((As of now, #postcards from cyrodiil will be used for of my out-of-character Oblivion-related posts, mostly screenshots. I don’t have many planned, but if you want to keep your dashboard tidy (or if you tend to run away in horror from unmodded Oblivion), go ahead and block that tag.))
Luth had been lazily chewing, looking out at the lake and nodding her head as she listened. Once she’d finished the bite of venison, she took a deep breath and sighed, enjoying the feeling of the sun on her cheeks. Then she cocked her head to look at Frithjofr, and frowned as he spoke the last bit.
"You ended up all the way in Markarth?" The thought of a befuddled Frithjofr wandering aimlessly through the wilds, or even worse the bandit-littered roads, was very upsetting for Luth. "That settles it. I won’t hear any arguments. I am sending you on the carriage, and you can take all the walks you want when you are closer to your home."
'All right, ma. And I'll put on my hat 'n gloves 'n everything, too.'
He grinned at Luth over the venison, until a drift of leaves blew across their picnic and forced him to shunt the leaves aside with his foot.
'Y'know, I'll only get lost when I'm home again anyway,' he said, once his attention returned to his food. 'I could get lost inside an empty room. In fact, I probably couldn't even find the empty room to get lost in it in the first place.'
"Grab him!" She called out to her partner. But as soon as she spoke the words she realized it was too late. Though injured, the lively mage was still fleeing. Misora growled and picked up her pace, running as fast as her feet could carry her. There was no chance for her to catch up, the womer had only one way to stop this suspected murderer.
Her feet skidded against the gravel as she came to a stop, charging up a final firebolt with both hands and the last of her remaining magicka. The Dunmer’s spell sailed through the air and crashed into the mages back. He moaned loudly before slumping against the ground.
Misora stood still for a moment, watching the body, waiting for a twitch. When several minutes passed and no movement occurred, she turned to Frithjofr. “I’ll make sure he’s dead, could you try to find my spear please?” The womer asked him politely, though slightly out of breath.
'Aye, I'll do that. Spear, spear, spear, spear…'
Keeping well away from the bodies, Frithjofr started fumbling across the ground, doing his best to follow instructions without accidentally sticking his hand into a pool of blood or a patched of charred, burning glass. Since this meant touching practically nothing, he didn’t meet with any success until he conjured up some healing magic in his hand, intending to smooth out some of his wounds, and its light flashed against something in the dirt.
He snatched up the glass spear before he could lose it again and hurried back to Misora, holding it forwards like a dog with stick.
'Here. You all right? You looked kind of, uh, not all right for a while there.'
In his past, Frithjofr showed an interest in several Daedra. Hermaeus Mora was not one of them.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. Most of his approaches to Daedric cults in Cyrodiil were made in the hope that their Prince could tell him what happened to his family, and Hermaeus Mora, with all of his intelligence, was one of the most logical choices. For some reason, however, cultists of the Lord of Knowledge and Memory were reluctant to accept Skyrim’s stupidest, most absent-minded Nord into their fold, and used to throw sticks at him until he went away.
Luth’s eyes widened. “You’re not going to walk all the way back to Solitude are you? Let me send you on a carriage, it would be safer. Also, keep in mind that you are welcome to stay at my house for a few days, or however long as you’d like.”
She picked up a piece of dried venison and bit into it, chewing as she looked out at the lake. “I have… well, I wouldn’t say I’ve killed dragons myself but I have helped to kill a couple of them. It is something that should be avoided at all costs, if you ask me.”
'I agree,' said Frithjofr sagely, with the air of one who fought dragons as a hobby on the weekend. 'Especially the really big ones. I mean, 's not that I'm afraid of dragons or anything, but you got to know when to pick your battles.'
He nodded, confident in this wise piece of advice, and picked up some venison for himself. Perhaps it was the company, or the view of the autumn leaves scattered across their own reflections in the lake, but Frithjofr was sure it tasted better than the usual fare from the Bee and Barb and ate it with his eyes closed in content.
