The mist was heavy that night, the clear blue waters of the Anvil harbour were shrouded beneath a thick cloak of grey. Stray beams of light cut through the shadows, from lamps and the great fire raging at the peak of the lighthouse. Ships of all descriptions rocked peacefully in the calm night waters. A small figure sat huddled against the cold stone city walls, a child wrapped in a tattered blanket that wasn't fit for an animal let alone someone so young, and seemingly so defenceless. The child was a Dunmer, with ash grey skin and burning crimson eyes, a stark contrast to the tangled white hair that hung wildly around his face, hiding his eyes and ears from the prying eyes of passing strangers. The child stared longingly into the window of a decrepit building, directly in front of the wall he had come to call home.
The building was shabby, and in disrepair. The stone, once snow white, was a dust stained shade of pale grey, it's wooden frame, splintered and buckling under it's own weight stood miraculously firm around the equally cracked and mossy stone that formed the building's core. A sign swung from time to time, as rowdy sailors made their way too and from the building and a tavern nearby. The engraved letters sparkling in the dim shafts of light cutting their way from the street lamps near the ships.
The Fo'c's'le, was what the sign read, a boarding house for visiting seamen or so it was called. For this child the crumbling structure presented a much more sinister face. Away from the comfortable lives of the aristocracy and the harsh yet safe homes of the city's people. Thieves and beggars alike struggle through their day to day lives, begging for scraps and stealing from the tables of the rich, and the poor alike. For the children who would be beggars, it was a miserable existence, but Anvil all the same was the only home they had ever known.
During the day they were often seen together, the Dark Elf boy and the Wood Elf girl. Though they clearly were not related by blood, they called themselves brother and sister. For between the cold stone of the city walls and the icy depths of the ocean they could only rely on each other. The boy was a good thief, and could pick the pockets of passing sailors, though admittedly it was helpful that most of them were constantly drunk. The girl had enough charm and appeal to earn the pity of passing strangers, and together they were able to garner enough scraps day to day to go on living. To each other they provided the security of family.
But if only every day were so sublime as to get by with such mere skills, every now and then they would starve. The handouts would dry up, the sailors tightened their purse strings and the only way to earn a meal was to provide a service to those who wanted it. And the docks always brought a heady supply of custom to those who would cater to the sinful desires of men who were just passing through.
But she would never allow him to go through that, even if they were starving she was still his older sister, and it was her job, it was her duty to protect him. And so the nights grew fiercely long, each and every second was an arduous experience for both of them.
The Dunmer child stared up at the window, rocking slowly back and forth, gripping his legs tight and wishing that it wasn't her, that it was someone else, anyone else, even him. But he was a coward, and the nights kept coming, and all he earned in return for his criminal efforts was swift, violent retribution from his marks. And so once again he was staring up at that window listening to her cries as she endured. And endure she did, because they were family, and she had to protect him. Every time the cries stopped, the boy looked to the window with relief, and hope that they would not start again. And that she would come back to him soon, and cry into his lap as she did every time.
But this night was different, the cries were abruptly cut off, a shrill screech signalled the end of the night, and the boy stared at the window, hoping she would peer down at him as she always did to let him know she was on her way. He waited, but there was nothing, only silence. His breath grew short and his anxious heart rose up in his chest and he edged closer from his spot near the wall crept toward the window, then he saw her. The Wood Elf girl's brown hair bounced just below the window's ledge, he smiled and he looked up to greet her with wide eyes filled with relief. Her head emerged from the small cut out window and came straight through.
Her small frame fell, unceremoniously to the ground, landing in an undignified heap on the muddy ground. Her tiny body looked frail and broken, a scarlet trail ran serenely from her mouth, her eyes staring blankly up into space.
"Sis? Hey, sis? You fell, are you okay?" The Dunmer child nudged his sister trying to rouse her from her daze. But she lay still, not blinking, not speaking, not breathing. The Dunmer child nudged her again, "Sis? Sis! Wake up, I'll get us some food. Sis... Sis!"
He was a coward, he knew what happened, but he wouldn't accept it. He wouldn't accept that she could just leave him like that. She had to be asleep, she was just tired. It was hard, it was always hard on her, she was just resting... just resting. He tilted her head and her eyes fell closed, he wiped the blood from her mouth and held her head in his lap.
