Chapter 12: Boredom Alleviation

The evening sun filtered through the carriage window and softly illuminated the somber maid Siesta. She clenched her hands together so as to quell her shivers. She had been so foolish! What had she been thinking?! Sending a letter asking for aid against a noble's wishes? Now she was on her way to her new master and she had already spat in his face. If the letter had been intercepted... Siesta could only imagine the punishment waiting for her.

The carriage passed by a man lazily wandering down the road, but Siesta didn't spare him a glance. So caught up in her woes, Siesta could only see the hands shivering before her eyes. "Ma'am? You might want to see this." The driver's questioning voice called from up front. The worry in his tone was enough to shake Siesta from her thoughts. Sliding the simple window that led to the driver aside, Siesta peaked through.

Outside the carriage a scattered line of men walked away from Count Mott's estate; all bare as the day they were born save for their underwear. The vacant, fearful expression in their eyes chilled Siesta's heart. "Just what happened here?" She wondered aloud, looking to the men as the carriage passed.

As each man passed, Siesta managed to catch fragments of mumbles. "Can't guard against shadows." A burly man dragged his feet along. "Haunted, damn haunted..." As Siesta passed another the man looked up to her, his eyes staring straight through her. "The laughter... it came from everywhere." Siesta's heart was infected by the man's fear.

When the carriage slowed to a stop before Mott's estate, Siesta found the manor far from what she had fist expected. Everything not nailed down was gone. From the sculptures that should adorn the pedestals about the garden to the very drapes in the windows. It was all gone. The main doors were flung wide, revealing a barren interior behind the dejected Mott sitting on his stoop. Said Count sat in his underwear, vacantly studying his feet. Slowly, Siesta pushed the gate open, its creaking alerting Mott to her presence.

Mott's clouded eyes rose to stare at maid at the end of his walkway. Instantly his eyes focused and fear filled them. "YOU!" He cried at near hysteria. "Go away!" Screaming, he waved her off as if she were a monster. "Please, just go back to the academy! Leave me alone!" Stunned, Siesta remained still as the noble fell to his knees in his terrified state, begging her to leave.

As Mott's cries for mercy morphed into unintelligible sobs, Siesta felt a hand grab her shoulder. "Ma'am." The driver warned, obviously nervous with the situation. "Perhaps we'd best leave." Siesta did not need to be told twice to leave the scene before her and was soon on her way back home to the academy. As confused as she was, Siesta couldn't help but realize the most likely cause behind the strange scene. Just what had the Dragonborn done?

Strolling lazily by trees on his way to Fouquet's dead drop the Dragonborn looked to the thief on his left. Still enamored with the mysteries revealed to him, the Dragonborn spoke, "Of course I had heard the legends of the third era, but I had never really put much stock in them." Shaking his head in bemusement, the Dragonborn smiled unabashedly. "Underwear coming off... You Halkeginians sure are amazing." He would still be taking the item on and off if Fouquet hadn't made him promise to restrain himself.

Disregarding the praise from a man who could take on an army, Fouquet eyed the man with mild interest, "Still more interested in that than what comes after?" He had certainly seemed to enjoy himself at the time.

The Dragonborn tilted his head. "What, darkness and a Mistress' Comfort bonus?" Faster skill increases were certainly nice, but it really didn't compare to underwear coming off.

Fouquet nearly tripped. He didn't remember? Suddenly that clouded over vacant expression he had sported throughout the act made sense. Slightly put off, Fouquet idly planned a way around the man's insanity. Her feminine wiles would not be so easily disregarded. This oddity would not defeat her. On the subject of oddities, Fouquet glanced back to the Valliere and her companion.

Yet again Louise was sporting the amulet the Dragonborn had given her. The pinkette puffed out her chest, displaying the jewelry to Tabitha. Said princess blushed and averted her gaze; adjusting the strap of her massive pack in her anxiety. Put off by being ignored once more, Louise quickened her steps and fell in beside the Dragonborn. "Familiar," She began with a pout, "It's not working. She hasn't asked me to marry her yet." Behind Tabitha put tomatoes to shame.

