Chapter 1: Page One
Fourth Era, 201, 21st of Frostfall. 4 In The Afternoon, The Bannered Mare, Whiterun
This one has noticed that it has been more than a month since...Helgen.
Those black wings have haunted my sleep for a month.
That roar that nearly deafened me jolts me awake every night.
Those deep, heart-freezing eyes that are the stuff of nightmares.
The burnt corpses of men, women, and children in their smoldering houses, all caused by that...monster.
I decided to return there recently to...pay my respects. Try to move on.
Apparently respect does not exist among human-folk.
The damn place is being picked clean by scavengers and bandits.
So, this one did what any respectful cat would do.
The steel sword of this one has cut the throats of as many of those disrespectful bastards as I could.
Thankfully, no one here has a clue about my...vigilantism, otherwise this one would no longer hold a bed in the Bannered Mare.
This one shall return with more...lighthearted news.
Chapter 2: Page Two
Writing about...recent findings.
For those of you that are wondering how to pronounce her name, it's pronounced doo-ELL-ah.
Fourth Era, 201, 28th of Frostfall, Middas, 7 At Night, Whiterun, The Bannered Mare
I've heard something...odd after I returned the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow to Jarl Balgruuf's court wizard.
A voice that feels like a thousand drums pounding at once inside of me, chanting something.
Although what it is, this one does not know. It is certainly no word that this one is familiar with. And yet, if I try to say this word...I can't seem to get it out. As if something is blocking my throat whenever this one tries to say that certain unfamiliar word.
I need to look into it more. Ah, which reminds me; this one must not forget to return to Riverwood soon. She does have a golden claw to return, after all.
It is now 10 at night.
The Jarl's housecarl, a rather imposing dark elf named Irileth, has told us that a dragon was spotted on the city's western watchtower.
A dragon? Here?
A Nord this one is definitely not, but, dragons are supposed to be—and remain—a myth?
And yet one was spotted.
Time to see if myth becomes reality.
(The words on this section of the page are written shakily, with a few blood droplets staining the page.)
By the Skooma Cat, it is true.
I killed it.
I killed a DRAGON.
It IS DEAD.
But something odd happened after I slew it. Its corpse seemed to glow for a moment before....its scales began to dissolve. It began to dissolve until there was hardly anything left but its mighty bones...until this one took the bones as well.
I felt something.
I felt the same feeling as I did when I felt the urge to say that word. My heart pounded, my blood nearly boiled. This one's body coursed with the feeling of thousands of drums thundering and...the urge to scream out that word.
I know it now. I said, no, roared it out as the dragon lay dead at my feet.
The word is Fus.
But what does it mean?
Chapter 3: Page Three
Duella does a bit of...travelling.
Fourth Era, 201, 29th of Frostfall, Turdas, 2 In The Morning, Whiterun, The Bannered Mare
This one feels as if I am a thief, a cat stealing a long awaited legacy that belongs to a Nord. Although, since we Khajiit are scoffed at as disgusting thieves, it is only fair.
I shall...head out tomorrow.
Farewell for now, Whiterun.
Fourth Era, 201, 2nd of Sun's Dusk, Morndas, Ivarstead, The Rift, 8 In The Morning
After nearly emptying my purse and only refilling it halfway by lending a helping...paw here and there, I have FINALLY made it to Ivarstead, the shadow of that mountain called High Hrothgar. Apparently thousands make a pilgrimage to this place every year; how fascinating.
And, DAMN, is it cold! It is a miracle that this one has fur. No wonder we Khajiit prefer more...warm climate; I doubt we could possibly handle more of the northern territories in this province.
But I cannot climb the fabled thousand steps just yet. My feet are aching, my leather armor desperately needs patching up...and my bow and sword are getting a bit of an...upgrade. I've gotten quite a bit good with smithing; perhaps I shall learn how to enchant soon? I certainly hope so
In the meantime, I suppose I could indulge my friendly nature by lending the people here a helping hand, if they need one. After all, there isn't anyone that doesn't enjoy having a helping hand.
Klimmek. The saint's name is Klimmek. This saint travels up that moon-forsaken mountain practically every day giving the Greybeards food and supplies.
This one thinks that Klimmek should be awarded with a nicer status in life than this, such as bountiful food or a fairly lavish house of good standing, but, no, he is surprisingly humble for a mere fisherman. I admire humble people. And for being such a humble, hard working man...
Klimmek gets a day off.
Klimmek needs to rest his aching feet, after all. I will be more than happy to take the supplies to the Greybeards; plus, it is like, as they say, killing two birds with one stone! And, also, another good deed is done in such a harsh world!
So, I shall set off towards that blasted mountain...tonight at 8.
Chapter 4: Page Four
Duella climbs the fabled Seven Thousand Steps.
Fourth Era, 201, 2nd of Sun's Dusk, Morndas, High Hrogthgar, Eight At Night
Well, everything is all set.
My armor's repaired and even improved, my steel sword is like new, my Imperial bow has been tempered, and I've even gotten a hefty haul of food and Alto Wine from some of the villagers! As for any healing potions, should I run into any...malicious intent, I've made quite a few for myself should this one get into any trouble.
This is going to be quite the climb.
This one wishes herself luck.
It is already 10 at night, but...
The view of the sky is breathtaking. So many vibrant colors blending in with the bright, shining stars...
It is so gorgeous.
Quite literally breathtaking. The air is quite thin.
I am only so many ways up the mountain; Klimmek has warned me of false steps, wolf packs, and...trolls. Ugh. Regardless, my food supply is still holding; beef is still there, goat is there, out of chicken breast and rabbit leg, and low on salmon. I still have four bottles of Alto left; my flask of water is still full, thankfully.
On another note, this one seems to keep finding these... small shrines as I make my way up, called Emblems. It is quite...calming to read them each time I encounter one on my journey. Speaking of encounters...Klimmek was not lying about the...trolls.
At least the troll fat is useful for potions. Shame they're so...heavy.
As far as my progress up this moon-forsaken mountain, I am only....almost halfway there.
This is going to be quite the climb.
The third wolf pack in a row has attacked me at around 3 in the morning. This one fears contracting something. She thinks she might have.
I've had quite the cough, and I found that I've been more on the defensive; I've attacked less and less often and found that my good sword arm may or may not be getting rusty.
I refuse to get sick. Not when I'm halfway up this blasted mountain. Will write later. Need to find something in my pack that takes care of diseases.
Fourth Era, 201, 3rd of Sun's Dusk, Tirdas, 3599th Step to High Hrothgar, The Rift, 9 In The Morning
Just one potion that cures diseases.
This one savored it as much as she could.
As soon as I drank it, I ate half a wheel of Eidar cheese, had a bit of beef, washed it down with Alto, and kept moving.
Only...3401 steps to go.
Alright Duella, no crying. You can do this.
You can do this.
You can do this.
You can do this.
Chapter 5: Page Five
The cat climbs the mountain.
Fourth Era, 201, 5001st Step to High Hrothgar, 4th of Sun's Dusk, Turdas, The Rift, 9 At Night
(This page has several drops of dried blood staining it. The handwriting is a bit shaky but still very legible.)
I cannot count how many beasts I've slain while climbing this moon-forsaken mountain, though this one is glad that this isn't her blood staining this page. At least the sight of the stars as well as the aurora is comforting to see at night, I suppose.
Down to my last rabbit leg, beef, goat, and salmon are still there. Down to two bottles of Alto Wine. The other supplies are still untouched.
I still have a healthy quiver of arrows, though. My sword and shield are taking a lot of punishment; they are surprisingly sturdy!
I could swear seeing a building, with warm light not too far above me.
Icy cold mirage or no, I need to get there NOW.
This one does not care if it kills her.
(This section of the page is barely legible due to the shaky handwriting.)
I'm so close.
I SEE THE TEMPLE SO CLOSE.
(Only three words are legible among the shaky, nearly illegible handwriting, a few bits of ice clinging to the page.)
I MADE IT
Chapter 6: Page Six
Duella learns the Way of The Voice.
Fourth Era, 201, High Hrothgar, 6th of Sun's Dusk, Loredas, The Rift, 9 In The Morning
I've been asleep in their temple for a full day. They only speak in whispers, save for the first time the Greybeards have actually spoken. As soon as the voice of one was raised above a whisper, the very earth seemed to quake.
I am...quite surprised to be alive. My pack is nearly empty, including Klimmek's supplies for the Greybeards. By the Skooma Cat, he won't believe what he'll hear when I head back down.
Speaking of which...
How the fuck do I head back down this moon-forsaken mountain?!
Do not feel like myself. Well, not completely.
It's like...I feel myself and...not myself. Almost like...something stronger.
This one still has a lot to learn about these...shouts. Apparently, the shout that I learned at Bleak Falls Barrow is part of a three-word shout that is called...
Unrelenting Force. I now have two of the three words learned, so far.
No wonder I felt so powerful when I finally learned to say that word.
Hopefully there is a shout that fills this one's belly with food or gets her off of this mountain. Or even a hefty pocket of septims.
Fourth Era, 201, Ivarstead, 7th of Sun's Dusk, Sundas, The Rift, 6 In The Evening
I've never seen a fisherman....faint because of a story before.
Ah, well. Poor Klimmek needs the nap.
As for myself, I suppose I could look for work somewhere around here. This one cannot live on kindness alone. I need to have SOME coin for food.
I hear that there may be work in Riften, somewhere...
And this one doubts that she will work as a mere dockhand or meadmaid.
Chapter 7: Page Seven
Duella heads to Riften...with some stops along the way~.
Fourth Era, 201, 11th of Sun's Dusk, Tirdas, The Rift, 7 In The Morning
Now this is more like it!
This is a lovely change of pace from the cold from earlier!
Sure, there are quite a few bandits and highwaymen constantly threatening to make this one into a fine rug, but, it certainly beats freezing.
And, what's more, they've even had quite a bit of coin, food, and arrows on them! More for me!
On the downside, however, I haven't seen civilization or even an alchemy table in a handful of days...
Luckily, despite the fear of bears or wolves making me their next meal, I still have the shade of a tree as well as my wit...well, most of it, to keep me company.
If only for so long.
Now to find a pesky pack of bandits to take down.
(This page is a bit bloodstained, some parts covered in dime-sized droplets of blood. The words are still legible.)
An Orc, two Redguards, a Nord, and a Dunmer.
All of them carrying beef, ale, some two-bit swords, some leather armor, an enchanted piece of jewelry, and a bit over 400 septims in total amongst all of the bastards.
And with these in mind, I have mine made up; I am headed towards Riften. Perhaps there will be a place for me to lay my head for a while.
This one wonders how much longer her poor feet will carry her.
Fourth Era, 201, 13th of Sun's Dusk, Turdas, Bee And Barb, Riften, 6 At Night
This city is corrupt, no doubt.
No city, no matter how rich or poor, should charge visitors anything to get in.
Luckily for this one, I have managed to get in without losing a single septim due to my...silver tongue.
Others, however, may or may not be so lucky. I aim to change that, should I find myself staying here long.
But since I have arrived here, I have actually managed to find three things that are quite valuable to me:
-a Temple of Mara
-a possible new friend in the form of an Altmer male
-a possible way to put coin in my pocket
The slender, pale-haired Altmer introduced himself as Orian, after helping me calm down from his rather odd...humbleness. He seemed to be the quiet, intellectual type...what brings his path to this city is a bit of a mystery to me. After introducing myself but not my newfound occupation, he gave a rather friendly smile just before offering his services as a travelling mage companion. It floored this one that this elf was offering his services for not coins, but, food companionship! But, regardless of his price, his offer still stood to me.
I sense a potential friend in that man.
As for the Temple, I couldn't help but feel a sense of...warm tranquility as I stepped towards the altar and made a paltry donation. The warmth, almost like Mara's embrace, seemed to wash over me as I prayed for a stable place to lay my head every night, for someone to come home to and find them waiting for me with open arms as soon as I step through the door...
It is a shame that may never happen in my lifetime.
Chapter 8: Page Eight
Duella finds peace, makes a new friend...and finds a place to rest her head.
Fourth Era, 201, 17th of Sun's Dusk, Morndas, Bee And Barb, Riften, 6 In The Morning
This one finds herself visiting the Temple of Mara quite a lot recently. There is something about Her warmth and compassion that...draws me to Her. I have gone for the past four days; I've prayed so often that I offered to help the priestess Dinya Balu spread the word of Mara around Riften.
Sadly, there were few takers.
On another...odder note, I spotted an Altmer woman two days ago who was...quite stunning. Not only was she tall like most High Elves, but she also had a bit of muscle to her! The dress she wore was modest, her pale hair was done up in a bun, and she held a steel mace to her hip in case of trouble. She does look a tad familiar...
Perhaps Orian has a sister?
Speaking of him, I met him again yesterday and got to know him a bit more; he aims to study at the College at that town way up north...Winterhold, this one thinks. Given that he is a mage that is skilled in conjuring things and aiming lightning at those who dislike him, this one is confident that he will get in! We talked for most of the morning, and, by the time he had departed...
We had found a new friend in one another.
It is now...late at night. How late, this one does not know. What I do know is that I feel quite the accomplishment, despite my sore body; I've disrupted a skooma ring and helped someone out of their addiction...but kept a bit of the bottle and Moon Sugar for myself to put into a handy potion later, helped out an alchemist's apprentice who seems to have quite the...affiliation for poisons, and even helped out this poor woman working in Haelga's Bunkhouse.
Haelga herself is...quite nasty.
I also managed to be approached with a rather...interesting job offer by a man named Brynjolf. Though I am quite handy with a lockpick and steady paws...
Framing an innocent man is not pleasant.
So this one has put her acting skills to use and pretended that she lost the ring. Surprisingly, she got the job regardless. The man told me that we shall meet next in the Ratway...wherever that may be.
This one feels that she may wind up into something much bigger than coin.
Chapter 9: Page Nine
Duella makes some coin...and makes a bit of a name for herself.
Duella may take some...third options throughout the Thieves Guild questline regarding certain actions.
Fourth Era, 201, 19th of Sun's Dusk, Middas, Bee And Barb, Riften, 8 In The Morning
This one has finally made it through the Ratway. This one feels that it should be called Skeever's Row, on account of the filthy beasts that swarm the place...alongside the skeevers that reside there as well.
And, after hearing so many rumors, I have finally found it.
The 'den' of the Thieves' Guild. The Ragged Flagon.
Despite it needing...a bit of a spit-and-polish, I do see some potential. The members, however, do seem a bit abrasive, though. They seem more like strangers to each other rather than bringing the phrase "as thick as thieves" to truth, no?
Perhaps this one can change that.
This one certainly feels...heavy.
I did the three shaking-downs cleanly, no bloodshed, no fighting...
But those pained looks with his urn, her family(but no love lost with Haelga and her statue)...
I couldn't resist going about it my own way. After the deeds were done, this one did some...sneaking about. I had already amassed quite a bit of gold; around 2000 septims. Enough to buy a new set of leather armor, a nice quiver of arrows, and a brand new shield.
The gold goes to much better places.
Like on the nightstand of the owner of the Bee and Barb as well as that of the Pawned Prawn...
And especially the worn-down niece of Haelga, at her Bunkhouse.
By the time I slipped back into the Flagon, none of the other members knew what was going on...
Except for Brynjolf, of course.
I could swear that, behind his disappointed grimace...this one could see a faint of pride.
Perhaps this could work well after all.
Chapter 10: Page Ten
Duella's first job, the start of a war, and a run-in with a new friend.
Thank you all so much for the support!
Oh, and, wait and see for a bit of canon divergence with two certain questlines~.
Fourth Era, 201, 30th of Sun's Dusk, Tirdas, Ragged Flagon, Riften, 8 In The Morning
Well, today is the day.
The day that I do my first job for the Guild. I must go to Goldenglow Estate, this manor outside of Riften, and rob its guarded safe of whatever it holds inside.
However, when meeting the manor's owner, the rules of the Guild do not apply to him; this one is free to kill him if he poses too big of a threat.
Either way, the key to the safe should be mine soon enough.
Brynjoff advised me to converse with Vex; she has attempted to infiltrate the manor before and has found another way to sneak in, courtesy of...
Potential odor aside, this one must keep her chin up and get the job done, burn
all of the three of the beehives as not to hopefully anger Maven Bitch-Briar Black-Briar.
Despite my loyalty to Mara, this one hopes that Rahjin the Thief Cat looks upon me with favor.
It is now 11 at night.
And here is this one, getting cheers and pats on the back from an assorted group of thieves in a corrupt city after robbing the safe of a mead baron.
Skyrim is such an odd place.
Well, journal, this one strayed...a bit from the rules. Rather than burning three of the beehives and earning 200 septims...
I burned them all in exchange for seeing the rather...irritated look on Maven the Hagraven's face! No, this one is serious! That is apparently her whispered nickname here in Riften.
In other news, I hear of the occasional...spat between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks. And, surprisingly, due to a certain unwitting yet good-natured Jarl, Riften supports the Stormcloaks.
As much as this one admires the rebels for fighting for a cause that they believe in...
This one thinks that it is not worth tearing a country apart over, especially if they are only focused on a certain race of Man, rather than all walks of life.
May Mara touch this war-torn country with the hand of warmth and compassion.
Fourth Era, 201, 1st of Frostfall, Middas, The Rift, 2 In The Afternoon
Out in the open world again! But, thankfully, this one is not alone this time!
Orian the Altmer I met is with me; he is surprisingly good company. He is quite the expert in conjuring things like bows and swords as well as filling soul gems; things that this one is quite eager to learn.
He is also a good storyteller as well as a decent cook. This one is eager to try his Elsweyr Fondue sometime soon!
So, anyway, the two of us were headed back into Whiterun, about to cross the plains into the Whiterun hold...
Until I saw an elf, hidden in the trees.
A wood elf woman, dressed in furs, bow at the ready, firing at a bear. Her stance, her stern eyes, the muscle pulling back the drawstring of that bow...
Is it growing hotter outside or is this one's mind playing tricks on her?
...I need to know her name.
Chapter 11: Page Eleven
Duella finds a home...and signs up for the Legion.
She also spots a certain elf...
Fourth Era, 201, 2nd of Evening Star, Turdas, Whiterun, The Bannered Mare, 3 In The Morning
Orian and I have reached Whiterun, after quite the hike...and after running into a few bandit caves. We had more than enough between the both of us to get a room for seven nights and several bowls of piping hot soup.
This one missed this inn. So cozy, so warm, especially with a friend to talk to...
Any way, I haven't returned to Whiterun strictly for leisure; I returned...to look for a place to stay.
This one has wandered ever since she was younger, from town to town, from place to place, and has been wondering where to rest her head in a place that is solid, that is stable.
Where else but Whiterun?
The Jarl has a good head on his shoulders, the people...most of the people are pleasant, the views are lovely, and there are familiar faces!
I do believe there is a home to buy here somewhere...
I am writing from inside of my new home in Whiterun! This one believes it is called Breezehome. A lovely name.
It has all of the amenities...and even an alchemy table! All the more potions to practice with~! A bedroom, an attic, a cooking pot...And a housecarl named Lydia! Who is quite the loyal woman, this one adds.
All of this is what this one shall come home to at the end of the day.
Home sweet home.
I saw her again.
The wood elf woman. She was there, talking with Adrienne Avenicci, one of the blacksmiths of Whiterun. She held leather armor, with a few locks of hairs poking from her helmet. She has the most stunning, sharp brown eyes that this one has ever seen; if only this one could see them staring back at me.
It is a shame that I cannot speak to her outright, despite my silver tongue...and Orian's teasing.
I can speak to her. I will! Tonight!
If she is still here in Whiterun, that is, by the time I've mustered up the courage to say something.
This one has returned after a few short hours in the Whiterun plains, by the geysers. I have journeyed there to clear my head...
Until this one has spotted her attempting to take down a mammoth for a good pot of Mammoth Stew. She looked quite fine, taking on the mammoth with only a few well-aimed arrows...until the mammoth's Giant had showed up, that is.
I intervened, much to the bosmer woman's surprise.
Between the two of us, we handled both beasts with only narrow brushes with death by a mammoth's tusk or a giant's foot or club; the two had been defeated in nearly seven minutes.
It was then I learned her name.
The hunter named Scarlet.
I think I may meet the owner of that name again soon.
Chapter 12: Page Twelve
Okay, NOW Duella joins the Legion.
Fourth Era, 201, 6th of Evening Star, Morndas, Solitude, The Winking Skeever, 8 In The Morning
Well, there is one thing this one has learned in Solitude, even on Guild business.
They know how to welcome someone. A public beheading, how cordial! How polite! How...stomach-churning, especially after a dragon attack.
Anyways, Orian managed to comfort me as he helped book a room at the Winking Skeever. We shared our usual Alto as whispers seemed to shift in the inn...mainly about the two of us.
"Is he a member of the Thalmor?"
"What is a High Elf doing here, and with a cat, of all things?"
"I wonder if that filthy cat is foolish enough to steal from a Thalmor in broad daylight."
"Well, a Thalmor in mage robes. Who would have guessed."
It seems that no matter where one goes, not every person is a cat person. A shame, really.
As you would have guessed, journal, I had several questions for my High Elf friend, one of them being what a Thalmor was.
His reply was...quite cold.
"Disgusting altmer who disgrace every High Elf that walks the face of Nirn each day. They don't hesitate to make sure that even their allies know just who is the best of the best, all while crushing them underfoot with no mercy. Even if you somehow wind up in service to the Empire today, if you see any of them at their lonesome, do not hesitate to strike."
I shall ask him more about this after he has calmed down. But, for now, I have both a sweep job and a numbers job to do, one of them in this very inn.
The jobs went quite well tonight for this one.
I had just finished both jobs rather efficiently; I had picked my way into someone's house, stolen the right items, snuck out back to the inn without being caught, went for the Skeever's numbers book, made the marks, and was about to head back to my paid room with no one being the wiser...
Until someone saw me. Just as I was a footstep away from my room.
But, when the guards were brought to my room, my silver tongue saved the day again, saving my purse from forfeited coin.
On a lighter note, when this one first headed out to do her first job, I managed to see Orian's supposed sister again, mace at her side as always! One of these days, this one simply must say hi to her and invite her to talk with her brother Orian!
This is it.
I have met with the man himself.
General Tullius, leader of the Imperial Army here in Solitude. He is just as imposing as the time this one glimpsed at him in Helgen; surprisingly, he was accepting of my joining the ranks, as if skin and fur held no difference to him. This put me a bit at ease. Aside from that, this one wished to make amends for causing trouble in this fine city, and so...
Duella is now a member of the Imperial Legion Army. And all I must do to prove myself is to clear out an old fort.
Sounds easy enough, as long as my good friend Orian is at my side. This one is unsure about the acceptance of beastfolk among the ranks of the Empire, however, but there is only one way to find out.
Fourth Era, 201, 11th of Frostfall, Loredas, Fort Hraggstad, Hafingaar Hold, 11 At Night
(This section of the page is covered in a few bloodstains, mainly near the bottom of the page.)
The fort is all cleaned out.
I've only managed to use about four healing potions between Orian and myself; this one sustained a wound on my right hip while Orian began patching up a wound he had received on his back.
The two of us against so many Stormcloak enemies at once has really...worn us out. After the two of us picked the place clean of anything valuable(I managed to find some handy alchemy ingredients), we both rested in one of the holding cells up until I awoke and started writing this entry now.
Solitude is looking quite nice right about now...
Oh! Speaking of which, this one remembers seeing a beggar walking around Solitude, mumbling something about looking for his master, a hip bone, and a man named Pelagius. Perhaps, once we return, we shall see about reuniting the two of them. And, with that note...
Orian and his sister must be missing each other greatly! When I asked him of her and told him of when I last spotted her, he went speechless! With joy, perhaps? Ah well, they will speak to each other in a matter of days! This one will look forward to it!
Chapter 13: Page Thirteen
Orian tells Duella about his....sister, and Duella gets more work from the Guild.
Fourth Era, 201, 12th of Evening Star, Sundas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, 10 In The Morning
Orian has told this one that he has no sister. He really truly doesn't. But if that is the case...
Then the Altmer woman this one saw running about the city in a dress all this time was...
