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 Skyrim: The Unheard Tales

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PostSubject: Skyrim: The Unheard Tales   Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:31 pm

Chapter 1: Helgen

"I will have nothing to do with it!  Stormcloak or not, I will not stand idly by as Imperial Soldiers bloody these grounds in the name of their petty conflict!"

"And what do ya think you can do about it, lass?  You're an elf.  They'll listen to you like they listen to the pleas of the men and women they're about to give the axe!"

A nord man stood opposite a lady wood elf in heated debate.  This entire bloody war was doing much to feel the souls of Skyrim's inhabitants with hatred and unease.  What was worse, there was no black and white to who was truly responsible for it all.  Both sides had its points to be commended.  But both were also equally as charged by deceit, arrogance, and unnecessary bloodshed.

As the elf woman prepares to rebut the nord's words, the two of them hear the sound of horses neighing and horse drawn carts rolling into town.  "Well, woman, best you work quick to prepare them honeyed words of yours.  Get them to execute their men elsewhere."

Meanwhile, the last cart is well behind those of the caravan that were first to arrive.  Aside from the Imperial Soldiers driving, the cart held three cuffed individuals.  One was a built nord man with an endearing face.  One was an Imperial woman with long, black hair and the beauty of a siren.  The last was a high elf with wild eyes and red war paint around them, a smile upon her face.

"I'm not too certain I much like the look of the elf's face," the nord whispers to the Imperial prisoner.

"She's an elf.  I'd think you nords hate their faces in general."

"I mean there's something off about her.  I've seen that look before.  It's the look of someone with a blood lust."

The elf's head was down but she glances up slightly with the same twisted smile about her.  Soon, though, the cart was pulling into Helgen and the three were dismounting, approaching a legate and an Imperial Soldier, reading off a list.  "You three, step forward," the soldier says.  "Breach of Cyrodil and...um...Mischief..."

The Imperial woman steps forth and is guided to the fort yard, followed by the high elf.  Finally the nord man step forward.  "You, there...who are you?"

"My name is Dakim, friend," the nord says proudly.

Watching from a rooftop is a Redguard girl and a Khajit.  As Dakim is walked to the fort yard, the Redguard sighs.  "So much for justice."

"Said the pickpocket," the Khajit retorts.

"No one misses a few septims."

"Relax yourself, Aia.  I was only joking."

Aia turns to her thieving partner and then back to the yard beneath them, resting her head upon her hands.  Then something catches her eye.  The lady wood elf that'd been arguing with the nord inside approaches the legate but is turned away.  "It sounds like she was trying to get them to hold their little slaughter fest elsewhere."

"And it looks like she was unsuccessful."

On the opposite end of town, a nord of uncharacteristically small stature wanders into town, sporting a cloak and holding a walking staff.  He walks into a nearby building, an inn.  "Excuse me," he asks the residents.  "I was looking for the resident wizard.  Might any of you know where he can be found?"

"Oh, you one of them mage types?  He has a shop on the other side of town.  Luck be with you that he doesn't turn ya into somethin you don't want to be," the innkeeper remarks.

The nord hesitates to respond after that remark.  "Thank you," he says.  As he prepares to leave, he catches a glimpse of an elf woman in the corner, wearing black.  It was difficult to tell whether she was a wood elf or high elf, based on the lighting but there was something ominous about her.

Suddenly came the sound of thunder and screams from the townspeople outside.  Everyone in the building hears it and glances to the door.  When the nord opens it, they all see that the town is being bathed in fire from above.  The room trembles without warning.  "By the Nine!  Everyone, out, now!"  The Innkeeper shouts.

Back in the fort yard, prisoners rush in all directions.  For a time, it seems that the group from the last cart is keeping together.  Black leather wings cast a shadow over them all for a moment at when they turn, they see scaly black death, hovering over them with with devilish red eyes looking down into their eyes.  They all scatter when it breathes soul searing flames in their direction.

Dakim and Mischief are helped inside by an Imperial soldier while Breach enters through another door of the fort.

