Corpses of our assailants littered the stone cold floor, blood red robes mixed with jet black armor. Not far from my left, laid Glenroy’s still warm body, one side of his helmet was crushed in. The metallic twang of blood was faint in the air, blood dripping now my worn blade, my shield barely recognizable. My aching body crying out in pain.
Turning around behind me, I saw Jaciel - the mysterious prisoner - kneeling on the ground, blocking what looked like a corpse from my view. With no sign of the Emperor nearby, I cautiously approached her.
‘Prisoner? Jaciel? Where’s the Emp-‘. Just as I reached out to touch her, she was onto me. Slamming me up against the coarse stone wall, her bone like fingers wrapped around my neck.
‘You. You bastard! You tricked her! For nothing but your own selfish needs…’, she seethed at me. Her once blue eyes now pitch black, her face nothing but pure, unbridled hatred.
Snap her out of it, Baurus! Find the Emperor then deal with her! Remember your Oath
‘Prisoner, I don’t know who you’re talking about. Where is the Emperor’, I struggled to get out of her iron-like grasp.
As if a switch was suddenly thrown, I saw her eyes return to normal, although suddenly cold and what seemed like guilt. Removing her grip, she gestured towards the body she was kneeling at
At first, my eyes couldn’t or just refused to see who it was, but as I drew closer, my deepest fear was true.
The Emperor, Uriel Septim VII was dead.
His garments now soaked in his blood, a gaping hole just below his ribs, no doubt where the assassin struck but acceptance sketched upon his face, as if he knew he was going to die this day, in this place.
The grief of losing Glenroy, my mentor who taught me what I knew, Captain Renault who watched me from afar as I trained and the Emperor, whom I swore to protect. All of it, hit me like a warhammer aiming squarely for my beating heart.
Sensing something right beside me, I turned only to be greeted with by Jaciel, white hair reaching to her lower back, her eyes screwed shut like she was trying to banish some horrible flashback.
‘I’m sorry Baurus. In the little time I knew them all, they were good men and women,’ quietly spoke Jaciel, grief and melancholy etched in her voice.
‘It would be most wise if we left Baurus, before our assailants return. The Emperor, in his final moments told me to go to a Weynon? And speak with a Jauffre?’, mentioned Jaciel, as she slowly raised herself to her feet, dusting some dirt of her slightly tanned legs.
‘You… You were there in his last moments. Wenyon and Jauffre? He must’ve meant Weynon Priory! But why? The plan was to go to Vilverin, and from there our headquarters situated in -‘
‘He also gave me this, to deliver it, I presume,’ she mentioned quickly. In her right smooth palm sat, a large crimson ruby in the shape of a diamond, bordered by gold, connecting to the golden lanyard, which rumor has it, will never clasp around the neck of those who are not the Emperor - no matter how hard they try.
‘By the Gods… how could’ve I forgotten it!? It matters not, we need to get out of here, follow me,’
As I approached our exit, I saw the rusted locked gate which trapped us like animals. Taking a closer look, I realized that we were never locked inside, someone rigged it with an aged bar to make it look like - from a distance - it was locked.
Pushing the door open, we wordlessly continued onwards, our weapons drawn and ready, watching the shadows, expecting our assailants to jump out at every turn. My armored footsteps followed by her bare feet echoed quietly as we came out what looked like a sewer pipe.
The night air had a chill to it, but it was better than the silent white stones inside. As I approached the shore, I saw a distant campfire just across the Lake Rumare, near the ancient Ayleid ruins of Vilverin.
My thoughts began to wander if the campfire was a sanctuary or just another graveyard. Fear began rising inside me, the what if’s, wondering if I’d survive the night. What to do now that the Emperor and his quite possibly sons were murdered.
‘Could that help us out?,’ gestured Jaciel to what seemed like an old, worn out, fisherman’s boat, barely enough room for two, resting on the shore, I pounced on it, snapping me out of those damning thoughts.
Finding an old weathered leather cloak, hidden underneath, I wordlessly handed it to Jaciel. Only to be met with another cold, yet curious expression.
