A stoic figure trudged down a long, dark hallway, running the fingers of her one hand across the damp stone walls. Her blazing red hair which contrasted with her pale skin was pulled back in a tight bun. Azara was sick of being underground, in this tomb, but she knew it was necessary. Her eyes were wide open, and she seemed fully aware of her surroundings, but in her head, like a true zealot, she was praying frantically to her patron, Bane. Bane, along with His followers, is the embodiment of tyranny. The lust for power is uncanny, and Bane desires to rule over all the other deities. The longer Azara exhorted Bane’s dark glory, the more she tightened her fist around Bane’s Holy Symbol, a gauntleted fist wrapped in dark plate armor.
Azara reached the end of the hallway and let out a frustrated grunt. She didn’t think that the tomb they were looking for was here. They had wasted time in this worthless place, something that Bane could not forgive! Azara didn’t believe she could possibly be any more frustrated with herself, failure in the Black Hands church was the worst sin. Bane asked her and His other followers to find this tomb. This mission was entrusted to Azara so she mustn’t fail! So why did it feel like she wasn’t any closer to her goal, it had been weeks.
“My lady?” a very hesitant squeaky voice called out. Azara turned her imperial gaze upon a goblin kneeling down in front of her. Knowing not to look upon his superior, he kept his head down, staring at the lines in the cobblestone very intently.
“Go on.” Azara commanded this lowly creature. As Bane’s scriptures demanded, she must control those weaker than her.
“It appears we found a tomb of Oghma, a human God of knowledge…”
“I do not need you to tell me who Oghma is!” Azara corrected, causing the goblin to flinch in fear. As Bane commanded, corrections must occur. “It’s not the tomb we are looking for and therefore we have failed once again, something the Dark Lord reviles!” Her hand automatically went down to her waist and she wrapped her hand tightly around the handle of her Morningstar, the glossy black iron head riddled with spiky protrusions. She noticed the goblins eyes slowly leave the floor and lock onto her weapon, and she felt a twisted pleasure as she watched the putrid creature squirm, she so enjoyed corrected those below her.
“Tell me your name, creature.” Azara said soothingly, running her one finger down the goblin’s cheek, her black fingernails tracing a path across its muzzle.
The goblin’s mouth moved, but no words came out. He swallowed nervously before trying again. “Nogekt.” He said, his voice barely a whisper.
“Well Nogekt, do you know what Bane thinks of failure?” Azara asked in her same calm voice. Nogekt shook his head violently.
She leaned in close, until her lips were practically on Nogekt’s cheek. He flinched away from the feel of her warm breath on his body, but he didn’t dare pull away. “He despises failure.” As she spoke these words, her tone changed from soothing to terrifying, and she brought her mace out in such a fluid movement that the other goblins watching the scene weren’t even sure what had happened, as they were distracted by the thundering noise emanating from the enchanted weapon. They quickly realized when they saw Nogekt fall to the floor, his head bashed in and his brains leaking onto the stone floor. “Failure is unforgivable. He has been corrected.” Azara said, as she slid her Morningstar back in her belt without bothering to clean it, and turned to the next nearest goblin. “Please tell me you have some good news?”
The goblin hesitated, causing Azara to take an angry step towards him, breaking him out of his trance. “Yes! Yes!” The goblin screamed, falling to the ground and throwing a piece of parchment forward. Azara scooped it up as the goblin started sobbing in fear, and a rare genuine smile passed over her face.
It was a map of the Thar, the vacant scrubland north of Hulburg. It had several other tombs marked as belong to various goodly Gods. Perfect. Oghma’s loremasters have some use after all, apparently. Azara thought. The map wasn’t perfect, not every tomb was labeled and she was convinced that some of the tombs simply didn’t exist anymore, but now Azara knew exactly where she was going. She cackled regarding the lump of goblin on the floor. “Consider yourself lucky, maggot. Bane is pleased, and as such, I am pleased. For now…” With that, Azara turned suddenly, heading back towards the surface. “We depart at once.” As she walked away she began praying once again, this time begging Bane for more time to complete her task before He decided to “correct” her.
