“Shared reward?!” Bjarne dropped his mug to the bartop unceremoniously, grunting his displeasure at the news. The Orc beside him leaned his head back, trying to avoid the small spattering of mead. “Tha’s a fucken’ joke,” The Nord pointed an angry finger hard against the wooden counter, “I came for five thousand Septims, not some miserable bloody Guild rate.”
The Orc narrowed his eyes at Bjarne. This Nord was in it just for gold; there was no honour in his heart, no will to do the job for the sake of stopping the bandits, not even for glory. “That’s what the Captain said.” The Orc, Urag was his name, was a member of the Orsinium Guard, one whom had returned from battling Daedra – though only for a couple days, after which he returned to the battle.
“Advertise to bring ‘em in, then slap us wi’the shitty small print.” Bjarne grumbled mostly to himself, drooping his head and taking a long gulp of his drink. His bottom lip was wet with mead, half jutting out from his minor stupor. Even with a Nord’s resistance, this heavy-weight was stumbling drunk – that he was lucid enough to talk was a bloody miracle by judgement of the Orc.
“Alright,” Urag placed his hand over Bjarne’s drink, lowering the mug to the bar, “Azh!” He called over to the barkeep. She rolled her eyes at the soldier, walking over slowly.
“It’s Azhnolga when I’m working, Markul,” She placed her hands down firmly in front of the seated pair, giving a once over to the Nord her top lip curling in distaste, “He totally out of it yet?”
“Not for a *hic*,” Bjarne raised his head slowly, raising a finger to protest, “Not even close.” He slurred.
“Can you get him a room?” Urag questioned, to which the barkeep scoffed.
“Has one, spent the night in it, this sod can sober up on the streets.” She took Bjarne’s half-empty mug, slamming her hand close to his once again drooped head, “Come on Nordling, I’m kicking you out; no more drinks.”
The Nord jumped from the sudden bang, “I haven’t finished my *hic* drink.” He pushed himself up from his seat… too quickly, his vision faded for a moment as he flopped heavily against the counter, “Ugh,” He grunted, lifting himself up a little slower, “M’right, but I’m want… mhm. So-” He belched quite audibly, causing Azhnolga to recoil, her brow furrowing and lip curling more than it should’ve been able to, exaggerating her bottom teeth… like miniature tusks they were.
Bjarne had no idea what is was he wanted to say, so just flapped his hand dismissively, and with one hand on his stool to stable himself, turned around and began stumbling towards the door. The drunk Nord barged past patrons, shoulder into one, arse pressing against another’s back as he squeezed between their chair and the open space of the room… he was drunk. Finally the state of man staggered over to the exit and, leaning against the door frame so as not to fall through, opened the door out of the tavern, and bumbled out into the streets of Orsinium.
“Time to *hic* speak to the King.”
The banter around the communal cook fire was much the same as it had been around any meeting place since the Great Sorrow began. Muttered hymns of gracious praise to Malacath for granting strong deaths to those fallen against the daedra. One orc flashed about a necklace of daedroth teeth, guttering out the tale of how he yanked every ivory blade, root and stem, from a still-living foe. The rest of the elves around the fire laughed and cajoled, or expressed admiration for the kill. Winter was coming early this year, they said. The snows lingered longer, drawn by the heat of the season’s spilt blood. They would need good killers. Seated on a stump among them sat Center, a new arrival, dark hair gone early grey, pulled up in a topknot over his balding head. He rubbed his remaining gloved hand on a thigh close to the fire. He liked Orsimer. They were a warrior people. They understood not to ask-at least, not on an empty stomach.
The stag over the fire ran with sizzling fat, saturating the winter turnips and rough dark bread with smoking grease. Center licked his lips, glaring at the meat as the surrounding Orsimer lined up for their share. “Look good, friend?” The orc turning the spit inquired, The breton glanced up, nodded quick as a bird blink, and returned his gaze to the food. “It’s only a few drakes for a plate.”
“Got no money. Spent the last trying to get here.” Center fired off the words like they might be lost in the frozen air, glancing between the cook and the meal as the surrounding orsimer began to carve into the meal. “I can work though, I can. Chop wood, collect wood, dig graves, make candles, even.” He looked at the meat again. “Please.”
“You’re looking at that food like you’re afraid it’ll be gone ‘fore you get a fair shake.” The cook took a greasy bite before wiping grease and flecks of venison from his bristly chin. “So I tells ye what. This one is on me. He ladled a bowl of oily, meaty broth and dunked a chunk of the black bread into a steaming stoneware bowl. “This one is on me. One war-salt to another.” Center grabbed up the bowl eagerly, slurping down meat scraps without chewing, before turning his ravenous attention on the bread. “And I can do you another favor. Two jobs need doing here. Cutting vegetables for me, and whatever King Gortwog wants done. I pay fairly. I hear the king pays better. On account o’ him being a king. If you can still swing that pick-sticker.” He nodded to the sheathed scimitar hanging from Center’s back.
