Recent Statuses

2 mos ago
Current Happy Sunday! Today is a new day to do whatever you want to do, to make it as beautiful as you like.
3 mos ago
*insert profound lyric here*
3 mos ago
Happy Valentine's Day, you beautiful people.
3 mos ago
Did you hear about the constipated mathematician? He worked it out with a pencil.
4 mos ago
Happy Sunday. You are perfectly cast in your life. I can't imagine anyone but you in the role. Go play.



I'm Stormflyx/Storm/Stormy!

I'm on the other side of mid-20's and I live in Australia - yes everything does try to kill you down here but it's worth it! I'm originally from the UK, I moved because of love or something like that. I've been here for 5 years and I do love it, the lifestyle, the weather, the chilled out vibe... Even the bugs have their charms.

By day I'm a marketing and design professional/boss lady, and by night I'm a couch potato. You will find me in jammies eating candy and chips always. I'm very obsessed with doggos.

I enjoy fantasy and sci-fi roleplays the most, so you're more than likely to find me in those. I like to write characters that are a bit dysfunctional or corrupt in some way. (I like villains!)

PM me if you like, or leave me a message for anything!


Most Recent Posts


Greenie & Stormy

13th Sun’s Height

From the blistering desert, to the significantly less blistering mountain range of the Reach - it seemed that the journey had been endless. While most had their complaints, there was at least one who felt completely at home. The newcomer Nord, the one that most were still unsure of. He had only just been freed from a prison after all, and then had immediately volunteered to be the caretaker to the recently transformed Lich, Gregor. If he had wanted to make an impression… He had certainly succeeded in that regard.

But this was his home, his temple - the wilds of the world, the roads less travelled were of great comfort to him. The open sky and open arms of Nirn were inviting and nothing felt more freeing to him than the familiar embrace of complete and utter freedom. So, out of everyone in the party, Fjolte was probably smiling the most.

The Nord was changing too, access to food and real activity had brought his body back from the brink - and his spirit. There was also the matter of his beard though, that was growing back at a rapid pace. He looked more disheveled than he had when they had left the Alik’r. Not only the beard, but his hair too. Maybe it was the world's way of telling him he should grow it out for a change.

They were setting up their camp for the night, and, well - not ever wanting to stick himself in a tent, the Nord had already rolled his bed out for the night and was ready to stick in and help whoever else needed it. When Fjolte caught a glimpse of Meg pottering around, he decided that person could be her. He shrugged and slid himself off the rock he’d been sitting on, and with a relaxed pace he headed over, realising he hadn’t really said an awful lot to her yet - despite knowing her from some years ago.

“Scraps!” he said with his usual carefree and toothy grin. “Staying out of trouble this evening I hope?”

"Now tha's somethin' I ain' heard in a very long time." Meg had her arms filled with her bedroll, but she was quick to let it drop on the ground as she turned around to face the Nord man who was nearly a foot taller than her, returning his grin with one of her own. She had definitely noted his presence around the camp, but with the situation as it was and the graveness of Gregor's condition, she hadn't thought it would be a good idea to disturb the monk. Truth be told, she had been in her own contemplative mood for most of the journey, her thoughts and emotions a ball of yarn in her mind that she was trying to sort out.

That being said, every day meant they were nearing Skyrim, and so every day she found her mood lightening from the previous day, and it was apparent from the way she was actually making an effort to look pleasant and take care of herself. The dark marks around her eyes seemed to have receded, and her hair, though messy for the most part, seemed almost on purpose.

"Talos, sure is good t'see y'again, though I didn' think you'd've remembered that name!" Chuckling, she reached over and gave the large man a friendly hug. Even such an action made her nostalgic, reminding her of the people she would interact with back home. It was comforting in a way. "Trouble fin's me, not the other way 'round, y'know." She stepped back and looked up, taking in his scruffy look so unlike what she remembered from five years earlier. "Y'sure look differen' from there. So. Wha' 'bout you, eh? Don' tell me ya jus' ended up in the desert on an adventure or sommat."

A hug! Now that was something that made him smile in his heart, so excited he was that someone gave him such a greeting, that he squeezed Meg as his huge arms enveloped her, and lifted her up with the sheer force. It was then that the Nord realised that probably made the poor girl uncomfortable, so he put her down softly, with a glowing grin.

“Strange how the wind blows old acquaintances back together eh? And yeah, tell me about it troublemaker! How could I forget you?” he said with a laugh as he placed his hands on his hips and sighed. “It’s been a strange trek hasn’t it? Can’t remember travelling with such a large group…” His voice trailed off as his eyes followed around the camp slowly, taking notice of everyone individually and how they appeared to be settling in, or in some cases not quite so much. He sighed in a carefree manner and let his grin return, thinking of how to explain his adventure to Meg…

“Well you see…” he began, his eyes moving from left to right, voice lowering as if this was a great secret. “I was looking for something, something valuable… something dangerous. Up in the mountains that border our homeland…” He drew closer to Meg, his voice quieter still (for a change), “I had set up camp for the night. Just me and my trusty steed… Joben. I had followed a map to a secret cave there were I was to retrieve the famed sword of the great warrior Diana Prionsa. Such a legendary sword is this one, it is said to be able to slay a God…” He paused, to gauge Meg’s reaction at his tale so far…

Meg's eyes were wide, arms loosely held to her sides as she watched the Nord, laning a little closer as his voice quietened, though she really needn't have; it was as much for effect as well as her truly being engrossed in the story. She knew he told fantastical tales, yet this one sounded something that could very well have been the truth. Besides, it seemed he was as good at weaving stories as he had been when she had first met him. That had been a fun day indeed, now that she thought of it. A fight or ‘scrap’ with a couple of idiots who didn’t know better, and then drinks and banter with a friendly stranger to soothe the burn of the wounds. What else did a Nord girl need, really?

"A legendary sword, eh?" She grinned, her smile bright as she recalled her little misadventure in Gilane. "Soun's like we got somethin' more in common than bein' Nord. I went on some treasure huntin’ back in Gilane, for Raelynn’s Pa. But that’s nothin, you’re the only tellin’ your tale. So?" She prodded his arm and nodded encouragingly. "Then wha' happened? Don' just leave me hangin' here." With no further thought, Meg plopped herself down on top of her bedroll, sitting cross legged with her hand under her chin, green eyes staring at Fjolte expectantly.

“Aye, legendary indeed. But it wasn’t to be, Scraps. I got myself ambushed by a damned Dwemer patrol. Reckon they were looking for the sword too.” He shook his head slowly, eyes veering off over the distance to the right of him, an annoyed huff escaped his lips. Even his hands balled into angry fists as he plopped himself down onto the ground beside Meg. “Didn’t go down without givin’ them a good fight though, I tell you that much. Must have taken out about eight of them with my bare hands before they took me down. Well, then I ended up in the prison o’course.” After that he simply shrugged. “Gotta say though, everything happens for a reason. Wouldn’t be sittin’ pretty with you tonight if I hadn’t been in the right place at the right time now.”

"Yer righ'," Meg agreed with a smile. If she thought about all the troubles they had to go through to reach this point, then maybe she could think about all the good that had happened during the time as well. "Y'wouldn' be here an' we wouldn' be talkin', an' how sad would tha' be, eh?"

Treasure hunting for Raelynn’s Pa? That was of interest to him, and so as he relaxed into sitting he looked at the Nord with a curious smirk. “Treasure hunting in Gilane? Well actually I’d say that’s about everything I want to hear about right now…”

"Aye, aye!" Unable to do anything other that grin at the smirk, Meg's legs immediately began to jiggle about as they normally did when she was excited. "Haha, are ya sure though? I'm bettin' y'got much more interestin' stuff t'talk abou'..." She paused a moment before sitting still, bringing a fist to her mouth and mock coughing, as if clearing her throat. "Fine, I'mma tell ya 'bout tha' then."

She pursed her lips, sifting through memories that seemed a lifetime ago yet were only a little over a month old, truth be told. “I needed septims, an’ Raelynn’d mentioned her Pa migh’ have some work for someone with my er… talents.” She looked a hint of sheepish but mostly proud. “Dunno if y’remember, but I’m pretty damn good at huntin’ down treasure. Soooo I went t’their place, an’ I’mma tell ya, tha’ place was grand, got me worried if I was t’touch sommat, it’d get dirty.”

Fjolte watched the Nord with an intensity he rarely showed outside of his work, a seriousness to his eyes that suggested that Meg was the absolute focus of his attention. He remained silent for the most part, occasionally the corners of his mouth would turn to a smile. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and that joy radiated over to him where he sat.

Scratching at her head for a moment, she continued onward. “So, her Pa had this sword, an’ wanted t’complete the pair, ‘cept the sister sword belonged t’another merchant who was ‘bout t’leave for the desert. So I had’ta sneak into his place… climbed a tree an’ jumped into the garden. There were three wagons there an’ ‘course I checked the wrong ones firs’...” She chuckled, though she didn’t seem embarrassed by her tale- while it lacked the flair with with Fjolte told his stories, Meg was clearly enjoying retelling her adventure to the tall Nord. “When I got t’the righ’ one, the wagons started off. I managed t’pick the lock an’ found the sword. A bow too, sold tha’ though. Had t’use it t’get away from the caravan an’ ran like my ass was on fire ‘til they were outta sight. I got paid good though! Bought sweets an’ clothes an’ drink with the gold.”

He was silent for a moment, and after that moment he laughed from the bottom of his stomach at the story. It was a fantastic one. “Oh Scraps,” he said through chuckles, “you sure showed them. Man…” he sighed almost wearily, “it’s good to have escapades like that, keeps a fire in you. Sounds like the sweets, clothes, and drink were well earned if you ask me.” It had been a long time since Fjolte had bought something like that, he was so used to just making do with what the land provided. The clothes on his back were old, and had been repaired and remade more than once. “Can’t even remember the last time I made a septim, y’know? All I want is all around me, don’t need much else.”

He’d recalled Meg having kept to herself somewhat on the trip, he wondered if something had been bothering her but he dare not ask in case it ruined the happy mood. It wasn’t his place to pry, either, so he held back any thoughts he was having of poking and prodding at the girl. “Good to see you again, y’know? Despite everything you’ve probably gone through you look stronger and more spirited than ever.” He gave a soft chuckle again, and nudged her in the arm with his elbow gently. “Always been a good egg, haven’t ya?”

"Maybe jus' a l'il rotten," Meg jokingly replied, returning the nudge with one of her one. Her grin simmered down to a smile as she thought over what he said. It was a relief if she was being honest with herself. "All tha' travelin' gave me lotsa thinkin' time, y'know? It... it's been an adventure but also a whole lotta hard shit..." She looked a little guilty as she cast a glance at him before her eyes shifted to the dirt between her boots. "I feel kinda bad sayin' tha', ain' like ye've been sittin' in a tavern this whole time." One glance at the man was enough to show that he'd seen more than his share of strife, from his clothes to his hair to his general disheveled state of being. Yet somehow he'd managed to retain a smile on his face and a happy tone for others.

"How'd ya do it?" she asked after a moment of lingering quiet. "Bein' back here, Skyrim, tha's what's gettin' me happy again, but b'fore tha'... it's like if I didn' ignore shit, it'd just make me sad an' upset. But you've been cheery since I saw ya after the prison." She finally looked back at him, still smiling though the questioning look in her eyes was clear.

“I have faith,” he began with a smile and a loose shrug of his shoulders. “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I spent far too much of my life being angry, being sad…” He absent mindedly began to pluck at a loose thread on his shorts, rubbing it between his thumb and forefinger as he gazed out across the camp. “It fucks you up, it fucks others up. I mean, it’s okay to feel like that once in a while if that’s how you feel. You just can’t set up camp and live there y’know?” Within the silence, his smile faded and the light went out in his eyes - as if he was thinking on memories from years ago.

“Being good, being nice, caring - all that’s easy I suppose. Rather see people smile and laugh than not. I’m not stupid, I know people see me as a bit of a joke y’know? Always been that way even when I was a soldier.” He paused again, blinking before he grinned and sat up straight with another laugh, “so hey, if I get to make everyone feel a bit better about their own shit for even five minutes because I’m the joker, well so be it. I’ll wear that badge with pride!” He beamed, and snuck an arm around behind Meg carefully while she had been listening, raising his hand to ruffle her hair. “Nothing to feel bad about Scraps, don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind for fear of offending me. I’m unoffendable.”

"I don' think yer a joke," Meg replied with a shake of her head before casually leaning against Fjolte- after nearly a month of keeping to herself, it felt nice to share a moment, and who better than with someone from home? "Hones'. I kinda wish I could be like you', y'know? I wanna be like tha', t'not take things t'heart so much tha' I just end up in..." Her forehead creased as she tried to think of a good description. "Like bein' stuck in a room with no light, no windows an' no door."

She paused once more, trying to gather her thoughts. "I hate thinkin' people see me as a kid, bu' maybe tha's how I acted." Smiling ruefully, she shook her head. "There're always signs pointin' to the truth, but I'd just... push ‘em away an' not take heed. I couldn' do that anymore when... well... the whole Gregor thing. Things were out an' there was no turnin' back. I drank a shi'load tha' night, like an idjit." Sighing, Meg looked at her hands that had been busy fiddling with the dark green and black trim on her new tunic. "Haven' since then though... was told it ain' gonna solve anythin'."

Looking up at Fjolte once more, Meg couldn't help but feel guilty yet again. "Sorry! Didn' mean t'make things all, er, gloomy an' such! I'm doin' okay now, really."

“People think you’re a kid? Or do you just think that’s what people think? Don’t know that anyone can say that about you after all you’ve gone through. I mean… Not that I know what has happened to you all… Save what I’ve overheard that is.” Fjolte looked down on Meg with his carefree smile again, letting his arm wrap around her as if to scoop her up and make her feel comfortable and safe from her own sadness. “Not a bad thing to take things to heart either - means we still have one y’know?” The Nord slapped his chest with the flat of his palm, the happy, toothy grin lighting up his expression alongside the sincere sentiment.

The crackling of the campfire, and distant chattering was the only sound for a while as he let Meg just breathe. He needed to as well, to take in the surroundings they had been blessed with - he filled his chest with the air and exhaled slowly with his eyes closed. “You want a drink? You have one. You want to go thieving swords for gold? You go do that too. Do what you want, Scraps. Ain’t nothing wrong with just being who you are. Willin’ to put a septim or two on it that’s why all your friends here love you.”

"More'n I think it... Honestly, I don' actually figure others do..." Meg was mumbling a little, the realization of her words striking her. "More what m'noggin' likes t'make me think." She couldn't help but smile though, feeling a little lighter as she quietly listened to the monk. It was strange that there was a substantial amount of years since they had seen each other yet it was still as friendly, easy and comfortable as the first time. The man knew how to make people feel at ease and almost at home.

She followed suit, breathing in deeply, taking in and enjoying the familiar scents, the warmth of burning wood and the crisp mountain air. She breathed out, a soft sigh, and continued. "Not gonna lie... I like carin' 'bout things. I like feelin', well, feelin's. An' yeah... I do love 'em all too." Her smile broadened once more, not a grin but seeming much less solemn than before. "We've been through a lot... I've been with 'em since, well, it's been three months? Maybe more, or less, I can' quite remember, but since the beginnin’. Everyone's like m'family really. Even you." She nudged his side with her arm before letting out a giggle.

"Say. D'ya really think y'should be tellin' me t'go an steal things?" She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. "Are y'really a monk there?"

“Sounds like you need to tell your own noggin’ to pipe down a bit then eh? There’s a great deal o’power in just being content in being you y’know? Means that nothing anyone says can bother you.” Thinking nothing of it, the Nord hooked his arm a little tighter around the Nord and pulled her closer with a content sigh. He’d be damned if this didn’t feel like just a nice, natural moment to be enjoyed.

“That caring that you do? It’s rare to find that in people. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop being that way. Especially not your inner saboteur.” He stretched out a leg, the other remaining bent at the knee and pointing upwards, his free hand flat on the ground beside him. Fjolte tipped his head back to gaze up at the sky. “I… Guess I’m not really a monk like my mentors were, but I try to live as closely to that as possible.” His head turned back to face Meg, expression unusually neutral, “I’m as close as I can be though, and if I say it’s alright for you to go steal a few things from some filthy rich merchants then you best believe I’m the damned authority on it, Scraps!” He almost sounded genuinely cross, and as if he was actually delivering holy commands to the woman beside him - but his eyes were filled to the brim with mischief and mirth.