'Anyway, I don't mind walking that much. I've done a lot of it, so I'm used to it. The only problem is when I get lost. Like once when I was going here, to Riften, only it was a lot bigger and stonier and more full of angry people than usual, and it turned out I was actually in Markarth.'
She hesitated half a second, tempted to argue with him. But then her stomach, as empty as it was, began to argue with her. She flashed him an apologetic smile.
"If… if you wouldn’t mind. I apologize. I normally wouldn’t be so rude, but… it’s been quite a bit since my last meal." She couldn’t meet his eyes. Her father’s pride still rushed hot through her blood. "But I would really love something to eat. If… If you don’t mind."
Digging through his bag - carefully this time, so that the contents didn’t end up scattered across the road - Frithjofr produced the promised carrots and a ragged corner of bread. He dusted them off on his sleeve, which battered them even more and did nothing to improve their general appearance, and held them out.
'There. Only a little bit of fluff. 'S good for you, fluff, got, uh… good things in. Makes you strong, like cabbage.'
Rule 1: Post the rules. Rule 2: Answer all of the questions the tagger has asked, and then make 11 new ones. Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to your post. Rule 4: Let them know you’ve tagged them. Tagged by: sieralonapprentice / whatoddities
((I would feel odd tagging people I don’t know very well, but Sier!Mod and OddMod between them have tagged most of you already, so… you are all simultaneously tagged and untagged. You are Schrödinger’s tag. Answer the new questions or not as you please.))
A grimace was Sier’s only answer. If he was honest with himself he’d rather just go home, get his wounds tended to, and curl up next to Nimraen for a fortnight. Frithjofr couldn’t be worth the trouble of traveling, uphill, back to the Embassy…
“‘s Dwemer,” he muttered, choosing to ignore the issue for now. “A whole… c-city of ‘em… was a capital ‘r similar, ver’ important…” His brow furrowed, trying to remember the rushed explanation his ex-love had given when they’d discovered it. “S-something like a home for Falmer now… or something.”
Talking winded him, and so the mer fell silent, wondering if he fell asleep now whether he’d wake up as a draugr killed him or if he’d simply not wake up…
'Huh. That explains the big stampy metal thing we saw.'
Frithjofr went silent for a moment, listening, but to his relief there was no distant clanging or thumping of pipes, no metal footsteps pounding up towards them.
'I broke it, y'know,' he went on. 'I stuck my sword in its leg and it fell over. Maybe I should give my sword a name. Metal Thing Slayer. All good swords have names, it says so in books.'
The story could have gone on a lot longer, with a lot more tangents, but Frithjofr’s voice died away again for another few minutes. It was easy to boast about on the surface but down here, in the dark, where there might be more automatons or other sickly creatures lurking just out of reach of his hand, it suddenly wasn’t something he wanted to dwell on. After a while he coughed.
'I'm going to poke you in a second. Don't worry, 's only me.' The poke duly arrived in Sier's arm. 'We should probably move. Can you walk?'
The mer looked at him blankly, apparently at a loss for how to reply. Was he…? He couldn’t be ‘good,’ could he, not after everything he’d done and how many people he’d hurt. Yet he knew—at least for now—how utterly wrong he’d been, the sickening realization hardly leaving him alone for more than a minute.
"I’m… horribly confused," he confessed, scuffing the ground absently. "I know what I’ve done a-and… and what the Thalmor did to me…" he took a steadying breath, looking at his old friend with a mixture of regret and panic. "I can’t go to Solitude like this… i-if another agent finds me, they might think I’ve regressed… they’ll send me back."
'What they did? What did they do? Did they hurt you? I thought… I thought you just didn't like me and were trying to trap me.'
Not much persuasion was needed to change Frithjofr’s mind, apparently, and the thought that this might be a trap clearly didn’t occur to him. He had nothing but Sier’s reassurance on the matter to rely upon, but without further hesitation he offered an arm to his friend, enemy, whatever they were now.
