Vigil of Mercy

Tamriel had seen better days.

The Cyrodillic Empire was in a perilous position against the Aldmeri Dominion. In the north, Skyrim was embroiled in a civil war while dragons lurked from the skies. Conflict was alive and well in Hammerfell as Redguards continued the defiance against their hated Aldmeri opponents. Indeed, The Summerset Isles, Valenwood and even Elsweyr had fallen under the Aldmeri Dominion's sway.

Tamriel had seen better days.

Perhaps the world had gone mad. Indeed, up north in Skyrim they talked about the end of the world heralded on the wings of a midnight dark dragon. Maybe that was just the mead talking in the Nords. Maybe Mephala, the Webspinner, had weaved her most diabolical tale yet and all the mortals of Tamriel were caught in her deadly trap. It was possible that with the Empire forsaking Talos, the Patron of just and civil rule, Talos had forsaken them. Perhaps the mortals of Nirn needed to remember and follow the biddings of Julianos, the Divine of wisdom.

Or maybe Sheogorath was the wise one in this whole ordeal, the only one in fact sane while the world went mad. Well, perhaps "wise" is too strong a word. Maybe he was the only honest one about it.

Regardless of the truth, it was no doubt that in these turbulent times on Tamriel, one would do well to pray to Stendarr for mercy. Divines knew everyone needed it.

Nonetheless, the Divine of mercy is also the Divine of justice. Compassion is to be given to all, but compassion without accountability is not compassion but appeasement. Law had to be maintained and the worst of excesses curbed. There are some things that just did not belong on Tamriel, some things that could not be allowed to exist. The Vigil of Stendarr was formed to root out the gravest of all evils, paramount among them was the worship of daedra.

Most of the Daedric Lords had little regard for mortal life, treating them as mere play things as best. Nonetheless, there were always those still willing to worship even the worst of the Daedric Lords. That was were the Vigilant of Stendarr came in. Someone needed to make sure that such consorting with chaos was put down.

Most of the time, putting down Daedric cults was a simple process. Most of the time. Such cults usually consisted of unorganized and ill disciplined dissidents or those too curious for their own good. Such types were easily taken care of by the standard Vigilant of Stendarr. However, there were those rare occasions where a vampire had gained too much power, a werewolf too crafty, a Daedric cult too organized for a regular squad of Vigilantes.

When there was an enemy too dangerous or too entrenched, the Vigilant of Stendarr always had more experienced and better equipped teams to call on. They were not given a special name or status, the only thing that set them apart was their prowess, experience and reputation.

Archon Tacitus Orthello was the leader in charge of Wayrest's Vigilant of Stendarr group, a major city in High Rock. Tacitus had become cautious in his older age and the Bretons of High Rock had just as much of a perchance of getting into trouble as any other race in Tamriel, even if they did not want to admit it. Tacitus had searched for at least one experience group of Vigilants to be within his district.

The group he found was led by a woman named Claudia Vivinici.

Though, it seemed that along with everything else in Tamriel, even his most dangerous squad led under a competent woman had its own affinity for getting into trouble.

"I swear, Tacitus, if you don't let the men go out and do something they may accidentally destroy something in the cathedral. They don't know how to simply sit and wait like everyone else." Claudia said as patiently as she could despite barging into the Archon's study.

Interrupted from his meditations, Tacitus silently glanced up at her.

Claudia was in her white priestess robes, most vigilants of Stendarr were also spiritual leaders. Her hair, dirty blonde, was tied back in a bun while her sharp almond eyes continue to bore into Tacitus, demanding an answer. Claudia was all business, a professional woman who strove for a balance between discipline and casualness, ideal and practicality.

Now was a time that demanded practicality.

"What is going on now, Claudia?" Tacitus asked through barely hidden exasperation.

"I have told you this many times, Archon, but just because my team chooses to wear priestly robes, it does not mean its the best outfit for them. Sibylla is honestly better suited wearing her armor and knocking heads with bandits rather than knocking sense into the devoted here. If one more visitor so much touches an offering plate and jostles the offerings inside, Bann-Je may go bonkers and toss them out before ruthlessly reorganizing the contents again in his obsessive compulsiveness. Do'Ravier has been quiet for the past few hours." Claudia reported.

"So at least the Khajiit is acclimitizing." Tacitus shrugged.

"No, Tacitus. Do'Ravier being quiet can either be a good thing or a bad thing. If its good quiet, then he's just contemplating something profound. If it's bad quiet, then we're going to have another incident like last week where one of his experiments blasted the doors of his room clean off its hinges." Claudia snapped.

Tacitus, feeling himself lose yet another hair on his receding hairline, could see that Claudia was not going to be easily pacified this time.

"Do you have a decision, Archon?" Claudia said, her tone just below a demand under her challenging eyes.

Archon Tacitus met her gaze though he let out an exasperated sigh.

Claudia did her best to not slam the door as she stomped out of the archon's office. Any chance of trying to compose herself before she reported to her team came to a crashing halt the moment she realize they were in fact waiting for her in the hallway.

"So, what did he say?" Sibylla asked expectantly, the tall Nord woman folding her arms.

"I am curious to know myself." Bann-Je asked, his serpentine tongue flicking out of his mouth for a moment.

"Can I go explore a Dwemer ruin now?" Do'Ravier asked, his tail's rapid swishing giving away his excitement.

"No." Claudia growled with a sigh.

"What?" Sibylla demanded, her tone rising with anger.

Bann-Je snapped his Argonian jaws shut in a display of disapproval.

"I was under the impression we would be doing more than just desk work when we signed into the Vigilant of Stendarr." Do'Ravier grumbled.

"Archon Tacitus said he would try to get us an assignment as soon as possible." Claudia explained.

"Then could I go explore a ruin on my off hours?" Do'Ravier pleaded.

"No, he doesn't want to risk anyone of us getting needlessly hurt." Claudia replied.

"Then can I at least punch the next idiot troublemaker who asks for my advice?" Sibylla asked.

"No, Sibylla, how many times do I have to tell you not to do that?" Claudia snapped.

"I'm going reorganize the offering plates and then snap the neck of the next pilgrim who disturbs them." Bann-Je announced.

"NO! All of you, for the love of Akatosh, behave!" Claudia screeched.

Claudia was rewarded with a moment of silence as the Nord, Argonian and Khajiit sent startled stares in her direction.

"Just hold out for another few more days, surely you can accomplish not punching, maiming and blowing something up for awhile more, right?" Claudia demanded.

"Better pray to all the Divines on that one." Sibylla shrugged, walking off.

"Yes." Bann-Je agreed, joining the Nord woman.

Claudia sighed before glancing over at Do'Ravier who was still staring at her.

"What?" the woman snapped iritiably.

"Do you know what a mixture of one part charcoal, another part salt and three parts fire salts does?" Do'Ravier asked.

"No, why?" Claudia inquired.

"I don't know either, but we're about to find out." Do'Ravier grinned.

Later that day, the doors of Do'Ravier's room blew off their hinges again.

Claudia may have been in command of the Vigilant's best team but that did not mean they were the most stable.