The Shinigami: Act 1 "Fatherland's Gateway"

3407776871?profile=RESIZE_710xIt was a cold damp night in a Nordic barrow somewhere in the Jerall mountains. It smelled like moss and decomposing wood. Only faint noises like droplets and slow footsteps can be heard. It was dark, but she could see very well in darkness as if it were day. She was a trained Samurai of Akaviri descent, after all. She already felled a few Draugr, Nordic undead that inhabit the ancient crypts of Skyrim. There were only a few left, daybreak was nearing, and she was near the main Sanctum. There she hoped to slay and capture the soul of the main culprit of raising these poor undead souls, the Overlord.

The morning in a settlement nearby the Pale Pass was cold and misty. It was silent except for faint noises made by some farm animals. A farmer was only starting to tend his chickens when he noticed something in the middle of the main road when the fog cleared. When he approached it, he was surprised to see a pile of bones, a collection of ancient Nord weapons and armor, and a stack pile of filled soul gems. Other people started to check it out until a commotion has formed.

Eljar, a young Samurai went to see what the fuss was all about so that he could report it to the Daimyo of the Pale Pass, the land owner. When he saw the gathered equipment, he felt that it wasn't that unexpected. It had been happening for the past few months already. He thought to himself “the Shinigami had struck again”. The Shinigami is the angel of death, or soul reaper of the ancient Akaviri, his people's ancestors. However, it was highly unlikely that it was the Soul Reaper itself, as what his commander-senpai has told him, “only Samurai wielding a katana can cut through armor and bone this cleanly. This is the work of a leaderless warrior, a Ronin, not an angel of death”. (Senpai is senior in an ancient Akaviri dialect spoken by the Dragonguard before).

Nonetheless, the people of the Pale Pass got used to calling the Ronin the Shinigami for its work involved freeing the souls of the undead Draugr by slaying and soul trapping them to pass through the afterlife. Even if the souls were trapped in gems, they were white, meaning that they were freed when used as enchantments instead of being brought to the Soul Cairn, a dark and desolate afterlife like black soul gems do. And it also provided a means to prevent them from being revived by other undead Overlords. At least, that was what their ancestors, the Akaviri Samurai believed being great enchanters themselves.

And since the Shinigami had been leaving a collection of filled soul gems for the past few months, they have benefited greatly in selling enchanted equipment to merchants all over Skyrim. And the timing couldn't have been more perfect since they lost their two main trading partners in the recent Great War, the Imperial garrison of Fort Neugrad and Cloud Ruler Temple of the Blades.

Since the people of the Pale Pass treat this as a supernatural event, faith in their god “Ryuujin”, or dragon god in the common tongue, had never been stronger. They often gave thanks for the blessings, at the same time prayed that he wouldn't send the angel of death to take their lives prematurely like what happened to some of their kin who lost their lives in the Great War. With faith restored, morale was high, therefore people worked harder to bring in more profit.

Such ingenuity by the Shinigami should've been praised by all, but the Daimyo (landlord or landlady in the said Akaviri dialect) of the Pale Pass, Risa Makenzo did not condone these actions. She disagreed with the desecration of their ancient Nordic ancestors' tombs, and it caused disturbance of the peace. With that, she ordered her Samurai retainers to investigate the case of the vigilante Ronin.

It was her duty to protect her people, the Nordic Akaviri descendants of emperor Reman's “Shugosha Ryuujin”, or “protectors of the dragon god” in Tamrielic, or more popularly known as the Dragonguard. Risa Makenzo wasn't always considered the heir of the land given by Reman I to retired Samurai of the Dragonguard. She had an older brother who served the Blades, and would've served as Daimyo when their father died.

Every generation of the Makenzo clan since the second empire sent their eldest child to the Dragonguard and eventually to the Blades only to retire to rule the Pale Pass when the patriarch or matriach of the clan passed. Many clans in the Jerall mountains did the same, but because of several wars in the history of Skyrim and Cyrodiil, many committed “sepukku” or ritual suicide in honor of their fallen lords. No one wanted to be branded as “Ronin” or lordless Samurai during that period because it was considered dishonorable.

