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MTibbs' Elder Scrolls Art and Literature


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Hello! MTibbs89, here, with my first post to the forums. I'll be posting my Elder Scrolls art and stories on this thread. Most of it relates to Morrowind. Happy to hear constructive criticism, if any is offered!


If you would like to view my other art, you can find me on DeviantArt.





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Two Argonians and a Baby

21 Morning Star, 3E 409

Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The streets of the Market District were unusually quiet, even for a harsh winter’s evening such as this. Normally one could at least hear laughter and music coming from the Feed Bag—the local pub—or the Merchant’s Inn. The muffled shouting of a couple might drift through closed doors in one of the small houses above the shops. A drunk might be heard wandering along the cobblestone road, singing a raunchy tune in slurred, off-key notes. This evening, however, the snow—and the deathly chill that came with it—seemed to cast a stark silence over the city. Everyone who had a home to go to was safely locked inside, sitting by a blazing fire, and the beggars on the streets huddled together to keep warm, wasting no energy on conversation.

Only two individuals seemed active this night, faintly illuminated by the flickering orange glow of a nearby street lamp. The taller of the two took the lead, while the smaller trailed behind, carefully stepping into the footprints his brother left in the snow.

“Haj,” the young Argonian complained, “C-can you please slow down?”

Hides-His-Heart looked back at his brother, the frill on his spine rising in mild agitation. Swims was far too young for this life. It had been a year since their parents had died—slaughtered by a Dark Brotherhood assassin for debts incurred. Their late father had been addicted to gambling and had, until his obsessions caught up to him, been relatively successful, allowing his family to live in comfort. They had been well-fed, educated, and were being groomed to take over their mother’s clothing shop.

Then his luck had run out.

Normally, the City would have intervened, sending the children to an orphanage or allowing Hides to work as an apprentice to earn food and shelter. These, however, were dark times. The sole orphanage in the Imperial City was full to capacity, and few people were doing well enough for themselves to afford any extra mouths to feed.

Now Hides was forced to look after his five-year-old brother, who still wouldn’t accept that their parents were gone. He would ask when they could go home even when they were home; inquiring when mama and papa would find them. They had settled in the Imperial City’s sewers, moving around when cave rats or greater threats—like lone goblins—would take residence in their ‘home.’ He would have left his sibling in the warmth of their makeshift shelter while he went in search of food, but did not wish to risk his brother’s safety.

He sighed heavily, a rasping, hissing sound that brought with it the faint scent of sulfur. “I am sorry, marsh-brother. We need to find food soon, so we can get out of this cold. Weren’t you just complaining about how hungry you are? I believe your exact words were ‘I’m starving.’”

“Well, now I’m tired. And f-f-freezing. I c-can’t feel my tail. Or my t-t-toes.” He started stamping his feet as if to make a point.

“It won’t be long, I promise,” Hides said, hoping he wouldn’t make a liar of himself. “Just try to keep up, ok? You’re doing fine.”

“If my t-tail falls off, it’s your fault.”

“If your tail falls off, we’re eating it.”

Swims stared at him, eyes wide with horror.

“I’m kidding. Come on.”


They had searched through crates in various alleyways for what must have been hours, hoping to find even a crumb of bread one of the merchants or nobles might have thrown away, to no avail. Hides’ stomach growled painfully, and he heard his brothers’ do the same. “Chin up, I’m sure the next alley will yield something.”

“That’s what you said last time!” Swims whined. Seeming to realize throwing a fit would get him nowhere, or simply lacking the energy to bellow out more than one complaint, he fell silent and followed Hides dutifully.

Hides marched along in the cold, stomping with each step to tamp down the snow, leaving a slightly less treacherous path for his brother. He kept his nose to the air, sniffing, occasionally opening his mouth to expose his scent glands, only to close it moments later when it felt like his teeth would freeze out. “Wait,” he said suddenly, throwing out a hand to halt Swims. “I smell meat.” He flashed the child a smile, which was heartily returned.

Following his nose, he led his brother to the nearest alleyway. It was dark and something about it twisted his gut. He stopped short, clicking his teeth in agitation.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he lied. It probably was nothing. Even so, they needed food; whatever had filled him with a sense of foreboding could surely be no more dangerous than starvation. Hunger drove him into the shadows, Swims clinging to his heels.

Hoping to find a slab of beef or pork—or anything, really—Hides pried open the nearest crate, but found only smithing supplies. They must be behind the armor shop, The Best Defense. He slammed down the lid in frustration and an instant later a wail pierced the air. It was a pitiful, mewling sound and it was coming from further in the alley.

“Is that a cat?” Swims said in wonder, though a note of fear made it into his voice. “C-can we eat it? I know papa said we’re not supposed to, ’cause they could be people’s pets but-”

“Hush!” Hides snapped. He slunk along the shadows, following the source of the noise. Huddled in a pile of blankets in a nearby crate was a bundle of gray fur—it was moving, tiny little claws swiping at the air. Swims was right—sort of. It was a Khajiit kitten; she couldn’t be more than a month old. Hides tentatively picked her up, even as he feared a trap. “Where are your parents, little one?”

“It’s a baby?”

“Yes.” He looked around tentatively, then knelt down so Swims could see, pulling back the blanket around her face. “Come have a look.”

Swims leaned in, his nose almost touching the baby’s. She pawed at his face and he drew back, eyes sparkling. “Can we keep her, Haj-Ital?”

It’ll be another mouth to feed, he thought bitterly, but who leaves a child out in the cold? Well, everyone, apparently. Suddenly it hit him—the smell of meat. Blood. He opened his mouth again, drawing the scent across his tongue and nearly gagging. His head snapped downward and toward the very back of the alley. “Hang on, Swims. Here, hold her close and stay right there, ok?” He said, carefully passing the Khajiit to his brother’s waiting arms.

“Where are you going?”

“Not far,” Hides promised. He slunk along, letting his eyes adjust to the dim moonlight that filtered in through the mouth of the alley. Suddenly he saw them—two figures, partially hidden under the snow and ice. The woman looked almost like an elf, save for the tail and furry ears; tiger stripes were tattooed onto her face. The male was huge and hulking, with fur so thick it was impossible to mistake him for anything other than feline. Both were sliced open, sprawled in the snow, expressions frozen in terror. They had been murdered- possibly a scuffle over food, but their clothing was nice enough it could have simply been over greed.

Hides didn’t want to find out what it had been over; chances were the murderers might still be nearby. He ran to Swims, scooping the Khajiit up and grabbing his brother by the wrist as he tore down the street.

“Wait! What’s wrong?” Swims panted, his tiny legs having to work double-time to keep up.

“I’ll tell you later!” Hides huffed. He turned down the main street, talons ticking on ice-slicked cobblestone, lamps glowing from distant windows providing a beacon of hope. He didn’t care how the nobles and merchants viewed him; he needed help. He threw open the heavy wooden door to the Merchants Inn, the blast of cold air causing one of the nearby candles to flicker out.

They were met with a deathly silence, until—

“By the Nine!” a woman’s voice shrieked, “Get those urchins out of my inn, they’re filthy!” It was coming from the Breton publican. “They’ll drive away my guests!”

“Yes ma’am!” a guard said, stumbling out of his formerly relaxed position at the bar.

The noise must have disturbed the Khajiit, however, because she wailed, squirming in Hides’ arms. The guard who had moved to apprehend them drew back, his expression changing from stern to confused, then softening to sympathy.

“What is that?” The woman snapped, pushing her way toward them.

“They’re just children, ma’am,” the guard started, “You can’t just turn ‘em out into th—”

The woman bristled, “I can and I will! There’s no law that says I have to feed every street urchin that comes into my establishment! Besides, who would pay for their room? Their food? I certainly won’t!!”

“Ysona,” a calm voice said from the corner, “Let them stay the night—in fact, let them stay ‘til the snow melts. Give them food, too. Two meals a day, at least.”

“An’ who’s gonna pay for all this?” Ysona snapped.

“I will.” The middle-aged Imperial smiled pleasantly and shoved a small pile of coins across the table. “You know I’m good for it.”

Ysona frowned, cursing under her breath, but deflated. “Fine! They’d better not be any trouble or it’s on your head, Phillida!”

“They’re just kids, Ysona,” Phillida chided, a note of amusement in his voice, “They’re not going to be any trouble.”

While the two bickered, Hides cautiously approached the guard, tugging lightly on his sleeve.

“Er- yes?” He made a face—he was clearly uncomfortable. Maybe it was because they were homeless? Or Argonians? Hides was well aware what some of the humans and elves thought of the ‘beast’ races. He ignored it.

“Sorry to bother you,” he said, “But I came here because there was a murder.” He glanced down at the Khajiit, who had settled down in his arms and was now yawning, nuzzling her face into his chest. “This one’s parents were killed.”

The guard blanched. “Where are they?”

“In the alley behind the Best Defense.”

The guard nodded stiffly, “We’ll look into it right away.” He marched over to another guard who had somehow managed to sleep through the commotion, kicking the man’s legs off the table and gesturing to the door, speaking in hushed tones. He gave Hides a curt nod as they left the inn.

Hides stared at the door, at a loss now that the immediate danger was over. He glanced down at Swims, who was clutching at his arm, torn between staring at the shiny baubles on the bar and cooing at the Khajiit. He seemed blissfully unaware of what was going on and Hides couldn’t be more thankful.

“Excuse me.”

Hides flinched and looked up at the intruder. It was the Imperial.

“You’re staying in my room tonight. Ysona just wants you out of sight. Come with me.”

