WHEW! I just spent two hours on this baby, and its 3,485 words! NOW we're talking! Those last four were PATHETIC!
This is the first time I actually got to put some of my character's personality into my writing. I'll admit its quite awkward for me to be writing in the first person, so I do apologize for the lack of emotion in previous chapters. Anyway, please do enjoy this one!
If you'll remember, last time I spoke about discovering quests and the completion of my first two. You also heard about the three rewards I received; Krok, Herald, and Minerva. These three, amongst many others, remain close to my heart, right up there with Charlie.
But not all quests give creature rewards…at least, not directly. There are two that grant a magus different rewards. One of them is Missing Dragons. It grants you access to Rone, an island located near the Callisto Islands. By having access to this place, one is able to have a spell cast upon any rewin dragon of their to make them grow large, into a rewin ancient. We are able to do this as many times as we want, on as many rewin dragons as we want.
The second quest is one called Mysterious Business. Just as you would expect, the trials in order to complete this quest are of a shady nature, and as such, many a magi refuses to participate in it. The requirements are simple enough, however.
I was exploring the Merchant District one morning, Charlie by my side as she always was those days. I was just leisurely looking about the many shops located there, when I noticed a fellow magus behaving suspiciously. I followed him into a dark alley, where I found a loan door. Nervously, I rapped on it. Somebody opened a small window and peeked out.
"You are not a member! Go away!" he shouted immediately.
He slammed the window shut, leaving me standing there dumbfounded. Now one would likely think, "Hey, how does this guy know you are not a member. Surely it cannot be so exclusive that everybody knows everybody else's face?" and you are entirely correct! I will go into more detail later, but for now allow me to say that I have a few features that are expressly my own, and anybody would be able to recognize if they had not seen me in part of their organization.
But I was not about to be turned away. Oh no. I'm not like that. Just because somebody slams a teeny tiny door in my face doesn't mean we're through. Thoroughly annoyed with the man behind that little window, I rapped upon the door again. Sure enough, the man opened up his little hole again and peered through. I could hear him begin to inhale before he was going to shout at me again, so I decided to cut him off right then and there.
"I want to become a member!" I insisted.
Mind you, I had no idea what it was that I would be becoming a member of, but I was not about to let this egotistical man go without first gaining some understanding of what was behind that stupid peephole of his.
The man looked over my shoulder, at Charlie who had followed me into the dark alleyway. I could hear that jerk begin to snicker as he looked her over. I'm not going to lie that I was worried he was going to say something inappropriate had to be done to her. I was ever so thankful this was not the case, although his words only further irritated me.
"You call that feathered creature a companion? Pathetic! Anyone can tame a gryphon. No, that creature there is not satisfactory. To prove you are worthy of even being considered, show us that you can tame a dark and dangerous creature! Then we will consider your application!"
Charlie gave a snort and crouched down at these words. She was all ready to fight, and I was quite tempted to allow her to simply destroy the door and that mans crappy little hole in the process. Maybe even allow her to do the man himself some damage. That would bring disgrace upon the name of the magi, however, and therefore I had to be better than that. I had to be the bigger man here.
"Alright, and what creature might that be?" I asked.
"Figure it out yourself!" he barked before slamming that blasted hole shut again. Oh the things I wanted to shove into that man's hole out of spite…
Moving right along, I returned to my chambers around sunset. At this time, I had already obtained a fair amount of companions. Most of them slept with others of their kind, be it out in the stables and barns, or in the fields, gardens, lakes, and other areas around the Keep. Only a few remained in my quarters. These were Charlie, my etainian alphyn France the Grape, Herald, Minerva, my baku Crack, my anaugi Yorick, and Krok. When I flopped down onto my bed and Charlie lay on her own bed of straw, I discovered many a creature attempting to garner my attention. Herald and Minerva both slithered their ways to the head of my bed and laid their heads down beside mine, nuzzling me. Crack, not being allowed on the bed because of her hooves, stood beside the bed where I would be able to stroke her simply by dangling my hand over the edge. Yorick climbed her way onto the foot of the bed, where she lay across of my ankles as she was not one to enjoy being petted but still liked to be in contact with me. France the Grape, also have hooves but only on his back legs, reared up to lay his from paws on the side of the bed, where he yipped at me to pet him. The last member to join me on my bed was Krok, who came bounding across the room from her own bed of straw to pounce on my chest and lick my face. She may have been fully grown, but she was still a puppy at heart.
