A breath. His lungs stabbed at him, and his body was complaining for too long spent lying in one position on a hard Temple bed. Continue reading “Rakhulbi Returns”
Years had passed. Other scenes had come and gone. He picked up each of them like shards of a broken burial urn, holding them stupidly as if he couldn’t believe anyone could’ve been so callous as to desecrate the dead inside. He couldn’t bring himself to piece them together though, only stare, like a warrior hit with a paralysis charm.
And as he stared numbly into space, over eons, a thought slowly coalesced in Drai’s mind. Continue reading “Drai At Peace”
It wasn’t the beginning of the memory, but it was the thing that stood out to him the strongest.
He was looking into the face of the gulakhan. Rakhulbi shook from head to foot, like he was in a blizzard with no clothes on. And like a blizzard, the gulakhan just stared at him long and hard, no sympathy, no movement. Continue reading “Drai Remembers Exile”
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)”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”