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The Family


Started by JaketheDank
Post #177144
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Faction & Race:
Ebonheart Pact
Argonian
Hi... Here's a short(ish) backstory I wrote for my character, Vyyx. Hope you like it. (And btw about 70% of my work on this was making sure my dates were right)

2e 564

The child named Vyyx ran through the grass with the Dunmer, laughing, playing tag. They were near the city, that city of tall walls and round buildings called Mournhold. The Family lived near here, the nameless House. He could see his mother nearby, picking food. He stopped for a moment, waving at them. She saw him, and began to raise a hand, but flinched and resumed his work when a member of the Family shot a glare at him. Vyyx frowned, but the moment was forgotten as the Dunmer boy tagged his arm, and the chase resumed.
When the two boys had tired themselves out, they went to sit at the edge of a pond nearby. Lady Niara was nearby, watching, though for what, Vyyx had no clue. The Argonian child had rolled up his pants’ legs, and was walking up to his knees in the murky water.
“Why do you like water so much?” The Dunmer boy asked.
“Because I’m an Argonian,” Vyyx replied. It seemed obvious to him.
“But why do Argonians like water so much?”
“I…” He was unsure. “Because our scales don’t feel very good when they’re dry?”
The boy grinned. “I’ll tell you why. Because you’re a beast.”
The words stung. He looked at the Dunmer, wide-eyed. “What?’
“You’re just an animal. You don’t belong here, monster!”
Despite the coolness of the water, Vyyx felt hot with rage and embarrassment. “You’re the monster!” he snapped.
That was when Lady Niara strode over. “That is no way for you to behave, Vyyx! Get out of the water!” Sheepishly, the Argonian complied. Lady Niara struck his face, though not particularly hard. It still stung.“Gentlemer do not insult their colleagues in such a way.”
I’m not a mer, Vyyx thought, but held his tongue. Though he was only six, he knew that silence and compliance was the answer, not rebellion. Lady Niara chastised him for a few minutes-- though it seemed like eternity-- and every word hurt. She then took the Dunmer boy back to the city, leaving Vyyx there alone and ashamed, his cheek stinging.





