-1Chapter 1: Long Days Night
Thrown against the hard stone, she gasped as pain shot up her knees. Her anger flared once more and she flung at her captor, who she was now separated from by a heavy iron gate. Still she strained to hit him. The guard however had stepped back.
Stupid guard, she thought with a huff as he walked away without so much as a word. She blew a stray strand of hair out of her face in frustration. "Well now! A pretty little Wood Elf." She turned her head slightly to see a dark elf with slicked back silver hair smiling evilly at her from across the hall. "You're a little far from the forest, huh?" Damn it, she knew that look.
"Looks like your days of woodland frolicking have come to a tragic end. To go to the land of Valenwood to a rat infested hole like this? How very sad."
"I was raised in Boarder Watch, bastard." Then she stalked to her bedroll and covered her head with the sad excuse for a pillow as to stop his words from infesting her mind. "And I'm only half Wood Elf."
Tsamusa awoke once again to the four stone walls of her cell. The floor was hard even under her bedroll. It must soon be time for release right. They can't imprison you forever... The nerve of some people. Locking up an innocent half-Bosmer like her. Especially one as cute as her. Her sun kissed skin, and hair so blond it was almost white... Almost. Her bright violet eyes, and only slightly pointed ears. She pitied the poor guards who had to lock her up. They'd been awestruck and she knew it. But when you're caught inside the Imperial Palace with enough stolen goods to buy the Temple District and Talos Plaza, you aren't let off so easily, no matter how adorable you ate. She sighed again and there was a laugh across the hall. Groaning she stood, better get the morning taunt out of the way. Valen Dreth, his name was, and he smiled from across the hall. It wasn't a pleasant smile either. It was the nasty smile of a twisted mind. She didn't know what he was in for, surely insanity wasn't good enough cause to arrest a man?
"Ah the pretty Bosmer is awake. Hello, cousin Wood elf."
She rolled her eyes, "Pleasant morning to you, Valen."
He hissed, "It won't be so pleasant when I come of there and stick my dick up your ass. Will it, you filthy little wench."
She winced, "You must be unbalanced."
"Those walls must feel like they're closing in on you."
"No but the smell from your side of the hall is a bit overwhelming."
He went on as if he didn't hear her, "Pretty soon you'll go mad and the guards will cut your throat just to stop the ranting. That's right! You're going to die in here. Hey! You hear that?" then she did and her pointed ears perked; Foot steps and voices. It wasn't meal time yet. It was to early. "They're coming for you. I hope your execution will be long and painful."
"Bite me, Dreth."
"Baurus lock that door behind us." A male guard in fancy looking armor came to the door and looked up the passage as a woman in similar armor and a man in fine silk robes turned the corner.
"My son's have fallen." Said the man in silks. It was then she recognized him. He was the EMPEROR.
The woman turned to him, "The messenger only said they were attacked!"
"No... They're dead. I know it." The emperor's heirs? Dead? Oh, she thought, the young one was kind of handsome.
"My job right now is to get you out safely."
Suddenly it was as if the emperor looked around, and saw the cells, "I know this place! The prison?"
"What's this prisoner doing here? This cell was suppose to be off limits." She sounded irritated. Like she was in this cell totally to ruin her day.
The man heard that to and he stammered, "A usual mix up with the watch. I-"
She groaned, "Never mind! Get the door open!"
"Stand back, prisoner!"
"My name is Tsamusa."
"That's a Khajiit's name." The male guard in a fancy getup said with a glare.
She rolled her eyes again, "Well, it's the only name I've got so try using it."
"Stand down... Tsamusa. We won't hesitate to kill you if you get in our way." She turned on her heels and walked with mock stiffness to the window. "Stand out of the way and you won't get hurt." She restrained herself from rolling her eyes. Like this guard could hurt her in these close of quarters. He'd hit the wall first and she'd have her fist to his face before he could recover.
"Let's go! We're not out of the woods yet."
But the emperor was staring at her, " Wait. Come into the light prisoner." She took a step forward illuminating her face in the light from the window. He recoiled, "You... I've seen you're face." She pointed to herself as if to clarify he was talking about her. He ignored it, "Then the stars were right. This is the day. Gods give me strength."
"What's going on?" She hoped she sounded like less of an idiot than she thought she did.
"Assassin's have attacked my son's. My Blades are leading me out through a secret escape route that just happens to lead through your cell." she was dumbfounded. She was witnessing history! "Perhaps the Gods have put you here so we may meet. What ever you have done, it is not what you'll be remembered for."
