Natael Masaana was wiloing to accept his life in prison,well,sort of. However, a certain Dark Brotherhood member just had to make things difficult for him, didn't he? With A Shadowscale Assassin on...
(Well, first one I've put on here, anyway.)
This will be a slashfic, okay? No real hints of it yet, but more chapters shall have all ther juicy bits xD
Disclaimer: I do not own TES: Oblvion or Morrowind. Or anything from 'the Sound of Music' (you'll find out later). Believe me, if i didn own Oblivion, I'd probably just make a line of quest of this x3
So it needs to be saved from my poor skills ¬.¬
~On with the story!~
Damned authorities. That was what landed Natael in this damp prison cell. One loose-lipped Kahjiit is all it took nowadays to pin a Mer down.
“At least I killed the s'wit.” The Dunmer muttered to himself with a tight lipped smile that threatened to become a grimace. Murder didn't help the charges, of course, but made them worse tenfold. If Natael had let the sneak live, it would just have been smuggling skooma and stolen items. In Cyrodiil, anyway- five, eight years tops if he couldn't have paid the fee instead. Now it was almost definitely life. And death, if you counted the prison cemetery.
“Should've stayed in Morrowind or gone to Somerset Isle.” Well, perhaps not Morrowind. The Telvanni guards were still chasing him for smuggling-that and human/beast trafficking. Anyway, Argonians are useless at everything apart from thieving and swimming. Didn't sell for much either, if Natael remembered correctly.
“Well, at least it'll be quite down here. Even if peace isn't really my thing” The dark elf rolled his eyes and stretched where he sat against the wall, bedroll his only comfort. Not even candles were allowed. “And now I'm talking to myself. Maybe this cell's turning you crazy already, Mesaana.
A guard passed by his cell door and grunted. “Keep ya mooth shut, murderin' s'wit! The likes o' you aren't worth the hassle o'guardin'!” He stopped to leer and grunt again gruffly at the diminished elven figure. “I'd 'ave strung ya up, if it were up ta me. Don't deserve ta breathe, the likes o' you don't.” With a guttural snort, the red face, ale scented man continued his patrol down the corridor in clunks of his metal boots.
“S'wit.” Natael hissed under his breath. “You just say that when I have you by the throat and a fistful of fire in your gullet.”
Believe it or not, he was a keen bladesman and knew a few magic tricks too. His favourite was Blazing Spear, simple yet powerful. Especially towards guards and certain Kahjiit.
The Dunmer looked around his small prison glumly. It was almost completely dark, since the only light came from the burning torches in the corridor. Not even a window allowed him to see the change of day to night. Timeless. That was what it felt like to him.
Resting his head on the hard stone wall, he pushed strands of white hair from his eyes. White, not due to his age-he was only in his twenties, despite the life he'd already lived. No, but white because of...a terrible incident that proved fatal to more than one person in his younger days.
Natael's shuddered at the memory, it still chilled him to his core. Facing the despair, the hate, the pure malice that poisoned his eyes and jaded his heart. Since that day, he'd refused to dabble in anything magical other than fireballs and lightning. He could handle those.
The Mer shook his head suddenly. “Best to sleep for now. Better to forget.” He lay down on his bedroll uncomfortably, a particular uneven stone digging into his back. “Mm, better to forget that.” Turning to face the wall, he used his right arm as amakeshift pillow, closed his eyes and attemped to drift off.
Natael awoke to the sensation of somebody standing above his slumbering for.
“Oh, bugger.” The Dunmer cursed quietly, not even bothering to move to look at the being behind him. “Has Ivanta finally tracked me down because of this Gods-awful place?”
“I wasn't hired by anybody called Ivanta.” Said a man in a low voice.
Natael shifted slightly at that, edging his face up so he could see the figure even a little. He was met by a black cloaked, cold gaze. Yet still, no flicker of fear showed on his face. If he was to die, then so be it. The Nine knew how much he deserved it. But firstly, he wanted to know who had sent for his death.
“Then I it the Morag Tong?” He requested, “Although I didn't think stealth was really their thing. Usually just barge in a start decapita-”
“-Not the Morag Tong.” A harsh one cut through Natael's rambling. Clearly, even in the gloom, he was trying to suppress signs of irritation.