“What kind of work’s the king need these days, besides fighting daedra?” Center murmured between mouthfuls. The orc warriors had attacked their meals with gusto, and were beginning to trickle off. “Not exactly cut out for that.” Center rolled his sleeve-wrapped stump. The food seemed to give him more focus.
“Stopping some kinda bandits. Word from the upcountry says they’re raiding old tombs. The hallowed kinda, see? All up and down the valleys. With the gates, ain’t no one left to stop them, same what madmen will do it for gold in this weather.” He glanced up at the overcast sky, tinged fiery red and crackling black in the distance. In more directions than one. Center gleaned the bowl free of scraps with the remains of his bread.
“Where can I sign on?” The cook pointed the way.
“Many thanks, brother.” He handed the bowl back, and puffed off toward his objective.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Bardicnonsense.
Weynon wiped the sweat from his frosty brow, raised the axe as high as he could and grunted as he swung it back down, it carved halfway through the log getting wedged inside. The lad’s breath panted and puffed out into the chilly air, he frantically separated the wood from the iron with his boot. Even Wrothgarian pine was tough like the Orcs themselves. Weynon winced his eyes hoping Lozroth was watching one of the others and hadn’t noticed this time, sometimes he’d gotten lucky.
Soon enough that roar cut through the training yard like the thunder from Deadlands, ringing around inside his head.
“OUT!” Guardian Lozroth’s huge tusked maw opened like a trap door and he raised his steel thumb over his pauldron. The redguard boy bobbed his head and retrieved the greatword behind him. She was taller than a bosmer, ill sharpened and rusty but more than heavy enough to hall around the yard. You had to haul it all the way up facing flatly above the head. Weynon embarked on laps around the snowfelled yard, the sword run through his messy dark curls.
“Ain’t putting any of my swords in yer hand until you can use a fuckin’ woodaxe without looking like a lame echalette! The end of the world may be here, but that changes piss all in this guild. We’ve the might!?” Lozroth raised his voice expectantly.
“We’ve the fight!” Weynon and the others hollered back.
“Thirty proper blocks. From each of you. Consecutive clean cuts.” The Orc continued. “Can’t expect to beat a fuckin’ Daedra if you can’t even best a dead fuckin’ tree. For centuries we’ve protected the weak and saved the innocent. But by King Gortwog, you little shits aren’t gonna spend the years escorting poncy Breton cunts around or clearing skeevers from some pervy fuck’s basement!”
Later that… very long day.
Weynon placed down the whetstone as the chapel bell chimed through the city streets six times. Another day over, he placed the sword back on the rack and set off from the guild armory. The only downside to his free time was the lacking occupation on his mind from the terrifying red skyline over upperlands in the distance, it felt like it was getting closer everyday. It would take a force stronger than the guild to stop the march of hell itself. He wanted to run away, all the way back down South to Sunshore. He’d spend his evenings lead on his bed in the quarters worrying about his family and friends back home, sleeping only from exhaustion. Today, however he wasn’t tired and had to wonder Orsinium. The whole city was like one giant forgery, steaming blades, singing anvils and smelting orchalite.
Bounty posters were plastered all around the city, and everybody was talking about King Gortwog’s missive. Some guild fighters were already licking their lips at the huge reward. Weynon’s nose was graced with the smell of roasting venison, nobody told him Orcs cooked and prepared so well, better than at home actually. They did eat a lot after all. The kitchens of the tavern were waiting around the corner of the silver bricked path, filled with white. The boy trod over to the window to look inside, checking his pocket for drakes. He wiped the frost from the glass and peered through the tavern window, there was a man with one arm in the Center of the slurping and chomping Orcs. It was a wonder how the tables stood their pounding. Weynon stepped around toward the front door, when suddenly a man with the butch to rival an orc came barging out the door, it must have been a nord, yet had the tan of a Southerner. Scars across his face and stinking of booze, he sent the lad falling back onto his backside in the snow.
Valkyria Arcterium, Orsinium.
After a long trip all the way to the other side of Wrothgar what was left of King Gortwog’s party of warriors finally reached the gate’s of Orsinium, and with far fewer numbers than they had left with originally. Most of the warriors returning had been sent out, or went with the group of their own free will. What remained of the group slowly staggered through the gates, as the Orsinium guards called for healers, and help those with more serious wounds the best they could. Among them was Valkyria Arcterium, she had offered her sword to King Gortwog for his hospitality in the past, and she knew the Daedra were the true enemy. With every passing day more people died, more villages burned, and more cities had been sacked. She had grown up living along the Gold Coast, and spend many years of her life in the great city of Kvatch. She didn’t need the thought of gold to motivate her, there were more than enough reasons for her to take the fight to Daedra. If history had thought the races of Nirn anything, it was that the Daedra were a far more dangerous foe than any one person.