I spent a long time that way, pinned beneath my favorite companions and alternately petting all of them aside from the snoozing Charlie in her corner and Yorick who was now cutting off the circulation to my foot. It really was quite relaxing, despite how it sounds. I found myself falling into a lazy haze of thoughts. I probably would have fallen asleep, if it weren't for the fact that I started myself into full consciousness as I lay a hand on Krok for about the twentieth time.
Krok was a hellhound! Hellhounds were generally considered dark and dangerous creatures, right? I sat up so abruptly, I woke up Charlie. I lifted Krok up by picking her up under the armpits and held her above my head. She stared at me most confused as I stared back open-mouthed and speechless. Much to the dismay of every companion in that room, I quickly got myself out of bed and called Krok to come with me. Charlie was about to rise and come as well, but I held up a hand telling her to say. Confused, she obeyed, and Krok and I hurriedly left the Keep.
Krok kept staring at me curiously as I made my way swiftly along the less crowded streets of the Merchant District. It took a few minutes of searching, but I finally located the dark alley where I had been earlier. I made my way down it and to the door where once again I gave a knock.
This time, I couldn't help the smug expression on my face as that stupid man opened his stupid window and peered out, only to see me again, and this time with a hellhound by my side. Without a word he closes the window once more, and I could hear him fussing with a set of keys and the lock upon the door. After a few moments, the door itself is swung open, and the man whom I loathed so much was grinning broadly at me.
"Come in!" he said loudly, beckoning me inside.
I entered quickly, before this man did anything else that made me want to punch his lights out. Krok didn't quite seem to know what was going on, but she knew she had just done something right and she was wearing a rather smug expression for a canine.
I was led into a door off to our right, where I was told to sit down. I did so, and the man explained that someone would be right with me. I gave a shrug and took the only seat available in the whole room. For several minutes, I watched as Krok silently wandered the room, sniffing along the floor and walls. I wasn't sure what it was she smelled, but then again she WAS a dog of sorts so what else was she supposed to do?
Finally a figure clothed in dark robes entered the room. I stood and held out my hand to shake hers, but only received a silent stare in return. Beginning to wonder why I even bothered to come this far, I sat down once more and waited for this person to speak.
"So you wish to join us?" So it was a woman. I was half-tempted to give a snide remark, but decided to keep my mouth shut around a lady. I nodded. "Do you even know what it is you want to join?"
Well, she had me there. I really had to freaking clue as to what this place was. I just knew I wanted to rub it in that stupid doorman's face that I wasn't some half-baked magus who thought gryphons were all that existed in this world. Eyeing the expression upon my face, the woman chuckled kindly and lowered her hood.
"This is the Dark Brotherhood," She gave a harsh look, daring me to point out that the word "brother" probably shouldn't be used to address her. "We are a group of magi who have dedicated ourselves to those creatures that are commonly seen as dark and dangerous, even evil by the tales and legends of the common people. Your hellhound for example," she says and points to the creature that is busily sniffing around the room, "is one of those creatures."
I started to say something but she was quick to silence me with a raised hand. "You have found this place, and you have tamed a hellhound. That at least buys you the chance to join our fraternity, if you so wish. Know, however, that while we do grant privileges to our members, we also ask things of them. Once in a while, we might put a task on you, which you will have to complete for us. Think well about this, and make sure your decision is the right one. If you do wish to join, you will have to make a contribution to this powerful gathering. We ask for a generous donation, no less than 10,000 gold, and two eggs of the noctis enox, which is one of the creatures we are breeding here. Bring us this and we will receive you into the Brotherhood." With that, she turned and left the the room, her dark cloak trailing after her.