Hesitantly, Hides followed the man up the stairs, beckoning for Swims to do the same. They stopped at a small room with two twin beds and a round table, around which sat two chairs. There was a bookshelf, too, but the contents were sadly sparse, containing only two books, both of which Hides had read before. At least he could entertain Swims with them, he mused. His brother loved stories.

“Here.” Phillida snatched up a blanket and arranged it on the floor near the foot of the bed in a sort of makeshift nest. “May I see her?”

Hides hesitated, then passed Phillida the baby, whom he laid down gently in the ‘nest,’ cooing at her as he did so. “She’s very young. Stay here. I’ll go see if I can get her some milk.”

With that, he was gone. Hides felt a tug on his arm.

“Haj! Haj-Ital!”


“Was that the gay fox?”

“You mean the Gray Fox.”

Swims nodded enthusiastically. The truth was, Hides didn’t know. Nobody knew who the Gray Fox was. Hides was sure he had met him once, though. Not a month after being cast into the streets, when he was foraging for food in the dead of night. A man in a strange gray cowl had been running from the guards. Hides didn’t like the guards much, and when the man hid in the alley in which Hides was searching, he pointed the guards in the wrong direction. The man had thanked him and given him fifteen whole Septims! From then on, Hides had been obsessed with the legendary thief. Who knew? Maybe this really was the infamous Gray Fox.

“Yeah,” Hides said, “I think it was.”

“Tell me another story about him!” Swims cried, hopping into one of the beds and bouncing up and down.

“Alright, alright. Settle down.” Hides took a deep breath. “It was a cold winter’s night, much like this one, and the streets of Anvil were empty save for one lone figure…” Hides told the story long into the night, even after Phillida had come with food and gone again. By the time he finished, Swims was sprawled on one of the beds sleeping, his belly full for the first time in days. Hides climbed into the second bed, staring out the window into the streets below—so beautiful from the warmth of his room—before rolling over and drawing the covers up to his chin. His worries, for the time being, were long behind him.

The three stayed at the inn for nearly two weeks, never leaving their room. Phillida would only visit to bring food in the mornings and evenings, helping them to feed the young Khajiit and otherwise leaving them in peace. Hides had initially wanted to rid himself of the Khajiit, fearing the challenge of keeping yet another young person alive, but had grown attached. He had even given her a name—the first Khajiit-sounding name he could think of: Adanji.

When the snow melted and it was at least warmer than freezing, the children were cast into the streets yet again. Hides had begged Phillida to take them in, but the man had a wife and a family of his own to get back to; his stay in the Imperial City was a temporary one, necessary for his work, and he would soon be returning to Kvatch. Hides never heard back from the guards who were supposedly looking into the murder of Adanji’s parents. He never even learned who the mysterious Khajiiti were, or why they had been in the streets that night. All he knew was that Adanji was now as much his family as Swims was, and he would protect both of them to the end of his days.

Edited by MTibbs89
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Escape from Dren Plantation

12 Morning Star, 3E 416

Dren Plantation, Vvardenfell

Habasi lay quietly on the ragged sack-cloth over packed dirt that served as her bed, her unblinking yellow eyes stinging as they traced patterns in the woodwork of the ceiling. Her body ached for sleep, but she was wide awake. This was it. This was the night she had been planning for. Her gaze slid lazily over the dreamy shape in the grain that resembled a three-legged guar. She didn’t need the small candle in the corner of the shack to see. The moonlight filtering in through wide gaps in the wooden slats—the source of the wintry draft— was more than enough for her Khajiit eyes.

Just a little longer… Her ears strained as she waited for the last of her kin to fall asleep. When she was sure all were breathing slowly, she stood, stretching until her muscles were taut and trembling, then relaxing as much was possible. The danger she would soon be facing was tangible, and set her heart thudding painfully in her chest. The shackles about her wrists seemed tighter than usual, and heavy, almost dragging her down. STAY. The word echoed around in her mind, an intrusion with a sickening grip. Fight it. Taking a deep breath, she held it for a moment as she took a tentative step over the sleeping form of an ancient Khajiit with a silvery mane. She let out the breath as quietly as she could as her toes touched dirt on his far side, near his face, a small thrill of excitement coursing through her.

There was her first official step toward freedom.

In a nervous tic, she reached up and absently pinched her right ear as she continued weaving through the tightly packed, furry bodies, worried with each step that she might trip and wake someone up. She was almost at the door—just a little further! She reached out with a trembling paw, gripped the handle, and pulled. The door creaked as it swung open. She cursed under her breath.

“Nnn, where is Ja’khajiit going, so late?”

She froze, the fur along her spine rising, and turned around. The Khajiit nearest to her—a female with short golden fur and black spots— had woken up and was eyeing her intently.

“Ahzini,” Habasi hissed. “Go back to sleep.”

“Habasi is not thinking of escape again, is she?” Ahzini whispered, her ears lowering. “These renriji would kill the little one if she gets caught.”

The other speaks sense. Listen to her. No.

“Sss! Habasi would prefer death to this!” she snapped, throwing her arms wide, before remembering where she was. She glanced around, making sure she hadn’t woken anyone, then continued in a whisper, “Please Ahzini. Do not try to stop this one.”

“Habasi is young. Too young. She should stay here. She will learn this is not so bad, yes?”

“Not so bad? We practically starve! We toil in their fields, feed the netch, clean their fodder, get beaten if we do not work fast enough. Habasi does very much think this is bad! Ahzini can stay here if she likes. Habasi is leaving.” She stamped her foot.

Ahzini stared at her a moment, then blinked her big green eyes slowly, her whiskers drooping in defeat. “… Vaba maaszi.” She sighed, shaking her head. “Then go, Ja’khajiit. Please. Be careful, for this one’s sake. She would not wish to see Habasi as one of Master’s trophies.”

Habasi shivered. She had never seen it for herself, but every slave knew that Dren had a special room filled with the hides of Khajiit and Argonian slaves who had tried to escape or had outlived their usefulness. “Habasi will be fine.” She gave Ahzini a small nod before backing out of the shack, swinging the door shut behind her.

She ducked into a bush just as one of Dren’s guards rounded a corner, his lantern swinging carelessly from his hand. His unbalanced gait and low humming seemed to indicate he had had one-too-many drinks, and as he drew nearer, the stench of Greef wafting from him confirmed it. This must be Frinnius Posuceius. The Imperial wasn’t actually a guard, as Habasi had initially feared, but he was just as bad as one. He had been overseeing the slaves on the plantation since long before Habasi had been taken here nearly seven years ago.

Like the other slaves, Habasi had learned the names of her captors because it was good to know who to avoid and why. But Habasi had also been listening to their conversations—that was how she had earned a number of the scars on her back, including the fresh ones that stung as she shifted her weight in the bush. They had seen her watching them, and wished to teach her how curiosity was very bad for cats. But her listening had not been in vain. She had learned many useful things.

She had learned who had the keys on what days, where they kept them when they were off duty, where they patrolled, and when. Some kept to their schedules as predictably as the sunrise— one even relieved himself at the same time every day. Frinnius never adhered to much of a schedule. If Habasi cared to guess, she’d assume he must be born under the sign of the Serpent, who wandered the sky in no discernible pattern, and he was as mean as any viper. This capriciousness made him dangerous, as one never knew when he might lash out in a rage. More than once he had beaten someone nearly to death, excusing the ‘property damage’ to Dren by claiming the slave wasn’t pulling their weight or had shown disrespect.

Habasi was only able to relax when the Imperial rounded the corner of a far shack, likely heading to his quarters. She would have liked to take pleasure in the fact that his shack was almost as shabby as the slaves’, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. Maybe that was simply where some of his bitterness had come from? She shook the thought, reminding herself that now was no time to speculate, and moved on.

She had planned this over and over again. While most of the guards could have keys on them, she wasn’t confident in her ability to pick their pockets, even if one was wandering along on patrol. She doubted if she could slip into the guardhouse without getting caught, which was frustrating because she had an idea that it must be a treasure trove for slave keys. A sharp tingling sensation rose up her arms, starting from her wrists and her knees buckled. She had to clamp her mouth shut to stop herself from yelping in shock. You’re disobeying Master. Stop it. Go back to sleep. You don’t have to be punished if you just do as you’re told. NO! She clenched her teeth, taking a few short, ragged breaths, and moved on.

Dren’s villa loomed ahead. The master himself was the best option, if the most terrifying one. He had a key on him at all times, hanging about his neck like a trophy. The only guards to his villa were stationed outside, so as not to disturb him. He would likely be slumbering in his cushy feather bed, blissfully unaware that any ‘lowly beast’ would dare sneak into his personal quarters to snatch freedom quite literally from under his nose. Habasi liked that picture. She just hoped she could make it a reality. You will fail. None can escape. Shut up. After a moment, the voice retreated. She doubted that would be the last of it, but now she could concentrate on what she was doing.

Two guards were stationed outside the entrance, but Habasi didn’t need the front door. A set of stairs on the side of the building led to a second-floor patio. Unfortunately, the guards were alert, sure to look in every direction—even the one she needed to reach those stairs. She slipped behind a tree while she assessed the situation. Go back now, while you still can. She couldn’t hide behind this tree forever. A guard would likely pass by in a few minutes, then she’d be sorry. She reached up and pinched her ear again, an anxious thumb stroking at the soft fur. That’s right, listen to your fears… Glancing around, she caught sight of a pebble just a few feet away. A tiny smile graced her lips and she scooped it up and hurled it into the bushes on the far side of the villa.

“You hear that?”


“Could be a cave rat.”

“Come on, let’s just check it out. Dren would have our hides if we ignore it.”