'If they did stuff to you then 's not your fault,' he said firmly. 'I can find you a cave or something to hide in. Until you… until you change again.'
Keeping the pelt wrapped around her shoulders, She continued to walk beside him. It was getting a little warmer now, between the body heat of the man and the fur. Or maybe She was just becoming numb to the cold. It could be that, too. Could be a lot of things.
"Came from the East," She said, stepping over a log. "Or west. Can’t… Can’t remember which, at the moment. Too cold for thinking." And it was. The temperature was dropping rapidly. "Jus’… Jus’ wanna get somewhere soon. Don’t wanna take anything from you. ‘S rude."
'Not really. I'm a Nord. 'S practically warm for me.'
Which wasn’t quite true, not at his age, and it was obvious from the slight shiver already building up in his arms, but he kept watching his companion. Every few seconds he had to stop and wipe the snow out of his eyes.
'All right,' he said eventually, and rummaged through the bag slung around his shoulder. 'You don't have to borrow the tunic. Guess it's a bit burnt anyway, and the goats did chew on it a bit. But d'you want some food? I got a few carrots here. I'd really like it if you didn't collapse before we find some shelter.'
'Well, if you're sure. 'S a nice book, though. I'd've asked for at least fifteen.'
It was still nine septims which Frithjofr placed down for the mer, rather than the original seven, either out of stubbornness or poor mathematical skills. Rather than leave immediately, however he opened the book as soon as he picked it up, one foot in the air, ready to walk, and started reading with an unusually thoughtful expression for a Nord who usually looked as if he had left his brain on top of a mountain somewhere.
Sier could hardly breathe. Every bump, scrape, and tumble on the way down seemed to reawaken his old wounds, creating a cacophanous orchestra of agony that only let up after he remained perfectly still at the bottom. Even then, the low-key rumble of complaints never let up, only eased enough that he felt he wouldn’t come apart at the seams.
He attempted to move. General consensus became clear that if he wanted to remain conscious, he would refrain from doing that again for the time being. He wasn’t sure exactly how far down they’d fallen, but ‘the middle of Nirn’ certainly felt about right; any less and he’d have to have a Word to the healers who’d been tending him.
"Wh—? …y-you’ve been… to Blackreach?" the mer wheezed after some thought, the rest of Frithjofr’s words finally registering at that point. "Wh-when…?" Not that it really mattered, but if it kept his mind off of things, then Sier would take it.
'Blackreach? Is that what it's called? I didn't know it had a name. Didn't know other people'd even heard of it.'
Climbing onto his feet was a challenge too far for Frithjofr. Using his elbows, he rolled himself over so that he was lying more comfortably on his back.
'Got there accidentally. Uh… 's a long story. Interesting, though. It's got prisons and an Altmer and caves in. But maybe it should wait until we're out of here.' He tried to turn his head but, as an unhealed wound in his neck twinged uncomfortably, settled for giving Sier a sidelong glance. 'Although I s'pose you'll be going back to your Embassadory thing then, 'n I'll be running as fast as I can in the opposite direction.'
— Oblivion Crisis, Oblivion Crisis… Yes, most likely. Just a moment.
Gandil flips through dozens of books on the tall shelf to his right. His finger settles on one light brown, embossed leather bound book. Two identical copies sit beside it. The Altmer returns to the counter and sets it down gently.
— I have one right here. That will be seven septims, m’boy.
Frithjofr lifted the cover and let it fall back with a soft and satisfying thud. He was pleased, smiling, when he looked up, fingers still running along the book’s spine, but they went still as he introduced his unique school of haggling.
'Really? It looks nice, and I've probably got a few more septims to spare. You sure you don't want any more for it?'
She flinched a little at the kicked up snow. Her boots - if these ragged pieces of cloth could really be called boots - were thin, and already soaking wet. Her toes were frozen. The added snow would not do her any good. It might even cause her to lose a toe or two.
But She wasn’t going to say that.
