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The Elder Scrolls: Gilded Lives

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Coldness washes up to the shore today as the great storm arrives. My scales feel cold, the quaint little island has always been peaceful, but I can tell that something terrible is afloat. Our village chief always has everything under control. I won’t shake this discomfort. I just can’t find anything to reason it. The shoreline, listening, watching, and waiting for the storm to show. "Shovska-Mah, I finally found you. Please, walk with me; we need to talk." I turn around to see the village chief; he's big but an inconceivably short lizard on top of the sandbank. I shout back at him, "A beautiful day, otherwise ruined by another one of these damn storms." I climb up against the sandy hill. I cannot shake this feeling of dread I have. "Is the village going to hold after the storm?" I ask out of curiosity; the village had never been destroyed before, but we may very well lose a couple of homes for the first time in 50 years with the waves this bad.

"Not to worry." He responds in his usual optimistic voice. "Anybody in possible danger I have already worked with and escorted out to make sure they can hold up in our shelters. I am more concerned about our guest." "Our guest? Who are you talking about?" I ask as I had not known we were keeping outsiders in the village. Nothing like that is ever supposed to happen unless I can have my say. I ask quietly, as to not attract attention, "Did you forget our agreement? In exchange for my money, you must let me know what is happening around the village." "Oh, my apologies, madam, they came here two nights ago when a storm shipwrecked them on our beach a little over 5 miles north of here. Please, I need you to walk with me."

We walk into town, passing each house locked up to keep the storm out. I start to feel a few drops on my face as we walked closer to the chiefs' hut. "I hadn't informed you earlier because I felt they would've been gone by now. Good ole Areonis Elsinious said that he would have ships and men ready to get them out of here by tonight." I had to stop him and ask, "Areonis Elsinious? That sounds like an elf name. Whom are you talking about? Just who are these people." "Oh, dear, you haven't heard? T-they belong to the Aldmeri Dominion. Areonis is a naval captain who was on patrol around Black Marsh. We are getting a trade agreement that will be sending Argonian craftsmanship in exchange for some armor and their Magicka knowledge for infrastructure and culture. We could finally get some more information on the outside world without needing to send our own to the mainland.” I noticed something odd.

Chiefs' scales began to sweat nervously as he kept tucking at his shirt. He wouldn't look me in the eye and kept darting off as if he were looking for someone watching him. "Oh, of course," I whispered, trying to comfort him. I continued to stay calm patting his back, saying, "This is still your village, and I shouldn't be all so picky on how you run it. I do, however, live here. Would I be able to meet this – Areonis?" "Oh, you wanted to meet him?" He paused. Something is defiantly not right here, and I'm going to get to the bottom of it. This Island has been my family's home for generations ever since it was founded, and I'll be damned if I'd let anything happen. "If you're serious, follow me." He leads me into his hut, leaving the door open to find a high elf in Thalmor uniform with two bodyguards sitting at the round table. 

Annoyed, the man in the middle asks, "Chief Arganess of Green-Waters, is it? Who did you bring into here, and why? I thought you told me I could use this building as a private study so I may be left alone." He takes a brief look at me and looks back down on his map, frustrated. "You there, women, I am a very busy man and have no want of you. Go away." I assume this is the Areonis I was told about. I try to hold back from being rude; “So, what brings you to this part of Tamriel? He responds, "I'm waiting on some essential people for rescue. They will be here in a few hours. So, if you could be so kind as to leave, that would be great." I'm about to shout at this asshole for insulting me in such a manner; the Chief pulls me aside. In a worried look and the most serious tone I have ever heard, "Do not upset him, please."

I don't think I ever saw him that worried before. Before I can protest, he only tells me to go home. In a whisper, "Find your Daughter Meer-Mah, grab your belongings, and get out of here. Just go to the mainland!" He quickly grabs and shoves me out of his house. I shout back, "You can't just let them treat me like that in your home, damn it! I want answers!" He still can't look me in my eyes. The thunderstorm starts with a torrential downpour. Well, guess I should go home. Meer-Mah will be back soon, and I got to make her dinner- "Wait!"

I turn around and in the misty voice was that man, Areonis, I think. "Oh great," I told him, "what do you want?"

"To apologize." He spoke.

"Okay, look," he continued, "I've been here for a few days, and honestly, your food is the worse myself and my men have ever had."

"Insulting me? Okay." I responded.

"There's more." He interrupted.

"No," I told him sarcastically.

"Stop that, and I'm serious. I was granted clearance to go through village residence files. Your name is Shovska?" he asked.

"You call me Shovska-Mah, or we're done talking. I don't want a dark elf scenario with you people." I had to affirm.

"Ah, yes, the Thalmor do not need to enslave Argonians. We want none of you in Alinor."

