Alright. This is my first literary piece for you guys, so I am way open for thoughts and critiques. I hope you enjoy! Some things to know, when I put things in "xxx" it is dialogue. When it is in 'xxx' it is in thought. I have to thank the guys at www.thuum.org/translate.php
for a translation into draconic.
WARNING: This piece contains violence, nudity, death, sadness, and a scene with rape. (I tried to keep it as low-key as possible, while getting points across.) This was made for a group I and I will expand on this story (maybe) at a later date.
Skyrim and most of the characters and all the races, settings, and equipment belong to Bethesda. All I own are Ashling, Bjorn, Aurelia and Markus Raven-mane. I will not seek profit in any way for this story other then for the fun of writing it. Please do not reproduce or alter this story without my consent. Thank you for such amazing games! Again, I hope you enjoy!
Skyrim. A nightmare taking place in a land too beautiful to be real. A place of honor and power. The people proud and fair with a grim humor and even tougher view of life. As she made her way there, the high elf in robes with his gold and moonstone-clad entourage ambushed her and took her in for questioning. She knew it was a lie, they only sought to torture her, all because of her heritage; she was raised worshiping the banned-god Talos.
They burned her, maimed her, subjected her to terrible images and false-truths. All of this was only to shatter who she was. Men and elves hated each other bitterly, even in ancient times. There were many purges on both sides and this was no different. This was history repeating itself with her as one of the newest casualties.
She was away from the terrible scene, eyes cast out the small grating above the oubliette. She heard the words, beautiful words to her ears coming from the thin elven lips, which came barely but a whisper, "And now, Heretic, you will die a traitor's death." She felt cold steel slide across her neck one final time, spilling her precious red fluid in it's path. Her eyes never left that grating, watching the sky above. That was how she escaped, to soar among the clouds. This felt so right, so free. She begins to hear pounding on the door where she was brought in -
There came a pounding at the main door of her house. She bolted awake due to the suddenness of it, thankful to be out of that hell of her mind. From the other side of the door came the snarl of someone high-born. Arrogance. A High Elf. Fantastic. "By the order of the Aldmeri Dominion, the Cyrodiilic Empire, and common law, open this door and we will make this quick!" Her mother burst into her bedroom with her brother, who was eleven years her junior, has a look of fear on her face.
"Ashling, do you remember where we kept our emergency stash? I need you to take your brother and go... Do you remember the rebellion in Skyrim? Go there; keep your brother safe sweetie.. and take this." She held out something wrapped in silk. It had weight to it and a wicked edge. It must be a blade, likely a dagger but the length of her forearm.
She nods quickly, pushing her hip-length raven hair behind her ear as she got up and quickly pulled her hunting furs on. Her eyes widened in alarm at the sudden silence from the outside. Her mother opens a trap door, helping them climb down to the tunnel below, "Take care.. I.. we love you so much." Ashling finishes pulling on her clothes and belt she pulling the blade from the wrappings. 'An ebony dagger? Father, how did you get this?'
With everything in order, she was startled to hear the front door blown open with magic, men shouting and steel meeting steel in heated combat. Her brother Bjorn was too traumatized to fully grasp what was happening. Pulling him to her, she smiled, uttering words softly, "Bjorn.. now we need to be adults.. I need your help. Okay?" The boy could only nod as she ushered him to the trap door and lowered him into the small tunnel. She climbs down and closes the hatch behind her, just in time for her bedroom door to be blown open with an explosive ball of fire.
She held her brother tightly and covered the frightened child's mouth before he could scream. He looked to her with worry in his young eyes. She gave her best smile, despite the heavy boot-falls above them. "I know you are in here, little ones.. You are children, not answerable for your parent's crimes. I will make sure of that.. All you need to do is show yourselves before you two are declared heretics fleeing Imperial justice."
He was the same man who talked to her a couple weeks ago in the Cheydinhal marketplace. He was out of his robes but in the cracks in the floor, she saw his scar that also blinded his eye. She had failed.. She told him where they live, helping her take her bounty home since her horse ran off. He seemed charming and the offer was sweet. She had some admiration for the man.. now only feels hatred. Her parents warned her about the cruelty and evil of the "golden knife ears" as her father called them.