“So,” Godric said, leaning in closer to Lafayette, “what do you think his story is?”
Lafayette didn’t even have to look to know that Godric was, once again, referring to the Dragonborn who had entered the bar a couple hours ago. The hulking beast walked in with a hideous elf and promptly took a table. They’ve been drinking in near silence ever sense. Lafayette wasn’t sure what offended her senses more, the beast or the travesty to her race. Godric was amazed by him, and was plagued with curiosity about what the female Dragonborns would look like, and was trying to convince her mother to allow for her to go and talk to him ever sense. Lafayette had never seen a Dragonborn, well, in person that is, and was getting more aggravated at her daughter’s attempts to risk her life for a conversation with the beast. Rationally she knew that Godric would be safe enough, she had her own magicks to protect her. But mothers are not always rational.
“Leave it be, Godric.” She said curtly. “Nothing good could come from it and –”
Lafayette’s voice trailed off as she noticed Godric shaking her head curtly. “No, not him! Him!” Godric whispered, tilting her head slightly towards the bar. Lafayette turned in her seat and was stunned by what she saw. The man standing in the door way appeared at first glance to be a very tall human. The fact that his skin was light blue changed that opinion quite quickly. Upon further inspection, Lafayette noticed another odd feature – this man was standing perfectly still. His eyes were moving, scanning the room, but that was it. He wasn’t shifting weight between his two legs, he wasn’t fidgeting, nothing. His white cloths contrasted with his skin tone, and his skin itself was covered with pearly white markings that seemed tattooed to his face and arms.
“Don’t stare, Godric.” Lafayette said, the motherly instincts kicking in.
“I don’t think he’ll even notice us doing it…” Godric said, not even bothering to whisper anymore. Lafayette took a glance across the room and knew that her daughter was telling the truth. Everyone in the bar, including the Dragonborn, was staring at this man. Lafayette could tell that some of them were sizing him up, deciding what he was worth, Jackie among them. Jackie couldn’t tell if this man was one to drink. Most of the room, though was staring at him in awe. There was something just plain good about him.
Vivificus was sitting next to his new… friend… enjoying his drink, when he noticed the entire tavern become silent. He glanced up and for whatever reason, found himself slightly irritated by the man, if he could be called that, standing at the doorway. There was just something too good about him. He offended Vivificus’ senses. Vivificus had a nagging feeling that he knew this man from somewhere, but like the rest of his life, all of his memories were slightly hazy. Vivificus was cursed with amnesia. Why? He didn’t know and he didn’t care.
“Vee, look.” Treks said, raising his large fist to point.
“Now don’t be rude, Treks.” Vivificus said, adjusting himself in his seat to get a better look at what was going on. Vivificus smiled, having apparently found his new target. This man was dressed in a very fancy robe, with a heavy armor underneath; he had to have some money on him. The trick, however, was figuring out how to involve Trek without offending the Dragonborn’s sense of pride.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the man in the door said loudly, silencing every whisper throughout the bar. Vivificus eyes flashed to Jackie to catch her reaction. She didn’t look amused by the man or the fact that no one was buying any drinks at the moment. Jackie gave the Eladrin a knowing look before turning and walking into the back room, obviously not caring about what this man had to say.
“As I am sure many of you have heard, there has been horrific events occurring lately. The spirits of the dead are not permitted to rest in peace, not when there are despicable beings out there looting the local barrows.” A few of the taverns less savory customers laughed at this, and the charismatic man shifted his gaze slightly, causing them to fall silent once more. Vivificus shifted awkwardly in his seat. Just watching this man stand perfectly still made him feel uncomfortable. The elf hated feeling uncomfortable.
“This atrocity cannot continue. It is a crime against your town and a crime against our Gods. The priests worked tirelessly during their life, devoting themselves to their people and the ideals their Gods represent, and they need to find the rest they deserve. I am looking for companions to accompany me to look into this matter.” He paused, obviously waiting for someone to speak up.