"Sis, we're always going to be together, right? You're going to open your eyes and we're going to make it out of Anvil together? We're going to live in the Imperial City... together." His eyes filled with tears and he shook her harder this time. "Sis, you have to wake up right now! If you don't wake up right now I'm never going to forgive you. Never..." His voice cracked and he began to choke on his own words.
The reality was always going to be harsh, and even a coward like him had to accept reality when it pierced him straight through the heart. He pulled her head close to his chest and he wailed, his mournful bellows echoed across the docks and nearby sailors ceased their drunken shenanigans to observe his suffering. Some of them openly mocked him, others punished their comrades for making light of a child's cries. But he didn't care about any of that, he only cared about her! There had to be something he could do for her!
"Please," he choked, "Please, sis. I'll give you my share, I'll give you anything please just open, JUST OPEN YOUR EYES!" He screamed out, as if he though scolding her would cause her to awaken. But she simply lay, frail and broken in his arms. The boy stopped talking, and he quietly sobbed into her shoulder. Then almost by instinct he looked back up at the window, and he saw him there. A Nord, a muscular barbaric Nord. The Dunmer child's eyes flashed with rage, he bared his teeth and looked as if he were ready to sink them into that man's neck. But shouts nearby quickly stole away his concentration, Anvil guards had come to investigate his cries and before he knew what was happening, the guards were upon him.
They seized his sister, tore her from his grasp and beat him to the ground as if he were a dangerous criminal that needed to be restrained. The Dunmer child strained his eyes to look up into the window above again. The Nord was smiling at him, laughing. He could see the words fall off his lips as clearly as if they were written on parchment. "Filthy brats, that's all you're worth. Nothing." Another strike from the guard and his world went black, only the numb sensation of despair mixed with a seething hatred surged through his body.
When he awoke, he found himself on the deck of one of the ships in the dock. His clothes, though still ragged and tattered, were not his own, his body ached and was bruised from the heavy handed intervention of the guards. An Argonian sailor knelt over him, his red scaled skin glinted in the clearing night sky, shards of moonlight cutting through the thinning fog.
"Yo~u, are a lucky one." The Argonian rasped, "My Captain was ki~nd enough to li~e to the gua~rds for you. Though had it been down to me~, I would have let them cart you off to your execu~tion." The Argonian flicked his tongue, satisfied with his speech, before raising himself to his full height and giving way to another man, an Imperial dressed in a heavy leather coat.
"That'll be enough outta' ye'." The man snapped at the Argonian sailor, it would seem he was the captain he had mentioned. "Aye, lad. Lucky ye' are. A thief too, but a killer ye' ain't, so I convinced 'em otherwise."
"My sister. I have to go to my sister." The Dunmer child forced himself to his feet and staggered a few paces before collapsing into the waiting arms of the Imperial captain.
"Ye' won't be going anywhere with those bruises, lad." The Captain grinned and and playfully pushed the child back towards the bedroll.
"Yo~u should be thankful, boy." The Argonian chimed in again, " The Captain has taken pity on yo~u. So you can sta~y with us until we leave port."
"Aye." The Captain stood to his full height, his face revealed fully in the moonlight. He was an old man, his face bore many scars and was disfigured to the point where it was barely a face at all, more like a mesh of melted skin. "So as soon as ye're well enough, ye'll be payin' me back too lad, with hard work I should say."
The Dunmer child didn't feel like he had a choice. He was thankful to be safe, and wearing clothes that didn't smell like he had been wearing them for years. But all he wanted, all he needed was to be back in the company of his sister... his face grew grim and pale as the reality of what happened flooded back into his mind.
The next few days were a blur, he recovered faster than expected and was put to work on the ship. Helping prepare for it's departure. In the short time, he grew close to the man he knew only as 'Captain' and even warmed up to the Argonian first mate a little, though that was a much more difficult endeavour. Even so he didn't dwell on it too much, he never had any intention of staying on board. Before they were due to set off, they said their goodbyes and went their separate ways, the Dunmer child stood on the edge of the docks, watching the ship weigh anchor and make it's way off into the sunset.
