Story of the Rider: Joramund II - The Lady in Black

Joramund II - The Lady in Black

4th Era 201 Cyrodiil, Bruma 

The room was dimly lit, and a large somewhat worn bear skin rug decorated the floor. Next to it an armoire and a chest of draws sat neatly against the wooden wall, atop them sat a candelabrum adorned with a score of glowing candles that sent shadows dancing across the room. At the centre of the room on the backwall laid the master bed. Fashioned out of Great Oak and carved in traditional Nordic patterns, it was no doubt once some craftsman’s most prized work. Joramund let out a weary sigh sinking deeper into the large wooden tub. The warmth of the water eased his aching muscles. It was good to relax after so long on the road. But could he truly? The news of a Thalmor patrol in the city did not sit well with him. Joramund shifted with unease sending ripples across the surface of the tub. “They’re always on the lookout for secret Talos worshippers to stamp out.” The Tavern lady’s words echoed within his head. 

Joramund fumbled at the old and worn amulet that hung from his neck. One of the soul mementos of a life long lost. A life taken from him… 

   - Eerie sway of lifeless figures. Taught rope snapping. Ravens cawing. Cold little hands clasped tight.  A man’s solemn scream. His solemn scream – 

Alone with his thoughts there were no drunkards to save him now. Every painful bitter detail came flooding back. Memories best left forgotten always lingered beneath the surface, awaiting the opportune moment to break free and unleash their torment upon him. 

4th Era 175 Cyrodiil, County of Bruma 

3716611198?profile=RESIZE_710xThe sky hung grey and desolate. After much hardship and toil the Empire had albeit ousted the Aldmeri Dominion from the lands of man. His soul hungered for home; he had longed to reunite with his family for far too long. He yearned for Freyda’s embrace, to stroke her long honey locks through his fingers and hold her in his arms, to give little Brigitte and Yjorin a big hug and to see how much they had grown. He wondered if father was still using the smithy, making farming tools and shoeing horses. 

Joramunds heart lurched as he spotted a trail of smoke atop the hill where home was. Where his life was. Where Freyda, Brigitte, Yjorin and father were. He spurred his stead into gallop almost without thinking. Everything went into a blurr, the village had been sacked. Some of the village folk still lay lifeless on the ground where they had been run down from horseback, their battered bodies trampled into the mud. Cries of anguish lingered on the air. Sorrowful wails calumniating in a beleaguered dirge that lamented the lost. The miller’s wife was tending some of the fallen.  “By the divines what has happened here?” Joramunds voice boomed, as he slowed his mount. Though he feared he already knew the answer. 

“Joramund? Y-you’ve returned”. Came the shaky voice of Annetta. “T-the Thalmor. I – I thought the war was over. I – I” The woman fell to her knees weeping. “They claimed they were after Talos worshippers. B-but the look in their eyes. Naught but malice. I tried to warn the others”. Annetta gazed out at the carnage left in the wake of the attack. “But it wasn’t enough”. She began to sob again. 

“Annetta, where is my family? Where is Freyda?” The Imperial’s eyes glanced toward the tree on the hill then to the ground. No don’t look like that. Divines please no. Joramund could hear his own heart beating. 

“They. The Thalmor. Joramund, th-they’re gone”. 

4th Era 201 Cyrodiil, Bruma 

-Knock knock knock- 

The knocking on the door broke Joramund out of thought. A silent tear fell from his cheek sending a slight ripple across the water’s surface. The cold grey eyes of a battered and worn stranger stared back from the wavering reflection. Is that me? Damn I’m looking old... He swiped the visage away with a flick of his hand and rubbed the water from his eyes. 

-knock knock knock- 

“Foods here!” The impatient voice of a woman came from the other side of the door. One of the tavern wenches? “You deaf? I said ye foods here!” 

“Aye, aye hold a minute will ya.” Joramund rose from the tub, the water trickling from his body, softly dripping on the floor and in the tub. He hastily fumbled with getting the amulet off and carefully concealed it in his cloak that hung from the bed post. Grabbing a towel that had been lain out for him to use, he wrapped it around himself. “Come in ye can leave the food on the table”. 

The door opened and in walked a comely young Breton with chestnut hair. When she realised that Joramund was robed only in a towel her cheeks flushed. As she placed the platter atop the table, her olive eyes lingered a moment on him, no doubt observing the many scars that littered his body. 

“They’re just old battle scars never you mind girl. Be a good lass and get me a flagon of mead to have with my meal.” Joramund said noticing her discomfort. 

“Right away, sir” The girl curtsied and made for the open door. 

Just as the door was closing Joramund caught the gaze of another guest in passing. Her long raven hair was plaited and woven into intricate knots and patterns. Robes jet black, matched only by the complexity of her hair were adorned with feathers and lace. Her pale complexion was a striking contrast to her attire. Amber eyes flickered upon on him a moment and then the door was closed. 