One of the guards wandered off in the direction of the noise, the other watching his back from the doorway. That had worked better than she had thought it would. Keeping to the shadows, she sprinted to the stairs, up to the patio, and into the building.

She waited a moment with her back pressed to the door, surveying the hallway she had come into. She had never actually been inside the villa. Dren didn’t trust his slaves to work inside his home; he had servants to cook his food and clean his house. She didn’t even know where he slept. She would have to snoop around.

A small shiver coursed through her; she hoped she wouldn’t come upon the ‘trophy room.’ If she saw the skins of her own kind hanging from the walls, she doubted she would keep her resolve. Inhaling deeply through her nose and exhaling slowly through her mouth, she began her search, ears pricked for any sound of trouble.

The first room she came upon was a dining room. More food than she had ever seen—beyond that which she had harvested with her own hands—was piled high on the round table. A half-eaten roast, steamed ash-yams, fresh comberries, cheese, and bread composed what smelled like a delicious feast. Even the sight of the mouse on the table gnawing happily at a crumb of bread did nothing to dampen her appetite. Her stomach growled. There’s no time… But she was just so hungry. Peering around, even sniffing at the air, she sensed no one else in the room. Grabbing a fistful of comberries, she stuffed them into her mouth, followed by a slice of bread and a hunk of cheese.

Hunger satisfied, she decided she’d wasted enough time here. Wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, she continued her search, heart racing. They’re going to find you, here. You’re going to get caught and killed. She pressed on through the kitchen, down a hallway, passing a number of open doors that led into offices, storage rooms, and a library. Finally, she found the stairs that seemed to lead down into a large bedroom.

Dren’s chambers.

Her feet stopped short of the threshold, and she found herself rooted to the spot, hesitating. Now or never…

She firmly kept her hand away from her ear as she slunk into the chambers. The moonlight filtering in through the green-tinted windows cast the room in an emerald glow. Tapestries and bookshelves piled high with small, delicate treasures adorned the walls. An over-stuffed armchair sat in the corner next to a small table, on which sat a single book and an oil lamp. A Daedric longsword hung above the chair. None of these things held Habasi’s attention long, as she focused it entirely on Dren’s bed. It was just as luxurious as she had imagined it; a huge four-poster with silk curtains, a feather mattress piled high with pillows and covered in thick blankets, keeping out the winter chill.

Dren himself was snoring loudly into his pillow, one arm dangled carelessly over the edge. He was unaware of her presence. Good. Holding her breath, she crept up to him, pulling back the very top of the blankets with a delicate claw to get at his neck. She could hear her pulse roaring in her ears. There it was—the gleam of a golden chain against bare gray skin. The key, no doubt, was nestled somewhere under him.

How am I going to get to it without waking him? She could wait for him to roll over on his own, but there was no guarantee of that happening. Yet again her shackles felt too heavy, like two anvils chained to her wrists, and a tingling—almost like lightning—erupted from them, surging up her arms. She clenched her teeth, screwing up her eyes as she focused on not crying out. GIVE UP. LEAVE. GO BACK TO THE SHACK AND STAY THERE.

She clapped her hands over her ears, even though she knew the sound was coming from within. Stop it. Minutes passed like hours until finally the sensation faded away, along with the admonishing voice. Trembling, she returned her attention to the chain. There was a small clasp there she hadn’t noticed. She wasn’t sure that would do her any good, though. If she unfastened the clasp and pulled on one end of the chain, she might remove the necklace, but the key would likely remain captive under Dren’s body.

Damn it. With trembling fingers, she gave one end of the chain a gentle tug. One link popped up, out from under the Dunmer’s collar bone. He didn’t seem to notice as he continued snoring. This might work. One more tug. One more link in the chain. This continued a few painfully slow minutes until Dren started, snorting loudly and groping at the air. Habasi jumped backward, stumbling over her own feet, her fur standing on end as the Dunmer thrashed about.

“Damn n’wah….” the man mumbled into the darkness as he settled back down, rolling over onto his back. Habasi watched in stunned silence, her eyes wide as dinner plates. Gathering her courage, she stood, approaching her master yet again. Now she could see the key; it was resting on top of his chest, which was crisscrossed with dark red marks from where he’d been sleeping on the chain. She couldn’t believe her luck!

Reaching around, she unclasped the necklace and held it out in front of her, eyeing the key as it dangled before her eyes.


Just as her fingers closed over the key, agony shot through her bones like she’d been dropped into molten lava. Her wrists were on fire! LET GO! LETGOLETGOLETGODROPIT!!! Her eyes streamed as she fumbled with the key. She was sure she had screamed. She could hear movement and sheets being thrown back, a harsh voice calling loudly. She jammed the key into the hole and turned. One shackle fell, like stone. Then the next.


Just as relief washed over her like a wave of ice water, a strong hand gripped her wrist. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!”

She blinked at the purple face hovering inches from her own. She didn’t hear the threats he screamed at her. Her head was buzzing. She dug her claws into his hand and tugged, but he didn’t relent. With all her might, she kicked out, kneeing Dren in the groin. She was out of his chambers before he hit the floor.

Up the stairs she ran, fear her only driving force. She could hear doors opening and slamming shut, voices shouting in outrage. The front door was blocked—not an option. Neither was the way she had come in. Tearing blindly up the stairs, she didn’t realize her error until it was too late. She found herself in a small attic, piled high with crates. She could hear footsteps clomping up the stairs behind her.

“GET THAT SLAVE! BRING HER TO ME ALIVE!” Dren’s voice called up behind the armored figure that advanced on her, his sword raised.

The window! Shrieked the desperate voice in her head. Her own voice.

She had barely noticed it at first. The window would likely lead to a lot of empty space and a long drop, but it was her only option. She threw herself at it. She felt something shatter. She wasn’t sure if it was the glass or her shoulder. She found herself falling in cold darkness, wind whipping at her face. She let her instincts guide her as she twisted through the air, landing on all fours and tumbling to soften the blow.

A mere second after she had landed she was on her feet again and running. Voices called behind her, raising the alarm, but they quickly faded as she put distance between herself and the plantation. She barely noticed where she was going, or the burning pain that lanced through her legs, or the deep, ragged breaths that tore at her lungs.

She was free!

Edited by MTibbs89
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Excellent! I look forward to reading more. Please involve more main game characters in your writings to come.

Thanks, Graham alias Maharg67.

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Thanks, Maharg. :smile: I always try to at least reference familiar characters, so no worries there.


The Long Road to Freedom

13 Morning Star, 3E 416

Suran, Vvardenfell

Bragor’s teeth chattered noisily as he shivered in the icy breeze. Though he was chilled to the bone, he didn’t much care; in his hands were two large sticky buns covered in warm, white frosting, freshly nicked from the bakery. The chef had run after him, screaming at the top of her lungs, but he had managed to slip away, as he had done for nearly seven years, ever since he was nine. Looking around to ensure no one had followed him, he leaned back against an alley wall, slid down to his haunches, and took a greedy mouthful of one of the sweet rolls.

Warmth seemed to flood through his body as the morsel hit his stomach and he gave a satisfied groan. There was nothing better than Dorvesi’s rolls on a cold winter’s day. He tapped his feet happily, admiring his ratty shoes as he finished off the first of the sweets. These, he had stolen a few weeks ago. One didn’t fit so well, as it had been made for a foot far larger than his own, but he had been unable to find any other boot trimmed in such spectacular white fur. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to get its twin before their owner had chased him off with a broom. The other shoe fit him a good deal better, but wasn’t quite so warm and must have been made for a woman—it was a soft blue, adorned with flaxen flowers and a sharp heel.


The elf nearly dropped the second treat as he jumped about a foot into the air, his wide chocolate eyes darting about for any sign of the intruder. He had thought he was alone. “… Hello?” A movement caught his eye in the far corner in the back of the alley. It looked like some sort of furry animal had just ducked behind one of the crates there. Curious, he stalked over to the creature.

“Sss, go away!” a voice hissed from the shadows.

It was a Khajiit— a rather young one, at that—shivering in the cold. He wasn’t sure how old she was, but he guessed she couldn’t be older than fourteen. One look at her appearance—the matted brown fur around her wrists, the lack of clothes, the scars that cut thin bald patches in her pelt—told him that she was an escaped slave. Suran was a terrible place for escaped slaves. “Come on out.” He said in a soothing voice, “I won’t hurt you.”

“This one is not believing that. All soft skins wish only to hurt us!” she snapped, her yellow eyes flashing. He jumped back, a little unsettled by the fury in her gaze, but she seemed too weak and pitiful to pose much of a threat. Almost as if to confirm this, she sneezed again, wiping her nose on the back of her hand.

He quirked a brow, bemused, and then looked down at the sticky treat in his hands. “You look hungry. Guess you haven’t eaten much, have you? Here.” He held out his last sweet roll, waiting for her to take it. “Come on, then, I won’t bite.”

After a moment of deliberation, the Khajiit snatched the roll from his hands, tearing into it voraciously. In less than a minute she had finished, licking her finger tips to get every last crumb. When she noticed him staring at her, she quickly averted her gaze, apparently embarrassed, and gripped absently at her right ear. “Thanks,” she mumbled the word so it was almost inaudible.

“Don’t mention it.” An awkward silence hung on the air between them. In an attempt to cut the tension, Bragor spoke up. “So.. you’re a slave, right? A runaway?”

It was more like clipping a tripwire. She snarled, her ears lying flat and her fur fluffing up so she looked nearly twice her actual size. “Why?! Is it wishing to turn this one in, hmm? Make a hefty profit?”

“No, no!” Bragor said quickly, holding his hands up defensively. “But others around here might. Suran’s full of slave traders and mercenaries who would love to return you to your owner.”

