The Shinigami: Act 2 "Ronin"

3390937655?profile=RESIZE_710xThe 4E 201 midsummer sun blazed through the icy slopes of the Jerall mountains as Eljar and some other young Samurai grabbed the loot left by the Shinigami to be taken to their commander-senpai. After that, they would present the report to the Daimyo. It was never a pleasant meeting since it had always been a fruitless investigation. Cleaning up the Shinigami's mess then being lashed out by Lady Risa was becoming a nuisance, he thought. Still, he represented his job with great honor.

He wasn't the best, in fact he was one of the younger and inexperienced ones, but he fulfilled his role as a Samurai to the best of his abilities. He just wished that there could've been more to this. Besides being lashed out by the Lady ever so often, doing security patrols, hunting and collecting white souls, smithing and enchanting, and doing menial tasks for common folk were becoming a repetitive chore. He believed that he could do more ‘dangerous covert work’ like raiding bandit camps or tracing the Shinigami's trail. But they were under strict orders.

However unreasonable Lady Risa was, Eljar never resented her. He was just fresh from graduation from the dojo, and just started to work as a retainer. Even if it was difficult to work with her, Lady Risa was a brilliant, kind, and understanding Sensei, or teacher. He learned everything about swordsmanship and its forms from her. The ‘Daisho’, or ‘big little form’, utilizing a wakizashi with the offhand, and a katana with other when dealing with multiple enemies was his favorite. The core philosophy of Bushido, and its codes of honor was also imparted by her.

He wasn't the type of student that always excelled, but she always motivated him to do better. She treated her students with care, always patiently sharing her knowledge. Although he saw her more than just a teacher. He was secretly infatuated by her. Besides being amazing in every way as a leader, warrior, and teacher, she was incredibly beautiful.

The Daimyo, Lady Risa was ten years his elder, but it was as if she never aged. Her ebony black hair never turned grey. Her face never wrinkled despite having such a stressful life. She had already given birth to children, but for some odd and twisted magic, she remained youthful in body. It was probably the Akaviri in her, whereas they usually looked a lot younger than their age compared to their pure Nordic counterparts. The Nords tend to look older than their age at a certain point in their lives. Many in the Pale Pass were already considered purely Nords for the clan had lived their for generations. They either envy or admire her for how she looked. Eljar was definitely on the admiring side. He has Akaviri ancestry too, but the Lady got the better branch of the family tree. The Shinigami was his first inspiration to join the dojo, but it was the Lady of the Pale Pass that got him going until he graduated.

Eljar was still very much inspired in his first year of working for his Daimyo. She had been widowed already. Maybe he had a chance, he daydreamed, there was nothing wrong with it. But it never stopped him to work at his best. A slight possibility, perhaps? He suddenly snapped out of his dream when a sound of metal dropping on the ground was heard nearby. When he approached the location where the sound was heard, to his surprise, the Shinigami dropped its loot in broad daylight.

How was that even possible? He thought. He checked the equipment. A katana was there. That was odd, he thought again for ancient Nords never used Akaviri swords. Unless, that was the rogue Samurai's sword. The Shinigami accidentally dropped its weapon. That meant it was still in the area and might return to get the sword back. He searched the vicinity while keeping an eye on the loot and katana. Nothing. The Shinigami disappeared into thin air in the middle of the day.

He should've kept two eyes on that katana. When he returned, the sword wasn't there anymore. “How in Oblivion did the Shinigami cross you twice? In the middle of a fucking sunny day”, Halfdan-Taichou, or Captain Halfdan, Eljar's commander-senpai lashed out at him, once he reported the incident. (Taichou is captain in the said Akaviri dialect).

“Maybe it really was the angel of death, Taichou”, Eljar jested, but he was more of lost for words. He had nothing to say. It was his watch. Maybe he was a bit complacent since it happened during the day. Regardless, he had nothing to do, but apologize when the Daimyo confronts him. “Great. Plus points to Lady Risa then”, he thought sarcastically. All of a sudden, a realization that might save his head from being lopped off his shoulder came into mind while he was investigating the loot with his senpai.

There was a filled black soul gem and a dusted piece of Nirnroot. He may not be the best swordsman and may never be, but he definitely was one of the more intelligent ones. “Thank Ryuujin for herbs and alchemy books”, he thought recalling all his free days of studying books. “Halfdan-Senpai, our Shinigami is telling us something. This is a black soul”, he said.