After she had left, I was once again escorted by the man who I swore was going to marry that bloody hole of his. He led me outside, and instructed me to only return when I had what the lady I had spoken to asked of me. So I left with my hellhound at my heels and returned once more to my quarters. I would seek out the fairly large sum of gold I would need for both the entrance fee and the eggs the following day.
It had taken me much longer than I had hoped. 25,400g at that time was far too much to make in short order. So about a month after my first encounter with Mr. Window, made my way into a little shop known as Remy's Inn. Remy himself was a cheerful man, and most people liked him. He served seasonal hard beverages, which is what drew in the commoners. What really kept his business running was what drew in the majority of the magi. Remy was a seller of some very rare eggs. It was from him that I had purchased France the Grape. That day, though, I was after much larger fish than the cheep 1,337g silvian alphyn eggs. I wanted not one, but two 7,700g noctis enox eggs. The commoners knew of Remy's "side business" of selling magi eggs, however hearing the word "enox" frightened many of them, as all varieties of the species were known for having bad temperaments. I had to lowered my voice to a whisper when I gave the man my request, and he simply acknowledged it with a nod of his head. He left to a back room where he kept his "stock", and returned with my purchase wrapped in a soft blanket. I handed over the necessary gold, and he in turn gave me the bundle. I thanked him, and left the inn.
"Have you reached a decision?" Mr. Window asked, eyeing me suspiciously.
Prepared to one-up him once again, I pulled aside part of the blanket hiding the noctis eggs to reveal them, and patted a large pouch of gold hanging from my belt. Grunting to himself, the man once more opened the door for me. He held his hand out towards me, his eyes on the eggs in my arms. I shift my hold on them before picking one up and placing it carefully into his hand. He shifted it to his other hand, and then proceeded to take the second from me as well. With surprising gentleness, he laid both eggs onto a velvet pillow placed upon a table. He then took the bag of gold from me, and lay that aside as well. Lastly, he pointed to a door located opposite the one I had entered.
"You may now go through there." He instructed harshly.
I reached for the cold handle and opened the door, stepping through quickly, curious what was waiting for me after spending so much of my precious money. It was another room, bigger than the entry chamber, and only lighted by a few candles. The woman I had met earlier was sitting behind a counter, and she sent a pleasant smile my way. I must admit, being greeted by this beauty was much more pleasant than stuffy Mr. Window. Behind her, was a small display of sorts. In the weak light, you could make out eggs, the likes of which I had never seen before. I would have to check my records before making any purchases. I had a feeling those creatures were going to require much extra care in their raising.
"I see you have decided to join us. I am happy to welcome you to the Dark Brotherhood. Of course there will be the formalities to attend to first," The woman said to me, giving a little smile that somehow seemed a bit disconcerting.
"Please step through that door over there." She pointed with a pale hand to yet another door that I had been too preoccupied to notice before. It didn't look much different from the door I had just come through, but it somehow seemed more ominous, almost hidden in shadows. Hesitantly, I moved to it and walked through, entering into complete darkness. I started to turn around when suddenly something was put over my head. "Do not struggle," a deep voice says. "No harm will come to you!"