Instead, She shook her head. “N-No sir. I can’t afford a carriage.” It hurt to talk, now that she actually had to. She had spent three years either saying nothing at all, or screaming for them to stop. It wasn’t good on her throat. “Just tryin’ to get somewhere warm for the night.”
'Then I'll definitely help. Dragon Bridge isn't far, I don't think, and they got an inn there. Should be just up ahead, if I've got the right road.'
Most of the time he couldn’t be entirely sure he even had the right province, but Frithjofr had found that blind optimism usually got him somewhere, if not to his intended destination. In the same spirit, he kept his pace equal with the woman’s and pressed on with his chatter, despite his companion’s quiet voice and the snow falling thicker and thicker around them.
'Y'need a pair of gloves,' he said. 'Warm ones. Where've you come from? Funny place if it doesn't have gloves. D'you want to borrow my tunic? 'S only got a few feathers in it.'
"Oh." It was all she could say, the womer was certainly surprised. It wasn’t often a Nord treated the pair with something other than distrust or open hostility. She peered curiously back at him, trying to see if it was some sort of trick. The man seemed completely genuine, which confused her even more.
"That’s good then. Uh. Sorry… Most Nords aren’t so nice to us."
'S all right. Most of 'em aren't so nice to me, either. They called me a milk-drinker when I went to Windhelm once. Bet they've never even gone swimming in the Sea of Ghosts!'
A damning trait, to be sure. Remembering his annoyance distracted Frithjofr for a few seconds, which he spent plucking at the grass on the side of the road, and by the time his grin edges back onto his face the line of conversation had clearly slipped his mind. He tilted his head sideways.
'Where did you say you were going? Maybe I can point you there. Only if I do, you might want to go in the opposite direction, 'cause I get lost quite a bit.'
"Ex-exuse me. I have to…" The woman shifts the wolf skin on her shoulders, trying to keep it in place. It is the only protection she has against the wind and snow of Skyrim. "I must go."
No amount of hints and excuses would be enough to penetrate Frithjofr’s skull. He ambles along beside the woman, kicking up the snow as he goes, with a cheerful and comfortably lopsided smile in the face of her evasion.
'Aye? Where're you going? Hope it's somewhere warm, looks like there's a blizzard on the way. Why don't you get a carriage? I can pay for it if you haven't got the coin. That is, I don't have the coin either, but I could pretend I did and maybe they wouldn't notice.'
As soon as Sier could peel himself off of the proverbial ceiling, he recognized the scruffy Nord staring back at him. Oddly enough, his first thought was why the man hadn’t been captured sooner, for how often he seemed to blunder straight into Thalmor agents.
His second, third, and fourth thoughts replayed every interaction they’ve had since he’d returned, the mer’s face paling more and more as they gained a horrible new light. He’d considered Frithjofr a friend once—adventured with him, avoided a dragon of all things. Then threw it all away for the sake of his new masters.
"F-Frithjofr," he croaked. "Gods, I… h-help me."
There didn’t seem to be any immediate danger this time; Sier had been walking too slowly for bandits to be on his trail, and the rabbit had settled down on a grassy verge without any more alarm, which made the mer’s greeting all the more baffling. The few meetings between them since his change always involved death coming from some direction and this, this surprising calm, almost made Frithjofr feel more uneasy.
He narrowed his eyes, shoulders so tense they were almost up to his ears and his legs bent slightly at the knee, ready to run at a moment’s notice.
'Are you Good Sier or Bad Sier?' he asked warily. 'Cause if it's Bad Sier, Solitude's in the other direction. Thought you knew that.'
Sier knew he had duties to attend to; a meeting with his counselor, an appointment with his superior to review his progress. He was supposed to be up at Castle Dour for most of the afternoon.
Instead he found himself outside of Solitude’s walls, shuddering as memory played all his past actions back at him. Every harsh word, every spark raised against those he’d considered his friends—allies. Family. He’d turned on them all, manipulated by uncaring hands to be a blind tool.