It was Orian. It was Orian running about in exceptionally well-made dresses and looking gorgeous.
Despite being a man.
When he told this one, he looked so...afraid. So nervous. So fearful. Fearful of rejection? Fear of this one striking him? Fear of...losing a friend?
How foolish! This one would never think of doing such heinous things to a dear friend! And to prove it to him, I asked him where he did he get such lovely dresses; there is a tailor in Solitude called Radiant Raiments not far from here.
I shall pay that shop a visit...after I wipe Orian's tears of joy and treat him to sweetrolls.
This one can see why Orian enjoys these fancy outfits~. It feels so wonderfully silky! In exchange for a discount, I have agreed to head to the Blue Palace and model this outfit in front of the Jarl!
But, one the way to the Palace, this one found that beggar, Dervenin, looking for his...master, who has been gone for 20 years. What a rude master. He also kept mumbling something about "Pelagius....hip bone". So, to kill two birds with one stone, as the Nords say, I shall head to the Palace to see about this Pelagius and show off a new outfit to the Jarl!
This shall be quite the adventure.
Chapter 14: Page Fourteen
Duella goes through the mind of a Mad King, meets a Mad God....and a familiar face.
Fourth Era, 201, 13th of Evening Star, Morndas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, 12 Noon
It's not every day one gets to model for the Jarl Elisif the Fair.
It's certainly not every day that one gets to meet Sheggorath himself.
The Skooma Cat.
The Mad God.
He was having a feast (which this one happily partook of and shared with Orian) with someone he called 'Pelagius'. The person that the abandoned wing is named after. The person whose hip bone I had used to gain entry.
And this one had to fix his mind.
All in exchange for quite a lot of food and something called a...Wabbajack. This one is sure that I may or may not be using it often, whatever it does~.
On another note, this one noticed that Sheggorath made some rather interesting remarks; "Butterflies, blood, a fox, a severed head...and cheese!" as well as "That whole affair". This one needs to know more, to say the least.
On yet another note, Jarl Elisif loved the dress!
On a darker note, someone must do something about a group of people trying to bring back someone called the...Wolf Queen. She does not sound pleasant to meet, much less rule over a kingdom. But if there must be someone to stop them, that one will be this one.
And Orian, of course~!
I saw Scarlet again. She was talking with the smith that gave me the light armor of the Legion, smithing her own weapons.
My hair was kept...as well as a few braids in a long mane of hair could be.
My clothes were...fine.
My smile...quite cute~.
I finally said 'hello' to her.
After a bit of pounding onto the tempered metal...and tearing my eyes away from the fairly corded muscles in her arm as she swung the mallet...
She actually responded, though still busy forging. A mumble, but a response nonetheless.
"Oh...hello. Fancy outfit."
Trying not to make an even bigger stuttering fool of myself, this one quickly sped back toward her inn room, stumbling over herself all the while.
Oh my, Duella, such a charmer you are. Surely, you've been blessed with Dibella's stunning grace.
After telling Orian the entirety of the ordeal, he stifled his laughter as he removed his makeup and comforted me with a bit of Alto wine.
"No need to beat yourself up so much, Ella. You'll have other chances. There are plenty of Bosmer in the forests. And the plains~. Besides, while you're busy pining, perhaps you could help me scope out a love of my own~? Of course, we must be...careful, should we hunt about later in the evening, though."
...Not a bad offer, Orian.
We shall see later.
Chapter 15: Page Fifteen
Duella and Orian start off the new year in a big way.
Fourth Era, 201, 1st of Morning Star, Sundas, The Winking Skeever, Hafingaar Hold, 12 at Midnight
(This page is written with a somewhat shaky hand)
The Wolf Queen is finally dead.
Orian and I had the remains blessed by the priest of Solitude's Temple.
We spent almost a week searching for that damned Wolfskull Cave and clearing out every. Single. Vampire. Every. Single. Worshipper. Until we looted the bodies and the cave was truly empty.
Orian was so happy that it was over; "Necromancers give him the creeps", he says. This one wanted to hug him and give him some Alto once we received the news that Potema wasn't truly stopped and that her remains needed to be recovered and blessed for this to truly end.
My dear friend and this one did fine...even though we were almost quite literally swimming in the rotting corpses of Draugr by the time we finally beat the gods-forsaken shit out of the ghost of Potema herself.
So, here we are, back at our inn...preparing to go back to Riften once we are through celebrating the arrival of the new year. After all, this one has a Guild job to complete and coin cannot be made sitting about, now can it?
Besides, after all of this, this one is missing the warm, enveloping glow of the Temple of Mara.
Fourth Era, 201, 5th of Morning Star, Turdas, The Ragged Flagon, Riften, The Rift Hold, 12 at Noon
This one ponders if she will become a Priestess of Mara once this Dragonborn business is done.
If it is ever done.
I missed the warmth and love of the Goddess Mara's embrace ever since we departed Riften, how kind and loving, how accepting she is to all forms of love.
This one wonders if she will accept a union between a cat and a Bosmer one day.
Aside from this, the job was successful and I was paid accordingly. Brynjolf is hinting another big job for Hagraven Bitch-Briar in another part of Skyrim, should this one keep bringing in coin.
I hope I can handle it.
On another note, Orian knows of my fledgling thievery. How? This one forgot to dismiss him once I arrived at the entrance in the graveyard. Ah well, at least he is getting along well with Vekel The Man and Dirge. Sapphire, however...is a much different, much more mocking story.
Orian is...surprisingly accepting of it all.
"Duella, I can live up to 300 years. I've seen quite a bit of thieves coming and going, big-time and petty. But you, Ella? I have a feeling that...you might be different."
This one certainly hopes so.
Chapter 16: Page Sixteen
Duella takes on a second task...and plays matchmaker along the way.
Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments and kudos!
However, there will come a point where my writing on, not just this story, but all of my stories, may become less and less frequent on account of such crappy-yet-important things like school and life happening.
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Morning Star, Morndas, The Winking Skeever, Hafingaar Hold, 8 in the Morning
Another fishing job well done. Many proclaim that we Khajiit are better suited to be thieves, brigands, skooma dealers, and simply outcasts in general, but...
Rather than beating them or joining them, this one shall try to fix them.
Emphasis on 'try'.
After all, if a Khajiit could be a Dragonborn, then who knows what else this one can do?
Speaking of which, this one must head back to Whiterun in a matter of weeks; I have to pay a visit to a potential fence in Honningbrew Mead, a meadery just outside of Whiterun. Apparently, one meadery and livelihood isn't enough for Bitch-Briar to take over.
On a much more positive note, this one has helped out at the Temple of Mara quite a lot recently! Miss Dinya Balu has explained that this bloody civil war has caused the warmth of Mara's compassion to recede from Skyrim; it is up to this one to have love and warmth be returned in the form of matchmaking!
But two of these couples are...quite the ordeal to bring together; but, for the first couple, however...
It's about time Klimmek had found some happiness. As for the other "suitor"...Orian was more than happy enough to give him the first boot out of Ivarstead and towards Riften.
After a very...unsafe welcome to the safest dwarven city in Skyrim and a "misplaced" note, this one was eager to bring Mara's warmth to this place...in the form of an old wizard reading a poem to the Jarl's housecarl. This one held back tears at such a cute and precious sight!
Now, for the third and final couple...
This one envies how their love could even transcend death itself. This one can only hope and dream to have such a love.
Chapter 17: Page Seventeen
Duella surprisingly lacks a Dampened Spirit...and comes to her Breezehome for a surprise.
Fourth Era, 202, 11th of Morning Star, Turdas, Breezehome, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, 8 At Night
(This page has a few teardrop-stains on it, mostly on the page's center.)
This one has...
Done the mission.
Despite Black-Briar wanting everything to herself and Sabjorn being an utter bastard to everyone ever since this one told him that his mead needed more honey, things have gone well.
However, as the new owner-and-fence Mallus pointed out Sabjorn's room and let me take as I pleased, this one has noticed two things...
-The Decanter in his alcove, along with a...handsome amount of coin and jewels that this one helped herself to.
-This letter that Sabjorn had received. When this one looked at an insignia at the top of the page, she saw a...similarity from her first contract at Goldenglow with the deed.
Either way, all seems well!
All is...not well.
Later that day, a kind little beggar girl near Kyne's temple told me that she had seen a High Elf passed out near the temple door, battered and beaten. She had helped him inside and given him bread before the healers had fixed him.
It was there I found Orian.
Bloodied, bruised, beaten, and bandaged in his arms, legs, hands. Tears streaked his face as he shifted to see me and explain. This one's heart nearly broke.
"H-Hello...My favorite cat's here, thank goodness...S-Someone...didn't quite like the dress I wore for them last night, Ella...didn't quite enjoy the fact that I wasn't exactly a woman, either. H-Hey, I know I-I'm not...the average Altmer but...it's n-not worth calling me Thalmor scum over...o-or siccing the Grey-Manes on me, either."
As much as this one wished to hug him despite his pain, another thing was on her mind.
How dare they.
No matter the cost, I will find out who dared do this to my dearest friend.
And for what? The simple act of wearing a dress?
And they accuse us beastfolk of being barbaric animals.
Just for that, I'll be sure to set the bastard straight, whoever he is.
Chapter 18: Page Eighteen
Duella comforts someone after a job well done...and makes a new friend.
Fourth Era, 202, 13th of Morning Star, Loredas, Breezehome, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, 11 At Night
Lydia has informed this one that she spotted Orian...trying to burn two of the dresses and cosmetics he had, outside of Whiterun. One gray silk dress was far too charred to be saved, but...The other could still be salvaged. Lydia, swestheart she is, led him to the Drunken Huntsman to calm him down.
He...still needs more sweetrolls and roasted rabbit legs. But this one and Lydia are quite happy to oblige!
On that note, this one has seen a figure skulking out of the Grey-Mane home like a rat. So, naturally, at about 8 at night, she followed them to a small cave not too far from the city gates.
What was found was...more than the typical bandit cave. Despite them being foolish enough to attack someone where eyes always gaze, they seemed...organized. This one held herself from making them into pincushions as she crept deeper, pilfering their arrows, gold, potions, and alcohol.
Until Duella found something in one of their pouches. A crumpled note.
"You have your orders.
Teach that cross-dressing Thalmor bastard a lesson.
Show him what it means to really act like a man.
Do it in front of Kynareth's temple near the end of the day; he knows there are wounded inside and, should he fight back, they might be caught in the crossfire.
Leave him alive.
Though Duella is no cold assassin, she certainly intends to start now. This one left the cave almost unseen, nearly getting caught by one of the thug near the entrance, but the cover of night saved this one's tail.
Duella returned to the inner gate of Whiterun...to find a tall Redguard man pounding a drum, nodding his head to the sound. He towered over this one, wearing tempered steel armor, a steel mace at his hip, and a banded iron shield on his back; his black hair was like vines tied in a knot near his back. He was...surprisingly kind.
"Ah, evening to you, ma'am. Well, someone looks like they had a rough day. A song usually cheers people up, but...I don't sing. A poem, instead?"
This one declined the man, not quite in the mood for meters and rhymes set to drum.
"Very well then. Should you find yourself wanting to listen to me play one day, I'll be playing at either the Huntsman or the Mare."
Duella bid the bard farewell and returned to Breezehome to find...a touchingly funny sight.
Orian and Lydia wearing two of his dresses, striking poses, laughing together. He looked so...happy.
This one just couldn't resist joining in~.
Chapter 19: Page Nineteen
Duella hears of a rumor in Windhelm...and does some investigating.
Ladies and gentlemen...and Thalmor, here is where the storylines really start to intersect; an Imperial Khajiit aspiring-Robin Hood Thief...who is now on the path to becoming an Assassin.
Yeah, try to keep up, folks!
Anyways, many, MANY thanks for all of the lovely comments and kudos! Try to guess which quest comes after this one!
Fourth Era, 202, 15th of Morning Star, Sundas, Breezehome, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, 11 In The Morning
This one has heard...rumors in Dragonsreach. Rather...interesting rumors. Mara, the Mother Cat herself, has spread her veil of love and compassion...
Over the Nord Jarl and his Dunmer bodyguard~.
This one had a feeling, what with the looks they have been sneaking. Love is quite a many splendored thing, no? It is not every day that a Jarl should have so faithful a bodyguard...that does more than guarding the Jarl's body.
But, journal did not hear anything of this sort from Duella. At all.
Anyways, speaking of rumors...
A child is in danger in a northern city. Windhelm, this one thinks.
Despite this danger, Orian was quite...reluctant to go.
"But...if a child is in danger, I suppose I would risk a few death threats and beatings in the dead of night." He says.
So, before the three of us will leave for Windhelm, go to Dour Castle for my next assignment, and head back to the Guild, we shall gather up supplies and head to the Bannered Mare for one last drink.
This one found the drumming Redguard, as he said.
There he was, drumming to Mikael's lute and reciting poetry from his home in Hammerfell.
This one will admit...he was quite good. Once Duella told the Redguard such things, this could have sworn that the big man's heart had stopped.
Perhaps he never takes compliments well.
Either way, he was stunned silent...until he pulled this one into a hug that nearly crushed her. After begging the man to release Duella, he humbly apologized, never expecting such a positive reception to his work.
"I...aim to be the best warrior-skald in Skyrim. And one way of doing that is a) traveling and fighting, and b) going to the Bard's College in Solitude."
Surely, the gods favor him and his luck.
Once this one explained that she and her group were headed to Solitude, he quickly offered his voice as well as his arm for a mere 300 septims.
...This one's heart is soft.
I wonder how Lydia and Orian would take to him.
Fourth Era, 201, 16th of Morning Star, Morndas, Whiterun Hold, 11 At Night
The Redguard is named Maliq.
And this one has seen him hold his own against Lydia and Orian's wit, as well as against hordes of bandits with a new steel shield alongside his mace. The two took to him fine.
Although he prefers regular wine over Alto, Maliq is accepting of Orian.
"Heh, nice wit...for an Altmer~."
"You have some cleverness about you, despite your poor taste in wines...for a Redguard."
The four of us shared pheasant, bread, and mead over a fire, swapping stories of childhood, fiction, and boasting; Maliq recited his portion through sheer poetry to applause from Lydia.
This one thinks that Maliq would be a great skald.
Chapter 20: Page Twenty
Duella reports to the Legion...and gets the trip of a lifetime...?
Fourth Era, 202, 22th of Morning Star, Fredas, Korvanjund, The Pale Hold, 11 At Night
This one is holding a legend, apparently.
It is not exactly an average day for a cat to hold a Nordic crown. Not just any crown; the Jagged Crown.
And Duella must return it to General Tullius at once.
After this one, Lydia, Maliq, and Orian wash ourselves of the stench of draugr in the nearest lake, of course. Ugh, this one will smell of corpses for weeks...It certainly is better than the stench of Hagraven Black-Briar.
On a lighter note, this one saw Scarlet again, war paint and all. She was a fierce beauty...a bit of a familiar beauty, now that Duella ponders for a while.
All this one remembers is a village aflame...her dear older sister calling for help...the outstretched hand of a mercenary...
And an elven face shrouded in war paint. This one could hardly see through the smoke.
But, this one casted that thought aside and spoke to Scarlet yet again. The conversation was calm, light...and surprisingly clever. This one could only imagine the wit that lay buried in a hunter's head.
Duella had made the offer to the Red Huntress to join her group. "I'll think about it", she said.
This one's traditional way of speaking is slowly fading. Shame there are few of Duella's kind here. Luckily, the Khajiit caravans that journey through Skyrim remind me of home...despite them not being allowed to take shelter in city walls.
All due to Men seeing Beasts as n'er-do-wells. As brigands. As...thieves.
If they wish to see a cat burglar, this one shall be one of the best, no doubt.
On another note, as we stopped to trade...I noticed a familiar sweet scent.
Moon Sugar and Skooma.
The first was no stranger to me; when my dear sister and I were good kittens, my first mother would give us sweet warm honey cakes with lunar sugar sprinkled atop.
The latter was....a hushed subject. Either way, this one vowed not to imbibe the liquid, no matter what.
But, despite my...reservations...
This one could not help but be curious.
(The writings in this page's lower section have been written with a slow, lazy hand, with some words trailing off of the page.)
Everything I touch feeeeeeeeels sooooooooooooo funny........
I diiiiiiiiiid iiiiiiiiiit.
I drank the sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet stufffffffffff.....
I caaaaaaaaan fly........
Iiiiiiiii feeeeeeeeel flooooooooooooating....
Fourth Era, 202, 27th of Morning Star, Midddas, Gates of Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, 11 At Night
I feel horrible.
This one does not know how bottles she imbibed, but...
It is best to cut that number in half.
From now on, this one shall only take the liquid on...special occasions. A life-changing event, a proud moment, her last breaths of life...
Moon Sugar, however, remains the same: sweets, alchemy, and the occasional snack.
Now, to bring back this damned crown to Tullius. This one hopes that all of this had better be worth it...
Chapter 21: Page Twenty One
The group hears a rumor...and heads to Windhelm.
Fourth Era, 202, 28th of Morning Star, Turdas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, 2 In The Morning
I slipped out of the inn as everyone slept.
This one had already made some coin of her own by...lightening the load of some particularly heavy purses that wandered about the city at this hour.
Only a mere...2000 in total, plus a handful of silver rings. Ah well, nothing a bit of enchanting won't fix later on.
As I slipped back into my paid room, I could have sworn hearing whispers on the inn's first floor.
"Poor boy! I heard...orphanage...Riften...the Kind..."
The Kind hag, in that orphanage in Riften.
And that poor child, lucky to flee from her clutches all the way in Windhelm.
This one will be happy to lend a helping paw to a child in need.
We shall leave soon.
Maliq has had questions as we walked out of Solitude.
"What's Windhelm like? Is it nice? What sorts of people are there? Do they have any good bards?"
Lydia and Orian were...a tad reluctant to answer. So, instead, they resorted to nibbling on their bread and grilled leeks.
This one did not know why the Redguard was eager to know. So, she asked. Apparently, Windhelm is home to the '500 Companions' though Maliq himself has never set foot inside the city walls.
There's a Jorvaskr in Windhelm as well? Is there another Eorlund too?
Although, I do remember the name being heard somewhere...
"Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm."
The gagged man from Helgen.
Is a Jarl.
What luck this one has.
Fourth Era, 202, 2nd of Sun's Dawn, Tirdas, Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm, 5 In The Morning
Lydia and Maliq got in fine yesterday. They were given the usual Nord greeting; a "hail", an offer of mead, and even a pleasant smile despite the freezing cold.
However, once this Nord, Rolff Stone-Fist, laid eyes on this one and Orian (who was dressed in typical leather armor as soon as he heard where we were headed), and left the Dunmer he was interrogating and went straight to the both of us.
"Look, it's bad enough we got two damn High Elves running about here; we don't need another committing blasphemy to Talos by just existing."
This one never wanted to bloody her claws for a dear friend so badly.
"And we don't need any damn furry pickpockets causing trouble here, neither."
Shall this one keep in mind how far her urge to kill has risen?
But, luckily, Maliq and Lydia had stepped in just before this one got to use her new elven sword.
"They're with us", they said, practically forming a wall in front of us. If this one could have seen their faces, not even the fiercest, ugliest dragon would have been enough to move them.
That is, until Orian managed to step between them, challenging the drunken Rolff to a brawl right in front of the city gates, with a makeshift audience of passerby. 200 pieces to the winner. One black eye, a missing tooth, and a swollen cheek later, Orian returned grinning, victorious...
And 200 Septims richer.
Not even an hour later, courtesy of skilled fingers, this one slipped into the abandoned home of the boy who fled from Honorhall...
To find the boy himself, amidst a dagger and a corpse.
"Sweet Mother, Sweet Mother, send your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear--
Ah, you're here! The Black Sacrament worked!"
...This one may get her paws dirty, but, to avenge the child...and a dear friend of mine...
Night Mother, thy will be done.
Chapter 22: Page Twenty Two
Duella solves a mystery, helps someone in need...and starts her path to vengeance.
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Sun's Dawn, Turdas, Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm, Eastmarch Hold, 10 In The Morning
This one is curious.
Windhelm is not a fortunate city, it is not.
First, a Sacrament and then a brazen murder of a young woman, all in the span of two days. And yet the race of Man say that the race of Beasts bring misfortune to the world.
Anyways, yesterday, an odd man offered the four of us a tour of an odd place: Calixto's House of Curiosities, filled with such fascinating oddities such as a blank Book of Fate, Ysgramor's Soup Spoon...which oddly looked like a fork, and The Dancer's Flute.
All placed and displayed next to embalming tools that this one has seen in many Nordic burial ruins.
So, coupled with this knowledge, Orian and Lydia have spread out to span the city in the evening while Maliq and Duella shall appeal to the city guard and...the Jarl for permission to solve this bloody matter.
But this one is curious. Why would one need permission to aid the guard in doing what they are supposed to do? Should it not be common courtesy to aid in solving such a heinous crime rather than ask permission from a crown or cower in the shadows like a frightened kitten? Aside from this, Orian and Lydia have had some luck; the dreaded murderer may be someone that we have already met.
This one hopes that this nasty affair shall be taken care of soon.
(This section of the page is riddled with bloodstains and slight tearing)
It is night.
Calixto is dead.
Orian paralyzed him as Lydia knocked him off-balance with her shield, all in the market just before he could claim another victim.
I...clearly dealt the killing blow.
The three of us met Maliq at Hjerim, holding the bloody journal in his arms.
"Gods...It's awful...those poor women..." There was vomit near the door...this one rarely ever sees a grown adult male cry in her lifetime, but...
I shall treat him to beef stew and sweet rolls as soon as we leave this blasted city.
I stripped the murderer bare in the market square, even as the guards swarmed around me.
Orian destroyed the necklace found in that house, while Maliq was all too eager to send the wretched journal back where it belonged.
"The bones...the remains...so much..." The poor Redguard couldn't sleep, even with mead.
Hopefully, a visit to Riften's orphanage shall perk him up.
Fourth Era, 202, 7th of Sun's Dawn, Sundas, Vylmire Inn, Ivardstead, The Rift Hold, 10 In The Morning
We are almost returning to Riften. Another job from the Guild needs doing...and an orphanage must be rescued. This one hardly believes she is doing such a thing.
This she-cat, born in two villages on the border of two regions...
Is actually a being of legend.
Mother, Father, and Sister would be proud if they would see this one now. After claiming that Duella took too much sweet sugar, of course.
Orian...rarely sleeps now. This one still sees him reminiscing on the dresses he had seen in Solitude, only to shake his head with a smile.
After doing away with Grelod the Kind...
Wide-Maw is certainly joining her.
On a lighter note, this one spotted Scarlet in another clearing on the way here, skinning a bear for the Wide-Armed woman at her mill. We talked for a while as the two of us grew to know each other more; she told me of her life in Valenwood and this one has told the Bosmer of her life in a village on the border of this country.
But this one noticed a flinch in the hunter's movements at the mention of my former home.
This one feels she should ask another time. Khajiit has extended the offer of company to the huntress yet again.
....needless to say, Scarlet is a bit uneasy at the idea of having to sleep in the same inn as a High Elf, but with such promises as another hunting trip, the Bosmer is a woman of her word.
This one doubts that this peace will last for long.
Chapter 23: Page Twenty Three
Duella does some orphans a huge favor...and gains two families in the process.
Fourth Era, 202, 9th of Sun's Dawn, Tirdas, Honeyside, Riften, The Rift Hold, 9 In The Morning
(This page is splattered with bloodstains)
This one...could not help herself this morning.
The task was simple: go into Honorhall Orphanage, kill that eroded bag of bones known as Grelod the Kind with a well-placed arrow, depart, and tell the Aretino boy that the job is done.
As Duella bade the others to stay outside, Orian was adamant to accompany this one. What the two of us heard from that woman was...appalling.
Telling a child such things would be akin to dropping a newborn cub into a den of savage beasts!
So, as the children went about their day, Orian and Duella followed Grelod to ask her a few questions about the orphans here. Naturally, the hagraven was...quite curt in her answer.
And of course we gave her a rather sharp and shocking response.
Once all was said and done...this one had never seen so many happy children in her life.
It is truly a shame that Duella has little room in either home for them. But that does not mean that she will not try~.
