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The birth of Ja'Do the Cold-Blooded (a Ja'Do story)


Started by tijn
Post #28437
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Life had not been easy on Lugbar. He had been born in the Imperial City, the son of a runaway chieftain daughter and an orc in the Imperial legion. People didn’t like orcs. It didn’t matter how nice and polite and civilized he tried to be, people didn’t like him. Sure, they respected his father, who had fought as a quaestor in the Imperial legion, but they were never treated like the others. And while they at least didn’t treat Lugbar and his father with open hostility, the same could not be said for his mother. Khabra was the daughter of an orc chieftain from Iliac Bay. Khabra was a very talented smith, but felt her talents weren’t appreciated as such by her fellow townspeople. So, she went to the Imperial City to work for the legion, but while she was amazing at what she did, people often looked at her with barely concealed content. She was, in the eyes of many, barbaric.

Still, Lugbar tried not to let this get to him. He managed to lead a fairly happy life. That all changed the day Lugbar turned seventeen. His father had retired from the Legion, and now worked as a sellsword, while his mother was a simple smith who had her own shop. She had also taught her son how to use the anvil and hammer, and had helped him create his own armor. It was a beautiful set of Ebony armor with a helmet in the shape of a dragon and a fearsome battleaxe. It was more expensive and valuable than all the other possessions of the family put together. But in order to be able to buy the ebony required, Khabra had been required to lend a lot of money. Unfortunately, she had no way of paying it back. One day, a woman came by their house to ask for the money. When they told her they didn’t have it yet, she left. The next day, she returned, but again, she left empty-handed. The next day, Khabra was off to work but her husband Shakvor was home with their son. This time when the woman asked for the money, she wouldn’t leave, and when Lugbar heard the noise, he came down. Just as he came in, he saw the woman draw a blade and slit his father’s throat with it. Realizing he had to be completely still and silent, he could only watch as the woman emptied Shakvor’s pockets and left.

Lugbar was absolutely devastated. His father had been his great example, his hero, his teacher, and, above all, one of the only two people who really loved Lugbar. But he wasn’t about to just mope at his father’s side and let his death go unpunished. His father had taught him to read over the years, and for the first time, he was grateful for that. He wrote a letter for his mother, telling her what had happened and that he was about to avenge his father’s death. Lugbar knew his mother couldn’t read, but she could probably find someone who could read it for her. Lugbar didn’t have many possessions, but he grabbed his armor, battleaxe and the necklace with the small sapphire in it that his mother had made for him when he was a child, plus the spare coins that he could find. When he walked out the door, he realized he had actually no idea where to go. He decided the best place would probably be the thieves guild, who basically ran all the criminal activity in the Imperial City. But it wasn’t easy to contact the thieves guild. If they didn’t want to be found, they wouldn’t be found. He decided the best thing to do was just spread the word that he was looking for the thieves guild. That might lure them out. Now all he needed was a place to sleep. Before looking for an inn, he quickly visited the small shrine dedicated to Malacath in the temple district, praying that the God of Curses would help him in his quest. Then, he went to the nearest inn and rented a small, cheap room for the night.

When Lugbar woke up, he instantly realized something was wrong. He couldn’t quite name what it was, though, so he just got dressed and opened his door. Then, things happened fast. One hand covered his mouth while the other hand slammed the door shut. The man the hands belonged to whispered in his ear, “You better not move or bad things will happen” and he felt the sting of a dagger to his spine. He knew that while he was probably stronger than the man –the forge had left him with a very strong body- but one strike with the blade would sever his spine. So he went completely still. “Good boy,” the man whispered, “now sit down. I got me some rope here, and I gonna bind your hands. Then we can talk.” Lugbar remained still until his hands were bound, and the man uncovered his mouth. Lugbar saw he still had his dagger unsheathed. “Me boss told me you were looking for us. Not very smart. He wanted to know why.” Lugbar knew this man was probably just a lackey who didn’t know anything, so he would have to get to his superiors. “I am here to join your guild. I have nothing else, and no conscience, so it seemed to me this would be perfect.” The man laughed. It was a broken, rotten laugh with yellow teeth and foul breath. “That’s perfect. I’ll take you to me boss, and he can say if you can join or no.” Lugbar agreed, but the man refused to unbind his hands. So maybe he wasn’t as stupid as Lugbar thought he was.

The man blindfolded him and lead him to some backwards alley. Lugbar felt like the man was leading him in circles to make sure he wouldn’t remember how they got there. When his blindfold was taken off, he found himself standing in the middle of a room shaped like a hexagon, with one person standing in each corner. He saw the man who had brought him here, grinning a grin that showed all his dirty yellow teeth. Next to him was a man, a redguard, with an expensive looking fur cape, who looked like he was from around here. In the corner next to him he saw a khajiit with a golden fur who looked at him mysteriously. Next to the khajiit was a dunmer woman who looked almost bored. She was playing with a knife and didn’t seem to care about him. Next to her was another Imperial man. The man seemed to be looking at his battleaxe that he still wore on his back, and he seemed to appreciate the craftsmanship. In the next corner… with a shock, he realized he recognized the woman. She still wore the same cold, lethal smile from last time, and Lugbar had to use all his willpower not to attack her there and then. But apparently, she didn’t recognize the son of the man she had murdered.