After a couple minutes he murmured softly "Ashling, I promise you that you and your brother will not be harmed. You will be located to the Imperial city." Was he lying? She couldn't take the chance. She gave her little brother, still staring intently at her, hoping in his eyes. That hurt. She knew what he was thinking. Go to them. She would not, could not. She hook her head and with a nod down the cave, the little boy grimaced and started crawling.
The tunnel was a tight fit for her brother and claustrophobic for her. She was thankful when they exited the tunnel, well within the woods by her house. She was drilled on how to find the supplies, even in the dark. She found the stone made of ebony and the giant chest buried beside it.
She took stock of the contents of the chest. Dried food that was on the edge of going sour, traveling cloaks for four, one set of clothes for each of them, one set of her mother's leather armor, and the two sets of blade ceremonial armor, one set of two potions for healing and stamina, two bottles of mead, two notes, a great-sword of orcish make, two curve-bladed long-swords, and two steel daggers. She was in awe, the elf was right. Her parents WERE part of the criminal group known as the blades. She opened the note to her and handed the one with her brother's name on it and started to read, something her parents taught the children when they were kids.
Our beautiful Ashling,
If you are reading this, then we, your parents died at the hands of the Aldmeri Dominion. There are some secrets that you will be told and we ask, for your safety, to keep them that way. By now, you heard we are members of the old Septim bodyguards, the Blades. The less you know, the better, but know that we served the Empire. We are not the traitors the elves claim. To the North is the pass into the Jeral mountains which will lead you to a city called Riften. Something you should know about Riften is that it is filled with thieves, especially the guild. Keep your coins close. You can take a carriage to Windhelm. From there, we advise falling in line with the stormcloaks. If you do this, you will no longer be welcome within the Empire. Another thing you will learn about the Nords of Skyrim is they generally abhor magic and have a special hatred for elves of all kind. Remember that it is the Aldmeri Dominion that are trying to take Talos from us, not the other men or mer. Your brother will inherit your father's sword from his days in the army. You will inherit my daggers and leather armor. You are your brother's guardian, teacher, and.. mother now. Be safe sweetie, we love you both very much.
Aurelia and Markus Raven-mane
'Where will we go? How do we get there? This is beyond stupid.' She doubted herself, her decision. She needed to make sure Bjorn grew strong. She heard of the men that called themselves stormcloaks. The men who fought for Nords and Talos. They were largely called traitors, but her parents taught them otherwise. She knew that her road to safety led North, to Windhelm, city of Kings and the Ancient Empire.
They looked at her brother and smiled gently, "It looks like you get father's rusty old war sword." Her brother smiled a bit before laying his hand on the hilt. "It's so big.. did he really use this when he was young?" His sister only nodded. "Let's take our parent's stuff too. It's the least we can do. I will hold the sword, if you need. I know it is pretty big for you." He nodded and hefted the weapon to her so she could strap it across her back. Donning the leather armor and two daggers, handing one of the steel blades to her brother. They took the contents between them and headed North to the Jerall mountain range. She wondered what they would run into on the journey.
The two of them made their way to the mountain pass, discussing what her note said. Little twerp would not share his. They reached the summit of the mountain pass. She was thankful her dad showed her how to navigate by using the stars and the sun. They began the long climb.
By all the gods, the temperature was freezing! She eventually broke down and took the extra clothes and put her and her mother's over herself and helped dress her brother in his and father's clothes. Fortunately, he was big for his age while she was small for any Nord. They were almost the same size. She pulled the traveling cloak around him first then her own. They continued up the pass and kept aware for wolves, bears, and trolls.
They finally reached the summit and looked down upon the land of the Nords. They looked at each other and smiled before she grabbed him into a tight hug. "We made it!" Any small miracle, she would take and celebrate. It was good to keep spirits up. On the walk down, they began to talk more eagerly, having been on foot for three days without sleep, letting her little brother rest on occasion. She feared that the Thalmor would catch up to them and once barely avoided a patrol of Imperials. Secretly, she was on high alert, feeling they were being watched, maybe from the shadows.