Valkyria marched passed the guards as she made her way towards King Gortwog’s Palace, after the losses they had just sustained there was a great deal to be discussed. The Imperial kept up a steady pace, she had sustained minor wounds during their last encounter with an Oblivion gate, but nothing serious.
” I’ve seen my fair share of strange things in this life, but Malacath be damned if I will fight alongside that Imperial witch again! One of wounded Orc’s shouted as he sat down on the ground next to the gate, as he clutched as his side. ” Never seen anyone use magic like that, power like that comes at a cost! “
The Imperial just kept walking as she heard the ramblings of the Orc in the distance, she had no time for such trifles, she had to inform the king of what had transpired, and she knew he wasn’t going to like what he was going to hear. All she could do was tell him the truth, and hope for the best.
” Quit that with complaining Muluz, you would be dead if not for that Imperial. You might not be fond of magic, but you wouldn’t of made it back if not for her. So you better thank Malacath that she was there to save you, because you would of bleed to death before you knew what was happening in the first place. “
” Yeah, so you keep saying…. ” The Orc muttered, as Valkyria finally was out of sight.
Valkyria continued marching towards King Gortwog’s Palace, her armor caked in the fluids of battle. Many in the party had died, slaughtered as they attempted to stop the Daedra, some had even fled, leaving the others to fend for themselves, despite taking a oath to carry out the King’s Orders.
Finally she reached King Gortwog’s Palace, taking a moment to think before entering……
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Ava Blackthorne.
It’s a cold day in hell if this is what I’ve decided to work in.
A shrouded mess of leather, tarnished moonstone and Wood Elf sweeped into town. His dreary cape retained him the warmth he needed, given the coldness of the area and the people’s heart would bleed him dry of body temperature without it. Like many, he had been drawn in by the agenda of gold, the universal motivator amongst men, mer and all the inbreds inbetween.
Thankfully, he had skinned, fried and consumed a snow rabbit a few hours before he had entered the city. Whatever passed as Orc food here probably would turn him inside out, as was anything that grew in this region.
All things considered though, the region had some beauty to it. The kind of beauty he wanted to see once and never experience, of course, but something worth noting down. If anyone ever wanted a guide to this forsaken place, he could easily answer ‘no’ or ‘for the right price’.
But the posters abound were worth noting. The whole Daedra calamity meant one thing. Desperation. Even a hold full of Orcs had need of incentive to fight the unknown. Even a minor threat could be something manpower could not be assigned to. A quibble in one Orc’s mine, tomb or tavern was reason enough to render payment. As far as opportunistic work went, this was nothing to dismiss – or volunteer for – lightly.
Shuffling his cloak tighter so no spare heat could escape, he straightened the half empty quiver on his back and the unstrung bow inside it as he trudged for the largest building available. If landmarks were one thing to consider, the largest monument to living accommodations has to be some King’s nest.
He was reminded that Orcs tolerated little in their walled off communities, and things were dire if strangers were allowed in to finish another Orc’s fight.
“Shit.” Bjarne blinked twice, glancing lazily down at the startled couple of gangly looking brats he’d bulldozed. “Look where you’re goin’ ya-” Another rush had the rugged Nord reeling backwards into the wall of the tavern, the cold hard stone giving him a heavy knock to the head. “Agh!” The blow had his mind whirling for a few brief moments, a well-needed and well-deserved strike to force the man out of his bumbling stupor. He dopily rubbed the back of his skull; rough, calloused hands grazing cropped hair as the drunk’s hazy vision gradually came to focus, and his scrambled attention was slowly brought to the floored youth.
“Where’d the other one go?” He grumbled out, frowning down at the lanky boy, taking a couple staggered paces towards him and offering an uncertain hand. On two wavering legs he was more like to be pulled down than pull anything up, but he let his hand remain, leaning dangerously forwards before catching himself; feet crunching heavily into the snow. “Fucken’ cold.” Even in his furs, with face flushed from heat and drink, the chilly bite of the Wrothgarian wind was bitter at its least.
How an Orc could tolerate such cold over a Nord was shameful, though Bjarne was hardly as accustomed as most given his travels. The arid climate of Hammerfell, the sweltering days spent crawling under a blistering sun, and the bitter nights huddling deep under thick furs and skins, waiting for the sun to warm the air enough to breathe it; that was what he had spent the past year in – what he had gotten used to. Now he faced countless days and nights of cold. A chill harsh enough to cut you to the core. Bjarne pulled at his furs with his spare hand, a vain attempt at trying to tighten them around him, keep him that little bit warmer.
