Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oblivion Day 1 - The Dawn & Dusk of Life

27 Last Seed, 3E433
Weynon Priory

Ingratitude. It is what I have been suffering for the past six years while languishing in prison. Prior to today, the last breath of fresh air tasted of ash and sea in Khuul village of Morrowind. I had boarded the Khajiit S'virr's small boat for a trip to Solstheim to visit Raven Rock and had just started to relax as Vvardenfell disappeared into the morning fog.

The first hint of trouble came in the form of a crossbolt bolt suddenly sprouting from poor S'virr's throat. He toppled overboard and was immediately set upon by slaughterfish. Even six years later the thought of dying that way makes me shiver, I have always hoped that he died before the fish got to him.

No crossbow bolts shot out of the gloom for me, but a fairly sizable vessel I most often saw wrecked and beached along Vvardenfell's dangerous shore. Hooks latched on to my little rowboat and I was quickly hoisted upon the ship and facing at least two dozen Imperial Legionaries. My arrest for smuggling illict goods to Raven Rock was laughably pronounced and without my amulet, I had the choice to either surrender or kill a few of them before dying. The latter was pointless, so I agreed to be detained below deck.

At the time I thought it a simple mistake. I knew S'virr was smuggling something, for why else but for profit would a Khajiit be rowing a boat between the two islands? Killing him struck me as a bit extreme, but then we arrived in Cyrodiil via the Imperial Run and I was thrown in a dungeon for six years...clearly not for smuggling, but my crime, be it real or imagined, has never been explained to me.

I received my daily ribbing from the Dunmer in the cell across from me, a tiresome tradition just over five months old today and was about to mount a bored riposte when voices and heavy footfalls sounded from the stairs next to my cell. I thought it too early for breakfast and figured another unfortunate soul had found her way into captivity.
The soldiers lacked the sloven indifference of the jailers and carried themselves with a sense of purpose, nervous though they obviously were. An older man was with them and I was curious to see what business this odd group had in the damp depths of the Imperial City.
The man was somber and stared at me for longer than I was comfortable with before declaring that the Gods had placed me in this cell so that he and I could meet. I was about to reply that I had no business with him, but he continued on, nonchalantly identifying himself as the Emperor, Uriel Septim and his solders as members of the Blades, such as I was once. They were escorting him through a secret escape leading out of the city, the beginning of which started in my cell. One of the soldiers sardonically commented that today must be my lucky day before the group left via a passageway behind my cot. Not one to let opportunity pass me by, I followed.
The reason for their escape soon became clear. Creeping behind them as quietly as I could, I spotted the assassins moments before they did, allowing me to shout out a warning as their foes sprang to the attack, cutting down their Captain within melee's initial seconds.
The two remaining Blades quickly dispatched their foes whom appeared to be conjurers of some kind. One of them thanked me for my warning with a silent, curt nod, collected the Emperor, and moved deeper underground, leaving the Captain's body behind.

Unarmed and in an area possibly still housing assassins, I had no qualms about picking through the bodies for useful equipment. I claimed a simple steel short blade from the late Captain and on a whim, her rare Akaviri Katana. My wrist irons had long since lost their chain and I was able to (carefully!) use the short blade to pry the rusted manacles off of my wrists, which conspicuously have all the fur rubbed off of them.

The group had locked the door behind them, so I was at a bit of a loss as to where to go now. Back to my cell was an incredibly depressing thought, but two rats came to my aid, crashing through a loose pile of masonry in an attempt to eat me. Once they had been dealt with, I examined the area the rats had come from.
Save for the scratchings of rats, I heard nothing, so I deemed it better than going back to jail. Evidently someone else had thought the same, for I found upon a gnawed-upon skeleton with rat-damaged, but serviceable, leather armor. It was a great deal better than my burlap shirt and pants. Further inside I found a bow and some arrows in surprisingly good condition and a battered leather-wrapped shield in considerably worse condition, but it was better than nothing. At least I had a decent complement of weaponry.

A zombie assailed me in the next room, eerily reminding me of the Corpus-infected creatures I fought so very long ago in Morrowind. Other than that, I thought the place was only infested by rats until I nearly stumbled over the body of a goblin sprawling in front of the only door I could find. It appeared to have succumbed to wounds from the zombie, but I could not be sure.

The goblins had set up camp further inside...where ever I was. Two of them died underneath a pile of logs I pushed down a small hill and one died after tripping its own trap. The rest, including a shaman who fired bolts of lightning at me, died to my bow or sword.

Through some strange trick of architecture, my journey through the underground goblin caves ended not at an opening to the outside world, but a finished section of the jail once more. Voices floated through the stale air, reminding me that there were others trying to make their way through this odd place.
The Emperor somehow heard me and motioned towards my hiding place. Instantly, I had two angry Blades approaching me, but he ordered them to stop, saying that they could not see what he had already seen, that I would play a part in (once again...) saving the Empire from a dire threat. I felt like asking him if perhaps the Legion might be better suited to the task.

We walked uneasily together for a ways until we were stopped by a gate that should not have been locked. The two Blades told the Emperor to retreat to an adjacent room just as five conjurer assassins sprang from the alcoves above us. Not wanting to die immediately, I retreated with the Emperor, but he pressed the amulet he had been wearing into my hand and told me to bring it to a man named Jauffre. With the sounds of battle growing more desperate in the room behind us, he insisted I go to the aid of the Blades.

And so I did, accounting for two assassins on my own, greatly surprising friend and foe alike. But when we returned to the Emperor he was dead, his throat slit, but his face peaceful, as if he had expected it all along.

The Blades did not take it well and were shocked to see the Emperor's amulet in my hands. The younger of the two told me that it was the Amulet of Kings, a sacred Artifact that could only be worn by someone of the Septim bloodline and one that would keep the Empire safe so long as a member of the bloodline wore it. I will not divulge the Blade's name here, but he told me to go to a specific monastery to find the monk named Jauffre, after which I would receive further instructions. He then thanked me for returning his Captain's Katana, an item which I had completely forgotten I had been carrying to begin with.

There was a small sewer system to contend with on my way out, but it does not bare mentioning compared to what I saw at the end of the sewer tunnel: sunlight.
And finally, the freedom of the outdoors once again.
The monastery was just past the Auxiliary post of Fort Ash and while I doubted that anyone I used to know was still in the Auxiliaries, let alone that they would remember me, I would at least be able to identify myself as a former militia-Khajiit and be sure of a cordial reception. 

To say life can be cruel would be an understatement.
Not only was Fort Ash abandoned, it was also decrepit, neglected, and re-occupied by goblins. In my day it was a thriving toll post and now it is a ruin. I must make time to find out why the Auxiliaries abandoned the fort. For today though, I decided to do some investigation of my own. Into the fort I went.
I found little of note. Just goblins, goblins, and a single dead adventurer. When I left the fort I was accosted by a Khajiit bandit who demanded one hundred Septims to let me pass alive. It did not end well for him.
I arrived at the monastery with no other trouble and even though it was late into the night, Jauffre was still awake at his table, doing whatever it is monks do at two in the morning. For safety's sake, I cannot record what he and I spoke about, but I certainly have an interesting task at hand now. He offered me a good steel bow and arrows and I gratefully traded my worn, bitten bow for it.

Now I am resting in a comfortable bed at the monastery, nervous, excited, and eager to tackle my new responsibilities. This morning I was a prisoner and this evening I am a Blade once again.

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