Meg blinked a few times, a little surprised by the tone with which Fjolte spoke. Her mouth opened to apologize, but then her green eyes caught his blue ones and his intention was clear as crystal to her. “That so?” she replied with a giggle. Then she stiffened, her own expression one of solemnity as she raised her hand in a salute as she’d seen the habit of Imperial soldiers. “Well I guess I best be takin’ yer words t’heart too then. I’mma go lootin’ the next fat merchant I see an’ if tell ‘em it’s with the blessin’s of the Fabler!” Salute done and over with, she broke into another laugh before relaxing her stiffened stance as she shuffled closer, letting out a happy sigh as she leaned against the Nord, humming under her breath.

“Y’know what’d really make this like ol’ times?” she commented after a little moment. “Mead. Feels like ages since I drank any.” Her eyes shifted to her pack but she restrained herself- she’d keep it only for a special occasion, she really didn’t want to fall into her bad habit all over again. “An’ maybe seein’ yer hair back t’how it used t’be. Though, yer lookin’ pretty good as is.” She pursed her lips in thought before smirking, reaching up and gently tugging at his beard. “Y’plannin’ on keepin’ this?”

His eyes widened in surprise when she came for the facial hair, and it elicited a long laugh from him that had caught him off guard in a not unpleasant way. “Dunno. It doesn’t really feel like me to grow this out too much. Joked in the prison I could make a braid and bead the shiting thing before long… Reckon it’d make me look a bit wiser or something? Bit more serious? Or would I start looking like an old codger?” His laughter died down, and he stretched his other leg out, the warmth of the campfire reaching the two of them as they huddled together on the outskirts of the camp.

A drink would be good too, godsdamned good in fact… “So let’s share one then! Don’t tell me you’re holdin’ one out on me? I haven’t had a mead in…” Fjolte took in a breath and his eyebrows lowered, nose scrunched as he actually thought about the last time he’d actually enjoyed alcohol. “Fuck if I know, before I got locked up. Didn’t have any in the desert.” He could see from her expression that it bothered her, and he’d remembered her sharing a bad experience. Getting drunk to avoid feelings. He narrowed his eyes, and brought a hand up to his chin, stroking his fingers through his beard. “Y’know, drinking doesn’t have to be about getting blitzed. You shouldn’t go soaking yourself alone to bury sadness and anger - but there ain’t a damn thing wrong with sharing a bit of drink with a friend to celebrate, wouldn’t you agree?”

"Wise lookin' with wisdom," Meg replied, a teasing lilt to her words though she had to admit he was right. She didn't think she had enough self restraint to keep away from drink forever, but in good company with good words, perhaps she could learn some control. "Yer righ'." She smacked her thigh lightly before easily standing up in a single motion. "Ain' no better time than now, celebratin' bein' back, celebratin' good times with a friend." She gave him a grin before picking up her pack, unbuckling it and peeking inside. "There y'are." Pulling it out, she carefully set the bag back down -she didn't want to break the inkpot stowed within- and quickly returned, settling down next to the man as if she'd never left to begin with.

"Here ya go," she offered, holding out the bottle for him to partake. "Hard t'believe I got this in Gilane an' never even opened it. Huh, mayhaps the gods were waitin' til now. Seems about righ' though. Go on then, first one's on ya."

“You’re looking wise and mature yourself Scraps, that hair, the clothes. You mean business, bet you’d even kick my ass.” He laughed, taking the bottle carefully as if it was a source of contraband that might be confiscated at any time. He looked around shiftily before taking the cork from the top, and lifting the bottle to his lips. Taking a large mouthful, he savoured the taste for a few seconds before gulping it down, followed by a loud sigh. “S’good stuff that.” The Nord held the bottle in his huge hand before passing it back to Meg. “Bet some of the others wouldn’t mind a sniff of this either.” He tittered under his breath like a young boy up to no good. “Trust a Nord to find another Nord to down a mead with, that’s what I say!” He smirked boyishly, and took a look up at the stars again.

“You know, this is about my favourite thing to do? Just be out in the wild and look up at the sky.” He grinned and pointed to a set of stars to the right of them, “that set over yonder there looks like my brother Honon’s dismembered leg.” He commented with a loud laugh, his head tilted to the side so much so that it brushed against hers. The mead already had made him feel a warmth inside that the campfire simply couldn’t have done.

"Ya think?" Meg was still the smallest bit hesitant as she took the bottle, pausing to look up at the stars as well. She couldn't help but laugh- anyone else would have pointed out some profound constellation rather than the likeness of their brother's missing leg. She then pressed the bottle to her lips and took a small gulp. As she felt the drink go down her throat, she couldn't help but sigh happily, the familiar taste nostalgic. "Didju know I used t'be hired t'protect the Honningbrew's merchandise when I was younger?" She took another tentative sip before setting the bottle on his lap, keeping her hand around it so that it wouldn't topple over. "I might've... er... lost a few… in my tum."

He could definitely picture Meg as a guard at the Meadery, it didn’t take a whole heap of imagination. It didn’t take a whole heap of genius either to know it would probably have been quite a boring shift, so it was of little surprise to him that things went ”missing”. “Aye well, happens to the best of us. We can’t protect them all,” he said with a playful wink in her direction.

She rubbed her nose sheepishly before pointing up at another cluster of stars. "Those stars there, make me think of sweet rolls. Pa used t'buy 'em for me lots when we moved t'Whiterun. Thought it might sweeten my mood." She chuckled under her breath, shaking her head. "Poor thing. He did loads for me, by himself. I hope he's doin' a'ight." She turned her head, bumping her forehead against the large Nord's head. "What 'bout you? Y'got family back home?"

“My parents, my sister and her husband, and my nieces,” Fjolte said quietly, thinking about the two girls. It had been months since he’d seen them last. He knew how quickly they grew at their age and so he couldn’t help but think about how much bigger they might have gotten in that time. “Good strong Nord family us Dhjariksons,” he said in a voice soft as a whisper. He sniffed, bowing his head from the stars, he could make out the shapes of Meg’s face with her this close, pressed against him, it was almost enough to turn his thoughts away from his family. He hoped they were safe. He had been praying for them every day.

His hand balled into a soft fist out of sight of his companion, but he soon relaxed and began to pluck at the blades of grass beside him instead. “I’m sure your Pa is doing well, Scraps. Us Nords are hardy folk, don’t take too well to invaders now do we?” His arm curled around her again, and he gave her an almost comically strong squeeze - as if to remove all of the worries from them both in the moment. He smiled down at her again. “A sweetroll constellation eh? Makes sense to me that’s what you’d see,” he chortled before pointing to more. “If that isn’t a fucking chicken right there…” The Nord waited for Meg to comment on his observation, and he grinned up at it, proud as punch for having made out its form - his hand gently caressing her arm as he continued to hold her close.

"Hm... yeah, yer righ' 'bout that... though Pa ain' a Nord... but he's been in Skyrim plenty long 'nough t'be mistaken for one." She smiled, thinking back to when she was just a rebellious teen with a temper that needed to be quelled. "He taught me t'fight with m'sword an I ain’ too shabby, so I'm sure I'mma see him soon 'nough, pro’ly beatin’ some bandit ass. An' I'm sure you'll see your family soon as well." It was much easier to think that her Pa was still somewhere in Whiterun, or Riften, or maybe even Riverwood, alive and thriving, than to think the dwemer may have gotten him.

Once the conversation shifted back to the stars though, Meg couldn't help but laugh out loud. "A chicken?" She shifted slightly, and with Her legs now folded comfortably to the side, she was very much at ease, enjoying the warmth she felt from the closeness to her companion; it was hard to sit still and not snuggle. "Huh, y’may jus’ be righ’ ‘bout tha’. Well, ya jus' havta make sure y'don' kick it, the guards sure's oblivion don' like people messin' with 'em."

“Ha,” he laughed out at her, a short sharp exclamation in response to Meg’s humour, “they sure do, you’d think the chooks were royalty in some parts eh? Dunno what’s worse. Kicking a chicken up the arse or lollygaggin’.” Fjolte reached over to pick up the bottle to knock back another swig. She seemed in good spirits again, at least. He handed the bottle back, wiping his lips with the back of his hand.

She snickered at her own silly joke for a little bit too before quieting, her mind returning to previous thoughts of family. "When this's all done... what d'you think you'll be doin'? Back on the road, adventurin'? Or maybe jus’ spendin’ time at home… Rorikstead?"

“Rorikstead aye, the whole group should come to my home! My sister Helga throws the most amazing feasts! God’s, the thought alone makes my mouth water something fierce. Pig on a spit, fresh bread, dumplings, stews, hams, cakes… The whole damn lot,” he sighed. “We have a race, and whoever wins gets to blow the Dhjarikson ceremonial horn and have pick a’the pig,” he explained with a proud grin, waving his hand in front of him to demonstrate the enormous size of the hog. “Course, we don’t do it so much now that Honon can’t run, on account of him only having the one leg. Seems like he’d be at a disadvantage really…”

“Now I just show my nieces how to do some tricks. Handstands and backflips y’know? Taught little Astrid to do some - tell you what though, Risica is more interested in learning how to fight. She’s a bit like you actually, scrappy little thing. Can’t tell her shit!” Fjolte laughed, picturing them both in his mind. “What about you? Gonna go back to guarding old Honningbrew’s?”

Meg took a gulp of the mead, this time with no hesitation, smiling once she finished the mouthful. "Gods no," she replied, shaking her head. "Tha' sorta thing was fine for a while, but, I got my Ma's need t'travel an' go places. I mean... never thought I'd be goin' out all the way t'Hammerfell, I liked Skyrim plenty 'nough, but y'could say my fancy's been tickled- it'd be nice t'see more of Tamriel without havin' t'run for my life. At least, that's what I'm hopin' anyway."

"It would be fun t'be home for a while too though," she admitted, smiling softly. Fjolte's enthusiasm for his family brought up memories of Whiterun with her father, when it was simply the two of them. "We never had feasts like your home; sounds almos' like Sovngarde. T'was just me an' Pa for the longest time; we'd go to the tavern an' just sit an' chat with the others there. That sorta thing stopped when he married though. I have a li'l brother, Sylven. He's pro'ly like... this high now?” She brought up her free hand to show how high. “Five years old." She smiled wryly before continuing. "I kinda left home once he came along, though' maybe I was gettin' in the way of Pa an' his new family."

Taking another sip, Meg handed the bottle over to Fjolte once more. "Treasure huntin', maybe. Or... maybe somethin' else, like the Companions. Tha'd be nice, eh?"

The Nord moved his hand again, this time to her lower back, and he shuffled around some to face her more. “Well you know, you’ve an open invite to one of our feasts! Anytime!” His fingers gently danced over the small of her back now as they talked, his voice abnormally soft (by his standards), and gentle.

“I think I know what you mean, and you’re still young too. Could easily carve out a good life for yourself, doing whatever it is you want. Should always follow where your feet and heart want to carry you,” he remarked, joy and contentment glowing in his eyes, their colour highlighted and brightened by the big moon that was on display. “When I was in the prison, kind of got me thinking about what’s important to me. I’ve travelled and wandered a lot in my life. Maybe if Kyne grants me enough grace to make it through all of this chaos alive - might be time to set some roots down y’know? Least, start thinking about it.”

A shame, that the moon was so bright - had it been total darkness surrounding the two, the sudden blush of crimson on his cheeks might have gone unnoticed. He leaned into it anyway, giving the back of his neck an awkward rub, his mouth turning to a mock grimace. “Never really admitted that out loud til now…” His gaze shifted from left to right until he eventually stuck a finger up towards the sky again, blurting very quickly, “looks like a quart of a wheel of cheese! Holes and all.”

Grinning, Meg tapped at the amulet of Mara peeking out from under her green and gold trimmed scarf. "Maybe yer the one who should be wearin' this then?" she teased, prodding him with a loose fist, finding it endearing but also amusing that for once, she wasn't the one red in the face. "Cheese, is it? Y'sure about that? I dunno Fjolte, looks very much like another amulet jus' waitin' for ya to grab it."

“Hey there now,” he interrupted, his voice jokingly stern. “I mean I just wanna be there for my family, be a good uncle more than anything. Be in the girls lives, take care of my own Ma and Pa. Not getting any younger, the two of them.” His eyes did linger over the amulet, and the thought of settling down with, well, with someone gave him pause. He let Meg continue...

Chortling, she couldn't help but poke him once more before relenting. "I'm just jokin' with ya, honest." Her grin wavered slightly though for the most part remained intact. "Guess when yer in that sorta... situation, y'get t'see what life's all really about, what's most important to ya." And what's important to me? That was a question she had no answer to yet. Bits and pieces floating about, waiting to be put together. "Y'know, I wanted it too, for the longest time. Love an' all that." She gave him a sidelong glance before continuing. "But when the chance was there I... I couldn' take it. It wouldn' have been right or fair, t'me, or t’him even. Still, had me miserable." A half smile had now replaced the grin. "Bein' back here's made it easier."

He was incredibly curious in whatever it was that had happened, but as he had done earlier - he warned himself against prying, at least not right now. “Well honestly, Scraps, that’s big of you. Smart too, even if it was hard.” His shoulders shrugged but his smile was warm. “I don’t think that when you’re ready again to look for it, you’ll have much difficulty either. Damned beautiful woman like yourself, by the time that all comes around you’ll have beaten that negative voice in your own head that stands in your way y’know? Once you love yourself first and foremost, love’ll find you.” The monk gave a big stretch, removing his hand from Meg’s back, shifting his weight to the side where he lay down. With a sigh he rolled onto his back. “How’d you fancy finding more shit in the stars with me for a bit?”

For a little while Meg remained quiet, seeming deep in thought. "Well, I'mma take Fjolte the Fabler's word for it, seein’ he’s the authority ‘round here." She smirked down at him before nodding, and then easily reached out and grabbed her bedroll, plonking it down behind her. In no time she was laying down on her back, head resting on her makeshift pillow as she stared up at the stars with a smile on her face. "Sounds like a plan t'me, I can already see... ah yes, lookie there, looks kinda like- no, wai', tha's your brother's leg again."

He drew his stare from the skies back to Meg with another of his loud laughs. It really was Honon’s leg up there, down to the toes and everything. As she made herself comfortable beside him, a thought crept into his mind that he couldn’t rightfully ignore. It practically opened his mouth for him uncontrollably, he sat upright again. “Y’know, this here makes a pretty good pillow too…” His lips curled at the corners into a boyish smirk, and he flexed his right arm - his bicep bulging impressively. “Just sayin’” The tone was roguishly bold, but effortlessly charming all the same. He gave his eyebrows a quick wiggle - as well as a gentle nod of his head, awaiting her response. At the end of the day, he was but a man alone with a woman, afterall.

Meg blinked at Fjolte before letting out a giggle, the expression on his face too much for her mirth to be contained. That being said, she easily scooted over to his side because yes, his arm did seem a very nice pillow substitute indeed. "Well, if yer offerin', who'm I t'say no?" He was clearly flirting, and if it was a month ago she would have probably declined, but right now she was happy to share a silly yet touching moment with someone who reminded her of everything she was familiar with.

He could barely contain the feeling of delight that came over him when she took him up on the offer. It had felt like forever since he’d been close with a woman even like this, and unsure as he was on whether this was something he wanted to pursue further than tonight, further than a cuddle beneath the stars - this was special either way. It was more than just a hug, it was acceptance. Slowly he placed his arm outstretched for her to rest on, finding himself once more on his own back, fighting to stop himself from smiling ear-to-ear - still wishing to play it somewhat cool. “Pretty nice way to finish the night,” he commented quietly - looking at the details of her face again, her eyes - as green and shiny as emeralds, and her lips... They appeared so soft and alluring as she lay there at his side. “I’ll be your pillow whenever,” he whispered flirtatiously, turning back to the stars again.

The Dirge of Dusk, The Ballad of Dawn

13th Sun’s Height.

I fear that the Reach is too dangerous. That we’ve simply taken an exercise in readying the parameters for our tombs, who knows what will happen to us here? We must find good food, clean water - for dysentry will annihilate us all faster than any Dwemer ambush will. Why does it continue to feel as though the world is turning upside down?

It’s perhaps time to step up and evaluate the situation for what it is at last, we are now beginning the march to where Daro’Vasora claims it all began. If what she says is true, I will need to work harder, be better, be stronger. We will need potions, I must be diligent in my work. It is past time to replenish my supplies. I must send out a group. I can’t carry on acting skittish with the group, it is time to step up. Has enough time gone by for them to see past my sins?

I continue to think about my father, my mother. Of Daggerfall. I wonder when it will be that I see them both again. Is my father still at sea? Who is taking care of my mother in his absence. Is she lonely? Does she worry for me? I must write her a letter as soon as I am able.

I have much more to fear - and yet so much more to be joyous for, the hope that I prayed for...