Chortling, the Dragonborn placed a hand on Louise's head and ruffled her hair, "Of course not. You have to finish her quest before you can marry her." His words were accepted as an epiphany and the two people who walked the border of insanity quickly devolved into a conversation on quest rewards.

Behind Tabitha felt a crushing sensation press in on her chest. It was not her pack; no, she had grown used to the gargantuan burden. Her ailment lied with her mistress. Thoughts of Louise sent her heart racing and clouded her mind confusing emotions. Yet a part of her resisted. That part that had long been used as an amusement by her uncle, a man she had once naively loved. Now that part screamed at her that she was merely an amusement to Louise. A novelty rather than a person. So Tabitha did what she always did. She remained silent.

Unaware of her follower's thoughts, Louise turned from her conversation to Tabitha. "Don't worry Tabitha, I'll finish your quest in no time." With a hop in her step, Louise hurried toward the dead drop as the hollowed out stump came into view.

Fouquet rolled her eyes and refused to quicken her pace. "I'll say it again. There is no telling when or even if my informants can locate the King of Gallia." Her reach was definitively nothing to scoff at, but a King definitely had more resources than a thief.

When the Dragonborn scoffed Fouquet managed to keep her calm. The oaf rolled his eyes and patronized her, "What kind of quest has a delay of more than a couple days? That would be dreadfully dull." Though Halkeginians had such wonderful secrets they still had such backwards ideas like this. Truly they were an odd people.

Not bothering to argue a losing battle, Fouquet reached into her dead drop and slid aside the hidden panel. When she felt the letter inside she very dearly wished she hadn't. Damn this insane idiot for being right. Once Fouquet retrieved the letter she ignored the Dragonborn and his summoner as they bounced about like excited children. Unfolding the parchment, Fouquet began to read; her expression darkening with each passing moment. "No..." She muttered; her worry only exciting the two further. "Impossible..." Her denial redoubled their energy. Whirling to the two, Fouquet desperately tried to relay the gravity of what she read. "Joseph is taking Gallia's fleet to Romalia's Capital. He plans to use a secret weapon to destroy the Holy City!" Fouquet may be a thief and she didn't exactly have unbloodied hands, but she was no mass murderer. This was something else entirely.

Louise and the Dragonborn turned to each other, their expressions dripping with unbridled wonder. "A super weapon? How climactic!" Louise cheered.

Nodding enthusiastically, the Dragonborn agreed, "This quest just keeps getting better." The two continued to pump each other up, driving their hopes of the climax to come ever higher.

From where she stood, Fouquet paled. "Um..." She interjected to the two idiots. "The fleet is on its way right now. We should hurry if we want to warn Romalia in time." The thief's undeniable logic was summarily denied.

Two sets of patronizingly raised eyebrows turned to Fouquet. For a moment Louise and her familiar just pitied the thief before turning to each other and sharing a silent glance of understanding. "Sure~" Louise began, "Things will definitely happen if we don't get there in time." Her wink to the Dragonborn was terribly hidden.

Picking up where his master left off, the Dragonborn continued with a poorly faked dire tone , "We'd best ride your golem as time is of the-" he chortled, unable to contain himself, "-essence." Fouquet didn't know how to deal with the duo and instead just set about forming her golem. How was she, the ruthless thief, the one most concerned about innocent civilians?

The ground rumbled beneath each titanic bound as Fouquet drove her golem ever faster. She did her best to ignore the constant shrieks of excitement in favor of focusing on her task. At the very least Tabitha remained somber.

Fouquet's willpower began to drain, but she pushed onward. As fast as they were going it wouldn't be much longer until they arrived. Sure enough, they crested a hill and looked down upon the great bay in which the Holy City bordered. The grand city shone in all its glory, but such a wonderful sight was marred by the airship fleet above moving to intercept the Gallian fleet crossing over the water. "Can we still make it?" Fouquet hoped.

