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Born of the Reach - Part VII

Started by Harlwystyr
Post #131802

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Daggerfall Covenant
Part VII

Harlwystyr frowned and wove four illusions to change his appearance, one layered atop the next, and finally deemed his disguises well enough. The company he’d be about to endure in a moment would be neither safe nor friendly.

His most outermost disguise became greatly widened, and he grew into a scarred, muscular man with red hair and eyes that would reveal his heritage in the older branch of the Wrydwoods – one of the older noble houses in Daggerfall. From a pouch at his belt he fished up a pebble, rang a forefinger over it as he murmured a word, and suddenly he held a scabbarded sword. The blade was of the curved nature enjoyed and favoured by the redguards of the Alik’r, but with a hilt adorned with precious gemstones and a pommel cut from a glossy-smooth sapphire.

Strapping it to his belt, he took a step into a dark hall held up by a score of pillars, where the faint scurrying of rats and mice could be heard from somewhere behind the rotten barrels stacked up in one corner. The stink coming from the dirtier parts of Daggerfall’s harbour grew stronger as he neared a faint light ahead. Quite suddenly, he stood in well-lit – with the exception of the occasional shady corner – room where broad mercenaries stood watching a crowd of chuckling, drinking, yelling people, who sat by a table beneath one torch at the far end of the room.

Harlwystyr sighed inwardly. From Deshaan to Firsthold, this kind of revelry was always the same, and he had been quite fond of it the first few hundred years or so... but no more. Constant noise, and too much sneering and pretence and pointed, stabbing rumours – and far too many joyous young people, all with hopes and dreams of their own, joined in bright laughter, who lived now only in his memory, gone to their rests among legions of others gone to their graves. In more than one case, he’d helped to lay them to rest.

Yet his stems remained unhindered by guilt or hesitation, and he strode on. Poking their noses into distasteful danger, and meddling all the way was, after all, what Harlwystyrs did.

Marching past the mercenary guards with the purposeful stride of a man who held every right to be there and considered himself greater in position than all others, he advanced – and was three quick steps from the table beneath the torchlight, when the challenge rang.

Swords crossed in the air before him, and the guards gave him menacing looks. “Down steel,” he ordered coldly.

The blades holding him at bay moved not a fingerbreadth.

“And who would you be,” an unpleasant voice grunted from one of their wielders, “to so free and directly order us about? Or to come from a cellar we, minutes ago, searched very thoroughly?”

The tall, red-haired man with plenty of scars and the richly adorned curved sword riding on his hip turned his head curtly. “My name is Wrydwood, my lineage noble, and my patience rapidly decreasing. Who are you to bar my way?

“You’re older than the other Wrydwoods,” the second mercenary’s reply sounded, just as icily as his colleague’s.

“Ho, easy there! They said they direly hoped one of the older noble houses would make an appearance,” a third voice proclaimed brusquely. “House Wrydwood is large, and he may indeed be one of the more obscure cousins, and you cannot deny that he certain looks like them. Besides, he’s only one person, let him pass.”

“Do you have any magical objects?” the first voice demanded.

“Of course,” the red-haired man replied with a sneer. “But I currently have none on my person that is capable of hurling doom at others, if that’s your fear.”

Slowly, and with a clear sign of reluctance, the swords drifted apart, and Harlwystyr saw the disappointment in the guards’ eyes as they went their separate ways, back to the far corners of the room.

The battle-worn Wrydwood peered to either side to make sure no loaded crossbows or ready swords were within reach, gave the first guard a wordless nod, and took a step toward the table.


Dwyna of the Reach reached into an inner pocket within her shirt and drew out a dark hood she’d fashioned some months ago but rarely got to use. More than anything, it made her look like a child pretending to be an executioner, with two eyeholes to peer out from, but it served well enough in covering her pale skin and could, if she was lucky, hide her femininity for a moment from a drunk observer – and the people in the next room sure sounded drunk. Or excited.

Dwyna pulled it on, turned her wrist to make sure the dagger was still strapped to it, and moved her fingers about to test her limits. She then hunched over and tilted her head as if to smell something.

Yes, definitely a different smell than Wayrest. Much thicker, more... swampy, but the sea near.

Revels meant attendants, servants, and sometimes guardsmen, depending on the occasion. Hoping that this wasn’t one of those events, she realised she nevertheless had to be very careful from here on.


“So which noble family did you say you belonged to?” the fat merchant shouted into the table he was leaning on, wine churning wildly in the giant-fit metal goblet he clutched in both hands.

The old, one-eyed warrior spotting a dented helm and much-patched leather armour looked at him in disgust and replied, “I did not say I was noble. The rule of King Casimir has been harder on more folk than just greedy merchants and nobles. We “unheard” lowborn have been thrown out with a grandly announced, public proclamation – probably because we scampered before they could get their nooses around our necks.”

“Oh?” the swaying merchant leaned back in his chair to regard the warrior with studious eyes. “So what did you do?”

“Gravely wounded Baron Galefrain for dallying with one of my daughters. Dug my blade deep into his shoulder and sliced his shoulder beyond the capable healing of a high priest, I’d wager. I’d have killed him where he stood, too, if his bodyguards hadn’t been there. Cursed idiot couldn’t even chase skirts without help!”

Harlwystyr elegantly dodged the warrior’s waving fist and positioned himself at the table.

“A cheer for the conspiracy!” a full-bearded man bellowed across the table – again. Several other people took up the cry, as they’d done on several previous occasions. “The Righteous Conspiracy!”

“Down with the old, in with the new – a new king!” someone else shouted.

“Aye! Let Daggerfall rise again!”

“Throw the Covenant out!”
This post was last modified: March 18th 2014, 03:15 AM by Harlwystyr
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