Aia opens her eyes.  She'd been out cold for all of a moment.  The roof had caved in when the dragon hit.  As she looks around for her friend, she finds him.  She finds him dead, fallen on a jagged wooden beam.  "No.  No no no, come on, you can't be...PLEASE, don't be!"  The building, or whatever remained of it, shakes and she turns her eyes to the sky as a shadow is cast over her.  The black dragon looks down on her and she runs as it bathes whatever was left of her partner in fire from its lungs.  She runs but she doesn't look back.  She couldn't bring herself to.  Her friend was already dead.  She didn't dare wish to see how dead.  She would have to focus on something else for the time being.  Getting out of this alive would be a good start.

Inside, the fort, Dakim, Mischief, and their Imperial soldier friend guide them down through every level.  Along the way, they discover many dead bodies, most of them Imperial soldiers.  They stop at the torture chamber where they discover two Stormcloak soldiers, standing over the body of the bodies of torturer and his assistant.  "Hey!"  The Imperial soldier shouts, drawing his blade.

The two soldiers attack and he blocks them both with an iron shield before Dakim places his hand on one of their shoulders, punching him out.  The second turns to Dakim but is run through with the Imperial sword.  Dakim watches as the boy drops to the floor.  "You didn't have to kill him."

"He wouldn't have hesitated to kill you," the Imperial says.

As the two proceed, Mischief silently follows then pauses for a moment and looks down at the iron war hammer once wielded by the now dead Stormcloak.  He wouldn't be needing it anymore, after all.  Dakim glances back at her as he grabs an iron shield from the wall.  "This'll come in handy."

"I'd arm myself better than that if I were you," the Imperial soldier says.  "My name's Hadvar, by the way.  I'd like to thank you for your help."

"Thank me when we're all out of here alive.  And don't worry about me.  The best offense is a good defense where I'm concerned."

They pass through a hidden lower chamber where they come across a number of Stormcloak soldiers.  "Well, this'll be a challenge," Hadvar says as he draws his steel.

Dakim rushes ahead.  One of the Stormcloaks swings a greatsword down on him but he blocks it with his shield then swings his arm around and bashes it against the boy's skull before unstrapping it from his arm and throwing it like a disc at a Stormcloak wielding a bow and arrow.

Mischief seemed to have disappeared but another Stormcloak emerges and shoots an arrow just as Dakim is approaching his shield to pick it up.  Dakim sees the arrow land just where his hand was about to be a looks up.  Before the Stormcloak could shoot another arrow, however, there is the distinct sound of someone's skull meeting a blunt, very heavy object.  Mischief had sneaked up behind him and taken him out with her war hammer.  Still, though, she didn't say a word.  She simply maintains her eerie grin and marches ahead.

Dakim slowly picks up his shield and Hadvar follows suit.  "That was impressive work.  I've never seen a shield used quite like that."

"When you travel as I do, you learn to use whatever's near you."

They pass through another corridor.  Dead frostbite spiders lie around the room but they march on.  In the next chamber sits the corpse of a bear.  "I don't understand it," Hadvar says.  "Who is doing all of this.  These were precision cuts.  They weren't wild swings with iron.  It's like whoever did all of this was fighting with a dagger."

Dakim looks over the bear and sees a green powder where the cut was.  "The blade that brought this one down was poisoned...and I'll bet it was poison extracted from those frostbite spiders."

"Well, anyway, let's keep moving," Hadvar says.

At last, the three of them arrive outside.  They take cover behind a rock as the black beast flies by overhead.  "All right, we're clear," Hadvar remarks.  "Now, thank you.  I'm not sure I would have gotten out of that alive if not for you two."  Suddenly he and Dakim realize that Mischief has disappeared again.  "She's surely a sneaky one."

"Keep an eye out for her.  There's something about her that makes my stomach turn," Dakim responds.

"Right.  Listen, there's a town not far from here called Riverwood.  My uncle is the blacksmith there.  He should be able to help us."

"Lead the way."

Unbeknownst to them both, a pair of blood red eyes watches from the bushes and Mischief emerges from them, walking off along her own path with her new war hammer strapped to her back.

Back in Helgen the cloaked Nord wanders around.  The town was in shambles, it seemed.  He'd hidden in the cellar of the local in, taking cover in one of the barrels when the dragon found its way inside.  His heart was still racing but it nearly leaped from his chest when he her a sound.  He slowly walks into the house nearest to him and sees a breton girl with long, white hair and dark skin, sitting and rocking herself next to a corpse.  "I-it...he was trying to..."