The thought stung far more than he’d expected. He had to get away. Sier wasn’t sure if this magic would last, or for how long; but as long as he had this clarity, anyone in a black and gold robe would be a danger to him.
He didn’t stop until he was well past Solitude and approaching Dragon Bridge. Slowing at the crossroads, the mer stopped and looked around, apprehensive and confused and utterly lost as to where to go…
From somewhere in the bracken, there was a rustle.
Sneaking was not and never would be a skill Frithjofr excelled in, but he must have improved recently. He at least gained the sense to keep his head inside the bush he had chosen as a hiding place, although it wasn’t enough, when he saw who it was looking lost at the crossroads, to keep himself from shuffling about for a closer look.
It was undoubtedly Sier. Looking worried and confused, as well, unaccompanied by any Thalmor or bandits. Frithjofr didn’t move. His last reunion with an old enemy had gone unusually well, but he wasn’t eager to push his luck and would have remained hidden, if it wasn’t for the second rustle behind him.
His breath stopped. There were wolves in the mountains of Haafingar. This was exactly where they would be lurking. There was probably an alpha male behind him, right now, jaws open, about to clamp down around his neck, and if he didn’t run—
Leaves, branches and bits of moss, clumped together in the rough shape of a Nord, burst out of the undergrowth. After stumbling for a moment they righted themselves in the middle of the path. Frithjofr shook the debris off in time to see a tiny and decidedly un-wolf-like rabbit rocket out behind him — which left him stood alone, on an empty road, with Sier. All he could do was stare, soundlessly.
Easier said than done, for the mer. His lungs felt on fire, the entire lower half of his body screaming protest with every movement—if he hadn’t felt like he’d been chewed on by a dragon before, he certainly did now.
Rasping painfully, the mer used the staff more as a crutch as he fled further into the darkness, hardly noticing if Frithjofr followed or not. All he truly cared about now was finding a defensible place to rest; or, barring that, a potion that would help him feel more capable… anything but this.
Sier almost didn’t notice the yawning abyss preceding a stairwell. He most certainly noticed his ankle turning as he rushed headlong into it, expecting solid ground and finding open air instead. He had enough breath to gasp in pain before tumbling ever downward…
Frithjofr was following, and close enough to snatch at Sier’s robes when he felt the mer dropping away, but all that accomplished was bringing both of them down together. Every step on the way down, and there were a lot of them, seemed to go out of its way to bump into his chest, or his shoulder, or his chin, or his knee. He was just trying to decide whether it would be a relief or whether it would feel worse when they stopped as they thudded off the final step and onto the floor.
Winded, bruised and aching, he pushed himself up on his elbows and squinted into the darkness. His concentration conjured up a short healing spell, but the tingle as the light faded told him that his body, never meant for it in the first place, was drained of magicka. Somehow, that made the pain in his unhealed wounds even sharper.
'Must be in the middle of Nirn by now,' he mumbled, wincing as the split skin of his lip twinged. 'Last time I got lost underground I ended up in a big cave full of glowy mushrooms.'
Misora was on the ground for what felt like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes. Her armour was hot to the touch where the bolt had struck, but thankfully it had fulfilled it’s purpose of protecting her. The womer’s vision was slightly hazy as she rolled over and got to her feet, she wasn’t able to see Frithjofr or the assailant.
Returning to the shadowed area near the stones, Misora prepared herself for a counter-attack. But her trusty glass spear was not in it’s holster, the strike must have caused her to drop it somewhere. No matter, if she was indeed about to fight a mage, she could easily defeat the novice with her superior destruction magicka.
Knowing full well that a firebolt would illuminate the surrounding area, Misora prepared an overcharged version of the spell. Aptly the Dunmer aimed the spell at the opposite end of the formation, watching as the ball of flames traveled between two of the large stones and impacted against a rough patch of dirt. While her spell didn’t strike any particular target, she was given a clear glimpse of the surrounding area.