Maliq's singing reminds this one of home; warm, full of life, yet sharp-tongued.
It was a great comfort to Duella after her...first attempt adopting all of the Honorhall orphans. Sadly, this one was restrained by both Lydia as well as Orian. Scarlet, however, was caught smirking out of the corner of this one's eye.
Perhaps it would be foolish to ask...?
Foolish and much too soon.
Onto the next Guild job, Duella. One cannot be a master rogue by standing on aching feet.
Now for this Gulum-Ei, whoever this person may be.
It is night now.
A courier arrived with a note.
A black hand.
Hopefully this one is a light sleeper.
Chapter 24: Page Twenty Four
Duella finds herself alone.
Fourth Era, 202, 28th of Sun's Dawn, Sundas, Outside Of A...Shack?, Hjaalmarch Hold, Midnight
This one...is alone.
No Lydia, no Orian, no Maliq...
Just...alone. In a shack that reeks with the stench of blood.
For almost half a month.
A shrouded figure was leering at Duella constantly, a...dead humor in her look.
Three hooded figures were kneeling in front of this one: a Fearless Nord sellsword, a fiesty Nord goodwife, and a fellow Khajiit.
The 'fearless' one was weeping behind his hood, but held no ill will towards anyone; not even I, this one hopes. Duella will not bloody her blade with Nord's blood...even if it is the blood of a coward.
The fiery Nord woman had quite the temper on her, but by the Mother Cat, as this one heard that the woman had not one, but six little mouths to feed...This one's mind went to Aretino, all alone, begging for the 'Sweet Mother' to aid him. By the Mother Cat's warm fur, the woman will see her children again.
And then this one came to the fellow Khajiit. Vasha, his name was. 'Obtainer of goods, taker of lives, defiler of daughters.' He threatened to have his...associates hunt this one and butcher her corpse in the streets, carving the name of Vasha in her corpse soon after. May he waver from the path of the Twins Moons and be strangled by the Lunar Lattice.
The choice this one made...
I humbly apologize for the disgrace of Vasha in the name of the Khajiiti.
Duella was applauded by the leering figure, who called herself Astrid. She told this one of the Black Sacrament, of how this one repaid a stolen contract...and how this one is willing to kill on command. Duella is a bit...appalled at this self-discovery, but, she supposes this is necessary; Duella will endure all of this and more for the sake of her friend.
And apparently, her new second family in Falkreath.
Chapter 25: Page Twenty Five
A reunion...and a new task.
Fourth Era, 202, 6th of First Seed, Loredas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hjaalmarch Hold, Seven In The Morning
They were all so relieved to see this one out in the marshes four days ago.
Orian and Lydia were the first to subject this one to a full concerned body search in case of any wounds; Maliq, however, was first to shove the first bit of food into her mouth that Duella has had in days! Who knew that roasted rabbit leg would taste so divine?
As for Scarlet, she was...quite surprised to find this one wandering about in the swampy marshes outside of that blasted bloody shack.
"Are you alright, Duella? What happened?"
The Bosmer huntress was...concerned? Those beautiful, warm dark eyes, full of worry for...this one?
Could it be...? That the Bosmer would feel...?
The chance of both Dibella and the Mother Cat blessing this one all at once in this lifetime....
I can only pray.
In other news...Frey has assigned this one to go to a place called Snow Veil Sanctum after a particularly important Guild job in Windhelm; Khajiit must return a lost necklace to a mourning family in Windhelm, pilfered by a group of Altmer paltry purloiners in Uttering Hills Cave: the Summerset Shadows.
This one could think of much better monikers for such a group. But, this one should not make light of them so quickly; they are known to kill unknowing, innocent marks and desecrate the bodies by stealing every single thing they could lay their hands on. Such disrespect to the dead disgusts this one.
Duella shall give the Nord father much-needed peace of mind.
It is quite good to be back.
Chapter 26: Page Twenty Six
Betrayal and a new family.
Warning: Canon divergence for most of the main and side Brotherhood contracts.
Fourth Era, 202, 10th of First Seed, Middas, Vilemyr Inn, Ivarstead, The Rift Hold, Eleven at Night
The beggar does not deserve to die. Narfi is too kind, too...confused. Too much grief for his sister. This one, however, had an idea.
She, under cover of night on the sixth, crept next to the beggar, her footsteps muffled, her Elven dagger at the ready...
And made a cut on the beggar's arm. It was enough to coat the dagger and leave a few drops of...scarlet on Duella's boots. The beggar was still asleep as bandaged his wounds and this one made a quick escape.
Orian was quite proud of Khajiit's quick thinking.
On the 7th of this month, the miner in Dawnstar was dealt with, humorously~. Instead of killing Beiltid out in the open, this one called upon her as well as her husband...
And had the couple vent it out with fists.
This one had never seen a Nord woman hit another Nord so hard in the gut. With a bare fist no less!
Ah, at the end of it all, the two were a weeping, hugging, partially bloody mess. All's well that ends well for the most part, no?
This Ennodius fellow...is different. The Imperial is paranoid. And rightly so.
I have never felt so bad to prove someone right.
This one did it quick, under cover of the night of the eighth as the recluse slept in his tent. Only one poisoned arrow was needed. Quick. Merciful as this one could manage.
And Muiri. Poor, poor Muiri. Mourning did come for the girl...but not as she expected. In the wake of that damned Calixto's slaying, the Shatter-Shield mother has already lost a daughter; losing her second over a misunderstanding would be...disgusting. The daughter did not die...
But the bandit and his friends certainly did, down in that blasted dwarven ruin on the 9th morning of this month. Lydia and Maliq made sure of it.
After the heirloom was recovered, I made sure to bring back not just a family weapon...but a long lost friend as well.
The bosmer huntress who joined us was...surprised. She had never seen "such prey be spared" in such a way before.
This one is full of surprises.
Fourth Era, 202, 13th of First Seed, Lore das, The Silver Blood Inn, Markarth, The Reach Hold, Eleven at Night
Mercer Frey is a bastard.
This one I should have have killed him.
How dare he.
Karliah, the Dunmer woman, was owed my life back at Snow Veil Sanctum. I never would have imagined an arrow actually SAVING my life.
She rejected that, and accepted the journal of this Gallus as payment.
Ask and she shall receive!
After giving a measly dwarven dagger and....ugh, squishing an enormous spider
that Scarlet and Orian absolutely didn't help incinerate...this one got the key to the museum and slipped past the guards quite easily.
"It's almost as if they're blind or something," the bard and the Bosmer sniggered as we crept our way through the dwemer dungeon, leaving the nephew alive as we FINALLY got the rubbing for the journal...
...Written in Falmer.
Luckily for this one, Karliah had a friend in Winterhold who was happy to not only translate the journal but act as yet another fence.
As it turns out...Karliah, Gallus, and the treacherous bastard were Nightingales, master thieves and servants of Nocturnal. And, not just that...
Gallus and Karliah were in love.
I wonder if Mercer was jealous. I bet he was. He was absolutely jealous. I mean, anyone would be jealous of Gallus and Karliah if they were sleeping around with Maven Bitch-Briar~.
But, this one is curious...
How would my friends take to avowing myself to a Daedric Prince?
Chapter 27: Page Twenty Seven
In the meantime, Duella (reluctantly) slaves away for two Black-Briars, dreams of almost two Daedra, and confesses to two elves.
This is a filler chapter to tide you wonderful readers over for when Mercer finally gets what's coming to him! Be patient~.
Keep a look out for an Easter Egg!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 18th of First Seed, Tur das, Honeyside, Riften, The Rift Hold, Eleven in the Morning
This one had received a letter from the Black-Briars four days ago in Markarth, to come to Riften as swiftly as possible...After she regains a certain mold for a certain silversmith in Markarth, of course.
Once that was complete, Duella and the others were set to head back to Riften. However, while camping and passing through the hold of Whiterun, this one grew curious.
Curious of Orian.
"Ella, dear, I'm quite fine. All of this travel is just...taxing on me, alright? Now, would you kindly help Lydia with dinner...?"
This one smells a lie when she knows it.
Undercover of night, Duella went alone from the camp in the Whiterun plains and made way towards the city of its namesake, slipping inside with ease. However, upon entering Whiterun, Khajiit saw that she wasn't alone; an armored, bearded figure was on his way to the House of Gray-Mane in the Wind District, mumbling something about a payment of 'coin for last time'. This one's growing suspicions were confirmed as she, from the shadows of the houses nearby, was greeted by the Gray-Manes as...
The same one that dared lay hands against my friend.
Later that night, this one surveyed the Grey-Mane house until all fell quiet, her nimble fingers picking the lock with ease and crept inside with muffled footfalls. Her eyes were already accustomed to seeing in the dark, her nose picking up the faint smell of blood and metal from one of the rooms upstairs.
I wasted no time in making my move.
The bed that the bastard was sleeping in was circled by feline feet as the sleeping brute tossed about, almost reaching for something.
A bottle of wine on the dresser next to the bed. Perfect.
As he was thrashing about, this one made her way to the dresser...
Only to hear footsteps heading upstairs. Damn!
I made a quick escape out of the window and away from the house before the footsteps retreated.
My chance for vengeance waned as the sun began to peek over the horizon, hurrying towards the camp...only to find not one but two elves up and awake.
"Why were you headed toward Whiterun?" "...Who was it?"
Well...as clever as we Khajiit are, we know when to lie.
The time to lie is never now.
....This one told them of her last-minute plot for vengeance. Orian was...understandably upset. How upset?
This one still cannot sleep on the left side of her face.
Scarlet, however, said nothing until we had reached the Rift Hold two days later near Ivarstead. There, she took me aside as everyone began to restock.
"You...were planning to hunt, yes? But you...failed?"
"I can...teach you."
"After Riften and the hag, after the Guild."
Hopefully this business will not take long.
It is the 16th.
Last night, after Scarlet made her offer, this one had an...odd dream.
Well, as odd as it would be if the Skooma Cat himself, Sheggorath, was there.
"Y'know, surely you need a load off your shoulders. Would you mind if I took off your head and borrowed it for a while?"
"Anyway, I've noticed that you're a bit...off balance. Perhaps a bit of tea and cheese will do you some good? Or maybe just tea? Or just cheese? In fact, no cheese. Cheese for no-one."
Not many Khajiit would say that they have taken tea with the Skooma Cat himself...twice!
"Now, now, no need to be so fancy. There's another guest coming soon, perhaps yesterday. And I heard from her, who heard from another her, who was rendezvous-ing with him...that she'll be expecting you."
...Nocturnal. Of course.
"Say, you seem a tad familiar. Why, you're the dragon lass who treated my dear friend Pelly! You've seen Martin around anywhere? I've a feeling the two of you would get along, being dragons and all...Anyways, it might be time to take my leave; Haskill might cause trouble and my luggage is waiting! Come around to New Sheoth for tea sometime! Ta-Ta!"
This one woke up the next morning feeling both heavy and as light as air.
The afternoon of the 17th, we all arrived in Riften, Maven waiting for us at the gate. Apparently, she had caught wind of a plot by one Louis Letrush to steal a horse belonging to the family, namely her bastard of a bastard Sibbi Black-Briar.
"What a warm welcome."
Maliq and Orian couldn't resist.
And said bastard wishes to see me in his jail cell. Alone.
I could have sworn hearing a bit of a...growl from the Bosmer huntress behind me as Lydia shifted her shield arm in an act of protection.
And so, we had decided to split up the two tasks; Maliq and Lydia were to handle the affairs of the horse while....
Duella would be accompanied by the elves. Damn.
Orian...is still waiting for an apology for my hasty attempt at vengeance; "I mean, I'm well aware I'm a bit worth bloodletting, but not like this! Next time, before you go off on stupidly considerate plots of murder, tell me!"
Sibbi should be stripped naked and slaughtered like the pig he is.
Scarlet wished to "give a third option" to Sibbi's little 'problem'...one that would end very messily for him.
Luckily, Orian, this one, and plenty of other guards were around to remind her that she was not free to do as she liked...unfortunately. Thus, we were on the hunt for a woman who dared to perform a miracle such as saying no to a Black-Briar man.
My kind of woman.
As the three of us made our way towards what seemed to be Ivarstead, Orian couldn't help but snicker as he pointed towards a rather gut-busting sight close by: Maliq and Lydia chasing after a sprinting chestnut horse.
After the three of us helped wrangle the whinnying horse, we all knew what we had to do after our business in Ivarstead is finished: we give the horse to Letrush and make sure that he heads all the way to Morthal, far from Maven's reach.
May the Twin Moons guide his path.
Now, for the poor girl...She, despite her attempts at disguise, was still as fair as Sibbi described her. She does not deserve such a cruel fate; happiness is far better suited to her.
By the time the five of us returned to Riften and told the hagraven of our 'failure' to retrieve her horse, well....
This one had no idea someone so hideous would get even uglier with rage, but, sadly, miracles happen each day.
As for the spoiled brat in the gilded cage...Orian was quick to spin a tale of the girl attempting to flee to Morrowind.
Such a clever friend of this one.
Tonight shall be the 'hunting lesson' that Scarlet promised.
...Hopefully this one will learn from an expert.
But, whether this one stains her paws freely or languishes in a cell forever, making sure that Wide-Maw chokes in the Lunar Lattice or writhes in the Void will be worth it for the sake of my dear friend, who should never be ashamed of looking good in a dress!
At least, this one hopes that he will be happy wearing dresses after he catches wind of this lesson.
May this one's aim be true, her feet swift, and, if the worst should ever come to pass...
Khenarthi and S'rendarr shall be somewhat forgiving.
In the Khajiiti pantheon, Khenarthi is a psychpomp (a guide to the afterlife, the Sand Beyond The Stars)and the equivalent to Kynareth; S'rendarr is the equivalent of Stendarr, who is also the Divine of Mercy; "Sheggorath" and "the Skooma Cat" are monikers for, of course, Sheogorath!
Chapter 28: Page Twenty Eight
The deed has been done.
Fourth Era, 202, 28th of First Seed, Sundas, The Bee and Barb, Riften, The Rift Hold, Eleven in the Morning
It is finished.
The traitor is dead at last and the Skeleton Key is returned to the Twilight Woman.
It was....heart-tugging to see Karliah and Gallus reunite for a while. If only the Bosmer and I would have a love that strong one day...
The Trinity is restored.
And I now fear water.
And, as its Guildmaster, this one has made sure that there will be a foothold in not just the major cities...but in all holds.
But, with a cost, of course~.
This one has done some...reading. This one has read of the thief who stole from the Lady herself like Rahjin stealing the very tattoo of a princess as she slept.
The Gray Fox.
"The beggars are his eyes and ears."
"Never steal from the poor."
The Guild has shaping up to do and this one must whip it into shape! It may not be easy, and some will...leave over such a choice, but, this one thinks that all will be well in the long run.
And speaking of which....
This one will make sure that what Mercer stole will be brought back its rightful place: in the Guild vaults. There is much to do once Khajiit returns to the Flagon, but, it will be worth it.
My friends practically smothered me in the dirt and snow upon my emergence from the Sepulchre.
Scarlet was astonished at my appearance; this one clad in the deep black of the Nightingales, blade at my hip, bow on my back...
And the Eyes in my pocket.
Orian, no doubt, was worried sick. "I TOLD you to warn me if you go off and risked your life for sonething that might kill you! Oh, you nearly worried me to death!"
Maliq looked as if he were ready to break his drum atop my head. Either that or choke me to death with that iron grip in his hug. Either way, I could have sworn feeling him slip something into my pack just as he finally let me breathe.
Lydia, naturally, was the first to admonish my for sneaking away from the rest of us to risk my life for a pair of jewels. Lydia does not know the allure of glistening gold to one of Elsweyr. But, I endured her worried tirade anyways.
When Scarlet grabbed hold of this one, her grip was...shaking slightly. Her stunning face, for a moment, was filled with panic. This one could have sworn hearing her mumble, "First by blade, now by water...not again...", before reluctantly breaking away.
It took all this one had to resist kissing her to quell her worry.
But, that shall be for a time that is hopefully soon.
For now, I need a nice warm bed, a sweet lunar roll, and a tall bottle of Alto.
Chapter 29: Page Twenty Nine
There is only canon divergence for one Brotherhood contract.
Fourth Era, 202, 3rd of Rain's Hand, Fredas, The Sanctuary, Falkreath Hold, Eleven at Night
These two contracts were quite easy. What was Nazir thinking?
The bard...unfortunately for many, was only knocked unconscious and hauled off to the Bards' College courtesy of a carriage. This one also stopped by to greet the Ravencrone Jarl, who greeted me with open arms...as well as suspicions of foul play afoot in her town.
And so, this one obliged.
This one is glad to have bade the others to remain at Honeyside; vampires are...quite tricky.
There was a vampire loose in the town; her name was Alva, trying to turn Morthal into her coven's personal blood banquet, starting with seducing a husband after his house burnt down.
This one did not get the journal without consequences, such as...waking up Alva and testing out the Nightingale Blade on the filthy harlot. This one....is disgusted with how far vampires are willing to go to meet their own selfish ends.
That adorable girl I played "hide and seek" with must be put to rest.
So, I did.
There is a coven north of Morthal, filled with disgusting vampires waiting to feed on the entire town. So I, with a few other townsfolk as well as the Jarl herself, slipped into the cave to clear it out and kill their leader, Morvarth Piquine.
This one was happy to let the Jarl have the killing blow.
After all was said and done, Ravencrone was quite thankful for the arm of this one. Khajiit is welcome to make a hold in her hold anytime.
And now, thank goodness, for the vampires at Half-Moon Mill.
This one treated them as brutally as their unfortunate victims in the shack that they keep. They tasted...
...This one must find a potion to cure diseases. Or a shrine. Both would be wonderful.
This one is back at the Sanctuary, reading on the Tenets.
Such simple rules. Why does no one follow them here as they did long ago?
Aside from that, a redheaded jester came, alongside a coffin of his Mother inside.
The Night Mother. Here, in our Sanctuary! Why is no-one happy to have the Mother and her Keeper? Is it not custom to welcome such honored figures?
And why is Cicero stealing away to talk to someone?
Either way, Astrid commands me to investigate!
Hopefully, things will go smoothly...
Chapter 30: Page Thirty
The Listener, again.
Ladies, gentlemen, and all manner of other folk, we've all managed to reach page THIRTY! Yes, THIRTY CHAPTERS! I couldn't have done this without your support!
In other news, in a matter of weeks, I may have to move; which means limited updates. Hopefully, all of you will still be here rooting for me by the time I settle in my new place.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Rain's Hand, Loredas, The Sanctuary, Falkreath Hold, Two in the Morning
This one...heard her voice.
The voice of the Night Mother.
"Darkness rises when silence dies."
And then she spoke of a tomb named Volenruud and someone named Motierre. That this one must meet him there.
Cicero, at first, was understandably upset, but, once this one told him those words, he was quite...elated. Practically dancing across the floor!
"Oh, elation! Joy of joys! Finally, finally, the Listener has arrived!"
This one, of course, was curious. What was a Listener?
The jester then told me of the Brotherhood's traditional structure. The symbol of the Family is of a black hand; the thumb of the hand is called a Listener, one who hears the Night Mother telling them of anyone who wishes to contact the Brotherhood by the Black Sacrament, which must be me; the other four fingers are the Speakers, most likely Nazir and Astrid, those who hear the Listener's relay of a contract and send the 'nails' of each finger, the Silencers, which must be Gabriella, Babette, Festus Krex, Veezara, and Arnbjorn, to head to the invoker to receive payment and carry out the contract.
So, in that case...where does that leave Cicero?
He told me that he was the Keeper, someone who has the honor of maintaining the Night Mother's body.
This one...does not envy that honor.
Aside from this, later on, Astrid had pulled me aside. She asked of what had happened and who Cicero was speaking to.
When this one told her of what the Night Mother told Khajiit, she had a bit of a...nervous flash across her face.
...Or is it jealousy this one smells?
I will wait and see.
In the meantime, I am wondering how the Guild is doing; there is a bet going about with whether Delvin with finally have Vex, or....lose his assets with a lockpick.
My 20 pieces go towards the lockpick.
Aside from this, Astrid tells me not to go to Volunruud until she has thought over the matter and "given it balance", whatever that means.
This one feels that something is afoot here, but, of course, this one shall bide her time.
Now, about those other contracts...
It is only a matter of time.
How was my Cicero?
In other news, there is a possibility of me moving to a new place in a matter of months, so, updating may become...limited. Hopefully, all of you will still root for me as you're doing now!
Chapter 31: Page Thirty One
More contracts, more money, even more problems.
Fourth Era, 202, 10th of Rain's Hand, Fredas, The Ragged Flagon, Riften, The Rift Hold, Seven in the Morning
This one is making progress as Guildmaster. So far, there are footholds in Windhelm as well as Whiterun; only seven holds are left for the taking....Markarth is looking quite nice, coin wise~.
In other news, Khajiit is learning from Scarlet about "the hunt", as she calls it. The Bosmer takes this one out to clearings or even small villages and teaches her how to "watch the prey"; hold and mind my breathing, be aware of the most minute surroundings, never forget one's own heartbeat, and, above all else, when the "prey" has caught...
Respect its remains.
Even though they are unworthy of it.
This one shall...try to keep the final aspect in mind as the time comes.
Speaking of the group, this one has spotted Orian trying to don one of his silky green dresses and pin up his hair, only to end up a sobbing mess.
I managed to stop the Altmer before he could rip the dress in frustration. He collapsed in my arms as I comforted Orian, calming him with purrings of how stunning he would look in a gown and how nicely the silk flowed to his form.
"Oh, Duella dear....thank you...This r-really means a lot. I'll...try to dress up again tomorrow night, a-alright?"
If only this one could remind him to try each day.
As for the warrior-poet, he seems to have been struck with, what did he call it...?
"An artist's block"? Either way, poetry does not flow from his quill as it once did.
It is up to this one to help him! I hope.
Our first attempt was...rather stupid, this one admits. She had tried reading Maliq a book called "The Red Kitchen" as well as the books "Thief of Virtue" and even the Daedric work "Wabbajack"; his resulting poetry was...flat, to put it lightly.
But, before this one could think of a second attempt, this one and the Redguard had managed to spot a wandering Nord...with her nose in a book? Well, there is a first time for everything. As Maliq offered a helping hand to the woman, Khajiit could have sworn seeing Scarlet sneak from the camp late last night; this one naturally followed.
As this one followed the Bosmer, she couldn't help but notice how...odd she was being. Sniffing the air like a dog, keeping her body towards the earth as if she were on all fours, and—though this may be the Alto wine catching up to Duella—faintly seeing the faint silhouette of...
...This one must look into this a bit more.
Chapter 32: Page Thirty Two
The Dragonborn wanders.
And now, a continuation of the long awaited....main questline~!
Fourth Era, 202, 14th of Rain's Hand, Tirdas, High Hrothgar, The Throat of The World, The Rift Hold, Seven at Night
Maliq had met the wandering Nord woman again two days ago; around that time, poetry finally flows from from his pen...as well as the Nord's name.
Quite a name to remember, and quite the encounter to remember as well!
She bumped into us, lost again, asking if any of us had come across any Nordic burial ruins or...
Dragon word walls?
Such an odd request.
But, since we were traveling along through the Rift, it would be to have something to do. And so, we walked towards a fabled dragon sighting called "Northwind Summit"; it was not far from Riften and this one had heard of there being some riches hidden there as well~.
How big could this dragon possibly be?
(This section of the page is slightly torn, bloodied, and singed at the edges)
This one spoke too soon.
But at least the dragon is dead and Neilaas is...
Writing notes? And babbling on about the "intricacies of this Nordic structure"?
Is the Nord touched in the head? As soon as this one asked Neilass of what she was talking about, I felt it again.
The pounding of thousands of drums.
The chanting that seemed to descend from the Lunar Lattice.
Streams of light pouring from the markings on the wall.
And the Nord was astonished, speechless. For a second.
"You...You're the...Dovahkiin? The mortal that is born with the blood of a...dragon? No...no way...this is impossible...that the Dragonborn is..."
A queen Khajiit who is not just a thief of shiny things, but a thief of lives? How surprising. In fact, fitting. This one has stolen the legacy of Nords all across Skyrim, and now she has killed any hope of theirs that the Dragonborn will be what the legends spoke of.