The scarred elf chuckled under his breath, thinking of what a fool this man was when Treks nudged his new friend in the shoulder. Vivificus looked at Treks dubiously. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He whispered. “Absolutely not.”
“If some of you need more motivation than the chance for a good deed, Knight-General Kara Hulmaster is offering a fair reward for any information given to her that can help prevent any further occurrences. I will be more than willing to split the reward, evenly.” At this, a mumble went around the room of people discussing what they could do with the reward with their companions. Most of the talks ended with the idea of drinks, prostitutes, and the like. “If anyone is interested, please come have a word with me.” With this, he walked to a point next to the bar and crossed his hands in front of him, standing motionless waiting for someone.
Treks nudged the elf slightly harder, grunting. “Vee!” Vivificus regarded the Dragonborn and sighed, thinking of a way to spin this to his benefit. Vivificus was also thinking of how unfair it was to be the only intelligent one.
“Alright Treks, we can go.” At this, Treks jumped out of his seat excitedly. “Wait!” Treks turned back to his friend, confused at the delay. Treks was worried that he would miss his chance in joining up with this man.
“This man is obviously devoted to the moral reasoning behind the quest, not the reward. I think it’s only fair since we were asked to join him that we get a larger share of the reward.” Vivificus said slyly. He supposed that being smarter than most did in fact have its own advantages.
Godric looked from the man to her adopted mother. Lafayette had gone back to her glass of pinot, apparently bored by the speech that was just given. Godric loved Lafayette just as much as she would’ve loved her birth mother, but Lafayette’s sense of protection sometimes got close to suffocating. Godric didn’t spend her time learning to communicate with nature simply for the thrill of it. There were rewards such as the whimsy of hearing an eagle’s first hand perspective of flying was fascinating. She was learning druidic magic in order to go out, adventure, right some wrongs in the world and perhaps restore the balance that all humanoids had inflicted.
She desperately wanted to go up to this man and accept his offer, but she knew that as soon as she asked, her idea would be shot down. So… what if she didn’t ask?
“Mom…” she stared hesitantly. Lafayette looked across the table, her eyes flashing ever brightly.
“No, my dear. I know what you’re about to say. We’re not going with that man, and that’s final.”
“I knew that’s what you were going to say, so…” Godric hesitated, biting her lip nervously, her small fangs bared. “So that’s why I’m not asking.” She jumped out of her chair and started across the room. “I’m sorry.” She said over her shoulder, before running across the room. Lafayette was up in a flash, chasing after her daughter while trying to prevent a scene, cursing how athletic her little girl had become.
Orion was started to get annoyed, for the first time in his life. Well, of this life, at least. He was a Deva, those who were at one point immortal servitors to the Gods of good. However, they decided to bind themselves to the world in mortal flesh in order to wage an endless war against the forces of darkness. They lost their immortality, but as a repayment when their life ends, they are reborn in another part of the planet, as a grown adult, with some slight memories of their previous lives. Orion awoke in the woods surrounding this town a week ago, before wandering into town today looking for some wrongs to right. This was his way.
He didn’t like the fact that it was taking so long for this tavern’s customers to come up to him. He wasn’t thrilled with the fact of asking in a tavern, but he didn’t want to waste any more time than was necessary. The tombs were being broken into more frequently as of late; at least that’s what the guard he talked to informed him. The longer he waited to set out, the worse this situation could become.
A flash of memory danced across Orion’s mind. He remembered a tavern similar to this one, in a tavern surrounded by his friends. The faces were shadowed in his mind, and his consciousness snapped back to the present. He felt a tear started to form, as he missed someone he knew possibly hundreds of years ago.
As he came to, his eyes were drawn to a woman with wild hair running over to him, with an Eladrin chasing after her, reaching for her shoulder. The Shifter angled her body effortlessly to slip out of the elf’s grasp. She bounced over to Orion excitedly.
