Disclaimer: I do not own Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

Corruption
By Indigo44

Chapter 1: The Contract

The vampire's light footsteps carried him down the dark corridors of the Sanctuary. His red eyes pierced the darkness like a cat. He did not need his eyes however; he knew this place better than anything else. This eerie place was his home, and home to all of his brothers and sisters. The cold air was as welcome as a loving embrace.

Silus was young, no older than nineteen. He was skilled in the art of death, previously reaching the rank of Eliminator. But on this day he was not out on a contract. He had been summoned to fulfill an errand that had come directly from the Listener. His errand, although simple, was one of great importance. The Listener had made it quite clear that no one was to know of Silus' mission. Silus was all too happy to oblige.

The thick, wooden double doors leading into Vicente Valtieri's refuge stood before him. He knocked twice, loud enough to know that the Master of the Sanctuary would hear.

"Enter." The command was whispered on the air. Silus' sensitive ears twitched in acknowledgement. His hand turned on the handle and pushed the door ajar. He stepped inside and quickly shut the entrance closed, not wanting the other family members to hear their conversation. He turned his back to the door and his eyes fell on the ancient spirit sitting at the table in front of him.

Vicente had been the one to change Silus into a vampire many months ago and although Silus was now one of his kind, he still felt a chilling fear when he looked upon his Master. Both pairs of red eyes met each other and they both silently reveled in their reunion.

"Dear Silus." Vicente breathed. "It pleases me to find that you are safe." He motioned with one hand toward the second chair at the table. "Please, sit."

Silus took one tentative step after another. Before he sat down he pulled out a folded square of parchment from the pouch on his belt. He sat down and handed the paper to the old one.

"Is this what you were sent to retrieve?" Vicente asked taking the paper and scrutinizing Silus' face, watching for his reaction. Silus nodded mutely. Vicente unfolded the parchment and read the message that had been scrawled upon it. "Did you read this Silus?"

The young killer felt a chill roll down his spine. "No, brother, I did not." He spoke fearfully. Any word that was spoken in Vicente's presence was brutally analyzed. Liars were met with a swift death. However, Silus was telling the truth and he hoped that the old one would see that.

Vicente's eyes bore into Silus, unblinking. No words were exchanged for several moments before Vicente finally looked away. Silus let out a small gasp of relief. Vicente believed him.

"Your may go, Silus. Get some rest." The elder vampire stood gracefully and glided to his desk. Silus hesitated a moment before standing up himself. He walked to the doorway and, with shaking hands, turned the knob and stepped out into the Sanctuary again.

Vicente rubbed his weary eyes with his fingertips. An exasperated sigh escaped his lips as he thought of what he was going to do. He looked down at the message again, assuring himself that he had indeed read what he thought he had.

Uriel Septim

Send Roland.


Roland, a Dark Elf, was the best killer in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary. He was ranked Assassin within a year of his joining the Dark Brotherhood. Lucien Lachance had found him in an abandoned house in a forest to the south of Leyawiin. He had been eight years old when he had been found and he had still been clutching the dagger he had used to kill his father. He had not become a member immediately when he arrived. Because of his age he was put into training with Ocheeva and Teinaava. He and the Argonians ascended through the ranks with great speed once they were allowed to join. They were each other's rivals and their motivations to succeed. He had taken a liking to magicka, mastering destruction and illusion spells. Others envied his ability at killing. Becoming invisible and simply walking through someone's house and kill them was far too easy for him now. Others could struggle for days with a single target. He had grown fond of frightening his victims before their death. Torturing them was becoming easier too, but it made more of a mess so it wasn't his preference.

Roland sat on his bed spinning his dagger between his fingers. He had kept it from the first murder he had ever committed. The dagger, called Iron Heart, was enchanted to turn anyone who was stabbed in the heart with it into stone. Roland's father had suffered from the dagger's curse and Roland kept the memento in his room.

His blood red, Dark Elf eyes glanced up at his prized statue. The doubled over form of his father clutching at his chest had been with him since he had come to the Sanctuary. If anyone doubted his abilities they merely needed to look at his handy work. All the others he had killed with Iron Heart, however, were not skewered through the heart. None of them were "worthy of such a death", as Roland would always respond.