"Don't worry," the nord says as he kneels at her side and wraps his cloak around her.  "Listen, my name is Doc.  Why are you still here?"

"I...was the town wizard's apprentice.  H-he was teaching me m-magic."

"Was?"  Doc suddenly realizes something and turns to the burnt corpse at the breton girl's side.  "That was..."

The breton nods shakily.  "I was with him when it happened.  He protected me.  He made me get under the bed but before he could do anything, the dragon burst in and..."

"Dragon...I can't believe I'm hearing that word."

"Neither can I.  But how else can you explain it?"

Doc helps the girl to her feet and outside to look at the charred remains of Helgen.  She cupped her hands over her mouth and cried out.  "Oh, gods!"

"It's all right.  You cry as much as you want," Doc says as he looks around.  "No one would blame you."

Elsewhere, a slab of debris is hoisted by the mysterious elf woman in black that Doc had seen earlier.  Beneath it was the wood elf girl that'd tried to get the Imperial forces to hold their execution in another hold.  "I see you're alive," the woman says.  Indeed, she too was a wood elf.  She helps the girl up and out of the debris but she nearly falls over.  The woman in black catches her and holds her up.  "Hey, hey, snap out of it," she says as she pops open a red bottle and feeds the girl its contents.  "I've looked all over this town and there are only a handful of survivors."

The girl coughs for a moment and shakes it off, holding her head.  "I...thank you for saving me.  I might have died beneath that rubble but...who are you?"

"My name is Tali'i.  Come, we're getting out of here.  The rest of the survivors are already leaving.  What's your name?  Do you have any people?"

"My name is Robyn.  I remember that.  I remember the attack.  That's all I can piece together.  Everything else is a haze."

"Of course it is," Tali'i says.  Strapped to her back is an ancient nord greatsword.  Her eyes are as black as her clothing and hair.  She guides Robin to the nearest door.  "I saw what happened to you but no one else did.  When the dragon attacked, your building fell on top of you while you were running toward the door.  You're lucky to be alive at all.  Luckier still, that the dragon didn't see it fit to burn that building to a crisp.  Come with me to Whiterun.  I'm sure the alchemist there can fix something up for you that'll get your memory back in working order."

"Very well," Robyn says.  She looks about the ruined hold.  "This...whether or not I remember, it is heart wrenching.  Tali'i stays quiet as she helps Robyn off.

Doc sees others leaving.  "We should leave.  There's nothing here for anyone now."

"You're right.  I just...I've lived here since I was little.  To see it all reduced to rubble and ash..."

"I understand," Doc says.  "Believe me, I do.  Do you have anywhere else to go?"

"I suppose I can go to the College of Winterhold to continue my training."  Every word the girl spoke sounded dead but she finally stood again.  "My name is Bell.  Listen...would you accompany me there?  I would rather not be left alone right now.  There is no telling what might happen if I'm alone with only my thoughts."

Doc ponders for a moment.  "I am not sure I am someone you would-"  He pauses when he sees the painfully lonely and grave look in Bell's eyes.  "Very well.  I had been looking for the town wizard, myself.  Perhaps I can get help in Winterhold as well."

"Thank You," Bell says as the two of them proceed toward an exit.

Aia had taken cover in the local blacksmith's basement along with another redgaurd girl.  "I think it's over, Ashanti," she says.

Ashanti was younger, smaller in frame, similarly dressed in ragged clothes, and obviously timid, given the frightened look upon her face.  But, then again, who wouldn't be terrified.  A dragon had just attacked Helgen.  On the girl's hands were two steel gauntlets.  Aia grabs a bow and quiver of arrows from the blacksmith table.  "Wait," Ashanti says.  "Would you mind if I came with you?"

Aia stops halfway up the stairs.  "My best friend just died.  Before that, my brother.  Before that, most of our gang.  I'm the only one left living.  Which means it must be me.  I get people killed.  You really want to hang around with me?"

Ashanti looks her in the eye.  "You also saved my life when you brought me down here.  And...I have nowhere else to go."