Tilting her head to the right slightly and cocking an eyebrow, her curiosity only deepened. ‘What is that thing for?’, she asked in a serious manner, as if she didn’t know why.
Attempting to answer her question without wasting too much time, I actually saw her for the first time. White hair, although dirty from the fight before flowing in the breeze draping over her upper chest, stone cold blue eyes watching me intently as if still wondering if I was friend or foe, arms crossed making me wonder whether she could feel the slight chill in the wind or it was a sign of defense, meanwhile wearing some strange clothing I had never seen, only covering her waist area in a blue cloth, sharp ‘prongs’ sticking out the side.
‘A topless woman out in the wilderness is something that grabs people’s attention fairly easily. Besides, it’s turning out to be a fairly chilly night. Don’t get me wrong, you’re beautiful and whatnot but-‘
‘Thank you, Baurus. But I suggest you keep your eyes from wandering,’ she replied rather coldly cutting me off, almost shooting daggers at me. Wordlessly, she grabbed the cloak from me, having a fair bit of trouble with it but in the end deciding to wrap it around her shoulders
Pushing the boat into the water was far easier than I expected, as it glided through the sand with ease. As it reached the water, I hopped in and reached out my hand, still clad in my armor.
Taking it, with somewhat caution and unease, we felt the tide take us, giving me a slight fright but Jaciel gripped the sides of the ancient boat causing her knuckles to go white, fear clearly seen on her face.
‘Hey, we’re fine. I take it you’ve never been on a boat before?,’ attempting to soothe her, feeling daggers shooting at me even harder than before as I found some equally worn out oars - while accidentally rocking the boat in the process.
The fear in her face was almost gone, replaced with the stone cold mask I was growing used to seeing. ‘Tell me about yourself, who are you? Why were you in the Imperial City Prison of all places?’
Burrowing her eyebrows slightly, she pondered what to tell me. ‘My name is Jaciel Morgen, Greater Nocturnal Shrike,’ she must’ve seen the confusion on my face as she added ‘simply put, as you mortals call us, I’m a Daedra or Daedroth, should you want to get technical.’
You’ve can’t be… By the Gods she’s serious, that would explain what happened back there, but how did she end up inside?
Opening my mouth, to ask her how she was inside the cell, I could tell just by her body language, she wasn’t planning on telling me more - not at that point at least.
‘Look, I believe you. It explains a bit about you, like what happened back there,’ suddenly her eyes were filled with deep regret and anger, but one not aimed at me because of before. Almost as if she thought I was someone else back there… .
‘It would be best, that you keep the information about being a Daedra to yourself. People around here… well you can imagine I guess. If anyone asks, you’re just a soldier of fortune,’ I explained to her, as I continued rowing, simply nodding.
My already aching body crying out for me to stop rowing, pushing us through the strong current towards Vilverin. Just as I stopped rowing out of pure exhaustion, we hit the sandy shores at last.
Hopping out, came easy to me, compared to Jaciel, who I reached my hand out once again to stop her from falling over. Walking towards the campfire just a few meters from us, hand on my blade, Jaciel just behind me, with a campfire burning like a lighthouse in the dim night.
From the distance, the entire camp looked desolate which was impossible. Using the campfire as a destination, with Masser and Secunda above us as if they were watching us, we slowly made cautious approach. Meanwhile, the dark thoughts came back to mind with a vengeance. Ones of fear, dread and uncertainty that will no doubt keep me haunt me for the rest of my waking days, only to be hunted by night terrors of the massacre in the sewers.
Could the Mythic Dawn have known about the escape route? Is there a mole or sleeper agent within our ranks? They seemed to be waiting for us, but how? And why?
Being snapped out of my thoughts as Jaciel drawn her sword, dropping the cloak but gripping the Amulet of Kings in her left hand, readying herself for a fight. Before I could even ask why I noticed what she had just moments before. The still warm corpses of my fellow Brothers and Sister laid all around me, slaughtered throughout the camp...