“It's still not going to save your arse, Eljar”, the captain replied.

“Oh but it will”. Eljar explained that the black soul gem wasn't just filled by any ordinary Draugr. It could be something more powerful, and sentient. “An Overlord, perhaps”, Halfdan said.

“A Draugr Overlord's soul is white and can fit in a grand soul gem”, Eljar answered.

“What does it matter? Maybe this Ronin trapped a poor bandit's soul, or he or she ran out of gems to use?”

“Unlikely. Our friendly neighborhood Shinigami had been giving us an abundance of soul gems, and it does seem out of place for it to trap a living soul. It usually brought in living unconscious bandits before.”

“Get to the point.”

Eljar showed his senior the dusted piece of Nirnroot.
It was bitten off by something, but Nirnroot is very poisonous. However, the dust that covered it neutralizes the poison. “You need an alchemy lab to mix ingredients, Eljar”, the captain said.

“Your own digestive system can be an alchemy lab, Taichou”, Eljar replied. “Clearly, it didn't use the dust to neutralize the poison for satisfying one's hunger”, he added thinking that Nirnroot doesn't taste pleasant at all. The Shinigami was utilizing the other more potent side effect when mixing these ingredients, prolonged invisibility. “And I suppose you now have concluded where the dust came from”, the captain said with an assumption of what was going on.

“Absolutely. The dust belonged to, rather, was the one inside this black soul gem,” Eljar said now with much more conviction. The Shinigami must've been tracking it for days until it caught the undead creature. And it was an undead creature with a black soul. The rogue Samurai purposely struck in the middle of the day to give the filled black soul gem, and cross Eljar twice to show off the ability to turn invisible when consuming Nirnroot and vampire dust. “Our friend is telling us that vampires are about, Senpai”, he added.

“You just figured this out now? Alright, let's report this to the Daimyo and see what she thinks”, Hafdan said with astonished disbelief. “You're not off the hook yet”, he emphasized. Fortunately, Eljar was.

Although the Daimyo was upset with the news of the vampire menace, she commended him for a job well done. She ordered for more frequent security patrols within the settlement's vicinity especially at night. She also encouraged mastery of fire magic and alchemy to exploit the weakness of the undead. And since it was also common practice among their ancestors, the Dragonguard, fire wasn't something unfamiliar. For the first time in seventeen years, it seemed as if the Daimyo was finally appreciating the work of her arch nemesis.

“I still do not, in under any circumstances, agree with the desecration of our ancestors' tombs”, she said while being taught by Eljar how to make ‘weakness to fire’ poisons using juniper berries, one day. He was an extremely difficult student, she thought. The boy had no skill with the sword at all, and was always very rebellious, constantly questioned what she taught. He would always sit out Kendo classes whenever he did not feel like it. He had such a negative disposition in life before, as understandable being an orphan of war veterans.

However, history, alchemy, and arcane arts classes always got his attention. For a child who was of lower birth relative to the main branch of the Makenzo family, he was very well read. In fact, the amount of knowledge he possessed can compare to that of the nobility's. She would've gladly kicked him out of the dojo if not for his smarts. And she saw something in the boy that she could not explain.

But what really surprised her was his insurmountable honor he had when he started working as a Samurai. “I guess he turned out alright, after all”, she thought while thinking he had become a fine, honorable, and handsome man. “Those eyes”, she thought. Eljar strikingly resembled their great Dragonguard ancestor, Miyamoto Makenzo in his portrait in the main hall of the long house. Brown sleepy eyes, long rugged black hair tied in a half bun, with a scruffy beard, he was definitely Akaviri at first glance. But his tall frame, slightly pointed nose, and pale complexion was a dead giveaway of his Nord blood, if one was unfamiliar of the Mannish Akaviri race.

She was infatuated with this man beside her, she realized while she looked intently, and closely at him while he spoke about alchemy. “He's pretty good at mixing things”, she taught. She had never admired a man so much save for his late husband who had died in Solitude fighting for an independent Skyrim a few years back. Come to think of it, she hadn't been in bed with a man for a while now.

But this wasn't right. She shouldn't be thinking of such things. She should be focusing on making potions with him, and not making 'something else'. Besides becoming an excellent craftsman, he had become a good Samurai in general. She taught her well. “Still much to learn, though”, she said. Then she flushed realizing that she was already thinking out loud.