The weeks of trekking had not been easy on any of them, between lack of sleep and lack of food, little time for true rest, tensions and tempers flaring from time to time… It had felt like a long journey to reach here. In some ways, Raelynn wondered if she had felt it the most. The eyes of the party on her, the whispers and conversations of her companions that her mind tricked her into believing were about her and her alone. This of course, was not the truth in the slightest, but training with Jaraleet on top of everything else had left her feeling more exhausted than she should have let herself be.

She had ceased their training for some time now, and it was clear that Jaraleet was slightly chagrined by this. But the Breton had taken ill, she had become prone to headaches, and there had been several occasions of vomiting in private. Much of her withdrawal had been attributed by the others to the changing climate, her training, Fjolte and Gregor’s activities... It had not been easy for her, or any of the travellers, but now there was some kind of home camp being set up. Maybe now they would all get suitable rest before moving on again.

“You alright there blondie?” Came the voice of the rambunctious Nord, the newest arrival to their group, Fjolte. He swiftly took a seat in a lazy slouch on the log beside Raelynn. The apple that he was working on was a little overripe, but he wasn’t about to pass up on it. He’d already scarfed off his stew, everyone else needed the seconds more than he did. He too, had noticed Raelynn’s retreat from the group now that they had stopped.

“Yes, I’m quite alright, actually…” she said truthfully, smiling at him, even if her forehead had the obvious crease of worry sitting there. “How are you fairing? I see you’ve been spending a lot of time with the others on this trip.”

He laughed roguishly, running a hand through his disheveled hair which had seemed to have had a healthy spurt of growth, despite only just having had it trimmed. His beard too, had reached past the point of being neat stubble. “You know me, I like to keep spirits up and make friends… And sing crude ditties obnoxiously loud of course. Make my presence known, you know?” He paused, looking at Raelynn, at her eyes. What was she thinking? He observed the way she occupied silence just by being, sitting still with her journal held open over her knees. One hand was on her lap and the other on her stomach - the fabric of her cloak being rubbed between her thumb and forefinger. “How are you and Just Gregor?” He asked, straight into the meat of it.

That gave her reason to look at him again, and all she did was smile and give a small nod. She rarely gave anything away - her countenance often inscrutable. “We’re in a good place, if that’s what you want to know.” Her fingers pinched tighter at the fabric, and she lowered her head bashfully.

“Yeeaaaahhhh…..” Fjolte replied before taking another bite of the apple. “Glad to hear it then.” He wanted to probe into their relationship more, but decided against it, seeing that she was quite content there. “I might have been making friends, but you’ve been keeping to yourself. Just you and Scales, and when I’m not the one bothering Gregor, it’s just you and him. You avoiding us all or what?” The Nord displayed as much of a smile as he could, unlike the Breton, his expression was easily read - and it was laced with concern. He’d seen the Argonian and Mage come and go, each time Raelynn looking more worse for wear. Bruised, hunched, sometimes bleeding. Always muddied and exhausted, only to be fine to try again the next day, and the next day, and the next day...

Now, both of her hands sat in her lap against the pages, and her smile faded - a look of shame came to her. “It’s hard to be around everyone,” she admitted frankly, sapphirine eyes scanning the camp. Hovering for a second on each individual. “I don’t like them to look at me, not after everything. I fear what they think of me, what they see…Who they see, so I stay in shadow until I am needed...”

He listened carefully, and could hear a note of pain in her admission - she had always been such a closed book to most in the time he’d known her, and yet here she was, admitting her feelings. “Friends always need each other Raelynn. You need them and they need you, I’m willing to bet when they see you, they just see how hard you are on yourself.” Compelled by the emotional turn in the conversation, he put his arm around Raelynn’s shoulders and pulled her closer to him much to her surprise. Then, much to his, she let him. “You’ve barely said a word to Sora. You should. You should go and see her.”

“Thank you friend,” she replied in kind, resting her head on his shoulder to look up at him with a smile. “I’m glad you’re here, I’m very grateful for what you’re doing.” If she was to be honest with herself, it was nice to have the comforting touch of her old companion. Despite what they may once have been and had, there was nothing but a platonic affection and mutual respect now and she needed it. “I’m proud of who you turned into,” she said with a quiet laugh, “you don’t go running into danger anymore. Not on purpose, anyway.”

Fjolte beamed down at her, “and then there’s you, who seems to be the one running into it headfirst. How the tides have turned eh?”

“Indeed…” she replied with something of sigh before she removed herself from him, almost hesitantly. She caught herself glancing at the soft apple in Fjolte’s hand - she shuddered at the thought of it. “Fjolte,” she began, pulling out of their embrace, “don’t eat those apples anymore - they’re bad. I’m afraid, actually,” she quickly paused and turned to a blank page in her journal with a huffed sigh. “I’m afraid that we need to find better supplies - and quickly. Real food. Fruits, not just meats. Clean water… A source for washing, a source for drinking. I need herbs to make medicine. If someone takes ill...” The words rattled from her at an increasing pace as her worries took over. Finally Fjolte took her hands and pulled her back to the present moment.

“I’ll go scouting - look for whatever we need. Believe it or not I’ve spent plenty’ time out in the wilds to know how to find an apple or a carrot. If it’ll put your mind at ease, I’ll go on a provision run. Besides, might come over well with the women if I rock up with a cart full of proper grub eh?” There was a mischievous twinkle in his eye and he winked in Raelynn’s direction.

“It’s no joke,” she chastised seriously, “you should take at least someone with you. Zaveed is good at provisioning, as is Mazrah. It’s dangerous out here. I’ll make a list of the items you must return with, if you can find them then I’ll feel much more at ease.”

The Nord just listened, and once she was done he gingerly lifted the bottom of the cloak to observe her feet, giving a nod, raised eyebrows, and a long sigh in quick succession. Raelynn, on the other hand, looked entirely confused by it and felt the need to even give him a sharp kick for it until he spoke. “Aye, there we have it - some good old bossy boots. If I’d known you’d put them on today I’d have kept a distance.”

In response, the Breton narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips until she broke down and started chuckling. “It seems I did…” she admitted, flushed and awkward. “Sorry Fjolte… I just don’t think I’m going to find much reason to smile if sickness spreads through the camp because we slack on simple hygiene and keep eating rotten apples…” She raised her hand to knock the cursed fruit from his palm to the ground. “Don’t you bloody well dare…” she warned him, with a glaring heat in her eyes as she observed the Nord follow it with his own, clearly and absolutely thinking about it.

“Eh, if it’s all the same blondie, I like you in the bossy boots. Gettin’ involved, giving orders. Never thought I’d see the day you gave so much of a shit. You suit this, you’re from Daggerfall mind, this is what you were born for - bossing others around.” He let go of her hands and scratched the back of his neck with a smile. “So you bring me that list, and I’ll see who I can rope into going for an adventure with me.”

“And then I’ll do as you said, talk to Daro’Vasora that is.” She sighed, remaining in her position for a while as she once again looked over the camp. What would she even say to Sora? Had things blown over between them? They had always said they trusted each other… But the gathering had been awkward, emotional, and ugly. She groaned and eventually rose from her seat and gave Fjolte one last look. “I’ll be seeing you.” With that, she made her way off to the place where the Khajiit was working.

Fjolte gave her one last smile while watching the sway of her hips. He also admired the shape of her bottom as she made her departure, and with a content sigh he whispered under his breath “some things stay the same…” With a slight tilt of his head, and a squinting of his eyes he observed further, “maybe get a little bigger...”


Raelynn stepped near silently towards her, hands at her front and concealed past her elbow in black velvet gloves. Her grey cloak was exquisitely lined with fox fur around the shoulders, the length to her knees. The Breton’s hair was wound in a tight braided knot, separated into two distinct strands that hung to her chest on either side of her head in her trademark gentle waves. “Thank you for your words,” she remarked sincerely with a smile.

“Raelynn.” Daro’Vasora replied, turning to face her friend with a warm, albeit tired, smile. She stepped forward to place her hand gently upon Raelynn’s arm. “It’s always been remarkable to me how you manage to look resplendent even so far from running water and a tailor.” she remarked with a light chuckle before her expression grew somewhat more somber. “Which words in particular? My practice at inspiring speeches, or from an earlier time?” she asked, reflecting how they hadn’t had much of a chance to speak in private since the trial.

That made her laugh, “you just seem to have a way with them when we find ourselves on a new part of this journey. To put everyone at ease, I suppose. As for me? Well… Thank you for that but I assure you it’s just a lot of time, magic, and potions…” The way that her expression changed did not go unnoticed by the Breton, and she sidestepped the Khajiit to take a seat on a nearby rock. “Are you well? Have you been drinking enough?” There was very little that could stop her natural healers instinct at a time like this, and she looked Daro’Vasora up and down with a keen eye, looking for any sign of injury or illness. “If you are tired, I am going to have to prescribe you immediate rest,” she said playfully, even if there was an undertone of seriousness within it.

“Drinking?” Daro’Vasora replied with a wry smile. “No, not enough. Plenty of water, though.”

She folded herself cross-legged on the ground next to Raelynn, leaning back on outstretched arms. “I’m always tired, sleep eludes me these days. Blame it on poor life choices, but I’m a very light sleeper when I don’t have a roof over my head and the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’ll admit, it’s getting heavy.” Daro’Vasora replied, finding a twig on the ground and slipping it between her teeth. “I suppose it’s safe to say I’m doing about as well as I can, but I’ve been worried about you since, well, y’know.” she looked over to her friend, a frown crossing her features. “I was worried you weren’t going to talk to me again.”

It was of concern to Raelynn that she was not sleeping, but it was of little surprise. Sleep had been an elusive thing to her as well. “Then you’ll take staggered rest… Lie down when tired, take it when you can. You’re no good to anyone exhausted… I can make you a potion or a tonic to assist you with it, now that we’re camped I can gather whatever ingredients that I can.” She rounded off her words by giving the Khajiit something of a stern look - to reiterate that she had simply no choice in the matter, it soon softened, however… “I feared that everyone wouldn’t wish to speak to me. I’ve been… Reflecting and… I’m sorry if I’ve been distant. I needed space… I didn’t want to get in anyone's way…”

Daro’Vasora reached over and took Raelynn’s hand, meeting her gaze with reverence. “There is nothing to be sorry for; I never went anywhere, Raelynn. I meant it when I promised I would help you with Gregor, and I will never, ever give up on you.” she promised, a sigh escaping her lips. “I won’t pretend this hasn’t been hard, or confusing, or painful.” she said softly, her gaze finding the earth below. “I can’t imagine how it must be for you. We love who we love, and sometimes that means enduring hardships that anyone who isn’t you cannot possibly understand. When I spoke to you before all of that, you asked me to trust you that he had changed, and I listened because I trust you. Thank you for believing in me, putting yourself before all of us. That took incredible courage.”

Raelynn squeezed her hand in return, letting her thumb run over the back of her hand gently, comfortingly. “Logically, I know all of this to be true. I’m just…” The Breton paused while she waited for the words to come to her. The right words. “I’m not frightened of what the future holds, I just know I need him in it. More than ever. I’m thankful that you listened to me, listened to us. If it had gone badly… If you’d elected to exile or-” she stopped, closing her eyes tightly trying to push back the thought of someone executing Gregor from her mind, even if she had pictured it so vividly since. The image she’d created herself had been haunting her. “I don’t know what I’d have done.”

Carefully she moved from the rock and down to the ground, to sit beside Sora in as dainty and ladylike a manner as she could, taking her other hand in hers, sitting close enough to the Khajiit to hear her tired breaths. “So thank you Sora, for your trust.” With one last smile, Raelynn placed her chin on her friends shoulder and whispered again, “thank you.”

“I’m sure if our positions were reversed, you’d have done the same for me.” The Khajiit smiled tiredly, recalling Megana saying something similar to her a few weeks ago. She had told her she wasn’t sure if she would have been able to do what the Nord had, but this at least felt right. A frown creased her features. “I… am still not sure how I feel about all of it, to be honest. I try to act like I know what the fuck I’m doing, but inside I look at Gregor and I have a hard time reconciling exactly what he is with what I’m seeing, the calm and polite man he is now compared to the monster that had caused so much pain. A big part of me is torn up inside, but I’m relieved it’s all done and over with. There’s still so far to go, and I just want to make sure we’re all in this together.” she glanced around at the people milling about, her eyes settling on Latro speaking with Zaveed, of all people. What in the world was that about?

“You're right, and who knows how long this will take, what else awaits us. I just want to get home safely, me and…” she stopped and pulled back from the embrace. “Whatever your feelings and thoughts are about him, they're valid. I will never tell you that you're wrong. I can try, but ultimately, only he can show you who he really is.” She sighed and squeezed Sora's hands tighter, just looking at the Khajiit with an expression somewhere between regret and encouragement. She had a way of hiding her pain in her eyes, far beyond the ocean blue. “I don’t know if I’m happy, but I don't think I'm sad, either. So… I think I know what you mean.” She followed Sora's eyes, and found her watching in the distance Zaveed and Latro. She knew that would be worrisome for her, and so she squeezed again, this time releasing an amount of magicka that would provide a gentle warmth from palm to wrist. “We have each other, I'll always help you with anything that I can.”

“Thank you.” Daro’Vasora replied, closing her eye briefly, thankful that Raelynn wasn’t becoming defensive over the discussion and her opinions. She felt too tired and threadbare to fight, and for weeks now she’d felt the fire in her heart burn down to embers. She wasn’t a soldier, or a hero. She was just some silly girl who got caught up in the world turning upside down and doing her damnedest to try to keep her footing. She couldn’t even bring herself to hate Zaveed, having seen him in their company for so long. He’d always seemed rather affable and generally harmless that it was hard to think it wasn’t just an act, something that he was putting on until the next time he decided to let his claws out.

Her arm throbbed and she winced at the memories.

The flood of warmth from Raelynn’s hands helped ground her, and her eyes opened again, staring at the soft glow of the pale hands that looked and felt rougher since the last time they’d been this close and intimate. “I have to admit something.” she said after a few moments of contemplation. “I think this plan of mine is a one-way trip.”

“What do you mean?” Raelynn asked quietly, their voices now only murmurs against the buzz of the rest of the camp. She was concerned and it was etched across her brow which now furrowed harshly, and yet the healer did not relinquish her grip on Sora’s hands, in fact she pulled them closer into her lap. “Would you like to go somewhere more private?” she asked, the features of her face softening with concern and worry and somewhere in between that a show of love and respect for her friend.

“Talk to me, we can work this out, so don’t say that,” Raelynn continued - the weight of the realisation heavy on her heart all of a sudden. Instinct took over from somewhere, and she moved closer still to Sora, releasing her hands so that she could embrace her friend instead. “Don’t say that.”

The Khajiit leaned into the embrace, placing her hand on top of the arm around her, holding herself close to Raelynn for as long as she dared. “Yes, let’s do that.” she said at last, slowly unwrapping the two of them. “Come on, let’s go pitch a tent. This isn’t something I’ve wanted to bring up near anyone else.” Daro’Vasora replied, getting to her feet easily and helping Raelynn to hers. The pair gathered a bundle of fabric and cloth that encapsulated the pegs and poles and carried it to a small clearing that would have done a decent enough job of keeping someone from sleeping on too many hard rocks.

The two knelt across from each other, working on the knots. “I’ve been thinking on this for the past few weeks, what that lexicon is, how I think it works.” Daro’Vasora began, the chords coming loose in her fingers. Having sharp claws were quite handy at picking at tight knots. She let out a long sigh, her hand stopping and sinking down into the bundle. “There’s no easy way to really say this, but I cannot think of a way to put the lexicon into the the planebridge coordinate without it immediately cutting off Exodus from Nirn. Whoever does it will effectively be cutting themselves off in a realm that’s collapsing with no way home.” she paused, looking up to Raelynn, her eyes heavy with bags from a lack of sleep and general exhaustion.

“And even if there was, there’s no telling how much time dilates between our worlds. Whoever goes into Exodus will think it’s maybe hours or days; it could be months, weeks, or years in real time. Remember what Rourken said to us, how it had only been about 600 years since her people vanished?” the Khajiit asked quietly.

The Breton took in a deep breath, her nostrils flared and her hands slowed on the ropes until she eventually brought one up to her chin to think on what Sora had just told her. Raelynn was surely intelligent, she knew that. She was well read, she had studied the Dwemer informally with all the resources that she’d had at her disposal - and still, this was hard to wrap her mind around. Her eyes narrowed and she sucked in a long breath through her teeth. She had no idea what to say or offer the Khajiit.