There were still many Akaviri descendants in Cyrodiil, but the Makenzo clan was the only known family left to still practice Akaviri tradition in Skyrim. But nowadays, the clan was more Nordic than Akaviri. Very few could still speak the ancient dialect of the Dragonguard Samurai. “It doesn't matter. Times have changed everything for modernization”, Risa Makenzo thought of the land she loved dearly. Even if she was the second child, she still trained in the way of the warrior, or “Bushido” to become a proficient Samurai to uphold what's left of her Akaviri roots.

She had no intent in ruling though. That was reserved for her brother. But she was always visibly talking with common folk, and helping them in their needs. She was well loved. Even if she was doing this in her brother's and father's stead, she loved the people. However, her brother was lost to the Great War when Cloud Ruler Temple was besieged and razed. The family was devastated with the news, but there were more pressing issues to be tackled upon. Risa Makenzo was suddenly the sole heir of the land.

She now had to serve the Blades that were no where to be found. She needed to make a courtesy call to the Jarl of Falkreath since the Pale Pass was technically part of the said hold. And Jarl Dengeir wasn't exactly a trusting kind of man. Then she also had to do an impossible task of setting an appointment with the emperor who was currently fighting a war. She did all these while mourning for her beloved brother.

She never really served the Blades directly, but she searched for them, and salvaged whatever was left in the temple. However, she couldn't find her brother's katana, the Makenzo family heirloom. For the Makenzos, that Akaviri sword was their symbol of strength and only hope.

She also kept an ever vigilant eye on a possible reemergence of the "Ryouko No Tensei", or simply “Tensei”, the Dragonborn, the mortal incarnation of “Ryuujin”. She roamed around the countryside of Skyrim continuing in fulfilling her duties for her “Musha Shugyo”, or the pilgrimage of the Way of the Warrior where she honed her Samurai skills by serving good folk in doing common tasks, and doing mercenary work without the protection of her clan. When her father died, she went home and took the reigns.

At the age of twenty five years, and still fairly young, she took over her father's lordship in 4E 184. It had been nine years since the end of the war, but her people still mourned the loved ones who served in the Legion and died fighting. Many problems arose during that time. The settlement was low on supplies, and barely surviving. It was made worse when bandits often raided townsfolk due to the lack of protection caused by the aftermath of the war. Then the Shinigami problem came to constantly remind them of death.

Lady Risa had to make a swift action to improve law enforcement. She opened a “dojo”, a school for training new Samurai retainers. And she taught the new students herself. Soon incidents involving bandits decreased with more Samurai protecting the village. The people started to work with lesser fear in them. With that, the supplies started to flow inward. But the Shinigami problem did not stop.

Come 4E 201, Lady Risa had been married to a distant cousin, bore three children, and widowed a few years back, the Shinigami would still do its work every now and then. The reaper of souls would bring in loot from barrows for a few weeks then vanish. Sometimes, a group of unconscious and bound bandits came along with the loot. The ‘angel of death’ constantly did this cycle and disappear, only to make its presence felt again after a few months.

It had been happening for seventeen years, and the investigations had been fruitless about its identity. Even though the Lady was against the Shinigami's actions, the young Samurai, Eljar had been obsessed about it. In fact, it was the one that inspired him to become a Samurai.

Eljar was born right at the outbreak of the Great War in the Pale Pass. Both of his parents died when he was very young. He was barely a year old when his father died with the Imperial legion defending the Imperial City from the Aldmeri invaders. Thus he really never knew him. However, he did have memories of his mother for she died when he was six years old. His mother suffered the same fate, but this time, she was with Skyrim's delegation of the Legion in the Battle of the Red Ring. The Empire did win, but his mother only came back as a corpse to be buried.

Since everyone in the Pale Pass was technically related to the Makenzo clan in some way, Eljar was never truly orphaned by family affiliation. Lord Makenzo was his very distant great uncle, and his parents were somewhat cousins to Lady Risa around the eleventh degree. However, he still had a difficult childhood.