We pause for a moment. I think Areonis just realized how racist he was.

"I read up to that. As a single mother, you and your Daughter come from an ancestry of mages?"

Crap looks like I must explain this complicated matter to him. He's far friendlier than I initially thought.

I explain to him, "this village isn't a part of the kingdom of Black Marsh. We rule ourselves, have our laws, and because of that, we have no protection. My ancestors… were mages who helped the foundation of this area. We protected it, so if you couldn't tell by my uniform, we have quite a bit at stake here. I was never able to do spells well, but my Daughter… yeah, she has what it takes. I can feel it?" his eyes widen with excitement. I feel a dark essence from him, but he's such a gentleman. I better keep my guard up. "I teach magic for recruits to the cause. Could I meet your Daughter? I've never seen an Argonian mage before."

"No, that's final. I'm leaving."

What a creep, asking to see my little girl; no matter what, I will protect my sunshine. However, as I walk away, his men pull the Chief out of the hut forcibly – but it's hard to see in this damn rain.

It's time to follow and see what's going on.

The Argonians have been a slave race for over millennia, specifically to Dark Elves. While unable to travel inland, the Dark Elves would try and capture any Argonian villages to send them to work on farms back home. Mah's Hamlet is one of the only ones to fend off any invaders thanks to guerrilla warfare and being on the other side of the country. However, High Elves of high ranking in the military are here, being pulled inland because they had a shipwreck in a patrol? Summerset Isles is on the other side of the globe; they have no reason to have any navy off by Black Marsh unless something is planned. If there were any trade, it would be well known about their presence. Therefore, Lady-Mah decided not to run away. Instead, she would investigate. Changing into more stealthy clothing, she chooses to watch the Chief's hut to find them leaving.

The Chief and the group of elves are leaving the hut. I follow both our leader and elves, using my attuned listening to pay attention to their conversation. It's faint but clear enough to understand what is being said. It looks like the Chief is saying something, "I hope your visit wasn't terrible, sir. I understand the stress of being lost at sea for so long." The elf was barely paying attention to what is being said but responds, "Hmm, oh yes, being at sea for that long nearly drove me mad. I felt like I would starve to death before your tribesmen rescued what was left of my crew." Chief responds, "Yes, it was quite tragic… But may I ask about your ship?" The elves stop, almost like Areonis is annoyed, but he tells him, "Yes, go ahead." "Well," Chief pauses. "On the ship, we found some documents, while most illegible, there were some that were questionable. It looked like you were on patrol for about 5 months. So, I will ask this just once," In a severe tone, "what do you want with my people?" Areonis, with a stern mad, looked, threw a powerful punch, and knocked Chief back 5 feet. It looked like his jaw was misplaced as I was forced to watch a stream of blood drool out of his mouth.

I was shocked by the attack! Nearly falling back onto the ground, I quickly withdrew from the scene; I can't do much but run to my house. It's the biggest in the village—three-story wooden cabins, with multiple rooms and, in fact, separate buildings. I bolt toward it, feeling the downpour of rain getting worse. I hope that the elves didn't see me leave. I look at all I have. "Home," I think to myself. I enter and close the door behind me. There is this burning feeling, as if something, far off, was trying to warn me of impending danger to come. After two minutes of trying to collect me, I know what to do. I grab my steel sword, my hunting bow, and set after my Daughter, Meer-Mah. Earlier today, she went to go hang around with her friends. She is in the most immediate danger, and I must protect her from history's fate.

Two hours have passed. Ships from the Aldmeri Dominion are beginning to arrive within 30 minutes. If there is any hope to save her family, the Mah house's Lady must find her Daughter in 25 minutes. Elsewhere at the docks, Areonis Elsinious, the Thalmor Captain, tortures the Chief in front of the town's people, forcing them to watch with his guards. Seeing his army off in the distance, he gets the confidence to explain what will happen to the village people. To understand the story, Areonis will need to explain his business here!

---

The crowd has finally gathered. Good. I, Areonis, must do my part to pick these savages! It's time to announce our plans, my favorite! "You see, ladies and gentlemen, your leader, Arganess, has done a poor job of minding his manners and, in fact, failed all of you." I pity them so much. It's hard, but I almost feel sorry for these pathetic creatures. They're neither human nor elf and live like the barbarians of old. They don't even use proper septum's; instead, they try and use their disgusting food to buy our knowledge. One of them almost found out about our plans make them equally dangerous as humans and, therefore, should be taught a lesson. A demonstration is necessary for these lizards to understand Thalmor's anger! I explain to the folks, "Arganess here thought he would gain the upper hand; let me show you just what happens when you try to outsmart the smartest race in Tamriel!" With just a flick of my hand, I prepare a firebolt. Only two seconds, and this poor lizard is frying like a shish kabob. He screams in the most ghastly and dreadful voice, but I feel his soul is thankful for letting me release him from his body.