Neilaas was stunned, but she...wanted proof. Proof that this one was truly born of a dragon.
And so, I showed her; I turned towards the nearest tree and practically shouted it out of its roots, the crackling sound of snapping wood almost deafening.
"You...really are....this is AMAZING!"
The Nord does not care that the astounding hero-warrior of Nordic legend...is a cat?
As long as she doesn't care.
Chapter 33: Page Thirty Three
Duella searches for a horn, and a Nord worms her way into the party.
Fourth Era, 202, 21st of Rain's Hand, Sundas, High Hrothgar, The Throat of The World, The Rift Hold, Eight at Night
(The top of this page is riddled with frustrated scribbles and blood droplets.)
The Greybeards have bade this one to go to this Nordic burial ground called Ustengrav alongside her friends, to seek out this horn of one called Jurgen Windcaller, the man who began the teaching of the Way of The Voice.
This one happily obliged.
Ustengrav held its typical fare: draugr, bandits, necromancers, interesting quarry to loot.
What was NOT typical was two, no, three things:
-A wall of words at the base of a waterfall that made this one feel...almost ethereal when she read it.
-Neilaas following behind us each and every step of the way as if she were a living shadow, mumbling all the while about "fascinating artifacts".
-The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller NOT BEING THERE.
The horn is not there.
Apparently a slimy purloiner got to it first and is hiding out in Riverwood, in...
The Sleeping Giant Inn?
This one remembers that inn! It was the first inn that allowed this one to rest her head in a warm bed with a belly full of food since she has fled Helgen! The innkeeper was always quite...cold towards Duella, though. She wonders why.
Anyways, onto the subject of the nosy Nord woman following this one about like a lost pup.
Since she was so...excited at her discovery of Duella and her blessed blood...she shall let Neilaas stay with us. However, when leading everyone up to High Hrothgar, Neilass was quite overwhelmed by the cold and the shock of this monastery...
The Nord is fast asleep in the stone bed next to Duella.
I wonder how she will handle seeing a dragon up close, should we encounter one on the way back to Riverwood.
This one hopes that Neilaas will take well to everyone else...especially a certain warrior-poet~.
Fourth Era, 202, 23rd of Rain's Hand, Tirdas, The Sleeping Giant Inn, Riverwood, Whiterun Hold, Ten In The Morning
Well, a good morning for the Nords and the Bosmer, at least.
The poet, the Altmer, and the Khajiit had not gotten much sleep...for different reasons. When this one had asked these two about what was keeping them awake, she received...very different responses.
The warrior-poet was...quite bashful about what had made him lose sleep. As it turns out, Maliq had been losing sleep over what to write; ever since the Nord Neilaas had joined up with us and made her presence known, the poet's "artist's block" has crumbled!
"Artist's block". Right. And this one is the Mother Cat incarnate.
As for Orian, he was...much more reluctant to tell this one what had kept him awake most of the night.
This one will find out later. She would not do anything to give her dear friend undue stress.
Khajiit me...I had a dream.
A dream of a memory of when...my elder Sister and I were mere kittens.
Our tiny village in Elsweyr was razed, burnt, destroyed by mercenaries. Human mercenaries...looking for fur to sell. There was smoke and flame every where the two of us had looked, until we saw two people lead some survivors away from the flaming ruins of my former home. It was then that my elder sister, Dahjra, and I wandered with this small group and the two saviors until we integrated into the next village we found, that lay between the border of Cyrodiil and Elsweyr...
And Dahjra and I gained a new mother and father.
I...do not remember much about my former parents, but I do remember something about the appearance of one of my saviors.
It was a woman, whose face was smeared in smoke and warpaint. The rest is...a blur.
For now. I hope.
I must get to asking questions about this missing horn soon.
I This one will hope to get this over with quickly.
Ooh, Duella's past is slowly being revealed! Who do you think rescued her and her sister? Who was the second person that saved them?
Chapter 34: Page Thirty Four
Duella finds out the truth...and many other truths.
Fourth Era, 202, 23rd of Rain's Hand, Tirdas, The Sleeping Giant Inn, Riverwood, Whiterun Hold, One In The Afternoon
It was Delphine!
Delphine took the Horn! Now that this one mentions it, she could have sworn seeing the woman before...
Oh, by the Skooma Cat, it was HER talking to Balgruuf's wizard when Khajiit brought the Dragonstone!
Mother Cat's mercy, she has the horn of Jurgen Windcaller! And this one can tell her just where to shove it...if only she wasn't held back by Scarlet and Neilaas.
"Duella. Calm yourself. This woman knows more than she says. Relax."
With a voice like that from a Bosmer such as her? How could Khajiit resist such a thing?
So, Khajiit calmed down...reluctantly and requested the 'attic room', before the Bretony woman led me (and by extension, the rest of our group into a hidden basement room in the inn...
And Neilaas nearly fainted again.
"O-Oh, by the gods...Blades?"
What in the Lunar Lattice are the Blades? Thankfully, this one is quite fortunate to have let Neilass tag along; the Nord knows quite a lot.
"Well, the Blades were bodyguards to each Emperor to the Septim line...and were acting as bodyguards to the Dragonborn."
This one can have friends, but she did not know any Khajiit aside from the Mane to actually bodyguards! Even though there is not much of a body for them to guard!
However, Delphine was skeptical of my blessed blood. If Khajiit used Khenarthi's gift, she will likely go to jail for murder and face the headsman with no dragon to save her.
So, the best course of action would be to follow her directions to this place called "Kynesgrove", where this burial mound shall be...
After Maliq and I raid her chests nearby for any armor and weapons from the Blades, of course~.
It is now five in the afternoon, we are all still at the inn.
After we were split into the two separate rooms, we all soon began talking; Lydia, Neilaas, and Scarlet in one room, while the skald, Orian, and this one were in the other.
We spoke of all sorts of things; our favorite foods, stories, places, even our birthdays and ages!
As it turns out, Orian was born under the sign of the Lover in the 14th of Sun's Dawn; as of now, he is currently...97 years old? He barely looks as if he'd turned 30!
In the case of Maliq, he was born under the sign of the Lord in the 7th of First Seed, making him...27 years old last month.
As for this one...I do not know. This one cannot remember. So, this one has chosen to follow the sign of the Serpent.
As we three talked, the topic switched towards childhoods.
Maliq was born in a sprawling town in Hammerfell called Sentinel, the youngest of five children. The two eldest have joined their father in becoming Alik'r warriors among the sand, the middle child died young in the loving arms of maritime piracy, the second youngest remained at home to open up a tailor's shop, and the very youngest is sitting in the Sleeping Giant Inn with the hero of Nordic legend who happens to be a Khajiit.
Orian was...a bit less revealing in his childhood. The Altmer says that he lived a life in the Warrior caste of the shining city of the Summerset Isles with very strict and confining parents. His movements and actions were measured with great scrutiny, his peers and family expecting only top-tier perfection.
Before he could say more, however, Maliq and this one stopped him with a hug.
This one gave Orian as much venison and sweet rolls as he asked for before she moved towards the room where the other three ladies were staying, eavesdropping being the goal.
What Khajiit has heard was...boring.
Lydia was attempting to get Neilaas and Scarlet to open up and talk, telling stories that she has heard even since she was a child.
It was only when she told the story of the origin of Dragonsreach did Neilaas make a sound, and it was...almost deafening.
"THE JARL CAPTURED A DRAGON!?"
I apologize for the slow updating; college is kicking back in for me and, sadly, life comes first.
Chapter 35: Page Thirty Five
Duella visits Kynesgrove, starts to notice someone...and receives other contracts.
Fourth Era, 202, 30th of Rain's Hand, Tirdas, The Ragged Flagon, The Ratway, Riften, The Rift Hold, Three In The Afternoon
Astrid has...reconsidered. This one is to go to Volenruud to visit Motierre. Why so sudden a change?
This one senses something. Something foul. But Khajiit cannot act on this with just suspicion; Duella needs evidence, but, Astrid is adept at covering her tracks and avoiding detection. She has most of the Brotherhood under her sway.
I cannot say much for now.
So, this one must talk with this man named Amaund Motierre.
Khajiit has explained this suspicion to her friends, and, each has said their points:
-Orian believes that Astrid is plotting something horrid, to the point of violating the tenets.
-Maliq thinks that Astrid might do something worthy of a power play or a show of dominance.
-Scarlet herself does not care for such politics, but, urges this one to be careful.
-Neilaas and Lydia advised this one to leave the Brotherhood for fear of being harmed. Or worse.
With this knowledge, this one shall think of a plan.
But, for now, this one journeys to Volenruud with thoughts of her freed contracts on the way.
Duella has met the Breton. And his bodyguard.
To spite Astrid, Khajiit took a peek at the enclosed letter; a plot to assassinate the Emperor is afoot! Alongside others who are closely related to him, including...
His cousin? Vittoria Vici?
Good riddance, then! This one never liked her! She smelt of arrogance and infidelity!
As well as a chef? And a guard?
All in an attempt to reach the Leader?
Astrid commented on how 'sloppy' Khajiit was in opening the letter before sending her off to attend Vittoria's wedding. This one hopes that the food is good. As much as she would like to invite her friends to this wedding...this one doubts that they will enjoy it. Besides, Astrid said she would leave a...gift for me to give to the bride as well as a bonus for me should the bride be killed during her speech.
This one hopes that this "gift" helps her leave the wedding. Alive.
Speaking of which, this one has called some people to...make some arrangements for people that she has helped before. It is not complete.
Fourth Era, 202, 2nd of Second Seed, Turdas, Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm, Eastmarch Hold, Ten At Night
This one seen has a dragon.
Not just any dragon...A resurrected dragon.
A dragon that was raised by Alduin.
Thankfully, it was not resurrected for long.
Neilaas, of course, was quick to shake herself from her shocked stupor to cast a few ward spells alongside Orian and the lightning that danced from his fingertips.
Maliq, Scarlet, and Lydia faced the dragon head-on with sword, shield, and mace as I took aim at it when it managed to take to the air.
In a matter of minutes, the dragon was deceased. Again.
It is a shame, however, that Alduin did not join him. Ah, well.
Perhaps Delphine will be happy with this proof of this one being Dragonborn...only that she isn't. Of course. Another task awaits this one: she must infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy near Solitude and uncover whatever secrets that they keep.
Fascinating! However, Khajiit wonders if they will accept a guest bringing guests. Who shall accompany this one?
On the way to Solitude, though, we have managed to stop for some rest here at Candlehearth Hall...and have seen something odd.
An Argonian in full Orcish armor sitting next to a...beautiful older Redguard woman. They were in a conversation, well, a one-sided conversation since the Redguard did most of the talking while only a simple grunt or growl was heard from the Argonian.
This one is...curious on seeing them again.
But, for now, this one has an embassy to infiltrate, a favor to ask...
And a wedding to visit~.
Chapter 36: Page Thirty Six
The cat plays Cupid, hopes for family...and crashes a wedding.
Fourth Era, 202, 7th of Second Seed, Turdas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, Five In The Morning
It is the day of the wedding that unites a Stormcloak and an Imperial. This....should be a happy occasion, a cause for celebration.
But no one is happy. The Snow-Shod family certainly isn't, the Vici family isn't...This one knows political marriages never last, but, what if this particular one goes well? What if it succeeds?
Will either partner of this couple be...happy?
...This one doubts it.
Vici has someone warming her bed. Snow-Shod backs Bitch-Briar and is mourning his lost sister.
This cannot be fixed through a forced union.
So...it falls to me to tear this union asunder, somehow.
This one...hopes that all will be well.
(This section of the page has several slight rippings.)
It is done.
This one is thankful for her sharp eye. With a well-aimed arrow to the balcony, the bride sunk to the floor before the groom and his family stood up and revolted against the guards.
"For Skyrim!" "For the true High King!"
An entire family, slaughtered.
Courtesy of Veezara, Khajiit had made an exit out of the city. This one hopes that no bounties were earned.
Now the rest of the group must pack up and flee the city alongside this one, for fear of any of the chaos spreading beyond the temple walls.
Khajiit humbly apologizes.
All of us are now out of Solitude and into Hafingaar Hold proper...
With a dragon tailing us.
Our group had taken down the beast quite...quickly before the sun went down. Scarlet was eager to make the killing blow. This one had lost count of how many dragon souls she had...consumed ever since the Watchtower in Whiterun.
Speaking of, this one has seen a beggar girl roaming the streets of Whiterun not long ago. It is such a shame! A poor girl like that should never beg for scraps!
If only this one could take her in. But she doubts that the people of Skyrim would let a cat
and a Bosmer adopt a Nord child.
Speaking of children, Khajiit has written to her family in the village at the border; there is to be a wedding! My older sister is getting betrothed! Whomever the lucky cat is, they had better take care of her!
Ah, if only this one could go.
This one wishes to go to her sister's wedding...after having just slain a bride who is a total stranger.
As soon as we stop in Riften, perhaps I shall....seek out the hand of Mara once more.
In the matter of Mara, this one has seen...whispers between the Redguard skald and the Nord scholar. Perhaps poetry? Sweet nothings~?
This one has told Orian; the smile he made...somewhat surprised her.
"Ooh, Ella dear, I know~. I'm glad you see it, too~. In fact, I think a bit of help from dear aunt Mara is just the thing my little...game needs~. Shame that those don't see it...yet."
This one is eager to see what Orian has planned~.
Chapter 37: Page Thirty Seven
The Hand of Mara...and the Hand of Sithis strikes again.
Fourth Era, 202, 13th of Second Seed, Middas, Rorikstead, Whiterun Hold, Ten In The Morning
Khajiit has been...thinking.
Thinking of many things.
Of her newfound friends. Of her apparent destiny of Alkosh, the Dragon King of Cats. Of her professions of thief, assassin, Nightingale, and Listener.
Of her newfound...feelings.
For the Bosmer.
She has been sneaking from wherever we rest whenever the rest of us are asleep. Her Orcish bow slung across her back, fully clad in leather armor, a look of stone upon her breathtaking face.
She has been teaching me how to breathe and move silently when tailing any marks, whether for coin or for bloodshed; never breathe through the mouth and always use the balls of the foot when weaving through trees or through crowds of people.
Be aware of where you are and how you move. Keep a clear head and look where your target never does.
There have been close calls with the authorities of the Holds, yes, but...
The silver tongue of this one has proved handy.
Speaking of close calls...on our first day in this lovely town of Rorikstead, this one and Orian were accosted by a flung mead bottle. Luckily, Lydia and Maliq had discovered who threw it: a drunken farmer named Lemkil. Apparently, he thought that we were helping his "lazy, good-for-nothing daughters" shirk their chores.
Lazy, good-for-nothing? They are only kids!
And those poor girls....well, poor girl. Not only does the father punish them, but one of the daughters beats on the other for not doing both of their chores! That poor child...
Perhaps there is a way to...solve this little problem. But not today, not now.
Duella has a more...pressing matter to attend to while residing in this particular Hold.
Grenar Wide-Maw may still be in Whiterun, or somewhere nearby. This one must send him to Sithis in the name of her friend.
If Duella cannot, who can?
(This section of the page has a few bloodstains on it.)
Tonight was a...busy night.
This one was assigned to kill two people, who happened to be in Whiterun at the time:
-Anoriath, a Bosmer who runs the meat stand in the marketplace.
-Ma'randru-jo, a fellow Khajiit who is travelling with the caravans across this freezing land.
For the Bosmer....call it bias. This one gave him the same treatment that she gave Narfi; a simple steady cut on the arm in his sleep and he was spared.
As for the fellow cat...no. He literally spat in Lydia's face and refused to sell to Scarlet and Orian on the grounds of "not liking how dishonest they looked"; it took everything this one, Maliq, and Neilaas had to calm the three of them...before I slipped into the caravan camp late one night and slit the cat's throat.
Some mage he was.
This one did think to cut the rest of him and make a pelt, but...
No Khajiit deserves what had happened to my first home.
On much lighter news, Orian has seen Maliq and Neilaas talking between each and...giggling. He believes that the two of them could be pushed together; should we happen to split up our group, the two of us shall make especially sure that the scholar and the bard remain together~.
It is quite...touching, helping this one's two dear friends grow closer.
Now for the matter of this one's own heart.
Scarlet is...quite mysterious. She is quiet, aggressive, not very good at talking things out, but the Bosmer is very loyal and quite passionate about the weapons and armor that she makes.
That focused gaze whenever she pounds away at white-hot metal or aims an arrow at a foolish target, that determined resolve when she goes after an enemy, how calm she looks whenever she looks up at the stars....
This one is unsure of whether Dibella or Mara is guiding me.
Either way, Duella shall...talk to her tomorrow night.
But, for tonight...
This one shall do some...hunting.
Chapter 38: Page Thirty Eight
Duella seeks Sanctuary, finds silence and division, and takes matters into her own...claws. But not before meeting one of some very...odd people.
Fourth Era, 202, 17th of Second Seed, Sundas, Whiterun Hold, Two In The Afternoon
As this one returned and we got ready to depart Rorikstead, this one has noticed a Khajiit caravan traveling alongside us, most likely to head to the city of Whiterun to ply their trade outside the walls...
Until this one has noticed someone rather odd.
A Khajiit who was taking up the rear caravan and was...singing quite loudly. If that singing would be compared to an aged howling horker during mating season, he is a good singer. The rest of the caravan seems to think so; look at their faces scrunched up and cringing in delight as he hits high notes!
He...seems to be a new addition.
A reluctant new addition.
However, amongst the complaints to shut him up, the kinsman had spotted us.
He was...odd, even for a Khajiit. Gold rings braided at the ends of his hair, gold rings in his ears, and his fur was a rich light brown from head to tail. And, as always...
He towered over this one by a head.
If only there was a Shout to make tall people shorter than this one.
"Greetings! Though our caravan is departing this Hold for now, Jo'kir will be happy to sell his books and wares--"
He was hounded by two mages and a skald as soon as he said 'books'. Lydia couldn't help but chuckle at the sight while Scarlet couldn't resist rolling her eyes.
By the time this Jo'kir fellow had finished filling out their requests, his pack had nearly emptied and the three had come away with gleeful smiles and armfuls of books and scrolls.
"Ah! This one is quite surprised! And pleased! Jo'kir has never seen such hunger for books, not even from the college in Winterhold!"
The poor cat never got to finish, as he was suddenly accosted by a certain excited Altmer spellsword.
"You've BEEN to bloody WINTERHOLD?! Tell me, tell me!"
Orian was...eager, to say the least. And had quite the strong grip, so it seemed.
After nearly whacking him with a mace in order to pry him off, Jo'kir had said something that had brought my friend down to Nirn again.
"Jo'kir shall tell you more about this College...for a fee."
Orian's face then grew as flat as Jarl Balgruuf's tolerance for nonsense. He reluctantly paid the fee and eagerly listened to the tales my kinsman wove of the Mages' College, the look on his face that this one could only call... 'spellbound'. His eyes grew as wide as a child being told a story by his father, hanging onto Jo'kir's every word before the tales of Winterhold's magical exploits and escapades came to a flourishing end.
"Duella, dear, after our stop in Whiterun and dropping off Maliq in Solitude, I will literally beg you until my dying breath that I be taken to Winterhold immediately."
...How could Duella say no to that face?
It is night now.
We are not far from the city of Whiterun.
Perhaps this one shall put the Bosmer's teachings into practice; there is a bandit camp nearby. The good Jarl Balgruuf could appreciate this cleaning out.
No one will be missed, after all.
(This lower section has quite a few blood spatters as well as it being...lightly singed.)
This one expected common, slobbering, unruly bandits.
Not bandits who know how to fling fire. This one has lost a braid or five. Thankfully, her fur is not singed...she hopes.
In the morning, Duella must speak with Battle-Born for his...call for help from the Guild. Either way, we are only three Holds away from restoring the Guild to what it once was so many years ago. And then...
This one I will make some changes.
It is odd.
I find myself a different cat each time I put pen to paper. I used to follow no faith, saying only a god's name in passing, and then I felt Mara's hands on my shoulders.
Now I feel arms tugging me in each direction.
The coolness of the shadows and the warm light at either arm.
The feeling of paint, perfume, and flowers at my lower half.
And the void wreathing my head.
Hopefully I can make sense of this. And do it soon.
Well....at least this one isn't alone.
Good morning, journal.
I returned to camp just before dawn, only for two elves to greet me.
Gold and wood waiting for a cat. Odd.
Orian was quick to chide me for sneaking off in the night, worriedly wringing his hands all the while, but Scarlet stopped him. She simply gave a warning glare to both of us before leading me aside.
"You hunted. Don't lie to me, I can smell it on you. You need more practice, but, it's a start."
This one is surprised the Bosmer still wishes to teach her.
Orian, however, was less careful. And less quiet.
"By my aunt Dibella's sacred tits, quit running off in the middle of the night whenever it fucking suits you! I don't know what you're trying to prove, Ella dear, but please, be careful. You're...starting to scare me."
A sneaky cat scare a tall elf? A shock!
"...You aren't the same girl that spoke with me almost a year ago back at the Bee and Barb. Whoever you're becoming, bring my damn best friend back...or not even the depths of Oblivion will stop me."
A tall elf make a cat nearly soil herself? Quite common.
He refused to talk even as we reached Whiterun's gates, and even as we sat in the Drunken Huntsman, where one brother misses another, as my skald friend blew a certain bard's performance out of the water.
He turned the other way and kept quiet as this one headed off to Olfrid Battle-Born to help arrange an escape for a friend. Even as we rested for the evening, Orian said not a word.
The carriage ride to Falkreath was tense with Neilaas, Lydia, and Maliq trying to defuse it with little quips of humorous facts and childhood stories.
Hopefully the Sanctuary will give this one ease.
Chapter 39: Page Thirty Nine
Sanctuary and an unexpected guest.
Fourth Era, 202, 24th of Second Seed, Sundas, Falkreath Hold, Midnight
Zitraka t'har, Astrid, vaba yari*. Most definitely jealous. Even as Gabriella told this one to eliminate Maro's son before collecting what would be the last contract set from Nazir. And, oddly enough, one of them is right here.
The Jarl's housecarl, no less.
This one is debating to let him live like the others, though. He is associated with one of the most impudent, childish, corrupt Jarls that this one has ever met...but there is a chance that Helvard is trying to advise some sense into Siddgeir, but refuses to listen.
....Only so little time to decide. Oh, well.
Speaking of decisions, Orian is still silent. He hardly accepts offers of food and drink from Khajiit now. He does not even accept the pretty dresses that this one
swiped found anymore! After seeing Helvard, this one must head to the closest temple for guidance.
(This page holds a good deal of septim-sized bloodstains.)
The blood on the page does not belong to this one. It was from the housecarl. He didn't deserve to die by blade as he slept. Ah, no. He was much too good. This one slipped poison into his wine before he slept and he...reacted quite badly. The poison was meant to kill quickly and silently, not like this! This is much too drawn out, much too horrid for such a man!
...Either way, this one hopes that the Void holds a far better master than Siddgeir. Poor Helvard.
Onto the next ones...one of them in a damned Dwarven ruin and the other inside of a bandit fort. After whichever one is closest, this one seeks out a temple. She needs prayer. Some sort of reassurance...or protection. Duella has a feeling that she may be...straying further than she thinks. Her thoughts are clouded, and her voice...feels much harsher each time she speaks. Or uses the gift of
Kynareth Khenarthi. Perhaps this one needs a...vacation.
A long vacation.
Perhaps to a nice, sandy kalmir* with the waves lapping at her toes, or to a sprawled out field of vibrant, colorful, and sweet-smelling kalshan* swaying in the pleasant breeze...?
...Does this one deserve such a blessing?
Anyways, onto the next keth-rifti*...
Fourth Era, 202, 26th of Second Seed, Tirdas, Outside of Fort Greymoor, Whiterun Hold, Three In The Morning
(Oddly enough, this page holds no bloodstains.)
The old maid in the fort sleeps in the Void now.
It was short. Peaceful, almost.
One arrow, well aimed.
It does this one no good to stay in this k'sharraji krosho* any longer.