Her question was answered when a blinding flash of light consumed the Romalian fleet. Fire brighter than the sun itself flashed outward, consuming the fleet. An instant later the light extinguished to reveal airships spiraling to the see below wreathed in flames. What few airships o that escaped the devastation by virtue of being on the outer limits quickly turned tail to regroup out of range of whatever caused such destruction. Awestruck, Fouquet couldn't even comprehend such power. When an armored hand came to rest on her shoulder. Fouquet turned to see the Dragonborn sporting a determined look. "Can you get us up there?" He looked to the Gallian flagship.

Glancing to the ridiculous destination then back to the Dragonborn, Fouquet asked, "You want me to throwyou up there?! I can get you that far but there is no way I can hit a target that small." This idiot wanted to die!

With a wink the Dragonborn laced his hand upon Fouquet's shoulder. "Trust me, you can do it." He looked to the other two would be missiles and received a single enthusiastic nod accompanied by a nervous one.

Shaking her head, Fouquet accepted that this man's insanity had worked so far. Besides, the thought of whatever destroyed that fleet going off inside the city chilled Fouquet to the bone. Right about now crazy heroics were perfectly acceptable. After sparing the trio one measuring glance, Fouquet reached out with her willpower and commanded her golem to lift them. Carefully, she palmed the trio just right, set her golem's stance, and aimed. Theoretically if she went with them she might be able to help with levitation magic, but there was no way she could aim while being thrown by her own golem. Swallowing, she accepted that this was her one job and she had better be damn sure to do it right.

With desperate hope in her heart, Fouquet channeled her willpower. Tons of rock moved, launching the trio skyward like a rocket. Wind ripped by them, the world spun, and Fouquet became a speck in the distance.




Upward they arced, nearing ever closer to the flagship. Gargoyles littered the sky about them, but neither the constructs nor the fleet they escorted had any time to intercept the improvised human missiles. As they neared it became apparent to Tabitha they would miss by a fair margin. Retrieving her staff from her pack, the wind mage channeled a spell to alter their course. Empowered wind curled around the three, guiding them to the waiting deck.

Reaching out, Tabitha caught Louise mid flight and daintily landed with mistress in hand. The Dragonborn was left to indent headfirst into the wooden deck. In the time it took for Tabitha to set her mistress safely upon the deck, the Dragonborn managed to push himself free of the wooden planks; shattering a few in his escape.

A quick glance about revealed a deck empty save for the cloaked woman standing between them and the enclosed observation deck. The wind stirred the cloak around the woman. The cloth ruffled, hiding all but the sharp face with small tattoos beneath her eyes. An amused, predatory grin split her face. "So the wayward princess brings help." Her gaze passed from Tabitha to the Dragonborn. "I'll introduce myself; my name is Sheffield, I am the familiar of King Joseph of Gallia. I have been following your exploits and I must say the tales are quite amusing. I'll admit I am rather eager to put you in your place. " Runes shone on her forehead as she called upon their power.

Quirking an eyebrow, the Dragonborn's smile was full of pity. "Listen, you are obviously the boss before the real boss, so you wanna talk yourself up. But," He dipped his head and gestured to placate the woman, "You might wanna just sit this one out." Then, realizing he was being rather rude, the Dragonborn snapped his fingers, "Or you could fight Tabitha here. She's more on your level." Pointing to the burdened wind mage, the Dragonborn winked to emphasize the benefits of such a deal.

Rather than get furious or insulted, the woman just sighed. She glanced from the Dragonborn to his master and then to Tabitha, sizing up each as less interesting than the previous. Deciding that actions spoke louder than words, Sheffield produced a staff from beneath her cloak. She pointed the open-mouthed, mad smiles that formed the staff's end on Tabitha. The runes on the woman's brow shone as she nonchalantly spoke the staff's name. "Wabbajack." Foreign power impacted Tabitha twisting reality within and without in a bright flash. A moment later the light cleared to reveal a confused looking sheep standing upright on wobbly legs burdened with a massive pack.