Apparently, nobody had noticed that Lugbar had recognized the woman. The khajiit approached Lugbar, still with that unreadable look on his face. It made Lugbar a little uneasy. All his life, people had looked at him with contempt, but at least he had been able to read those looks. This, however, was scarier to him than all the hate he had encountered before put together. Surprisingly, when the khajiit spoke, his voice sounded almost pleasant. “Welcome Lugbar, son of Khabra and Shakvor, of the Pariah Folk. My name is Naqiri, leader of this group. First of all, we would like to express our condolences for you father. We sincerely hope that whoever was responsible will get punished.” Lugbar couldn’t believe his ears. This man was flat-out denying that the woman had done it. But he had to play it straight to get them to trust him. “You are most kind. You have no doubt heard why I am here?” The khajiit smiled. “Straight to the point, are we? Very well. Yes, I have heard. Dessandro here,” he points roughly towards were the dirty man who kidnapped Lugbar stands, “tells me you wish to join our little… enterprise. I must say, you show more promise than he did when I first saw him. To be honest, you show more promise than he does now.” Lugbar saw the man –Dessandro- tense a little. He didn’t like this. Lugbar also saw the dunmeri woman looking up from her knife at Dessandro with a hateful grin. Naqiri continued. “I think I can use someone like you. If you manage to perform one simple task, I will let you join.” Lugbar nodded. “You will pickpocket someone in this room before the day is over. If you fail, you will leave. If you succeed, you will join.” That was not what Lugbar had suspected. This was going to be harder than he had anticipated. Nevertheless, he nodded again.

The first thing to do was to decide on who would be the target. He quickly considered the woman who killed his father, but he wouldn’t be able to restrain himself there. The other woman in the room, the dunmer, was probably not the smartest choice either. She might kill him just to make sure he wouldn’t try again. The redguard still wore the cape, which would make it harder to reach into his pockets. Dessandro made for an obvious target, but Lugbar was worried it was too obvious. They would all expect him to choose Dessandro. Then, it hit him. The best target was the worst. The worst target was the best. The khajiit, Naqiri. Nobody would see that coming. Everyone left the room, and the game was on. Lugbar waited a second, then followed the dunmer woman. She looked like she would be easiest to piss off. She walked back to what was probably the common room, where three other men were already sitting down. Lugbar crouched behind a pillar, and when the woman was standing with her back towards him and the other men, he threw a rock at her. She turned around and, seeing only a group of three men, though it must’ve been them. She snarled, and drew a blade. Lugbar didn’t think he had ever encountered someone so aggressive. One of the men screamed as the woman started cutting him, almost like she was writing something on his bare shoulder. He heard some noise coming from the corridors and saw Naqiri hurrying past him. Quickly, he reached out and could just take a small object from his pockets before Naqiri was beyond his reach. He looked at what was in his hand. It was a small golden statuette of a kitten. Perfect.

He looked up, and saw that Naqiri had already broken up the fight. He could see two of the men were still bleeding from multiple cuts. The woman was examining what looked like a broken nail. Lugbar stood up, and approached the little group. Naqiri looked up and saw him. “Hello, Lugbar. I trust you assignment is going well. I must say, I expected you to be around Dessandro by now. Or were you trying to rob Miaren here, were you? I must advise you to choose another target.” Triumphant, Lugbar opened his hand and showed Naqiri the content. “I have chosen another target, my dear khajiit.” Naqiri’s eyes went wide, and slowly, he started to laugh. “Well done, orc, well done! I must say, I didn’t think you would have the courage. Miaren, look! This orc is the first one in a decade to use the same tactic as you! That is promising.” The dunmeri woman, Miaren, looked at the statuette. Lugbar could see the faintest hint of surprise, but it was covered in arrogance. “Very well. I will stand for him, Naqiri.” The khajiit looked taken aback. “Are you sure? You haven’t stood for anyone since you joined.” The dunmer didn’t move, which Naqiri apparently took for a confirmation, because he continued: “All right, then. Lugbar of the Pariah Folk, I welcome you to your new family. Miaren here has volunteered to take you under her wing. I’m not sure whether that’s a curse or a blessing, but I wish you good luck, Ja’Do.”
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Grimhild Urdenheimr
Post #28504
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Nice story..


Zeymah of the Bromlokiir. Voth Ahkrin!
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Post #30375
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I like it!

Feedback:
- You speak a lot in the passive voice, especially in the initial info-dump. It makes the sentences weaker.
- I believe it was Steinbeck who said, "Cut, cut, cut to the bone." Brevity is strength, especially as a novice writer working on a short story.
- You should insert paragraph breaks before dialogue. It will make it much easier for the reader to figure out who is talking.
- Khajiit typically speak in the third person. For what that's worth. ;)

Keep going! I want to hear more about young Lugbar.

PS: Also, why does the boss call Lugbar "Ja'Do" at the end? Is it some kind of nickname? Maybe I'm just being dense, but I didn't get that part.
This post was last modified: January 30th 2013, 11:06 AM by Grimhild Urdenheimr


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