Utterly bewildered, I was led down some stone stairs, for what seemed like a long time. After words I was led down a long corridor, and I soon became able to hear sounds of low chanting. Mind you, I am not a language expert, but this language was not one I recognized. I assumed it was Latin. Most magical things seemed to be in Latin. A short time later, the hood was pulled from my head. I looked around, and I saw myself in some kind of underground chamber, standing in front of a small altar and facing the same woman from before, who was standing on the other side. On a carved stone table, I spotted the two noctis eggs I had brought (to this day I do not know how she had the eggs got ahead of me), as well as a glass jar. In said jar was some kind of eel, floating in a clear liquid. I stared at it, thinking it was something that was preserved, but then it lazily turned and looked directly at me! With a gaze that almost seemed intelligent! I turned my gaze away from it, finding it to be more than a little creepy. I n the reddish glow of the fire in the background, I saw about half a dozen people in dark robes standing in a half circle. Their cowls were drawn deeply over their heads and they were chanting softly in that strange language.
"A new novice has come to join the Brotherhood!" the woman spoke aloud, the chanting behind her growing louder. "Let us now initiate him into our society!"
With a quick motion, she removed the eel from the jar, held it up and shouted, "See the Emissary of the Dark!" As the chanting behind her reached its peak, she held the eel towards you. "Swallow it, and you will become one of us!" she said.
I stared in disgust at the eel, but I had come this far and I was determined to show Mr. Window up! So I opened my mouth wide, leaning forward a bit.
"Don't try to resist," the woman whispered. "It will be less uncomfortable that way." She then slipped the eel into my mouth. I gagged as I feel it wriggling down my throat, but it happened so fast, I didn't even have time to try and cough it up again. The only thing that would get it out now was to barf it up. Sometimes it was a curse that my species had cast-iron stomachs.
"It is done!" she shouted, turning around. "A new brother has joined us!" The chanting faded slowly away and the hooded figures turned around, filing out through an opening in the back.
"What was that thing?" I ask worriedly, and more than a little grossed out. "What will it do to me?"
"Do not be afraid," the woman replied in a soothing voice, reaching out a pale hand and stroking my cheek. "It is not harmful. On the contrary, the Emissary will increase your powers. You will soon notice a difference. From now on, you are a full member of the Dark Brotherhood. We will teach you spells you don't know yet, and with the aid of the Emissary, you will be able to perform them flawlessly. The Brotherhood will also aid and protect you if necessary; we look out after our own."
You felt a bit queasy, but there came a prickling feeling inside me that somehow promised good things to come. "That opening over there will lead us back to the shop. By the way, I am Jesira. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I will help you." A smile crossed her face, softening her features. I smiled back, definitely liking this woman and followed her to the opening she had pointed me to.
The two of us walked up some stairs that seem to keep going for a long time, until we finally reached the shop again. Jesira escorted me to the front door. As I stepped out, I saw sunlight and you realized that less than two hours had passed, although it felt like I had spent a lifetime inside the building. "You should go home and rest for now," Jesira suggested. "If you return later, I will explain some more things to you; and we have some eggs in our shop you might want to take a look at. Good day, brother."
To this day, I still dislike Mr. Window (I never have caught his name, and I really don't care), and Jesira has become one of several people I always enjoy visiting. Much like Remy, Jesira runs the Dark Shop, a place where those of us of the Dark Brotherhood may purchase the eggs of the ebbene shark, the cehual boar, and the delroch. I will freely admit that I have a pair of the first two, and one of the third as they only seem to come as males. All five of them were a handful to raise, but now that they're grown, they have proven themselves time and again to be powerful companions. Overall, I am quite glad that I joined the Brotherhood.
Although sometimes I remember swallowing that eel and my stomach churns. Damn having a cast-iron stomach!
So who has figured out that Azeekiyal is not human? Well, I guess all of you have, now. Not telling what he is just yet, although it is easy enough to figure out if you do a bit of snooping on me on the site.
Guess how much research I did for this chapter? You guessed it, I did quite a bit! Most of the text about me and Jesira was taken directly from the quest text. I just modified it to fit my character, and to flesh her out a bit more. HURRAY FOR BEING LAZY WHILE ALSO DOING A LOT OF WORK!
I actually just about gagged when I read that Azze (not a typo, that's his nickname) had eaten a live eel...and its still disgusting to think about.