Prologue

Innocence



His footprints are lined with blood

His dagger thirsts for souls

The essence of a killer

He takes the young and old

Silence goes before him

And silence follows nigh

His footsteps never heard

You barely hear the sigh

As he aids death in taking

The lives of all his foes

His heart as black as ink

No mercy he shows

So beware this beautiful shadow

This dangerous enigma

In all his deadly splendor

In the darkness he stays hidden



Arianna closed the book, sighing. She knew killing was wrong, but she couldn't help but fantasize. She was entranced by this poem. It wasn't the writing; it wasn't the structure or even its flow. It was the idea. An assassin. A beautiful shadow. Such an exciting life compared t the one she had.

Arianna stared out the window at the snow, which danced and swirled past her window. She longed to go outside, but Berwick forbade his female servants from doing so unless he ordered otherwise. Pity, really. She wanted so badly to go out into the streets of Skingrad and dance with the snow, but no, instead she was bound with a lifelong contract to Claudio Berwick to serve in his manor. She had to abide by his rules.

"Arianna, you've been staring out that window for half an hour. Go to sleep."

She turned away from the window to glance at Kitty, the maid, who shared a room with Arianna. They had both been given to Berwick as young children, their contracts written out by their parents. Essentially, they had been sold to Berwick, although slavery had been outlawed in Cyrodiil. It was only made legal by the contract.

"Please, go to sleep. It makes me nervous when you do that. It's like you can see something I can't. Like a ghost or something."

"I just like seeing what's going on outside since we rarely leave this manor." Laughed Arianna, much amused by Kitty's comment "Maybe I am seeing a ghost. It's coming for you next." She made ghost noises and walked towards Kitty.

Kitty squeaked and hid under the covers. "Stop it Arianna! You know how it scares me."

Arianna laughed. Kitty was like a sister to her. They were the best of friends, in fact, they were each other's only friends.

There were heavy footsteps fast approaching their door. Arianna dove under her covers and closed her eyes as the cook burst into the room.

"Silence girls! You do not want to disturb the master!" she barked "If you cannot be silent, you will wake up three hours earlier to help in the kitchen!"

Both were silent for a few minutes before Arianna spoke again.

"Kitty?"

But the only response was a slow, rhythmic breathing that told Arianna that she was asleep.

As she lay in the silence, Arianna grew restless, and sat up once again to stare out the window. As she did so, little intricate patterns began to form in the frost on the window. Magic, she knew. She had discovered it eleven years ago when she was nine. She'd had no lessons in it, she was completely self-taught. A little from experimentation, a little from books.

That was another thing, she knew how to read. Berwick forbade his servants from reading, but she couldn't help it. Books were her only escape from her otherwise hard life. All the time she wasn't asleep or slaving away for her drunken pig of a master, she was reading. Especially the poem about the assassin. She had it memorized.

The little patterns curled and crept across the glass as she drew them with her mind until there was no room left. Arianna sighed, and laid her head down, not wanting to fall asleep, knowing that she would eventually have to wake up to face another day.

____

Author's note: Yeah, I know, it's a bit of a weak opener, but I'm not good at beginnings. Conclusions are my strong point. ;) Introducing characters is always hard for me. And the poetry you'll find throughout the story is all written by me, some of it influenced by Loreena McKennitt's music. It's bad, I know, but just bear with me.

But anyway, I'm writing this;

First of all, because I hate the ending of the DB quest (wow, I pretty much just told you what's going to happen in my story) ;)

Secondly, because I feel that in most of the fanfic about the DB and Lucien Lachance is a little too soft. Lucien is a harsh character, but you can't help but fall in love with him. I'm not sure he would fall for someone that easily though… (But who doesn't love him?! He's so lovely, I mean, c'mon!)

(PS, if somebody has a mod that changes the end of the DB quest, please let me download it!! The ending always makes me cry, and I've done the quest over and over as if it will change one of the times.)

Ok, wow this is long, I'd better stop writing now before this becomes longer than the chapter itself. ;)

More coming soon! (Reviews are appreciated…)