"Baah... (What?)" Tabitha exclaimed flabbergasted as she looked to her new hooves.

Sheffield cradled Wabbajack lovingly before turning her hardened eyes back on the Dragonborn. "Perhaps I should have given my titles as none ever seems to remember my name. They used to call me the Hero of Kvatch, Divine Crusader, Champion of Cyrodiil, and for a time the Madgod of the Shivering Isles. At least, those are the ones you've likely heard." Tossing her arm out, Sheffield flung her cloak outward to reveal shimmering green armor beneath. Her satisfied smirk spread to a full blown toothy grin, revealing the elongated fangs marking her vampiric nature. "It has been a long, long time sense I've been truly amused. Please endeavor to fix that fellow prisoner."

For once when the Dragonborn turned his gaze on Louise he was deadly serious. "Louise, leave her to me. Take Tabitha and deal with Joseph." Shifting his gaze back to Sheffield, the Dragonborn recalled all he could of the old legends as he readied himself for the fight of his life.

Louise spared the Dragonborn a single glance before accepting his plan. It was more climactic this way. The pinkette gave Sheffield a wide berth as she moved around the woman toward the observation cabin. Behind her Tabitha wobbled after, struggling to remain upright on her hooves. When Louise opened the door to the observation cabin she couldn't do much more than wish the Dragonborn luck.

From where he stood before the helm, Joseph stared out to the Holy city beyond. Sounds of the titanic clash taking place outside were ignored in favor of the view beyond. He sneered as his familiar fought with the other one before turning to face the intruders. The Valliere looked about the wide, mostly empty room with mild interest as she left her polymorphed follower stuck in the doorway. "Yours is the same then I take it?" Joseph glanced to the torrents of power clashing outside. When the Valliere tilted her head in that oh so familiar way, Joseph ground his teeth. "Completely disregarding common sense, tainting reality with her every breath, constantly wearing away my sanity?" For once in what seemed forever he had thought he might have found someone who understood, but the Valliere just offered a confused smile tainted with pity. Just like her. "I tell her torment my niece, to stage a rebellion, to obliterate an entire city; and not only does she accept thequests with a smile, but she succeeds!" He threw his hand out to the devastated enemy fleet and vulnerable city. "She is the abyss staring back at me! Can't you understand?!" Joseph wished he still felt nothing. Even the void was preferable to the tormented mind Sheffield had inflicted upon him.

Louise glanced back to where Tabitha scrapped her hooves in vain against the wood in an effort to pull her pack through the comparatively tiny doorway. "This is pretty intense." She commented with excitement. When Louise turned back to Joseph, she could see the stressed disbelief in his eyes as he waited for an answer. Shrugging, Louise decided that honesty was best. "Not really." Rage and disbelief battled across Josephs face, eliciting further explanation, "Sure things started out really weird, but since I started trying things his way all I've been doing is having fun and doing good." Readying her sword and wand, Louise pointed her blade forward, "Speaking of which, you tormented Tabitha just to test your familiar? Your evil ends here!" Louise spared the sheep caught in the doorway a confident smile before turning back to her opponent.

An opponent who was no longer before her. "Having fun?" Joseph's voice sounded from behind Louise just before his boot impacted the small of her back and sent her tumbling. "Doing good?" Louise tried to roll to her feet, but Joseph's kick struck her gut and tossed her across the room. "You only care about amusing yourselves, what results from that is an afterthought. Your familiar, my familiar, even you; you're not heroes, you are psychopaths! Stop pretending to be anything else!" Powered by his acceleration magic Joseph effortlessly dodged the frantically cast explosion currently expanding where he had been a moment before.

Louise staggered to her feet, readying herself for the man's ridiculous speed. "No." Louise steadied her breathing. "If I'm just pretending to be a heroine, I don't care." Leveling her wand, Louise stared the man down. "I am going to keep having fun and beat you here and now. EXP-" The magic welling within Louise fizzled when her wand disappeared from her hand.