Although Roland's most prominent weapon was his dagger he also owned a sword he had stolen from one particular contract. He had been sent to murder the King of Bravil's son and he soon found that his son was a collector of enchanted weaponry. One particular sword, Vrrendark, was too beautiful to leave behind. The sword was of Dwarven make and was made of the common, gold colored metal that many dwarves favored. Roland had found, through many battles, that Vrrendark was blessed with electricity running down its blade. Roland alone was a skilled swordsman, with a weapon like his he was nearly undefeatable.

"Roland?" The elf's forked ear heard. He looked over to see his door creaking open. A hiss of irritation buzzed between his lips as the visitor entered.

"Vicente." Roland spat. His voice was surprising soft and melodic for a murderer. The vampire drifted into the room, shutting the door behind him.

"You have received a contract, dear brother." Vicente told him. "From the Listener."

Roland's anger weakened slightly. A contract coming from the Listener would mean it came directly from the Night Mother. Although every contract came from her it was a prestigious honor to be contacted directly. Roland had become frustrated with his limited room for improvement. He was already known to be powerful and skilled. What he needed now was to be promoted to a Silencer. That, however, seemed to be a faint hope, seeing as all of the Speakers had a Silencer already in command. This contract, however, may be his way into the higher ranks.

"What's the job?" Roland asked, keeping his face emotionless.

"Assassinate Uriel Septim." Vicente spoke bluntly, as if he was challenging Roland to deny the contract.

The elf's eyes widened. "The Emperor?" His voice was doubtful. "Who could possibly persuade the Night Mother to allow that? There may be dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in Tamriel who would want Septim dead. What made this one request different?"

"A High Elf, named Mankar Cameron, served the Night Mother in his own way. He prayed to her for many nights, asking for the same thing. After completing her own requests she granted him his own." Vicente informed him. "We have been following his movements for many months. He is a slippery creature, but not a disloyal one."

"What did he do for the Dread Mother?" Roland hissed.

"It is not of your concern, brother. He obeyed her, that is enough. Anything she asks of us we are humbled to answer. You shall answer her call, Roland. She asked specifically for you."

"She asked for me?" Roland felt an overwhelming rush of love for the mother he had never met. She had chosen him for this mission, a mission that no assassin had ever succeeded in.

"Yes, she did. Will you take the contract?" Vicente asked, returning to his business-like tone.

"Do you need to ask?" Roland snarled at the vampire.

"Then be on your way. If we do not hear from you within a week . . . we shall assume you have failed." Vicente spoke with a hint of a threat in his voice. He left the room without another word and Roland was left alone in the dim room again.

Roland had never enjoyed the blood drinker's company. He had grown resentful after Vicente refused to promote him any higher. It was Brotherhood tradition to love your fellow Brotherhood members, but there was no love shared between them. Vicente himself felt threatened by the young Dunmer. He could be killed easily if he made Roland angry and he knew it. They got along best when they did not speak to each other.

Roland stood up from his sitting position. He walked over to the wall where he knew a mirror would be pinned. A flame ignited in his hand, illuminating the room a bit further. The mirror he gazed into, although dirty, showed a midnight skinned youth. His hair was nearly black and reached down to his shoulder. Ocheeva sometimes enjoyed braiding it in her free time. He didn't mind. He enjoyed her company. Roland's eyes were redder than most Dark Elves. Some of his brothers and sisters believed it was because he was blessed by Sithis at birth. He did not know the reasons but he enjoyed the effects they had on his victims. The look of utmost fear they had when they looked into his irises was utterly satisfying.

He brought his index finger up to the glass and traced it along his reflected face. It was an odd sign of affection to give oneself but Roland was never one to be considered normal. He loved the way his face had been formed. Whether Sithis had been the one to create him or something else he thanked them for their gift. In truth, he did not fully believe Sithis was as all-powerful as the others thought. He wasn't quite sure what Sithis was. All he truly cared about was the refreshing rush of adrenaline right before he ended another life. He knew exactly how to do it. He had practiced on countless bodies. He knew how he would kill the Emperor. He did not know the lay out of the White Gold Tower, where the Emperor resided, but he knew that finding him would not be difficult. As long as invisibility was in his grasp he would be able to get through the Tower and into the Emperor's chambers within an hour.

He would succeed where others had failed.

End of Part 1