Previous: Volume II
Iogairn mounted his horse, strung his bow and pulled the hood over his face. He was ready. Looking down onto the path from his spot in the woods, he saw the Imperial was behind his two Nord henchman, each on horseback, with a fourth horse lagging behind, carrying all his jewels and money. His very large amount of money
, he corrected himself. He almost laughed. If he didn’t want revenge he could quite easily just take the horse. But he did. He wanted it so much...
He kicked the horse into action and it leapt about twenty yards away from the group.
“Good morning!” he shouted at them, raised his bow and fired an arrow. It hit the first Nord in the gullet.
The Imperial looked shocked for a second before shouting at the Nord before shouting, “Well kill him then!” The Nord rode towards Iogairn and Iogairn threw down his bow, drew his sword and rode towards him. It would be an epic battle to boast of. Life and limb at risk to see who was the greater in combat
Oh sod it he’d learned his lesson
“Now!” he shouted and a flurry of arrows emerging form the trees hit the Nord from every angle. He shook his head. It was sad to see just a normal working class lad die but he was just a lapdog to an Imperial master.
The very same Imperial master look bemused for a few seconds, then began to turn and galloped away. Or at least tried to. Iogairn reached across and pulled him from the saddle bringing them both tumbling to floor with Iogairn on top. He pulled back the hood and smiled triumphantly.
“Remember me?” he said and plunged the knife into the Imperial’s stomach.
“Bloody hell this guy was rich.” There were many appreciative whistles at the huge amount of gold being piled up. Iogairn knew he had to step in.
“Aye, and its going to the poor of Chorrol. Except a bit. And a bit can be quite large.” He smiled.
However Iusepus' voice was heard over the group. “Iogairn!”
Iogairn rolled his eyes. “Alright, just enough to survive and make the next bastard bleed. I’ll take the rest with me so none of you bastards thinks to make his cut.” There were a few good-hearted groans as he piled it all into a sack a hoisted it over his shoulder.
He walked through the group to the clearing where Iusepus was talking animatedly to an Imperial traveller. The traveller looked up at Iogairn and wished them both farewells before heading south-east to the Imperial city.
Iogairn walked to Iusepus’ side. “What was that about? And shouldn’t you be watching the rest?” Iusepus turned to him grinning madly.
“Finduin will keep them in line. Anyway, all of Tamriel is about to declare war on each other. There is going to be a war like never heard of since the legends.” This was a bit off-putting
Iogairn began to walk in the direction of Chorrol. “Why are you grinning? Wars are
normally a bad thing.”
Iusepus just gesticulated. “Surely this is a great source for your stories.”
Iogairn sighed. “The reason people listen to stories is because it isn’t like real life. If I told them stories about their own horrible lives they wouldn’t be interested.” Iusepus just shook that off.
“I’m sure you can pull something off.”
They walked in silence for a couple of minutes until…
“You’ve changed you know Iogairn. You didn’t always used to be like this.”
This was a shock. Iogairn just tried to laugh it off. “No, I’ve always been handsome, charming and witty.”
Iusepus smiled a small smile and looked at him. “I mean the way you take money from the poor as well as the rich. And back there you were willing to keep most of it if I hadn’t stopped you.”
“Oh for the love of… that was just a joke!”
“Two years ago you wouldn’t even think of making that joke. You had more faith in your beliefs.”
This conversation was starting to irritate him.
“Yes I had faith. I had faith when the guards kick me for giving money to slaves. I had faith when the nobles harassed me, unrelenting. And I had faith when the Altmer cut down my family and burned my home!” His voice had risen in a crescendo, finishing with a shout. Iusepus just looked at him sadly.
“Just remember this was your idea. I'm just an acting master. Don’t change too much.” They were at the gates. Iogairn nodded a sharp farewell and entered the town.
Bloody Iusepus, thinks he’s got greater morals than me. I have to do all the bloody work while all he has to do is direct plays
. He was walking up the hill to the camp, swearing under his breath at anything; the wind blowing too hard or getting hit in the legs by branches. He reached the camp and then…
“No,” he whispered and then a bit louder “No!” He ran to the middle of the camp and saw half a dozen of his acting troupe strewn across the floor like straw dummies. Four guardsmen from Chorrol were lying there as well.
How did they find us, or know who we were
? He looked around to see who wasn’t there. They must have taken the rest to the prison in Chorrol. He began to run back to Chorrol. However a voice called out.
“Wait!” it croaked from behind him. He swivelled round and saw Finduin, a Bosmer lying there, barely breathing. Iogairn crouched down beside him.
“What happened?” he asked urgently.
Finduin began to speak then grimaced with the pain. He started again.
“Chorrol guards… attacked. Killed some… in an attack then… rounded the others up for... a public execution.” He thought as much.
“How did they know who we were?” He asked. That was all he needed to know but Finduin shook his head.
Iogairn swore loudly. Finduin raised his hand.
“But… Thrope wasn’t there in the attack. He’d gone to... find firewood. I didn’t think much of it. You weren’t there either.” Alec Thrope. Iogairn never liked the bastard. A Breton noble himself and much too clever, he joined the group because he’d annoyed the other nobles and could support the group with cash. But he never believed in the cause. It was only a matter of time before he betrayed us
, he realised.
“Thank you. Is there anything I can do?” But he knew there was nothing he could do. Even the most skilled restoration mage would find this hard. Finduin nodded though.
“Yes. Just… finish it.” Iogairn nodded and drew his dagger. Goodbye wouldn't be enough.
"I'm going to kill him" he promised. But Finduin was past caring. Iogairn saw this and plunged the dagger into Finduin’s throat. Finduin gave a choke then slumped to the side. He shut Finduin’s eyes and turned around. There was going to be oblivion to pay…
Next: Volume IV