Drai Refuses a Prostitute (NSFW)

Rated Not-Safe-For-Work for obvious reasons.

Author’s Note

The woman drew her fingers along Drai’s cheek, and he shivered in anticipation. The incense she had lit was cloyingly thick, but Drai found he liked it.

It masked the scent of her, the animal smell of sweat and tired fear. He could lose himself in it, as he lost himself in her, believe they were both in a better world at the edge of dawn… Continue reading “Drai Refuses a Prostitute (NSFW)”

A Mother Returns

“Mother…”

He said it in his waking voice — or as close to waking as counted now. Drai lifted his hand up to brush tears away, but his hand never met his face, because he had neither. Dying echoes of a reality no longer his.

The memory of Rakhulbi had been crying, but now it was frozen in time. Drai stared glumly into the face that had once been his — less tattooed and without the cragginess of an adult Dunmer, but still his. He wondered if anyone would have recognized him. Would… …? He could not remember her name. He let the thought go. Maybe it would never come back. Continue reading “A Mother Returns”

Drai Remembers More

Damn, years later, and this one still gets to me.

Author’s Note

The silence lasted for what felt like days, though there was no telling in the — wherever this was. Oblivion? Drai had gone spirit-walking a few times before while under the Urshilaku farseer’s tutelage, but always with a strong connection to his body. Now he was Shriven, and there was no telling what corner of the Mundus his spirit had been flung to after his battle with the servant of Mephala. In this darkness, he felt reality slipping away from him.

And with it, slowly, his sanity.

The child Rakhulbi still sat where he had been when Drai came here, now staring into nothing, more like a statue than a person. It was a representation of a memory, Drai realized, inert while it wasn’t activated. Was it the only memory left to him? he wondered.

He didn’t want to think about it. But what else was there to think about? In the solitude, it was the only touchstone of the life he had once had. Even the pain of remembering was better than the unreality pressing in on all sides.

Scared, but desperate, Drai sat down next to the scrawny little Dunmer, and reached out to touch him… Continue reading “Drai Remembers More”

Drai Remembers His Past, Is Caught in a Blast

Another mini-retcon here. Drai originally had taken the amulet to fight an agent of Mehrunes Dagon, not Mephala. Since I am condensing storylines though, this seemed like a good excuse to tie up the Mephalan plotline instead.

Author’s Note

The sounds emanating from the yurt stopped Rakhulbi cold in his tracks. His heart started fluttering violently, and for a moment he thought it might be due to the weight of the scuttlers dangling from his shoulders, that he had caught in snares along the old foyada. He realized just as quickly that their weight couldn’t be that great and scolded himself. It wasn’t fatigue, but an anger he could do nothing about. Continue reading “Drai Remembers His Past, Is Caught in a Blast”

Drai Mourns

The candle made a soft sputtering sound as Drai lit it with a spell on his fingertip. The wax continued to flare and bubble as he pulled the paper covering gently down over it. Each side of the paper lantern was etched with a symbol–a pair of entwined netches, bull for Taargus and betty for Nanna, their tentacles entwining around the crease of the lantern’s sides; a shalk; Azura’s star. Gently, Drai set it out on the water. Continue reading “Drai Mourns”

Drai Has Doubts

As Nanna’s angry footsteps echoed away, the old crypt descended into silence.

There were some places in the foothills above Deshaan’s marshes that were as quiet as this, missing the hiss of insects and the far-off calls of guar or kagouti that the Deshaan lowlands were steeped in. Yet even in the foothills, the wind still blew through the trees or whistled in rocky outcrops. Down here, beneath the heavy earth, there was nothing. Only Drai’s breath limned the silence, rasping deep in his chest from his weak lungs and the dust.

The trails of blood, the rivulets where House Dunmer and Ashlander bodies had been dragged through the crypt dust, stuck out to him like pictures out of a House Dunmer’s book. They seemed as unreal as pictures too: dead and still like everything else in the crypt. Not like the colors and noise that had graced the ruin just hours before, when the two factions had fought for Mephala’s cursed blade. Drai wondered idly if the blood and drag marks would stay there forever, or at least until the next group of adventurers stuck their nose into the caverns.

His throat tightened, and he struggled to breathe. He held his sleeve over his nose and waited for the asthma to pass. If it was asthma. He couldn’t have proven it to anyone else just then… Continue reading “Drai Has Doubts”

Drai Dreams

Unfortunately we are reaching the part in this story where much of the plot was carried out through ingame events I didn’t save any writing from. In summary, Zeketah was given a vision of the Ebony Blade, an artifact of Mephala, and demanded Drai scry out its location for her. Frightened of how she might use the Blade, Drai reached out to his allies to set up an ambush for her. In the original plot, these were people from Goldleaf Acquisitions, not Shizzal’s Whirling School, but for the sake of condensing this plotline, I’ve re-geared the allies to come from the latter organization instead.

The relationship between Taargus and Nanna was another side-plot. Despite the Mephalan cult’s reputation for being cold-blooded killers, these two characters fell into true love. Though Taargus bullied Drai frequently, Nanna was closer to him, and out of all the cultists, these two were the only ones Drai wanted to spare from Zeketah’s machinations, so he feels some guilt for their getting caught in the ambush meant for Zeketah.

I forget who Nerien’eth was; I want to say it had something to do with Taargus’ backstory: either a past friend he had accidentally killed, or Taargus’ real name when he had been living with House Dunmer. I could be totally wrong, of course.

Author’s Note

Drai dreamed… Continue reading “Drai Dreams”

Drai Enacts a Plan

Getting the ashes for his ritual had been the easy part. Steeling himself to give in to the Sight’s premonitions proved much more difficult. And always, the cult was watching him, asking why he delayed with their plans.

Drai sat cross-legged, in a little clearing between two spurs of the ashy mountains dividing Deshaan and the Stonefalls. Even up here, Drai was aware of the cult’s lurking eyes. What acrobatics the trailing cultist had to make to follow him up here while also keeping out of sight, Drai couldn’t imagine. But he chewed more over the fact there was a follower at all, rather than how they managed it. The hate and distrust growing in Tengri, in the Ashlanders’ faces when they looked upon him, were jarring to him. Stabs of fear shot through him several times a day, and for once he did not dream, being unable to reach the deep sleep it required.

He wondered how he could get out of this one; how he could make it up to Zeketah and the rest of the cult. It occurred to him they would hate and distrust him no matter what he did. Continue reading “Drai Enacts a Plan”

Drai and Shizzal Conspire

Light flickered from the top of the hill overlooking the Vale for many hours, like a second sunset tucked under the arm of the mountain. There was a shrine up there, so the Ashlanders told Shizzal, but he was not allowed to go look at it, and they wouldn’t tell him who it was to. It was a few hours after sunset when the participants of the ritual came back down, walking as mere shadows in the night, for none of them had brought torches.

They filtered out into the camp, headed for their individual yurts. All except one, who paused on the lip of a bank just outside the encampment. Continue reading “Drai and Shizzal Conspire”