The Mother Cat would turn her eyes away from this one. No doubt. What has this one done...? By slaying a cruel old woman, Duella has brought about a bloody path of death throughout this cold and barren land...
But this one is far, far from Elsweyr and her family.
this one If...I had simply stayed put, I never would have met my dear friends, Orian, Maliq, Neilaas, Lydia...and the Drea-meri* hunter that I wish to meet all over again. Instead, I would have been with my new mother and father and loving older sister, weaving and selling silks and precious fabrics until a suitor asked for my paw in the name of the Mother Cat.
But instead, I chose to wander and ended up meeting so many friends that are like family to me, to find a place in the Guild, a friend in the Nightingales, and dare I say, even a third Family in a Sanctuary that accepted me...even with this 'gift' of Alkosh.
I guess I shall make the most of this while I still can.
But first, a temple...and asking Astrid some very important questions.
Fourth Era, 202, 28th of Second Seed, Turdas, The Sanctuary, Falkreath Hold, Ten At Night
This is a sight.
This one expected Astrid to hand her a new assignment.
But there she was, a tall Redguard woman who slipped into the Sanctuary! And blind, no less! This one made sure that she was not followed! But, surprisingly, she and Astrid are...cordial? She bore only a few gray streaks in her hair as a sign of her age, a full figure, a soft smile upon her full lips and a voice to match as she spoke to our 'matron' of this Sanctuary...
And two Steel war axes on her hips?
This woman is...a Dark Sister?
Oddly enough, the jester, Babette, Gabriella, and even Krex are warming up to her, this Redguard, this...S'hialah. And she is...loyal to the Night Mother? Even though she cannot see? But how? Is she aided by the Night Mother? By Sithis? She is devoted enough to the Tenets, for certain, almost as much as Cicero!
And yet, whenever she 'looks' at this one...
She cannot help but feel as if the woman is staring straight into her.
That piercing, alluring gaze, that simple and curious smile, the soft voice asking this one for her name...
And this one gave it to her.
She stared into Duella even further. It felt so...odd. "You...have an odd aura. Like...someone is enveloping you. Could it be...Sithis perhaps?"
"Sithis indeed, dear Dark Sister! For she is the Listener! Cicero has bore witness to hearing her speak the binding words! Oh ho, what a wondrous day that was!" It seems Cicero is improving at introductions since he first arrived.
"You? You..are the Listener? How wonderful! It's certainly not every day that I get to meet the Speakers, the honored Keeper, and the Listener! Such an honor!"
This one could have sworn feeling Astrid glare Daedric daggers into the back of this one's head as S'hialah ventured closer to the Unholy Matron's coffin alongside Cicero, the Sister and the Keeper chatting away about contract past.
This one feels that she may see this Redguard again.
(This bottom portion of the page has bloodied thumbpad prints on its edges.)
It took some...persuading, but, the brute finally agreed.
The scene is set.
The guests are come.
Let the party begin~.
Ta'agra Translation Time~!
"Zitraka t'har vaba yari" = "The supposed leader is jealous".
kalmir = Shore or beach
kalshan = Flowers
keth-rifti = Blood-contract
k'sharraji krosho = Cursed Fort(ress)
Chapter 40: Page Forty
Who did it before a schismed Sanctuary?
Thank all of you readers who stuck around for this long just for a cat-woman to write in a journal~.
It really means a lot to me to see you so eager to see what will happen next; it just kinda pushes me to keep going and think of how to surprise you all next~!
I wish I could give kudos to all of you who snooped about in this poor Khajiit's journal literally since page one!
Fourth Era, 202, 11th of Midyear, Fredas, Heljarchen Hall, The Pale, Midnight
It has been two weeks or so, journal.
This one writes after...a party.
It hurt this one's heart to deceive some of the guests there, but, it had to be done.
The beggar Narfi, the couple in Dawnstar, the orcish bard, a merchant-hunter, a brute, and a pirate captain all caught in the same locked house with promises of gold and valuables hidden in its walls.
All this one needed to do was plant suspicion here and there and half of them have already slaughtered each other! It was...quite odd and sad to see, truly.
The first ones to go were the bitter couple from Dawnstar; this one knew that their little truce wouldn't last long. They had bludgeoned the other to death in the cellar of the grand house with the very pickaxes that they were carrying. This one wished to stop them, but...they were much too eager to grow fat off of the supposed wealth hidden in a certain part of this house. Their own greed and spite of each other did them in. It was...foolishly heartbreaking.
The pirate, Safia, was just as ruthless as this one expected.
She feared that the beggar and the hunter-brother had somehow banded together to make off with the fabled gold and jewels inside of this manor's walls; the hunter shall never stalk game and greet Ysolda...or the brother that called for his demise ever again. The beggar's end was less brutal, however; the pirate sank her blade into the poor man's belly as he tried to sleep away his unease.
The bard, oddly enough, attempted an alliance between himself, the pirate and the Nord brute; he was met with scoffs and insults before the brute bloodied his hands by cracking the Orc's lute over his head.
Maliq would have been relieved...and disappointed.
Soon, there was only this one, Safia...
And the one who wronged Khajiit's friend so long ago.
It had been a long while since that...encounter in Whiterun. The brute, as this one heard, only held a short stint in the Dragonsreach jail before being freed by a lackey of the Grey-Manes.
Probably Nazeem. Definitely Nazeem.
All it took was a dutiful courier with the invitation and a great fee for the poor man to travel from here to Whiterun plus fare for food should the man grow tired and weary...
And here he stands, plotting against a pirate for a bountiful treasure that is not there. All as Scarlet taught this one.
"A hunter is more than strength. It is precision. It is accuracy. It is cunning. It is being one step ahead of your prey, always. And, when striking your prey...do it swiftly and cleanly. Each being and beast has a right to live; it does not deserve to be struck down with brutality and hatred the hunter may have held towards it. Do this, and your hunt will be plentiful."
On the third or fourth night, Grenar made his move against Safia.
The two of them were no doubt capable fighters, of course, but...
The cutlass was no match for the hammer. The once proud captain of the Red Wave now lay in a heap at his feet in the kitchen of the grand estate.
It was just the two of us now.
Grenar Wide-Maw lay awake, suspicious of this one for about three days.
It was only on the fourth day, at the break of dawn, that the great lumbering beast of a Nord fell asleep upon the main hall's dining table, his namesake in full force as his enormous maw pushed out a growling snore.
This one My steps were swift and silent, the shadows of Sithis and Gallus masking my movements as I crept closer.
My paws were trembling on the line between honor and vengeance as I pulled out my dagger, eager to taste blood no matter how it slices.
Should I let go and avenge my dearest friend?
Or shall I treat my prey with honor, ending him swiftly?
Honor is a swifter end to me.
Fourth Era, 202, 14th of Midyear, Morndas, Sanctuary....?, Falkreath Hold, Three In The Afternoon
It is no longer a Sanctuary!
This one is just about to open the door, having caught Gaius Maro by surprise and killing him on the way, when S'hiala ran to Khajiit!
Despite her blindness, she looked worried...fearful.
"Cicero had snapped!", she said as she led this one inside to see the Family huddled about Veezara, who was clutching a...stab wound!
Astrid, of course, was quite irate, ordering Khajiit to find out why the jester had done such a thing before finding him and slaying him.
Would that not break a Tenet? No, two Tenets!
This one went to consult the other Family members on what she should do and what they thought, but...they were clouded with rage for the jester, even Gabriella!
There was only one person who was not swallowed by such ire: S'hiala. This one asked her how such a thing could happen while Khajiit was out on business; the answer nearly broke this one's heart.
"Cicero overheard Astrid...breaking the first Tenet. 'Never dishonor the Night Mother.' So, in defending the Night Mother's honor, he confronted Astrid and moved to strike her...only for the Shadowscale to take the blow. Cicero's aura was so...intense, so animated, Veezara's was...so sharp, and yet I can see it...waning."
This one could not help but pray, not for Sithis...but for Mara.
And her prayers were not unheard.
"I believe you mean Dibella, dear Listener~?"
...How does this woman keep her faiths leveled with each other? And so equally? Speaking of faiths, this one had told her about the orders that Astrid had given.
Duella-daro has never seen a pretty face frown so much before....or felt an arm grip her with such force and led away with such speed before.
"I see. Consult the Night Mother, pray for guidance, my dear little Listener....And keep this 'leader' satisfied for now. But, regardless of what Astrid says...please, for the sake of this Family...or what's left of it...let Cicero live. Without him, there is no Night Mother, no one for you to Listen to guidance. Go now...and be careful."
Cicero...is a mad jester. It would have a maddening honor to be with the Night Mother and keep her safe...but to not hear her voice for so long would be horrible.
Poor jester, out in the cold of Dawnstar, hiding behind life's greatest illusion.
And this one must take two of the Void's most devoted beings to Dawnstar...
To spare this man.
May Mara warm this one's bones on her journey.
Chapter 41: Page Forty One
A decision and...a gift?
Fourth Era, 202, 18th of Midyear, Fredas, Honeyside, The Rift Hold, Five In The Afternoon
It is done. The jester lives.
And the false leader is appeased.
The specter who aided me in this Sanctuary was...None other than Lucien LaChance, a Speaker who was part of the Sanctuary in the city of Cheydinhal of Cyrodiil, before it was razed to the ground by the Great War...and Purified by an Initiate that quickly became the man's Silencer.
This one was walking the halls of a ghostly Sanctuary with a legend!
"There is a disturbance in the Void....The Dread Father will be most displeased."
He recounted how his own Brotherhood was betrayed so many years ago because of family blood being shed.
Blood...of a family?
...This one has a bad feeling about what may come.
But, when Khajiit returned to her own Sanctuary, intent on giving a splendid performance to Astrid, this one had acted out her role of a professional assassin perfectly...much to S'hiala's delight and pride.
"...I'm proud to have you as a Listener, Duella. But...your aura....is wavering. Duella, is something wrong? Do you need to lie down? I'll prepare some soup!"
Her tone of voice, so warm and caring, much like a mother tending to a sick cub. If only this one could see her own mother.
But, this one...unfortunately, did not need homemade soup. She needs a bit of...a change of pace.
"S'hiala...will you be upset at this one?"
"Oh? For what reason?"
"...This one...needs to...take a break. C-Can Listeners do that...?"
S'hiala said nothing as she gazed at, no, into this one. It was not this one she was seeing.
It was Duella-daro's athra*.
It was as if...she had read my heart almost perfectly. My wants, desires...
But instead of berating me, she simply smiled, as if she were a mother comforting a child.
"As devoted as I am, we're all still...human~. Everyone needs a break every once in a while, little Listener. And considering the ordeal that you've just been through...you more than deserve it~."
This one nearly called her "Fado!*" as she thanked S'hiala and asked her something that this one would never have thought to ask.
Khajiit asked her of the beings that she is devoted to. Her own personal...what was the word that Neilaas said...
How many beings and forces did this Sister pray to? How does she keep them all so...balanced? Khajiit needed to know before her head and heart exploded from becoming too...heavy.
Her voice was quiet and soft, like a melody as she told her sacred secrets.
"It...is a bit odd. But, it is honestly quite...fitting. The way that I revere Sithis, Dibella, and Mara is...by seeing all three as one, interconnected being. The followers of Sithis call each other Brother and Sister, do they not?"
...Even though they do not act like it sometimes...?
"Well, I like to think that Mara works her warmth through Sithis whenever a Sanctuary acts as a Family and treats their Sanctuary as a home. Mara is the Divine over family, isn't she? And, as for Dibella, well..."
Her voice soon turned as fine and as sweet as silky syrup as a hand stroked Duella's furred cheek, slender fingers stroking this one's whiskers as
Scarlet no, S'hiala moved closer.
"Assassinations don't always have to be as distant as an arrow or as sharp as a blade. It can be close...personal...alluring, comforting your target and making it feel safe...before you, unfortunately, must snuff them out. But, hey, they went out with a smile, right?"
For an older lady, this Redguard is quite a woman!
But yes, this one needed some...time away to clear her head.
She has never felt so...weighed down before becoming the Listener.
It is a good thing this one is back...home in Riften.
It felt like ages since she has paid tribute to the Temple of Mara...and has basked in her warmth for such a long time. When she opened the doors, this one felt so...overcome with warmth and the welcoming arms of the priests and Dinya Balu...
She I burst into tears and sank to my knees once my forehead touched the Mother Cat's altar.
And speaking of family...I have amends to make to a dear friend of mine with the help of another.
Fourth Era, 202, 21st of Midyear, Morndas, Honeyside, The Rift Hold, Seven In The Evening
Thank goodness this one has met these three.
Lydia, Maliq, and Neilaas.
Three friends helping a fellow friend in need.
This one does not deserve such dear friends.
And yet they are willing to aid this one anyways...if she tells them what has been going wrong with the two of us lately.
So, while choosing her words carefully to avoid the Tenets, this one told them that she...had taken up more mercenary work. It had been clouding her mind recently and it has been weighing her down.
She was...half-right, wasn't she?
But, when they mentioned how upset the Altmer was at 'losing' this one, she wanted nothing more than to bring that sunny smile back onto his long and golden face!
So, three of them suggested some ideas.
Maliq suggested something created in the mind, like a poem or an ode of friendship to Orian.
It could work...if this one was not horrible at writing things.
Lydia suggested something made with your heart and bare hands, like a greatsword or a bow!
That would be great....if it were for someone else, not Orian.
Neilaas made a rather funny suggestion: "Orian likes reading about languages and cultures, doesn't he? Why not give him a book on that? ...Without stealing it, of course."
As much as this one wants to, what if Orian has all of the books he needs? That would be for...someone else.
So, as Duella was thinking of what to do for the High Elf that refused to talk to her, she stumbled out of Riften to find...
Her kinsmen's caravan, along with the odd kinsman! Perfect!
"Ah, a handmade gift made from the heart, hmm? For an Altmer spellsword with fine taste? This one has just the thing...for a price~. But, for the sake of such a...dear friend, I am willing to give a discount.
A small discount."
It looked to be a package, wrapped in paper and ribbons. It was wide, flat, and a feel and weight to it that Khajiit knew all too well.
It was fabric. High-quality fabric, at that.
After paying Jo'kir, he stopped Khajiit before she could turn back towards the city.
"Use that purchase however you wish, kinsman. But, this gift of yours will only succeed in regaining your friend if you truly wish to gain his friendship back. Do this wisely...and do not forget to mention of this one~."
And with that, he...let this one return to Riften before calling forth another waiting customer, all with the same eager and toothy grin.
Such a strange and kind kinsman.
Now...to see if memory serves this one well....
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Athra = Soul or Spirit
Fado = Mom or Mother
Chapter 42: Page Forty Two
A gift leads to....possible forgiveness?
Fourth Era, 202, 29th of Midyear, Tirdas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Haafingar Hold, Eight In The Morning
Good morning, journal!
It seems things have changed while this one was gone. She has taken some contracts from
the Family ...Nazir as well as the Guild to sustain herself and her dearest friends...
And one friend that she plans to see smile today, even if it should kill her. This gift that sh has made took many nights, many blisters on her paws...and much complaining from a skald, a scholar, and a housecarl.
But, they did not mind it all, if it were to make a dear friend smile.
So, the four of us had worked hard on the finishing touches to this...hopefully amazing gift, and were going off to aid Maliq in signing up for the renowned Bards' College...
Until two things came under this one's notice.
One was Maliq sharing whispers and nudges with Neilaas, the two of them blushing and smiling as Mara's hand seemed to grace them both.
The other was...S'hiala, out of Shrouded gear, heading in our general direction.
Can anyone associated with the Listener outside of the Brotherhood still be killed? Are this one's friends safe?
Only one way to know....or not.
S'hiala greeted this one as if she were a friend that she had not heard from in ages, much to anyone's...
Lack of shock?
Why were the skald and scholar not surprised?
And this one is especially shocked with Lydia's lack of shock!
S'hiala's pleasant demeanour had thrown everyone through a loop, however, when the blind woman had begun to touch the packaged gift and nearly give it away.
"Such nice fabric! A lovely gift! And who might it be for~?"
Thankfully, Neilaas intervened before Lydia could give the woman a cold shoulder. The two were polite to each other and, just before S'hiala parted ways with a smile, this one could catch a whisper between her and the timid Nord.
"May Dibella guide you into his strong arms, young lady~."
...This one has never seen a Nord blush and fluster so deeply before.
A knowing glance was shared between S'hiala and Khajiit as she meandered towards the door. It was a look that said something that sent a chill through her in the warm and pleasant daylight of Solitude, her milky white eyes staring into this one yet again.
"I know you now. We will meet again."
This one's athra* trembled for a moment as she stood there, her housecarl being the one to snap her out of it.
Who knew a Nord could slap so hard without a gauntlet?
Ah, well. This one should be smiling. After all, it is not every day that one friend gets a gift and another begins to start on his dream.
Ah, the smile on Maliq's face was practically glowing! This one and Neilaas are so proud!
So, one friend is happy...
Now for the other.
It is night now, journal.
I have heard elated sobbing in the room next to mine.
Orian had found the gift that I slipped beneath his bed and his face shone brighter than it normally did.
My Guildmaster cuirass was stained with tears of joy as he held me tight, asking me if his dearest friend Ella had finally come back to him.
...Who am I to deny his answer?
I'm just glad that my friend is smiling at me again! Now to tell how beautiful he looked when he tried it on...
Deep blue, Imperial lace, and Elsweyr silk fits well on him! It hugged his torso just enough to give off the shape of curves, the cut high enough to give off a bit of lower thigh as he walks, and the shear lacy veil draped over his head made him look....
Whatever man Orian catches, he had better consider himself lucky!
But, once the dress was changed out for his nightclothes again, he couldn't help but ask me...
"So...how long has...this thing been going on? This....Brotherhood? Don't lie, Ella; I've seen you sneaking off in the night. I just need to know...Whenever you come back to us from this Brotherhood job, please be careful. I refuse to lose any friend of mine again."
With a tight hug and bottles of Alto, this one assured him that all will be well.
It will soon be time for this one to turn some heads.
Chapter 43: Page Forty Three
This chapter may or may not end up being shorter than the others. I apologize!
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Sun's Height, Sundas, Breezehome, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, Ten In The Morning
(This page is slightly singed and bloodied.)
Damn it, damn it, damn it!
So much for that!
Who would have thought that the Thalmor were not as stupid as this one thought as they saw through her disguise?
Are you confused, journal?
Let this one explain.
Not long ago, this one was advised by Delphine to play guests at a Thalmor Embassy party to see what these bastards were planning.
Well, this one was...sidetracked, but, she had finally gotten around to it.
Luckily, there was someone on the inside, a Bosmer named Malborn, who smuggled in our armor and weapons as he pretended to be a waiter and server. He managed to get this one an invitation, but not the person that this one wished to take with her.
Why? Perhaps the invitation can allow an additional esteemed guest?
So, the two of us were invited inside wearing fine and fancy robes, making small talk with the guests, which included the Golden Bitch named Elenwen, the Bitch Briar named Maven(why is this one not surprised?), and, oddly enough, the great Jarl Ravencrone and...
Malborn has advised this one to have a guest make a distraction while she and her guest make our way to wherever these bastards keep their information.
What better distraction than a Jarl who sees visions~?
This one owes Lady Ravencrone a great deal once she gets out of here.
If she gets out of here.
Malborn had led us to the kitchens where he had kept a chest full of the gear and weapons that Khajiit and her guest had given him...only to be stopped by a cook kinswoman who was sneaking lunar sugar into the Embassy.
This one has ways of sneaking a "bad habit" to those that need them.
Once this one and her guest had shed the party clothes, the two of us had managed to sneak through the corridors without too much of a fuss...
Until they reached the dungeons.
A man and Malborn were in chains, interrogated by two Thalmor while a third roamed the floors, a folded bunch of parchment barely poking the robes.
...Sadly, my guest grew impatient at the sight of them and attacked too soon.
But who could blame them?
While my guest was having...fun, I managed to free the man and the Bosmer, who carefully guided us towards the chest full of dossiers.
This one will read them later.
Once the three Thalmor were taken care of, we had managed to almost make it...
Except for a troll.
But luckily, now that this one has her Nightingale Blade, the troll proved little problem.
And, now that we have made enemies with one of the most hated forces in Nirn, my guest and I did the smart thing.
We ran. Far away.
Now that we were safe, this one could finally ask my guest why they were so eager to attack them so close to the exit.
"...Well, Ella, my dear, it's...quite a long story."
Chapter 44: Page Forty Four
The High Elf has high expectations.
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Sun's Height, Sundas, The Bannered Mare, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, Eleven At Night
This one was smart to befriend this alimer*.
After a nervous dinner, Orian had gathered this one as well as Lydia, Neilaas, and Scarlet into the rented room of this inn to tell us why he had joined this one in the assault on the Embassy.
This one had never heard such a loud, boisterous passionate person speak so...quietly before.
"I...was raised to be one of them. Being an...Agent was sort of like a...family heirloom for us. It was passed down in my family and taught to whichever child or children had survived...training. I, as well as my brother and a dear friend of mine, were one of the ones that I knew had survived; others were too young to run away and had relatives take them in while others...others I've simply never heard from again. My aunt and uncle objected to this, wanting me to be a kid for just a bit longer, but...reputation and appearance is always first in the upper classes of the Alinor.
"As I grew up, there was very little to do outside of studying, practicing magics, learning poise, etiquette, mannerisms...we were all taught our place and how to function in it, and how to do so accordingly. We were basically...made to be as perfect and as infallible as the deities that were our ancestors...Until I became a young man, of course. When I was about 30 years old, well, in the years of Man and Beast, I would be the same as a 16-year-old boy; at that time, I was to be engaged to a lovely young woman from a noble family in Sunhold; I...wasn't interested in her. Or any woman, for that matter. When my family had discovered this, I was readily 'convinced' that I had no choice in the matter of what I wished to do; I was...forced into the 'family business' of working within the Thalmor, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
"I've made...repeated attempts to run from when I was 30-something to when I became 85, which would be the equivalent of being a 27-year-old. Those attempts were...unsuccessful, but that is a story for a much later date. My latest escape attempt had me with nothing but the clothes on my back, some money I'd stolen from my parents' strongbox, and some beef and bread. I've been wandering ever since."
By the gilded claws of the Mother Cat...
...Where are his parents?
Where are his parents, the fucking jekosiit* baruna*!
Mor kha'jey trajir jaadi*!
I hope that his father chokes on his own short-tail*!
Needless to say, Orian needed about a winery of Alto once he was finished with his story, which Lydia was all too happy to give him.
The others, well....
Neilaas looked as if she were to flood this home with her tears.
Scarlet, on the other hand...spoke.
"You're here now, aren't you? That's all that matters. You're here now, standing right here, talking to us in Skyrim right now, not back there obeying your damned family. So...do whatever you want. Whatever you feel like doing, do it."
The rest of us were stunned. This one had never heard Scarlet speak so much in an instance before; her voice sounded like a cascading waterfall pounding against a stone, powerful and forceful like a growl.
If it weren't for her friend, this one would have prostrated and begged the drea-mer* to speak again. However, Orian nearly did it first.
The first words from his lips were a 'thank you' before he hugged her.
The emotional tidal wave washed over this one's yara* quite well.
But, journal, that is not all; Neilaas soon joined this hug, then Lydia, and then I! It felt as if we were hugging each other for the entire night...
Until there was a knock at the door.
It is not everyday that one receives two letters from a tired courier at one in the morning, journal.
Especially two letters from the Bards' College of Solitude, from my skald friend Maliq, no less.
One of them read:
'To my friends roaming Skyrim, I have great news!
The College has accepted me! I'm officially a pupil! So many people from all walks of life so eager to learn!
I love it here already!
In fact, I'm already working on my first assignment:
an epic poem of 'Things That Give Inspiration'.
Thankfully, my travels with you all have given me quite a lot to write about! It'll be an epic work on its own,
thinking of what to write for this work! Please, don't be strangers, all of you! And bring the merchant Jo'kir too!
Best Wishes To You All,
The second letter...was given to Neilaas.
Of all the wandering and roaming that this one has done, Khajiit has never seen a fair tasmiit oriit* turn so red before!
Could it be that this one and Orian's planned samadi* is working well, after all~?
