About the story.

This is a background story set in The Elder Scrolls universe. All the events take place in the 2nd era during the time of the Interregnum. (Elder Scrolls Online)
It details a friendship between the main character Delte and her two friends one Nord who is called Volk Shatter Shield and a Argonian that goes by the name of Left-Paw-Alight.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Chapter 5. Valtheim Towers. Date 2E 581 First Seed Turdas 12th.

Chapter 5
Location:- Valtheim Towers
Date:- 2E 581 First Seed Turdas 12th.

Two hours before dawn the twin moons Masser and Secunda had set behind the horizon, with the lack of moonlight it plunged the pre-dawn into darkness. Outside Volk's farm house the only light the three companions had to guide them was the starlight, and Delte's details of her reconnoitring of the small holdings earlier.
Delte took position behind the wall of a cattle pen to use as cover while she strung her bow and poisoned the arrows with paralysing poison. From her vantage point she could see the front door to the house and Volk's progress as he crept into the yard.
Volk slowly made his way towards the well and crouched down behind the wall. He drew out a pair of sax he had found in the old barracks after losing his twin axes earlier along with his horse in the previous skirmish with the bandits. As he watched the doorway his hand searched along the ground looking for a stone to throw at the front door when Paws gave the signal that he was ready and covering the back entrance to the building.
Left-Paw-Alight finished quietly enchanting the back door area with trap runes of fire. He stepped back and summoned a Flame Atronach which instantly put him in a battle of wills against the minor daedra. Once won he sent a small globe of magical light up into the sky, this was the signal to begin the attack.

Volk saw the signal from Paws and threw the stone at the front door, it struck the wood sending a loud cracking sound to echo around the stone basin in where the farm stood. Shouts of alarm came from within the house as the people inside was alerted and lit the lanterns so they could see. The door flew open and bathed the front porch of the house in bright lantern light. Volk was already up and moving fast to cover the last fifteen yards of open ground before the element of surprise wore off and the occupants eyes adjusted to the light sources.
Two figures silhouetted by the light stood in the door way and drew back their bows. Delte loosed her first arrow which struck home into the chest of her first target driving it back into the house dead. The second figure hesitated and looked for Delte's location which gave her time to draw another arrow and loose, her aim was slightly off target as it left her bow to hit the second bowman along the cheek bone. The poison took immediate effect and they dropped to the floor paralysed.
Volk leapt over the prone forms of the two bowmen in the doorway and entered into the front room. As he landed he parried a clumsy attack from the argonian, His other hand came round and sliced across the bare stomach to disembowel him. A woman screamed to his right and drove a axe at Volk's head. Volk dodged to the left and spun round to her right, then drove a sax blade hard into her lower back to sever the spine.
An explosion rocked the rear of the house as one of the bandits tried to leave, quickly followed by a blood curdling scream as he was consumed by the fire from the atronach and fire traps. Volk was now surrounded by a dunmer male and two reachmen. He grinned and splattered his opponents with the blood off his sax blades as a taunt. With the initial surprise of the attack now faded his opponents would be harder to defeat.
“You are all dead men, you just don't know it yet.” Volk growled menacingly at them.
A shadow passed behind the dunmer male and he fell down dead as Delte sliced his throat. The reachman closest to her turned his attention on her and went in for the attack. The second reachman assaulted Volk.
Delte dodged the reachman's longsword with a dancers grace, all the time drawing him closer with feints from her own two daggers.
Volk parried the attacks of his opponent, then crossed his blades to catch an overhead blow. As the reachman pushed with all his strength Volk brought one of his blades out of the lock and slashed his opponent across the throat. Blood and air escaped from the gaping wound and the reachman dropped his sword as his hands grasped at the wound trying to hold in the blood and escaping air from the windpipe.
Volk turned round and saw Delte parry a few blows and pirouette out of a counter attack. He sighed and shouted out to her. “Delte stop playing with him and just kill him.”
Delte took an obvious swipe with her dagger at the man's neck as he ducked down she then brought her other dagger hard up underneath his chin and drove it home through his skull. As the eyes in his head rolled back she kicked him off the blade and wiped it clean on his jerkin.
“You spoil all my fun.” She said to Volk as she got up and walked over to the paralysed man.
“I will let you have fun interrogating this one.” Volk said pointing at the last remaining bandit who was a nord. “Is he alive?”
Delte nodded and tied the man's hands behind his back and then his feet. “The poison will wear off soon.”
“Good.” Volk moved closer to Delte and whispered in her ear “Can he hear us?”
“Yes and also see what we did to his friends from his position as well.” Delte replied “I don't think he will hold out long.”
Paws came in from the back of the house followed by the subtle smell of sulphur. “All clear back there, a nord male tried to escape but he is now ash.” Paws cast a look around the room noting the bodies “Any still alive or do we need a seance to contact the dead?” He added with a chuckle.
Delte kicked the prone nord “This one is alive for now. He will answer our questions.... in time.” She added with a wink to Paws.
“I will fire up the furnace, we are going to need hot irons and coal for his questioning.” Volk commented as he walked out to the back of the house.

Volk sat by the side of his now exhumed son tears rolling freely down his face. Delte and Paws had moved the prisoner to the now raging hot furnace that was situated in a small cave behind Volks farm. Daylight had broken and along with it the bird song of spring filled the air with noise. A small family of rabbits hopped around in the long meadow grass where the cows would have been grazing. Volk's dead horse hung from a A-frame its belly sliced open and partly butchered by the bandits. During the aftermath of the fight Volk and Paws had moved the dead bodies out of the house and placed them around the foot of the A-frame. Flies were already congregating around the carcasses of the dead bandits and horse.
Left-Paw-Alight sat outside of the cave entrance to Volk's furnace watching his friend grieve over his dead son. Now and then on the wind he caught snippets of Volk talking to his son as though he were alive and could hear him. Delte broke Paws reverie by placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Will he be all right?” Delte asked nodding over to Volk.
“I hope so, its never easy for a parent to bury their children.” Paws said with a heaviness in his voice.
“You lost a child as well?” Delte asked sensing the grief in the comment.
“Along time ago, I also knew Michael, Volk's eldest boy. I was his godparent.”
“I am sorry Paws, I didn't know.” Delte said as she headed down the steps towards Volk “By the way the prisoner is awake.”
“Hold on I will go and get Volk.” Paws said as he got up and headed down the steps “Would also like to pay my respects to the boy as well. You go back in and make sure everything is ready.”
Delte nodded and turned around to head back inside to the furnace.

The prisoner watched in wide eyed terror as Delte stoked the furnace even more, the heat from it hard started to make him sweat and small rivulets were now streaming down his body and splattering on the dirt floor of the workshop. Delte showed no visible signs of being effected by the heat due to her dunmer heritage.
“What are you going to do to me?” The nord male stammered.
“Answer our questions truthfully and you may live.” Delte answered without turning around.
“I don't know anything, I am just a farmer.” He cried.
“Delte laughed at him and said “This farm belongs to the Shatter-Shield clan. The owner grieves outside over a dead son, missing child he has never seen and wife. You had best come up with something else or this will be the quickest interrogation I have ever done.”
“No not this farm, we only came here because it was abandoned. My farm got destroyed by raiders on the boarder of Windhelm and the Rift.” The nord said as Volk and Paws entered the furnace.

