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The Dawn of Shadows, Chapter VI

Started by Soulflame
Post #126560

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Daggerfall Covenant (Breton)
A desert breeze lifted a collection of sand, carrying it across the barren landscape. Not a single tree or any other sign of life were in sight, only the vast sea of sand. The sun bore down on the desert, scorching the earth with it’s fiery gaze.

Suddenly, a figure appeared on the horizon, a flicker of life in the dead lands of Hammerfell.

I looked at the sun, the glare forced my eyes to close a little. The horse below me had slowed considerably, reducing his gallop to nothing but a trot. Swinging out of the saddle, I allowed him some water from my own waterskin, before drinking myself.
Looking in the distance, a movement caught my eye. Squinting, I made out a pillar of sand, steadily moving closer.
My mouth went dry as I realized what was occurring. Although I have never witnessed a sandstorm, I had heard enough about them to realize this one of the terrors of Hammerfell.
Frantic, I urged the horse to change direction. Wheeling around on its back legs, it raced away from the oncoming tide of sand.
The sun, blotted out by the sandstorm, suddenly disappeared as a shadow passed over me. With each breath, sand poured down my throat. I tried to make the horse speed up, but it was already running away from the storm as fast as it could.
The wind shrieked in my ear, whipping at my limbs with the strength of a giant. Clinging to the horse’s mane, I pressed down, attempting to escape the wrath of the storm.
The horse reared up, flinging me from it’s back. My scream was drowned out by the howling winds as I hit the ground with a thud. Half-conscious, I watched the horse fade into the distance as the sand swept over me.

My head throbbed as my eyes opened once again. The sky bore no trace of the storm that previously shaded it from view. Looking down, I realized the lower half of my body had become submerged in the earth. I heaved myself out of the pit, shaking loose sand that still clung to my cloak.
The horse had vanished along with the storm. My supplies, including food and water, were gone with it. Cursing my misfortune, I foraged through the small pack slung across my shoulder for anything of use. Inside I found a few extra arrows, a compass, and an extra pair of socks. Sighing out loud, I pulled out the compass. After getting my bearings, I began to walk south.
My throat ached as I ran my tongue over dry lips. I peered into the distance, searching for some sign of water. Even the most meager amount of life could signify the existence of nearby streams or rivers.
Suddenly, a patch of green caught my eye. Swinging my head in it’s direction, the color vanished. I blinked, confused. Must have been my imagination, I thought.
Continuing to trudge along in the wastes of the desert, the sun begun to sink, vanishing into the earth as the moon rose. The sun gone, the once warm air turned frozen, chilling me to the bone.
I shivered as darkness began to spread across the land, bringing the cold in its wake. The desert’s swift transformation was startling, taking me by surprise. The sand managed to retain some of its former heat, but not enough to bring comfort in the frigid night.
Scanning my surroundings, I spotted a rocky outcrop. Curling up under the rock, I settled down to sleep.
I woke up, the morning light refracting off of the rocks into my eyes. Looking up at the shining stone above, I caught my breath.
”Gold!” I exclaimed.
Clawing at the rock, I attempted to take off a chunk of it. It held fast. Cursing, I aimed a kick at the stone above me. The rock dislodged, falling inches away from my leg. I rolled out of the way, a boulder crushing the ground I laid upon seconds before.
As the rocks came crashing to the earth, I shook my head, clearing away the fog in my mind. Massaging my temples, I came to realize the rocks were not gold after all, but illuminated by the light of the sun.
Climbing on top of the rubble, I cast my gaze around me, searching for water. Finding none, I placed one foot on the ground, to step off of the rock pile. Then, something caught my eye. A cloud of dust, fast approaching, making its way towards me with the speed of an arrow.
Whatever it was, there was no way I could outrun it. As it drew near, I could make out the sound of hooves beating at the sand. There was a flash of red within the dust, disappearing as soon as it appeared.
Although I did not see the sword, I heard its blade slicing through the air as I leapt backwards. The dust settled, revealing a horse and a rider bearing a sword in one hand.
He charged forward, slashing and driving me back. I dodged a cut to my right, then ducked under an overhead swipe.
My assailant engaged in a series of complicated attacks, hacking and slashing at the air as I danced out of the way. His movements were blurred, moving faster than a human should be capable of. Turning around in the saddle, he reached forward to slash at my chest, but he only managed to put a thin scratch on my armor.
It was obvious the rider was beginning to tire. His sword strokes no longer possessed the same velocity of his first rushed attacks. Seeing the chance, I withdrew a small serrated dagger from my belt. With the slightest flick of my wrist, I sent the dagger spinning in an arc towards the rider’s chest.
The Rider’s left hand shot out, catching the blade between his thumb and forefinger, seconds before it embedded itself in his chest. Casually, he let the throwing knife fall to the ground.
I took a step back, shocked. Never have I met anyone with the precision or reflexes to catch a knife in mid-air. Besides myself.
The rider, sick of these games, raised a hand. Instantly I felt my legs give way. Paralyzed, I tried to move, but to no avail. I tried to scream, but my mouth remained shut.
The rider swung out of the saddle, his blood-red cape flowing out from behind him. As he approached me, he laughed. His voice ringing in my ears, I tried to place where I had once heard the sound. It was strangely familiar.
Towering above me, the rider raised his sword above his head. Rather than feeling fear, I felt regret. Ideally, my demise would occur side-by-side with my guildmates and friends. But not like this, in the wilderness with nothing but this man’s familiar laugh to comfort me. Soon, I would hear nothing more.
The hunter lowered his sword, yet it still remained at his side, ready to strike at a moment’s notice.
“They told me you were Faceless….” he whispered, crouching so that he was level with me. His face was scarred, a stubble of a beard sprouting from his chin.
“Lets see if that holds true!” he cried, flinging back the cowl of my cloak.
The stranger recoiled in shock, his eyes widening as he took a few paces backward. Energy returned to my legs, the paralysis spell losing its grip on my body. Seizing my chance, I sprang onto his chest, a dagger in hand.
“Ar...Arathyra….” he choked out, the flat of my blade pressing on his throat.
My eyes narrowed. Not only was he sent to kill me, but his employer obviously knew my name.
“Who are you?!” I spat.
The man drew a shuddering breath, the knife cutting off air to his lungs.
He muttered something incomprehensible.
“Say it again! Louder!”
Lacking oxygen, his eyelids began to droop. I eased the knife away from his flesh a little, and he inhaled sharply.
“Andore..” he croaked, his voice barely a whisper.
Now it was my turn to be shocked. Speechless, I hastily returned the knife to its sheathe. Andore sat up unsteadily, taking in huge gulps of air. He said something incomprehensible, watching me with anxious eyes.
I groaned, the world around me spinning. I stumbled backwards, falling to the ground. Staring up at the glowing sun, my vision began to dim, before fading to black.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
This post was last modified: December 18th 2013, 08:29 AM by Soulflame

While the Dragon and the Eagle block the path to the Throne, they shall flee when the Lion roars!

Some Things should remain Unknown. The Faceless still search for the truth.
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