“Then who in Oblivion are you?” Natael sat upright, now a tad pissed. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
The black clad man was silent for a moment, as though unsure whether the Dunmer would open his trap again. “My name is Lucien LaChance. I am a Speaker of the Black Hand.” He paused, then smirked,“The Night Mother has witnessed your actions and wishes for you to join the Dark Brotherhood.”
The reaction Lucien received was not exactly what he wanted.
“The what? Dunk Robinhood? Who's he?” exclaimed Natael with aconfused look on his face.
The irritaion the Speaker felt became more apparent as he tried harder to keep an emotionless appearance. His voice gave it away, however, in the grating tones he used.
“The Dark Brotherhood.” He corrected the Dunmer through gritted teeth. “Now-”
“-And who's this Night Mother lady?” Demanded the Mer, “She sounds like the head of some brothel.”
Must. Not. Kill. Potential. Recruits.
Must. Not. Kill. Potential. Recruits.Lucien repeated in his skull.
“And she wants me to join this...Duck Bloomingroad?” Natael jabbered on, “I'm a smuggler not a hooker! Who does she thinks I am?Must have the wrong per-”
That was it. He couldn't bear his voice anymore. By Sithis, the damn elf wouldn't shut up!
Grabbing the said elf by the neck, Lucien hauled him up and pushed him against the wall, about a foot in the air. “Shut. Up.” Lucien said threateningly. The elf didn't make a sound. “Look, Ididn't sneak past guards and officers just to hear you go on and on. Especially not blasphemies about the Night Mother.” The Imperial glared daggers, “By Sithis, I should let you just die here. But she wants you to work for her. And I'll gladly explain to you exactly what line of work it is-if, however, if-you keep your mouth shut and don't make a complete fool of yourself getting out of this pit.” Venom dripped of every word.
At last, the death grip Lucien had on Natael loosened and he dropped to the floor, trying to breathe with what little remained of his windpipe.
“If you wanted me to be quiet, you could've just asked, you know.” The Dunmer muttered hoarsely.
“And you would have refused.” replied Lucien, shooting a poisonous glare. “Now shut up. We're leaving.” He cast an invisibility spell over himself and the elf and opened the cell door silently , ushering Natael out.
The corridor was devoid of any personnel. The invisibility spell was almost perfect, the elf could only just see a faint outline of his hand in front of his face. Hearing Lucien's footsteps to his left, he followed suit in his bar feet. He wished that he could have even cloth slippers to stop the cobbled floor from hurting him. Natael winced sharply every time he stepped on a sharper or more awkward part.
The guards quarters door came closer, and just outside it in a small offshoot, a number of sat and drank and talked noisily. Obviously they had time to spare since they did their jobs so well.Natael almost snorted at his own though, earning another venomous glare that he could feel from the Imperial. Wouldn't really matter if I made a sound, would it? He thought grumpily. I mean, we're invisible, they'd just think it was a ghost.
The Dunmer huffed silently, edging his way past the jovial officers, making sure he followed the soft sound of the Speaker's footfalls. Thankfully, the heavy door was fully open, probably so it was eaier for the numerous drinks to be brought through quicker.
Natael remembered being pretty much dragged through the castle a down to these quarters. Even then there were many drinking merrily. Seems like they never stop.
Shimmy. Shimmy. Don't breathe. These were the only things that crossed the elf's mind for about a minute whilst perusing gingerly through a throng of men, who apparently wanted to get in an invisible Mer's way.
After a number of near misses (which included mead on his head and being crushed against a wall), the pair slipped out into the courtyard of Skingrad castle. Breathing a sigh of relief, Natael hoped that he could actually talk soon, since the silence was getting on his nerves. However, as soon as he opened his mouth, a sharp “No.” came from the Speaker, followed by a gruff, “Go over there by the stairs. We'll climb over the wall.”
“Sheesh.” Natael managed to whisper as he hurried to where he directed. Even unable to see each other (well, he thought that. The elf didn't actually know if Lucien had a detect life spell or trinket or not.)he could tell that the Imperial was readying a set of rope to haul themselves over the castle wall.
How they did so, he couldn't fathom, since it was a very high height and the Dunmer wasn't all that great with tall places. It took a lot of his strength not to turn into a jabbering wreak at the top. But he was not going to let anybody see him being a coward...not even an invisible coward.