Volk stopped in front of him and looked the prisoner in the eyes. A scowl of pure hatred etched on his face. Eyes red from the tears he had shed earlier.
“What is your name?” Volk spat at him.
“Johan Fletcher.” The prisoner said with fear in his voice “I will tell you everything okay. I am a coward please don't hurt me.”
A small puddle appeared at Johan's feet and a wet stain spread down the leg of his britches as his bladder gave way.
“Why kill my boy and wife?” Volk asked as he grabbed a hand full of Johan's hair.
“I didn't, we found the body of a boy outside near the well with his head caved in. We buried him ourselves out of respect because it looked like he had died in battle.” Johan blurted out in pain.”There was no new born child or woman here. The place had been deserted for a couple of weeks by the look of the body and spoiled food in the pantry.”
“I think you are lying. Delte put a hot coal down his right boot.” Volk growled out the order and let go of Johan's hair as he stepped back to allow Delte access to the prisoners booted feet.
Johan started to scream and thrash about in his bindings as Delte approached him with a white hot piece of coal. “I am telling you the truth.” Johan screamed “This place is cursed, I told them but they laughed at me. Please for the mercy and love of Mara.”
Volk put his arm out and stopped Delte in her tracks. “Go on.” Volk said to Johan “Why is this place cursed?”
“The blood smeared rune we found on the door to the house. The girls washed it off, but I have seen it before.” Johan said in between sobs.
“What did it look like? Can you draw it exactly?” Paws said now intrigued by the answers Johan was giving.
Johan nodded and looked up at the three of them “I will never forget that dread rune it was the same one the raiders used when they attacked my farm and village. They used my fathers own blood to paint it on my house while I hid from them like the coward I am in a hay stack.”
Volk pulled out one of his sax and cut Johan's bindings that held his hands to the large metal frame he was tied to. Left-Paw-Alight handed over a piece of charcoal and some parchment to Johan so he could draw the rune. Trembling with fear he accepted the items and started to draw. After a few minutes he had finished and handed the items back to Left-Paw-Alight.
Paws looked at the rune and ran a hand over his head feathers as he frowned at the drawing.
“Not seen anything like this before. Are you sure this is the rune you saw?” Left-Paw-Alight questioned Johan.
“Of course it is, that rune is etched in my waking life and my dreams. After what the raiders did to my family and drag off my mother and younger brother.” Johan broke down in tears.
“May I see?” Delte spoke up as she reached out a hand for the parchment.
“Why not. I have studied every rune known to the college. Its not daedric or magical, I think he made it up to save his own skin.” Paws said as he gave her the paper.

Volk punched Johan hard in the stomach and then an uppercut to his chin. He pulled back his fist for another blow.
“Stop.” Delte cried out “Release him.”
“What?” Both Volk and Paws said in unison in a surprised tone.
Delte stepped forward and addressed Johan “I know this rune, its an old dunmer or chimer rune for Domination.” She then took some cloth and damped it. Slowly she rubbed out some of the rune and when she was finished she showed the results to Volk and Paws.
“Over time it has changed to mean something else entirely.”
Both of the men looked at the parchment she was holding up with the now changed rune and said in unison. “Molag Bal.”
Delte nodded “Correct, now Johan do you know where these cultist are?”
Johan nodded slowly his face now becoming a bruised mess from Volk's beatings. “I know the place I can take you there, but don't expect me to help you fight them.”
“You show us the place and I will set you free.” Volk said as he bent down and cut the bonds at Johan's feet.
“If you run I will hunt you down.” Delte added “You will have three days before you die. Day one I make my poisons. Day two I track you down like an animal. Day three I catch you and kill you.” She counted off on her hand.
Johan stared wide eyed and open mouth looking into her almond shaped merish eyes.
“I give you my word I will not run. I swear to you and Shor.” Johan blurted out.
“Then it is done.” Volk said with a nod “Come I will get some water for you so you can clean yourself up Johan while you tell me what you can do other than shoot bows at unsuspecting people”

As Johan and Volk left the furnace Left-Paw-Alight asked Delte “Do you believe him about the rune and raiders?”
“Yes.” Came her reply “My people thought the cult was dead after being wiped out in fight they had with the Morag Tong for control over a city. Seems they have been laying low and waiting for an opportunity to try for another power struggle.”
“Why now though I wonder?” Paws mused.
“Lets find them before they manage to do something we are all going to regret. Also pray to the eight for Volk's family.” She said as she walked out into the sunshine of the spring morning.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Chapter 4. Grass Plains of Whiterun. Skyrim. Date 2E 581 First Seed Middas 11th.

Chapter 4
Location:- Grass plains of Whiterun. Skyrim.
Date:- 2E 581 First Seed Middas 11th.

The passage through Helgan had been easy enough for the three of them. On their over night stop Volk had asked Delte to help him pick out a present for his wife Gresla. There was a lot of troop movements in the fort town as units passed through from Falkreath and Whiterun on their way to Bruma which was now on the front lines of the growing war between the three alliances. The next morning they left Helgan behind and set off for the plains of Whiterun where the Jarl of Whiterun held court.

Their path followed the river east past the outskirts of Whiterun and towards a large stone toll bridge that Volk gave the name of Valtheim Towers that spanned the now fast flowing river before it fell away into a huge waterfall. A warm wind blew across the grasslands and large multicoloured dragon flies skimmed across the water, with a constant rumble of the waterfall further down stream. The doors and windows to the towers were shuttered closed and a large iron portcullis blocked the route over the river. The lack of guards only compounded the statements made by Narol two days previous at the Jerral Way Tavern.
The three companions stopped for a short rest at the toll bridge to ease their aching backs from the long ride. Delte watched a kingfisher dive down into the river and fly off with its catch. She was beginning to like this new land and the new animals that she had not seen before during her time growing up in Morrowind and Elsweyr. During the stop she mixed some potions whilst sat on the bank of the river and tested the new herbs she had picked along the way. Volk tucked into some salted mutton and bread that he shared with Left-Paw-Alight. He explained to them that his farmstead lay just over the next rise off to the right nestled within a semi circle of granite topped hills, where the south side of the circle the hills reached up into the mountains. It was there he had a wooden ramp that lead up to a natural cavern where he had his own forge and workshop. The fields had corn and various vegetables with a few cows and chickens. For the first time Delte saw Volk in a whole new light, not that of a warrior born but as a farmer and husband. A stark contrast to the man she had known for two years.

The sun was starting to set as the farm came into view. A wooden fence cut across the open end of the semicircle of the granite topped hills Volk had mentioned earlier. At the entrance to the fields lay a broken gate. Its shattered parts strewn across the approach to the main building. The fields were starting to get overgrown with weeds, and there were no cattle or chickens to be seen. Set in this backdrop was a squat stone cottage with a thatched roof. Smoke was lazily curling its way up out of the single stack chimney, but the windows were shuttered up tight.
Volk's stallion pawed at the ground seeming to sense its masters apprehension at the scene that lay before him. A shiver ran down Delte's spine as she and Paws looked at each other.
“No this isn't right. Something it amiss.” Volk growled as he dug his heels into his horses flanks sending it into a gallop.
“Volk wait.” Delte shouted after him in vain.
“Go I will watch the road here.” Left-Paw-Alight said to Delte as he spun his horse around to keep it under control.
Delte sped after Volk who was now halfway down the approach road to his cottage. Her white gelding much faster than Volks large Skyrim bred warhorse quickly gained on him.
The door to the cottage opened up and two figures came into view. One was a man of human origins and the other was a woman also of human descent. Both wore studded leather armour and held a longbows, as one they drew back the strings on their longbows.
“Volk no.” Delte shouted as Volk's horse entered the large front area of the cottage.
It was then the unknown man and woman loosed their bows at Volk, and pulled another arrow each from their quivers. One arrow narrowly missed Volk and flew by his left ear making him flinch to the right. The second arrow buried itself into the breast of his huge horse killing it instantly. Its front legs crumpled underneath it throwing Volk over its head to land heavily on the ground. Delte rode past the prone Volk and threw a small bottle at the feet of their two assailants. The bottle smashed open allowing the liquid inside to evaporate quickly into a cloud of gas that enveloped the doorway. Delte spun her horse around and helped Volk climb up behind her, Left-Paw-Alight seeing the commotion let fly with a firebolt into the cloud of gas. Delte dug her heels into her horse's flanks and set off back towards where Paws waited. The firebolt hit the gas cloud from Delte's bottle causing it to explode in a fireball. A blood curdling scream emanated from the explosion as a figure wreathed in flames ran out spinning and dancing trying to put the flames out as the fire consumed them.
“Paws move. We head back to the toll bridge.” Delte shouted at Left-Paw-Alight as he summoned up a fog bank to obscure the view from the cottage. He then urged his Colovian mount into a run back down the road from the direction they had come from.
Four more arrows appeared from the fog bank, three went wide, but the fourth struck Volk in the back of his left leg. He grunted in pain as Delte's horse turned onto the main road to follow Left-Paw-Alight.
“Delte I got hit by one of those arrows.” Volk said as he tried to hold on. “It's in my left leg.”
“You'll be fine.” Delte said. “You have another leg not sure what you are moaning about.”
“Very funny.” Volk chuckled. “Thanks by the way. I would of...”
“Don't mention is.” Delte cut him off. “ I take it that wasn't your Gresla?”
“No it wasn't.” came Volk's reply. “We need to regroup and find out what is going on.”
“First we need to patch that leg of yours before it gets infected.” Delte said.
“We need to make ready and attahhhhh!” Volk's sentence trailed off into pain filled incoherence. He looked down at his leg and saw Delte had reached down and tugged on the protruding arrow shaft.
“Point taken.” Volk said sulkily.