The boy below him was dressed similarly. Thick furs and leathers, the attire of what any self-respecting individual with a desire to survive but one night in the mountains of Wrothgar would wear. “Redguard.” Bjarne mumbled incoherently, his sight clearing enough to discern the boy’s race. The Nord chuckled lightly, this kid was going to suffer the cold like no other.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Ungoliant the Consumer.
Total Posts: 1347
Telos shivered as he huddled by the fire, watching the scene in front of him. The drunken nord struggling to leave the room. Chuckling briefly, the half-imperial debated over following the man. A shared reward isn’t as worth it. But then again, I’ve been here for too many nights. My coin purse is no where near as full as it used to be, and much longer and I’ll be forced to stay outside of the town just to get food… The bounty says bandits. I’ve killed bandits before. It’s better than sitting here and just waiting for the daedra to kill us all.
Sighing, he walked away from the warmth to return to his room. He milled about, slowly gathering his arms and armor. Have to look like I can fight, expecially in front of the green skin king. Testing his blade by lightly running his finger along it, pleased it quickly cut into just the skin, he figured he was ready to go.
Something mother always said, “Treat your gear well and it’ll always treat you the same. But that’s no excuse for lazy swordsmanship.” He frowned, the second half of the saying reminding him of how he ran from Skingrad the instant he heard about Kvatch. That doesn’t matter now, I’ve dealt with bandits before, and I can do it again.
Dismissing his fear, Telos wrapped his cloak around his armor before putting on his gauntlets. Glancing once more around his room to make sure he had everything, he made his way in the same direction as the nord. Wrapping his cloak tighter around him, he started his brisk pace through the harsh chill of the outside.
Two gloved hands reached up to grab the Nord’s coated arm, there was a moment halfway through coming back up that Weynon thought the Nord was about to tumble and flatten him, but he survived and smiled gratefully. Beating the snow from his hood and shoulder. He didn’t mind the smell of booze, it was a welcome change from burning ores.
“Huhuh.” Weynon chuckled goofily. “Thanks. Aye, Redguard. It’s a long story, Sir… Well not that long but~” His slightly bent nose sounded stuffed and sniveling, his voice nasily as he spoke. Though there was a healthy glow to his cheeks. “Been here long’nuff to be more careful round the door, my fault but… yer a bit pissed aren’t you, Sir?.” A Fighters Guild insignia was pinned over his breast marking the rank of Apprentice. “Need an escort home? You got well lucky there, bet you wouldn’t be able to take me down like that again, I wasn’t ready. I’m Fighters Guild.” Weynon postured with his cheeked sucked in and chin raised.
The booze seemed to make the Nord’s stronger, like a vampire with blood. Weynon wondered how much of their blood was beer and mead. The lad had to look up to the Nord slightly, but Bjarne was clearly bulkier. Nailed on the side of the tavern was yet another of the King’s bounty. He couldn’t read about the details but he heard enough about it.
Weynon raised his brows, there was a glint of optimism. Surely he wasn’t ready to undertake such a dangerous quest, but since when had danger stopped him from doing stupid things. Guardian Lozroth would skin him. But If he could sign up for this, he wouldn’t really have to do much if there were others were there, they’d do most of the work, he could go, take his share of the reward and hopefully get paid enough drakes to buy himself a horse.
Back on the path across and behind Bjarne, a few others emerged from the tavern on the way. The one armed man who looked as though he’d seen a thousand fights, and a shorter one behind. Donned in Skingrad steel with the shield of the two moons.
The winds picked up outside the eatery as a squall of snow poured frozen flecks of ice and chips of stone into Center’s face as he marched himself up the cobbled streets toward Gortwog’s hulking mass of a citadel. He paid the young Ra-Gadan and the Nord outside the doors little mind. Plenty of strange combinations in this city since The Great Sorrow lighted the skies. If they were going to end things in a tussle, he wanted no part in it. Plenty enough troubles to share around Center’s little world without involving himself. There were other causes that needed attending. Paying for more food. A warmer set of gloves. A walking stick. The Breton’s arm stump ached from the cold, and the missing balance of its weight set his bearing all to ribbons. The season had scarcely swung toward winter and already the stairs of the city were slick with ice. In some shadowed alleys, without the jutting spears of the sun, it clung to the stone all day. What I wouldn’t give to be back in Leki’s Blade. Warm sand and wind. Soft dusty vellum pages. Incense and oranges. A hot bath without freezing my-caught the reverie of memory, his foot slipped.
Panic did not set in. Years of carefully honed training of the body extended an arm to meet the ground, tuck into a roll, preserve the self. An arm gone for several years. Center crashed into the stone steps, stump first, chin next, shins last. “Sep and all serpents!” he howled, sliding his good hand through the dirt frost, trying to get a grip to lift himself. A young orc scrambled out of dark, rag-dressed doorway across the street. Center could not tell if it were a boy or a girl. Too young. It moved to lift him by the torso.