“Hi. I’d like to come with you.” She said, grinning and extending her hand. “My name is Godric.”
Orion grinned, and Godric was slightly taken aback at his pearly white teeth, he did look perfect after all. “My pleasure, Godric. I am known as Orion, and it would be an honor to have you accompany me.” He considered the elf that was gnashing her teeth behind Godric. “Would you like to come along as well, m’lady?”
The elf reached out, placing her hand on Godric’s shoulder, preparing to disappoint her daughter. Godric spun around, and looked into her mother’s eyes with such intensity that Lafayette knew that no matter what she would say Godric was still going with Orion. This wouldn’t do at all. Perhaps she could research some ritual to remove the lust for adventure in her daughter. Lafayette quickly scolder herself for this thought. Godric’s wild spirit was just a part of the girl she so dearly loved.
She smiled, defeated. “Well, I can’t let my darling Godric get into trouble, can I? I don’t know what she would do without me there.”
Godric’s face exploded into one of the biggest smiles of her entire life, as she jumped into Lafayette’s arm, burying her in a hug. Orion smiled watching the two. He could tell already that he liked them. He considered the other Eladrin and the Dragonborn coming up to him.
“Hello.” He said calmly. “I trust that you two are also here to aid our mission?”
“That we are.” The scarred Eladrin said. Lafayette’s body tensed as she considered the Dragonborn. “However, with the services my friend and I bring, I think it’s only fair we get half of the reward.”
Orion’s eyes narrowed at this man. He cared nothing for material possessions, so he would happily give up his own share of the reward… if asked politely and with respect. However, the fact that this newcomer was trying to swindle the two females out of their share bothered Orion. He noticed the Dragonkin shift his weight anxiously, clearly wanting to get moving. “What is your name?” Orion asked, addressing the beast.
The Dragonborn looked at the Eladrin before answering. Orion noted this, deciding that the Dragonborn was letting the elf call the shots. “Treks.” He simply said, after a slight pause.
“Treks. It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Orion.” He said, stepping past the fuming elf. “I couldn’t help but noticing that broadsword on your back. It is a fine blade.” Treks nodded happily at this. “However, the fifth of the reward that you’re going to get from our adventure is more than enough to purchase yourself a new, finer blade.”
Treks’ eyes widened at this, and he turned, smacking Vivificus in the shoulder. “Vee, we go.”
Vivificus sighed, knowing he was defeated. The fool! The Eladrin’s eyes screamed silently. He didn’t much like this man, but gold was gold. He didn’t like the fact that he was earning this gold, fairly, for one of the first times in his life, at least of the life he remembered, but maybe he’d find some way on the quest to line his pockets slightly. “Fine,” he said, shrugging his thin shoulders.
Vivificus noticed Orion looking at him, apparently waiting for an introduction. The Eladrin scoffed at this. He wasn’t going to waste his time with introductions.
“Great. I think this should be enough.” Orion said, after a slight pause, walking forward. “Everyone have their packs prepared? We can head out as soon as possible.” He noticed the silence from his companions, and turned to consider them.
“Leave now?” Godric said doubtfully. “It’s the middle of the night, and my pack is not suited for an adventure. I still need a torch and some holly… oh, maybe some mistletoe would help… and –”
“Why don’t we rent two rooms here at the tavern?” Lafayette interupted, wrapping her arm around Godric’s neck. “My treat. We’ll stay the night here, prepare to head out first thing in the morning and then leave as soon as possible.” She wasn’t thrilled about paying for a room for these three men, but she’d much rather spend the gold to let her daughter get a good night’s rest.
Orion nodded, the look from Trek and the angry, scarred face told him that he had no way to talk himself out of this situation. A couple more hours wouldn’t bring about disaster, at least, he hoped. His God, Lathander, obviously put him in this town for a reason. “Sounds delightful.” He said, forcing a smile, and wondering what he would do while his new companions slept.
written by : Stewaycol
source : fanfiction.net