Well, this is certainly becoming an interesting day, for certain.
How interesting, journal?
Apparently, the courier had given this one a letter as well. With the Imperial seal upon it.
...General Tullius needs this one yet again.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Alimer = Altmer or High Elf
Jekosiit = Sheep-shagger
Baruna = Parents
Mor kha'jhey trajir jaadi = Dark moons take them (A bold Khajiit curse phrase)
Short-tail = Poorly endowed (In other words, a short...yeah, no, not saying that shit in the notes.)
Drea-mer = Bos-mer or Wood Elf
Yara = Jealousy or envy
Tasmiit oriit = Nord woman
Samadi = Pairing
Chapter 45: Page Forty Five
Duella serves the Legion...and gets a surprise.
Fourth Era, 202, 11th of Sun's Height, Sundas, Outside of Castle Dour, Solitude, Eleven At Night
The time has come.
The Good Jarl Balgruuf's neutrality is over. General Tullius has summoned this one to deliver a missive to the ruler of Whiterun...
This one only hopes that he listens.
This bloody "civil" war has torn this province in half, quite literally! One half of Skyrim supports the Empire and its home in Cyrodiil, while the other half have been ruled by Nordic tradition and thus stand by Ulfric and his cause.
This one would hate to have her beliefs outlawed and be forced into hiding...but is it worth sending patriotic innocents to die? And yet, to fight for your faith is something glorious to do, no doubt...but is it all worth violating the gift that one of your faiths have bestowed upon you?
Using such a blessed gift to make a bloody point? To violate the gift of a Divine for the sake of religious freedom and power?
And poor Elisif! Seeing her husband be killed in such a way! A widow placed upon Skyrim's capital!
If only this one could comfort her.
But now is no time for comfort.
Now is a time for action.
But, while Khajiit was in Solitude, she had paid a visit to Maliq in the Bards' College. He seemed to be doing well; he had all of the books that he could want, lessons in poetry coupled with lute, drum, and flute playing...
This one had a little plan to take him with her.
When my skald-to-be friend had asked why, she had to explain the title he had been chasing after.
"You wish to be a skald, yes? From what Neilaas has told this one, other than the fact that she misses you and your poetry terribly, a skald is a warrior-poet. You are already pursuing the poet portion, yet the warrior portion is incomplete. A skald tells glorious tales of battle, yet you have only been in skirmishes with paltry bandits and pesky dragons. A great war is coming, Maliq. What sort of story will you tell to those that have survived after everything is over?"
The look on the Redguard's face had said it all.
"I want...no, I will tell them everything, from the first battle-cry to the final arrow fired. Duella...wherever you go, whichever side you choose, I will gladly follow. It's just a shame I have to cut my studies short just to deliever a message, though. The mentors will understand. But, since it's for my dear friend, I'll happily help you."
This one was happy to have such a stalwart friend by her side.
Fourth Era, 202, 13th of Sun's Height, Tirdas, Breezehome, Wind District, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, Eleven In The Morning
The message is sent.
And yet Jarl Balgruuf has given this one...an axe? This one must journey all the way over to Windhelm in order to give to Ulfric...an axe? Why an axe, of all things? Why not an insulting note or a nasty rumor about one's mother?
This one has asked Irileth about this outlandish request; she simply glanced at the Jarl like a wife annoyed with her husband and told this one that 'it's a traditional thing, dear Dragonborn.'
Nord tradition is odd.
Khajiit had arrived home and asked Neilaas what it meant; I had never seen such a bubbly girl grow so...serious.
"From what my mother told me when I was starting my studies, it's...a Nord's way of proposing war. Say that one warrior wishes to challenge another but are too far away to do so directly or want to make things...subtle. The challenger can give the other warrior an axe.
"If the other warrior keeps the axe that is offered, like one offering to fight while the other refuses, then the two of them can settle things peacefully. But if the other warrior gives the axe back to its owner, as if the two will trade blows, then...
A warrior-king might be attacking Whiterun soon."
Scarlet and Lydia were the first to make their point: They wished to go with this one to Windhelm for..."protective purposes". They had refused to take "no" for an answer; bow is already slung across the back, sword and shield already at the ready.
Along with an eager skald, a stern scholar, and a protective Altmer already gearing up for the return to Windhelm...
How can I refuse such worthy friends?
Fourth Era, 202, 17th of Sun's Height, Loredas, New Gnisis Cornerclub, Gray Quarter, Windhelm, Eastmarch Hold, One In The Afternoon
The glares in the street from the populace did not ease this one's fear. It was as if they knew what we all had come here to do.
Some turned their heads in scorn, while others simply did not speak to us.
When we had stepped into the Palace of The Kings, this one could feel eyes watching her and her friends from almost every angle. Walking up to the throne felt as if one were walking up directly to a giant chunk of ice.
There he was.
The gagged Jarl from Helgen.
Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the rebel army.
When...when he stared at this one, it felt like there were daggers encrusted in ice aimed right at her.
"So...what brings you to my court?"
When this one had given him the axe and told him who it was from, there was an odd feeling. What did Maliq call it?
But, like the idiot this one was, she asked this Ulfric why he...did what he did. She had received a bold, infuriated...almost frustrated answer in short order.
"I killed Torygg to prove our wretched condition. How is the High King supposed to be the defender of Skyrim, if he can't even defend himself?"
As someone who has used the Thu'um herself, there are few people that can possibly stand against it and live to tell the tale! And this man, this supposed ruler, had used it in front of his court? His wife?
And this man wishes to be King?
Luckily, there was hand-holding and grips on the shoulder from Scarlet, Maliq, and Orian to keep her own fury tranquil.
Neilaas, on the other hand...
"You...used the Dovahzul...the Thu'um as a means to your own end...? What about your training? Your vows to the Greybeards? Your vaat* to use the Voice only to praise Kynareth, only for True Need? Did violating the vows of the Divines mean nothing in making your statement known?! And for what?!
The court was silent.
This one was silent.
Ulfric himself was silent, for a moment, before tossing the axe in my scholarly friend's general direction. The expression on his face was...unreadable.
"...Return the axe to its rightful owner. Tell the Jarl of Whiterun that he will be expecting to entertain...visitors. Now, it would be wise of you all to get out of my sight, lest I think of escorting you all out myself."
We were never so quick and so eager to leave.
And so, here we sit, in the Grey Quarter, getting claps on the back and whispered cheers from the Dunmer patrons that were happy to share their drinks for a certain scholar, as a certain skald recounted the tale as Neilaas was too stunned to protest.
What caught this one's eye, and Scarlet's as well, was an offer of wine from a smiling someone nearby.
"Well, my little Listener, I didn't know that taking breaks would mean starting wars~."
It certainly isn't every day one meets a Family member after angering a Jarl.
Dovahzul Translation Time!
Vaat = Vow(s)
Suleyk = Power
Du'ul = Power or Crown
Krivaan = Murderer
Chapter 46: Page Forty Six
The battle's aftermath...and the beginning of a reunion.
Fourth Era, 202, 18th of Sun's Height, Sundas, Breezehome, Damaged Wind District, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold, Eleven In The Night
(This section of the page is bedecked in newly dried bloodstains.)
So, the casualties of Whiterun.
No civilians dead.
47 Stormcloaks dead.
15 Whiterum guardsmen dead.
17 Imperial soldiers dead.
And for what?
The right to wear a necklace and pray to a shrine whenever you please?
Too many wives and husbands will be left widowed, too many poor children orphaned just for such a foolish thing.
There has to be some other way, a third way to make these prideful human bastards shut up and team up against the real enemy!
But, knowing Ulfric, he would sooner have...both of his heads lopped off of him before he would start working with the Empire of his own will...even if the dossier that this one grabbed at the Embassy says otherwise.
This foolish war is like that fancy game nobles play to make themselves look smart: the game called chess. Two people will move pieces around, outwit their opponent, and capture the head piece of the enemy. That is exactly what these Thalmor assholes are doing; Ulfric is their 'king piece' that they'll use to wipe out the other 'queen piece'...the widow Jarl Elisif.
This one will not let that happen. Not by a long shot.
In the meantime, Khajiit and her friends are helping the people of Whiterun rebuild and repair their buildings and homes after...the catapults.
Balls of fire the size of houses that were flung through the air to bring down destruction and confusion. This one had never seen such a thing in her life before...
And never wishes to see such a thing again.
This one should have kept quiet and kept away from these foolish political affairs! She should have minded her business, even though everyone spoke of it every day!
But at the cost of thousands dying on either side each day, soldier and civilian alike?
...There has to be a way.
There has to be a way to make these idiots SHUT UP and focus on the real enemy.
But that will take time.
Perhaps this one will have to make some.
Four in the morning is an odd time to be awake, journal, but, this one has a...very good reason~.
This one has met not one, but two old friends of hers!
One was met on the way to Riften alongside her friends and housecarl: her fellow kinsman Jo'kir, on his horse apart from his caravan! Except that he was...fighting. Indeed, he was pitted against a snarling bear, raising its mighty paws to strike him down...
But the great paws of the naraj* were stopped by Jo'kir's own bare hands.
Khajiit is blessed enough; she didn't know that she would be lucky enough to see such a feat! But, as she drew her bow to aid her friend in striking the bear down, this one bore witness to a sight that she will tell to however many children that she will have and to all of the children that those children will have also.
Jo'kir, in a show of strength, circled around the bear, lunged at the bear's neck and brought its head crashing down into the ground with its hind paws pedaling in the air. The feat alone had left Scarlet and Neilaas stunned into silence.
Maliq, of course, was quick to whip out his own quill and book to jot this event down into whatever story or epic poem he has in store.
Lydia was left aghast. "That...was Jo'kir. That was him. That was fucking Jo'kir, by the gods..."
Needless to say, he was swarmed with questions of how he learned such a way to fight by the time we had met him and his caravan near the stables of Riften.
"A-Ah, my fellow kinswoman...my fighting...that is a tale for another day, this one is afraid. But, for now, perhaps you all should peruse my latest wares? This one has foods, weapons, enchantments, and spells from all across Tamriel!" Soon after being swarmed for questions of his fighting prowess, he was swarmed for his wares by two mages, two warriors, and a huntress.
But, as everyone headed into Riften, Jo'kir had stopped this one by the shoulder, pulling me close with a hiss to my ear.
"And, kinswoman, should we cross paths again...this one will be expecting you. Jo'kir...has an offer for you and you alone. May the moons guide you, dear kinswoman."
Another thing of this merchant that buzzed through this one's head.
Fourth Era, 202, 22nd of Sun's Height, Turdas, The Ragged Flagon , The Ratway, Riften, The Rift Hold, Eleven In The Night
Remember the two friends that this one had encountered?
The first one was Jo'kir...
And the second was...Karliah.
The Dunmer Nightingale.
This one had been running the Sarik di Dariit* from afar for many months, but seeing Karliah in the Cistern....made this one's heart swell with nostalgia and slight guilt. Being a Vadajiit di Dariit Sarik* was one thing, but, being a Nightingale is another thing entirely...
And this one was neglecting it.
But Nightingale or no, Khajiit was so happy to see her friend again that as soon as Karliah had taken her aside to talk, this one had, how do the Nords say it...
'Spilled her guts'.
She had told the Nightingale everything that had happened with her aside from her blessed blood; the woman said nothing for a short second before pulling this into a tight hug...and making an offer that this one couldn't refuse.
"I may not know much about fighting in wars and politics, but, you need to relax. This is all getting to be so much for you that one day your head might explode from all of the stressing you're doing. You need a break, some well-deserved time off, some good wholesome fun...You know, Duella....I'm planning a bit of a heist. A heist that involves someone that's usually protected by the Black-Briars, but, since I've caught word that the Guild is...slowly slipping away from her and that this prick deserves it, I want to pull it off with one of the best of the best."
Surely she doesn't mean messing with...
"You guessed it~. That rat bastard Erikur from Solitude.
He tried biting off more than he can chew when he tried putting a move on me while he was commissioning me to break into the Temple of the Divines to steal a few sacred relics to sell off. So...A bit of payback is always good to get your mind off of things~. Are you in?"
Karliah never needed to ask twice!
But, as she and the Dunmeri thief departed, there was a tap on this one's shoulder.
It was from Vipir The Fleet.
"Hey, boss, I've been about from hold to hold on jobs, and, uh...how do I say this...Can you...ask Lydia if she wants to...talk with me? She's been on my mind for Dibella knows how long without a word from her, and...I want to know if she's alright. Please?"
With a look like that, so full of worry and frustration...
How could I say no?
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Naraj = Beast
Sarik di Dariit = Guild of Thieves
Vadajiit di Dariit Sarik = Master of the Thieves Guild
There will be references to the feels-inducingly wonderful work known as Ill Met In Riften, a work that gives Lydia a bit more depth and a rather surprising yet heartbreaking love interest! But, in here, things will be a bit...different~.
The work is right here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/3631548
Chapter 47: Page Forty Seven
The cat makes a deal and discovers many things...after robbing someone blind.
One part of this chapter was inspired by this amazing story, called "The Elder Scribbles: Dear Fourth Wall", which can be found right here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/15694371
Fourth Era, 202, 26th of Sun's Height, Morndas, The Ragged Flagon , The Ratway, Riften, The Rift Hold, Eleven In The Morning
We did it.
We actually fucking did it.
We robbed Erikur blind~! And we even made a pretty coin by selling off all of his clothes~! This one and Karilah agreed to keep the remaining spoils; this one was quick to stash away the spiced wine for Lydia, Neilaas, Orian, and S'hiala should this one meet her again. Sadly, there was no sweet rolls to be found; instead there was very little but...ugh, boiled creme treats. As expected, a piglike man like Erikur has no taste.
The only regret that this one has was not being able to stick around to see the bastard's face~!
But this one is afraid that she...may have gone a bit overboard as the two of us headed back to the Flagon; while Duella was riding high from the successful heist, she...was about to summon a courier to deliver a certain message.
To her former boss...Maven Bitch-Briar, of all possible people. At least Karliah had the decency to stop this one before it could be sent. For now.
The note and this one's pride was...somewhat embarrassing, to say the least. Ugh, that horrible message that this one was about to send...
It was damning, to say the least.
( The letter that was nearly sent below appears to have been folded and unfolded a few times before being placed in the journal.)
"Dear Maven Bitch-Briar,
This is a formal declaration of sedition from your...organization. There is little you can do; I have already brought the Guild back to its former glory and then some with the aid of a Daedric Prince and have begun work on bringing back the Dark Brotherhood that you seem to love to boast about, considering that I am its leader there as well.
And there will be immense changes and announcements.
First and foremost, due to the recent massive influx of wealth that had absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with the hard work of its members, the Thieves Guild will be declaring itself as independent of your disgusting little family(save for Ingun Black-Briar...mostly)as of tonight.
Secondly, speaking of your daughter, I am thinking of inducting her into the Brotherhood anytime soon. Our resident alchemist would LOVE to have someone like-minded to speak with. As for your...attempts to contact the Brotherhood to tie up any loose ends that you deem as annoyances, consider them...null and void. In fact, as we've gathered, there are quite a number of people performing the Sacrament...
And I sympathize with them entirely.
Watch your back.
Thank goodness that Karliah had stopped this one. But...
This one will keep the letter until the time comes.
For now, this one has her fellow kinsman to see.
Fourth Era, 202, 27th of Sun's Height, Tirdas, Caravan Campsite, Riften Stables, Riften, The Rift Hold, Nine In The Morning
Only five hours ago, this one met with Jo'kir, the both of us alone.
Khajiit had never seen such a jovial man so grave and tense before until now.
The deal that he had mentioned...
It was information.
"Greetings, kinswoman. This one knows well of your Guild thievery, dear friend...and I also know of your bloodier business as well."
Was I really that obvious--
"But! But...Jo'kir is a merchant; he hears and sees things that are usually hidden. And, since no one hardly pays any mind to a traveling Khajiit merchant, I hear things that are...not meant to be repeated."
This one may not like where this is going...
"And I am willing to share that information with you, information of all sorts of people from all walks of life, from the lowliest beggar to the highest courtesan...for a price. However, since I am...fond of you as well as the dearest friends that you travel with...I will offer the first bit of information for free. Just say the word and keep your dear friends as loyal customers of mine and that information is yours.
Do we have a deal?"
A friend of mine offering information in exchange for patronage...
A fair deal.
"Ah, a word of advice before you depart, dear kinswoman: please, Jo'kir urges you to be careful in this wide, mad world. Deal or no, esteemed patron or not, this one sees you and yours as good friends to me. Keep the Altmer close as you do; help the Nords know love; inspire the poet to write; give your...Sister good company to keep...
And tell the Bosmer how you feel."
...Well, either Orian, Maliq, or Neilaas is going to suffer once this one sees them for running their mouth.
But...this one is glad to see Jo'kir back to his cheerful self again, especially as we both began to relax over tea sweetened with lunar sugar.
"Luckily, Jo'kir has just the thing to win this particular lady over~."
Oh...? Is it a necklace? Poetry, as Maliq suggested? Baking a feast?
"You see, the Bosmer are not fond of beautiful shiny things or freshly baked cakes as we Khajiit are."
Oh, come on!
"The Bosmer are captivated by shows of strength, swiftness, agility, and cleverness in the wild; the weapons that they use are carved from the bones of animals that display power and strength. The stronger the animal, the more powerful the weapon."
That is...quite fascinating.
This one has an idea!
Even though this one cut Jo'kir short with a grateful hug, she did so for a good reason. This one has an idea in mind for the red-headed huntress.
"Jo'kir...do you have any ideas on...how to make a bowstring? This one thinks that she has all of what is needed for the bow itself...only the string is missing."
"Ah~! I see~! Well...it is quite a filthy job to make it, but, if you truly feel such a way for this Scarlet, this task should be next to nothing for her, yes? Then...the string is usually made from...Spiders. Spider string reinforced with various animal hairs and, if possible, a bit of magic~. But, again, for Scarlet, this task should be tedious, yes~?"
...Why does it have to be spiders?
"Dearest friend, this one must bid you farewell; my caravan is leaving and I am expected to meet my wives at the next resting spot. Farewell, my friend! May the moons guide you!"
With a hug and a grin, Jo'kir departed as if he had just closed a deal.
It is only ten in the morning, journal, and this one already has a splitting headache.
This one should not have relayed Vipir's message to Lydia, especially since it has been a mere three years since...their last encounter.
Three years and their hearts still ache for one another, in different ways.
Despite this, Lydia is...understandably upset. So upset, in fact, that nearly half of Honeyside is flipped upside down and Iona and Maliq had to calm her down instead!
But, when Lydia had finally calmed down and dried the tears from her eyes, she had called this one over to her, as Khajiit was ready to give this one's housecarl the hug of the era...
Only to see puffy, red, tired, and resolute brown eyes staring back at Duella-daro.
"Take me to him. I don't care how many weird looks I get when I go to...wherever in Oblivion this wretched Guild is. You're his leader, aren't you? Do something and have us meet. Tonight. Please, my lad--...Please, Duella. This has been at the back of my mind for...a while. I want to get this over with, one way or another. I...want to settle things with Vipir."
...How can this fallen agent of Mara deny the request of such a loyal friend?
Chapter 48: Page Forty Eight
Changes are made...and someone is met~.
Warning: One section contains a translation of a phrase that is...not for the faint of heart or those that have gone through an....experience with grown-ups and assault when they were younger.
On that note, the remainder of the Brotherhood and Thieves Guild questlines in this story are going to be based off of the following Skyrim mods that can either be found on PC, Xbox One, and the PS4:
-Thieves Guild For Good Guys (For the aspiring Robin Hoods~!)
-Dark Brotherhood For Good Guys (For those who want a...Dark Gray Brotherhood as well as a reason behind the contracts you're assigned!)
-Following Mercer: A Thieves Guild Quest (For people who want to restore the Thieves Guild completely by finding all of the plans and treasures that Mercer stole!)
I hope you enjoy them all as much as I do~!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 4th of Last Seed, Middas, Falkreath Sanctuary, Falkreath, Nine At Night
This one has returned to the Sanctuary, her sunej* and mind in balance mostly. And Astrid is content...and misled.
This one and S'hiala's ruse had worked and now this one is on her next assignment; Khajiit reported to Festus Krex for this particular job and he is...oddly happy about it? She has never seen such a cranky old man so giddy before!
It is...quite endearing!
The dossier that this one received was...on both the Markarth Keep chef and the Gourmet?!
And what was inside was...quite chilling.
Apparently the Bretony chef in Markarth, Anton Virane, was a renowned Royal Chef in High Rock...before he was discovered using his freshly baked goods to...lure and...walaka ali raba zaj wo ja' ma'a*.
And the Gourmet is associated with him in some way, so, she must kill them both and impersonate the Gourmet.
This one will be doing all of Nirn a much needed favor; first Grelod, then this naraj* of a chef, harming children! What is this world coming to??
But, before she will go there, this one must...ask for advice.
This one...does not know what to think about the vethiit oriit*. She is both a Dark Sister and like a mother all the same; this one seems to bump into her everywhere her family goes! But, perhaps, maybe...
This one might change that soon.
(This section of the page is dotted with Septim-sized bloodstains. Some parts are written with a slightly shaky hand.)
Tis four in the morning, journal.
Khajiit had led S'hiala out of the Sanctuary to talk to her about what Duella had in mind when...
A handful of vampires swarmed into Falkreath. The city guard had handled them somewhat well, when, before this one could blink and raise her elven dagger, one of their thralls had suddenly lost his head!
There was S'hiala, Shrouded Mail bedecked, with two glinting war axes in her hands the shade of ebony and dripping rubies. Her eyes, though displaying her lack of sight, seemed to pierce this one like an arrow, her gaze was like ice, far from the usual warmth that Khajiit had known this one for whenever we had spoken together.
It was...deadly and yet, beautiful.
It reminded this one of Scarlet with her bow.
And speaking of the Veth Hirsiniit*...this one needed a healer for a wound she had taken from the master of the thralls. The gash was on her back as she was finishing off another thrall, just when this one thought that everything was clear. It was, from what Duella felt, a cold sharpened steel sword attempting to skewer her upon it.
And then...a howl.
A long, hungered howl like a frenzied beast cut through the air, and then, in mere seconds, the thralls' master was, quite literally, ripped apart.
The beast ran off into the woods, its four mighty furred legs leaving behind a trail of blood away from the town as S'hiala held this one tight and asked if Khajiit was alright.
A few potions later and and this one can still feel the wound in her back, even as it began to seal itself up.
Neilaas and Maliq were the first to arrive, breaths ragged from aiding the defenseless townsfolk of Falkreath inside their homes; their hugging grip on Duella was like a vice, to say the least.
Orian and Lydia were next to find this one after they had cleared the town of any possible vampires and minions that might have remained. To say that the housecarl and the Altmer were worried would be an insult to understatements.
But, before any of...my family would say anything, there was a voice.
S'hiala's voice, like light music on a clear and cloudless night.
"Ah...so you care for her this much, don't you? Well, it seems like we have that in common, at least."
All of this is...somewhat well and good, but...
Where is Scarlet...?
Fourth Era, 202, 5th of Last Seed, Turdas, Dead Man's Drink, Falkreath, Three In The Afternoon
We have searched the forests all morning.
No sign of Scarlet.
Was she taken by one of the vampires?
No, of course not, she would happily down them with a quick arrow before they would get the chance, and the others did a sweep of the town; not a vampire in sight.
Did she track them to wherever they were calling a place to stay?
Possibly not; the whole thing looked like an ambush from out of nowhere.
Regardless, this little...encounter has delayed the trip to Markarth. I...can't exactly get very far with my wound in this condition, even with the aid of potions. But, on the bright side, perhaps S'hiala and my family might...interact more?
I can only hope.
It seems to be settled, journal.
This...makeshift family away from family has gotten a bit bigger. Upon seeing her dote and fuss over Duella's wound, Maliq was the first to speak to S'hiala, his expression...almost unreadable.
"I take it that you're part of Duella's...Family."
Even in early fall at eight in the night, the air seemed to be as cold as winter...much like S'hiala's blinded gaze as it was aimed right at Maliq.
"How did you...?"