“This lexicon? You are certain this is what will happen? I’m afraid my knowledge of the Deep Elves is limited to what I’ve read in books, I certainly have no knowledge of their devices. But I wouldn’t mind taking a look at this lexicon myself,” she offered, placing a hand on top of Sora’s comfortingly. “What you’ve admitted has frightened me Daro’Vasora… I can only imagine that feeling is amplified for you... This isn’t a worry that is going to be mended by a ‘we’ll do this together’ is it?” This revelation was painful to process, and she knew that actual work and study was required to solve this mystery.

“I’m not certain about anything, a lot of this is speculation or piecing together what I’ve heard or have seen for myself.” Daro’Vasora admitted. “Honestly, all this technology is new to me. I’ve never seen anything like this; I didn’t even think something like this could exist. But Raelynn?” she said, squeezing her hand back in turn with a slight smile. “‘We’ll do this together’ is exactly what I need right now. If I can’t think of a solution to the problem, maybe somebody else can. If you want to study the lexicon, I’ll fetch it from my bag. I just know that we have a lot of trouble between here and Red Mountain to worry about that stuff right at the moment.”

“Doing it together… That’s all good but… Answers, facts, a plan. This is what we need to get through this. I don’t believe there’s anything I can do right now, let us just have this night.” There had been little Raelynn could have done in the past few weeks to have stopped many of the things that had happened. Namely, Gregor’s change. She had tried to bargain for time but it had been useless. She felt the impossible weight of that failure on her heart whenever something brought that memory to the surface.

“I feel like study and logistics is all I will be able to help you with on those matter. I don’t… Daro’Vasora, if what you say is true, I cannot follow you in there.” Raelynn said it with such an absolute conviction, that it was as if she was holding something back.

“I’d be disappointed if anyone did. No sense in bringing friends along for a one-woman job, you know?” Daro’Vasora sighed, staring back at the pillar of light, that haunting ethereal green glow. “I’m not going to pretend I’m not scared or that it’s something I particularly want to do, but I’ve accepted that this is on me. I’ll set it right.”

“You must stop blaming yourself. You have to stop.” Raelynn’s head tilted to the side as she met the Khajiit’s gaze - the usual severity lined her ocean blue orbs as they narrowed. It was almost as though she was scolding Sora. “We have many good men and women out there with incredible skills, it’s time we put to paper a plan on how to utilise them, no? This is not a one-woman job. You might stand at the front, but you have the strength, faith, and unyielding loyalty of those good men and women behind you.” She held a pause before glancing to the side with a dry and sardonic chuckle, “there I go giving the ‘we’re all in this together’ speech after all.”

“Not bad for your first attempt, you might have a talent for it after all.” The Khajiit smiled. “I just ask people help get me there and through the door. Even if it was true, that it’s not my fault, it makes it easier to face the worst case scenario if I tell myself I should have died or been taken by the Falmer rather than stand by while Rhea activated the device. I didn’t want to die then, and for weeks afterwards, I told myself, ‘better them than me. Don’t apologize for surviving’.” she sighed, wrapping her arms around herself. “But after seeing everything that resulted from that choice, I have to hold myself accountable for doing nothing but looking out for myself and only myself. It was if that lexicon was a brick going through a Tamriel-shaped Window, and all of the pieces that fell free were the people who were lost because of it.”

Raelynn watched as her friend retreated into herself once more, she would always do that thing with her arms. “That’s fair. It’s good that you don’t forget, let it push you forwards but don’t carry the burden of it all. Did you do it with bad intent? Did any of us? You had no idea, Rhea had no idea… You have done everything since then to put it right.” she affirmed. “We’ll put it right.”

“I’m hoping so. I’d feel rather silly if I were wrong about this whole thing and all of this was for nothing.” Daro’Vasora smiled. “I kind of think intent in this situation is irrelevant. It’s like if a mage were practicing magic in the mountains, causes an avalanche, and then ends up flattening a village. They didn’t mean to cause the avalanche, but it wouldn’t have happened if they’d picked a better location to be showing off.”

“And I would say to that, that it would not only be a mage capable of creating an avalanche. A mammoth could find his way up that mountain, step too loud and cause the very same avalanche… So then why did those villagers choose to settle under such a dangerous mountain?” She asked with a smug expression. She knew that both she and Sora could debate over the whys and why nots like this endlessly if they wanted to. She liked that quality in the woman. But, there was little time for philosophising on blame and responsibility when they were sat with the task of ending it once and for all.

“How many mammoths do you see climbing mountains? I’d think you’d never been to Skyrim before.” Daro’Vasora teased with a giggle.

She leaned into Raelynn, letting out a long breath. “I’m fine, truly, I am. It feels good to get all of this out, I just don’t want to scare people. The ironic thing is I’m finally realizing the kind of person I want to be, and I look back at who I was before we all met and I wonder what was wrong with me. I was a lousy person. No wonder my parents sent me up to Zegol; it was probably the first time since I was born they could actually relax.”

“Hmm, you don’t need to explain that to me. I was hardly Saint Raelynn of Daggerfall myself. I’m still not - and I’m far from it. I’m sure you weren’t lousy; just misguided.”

“Oh, I was the worst.” Daro’Vasora exclaimed with her arms held wide. She began to count on her fingers. “I stole from my father’s merchant company just to see if I could get away from it. I shirked responsibilities because I knew my sister, the worry-wart she is, would do them for me so we wouldn’t get in trouble. I always acted brazenly and without much thought for authority and rules. I was a little asshole runt, got to the point my mother basically had me under house arrest in Castle Leyawiin doing chambermaid tasks because they couldn’t trust me on my own before I decided I was going to be a treasure hunter.” she reflected, shaking her head. A pair of fingers massaged her temple.

“I think that’s why I’m never going to willingly have kids. If one of them turned out being like me, I’m pretty sure I’d pack them up in a box and ship them off somewhere so I didn’t have to put up with it.” The Khajiit decided, her arms wrapping about her waist. “My parents are better people than I could ever be, and I think I was going to try and use my sister’s trip to Imperial City to show her that I could change and try and make things up to her.” a frown returned to her face. “I just hope she didn’t get caught up in all of this, that’s what’s really getting to me. Not all of the Imperial City refugees, not the occupation of Gilane, none of that. It’s hoping my sister’s okay.”

Raelynn picked up a water canteen from her side as Sora spoke of her sister, she hadn’t recalled mention of her before and if indeed she had mentioned her, the Breton suddenly felt bad for not having paid attention. She took a long drink from the canteen, holding it out for Sora to take when she was finished. “I’m an only child, a very small family. I think that if your sister has even a quarter of the strength and determination that you have - then she’ll be just fine. It does feel good to share this, doesn’t it?” She asked, wrapping an arm around Sora to embrace her. She wanted her to feel as safe as possible, so that she could be vulnerable - if that would help to heal her for now. “Oh, and for what it’s worth, you’re still an asshole runt,” the blonde giggled before wiggling the fingers of the hand that was wrapped over Sora to tickle her.

She leaned into the embrace with a pur and closed eyes. “And don’t you forget it.” she replied with a smile, enjoying the closeness she was sharing with Raelynn. It wasn’t the intimacy from the oasis, but she found she needed this escape more than she was willing to admit to herself.

Daro’Vasora took the canteen, drinking gratefully as she felt the water ease her surprisingly dry throat. Oftentimes when travelling, she often forgot to pay attention to minor discomforts, so the sudden relief was stark and very welcoming. It was a blessing and a curse; she could push herself hard, but she also at times forgot to take care of herself. The Khajiit wondered what it would have been like being an only child, as much as she acted like it at times, or what her older brother would have been like had he survived infancy.

“It feels very good to share all of this, it’s soothing. I think I just needed to hear someone tell me it’s going to be alright, that La’Shuni is going to be alright. I just wish I could stop thinking or imagining the worst at times and just take things as they come. I think I needed someone like you in my life… I never really had a girlfriend to share these thoughts with.” Daro’Vasora admitted with a contented sigh.

“I can’t say that I have ever had friends until I wound up with you all. Acquaintances, yes… Real friends? Perhaps only ever really my mentor from the college. Something about consistent peril makes you grow genuinely fond of those who accompany you,” she mused, a thoughtful expression on her face. She gave the Khajiit a squeeze too, before adding with a soft laugh, “don’t tell anyone I’m your friend though, it will really start to tarnish my reputation as a stuck up bitch.”

“I’m glad to have you as my friend too.” She finally admitted after several moments of silence. She bit her lip suddenly, sucking in a sharp breath nervously. Her eyes closed and she relaxed her grip on Sora. “We said no more secrets, yes?”

The sudden change in disposition surprised Sora, and she reflexively straightened up to look Raelynn face to face. “Of course, I promised, you promised.” she said, raising a brow. “What’s on your mind?” she asked.

The Breton nervously bit at her finger - but she did not seem overly anxious in a distressed way, “Well, this has to remain between us two, if that’s okay?” Raelynn relaxed her grip from Sora, and pulled her knees up to her chest, as if she were retreating into a shell. “You must promise that you tell nobody.”

Daro’Vasora knelt in front of Raelynn, placing her hands over the Breton’s gently and looking in her eyes with a sincere gaze. “Raelynn, after everything we’ve been through, this thing with Gregor, the warehouse… all of it. Why would I have ever given you cause to not trust me?” she asked. “You can tell me anything in confidence and nothing will ever change that.”

She listened studiously to her words, nodding along with her. “This may well be the most important secret I ever ask you to keep. But I need someone to know… To tell someone.” Her chin trembled and she took in a long, deep breath and closed her eyes, even her hands shook which only made her clench to Sora furthermore. “Daro’Vasora, before Gregor… Well, before he changed - you are aware that he and I…” Her brow furrowed as she lingered on the awkwardness of the topic at hand, before shaking her head - strands of hair falling loose around her face. “I’m with his child, Sora.”

What ordinarily should have been a cause of celebration, a feeling of joy and excitement almost seemed like a cruel joke with everything that had happened. Gregor being a lich, unable to respond and feel like he would have before, the dangerous road they all followed, the uncertainty of the future. Some might have looked at this like the gods playing a cruel jest on Raelynn. Daro’Vasora crawled around Raelynn’s legs and wrapped her arms around her, holding her close to her body.

“This just means that you both have something to live for, something to look forward to when this is all over.” she said quietly, running her fingers through Raelynn’s golden hair. Deciding to take some of the tension from the situation, she said after a moment’s thought, “You better name her after me.” she smiled, kissing Raelynn’s brow. “I know you must be afraid, and you don’t know what the future might hold for you, for this child, for Gregor. But you’re Raelynn Hawkford, there isn’t a damn thing in this world you aren’t capable of conquering and if Mara blessed you with a child, well, maybe you earned it.” she sighed, almost dreamily. “There’s something poetic about a healer giving life.”

“Well that may well be it, I’m not afraid at all. In fact, I’m more sure than I ever have been. I have reason to fight and win this war, reason to fight for myself. Oh Gods…” she sobbed, leaning into Daro’Vasora. “When I realised, when I felt… Sora, I don’t think I’ve been so happy in my whole life. All of the jewels and treasures of Nirn could not compare to this…” Using the back of her thumb, she wiped away the pooling tears of joy from the waterlines of her eyes.

“I still have some time, before I need to tell him. If I were to tell him now, it would distract from his progress. Gregor doesn’t know, I’d like it to stay that way - it’s why I ask for your discretion… God’s, please, just let me have this. For a while.” In the height of her happiness, her voice cracked desperately. As if the very news of life, was keeping her alive too. Raelynn kissed Sora back on her cheek, embracing her tightly.

Daro’Vasora’s fingers traced where Raelynn’s lips had touched, and the urge to lean in and kiss her properly came and passed with some restraint. Instead, she shyly smiled and said, “Well, I supposed you’re eating for two now. This will be our beautiful little secret, until you’re ready to share with the world. You’re going to be a wonderful mother, and… it really means the world you came to tell me first. My gut is fluttering right now, my heart is pounding!” she said with a laugh, shaking her head. “You know, this doesn’t surprise me a damn bit, the way you two went at each other.” the Khajiit remarked with a suggestive wink.

“Excuse you,” Raelynn interjected with a laugh, “as if you are anyone to place comment on the rate of… well,” even with Sora, she was still coy about discussing her sexual exploits openly like that. The blush of her cheeks started to darken.

“Our beautiful secret,” she repeated slowly with a smile and a redness on her cheeks. “My miracle,” she whispered. It filled her with a sense of euphoria to share it, and to see that Sora was happy too - and even more so, the things that she said about her - about being a good mother. She hadn’t really thought of it, strangely, whether or not she would be a good mother. Maybe she had just felt it instead. She’d felt it a lot in the days since discovering - a protective instinct that had awoken within her. Something that had always been there…

“I’m going to get so big,” she remarked with a blank stare. Her fingers plucking at the material of the shirt beneath her cloak - she’d already begun to notice a slight change of shape - a growing softness around the most feminine of her curves. She chuckled once more. “Thank you Sora.”

“What’s this, Raelynn being bashful? That’s hardly like you.” Daro’Vasora replied with a low, almost seductive purr. “Soon you’re going to lose all that flexibility with that big old belly of yours. It’ll almost be a shame.” she giggled. “Almost.”

That warranted a slap. A playful one, but a slap nonetheless. “How dare you. I'll keep practicing my flexibility thank you, even with my big belly!” After that, the Breton yawned, her eyes droopy. Just as she had noticed with Fjolte, it had been nice to be held… By someone.

“Hmmm,” she began, casting a shifty glance to the half-constructed tent, “think anyone would notice our absence if we just… If we just lay down for a bit? Rested our eyes together?”

“After pitching a tent after a long hike? We’d have to be terribly out of our senses to not want to take a quick, several hour nap after the fact.” the Khajiit replied, nuzzling Raelynn affectionately. “I think they can figure things out on their own without being told what to do. I’ll keep you warm, that’s for damn sure.” she promised, a playful smirk on her countenance.

With raised spirits and a playful mood in the air, the pair quickly put up the tent, a quick process born of ample practice the past few weeks, and found their way inside, a loose and unorganized pile of blankets, furs, and pillows tossed in haphazardly. Daro’Vasora collapsed into the soft heap, feeling the aches of her legs fading like water running down a rock. She sighed contentedly, kicking off her boots and patting the spot next to her, beaconing for Raelynn to join her.

The Breton didn't need to be told twice, and at that Raelynn lay down onto her side, resting her head on her arm. “I'll be the judge of that,” she commented softly - her tired voice was as soft and thick as velvet as she made herself comfortable on the spread, moaning out with a long sigh as she stretched. “Let's get our rest, my friend…” she slurred, her eyes heavy lidded - the weight of her secret had been lifted and she was left with a feeling of content she thought had long been forgotten. Daro’Vasora pulled herself close behind Raelynn, wrapping a protective arm about her belly from behind, her muzzle resting on Raelynn’s neck. Soon, their breathing seemed to become one and the sands of sleep shrouded them together.
<Snipped quote by POOHEAD189>

Me and Nikki aren't that loud! How rude!

I dont know man, I'm pretty loud and obnoxious enough for us all.
Raelynn Hawkford

Snobby Breton healer from a TES roleplay.
Started out as a vain and selfish asshole.

Is still very much vain and selfish but is learning to love her friends, use her skills to actually help people and make a difference and positive contribution.

Here she is getting tortured;
Sweat, Sand and Smiles

*this one aint Raegor, kids.

Afternoon, 17th of Midyear, 4E208
Gathering of the Tribes, Alik’r Desert, Hammerfell

The mission in the prison had been a resounding success. Not only was the lexicon that Sora had coveted now in their possession, they had also been able to rescue a significant number of prisoners. Alim was back, which was great news, but among the other escapees was one man in particular that grabbed Mazrah’s attention: a tall, burly Nord with the greatest grin she ever did see, and a lightness to his movements that put a smile of her own on Mazrah’s face. She considered herself to be a good judge of character, even if the reality was that she was more likely to be oblivious to subtle deceit than to detect it, and something about him told Mazrah that he was a kindred spirit. There was no real time to talk during the journey as Mazrah naturally gravitated towards the vanguard of the caravan, side by side with Shakti as pathfinders of this ragtag band of misfits, but once they arrived at the colorful and vibrant oasis and finished unloading the supplies -- a task for which they had obviously both volunteered, given their strength -- she tapped him on the shoulder immediately.

“Hail, friend,” Mazrah said and beamed at Fjolte, noticing with a certain measure of satisfaction that they were of equal height. “Good to see a man around here with some real muscles on his bones! The name’s Mazrah but my friends call me Maz. Who are you?”

By the God's it felt good to be back in his clothes again. A simple pleasure, really, but a pleasure nonetheless. It felt good to breathe in the open air again too. That's what he was doing. Taking in long, deep breaths. Between those breaths he was practically inhaling carrots from an open sack too. He had a never ending appetite - and allowing himself to be in close proximity to a sack of food probably wasn’t his best idea, but he told himself that unloading the wagon allowed him… Certain privileges.

