Chapter Five- Red Day


Eddies of reeking ash swirled around Britta's blistered feet and she felt Foryn bury his face into her neck. Without warning she dropped his considerable weight into the greyish drifts that seemed to cover all of Morrowind. Does that make everyone an Ashlander now? In the weak light she could hardly see the uniformly grey, ragged shapes of survivors milling about in aimless directions. Their lack of purpose angered her, for her whole life she had done as her elders said and now that they were buried under tonnes of rock. I can't follow behind anyone anymore.

Today had started like any other day: the entire Yentimilal clan had traveled from their scattering of yurts to make their annual visit to the shrines of Ald'ruhn. The last thing she remembered was being separated from the main group of children and her grandmother, Ma Shara. That's it... Foryn saw a funny-looking Redguard and went to go get a closer look. I didn't want to be late for the service and ran after him. Then the sky was on fire and people starting screaming that the temple was collapsing. A few smoldering debris added their meager light to the perpetual twilight, making everything seem like a dream, or nightmare. The young elf furrowed her brow as the harsh wind raked her eyes.

It had taken a few days after the eruption of Vvardenfell for her to fully remember everything, and even at her current age her childhood memories were a bit patchy. From the fetid floor of her cell she blinked, checking to make sure she was not wearing the Kagouti hide and silk robes she had worn as a child. It seemed like moments ago she had been sitting in the yurt and listening to a lesson about herbs...The bandit in the cell to her left sobbed from a rotting leg that was slowly killing him. She thought of offering to heal his wound, but decided against it because of the guards who watched them. As she lay in her itchy cot she noticed how the current one's gaze lingered over her, and she felt the sticky remains of her breakfast in her throat. What do they want with me? I don't have any special information or know the Stormcloaks' next move...I guess this is better than being killed. Her stomach turned as the bandit emptied his and the stench of sick filled the air.

The rattling clank of armor brought her attention to the man who had just entered. He was holding her damaged Stormcloak armor and threw to the ground as if it had burned him.

"Where's this pretty prisoner girl I heard about?!" He barked at the the guard who was currently staring her down.

"Sir! Uh, that one, sir. Does Cap'n want 'er yet?"

The man gave her a measured glare. "Yes. My orders were to take her to him."

Though being treated like a disposable whore was one of her worst fears she allowed her hands to be shackled and was led from the dingy gloom to an equally dirty built-on tavern of some sort, called the Stumbling Sabrecat.

"The captain will see you shortly." He leered, and their arrival was met with loud cheers and Britta sorely hoped she wouldn't get passed around before being dragged before the captain. Sweaty hands pulled at her shoulder-length black hair and attempted to flip up the burlap of her skirt but luckily she was marched straight towards the stairs. After dragging her up the narrow flight the soldier rapped on a stained wooden door.

"Captain Reinhardt, sir. I brought the girl."

When the captain opened the door his face was flushed from the tankard of mead in his hand and there were a few empty bottles scattered on the floor. She considered spitting in his face but decided to play at being a meek little mouse and not show any of her loathing for him. Her escort placed his hand firmly on her behind and gave her a rough shove into the room, locking the door behind him. To keep him from getting the satisfaction of seeing her fury, she looked down at her handcuffs.

This seemed to amuse the captain and he drunkenly began to laugh. "I saw you fighting...did you really think I would leave your hands free?" He set down the bottle of mead on the windowsill and walked over to her, not caring that Britta cringed as he slid a hand around waist. He plucked at her frayed neckline with his other hand. "I wanna see if elf girls are the same under this. "

"Don't…" Britta whispered, struggling to keep calm even though this was all part of the plan. The captain was a big man and she was so, so tired…..

Reinhardt laughed even harder, and broke off into a sputtering cough. He sized her up for a moment and with the delicacy of a farmer wrangling a sheep he slung Britta onto the smelly mess of furs. Britta watched with wavering resolve as he fumbled to remove his hauberk and breeches until he was in his underclothes. Steeling herself, she let him lie beside her and put his sweaty hands down the top of her sack. He was so close she could smell the mead on his breath and gagged at the stench, nearly vomiting when he started to roughly kiss her face.

When one of his hands began to untie his loincloth she knew it was time.

With the speed of a striking snake she wrapped the dangling chain of her restraints around his neck and crossing her arms gave a mighty yank, successfully cutting off his air. His ruddy face reddened even more and she watched with immense satisfaction as it slowly turned purple. He weakly pawed at her arms until at last the life faded from his eyes. Britta realized that she had been pulling the cuffs so tight that they'd dug angry grooves into her wrists, but she didn't care. Beginning to feel her exhaustion she stepped away from the bed and dragged him onto the floor with a thump.

"Cap'n!" Came an immediate shout from behind the door. "Are you alright? You're not having too much fun in there, are you?"

Knowing she had to move fast Britta didn't hesitate to rip the beer-stained sabre cat skin from the mantle and tied it with a knot at her throat. She then raced to the window and peered out into the night, finding that sure enough the window looked out past the fort's walls and had nothing dangerous below it. Her raggedy prisoners garb flapping in the wind she hurled herself out the window and peered up at the sky. As fuchsia and green curtains of light meandered across the star-speckled canvas of sky, she imagined not hitting the ground but instead floating up to touch the radiant aurora. Her reverie was instantly broken as she made a jarring impact with the snow-laden ground, and it took every fiber of her being to not scream as she felt an audible snap in her left leg. The skin of her face pinched into tight bunches as she silently screamed with pain and her teeth cruelly gnashed down on her tongue in an effort to stay quiet. She was stunned for a moment, and the snow was so cold that it almost seemed to burn.

The wispy threads of magenta and green continued their ethereal dance in the sky above Fort Dunstad. It was a sign. Boethiah must take pleasure when I kill.

The leg she had landed on was bent at a weird angle and was probably broken. Knowing she didn't have enough energy or time for even a tiny healing spell she tested her weight…..yep, it's broken. Blinded by panic she began to steadily drag herself and the hindering fur coat through the snow.

I deserve this. For letting Foryn leave my sight, for stealing from that Stormcloak wagon... she had once been in a similar position, pathetically crawling through the snow. Foryn tugged at her ragged sleeve whining about how his stomach hurt, and how she couldn't sleep now. Something gold and misshapen was still around her neck and we can buy food with it.

"I hurts..." she whispered as Foryn begged her to get up. "Not now." Using the last reserves of her energy she managed to lurch a few more feet into a copse of scraggly trees before collapsing, her bright amber eyes reflecting a moon she could not see.

Author's Note: After finishing this chapter I realized that The Red Year was almost a century ago, and though I want to keep this as accurate as possible the date was very unclear. So there. :) And though my main Skyrim character is the most gorgeous Altmer you've ever seen I still love me my Dunmer.