And quite the advantage it had given her, as she was able to spot a dark-robed person fleeing from the site, headed for the sloped hills West of Solitude. Without another wasted moment, Misora sprung from her hiding place, a firebolt in each hand. She fired both of them towards her absconding enemy.
Both spells struck her enemy in the lower back. the bolts collided with a resounding jolt, knocking the mage over several meters. The young man was clearly still alive as he tried frantically to extinguish his inflamed robes.
The magic, bursting across the night, blinded Frithjofr, whose dash back to the robed figure skidded to an impromptu halt. He couldn’t tell how close he was, whether the robes were within grabbing distance or whether he would be grasping at night air, but having come this far he couldn’t stop. Stopping would mean having time to think, and that would mean realising just how stupid his decision had been.
Fireblind, stumbling and shaking, he swung forwards in what seemed like the right direction with his sword. The first thrust clanged and sparked as it hit a rock. The second was closer - the night was resolving itself again, and the flames across the man’s robes stood out. This time the miss was only accountable to Frithjofr’s poor aim.
Third time lucky. The next swing caught the mage in the arm he was using to try and pat the flames out. Panting, without taking his eyes off the man, Frithjofr called,
Followed by the silent and unspoken question, what do I do now?
Luth kept her arms around his neck for a moment longer, a soft smile on her face as she watched him looking out across the lake. Then she released him, sitting back down and carefully gathering and arranging the new arrows into their quiver.
"You’re the good friend, Frithy." She wanted to say it was because he was always constant, more reliable than she had ever been, but held her tongue.
Once the arrows were arranged neatly she set the quiver aside, trading it for the picnic basket. “I haven’t seen them for sale, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to make a silver arrow tip if you were so inclined. I don’t know exactly what it is that kills vampires though.” She began pulling out the different foods from the baskets and laying them out on the blanket. “Hungry?”
'Not too difficult? Hm. Silver arrows. Got to remember that, then.'
And no doubt it vanished from his memory, lost forever, as soon as Luth started producing the food they had brought along. She got her answer when Frithjofr dropped down onto the blanket and helped himself to a handful of food, chosen indiscriminately from the pile. It included a hunk of garlic bread, which he bit into first.
'Good to eat. 'S a long journey from Solitude to Riften, y'know.' He licked a dribble of garlic and butter off his lips. 'Least I didn't have to run away from any more dragons this time. Have you ever fought a dragon?'
Mya’Dar picked up on the discomfort and how Frithjofr spoke, narrowing her eyes slightly. There was a story there or something that he wanted to hide at least, and while she wanted to know the details, it was probably for the best if she didn’t push too much too quickly. She would be able to find out later, if she could convince him to let her stick around.
"A lot of people deserve bad things," she amended. "And I’ve met a lot of those said people. You don’t even want to know what some of them have done. A lot of things worse than just killing someone, believe me."
The Khajiit paused for a moment, to let the words sink in before continuing.
"And you can’t think like that, okay?" She narrowed her eyes at him. "Think instead that someone steals from you and you let them get away with it ‘cause you think they have a goo reason to do it. So they start thinking if they can get away with that then what else can they get away with?"
She reclined in her seat, examining Frithjofr, wondering what he was thinking. It was impossible to tell, but she hoped she’d be able to make him see from her point of view at least a little. He would be a good person to work with.
"Nobody is truly innocent after all," she said honestly. "Not even you or I. There’s no point pretending otherwise. Would you rather live in denial, or do something useful?"
'I guess you got a point.'
His mouth hung open for a few seconds, waiting for instructions from his brain on what the counter-argument would be, but none came. He drank from the mead bottle to fill the silence.
'But… but I still don't think people should die, at least,' he mumbled, once he had swallowed. 'They can't make up for stuff they've done if they're dead. Aye, there're some people who'll never feel bad, but most of them're only doing what they think's right, and what happens to them is up to Stendarr. Not me or any other person.'