“Owner?!” she snapped, “This one is not a pet! And she is not even a slave. Not any longer. This one escaped and she is not going back.”

“Well, you came to the wrong place. It’s not exactly a big city. Someone’s bound to notice you, and then you’ll be sent right back to... where ever it is you came from. One of the plantations, right? You don’t look like a house slave.”

She bristled. “You think this one is a fool? She only just met you. There is no way she will be telling you who her master—her former master—is, or where he lives.”

“Ok, ok. No need to bite my head off,” he griped. He was tempted to just leave her on her own, with that attitude, but something held him in place. He had been around Suran long enough to know how they treated escaped slaves. They didn’t even treat the obedient ones well. If he could help just one, however hostile she appeared to be… “Come on.”


Habasi stared at the Bosmer’s outstretched hand, then studied his face intently. It was difficult to judge the expressions of men and mer. They had no fur to be ruffled, tails to twitch, or swiveling ears to flick, all of which made it much easier to read intentions, if you were properly attuned to them. He hadn’t hurt her, yet. He knew she was a slave and hadn’t raised the alarm. He had even fed her, even though it looked like he was just as malnourished as she was.

She had to admit, given how little she trusted him, it had been unwise to take food from him—she had just been so hungry, and the treat had smelled so good. It could have been poisoned, yet she had suffered no ill effects in the time they had been talking. “Where does it wish to take this one?” she said at last. Realizing she had been stroking her ear again, she firmly lowered her hand, instead gripping her elbow.

He looked around, apparently unsure of the answer himself, before responding simply. “Away from Suran.”

Her ears folded back, “Why?”

“Because for some stupid reason, I want to help you. If that’s a problem, fine. I’ll let you get out on your own.”

She was about to tell him that it was very much a problem. She had gotten herself this far, hadn’t she? Perhaps she would have trusted another Khajiit, or even an Argonian, but she had never seen a Mer slave. He couldn’t possibly understand her position! But she knew she was in a bad place. As the Bosmer had said, there were plenty of people here who would turn her in for profit, or even as a misguided sense of ‘duty’ and ‘honor.’ There was a reason she had been hiding behind some crates in an alley.

She had come to the town late at night, guided by the wavering pinpricks of lantern light in the distance. Even then she’d had to dodge guards tromping around in heavy armor, wary of their blades. Could she really expect to get out without help?

“Fine!” she snapped. “Lead the way.”

His lips turned up in a half-smile. “Good! My name’s Bragor, by the way. What’s yours?” Again, he extended his hand out to her. She didn’t take it, instead regarding it as she would a snake. He lowered it, frowning. “Or I could just call you ‘slave’ or ‘Khajiit,’ or even ‘furball,’ if it makes you comfortable.”

She glowered. She had heard there was much power in a name. But he had already given his. What was the harm in reciprocating? Besides, he had a point; she would much rather be called by name than by her race or class, as her masters had done. She sighed. “Habasi.”

“Alright, Habasi, let’s…” He looked her up and down, as if seeing her for the first time. “Actually, we should probably get you some clothes, first… Stay here, I’ll be right back, I promise.” Before she could say another word, he was gone.

Gripping her ear, she returned to her hiding place, sitting down and wrapping her arms around her knees, curling her tail over her toes to help warm them. She wondered if this was really a good idea. What if he came back, not with clothing, but with guards? Maybe she should hide somewhere else? Keep an eye on the alley from a different vantage point? She hoped he could be trusted.


Bragor ducked through back alleys, shirking the watchful eye of the guards as he made his way to the residential district. There should be clothes hanging to dry outside someone’s house. Although, it was winter; most people would likely have their clothing hung near the hearth. That meant he would have to sneak into somebody’s home.

He had to wonder if a Khajiit he barely knew was worth the risk. If he got caught stealing, then he would be carted off to prison and his sacrifice would be in vain. But he’d already made a promise, hadn’t he? He thought back to that alley, imagining Habasi waiting there for hours, terrified. He saw her losing patience as it grew dark, wandering out to look for him, only to get captured by a mercenary. His gut twisted at the thought.

Gathering his resolve, he continued his search, peering into windows as he passed them by. Finally, at the dozenth house he came across, he saw a nice selection of clothing hanging by the fireplace. Pressing his nose against the glass, he peeked around to ensure nobody was inside before sliding it open and slipping through. “Hello..?” he called. If someone responded, he would bolt for the door and try somewhere else. When nobody did, he relaxed and approached the clothing line.

The shirts and pants hung here looked expensive, made of silks and thick wool of varying colors. He glanced down at his own rags, thinking. A Bosmer in fancy clothing was uncommon in Vvardenfell, but not unheard of. A Khajiit, however, would raise suspicion in anything more than sack cloth. Especially in places like Suran, where the beast folk were automatically presumed to be slaves. Wasting no time, he shed his own clothing and changed into the beige pants and velvety, russet-and-green shirt he plucked from the clothesline. Though they were clearly of a quality make, he figured the earthy colors would be less flashy and less likely to get him unwanted attention.

The clothes were still damp, and a bit large on him, but he was able to fix the latter with a broad leather belt. He cast a last, longing gaze at his mismatched shoes he had set aside as he put on a pair of boots to complete his look, then took a moment to tidy his curly hair, tying it back with a green ribbon before heading out, his old rags rolled up neatly under his arm.


Habasi buried her nose in the crook of her arm to stifle a sneeze as she watched the entrance to the alley from the branches of a nearby tree. She wondered what could be taking Bragor so long. If he had intended to fetch the guards, or slave hunters, he would surely be back with them by now, pockets weighed down with gold for his efforts. If he could be trusted, then where was he? He had looked like a thief, or a beggar. Maybe he’d had to steal her clothes, because he couldn’t afford to buy them? Maybe he had gotten caught? She felt her pulse quicken, the blood pounding in her ears.

Seconds seemed to pass like hours as she watched the streets below, doing her best to keep out of sight. Just as she was about to give up on him, wondering if he had simply decided to leave her there, she spotted him. He appeared to have changed his clothes.

“Habasi…?” she heard him hiss as he slunk into the alleyway. “I’m back… where are you?”

She looked up and down the street hastily, and when she saw no one coming, she scrambled down from her perch and into the shadows beside the elf.

“Oh! There you are. Here.” He handed out the bundle of clothes he’d been holding onto. “See if these fit.”

She took them hesitantly, gagging as she got a whiff of them. “Pfew! These reek!”

“They smell better than you do,” he retorted. “Just put them on.”

“These are your old clothes,” she complained.

“Well, yes. The only clothing I could find were fancy, like these.” He gestured to his new outfit. “I didn’t think they would suit you.”

She glared.

“No, no, I didn’t mean— it’s just— the guards around here probably wouldn’t give you a second glance if you’re in commoner’s clothing. But they would definitely be suspicious if they saw you in anything expensive.”

She sighed. He had a point. She pulled the shirt on over her head, nearly sticking her arm through a gaping tear instead of a sleeve, and then slid into the pants. They felt awkward, rubbing her fur the wrong way and making her itch, but she appreciated the slight warmth they offered.


She really wasn’t: she was terrified, but nodded anyway. It was now or never. “First, this one has an idea.”

Bragor raised a brow, clearly unconvinced, “Alright, let’s hear it.”

She took the rope Bragor had initially been using as a belt and tested its length. Satisfied, she wrapped it around her wrists. She hated the sensation, but knew she could easily slip out of the ‘bonds’ if she needed to. She handed the other end to Bragor, who just looked confused. “They will know this one is a slave, anyway, yes? Why not sell it?”

“Alright,” he said slowly, taking the rope, “I guess if they see what they expect to see, there’ll be no need for them to investigate, right?” Habasi nodded. “This might work. Let’s go.”


They weren’t traveling long before Habasi noticed a guard staring at them. Trying not to panic, she averted her gaze, only glancing back occasionally to see if he had moved on. He hadn’t. In fact, she was certain he was following them. So much for blending in… Discretely as she could, she nudged the small of Bragor’s back, bringing the guard to his attention with a jerk of her head.

“B’vek!” he cursed.

Fighting back the bile that rose in her gut, she tried to think of a plan. She was already playing the part of a slave. No, she was a slave, much as she hated to admit it, and until she reached safety, she wouldn’t be anything else. The guard probably suspected that Bragor wasn’t her master. They would have to play it off. “Tell him Bragor is hunting her—returning her to her master.” She hissed.

“What—” Bragor looked as panicked as she felt.

“Hit Habasi. It will look like she is back-talking,” she mumbled.

“I don’t—”

“Do it!” she snapped as the guard got closer, “Hit her!” She jerked back on the rope. “Tell her she is slave scum and must be quiet! Strike her, now!” Suddenly pain exploded across her face and she found herself crumpled on the ground, hands clasped over her cheek where Bragor had backhanded her.

“Silence, slave!” Bragor snarled. Though he had only done as she had told him to, both the words and the slap had stung.

“Is there a problem, here?” drawled the guard as he reached them, crossing his arms. He almost looked amused.

“I-I’m just returning this slave to her rightful master, sera,” Bragor stammered.

“Sera?’ How quaint. You don’t talk like a bounty hunter. Or look like one, for that matter.”

“I’m new to it.” Bragor seemed to be calming down, for which Habasi was thankful, “I just got sick of seeing all these dirty animals trying to fight the natural order of things.” Habasi glared, but held her tongue.

“Indeed?” The guard eyed the rope around Habasi’s wrists. “Then you may wish to tie a better knot.” It was all Habasi could do to keep herself from scrambling away as he bent down, tying the rope securely about her wrists. “There, that should do it. Now. Do you have the proper authorization papers?”

