A Meeting with Madness
It was a bleak Middas, the sky swarming with angry, grey clouds. My blue, now mucky brown shoes, squelched noisily on the wet cobblestones.
Hurrying through the emptying streets of Daggerfall, I made my way to my small residence perched on the outskirts of the busy town. Pulling my hood up over my face to offer what little protection a tattered piece of linen could provide against the rain, I pulled into a small alley.
It was a shortcut I'd recently discovered just last Fredas on one of my daily 'expeditions'. Only yesterday, an elderly woman had accused me, Freylena, of stealing! And in front of the city guard as well. A well-worded excuse along the lines of "I was merely admiring the woman's purse with every intention of returning it," had sufficed. But the city guard would still be keeping a close eye on me. Why risk an encounter with the law when I could just as easily avoid one?
Skirting muddy puddles and jumping over rotting crates, I scurried through the damp, dark, claustrophobic alley. I had just headed left from the crumbling ruin of the old general store when a middle-aged man appeared right in front of me out of nowhere. I blinked, wondering if perhaps I had spent too much time around Jakkrah and his skooma-loving friends, not believing my eyes. Most people didn't just pop up out of thin air.
But then again, this man was not your average citizen. A seemingly wealthy gentleman, he wore a flamboyent suit, one half lilac purple and the other maroon brown. His hair was frosty white and his glassy eyes looked as if they had been carved out of the ice itself. In his hand he held nothing but a simple cane, although standing in front of me, twirling it absent-mindedly, I doubted he actually needed it. He stood for a while, humming a tune before turning his cold gaze upon me.
"Why, heeeello there mortal!" he said, peering closely at me, "Whatever are you doing? Just standing there, hmph. And what are you doing here of all places, tiny little Breton? Breton... good name for cheese that. I'll have to remember it for later use. Anyways, shouldn't you be busy slicing and dicing the Ebonheart Pact and the Aldmeri Dominance... Dominion... whatever."
Shuffling uncomfortably under the madman's icy gaze, I replied uncertainly.
"My apologies, but I don't quite know who you are."
"Reeeeeeeeeeaaaalllllyyyy?" he grinned, obviously quite amused by my response, "Well then, the one, the only, Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, at your service!"
I froze, deep in thought. Sheogorath. Where had I heard that before? Then it hit me, "Oh, that's right. You're one of the Daedric Princes that those daedra-loving Dunmer worship, aren't you?"
His ecstatic grin dropped into disappointment.
"That!" he exclaimed in disbelief, "That is what you know ME for?! Simply horrible! Inconceivable! Such a pity!"
He twirled his cane distractedly.
"What to do with you now. Pesky, irritating mortal. I should turn you into a tree. Or a frog. Maybe a pair of shiny new boots. Or... CHEESE!"
I took a stumbling step backwards, pierced by the Mad God's intense gaze. A twist of fear spiralled through my gut.
"Sorry for any offense I may have caused..." I began.
He cut me off mid sentence, "Offense. OFFENSE? You really have no idea the importance of he who stands before you do you, mortal? I am no mere demented daedra. Well, actually I am, but no matter. What matters is you. Yes, you. The little annoyance with the intelligence of a skeever. Hmmm... I like skeevers. Ever worn a skeever scarf? Sort of like chicken eggs they are."
With no idea how to approach him, I remained silent, slowly and hopefully unnoticeably moving backwards. Shuffling one foot behind another rather subtly, I gradually made my progress backwards. Why did I have to come this way, I thought to myself, my thoughts moving as sluggishly as snowy slush. If only I had have gone the long way then I wouldn't be here, stuck in an encounter with a Daedric Prince. A loud crunch broke me from my thoughts. Sheogorath's eyes darted down to my foot, under which a now broken twig lay.
"How rude!" he exclaimed, "Attempting to give me the slip. Tends to end in running. I hate it when they do that. Bring things to the part where I kill you and take your entrails far too quickly. Now where's the fun in that? Always end up finding myself abruptly and regrettably... bored! Much more amusing to drag things out."
My eyes widened. Thinking once more of fleeing, I went to move my foot only to find that it wouldn't budge. It was as if I was paralyzed, caught within a web of terror. A hysterical laugh drifted past my ears. Sheogorath stood watching, amidst a fit of laughter. Confusion washed over me like a sleeping draught. Forgetting my previous feelings of panic, I narrowed my eyebrows, unsure what this all about.
"Oh, don't mind me, I'm soooooo changeable!" he began before doubling over in hilarity. "But you, mortal, are just so funny. That look of terror on your fragile little face. So pathetic and pitiful. Do you know how easy it would be to just turn you into... I don't know... an ebony statue, perhaps? That way I'd always have your expression to look upon. I resist the temptation even now! Ah, but here I go, prattling on about all my unaccounted for wishes. I swear I get more and more by the second. Do you know how many times I get the desperate urge to erase that fool Haskill from existence, hmm? Do you? It's crazy,"
"So you're not going to kill me then?" I asked cautiously.
"What a good question! I love it when they know that I'm playing around with them. Makes things so much more stimulating. Nice refreshment from the ones that who just beg, 'Lord Sheogorath, please don't kill me!' But will I kill you? Nooooo. Enslave you? Yes, maybe. Actually, there's an idea. I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to let you leave. That's right. Free to go do whatever boring things you mortals do in your spare time. Aha! But here's the catch. There's ALWAYS a catch. You become... personal entertainment of a sorts. Whenever I, Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, become bored. Which does tend to happen rather often, I must say. You come along with my summons to amuse me with your funny little mortal ways. It shall be a lot of fun. A lot of fun indeed!"
Not daring to anger him, I warily watched in silence as he strolled over, passing me a sleek black dagger that shone as dark as a starless night sky.
"Here you go!" he said quite cheerfully. "I best be off now. Or at least, you best be. I have been quite known to, ah, change my mind. That incident was old Boethiah's fault. Not mine. She was spreading rumors. Where were we? Ah yes. You were leaving. That's right. Off you pop. Ta ta!"
He disappeared in a veil of ancient energy burning brighter than the sun. Just like that. Gone without a trace. Spots all over my vision, I gazed up, blinking, at the sky. The rain had stopped now, water trickling merrily down branches and falling with a 'plop' off the green, luscious leaves and onto the cold, hard ground. A fresh breeze whistled around the tight corners of the alley, tickling my bare arms. Holding up the dagger to the light, I stood there for a while, reflecting on the encounter of my life. One that I'll always remember.
This post was last modified: March 4th 2014 11:38 PM by Archdruid
Nyoma: Bosmer sneak (primarily uses a bow, but for melee uses daggers)
Faera: Altmer mage (uses primarily destruction, illusion and conjuration magic)