If Stendarr took any interest. If he could see the whole story. There were times when Frithjofr had wondered about that himself, mainly in Cyrodiil, and no matter how solid a faith built up on the glaciers and mountains of the Pale could be, there was a lot for it to withstand in the real world. Mya’Dar’s argument had struck right at the fault line.
It was all getting muddled in his head, and there was only one solution to that. Mead tended to make things even more muddled, but at least then it was a single, manageable mess which he didn’t have to think about. He took a longer drink this time, leaving the bottle half empty when he set it down, and shook his head to clear out some of the more confusing thoughts.
'I dunno. I'll think about it, but I'm not good with all of these big thinking things. And even if I wanted to hurt someone I'd probably do something stupid and end up stuck in a tree with a pack of wolves chasing me. I don't want to do that again.'
This was ridiculous. His hands were cold, shaking, blotting ink all across the page, and Brother Reman was starting the service, but Haaki couldn’t shake the distant guilty twinge when he thought of the guar. It was ridiculous, yes, but the thought of running away from those large eyes without so much as a goodbye - it was like kicking a puppy. He sighed and started again.
Roark glanced at the fellow Imperial, who merely cleared his throat and shook his head.
"Hm, no, hers didn’t have an inscription," he admitted, chastising himself inwardly. "Not unless she ran out and had it inscribed herself."
"…word of advice though?" Roark began, ignoring his friend’s attempts to stop him. "Don’t ask anyone in Riften if something is there’s. They’ll just say it is."
'Huh, that's true. Forgot about that, I guess.'
Frithjofr turned the ring around a few more times. The emerald in its centre flashed in the late afternoon light, and the silver caught a few of the sunbeams through the dust, but rather than pocket it he dropped it into his palm and held it out.
'S good of you to be so honest. Since I can't find out who it belongs to, you want to share the coin I get for it? Y'know, as a thanks for your help.'
'Missed you too!' He squeezed her tightly and wouldn't end the hug at first, but eventually he was forced to step back. 'And I missed your birthday. I'm sorry. But I didn't forget it! Stuff sort of… happened. Anyway, I got something for you.'
"What happened? Is everything alright?" Tort asked, studying the Nord’s face, brows furrowed. "You didn’t have to get me anything, I’m happy just seeing you."
'Aye, 's all fine. Had to go to Cyrodiil with, uh, someone. Means I could bring you this, though!'
As always, the task of rummaging through his pack ended with Frithjofr upending its entire contents across Riften’s wooden boards. A few minutes of sorting produced a bundle wrapped in a newspaper, the title of The Black Horse Courier visible over one of the folds, which Frithjofr pulled away to reveal a small selection of fresh fruit and an hourglass. He pushed both towards Tort.
'Here. 'S not much, but I always think Cyrodiilic fruit is nicer'n Skyrim's. And the hourglass is from Bruma. Uh, there's not much special about it, but I thought you might like it.'
There was a distinct impression that Frithjofr had been attracted to the first shiny thing he’d seen, but he offered it with a hopeful smile.
It had obviously been a very long time since anyone or anything had been in there, with how dusty everything was. Anytime Nimraen moved something, it created a small cloud of dust, which in turn made the Altmer let out a couple of coughs from the dust he’s inhaled.
There hadn’t been anything of interest in Nimraen’s search around the dusty and dingy kitchen, besides a whole mess of dust. Not that he was surprised.
He glanced at the three doors and scratched the back of his head as he thought, looking between the three of them.
"Um…" He trailed, giving them all over more glance before pointing at the one of the right. "Start there?"
It didn’t contain a pile of daedra, mudcrabs and draugr, but that was about all that could be said for the room behind the door.
What it did contain was a full suit of Nordic armour, thick with dust, held together by a skeleton. Until the chamber was opened opened it had been stood against the wall, but the noise as Frithjofr threw the door back woke it with a flare from its empty eye sockets. It creaked as it pushed itself forward and rounded on them, filling the doorway.