Paws inscribed a rune for wind on the nailed up door to the toll bridge guardroom. Then stood to one side and started to chant. Delte supporting Volk waited for Paws to break down the sturdy oak door. As Left-Paw-Alight chanted he felt the presences of a wind spirit take notice of the rune and chant. Paws changed the chant slightly and suggested to the spirit to smash down the door. He felt the wind spirit struggle against his will. Paws then applied more coercion and reasserted his dominance against the spirit by flooding the rune with magicka. The door imploded inwards a thousand shards of wood covering the inside of the building in oak splinters, Left-Paw-Alight stepped though the debris and sent small globes of light spiralling throughout the guardhouse. Moments latter he poked his head back outside and beckoned the waiting Delte and Volk inside.
“The place is clear come in. I will seal the entrance while you take care of Volk. “
Delte helped Volk hobble up the wooden stairs to the first floor of the guardhouse, in the fading light she could make out a few beds. Slowly she lowered the wounded Volk onto one of the beds and started to look for candles to light that the previous occupants had left behind.
Downstairs Paws was drawing runes around the entrance he had broken down, as he finished each one a slight glow emanated from it to show it was active. He then moved onto the next rune all the time chanting calling out to the various elements to bind them to the runes.

“Take off your trousers Volk.” Delte said as she moved around the room lighting the candles. “You will need to cut the left leg to get it past the arrow shaft.”
“I didn't think it would take an arrow for you to get my trousers off Delte.” Volk said with a boyish grin as he cut the leather around the arrow and gently pulled the rest of his trousers down.
“Don't flatter yourself.” Delte replied coldly as she walked back to Volk who was now laying on his front on a bed with a straw mattress. “I am a Dunmer, even though we are friends I would never lay with a inferior race.”
“Damn Delte it was meant to be a joke. I am a married man as well you know.” Volk replied. “I can't see why you see the Dunmer as a superior race over the Nords anyway. We are all the same in the end.”
“Sorry Volk, not all of us think that way.” Delte said as an apology as she took out her dagger and started to sharpen the blade. “Its just the difference in cultures and humour I think. It's one reason I agree with this alliance, so that hopefully our people can learn to get along and trust one another.” She took out a rag and applied alcohol to it and wiped it along the now sharpened blade of her dagger.
Volk drew in a sharp breath as Delte splashed some of the alcohol onto the wounded area of his leg. “This is going to hurt Volk.” Delte said as she examined the arrow. “I need to cut the leg open either side of the shaft to get the arrow head out and make sure the wound is clean before I close it up.”
“Just get it done.” Volk growled trying not to scream.
Left-Paw-Alight came upstairs and sent a small globe of light to stick to the ceiling of the old barracks so that Delte could see what she was doing far easier than with just candle light. Delte cut into Volks leg and started to work on the wound.
“You was lucky the arrow missed the bone and the main artery.” Delte said as she started to pull on the arrow.
“I never feel lucky after being shot.” Volk said through gritted teeth and then passed out due to the pain.
“He has passed out Delte.” Paws said as he looked on.
“Thought he might, it will be easier this way.” Delte replied as she cleaned the inside of the wound.
“How does a scout know about arteries in the body?” Paws enquired.
Delte threw down the now spent and bloody linen and cotton swabs. “Part of the training my father taught me.” she said.
Paws sat down on a stool and handed Delte a small bottle of healing compound. “I don't believe you. Scouts learn to track, make traps and shoot bows mainly.”
“Depends what you are hunting on the skills taught.” Delte said as she applied the healing solution and watched as the skin started to knit together on Volk's wounded leg.
“What job did general Veldam send you on during the battle at Jerral Pass?” Paws asked sensing Delte's evasive answer.
Delte stood up and started to rummage through her backpack. “I need to find out who tried to kill us. Volk will want answers when he wakes up.”
“Stop avoiding the question Delte. You are more than just a scout for the Ebonheart Pact.” Paws pointed a clawed finger at Delte. “Scouts do not know about alchemy to such an extent either.”
Delte pulled out a grey and black mottled linen cloak from her pack and threw it around her shoulders.
As she fastened the clasp she said. “Look after Volk his wound will be tender for a few days. I will be back in a few hours, and Paws please drop it.” with that she left before he could stop her and continue his line of questioning. He sighed and shook his head and let the magical light dim and go out, leaving the room to be solely illuminated by the candles Delte had set light to.
Left-Paw-Alight looked around the old barrack room they had chosen to take refuge in. A old open fire place commanded centre view, its old roasting rack rusting up through lack of use. The old cots had marks on them from small rodents chewing at the wooden frames and straw mattresses. He went over to the fire place and started to build a pile of wood into the fire place from a small stack that had been left nearby. Searching though his pockets he found his tinder box and started to pack in the dry tinder, striking the flint onto the striking steel sparks shot forwards onto the tinder which started to smoke. Gently he blew on the small flames helping them grow and take hold of the larger wood faggots in the fireplace.
As the fire caught hold on the wood he filled a pot with water from his and Volk's canteen, then placed it on the iron frame above the fire so it would boil. He then headed down stairs to the storeroom to look for any supplies that had survived the exodus of the troops that lived there previously.