Twirling his opponent's wand in his finger's Joseph felt himself fall into a calm void. "I don't know why I even bothered. You are obviously doing your best to imitate that familiar of yours." Turning his eye on Louise, Joseph focused on her blade before taking that as well. He moved faster than the eye could see. No amount of swordplay skill could stop him from strolling over to her and taking whatever he wanted. "I on the other hand trained tirelessly to control this magic to bring my familiar to heel. Do you really think a cheep imitation can do more than her in the face of my magic?" Joseph returned the girl's sword to her, point first through her gut.

Sputtering, Louise looked down at the blade that had appeared in her gut in time to see Joseph kick the hilt. Pain flared as Louise was sent tumbling once more. Joseph approached the fallen girl. "I must thank you for this practice. It will be most valuable when I deal with her. Though now I suppose you must die." Joseph leveled his wand at the prone girl. Yet his incantation faltered when the sound of splintering wood split the air.

Turning, Joseph found the doorway in shambles. No doubt the result of his polymorphed niece pulling that massive pack through the comparatively tiny doorway. "Baah. (Uncle)" The sheep uttered as it removed the first strap of its pack. "Baah bah baaah bah bah. (You tried to take my mother away from me. Louise returned her.)" Rolling her ewe-ified shoulders, Tabitha moved her hoof to the other strap. "Baah bah bah baaaah. (You tormented me for so long. Louise rescued me.)" Holding the gargantuan pack out slung around one hoof, Tabitha let it drop. "Baah bah. Baah. (You will not take her from me. I will stop you.)"

The pack hit the ground and the airship shook from the sheer force of the impact. Joseph had an instant to comprehend what was happening as the sheep crouched. Then Tabitha launched herself forward. With no pack to weigh her down, she lanced forward faster than the eye could see. Powered by his acceleration magic, Joseph just barely dodged the flying sheep kick. But Tabitha landed on the opposite wall and launched herself back. Again and again the sheepy missile lanced toward the King. Each time Tabitha pressed closer and Joseph's dodge became a little more desperate. His mind raced, trying to understand what he was dealing with. This kind of speed, it had to be magical yet the girl had neither her staff nor even the proper lips to form words of power. "This is ridiculous!" He cried in anger as Tabitha's hoof found its target.

As he had a common sense abiding human being, Joseph's body noticed a hoof traveling impossibly fast had impacted it. After a moment's contemplation it decided that yes, this was likely a killing blow. So with what grace it could muster, Joseph's body ceased to function and the King died indented in the wooden wall.

Tabitha steadied her breathing to quell her rage before turning back to look on Louise. Rather than find the girl still lying down, Tabitha found Louise sitting cross legged with a bowl of stew. She was eating said stew despite the gaping hole in her stomach, yet before Tabitha could exclaim she noticed the wound closing. Tabitha's enigmatic mistress smiled broadly. "Way to go Tabitha! That was amazing!" Tilting her head, Louise sighed, "But now there's no boss for me... Oh well, I did kind of monopolize Fouquet. Besides, now I can do this." Louise tapped the amulet dangled around her neck. Unable to stomach Louise, Tabitha turned and stormed out of the observation cabin.

Outside several chickens pecked at some spilled stock. Airships all around could be seen fleeing from the flagship in panic. The mast of the flagship itself was gone, impeded through an unlucky pair of gargoyles. Holes dotted the deck and several small fires slowly died.

Two figures sat with their backs resting against the railing amidst the chaos their titanic clash had created. When Tabitha exited the Observation deck followed shortly by Louise, the Dragonborn held out his hand. "Pay up."

Sighing, Sheffield produced a satchel of gold and handed it over. "I thought for sure I'd raised him better." She spoke with amused frustration, cracking a smile when the Dragonborn handed her the large health potion. Taking a swig, Sheffield handed the shared drink back.