“Papers?” Bragor said nervously. Habasi’s heart sank.

“You need a license or a document signed by the slave’s owner to transport a slave that isn’t your own.”

Maybe she should just get up and run, now? Cut her losses? It was looking more and more like they had been caught in their lie. All she could do was watch Bragor, and hope he could get them out of this; she couldn’t speak up, or it would certainly give them away.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Bragor said slowly, “I’m very sorry for wasting your time, sera, but could you please tell me where I could get such a license? I wouldn’t want to break any laws in my haste to bring justice to these slaves.”

Ok, Bragor, don’t over play it, Habasi thought.

The guard regarded them skeptically, before heaving an annoyed sigh. “You can find the proper documentation at the slave market. Talk to Dranas Sarathram. He can get you set up. You’ll need to show the papers to me or another guard before you leave Suran. Now, allow me to offer you a free word of advice: don’t turn your back on it for one second. These beasts can’t be trusted.”

With that he turned on his heel and marched away. As soon as he was out of earshot, Habasi hissed at his retreating form. “Renrij bastard.”

“Come on,” Bragor said, helping her to her feet. “We should get over to Dranas.”


“You heard the guard. We need the papers. I don’t think we can leave Suran without them.”

Habasi stared into his eyes, searching for any hint of deception. They had gotten this far, hadn’t they? If Bragor really wanted to cause her trouble, he probably would have handed her to the guard then and there, possibly making a profit in the process. Going to a slave market, though… She shuddered. She wasn’t sure she could handle that.

“This was your idea, Habasi, and it might have just saved your life. You don’t trust me. I get that. But if we’re going to get you out of here, you should at least try to.”

“Fine… how do you propose we’ll be getting those papers, hmm?”


The Suran slave market was located on the northeastern corner of town, right alongside the pawnbroker and fine clothier, as if buying a person was no different than purchasing a new dress. Though these buildings were as clean and prominent as any manor in the noble district, it felt seedy to Habasi, like that ‘House of Earthly Delights’ she had passed by when she had sneaked into the town. As they entered, a sense of dread settled in the pit of her stomach.

She watched as Bragor pocketed some coins from a lock box on the counter before getting Dranas’ attention. He told them to wait while he busied himself with papers at his desk. Habasi nervously glanced around, eyeing the many cells that lined the walls, Khajiits and Argonians, along with the occasional Orc resting behind their bars, their expressions blank. She averted her gaze as the ‘merchant’ drew near, surveying her like a cut of meat—a particularly poor cut at that.

Dranas turned his attention to Bragor, fixing him with a smile that looked painful and speaking in an oily voice. “Welcome, welcome! Will you be buying, selling, or trading?”

“Uhh… Actually, I was hoping to get a license to hunt down and recapture slaves. Apparently, I can’t return this one without it.”

“Ah, an escapee, is it?” His eyes again flitted to Habasi. She could feel them boring into her. “Do you know where this one came from?”

“She wouldn’t tell me.”

“Of course, of course,” Dranas simpered, “Such things usually require force. Fortunately, I have an eye for this sort of thing. This one doesn’t have the build of a house slave, for instance. Judging by the rough calluses its hands, I would say it belongs to one of the mines or plantations…” Suddenly, before she could retreat, Dranas was gripping her by the jaw, turning her head left and right, up and down. He grasped the back of her head firmly so that she couldn’t wriggle away and peeled open her eyelids, first the right, then the left, inspecting her eyes closely. “Mhmm, looks like a healthy specimen, so far, excluding a mild case of ataxia. I’m beginning to suspect it doesn’t belong to a mine.” He chuckled as if he had just told a joke.

Just as he was prying her jaws open to get a look at her teeth, rage took over and she chomped down on his fingers, a snarl erupting from her throat. He howled in pain as he jerked his arm back, and for the second time that day, Habasi found herself on the floor, gripping her face where she had been hit. Dranas had struck her far harder than Bragor had. She had known as soon as her teeth met flesh that it had been a bad idea, but by then it had been too late.

“Feh. Spirited little s’wit, isn’t it?” He casually examined his long fingers, which were dripping with blood, before reaching for a leather crop resting on the counter.


“You didn’t have to hit her!” Bragor growled. His hands were balled into fists and he was shaking. Habasi flashed him a warning look behind Dranas’ back. Right. He had to keep it together. He forced himself into a more relaxed stance, meeting the Dunmer’s sharp gaze. “I-I mean… did you? I’m new to all of this. I could use any advice you can offer.”

“… Clearly,” Dranas said with a raised brow, as he unceremoniously twirled the crop in his fingers. “This line of work isn’t for the weak.” Without a hint of warning, he swiped the crop across Habasi’s cheek, causing it to bleed. It was all Bragor could do to keep himself still as the Dunmer continued. “Few Westers can handle it.” He spoke calmly and struck her again, this time on the upper arm. “You should realize that it’s just an animal, and like all animals, it requires proper training.” Again. “Training requires discipline.” He struck her one last time, this time hard enough to make her scream. Bragor firmly bit the inside of his cheeks as the Dunmer faced him, smirking. “Now…” Dranas seized Habasi’s upper arm like a vice, forcing her to turn around, “Ah, see?” he cooed as he ripped off her shirt, “Its former master disciplined it quite well.”

Bragor felt like he was going to be sick. He had noticed the small cuts along Habasi’s arms when he had first seen her in the alley, but this was just atrocious. There was almost no fur left on her back, so much skin had been stripped away over the years from the lashes. All that remained were ugly scars, some strung across her back like thick ropes, others thinner, almost blending in. Some were still red and bruised. A symbol the size of his hand had been burned into her shoulder, which had been carefully untouched by the warden’s whip.

“Ah-hah!” Dranus pressed a bony finger into it, “Here’s the brand. Let me see…” He turned to a thick tome on the counter and began flitting through it, tutting to himself. “Mhmm, as I suspected. It would appear this is one of Dren’s slaves. My cousin does a lot of business with Dren. He pays very well…” He smiled. “You could sell her to me, if you like, and we could both profit quite handsomely from it. How does… one thousand drakes sound?”

Habasi made a little noise in her throat. Her eyes darted between the two, wide with fear.

Bragor scowled, “No.” He crossed his arms, reminding himself that he had to make a convincing argument as Dranus fixed him with a hard, disbelieving stare. “I want to go into business for myself. I can make a much better profit down the line if I invest in a license. In fact, if Dren pays as well as you suggest, I’ll bet he would more than cover the license fee.”

Dranus glared, his lips pursed. Bragor got the feeling he was contemplating murder. Why pay for the slave when he could take her by force? But he suspected that could be bad for business. In the end, the elf would care more about profits. He couldn’t make money if he was in jail. “Very well,” he snapped, “The documentation will be two hundred drakes.”

Well, that was easier than he’d expected. He didn’t want to risk haggling; he was lucky this was working out at all. Rummaging in his pockets, Bragor fished out the coin. Some of it he’d had on him this morning. Some, he had swiped at the bakery and again when he had stolen clothes for Habasi. The rest he had filched from the very man he was paying. He carefully avoided smirking at the thought as he handed it over for Dranus to count.

“Hmph. Yes. Two hundred drakes,” Dranus sniffed, tossing the coin carelessly into his lockbox and making his way to the stack of papers he had been busy with when they had walked in. “Come here and we’ll get your license in order.”


Habasi waited as they filled out the paperwork, amazed that their plan was going so well. She couldn’t help but wonder, yet again, if she could actually trust Bragor. Sure, he had seemed sincere enough in his concern, outraged when she had been beaten, but maybe he as just good at acting? Perhaps the only person being fooled here was her. If the Bosmer decided to turn on her and drag her to Dren Plantation when he had his license, would she be able to see through the deception in time to escape?

The rope about her wrists suddenly felt tighter and despite the warmth of the fire roaring in Dranas’ fireplace, a cold shiver rattled her bones. She couldn’t imagine what horrors awaited her if Dren ever got his hands on her; he didn’t tolerate insubordination. She jumped when Bragor spoke up, “Alright, slave, we’re leaving.” He already had her by the rope. She simply nodded and followed numbly.

If she was relieved to be out of the slave market, it was overshadowed by her nerves and the freezing wind. Of course it was natural for her to feel this way. Had she even trusted her fellow slaves? There had been some, like Ahzini, who had been almost like family to her, but others would have sold her out for a pat on the head. She attempted to calm herself by telling herself that Bragor was different. He had done nothing but help her since they had met. But the truth was she knew nothing about him beyond the fact that he was a thief. And thieves didn’t care about anything more than profit.

“Are you alright?” Bragor asked quietly, cutting into her thoughts.

“What? Why?”

“That dark elf—he hit you,” Bragor clarified, looking around to make sure no one was within earshot, “I was just making sure you weren’t hurt too badly.”

“Oh…” she said, taken aback. She rubbed her jaw where she felt a bruise forming. She was sore all over, but she was largely used to pain, and had been so lost in thought that she hadn’t really been paying much attention to it. “Yes. Habasi is fine.” She focused on her feet, ears tilting back as she added, “Thanks for asking.”

“Good.” He smiled, and it made his eyes glitter. It looked so genuine it was almost infectious. “You know I didn’t mean those things I said in there, right?” She looked down and didn’t answer. He sighed in frustration, “Well, anyway, we should probably get going. Just keep up the act a bit longer and we can put Suran behind us.”


“Well, once they figure out I’ve helped you escape, I can’t very well show my face around here again, can I? They’ll be looking for me, too.”