Natael ended as a heap at the bottom of the hill the castle sat upon, however. He'd slipped and fallen down a mudslide. Lucien walked calmly behind him and stopped just before the elf, grimacing at the dirt covered figure as the invisibility spell flickered, wearing off.
“Get up.” the Speaker demanded. He brought a hand to cover his nose.“By Sithis, you reek. I feel sorry for the horse I took the liberty in bringing for you.” He began to walk off, then paused. “You can ride, can't you?”
the dark blue heap nodded before standing. Pulling a face at his prison clothes-now worse that they had started out-he attempted brushing off the muck, failed, and followed the pitch black cloak through the forest that surrounded Count Skingrad's Castle.
Natael jogged to keep up with Lucien, mug drying in the lukewarm autmn weather, making his clothes crackle. And also making him cold. It even dirtied his hair, drying with an unpleasant crust that flaked every few seconds. The elf wiped his face with his arm, then wrinkled his nose at himself. “Sweet Stendaar, I bloody stink!” he exclaimed and grimaced. “And where's these damn horses you said you'd brought, eh? We've been walking for about half an hour.” Thank goodness he was allowed to talk again. Or at least he didn't get almost strangled to death because of his voice. Always a plus in the dark elf's books.
Surprisingly, Natael got a response from the Speaker. “We're almost there. Icouldn't leave them where they'd be easily found. Otherwise you'd be walking all the way to Cheydinhal.” the hooded man afforded aglance behind him to see the Mer keeping pace through the woodland, even in his bare feet.
“Can we stop at an inn on the way?” Came a voice, half pleading, half demanding. “I'd quite like to clean up a bit. And rest in a proper bed.”
“I suppose.” Lucien agreed, dodging his way out of a small tree.“but only when we get far enough from the town.” He thought he heard a small shout in celebration, followed by a list of things the white haired Mer obviously loved.
“Wine, beer....cushions! Tall Altmer women, soft pillows. Ah...I can just imagine sleeping on a lovely comfy bed!” His voice drifted to more of a mumble as he picked his way through a patch of sharp thorns and branches, earning a few “Ow's!”
Lucien LaChance brushed aside a few bushes which revealed a small clearing. Two horses were tied to a tree, nibbling the surrounding grasses.“Hey, Dunmer.” the Speaker called over the mutterings of“A Few Of My Favourite Things” -Natael Mesaana style.“We're here.”
The dark elf immediately stopped and hurried to the clearing. A smile broke on his face when he saw the beasts, and swiftly went to the jet black mare.
The horse, however, did not seem to like Natael at all. She started snorting and stamping her hooves until Lucien came closer and carefully patted the mare's neck.
“Shadowmere, Shadowmere.” He whispered, “This stinky Dunmer is afriend...of sorts.” Shadowmere instantly calmed down yet eyes the said elf with an unreadable look. The Speaker turned to face Natael. “This is my horse, Shadowmere. Trained specifically for me. And only me.” He pointed to a light chestnut equine beside his own. “This one's yours. Though I don't blame her if she hates you like that.” Both men cringed, and Natael sighed with discontent.
Still, he couldn't really complain. It was still a horse, after all. He looked at the chestnut mare, who looked back at him. Stepping closer to her, the horse visibly cringed from the Dunmer's stench.
Natael thought for a second. “I shall name you...Pochi.” He nodded defiantly. “Yes, Pochi.” the elf climbed into the saddle, flaking more dried mud from his body. He patted Pochi's neck in apology. “Sorry for the smell. Not my fault, really.” He earnt a snort in response.
Lucien rolled his eyes at the Mer and mounted Shadowmere swiftly. “If you're finished getting to know your horse, we'll be off.” He set his own off at a trot through the trees. Gripping the reins, Natael followed suit, albeit with Pochi a little reluctantly.
“Um....LaChance,w as it?” Piped up Natael after about ten minutes of uncomfortable riding though Skingrad County, mainly due to the crushiness pf his mud in...unpleasant places.
Lucien gave a nod and a low noise to confirm.
“There is an inn near here, isn't there?” uncertainty lined the Dunmer's voice. “Mr LaChance?”
“There's a small village called Pell's Gate when we turn right at the crossroads. There's most likely an inn of sorts.” Called back the Speaker in a disinterested tone. He turned and smirked suddenly at the muddied elf. “But being a smuggler, I thought you would know that.”