It was as he was getting into his fifth that he felt a strong tap on his shoulder, he had of course noticed the Orsimer woman as they were going - his eyes had an appetite too, but still she had caught him off guard. “Whoah!” he said, removing the carrot from his mouth, as if he'd been caught red-handed stealing them. But, he was surprised to see that the Orsimer, named Maz, was sporting perhaps a bigger smile than even he could plaster across his mug. “Ahh this is nothing, I'm out of shape. I'm normally twice this size,” he said in jest as he flexed and arm, but also half-eyeballing the incredible physique of the green Goddess in front of him. “I'm Fjolte, of Rorikstead… You can call me whatever you want though…” he said with a playful wink and a smouldering half-smile.

Mazrah had seen that look on many other men’s faces over the years and, feeling mischievous, she decided to play along -- for now. “Is that right?” she asked, cocked her head and bit her lip at him. “I’ll have to think about what I want to call you. Maybe if you… impress me, it’ll be a nice nickname,” she added and made a show of looking the Nord up and down. “Nice to meet you, Fjolte. How did a man like you end up in a place like that?”

He laughed heartily at her, “I have many nicknames already - it's but a wonder that people even call me by my birth name these days, sister.” It was true, and he paused momentarily as his blue eyes looked up, as if he were indeed counting off the list in his mind. He nodded, satisfied that he could think of so many on the spot. As he looked back to his new friend, he gave a friendly smile and took another bite from the carrot.

“You know,” he began, “I had been travelling through the mountains that border my homeland, Skyrim - a wonderful place…” his arm waved out in front of him as if he were painting those very mountains in the air in front of him, his voice suddenly deep with a dramatic flair. “It was a damned storm, and as I set to make camp in a cave for the night, I heard the sound of something deep within its depths…” He then turned to meet Maz's eyes with an intense stare, dropping slightly into a cautious squat. “Damn Dwemer had found me alone up there, they'd heard stories about me you know… They decided to ambush me… But I didn’t go down so easily sister, I must have taken three of them out before they took me down and brought me to the prison.” He rose back to his height, shoving the last bite of the carrot into his mouth before placing his hands on his hips proudly.

“Alright!” Mazrah exclaimed, grinning like an idiot, and slapped Fjolte in the shoulder in a display of instant camaraderie. “That’s what I’m talking about. Way to show those pompous shits that you’re not taking it lying down.” She nodded in approval and her grin turned into a smirk. “Doing a good job at impressing me so far. That hammer isn’t just for show, eh?”

“Well…” he began, his disposition softening only slightly at the mention of the hammer that was slung across his back. “Not for show exactly, not that one anyway,” he wiggled his eyebrows and laughed again before turning to the wagon again to take a seat on the back. “What about you? Were you a prisoner too then?” He propped his foot up on his knee, and watched Maz, happy to have found someone of a similar spirit indeed.

She laughed and rolled her eyes at Fjolte’s tasteless joke. “Me, a prisoner?” she continued and shook her head in admonishment, tutting as she did so. “Malacath would have my hide. I’m with the people that set you free! Between that and our assaults on the governor’s palace and a prison transport, my spear has wet itself with gallons of Dwemeri blood. You have some catching up to do, big man,” Mazrah said and it was her turn to place her hands on her hips and strike a pose.

“Seems like you've been through a lot together, eh?” He thought over what she had said, a palace and a transport. All while he'd been shut away behind bars. He ran a hand through his hair. He still needed it to be cut, he might have been in his clothes but he felt raggedy and out of shape still. “Oh, and don't tempt me with a challenge like that, I might just take you up on it!” his eyes narrowed and he smirked in delight. “Other stuff to catch up on too apparently… More than one way to wet a spear” he remarked with a boyish grin, his eyes locked on to Maz's. If nothing else, his crude humour had not deterred her so far.

“I thought it was a hammer?” Mazrah asked as dryly as she could before she chortled, unable to suppress her amusement. For a man that was just broken out of prison, Fjolte’s joy of life and charm were delightfully spirited. She was going to have to let him down eventually, of course. “What’s next for you, now that you have your freedom back?” she asked, changing the subject, keeping him in suspense for a little while longer.

Fjolte thought about the question, he of course already knew the answer but perhaps wondered if a woman like Maz could understand it. He decided that it didn't matter. “I'll do what is needed of me, and what is fated for me, sister.” He smiled, only this time it was not a roguish grin - it was just made a sincere warmth. “Whatever I do will be right, and will lead me onwards in my journey.” He held a pause for a while, finally throwing an impish wink in her direction as he hopped down from the wagon. “Right now, I'm itching to move and just do something, you know?”

“It’s a good life, isn’t it?” Mazrah reflected and took a deep breath, enjoying the warm air and the smell of the oasis. “To go wherever your feet take you and do what you feel is right. I’m the same. You should stick with us. The Khajiit over there, Daro’Vasora, has a plan to stop this Dwemer invasion. That would be a noble fate, no?” she asked and playfully punched him in the shoulder. “If you want to do something, spar with me. I’ll kick your ass but it’ll be good practice to get you back into shape.”

“I don’t know if that one really wants me tagging along Maz,” he said with a sigh, “we have… a history - she was less than pleased to see me.” The Nord laughed almost nervously, and shrugged his shoulders. “I’m going to have to do something to get back into her good graces - not quite sure why I’m not in them anyway, you know? Last time I saw her she was pretty happy with me.”

Mazrah stared at Fjolte for a few seconds before her gaze shifted back to Daro’Vasora on the other side of the camp. She burst into uproarious, unrestrained laughter and pointed at Sora. “You and her?” she managed. Another wave of laughter followed and she doubled over, hands on her knees and her lungs gasping for breath. She straightened up and looked away, wiping at her eyes, but as soon as her gaze met Fjolte’s and saw the sheepish expression there she broke down into a fit again, howling with laughter. “I’m sorry,” she wheezed and fanned at her face with her hand. “It’s just -- you’re so -- and Latro’s so --” Once more, her amusement wrestled control away from her and Mazrah actually had to walk away a few feet and hide behind the cart while she fought to control her breathing and stop the sniggering.

He was not offended by it, he just listened to her words as they were puffed out in between her bellows of laughter. Hell, it made him laugh too and he had no idea who or what a Latro was. Laughter was infectious, and as long as people were laughing, so was he. “Yes me and Sora!” he said from behind a loud chortle, “only the once!” he followed up to clarify, pointing a finger in Maz’s direction. “Pretty memorable evening, the lass has claws.” Fjolte placed a hand on his own stomach as he felt it pull with each rumbling laugh. “Anyway, it’s in the past now but I guess--” he too found himself wheezing, “if she has a new beau she might not like my being here, that may explain it.”

He steadied himself on the back of the wagon, his laughter dying down somewhat. “Wait! I’m so what?!” he asked, his mouth half open in confusion.

Reappearing from behind the cart, Mazrah had finally regained her composure, though a shit-eating grin was still plastered on her face. “Claws,” she repeated and shook her head, laughing silently and massaging her jaws. “You’ve got to stop, my face hurts.” The Orsimer took a deep breath and exhaled slowly before she finally heard Fjolte’s question. “You’re what? Oh, right. You’re so big! And… manly! Latro, her lover, is… well,” she replied, searching for the right words, “not so much those things. In the short while that I’ve known him he’s successfully disguised himself as a woman on two separate occasions. The only way you two could be any further apart is if you were an orc.”

As Maz explained the differences, something dawned on him. There had been a woman who had taken his eye on their way out of the prison. He’d only spotted her once or twice, but she had been sporting such beautiful long locks of hair. The realisation hit him harder than an angry Giant, and his eyes went blank, his face even more so. “Not that Breton with the long hair, eh? And the orangey eyes?” He took a step back and turned to face away from Maz, this might be the one time that he ever truly found himself embarrassed. “God’s…” he said as he leaned over, placing his hands on his knees. “Fucking hell I thought that was a woman!”

The shrieks, guffaws and cackles of Mazrah’s fit of merriment that followed were loud enough to echo off the high cliffs that surrounded the oasis and she sank down on her buttocks, leaning against the cart for support, tears streaming down her face and her arms wrapped around her abdomen. She laughed and laughed and laughed until she could no more and buried her face in her hands, the silent wracking of her shoulders only interrupted by the gasps and wheezes as she drew breath. For a woman that was already easily amused, Latro’s mistaken gender had been the final nail in the coffin. Mazrah looked up at last, eyes puffy and voice hoarse. “I’m sorry, Fjolte!” she squealed and stamped her feet, almost frustrated that she couldn’t stop laughing. “Oh gods above,” she stammered and cast her gaze to the sky, slowly breathing in and out while she clutched a hand to her chest, her breathing shaky as she almost broke out into laughter yet again. “I really needed that,” she grinned and dried her cheeks. “Yes, that’s Latro.”

He shook his head in disbelief at himself, unable to stay too red-faced over it for too long of a time. The Nord rose back up to his height and smiled, laughing quietly at himself. “Ahh, don’t be sorry. It’s pretty funny isn’t it? I tell you though, he’s a good looking fuck. I can’t be mad at him. Good on him for being a beautiful lad.” He swaggered over to the wagon again, plonking his ass back down on the wooden ledge. “I hadn’t seen a single woman for over a month Maz, it was an easy mistake. Good on Sora though, happy for the lass…” He sighed, brushing away the wetness from his own eyes. He hadn’t really laughed that hard for some time. “What’s this about a spar anyway?” As he spoke, he gave the Orsimer a playful poke in the arm. “You want to go toe-to-toe then?”

“Hell yeah,” Mazrah said eagerly and got to her feet. The laughing fit was definitely over now and she was ready to do something with all the excess energy her mirth had given her. “If you’re not a pussy, we can spar with our real weapons. I promise I won’t accidentally kill you.”

He immediately gave a laugh that suggested he knew something that she didn’t. He shifted himself off the wagon, tugging at two long, red cloths he was wearing as a belt. He untied the knot that held them in place and began winding one of them around his left wrist, taking it over his palm and fist. He wiggled his fingers like a wave at Maz, saying nothing as he did the same for the other hand then tilted his head to one side so that his neck cracked. A smug grin crept over his lips as a hand reached to free the hammer from his back. He watched Maz closely to see her reaction as he swung it one handed playfully before letting it drop onto the sand with a soft crunch. “Oh sweetheart, I am the weapon.” He winked at her before bringing his right leg back, the knee of the left at an angle to the ground, his right arm came up to protect his face and as he waited for her to ready herself, he moved in this stance - switching between legs and arms, almost like a dance.

It was an impressive display. Mazrah rolled her eyes and blew him a raspberry before shooting him a cheeky grin. “Alright, big guy. Have it your way.” She took off her bow and quiver and propped them up against the cart, out of harm’s way, before she removed her spear from its strap. She brandished it with a flourish, spinning the long weapon around her, just as close to choreography as Fjolte’s movements, her feet moving fast in the sand. Finding a spot she was apparently satisfied with, Mazrah dropped into a low crouch and held up the spear with her right arm over her head, angling the shaft so that it rested on the back of her outstretched left hand, the tip of the spear pointing at Fjolte. “Ready when you are.”

“I’m a Nord! I was born ready!” he laughed, watching her movements closely. She was sticking to what she knew, and so was he. This would be interesting. Moving around on the sand like that almost made him forget that he probably wasn’t in the best shape to be doing this, and with a nice ranged weapon like that she might find it easy to make fast work of him. He’d have to play the long game for this one. He took a quick dive in her direction - hoping that his body would behave itself. Last thing he wanted was to go for a flip and end up arse over tit. He had to groan, but he got enough height to spin his body for a single rotation at least, his leg was straight and pointed for a kick he knew would not land, but he wanted to show her anyway. He dropped back onto the sand, balanced on one foot in a low squat - the momentum of the spin was enough to move him in a crouching roll to Mazah’s right - close, but not close enough for her just yet.

He was fast, at least. Mazrah hopped backwards from his approach to stay out of his range and stabbed in his direction with her spear, guiding the weapon with the splayed fingers of her left hand, like a billiards player showing off with his pool cue. It was flashier than it was practical, but what was the point of sparring if not to show off a little? She had the advantage and pressed it, forcing Fjolte to evade the thrusts of her orichalcum spear -- she wanted to see how he would do so.

He smirked at her as she came at him. She was good with her weapon, precise, efficient. He couldn't find it within himself to be worried about her just yet though. He watched her movements closely and as she came for him with the spear he bent himself backwards, his right leg at a sufficient distance from his left so as not to trip him over. If she was going to show off, he would too. Or at least, continue too. The theatricality of a spar was half the fun after all. It was uncomfortable though, and he slipped a little as he came back up to his height. “Gods, I'm all out of shape,” he panted, “you're going to give me a workout and a half, aren't you, gorgeous?” He grinned, working his feet against the sands again to draw nearer to her still. He wanted to tempt her to start closing the distance.

“You better believe it,” Mazrah purred. She continued to prod and poke at Fjolte, maintaining her distance and not caving to Fjolte’s desire to get up close and personal. She grinned, enjoying the sight of the Nord contorting himself into all manner of positions to evade her spear. They were at the edge of the camp, but some people had caught sight of them and stopped to watch. It must have been a very outlandish sight for the desert nomads. Mazrah wasn’t above to giving them a good show, and she backed away from Fjolte only to run towards him instead. She planted her spear foot-first into the sand and hoisted herself up and into the air, bolstering the momentum of her own leap by using the spear as a pole-vault, and somersaulted clear over Fjolte’s head.


Hands still on the spear, she quickly pulled it in close to her body before sending the tip straight down while she sailed over Fjolte, emulating the way she had killed a Dwemer guard on the streets of Gilane back when they were freeing Shakti from the prisoner transport. Mazrah completed the corkscrew somersault and landed elegantly on her feet, dropping low into a feline crouch to disperse the kinetic energy. The gathered tribesmen and women ooh’ed and aah’ed appreciatively and a broke out into a small smattering of applause.

So you can jump too… he thought with a smirk, his eyes narrowed. Now was not the time to underestimate her. She struck hard and fast but he dodged each thrust with the movement of his stance. A quick pull here and a sudden duck there. She was set about in a rhythm that was easy enough to crack. She was performing for the crowd. This had become much less about the spar as it was the attention, and Fjolte felt the same.

The moment she jumped up he readied himself for her lancing motion, placing his weight on the back of his right foot. As it came down, he pulled himself low to the ground and into a backwards cartwheel with a slick fluidity. Her spear whistled down past his ear. “Nice stunt,” he commented with sincerity, genuinely impressed at her. “I pity whoever takes the two of us on for real, eh sister?” he laughed as he planted his hand to the ground, using a swing of his legs to propel himself into the air just as she had done. He didn’t get as much height as she, but that wasn’t necessary - he wanted to spin. He managed two rotations of his whole body in midair, leg outstretched as it had been earlier in the spar. This brought them close enough together to go for it if she wanted to. His impressive jump had elicited another cheer from the crowd. If she was going to get applause, he wanted it too.

“Not bad, not bad,” Mazrah said and flashed him a mischievous grin. She fell to the temptation and moved in to attack Fjolte from close range, using her spear as if it was a (very long) quarterstaff. The duel would look more spectacular that way and, besides, she wanted to see what those big hands were good for. She was light on her feet as she danced around him and swung her spear sideways in a two-handed grip, angling to give him a good smack on his ribs.

And he let her. Had to let her land something after all, he took in a sharp breath and tensed his upper body and arms as if to brace for the impact. He caught the tail end of its graceful swoosh through the space between them, it thwacked against his bicep. No way was he letting that Orichalcum smack his chest. He let force of the hit guide him into a quick roll on the floor. The crowd gasped - the two of them had the people fully enthralled in the action. “Ooof,” he exhaled with a laugh, moving ever closer to her - almost too excited, “impressive way to handle that length… That really fucking hurt.” he joked with a quiet chuckle.

It was his time now though, and with a rapid movement of his feet on the sands he closed in on her, his stance shifting and changing entirely as he finished playing evasively - his fists came towards her at her shoulder height. He wasn't about to catch a handful of tusk, afterall.

Fjolte’s strategy worked. His fists struck her in the shoulder repeatedly and Mazrah almost dropped her spear. He still had the strength of the bear inside him, despite his captivity. The Orsimer hissed in pain initially but that was quickly replaced by an appreciative peal of laughter while she fended him off with her spear and struck him twice sideways across the leg. “You’re stronger than you look,” Mazrah joked in turn.