Aia turns and walks the rest of the way up the stairs.  "Are you coming or not," she says once out of sight.  Once Ashanti follows her up, she arms herself with the hunting bow.  "I'm going to Ivarstead.  That's where my friend's 'family' was.  I'm going to go break the news to them.  Then...I dunno what then."

She opens the door and the two girls stand there, looking over Helgen with wide eyes and gaping mouths.  "Gods," Ashanti says.

Aia looks around at all of the destruction around her and takes a breath.  "Let's go," she says, rushing off with Ashanti in tow.

Standing atop the tower of the town's fortress stands a figure with a black hood, steel armor, and a war axe strapped to his back.  His face is covered in white war paint, given the pattern of a skull.  He watches with his arms crossed as survivors flee.  "A miracle that anyone survived," he says to himself as he takes his war axe into his hands.  "Miracles don't exist."
SKYRIM
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PostSubject: Re: Skyrim: The Unheard Tales   Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:32 pm

Chapter 2: Before the Storm

Hadvar and Dakim tread down forested mountainside lightly on their path to Riverwood.  Wolves stalked these green hills and it was getting dark.  Not a moment went by that Hadvar didn't have a hand readied on the hilt of his sword, or Dakim prepared to transform his shield into a fierce weapon yet again.  But the trim was quiet.  They came to a halt as Hadvar saw a large, imposing structure on the adjacent mountain.  "Bleak Falls Barrow," he says.

"You're familiar with that ruin?"

"It's always terrified me.  As a boy, I would have nightmares about it.  Draugr coming down from the hills and dragging me off in the night."

"I'm more familiar with Draugr than I'd like to be.  They won't leave their ruins," Dakim assures the young soldier.

Hadvar stares up at the old ruin quietly.  "Come on.  We need to get to Riverwood before we run out of daylight entirely.  It isn't far from here."  He proceeds down the path but Dakim stands and stares out at the ruin for a moment before following.

Upon arriving, the two of them pass by an elderly woman, arguing with her boy that she'd seen a dragon flying by.  Hadvar treads on but Dakim takes a moment to speak.  "Excuse me.  I couldn't help but overhear your conversation.  You say you saw a dragon fly by here?"

"Yes!  It was enormous, with wings as black as night.  And-"

"Mother, please," the boy says.  "Any more of this and the town will think you've gone mad."

"Lad, you'd do well not to dismiss anything that falls outside of your experience as impossible."

"Stranger, certainly you aren't saying you believe her!"

Dakim doesn't respond any beyond that.  He only walks away and catches up to Hadvar, speaking with his uncle as the forge.  "This is the one you were telling me about, boy?"  The sturdy elder says as he sizes Dakim up.  "Hadvar tells me you helped him escape Helgen.  You have my thanks.  I am Alvor, the town's blacksmith.  Though you already knew that.  But...you're both certain that what you both saw...was a dragon."

"More sure than it is cold in Skyrim, sir," Dakim responds.

Alvor sighs and runs his hand through his beard as the other rests at his hip.  "Listen, feel free to stay as long as you like and take anything you think you might need.  But...there is something I would like you to do for me tomorrow.  Think of it as an errand.  Riverwood isn't prepared to defend itself against something like that.  If you wouldn't mind, I would like you to go to Whiterun and request that the Jarl send troops out here."

"Of course.  I'll help any way I can," Dakim says.

"Good.  Well, come on inside.  I'm sure the wife won't mind the company," Alvor says as he guides the boys inside.

At the dinner table, some hours later, Alvor's wife, Sigrid, sets plates down in front of the men.  "So, tell us about yourself, Dakim.  What were you doing in Helgen?"

Dakim glances up at the woman briefly, then to the plate in front of him.  "Well, I suppose that's fair.  I'm an adventurer from Shor's Stone.  It's a small little village just north of Riften.  I've seen plenty of Skyrim by now.  I could tell you stories.  When I found myself in Helgen, the Imperials were getting ready to end Ulfric Stormcloak.  Then the dragon attacked."

Hadvar's eyes dart a bit as he sits back in his chair.  "Would you like to tell us any of those stories?  I'd like to know more about how you learned to use a shield as a weapon the way you did."