2e 565

The boy named Vyyx had many lessons to learn, starting when he was seven. He had been learning magic with his tutor Carbel, an aged Dunmeri mage who simply glared and spoke to him calmly when he misbehaved, though that could sting as much as Lady Niara’s slaps. Nonetheless, he was the closest thing to a friend he had other than Rioin, who had never hurt him since that day at the pond.
Lady Niara taught him history and mannerisms. In history, she taught him of the Houses and the world, but it bored him, and he didn’t pay much attention. Occasionally, she would teach mathematics instead, which interested him despite his lack of skill with numbers. These classes he took with Rioin, and Lady Niara’s natural son’s success was enough to distract her from Vyyx’s failures.
Mannerisms, however, he took alone, and Lady Niara’s full attention and disappointment was upon him at all times. This was where he learned how to behave “like a proper gentlemer.” Much of this was table manners. Sit up, eyes alert. Drink, but don’t drink too much, and never drink from the bottle. Eat what is served, and do not complain. If somebody is talking to you, listen and be interested, and never disagree (you never want to start a ruckus at a party).
“Vyyx,” Lady Niara said one day as they were eating a faux dinner of roast fowl to practice, “Do you know what you are?”
“Yes.”
She shot a glare at him. “Yes…?”
“Yes, my lady.”
She nodded, sated. “And what are you?”
“I am an Argonian.”
“That’s right. And do you know what an Argonian is?”
Vyyx was silent. She cleared her throat insistently.
“Not in the way you might be thinking. My lady.”
She was silent for a moment. “According to our society, an argonian is, apparently, made to serve. You exist to be our servants, to bend to our every will. You shouldn’t be supping with me, you should be serving me, asking me if I want more wine, washing my clothes.” She looked at Vyyx, seeing if he had anything to say, but he was staring at his plate. She continued. “I am trying to mold you into proof that that is not all your species is. I want to make you into a sophisticated member of society, to prove that argonians are worth more than just slaves.
Vyyx frowned. “But… my lady, you own slaves. And, if I may ask… why are you doing this?”
Lady Niara was silent for the rest of the meal, and her glare never left him.
A couple of days later, Lady Niara brought him to an unfamiliar, walled yard and left him there without a word. Confused, he looked around; The place appeared to be a training yard of sorts, though he noticed a forge in the corner. There were weapon racks by the walls, but no weapons; instead, they were littered about the yard in a disorganized fashion. Then a hulking figure in leather and iron stepped out from behind a pile of assorted weapons, bearing a massive hammer.
Vyyx jumped and gave a shout of surprise, which, in turn, surprised the man. He looked around, grunting, swinging his hammer wildly, though Vyyx was nowhere near him. “Who’s there? Show yourself!” The voice was incredibly muffled. Eventually, he dropped the hammer and pulled the helmet off, though it took some effort. He gave a gasp as it came off, then a snarl. “Ach! Who would make such a thing?” He noticed the Argonian child and thrust the helmet in his face. “You! Boy! Does this look like professional handiwork to you?”
Vyyx was shocked, in multiple ways. First, the fact that the man was a Nord, beefy with a dirty yellow beard and numerous scars. Second, the helmet; The slits for the eyes were miniscule, and the neck opening was so small it was a miracle the massive Nord had been able to get it onto his head. Third, that the Nord had called him boy. Every adult he had known had simply called him Vyyx, Lady Niara very pointedly. She would call every other child (including her own son) “boy” and “child” periodically, but she always called Vyyx by his name, as if he was not a boy in her eyes.
He blinked, looking at the nord, eyes wide. “Er… No. Sera. It doesn’t.”
The Nord spat. “Don’t call me sera! I’m no dark elf!”
Vyyx nodded. “Alright. Se--Sir.”
He spat again. “Don’t call me sir, either!”
Vyyx looked down a bit. “So what should I call you?”
The Nord threw the helmet away, then tossed the hammer in the pile of weapons. He began removing his armor as he spoke. “My name is Jorvec. I’m the master of arms for your House.” He paused. “I do work for your House, yes?”
“I’m part of the Family. I think.”
Jorvec chortled. “The Family. One thing I wouldn’t think to call them.” He removed the last piece of armor and threw it away. Underneath. he appeared to be wearing even more leather. “So I’m supposed to train you with weapons?”
“I don’t know. Maybe? Lady Niara just brought me here.”
The Nord grunted. “Probably, then.” He beckoned Vyyx over. then indicated the large pile of weapons. “So, which of these do you know how to use?”
The pile loomed over him, taller than even the massive Nord. “None of them, S-- Jorvec.”
“None? What has that woman been teaching you?”
“Manners. And history. Lord Carbel has been teaching me magic, as well.”
Jorvec spat again, which seemed to be his form of Lord Carbel’s glare and Lady Niara’s slap. “Ach. That old fool has been teaching you cowards’ ways. What witchcraft has he taught you?”
Vyyx looked down, feeling his face heat up a bit. “I can remove stains from clothes.”
That made the Nord laugh a bit, and he slapped Vyyx on the back. The blow made him stumble, but he appreciated the lack of malice behind it. “Well, I suppose the damage isn’t too bad, then. So, which of these weapons do you want to learn?”
Vyyx looked back at the pile. There were so many different sorts of weapons; Maces and spears and bows and swords and greatswords and shields and halberds… He climbed up onto the pile, careful not to cut himself, then chose a sword out of the pile and presented it to Jorvec. It was a shortsword, but it was the perfect size for him at the moment.
The Nord grunted. “A sword? Fine choice. Do you want a shield to go with that, or just the sword?”
Vyyx looked around, then selected an identical sword and showed the Nord both. Jorvec frowned. “Two swords? Well… I suppose I could try and teach you that. But why would you want that? Don’t you want to defend yourself?”
The Argonian thought for a moment. “If I can stab them faster I won’t have to defend myself.”
The Nord guffawed. “A child’s logic can sometimes be best. Come, I’ll try to show you how to use those, though I warn you I don’t often use two swords.”
Vyyx scrambled off the pile and followed the Nord to the center of the yard. Despite Jorvec’s disclaimer, the Argonian found him to be a more than ample fighter with two swords, and he learned a large amount even from that one day. When Lady Niara came to take him home, he was all but exhausted, and yet he smiled the whole way back. That, of course, earned a scowl from Lady Niara, but he didn’t really care.