He turned to leave, his eyes darted to the old spot by the city wall, just behind the inn. And he braced himself to go back there... alone. But then he saw him, he walked right by without even acknowledging his existence. The same one, that filthy Nord that did that to his sister. He walked right by, as if he didn't know, as if he didn't even remember what he had done!
The familiar sorrow and rage welled up inside his chest and the Dunmer child felt his hand reach toward the knife strapped to his waist, he had been given it to use as a tool around the ship but now, now he was going to use it for revenge. He was determined, he was going to cut out that Nord's heart, and crush it underfoot. It took all his self restraint not to draw and jump at the man right here, but he knew if he did, he would be cut down in an instant. He watched the Nord board a ship,the ship right next to the one he had been working on all this time, and walk straight into the Captain's cabin.
The child's hand shook with rage but he calmed himself, and he bade his time. He was a thief after all, and there's only one way for a thief like him to use his light body to his advantage. All he had to do was wait.
Under cover of darkness, the Dunmer child crept stealthily along the dock, the creaking planks of the gangway made almost no sound under a body ravaged by malnutrition. A single sailor patrolled the deck of the ship he made his target, carrying a torch and a cutlass strapped at his side. He walked slowly back and forth, swaying from time to time. That was it! He was drunk! Another easy mark, but he didn't want money this time, no, he wanted blood. Not his blood, all he needed to do was get by him, and get by he did. Slipping invisibly into the Captain's cabin, the door creaking almost inaudibly in his wake.
The interior of the cabin was dimly lit, but he was used to that. It stank in there, the rotten stench of mead, sweat and a few other things all mixed together. The Dunmer child crept across the wooden flooring, the large figure of the Nord captain was slumped in his bed. His snores easily masking any noise the child may have made. And finally, he was upon him. His face looked almost peaceful, as if he were completely innocent, but in his hand, he held it.
Seeing it there was unforgivable, the child's face twisted with rage. How dare he! It was a pendant belonging to his sister, the only thing she ever actually owned, the only reminder she had of her real parents. He couldn't bare it any longer, he didn't care if the man was asleep, defenceless and had no chance of saving himself. What chance had he given his sister? No chance! He didn't deserve any mercy! The child's face twisted further, a vile hatred boiled inside him, he needed blood, he needed this man's blood to satisfy this hatred. He needed this blood so his sister could rest peacefully! So he didn't hesitate, without even giving the Nord a chance to awaken, he plunged the knife into his forehead, piercing his skull and slicing through his flesh.
The Nord was already dead, but the Dunmer child pulled the knife out and plunged back inside, this time straight into his chest, fiercely trying to dig out his heart. It was futile however so he merely pulled it back out, and thrust it in again, over, and over. Blood soaked his hands, his clothes, spilled over the floor and stained the wood a rose colour hue.
The child paused, his hand resting firmly on the handle of the knife. What now? He'd done it. So what now? He had to get away, he had to get way before anyone found out what he'd done. He pulled back the knife and slid it calmly back into it's scabbard. As if what he'd done were simply the most natural thing in the world. And quietly left the way he came, leaving the drunken sailor to continue his patrol blissfully unaware he had now moved up one rank.
The Dunmer child walked solemnly along the gangway, his footsteps now heavy he made his way to the wall. No one seemed to notice him, if they did, they didn't seem to care. He made his way back to his blanket and collapsed on it. Pulling it around him he curled up against the wall and slowly drifted to sleep, a sly smile spread across his face.
That night he dreamt of his sister, they were sitting on a balcony. Overlooking the gardens of the Imperial City. She seemed healthy, and happy, as if they had never been orphans at all, as if they had never had to endure the life they had before. The streets of Anvil were many memories away, but like all dreams, it was over before it had even seemed to begin. And he was awake again, a cold chill driving itself like a knife into the heart of his soul. But something wasn't right, he looked up to see a black cloaked man standing over him. The Dunmer child gasped and scrambled backwards, tangled in his blanket he merely floundered on dry land. The black cloaked man just smiled and watched him struggle.
"Who are you?!" The child demanded impertinently.
The black cloaked man drew himself up to his full height and looked down on the boy with cold clear eyes, his lips pursing into a wry smile. "My name is Lucien Lachance. And you, are a cold blooded killer."