Why is she staying in the inn and not being hosted in the Counts court? There was something about the woman that made him feel uneased. It was her eyes. There was a cunningness to them. She’d the kind of eyes that don’t miss a thing, because they have seen it all. 

Joramund paced over to where he’d laid his clothes on his bed and quickly dressed himself, leaving his hauberk and fur for the morning. 

The smell of the roasted chicken was enticing and he helped himself to the platter. The flesh was succulent and aromatic and fell off the bone. 

It wasn’t long before the wench came back with the flagon of mead. 

“This’ll be the last order for the night, hours grown late. Your welcome to the main floor by the fire, but keep the noise down because we have other guests too”. 

“Aye thanks lass”. 

The room fell silent after the serving girl had left. Joramund pondered a moment, stroking his beard thoughtfully.  Having the flagon in the common area by the fire did sound appetising. I wonder if that woman is up there? Picking the last of flesh from the chicken bones and sucking the grease off his fingers, he left the carcass on the platter and made his way back to the main floor of the tavern, flagon in hand. 

The main floor was sparsely lit, and the glow of the fire lent the room a warming presence. The rabble had cleared out, so far as he could tell. No sign of the woman in black either. He lumbered over to the fire place, slumped into nearest chair letting out a heavy sigh and gulped down another mouthful of mead. The fire crackled sending up sparks of embers. On the morrow he would head to court to claim his bounty. And after that? There were more bounties to be sure. But he had no intention of staying in Bruma overlong, not with the Thalmor sniffing about. 

The wind sighed outside almost sounding like eerie whispers in the darkness. Joramund sloshed the flagon around. Still half full. Drinking alone was always depressing business but not drinking at all was worse still. His neck tingled and he looked behind expecting to see someone or something only to be beholden to an empty room. “Hrunphh, must just be the mead”. 

He eased back into the chair wearily. The darkness beyond the window was so complete that he could see naught but snowflakes delicately pattering upon the pane. It’d been a long night and Joramund was content to let it be. He downed the last of the flagon and went to stand. “What the bloody fuck?” his legs would not budge to his will and remained fixed upon the chair. “By the tits of Kynareth what foul sorcery is this!”. His focus began to swirl and a darkly clad feminine figure slowly began to materialize across from him, along with an eerie laugh that was as smooth as velvet. 

“Tssk-tssk leaving so soon? I was so enjoying watching you wallow in your own self-pity”. The dark-haired temptress wryly looked across at him taking sip from her goblet, the red wine leaving a stain upon her full and sumptuous lips. 

“Who the fuck”. Joramund could feel the invisible tendrils of magical energy creeping into his mind. Silent. Persistent. Determined. -Ravens cawing. Cold little hands clasped tight. Solemn scream. Dread, remorse, failure -. “What is, n-no how ar”- He’d encountered Illusionists before but none so powerful as this woman. “Argh!! Get the fuck out of my head witch” It was all he could do to resist her influence. 

“Ah-ah, pearls before the swine my dear. I’m afraid the complexity of the spell you’re under would be lost explaining it to someone…” The woman in black paused a moment as if she were searching for the right word. “So mundane. But my name is Ceryse if there are to be introductions. And you are…” Ceryse’s eyes narrowed slightly and Joramund could feel her magic invading his thoughts once more. “Joramund”, she finished. 

What in Oblivion does this crazy bitch want? Fucking mages and the mind tricks. Is she with the Synod or College of Whispers? Joramund squirmed uncomfortably, a trickle of sweat ran down his brow as he tried to fight the magical energy. 

3505215497?profile=RESIZE_710x“Hah!” Ceryse blurted, with a clear look of amusement on her face. “You’ll find I am far more than those pretentious fools…”  She coyly smirked. Joramunds eyes grew wide as he noticed her devilish smile. Pearly white fangs glistened with a fresh lustre of crimson. Vampire. A fucking vampire, of all the damned the luck.  His eyes darted toward the goblet she held so elegantly in her hand and found himself questioning its contents. 

“You can’t keep me like this forever you know? As soon as your spell falters, you are fucked. I am going to fucking end you bitch”. Ceryse, took another sip from her goblet indulging herself in the red liquid within, clearly unperturbed by his outburst. 

“Is that so…. I don’t think you are quite grasping the gravity of the situation you are in darling. Let me show you just how… What was it you said? Ah yes. Let me show you just how fucked you are”. She made a quick waving gesture with her hand and incanted something quietly under her breath. A sudden flare of red erupted from her palm followed by a crippling wave of pain. A pain so violent and intense it felt as if the very blood within his veins had been set alight with thousands of molten hot shards. 