"We had a feeling. Late nights away from home, sneaking away in the dead of nights, less smiling, drawing away from us...and yet only recently did we get the kitten we know and love back. Whatever 'Family' she might be hiding from us, we aren't that stupid to ignore what's been going on with our friend."
"Now, by the Sands, as much as I enjoy diplomacy, I may only ask you once. What. Did. You. Do. With Duella."
"...I see how much you care for her. But, since she and I are both...sworn to privacy, the two of us may only tell you this much: this was not my fault nor my doing. Duella was...following orders. That's all I will have to say."
To say that this one was stunned would be...fitting.
"Then...why do you insist on travelling with us?"
"...To keep an eye on her. Apparently, from everything I've seen here in Skyrim, this one adorable little Khajiit seems to be attracting quite a lot of trouble; vampires, civil wars, and especially this recent talk of...dragons. Regardless of the peril, I insist on keeping my Family member safe! Please...won't you allow me at least that...?"
The silence hung in the air like a murderer sentenced to die.
Before it was broken.
"...Fine. But if you give us any reason to renege on this deal, we'll happily oblige."
A sigh of relief hit the entirety of the tavern like a tidal wave.
"Ah, thank goodness! I hope that we all can get along; after all, we do have one..unique person in common. Oh! And, I come in a matching set~!"
"Yes, indeed~! Wherever I go, he goes! And thankfully, he can introduce himself peacefully! Right...Ram?"
And at that, from the corner of the tavern, came the heavy footsteps...
Of the Orcish boots that belonged to a behemoth.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Sunej = Heart
Walaka ali raba zaj wo Ja' Ma'a = Tried to (seduce/be fond with/have sex with) young children
Naraj = Beast
Vethiit Oriit = Redguard Woman
Veth Hirsiniit = Red Hunter (Or in Scarlet's case, Huntress)
Chapter 49: Page Forty Nine
A hiatus, a hijacked conversation, pondering and shockwaves!
There is a reference to the Oblivion Dark Brotherhood questline somewhere in this page~. However, it is small, so, keep your eyes peeled~.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 21st of Last Seed, Loredas, Campfire, Hjaalmarch Hold, Seven In The Evening
This one's back still aches from the attack at Falkreath, journal, but, so much has changed in a matter of a bit over a week!
S'hiala is now accompanying us in our travels! Some of us are...still uneasy about it, Neilaas and Maliq mostly. Orian, however, is more concerned about the person in the Orcish armor.
Although, from the grunts that the person responds with when S'hiala talks, the person is definitely a
male a hopefully handsome male~.
And sadly, a certain Altmer has adopted the nasty habit of reading and now WRITING over Khajiit's shoulder!
Orian! If you are reading this, piss off please!
Ah, thank you for at least being polite about it, Ella dear~. But, before I go, I would like to...make a note. That warhammer that S'hiala's friend totes on his back every day...there is something...off about it. Is he really an Orc or is he something else?
The Altmer has made his very interesting point.
Before I leave, though...Maliq may have spotted someone moving through the marshes at night. Just a thought. Til next I read over your shoulder~.
...With friends like these, journal.
In the meantime, the journey to Markarth is still underway; however, with Neilaas' navigation, we seem to be going further east towards Rorikstead than west towards the dwarven city!
Perhaps she is distracted by a certain Redguard skald~.
S'hiala, on the other hand...is trying. She is trying to get to know the others while this one did her best to move with her healing back.
So far, the most progress that she had in friendmaking was...
Neilaas and Maliq are still wary of the blind woman who had first introduced herself by cutting off the head of a vampiric thrall. And who wouldn't be?
Although, this one is quite curious; is S'hiala truly blind? Or is it an elaborate ruse of some sort?
So, this one asked...and received an answer.
"I was...wondering if you would get around to asking. I...don't just use my four senses, as well as my Orcish-armored friend here, to move about. Orian, Neilaas, you two are at least somewhat familiar with the spell called Detect Life, yes?"
"...it is kind of like that. Everything that I 'see' has some sort of aura, depending on their personality, their feelings, and what they might be doing, or who they're connected to. For example, Neilaas...your aura...it's rising and ebbing like puffs of cold steam. And...Orian...your aura is like a stormy cloud, filled with static jumping and flaring out."
"Cold...steam? Like the mist of an iceberg? That's...actually quite fascinating."
"Static? Could it be because of my school of Destruction...? Or something else...?"
...Should this one ask what her aura looks like...?
No...perhaps not now.
Khajiit simply hopes that this...might bring them a bit closer.
Fourth Era, 202, 24th of Last Seed, Morndas, Campfire, The Reach Hold, Seven In The Morning
The beast of a chef lies dead. A simple slip of Deathbell into his soup made sure of it.
As for the Gourmet...the Orc...
He may or may not be so easy to dispose of. Before the chef breathed a sigh of relief at being 'safe', he told Khajiit of the Gourmet's location: the Nightgate Inn.
Wait...why does that name sound so familiar...?
We nearly passed by it a dozen times trying to head to Markarth because of...
Note to self: never let Neilaas navigate. Or hold a map in general.
But, perhaps this one shall journey alone later this evening.
In other news, this one has another way to help S'hiala and Maliq know each other more: Dibella. To be precise, the Temple of Dibella! Perhaps this one can convince those two to go sometime soon...
Delphine has summoned this one again. She has sent a courier to tell this one to come to Riverwood yet again to help look for an...Esbern?
What kind of name is Esbern?
But, with all of this that Delphine has required this one to do; seeing a dragon resurrected, invading a Thalmor embassy, searching for a member of her group that may or may not even be alive...
Why does it fall to this one to do such a thing?
Because this one is Dragonborn. Blessed with the blood of Alkosh.
Well, this possible Blade shall not find itself.
Fourth Era, 202, 27th of Last Seed, Middas, Campfire, Whiterun Hold, Midnight
Everyone seems to be asleep.
Everything, for a moment, seems to be silent.
This one seems to enjoy nights like this; the silla'a* gleaming against the glowing aurora like shija*, the crisp breeze against...my face and fur, the sweet smell of pine from the Forest in Falkreath to the south, the aroma of the remains of beef, rabbit, and wine still hanging in the air, the soft rushing of a stream nearby accompanying the sway of the grass...
It makes this one remember and forget herself, even if it is for a brief moment.
It is moments like this that...I would like to simply be me.
No ripping each other to shreds over praying.
For this moment, it is just...me, keeping watch over the plains as well as my sleeping friends.
Orian is sprawled out across his bed-roll, his robes in disarray with long, pale silky strands fanned out into the grass. Of all Altmer to sleep so ungracefully, I never knew it would be him.
S'hiala is, on the contrary, curled in her bed roll with such a peaceful expression on her face. Huh. For a fellow murderer, she seems to be sleeping rather soundly.
Her bodyguard in Orcish armor is...practically buried within his bed roll. I cannot even make out his face...whatever his face is. And how anyone can sleep with a warhammer in their arms is a mystery that is yet to be solved.
Maliq is...not even in his bed roll. Sleeping and snoring against a rock must be painful, even with a book and a certain Nord dragon scholar in his lap.
And Scarlet's bed roll...is still empty.
A shame, truly.
She would have loved to be awake on such a night.
(This bottom part of the page is slightly torn.)
It is two in the morning.
There she was, asleep near Fort Greymoor, the bodies of two bandits strewn about her when I went for a short walk.
The leathers that she had worn were nearly shredded, her red hair a tangled mess with her hands and gradually fading matted fur on her lower arms the same crimson shade as her locks. And on the tips of her fingers were claws slowly shifting back into her nails.
I had a bit of a tough time hauling her back to the campsite, considering how bloody heavy she is.
It is obvious, journal, that there is more to the Bosmer than I had expected.
It seems that this werewolf will soon be waking.
Wish me luck.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Gadana, Alimer = Farewell, Altmer
Silla'a = Stars
Shija = Jewels
Chapter 50: Page Fifty
A feast made for a king...and Sanctuary.
I never dreamed of going past twenty~!
Thank you all SO MUCH for sticking around and reading along with Duella's adventures as the Last Dragonborn! Who knows, maybe we might make it up to 60! Or even 70~! It means so much seeing you comment, bookmark, and kudos my work; it means that each page I write doesn't go to waste or goes unheard.
Thank you all for reading~. And now, onto the diary-snooping~!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 12th of Hearthfire, Fredas, Campfire, Border of The Pale and Eastmarch, Ten In The Morning
Everything seems to be set. The Writ of Passage is collected, Esbern is found and brought to Riverwood, and the Orc now sits at the bottom of the nearly frozen lake. Now this one must return to Solitude...as the Gourmet himself. Would anyone notice if the Gourmet had fur...? Should this one bring Maliq back to the Bards' College before heading to Castle Dour?
So many things to do.
In the meantime, S'hiala seems to be slowly getting along with Orian; they both seem to enjoy more...racy humor, unlike this one. At least it is something to laugh over.
Neilaas and Scarlet, however, seemed to more...concerned with what Khajiit is going to undertake in the upcoming weeks.
"Duella...are you sure about this? Impersonating a chef? In front of armed guards at a banquet? Whatever you do, please, just...come back safe, alright? I don't want to be the one to break it to Orian that you died doing this."
Scarlet...showing this much concern...? Could it be that this one's gift worked? The bruising and nearly broken fingers were worth it after all!
"And...Duella? If i-it's not too much trouble, when you follow the Blades...can you take me with you? I mean, i-it's not like I'd get over excited or anything, it's just that it wouldreallymeanalotifIwenttoseetheBlades--"
This one stopped her blushing stammering before she could finish.
"Weeeelllll....This one may need proof of her journey to wherever the Blades shall take her~. What better way to document it and give facts that this one wants to know than a historian on dragons and dragon hunters? Once this matter with the Emperor is settled, Neilaas, this one is happy to take you with her! ....uh, Neilaas?"
Khajiit has never seen a Nord faint with such a deep shade of red on their face before!
This one will be setting out for Solitude in a matter of days soon, with two Redguards in tow.
Fourth Era, 202, 16th of Hearthfire, Tirdas, Campfire, Border of Hjaalmarch and Falkreath, Eleven In The Morning
(A few parts of this page are torn, almost as if they were cut by blades and daggers. The writing is slightly shaky in some spots.)
Everything WENT WRONG!
Everything should have gone well!
I went to Castle Dour with the Writ of Passage all dressed up like a gaudy, fancy, well-to-do chef; no problems.
I...had fun with a few of the ingredients for the Potage le
Magnfick Magnifique; who knew diced horker cubes, some elves ear, a nirnroot, and, to top things off, a delicious sweet roll followed by the...Jarrin Root, would go well together in a soup?
The soup was delivered by Gianna and I; everything was good.
The...supposed Emperor keeled over and possibly choked on the soup-soaked-sweetroll(It was certainly a challenge to say out loud), and then this one made her escape!
Only for an ambush to await this one on the bridge.
It was all a setup.
By a...so-called Sister.
Commamder Maro, if you happen to skim through this journal should I be apprehended...I am truly sorry for ending the life of your son. Yes, he was a philandering, nepotistic, arrogant so-and-so...but he was your son.
And so family is paid for with Family.
I managed to cut through three of the Oculatus with my Nightingale Blade...before an axe of ebony whirled over my head and beheaded another before I could even blink.
A figure shrouded in black like a shadow had strode past me, its eyes--all six of them--were as cold as Winterhold on a rainy day and bade me to freeze where I stood, one ebony axe missing its twin. It...seemed to lack a mouth, but its ros*...
Its ros* was like something of the Juna*, as cold and unfeeling as the Dread Father who dwells in it.
"Go. Now, Listener. Save this Family before it falls to the blade and flame. Sithis guide you."
So...this is what fear truly feels like.
I never want to feel such a horrible, sickeningly cold feeling ever again.
So, I fled the bridge to the sound of flesh being cleaved in twain and my hurrying boots hitting the pavement, amongst the guards that demanded me to stop in the name of the law.
With a hefty bag of septims chucked at the guards' feet, I ran.
With poor, confused, worried Maliq asking so mamy questions, I ran.
Hoping that S'hiala would follow soon, I ran.
Hoping that there will still be enough time...
Fourth Era, 202, 18th of Hearthfire, Middas, Sanctuary Remains, Falkreath, Midnight
(Some parts of this section of the page appear to be singed at the edges. The writing is shaky.)
It is over.
It is all over.
Sanctuary is no longer here.
Lucien was right...
Purification has happened.
A Purification to root out the traitor. And she was under this one's nose the entire time.
To see Festus, a proud Shadowscale, and the wolf slain in such a way...Why?
This one could barely breathe through the smoke and flames as she ended the lives of every Oculatus she came across.
But this one had to gather as many survivors as she can, or be burnt to a crisp trying.
She must keep her Family together at any cost.
(This somewhat singed page has tearstains in many sizes dotting the edges and center.)
It is now...this one has lost track, but she can see that it is morning.
S'hiala had arrived not long after and is comforting the survivors. Poor Gabriella and Babette, to bear witness to such horrors, and Nazir, to see his home torn asunder...
And it is all because of the traitor, that this one hopes has burnt along with the Oculatus inside.
But, it was not of this one's own will that she walked back into what was once her former Sanctuary...
It was the Tenurr Fado* that spoke, the Mother that this one had embraced to survive, bading that this one find...her.
Somehow, by Sithis, she is still alive.
May both the Qaj Ahnurr* and Tenurr Fado* guide us both.
It is over.
Astrid is no more.
S'hiala made certain of it, by this one's decree.
Astrid was there, in the Sanctuary. As a burnt offering.
She was the Black Sacrament, herself the contract. All because of her yara*, her skai*...
Because of herself, Astrid lay bare to the ashes of this Sanctuary. Of course she explained everything, journal; she wished to keep hold of 'her' Sanctuary, even after she knew that she should have heeded the Night Mother when the time came. Cicero, though he did attempt to break the Fifth Tenet in the name of the Night Mother...
Astrid's sin is much heavier.
The First Tenet was most likely broken by her when she insulted the Night Mother somehow, giving reason for Cicero to attempt to break a Tenet of his own.
The Second Tenet is plain to see: Astrid had betrayed Khajiit to the Penitus Oculatus in exchange for the Sanctuary and her position of power.
The Third Tenet was broken by both her and this one: She ordered this one to go into Cicero's room and recover his journals to see where he was hiding. Leading to...
Tenet Four being nearly broken by Khajiit twice, once by questioning Volunruud and the other by questioning the journals; it was broken completely by Astrid once by openly defying the two superiors that were welcomed into the Sanctuary: Cicero the Keeper and the Night Mother.
And...the remains of Tenet Five are in the ashes of the Sanctuary, in Arnbjorn, in Veezara, and Festus.
Three Brothers slain.
Five Tenets broken.
One person the cause.
And this one was eager to carry out her final wish, to be struck with the Blade of Woe blessed with nightshade...
If not for a hand on her shoulder.
This one had forgotten S'hiala was there, in her grief. But the look in those blanched eyes of hers...
There was no warmth there.
"Duella....My Listener. Astrid has violated the Tenets, all five of them, and has led to our Sanctuary...our home...to be razed to the ground because of her own needs. If it is wise, Listener, grant me permission to bring this traitor and her crimes to the light and be judged by its survivors this life...and by Sithis in the next."
For someone who has brought such...suffering onto what was once our home...I simply couldn't refuse.
And so, instead of being snuffed out by the Blade of Woe, Astrid was dragged by her heels out of the remains of our home, the flakes of charred skin making a trail behind the two of them, S'hiala's expression cold and furious.
She choked out tears and smoke at the sight of Arnbjorn.
She coughed out regrets at the sight of Veezara.
And she struggled to look away from where Festus was pinned.
And here Astrid lay, in the open air of the day, for the Brother and three Sisters to see.
S'hiala, like an executioner reading the crimes of a condemned woman, announced Astrid's crimes for the remaining Family to hear. Babette's sobs became wails of disbelief, begging Astrid for answers or a reason why she would do this. Gabriella, the stoic, was shaken, tears streaking her face as stars streak the sky at night. Nazir was...speechless, to say the least.
"My Listener. Astrid has offered herself as a Black Sacrament to...atone for her crimes. Does a former Dark Sister deserve to be punished in such way, this treacherous Family member who has brought ruin to what was once our home?"
Who was this one to answer falsely?
"No. No, my Dark Sister, she does not deserve such a fate."
"Since our Family is still in mourning to pass judgement in this life...Then what say our Mother?"
The Fado's voice still makes this one feel as if she was buried within a block of ice for a century.
"May she find redemption in the Void."
Let it be so.
"My Sister. Do with Astrid as you will. May Sithis have mercy on this wayward Sister."
Astrid's weak protests and ash-sputtering coughs fell on deaf ears as S'hiala, solemn and furious, picked up her heels for the final time and dragged her off eastward into the Pine Forest of Falkreath.
We are the only Family members left in all of Skyrim. Or...even all of Tamriel.
And four of us has sat there, outside, in front of the Black Door, weeping for hours even though it felt as if years were slowly creeping by.
This one...must rest awhile.
No more for now, journal.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Ros = Voice
Juna = Void
Tenurr Fado = Night Mother
Qoj Ahnurr = Dread Father
Yara = Jealousy
Skai = Pride
Chapter 51: Page Fifty One
The aftermath, a journey, healing, and...getting to know someone.
Fourth Era, 202, 1st of Frostfall, Tirdas, Campfire, Border between The Reach and Hafingaar, Nine In The Morning
It has...been a while.
This one has...been up to quite a bit since we've last spoken, journal.
Nightmares are still had of Helgen and Sanctuary, and this one still struggles not to wake the others from their slumber with her weeping. Luckily, alongside S'hiala, despite them not know why it is that this one weeps, Maliq, Neilaas, and even Scarlet during one night, were there to comfort this one.
Maliq distracts her mind with poetry and singing of great feats and funny songs, their feats and facts provided by Neilaas. Scarlet aided this one in keeping her claws sharp with more hunting lessons.
And speaking of the Bosmer...
This one wonders that if she has made a pact with the Hungry Cat.
If she is truly a...Hirsiinit*.
Should she ask? Should she stay silent?
Perhaps...this one should ask, but not now.
Now is better than never, Ella dear.
Not again, Alimer*!
Hello to you too, Khajiit. You shouldn't hesitate on what you want to do. If you want to ask, ask her. And, by the looks of things, Scarlet doesn't quite like any dancing around topics; a Bosmer like her would be as direct as the arrows she lets fly. If this is someone you wish to be with, then go for it! That's what a dear friend taught me!
What dear friend, Orian?
...This one does not like the taste of her words.
I know you can do this, Ella. Auri-El didn't pick your blood to be blessed with his gift for nothing. If you can fight dragons almost daily, you can do this. What agent of Mother Mara would falter when faced with budding affection?
Alright! This one will do it! She just...needs some time to clear her head. A...A lot has happened, Orian.
Then take your time. Do whatever you need to do...but do it quickly. You can do this, Duella, I know you can. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some asking of my own to do~. Wish me luck!
Do sharra, ahziss liter*!
It is seven in the evening, journal, and Jode and Jone* are both waning.
A bit of baking and cooking has taken Khajiit's mind off of what had...happened. But this one must...move forward to do better, yes? Speaking of doing better, this one has learned two new things about cooking and one new thing altogether:
Fa*: The Drea-mer* are not fond of sweets. At all. This one could see it on Scarlet's face as she struggled to eat a small bite of the fresh sweetrolls that Khajiit had made not ten minutes before.
Qo*: Do not ever interrupt Scarlet whenever she is cooking dinner. Who would have known that such a quiet woman would be so...scary, especially when she growled at this one so fiercely?
Mi*: ...When S'hiala's bodyguard moved to take off his Orcish helmet to eat his dinner, we all bore witness to a muzzle, sharp teeth, and scales. The bodyguard is a...Sakhliit*?
Needless to say, Orian certainly has a lot of questions to ask.
Damn right I do! Who knew an Argonian could possibly have such a deep voice, even OUT of that blasted armor?!
Speak of the athranzoh*, and he shall appear.
So...S'hiala had an Argonian as a bodyguard? How fascinating! Though, given how silent he is...this one does not think that he shall take questions likely.
...Duella, unless it's illegal or lethal, never say 'do not' in front of me. I'm asking him.
Have you SEEN that hammer he carries?! It looks....out of place. This one cannot think of how to describe it....
Orian, please, do be careful when going near him. Along with that warhammer, whenever we finish fighting a dragon, he seems to...watch Khajiit through his helmet as she takes in its athra*. It is...quite disconcerting.
Still. If he's doing that with you, then, it does warrant caution. I'll be careful.
This Argonian is...odd. Very odd. It turns out the eyes this one feels when taking the soul of a dragon is not Alkosh watching over his children, but Sister S'hiala's bodyguard. But, why? Of all people to watch, why this one?
Is he plotting something? Is he wishing to poison Khajiit? Is he jealous of this one for being friends with S'hiala? Does he see this one as some sort of...threat?
This one will...ask questions soon, journal.
Fourth Era, 202, 6th of Frostfall, Sundas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, Eleven In The Morning
(This page is slightly torn, with bloodstains in some sections of the page.)
Thank the gods for Scarlet and her skill at healing.
A group of vampires ambushed us as we were on our way to Solitude during the night for everyone to resupply, and hopefully for Maliq to continue his studies. There were only five; two thralls, two vampires, and their leader.
Before the two vampires were flattened to a paste by the Argonian bodyguard's immense war-hammer, one of them managed to narrowly miss this one with his set of venomous fangs while the other made a swipe at this one with a steel sword he carried. That almost-otherworldly war-hammer almost seemed to...glow when he took it off of his back, almost as if it were enchanted.
But this one will worry about the hammer later; she has a wound on her side to heal.
Neilaas, however, was...almost like a spirit of ice. The staff that she wielded sprayed an ice spell with the force and fury of a blizzard, her blond locks almost a snowy white in the cold haze that whipped it about. She smelled strongly of magicka and fresh cold ice, the fair skin of her hands already turning a faint blue as she aimed her spells at the unfortunate thralls that have wounded S'hiala. And her voice when letting loose that spell from her staff...Her voice was like an ice wraith's hiss.
"Diin*! Oblaan, hi diil*!"
As for the leader of the group...he barely managed to turn tail despite the wounds from Maliq's mace, but did not get very far before a massive paw grabbed him by the neck and rended him apart without hesitation.
Once Scarlet managed to patch up our wounds, we moved onward, but...
This one had questions to ask.
When we had reached the docks of Solitude as the sun rose, Maliq had parted from us, hugging each of us good-bye, save for the bodyguard, only to let his embrace of Neilaas linger for a bit longer than the rest of us before he trekked towards the gates. The last we saw of him before the doors shut was his broad smile and his drum and lute strapped to his back as he stepped inside.
And then there were only us sho*....and even then that number will soon drop to san*, once Neilaas and this one set off towards this place called Karthwasten. But this one will not waste time!
This one must ask the questions that have been buzzing about in her brain like a poked beehive! And she will do it before she and Neilaas leave!
It is now three in the afternoon.
After...many instances of cold feet and motherly scolding from S'hiala, this one had finally worked up the courage to ask Scarlet so many things!
...But this one is afraid that she may have asked a wrong question somewhere down the line.
"How did you become a...Hirsiniit?"
"Simple. When you're born in Valenwood, you learn hunting and how to respect the hunt naturally."
"Ah, no, no, this one meant...when she found you, unconscious. You...were changed. The Bosmer was not a Bosmer then; she was...a werewolf."
"If it is alright to ask...How did Scarlet become a member of the Hovep* of Hircine?"
"...Whiterun Hold is where you found me, yes, Duella? Then Whiterun is where it began."
Wait. What? Whiterun...?
"What else will you ask? Don't lie; I can smell your nervousness. You're hiding something. What. Is. It."
This one did not know whether to be scared or...excited, in some way. The way those dark eyes stared into Khajiit so intensely, how her voice pounded in her ears...No! Khajiit needed to focus! So, despite her heart hammering with the force of a blacksmith, Duella asked her question.
(This section of the page is stained with large teardrops.)
