By: Drake Sykes Hellion
I stumbled trough the cold rain of the clouded Imperial City night shivering. My ragged clothing doing little to shield me from the freezing droplets that bombarded me mercilessly, like thousands upon thousands of icy needles they bit into my skin with energetic vigor as if alive and wanting what remained of my life.
But despite the damned rain my only thoughts were of the bloodied and rusted iron dagger concealed beneath the fabric of my shirt and held in place by the pit of my arm as I hugged myself tightly while moving towards one of the many wells within the city that lead to the sewer system beneath it. Thankfully, this particular drain exit and entrance had an overhead covering that partially shielded me from the rain.
I took the dagger from my clothes, slid it through the grating and heard it hit the water with a splash. I was relieved, they wouldn't find me with a bloodied weapon when they found that red guard, Dorian, dead on his floor in a few days when his body made enough of a stink of the place for somebody to notice and send a guard to investigate. Even with the knife gone and the only witness to my crime now dead I still felt as if someone out there knew what I did as if they were there to see me kill Dorian.
I could still feel my hands shaking, even before I went into the numbing rain I shook and my heart hammered against my chest as if threatening to burst from my being. I stopped beneath an archway of a door and pulled out the sack of coins I had gotten from Dorian. It was a nice sum of roughly two hundred and twenty septims, I smiled a crooked smile as I gazed down at the small circles of metal before I slipped off towards the Talos Plaza District.
For the last twenty-five years of my existence on Tamriel, I was always struggling to get by. From my days in an orphanage in Chorrol to becoming a begger and lowly pickpocket on the streets of the Imperial City. I didn't know my parents and I was told my mother had left me at the Orphanage when I was but a bundle no older than two months, maybe more, maybe less. All I knew was that my mother left me in that damned hole.
I was always picked on, teased and tormented because I was a "bad" Imperial, a disgrace to my own people and a blemish on the perfect face of the Empire. Which was funny because most of the children who did all this were Orcs, Dark elves and Argonians. My food was taken, my bed sheets stolen some nights and even my pillows were sometimes pilfered by other stronger and larger kids.
And no matter how much I tried, how much I suffered and prayed to the nine divines for something good to happen in my life. I always ended the day on a bad note, like when a particularly nasty Dunmer named Valen Dreth beat me bloody because I called him an ass who didn't deserve his own people's name. I hadn't cried so much that night I spent in the private room of the Orphanage.
Of course, life never got any easier as I got older. It only got harder in fact.
By the time I was fifteen I had as much scars as an old war veteran because of my more violent tendencies when it came to my growing hatred and anger, yes. Growing hatred and anger, see I learned from a young age because of my stay in the orphanage that if I cried, show any form of positivity towards anything then it would be taken away by someone else stronger and older than me.
Now though, as I walked up to the Tiber Septim hotel and pushing the double doors open before stepping inside looking like the water drowned rat I usually did. I walked up to the front desk and asked for a room, the bartender looked me over and handed me some keys while holding out her hand.
"Thirty septims," she gave an overly sweet smile that made me suspicious of the real price of this place. But I couldn't argue, she was owner and I really wanted to sleep on a nice warm bed for a change from the fabric bedspreads, if they could be called that at all, that littered the corners of the streets. No, tonight I sleep on a real bed and enjoy my newly acquired coin.
I handed her the Septims and she directed me to the first room on the left up the stairs in the back. Without another word I turned away from her and made my way to and up the stairs to the lodging area for my well earned sleep.
I found the first door on the left, slid inside the room and browsed it. Nice furnishing, clean tabletops and a bed fit for a king, just being in this room and not on the streets freezing to death in the rain made me forget that my clothes were almost entirely soaked, that I had killed a man for his septims and was now using that blood money to simply sleep in a proper bed for once.
Walking over to the dresser I looked at my face in a nearby silver plate, nicely polished. I stared back at myself, dark brown eyes with pits forming under them, tousled dark locks of soaked hair clung to my forehead and my ragged clothing filled with tears. I looked as homeless and broke as the begger I was.
But not anymore, so long as I had septims, I wasn't like those others wasting away on the streets begging for handouts. I would never be like them again, begging for the means to survive and praying to some other worldly force to simply see the next day or to have a belly half full of decent food.
I also wanted revenge. I hated my mother, I wanted to find her and hurt her for putting me in that orphanage, for abandoning me. But where was my father? I should have had one… maybe my mother was a whore and got me by mistake. The thought displeased me and I tore my gaze away from the plate while setting it back down.
I moved to the bed, removing my shirt and tossing it to the floor before I laid onto my side and as soon as my head hit the divine pillow I could feel my eyes grow heavy and the grip of slumber edging me to close them. I closed my eyes, then felt that same presence as if someone was watching me and knew what I did, I opened my eyes to glance around the room slowly to check if there was anyone in there with me.