“I was-I am.” Natael quickly retorted. “But I only came down here to get even with..an old friend.” He paused for a couple of second with a regretful look on his darker-than-lapis-but-not-quite-twilight-coloured face. “He ratted me out to the authorities in Bruma, then fled down here.” A yawn broke his sentences and he squinted in the autumn sun through the trees.
Lucien's eyes slid around to the Dunmer. “then what?” He found himself asking before he could his mouth moving.
Natael was so surprised at this he almost of his horse. “Ah...Well, since I am the best smuggler in the whole of Morrowind and Cyrodiil-” A grin flashed across his face briefly.
“So successful he got caught for murder.” hummed the Imperial disapprovingly.
“-that I put all my stuff -except a sword and some clothes, obviously- in asafe place. A place where nobody would think to look, since it's owned by an old lady. Dro...Dres...Draconis, I think her name is.” Another smile appeared on Natael's face, but smaller, as though remembering the old woman. “Sweet on me, too, if I remember right. She's all lonely because her family's left home.”
SNAP!A twig broke in half, perhaps like Lucien's mind just then.“You..didn't sleep with her, did you?” Usually when old people are 'lonely', they want a bit more than a cup of tea (or mead)and a lengthy chat.
Natael burst out laughing. A clear, hearty sound rang through the trees and made birds take flight. “By the Nine, no! Do you still think I'm a damn hooker? I'm. A. Smuggler.We just talked over a big meal. She loves hearing about all the things I've done and places I've been. She can't leave the house much, now. Gardening is the most exertion she does nowadays.”
Lucien expected another pause, but it never came. The damn elf kept talking. Damn his big mouth!
“Anyway,” he carried on. “As I was saying, I left my stuff at the old lady's farm then came down here. Wasn't easy, I tell you. Cross-country and all that. It's the bears, mostly..”
The only comfort to the black-clad Speaker was his ability to drown out the incessant ramblings with, well, anything really.
With this, Lucien's journey was fairly enjoyable. It was easy to keep the Dunmer occupied, all he had to to was start a game of 'I Spy' and have him reel off a number of things that would never be the right answer, because Lucien simply didn't choose anything other than arandom letter.
“Have you given up, Dunmer?” The Imperial sneered.
“Hey!Are you even playing any..more?” Lucien shifted to look at Natael briefly, who sat stock still, staring through the wood.
“Scepul...tra.” he mumbled quietly, eyes scanning furiously.
“What?” The Speaker questioned.
Natael's head whipped around to glare at Lucien. “Run, you s'wit!” He heeled Pochi iinto a canter, his eyes now filled with terror.“He's been chasing me since I left Morrowind, hired by Ivanta!” The Dunmer hissed abruptly. “Run if youo want to live.!” With that, bother riders galloped swiftly through the woodland.
A flash of red and black passed Lucien's vision up in the treetop. The damn elf was right, there was somebody up there.
Shadowmere undoubtably outpaced Pochi and reached the crossroads before the chestnut mare. Horse and rider soon appeared, however, and didn't seem to have this...Scepultra on his tail. Nobdy could outrun ahorse, no matter what their race.
Pochi snorted and danced as Natael searched the treetops frantically.
“Pell's gate is just down there, right?” He asked eventually, still wary. Lucien gave a nod. “Then let's hurry.”
High in the trees and hidden from sight, Scepultra Nyxaar tightened his tail around a branch. His balck eyes watched the two horsemen canter away, but made no move. He wanted to get the perfect opportunity to slay the Dunmer, to make an artful assassination. The Shadowscale grinned a reptilian grin at the thrill of the chase, at how perfect he would make the dark elf's end.
For those who want to know the contents of Natael's 'These are a few of My Favourite Things' version, please read below:
Bright sparkling diamonds and bottles of red wine
A castle, some servants, and all of it's mine
Great glowing swords and gold ruby rings
These are a few of my favourite things
When the law bites, when the fees sting
When I'm feeling sad
I think about all of my favourite things
And all the things I wish I had
Tall Altmer women and warm comfy cushions
Huge roast dinner with gravy and onions
Plunder and wealth, a skylark that sings
These are a few of my favourite things
It took me about ten minutes to come up with that. Seriously.
Tell me what you think, ya?
Flames shall be used to bake my lovely triple-choc and toffee cookies ^0^