“I bet you’re exactly as strong as you look,” he huffed out as he took the hits to his legs. They stung too. But this was good - the burning sun on the back of his neck, the soft sand beneath his feet, and the fresh air moving in and out of his lungs. It was exhilarating, and he didn’t care that she would probably best him. As the spear came back to flick his legs again, just in time he jumped up high enough to avoid it. “Come on Maz, give me what you’ve got,” he said with a smirk of concentration as he ducked into a squat on the ground, and gave a quick sweeping motion with his leg to knock her to the ground.

The sweeping strike connected and Mazrah felt her own weight being torn out from beneath her. She twisted in the air as she fell so that she landed on her hands -- but in doing so, she’d dropped her spear. “Clever,” she grunted and flipped back on her feet.

Now was the time to move, he closed in on her with another impressive flip back into the air. “Gods it feels good to move!” He yelled out into the air, his hands were closed fists and he moved as though not to punch Mazrah, but to push back her arm from taking a swing at him.

Mazrah accepted the challenge that Fjolte’s arms, rippling with muscle, posed and pushed back against him, her heels digging into the sand until they cracked the solid ground beneath. She strained with effort as the Nord and the Orsimer struggled against each other. Fjolte was bigger and heavier but Mazrah’s denser muscles gave her greater pound-for-pound strength. She grinned, beads of sweat on her forehead, and stared Fjolte in the eyes. “Are you ready for this?” she grunted.

“Give it to me already,” he said back through clenched teeth as the two were locked, ready for one or the other to buckle and make the next move. As he continued to push, somewhere beyond Mazrah, from the corner of his eye he saw a flurry of bright blue, then green, then pink. He knew what that was. He brought his attention fully to Mazrah, nostrils flaring as he swiftly let go and ducked down again for another leg sweep, hoping the force that Mazrah had put behind her would bring her down instead.

This time she was ready for him and Mazrah leapt over his head instead, flying clear of the leg sweep and landing behind Fjolte. She whirled around as her eyes went over red and she flooded her body with the hyper-adrenaline that was unique to the Orsimer race. Her grin turned into a feral snarl and her muscles bulged with enhanced strength. She wrapped her arms around Fjolte’s torso and locked his arms in place. Her body pressed up against him from behind and she attempted to wrestle him to the ground. “Here it is,” she growled, her voice raw and guttural.

He made the decision to go down, to follow where her strength was pushing him. Whatever she was doing was intense. Not only could he feel her strength, but there was a shift in her energy too, as if something else had taken over. Interesting he noted to himself as he struggled to free an arm. It was useless, and so he took a powerful stance as he came down. “If you wanted to get me on the floor…” he hissed - jaw clenched, his arms trembling under her strength, “shoulda just asked…”

There it was again, the flashing of colour in the distance - except it wasn’t so distant now and he could make out the forms of three beautiful women… Three beautiful dancers doing what they did best. Moving in unison with each other, their bodies sculpted but still soft, movements sultry and sensual. His mouth opened at the sight, that was it now, the arms wrapped around him were no longer leading his attention…

Despite her every intention to show Fjolte who exactly was the biggest, baddest bitch between the two of them, Mazrah’s gaze followed his and she, too, forgot what they were doing as the dancers flaunted their femininity. And so the pair of them sat in the sand, her grip around Fjolte relaxed and casual, staring for a few seconds, until Mazrah realised what they were doing. Her face scrunched up with mirth and she started laughing, patting Fjolte on the shoulder. “Looks like we have that in common,” she giggled.

It took a while for what she was implying to register, in between stealing glances at the women he looked back to Mazrah, an eyebrow raised as he put it together… “Well shit, knew you were too good to be true Green Goddess…” he laughed too as he relaxed into the sand with a deep sigh, feeling the adrenaline leave his body with each breath thereafter. “Gave me one hell of a kicking though, I'll give you that… Can't wait to see what you do when someone's not on your side…”

“Sorry not sorry,” Mazrah teased and poked her tongue out at him. She appreciated how easily he accepted what he would be losing out on. Too many men would get mad instead. Seeing that the fight was over, the crowd dispersed with a feeling of anticlimax. Mazrah didn’t care. She’d made a new friend, that was all that mattered. “The trail of dead and broken Dwemer I’ve left behind since Gilane speaks for itself,” she said smugly. “You’ll see for yourself sooner rather than later, I think. This fight is far from over. Forget what Sora thinks about you, man. I want you by my side, kicking ass and taking names. How about it?”

“Not just Sora though…” he said with a comical grimace, sucking air through his teeth awkwardly, but there was a glimmer of boyish humour sat in his eyes. He shrugged his shoulders and held his hands out before releasing a louder laugh when he realised how ridiculous the situation was. “But really, I haven’t travelled with a tribe like this before, I’m a nomad not a warrior - least not anymore. I’ll think about it though sister. I always get to where I’m meant to be. Maybe it’s with you and with Sora again, and Raelynn too.” SHIT! he thought, he’d named her. He turned his head sharply to look back at the dancers and away from the Orsimer’s gaze while she put two and two together… He hoped that wouldn’t make her laugh as hard as the first time, but actually, he didn’t mind if it did. People needed to laugh.

Another surprise. Mazrah raised an eyebrow at him. “What’s this about Raelynn?” she asked slyly. “She’s also spoken for, you know. Damn shame. I don’t blame you. How do you know her name already?”

“Known her for years, oddly enough. Nine actually.” His mind trailed back to the memory, and when he thought hard enough on it he could still feel the searing pains across his body from the bandit chief, Logvsim, and he happened to run his palm over his chest as if to check whether they were truly gone. “And yeah, I know. Met Chuckles in the prison, actually. Barrel of laughs that one.” Fjolte’s voice became strangely distant as the image of Gregor puppeteering a corpse in the abyss of Kthrakz came to mind.

She laughed at that. “Chuckles! Yeah, he’s a bit stiff, but I think he’s nice. Sora threw a party for us back in Gilane and… well, long story short, Raelynn and I did moon sugar and rolled around on the carpet for a while. Gregor didn’t mind. I thought that was pretty gracious of him,” Mazrah said, still oblivious to the necromancer’s true nature, her voice light and breezy. “So did you and Raelynn ever... you know,” the Orsimer said and batted her lashes at Fjolte, “do it?”

“Hey, don’t bat those lashes at me it won’t work now,” he spoke quickly, in a teasing manner of his own. As for what she was wanting to know… What he and Raelynn had was different to the one-night affair he’d shared with Sora. They had never been an item, or in love, but he had a deep respect for Raelynn and what they’d experienced together. “We did,” was all that he felt like saying to confirm Maz’s question, when all of a sudden he was intrigued by what else she had said, and he turned his head back to her, “you did what now!? Rolling around on the carpet?” That gave him a reason to laugh again. “I would pay to see it, I really would,” he wheezed.

“Of course you would, you old pervert,” Mazrah purred and rolled over so that her leg was hooked around Fjolte’s and her chest was pressed up against his side. With her mouth close to his ear, she continued. “We were like this, gripping and clawing at each other’s flesh, caught in the throes of the moon sugar,” she whispered and planted a kiss on Fjolte’s cheek, her tusks grazing his skin gently. She was grossly exaggerating, of course, but she couldn’t resist the opportunity to tease Fjolte like this.

Having Mazrah wrapped around him again like this, in a far more… suggestive fashion was definitely welcome to him, but it also felt a little off - it was a joke he wasn’t too keen to be the butt of. “Hey, slow down there - I get it, I get it. How am I going to find cold water in the fucking desert you absolute tease?” he laughed.

The thighs though... Now those he did give a second look too… Hell, if she was going to misbehave so was he. He pressed a finger to the back of the very leg that was wrapped around his and slowly he dragged it over her skin and found that despite her incredible musculature, it still had the unmistakable feminine softness to it that he adored so much. “Maybe I could stand to hear a little more…” he admitted in a soft breath of a voice. He knew she was about to eat him alive, but he couldn’t give a shit.

“Too bad,” Mazrah said bluntly and pushed herself away from Fjolte, her eyes alight with mischief and schadenfreude. She leapt to her feet and retrieved her spear from the sand, looking down on Fjolte with amusement. “That’s all for now. Maybe I’ll tell you the rest of the story another time. I guess you’ll just have to stay with us to find out, eh?”

And there it was, she did indeed throw him back out but that was to have been expected. It was a nice moment all the same. He knew what kind of woman she was now, and he decided that probably wouldn’t be the last time she’d try such a thing with him for her amusement. The Nord laughed and formed a faux-sad face at her, to reassure her that he was not mad or put out by her sudden, but inevitable betrayal. “You want me around that badly Green Goddess, I guess I had better,” he winked and gave his usual grin at her before he found his feet too.

“This has been grand! I’m glad to have met you today, I’m glad we could sweat it out together too.” His voice was jovial, and expression roguish but it soon slipped away to one of genuine appreciation and humility. His eyes warm and honest, “I mean that, I needed it. Thank you Maz!”

“Think nothing of it,” she said and clapped Fjolte on the shoulder with a wink. “What is it they say in High Rock? The pleasure was all mine? Something like that. Don’t be a stranger, big boy.”

And with that, the Orsimer gave him one last wave and departed at a light jog in search of food. She could eat a horse, she felt.
Done for this round!

"No, no, stop it," she began to giggle as Sett jostled her away after Beren. The way that his hands were placed on her back seemed to tickle her just as much as Ann-Hasst had done only days prior. She squirmed away from him and let him go from her grip, firing a glance at him with her pearlescent orbs that was only half-admonishing, the other half of it was entirely amused at the situation. The alcohol was still sitting in her system after all. Her head cocked to one side and arms crossed over her chest as she listened to the new girl begin to speak. Lynn Read she thought to herself, putting the picture of the girl's face to memory alongside the name. Lynn Read she repeated only a few times more.

She had a strange manner of speech indeed. As if her tongue had been stung by a bee. The common tongue was hard enough for her to understand without this to contend to, and she found herself leaning in close to Sett's ear, "what did she say?" she whispered, blinking over at Lynn Read.

Rynn Lead, she reminded herself again as her eyelids flickered over her eyes and she hiccuped again.

"Friend or not? Need me to shoot?" she asked Sett, looking at him - deadly serious. The residual alcohol in her system had made her feel bold and quick to suggest violence... She tucked a hand around and under her cape, running her thumb over the barrel of the crossbow at her back. Some kind of common sense eventually kicked in, and she nodded in Sett's direction as if to communicate that she'd look after him should the need arise. With that done, she began on her way towards Beren tentatively - not wishing to spook anyone, but just genuinely curious and wishing to afford Beren the same protection that she had given to Sett. She looked back over her shoulder to see Sett still in one spot, and so she motioned with her head for him to follow her.
The Colour of Happiness

with Hank

Morning, 19th Midyear, 4E208
The gathering of the tribes, Alik’r desert, Hammerfell

Gregor had not left his tent since the trial. He felt like he had been run through by a blade and spent most of his time seated as comfortably as he could with his arms wrapped around his stomach, slowly rocking back and forth, his eyes staring into infinity. Only the occasional conversation with Raelynn could drag him from his stupor. The party had confronted him with the full weight of his conscience and it rested heavily upon his shoulders and his heart -- that same heart that beat no longer, the soul it once contained now somehow, inexplicably and indescribably, elsewhere. Gregor despaired in silence. It was not something he could explain to Raelynn and even if he could, she could not help him with it. This was his problem. It did not have to be hers. She had already suffered enough because of him. Everyone had suffered enough because of him.

He could not sleep. Not since the change had he been allowed to drift off into the peace of slumber. All Gregor got were waking dreams -- nightmares, more like, that danced before his fluttering eyes. All of it was death. Not even familiar death, that he had dealt or witnessed himself. Gregor saw the deaths of dozens, hundreds, thousands of strangers, one after the other, flashes of blood and broken bodies. In the darkest depths of the night, he could almost hear their screams.

Cursed. That’s what he was. Perhaps it was divine punishment. Had Arkay found a way to torment him after all? Or was this the work of the Ideal Masters? Gregor could still not remember what had happened out there in the desert. Something, like an insidious splinter in his mind, told him that the Ideal Masters were hiding from him exactly how they had resolved their pact with him.

“It’s wrong,” he whispered through dead lips. “It’s all wrong.”

It was still dark and the sun had not yet risen, nor was it about to — not that it would have stopped Fjolte from waking up at his intended hour from his bedroll under the stars. There were so many stars to look at, and a beautiful teal smattering of clouds and dust surrounded them. It was a sight he would never tire of. He gave a long yawn, and stretched out his muscular arms fully - the span impressive. While on his back, he brought the knee of his left leg to his chest and held it there in a tight stretch, repeating for the right. There was an exceptional chill in the air that only came after the sun had been away for some hours, and it felt good to have the cold air over his body - his completely nude body. No need to don garments when you were a free man. The Nord stood with a youthful and carefree grin on his face, feeling that same breeze embrace him It was only the sand that gave a slight warm touch to the bottom of his feet.. With his hands on his hips, he took in a deep breath and sighed it back out; “ain’t a thing like a fresh morning before a sunrise.”

He had work to do.

It took him very little time to dress, he went without his armour today. Just shorts, his cotton jacket, and the handwraps. He seriously contemplated his shoes… Best, just in case he finally decided, before picking up his bag and rummaging through it for… yes! three eggs. He’d boiled them the night before, and now as he made his way over the sand he peeled and ate them one by one. He wasn’t about to do anything on empty stomach after all. He reached his destination, the tent where he knew that Gregor and Raelynn had made their temporary home. As he approached, he realised he’d been whistling to himself along the way, and he abruptly stopped - wondering if the Breton was asleep, she’d not be happy to be woken by his melodies that was sure. He knew that the Imperial would be awake though, he just did. Hard to sleep when you were so weighed down, that he knew from experience. He raised a closed fist to the flap of fabric that was the door, and tapped against it with his knuckles, “knock knock, rise and shine…” he uttered softly, his voice still gruff from sleep.

A few seconds passed before the tent flap parted and Gregor stepped outside. He was already dressed in black and steel, his face the only uncovered part of his body, but almost invisible beneath the shade of his hood. “Fjolte,” Gregor said and gave the man a respectful nod by way of greeting. There was a deep hollowness to his gleaming gaze and his shoulders were visibly slouched. “I don’t know what to expect,” he admitted immediately. “Lead the way, I suppose.”

Fjolte’s eyebrows raised at the sight, and he gave a half-smile in the direction of Gregor. “That makes two of us,” he commented bluntly with a shrug. As for leading the way, he did just that - and began walking over the sand in a direction that led them away from the heart of the camp. He walked quietly for a while, not moving too quickly - he had observed the overall slowness of the Imperial, and he wasn’t about to leave him struggling and lagging behind.

After some minutes, and once they were out of the earshot of the camp, the Nord glanced sidelong at Gregor and was sure to take a deep breath before he began to speak. “I’ve but three rules Gregor. First is that have to listen, and listen to everything,” there was a vagueness to his words, and a softness to his tone that suggested that there was something spiritual involved in the listening. That it was more than listening to the words of the Monk. He continued over the sands, rising and falling over the small dunes that littered their path. “You must trust. I’m trusting you right now, didn’t bring my weapon, that’s cos I trust you’re not going to hurt me. In return, I need you to trust me, and trust in my word and in my process… Strange as it may seem.” his voice began to trail off as he stopped dead in his tracks, looking from left to right, as if he was trying to remember the way. “What we speak about together during these sessions, I want you to know I won’t be sharing anything. Not with Raelynn, and not with your leaders, don’t matter how much they ask me to. When we talk, we’re two brothers. I don’t expect the same from you — if you want to share our conversations with anyone then by all means do so.” With another moment of looking over the horizon from left to right, he settled on right and turned that way to continue their path. “Third rule is that you try. You don’t have to do everything I ask, but you have to try. That’s all I ask of you. Doesn’t sound so bad, eh? Can we come to a gentleman’s agreement on this?” Fjolte turned to look at Gregor, even in the slight gloom his smile was visible.

“You are nothing like my brother,” Gregor said. It wasn’t a malicious statement but just an observation. He threw his hood back and ran a hand through his hair, which had fortunately retained the volume and lustre of life. He thought about Fjolte’s rules and nodded again. “We can.” He wasn’t sure how much weight his promises to try held without knowing what it was that he was supposed to try, but there was nothing he could do about that.

“Be a bit weird if I was your actual brother, I’d likely be smaller for a start,” he added with light laugh. He didn’t know how much he could get away with where Gregor was concerned, but it wasn’t going to stop him throwing a jest if he could. Maybe the man would laugh back. Wasn’t likely to happen, at least not yet. “With that out of the way, I hope you’ll come to enjoy what we do together — and I hope that it will help you.”

