Pente the Bosmer had just experienced one of the best days of her life.
It wasn't a spectacular day by most peoples' standards - it was just unusual for her to have a full day where everything simply went well. The weather was glorious, she had just moved into her beautiful new house without a hitch, and she had actually managed to bake a cake without burning it (or herself) for the first time in her life. This was what she considered the highlight of her beautiful, perfect day - the little Wood Elf was incredibly clumsy and disaster tended to follow her around almost constantly. But not today! Yes, thought Pente, today was special. As she settled down to sleep, a contented smile crossed her face. Moving to Kvatch was, so far, proving to be the best decision she had ever made.
Well, until the Oblivion Gate opened and Daedra swarmed the town. That kind of put a dampener on things.
"Oh no, oh no, oh nooo!" Pente wailed, scampering around her bedroom fitfully. "Help! Someone!"
She had been awoken from her slumber by shrill screams of terror. Peeking from her window had revealed that the town was overrun with Daedra soldiers, and Pente was currently in the process of panicking ineffectually. As a result, she was still racing around in her nightdress when the Daedra broke down the door of her lovely new house. Pente froze and let out a strangled squeak of terror. This could not be happening. Not now. Not on her lovely, perfect first day in Kvatch!
An inhuman roar coming from downstairs convinced her that this was happening, and that the best course of action would probably be to hide in the wardrobe.
Pente quickly concealed herself inside it, and covered herself with some of her dresses just in case anyone opened the wardrobe doors. Quivering, she lay in silence. She could hear the monsters tearing through her house, smashing and destroying her possessions as they went. For a moment, she lamented the loss of the mostly un-eaten cake - her first one! - until she heard one of the invaders break into her room. Cake suddenly seemed a lot less important.
Clapping her hands over her mouth to suppress another terrified squeak, the Bosmer lay as still as she could. She peered through the crack in the wardrobe doors to try and get a glimpse of whatever was out there, but her vision was very limited. She could see something vaguely human-shaped kicking over the boxes of things she hadn't unpacked, but not much else - and she certainly wasn't going to risk moving a muscle to get a better look. Pente closed her eyes and prayed silently to the Nine for aid.
Oh, please, PLEASE don't let them find me. Please please please? I'll always be good and I'll donate to beggars instead of pretending I can't see them and I'll pray at the temples EVERY DAY, I promise, and...
...Hold on. Why does it feel like I'm falling?
Pente's entire world tilted as the wardrobe suddenly toppled over onto its side, shoved by one of the Daedra. The crashing thud it made thankfully masked Pente's cry of fear and pain as her face slammed hard against the wood. A metallic taste flooded her mouth, and she was confused for a split-second before realising that it was blood. Apparently, she had split her lip. Pente lay still for a while, nursing her aching face. Everything seemed to be quiet now, and it appeared as if the Daedra had left to go and search for victims elsewhere.
But wait! What if they're hiding? Pente thought, fearfully. They could be trying to draw me out!
But if they ARE trying to get me to come out, that means they know I'm here. Which means I should run.
Any minute now. I can't just lie here forever! Although maybe I should just wait a little longer, just in case. Or... or...
...damn it all!
Pente burst out of the wardrobe and scrambled to her feet. Frantically, she whirled around and scanned the room for enemies. Nothing was there. She was safe, for now. Pente began to quickly search through the scattered boxes that lined the floor along with her furniture that the invaders had destroyed. Where is it? Oh, why did they have to make such a MESS?
After less than a minute, she found what she was looking for - a battered old set of heavy armour that had belonged to her grandfather. It was more ornamental than practical; its only real value was as an antique. Still better than nothing, she figured, strapping it on as quickly as she could. It was slightly too big for her, was missing a helmet, and it moved awkwardly in most of the joints. But still - better than nothing. Pente took a deep breath.
Alright. Here I go.
She sprinted out of her room and down the stairs, as fast as she could. The armour was hampering her ability to run, but there was no way she was going to turn around and change back into her nightdress! Bursting out of the front door, Pente took in the scene around her. Kvatch was unrecognisable from the way it had looked just a few hours ago. Buildings were on fire, dead bodies were strewn across the streets and thick, acrid smoke filled her nostrils. It was horrific, and Pente had to fight the urge to be sick. Movement across the street caught her eye - a gang of Clannfear daedra were chasing a small group of people fleeing towards the chapel of Akatosh. Quickly! She urged herself, heart pounding. While they're distracted! Go!
Her armour clanking noisily, Pente fled down the streets towards the town's main gate. She miraculously made it all the way there without being noticed, and felt a small, guilty pang of gratitude for the people who had been running to the chapel - by acting as a distraction, they had likely saved her life. She threw all her weight against the gate to get it to open, and as it gave way, she fell flat on her face. Pente looked up, fresh blood dribbling from the cut on her lip.
There it was. The portal to Oblivion. Right in front of her. With a scamp emerging from it and running straight at her, baying for blood.
