An Unlikely Ally

“No, no, hold steady, noooo–” The ground was shaking almost continuously, sending Shizzal staggering left and right as he tried to cross the courtyard. Other inhabitants of the compound were screaming and running around him, a great hodge-podge of terrified humanity. His shirt had come loose, the bloody cloth flapping in the wind, but no one paid it a second glance. Down in the town, there was far worse bloodshed.

Another blast, and next thing Shizzal knew, he was lying facedown on the ground. He could’ve sworn he felt the earth shift that time. The courtyard was tilted strangely, deep cracks appearing in the tiles and walls. Continue reading “An Unlikely Ally”

Nidalave Watches A Battle

The Pact was disorganized, poorly led. The leaders of the Nordic and Dunmeri contingents were full of bluster but not much brain, and the Argonian leaders only cowered between them. Such incompetence was evident in the reckless advance of the raiders into Stros M’Kai.

Nidalave sneered, wondering why she ever decided to join up. Privateering — no, even pirating — paid more than the pittance the Pact gave her to use her ship as a troop transport. But money was hard to come by and steady work even harder. She would rather a pittance than nothing at all. Continue reading “Nidalave Watches A Battle”

Shizzal Flees

The guards were on high alert. Hasami’s compound was built defensively, a large sandstone wall studded with gold-capped towers ringing the manor and inner gardens. Each tower contained a huge drum to signal the others in case of attack or other emergencies. All eight of them were pounding now.

Guards in uniform rushed along the corridors en route to their posts, calling out to each other in sharp, anxious barks. Shizzal hid behind tapestries to avoid them, heart thumping double-time with the drums.

How had they known of the murder so fast? And why had so many of them turned out? Continue reading “Shizzal Flees”

Mutual Betrayals

The compound was eerily quiet when Shizzal returned that evening. He had to double take at the white sandstone walls surrounding the manor, as the setting sun had colored them as red as blood.

He climbed up the sweeping front stairs, hand heavy on the gold-capped railing. As usual, Shizzal called out a greeting to the wall sentry as he entered the courtyard. He was about to walk past the great stone arch leading deeper in, when the guards on either side crossed their pikes, frowning at him from behind veiled helmets.

Shizzal stared at them. “Uh, mates, I live here. Remember?”

Another Redguard walked up to the guards, putting his hands on the spear hafts and pulling them apart just enough to see. Shizzal recognized Jeor, the captain of Hasami’s guard. He was a serious man Shizzal had never gotten along with, but this time the Redguard was frowning at him in concern, not dislike.

“Find a tavern for the night, Asurani,” said the captain. Continue reading “Mutual Betrayals”

Shizzal Meets an Old Friend

The open air of the marketplace shimmered in the midday heat. All but the most ambitious of merchants had closed up their stalls and retreated inside to nap away the languid hours.

The stillness was then only broken by a Dunmer sprinting after an Argonian. Continue reading “Shizzal Meets an Old Friend”

Keeps-Low Keeps Low

At this age, the monsters were cute, Keeps-Low had to admit. It stared up at him with large sparkling eyes, tiny monkey claws twisting about the Argonian’s chains as if they always had to be gripping something. He held out a claw to it, and it stared at him trustingly, even reaching out to tug on the tip of his claw with a mischievous glance.

And then the monster’s sire swooped down and interposed itself between Keeps-Low and its offspring. The Dunmer leveled a withering glare at him. “Hands off, skeever, or I’ll buy you for guar food.” Continue reading “Keeps-Low Keeps Low”

Drai Sees a Ghost

The wind swept back and forth across the Ashlands, sculpting the ash into great spirals in the sky and kicking it back into Shizzal’s face. He spat it out, grimacing at the taste, and closed the small yurt’s flap a little tighter. He could do nothing for the opening in the roof that let the campfire’s smoke out, and he sat down again, frowning up at it.

“So who are these gods you keep praying to, Drai?” he asked at a break in the howling wind. “I hear one’s named Mephala?” Continue reading “Drai Sees a Ghost”

Thyadras Plans a Raid

The pirate laid the map out on the table, smirk flashing at least two gold teeth across at his dealer. “Got it just as you like it, oh Thyadras, oh pal. Look here!” He tapped the map. “This page details the old man’s security system, and this one…” He turned the page over, beady black eyes almost disappearing into his voluminous cheeks as he grinned. “This one details the floorplan of Hasami’s coffers.”

Thyadras waved the pirate away, like he could wave the man’s stench away with the same gesture. He leaned over the map, weight on his palms and head bent to hide the turmoil on his face.

“I went through a lot of trouble to get that, Sea Kayote.” The pirate rubbed his fingers together as close as he dared to Thyadras’ red mohawk. “I’m expecting a large haul from the goods you manage to pull out of there.”

“You can have all of it,” Thyadras growled, and the pirate backed away hurriedly. Continue reading “Thyadras Plans a Raid”

Shizzal Performs a Summoning

It was several days after the ancestor summoning rituals in Othrenis. Shizzal paced about the upper ring of the library, and when he was thrown from the library, he paced about the lower rooms, peeking into the jail cells and jangling the locks thoughtfully, before he was shooed out the Temple entirely by a suspicious Ordinator.

A priestess stopped him by the door, however. “You seem restless, Brother Shizzal. Is something the matter?”

Shizzal stared at her long and hard before answering. Continue reading “Shizzal Performs a Summoning”