Days dragged into weeks. After Kyterial left, things got even worse. Precious little has been going right as of late, and it is troubling. More so than before. I had never thought of it, but what if this is truly the end of the Dark Brotherhood? I pace in my room, waiting for Kallie to return. What could possibly be taking her so long? I sigh, anxiety eating at me. She was supposed to have returned from her contract several days ago.
"May I come in?" I hear Rasha's hissing voice at my door. He's the last person I want to see right now, but I cannot deny him. I heave a sigh before standing and opening the door. I stand, barring him entry. I will speak to him, though I refuse to allow him entry into my room.
"Cicero, I have some bad new. Kallie has been killed." My mouth becomes dry and my heart seems to stop. Not her, anyone but her. My best friend, my sister in arms, dead. There has been so much death as of late and now this… It's too much! I look up and realize that Rasha is gone. I slam the door and scream in anguish. How could this happen? Why her?
That's when I hear the first chuckle. It resonates within my head, a whisper that caresses my mind, an echo. An echo of him… The quiet laugh of the Jester is gone quickly, almost as quickly as it came. I shudder and barely make it to my bed before I collapse, tears threatening to slip from my unwilling eyes. I feel like she should be here, laughing at me. That is what she would do, laugh. She would taunt me, and then I would feel better. Now she laughs no more.
Months have passed since Kallie's death. Months without laughter, months without a single glimpse at the cold, harsh brightness that is the sun. I feel just as much pain as the day I found out she died, except now it is a dull ache instead of a sharp agony. It has been months, and I am losing track of how many. My world has fallen silent, and I have fallen silent with it. The silence is ever-present, and remains untouched by the normal cacophony of noise. That noise has faded.
Months of silence have been eating at me, like a festering wound. It is driving me mad. The silence is louder than anything else could ever be. Anything but her laugh… No! I mustn't think of such things. No matter what I do it has been seeping in. Slowly, day by day, week by week, month by month, starting the day she died. I shudder at the thought, repulsed by it. It shouldn't have been her. Of all of us, she deserved to die the least.
I stand on shaky legs, remembering now the meeting that Rasha mentioned this morning. I open the door and head towards the Main Hall, knowing my way instinctively. My footsteps are drowned out by the silence. The silence of death. It seeps into me through the Mother. Our unholy matron is poisoning me, sickening me with this awful silence! I cannot blame her though, no, that would be sacrilege. Poor Mother doesn't mean to, no she is merely a conduit. A conduit to Sithis. To the Void. A conduit, not the cause. Not the true evil. I can never hate her, for she is the reason I have a family.
"Isn't she?" I see him then, the jester. He leans against the wall, a smirk on his lips and insanity in his eyes. The smile makes me shudder, and I try not to cringe.
"You aren't real." I say. "And even if you were, blaming a corpse is pointless. Of course a body is silent, it would be worse if it spoke!" I say to the Jester. The Jester starts laughing, and then looks at me, contemplating.
"What do you believe, Cicero?" What do I believe? I don't know anymore. That realization angers me, and I draw a knife. I hurl it at the Jester and it passes through the man, causing him to become nothing once more. The clatter of the knife hitting the ground, and the hollow echo it makes reminds me that soon, I too, will be nothing.
Our numbers dwindle now. I sit beside Garnag, Liazani on my other side. Pontius sits beside Liazani and Christophin sits next to him. We are all that is left. Rasha stalks into the room, eyes scanning us as though searching for something. Something he does not find, judging be the venomous look he's giving us. I have begun to question his leadership, and I'm not the only one.
"The Night Mother has chosen a new Listener. She has spoken to me." Hope flares in my chest, a reckless joy filling me. If we have a Listener, we have a chance! We can rise again, and all of Tamriel will see the power that we posses. Mothers will once again speak of us to frighten children into obedience. People will once more speak of the Dark Brotherhood in hushed tones. The others seem just as excited as I myself am, and exchange glances. For once, the silence is broken. I smile tentatively, the expression feeling out of place on my pale face. I recall reading about binding words told to he Listener by the Night Mother in my Keeping tomes, but I shall ask him later. For now, I just want to enjoy life. I just want to celebrate.
The first thing I notice as I wake up, is that my head is pounding. I must have had too much to drink, and then I remember why. We have a Listener! I smile despite my pain, and for once, am interested in going outside. Though, first things first I must talk to Rasha about the binding words. I force myself to my feet, perform my morning routine, splash water on my face and leave my room, walking towards Rasha's. I knock on his door, and hear him bid me to enter. I take a breath, quelling the whispers and mistrust that tells me he lies. Image is everything. I open the door and walk in, closing it gently behind me. Loud noises are no friend of mine.
"Rasha, I understand the Night Mother spoke to you. She should have said a phrase. This phrase is the binding phrase, and you must recite it to me in order to officially be the Listener." I speak clearly and slowly, seeing that he isn't much better off than I am. I watch as he hesitates, and for the second time, a flicker of doubt ensues. Could Rasha have lied? No, Rasha is their leader, their guide. Why would he lie to them about something so vital? I no longer see him as my leader, only another member. I am the Keeper. I stand alone.
"Look, Cicero, come back later. It was a long night, and the words elude me at the moment." His words are a dismissal, and I take my queue to leave. I close the door behind me and hate fills me, burning through my veins. He lied. I feel a rage rising within me, an unstoppable force that has been in the making ever since Kallie died. I have repressed it for so long but now, this is something I cannot excuse. How could he? Why would he? There is only one answer for his treason: death. I stalk through the halls, my steps silent. I must tell the others. They will help me, he will die. He has to. This treacherous lie cannot continue. Not while I breathe.
I pass by Liazany. She will not kill him. She remains loyal. My eyes settle on Garnag. The big man is mistrusting of Rasha, and if I tell him that the Khajit is lying, he will undoubtedly believe me. Then, Rasha will die. The betrayer will die! I couldn't be more pleased. Actually, I could. I want to be the one to do it. I cannot though, because if I were to start, I wouldn't be able to stop. The bloodlust would return, and while I long for the kill now, it would become unbearable. I almost groan, but stop. I return my attention to the man before me. I must make Rasha pay, and this is how I will do it.
"Garnag, I have something to say to you. Something you will not like." My voice is low, and filled with a bitter hate that, to be honest, I wasn't expecting would be there. His dark, uncertain eyes focus on me, and I ensure we are alone.
"Rasha has lied. Had he truly been chosen, he would know the binding words. He does not." I let the words hang in the air, and I instantly see the anger begin to burn within him.
"He must be punished for his actions. We cannot allow this to stand." I once again pause to let my words sink in, and Garnag nods in agreement. I ignore the way that I cannot do anything about it myself, and focus on bringing Rasha to justice any way I can. Sithis will decide his fate.
"What must I do?" Garnag asks. A smile creeps onto my face as a plan takes hold in my mind. Rasha will suffer... Rasha will die.
Hello my lovely readers. It's been awhile! Anyways, I graduated and have the summer to write more. Fun. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I look forward to writing the next one!