"Look, I think you've got the wrong girl here! I'm only eighteen, and-! And I follow my own path!"
"So do we all. But what path can be avoided when set by the almighty gods?" She couldn't argue with that. But her and the Nine had never been best of friends. Her line of work didn't steer her near any temples or Chapels.
"Please sir! We must keep moving." He turned away. Tsamusa watched as she pulled a lever and opened a passage, "Better not close this one. There's no way to open it from the other side.
The third blade locked her cell door and smiled at her, "Looks like it's your lucky day. Just... Stay out of our way, okay, pretty one?" He winked at her and kept going. She stared after them, dumbstruck. Then she hurried. Stumbling into a place that looked as if it was abandoned for thousands of years. It was dripping and covered with spider webs. But it had the eerie glow of an Ayleid ruin. She'd been in one once not that long ago. Made sense seeing as the White Tower in the center of the Imperial City was built by them. When she caught up with the royal party she walked right in on an assassination attempt. She ran to the emperor and held up her fists in defense.
"Are you alright, Emperor?"
"This is only the beginning. Worse is yet to come."
The third blade came back, "It's clear for now." He saw her and smiled. He looked older in this light, more worn he couldn't be more than thirty yet the lines on his face said fifty. He was handsome, but she had a feeling he was more handsome not that long ago.
"Baurus! Captain Renault?"
"She's dead... I'm sorry sire but we must keep moving." He looked much more sad then the Emperor. It must have been a heavy strain on him, constantly on the alert, watching out for assassins and all that. And losing a comrade too. He seemed like a gentle spirit. She was very happy he was so kind to her.
"They waited for us here!" the first blade growled.
"Glenroy, it's to late to go back now. We'll get you out of this, sire."
"They won't be the first to under estimate the Blades. I'll take point. Let's move." He glared at Tsamusa, "Stay here, prisoner. Don't try to follow us." Suddenly a gate closed behind him. That Glenroy was a real ass. She missed Renault's indifference. Sighing she took in her surroundings. The dead woman, a couple of dead assassins. By the woman was a very fine sword. Her fingers twitched at the sight of it. Her inner thief demanding she reach for it. Cautiously she looked around. No one but the rats.
"Well? What can I do?" A certain ominous feeling remained from the words she'd exchanged with the emperor, egging her to move as quickly as she could. The Natural Caverns were pretty straight forward. She cut through all the rats like they were warm cheese with the Captains sword. The zombie seemed a little random but what with all the craziness that day she just sliced it in two with Renault's weapon. It was a nice blade, considering it was a Blade's blade. Haha, she'd thought a joke, causing her to giggle and anger a goblin she hadn't seen that was watching over a roasting rat. Gods, did she hate goblins. Where there's one there's- And as if on cue there were two more waiting for her. "Damn, of all the creatures that had to inhabit this place!" She made her way through an encampment of the things. Striking down their shaman like it was just as tough as the rats in the pens they had. She huffed a little and rotated her arm. It had turned out to be a nice workout. She didn't use blades often because of the noise factor. She preferred hand to hand combat. "I kind of miss the zombie." She lamented snatching the goblin shaman's staff. It was pretty impressive. Along with all her loot, she'd fetch a good price in the Market District. She went through the door at the very back of the cave and down the little tunnel examining her new staff.
"I'd like to rest a bit longer-"
Suddenly she was falling through air, "Ahhhh!"
"It's the prisoner again! Kill her, she's probably working for the assassins!" That was Glenroy of course. That man had it out for her.
"No!" That was the Emperor and Baurus. Glenroy glared at him, but Baurus just stood a little straighter.
"She can help us, Glen! She MUST help us." That shut Glenroy up. "Walk with me. Glenroy and Baurus will keep watch." She did and he smiled at her, "They cannot understand why I trust you. They haven't seen what I've seen. How can I explain?"
"Try how you know all this."
"You know the Nine? How they guide our fates with an invisible hand."
She winced, "The gods are not overly fond of me at the moment. I haven't been very good."
He chuckled, "I've served the Nine and I chart my course by the cycles of the heavens... Tell me, what is your birthsign?"
"Um... The Tower, I think."
"The stars show the end of my path. A necessary end. It comes swiftly."
"And... My path? Can you see my fate." She gulped. She didn't like this.