She stared at him. She honestly hadn’t thought of that. Why was he going so far out of his way to help her, then? She didn’t know much about him, but Suran must be his home. As far as she knew, he liked it here, yet he was willing to put it behind him for a perfect stranger? It was a foreign concept, one that nagged at the back of her mind as they made their way to the front gates.

“Hold!” a guard barked as they approached, holding out a hand to stop them. “Does this slave belong to you, sera?” He said the last word in mock respect.

“No.” Bragor held out the papers for the guard to see, “But I have a license right here that says I can return her to her rightful master.”

The guard snatched the papers and scrutinized them so closely his nose almost touched the parchment. His eyes narrowed, “These look to be in order…” he sniffed, clearly frustrated that they weren’t fake. “Move along.”

“Thank you, sera.” Bragor’s tone was almost as sarcastic as the guard’s had been as the pair slunk by. The Dunmer stiffened, but did not react, clearly thinking them unworthy of further attention. Finally they were out of the city. Things were beginning to look up.


They had been walking for over an hour before Bragor stopped. “Ok, I think we’re far enough away now.” He glanced back in the direction they had come from, where Suran was but a tiny speck. “I think we can remove your binding.”

“It is about time!” Habasi hissed. She understood the precaution, of course. It had been her idea in the first place. In order to keep up the rouse, they had to keep her hands bound. It was highly unlikely a bounty hunter would let his captive traipse around freely. However, the rope chafed and had only served to fuel her fears.

She held out her hands and Bragor began to work at the knots. Immense relief washed over her as they fell away. Perhaps the elf wasn’t so bad, after all. She didn’t know why she was so surprised, looking back on it. Bragor hadn’t given her any reason not to trust him, had he? Did she really have to be so difficult? She flinched when the Bosmer spoke up.

“Well… I guess we can go our separate ways, now.” He looked toward the western horizon, rubbing the back of his neck. “Just… keep off the main road and get as far away from the plantations as possible.”

“Wait!” Habasi said, her hand involuntarily flinging out to grasp Bragor’s arm.


“It’s… Habasi just…” She sighed. She hated being so vulnerable, but Bragor had proven himself to be a friend. Besides, it was better to expose her weakness now and improve her chances of survival than to put on a brave face and die alone somewhere. “She wanted to thank you for the help. And she does not wish to be a burden; it is just that she does not know where to go. And… and she is afraid.”

He blinked a few times, apparently taken aback. “Wow. Took a lot for you to admit that, huh?”

She didn’t answer. She suspected she didn’t have to.

“Alright, you can come with me… under one condition.”

She cocked her head to the side. “What is that?”

He held out his hand. “We start over, on better terms. My name’s Bragor. What’s yours?”

She fought the desire to roll her eyes, instead smiling for perhaps the first time in years. She grasped his hand and shook it in a proper greeting, “This one is Habasi,” After a moment’s hesitation she added, “It is good to meet you.” She found that she actually meant it.

“Likewise.” He grinned. “Come on then.”

“Where to?” For once, she didn’t have a plan. She had planned on escape, and freedom, but had no clue where she would go once she had attained them.

“I was thinking Balmora,” he said, “It’s far enough away from Suran that they probably won’t follow us. If they do, I hear there are some Imperial guilds there. Imperials are sympathetic to slaves and they might be able to protect us if we join them.”

She nodded. “Balmora it is, then.” She wasn’t sure any guilds would actually take in a skinny elf beggar and an escape slave, but it was a better option than wandering aimlessly, waiting to get recaptured and dragged off to a fate worse than death. With a clear goal in mind and some semblance of a plan, the two ventured northwest, each hoping for a brighter future.

Edited by MTibbs89
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"Each event is preceded by Prophecy.


But without the hero,


there is no Event."


-Zurin Arctus | the Underking




A Fateful Heist

They had been watching the door for what felt like hours, and it was beginning to get dark. It would not be too long before Palonirya would be leaving her clothing shop, The Divine Elegance, sure to lock it up tightly behind her before heading on over to Green Emperor Way to meet with her not-so-secret love, Sergius Verus. It was a sort of weekly ritual for the Altmer and it was not uncommon for her to be out most of the night, sneaking back to her quaint home above her shop early in the morning, with the hopes that no one would notice. It just so happened that the seemingly unassuming beggars who wandered the streets had noticed, and knew a great deal about the woman– a great deal about many things, in fact– and had been all too happy to divulge this information on her schedule for a modest sum of five septims.

Adanji, the gray-furred Khajiit who had initially been waiting with bated breath, found herself getting bored. She sighed and shifted her weight, her legs tingling with pins and needles as the feeling began to come back into them.

“Shouldn’t be long now,” her Argonian companion, Swims-In-Dark-Waters muttered, noticing her discomfort, “Unless she’s already left and you missed her.”

The Khajiit let out a quick, short hiss, her version of a snort, “If you want to take watch, be my guest. We should switch soon anyway, lest we look too suspicious and the guards take note.” Most people wouldn’t notice it, unless they were paying close attention, but the Khajiit had a slight lisp. Like her Argonian family, she had developed the tendency to linger just a little bit longer on ‘s’ sounds than was normal.

“The guards are always suspicious of Khajiit,” Swims noted, just before dropping his voice to a whisper and elbowing her sharply in the ribs, “Speaking of…” The flickering light of a torch announced the presence of a guard rounding the corner into the plaza and walking in their general direction.

Adanji immediately averted her gaze from Palonirya’s shop and busied herself with appearing as innocent as possible, beginning a random conversation about mudcrabs with Swims (annoying creatures…), and only dropped the charade when the guard completely passed them by, having only given them a single, suspicious glance with a raised brow before continuing on his patrol.

“I think he agrees with you,” Adanji said, feeling that the guard would not have given a second thought to a pair of humans loitering in the street. “I hope she won’t be much longer. You sure Old Dran’s information was good?” No-Coins Draninus, or ‘Old Dran’ to pretty much everyone who knew him, was a down-on-his-luck Imperial who had once been in the Legion before taking an arrow in the knee– or so he claimed. He seemed a pleasant enough fellow, if a little crazy, but Adanji wasn’t sure how well he could be trusted, especially if his stories about having been a city guard held any truth.

“Nnn, can’t say that I am, but at this point, I’ll take what information I can get.”

“Oh. Brilliant.

The Argonian said nothing. When Adanji got particularly sarcastic, which happened often, he would consider the conversation closed. If he did not, the two would wind up arguing for hours until nothing but dry insults remained. He sometimes wasn’t even sure how they were friends, what with their near-constant bickering at this point, but theirs was a bond that went back to their childhood, even further back than their desires to join the Thieves Guild. He remembered how his elder brother, Hides-His-Heart, would tell them such tales about the exploits of the legendary Gray Fox– the longtime leader of the guild. The faceless, elusive man with a talent for finding luck- or for avoiding misfortune.

Hides-His-Heart had instilled such a hero worship for the man in their hearts that the two would often create games in which they pulled off impossible heists, always against equally impossible odds, and always together. In these games, they would usually give their treasure to the poor, a common ending in Hides-His-Heart’s tales of the Gray Fox, and keep only enough to afford shelter and decent food. Over the years, of course, such romanticism dwindled, and their games became aspirations, the ending only one in which they became absurdly rich or died trying. They still dreamed, of course, but since Hides had died such dreams seemed more like idle fantasy, convenient for nothing more than pushing them onward toward their goals.

“There!” Adanji pulled Swims out of his reminiscing with the hissed word and a flick of her tail, drawing his attention to the shop. They both ducked down behind the nearby stacks of crates and barrels that served as the Market District’s storage as Palonirya left her shop, locking it securely behind her. Adanji shifted just enough so that she could peek over her cover and watch the Altmer to make sure she’d leave. The woman seemed rather shifty, glancing over her shoulder on the odd occasion. Despite how dark it was she didn’t even carry a lamp or a torch, such was her desire not to be noticed, but Adanji’s jade-green Khajiit eyes could clearly see in the darkness. The duo waited a few minutes after the Altmer was completely out of sight before making their way to The Divine Elegance, and Adanji crouched at the door while Swims kept watch.

“Hurry…” Swims urged under his breath.

Adanji glanced around, having just pulled out her lock picks, and saw no sign of guards. She understood the lizard’s apprehension, though. Even if no patrol came by, there was always the competition. Swims and Adanji were not the only ones seeking entry into the guild, and while it was strictly forbidden for members to kill on a job, she wasn’t sure how well such rules were enforced- or even if they applied in this ‘entrance exam.’

Of course, being murdered by a rival or caught by a watchman wasn’t the only thing that could go wrong. Palonirya could return unexpectedly, having forgotten something, or one of their rivals could very well have already been there and taken the treasure, at which point the two would fail the test and be forced to try again later– assuming there even was a later. Then they would have to go through all the trouble of finding the rendezvous point (which changed constantly) all over again to hear the details of the next test, which would be vague enough that they would need to pay Old Dran yet another five septims for more precise information. All in all, it felt as if there was a great deal riding on this one night and too much that could ruin everything.

The sound of a click snapped Adanji’s ears to attention as the final tumbler had been knocked into place and the door was unlocked. Smiling to herself, she put her fears aside and swung open the door as silently as she could, then she and Swims slid in swiftly and shut it behind them.

“Any idea what these Quicksilver Boots look like?”

“I think they’re made of glass?” He shrugged, “They’re supposed to be nearly weightless and give you unnatural speed.”