Volk stirred into wakefulness the first thing he noticed was the smell of cooking. He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. “Ugh how long have I been asleep?” He asked in a mumbling groggy voice.
“Just over two hours.” came the reply from Paws. “Some stew in the pot if you're hungry.”
Volk slowly got up and tested his weight on the wounded leg. The skin had healed over to stop infection, but there was still the bruise and tenderness of the torn muscles.
“She has done a good job there.” said Volk then he breathed in deep at the smell of the stew. “Smells good did you cook it?” Volk's stomach grumbled in anticipation to the thought of the meal. Left-Paw-Alight nodded as he dished out a portion for Volk.
“I found some salted pork in the cellar, and some rogue vegetables outside on the river bank.” explained Paws. “Why you ask if I cooked it?”
“Delte sweet lass but her cooking is worse than mine.” Volk said as he sat down gingerly on a wooden stool at the table. “Where is she any how?”
“She went back to your farm to see who attacked us.” Left-Paw-Alight handed over a full bowl of stew to Volk and sat down opposite him. “We will need to know how many we are up against and their training in combat. She should be back soon.”
Volk nodded as he tucked into the food. “Good I want to assault them two hours before dawn, when the night is at its darkest.” said Volk with a full mouth of stew and bread.
A slender arm reached down and grabbed a bread roll off the table in front of Paws and Volk. “I agree with Volk on the time.” a female voice said startling the two men. “I also know how to mix poisons that are tasteless into food as well.” she added with a cheeky smile and a giggle as she sat on a cot while taking a bite out of the bread roll. “So remember that next time you ask me to cook.”
“By Shor's Stone lass you're like a ghost. And about the cooking.” Volk tried to apologise as Delte and Paws broke into laughter. Delte waved the hand holding the bread roll at Volk in a gesture to forget about it. Volk sighed and gave a smile. “So what do we know?”
“I think they are a group of thieves, not bandits.” Delte started to give her report. “There are now eight of them, one having died earlier today from the skirmish we had and the explosion. Two women both of them are nords by the look of them and six men.”
“The men nords as well?” asked Paws.
“Not all of them, and don't interrupt. Its rude.” said Delte as she crossed her arms with a pout, then smiled and continued. “If you let me finish, two of the men are nords. One is an argonian one is a dunmer and the other two are strangely tattooed bretons.”
“Strange tattoos, look like bretons.” repeated Volk as he stroked his beard. “Could be Reachmen, they are relations to the bretons but are a vicious bunch who worship strange gods and work old magic.”
“Volk your saddle bags and money is being shared amongst them.” added Delte then she looked at the floor her tone changed to a sombre voice. “I also saw something else. Outside round the back.”
“Spit it out lass.” Volk insisted. “We need to know it all.”
Delte sighed and looked up at Volk and Left-Paw-Alight concern etched on her face. “I saw a small freshly dug grave. To small to be an adult.”
Volk's face went into a scowl he clenched his fists, rage boiled up into his usual jovial features.
“Could mean nothing, could be a perfectly normal explanation to this.” Paws tried to reassure Volk.
“I want them dead, no mercy, no quarter and no prisoners.” Volk stood up all memory of the pain he felt in his leg forgotten. “Get some sleep both of you, I will take first watch.”
“Volk there was only one grave, if it was the thieves there would be more. Or your wife may have been sold into slavery.” Delte stood up and blocked Volk from leaving.
“You are not making me feel any better with talk of slavery Delte.” responded Volk as he took hold of Delte and moved her roughly aside.
“If we kill them all we will never know the truth. Keep one alive and we may find Gresla and your new born.” Delte shouted to the now retreating Volk as he headed to the stairs.
“Why keep a helpless babe alive?” Volk said as he stood at the top of the stairs seething with anger.
“To placate the mother, to stop her from fighting.” finished Delte.
Volk looked down the stairs into the darkness that cloaked the ground floor and said. “Keep one alive, you are right Delte. Gresla might be alive still, she would do anything to keep our children safe.” with that Volk headed down the stairs to sit in the darkness and watch the approach to the bridge.

Left-Paw-Alight made his way around the small barracks and extinguished the candles. As he leant over to blow out the last one Delte rolled over on her cot and asked. “Do you think Volk will do something silly before we wake up?”
“No.” replied Paws. “Volk is ragging mad not an idiot. Not even he can take on eight people on his own and win.” he then blew on the last candle which sent the room into darkness.
As he lay back on his own cot he secretly hoped Volk would not do anything until they was all present.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Chapter 3 Location- Jerral Way Tavern Date- 2E 581 First Seed Morndas 9th

Chapter 3
Location- Jerral Way Tavern
Date- 2E 581 First Seed Morndas 9th

The journey to the Jerral Way tavern was pleasant and uneventful. Each of the three companions enjoyed their own thoughts and dreams of what the future would hold for them. Volk would start to whistle now and then some old Nordic tunes as he thought about going home to see his wife and children. Left Paw-Alight made notes in a small journal as he passed by certain rocks and plants, now and then he would mutter to himself and scratch out previous entries to correct mistakes he had made on his way through the pass the last time he had come this way. Delte was just happy to look around at the new scenery she had never been this way before and would stop now and then to pick some herbs to study for new alchemical potions and poisons.

As they rounded a bend in the road there stood before them a averaged sized tavern. A ten foot granite stoned wall surrounded the main buildings and stables. The gate was wide enough for a horse and cart to pass through. The main tavern was half built with local stone and the upper half of the ground floor was of local pine wood. The roof was of thatch and poking through it was a chimney made of the same stone as the lower half of the tavern billowing out wood smoke scented with pine and ash wood. All around the area was a dense forest which climbed steeply upwards away from the road. As the three approached the sun was setting causing the crisp mountain air to gain a cold bite to it. Their breath was starting to show and their horses were steaming from the long tiring ride up into the mountains. They made their way over to the stables and paid the stable boys to look after and bed down their horses for the night, then they headed over to the main tavern to look for a meal and bed for the night.
A warm friendly atmosphere welcomed the three travelers as they entered the common room. With a large open fire burning in the centre of the room surrounded by granite stone. All around men and women of various races sung songs and drank the ale while some tucked into meals. At the back of the room the landlord served drinks while his wife and daughter served the meals to the patrons. Off to the left was a corridor that lead to various rooms that served as the taverns bedrooms. Volk and Delte headed towards an empty table. Paws headed off towards the bar to order their food and drink and to arrange rooms for them all for the night.
Volk stretched out his huge arms and gave a contented sigh and smiled. “Long ride today.” he said above the din to Delte.
Delte nodded as she looked around the room at the people. “I wonder where they are all going to?” she replied.
Volk looked around at the other patrons and noted that most of them wore some kind of armour or had weapons hung on their belts. “Looks to me they are heading to the front lines. Poor sods they sing of honour and glory now, but after their first battle half of them will be dead or cripples.” he looked back at Delte and leant forward. “I want to know why you are going to Morrowind though, you are to be married to Veldam yet you leave him to make this journey.”
“Its a long story and you know most of it Volk.” Delte tried to avoid the question and play it down.
Aye that I do. Why Morrowind though? Why not go back to your family holdings in Elsweyr and take care of your conniving younger brother?” Volk asked knowing that Delte's younger brother had sold her into slavery twice before he had met her, and by all accounts murdered her older brother and poisoned her father.
Delte knew that Volk would not leave this line of questioning even though it was blunt and straight to the point she knew he cared about her and Paws. With a sigh she responded. “I have to visit my families tomb back in Morrowind to gain the blessings from my ancestors. Without them I will never be able to act against my brother Meden, by all rights he is the sole heir to the estates in Elsweyr and Morrowind. He is the only male descendent so by law it all goes to him, as a female of my line I need the blessings of the ancestors.”
“I will be honest I don't understand the reason for these ancestors seeing that they are dead nor will probably ever understand your culture Delte. I will say this though if you ever need help against him just say the word and I will give you my sword.” Volk swore his oath to Delte. Taken back by the offer Delte was left speechless and didn't know what to say other than a meek thank you.
Left-Paw-Alight came over and sat down at the table with Volk and Delte with a huge smile playing across his lips. “I've got a good deal. Todays special and a jug of ale is coming over, and three rooms for the night all warm clean and with fires.” Paws rubbed his taloned hands together. “ I am starving.”

