Slave to Fate
Author's Note: I thought my first Skyrim story was a bit misinformed since I was simply in hype for the game and didn't even finish the main quest before I started writing so hopefully this goes over well :). It won't be the same story so expect some twists. And of course review, I always smile when I hear people enjoying my story! And constructive criticism is nice but don't shout at me for typos that I could otherwise find on my own. Thank you!
The city of Riften was silent, a dirty breezy filtered through the orange colored leaves passing over the wooden planks of its streets. Buildings stacked on top of each other like mounds of tinder and the two moons – Masser and Secunda – drifted lazily above the massive city's night sky. Underneath Riften's walkways was the lake the town was built around and the sewers that dominated it. The Rat Ways.
A lone figure sat on a tree log bench, his face masked in the shadow from the overhanging balcony cast by the surrounding torches. A few wine-purple colored dressed guards passed him oblivious to the man's presence– obviously in a hurry. Many muttered curses to the Imperials, others remained deathly silent. The man in the dirt-brown garnished cloak sighed heavily and stood up after the guards had left carrying their orange glowing torches. He stood tall and glanced about him – making sure he wasn't being followed. He knew how much danger he was in and didn't want to gain any unwanted attention. Unbeknownst to him, a shadow leaning against a forlorn pillar in front of him and stepped into the man's path.
The Nord was heavily armed and stoic. He felt threatened by the other man's presence and could feel a strange secret eating away at the his soul. It was pained – heavy. For probably the first time in his life, Maul was disturbed.
The man, however, was silent and waited as if the bolder in front of him would suddenly tip over. He silently cursed himself when the Nord persisted. He didn't want attention and didn't need attention. He was on the run after an incident he never wanted to remember again. An incident that probably hadn't reached Riften's ears yet. Thank the Gods for that.
Maul shifted on his feet until he realized he wasn't glaring at the man and began to stare defiantly at him. Just make him run away . . .
The mysterious man, however, had the pride of a million Nords and would never back down.
"Excuse me," he started. His voice was deep yet light and Maul still couldn't tell if he was an Imperial or a Breton. Didn't really matter to him either way. The man took a step forward, attempting to get past the Nord. Instead, Maul shook his shoulders revealing the heavy battle axe on his back. Make one move . . .
The man bristled, noticing the Nord's threat.
"I don't know you and I'm pretty damn sure the Black-Briars don't know you," Maul said. The man remained silent and the Nord bodyguard mentally flinched. He thought for a moment that he could be an assassin for the Imperials – trying to murder the Jarl perhaps. In that case he probably shouldn't stop him. Something told Maul, however, that the man before him was something else.
"Who are you?"
The man felt like knocking the Nord before him into the moat below but resisted his bloodthirsty thoughts. After nights of riding on a stolen mare to escape the images he had found in the town of Helgen, he just wanted to rest and not worry over anything trying to kill him. With a quick breath, he removed his hood so that the man before him would calm down. The stranger had pointed features – almost like an elf, Maul thought in disgust – and his medium cut hair was as black as a raven's wings. He carried himself as if he had slight importance and strength yet bags had formed underneath his eyes along with an unshaven chin. Maul backed down slightly but still glared at the man with heavy suspicion.
"What do you want?" he demanded. The man before him grimaced.
"I didn't know you needed a pass to walk around town. Do I need to pay you anything as well?" he asked bitingly. Maul frowned, realizing the guards' ploy to "tax" travelers to Riften had apparently failed to fool this Imperial. He made a mental note to inform the poor undercover guards to quit the act.
Maul crossed his arms defiantly and leaned against the wooden pillar.
"No one walks around Riften without Maven Black-Briar's say so. Especially not some little punk like you," he said. The Imperial didn't even looked phased at the brash comment only tilting his head slightly.
"How am I supposed to get Black-Briar's 'say so' without walking through town to do it? I'm sorry, you aren't making much sense," he spat out before realizing what he had just done. Maul's ears grew red and his hand itched to unsheathe his axe.
"You bastard! How dare you – !"
"Lay off 'em Maul. He hasn't done anyone any trouble," came a voice from the alley adjacent to them.
Two figures stepped out from beneath the lamplight and glared at the burly Nord as if he had just been pestering a little girl. The woman was a Nord with long blond locks – dark blue war-paint streaked along the right side of her face, numerous belts and hooks made up her old iron armor. The wimpy Imperial beside her shuddered at the two men and hid behind his protector, hidden within the shadows.
"I'm not sure we should be getting ourselves into this Mjoll . . ." he stuttered. The Nord named Mjoll looked at the man beside her in disbelief.
"You can't be serious, Aerin. I mean just look at that poor man. I can't just let this brute harass him like that," she reasoned quietly though both of them heard her rather clearly. Maul sniffed silently at the presence of the do-gooding Nord. This Imperial was harassing him, not the other way around.