They finally came to the gated crossing, she felt immediate. "Skyrim.." After a couple hours of walking, the two of them continued north till she saw a great tower in the distance with a beautiful setting sun in the background. Awe struck she pulled out some of the remaining bits of dried food and water. "We might as well rest here for the night." Her brother shook his head and pointed to a pack of three wolves, watching them closely. They watched her too. They both had daggers at the ready.
They began to make wide circles, watching them intently, knowing they were spotted already. Two snack-sized humans with racing hearts. The Alpha's pack was hungry, the lands not exactly being the most bountiful in all of the continent of Tamriel. Yes, they would do. No fur to deal with. He bared his teeth, continuing to circle. He knows his mate was getting in position on the female. She looked more dangerous, odd for the humans. His mate creeping slowly from the other side. They were surrounded, drawing the humans' eyes away from the ambush. The female surprised him a little. She took a menacing step towards him. She held her arms out wide, trying to make her look bigger then she really was. There was something else with the fear..
She was terrified but more so, she was enraged. They were so close to town, after all this travel, after listening to her parents butchered in her own home? He father told her that the wolf responds to strength. She held the daggers in a reverse grip, having been taught such by her mother. As long as they did not get their jaws around her throat, she would be fine.
The wolf was a little unnerved by her advance. He might have screwed up or she might be bluffing. She was going to be his. He crouched, stopping his pacing and prepared to lunge, to get her neck in his hungry jaws. Just as he leaped, he felt searing, white-hot pain. He yelped and twisted around and saw it, an arrow slammed into his shoulder. He saw the human female under him, squirming. He bared his teeth and began to snap at her.
A fair-haired Nord in hide armor and a blue sash saw what was transpiring. He nocked his arrow and waited for the wolf to commit. He wasn't dissapointed, releasing his arrow as the beast made it's leap. The calculated risk may have just doomed the runt but what he saw next blew his mind, the boy acted.
Bjorn froze, terrified that he was going to be alone. He saw the beast leap atop his sister, but seemed to be struggling. His heart, that of a true Nord pounded in his chest. He realized then he was moving, running towards his fallen sister, knife at the ready. The other wolves began to move out of the corner of his eye. He had one option, the greatsword. In three long strides, he was at his sister, wolf's jaws on her neck and clenching. He did not think, he just reacted, forcing the dagger into ear canal of the injured beast, killing it instantly. She must be dead. He grabbed the hilt of the greatsword and pulled it free with all the strength he had and whiped his body and blade in a circle, cleaving one of the leaping wolves under it's jaw, blood spraying all over him.
The young female, alpha female to the pack saw her mate butchered like a dog by the lad. Her eyes focused on him as she approached, silent and unseen. Unlike the others, she was bigger and much smarter, much like her mate. Dire wolves or as the local Nords called them, ice wolves. Her fur made her all but invisible until she was in striking distance, which she took full advantage of.She saw the hunter, eyes not focused on her or the boy. He was searching. The rest of the pack scattered, she was alone. She found her chance and she took it!
Too late. The stormcloak saw the lone ice wolf too late. It bolted into the back of the boy and had jaws on his back of his covered neck before he could react. He saw the wolf give a sharp, almost angered twist before he put two shafts in that beast as well. Sighing, he figured he failed to help these two kids, he walked over to sift through the equipment and see them off as best he could.
The girl.. she is breathing! The wolf didn't get around her leather armored gorget, what luck! He knelt beside her and hauled the wolf off her small frame. He took off his cloak and pulled her onto of it to get her out of the snow so he could bury her companion, probably her brother. He made his way to the boy, neck broken but eyes blinking, in pure, white hot agony. It would not be a fast death with the blood pooling in his mouth. He looked into the boys eyes, not knowing his name bothered him. He wasn't the enemy, just a young boy. He pulled out his own dagger, the boy's eyes went wide till stormcloak spoke sympathetic words, "Your neck is broken as it is bleeding. You can either drown in blood or I can make it quick." the boy blinked and relaxed as best he could, which was not much. The Nord warrior took his dagger, he pulled it across his neck, ending the boy's suffering. He took the greatsword and dagger and laid them across his body ceremoniously.