It wasn't long before the daughter of the tavern keeper came over with a tray filled with wooden bowls of steaming beef stew and vegetables, along with two jugs of ale and a tankard for each of them. Delte noticed the girl had long blond hair and blue eyes with a slim figure dressed in a simple cotton dress with a apron tied around her waist. She noted the smile she gave Volk as she served him his food. Volk did not notice the attention as he poured out a tankard of ale and downed it in one gulp. As he slammed the tankard down on the table he let out a loud belch which made the girl giggle. “Mighty fine ale lass tell your father for me.” Volk said as he wiped the foam from his beard with the back of his hand.
“You know my father?” The girl asked incredulously.
“Aye he and I took back this place from a gang of bandits, and rebuilt it in the following months. A few years before you were born, it was in that fight he lost three of his fingers on his right hand.” Volk explained to the young girl. “Tell him Volk says he is a milk drinker.”
The girl beamed a huge smile and walked back to the bar to tell her father the message from Volk.
As they were all tucking into their stew and vegetables the large Nord who was the tavern keeper stood behind Volk. His huge hands gripping a thick leather belt that held up his britches. A large paunch belly over hung it, his arms as thick as tree trunks. Sat atop of his broad shoulders was a large bald head with red cheeks sporting a huge smile. Delte looked up and he gave her a wink.
“This the long haired lout who called me a Milk Drinker Petal?” The tavern keeper roared to his daughter across the room.
“Aye father.” Came the reply from the girl who was now serving drinks behind the bar.
At this point the whole room went quiet and held its breath waiting for the first punch to be thrown, money started to change hands as Volk started to laugh and put his bowl down before standing up to face the tavern keeper. The two of them scowled at each other and clenched their fists, Paws and Delte looked at each other uncertain of what was going to happen. The rest of the patrons seemed to know the outcome of this stand off as now the gold was starting to flow between themselves betting on who the winner would be. The regulars betting against Volk and those who didn't know any better put their money on which ever contender looked the best.
The two men than embraced as old friends slapping each other on the back and laughing. The whole room seemed to let its breath out and the gold stopped moving, some even trying to get back their bets with little luck.
“You've gotten fat Volk you big girl.” The tavern keeper said.
“And you still stink of pig piss Narol.” Volk retorted with a laugh.
Both men laughed and parted, Narol sat down between Volk and Delte.
“Paws I still see you are hanging around with this wazzack. How is life treating you?” Narol said in way of greeting to Left-Paw-Alight.
“Yes well someone has to keep an eye on him.” Paws said as he reached over the table and shook Narol's hand.
“Are you going to introduce me to this lovely lady then?” Narol asked as he beamed a huge smile at Delte.
“Narol this is Delte, one of the best scouts I have had the privilege to server with. And a really good friend.” Volk said.
Delte offered her hand to Narol in the customary human way of greeting. Narol took it and clasped it between his two huge calloused hands. Delte noticed that his right hand only had a thumb and index finger. The rest of it was a scared mess.
“You are all welcome to stay for as long as you need.” Narol said as he looked into Delte's violet eyes. “By the eight Volk this elven maiden is beautiful.”
“She is also engaged to marry General Veldam.” Volk said as he poured out another tankard of ale.
Delte smiled and gently pulled her hand away from the vice like grip of Narol. Seeing an opportunity Narol grinned and said.” You can have the wedding here at my Tavern. For a small fee of course.”
Delte laughed at the offer. “Thank you Narol but the venue has already been picked and its in Morrowind. I can always send you a invite though seeing your old friends with Volk and Paws.”
“Would be honoured m'lady.” Narol said with a wink.
“We are not stopping for long Narol, just tonight then we move on to Helgen before we head over to Whiterun and Volk's farm in the plains of Whiterun.” Paws said to Narol to show they wasn't intending to stop.
Narol wiped his forehead with a beer stained cloth and sighed. “You've not heard then. The plains of Whiterun have been over run by bandits. With troops being diverted to the front lines there are hardly any militia to keep the law in the outlying lands of the Holds.”
“Then all the more reason we make haste, I also long to see my beautiful wife and two children.” Volk said to Narol.
Narol slapped Volk on the back with a laugh and stood up to head back to his place at the bar. “And poor Gresla won't be able to walk for weeks.” he said as he walked away laughing.
Volk blushed bright red at the comment much to the amusement of Delte and Paws. They all finished off their meals and headed to the rooms Paws had rented for the night.

The next morning the three companions said their farewells to Narol and his family and headed out of the Tavern enclosure towards Helgen. The sun shone in a clear blue sky wisps of snow spun across the ground on a light breeze. Spring was already in full pursuit of winter in the lowlands, but deep in the mountains of Skyrim winter still held on. Pine trees and other evergreens covered the sides of the valley, dotted along the road small bushes of snowberries were in bloom along with splashes of blue flowers from the mountain plants; that were starting to flower due to the small change in the longer days and warmer air. Delte would stop every now and then and carefully pick some of the more ripe berries and flowers for her alchemy. During one of these small stops Volk noticed she was acting uneasy. “Something wrong Delte?” He asked as he patted the neck of his horse.
Delte looked up at him and said. “I have heard tell of huge frost spiders in these parts. I just do not wish to see one for myself. Not too keen on spiders as a whole.” She then bent down to start picking the berries.
Volk started to chuckle and looked towards Paws with a wink he said. “Its not the spiders you need to worry about at this time of year.”
“Oh really what can be worse than a huge eight legged monster that can climb trees and spit poison from sixty yards away then? “ Delte replied as she bagged a handful of berries and snow flowers without looking up and missing Volks huge grin.
“Its the trolls. This time of year the females are in season”. Volk said trying not to laugh. “The males come down from the peeks to hunt on the valley floors for food and to look for a decent shag. Of course they will fight anything they see or that gets in their way.”
Delte dropped the herbs she had started to pick and mounted her horse quickly. “Come on lets get to Helgen before sunset.”
“What about your herbs?” Paws inquired with a sly grin.
“Changed my mind. I will buy some when we get to town.” Delte said as he urged her horse into a steady trot.
As Volk came level with Paws he said to the large Nord. “Nice, I wondered what you was up to. Troll season I like it.”
Volk shrugged. “Had to think of something to hurry her up.”
They both brought their horses into a trot to try and catch up with the vanishing figure of Delte.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Chapter 2 Location- Bruma garrison city. Date- 2E 581 First Seed Morndas 9th