The dark haired stranger remained silent and prayed to Mara that he could find a bed of some sort soon. He felt like collapsing from exhaustion and his hungry stomach wasn't helping the situation. He looked at the newcomers with a mixture of relief and impatience. A soft . . . not hard . . . bed . . . that's all.
Both Mjoll and Maul bickered for a few minutes while the wimpy Aerin tried to hold his protector back. The Imperial's sight was phasing in and out and the streets were becoming a streaking blur. He was so fatigued that he felt as if he couldn't hold up his own weight. He had been stopped from completely falling over by a strong grip on his shoulder.
"Hey, you alright friend?" Mjoll asked. Aerin looked at the mysterious man in concern.
"Mjoll . . . he might have the rattles . . . he kinda looks . . ."
The man never heard Aerin finish as he descended into a darkening bliss.
"Jarl Ulfric, why are we heading this way?" asked a nervous Stormcloak soldier, his face masked with fear. A tall imposing Nord with long thick dark hair and brow eyed the soldier wearily. His normally regal furred robes were tangled with thorns and branches and he looked more like a hagraven then a future High King. The great Jarl Ulfric would normally look better than this but escaping a dragon and an execution couldn't have been avoided. He was still amazed at his amount of luck. A dragon appeared before those filthy Imperial's had their way with him. He smirked.
Most of his soldiers still looked ashen from the fight and each of them wondered how in Oblivion a dragon could show up.
Ulfric, however, knew what the coming of the dragons meant. He saw the beast with red malicious eyes and scales as black as death.
The dragonborn is coming.
And it was most likely himself. Maybe.
He remembered High Hrothgar and his childhood spent there. It couldn't simply be a coincidence that the dragons came as soon as he was being condemned to death. The fates - specifically Talos - were on his side apparently. His smile only grew wider.
"We're paying a visit to old friends, soldier. Very old friends." The Stormcloak didn't get what his leader was trying to suggest as they continued down the road. Only a few of them had survived and many still had injuries from days before. Ivarstead was at least a week on foot from Helgen. Ulfric, of course, would finish the journey himself.
The two days traveling had been weary on the five soldiers accompanying him. They couldn't rest fully at night without a few sentries and Imperial soldiers had already found them twice. Ulfric took care of them all easily with his Thu'um - every time he did, the soldiers cheered "For Ulfric!" and any ale the Imperials had on them was shared amongst the group to combat the cold.
On the third day, they fortunately met up with the Falkreath Stormcloak camp and Ulfric debriefed what he had seen to his lower officers.
Everyone turned pale at the news. A few minutes later in the war tent, one of his captains told Ulfric that a settlement had been taken back by the enemy while he was "gone." Ulfric cursed the Imperials again for the thousandth time that week and headed towards the commanders tent that had been set up at his arrival.
Before they rested for the third night, Ulfric heard a loud roar in the distance then shouting - horses brayed at the panic. He ran out of his tent after going over his soldier's positions on the map, smelling smoke and ash in the air. Half of the Stormcloak camp left their tents and ran blindly into the early autumn blizzard towards the roars and shouts.
Another dragon, Ulfric thought in panic. Gods.
Its frigid scales shook as fire escaped its maw onto a traveling caravan. The Khajiits and Bretons from the merchants caravan were fried instantly and a few survivors were rolling in pain from the blasted heat. The civilians were flying a burning Imperial flag and Ulfric glared at the sight, realizing it was best to let these filth die then surrender his own men to the fate of death the dragon would most certainly give them.
"Stop!" he shouted to his men. The Stormcloaks couldn't hear him over the wind. "Stop!" he yelled even louder.
Half of the camp that had rushed out stopped at his voice while a few others who hadn't heard him continued to rush towards the enormous dragon. One hundred eyes watched as the large menace glared at the newcomers. The first Nord rushed at the dragon with blinding speed, yelling curses. The dragon looked barley phased and swatted the man away with his tail. The large spiked club hit the man in the face and blood shot out from him as he flew, dead, from the battle. One Nord, enraged, lifted his axe high and screamed a battle cry only to be muted by the dragon's fangs. He was flicked through the air like a doll and landed heavily onto the now burning carriage. The fire rose higher as it was given extra tinder.
The battle went on until all of the foolish soldiers had perished into the flames. Everyone who remained stared blankly at the monster. The dragons yellow eyes met with Ulfric's. The surrounding soldiers backed up slightly by the dragon's frightening gaze and many already took off running into the forest. Ulfric made sure that he would punish those cowards in the morning.
The dragon blew out a stream of smoke from its nostrils and Ulfric felt the familiar power from the beast and breathed it in.
The dragon then spoke in a deep foreign voice that held power beneath every word.
"Gein kos sahlo, joor."
Then, it laughed, taking off towards the now destroyed town of Helgen.
Ulfric waited for the fires to die down before howling in anger.
Hope I got everything right. Remember to review :) !