"Ah, yes, you did ask about that earlier.  To tell you the truth, lad, I invented that method off the top of my head.  No one else I know of has done it.  Everyone's always just as surprised when they see me do it," Dakim explains.  He sees little Dorthe at the end of the table, looking up at him and smiles.  Then he hops from his seat.  "I was in the depths of an old Dwemer ruin.  Someone had paid me to go and find a necklace they'd lost down there.  Them ruins are dangerous places.  I found the necklace but wouldn't you know it, there was a giant there.  Oh, but giants don't like ya walking about in their space.  He came at me!  I fought my hardest.  I never fought a giant outright until that day, to be honest.  The beast struck my sword from my hand and I was left with a sleek iron shield.  I threw it at his head and he stumbled over like a bear runnin' ya down hill!"

As Dakim tells his tale, he exudes a sort of energy not often seen in the little village.  Dorthe had all but laughed herself to sleep soon enough after dinner.  Hadvar takes Dakim to the basement.  "You didn't answer her question about why you were in Helgen."

"They didn't need to know that I was there to get my head chopped off, lad.  That knowledge would've made 'em uneasy about my being about.  Or are you more curious about why I was among the people they dragged in?"

"Was it murder?  Treason?"

"Why would I have followed you down here if it were either of those things?  I've had plenty of opportunities to kill you and everyone in this building."

"I can't believe they'd call for your execution over theft," Hadvar says.

Dakim turns and picks up the shield from the table, strapping it to his arm.  "I'll let you think it out for yourself, friend.  But if it makes you feel any more at ease, I'm leaving tonight, not in the morning."

"Why is that?"

"There's a dragon on the loose, Hadvar.  While we're all resting our eyes and dreaming of better days in Sovengarde, it's out there burning down another village or hold.  Tell your family 'thank you' for me," Dakim responds as he walks off, making sure to shut the door behind him quietly.

Outside, he puts on the iron armor that Alvor was allowing him to use and walks off into the night, armed with only a shield.

The next morning, Tali'i and Robyn arrive in Whiterun.  "This is where we part ways, it seems," Tali'i says.  "The alchemist is near the inn just down this path."

"Wait, where are you going, then?"

"My intention in coming here, you mean?  I came to Whiterun to have words with the Companions...they're a brotherhood of elite warriors and warrioresses.  I've wanted to test my mettle against them for some time.  Best of luck to you.  I hope that your memories are restored," Tali'i says before waving and ascending to the second level of the city.

Robyn hesitantly proceeds down the path and to the marketplace where she is swarmed suddenly by merchants.  "Ah...forgive me but I am here to see the alchemist."

Meanwhile, Dakim arrives in town.  The guard had mentioned the Cloud District.  Before long, he was hiking up the many flights of stairs, all leading to the Jarl's palace.  As he enters and approaches the Jarl's throne, he is greeted by a zealous dark elf woman, wielding a blade.  "Halt," she demands.  "Jarl Balgruuf is not receiving visitors."

"I've come on behalf of Riverwood," Dakim explains.  "Helgen has been hit by a dragon and Riverwood has no way of defending itself."

"Irileth, send him forth.  I would have a word with him," the Jarl says.  Dakim looks to the dark elf then to the Jarl and steps forward.  "Now, then, what's this about Riverwood being in danger?"

"I was sent by Alvor to request that guards be sent to defend Riverwood against the dragon that attacked Helgen."

The Jarl sits forward and ponder for a moment, his hands folded before his face.  "Alvor...that would be the blacksmith, correct?  Dependable, reliable fellow, not prone to flights of fancy.  And you're sure Helgen was attacked...by a dragon?  This wasn't just some Stormcloak raid gone wrong?"

"With respect, Jarl, I was at Helgen.  I know what I saw," Dakim remarks.

"My Jarl, we should send a detachment to Riverwood at once.  It is in the most immediate danger."

"Yes, yes, I know," Balgruuf says.  "See to it that it gets done, Irileth.  As for you, my friend, I would ask that you come with me to see my court wizard.  He has been doing some research pertaining to these dragons and...rumors of dragons."

The Jarl stands from his throne and guides Dakim to another room as Irileth departs to send the detachment.

Within Arcadia's Cauldron, the local alchemist's shop, Robyn browses as the shopkeeper rummages through a few ingredients and materials.  "How bad is this memory loss?  What do you remember?"