General Veldam Arendu of House Telvanni sat at his oak desk the day after the battle. Light from the mid morning sun streamed in through the tall glass window and fell across his desk illuminating the battle reports from the day before. A fire roared away from a huge granite stone open fireplace heating up the room while it gave off a sweet smell of pine sap. General Veldam dressed in jade green silk robes and leather britches, a small beard, neatly trimmed, adorned his chin and upper lip. Under his left eye a white scar ran along the top of his cheek bone. Veldam picked up a glass of Colovian Brandy and took a sip as he sat back in his chair while he read a report from the scouts he sent out shortly after the enemy had routed from the field of battle.
A log spat and crackled in the fire as three sharp knocks rattled on the door to his office. General Veldam sighed as he put the glass back on the table. “Enter.”
The door opened to reveal a Nord wearing a leather jerkin, at his side hung a bearded ax. His long black beard nearly obscured the chain of rank he held. The Nord closed the door behind him and stood to attention.
“M'lord Bondsman Volk Shatter-Shield, the Argonian Shaman Left Paw-Alight and Delte are here to see you as requested.”
“Best send them in sergeant Khalan.” Veldam said.
“As you wish m'lord.” Sergeant Khalan spun on his heal and strode out of the office.
Shortly after the door opened again and the three guests walked into the office and stood to attention before the general's desk.
“Please, all of you sit, no need for ceremony.” Veldam said in an annoyed tone.
As they sat down he got up and shuffled over to a drinks cabinet that stood in the corner of the room.
“You're hurt.” Delte said in a concerned voice, a frown crossing her face.
“Bah just a scratch from yesterday. Took an arrow to the knee during my cavalry charge down the left flank. The physician cleaned the wound and has given me some ointment for it.” Veldam said with a dismissive wave.
“Anyone want to sample this Colovian Brandy with me?”
“Aye I'll have some.” Volk said with a grin spreading across his face.
“Is it not a bit early for drinks?” Delte said.
“Nonsense its never to early for drink.” Volk replied.
“Paws?” Veldam asked.
“No sir, thank you all the same.” Paws replied with a smile.
Delte got up off her chair and walked over to join Veldam by the drinks cabinet.
“Why didn't you come to me for a potion?” She whispered in his ear.
“After our last conversation I didn't think you would want to see me.” he whispered back.
“Shut up and go and sit down you fool. I'll deal with the drinks.”Delte said as she ushered him back to his chair.
Volk and Paws looked at each other in a uncomfortable silence as the tension in the air started to tighten between Delte and Veldam. The general sat back down the pain in his face eased as the weight off his wounded knee. The only sound in the office was Delte pouring the brandy. Paws gave a polite cough and spoke.
“Volk and I are here about our three year oaths to you.”
“By Azura has three years passed already?” Veldam said with a chuckle. “I remember the day when I asked you both in that Whiterun tavern seems as though it was just yesterday.” Veldam looked at them both. “Can I ask you for another oath of three years?”
Delte handed Veldam and Volk a glass of brandy each and sat down again crossing her legs as she did.
“No, I have a wife and two children. One of which I have yet to see back at my farm.” Volk said as he downed the brandy in one gulp.
“I understand Volk.” Veldam said as he opened a draw in his desk and pulled out a sealed scroll. As he handed it to Volk he said. “Take this to the quartermaster, he will pay you the full three years service and a bonus.” He also handed one to Paws with the same instructions.
“I also wish to leave.” Delte said as she fidgeted with a gold chain around her neck.
Veldam sighed and turned his red eyes towards her. “This is about the writ I served you before the battle?”
“Huh don't flatter yourself. You know why I need to leave. We spoke of it the night before the battle, before you gave me the writ.” she said crossing her arms.
Veldam decided not to pursue the issue with the present company. Volk stood up and offered his hand to Veldam who accepted it in a warriors handshake. Paws stood up and bowed his head and they both nearly ran over each other as they tried to leave the office.
The door slammed shut behind them and Delte spoke. “You used me as a weapon Veldam. Who in Oblivion told you I am Morag Tong?”
Veldam didn't say anything and just handed her a letter with a broken Morag Tong wax seal. Delte took it off him and started to read. Veldam sat back and took a sip of brandy and waited for her to finish reading the missive. The minutes it took her to read seemed to stretch into an eternity for him, as he hoped it would calm her down from the argument they had the night before the battle.
Delte placed the letter back on the desk. “Bastards!” She said. “Why didn't you tell me you had been asking for a blade from them for so long?”
“I didn't know you was a blade for the Tong until that letter.” he replied as he took the letter and locked it back in his drawer. “You read it yourself, they knew you were here which is why my requests went unanswered.”
Delte stood up and walked to the window, in the street below she saw stall holders hawking their wares to potential shoppers. A patrol of the city guard milled around a small group of prostitutes trying to get them into their beds for free. Directly across the street Volk and Paws loaded up their horses for their journey through Jerall Pass and into Skyrim.
“You could have shot me down mid rant, but you didn't. Why?” Delte said quietly.
Veldam pulled himself out of the chair and walked up behind her, he put his hands around her slim waist and gently kissed the nape of her neck. She leaned back in his embrace and tilted her head to one side as he kissed her. Deltes' scent and warmth of her body quickened his pulse. He pulled his head back and whispered in her ear in a deep resonating voice.
“I don't want you to leave. Stay here and marry me.”
Delte turned to face him and kissed him on his lips, her arms came up and dropped over his shoulders.
“I have to, if I marry you now without a House name or proof of my bloodline questions will be asked.” Delte purred in between kissing him.
Veldam pulled away from her with a frown. “I don't care what those n'wah think.”
Delte chuckled and shook her head. “No you may not, but I do. I do not wish them to think I am some Ashlander or vagabond looking to marry into money or power. Your bloodline is strongly tied to the original Telvanni line. That is why I need to get my name and Ancestors' Favour back.”
“I guess you're going to Morrowind via Skyrim?” Veldam said.
Delte nodded her response. “It makes sense to travel with Volk and Paws. You'll worry less this way.”
Veldam chuckled and placed his forehead to hers. “Yes your right. Just promise me you will not take any unnecessary risks.”
“I promise to be a good girl.” Delte cooed and then kissed him passionately.

Slowly the town of Bruma awoke around Volk and Left Paw-Alight as they checked their horses, supplies and equipment. Stall holders shouted their advertisements hoping to attract buyers, stray dogs ran up and down the street looking for scrap food left on the ground from the previous night and early morning. Paws finished checking his bridle on the horse and reached into one of the saddlebags, with a smile he pulled out a small phial. In the morning light a red liquid moved lazily within. The phial was bound up in what looked like a bow string. Volk paused checking Delte's horse and watched Paws as he held up the phial and checked the wax seals that held the string in place. Each wax seal had a different rune of magicka seared into it.
“What's that?” Volk asked as he continued checking the bridle straps.
“Uh oh well... You know that Altmer mage from the battle?” Paws said with a grin.
“How can I forget when I saw him cast that fire spell on the lancers. So what about him?”
“Well I've got some of his blood in here and used a binding spell mixed in with sympathetic magicka.” Paws explained as best he could to the large Nord. “This stopped him from casting more harmful spells, and as long as this jar and its seals stay in tact it will handicap him for much longer.”
“So that's why he never managed to cast more fire spells?” Volk asked in amazement at Paws.
Paws grinned and nodded. Volk laughed and said. “ Your one crafty lizard Paws, and one hell of a mage.”
“Shaman”. Paws corrected Volk. “And than you Volk”.
“So what are you going to do with it?”
“Not sure really, I was going to bury it some place along the trail to Helgen.” Paws said as he carefully placed the phial in a small cushioned case and put it back into his saddlebag.
“Why not hold the Altmer to ransom with it?” Volk said with a grin.
“Thought did cross my mind to be honest. Or I could leave it in the ice flow or a mountain glacier in Skyrim. It would last a few years and frustrate him more.” Paws chuckled at the thought of the Altmer mage trying to light a simple candle with the hex in place.
“That is cruel, just remind me never to anger you Paws.”

Delte opened the large oakwood door to the front of Veldams' house and office and walked out into the street. Her black fur lined cloak billowed out as she walked across the street to where Volk and Paws were standing with the horses. Her long red hair blew about in the slight breeze catching the sunlight as it did. Strapped to her right leathered thigh was a stiletto dagger on the other thigh were straps with small glass phials filled with alchemical potions and poisons. The body of her armour was a black leather corset with ruffles of silk poking through from underneath. A silver clasp held her cloak on around her shoulder. Smouldering violet eyes endlessly watched the street as she walked across it.
“So are you coming with us?” Paws asked in a way of greeting her.
Delte nodded and looked back up at the window she was looking out of a couple of minutes earlier. Veldam was standing there watching her, Delte smiled and blew him a kiss then mounted her white gelding. Veldam waved back and then disappeared from view. Paws and Volk mounted their own horses, Volk's was a pure bred Skyrim stallion with a thick brown fur hide. Paws horse was a Colovian breed with a tan hide.
“We get past the watchtower and make the Jerall Way Tavern by nightfall. Then on to Helgen. From there we are a days ride to Whiterun and my farm.” Volk said as they rode out of the city gates.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Chapter one- Battle at Jerral Pass.