Taking a swig himself, the Dragonborn watched as Tabitha crossed to the bow of the ship. "Well we did make sure to get her imprisoned before the start of all this." He admitted.

Sheffield eyes the man with mild annoyance. "You hustler." She accused before taking another swig and watching as a hole in her chest closed. Still, she couldn't remain mad once her eyes caught sight of the two sets of underwear lying before them. Giggling, she put her underwear back on and removed it. Immediately the Dragonborn mirrored her and the two quickly devolved into giggles while constantly removing and putting their underwear back on. She had asked him to amuse her, and this definitely counted.

Ignored by the pair of former prisoners, Tabitha leaned against the railing at the front of the ship. She heard Louise stop several paces behind her. No doubt her mistress wanted and explanation. "Bah. (Louise.)" Tabitha spoke vainly. She knew her words couldn't reach the girl, but perhaps that was why it was so easy to talk like this. "Baah bah bah, Baaah bah bah bah bah. (It's strange and scary, but I do love you.)" Tabitha looked to her hoof, unable to clench the nonexistent fingers. "Baah bah baaaahbah bah bah bah. Baah bah bah. Baaah bah baahbah bah bah. (But I cant take being an amusement. I cant bear just being a quest for you to follow. It hurts so much to care for you knowing you are only acting this way to convince yourself of your familiar's logic.)" Spinning around, Tabitha threw her cloven arm out as tears danced from her eyes and soaked her wool coat. "Baah- (Louise-)" Tabitha's words were silenced by the sound of metal impacting wood.

The Amulet of Mara bounced across the planks and came to rest at Tabitha's hooves. Louise met the horizontal pupils of the woman she loved. "Tabitha, thank you for speaking your mind." Placing a hand on her heart, Louise felt it race. "My elated heart has failed to convey my emotions, so allow my lips to suffice." With all her will, Louise poured as much sincerity as she could into her words. "I find you amusing because you make me happy. I follow your quest because I care about you. I do not profess my love for you because of my familiars logic, my familiar's logic allowed me to ignore the fears of my past self and accept my love of you." Looking to the amulet at Tabitha's hooves, Louise continued, "If my advances caused you harm, I shall not wear that amulet until you wish it." Louise closed her eyes, biting back the tears in her eyes. If her vision clouded too much she wouldn't be able to keep reading the subtitles.

Against the railing the Dragonborn nudged his drinking buddy. Looking up, Sheffield realized his intent and grabbed the Wabbajack next to her. It was harder without the runes on her brow to adjust the Wabbajack's time limit, but she managed all the same.

A flash of light drew Louise's attention and she opened her eyes to see Tabitha back in human form; smiling broadly with tears in her eyes and an amulet around her neck. Louise crossed the deck in an instant, crashing into Tabitha and capturing the girl's lips with her own. "Yes." Louise mumbled as she embraced Tabitha. "Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes." As the sun set across the water, the two lovers embraced high above in the winds of the sky.

Pope Vittorio looked upon the ragtag band of heroes that had saved his city. The armored man emanated heroism and was the Gandalfr if his sources were right. That made the pink haired girl he was deferring to Tristain's void mage. Vittorio recognized the blue haired girl intertwining her fingers with the void mage's as Princess Charlotte of Gallia. Though he was grateful for the heroes rescue, he was forced to hide a sneer of disgust when his eyes fell upon the final person before him. "It was your device that destroyed my fleet? And you planned to use another on my city?" Though Vittorio kept his voice level, the guards about shifted; spurred by their restrained anger.

Shrugging, Sheffield elaborated, "More or less. I wouldn't really call firestones a device though." Looking to the Dragonborn she grinned excitedly, but frowned when he shook his head. Now was not the time to play with underwear. Damn those strange rules!

Misreading the man's intent, Vittorio asked the Dragonborn, "So you have brought her to face justice then. I thank you for all you have done for my city." Though Vittorio moved to dip his head, he stopped when the Dragonborn quirked an eyebrow.