2e 567

The youth named Vyyx wore a fancy suit. He could hear the people talking downstairs, and tried to swallow the lump in his throat. He was nine now; people shouldn’t scare him so. And yet he still felt an unexpected amount of nervousness, an amount that Lady Niara would never tolerate if she knew. Rioin came into the room, looking him over.
“You look good,” he said simply.
Vyyx nodded. “As do you.”
Rioin smiled, then walked out and made his way down the stairs. Vyyx followed after a moment. Lord Nevarl had guests, a lot of them. Four minor Houses, not including their own, had come, two or three representatives from each. They appeared to be moving towards dinner, one by one. Vyyx hurried past them to his seat at the table. Nobody said anything to him, but he could feel their eyes following him. Every one of them was Dunmer, and the Argonian did not belong among them. He sat at his seat silently, eyes down. Eventually, everyone arrived at the table. Lord Nevarl, who sat at the head of the table between his wife, Lady Niara, and his advisor, Lord Carbel, began making a speech of some sort, though Vyyx didn’t pay attention. Across from Vyyx sat Lord Yevis, a strange Dunmer who looked half-starved. To his left was Rioin, and to his right a womer he did not know. After a few minutes, Lord Nevarl finished his speech, and dinner began.
Nobody spoke in the beginning, but plenty of glances went around. Vyyx stared at Lord Nevarl; despite being his “father,” Vyyx had probably only seen him four or five times in his entire life. Lord Nevarl himself was staring at Lord Yevis, and everybody else was shooting glances at Vyyx himself.
Eventually, one of these lords, Lord Aeus, spoke up. “Vyyx, was it?” The mer asked.
Vyyx looked up, a bit surprised anyone had talked to him. “Yes, my lord.”
The guests seemed a bit surprised when he spoke; he had been working with Lady Niara to eradicate his rural Argonian accent. He could not match the accent of a Dunmer, but it was better than what he had had before.
Lord Aeus continued. “How long have you been a member of Lord Nevarl’s… retinue?”
“Since before I can remember, my lord.”
“Is that right?” He said, seeming a bit bemused. Lord Nevarl had ceased watching Lord Yevis and was looking at Vyyx, and in turn, the other lords were now looking at Lord Nevarl. Nonetheless, Lord Nevarl’s gaze made him squirm more than all of the others combined.
“What do you do for your lord, then?” the Dunmer next to him asked. “Serve him? Cook for him?”
“No, my lady. I have only ever spoken to him once. I have only seen him half a dozen times.”
Murmurs went around, and Lady Niara’s teeth gnashed. Her eyes burned holes through Vyyx.
Vyyx coughed a little. “Though it’s not as if he is uncaring. My lord-- Lord Nevarl, I mean-- is a very busy man, and most of my day is spent on my education.” More murmuring ensued, and Lady Niara seemed sated, at least slightly.
“And what education is that?” asked Lord Aeus.
“Lady Niara teaches me mathematics and history, Lord Carbel teaches me magic, and J-- Sir Jorvec teaches me swordplay.” He wasn’t sure how it would sound to say he learned manners.
The others nodded. “Tell me, Vyyx, do you have any friends?”
The question surprised him. “I… Friends? Yes, of course, my lord. Rioin is my friend. As is Sir Jorvec, and Lord Carbel and Lady Niara.”
“Are you friends with anybody outside the House?”
Vyyx looked down a bit.
The Dunmer lord frowned. “Have you ever personally met anybody outside the House?”
“No, my lord.”
The lord looked to Lord Nevarl. “You cannot keep him cooped up in here, Nevarl.”
Lord Nevarl scowled. “He is free to leave if he wishes.”
“But you have planted it in his mind that he is not.”
“I have done no such thing.”
“Even if you haven’t, the other houses will not allow it. If you truly want to make him a symbol…”
The conversation drifted into politics, and the focus was lifted from Vyyx and onto Lord Nevarl. Vyyx stared at his plate as he ate. He had lied about being friends with Lady Niara, but it was the sort of lie that made everybody happier. That was a good thing. Right?
“Vyyx, do you know what you are?”
The Argonian looked up sharply, remembering Lady Niara saying such a thing years ago. But when he looked up he saw Lord Yevis, the only Dunmer other than Rioin not involved in the conversation with Lord Nevarl, leaning over the table towards him.
“Pardon, my lord?”
Lord Yevis’ teeth were yellow, and his irises were white-- though not the foggy white of a blind man’s, a white as stark as snow (which he had seen via one of Lord Carbel’s spells). They, along with his white hair, were an incredible contrast to his charcoal-black skin.
“I said, do you know what you are?”
Vyyx felt nervous. “I am an Argonian.”
“Yes, I suppose you are. But do you know what else?”
“No, my lord.”
Lord Yevis leaned in conspiratorially. “You’re an experiment.”
He frowned. “In what way, my lord?”
Lord Yevis wore a strange, stretched grin. “Why do you think the gracious Nevarl pulled you from your mother’ scaly arms to try and raise you in modern society? Certainly not out of the kindness of his heart, for we all know he doesn’t have one of those. So why do you think he did it?”
Vyyx looked to Lady Naria, to anybody, but everybody was engaged in their own conversations. Nobody noticed this strange lord talking to him. “I… don’t know, my lord.”