After a cold starry night the grass plains of Cyrodiil glistened heavy with dew in the morning sun. Starlings danced in the sky with amazing precision and agility. Left-Paw-Alight watched in wonderment and pondered if their differing patterns meant anything. His long reptilian tail twitched unconsciously as his eyes followed their morning dance in the clear blue sky.
"So can they tell us how this battle will end?" Volk said in his usual booming voice breaking Paws' train of thought.
"Just that it will be a sunny day, filled with screams and blood." he said as he pointed across the grass plain at the approaching Aldmeri army.
Volk's eyes followed the direction Paws was pointing  and smiled. "So the scout's story was true, I was doubting whether we would see the cowardly fetchers this side of winter. Let them come my ax thirsts for their blood."
"There will be plenty of that before this day ends Volk my old friend. I just hope we all live to see our release from the oaths we swore 3 years ago." Paws picked up Volk's heavy oak and iron shield and started to strap it to his forearm in preparation of the battle ahead.
"You seen Delte? " Volk asked Paws.
"I think she was ordered to go see the general before the battle lines were drawn up. You do know what this incursion means to the Ebonheart Pact?" Paws said as he began to strap the shield to his friend's arm.
"Aye we are officially at war with the Dominion for control of Cyrodiil. Three years running silent missions against their supply caravans and on our last day in the army to this Dunmer general we get to have a real fight."
"You sound almost disappointed." Paws said as he finished off the last strap and tied the loose end in so it wouldn't catch.
"I am. By the eight I am disappointed, where is the glory in fighting from the shadows?" Volk responded. " When you can stand toe to toe with a foe in a fight, snarling and spitting at each other as you try to plant your ax into their gizzards."
Paws stepped back from Volk as he tested the weight of his shield upon his arm. "Do not be so eager to jump into harms way Volk, you still have a wife and two children back home. One of which you have never seen."
Volk nodded with a grunt and headed off toward his unit which would hold the centre of the field and set the challenge to the enemy. Paws picked up his staff and set off to his own position near the archers where he could command a better view of the battle and cast his spells easier.

From her vantage point Delte watched the Ebonheart army muster up into its units and form neat lines down in the valley below. Her thoughts running through the previous night's events with general Veldam Telvani and the conversation they both had about today's battle. She closed her eyes as the memory flooded in of Veldam standing in the dim light of her lantern light tent handing her the orders to kill the Khajit general and burn his standard. Delte had argued with him that she was just a sapper, then pleaded with him as a lover not to send her on this mission. Veldam then revealed that he knew she was a Morag Tong assassin and she was duty bound to honour the contract. With a heavy sigh she opened her eyes and gave a series of hand signals to her small unit of skirmishers. As one they moved silently through the shadow line of the trees to their objective.

Volk placed himself on the front rank of the shield wall a place of honour at its centre was reserved for him as a veteran of many battles. He looked to his left and right to make sure his shield brothers were ready for the fight. To his left was an old friend and veteran his name was Karl. He wasn't as big of frame as Volk, but he could move far quicker. Karl's speed and agility often caught his enemies by surprise. Down the right side of his face ran a ugly scar which was given to him by a Redguard scimitar the previous year in a small skirmish on the outskirts of Kvatch. On Volk's right was a young boy who had just recently been conscripted to his unit, Volk frowned and said. "Boy, you been in a shield wall before today ?"
Startled by Volk's question the his eyes went wide at first then he regained his composure and set his jaw. "O'course I have." came the reply.
With a chuckle Volk said. "Yeh right, listen to me boy."
"Name is Sven, not boy."
"Okay Sven, listen to me all the same. Keep your footing, make sure our shields are locked together and guard the man on your right."
"Who will guard my left?"
"I will that’s why we are shield brothers."  Volk responded with an encouraging smile. "Just don't piss your britches when we meet the enemy. It's embarrassing."
"Don't worry Sven. Volk will piss enough for all of us during this battle." A shout erupted from behind them both quickly followed by a raucous laugh and cheer, Volk threw his head back in laughter.
"Skald sing us a battle song that will steel our resolve and put fear in our foes hearts." Karl shouted above the laughter with a grin.
"Or one of whores servicing the men after a fight." another shouted.
From the midst of the unit a drum sounded with a steady rhythm accompanied by a deep resonating voice as the skald started to sing, and along with him all the warriors in the unit.

"Thousand warriors roaming through the northern lands
And only related with Ysgramor still.
One thought drives them along to fight
And die for their northern land
War, misery, fear and death to spread
It is a commandment no respect for life
Only here to kill you just the warriors pray to Orkey
Blood and honour - for life and death
Blood and honour - is the warriors highest law
Blood and honour - Ysgramor"

Slowly Delte's unit of skirmishers moved closer to their target. The opposing general and his retinue of bodyguards were now within bow range. Her skirmishers spread out amongst the bushes in silence, with her back to a tree Delte peeked around it to spot the Khajit general. He was tall and dressed in golden plate armour which shone in the morning light. His fur jet black shot through with white, green feline eyes watched his troops move in formation toward the Ebonheart lines. A large paw rested on the pommel of a longsword, while the other stroked his chin deep in thought. The bodyguards stood at the ready to respond to any threat, they were a mixture of Khajit and Altmer all dressed in plate armour of similar design.
Delte gave the hand signal to poison arrows and use the bodkin points, at this range the pointed tips made from a inch and half of steel would pierce through the plate mail, chain mail and hardened leather layers and bury themselves into their targets. If the arrows didn't bring a swift death then the poison would. All she and her unit had to do now was wait till the battle was joined, so she wrapped her cloak tight and huddled down out of sight. Delte and her skirmishers  would take turns to keep watch on the targets and give the signal if they moved positions.

Paws watched the enemy mage canter his horse away from his general toward their cavalry. This caused some concern to Paws' as it could mean the Altmer cavalry would lead the charge at the shieldwall. Their lances would smash the wall apart and run riot through the archers and ballista crews, Paws made the decision he had to be in the front line of the shield wall if they were to win the day, he could stop or slow the charge and avert disaster. With as much speed as he could muster he made haste to Volk's unit.
"Move!" Paws' hissed as he pushed his way to Volk's side. "Out of the way or all will be lost."
Paws clamped a taloned hand on Volk's shoulder. "They hope to break the wall with cavalry. I need to be here to stop them." Paws explained as Volk turned to look at him with a puzzled look.
"Stay by me old friend I'll be your shield brother." Volk shouted above the singing.
The comment did not go unnoticed by Paws, and he felt a surge of pride for him to be considered a shield brother by a Nord was a great honour. With a nod and a smile Paws drew his sword and tighten his grip on his staff.
The whole of the Ebonheart force went quiet awaiting the signals to advance. All eyes were on their enemy as a rider with a red flag went past the front ranks, all the warriors with Paws knew this meant a charge from their cavalry was going to take place.
"SHIELDS!." A shout went up making Paws jump, not being in a shield wall before all this was new and scary for the Argonian. With a loud clank of oak and iron the shield wall merged together to create a impenetrable wall bristling with weapons from spears, swords and axes. Paws looked out over the top of Volk's shield at the approaching cavalry now wheeling into centre position to challenge Volk's unit. If the enemy could break them the fight would be over and the Pass would be lost to the Altmer as would the small garrison town of Bruma.
"I hope you've got some tricks up those sleeves of yours Paws." Volk said in a growl
"Just tell me when they are in full charge and halfway to us. I have an idea that may work, if not then I will be rejoining the Hist sooner than thought."
"And what about me?" Volk said.
"We all know you heathens don't go anywhere when you die." Paws retorted with a laugh.

