The majestic black stallion calmly walked towards the gate, against the stream of people entering the city: tourists, merchants, pilgrims – all here to see the jewel of the Iliac Bay, try their luck, their mischief, or a bit of both. The steed sauntered at ease, used to any form of fuss, and people made way upon seeing his large hooves and his proud neck carrying his noble head. Dusk had a way of carrying his rider through crowds and problems like a trireme carried its captain through a storm. It's why Sahar was very fond of him. At the tall gates, a guard raised an arm to the couple. His bronze cuff glimmered in the light of the sun, which had begun to shine over the walls, shyly for now. Within mere hours, the full force of its blazing heat would be upon the entire city.
“Leaving already, Sahar?” called the guard. “You arrived two days ago.”
“I might be back by noon, Eshir. Depending on a thing or two, including a certain conversation I plan to have.” Sahar smiled her warm smile and pulled the reins slightly to make Dusk come to a stop next to the guard. From the saddle, dozens of small copper discs and other ornaments jingled softly. “Say, there's an Order of sorts making camp outside Sentinel?”
“The Kynaran bunch? To the south-east.” Eshir, the guard, pointed beyond the gate, towards a landscape she knew well, but could not fully see just yet.
“Just look for the camp, can't miss it. Large blue banners on top of the tents. With Kynareth's symbol upon them.”
Sahar smiled to herself. Tava... A sign? We shall see.
“Thank you, friend. Favour upon you.”
“And you, Sahar.”
She clicked with her tongue. Dusk snorted and walked on. Outside the gates, the sunlight shone upon them in its full glory. Ahead of the couple lay a dusty road, surrounded by plains of red rock and dirt, before it stretched out into the unforgiving sands of the desert. She closed her eyes for a moment, smiling still.
She followed the road for a while, keeping an eye on the stretched out plain to her right. In the distance, she saw a barricade, wooden pallisades with sharpened tips, and cream-coloured tents. She ruffled her horse's silky mane. “Care to make new friends, Dusk?” She planted her heels in his flank, and the stallion jumped into a trot. Upon the road, his hooves created little clouds of swirling dust, like djinns dancing in the sunlight. Before long, they reached the entrance to the camp. Two guards, an Orc and a young Redguard, crossed their spears as Sahar approached, and she lifted her face towards the sky to look at the tall standards that stood planted on either side of the entrance. Banners of a clear blue danced in the wind that blew from the west. She sat back in the saddle and pulled the reins, and the Orc raised his voice with a growl.
“Halt! Who goes there?”
“None who wishes you harm, my friend from Orsinium. Can it be that I stumbled upon the Kynaran Order?” Despite her friendly tone, the Orc's frown only deepened. Then again, such was their nature, one could say.
“That you did, woman. Yet this camp is not an attraction, we're at war.”
“So we are. Foul business, war. Which is why I'd like to lend a hand to the capable folk. Is there anyone I can talk to?”
The young Redguard, who seemed a teenager still, cleared his throat as he straightened his stance to look more impressive. Sahar hid her grin.
“Do you wish to enlist, woman? Ride to the center of the camp and ask for an officer.”
“Officer?” Sahar stared the boy straight in the eye and curled her full lips. The boy gulped, which amused her only a little.
“This 'woman' would like a word with your leader. If it's not too much trouble.”
The Orc laughed. It sounded like gravel being ground into sand. “Nobody just talks to the Patriarch like that. Who is asking?”
It was Sahar's turn to lift her chin. Dusk scraped a large hoof over the dirt below him.
“Sahar of Gilane.”
The spearmen exchanged a glance. Sahar could sense the sudden doubt in the air, like a slight simmering. Finally, the Orc grunted.
“Follow me, woman.”
Sahar had not been sure what to expect, in truth. As she sauntered around the large tent, looking at the little tables with drawn maps, the armour on a stand in a corner, the modest iron sconces and little copper oil lamps, she discretely stole glances at the man she requested an audience with. Standing behind the largest table in the tent, bent over more papers and documents, stood a Redguard who she estimated to be in his early fourties. Sahar trailed a gaze over the man as she walked from one sconce to another, from his crown, covered in curly black hair, to his calves stuck in a pair of soldier's boots. The Patriarch of the Order had a presence, to be sure, with his deep brown eyes, stern expression, enigmatic aura, and just the right amount of light scars to make anyone realize he had seen his fair share of battle. As she casually walked around his tent, pretending to be bored, Tecca of the Kynaran Order rested his weight on two toned, muscular arms and glanced at her through his eyelashes.
“Sahar of Gilane, is it?”
“Gilane is not around the corner.”
“Start talking, lady. Do I look like I have nothing to do?”
Sahar sent a warm, apologetic smile his way as she ran a hand over the ornate armour on display.
“Is this yours, Patriarch? I like how it's still modest. Nobody likes those peacocks in shining armour with not a single dent or scratch to be seen.”
“Why are you here?”
The Patriarch stood up straight and crossed the toned arms across an equally toned chest, lifting his chin and showing a determined, set jaw. Sahar turned from the armour and sauntered towards the large table, to stand across of him.
“Why are you?”
Tecca narrowed his eyes, but she continued before he could assume she was like a cat playing a lazy game.
“Truly, Patriarch... I have stayed out of the war for as long as I could. Yet Tava always sends me in one direction or another for a reason. You carry her symbol, consider me intrigued. Tell me what you do.”
“We fight for what rightfully belongs to the Covenant, Sahar of Gilane. Our Order is only after what is right. Do you want our lands swarmed by Nords, controlled by Elves? Every honourable son and daughter of High Rock, Hammerfell or Orsimer birth would support our cause.” It was his turn to look over her from tip to toe, measuring her.
“Is that what you are, lady? My men told me you considered joining.”
“I might be.”
The Patriarch's piercing eyes rested on her hips for a few moments, yet she was aware that was because of her swordbelt buckled around them, with the slender curved blades in their adorned sheaths. “Are you any good with those?”
She didn't reply. Only a lazy smile crept over her full lips. For the first time, the Patriarch smiled as well – a dry smirk. He sat back in his chair, and gestured to the one across the table.
Sahar sat down, still smiling.
((Special thanks to dearest @Tecca, not a roleplayer himself, who entrusted me with total freedom and creativity whilst writing this story <3 I hope everybody likes it and feedback is always appreciated!))
This post was last modified: August 24th 2013 10:13 AM by Triskele