"Your stars are not mine. Today the Tower shall prove a stout refuge in time of need. My dreams have granted me no opinions of success. Their compass ventures not beyond the doors of death. But in your face, I behold the sun's companion. The dawn of Akatosh's bright glory may banish the coming destruction. With such hope and the promise of your aid my heart must be satisfied." She blushed.
"Are you sure about me? That I'm your chosen? I mean, before I was imprisoned I was-"
"A thief correct?"
"Yes. A very good one. Almost got away with your fine dishware."
He laughed, "You're very funny. It's very sweet of you to try to make me laugh on this day. Your success means I've excepted my destiny." He looked deep into her eyes, like he could see her soul in them. She wanted it to be worthy of the pride and confidence she saw in them, "No matter what happens today, you should not take the blame. It is no one's fault but THEIRS and they will get what's coming to them by your hands."
"Aren't you afraid to die?"
"No trophies of my triumphs precede me. But I have lived a good life and my ghost shall rest easy. Men are but flesh and blood, pretty Bosmer. They know they're going to die. The key is when. In this I'm blessed to see the hour of my death."
"Where are we headed?" She asked as they turned another corner.
"I go to my grave. You shall join me for a while more yet but then we must part. Where I go, you cannot follow."
"Damn it! It's barred from the other side!" Glenroy called.
"A trap. What about that side passage back there?" Baurus called back.
"Worth a shot." They all went to the side passage. A dead end of course, Glenroy looked back. "Behind us! Wait here, sire." Then he ran out with cry. "For the Emperor!"
"Guard him with you life!" Baurus added touching her forearm. She nodded, and he ran after Glenroy.
Suddenly the emperor spun her around. "I can go no further. You alone must stand against the on coming destruction. Hurry. There's not much time. I bestow this upon you. The Amulet of Kings." Swiftly he handed her the amulet he'd been wearing around his neck, "Take this to Jauffre. Only he can tell you where to find the last son and close shut the jaws of Oblivion." Suddenly a stone panel behind him rose and an assassin popped out to slay him. He fell to the ground with a thud. Tsamusa let out a cry and the assassin came after her. She grabbed the blade she'd taken from the captain and slit his throat. He fell to the ground, very dead. Tsamusa didn't seem to notice that, as her knees collapse under her weight. That's how Baurus found her. She was weeping by the emperor's body.
"I was so confused by what he was saying, I didn't react quickly enough. It's my fault. He's dead. Such a sweet old man."
"No..." Baurus clenched his fists and knelt beside her. He gently put a hand on her shoulder. The touch surprised her, but she didn't mind. "It's my fault. We've failed... I've failed. I swore to protect him and now he and all his heir's are dead!"
"He gave me this." She showed him the amulet and the blade gawked at it, "Tell me he didn't give me what he said he did."
"It's the Amulet of Kings." He whispered. The red stone flickered red light across the dungeon that seem to come from deep within the gem.
"He said I'm to take it to Jauffre. But I don't know who that is."
"The grandmaster of the blades." he whispered. Then cleared his throat, "He lives as a monk in Weynon Priory just outside of Chorrol." The blade chuckled, and gripped her shoulder gently, "The emperor saw something in you. We talked about it while we were separated from you. I had asked him if he was sure of you. But he just grinned at me and asked if I was sure."
"Are you?" she asked timidly.
He paused, not hearing Glenroy come to the chamber entrance and watch, "I was sure about you the moment I saw you." His face was hidden in the shadows but she did see a hint of a smile.
She closed her eyes and wiped her tears, "Thank you, Baurus."
"We'll stay with his body. You go meet Jauffre. Weynon Priory is to the south east. Here's the key to the sewers. And be careful there's lots of creatures down there." This all seemed very rushed. She stopped from going down the passage remembering.
"Here." She handed him Captain Renault's sword.
"You collected her sword." He said quietly. Like he was assessing what that meant and how he should feel about it. It seemed to please him.
"I couldn't just leave a fine sword... Of a fine woman lying about."
"Thank you." His features softened. For a minute, he was twenty again. She was right. Before the Blades he was VERY handsome indeed. "It will be hung with honor in our hall." Only then did she go through the passage with only one teeny glance back at Baurus. The sewers were dark, disgusting, and filled with rats but she managed to get to the door only half covered in slime. When she climbed the ladder and went through the gate, the sunlight was blinding. She stood in it and spun around, giddy with freedom and relief. Then she saw the river and jumped in. Washing herself clean of the sewers and the dread of the sorrow she'd pushed back from her mind.