At six years old, he lived alone in their house, and learned how to take care of himself. He went on to become a blacksmith's apprentice to earn as much coin as he could. On his free time, he kept himself busy by educating himself by reading books in the Daimyo's library. Of course, after doing all that was necessary, he would play with the other children. But when the other children went back to their homes, it would become clear to him that he would have to go back to an empty house. He envied his playmates because they still had parents. To divert his thoughts, he would either go back to reading, or mine ore and practice smithing weapons and armor.

Eljar was fifteen years old when Lord Hisashi Makenzo died, and when Lady Risa took over. He thought to himself, “yes, they still took on ancient Akaviri names in Nord land. They'll all be taken by the Shinigami and die, anyway. This clan would die out soon. How ridiculously sad”. There was so much pessimism in his thoughts because of the troubles he and the village had to go through. The talk of the angel of death, or the “Shinigami” being upon them was so common place because of all the deaths occurring in the aftermath of the war. But he did not believe in that. He was more of a realistic thinker. Supplies were low. Bandits raiding every now and then. Enchanted equipment weren't selling the way they used to. It was only a matter of time before everyone died. “Then what's this dojo for Samurai that the new Daimyo is opening? What a waste of resources”, he thought again when he heard the Lady's plans of enhancing security.

It was the winter of the 4E 184 when it first happened. It was a gloomy and foggy morning. Not even the chickens would coo for it was too cold. There was something on the road. Suddenly, there were noises, very worried sounds from townsfolk. A commotion started to build up. Eljar was among them. A large sack full with gems filled with no smaller than grand souls was laying on the ground. Normally, this would be a pleasant sight, but there were more oddities beside it. Along with the sack of gems was a pile of cleanly cut decomposed human remains still donning what was ancient Nordic armor.

However practical Eljar was, this was still a bad omen. No mortal in their right mind would venture in a Nordic ruin and capture large souls then just leave it in a place like this. The people came to assume that this was the work of the angel of death when it happened again and again. The Shinigami was making its presence felt.

Oddly enough, these events lead to the improvement of the settlement. People began restoring their broken faith in the dragon god by praying not to be taken by the soul reaper. The filled soul gems made powerful enchantments thus they sold more equipment. Eventually, everyone's morale got higher. Eljar, with his once strong sense of realism weakened, was suddenly obsessed with the power of the Shinigami. “How can something so grim cause so much positivity among people”, he asked himself. In fact, he was so into it that he snuck in the quarters of the Daimyo's Samurai retainers to eavesdrop on the current investigation of the Shinigami case. It was where he found out that this was the work of a Ronin, not a supernatural force.

It did not stop Eljar's admiration for the Shinigami, however. It even made him admire it more for then he knew that such a powerful individual existed. It was a Ronin. A trained Samurai. Just like the other people in the Pale Pass, he realized that the Shinigami turned everyone's life around. There was always light after the dark. Indirectly, it taught him how to make something positive out of the extreme negativity of his life. He realized that it would make him happier if he helped the people just like the angel of death. That day sometime in 4E 184, Eljar decided to join Lady Risa's dojo.

Author's Note: This is my first work here in the skyforge. This is also a first of the many acts of the backstory of a build that I'm currently playing. I was initially planning a short backstory then proceed in making a build, but it somehow became a full blown story in itself. Blending some aspects of Japanese culture and Elder Scrolls lore was a gargantuan task, but kept me interested in making this. This would be followed up soon. Hope you enjoy.

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  • A new story, awesome! I’ll be giving this a read as soon as I get off work. 

    • Great! I'll post act 2 soon. Uploaded this while I was at work. Hahaha 

  • Nothing short of amazing, friend. All this writing talent coming our way makes me want to try my hand at writing. 

    • Thank you for your comment, friend. Still a lot to improve, though I'll do my best to get better at this. And by all means, please give it a shot at writing. It would be great to read your work.

  • I finally had the time to sit down and read this and I’m thoroughly impressed. Your writing talent far exceeds that of my own, that’s for sure. You ought to take a look at the writing/character building cross over event we’re holding. I’m sure you’d enjoy it. 

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I did put a lot of effort into this so it feels good that my work gets appreciated. Kudos to you for reading this, friend. I'll keep updating this story as often as I can.

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