“Let me help you, grandfather.”
“I’m no one’s damned grandfather, elf.” He wriggled into a sitting position, soaking his rear in the slush. “Just because I’ve got one arm doesn’t make me decrepit.” The pigchild gave Center a look colder than the snow soaking his trousers.
“Well it didn’t teach you manners neither.” It promptly turned back into the house, whisking the curtain behind itself in a hurt fashion. Voices murmured from inside. He needed to move. Center dragged himself to his feet with a loose stone jutting from the house, braced himself briefly, and stumped onward, mindful now of his footing. Cold wind blew through a tear in his trouser shins to freeze the hot blood that soaked through a matching cut in his leg.
Just one more thing. “Just one more thing.” He muttered, the wind catching his steam back the way he came. A silent resignation, an unintended prayer. Find a crew, get that gold, keep hiding. He had had few worse years.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by Bardicnonsense.
“Pissed?” The Nord chuckled lowly, “Nay lad, I ain’t mad at *hic* at ya, you didn’ hit me that hard.” Bjarne shoved the kid playfully, grinning like a thick-skulled child, the Redguard’s meaning lost on the utterly plastered Northerner. Whatever the youth had spoken after that went by unheard as the rough-looking Nord made his way onwards, patting the boy on the back with a coarse hand as he passed drunkenly. “Off to see the-” He belched loudly, the bitter taste of bile brought up with it. Bjarne swallowed it down with a sour grimace; no respectable Nord threw up after drinking, drink was in their blood. “Off to…”
The Nordling tread from thick snow to thick ice, his fur boot offering no grip on the slick surface, and sending the stewed bastard careening onto his back with a dull thud. “Fucken’-” He wheezed out, body trying to pump lungfuls of icy breath in and out of the winded drunkard. His blurred gaze slowly drifted back towards the young Redguard, “Just soberin’ up.” He gave an uncertain grin, it quickly dropping as he rolled himself over onto his front, face pressed heavily into the snow. “Big push. Biiiig push…” Weak arms made no effort to drag the Nord from the ground, and his legs remained curiously still, and relaxed given his state.
It wasn’t until a resounding and guttural snore came from the stinking mass of furs and drink did it become apparent the man was unconscious, and with a face pressed down into the dangerous cold.
Passing by the tavern proper, Hatchelin kept a shrouded ear perked to the muffled sound of chaos. Gripping his hatchet a little, he glanced one eye from under his hood to check for the impending sight of a projectile patron or smaller. Finding no such thing coming his away immediately, he nodded his head in relief and returned to his path.
While he wasn’t one to shy away from an establishment, he knew better than to walk in without knowing the crowd. Worse would have been going in without knowing the exits. A close range scuffle was something he had learned to avoid, whether it be a bear, boar or drunkard. Given the sound within, it could have been all three and it would not have surprised him.
Avoiding any landmarks that looked like an unconscious drunkard, he moved on, getting closer to the the Castle. While thieves are not his usual quarry, he was making a dire compromise instead.
Valkyria Arcterium, Orsinium.
After several minutes spent waiting outside, contemplating on how she was going to tell King Gortwog about the disaster at the last Oblivion gate. With at least half a dozen warriors lost, and several more having fled during combat, the situation was clearly <i>deteriorating beyond King Gortwog’s control. She knew something had to be done, if Orsinium couldn’t get it’s act together quickly, it was more than likely everything would be lost. Valkyria had also heard word about a bounty that King Gortwog had created for a bunch of bandits raiding tombs around The Wrothgar Mountains, she knew that this was also a problem. As it would lure more people out into danger, this was not the time to be traveling into The Wrothgar Mountains, let alone looking for groups of bandits. She respected the fact that this was important to the Orc’s culture, but in what could be considered the end times for the races of Nirn, there simply wasn’t enough time to deal with the situation. The real threat remained to be the Oblivion Gate’s if they could not be dealt with, then nothing else would matter in the end.</i>
Valkyria swiftly moved through King Gortwog’s Palace in search of his steward Yashna gro-Oglakh, she had spoken with them in the past before speaking with the king. This time she hoped things would move along more quickly, this simply wasn’t a matter to be discussed with a steward…
” Yashna ! ” Valkyria called out, as she approached. ” I need to speak with King Gortwog urgently, things didn’t go very well out there I’m afraid…. ” The Imperial spoke to Yashna gro-Oglakh, as she relaxed a little bit, clearly still under the after effects of a pretty serious conflict.