This is just humorous; I have the masses running in terror with only one spell.  This Argonian tribe is a species that has never seen are known anything about the powers of magic. How fascinating and very disappointing.  Oh, I see one of the lackeys running toward me. "Captain Areonis, sir!" This boy's presence means the ships have arrived; it looks like the real fun will begin. "What is it, boy? Can't you see that I am listening to such wonderful music this species is singing?" He tells me, "I am to report to you that the ships and men are ready for the harvest, sir. The storm looks to be growing harsh, but nothing the greatest navy in the world couldn't handle. "Sir, if I may ask…" "Of course, no need to be so formal." "What do we do with the population that resists?" Wow, this must be his first mission. "Why we kill them; let the divines sort them out," I told him. He nodded in approval and went on in his way.

My ships, the principal of Aldmeri Dominion design, were all set for the Thalmor empire. They're arriving on the shoreline, excellent. I can finally get off this swampland and back home in my cozy marble mansion. The wind and rain and gathering be far more intense than I thought; a second hurricane would be bad luck. It'd never happen.

I look over to where the village meets the swamp. In the deepest darkness, I notice that a shadow looms, impossible to make out for maybe the average elf but nothing I couldn't handle, of course. I see the glimmering light of an arrowhead and yell to my lackey, "Get out of the way, now!" I calmly move to my side while the arrow misses both me and my subordinate. "A race of hunters, and here I thought they were good enough to not miss. Come out if you don't want me to burn down your entire country." Outcomes this indistinguishable Argonian, black face paint, and clothing screams battle. I can barely recognize this one, but my eyes have never mistaken me. It's the posh one from earlier who was with their Chief.

In the ensuing chaos, Shovska-Mah, with the foresight to predict an elf invasion, got black and darker armor, which initially were her great grandfathers. With that and her hunting bow, she painted her face with the mud to disguise herself in the darkness. She could not find her Daughter as she had no idea where her Daughter might be, but she plans to protect her with all her might. This is her country, village, home, and people, just like with the Heroes of the past. It was her duty to be the one to fight against the overwhelming odds.

---

 When I shot at Areonis, I was sure I could make my mark. The sky darkens with heavy rainfall, roaring at the land as if the gods themselves were shouting, preparing us for battle. I stand here, bow in hand, sword sheathed, ready to fight with all my might. With a deep breath, I explain, "Us Argonians have had to suffer and be enslaved throughout written history. When I was told elves were here in the village, I admit I was scared. I was always taught that history will repeat itself in school, but I didn't want to believe it with my own eyes. So, if you want to kill us or kidnap us from our land, that's fine. After all, I don't have nearly enough power to fight your army. But I promise this Captain, I will kill you." I take another deep breath; I don't want to die. Hell, I am afraid to die today. I have never fought a day in my life, yet here I am before an army. I think I can hit two before they slaughter me like a pig. I ready my bow, with this arrow pointed directly at Areonis. Only the divines can save me now.

I pull my bow back and fire my shot, only; I was hit in the blink of an eye. "By what in the gods was that?" I ask myself silently. I look down to see blood pouring underneath my chest. My vision is blurry. I could tell that sparks were irradiating off me. "Was that… Was that magic?" I ask myself. Could he so fast he blasted me before I had a chance to let go of the string of my bow? I land far back onto the beach, hitting my head on a tree in the process. I lie still; my body is burning while the wet sand underneath feels like it's swallowing me whole. I hear a small voice, one of a little girl. And I closed my eyes.

"Mommy, mommy, please, you need to get up. You’re not hurt too much, are you? I know you can get up; you can do anything!” I know that voice, and like instinct, I open my eyes and yanked the child close to me, protecting her with my body. Wait… this is my Daughter Meer-Mah, but I couldn't find her anywhere. Areonis approaches me in his joyful tone, "Well, well, well, isn't this day just full of surprises. Not only do I get brand new test subjects for the military, but I can also get a new pet as well."  In this weakened state, nearly fading, I cannot stop him from grabbing my daughters' horn. I hear her cry in pain. She is far more afraid than I am, which is even more reason to get up. I want to tear this monster to shreds. How such a sinister man could exist, and right before me, threatens me by taking my child!

He turned his back, assuming he had won, while I attack him from behind. Unknowingly to him, I get the chance to grab my child, spitting blood on his cheek in the process, and run into the swamp. I run deep into the swamp and underneath the swamp and into the water. The elves cannot follow us underwater as they cannot breathe and must stay back while I do what I can to protect my Daughter. The damn fools should know not to attack someone on their home turf. I look down at the Daughter. While the water makes it harder to make out, I can tell she is completely unconscious. I swim upward, looking for a place to put my child for safety until I can clean the town from this mess. I can already tell that the attack on my village has been initiated.  The flesh flies should protect her. Now I must save the village!