His eyes went to the girl who was just starting to wake up, murmuring one name, Bjorn. That had to be the lad's name. He smiled at that. The name of a warrior, it suited him well. His eyes focused on the dead lad as he put his blade away, and put his palm on the boy's forehead. "Find peace in Sovngarde, Bjorn. Our mighty Talos awaits you."
She saw her brother on his back and some man over him, uttering those words, almost as if a prayer. She saw his blue sash on brown bear fur armor. She had no words for what she saw. He looked back to her sympathetically, "He died as a warrior, saving his own kin. As with any Nord who dies a warrior's death, Sovngarde awaits him in ceremony. I am Ralof, of the stormcloaks, I hate to ask you now but I do not recognize you and I traveled much. Where are you from?"
She blinked, tears in her eyes. She was alone now. She failed in her one duty to her family, herself, and ultimately her brother. The tear-streaked eyes focused on him. "We fled.. Cheydinhal. Thalmor-" She was out again.
He pulled the cloak around her and pulled her into his arms, making sure to pick up her weapons. It seems that they are all she owns. "An Imperial-Nord... It couldn't be worse. Let's see what Ulfric thinks about you." With her in his arms, he made his way back to camp.
Jarl Ulfric, leader of the stormcloak rebellion was with the other men, discussing the best way to reach his capital. One of the many stormcloaks approached the bear of a man. Ulfric regarded him with a small smile. "The road leading to Shor's Stone has an Imperial patrol. They must be looking for us, my lord." Ulfric thought on this for a moment before he saw his man Ralof enter camp with a girl in his arms. "Ralof! What news do you bring? Who is this.... child you bring?"
Ralof laid her out on the ground gently. "I found her and her brother crossing the border into Skyrim from Cyrodiil, Cheydinhal specifically. They were beset by wolves and her brother didn't make it. He died saving her life."
Ulfric approached, almost as a predator would to a downed elk. He seemed to be sizing her up for something, Talos knows what. "She might be an Imperial spy. We will bring her with us until we decide what to do with her. I will think on the matter."
Ralof nodded and looked at her almost sympathetically. "Well, I found a road less traveled by the Imperial dogs. If we travel towards Ivarstead and head East to Darkwater Crossing, we should be able to to avoid detection. This last battle cost us Ulfric. We must be careful from here on."
Ulfric smiled and patted the younger man on the shoulder. "Darkwater Crossing it is then. We leave at first light. Bind the spy. We cannot have her running off."
One of the rebels fished some rope from his saddle bag. He proceeded to bind her roughly, not at all concerned for the runt. Despite her size, she was still a woman and that was not lost on him. It has been a long time since he bedded a woman, willing or not.
They marched for almost four days until they reached the mining settlement of Darkwater Crossing. They looked vulnerable. A few able bodies that looked the fighting type. He called his men together as the miners prepared for a night's rest. "Look at them. This town is vital to the war effort and has so few men to watch it. I ask for six volunteers to stay and guard these people."
The men looked among themselves and many stood. Ulfric had a laugh at this. His men were so dedicated to him. He would have made thanes of them all, if it were feasible. He appreciated each soldier's dedication and he would find some way to show them his favor. He smirked and picked his men to stay behind. "All right.. you six look to be the scrawniest of them, I leave it to you." The men had a laugh, even the ones he selected. "From here it is North to Windhelm."
They camped for the night, not far from the settlement, an easy hike back for the volunteers. Ulfric watched them leave, not retiring until they were gone from sight. The moons were out in full glory. It was time to rest for they had a long road in the morning and he intended to be in Windhelm by the following morning.
He looked to Ralof who was feeding the prisoner. "She dies in the morning. Don't get too attached to her." Ralof nodded with a sigh, "Yes, my Jarl." The girl was not even regarding them, yet on some level, he knew she heard Ulfric. He saw it for a moment. Hope died in her eyes. It would be a mercy to put her down. He pulled himself to his feet and regarded her, "I am sorry you lost your brother, had your life saved, only to face execution, Imperial or not." The young woman looked up at him with a small smile, something akin to gratitude. "At least you took care of my brother."
She leaned back and gazed up at the stars, ignoring the man. She wondered if Sovngarde was real on some level. She heard that Bjorn died as a warrior. She smiled at that. It is what father would have wanted, once he grew up. She remembered hearing about the harsh lands of Skyrim. Now she knew and her people were no different, save Ralof. She did not belong here, among these Nords. She knew that now. She lost track of time as her soul was among the lights of the Kyne's sky.