The Orsimer simply huffed, having been faced with consistent and constant ill-news; the Imperial’s revelation was hardly anything as such. Yashna furrowed an already gloomy brow, “The same news we receive each day, Arcterium. Close the gates. If you fail, try again. If you succeed, find another. The King is beset by the same troubles as the rest of us, and more; he is too busy to grant an audience.”
The She-Orc grumbled deeply, “Rest if you need it Imperial, don’t expect we Orsimer to give up the fight so easily.” Gro-Oglakh was a steward by profession, but a had the spirit of a warrior. She held contempt for those that pulled back from a fight, and more so if they were not Orsimer. “I will relay your failure to the King. I hope next time we speak you bear greater news.”
While the Imperial City’s Elder Council claims to be combating the source of the invasion, King Gortwog, nor any of the Orc Clans intended to sit back and wait for them to be saved by the Empire. Every Orc would fight to the death to close the gates. The battle was relentless and the dead were ever increasing, but soldiers die in war and each Orsimer understood and accepted the consequences of the conflict they headed towards… it seemed this Imperial did not.
Bjarne’s face planted into the white like a felled pigeon. Weynon glanced back hopefully for the aid of others. An elf walked by, the Skingrad clad man just missed them, and even the cripple had somewhere to be. The redguard exhaled a frosty breath and gulped. Knowing he’d have to haul the Nord back up somehow. Young Ceccelo turned the drunken Nordic heap over and lifted his now frozen pink head out of the snow, his nose strawberry red.
“Ser! … you. I’m goin’a take you back inside the tavern…” Weynon tapped a gloved hands against each frost bearded cheek. The Nord was totally out cold, in every sense of the phrase. With a heavy heave, the Redguard pulled the Nord to his wooly boots and wrapped his arm around his shoulder and held his other side with his other arm. He was never going to get him up the steps. The redguard panted under the Nord’s weight. Azhnogla watched through a clearing on the chilled glass of the criss-cross window frame. She shook her head and steam came out from her huge orchish nostrils.
“No. Take him away, he’s not coming back inside. He’s barred!” She barked out, and folded her arms with a challenging look.
Weynon huffed and winced his nose. “B-But, he’ll freeze, Ma’am. I can’t wake him up.” The Cyrod protested.
The Orc bartender slammed the window shut, causing snow to slide off the stone roof and join the rest on the floor. Weynon stumbled them off the path and to the side of the wall. Sitting the Nord upright against it. The boy was inexperienced in dealing with such temperatures, but he removed the snow from the back of the nords neck and leant him his cotton hat.
Suddenly Azhnogla burst through the door with a bucket of water that had been under the fires briefly, she splashed it indescrimanetly over the two against the wall, but mainly in Bjarne’s face. It felt like a hot summer shower. Weynon gasped and vented.
“Now take him home!” She roared. A bouncer replaced her at the door, he was so large it was wonder he fit inside.
Weynon didn’t know the way to Skyrim, but he pat the Nord’s cheeks to see if he would snap out of his intoxication.
“Ser…Ser wake up… Ser~”
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Patelin JR.
“KYAH!” Bjarne awoke with an embarrassing scream, his face several shades of red from the scalding shower. The Nordling’s eyes were wide as he stared at the Redguard with confusion, “Stop smacking me.” He slapped the boy’s hand away, dragging himself up the wall, and straining his uncoordinated self to stand upright, though with a hand pressed firmly against the wall lest he lose his balance… again.
It was certainly sobering to say the least, a bucket of steaming water to the face, and the rugged Nord made use of the opportunity to gather himself. Bjarne took a glance about, noting the small number of passers by, and recognising that he was barely two paces from the inn… having been too drunk to realise he’d not travelled quite the distance he thought, though the struggle was all the same.
“Gah, shit.” Rolling his aching shoulders with a groan, Bjarne nodded to the Redguard boy. A tall lad, but skinny. “Thanks kid,” He sniffed, bringing a calloused hand to the youth’s head and giving it a little authoritative tousle, “You wanna keep up the favours?” The Nord flicked his head towards the large curved staircase at the end of the street, one that ascended to the upper quarter of the city, and towards Scarp Keep… the third of its kind. “Stop me from killing myself on them stairs there. I’ll owe you.”
The many steps up to the Scarp District were notoriously icy, in fact according to the locals they have actually claimed lives throughout the years, ‘Scarps’s Climb’. Three seperate tall and wide spiralling stairways of stone that attracted black ice in the coldest nights. This was the only route by foot, unless you went all the way to another side of the City and enter from the other ones, there was the carriage way from the East, which would take gods know how long from here.
Some say a Shaman cursed these stair paths, but in reality the steps served an unintended yet effective purpose; as many things did in Orsinium. They kept the drunk, disorderly and the elderly out and away from bothering the revered Orsimer that resided in the upper districts, safety regulations were no priority in the City of the Strong. The elderly were never considered here, because to grow old and weak was sinful for Osimer. An Orc’s death must be a good one.
