Chapter 4 – To Feel
Randale was dumb-struck by what was happening. How did this seeming dimwit outmaneuver him? Why did he not sense his presence before? Or hear him? Ugly started walking towards him. Out of options, he dove backward, grasping for the enchanted dagger, and rolled into the alcove to avoid a line of sight with the mage. In his desperation, Rasco didn’t realize how hot the dagger was when he first tore it out of the Argonian girl, it burned into his skin. But that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that this dagger was the only protection he had right now against this spellcaster. Divines I hate mages. “Don’t run, you cannot stop this,”
Ugly taunted from the corridor.
Rasco responded, vying for any advantage he could, “You know what you’re doing right? Killing a member of the Dark Brotherhood only ensures that you will be slain in turn.”
“Who said anything about killing you?”
The burning pain in Rasco’s hand had reached his threshold and he tried to drop the dagger, but he couldn’t open his hand. A new arc of pain surged throughout his entire arm, sending Rasco to the ground, writhing as the dagger pulsed red. It was if all of the physical pain he had ever caused was now coursing throughout his arm. Suddenly his face itched. And before he could think to stop himself, Rasco raised the hand with the dagger and satisfied the itch. He felt an excruciating pain as his hand, which seemed to be the embodiment of fire itself, and dagger rubbed across the side of his face and onto his ear. Ugly was looming over him, “Hurts doesn’t it? Does it remind you of all the unnecessary pain you have caused, child of Boethiah?”
Rasco’s hand started to liquefy on the dagger. He tried to respond through the tears of pain, “Wha-“
, but was cut short, plagued with flood of emotion. He could see their faces. All of them. Every single Man, Mer, Cat, and damned Lizard he had ever ended. With each face came a new wave in the torrent of emotion. Fear, anger, hatred, anxiety, sadness, and even hope. Hope that the man who just gave his blessings from Sithis wouldn’t actually kill them. He felt as if his very soul was melting inside of him. When he seemed to be at his end he closed his eyes – surely death would follow – and the dagger stopped glowing.
Rasco opened his eyes. He saw his, still very much intact, hand grasping the hilt of an Iron Dagger protruding from the chest of an Argonian girl. He scrambled backward in shock of what just happened, face burning. He noticed the candles next to the coffin had burnt nearly all the way down. A paralysis spell gripped his legs and arms. “I am sorry for having to do that, boy,”
said the voice of a now very kind, ugly Orc.
Rasco tried to answer, voice shaky, “I don-, wha-, I-“
Ugly came closer, “Shh. Quiet, boy. I will explain everything. But first,”
with hands glowing a brilliant orange, he touched them to Rasco’s face. “The damage is done, but at least it won’t become infected now. I’ll release you now if you give me your word you will not try to kill me. Can you walk?”
Rasco nodded in agreement, “I- I don’t know, I think so.”
“Good. I’m staying at the Mages guild, it isn’t far from here. We’ll get you some food and Surille Brothers. This will be a long story.”
They left the Temple of Akatosh, along with the dead Argonian girl to stain the crypt floors…
“…and that is why I had you experience the Dagger of Remorse, to purge you.”
Ugly looked rather flush, he had been talking for the past two hours. Now that he had stopped, Rasco had a few questions.
“But if my father was a priest of Boethiah, why was I cursed?”
“Like all of the Daedra,”
Ugly replied, “Boethiah is vengeful. When your father disobeyed his wishes, he cursed your entire family after having Ancunel sacrificed at the altar; your mother with her sickness of the body, and you with a sickness of the mind.”
“How,” he said as he jumped to his feet, now fuming, “I hate the Bosmer! And no bloody Daedric curse put that on me!... Or do I?” He did not realize he had spoken the last part aloud.
“This revulsion, it has consumed you for many years, it is all you know. But either way, your bloodlust has been purged,”
said the wise, ugly mage.
Rasco sat back down. “It doesn’t matter,” he replied, shaking his head. “All of the Mer are either weak or haughty, especially those “High” Elves. They do not deserve Tamriel,” he said while banging his fist against the table.
Ugly looked rather annoyed at this comment, “Indeed? Do not be foolish, young half-blood. Every Man and Mer alike deserves their place in Tamriel. Though to what degree, I cannot say.”
“Well, I suppose, but-“
Switching tones, Ugly continued, “And I suppose you think I am weak or haughty then? We may not like to admit it but the Orcs are descendent from the Aldmer as well.”
“No! No, I didn’t mean you or the Orcs, I jus-“
Ugly interrupted again, “Calm yourself. I would not save you just to take offense to a side comment. You’ve been through a lot in these past few hours.”
Ten minutes passed before either spoke again. The Orc mage broke the silence, smiling and seeming amused, when he said, “So, Randale Scoche, what will you do? Now that your vendetta has been erased and your curse removed.”
"Please don't use my Elven name." Then Rasco noticed the smile, “ But it seems to me that you already have an idea of what I should do.”
“Why yes, yes I do.”
The Orc smiled deeper as he stood up, “Come with me back to High Rock. A good smith is hard to find and you already have some training. With a bit more from some in my clan, we could make you a decent one.”
Rasco was intrigued by this proposal, but his brow furrowed as he thought, “What about the Brotherhood? I can’t just leave them, they won’t allow it.”
The Orc lost his smile, “Aye, that’s true. But there are Sanctuary’s all throughout Tamriel. And if they call, you must answer, but that does not mean you must seek out contracts. You could be a smith for them, gather information, the Brotherhood is flexible so long as you remain loyal.”
He thought some more, and finally answered the Orc, “Alright, I’ll come with you.”
“Good, we’ll leave tomorrow then. The sun is coming up and we’ve had a taxing night.”
Ugly started to walk up the stairs to his room, but Rasco stopped him.
“Wait! I’m sorry, I just have two more questions for you.” The graying Orc looked completely exhausted, but turned and indulged him none-the-less. “Well, the first is rather selfish, and you've already done so much for me... will-“, he stuttered, not knowing exactly how to proceed. After a short pause, “Will you teach me some restoration magic? I want to try and make up for some of the destruction I have caused in the world.”
The old mage’s face changed from tired to kind, “Yes, I can do that for you.”
“And one more thing.”
“Why seek me out, why save me?”
The Orc puffed up a little and responded, “Lad. My name is Azuk Gro’Yakha, loyal retainer to Malacath and Arcane servant of the Mages Guild. And for this reason, I need no other to seek and help those who have been tormented under the thumb of Boethiah.”
Azuk’s eyes seemed alight with a fire he had not seen before. “Get some rest, Rasco, we’ll speak more tomorrow.”
He then turned and finished his climb up the stairs to reach his bed for the day, leaving Rasco to his thoughts.