Shrugging, the Dragonborn explained. "Not really, shes already been a prisoner so there wouldn't be much to gain there. We just came for the quest reward."

Louise tried to hide her crossed fingers as she mumbled. "Come on new sword. New sword... Sword that is new..." Looking to Dragonborn for support, she found the man offering a thumbs up and her joined her in her chant for a new sword.

Vittorio paused; wholly unamused by the disrespect. "As I said I would be more than willing to reward you, but only after this criminal is imprisoned." Glancing to his knights, Vittorio subtly signaled them to ready for a fight.

Sheffield glanced about to the armored mages, "Are they supposed to arrest me?" She looked with pity to the pope. "I appreciate the the offer, but I'm already full." Though the thought of drinking a Pope's blood... That was tempting. Shaking her head she jutted a thumb toward the Dragonborn. "And this guy already agreed to team up so don't think about offering any quests." Holding her forearm out, Sheffield smiled to her partner.

Impacting the offered forearm with his own in a show of camaraderie, the Dragonborn stated, "Sorry, Voice of the Emperor and all that." When that woman wanted to make a point she was damn good at it. "Anyways, if that fails the quest could you at least marry these two?" He pointed to his master and her lover.

Vittorio's eyes narrowed at the blatant defending of the criminal that threatened thousands. Glancing to where Julio stood waiting in the back, Vittorio hid his smirk. These fools thought they were the only odd familiars. Stalling to give Julio the time he needed, Vittorio looked to the two enamored girls. "Even had you turned over that criminal, I do not have the right to overturn the decree of the founder. Such love is an abomination." Julio inched closer. Just a little longer.

"Wow... You all really are backwards." The Dragonborn looked to Louise and shrugged. "Guess you were right. Plan B then?" At her nod, the Dragonborn turned back to Vittorio. "She figured as much, so we had a back up plan." A shadow shuffled passed Vittorio and the Dragonborn grinned.

Vittorio furrowed his brow, trying to puzzle out the man before him. "Oh, to bad this ends now. Julio!" The pope commanded his familiar. With blade raised high, Julio focused on the Dragonborn's vulnerable back and coiled to strike.

Then nothing.

Turning, the Dragonborn found the would be assassin standing motionless. Julio's eyes remained vacant as he stared off into nothingness. Waving a hand before the man's eyes, the Dragonborn shrugged and looked confused to the Pope.

A knight spoke up to the fuming Pope. "Uh, Your Holiness, I think he's 'lagging out' again." The Pope restrained himself. Not wanting to snap at his soldier for pointing out the obvious. Of all the times! That damnable odd narcolepsy of Julio's had to kick in now.

Once he managed to quell his anger, the Pope grit his teeth and spoke. "Guards, seize them."

At their liege's command, the knights' hands flew to their blades. Yet grasped nothing. A slight breeze blew through the cathedral, chilling the Pope and his knights. Looking down, they found themselves stripped to their undergarments.

"Thief Goddess I tell you!" Fouquet exclaimed as she tossed the pile of armor, weapons, and holy relics into Tabitha's pack.

Offering a thumbs up to his student, the Dragonborn tilted his head as he estimated the time and nodded to the Pope. "Oh, and that plan B of ours? We sent you a letter."

"I been looking for you. Got something I'm supposed to deliver. Your hands only."

In his stupor, the bare Pope took the offered letter from the rustic looking man that had appeared from seemingly nowhere. Just what in Brimir's name?

The courier turned to leave, but the Dragonborn was ready. "Everyone now!" The Dragonborn and his companions sprung forward, piling on to the courier's shoulders and grasping tight for dear life. "Hold On!" The Dragonborn shouted when the courier began to run. Then before the Pope's very eyes the Courier ran off with five people and one very large pack piled on top of him. The courier reached the cathedral doors, and then they were gone.

Just where did they plan to go with a plan as odd as that?