“That should narrow it down…” Adanji stalked over to the counter and had a peek around, resisting the urge to simply pocket every piece of jewelry on display and leave. Like many high elves, Palonirya had a taste for the finer things and as such sold only the highest quality merchandise. The necklaces, rings and bracelets on display were clearly made of the finest metals, and the gems that glittered in their sockets were flawless. They sparkled in the silvery moonlight filtering through the slats of the window blinds. Adanji glanced up at the little colored pinpricks of light, like stars, the gems refracted against the ceiling. Along the walls were mannequins adorned in striking, delicate silks imported from Summerset Isle. There were dresses that shimmered in the brightest blues, the deepest reds, and one that was a vivid peacock green. One particular dress that caught the Khajiit’s eye was one of black silk adorned with red velvet and trimmed with gold lace. She had seen similar dresses worn by noblewomen attending royal parties- not that she had ever been to such a party herself.

“You want to try one on? I’m sure there’s plenty of time.” The Argonian had seen the hunger in Adanji’s eyes, and this was his way of pulling her back into reality.

Adanji shook her head, “No, there really isn’t. Besides, my fur would cling to it and she would know we were here.”

“Good. I don’t see the boots in here. We should keep looking.” He made his way toward the stairs which led to the shop owner’s private quarters then stopped, peering back at Adanji, “Don’t worry. If we pull this off you’ll be able to afford gowns like that in no time.” He smiled- as much as an Argonian could smile, with their reptilian mouths- and continued up the stairs before Adanji could respond.

She shrugged, pretending she didn’t honestly care about such finery, although she knew there was no fooling her old friend, and followed the lizard up.

Palonirya’s personal quarters, while compact, were luxuriously decorated. Tapestries covered the windows, casting the room in reddish shadows, dancing in the lanternlight from the streets below. An intricately designed red and blue silk rug spanned half the room. Occupying its far corner, in front of the right window, was a bed adorned with a green velvet duvet. At the foot of the bed sat an antique chest and to its right, along the wall, was a wide, towering bookshelf filled with trinkets, bits and baubles. Various other furnishings, including a smaller bookshelf, a desk, a sewing station, and a dining table spilling over with fruit, wine and cheese, filled out the remaining space in the room. There were plenty of places where the boots could be hiding.

“How much are you willing to bet the boots are in that chest?” Swims said.

“Ha! I doubt it would be that easy…” Adanji strode to the chest, gripped its lid firmly, and pulled up- it did not budge. “Of course it’s locked.”

“You did say it would not be easy.”

“Shush.” Adanji pulled out her trusty lock picks and busied herself with the mechanism. She found that this particular lock was more difficult to pick, with extra tumblers to knock into place. After several tries, and almost as many bent or broken picks, Adanji successfully picked the lock and immediately opened the chest- only to find bolts of fabric. It was certainly high quality fabric, being a rare, Tyrian purple, and likely very expensive- no doubt planned for use in future finery- but it was not at all what the thieves intended to filch.

“Has it crossed your mind to, maybe, just steal as much from her shop as we can carry and fence it somewhere?” She was speaking rhetorically, of course. The Thieves Guild would offer them more riches than just one raid on a noblewoman’s belongings, and of course would make it easier to locate a fence, but all of the items in the store were worth a small fortune on their own. The problem was that their test restricted them to stealing one specific item. The expression on Swims’ face clearly voiced that line of thought, “Never mind.”

The Argonian shook his head, muttered something to himself, then launched into the many reasons it would be a bad thing to simply take what they wanted, and the many benefits of the Guild, even though Adanji had heard it all before, “…sure, these trinkets seem like a lot right now, but when we join the Guild they will point us in the direction of greener fields, or however it is that Imperial phrase goes,” Swims said with a wave of his hand, “And then we will be rich in no time. Even better, they will offer us protection- an entire family looking out for our best interests...” His eyes glazed over as they often did when he fantasized about the more romantic views of the guild. Adanji wasn’t sure it would be as grand as all that, and certainly did not think a ‘family’ of thieves could be trusted, but she did see the advantages. Having heard her friend’s ramblings many times before, she tuned him out as he continued on that tangent and they both renewed their search for the boots.

Half an hour passed, Swims had finished rambling, and they had turned the room over with no sign of the Quicksilver Boots. The only thing they had accomplished was to leave the room looking as if some mage had gone wild casting spells about the place, with items overturned, sacks emptied, crates tipped over. Adanji was surprised they had not met any competition yet and was beginning to worry that, perhaps, the boots had already been taken.

“I don’t think the boots are up here,” she said forlornly.

“We should check the cellar, at least…” Swims started toward the bedroom door, then stopped and placed a reassuring hand on Adanji’s shoulder. “We should have plenty of time. If we don’t find the boots by the time the sun comes up we can leave.”


“Always in the last place you look, isn’t it?”

“You found them?” Adanji’s tufted ears perked up as the Argonian lifted the boots from a crate, brushing off the protective bits of straw. “Good!” She took them from him with little protest and examined them closely, heart thudding in excitement. They were indeed beautiful boots, a lovely shade of green, obtained only through a great deal of time and patience on the part of the smith who smelted and worked the malachite, purging it of any impurities. Silver inlays in the glass created a floral pattern on the shins, ivy vines sweeping back around the calves and ankles. The leather had been expertly crafted, intricate details pressed or stitched into it by skilled hands. Adanji assumed it must have been a collaborative work between the elf and some renowned smith. Palonirya had presumably been the one to work the leather and the stitchings on it. The only drawback was that the boots had been made for human or elf feet, and neither Adanji nor Swims could test them out- their enchantment would have been useful for outrunning guards.

But if all went well, they wouldn’t need to.

“We should leave now, before the elf gets back,” Adanji said, the tension finally getting to her. She had been having a bad feeling all night and now that they finally had the boots she felt the need to get out while they still could. All that remained was to get the boots to Armand Christophe, the Guild doyen who had given them the task, and their initiation would be complete.

“We have plenty of time...” Swims started, but then quieted down and after a moment nodded, “But yes, we wouldn’t want to tempt fate, would we?” He took the boots and led the way back up the cellar stairs to the shop, and they both stopped short of the exit. Adanji’s fur stood on end.

“Xhuth!” Swims cursed under his breath.

The windows were alight with the flickering yellow glow of torches. Someone was waiting for them.

“Could be Armond...” Swims said quietly in an attempt to calm himself, missing his usual air of optimism.

Adanji doubted it. They were meant to meet Armond behind the Arena at midnight the next day. It would be too much to hope that this might just be competition- unless the other initiates were stupid enough to try sneaking around at night with lit torches. Palonirya wanted her trysts with her imperial lover to be kept secret, so she would not give away her position with a lit torch either; she hadn’t even taken one with her when she left. Had to be guards.

There was a sudden, loud bang as whoever stood outside rapped on the door. “Come out! We know you’re in there!”

“Why can’t anything be easy, just once?” Adanji muttered under her breath, eyes darting around in search for escape. There was none; the entire back of Palonirya’s shop was a stone wall, but for one high, narrow window that, based on the lack of hinges, could not be swung open. The glass would be difficult- if not impossible- to break at the angle from which they’d be attempting escape, and assuming they could even fit through such a narrow space, they would surely cut themselves to pieces. The windows at the front of the shop were not much better, and would lead straight into the guards’ arms anyway.

Adanji briefly thought about fleeing to Palonirya’s quarters and blockading themselves inside, but both of the room’s windows opened to a sheer drop into the lower streets that even a Khajiit acrobat would be unlikely to jump without injury. The blockade would only serve to irritate the guards and slow the pair’s imminent doom. The Khajiit heaved a frustrated, resigned sigh and approached the door. “Put the boots down,” she whispered over her shoulder before grasping the knob and wrenching it open.

She flinched as she was met with a blade hovering inches from her face. “Is there a problem?” she squeaked, before attempting to regain control of her voice. The guard did not look amused. “Ahem, we were, ah, hired to keep watch of Palonirya’s shop for her. She’s out on business, so-”

“Shut up and hand over the boots.”

“What?” Adanji gazed over her shoulder to Swims, who shrugged- he had not put the boots down, but they were hidden behind his back. She glanced back at the guard and saw, peeking over his shoulder, the face of a smirking Bosmer woman- whom she recognized. She could not recall the wood elf’s name, but she had been at the meetup with Armond, and was competition. Or perhaps a spy in the Imperial Watch?

“See? I told you they would be here.”

“You–” Adanji could not finish her accusation, as Swims darted past her with the boots in hand. She barely heard him shouting over his shoulder for her to follow before he was caught, run through by one of the guards. His shirt darkened slowly around the blade before it was ripped out. His eyes widened in disbelief. He fell.

At that moment it was as if time stopped, yet the world was spinning so fast it was all but a whirl before her eyes. In an instant she found herself on her knees, cradling her friend’s dying body in her arms. Crimson soaked her hands as she pressed her palms into the wound to stop the bleeding. She could feel his chest rising and falling– too quickly– then a shudder, and an unnatural stillness. Her heart felt like a stone. There was an immense, burning heat within her gut but the rest of her was bitter cold. Swims was…

“On your feet!”

Adanji stared blankly up at the guard. This was all just a terrible dream, right? She would wake up and Swims would be right there, ready to launch into another scheme to get them into the Guild. Everything felt so numb. Somewhere nearby, she could hear the Bosmer and one of the guards exchanging words in hushed tones, and was vaguely aware of some compensation being paid, but nothing really seemed to register. Perhaps that just meant she was waking up, and the nightmare was ending?