Nothing, nothing sides a chair and other furniture. Nothing at all. I closed my eyes fully and shook the feeling away as best I could before I soon gave into the darkness of sleep.
I blinked and there I was again, in Dorian's house. Crouched in the shadows clutching the rusty iron dagger, I could hear the red guard's footfalls in the other room, hear him scribbling something down on paper and even the occasional chuckle or laugh. He was writing a letter, about what? I don't know or care. My belly ached, my arms and legs were tired and cold. I needed septims or I would starve within a day.
He laughed again and this time his footsteps grew closer until I saw a shadow block the light from the beneath the door. I readied my blade, it was midnight and he was probably just going to lock up his door. I narrowed my eyes, I had to do this. There was no other option now, it was the extreme or die.
He opened the door, his foot came through. I tensed my legs to pounce and gripped the blade in a white-knuckle excitement. His face appeared, eyes not even so much glancing my way as he turned to the door, his back to me now and took a single step towards it.
I pounced like a Kha'jiit, in four long strides my hand was over his mouth and as he started to tear his face away from my palm I sank the blade of my dagger into his upper back, blood pooled on his shirt. Crimson staining green.
His body tensed and I twisted the blade for good measure, he jerked with the twist then his weight crashed against me and took us both to the floor with a thud and grunt. I pushed his still form off of me and sat up to check my clothing in an almost frantic panic. I sighed in relief when I didn't find any blood on me and the only thing bloodied was the dagger I used, that was good.
I stood and moved over to Dorian, then I started going through his pockets carefully. That netted me a nice fifty-two septims and his house key. I stood again and glanced around before I moved over his dresser and soon, I was pilfering his entire household and within an hour of meticulous searching I had enough septims to last me enough.
Before leaving out into the street I listened through the door for anyone passing by or just standing close by that could see me leave, when I heard no one I opened the door and slid back onto the street while closing the door behind me as quietly as I could. The moment the icy cool rain started touching my skin I slid the bloodied dagger into my shirt and hugged myself. I needed to find shelter.
I shot up from my bed and looked around it again. I could feel someone in here with me, I could feel their gaze and almost feel their bloodlust in the air as if an aura of their very essence. My eyes scanned slowly across the room again and still nothing.
"You sleep rather soundly for a murderer…" A dark voice commented beside me. I whipped my head to the side and almost flew off the bed from surprise when I saw a black robed figure and beneath that shadowy hood a pair of brown, almost dark red eyes stared at me with amusement. His face, or what I could see of it, was scarless and his lips quirked upwards to add to his amusement at my reaction.
Before I could make further observations he continued his "greeting". "That is good, you will need a clear conscience for what I am about to propose." He gave a smile, but it was more like he was bearing some silent threat.
"Who…" I stood and tried to seem unafraid, but how could I not be? this man. He reeked of Dorian, of death and it made me almost sick. As if I could smell every life he had taken and that number was significant. "Who are you?"
He was a talented killer where I? I was a man who got lucky and picked someone who didn't lock up until too late. "My name is Lucien Lachance," He spoke his name with such nonchalance I knew it was important. "I am a Speaker for the Dark Brotherhood. And you," he eyes flashed with something I couldn't tell, "Are a cold blooded murderer. Capable of taking life without remorse or mercy."
I didn't even want to pretend I knew what a Speaker was, but I knew the Dark Brotherhood and what they were and I instantly knew the danger I was in, these men were wanted by every guard in all of the cities of Cyrodill and this apparent high ranking member was alone with me in my room.
I was dead and no one would knew until they came to check on me.
"I…" I couldn't speak right, I had to take a breath and a moment before my mouth formed proper words, "What do you want with me?" I asked, even though I probably knew the answer. He was here to kill me.
He smiled that threatening smile again. "Dear child, the fear on you is almost palpable," I couldn't tell if he was teasing me or not, "Do not fear me, child. For I am not here to exact vengeance for Dorian, I am here to offer you a chance to join our rather…unique family."
That caught me by surprise, or rather a lightning bolt to my chest. He wanted to offer me to join the Dark Brotherhood, a group of powerful assassins and feared all across Tamriel for their shadowy methods of getting to those who thought they could not be got to. And here was a man who wanted me to join their ranks.
"I am…" The Dark Brotherhood would be wealthy right? They could provide me with the means to never go back to begging. I could die, but so what? A death by the sword is quicker than starving or freezing to death on the streets. "Listening, Mr. Lachance." I finished.
He smiled again. He does that a lot, I guess. "Ahh, I find your etiquette refreshing. Now, listen closely, dear child. You must pass one more test before you can officially join us…"
I nodded slowly, taking another breath and listened for his instructions.
End of Prologue
So, the verdict? Should I continue this story? or just let it die?