Despite the sword bumping against his hip, Frithjofr’s first instinct, and the instinct he decided to go with, was to yelp and spring backwards, straight into Nimraen. By the time he picked himself off the floor the skeleton was lurching towards them, brandishing a sword carved with runes, and there wasn’t space for the Nord to draw his own weapon. Given the circumstances, there was only one appropriate response.
"Ah, many joys, a Nord. Come to throw us out of wherever too?"
'Uh, I don't think so. Not unless you've been inside my chicken coop, 'n I think Burd would've got rid of you quicker'n I can. Don't think there's anywhere else which is mine to throw you out of.'
Frithjofr’s tone drifted from cheerful to curious the longer he kept talking, and when he finished he squinted at the mer before him, rubbing his chin. She didn’t resemble any other mer he’d seen, and he considered himself reasonably well-travelled compared to his brethren - that is, he had at least left Skyrim in his life.
Still, there would be more than enough opportunities for him to show his ignorance later. For now he held his tongue and watched Whetu with a lopsided smile from beneath his scruff of beard.
The string of curses that left the Altmer’s mouth might well have risen the dead if they weren’t built for it already. Trying desperately not to think the mer reached back towards the voice, grabbing the Nord’s shirt and yanking him forward as he tried to run.
Adrenaline wouldn’t last long, he knew; moreover, he was running blindly, and had nothing to guarantee he wouldn’t just smack headlong into a wall—or another draugr. Already he could feel his strength waning, and could feel more than see the undead getting closer.
Reluctantly Sier slowed enough to charge the staff, its greenish light illuminating the surrounding ruin for a split second—just enough time to see the pursuing draugr and aim before being plunged into darkness again.
It was enough, hopefully, maybe. If Frithjofr stopped to worry about that then the draugr would have moved, and he didn’t want the thing wandering around unchecked for any longer than was necessary.
Going by the half outline the staff’s glow had shown him, he swung his sword around and then, for good measure, jabbed it forwards. The last of its own enchantment glowed, dim and purple but almost blinding in the gloom, as it made contact with the draugr’s arm. The creature moaned a curse in a language Frithjofr didn’t recognise and had no desire to understand.
After that the magic in the blade sputtered and died, but the groan from the darkness would have to reassure them. Frithjfor pushed at Sier’s shoulder.
Say five facts about yourself and then send this to ten of your favourite followers. (or don't i'm not your mother)
((Prepare to marvel at how dull I am. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to come up with these.
I have a bag of skull-shaped marshmallows on my desk which I keep mistaking for mints. As a result, all they actually taste of is disappointment.
I once built myself a book cave, piling up all the books I owned around a chair, which sounded like a brilliant idea right up until the moment a psychology textbook fell on my head.
Whenever I answer these I have to actively stop myself including made-up facts. They aren’t even interesting made-up facts. For example, I was about to say that I hate being cold, which is an utterly pointless lie.
My hearing is awful. The only time I ever respond to people quickly and confidently is when they aren’t actually talking to me at all, causing embarrassment for everyone involved.
There are sixteen miniature knitted bobble hats in my desk drawer.
I always worry too much about sending these on in case I forget people or leave someone out, so I hope I can be forgiven for skipping that.))
World Headcanon: The Structure of the Modern Imperial Cult
((I started writing this as a note on the Chapel of Stendarr and it got a bit out of hand. I’m posting it partly for personal reference and partly as an invitation for criticism, if anyone can be bothered to read it - despite cross-checking this repeatedly, I’m not a historian and I’m not even much good with TES lore.))
Because I managed, unintentionally, to make this fit together quite neatly, I’m going to say the reason for Frithjofr’s absence during this hiatus is that he was accompanying Haaki Boar-Chaser to Cyrodiil.
Now that his charge has been settled into the chapel at Chorrol and he’s finished his own sightseeing, Frithjofr is heading back Skyrim. He’s expected to arrive (that is, I will start working on replies) some time on Middas, if not before.