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Tears of the Ancestors


Started by Yatur gro-Ushul
Post #20631
Member

25
Faction & Race:
Daggerfall Covenant (Orc)
I


It was in the darkest hours of the night that a young boy sat in the lap of his mother, her hand pointing to the stars above. Beneath the canopy of gentle lights amidst the ocean of Mundus’ outer cosmos, the boy and his mother were nothing exceptional, as they were during the day. In the light, with skin such as theirs - a bleak mixture of pale colours and gruesome scars - the two would cause disgust among their Altmer possessors.

“There.” The boy’s mother whispered, so as not to draw attention in light of the great risk they had taken to say goodbye, “That one’s your father.” Her finger pointed assuredly at the brightest light of all. “Tore a hole he did, when they got him.”
She had convinced herself that her great chief continued to battle for all the years they remained prisoners forced to work in the mines, that he might return and rid their stronghold of the shame that had been brought upon them. As she spoke, the brightest light fell from its foothold in space and raced across the horizon as another had done similarly the night the boy’s father passed to the next world...

***


Ushul’s newly established chief frowned as the falling star sped across the dusk. He had been taught at an early age by his father, whom he had just slain, that a star which fell from the night sky was the weeping of his ancestors. Jolihn had taken a moment to be with his first wife, amongst the celebrations in his name following the defeat of his father in single combat. He was worried.
“I’m unable to judge whether it was a tear of joy, or regret,” he murmured, in an uncharacteristically insecure manner. Embers from lit torches around the camp crackled and hissed in the chilled night wind as they sat, while drums were beaten in irregular patterns. The stench of his father’s smoldering corpse lingered over his ceremonial burial spot as the stronghold smiths prepared the tools required for grinding his bones to ash.

Times were changing in the stronghold, war was brewing. Subtly flourishing discontent amongst the Orsimer had come to an all time high in the wake of their overall defeat by the Redguards, forcing them into the depths of High Rock. There were rumours that the Bretons who relished the Orsimer’s weakened state were looking to build a great covenant to expand their territories into Cyrodiil. Tonight though, the inhabitants of the Ushul stronghold had taken the opportunity to put these troubles behind them. All except Jolihn’s brother, who wore a face of hatred as he approached the new chief from behind, a dagger in his hand. He stood steadfast, strong and tall, though not as great as Chief Jolihn. Nillk was but a silhouette as he called Jolihn’s name.
“He threw the fight.” Nillk accused.

Jolihn’s broad tusks shivered at the great insult. As his blood boiled, the drums seemed to beat harder, the flames that lit the stronghold to the birds above rang ablaze. There was no wind in this moment and Jolihn’s wife cursed her eyes upon the two. While she was no stranger to battle, as all Orsimer are trained from birth to protect their stronghold, she knew better than to get between a Chief and jealousy. Besides, there was more to this fight than Jolihn should know.

A brief glimmer of truth emanated from Nillk’s accusation, Jolihn himself had been disheartened as to the ease in which his father fell, though he had simply attributed it to old age and his own physical superiority. Now Nillk had confirmed his fears, he knew he had to prove it to himself that he was the rightful chief of Ushul.

“Our father was a coward, though I still counted at least three points during that battle where he could have easily dispatched you.” Nillk had succeeded where his father failed, as defeat grew in Jolihn’s eyes. He continued despite Jolihn’s silence. “I am the rightful chief. I am the strongest, I was father’s favourite.”

Johlin stood and turned to see the dagger in Nillk’s hand, reflecting a thousand tiny lights from the flames dotted about them across its smooth curved edge, the drums still beating. Here, the extent of Nillk’s jealousy, treachery and betrayal became clear. Like his father, Nillk too was a coward and the assassins he had hired moved out from the gloom.

Johlin’s defeat was too short, too silent for a chief with a long and great future ahead. An arrow found its way to his chest as he reached for his blade, a dagger in his back. Sorrow and regret filled his mind as his knees buckled. Nillk was too far even for the chief to have a chance at wounding him, robbing him of his right to at least a warrior’s death. A star fell from the sky as Nillk and those he hired proceeded to murder the others in the stronghold who attempted to right that wrong. All of them fell, as one by one the stronghold was decimated, save those who were equally cowardly.

***


Johlin’s wife remembered the purse filled to the brim with gold they had all earned as a family hanging from the belt of one of Nillk’s hired assassins. And as she sat with her son, watching the night sky, the many tears of the Ushul stronghold fell from their slots. The sky was now pitch-black as all the visible lights had fallen. She took the boy silently back to their holding cells in the Aldmeri city, for they had to return to the mines in the morning. The iron shackles and chains around their arms and legs continued to chafe.
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