’s face at the prospect of learning to swim and he smiled reassuringly at the Nord woman. “Hey, it’s only if you want, and I’d be there. Nothing would happen to you.” He said softly and reassuringly, giving her shoulder a light squeeze and pulling her just a bit closer.
"Hrmmm," Meg replied. It wasn't like she didn't trust her friend, but the idea of learning something so late in her life was a little daunting. Also, wasn't it argonians who could breathe underwater? He had natural affinity with water, unlike her!
"I mean, it'd be nice," she replied, relenting slightly. "Long as I don' feel like I'm dyin'."
“We’ll take it slowly, don’t worry.” He reassured her with a smile before chuckling slightly. “Plus, don’t think there’d be a better teacher than an Argonian.” He joked slightly. “Really, it’ll all be fine.” He added after a second. “But, like I said before, I won’t force you if you don’t want to.”
Meg looked up at Jaraleet before relenting even further. "Then once we're outta the desert," she decided. "Might as well, ain' a bad thin' knowin' how t'get across water." She then pointed over to a spot that looked nice to sit. "I'mma sit a bit, feelin' kinda tired from the walkin’."
“Then it’s decided, once we are out of this blasted desert, I’ll teach you.” The Argonian said, smiling at Meg, before moving his gaze to the spot where she was pointing at. “Hmmm, resting sounds good to me too.” He admitted, chuckling softly. “Want me to help you get there?”
"Aye that'd be nice," Meg replied. She still felt silly relying on the help, but who was she to say know? At least he had been kind enough to endure her stubbornness the first time. "Hm... thank you for all this, y'know. An' b'fore. About Zahir."
Jaraleet nodded and helped Meg make her way to the spot she had pointed, helping her to sit down before he followed suit. “There’s no need to thank me Meg.” He said softly once he was settled, smiling at the Nord woman. “If you need help, regardless of what it is, I’m here for you.” Jaraleet told her, pausing for a second as he pondered whether to not say what on his mind. “Do you….do you wanna talk about it? About Zahir and Gilane, I mean.” He asked softly, concern plain in his voice.
Looking out at the water, Meg remained quiet for a while before finally speaking. "I... I wish we didn' have t'leave him like tha'. I had a Pa growin' up, but there was lotsa times I was alone an' just walkin' on the streets, wantin' someone t'talk to, t'be my friend. Bein' lonely ain' fun... an', I've just done tha' t'him."
Jaraleet was silent for a moment, unsure of what to say, before moving closer to Meg and wrapping one arm around her shoulder. “We’ll return for him, one day.” He said without thinking, falling into a stunned silence as the realization of what he had just said hit him. “Once things have calmed down...we’ll come back and find him, ok?”
“Yeah,” Meg replied, nodding her head. When it all came to an end… whenever that was, she would go back to Gilane, even if it meant crossing all of Skyrim to do so. She had made a promise and she couldn’t go back on it. She looked to Jaraleet, smiling a little before looking back to the river, though even as she did, she leaned her head against him, taking whatever comfort she could. “Aye, ‘t’would be nice, travellin’ safe with a friend.”
Jaraleet nodded in response to Meg’s words, smiling at the Nord woman as he felt her leaning her head against his body. “It would be nice, yeah.” He replied, closing his eyes and allowing himself to enjoy the simple, peaceful, moment.