“Arghhhhhh! F-F-Fuuuuuck!” Joramund cried through gritted teeth. The pain subsided and Ceryse gracefully placed her goblet upon the table next to her and rose.  

“Do you understand now?” she mocked him. “Do you see how little control you really have? You were mine from the moment I saw you.” She swaggered towards him, her high leather boots beating across the hard wood floor. “Your folly and ignorance do you no credit Joramund,” she said lowering herself until they were face to face. 

“What do you want from me?!,” Joramund seethed at her. Beads of sweat gleamed on his face and stung his eyes. Nothing’s ever simple, is it, he lamented. 

“Hmm now there’s a good question”, she purred. Her hand shot out, clasping his jaw with a brutal force that far exceeded her fragile physique. 

“You’ll be found out soon! Someone’s bound to have heard us you stupid cunt”. Her fingernails dug into his flesh as her grip tightened. 

“Don’t count on it”. Ceryse pulled him toward her. Her eyes were aflame with hunger from the scent of his blood that was now trickling over her fingers and down his neck. “As to what I want… I should think that pretty obvious by now.” She pushed back his head and let go, licking the blood from her fingers. “Mmmm such decadence. If you’d stop struggling for a second you might even enjoy this. Oh, but don’t worry Joramund, you won’t remember much, only that the two of us had a good night together, and parted amicably....”. 

“I-I”. He could feel her exerting her will upon him once more, though this time it wasn’t pain or torture she inflicted, but A sense of calm. A calm that washed over him until  he found himself wanting nothing more than to please the dark-haired seductress in front of him. “What would you have of me m’lady", words that were not entirely his own spoke through his lips. 

“Ah, now that’s better”. Ceryse looked at him lustily and pushed back his head, sinking her fangs into the tender flesh of his neck.

Part 1 | Table of Contents | Part 3

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  • Hey Furrion, 

    Great to see this gem up at last. I’m gladly and saddened that we’ve learnt about Joramund’s past but it makes me wonder. What is Ceryse doing in Bruma of all places? Especially along with rumors of the Thalmor around as well. Great job here’s mate, can’t wait to read part 3

    • Haha you will have to wait for her story to find out what she was doing there man. I intended for her apearance here to be somewhat of a teaser/prelude to her own tale.Though I will say, since she is deep into politcs and such things it wouldn't be a stretch to assume she has some plans at court before her journey takes her elsewhere. 

  • Interesting chapter, nice to have seen it through to its end at last.

    I'm curious as to what her purpose truly is. I don't fancy she's only out for his blood. Else she would have offed him a long time ago. I suspect a deeper reason and I can't wait to find out what that reason is.


    Great job dude. Apart from some some minor spelling errors, I have no complaints whatsoever.

  • Finally got to reading these two chapters, and I've gotta say I'm impressed. So far you've got a compelling narrative here and I look forward to the next chapter.

    I've honestly got nothing in the way of criticism other than echoeing others about minor grammar things, but they aren't by any means a hindrance to the flow of the story.

    Great work!

  • Man Ceryse is a badass! Poor Joramund. I guess this is taking an interesting turn with her apparition. This chapter was beautifully written as we learn more about the Stormrider past, I can't wait to see the next one!

    Don't keep us waiting for too long Furrion! You are doing a very good job with those


  • I like it! As others already said there's a few minor grammar issues but nothing that takes me out of the story. Looking forward to more.

  • Hey guys sorry it took me a wee while to reply to you all (busy week). I'll adress everyones coments in this reply. Also thanks for noticing the gramatical errors, I'll be sure to sweep through the story as soon as I can to fix those up.

    @Powersocke Prime - Thanks for reading mate. You are quite right! There is far more to Ceryse than meets the eye. I am hopping to explore more of her character in her own story. So what you saw of her here is just a cameo or a teaser of whats going to be a much larger stand alone tale all of her own.

    @Shadon - Thank you very much for the kind words Shadon! I worked on this part of the story for quite awhile, so I'm very happy to hear you find the narative compelling :)

    @Nystee - She absoulouty is a bad ass, I dare that poor old Joramund was quite out of his depth haha. I'm busy getting to work on the next part now so hopefully it won't be too much of a wait. Never the less I am very happy to hear you are waitiing in anticipation for it. Thanks for reading :)

    @Ponty - Glad to here you've enjoyed the tale so far mate. Definantly more to come! I'll fix up those gramatical Issues as sson as I can. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Well! Tension! A particular kind of tension at that!

    This Ceryse is a build character of yours? It's always more interesting the more original characters a writer puts into a story. I like it! I also like that Joramund doesn't just shake off the vampire's Illusion magicks. Grounds his character in the blood and steel of his reality, so to speak.

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