Perhaps the Orchish wouldn’t have had to rebuild the damned place once every Era if they were more cautious, but this is not their way. King Gortwog wore the crown, but strength is the Emperor here and Malacath, God. But would his children be strong enough to survive hell itself? If the Gates would not stop accumulating in the wilderness, Orsinium might suffer a fate from which she may never return. A Good. Death.
Weynon’s brown and now red splotched face wrinkled in reluctance, but he couldn’t leave the Nord to his own fate, not to mention the guilt he would feel if he fell and snapped his neck. The badge on his chest demanded he protect, and that is what we would do. But by the Nine why couldn’t this place be more like Sunshore?
“You live up there?” He asked Bjarne. The Redguard wiped the water from his raised brows, and trudged back over to the Nord, standing before the climb at the end of the road, looking between it and his new acquaintance. It seemed like the only way into the upper district. Emerging from the moderately busy streets, a small pig child approached on the opposite side of the path, it seemed to take an interest in the two foreigners ambitiously eyeing Scarp’s Keep on the Skyline to the North. The Orc urchin was rather queer looking, it was impossible to tell if it was a boyish girl or a girlish boy, and the little pig child stared at the hapless pair.
Somewhat spooked by the encounter, Weynon nudged Bjarne. “…Les’ go.” The Ceccelo lead the ways, his eyes lingered on the strange Urchin before trailing away. They reached the bottom of the steps, it was even steeper now they were close. “Alright, guess we’ll just ‘av to go slow and steady, yeah? I got your back.” Weynon nodded confidently. It was then suddenly a voice came from behind them.
“Let me help you, Grandfathers.” It was the pig child again, dressed in rags. “I helped the Grandfather with one arm. I’ll help y’up.” It said.
Weynon plumped his bottom lip and gave the same goofy expression he always seemed to have, he wasn’t one to turn down help. He and Bjarne shared a look and shrugged.
“You don’t need to go slow.” It said, encouraging them on. “You’ll have more long to slip and panic, just walk as men, not craven or fools. And Especially not Grandfathers.”
They proceeded up the steps, Weynon lingered behind Bjarne in case he lost his footing. Further up they found Center’s blood on the stones, much to their shock. Weynon paused in his tracks and gulped. “Is that…?” He suddenly felt less balanced. It was then the Urchin rummaged it’s dirty ragged hand into Weynon’s coat pocket and pilfered whatever was inside. There was no leftover gold coins but the rascal had stolen his key to the guild living quarters, the Redguard hadn’t noticed that however, he assumed the Urchin was trying to push him down somehow.”What are you doing?! You crazy!? Get off me!” Weynon cried. They were three quarters of the way up now, and the upper district was close.
The Pig Child giggled mischievously and glided down all the way back down the steps as if they were it’s play ground. It was a long way down.
Weynon glanced across to Bjarne in disbelief, his arm still out to grab the Nord in case his tipsiness prevailed. “Hope you ain’t gotta get back down anytime soon.”
“Nay, I dun’ live up nowhere.” The Nord grumbled stupidly as they began their slow and treacherous ascent. This one didn’t live anywhere, not at least any more that is – though if he ever would return, Divines have mercy for he would be sure to die. Bjarne grimaced at the thought of confronting his wife after the many years he’d been away, loving her as he did – to have her hate him … he could never face her. Some Nord.
The steps were risky; icy, and his fur boots offered little grip. Perhaps he’d stick some short nails through the soles before he left for the mountains, good for climbing more than just stairs… awfully uncomfortable for walking though. “Ack, bugger off ya li’l shite, I ain’t no pissin’ grandpa.” Bjarne slurred at the creature, casting back a stern frown, though the movement of his head had it swimming for a brief moment; threatening to send him piling back down the steps and flattening the pair behind him. The little brat scarpered off when the Nordling turned to him, the rough man’s face likely scaring him off. Bjarne caught the redguard boy’s look, and chuckled gruffly, “With the money from this job, it’s looking to be only up from here for me. I hope there’s no ‘going back down’ either.”
The two recent acquaintances finally reached the top of the stairs successfully, Bjarne casting an accomplished grin to the young man, “Thanks kid.” The Nord made to turn away, looking up towards Scarp Keep in the near distance, “That Urchin lifted ya pockets by the way.” He belched rather grotesquely, looking back at the skinny youth, “Gotta learn to pay attention… even when you’re fucken’ pissed,” The Nord rummaged his pack, fiddling around with some titbits before finally pulling something out… a little piece of rock, “Hrm… well, I have shit all to offer you,” He glanced down at the little fighter, pocketing the rock and offering his hand to shake, “Name’s *hic* name’s Bjarne Halvorsen, Nord, treasure-hunter and highly trained professional drunk… not in that order.”