"Everything is blurry.  I remember my name, the events of an attack on Helgen, and little more.  Almost nothing about myself.  But I can remember enough about Skyrim herself to function," Robyn clarifies.

"I've never made anything for a case quite that severe.  Are you sure you don't want to check with the Temple of Kynareth?"

"If this fails."

Arcadia continues to prepare this memory elixir for Robyn, mashing herbs and mixing ingredients.  In a matter of minutes, the complete potion was ready in a bright blue vial.  Robyn drops a few septim in front of the shopkeeper for her trouble and takes the elixir, hoping for the best.  Alas, the haze that so consumed her mind grew no clearer.  "Nothing?"  Arcadia asks.

"Nothing."

On a hill, not far at all from the city of Whiterun, Aia and Ashanti peer through the bushes.  "I can see Whiterun's walls from here.  The stables are near the farm.  We're not getting all the way to Ivarstead from here on foot.  We need a horse."

"Why are we going to Ivarstead?"  Ashanti asks.

Aia takes her bows into her hand.  "I...have some apologies to make," she says.

"And how are we going to get a horse?  We don't have any money."

"I know," Aia says before leaping out from behind the bushes and taking off downhill.

"Aia, wait!"  Ashanti pleas, taking off after her.

Inside Jorrvaskr, Tali'i's black great-sword meets the iron shield of a companion and he is tossed from his feet.  "Sit, boy," she says teasingly.

The Companion growls and gets up but the two are called upon by the voice of an elder.  "Vilkas, keep your temper," he says.  "She is good."

"I told you I could take care of myself," Tali'i says as she replaces her blade against her back.

"That you can.  You are quite impressive."

"Thank you, Kodlak."

"Go to Farkas for work.  I believe he has a job that needs doing."

Tali'i nods and carries herself inside after cutting Vilkas a quick glance of sheer mirth.  Inside, she has words with Farkas.  Someone needed a scaring in Rorikstead.  That could be easily managed.  To avoid killing the man might be more difficult than it sounded, however.

Up in Dragonsreach, Dakim is filled in by Farengar on the potential of a breakthrough to be found in none other than Bleak Falls Barrow.  He would need to find an ancient stone tablet that was rumored to be there.  It all seemed too convenient to him that this information would turn out now, but he wouldn't complain or refuse to cooperate.  The severity of it was too great.

On his way out of town, he passes through the marketplace.  As he strolls through, the door to Arcadia's Cauldron opens.  As instinct dictated, he glances in the door's direction and there sees Robyn emerging.  He remembered seeing her arguing with someone in Helgen before the dragon.  For a moment, he pauses.

She glances up at him for only a moment at first.  Then her eyes fix on his and the both of them freeze as if they'd seen a ghost.  In fact, the reality of it was that they were seeing several.  Violent images flashes before their eyes that only they could see.  But they saw everything as if they were one person.

They saw fire, falling from the skies and pillars of smoke.  Buildings were nothing but rubble and splinters.  It was a vivid memory of what'd happened at Helgen.  It was almost like reliving the entire thing, from the sounds of people screaming to the smell of brimstone, beat around through the air on black leather wings.  Then those black wings close in on them, drawing closer.  The dragon lands just over them and looks down on them with its beady red eyes before lunging with its jaws gaping.

In the moment they were brought out of their trance.  Now they simply stare at one another.  They might have remained there all day if not for what came to interrupt them.

The front gates open suddenly and a farmer rushes in, yelling at the top of his lungs.  "Giants!  Giants!"  Tali'i is just stepping down from the Wind District when the rambling man barges.  One of the guards pulls him aside but he grabs onto the guard and continues to shout hysterically.  "I hired the Companions to kill a giant that was stealing food from my farm but more showed up and they're trying to kill me!"

At mention of a group of giants on the approach, both Tali'i and Dakim dart toward the Whiterun gates with several guards having had the same idea.  Robyn watches as they leave, still too stunned and confused by what she'd seen only seconds ago to put anything together.  She doesn't notice as an Imperial woman walks into Arcadia's Cauldron behind her, sporting ragged clothes but an Imperial helmet, boots, and arm bracers.  She removes the helmet upon shutting the door behind her.  "Excuse me, my name is Breach," she says.