“What was that, Daimyo-Sama? You were mumbling”, Eljar asked trying to maintain composure because it seemed like she had been staring deep into his soul for a while already.

“Nothing. Just carry on”, she answered sternly then looked away as if she just revealed her nakedness. “Excuse me, Eljar. I have to go back to my chambers”, she added then walked away.

That was strange, but rather adorable, Eljar thought to himself. It was the first time he saw his Daimyo-Sensei went awkward like that. She was, and will always be his biggest crush, but it seemed like at that moment, the tables were turned. “No, it couldn't be. I should not be assuming such things”, he thought. But he felt it. There was an obvious feeling of intimate tension. He still set the thought aside for he felt it was wrong.

Then he noticed that his Sensei left her katana on the alchemy lab. She clearly wasn't herself. The katana was golden black in color, and had a very unique hilt or ‘tsuba’, two bats flying in suspended animation on either side. No, this was not the Makenzo family sword for it was lost with Lord Yuto in Cloud Ruler temple during the Great War. This was Lady Risa's unique katana that she forged herself.

Eljar stared at the tsuba of his Sensei's katana. Why did she put bats there? Very unique, indeed. He thought. Also, he had a strange feeling that he had seen this sword before, but couldn't quite recall it. Suddenly, Lady Risa entered the room again. “I knew it. I misplaced my sword again. Getting old, you know”, she said then went back to her chambers.

“Not quite, my dear lady. Not quite”, Eljar thought while simultaneously thinking how beautifully youthful she still looked despite her age.

A few weeks gone, there were still no reports of either the Shinigami or vampire sightings. The day's shift was over, and Eljar decided to grab a few pints of wine and ale with his friends in the tavern, probably his favorite hobby next to reading. When he had one too many bottles of mead, he went out to get some fresh air. The night sky was clear, and the borealis was visible. The strong icy winds of the Jerall mountains probably blew off the clouds and the fog. The lights of the White Gold Tower of the Imperial City could be seen from a distance. In fact, that night was so clear that he could see a few Samurai gathering around what seemed to be a large sack from the opposite side of the settlement. The Shinigami brought in something tonight.

The bag did not contain any ancient Nord weapons and armor. It only had seven large filled black soul gems and pieces of moth wings. All of which were dusted. The Samurai warriors on patrol duty brought the loot to the headquarters. Eljar stayed for a while, shell-shocked. “Seven.. Seven vampires”, a grim thought. There were seven vampires stalking the people right in the vicinity of the Pale Pass. “What a dreadful situation”, he shuddered at the thought that there was a possibility that there could be more.

Then he noticed something on the ground beside where the sack used to be. Blood. Droplets of blood were slowly emerging above the snow. He realized, “the effects are wearing off”. Moth wings can be an alternative to Nirnroot to make one's self invisible, and was even more abundant at night. And it has another side effect when mixed with vampire dust, accelerated health regeneration.

“The Shinigami is wounded”, Eljar concluded. As the effects of invisibility wore off, a trail of blood on the snow started to reveal itself. However, it was only a matter of time before the winds cover it with snow so he followed it quickly. He was off duty, but this was very crucial for the investigation. “I was going to the woods, anyway”, thought Eljar since he was going to smoke skooma, a very illegal drug, with his enchanted skooma vaporizer that he made himself with fire enchantments and an old steel katana hilt.

The trail of blood terminated at a foggy portion of the forest. There was nobody there. The snow must've covered the rest of it. He sighed. When he was about to put a drop of skooma in his vaporizer, a dark figure revealed itself behind the mist. It was a woman garbed in a hooded black ‘Kunoichi’ armor. (Kunoichi, or a female shinobi/ninja, were the special underground operatives of the ancient Akaviri).

“Your mixture wore off a little too early there, my dear”, Eljar said trying to look calm and collected even if he really was nerve wracked. “In the name of the Daimyo, Lady Risa Makenzo of the Pale Pass, and Jarl Siddgeir of the Hold of Falkreath, you are under arrest for disturbing the peace and desecrating holy ground”, he added as he drew his katana.

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  • I'm a big fan of these backstories, Elomar! I love the concept of Shinigami and admittedly used to Roleplay a Shinigami character. I like the Blending of Eastern Culture and Elder Scroll lore as well. I look forward to seeing more!

    • Thank you, Kendrix Trixie. I'll try to keep everyone updated, and post act 3 soon.

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