I head back into the village in agonizing pain to develop a plan. The village is significant, even by Argonian standards. I find this far-off hut that looks abandoned. I think to myself, "The family here must already be dead." I look over toward the shore; the area is wholly torched with distant screams of terror. They're four Aldmeri Navy ships, each launching canons onto the village. I look around and find this colossal great sword that looks ancient. It must be one of those Alyied great swords; they're stronger than steel but incredibly heavy. I try to pick it up, almost 20 pounds, I want to reckon. The blade is massive, I would have to give up my stealth to use it effectively, but I could use it for victory if I get the jump on them.

I head straight for the village and hide behind some burning houses. The rain makes excellent use for cover. I can already see some friends of mine in chains being forced on up to the ships. I use the smoke from the fire to sneak closer to one of the guards and do as wide of a swing I can, striking him right on the head, killing him instantly. The two other guards, armed with nothing but tiny daggers, charged me but underestimated this sword's length, letting me strike both with one blow. Right as I'm about to get on the ship, it departs, leaving me right on the edge of the dock. I scream angrily, "Are you fucking kidding me?" As I get ready to run to another ship, a cannonball hits the burning building behind me; the force was strong enough to knock me off the dock and hit the boat head-on with my body. I lose my sword grip; every bone in my body feels like it has been run over with a massive amount of blood loss.

I swim for the dock; I lost my sword, so I will be forced to retreat after this and develop another plan. I climb up onto one of the planks, and in my hazy vision, I see a man walking diligently toward me, holding someone small. I pick myself up; I can tell that my body is leaking several different fluids at this point. The figure, in a sarcastic tone, "Well, aren't you a stubborn little one. Did you think you could win?" I could tell just by the cocky attitude it was Areonis. He was holding what looked like a lifeless body covered in strange markings. He sits it down right in front of me and asks, "Do you know who this is?" I get up slowly. I know I cannot win anymore and do what he would want me to do. Capable of seeing that wicked smile of his, I look down. "Meer-Mah!" I exclaimed, nearly passing out from the shock. I fall backward, past the point of exhaustion. How was he able to find her so quickly?

The man chuckles, mocking me, "A mother who abandons her child should not have one, but don't worry, I would make a better father than her mother; don't you feel honored?" I use what strength I have left to stand. I snapped at him. "Okay, you son of a bitch, give me my daughter now, or I will claw my way into your insides," I bluffed. I'm honestly not sure I even have the strength to hold a mug of mead; nonetheless, I must stop this guy. Who knows what evil plans he has for my Daughter and tribesmen; I prepare myself to strike with all my force?

Not taking me seriously at all, "Oh, this is just adorable; you think you had a chance against me." Areonis chuckled again. I saw his face light up with his sinister smile, "Let me try out this new spell our scholars have been working on for me." He sets down my child in a humiliating pose, legs apart with arms connected to them. He prepares his hands to glow a dark blue on his left and deep dark red. He waves his hands around, with a purple rune around his hands, as to prepare a powerful spell or maybe just to taunt me. I'm so astonished and angry; I cannot move a muscle; I have never seen anything quite mesmerizing like this before. It looks as if his hands start shaking as if he wouldn't be able to hand the spell if it were more powerful. He launches it at my Daughter, forcing her to stand up as if a mystic force were pushing her upwards out of her control. My Daughter opens her eyes, only to reveal a deep blue, in which it looked like she was already dead, a soulless object - reanimated.

I stuttered, falling to my knees, "H-honey, are you there? Please, come to mommy." For the first time in years, I felt unsettling happiness. My Daughter took a few steps when I rush to hug her. "Don't worry, my baby, I am here now. It will be all right," I say, trying to comfort her as best I can. I look at Areonis, standing there with his hands behind his back and a grin on his face. I feel confused when it finally hit me. I look down, a sword sticking outward from my end, covered in my blood. In a demonic voice, "It will finally be okay now, mommy, please get some rest." I look back to my child; she walks away from me to hold his hand. He explains to me, "If you had been a little more careful, you would have known not to trust a child under the influence of any spell." I fall quickly to the ground. I cannot move, I cannot see, I feel wet and can't even think. I can only listen.

Areonis walks up to me and explains to me in my last, dying breaths, "Your child is still alive, and I will take good care of her now. She just needs to help me with a few projects, and she can go live her life as my permanent servant!" It's interesting how someone I hate so much could tell such an intriguing joke as this. It's almost enough to make me laugh, but with a smile, I look off into the roaring ocean. It sure feels funny, all right. I… am drained. I need to sleep now—goodnight, love.