“Oh… bollocks.” The Redguard cursed as Bjarne broke the news to him. “It’s orite you don’t need to give me anything or nothin’. Weynon searched his own pocket and discovered his guild key was missing. “Lil’ shite stole my key, too.” The lad thought about going back down and beating the little shit up, but he’d get it back one day, at least he knew where the urchin prowled. Bjarne lead the way now as they passed through the district, the foreigners receiving funny looks from the natives.
“Job?” Weynon followed the Nord’s Gaze to the towering Scarp Keep. “You’re going to see the King about… the bandits yeah? You don’t seem like you’d take up fightin’ them gates… no offence or anythin’ just you know… I wouldn’t either… let the Orc folks take care of them.” Weynon looked at the floor for an awkward pause, forgetting he was supposed to be Fighters Guild. “I was thinkin’ about takin’ that bounty too. How hard could a bunch of criminal bums be?”
Then the Nord introduced himself, the redguard met his handshake with a smile. “Nine blessins’ to you, Halvorsen. Names Weynon Ceccelo. From Sunshore… it’s a small port village on the Colovian Hammerfell border. You must be from Skyrim yeah?” The lad asked, then pulled a face realising how dumb that question was.
He’d listen to anything the Nord said as they trekked through the district, he took an instant liking to Bjarne, his straight forward no-nonsense way and his blunt honesty, not to mention he could learn much from a treasure hunter, perhaps he was too quick to trust people. He’d certainly heed any advice from Halvorsen before they reached the Keep Gates. The One armed man was just in front, the same one from the Tavern too, what would be wanting to see the King for? Perhaps he was here to sign up too. An elf too, he wasn’t high elf tall but he would be big for a wood elf. Draped in a cloak and equipped for the hunt already, his intentions seemed pretty clear.
The wind up on the Scarp was even worse than the wind below, kicking up ice off rooftops and tumbling it down below. His lungs were unaccustomed to the rawness of this cold. Even in his recent year here, the Breton had stuck to the valleys. Hospitable climes, even if they were isolated. The walls of Orsinium had proven safe so far, but the climate itself made the city and altogether different hell from the one slowly bleeding across the woods and sky of the surrounding vales. So he found a small bench near the top of the stair, and waited.
He flicked drifting flakes of snow off the pommel of his sword as they spun lazily onto it to pass the time and catch his breath. In short order, the Redguard boy and the hulking Nord reached the top shortly after Center. He needed help, after. What better help in a place like this than a snow bear and a guilder? “I couldn’t help but overhears, sirs, that you seek bandits?” The Breton shifted himself off his seat, joints stiff with the cold, and sidled over to the pair. “I could be of help on that account. My sword is not yet gone over to rust. My remaining arm is strong.” He patted his side where an elbow would have been. “We should band together, split the reward. Learn’d men in these times would account even that dividend a fine prize for killing tomb rats.”
Bjarne hesitated, holding back a strained laugh that, if let out, would threaten to burn his lungs with the bitter air. “Ya think you can pull your weight with but one arm? I s’pose the reward is any man’s should he fight for it, but I sure ain’t going to be encouraging you,” He wouldn’t, that was true, though with a sigh he conceded that all had their uses, “But ev’ry little helps.” For it was indeed likely, at least from the Nordling’s point of view, that a one armed man – for whatever aid he could offer – would surely perish on this journey. With no sacrifice to the reward, it should be only beneficial for another helping hand.
The young Redguard and himself continued walking towards Scarp Keep, which by now they were almost upon, as the newcomer joined them.
“Looks to be we ain’t the only rushing hopefuls neither, being what with the fellow just ahead – my best guess would be that there are many folk in need of some extra coin, and for what I can tell these Orcs like to pretend they’re all too stubborn about their honour to fight for gold.” He glanced about briefly, before turning his eye to the Breton, “Truth be, I’m betting, is that they’re all gushing over the prospect of five thousand gold… but whichever would be so lucky as to get it would have the houndin’ and hollering of the failed that he was dishonourable so as to accept it – course that they didn’t get it, they might argue that they’d never have… but it takes less than a fool to know that honour is easily forgotten in place of need.” The Nord sniffed, having finished his little ramble ‘about the Orcs’, though in truth was far more close to home. He was still drunk, and even though walking somewhat more reliably, whatever garbled nonsense came spluttering out of his mouth, there would be no doubt it was something eating up at him from inside.
Scarp Keep. The imposing building was but a few paces from them now. Bjarne discarded what nonsensical thoughts plagued him as he set his mind on the task ahead and, with the two strangers just behind him, made his way into the towering stronghold.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Ungoliant the Consumer.
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