After more walking, they eventually came upon a tall rock face that must have stood several times of even Fjolte’s height. It was covered in sharp rocks that stuck out, small areas of ledge dotted here and there, and sections where the rock looked as though it had been carved out. It had a certain texture to it, that made it perfect for one thing - scaling. The Nord looked at it with a wonder in his eyes, and he sighed happily while stood under it’s looming shadow. “Beautiful isn’t she? By my estimation, sun will be rising soon. That looks like the perfect spot to observe, doesn’t it?” He pointed a finger up at the top of the rock face — there it seemed to lie as a flat shelf of the rock.

Out of all the things that Gregor might have expected Fjolte to start with, mountaineering was dead last. “You want me to climb the rock,” he said, his gaze drifting from Fjolte to the edifice and back again. It was not a question. He opened his mouth to say something else when he remembered that he had promised Fjolte that he would listen to everything and try, so he closed it again and approached the rock. The leather of his studded gauntlets was rough and had a firm grip on the stone when he placed his hands upon it. Gregor gingerly found purchase on a ridge and hoisted himself up a few inches, supporting himself with the steel toes of his boots. He found that it was easier to lift his own weight than before and his muscles did not tremble from the exertion. And thus he made his way to the top -- not fast by any means, but surely and without faltering. He pulled himself onto the flat shelf of the rock edifice’s peak and shimmied over to make space for Fjolte until he sat with his legs dangling over the edge. Had he been afraid of heights before? Probably not. Gregor remembered the tree he used to climb in. This wasn’t very different.

“I’m impressed!” Yelled the Nord from the bottom of the rock, he had intended to climb alongside Gregor, but his immediate willingness and surprising skill, had well — surprised him. He laughed before beginning his own climb. Of course, he wanted to challenge himself, and he took to the furthest part of the rock - the part that was roughest and began his own climb. He gripped at the stone, the corded muscles in his arms rippled as he pulled his weight up, tucking his legs behind him. He didn’t need them for this. There was a certain finesse and grace to the way he moved, like he’d done it many, many times. Fjolte was meticulous in where he placed his hands, and in the way that he breathed with each movement. In no time at all, he’d reached the top too, and he took the seat beside Gregor, his own legs hanging over the edge now. There was a layer of sweat across his face and chest too, and he was somewhat exerted. Not that he minded, he’d challenged himself and won, so he was smiling too. “You did it! Have to admit I expected some more resistance from you.”

“A promise is a promise,” Gregor said as he stared out over the desert below them. Fjolte was right, it would be dawning soon and they had a premium view. But how would it help? The light of the sunrise scattered the darkness, true, but it could not illuminate an abyss. “I don’t want to resist anymore.”

“What have you been resisting?” Fjolte asked as he placed his hands behind him flat on the rock and leaned back. He looked out across the desert too, observing the tents. He wondered just how many there were — perhaps he would count them later on a walk.

It was a surprise that Fjolte did not know the answer to that question. Or maybe he just wanted to hear Gregor himself say it out loud. “Death. Judgement. Morality.” The Imperial did not look at the Nord. It was easier to talk if he could pretend he was alone with merely a disembodied voice for company.

Fjolte just listened, bringing up a hand to stroke through the small amount of stubble that he wore as his beard. He hummed in response to the words said by the Imperial. He just wanted to sit with them for a while, he didn’t wish to look at the man either— it was a hard sight to come to terms with, even if he knew he would have to face it eventually. “How does it feel now that you’ve stopped resisting?”

That made Gregor laugh bitterly. “I don’t know. Awful, I suppose. I have conquered death but coming face to face with judgement and morality was…”

He fell silent and shrugged.

“Felt like shit, didn’t it?” Fjolte said, finishing his sentence for him before sucking in a breath through his teeth. “Not that’d know how it feels in your exact position. I heard and felt what they all said and it wasn’t even for me. Bet it stings you something fierce…” He sat up and leaned forward this time, looking over the edge of the cliff. He could see in the sands, even from this height, the soft indentation of their footprints. “But you sat there and did it, you looked that judgement in the face and took it. Every word, every nuanced movement of those people that you have travelled with…”

“What is it that you want to feel, Gregor?”

What a strange question. Gregor didn't speak for a long time and resigned himself to watching the start of the sunrise as the first rays of light appeared over the horizon.

Eventually he spoke. “Content with who I am, what I've become. This… thing. I can't be a good partner to Raelynn otherwise.” His voice cracked and the leather of his gauntlets crackled as he balled his fists. “I promised her a house. A home. Did you know that?”

Fjolte almost laughed, almost. But that was just the memories of the Raelynn he knew, the one that was difficult to tie down and to have open up. The knee jerk reaction fell away and he realised that to hear that actually made him feel happy for her, and only reassured him that he was doing the right thing by helping Gregor. He was helping them both he supposed. “I didn’t actually, but that’s a beautiful goal Gregor. That’s a goal of happiness, not just to be content, but to be happy. You can work with that - we can work towards that.”

His own blue eyes looked over upon the horizon as that same light that had hit the Imperial hit him too. Was it a more beautiful sight than the night sky? Probably not but it was close, and watching it from their vantage point made it all the more special. With every ray that peaked out, the stars began to disappear one by one. Fjolte smiled knowing they would be back later and then he looked at the mans hands, the clenched fists. “You should let go of whatever else is sitting on top of that, blocking it… Unclench your fists.”

Gregor did as Fjolte said. “I don't see how unclenching my fists helps with letting go,” he said. “Hell, this isn't something I can 'let go’ of. I'm a murderer and a necromancer. Everything between us is confidential, yes?” A sudden recklessness beset Gregor and he spat out the next words with unexpected ferocity. “I killed the Vigilants. Hannibal wanted to burn the trove of scrolls and books that the Altmer in Falkreath had. I couldn't let that happen. I needed that information. I killed his friends, his lover, and then I killed him. His soul was the first I sacrificed to the Ideal Masters.”

For the first time Gregor looked at Fjolte. Lights danced in his eyes. “Explain to me how I am to 'let go’ of that.”

The Nord blinked slowly, but he was not all that shocked deep down, the man was a necromancer afterall. He’d seen him in full force in the prison, felt and tasted the horror that had oozed from his being. Soul trapping… Robbing an afterlife… It still made his stomach turn to think of it, to imagine that he could be denied Sovngarde. It was a wound in his mind that felt fresh, but now was still not the time to ponder that. So the confession made by Gregor now, as disgusting as it was, Fjolte could not allow it to shake him, and in fact somehow he felt like he had more in common with the Imperial sat beside him. It was no kinship, or brotherhood, but he understood that the two of them had experienced the kind of anger that pushes a man over the edge of normal limits. He had not dabbled in the dark arts during his violent past, but really, if he had any kind of magical talent in his body then who was he to assume he wouldn’t have gone down a similar path?

He sat quietly for a while, nodding and humming as he collected his thoughts and formulated his response, rubbing his stubble again, moving his jaw from side to side. “It helps because you’ve just told me something you chose not to tell your friends. It helps because it just does. Feels good to say it. Maybe it won’t now but it will, you know?” He brought his hand to the back of his neck and gently scratched, his mouth scrunching up at the side as he groaned, “I was a Stormcloak, myself. I remember very clearly a day where I cut open a living human being just to see what their insides looked like.” His voice was low, a growl even, and he looked down into his lap, yet his disposition was still calm, his mood had not changed nor had he faltered at the words of the Imperial. He had not hesitated with his own confession. “I spent so long being angry and that’s how my anger manifested, needless violence. Yes Gregor, what you tell me is confidential, I said as much to you. I may not have touched dark magic, but darkness has lived in me and I worked hard to rid myself of it.”

“Whatever you have done, I do not believe it compares,” Gregor said, deflated. The moment had passed and he was back to his demure self. He looked away and shrugged. “War is hell. I know that. That it brought out a beast in you does not surprise me. It is admirable that you have become a changed man, of course, I don’t mean to belittle your growth or achievements, but are you really equipped to… treat, I suppose, a monster like myself? A killer in the employ of a warlord is one thing. A necromancer that turned on his allies and murdered them, forced them to fight their own resurrected friends, and then fed their souls to the great maw beyond the void...”

Saying it out loud made it even worse. He didn’t believe Fjolte when he said that it would help. This wasn’t an unburdening, it was just a condemnation. “It is entirely another. I suppose you are hoping that the same methods that worked for you might work for me, regardless of the depths of the depravity that I engaged in,” Gregor said, his tone flat. He was thinking out loud at this point. “Perhaps it does not matter who I was. You are treating the man I am now. I do not believe I would do such a thing ever again.” He nodded to himself. “Yes, perhaps. Very well. Go on.”

“I wouldn’t compare our experiences, only share my own so that you know who I am. Is anyone equipped to treat a Lich? Has it been done? I don't think so. Can't say I read about it in any books. Doubt Mannimarco dragged his arse up a cliff on the whims of a Nord Monk…” He could sense Gregor's mood shift, but that was to be expected. How could the man possibly do anything else but ebb and flow between his thoughts of guilt? Fjolte shuffled and repositioned himself on the rock, Gregor wasn't aware of it - but all of this was progress.

“I don't know what will work for you, but I trust in myself - in my faith that this is why I'm here. Meeting you of all people, at this time right now? It aint a coincidence. I've spoken to men who come to me for help, but they don’t even know what they want. How can anyone find what they want if they don't know what it is? If they can't clearly picture it?” After he spoke, he pulled his legs back from the edge, and moved to a position of sitting with his legs crossed instead, he motioned for Gregor to do the same with a tilt of his head. “You knew what you wanted almost immediately when I asked you. So tell me about it. Let go of… all of that, and tell me what that happiness looks like.”

Ignoring the fact the did not have to breathe to survive, Gregor inhaled slowly and sighed, draining all the air from his lungs and leaving him empty once more. He joined Fjolte and sat opposite from him, as cross-legged as his armor would allow, but stared down at his hands, avoiding the Nord’s blue gaze. “Happiness,” he repeated. The lich was silent for a long time, the only sound around them being the wind as it gently soared over the dunes, and the almost audible depth of Fjolte’s patience.

“Happiness is a house… somewhere secluded, but not too isolated. Raelynn will want to be close to civilization. Maybe in a forest, or by the sea,” Gregor began. “It’s a large house, a manor. Not a castle, though. That’s too martial. Something elegant with a lot of light and fresh air. There’ll be flowers, and animals, and a room where Raelynn can be creative. You know, potter around, work on her alchemy or her other hobbies. And somewhere she can see patients, perhaps. I don’t think she’d ever abandon her calling as a healer.”

The more that he talked, the more tender his voice became. It sounded as if he was speaking about something so fragile that anything more than a loving whisper would shatter it. “But I saw the way she helped her father’s business in Gilane. She’s shrewd, you know? I think she might want to follow in his footsteps and become a merchant of her own. So there will have to be space for that, too. An office,” he said and smiled. “I just… want her to be happy and safe and free to pursue her dreams.”

“And what will you do in this house?” Fjolte asked after a long breath of his own, he could feel the change in Gregor's voice, the way he only looked at his hands. But he was trying, and that brought a small, hopeful smile to the Nord’s face. “What will you do when Raelynn is occupied?”

Every question had a reason behind it, and so far Gregor had been more receptive than he'd expected. Fjolte smiled again with a warmth and deep seated wisdom in his eyes. He was a jester at any other time, but now he was as steady and solid as the rock they were sat on. “You don't need to answer it right now if you can't, but think about it,” he rolled his neck, letting his head move from side to side as he continued to slowly breathe in and out, soaking up the delightful heat of the sun. “Now, think on that feeling… Let it fill you from head to toe… Imagine it is tangible and inside of you, growing.” Fjolte stuck a hand in his pocket, and began rummaging until he found his copper bell, holding it delicately in a pinch of his fingers so as not to ring it prematurely.

“Feel that image of happiness in your chest - expanding with every breath you take… Bigger, and bigger, and bigger… Let it take root within you… Does it have a colour? A smell?” The Nord's usual boisterous voice had been replaced with a soft whisper of his own - he didn't want to shatter the fragile glass of Gregor's imagined happiness either. “Listen to what it tells you, Gregor…”

“It's as blue as ice and smells like lavender,” Gregor breathed. “All I do in that house is taking care of it, to make sure that Raelynn can do what she wants. I don't want something for myself. I had my chances, Fjolte, I don't deserve anything. I will be its guardian and caretaker and that is good enough for me.”

“You do want something for yourself. You want Raelynn, you want a life together. Half of that life is you. You want that for yourself, it's good that you want that,” Fjolte wanted to place a comforting hand on his shoulder, to give him a squeeze and anchor him to the thoughts and feelings that he was conjuring, but perhaps it was too soon. “How do you feel now?” he asked quietly, running his thumb over the bell. They were not ready for that yet, not just yet.

Gregor shook his head. “Tired.” That dream was so far off. Right now he was in the middle of people who would either kill him if they knew what he was, or people that hated him for what he'd done. There was no safety and comfort here. And these were the people he'd have to defeat the Dwemer with in order to make that dream a reality. How was he going to make sure that they succeeded? How was he going to make sure he would keep Raelynn alive? “So tired.”

The Nord turned his head back to the sunrise with a sombre expression, placing his hands into his lap. “Sounds about right. I'm grateful for every sunrise I get to see and watch, makes me feel small. Humbles me, and that’s no easy feat…” he chuckled airily. “What ails you the most right now? Where do you need me to start?”

“You tell me,” Gregor said and looked at Fjolte again. “This was your idea, was it not? I haven't slept since the ascension. All I see when I close my eyes is death. Ghosts haunt my every step. The people I've traveled with for months hate me. Hell, I hate myself. Everything I've done for a whole decade was a grave mistake. The world is afire. My soul…”

He grimaced and shifted in his seat. “It's not here. I don't know where it is, but it's not here. Not in this desert, or this country, or this realm. What can you even do to help? Where do you even start? I don't know.”

“You said there are things you don't remember… We start by retrieving those memories. We need the full picture… Think about what you do remember.” Everything that Gregor said made his eyebrows furrow, deep in thought as he got to work in planning how best to put him back together. Lost his soul? Ironic… the Imperial clearly had his doubts but that was to be expected. People in general were skeptical of spiritual activities and journeys such as that which he was wanting to take him on. “It's not going to be easy, it might not even work… We're going to take this at the right pace, consistently because I don't feel like giving up on you without trying fucking hard. I'm quite certain Raelynn won't allow me to give up, and she's not giving up on you either.” He sighed, this was a mammoth task, this was a commitment and a half if he'd ever taken one on. At least Gregor hadn't pushed him off the cliff, so there was at least that.

“I don't think anyone hates you either, they're scared of you, aye. Best thing you can do for them is push them out of your mind right now, push that to the side and work on being better. You want to be the man who can give Raelynn a home? Let's do it, nobody can hate that man.”

The lich did not say anything for some time. “Retrieve my memories,” he muttered at last. “How do you propose we do that?”

At that, he smirked. “We'll take a journey into your mind, the deepest parts of it - and we'll find them.” That… really did not answer the question, and more than likely would leave Gregor with more, but that was Fjolte, unwilling to give away his secrets. Slowly, the Nord rose to his feet, standing to his full height with another big stretch, before he peered over the edge of the rock again. Their footprints had now gone, buried under the shifting sands once more. “Alright, time to get back to camp. If she's not already awake, she will be soon… You ready?”

Following Fjolte's example, Gregor got to his feet and stared down at the sands below. “Climbing up looked much easier,” he said and glanced sidelong at Fjolte. “You sure about this?”

Meeting Gregor's glance, he gave out a laugh in response, “be my guest - but I think I'll take the shortcut this time!” With a roguish grin, and a glint in his eyes he turned on his heel and made his way across the ledge to a slow incline, an easy path to the bottom that had been there all along.

Despite himself, despite everything, the Nord’s jest was so simple and pure that it elicited a chuckle from Gregor all the same. He followed Fjolte down the incline, heavy boots kicking up sand and dust that had laid dormant on the rock for a long time. The idea of reliving the missing memories filled him with trepidation. Was he ready to discover what had happened? Would Sora and the others be mad if they knew that this is what they were doing, instead of something more obviously conducive into turning him into something resembling a normal person? Gregor could see why Fjolte wanted to start with the memories, though. First make his mind whole and then the rest.

Once they were back at the bottom of the rock, now looking up at it from the other side, Gregor turned back to Fjolte. “What now?”