Delte heard the thunderous clank of the shieldwall forming and knew that soon the two sides would meet in bloody combat. She risked a quick glance at the Khajit general, he was still in place sending out his order using different coloured flags and riders. From her vantage point she saw the enemy Altmer mage ride down to join the cavalry unit. Her heart sank when she spied each one of the cavalry had a heavy lance, the tops adorned with coloured ribbons marking past glories and valour. She knew a full charge from these heavy lancers against any shield wall would smash it apart, and break through into the rear ranks. Doubt crossed her mind about whether to stay and carry out the contract, or to flee now to safety, Delte closed her eyes and breathed deep. He sense of honour and duty kept her in place to wait for the time to spring the trap. Drifting on the wind came the sound of pounding norse drums, each beat meant one step forwards to keep the shieldwall together and one more step to death or glory.

With each step forwards Paws' confidence shrank and he flinched each time the men who made up the wall give a roar of defiance at the enemy. He took a swig from a potion bottle that would help calm his nerves. The warm liquid trickled down his throat and the warmth from it was soon spreading throughout his body.
"You are in the right place at the wrong time." Volk said to him in-between the beats of the drum. "Stay close to me old friend."
Paws gave him a weak smile and a nod, and with a look over the top of Volk's shield he watched the cavalry enter a trot and then pick up speed to a full gallop.
"Hold fast." A shouted order came and the drums stopped. "Brace the wall."
With this order men behind Paws and Volk put their weight into their backs to add strength and stability to the front ranks. A rhythmic thundering started to sound as the cavalry picked up speed.
"Halfway now Paws." Volk said.

Volk watched as the enemy mage cast a spell over the cavalry unit, their lances erupted in magical fire and they were levelled at the shieldwall. Paws started to gather his will as the cavalry picked up speed and momentum to punch through the shieldwall. He closed his eyes to help with his concentration to imagine the spell he was working on. A cold air blew in around his feet as the energies swirled unseen by all other than Paws. The breath from the warriors around him could be seen as the temperature dropped sharply in the spring air. His lips moved saying silent words, in his mind he sensed the cavalry approaching within range and released the spell.
"DEIGH BIOR" Paws voice boomed with power as the ground between the cavalry and the shieldwall erupted  with huge glass like spikes of ice, each one pointing out toward the on-coming charge of mounted knights. Too late to halt the charge the horses and riders crashed like a wave against the ice wall impaling rider and horse alike. The morning sun glinted off the ice and blood that quickly covered the area. Paws watched as the enemy mage wheeled his horse just in time to avoid being killed himself, as he did Paws watched him cut his cheek open on one of the ice spikes. The mage spat a curse then rode back to his allies, Paws eyes were fixed on the blood from the enemy mage and with a smile extended his will to grab hold of the ice that it rested on. The telekinetic power of his magic snapped the ice off and slowly brought it back to his hands.
Looking at Volk Paws said "Leave me here, the enemy mage will not be a problem any more."
Not quite understanding Volk nodded as the order to advance was given. Paws quickly put the melting ice and blood into a jar and walked back to the archers on the hill.

 Delte watched the cavalry charge from her vantage point, and consequently also its complete annihilation from the spell. From behind her a moan of disappointment and curses from the Khajit general and his bodyguards. She slowly took two arrows out from her quiver, both poisoned with her own mixture of nightshade and white thistle mixed into a paste using bone meal. If arrows didn't kill her target then the pain and poison would. She nocked the first arrow to the bow and gave the signal to her team. In one fluid motion from her hiding place onto one knee to face the Khajit and sighted down the arrow and released. Before the first arrow hit its mark she already had the second one in flight, then she was up and running in toward the group of knights swords drawn.
The Khajit general sank to his knees eyes wide in disbelief as he held the arrows trying to pull them out. Green foam started to appear on his lips as the poison coursed through his body. A gurgling moan escaped his lips as he tried to call out a warning to his guards, time seemed to slow down for the Dunmer female who had materialised from the shadows. She moved with speed and ferocity of a desert mongoose. Her two swords flashed in the morning sun as they sliced apart the remaining guards, other guards fell about him with arrows and then more shadows materialised and formed into deadly warriors.
Delte knelt down by the side of the dying Khajit, violet eyes looked on to jade green eyes and then she spoke. "Mephala take you." With a quick draw of her sword across his throat she ended his life. Delte looked around at her skirmishers and noted they had lost three of their number during the small conflict. With their part in the battle done she gave the order to loot and fire the generals pavilion tent and standard.

Volk moved in line with his shieldwall toward the enemy shieldwall. He could now see the individual faces of Altmer, Khajit and Bosmer. Expressions set in grim determination. In the distance he saw smoke rise from the enemy generals position. A smile crept across his face as his unit gave a cheer and pushed on. The opposite shieldwall started to waver as the men within started to look behind them. Panic setting in to see their generals tent and standard alight. The unit leaders of the enemy shieldwall started to shout orders to keep their unit together and to stop a full rout. To aid their resolve the enemy mage cast a spell over them to bolster their courage, this allowed them to once again start to move forwards toward the Ebonheart shieldwall.

Ten yards separated the two shieldwalls when they both came to a halt. Insults from both sides started to fly along with the usual stare downs and personal challenges. This war of words was meant to unnerve the opposition and to goad them into a charge. Volk revelled in this as he shouted all the insults he knew at the Khajit and Bosmer. Two rows back from Volk men readied spears and threw as one, they landed with devastating effect into the enemy unit. Unable to hold order any longer the Altmer shieldwall broke into a run and crashed into the solid Nord shieldwall. Battle was joined.
Volks' short sword struck the unprotected neck of a high elf, he drew it free as he dropped his shield down to catch a low blow from the Khajit to his right. With a snarl he took the Khajits hand off at the wrist by a downward swipe of his sword. Volk took a moment to look for his shield brother who should have caught the Khajits' weapon, looking down at the now muddy and bloody ground he saw him writhing trying to hold in his own bowels from a vicious wound to his midriff. Rage built  up in Volk and he gave a roar of defiance as he stepped out of the safety of the shieldwall and into the enemy ranks. Dropping his short sword and shield he drew out his long sword and started to chop down any in his path. A high elf stepped forward to challenge him Volk laughed and cut him once across the neck and at the shoulder joint, the elf fell to the ground dead. Where Volks' blade fell another victim lay on the ground dead or dying. To him the enemy troops moved slowly as though stuck in tar, his longsword sang a sweet song of death in his hands. He managed to clear a circle which broke apart the enemy ranks and shield wall. Seeing this opportunity by his own unit they pushed inwards to engulf the enemy. The fight quickly turned into a rout as the Altmer lines crumpled from the onslaught. Volk and his shield brothers gave chase hacking down any who put up resistance, bloodlust now coursing through their veins. 

Delte and her skirmishers had watched the clash of the two shieldwalls from the hilltop where the dead Khajit general lay. As the rout started Delte gave the order to move into range and shoot the now retreating archers. Slaughter ensued as the arrows fell driving home the notion of defeat to the Dominion forces as the sun started its slow decent to twilight.

The colour of the setting sun matched the colour of the grass plain, a deep blood red. Ravens and crows had started to settle on the dead to begin the feast that awaited them. Volk now reunited with Delte and Paws knelt beside his shield brother Karl. His stomach wound cleaned and dressed, the physician had done all he could now his life was in the hands of the gods. Karl's breathing was shallow and slow, Volk knew he wouldn't live to see the dawn as he had seen wounds such as this many times before.
"I shall see you again in Sovngarde honoured brother." Volk said solemnly, he leaned forward and kissed Karl's forehead.
Delte placed her hand on Volk's huge shoulder. "Let him die in peace Volk. The general still wishes to see us all."
"Aye, lets go. I just needed to say farewell to a friend and battle brother." Volk's voice was choked with anger and sorrow.
As they left the infirmary area Paws said. " Many more will die, for this conflict has only just begun and will last a lot longer than anyone has ever known. This will not end until one man will rise with the strength of the dragons and the blessings of the eight divines."
"I will gladly fight by that man's side if I am able" Volk replied. "Even if he is not a Nord."