"Ah, another Imperial!  There aren't many of us around here in Skyrim.  Not enough, I'd say.  What brings you here from..."

"Cyrodil.  I'm an alchemist myself.  My cart was raided by bandits.  I only barely escaped with what little bit of Imperial Equipment I could muster to defend myself.  I simply wished to throw together a few supplies I'll need to get back on the road to Solitude where I can hopefully get a ship back home."

"Oh, of course," Arcadia says.

"Thank you."

Just outside the city walls, the draw bridge is raised.  Dakim charges straight ahead from the doors and leaps from the ledge, onto the back of a giant beneath him.  "This was a stupid idea," he tells himself as the giant reaches back to get him off.

Tali'i leaps from the same ledge with her great sword in hand.  As she sails through the air, Dakim leaps from the giant, just in time for the beast to be skewered by Tali'i's blade.  "If you're trying to get into a fist fight with a giant, I'd like to be invited to the funeral," she says as the giant topples over.

Dakim lands on the shoulders of the second giant and raises his shield over his head, bringing it down on the giant's skull with both hands.  The clang of the metal shield rings in everyone's ears and the giant wobbles, struggling to stand upright.  Dakim then leaps down and swiftly turns, throwing his shield at its head, causing it to fall over like a chopped tree.  Once it's down, Dakim looks to Tali'i who places her sword upon her back.  "All right, I will admit, that was impressive," she says.

Dakim picks his shield up from the ground and straps it to his left arm.  "Thank you," he says.  He suddenly remembers his mission and turns to face the mountain in the distance.  Bleak Falls Barrow awaited him.  "I should be going now."

"As should I," Tali'i says.

As the two of them proceed down the long road from Whiterun toward the stables, they hear a sudden ruckus.  The two redguard girls had stolen one of the stable horses.  The one with white hair, wielding a bow an arrow took aim at one of the guards pursuing them.  As she releases the arrow, it glides through the air and pierces lands itself right in the guard's kneecap.  "Oh, gods, not again!"  The guard shouts as he falls over.

Before Dakim and Tali'i could make it to the stables, themselves, the thieves were already long gone on the stolen horse.  "No!"  The stable owner shouts.  "That was my best horse!"

"I'm headed in that direction," Tali'i says.  "If I manage to catch up with them, I'll see about returning your horse."  After glancing to Dakim, she turns and walks off down the road.  "Good luck on your own journey."

"And you on yours," Dakim responds, proceeding in the opposite direction.

Marching along a quiet, heavily forested path are the silver haired breton, Bell, and the small nord, Doc.  They'd been travelling quietly in one another's company since Helgen.  "If you don't mind my asking," Bell speaks up, "Why were you looking for my old mentor before the dragon attack?"

Doc takes a breath and looks down at a silver ring upon his hand.  "Shall we say...I was looking for assistance with a cure to a magical ailment.  No amount of alchemy can fix it, sadly.  I've already tried that."

Thunder crackles overhead and drops of rain begin to fall lightly from the sky.  "We'll catch our death if it begins to rain much harder," Bell says.

Doc takes the girl by the hand and leads her over to a small cliff that has a hollow space they could camp under for the time being.  "So he was your mentor.  Then I take it you were training in alteration, like him?"

"Oh, no," Bell responds.  "He made a specialty of it but he was versed in all the schools.  I was learning Restoration.  When I was young, my mother became ill.  We couldn't afford any potions and there were no mages in town who knew any healing spells.  So...she never got better.  She died."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Doc says after thinking the predicament over.

"After that, I decided that I would learn restoration and help.  More than one of them mocked the thought of it.  Some protested that we already had enough mages ruining the town and tried to forbid me to study it.  Finally, I just decided to leave and eventually return when I was good enough that they'd have no choice but to let me help."

While Doc meditates on where he is going with his life, Bell turns her head.  She'd felt something beneath her hand this entire time, far too smooth the be a rock.  As she wipes away dirt from it, she discovers it to be a silver dagger.  "Where did this come from?"

The moment Doc lays eyes upon the dagger, he grows pale and fidgety.  He looks out into the forest, looking for anything that stood out.  "Bell, come on, we've got to get out of here," he says.