Fjolte met Gregor’s gaze with no hesitation. It was coupled with his easy-going smile even if inside he too, had feelings of unease - he would not allow them to surface. “The exercise we did? The meditation? You need to commit to that now. I want you to familiarise yourself with the feeling of happiness that you thought up.” With one last look at the rock, Fjolte began his walk back over the dunes at the same pace as earlier. “It’s the most important part of all this, it’s the damn key to keeping you anchored when we go searching. Know it by fucking heart, the smell, the colour, the way it makes you smile to think of it. Everyday for as long as we do this, you meditate on that feeling.” With the sun reaching a decent height in the sky, the Nord squinted at the horizon, bringing a hand up to his forehead to give shade.

“Start building your home now too, in here-“ he pointed to his own head, tapping on it as he cast a glance in Gregor’s direction. “Make Raelynn smile, make her laugh - learn the sound of it and let it fill your meditation… You need a powerful anchor.”

“Very well,” the Imperial replied. There was something ominous about Fjolte’s words, however. He spoke as if there was something that could go horribly wrong if he failed in his given task. How was he going to make Raelynn laugh now? It had been so easy before but everything was different now. He could barely get himself to smile, let alone someone else. “Easier said than done but I’ll try.”

Without thinking of holding his tongue (did he ever, anyway?) he threw out a quick response, “yeah, you didn’t exactly choose an easy woman.” He interlaced his fingers and placed his hands on the back of his head, elbows sticking out. “You’ll figure it out, I have faith in you.” There was a sincerity in it too, despite the feeling of disquiet about what they were about to embark on. He had to get ready too, his own mind would have to be completely clear - his supplies replenished… He huffed a loud sigh at the thought.

“So, was this morning everything you thought it would be, Gregor?”

“I had no thoughts about what this morning would be,” he replied. “The ways of monks are alien to me.” Gregor pulled the hood back over his head and hoisted his scarf over his face. He was eager to get out of this desert and back in a climate where that kind of appearance made more sense. If they encountered a smith, he thought, he’d buy a helmet with the last of the money Salasoix gave him. That would be even better. “So what do you think?”

As they trekked, Fjolte thought of his own experience with Gregor, and momentarily he looked upwards, as if to find an answer there. “I mean… You didn’t throw me off the cliff,” he laughed, before sighing again and answering properly. “You did as I asked. Cleared the obstacle I presented you with… It was no problem at all for you…” Ahh, fuck it! he thought before he placed a hand on Gregor’s shoulder and gave him that gentle squeeze of encouragement he had been tempted to earlier. “You faced the obstacle and discovered a new path waiting for you. I think we’re going to be alright.”

Gregor had to resist the urge to recoil from the Nord’s touch. He didn’t want to offend the man, it just felt oddly intimate after everything. His body wasn’t normal anymore and anything that happened to it felt strange and unwieldy. Still, Fjolte’s intentions were good. “I’m glad you think so,” he said, a deliberately measured response. “Whatever that means,” he added. What was alright for him now? For the hundredth time, he wished he hadn’t gone through with his mad plan and internally cursed himself.

It was silent for the remainder of the journey back to camp, as much as he wanted to whistle, to hum, to sing… He refrained from it, putting more space between he and Gregor after everything. He just felt that Gregor was happy to listen to his own thoughts not. There was little else Fjolte could do today, he’d given the man enough food for thought - and enough for himself too. The days ahead were already daunting and he began to run through a mental list of everything he must do. He was about halfway through it when they arrived back at the clearing to the camp. He stopped, giving Gregor one last look, and a final set of words. “Remember to meditate, I’ll come for you when I’m ready. I have to prepare myself too…” His hand grasped at his beard again, eyes falling over the camp as it had started to come to life now that morning had broken across the Alik’r. “I’ll be seeing you, Gregor...”

With everything said and done, he continued on his way, picking up his pace now - his eyes set on a much taller rock face in the near distance...

Looked like a quiet enough spot for him to make himself ready.
getting compliments be like

From: Vengeance of the Deep

There are a lot of amazing posts in our roleplay. At this point, to me it almost feels like a disservice to call it a roleplay - it's taken on so much more than that. It's basically a novel now, last I checked the word count surpassed some of GRRM's heftier Game of Thrones novels. It's insanely long, and dramatic, with more twists and turns than a theme park...

The love that this group puts into their posts is beyond anything I've ever seen or been a part of, Vengeance of the Deep has taken on a life of its own, each character very important with their own story to tell, their own perspective to share, their own struggles and triumphs. Every week, as a group we discuss and digest posts together, and just from this I've seen the quality of writing overall grow - and it's not that anyone was ever a bad writer, we just consistently push ourselves - try new things, get controversial, and bring real drama.

There have been times that I've read a post from this roleplay and had to walk away - the level of emotional attachment to these trash babies is at times, too much, but that's why I love it so much. I've laughed, I've cried, I've been angry at it - but overall loved every moment.

Here are some of my favourite bits from each writer, from recent memory.

To my VotD fam. I could fill this thread with dozens of snippets of each of your posts - keep on keeping on.

Post Written: All to Pieces
Written By: @Leidenschaft // Latro
Written Words:

How a desert with heat that threatened to broil the skin from Latro’s body could instantly turn to something akin to a tundra when night came around was mind-boggling to the Reachman. If things were sunny, they were hot. If not, they were cold. Day and night, sun and clouds, it was normal in the Reach, in High Rock, even in Skyrim. He sat on his lonesome at the edges of camp, sleep eluding him almost like Sora in the crowds earlier, and so he snuck out of their tent when she was fast asleep with that soft snore she always fell into when she was deep enough in it. He tip-toed soundlessly through the moonwashed sand, the shine bright enough to cast shadows and light to make sure his steps were sure. There was no sounds but the breeze flapping loose tent flaps or the soft or loud snores and other sounds of sleeping people. It was even quieter out on his lonesome, sitting on the peak of a dune with pale gray desert stretching off to nothing but hazy rumors of dunes at the edge of his vision. The stars were bright pin-pricks in the sky, tiny, infinitesimal, but innumerable bastions of light in the void.

Post Written: Scales of Shadow
Written By: @Mortarion // Jaraleet
Written Words:

"No, I must focus." He mentally chided himself. Now was not the time to worry. He was a Haj-Eix, the hidden blade used by the An-Xileel to protect Argonia. As Jaraleet began to follow after the Redguard, he unconsciously began muttering an old poem in Jel.

"Stars in darkness, constellation
Tell us those we must collect
Given to the needed clutch
To be taught the needed ways"

He suddenly stopped as he remembered Raelynn telling him, Meg, and Gregor about what she had underwent at the hands of Zaveed. The way that the experience had scarred her. "Why, why this now. I need to focus." Jaraleet thought, shaking his head. He couldn't let anything distract him. He breathed deeply and set his focus once more on his, still unaware, quarry. As he began to follow after the Redguard once more, he began to recite the poem again.

"Scales of shadow, hands of death
Sithis honored by your blade
To create the needed change
By the blood which must be spilt"

"For you Jaraleet I feel comfort, solidarity. I see in you embodying home, our home in every sense of the word." Judena's words from the party suddenly echoed in his mind, reminding Jaraleet of what he had spoken with the elder Argonian about. "I do not embody anything Jude..." Jaraleet quietly whispered in Jel to the night. "I am merely the tool by which our home is protected. With which our brothers and sisters are defended. Nothing more, and nothing less." He finished, shaking his head to clear his thoughts. He had to focus, he was getting closer to his quarry. The moment to strike would be soon. As he pulled his weapons from their scabbards, the poem continued.

"You who join the brotherhood
Guided by just one untruth
Remember our nothing words
Look upon with nothing eyes"

Jaraleet froze for a second when, suddenly, the Redguard agent turned around. The Argonian assassin pressed himself into the nearby shadows of a corner and waited for his quarry to continue on. And, as he waited, he couldn't help but reminisce about the night when Meg had come to ask him for help in locating Daro'Vasora. Without thinking, he suddenly moved his hand to the spot where he knew the bullet had lodged itself. "Why? Why did I do that?" He thought, remembering the overwhelming feeling that had overtaken him when Meg had been spotted by one of the palace sentries. Any further thoughts, however, were interrupted by the sound of footsteps echoing in the night. His quarry was moving again, and the hunt continued. And, again, the poem continued from where it had been left.

"One day, when your snout is pale
To the swamps you will return
Darkness remains in your heart
For your scales are shadow still."

Post Written: The Kthrakz Mile
Written By: @Spoopy Scary // Aries
Written Words:

As the rest of the party began to retrace their steps toward the exit with the company of the countless prisoners in tow, Aries brought up the rear, reflecting on what she had done and said. The cat was out of the bag now, and there was no more keeping up this charade. This could very well place a target on her back, but it was a target she would have to wear sooner or later. She looked down at the body of Nzarhk and contemplated the Dwemer for a moment. She essentially had just made an official declaration of war on them. Well, if she was going to do it, then she ought to do it right.

Aries looked to her hand and pulled off a small diamond ring from her finger. It had once been the engagement ring given to her by Fontaine Motierre. Now, it was plunged into one of the open wounds in the Dwemer’s body, where the diamond would be colored red with blood.

“O Akatosh,” Aries muttered as she marched after her allies, “let my enemies find the Red Diamond and know that their troubles are far from over, and that an Empire still yet lives in me.”

Post Written: Control
Written By: @Greenie // Sirine
Written Words:

"There's an old saying, not sure where it's from, but it's apt." Bowl now empty, Sirine set it down once more, sighing softly with satisfaction. She hadn't expected a good meal when she came here, so even if her mind was unsettled, at least her stomach wasn't. "A person who has had their tongue burned will blow even on cold milk. Trust... isn't something I easily dispense, and I'll admit the first day here I was very wary that anyone may just stab Zaveed at night and be done with it. If I was in your place, I would have. Even now, I do not fully trust anyone here save my two companions, though the notion that he'll be killed is no longer there at least." She paused, thinking about what Gregor had said, what Sevari had just mentioned to her." I've been hearing this a lot since I came here. Good people. Better people. I'm not that, there's no way I could be after my deeds."

She spared a glance at Raelynn before taking the apricots, holding them in her lap for the time being. "Even as a small time pirate, there was one thing the people I interacted with knew- I keep my word, I don't betray people I have agreed to help. Sevari is keen on keeping friends in this group, and I will not make that difficult for him. As for Zaveed..." Push come to shove, she would follow him; she trusted him the most and he was the one leading her to her ultimate goal back... home. And if she was being honest with herself, she enjoyed his company. It was nice to finally spend time with someone who seemed to relate to her and enjoyed the nautical life as much as she did… had. "The last thing he wishes at the moment is to antagonize this group further, and I'm not going to squander his effort. I don't expect this group to have faith in my words- I certainly wouldn't- but if you wish to hear it, then that is a 'no'. No, I will not run and leave someone behind to suffer. I have never been that sort of coward."

Looking at the apricots in her hand, she deposited a couple in her free one before before bringing the sole dried fruit to her mouth, chewing methodically when she did. Questions still lingered in her mind, some more than others, and yet she no longer had the heart or drive to ask them.

Post Written: The Kthrakz Mile
Written By: @Hank // Gregor
Written Words:

Gregor locked eyes with the Dwemer as his death approached. “My turn,” the Pale Reaper hissed and his baleful gaze flashed crimson with malice. He held up a hand so that the Dwemer could see what object he had pulled from one of his waist-lined pouches; a black soul gem, empty and cold to the touch. The Dwemer’s throat was too damaged for him to say anything further and he died without another word, sliding down the wall as blood gushed down his front. Just before Sirine had delivered the killing blow, Gregor had cast a soul trap of his own on the Dwemer executioner and he was about to reap the fruits of his labor.

With a loud, rushing sound, like the abysmal gale of some great, unseen hurricane, a flash of purple light left the Dwemer and nestled itself in the soul gem in Gregor’s palm. Unlike the souls of Nblec and Kerztar before him, which had turned their gems merely a more opaque shade of purple and filled them with swirling energy, this Dwemer’s soul was filled with darkness and it spread through the gem like black tendrils of ink. Gregor could feel the weight of his crimes, the souls of the death row inmates he had stolen, and he almost dropped the gem in disgust. “Repulsive,” he muttered and put the soul gem back in his pouch. “This fate is too good for you.”

Post Written: stop
Written By: @LadyTabris // Anifaire
Written Words:

Who attacked the inn. The husk of the building was left, the panic filling her as she recalled Alim had been inside, that others had been there. She caught side of a Redguard, face down and burned, a man, on the ground, and reached down to flip him over in a hurry, trying not to wretch from the scent of burnt flesh

Are there birds in the desert?

The body was disfigured, burns marred the face grotesquely; the imagine burned into her mind. She remembered him, someone she’d at the inn several times before, and it disturbed her to see someone she recognized limp and lifeless, yet she was relieved though her horror - not Alim, no, Alim hadn’t been there. They took him, the Dwemer took him while they freed Daro’Vasora, and there was nothing she could do to help when they didn’t even know

The desert must be free of mosquitos. A minor blessing, at least one thing to be grateful for.

Alim was taken, like others had been. Anger tinged her thoughts as she wished she could wade her way through Dwemer until she was sure he was well, yet she could do nothing of the sort, because she was just Anifaire, a useless noble lady who could do little more than throw stones in a fight. Hopelessness surpassed the twinge of anger she’d felt, as she felt disjointed, disconnected, Alim was her friend, this group unlike anyone she'd known in Alinor, yet the Dwemer could just meander into the inn and take one, leaving behind them a gore-filled mess of bodies and the scent of blood and burning and

Her body stilled, breathing steadier, tears falling gently, an emptiness forming in the pit of her stomach as she cried in the solitude of her tent walls.

Post Written: The Kthrakz Mile
Written By: @Amaranth // Shakti
Written Words:

Shakti sighed and passed through the door, into the office. The Warden was already standing, a sword in his hand, clearly having heard the deaths of his lackeys. In another life, he perhaps would have been called handsome, his features were indeed pleasing to the eye and did not belie the inherent cruelty that came with being both a traitor and a warden of a prison. His black hair was pulled into a small ponytail, and his armour was clearly expensive. None of this was evident to Shakti. His face to her was the root of all wickedness in this plane, it was a candle she would snuff the unholy light from. It was not worthy of the crescent cloak he wore around his body, it was not worthy of the worms that would consume his body before the day was done.

Sweat pooled on his forehead as he demanded to know what was going on. Shakti wiped the blood from her blade with Khesh’s cloak. “Betrayer!” She shrieked, “You killed him! You murdered Taren Nasaaj, my father! He trusted you and you killed him!” Her voice was raw and full of emotions, anger, sorrow, grief, and hatred. Her words were at once both accusatory and damning. Shakti was the Judge, the Jury and soon, the Executioner in this mockery of Justice.

Post Written: Two Birds of a Feather
Written By: @DearTrickster // Maj
Written Words:

Getting a closer look over of Maz, Maj’s eyes settled on the tattoos intricately lining her face, counting the earrings lining her long pointed ears. The scars as well, they were pitted and marked along her arms, the former Corsair not making any attempts to be subtle in her observation. She leaned into the bar, settling her cheek against the heel of her palm she said, smiling, “There ain’t a single ugly thing about you. Hi, I’m Maj.”

Post Written: Fountain of Serenity
Written By: @Dervish // Daro'Vasora
Written Words:

The Khajiit leaned back into the embrace, nuzzling Raelynn's head as her hand moved up to run through the woman’s hair. “The Moons all have phases, the dark and the light. It is what determines what form a Khajiit will take. People are no different; I can tell he loves you, and you love him. He is the dark of the moon, you are the light. You must be the Bright Moon that guides his steps into the light and resist the temptations to go into the dark,” Daro'Vasora said, almost sensually, her voice little more than a whisper. “Each of us walk a path, sometimes it is shrouded in darkness, other times the moon illuminates the way. Always find the light, and you will never be wrong, Ko'Raelynn.”

Post Written: The Kthrakz Mile
Written By: @Lemons // Gaius
Written Words:


Nharzk was almost to the end of the cell block when the shout came ricocheting down the narrow corridor, and what conversation there had been fell silent. He stood still at the door, debating whether to turn or not. There was no debate, not really. Only the seconds between this moment, and the moment that he would turn around and turn to violence. He sucked air through his teeth, letting his tongue roll across the front row, veins bulged outwards from his thick neck as he clenched his jaw.

(definitely meets the criteria of, wow, what a line lmao)

Post Written: The Kthrakz Mile
Written By: @POOHEAD189 // Alim
Written Words:

Alim went from sly and amused to suddenly warm and taken with emotion when he saw Anifaire. He almost forgot they had the jail door open, and he opened his mouth, about to ask Gaius how he looked. But he decided it was stupid to ask in front of Ani, and so overcome with a feeling of pent up emotion that he suddenly didn’t care. He stepped over Nharzk’s corpse, walked out of the cell, made his way over to Anifaire and pulled her into a kiss.

“I should have done that a while ago.” he said.

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