The same guard who bound her volunteered for watch, had every intention of being alone with the runt of a woman. He walked towards the woman staring into the sky and sat beside her. "You made a mistake coming here" She looked at him as the words left his lips, a look of hurt in her eyes. "My brother is dead. It was the wish of my parents before the Thalmor butchered them."
He leaned over her "I don't believe that for a second. You are a traitor to your own kind and you will be useful before you meet the gods." Before his words sunk in to her mind, he rolled into her, her bound form offering no aid to her as he stuck a piece of cloth in her mouth and put a dagger to her neck. "Scream and I will make your last hours on Tamriel torture to live."
Undoing his belts and straps he leaned over her, cutting the straps of her own leather armor. She sighed, 'Of course the stormcloak heroes would be but ash in her mouth.' She felt his hand cup her newly exposed breast before she felt him enter her without so much as a kiss. It was her first time and it was like this. Tears ran down her cheeks as she ceased to care. She hoped it was Ralof that would end her suffering. The man who was kind to her would make her end swift. Some pain in her brought her back momentarily as she heard him grunting, grabbing her throat. She felt him climax deep within her and she felt nothing but hatred and pain. Ulfric was a lie; her parents were as well, love, Skyrim; all of it. She clamped her thighs tight around the man, drawing him close, tightening a little bit around his rigid member. What he didn't know was she was trying to get him to take her gag out of her mouth or at least attract Ralof's attention. He reached down, taking the cloth out of her mouth. She was about to scream when she felt him jerk hard once and collapse on top of her, something sharp sticking into her ribs, close to breaking her skin, knocking all the air out of her.
Hadvar had tracked the stormcloak scout back to camp. They both were friends in youth. Each bloodying each other's nose over something childish and played hide and seek. Those skills of evading the man proved helpful now. He didn't know who the woman or the child were, but they were not his concern. He informed the camp of Imperials, General Tullius gave marching orders. They would strike at night while they slept.
It took three hours to move the men in, the legion centurion kept her men ready for marching orders. When they arrived, they saw the rebels were grossly undermanned for escorting a jarl, maybe fifty men. Hadvar took aim with his bow at the lone lookout who seemed too busy with a woman to notice a century of soldiers surrounding them. She seemed to be bound but it wasn't his business, she let go of his arrow and let the shaft punch through his back. The legion charged in, just as the stormcloak rebels began to awaken from their sleep and sliced through men before they could unsheathe their swords.
Ulfric realized what was going on. He needed to save his men. There was no honor in this fight and he stood no chance at victory. He shouted for his men to lower weapons. Most were killed before they realized the order came from him. Those who did, Ralof included stopped, just in time for a legionnaire to put a sword to their necks. General Tullius stepped from the shadows with his centurion in tow. "Ulfric Stormcloak.. I must say I am a little disappointed." The general looked to one of his men who had a blade on the jarl. "Gag him. We will have no repeats with his.. gift."
The men hauled them up and Hadvar remembered the young woman from earlier. He pulled the corpse off of her, seeing a woman her, her sliced open leathers, her hands bound above. Her armor was useless now. He saw that she was unconscious from the rebel collapsing on her. He knelt beside her to cut away the ropes. "It's alright. You are safe now."
The centurion spotted her bound form and barked, "Frumentarius Hadvar, load her with the other prisoners. We move out in fifteen." This made the scout wince some. He was hoping she would receive a priest's healing and recover. He could tell her bedding was not a willing one, especially with the marks on her neck. But he had his orders.
The prisoners were loaded up into the cart, the young woman laid on one of the benches with her hands rebound. In her dream, she felt something stir. She heard something distant, a language she couldn't understand but knew what it meant. She was flying fast, faster then any bird. She felt free, truly. Pride swelled in her heart. Pride and determination. Determination to see justice for her family.
The rocking and bucking of the cart caused her eyes to open, her eyes bleary with new light of dawn. They must have been traveling for some time. She was barely awake with she gasped with a start, "Zu'u los dovah sos." 'What does that mean?'