"Why?  I-is something wrong?"

Suddenly someone leaps down from the top of the cliff and wraps his arm around Bell's neck.  She screams but for all of her flailing, nothing is accomplished.  "Well, look what we have here," the ruffian says.

"Let go of her!"  Doc demands.  He takes all of one step forward before an arrow lands just in front of him and he looks up at another bandit, standing at the top of the cliff.  He could see the distinctive form of the silver sword on her waist.

"Killing you will make for an excellent song, don't you think?"  The archer gloats.

"You have no idea how long we've been tailing you.  We lost your trail for a bit after Helgen, but your kind has this stench about 'em that makes you easy to find again," the bandit harassing Bell says.  "Tell you what.  We'll let the girl go if you give up and stop running, right here."

Doc glares into the degenerate's eyes and removes his cloak.  "No you won't," he says.  Divines, have mercy on me.  His eyes turn to an ominous yellow and he suddenly lets out a blood curdling scream.  The rogues begin to slowly back away.  The archer fires an arrow into his chest but it doesn't remain there for long.  The wound seems to heal almost instantly.  His small frame grows exponentially and his faces twists into a beastly snout.  His scream is overcome soon by a nightmarish roar and his body is covered in black fur.

The rogue tosses Bell aside and grabs his sword as she watches in awe.  "Gods," she says under her breath.

As the cretin's sword cuts into this monster's abdomen, the beast howls then grabs him and throws him into the wall of the cliff.  Before he can get up, the creature pounces and mauls him before opening his mouth and tearing into him with teeth like a hundred daggers.

Several more of these rogues begin to emerge from the forest but arrows push out from his back as the wounds heal.  The monster finishes its first victim then turns and charges into the rest, making them all its prey.

The archer is all the remains eventually.  She backs through the forest with an arrow ready.  Suddenly she hears a sound and discovers Bell, hiding behind a bush.  "You!  Your little friend just cost us all of our men and it's coming out of your-uhn!"  Bell stares in sheer terror as the beast tackles the archer and mauls her just as it'd mauled all the others.

She instinctively gets up and runs when she sees that it's busy on its latest victim.  But as she steps down and breaks a twig, it looks over its shoulder from what it's doing and chases after her.  She sees it running her down but she never stops.  Soon she manages to get back to the cliff and jumps down, hiding beneath it.

It was quiet for a moment.  But before Bell had a chance to think about feeling safe, the wolf-like beast finds her.  As it lunges toward her, she throws up a ward and it slams fully into the protective wall.  As it gets it, it slams down on the ward with its hulking arms, clawing at it savagely and trying to get through.

Several hours had gone by like this.  Bell held the ward up out of nothing more than desperation.  Soon the monster stops and holds it head as if in pain.  It howls into the sky and begins to suddenly shrink down.  Bell lets down her ward as the beast once more transforms into a pathetic little man that falls to the ground on his hands and knees.  "By the gods, Doc," Bell says under her breath.

She notices his cloak not far away and steps around him, picking it up and wrapping him in it nervously.  She was shaking uncontrollably but something kept her at this poor man's side.  After she pulls him back to the shelter of the cliff, she looks down on him as he rest in her arms.  "I see now why you didn't want me to travel with you.  You were trying to protect me," she says as she looks out at the falling rain.  "You have my word that I will help you cure yourself of this...disease.  Whatever it takes."

Bleak Falls Barrow.  Dakim had been hiking the mountainside for the better portion of the day.  It was nearly sundown by the time he began to near the old ruin.  It was cold and snowy toward the top.  He pauses once he reaches the stairs and tightens his grip on the shield strap.  "Okay," he says before an abrupt turn, blocking an arrow.

"You picked a bad time to get lost, friend!"  A bandit shouts as he fires an arrow the Dakim rolls from the path off.

Dakim throws the shield and charges up the stairs after it knocks the bandit off balance.  Then he punches the thug square in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.  Another bandit hid behind a stone column and took aim but Dakim notices and dives out of the way, snatching up his shield and rushing at her with it, plowing her over like a mammoth.  "That'll learn ya," he says, dusting the shield off and walking into the ruins.
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