The guards hauled her roughly to her feet. She did not resist, instead shuffling right along with them as they led her down the streets, through the imposing gates out of the Market District, and out of the Imperial City, toward the prison. As they drew closer and closer to the dreaded place, she became more and more aware that this was no dream. She was, in fact, being arrested, and that meant Swims was very much dead, or dying, his blood still spilling onto the street. Passersby would remark in disgust, but no one of import would mourn him. He would be dragged away at some point in the morning, unceremoniously dumped into an unmarked grave, and would be forgotten. His greatest dream of becoming a legend, like the Gray Fox, would never be realized. As the reality of the situation dawned on her, she finally broke down.

She was unsure how long processing took; it could have been hours or minutes. She did not care. She just stumbled through their probing questions, staring blankly at the desk in front of her the whole time, only blinking occasionally when her vision blurred with tears. Why did Swims have to run? She might have been able to talk their way out of it, if he had remained calm. He was supposed to be the calm, confident one, after all. Even if she had not been able to talk the guards down, surely giving up without a fight would have been better than needlessly resisting and being met with a blade through the gut. There had been so much blood, she just couldn’t cope – couldn’t hold it all in. She had been so certain it had all been a dream, but now... Swims, her best friend and blood-brother was dead. She would never see him again. A lump formed in her throat, making it difficult to answer the guard-captain’s queries.

The captain’s voice droned on and on, uncaring, as if nobody had died. There were the traditional questions, about family or friends who might have money and could bail her out– not for her sake, of course. If someone bailed her out, that meant extra money for the guards and the city, and compensation for Palonirya’s property damages. But there was no family that Adanji could speak of, and none of those she might call friends were any better off than she was, every last one of them either being beggars or petty thieves who were not backed by the Guild. There were still more questions after that, mostly regarding her background, all of which felt utterly pointless, and then finally they came to the questions of her crime, her past crimes, and her admission of guilt for their precious records.

At the end of it all, she was led to her cell; A miniscule, dreary room at the back of the dungeon. The cell had few furnishings to speak of– just a scant pile of straw and a thin scrap of fabric which could barely be called a bed and a bucket in the corner– and a tiny, barred window high out of reach, water steadily trickling through from some unknown source outside. The guard escorting her didn’t even give her a chance to cooperate, assuming she would not, and shoved her inside with enough force that she went sprawling to her knees, then slammed the iron-barred door behind her.


It would be three days before Adanji could sleep. Mostly due to grief keeping her up at night and partially due to the catcalls and gibes of the other prisoners. One in particular, a rather irritating dark elf, seemed unable to shut up. The Dunmer made constant racist remarks to both her and other prisoners, and kept insisting that she would die in prison, attempting to frighten her with tales of guards taking the prisoners out to torture and rape them. It only ever got quiet when a guard would finally come by and yell at them to cut the chatter.

Time seemed to stand still in the dungeon. Minutes passed like hours and hours like days. After a while her pain dulled and she was left simply feeling numb, only occasionally relapsing into sharp pangs of grief when she would dwell too long on what she had lost. She had been there almost two months when one morning armed guards woke her with a loud rap on her cell door, before swinging it open.

“Come, prisoner, and don’t make any sudden moves,” the guard at her door commanded, one hand gripping the hilt of his blade. Were they releasing her? She wondered, but she saw clearly they intended to cuff her the moment she was out of her cell and lead her... was she to be executed, then? She stood, shaking, and slowly made her way to the waiting guards, heart pounding. She had assumed she wouldn’t mind dying, after the loss of her friend and only family. It would have been a release and maybe the next life– assuming there was one– would be better, but now that the guards were here... No, she was getting ahead of herself, wasn’t she? Execution was not a punishment for thieves, but for murderers. Then why did they put her in shackles as they made their way out of the prison? She had been incarcerated before, briefly, and when they released her it had never involved chains- just rough handling and holier-than-thou lectures.

As they passed by his cell the loudmouth dunmer made some final catcalls and shouted after her gleefully that she was going to die, which the guards neither confirmed nor denied as they exited the prison and slammed the door behind them, cutting the Dunmer’s cries short. An ear-shattering clap of thunder rolled across the sky when they got outside, and fat drops of rain instantly soaked Adanji’s spotted fur and pinged against the guards’ armor. Adanji smiled grimly; it was as if they sky was mourning for her, though she was certain no one else would.

She was shocked and more than a little confused when the guards led her to a hidden passage out of the Prison’s courtyard walls, rather than through the main gates leading to the City, where executions were held publicly. “Where are you taking me?” she asked, suddenly suspicious. Perhaps she simply was not worth a public execution and they just wanted to get it over with, gutting her and dumping her into Lake Rumare? The guards did not answer her, nor did they draw their blades. Instead, they marched her along the wall, stopping at a waiting carriage- one that was clearly built for prisoner transport, as it had rough wooden slats forming a cramped cage and a heavy iron lock on the door.

Were they moving her to another prison? That seemed the most obvious explanation but it made no sense. Prisoner transport was expensive, and usually reserved only for carrying the most infamous of bandits and murderers to their execution– usually to the Imperial City, not away from it. Clearly the guards were up to something shifty- slave trade, perhaps? It was illegal in Cyrodiil but she had heard that in some provinces, the trade was still allowed and quite lucrative. Adanji leaned back against restraining hands with her full weight– not much considering her scrawny size– digging her claws into the ground, “I demand to know where you’re taking me!” It came out as a rather unthreatening squeak and the guards ignored her again, shoving her forcibly into the waiting carriage and locking her in.

It did not take Adanji long to realize that asking questions would get her nowhere, and decided it would be a bad idea to pester her captors who seemed to be of a foul disposition. Save for the spattering of rain and the occasional booming thunder or grumbling guard, the journey was a quiet one. The carriage rolled and bounced along the gravel roads which seemed to stretch for an eternity beyond the gloom.

They stopped briefly at an inn in the middle of nowhere, where the tired horses were exchanged for fresh ones, as were the guards. Adanji noticed the leader of the old group handing a satchel over to one of the new guards and they exchanged hushed words before continuing on their way. She had no more luck getting information from this group than she had the previous one, but this time at least the leader had bothered to answer her with a rather final-sounding “That's privileged information.” Adanji felt that, as the information clearly involved her, she was entitled to some answers, but thought it wise not to voice that opinion.

The trip took the whole night and the better part of the following morning. Adanji had just managed to drift off into an uneasy sleep when she felt the carriage roll to a stop. The sound of gulls calling through the mist and waves crashing on the shore told the Khajiit they were near the ocean, which meant– if they were still in Cyrodiil– they were either in Leyawiin or Anvil. On closer inspection, blinking the sleep from her eyes, she saw they were outside the high stone walls of a city and saw a row of docks with huge ships and boats bobbing about in the water, causing the ships’ bells to ring softly through the air. She wasn’t sure if Leyawiin even had docks, so she was pretty sure this was Anvil.

Adanji watched closely as two of the guards met with a ship’s captain, straining her ears in a vain attempt to hear what they were whispering about. She noted that they kept glancing at her as they spoke. If she had been apprehensive before, now she felt a sense of dread. She flinched and tensed up when the door to her carriage swung open with a loud creak and two guards grabbed her by the arms and hauled her out and to her feet. She barely felt any more the pain that had settled in her back and legs from the cramped space she’d been sitting in for the past few hours. She was too focused on what the guards were planning and the contents of the official-looking papers that were being handed off to the captain. She craned her neck over her shoulder, attempting to get a better view of those papers as the guards pushed her past the group. They led up a ramp and onto a battered, dingy ship she had hardly noticed until they took her down a hatch, cutting off her view.

The sight of the brig erased the image of the papers from Adanji’s mind completely. There were dank, iron-barred cells along the walls, each filled with rather nasty-looking men and women of various races, many of whom appeared sick and frail, and the place reeked of vomit and excrement. It would have been ill-lit were it not for all the cracks in the hull, giving Adanji a nice view of the turbulent black clouds outside and an uneasy feeling that the voyage ahead would kill her. She was led along the cells and put in the large one at the back, which gave her a single cellmate- a bald Dunmer with a scar over his right eye, who was snoring soundly in a corner.

Not wishing to wake the dunmer– as she had no way of knowing how dangerous he was– she slunk over to a relatively clean corner and sat down, wrapping her arms and tail around her knees and staring out of one of the cracks in the hull. It was oddly cool for late-Sun’s Height, and unusually rainy.


The journey took a little over two weeks. While Adanji didn’t speak much, she had learned through overhearing snippets of conversation that her cellmate’s name was Jiub, and that he had been a freelance assassin that had botched his last contract, getting caught in the process. He had apparently been in the Imperial City’s prison about the same time as Adanji had, but she had simply not noticed him. She had also learned bits and pieces about other prisoners, but didn’t care as much because she did not share a cell with them. Of all the things she could have learned, she had never been told where she was going. Prisoners came and went as they made stops at unknown locations, and because they were never brought enough food, many died midway through the voyage from malnourishment or dehydration- the latter of which Adanji and Jiub had been able to stave off by drinking rain water that poured through the cracks in the upper deck like a miniature waterfall during the heavier storms.

The Khajiit’s last day on the ship saw the worst storm yet. They had been sailing smoothly for the first time for what seemed like less than an hour when, quite suddenly, the sky turned black and massive waves smashed into the ship at all sides, torrents of rain crashing down with the force of a battering ram. The ship lurched and the prisoners were tossed about. Jiub had managed to take hold of the bars of their cell, holding on for dear life, but Adanji was not so fortunate. While she had managed to dig her claws into the slick wooden floor on the first hit, the second lurch caught her mid-run to the bars and she was thrown backwards– clawing futily at the air where she was certain she had seen Jiub’s outstretched hand. For an instant she seemed to float, weightless, until she slammed into the hull with a sickening crunch.

All went black.

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