"This one...No, I have been having aydith* about...my first home from my kittenhood. It was solely me, my older sister, and my parents in this small village in Elsweyr; we were all settling in for the night until we smelt smoke and heard screams for aid. We...looked to see houses on fire and villagers being dragged out by humans clad in armor...they were...slaughtered in the open air l-like animals...and then, the people in armor came to this one's house. I clung to my sister as my ahnurr* and fado* bade us to hide in the tiniest part of our house and be quiet. And...they came inside. They...both....died...and this one couldn't help but cry as Dahjra clutched me tight."
Divines...why did that happen?
"But...in the middle of the heat and smoke, I saw a hand reaching out...and a face smothered by paint and smoke. This one could not help but wonder...Was that hand...a-and that face...yours?"
From the tears that clouded my eyes and the feeling of centuries passing in the span of mere minutes, I saw an elven face that bore an...unexplained expression. This one has a feeling that she may have hit a bit too close to home with her incessant asking.
Needless to say, Scarlet was quiet the rest of the day, moreso than she usually is.
Have I...upset her?
Has she lost her village too when she was young?
Stupid, STUPID cat! Why did she ask?!
...Because you have every right to know, Duella. And you know it.
I'll...do my best to ask her myself. So...when will you take the Snowy Scholar on your journey?
Duella, please...be safe, the both of you. You might be Dragonborn, but not even Auri-El can stop a historian desperate for knowledge; keep Neilaas on a literal leash, will you?
This one will try.
And...there's something waiting for you come tomorrow, just before you leave.
Oh? From who?
A...secret admirer~. How romantic; you caught someone's eye and they sent you something in the hopes that it'll make you smile~! Ah, so touching~!
...But who would possibly want that?
You'd be surprised~. Good luck! Ah, and Scarlet is cooking like always. Be sure to grab seconds before you two head out.
Tonsh jer*, my friend.
It is ten in the night, and this one cannot sleep.
She dreams of smoke and flame and a hand outstretched yet again.
Ta'agra Translation Time:
Hirsiiniit = Hunter
Alimer = Altmer
Do sharra, ahziss liter = Good luck, my brother
Jode and Jone = Masser and Secunda, the Two Moons
Fa = One
Drea-mer = Bosmer
Qo = Two
Mi = Three
Sahkliit = Argonian
Athranzoh = Daedra
Sho = Six
San = Four
Hovep = Pack
Ahnurr = Father
Fado = Mother
Tonsh jer = Thank you
Dovahzul Translation Time!
Diin = Freeze
Saluk, hi diil = Die, you undead
Chapter 52: Page Fifty Two
The Dragonborn and the Scholar come across a Wall.
Fourth Era, 202, 11th of Frostfall, Fredas, The Karthspire, Between The Reach and Hafingaar Hold, Ten In The Morning
(This section of the page is slightly singed and stained with a few Septim-sized bloodstains.)
This one is...annoyed. VERY annoyed. She never knew that this many Forsworn could congregate in one damn place! She and Neilaas are practically up to our arms in makeshift weapons and Briar-Hearts...which Scarlet might need for any potions...
This one is sure that she would not mind a few...hundred~.
Supplies aside, Neilaas has been practically having a heart attack ever since we and the Blades had stepped into the vast cave; when she was not struck silent by the carved symbols and immense traps, she was letting loose every bit of history from her lips!
Luckily, Esbern was there to trade historical blows with this one's friend.
"And this...this large stone carving is, in fact, the very visage of none other than Reman Cyrodiil."
"The Reman Cyrodiil? The founder of the Reman Dynasty? Dragonborn of the Akaviri? The foundation of the Second Empire?"
"Why, yes, young lady, the very same! Why, I've never met anyone so well-versed in the history of the Empire. It's quite...refreshing."
"And surely someone of your wisdom could, perhaps....exchangeknowledgeaboutthehistoryoftheBlades?" Neilaas spluttered, her face as red as a freshly plucked apple.
"But of course! Anything for a fellow historian...and potential scribe."
"W-Wait...you mean...? You really m-mean?!"
"But of course I mean, child! You would be a wonderful scribe for the Blades should I leave before Arkay wills it; your potential is boundless!"
Neilaas? A scribe? Being present at Maliq's side as they write down every moment of history together? Oh, this one is excited already, even after finding...an odd symbol on the floor.
You mean a blood seal, Duella? And...thanks for, uh, thinking about my...future~.
Neilaas, not you too!
I'm sorry, Duella, I couldn't help it! Plus, my notes are getting crowded enough as it is! Seeing all of this ancient history right before my eyes, it's amazing! And my dearest friend is a part of it all, too! I can't help but be excited!
And what of that symbol on the floor?
That's a blood seal. And, by the looks of things, it seems like only the blood of the Dragonborn can open it. That...means you, Duella.
...Wish this one luck.
It is never every day that a Khajiit such as this one is given gifts to save the world.
It is also not every day that a Nord passes out after seeing an enormous carving in a wall, right next to such a Khajiit.
This one wonders how long Neilaas will take to wake up now that Maliq isn't there to...'persuade' her to wake up~. Again~.
Hey! That was...only one time!
Ah, it seems this one spoke the magic word to wake the Nord from her fainting spell~!
Although, this one doesn't blame Neilaas for fainting so soon; seeing such an immense carving of...everything. Dragons, a battlespire, Oblivion gates opening, a large mountain over a city, and, at the end of it all, someone Shouting at...Alduin. Duella-daro has never seen such an intimidating carving before! And Esbern telling this one what she must do:
Learn the very Shout that was used to fight against the World Eater.
Bringer of The End Times, according to Neilaas...now that she has woken up.
This one...I...am unsure of how to truly take on such a monumental feat, especially with the people of this land in such disbelief that someone so...qari* to bear the blood of
...Duella. I...may not have much experience in...bravery, but, I at least know, or, read enough to know that...bravery isn't something you do alone. Taking on Alduin with just a Shout and yourself is going to be impossible. You need someone to help you. You need your friends.
Especially you, Neilaas.
me Wait, WHAT??
This one needs the aid of her zabish trevana* to stop this World Eater. That includes you, ahziss yasir trevan*!
Duella...thank you. I've never...had many friends, much less any that stuck around for so long. I always preferred the company of books, tomes, notes, and scrolls over people most of the time. And whenever I did reach out...it normally only lasted for as long as they needed my mind and...not me.
Well, this one is different! She will never leave you behind, roj wadith*!
And speaking of leaving behind, we must head out of Sky Haven Temple and back to wherever our friends are waiting! This one has grown tired of the sights of the Reach...And no, you will not lead the way this time, Neilaas!
Fourth Era, 202, 13th of Frostfall, Sundas, The Winking Skeever, Solitude, Hafingaar Hold, Eight In The Morning
This one had never been hugged so tightly before! The innkeeper had to pry Maliq off of Duella-daro as he was practically breaking her back with his hugs; S'hiala simply settled for the safer alternative of smothering me with kisses...
Until those unseeing eyes gazed at this one.
"Duella, I'm glad that you're alright! But...You and your aura...it's wavering. It's unsure. What seems to be the matter? Did someone harm my dear child?"
If only this one could find the words to explain...If she weren't being nearly hugged to death yet again by two elves. After she had pried the both of them off of her, this one had managed to calm her friends down enough to tell her tale of the Wall...and what she must do.
(This part of the bottom of the page is partially stained with tears.)
Khajiit was met with quite the reaction.
"Ella, dear. This is...quite the road you must take. But you know that you aren't hauling that adorably swishy tail of yours back up that mountain alone, right?"
The Redguard skald was quite...vocal.
"Damn right. Besides, as a skald, I need to tell the tale of every journey; what good is the tale of the Dragonborn without a skald to tell it? Plus, there is absolutely no way you're convincing me to stay the fuck down here while you're a cat-sicle up on that mountain. I'm going with you. That's that."
"Duella...you already know my answer."
"My Thane--My...friend, I vowed to follow you to ends of Nirn. If it means following you up that godsforsaken mountain a thousand times, or even to the halls of Sovngarde, I'll follow you every step of the way."
My housecarl, stubborn as always.
"And I refuse to let my friend and daughter cavort on the top of a mountain alone! At least take a blanket, if not at least all of us, with you! Am I understood?"
Despite her having no irises, Khajiit could feel the gaze of a mother bear into her from S'hiala.
"...I'm going with you. I'm not losing you. You aren't stopping me."
A stubborn Wood Elf is hard to fight against.
The Greybeards are certainly going to find their monastery quite crowded in the upcoming days.
But, as this one settled into bed, she couldn't help but feel eyes of envy leer at her...
From within S'hiala's room.
This one may have more trouble sleeping than she had hoped.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
*Qari = Catlike
*Zabish trevana = Precious friends
*Ahziss yasir trevan = My smart friend
*Roj wadith = She promises
Chapter 53: Page Fifty Three
The Cat, The Dream, and...
If you faithful readers have noticed the date, today/yesterday is/was...
The FIRST ANNIVERSARY/BIRTHDAY of this story!
I'm so happy that all of you have kept me going this far! I have you all to thank for me writing this tale for one whole year, right to the day~! You readers make me so happy, and each comment and kudos I get just makes me happier~!
This one thanks you all~! I hope there will be a SECOND anniversary~!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fourth Era, 202, 19th of Frostfall, Loredas, Honeyside, Riften, The Rift Hold, Ten In The Morning
This one had never felt so....odd before.
As if...Sheogorath and Vaermina are conspiring inside this one's head. Khajiit had a rather...odd aydith* after reuniting with everyone. It was not long after Duella-daro had gone to bed, still with the feeling of envious eyes still watching her as she sunk into her bed and into slumber.
Duella-daro was in a room made of stone, a single flaming akenibi* dimly lighting the vast and empty room she was sitting in. There were six iron doors in front of Khajiit, with an odd patch of writing above each of them. When this one moved towards the furthest one on the left, she felt something...
Odd, but warm. As if someone was embracing this one.
When this one stepped through the door, it looked as if she had stepped straight into the thick of Winterhold...and yet it felt as if she were in the Reach on a sunny day while the sun was nowhere to be seen. After a bit of wandering about, Khajiit felt a hand gripping hers and a familiar voice in her ear:
"Learn from the words you find."
Neilaas' voice was a faint whisper in the ear of this one before she found herself out in the stone room she sat in, alone again.
With each door she had passed through, Duella-daro found herself in a different surrounding with a different friend's whisper in her ear.
Lydia in the plains of Whiterun, sharpening a sword, advising this one to "Stand tall, no matter the burdens you carry".
Maliq amongst the shifting sands near a shoreline, strumming his lute, laughing as he sang out, "Find a reason to smile, even when the world scowls at you!"
S'hiala within a vaulted temple lit with candles, kneeling in supplication, her whisper of "Whether in dark or light, find beauty and balance".
Orian within the confines of a warm tavern, proclaiming proudly as he swept about in gorgeous silken skirts, "Stand against the forces that bring you to kneel!"
Each encounter led this one back to the main room, the torch lighting the room growing brighter each time she returned. The walls of this cold stone room were finally illuminated, with carvings decorating the walls in a peculiar mix of the tongues of Khajiit and of the Dragons, all of them swirling and weaving like sand in the wind towards the remaining two doors.
Above one door was the written word of "Drenamer*" while the other, final door faintly held the carvings of two words that baffled this one.
Despite the allure of the final door and what it held...
This one, for once, ignored her curiosity, wishing to...explore the woods first.
Despite the nearly endless canopy that loomed above this one's head, Khajiit felt...At home. As if someone was watching over Duella-daro...as if the arrow that hilted into the immense tree beside her was any sign. But this one didn't flee, no, this one shouldn't.
This one knew this arrow well.
No wonder this one was eager to go through this door~.
The redheaded Bosmer was far above this one's head, eyes of a predator gazing at Khajiit, always silent. This one did not run; instead, she simply sat, only to have those same eyes descend from the trees and meet Khajiit, still saying nothing.
Scarlet had only parted her lips to speak a few words before smirking, making her way back into the trees before Duella-daro was brought back out into the main room.
"Above all else, go with your gut."
Only one door remained, and the akenibi almost blinded this one with its brightness.
This one went through, only to find...
A night full of mist and marsh, with the familiar sound of flapping immense wings overhead.
A fine welcome.
Once the winged beast spotted this one, she gritted her teeth and prepared herself as the dragon opened its maw...
Only for the dragon to be felled by a hammer wielded by a familiar set of armor.
The Orcish armor of S'hiala's Argonian bodyguard.
As this one was waiting for the beast's athra* to be taken in, the Argonian turned to me, his glowing eyes seething from his helmet as the dragon's very being flowed into...him. Not I. HIM.
Before this one was cast out into the room one last time, he managed to sneer out a phrase that chilled Khajiit to her bones.
"A dragon is never as weak as you are. Prove yourself to Akatosh before slaying one of his own children."
This one was forced out for the final time, the bright light of the flame nearly blinding this one...and luring her close. The dancing, flickering body of fire was so...warm, so enticing. This one's paw felt as if sun and freezing snow embraced it as she grew closer and closer to the ever dancing, ceaselessly moving torch in the center of the room...
Until the Skooma Cat saw it fit to pluck this one from her dream to the sight of Orian and Neilaas still asleep near this one's bed, fur matted to Duella-daro's body out of a cold sweat.
Vaermina has sought revenge for Dawnstar, it seems.
This one hopes.
It will be...odd traveling up to the Gith Di Nirni* with a certain someone in a matter of days.
Well, at least this one has friends!
Fourth Era, 202, 21th of Frostfall, Morndas, The Throat of The World, The Rift Hold, Nine In The Morning
THIS ONE MET A DRAGON THAT DID NOT WISH TO MAKE HER ITS LUNCH!
IT IS A MIRACLE!
Ah, and Neilaas fainted again. That, however, is no miracle.
But, she was quick to recover and was even quicker to talk to the old dragon before this one could open her mouth.
He is quite kind, and wise, like a dro'ahnurr* but the presence of Alkosh still resonated within him, this Paarthurnax. Who would have thought that the leader of the priests of Khenarthi* would be a child of Alkosh? And so reserved, too?
But, even as Maliq and S'hiala pried Neilaas away from the elder long for this one to talk to him...
I....felt his words hissing in the back of my mind.
Well, we Suthays are not the best in strength, but...
This one never asked for Alkosh's blessing, but she hardly squanders it nor abuses it!
How is this one weak?
Was this one always weak?
Was this a test of Alkosh? Or a trick?
How does this one know if she is...weak?
And why does it irk this one so to be called weak?
Khajiit has slain many dragons and learned their tongue as best she could and lived to tell the tale; that is not weakness! Far from it!
What more can this one do?
...Perhaps Paarthurnax will guide this one.
Ta'agra Translation Time:
Aydith = Dream
Akenibi = Torch
Drenamer = Wood Elf/Bosmer
Sakhliit = Argonian
Alkosh = Akatosh
Gith di Nirni = Throat of The World
Dro'ahnurr = Grandfather/Grandpa
The dream sequence of this special chapter was inspired by the Vocaloid song known as "The Blessed Messiah and The Tower of Ai". Give it a listen...and take some tissues and comfort food with you. I highly recommend it!
Chapter 54: Page Fifty Four
A new challenge(r) and a time for conflict approaches!
Fourth Era, 202, 24th of Frostfall, Turdas, The Ragged Flagon, Riften, The Rift Hold, Two In The Morning
Ahziss va yava zira zai di vaba dazalka kefa wafa ma iho jaji skai sakhliit rasiniit*!
Who does that stupid swamp-strider think he is?!
Mother S'hiala's bodyguard, remember?
Oh, shut up, Maliq! Do the opposite of what you normally do!
Noooo. I don't think I'll do that just yet. Besides, think of this as a good thing. This Argonian might be...testing you. The more you're tested, the stronger you become. The stronger you are, the bigger and better chances you have of defeating Satakal.
Ah, let me explain, my feline friend~. What the Nords in Skyrim dub him as is Alduin, the World-Eater, the Black Wyrm, the First of Akatosh's Children. What we Redguards of the Yokudan faith call him is Satakal, the Worldskin, Serpent of the Snake and His Stomach. I would be more than happy to tell you, but we have an Elder Scroll to look for and the tale would take much too long.
Speaking of which...What should this one do? Be worn by that Argonian's "tests" while searching for an Elder Scrolls that may not even be there like that blasted Horn?!
You can easily handle being leader of two groups that balance life, death, wealth, and poverty all at once. This should be handled the same way. Just think of that elusive Elder Scroll as....your former bosses. You have to know them, find them, and learn from them a lesson that others couldn't. The tests you might encounter are just a bonus.
...This one will try. Khajiit has...never done anything like this before, at all.
Well, just know that you aren't doing this alone. You have us, after all. Never forget that. Now, speaking of tests and learning, don't we have a College to get to~?
Ah, Maliq is right! Thank goodness Orian is a student there. I...just hope that this Scroll isn't tucked away in some impossible place...
Before I leave, I have a message from one of your...subordinates.
His name is...Vipir. He says he needs a new set of healing potions, courtesy of his latest apology to Lydia...after 'denting her shield with his head'.
Oh, no! Dalaa di Mara an Dibella*! I will see to him at once!
Dibella keep that poor bastard...and Akatosh guide that girl.
Fourth Era, 202, 27th of Frostfall, Sundas, The Arcaneum, College of Winterhold, Winterhold, Ten In The Morning
This one has seen black wings unfurl in her sleep again. She senses that wherever this Elder Scroll is, it must be close. Somehow.
That gaping maw, those teeth like swords, his breath like molten metal...
It haunts this one like a hanozay aydith*. Because of that, this one has only slept a handful of hours; the students at the College were kind in their offers to aid Khajiit in her attempts to have a peaceful sleep.
But this one must keep moving.
On the brighter side, though, Orian appears to be quite popular in this College! He has even made a friend with another Nordic mage and even a pretty mormer rishjiit*! Even so, despite this news, it feels as if Orian is protecting this one from...someone. Someone that is lurking about on this College ground, doing something dreadful.
Whoever they are, they drew the ire of the wrong person to anger.
Speaking of which, that person has gotten that surly librarian to give up two books on this mysterious Elder Scroll...and it seems that the author of one of them appears to have been touched by the Skooma Cat himself.
This Septimus Signus seems to be quite interesting....to be living in the middle of a frozen Sea of Ghosts, to the north of this place. Even Neilaas, the librarian, and Orian are quite stumped about this man's handiwork! None of them could make heads or tails of it all! The only words that stood out to any of us was 'Elder Scroll'. This one could only imagine speaking to the man himself...if he is even still alive by the time we all get there.
We have only been in this blasted Sea of Ghosts for three fucking hours and this one already has lost feeling in her tail.
Suck it up.
I see you're still whining like the kitten you are. When is that going to stop? You can't whine when fighting a dragon. You can't whine when taking its soul. And you certainly can't whine when facing the dragon that haunts you. So STOP WHINING ALREADY.
...We only have a little ways to go until this little outpost. Show some restraint.
There's no restraint when doing your duty as so-called Dragonborn, if you proclaim yourself as one. Why should I show restraint to the supposed Dragonborn that I follow?
...We're almost there.
I never knew that a coward who is blessed with the blood of Akatosh is shying away from an Argonian with a humble hammer.
...We're here at last. Stop talking, Ram.
Ta'agra Translation Time!
Ahziss va yava zira zai di vaba dazalka kefa wafa ma iho jaji skai sakhliit rasiniit = "I am getting REALLY tired of being treated like an idiotic child because of that prideful Argonian guard!"
Dalaa di Mara an Dibella = Mercy of Mara and Dibella
Hanozay aydith = Unending dream
Mormer rishajiit = Dunmer mage
Sakhliit = Argonian
Chapter 55: Page Fifty Five
Tedious ruins...and rising tension.
Fourth Era, 202, 30th of Frostfall, Middas, Alftand Glacial Ruins, Alftand, Winterhold, Eight At Night
That...scholar must be touched by Sheggorath, Herma-Morah...or, this one dares, by both. That huge Dwarven device certainly was something to behold, much to Neilaas' curiosity; this one can hardly wrap her mind around the matter of the Elder Scroll...and this enormous dwarven ruin...
I'm surprised that you actually have a mind to use, cat.
ANYWAYS. THIS ONE MUST MOVE FORWARD, REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER GROUCHY LIZARDS IN UGLY CLANKY ARMOR SAY ABOUT THIS ONE'S BRAINS.
But...Khajiit has seen something quite odd within these walls of ice and stone: Corpses with a story.
Neilaas was the first to find the first two bodies in what seems to have been an expedition into this ruins' depths: two of this one's kinsmen, brothers both of them, dead and frozen. The first was slain by the brother, kaver vaber rejizevithka ali kha'jay var*. The second, lost in the haze of sugar, attempted to attack Fado* S'hiala...
Only to be crushed like a bug beneath that ghastly hammer of Ram's.
Believe it or not, this one actually steeled herself to ask about this odd-looking hammer he kept about him as we passed through the doors of the dwemer ruins that had us delving deeper.
"Ram...? This one is curious. Where...did you get that hammer that you are so fond of?"
His respond...made this one's ego burn hot, for some reason.
"...From people much stronger than you, so-called Dragonborn."
...I wish the lizard would be left wherever S'hiala had first met him. Why does he berate this one so?! This one is only just beginning to learn the way of this Thu'um! How can this one master something in months that takes years for others to learn? And so soon?
I just want this blasted scroll found...wherever it may be.
Fourth Era, 202, 31th of Frostfall, Turdas, Alftand Animonculory, Alftand Ruins, Winterhold, Nine In The Morning
(This section of the page holds bloodstains and singed corners, as well as slightly shaky handwriting.)
It was Maliq that found the next two bodies in this group: a Drenamer* named Endrast who was once a student of Winterhold and an Orc woman full of arrows.
Whatever this expedition was, this one wonders what has made them separate in such a ruin filled with machines and deranged owazmer*! So far, the closest this one had come to death was being surrounded by Falmer with swords slashing away at her. This one's Ebony dagger was knocked from her paws while she sustained a stab wound to her side, opening a wound that had healed months before.
Finding no other option before the blasted Falmer could cut Khajiit's throat...
I used my Voice.
The Force of her Voice flung most of the twisted elves over the edge of the spiraling stairs not far from where the Orc was found, leaving the few that remained to be impaled by flying shards of ice.
This one should use her Voice if this one must be...Dovahkiin.
Falmer or not, Duella, you need to exercise your Dovahzul more often! My offer to teach you is always open...as long as we grab this Scroll and make it out alive, that is.
Khajiit knows, Neilaas. And...this one is happy to learn. Better than being insulted every time you breathe.
I know Ram seems...harsh...but, in his own way, he wants to help you.
Because Fado said so.
Well...that too, but, a Dragonborn can't be, well, Dragonborn without learning the Thu'um and the Way of the Voice. If not, then, you're just...
Fulfilling everyone's expectations of what they think Khajiit are.
...I'll skin whoever thinks that and wear them as pelts.
Then you'll be wearing most of Skyrim. Men, women, children, old, and young. You'll be proving people like Rolff Stone-Fist and the Thalmor right unless you do something. Duella, please, do whatever you can to learn from this.
...This one refuses to lose herself when taking all of this in, Neilaas. She has so much within her now: the blood of her people, the title of Guildmaster, the role of Nightingale, and the rank and gift of the Brotherhood. With all of these and the blood of Alkosh...
Will there be enough room for Duella-daro before this one's seams tear apart?
duella, you've been through almost impossible odds, faced down beasts much bigger than you, and literally greeted the hate of a land that hungers for you blood with a smile
if you can do that, you can do this
i didn't save you back then just to lose you to some arrogant lizards that think they're better and blow hot air
you're stronger than them
prove it however you can
...This one will try, Scarlet. And...where is Neilaas? This one saw that she stopped peering over this one's shoulder before hearing her run ahead.
went with S'hiala to look for Ram
he and maliq tried to debate on how to...handle your training
We need to find them! The three of them must have gone deeper into the ruins!
Ta'agra Translation Time!
kaver vaber rejizevithka ali kha'jay var = "Who was married to Moon Sugar"
Drenamer = Bosmer
Fado = Mother
Alkosh = Akatosh
Ooh, things are heating up in this frozen ruin! Up next, everyone's favorite Crimson Nirnroot hunting spot, Blackreach! What do you think will happen in the dark depths of this ruin? Feel free to comment and tell me your predictions and suggestions~!