"YAAAAAGHHH!" Pente screamed, rolling over to escape the creature. It leaped right over her head and she used the opportunity to get up and start running again. The scamp gave chase, jabbering incoherently. Pente grabbed a sword from the body of a guard, whirled around, closed her eyes, blindly waved the sword in the scamp's general direction...
...and gaped in astonishment as she opened her eyes to see it dead in front of her, its head sliced off neatly. I did it! By Azura, I did it!
"YOU! You there! Over here, hurry!"
Pente turned around clumsily, the armour restricting her even more now that she was tired. There was a man - a Kvatch guard - waving at her from a ridge at the other side of the Oblivion gate. Relief threatened to overwhelm her as she rushed over to him, panting. "Oh, thank the Nine! Please, help! I--"
"I saw you kill that creature, soldier! Good job!" the guard boomed, slapping Pente on the back in what he clearly thought was a friendly manner. Pente gasped, slightly winded despite the protection her armour offered. "You have talent! And it looks like you've been in a fair few fights, too." His eyes settled on her bleeding lip, and Pente shook her head frantically.
"Oh, no no no! You see, I was trapped in a wardrobe and--"
"You even escaped the city all by yourself! I'm very impressed!"
"No, the Daedra were chasing the others, and--"
"So modest!" the guard grinned, patting her on the head in a fairly patronising manner. "Look, do you think you could help us? Some of our men went into that thing," he said, pointing at the gate, "and never came back. I don't suppose you'd be willing to help find them?"
"I'm n-not, I mean, I don't think I can, um--"
"Come on, then! For Kvatch!" the guard cried, giving Pente another friendly slap on the back. Pente stumbled, tripped over, and fell through the Oblivion gate with a short scream.
There was silence for a moment. Jesan Rilian raised his hand. "Captain Matius?"
"Why did you send her into the gate? Alone? When fully-trained soldiers have been in there and not returned? She's just a little Wood Elf!"
Savlian Matius stared at the portal in front of him, a far-off look in his eyes. "Because she's not just any Wood Elf, of course. She's a hero. Look at the way she ran through that gate! Did you hear her scream of fury at the Daedric scum? Now that is a warrior, soldier. Yes... a true hero..."
Pente fell flat on her face for what seemed like the billionth time that day. She scrambled to her feet, trembling, and looked around.
Ohhh, no no NO. This is NOT happening. Can I go home now?
Oblivion was like nothing Pente could ever have imagined. Red-hot lava was seemingly everywhere. Corpses littered the barren landscape, twisted into distorted images of their living selves. The stench was unbelievable, an abhorrent mixture of sulphur, burning flesh and something that Pente couldn't quite place - hot metal, perhaps. It made her eyes stream, and she couldn't help but retch at the sights and smells that greeted her. Choking back a sob, she hugged herself fearfully.
... I'm going to die. Well, isn't that just TYPICAL? I can't possibly have one good day, can-- OH!
Pente shrieked in delight as a Kvatch guard came running towards her. He waved his arms in the air wildly, and appeared to be yelling something. "Hello! HELLO?" Pente cried, waving back at the man. "Oh, thank the Nine!" She strained her ears, trying to make out what he was saying.
...Odd. Sounds like "get out of the way, you stupid bloody imbecile". How strange.
"MOVE, you blasted idiot!" the guard screamed, and shot an arrow over Pente's shoulder. Squealing in a most unladylike fashion, she dived to the ground and felt warm blood splatter over the back of her head. Peeking over her shoulder, she saw the body of a huge and incredibly ugly Dremora, with an arrow now buried in its neck. Yet again, Pente fought back the urge to be sick.
Still crouching on the ground, she peered up at the guard. "Th-th-thankyou! Thankyou, oh, THANKYOU!" she grovelled, clumsily standing upright. "I can't... I mean, you... We have to g-get out of here!"
"Are you the reinforcements?!" gasped the guard, aghast. Pente wrung her hands, embarrassed.
"Well, maybe, kind of. I think so. I was just pushed through the gate by your Captain, but this is all a big misunderstanding and I don't know what to do," she wailed, tears welling in her eyes. "I'm just Pente. I can't fight or run fast or even bake a cake. Well, until yesterday. But the Daedra probably ate it, I mean, do they even eat cake? I--"
"SHHH!" hissed the guard, with more than a hint of annoyance. "Stop babbling about cake and come with me! I've been told what to do to close this thing. We need to pick up some kind of stone," he explained, and pointed towards a huge tower across the lava from where they were. "It should be in there. Hurry, we have to move fast!"
"W-w-we?" moaned Pente, shaking violently.
"Yes." The guard strode off towards the tower. "Come, um... Pente, was it? I'm Ilend. Follow me, unless you'd rather stay here by yourself."
Pente ran to catch up. "W-wait! Don't leave meee!"
Notes: "Meh Ayleidon" is a traditional Bosmer poem, and the title translates to "One Thousand Benefits of Hiding". I figured it was appropriate! Also, Pente is pronounced "Pen-tay", not "Pent". More goofery to come soon!