“I’ll tell you why. Because that lord of yours is one of the few who don’t believe that Argonians are just beasts. And his way of proving that is to display a civilized Argonian to the court, to even try and make you a prominent member. At least, that’s what he says he intends to do.” He leaned back for a moment to take a gulp of wine, then leaned in again, a little bit closer. “As I said, that man doesn’t have a heart. He wants to dazzle the court with you, but then he will distract them with the fact that he did this. He and he alone managed to turn an uncivilized brute into a kind young gentlemer. And the court shall be moved by his awesome feat, and finally recognize him as important.” His grin widened, somehow. “And on that day, he’ll toss you aside like the garbage you are, and everybody will forget you.”
Vyyx felt very cold. “That won’t happen,” he said quietly.
“You’re right. It won’t. You see, Lord Nevarl is wary about this course of action. The fact that he still owns slaves labels him a hypocrite and a skeptic of his own cause, and he has begun to lose supporters. If he had freed his slaves back when he took you in, he might have retained control. But if he were to do so now, that would cause a plummet in your House’s profits and the displacement of dozens of freedmen. This, of course, would cost him even more supporters.” He looked over to where the Dunmer were conversing, then back at Vyyx. “Even these ‘friends’ of his barely support his cause. From the day Nevarl announced that he would be raising you, House Dres had been demanding he either release or kill you. I am impressed that he has managed to hold out this long against them, but one day he will cave. One day he will admit that he was wrong, that the honorable House Dres was right, and he will cast you away to be forgotten forever. You and your lord are on a path to Oblivion and you cannot stop.”
Vyyx’s head hurt a bit. “There must be a way out,” he said, “If I could impress the court myself and give some credit to Lord Nevarl--”
“--You would both be dead before the dawn of the next day. Dres would never tolerate you in their court.” He leaned even closer, right in Vyyx’s face. The Argonian noticed, out of the corner of his eye, that all other conversation had stopped, and everybody was looking at Lord Yevis. Yevis didn’t care. “This House is a ship caught in a storm that will not stop until you are drowned. You are ruining this House, costing Nevarl money and supporters. I don’t blame you, though; it’s his fault for trying to make you into something you aren’t. All you are is an animal, though I suppose in the end, Nevarl did manage to prove his point.” He looked at a seething Lord Nevarl, showing him a yellow grin. “He’s as much a beast as you are.”
Lord Yevis leaned back in his chair, apparently finished. Nobody spoke.
“Yevis,” Lord Nevarl said slowly, “I think it would be best if you left.”
“Why would I do that? I haven’t even finished my entree.” He made a show of taking a large bite of guar.
“Yevis,” Rioin said quietly. The yellow grin turned towards Vyyx’s long-time friend. Yevis waited, but Rioin said nothing.
“Well, do you have something to say, boy? Cat got your tongue, hm?” He leaned in and prodded Rioin’s face. “Tell me, boy, do you take after your mother or your father? Are you an unnecessarily demeaning whore or a narcissistic hypocrite?” He chuckled softly. The other Dunmer seemed shocked, Lady Niara was turning a bit red, and Lord Nevarl looked like he was going to burst. Yevis, who was leaning over the table as to put his face between the two boys, looked at Vyyx. He whispered, just loud enough for both Vyyx and Rioin to hear, but nobody else. “At least you’re not half guar, Rioin.”
In one quick motion, Rioin grabbed a wine bottle off the table and smashed it over Lord Yevis’ head.
Everyone was on their feet. They were all shouting, save for Rioin, who stomped from the room, and Vyyx, who felt paralyzed. He stared at the lord on the table. Yevis was laughing. Cackling. Red liquid flowed through his snow-white hair, light red wine and a bit of dark red blood. The mer was facedown, but his head was tilted as to look, out of the corner of his eye, at Vyyx.
Silence!” Lord Nevarl shouted. Vyyx jumped a bit in surprise and looked to his lord. The lords and ladies looked as well, the shouts turning to mutters. “Vyyx,” Lord Nevarl said, “pursue your… my son.”
It was the first time all evening his lord had addressed him. One of the many surprises of the night. Vyyx complied, running from the hall as Lord Nevarl began to speak to his guests in a calm yet forceful tone, in search of the boy that he considered his brother.
He found Rioin just outside the house, sitting on a boulder. He was turning something in his fingers. As Vyyx walked up and sat down on the rock next to him, he inspected the item. It was a dagger, he realized, with a golden hilt and silver blade. Where had he gotten that? Vyyx had to leave his swords at Jorvec’s training yard.
“I could have killed him,” Rioin said, “stabbed him while he laid there. It would have been so easy. Nobody would have cared; they all heard what he said.” Vyyx was quiet. Rioin looked at him. “Don’t listen to what he said. You’re not a beast.”
“I’m beastkin. Big difference.”
“Alright, maybe,” he admitted, “But you’re no monster. You are the best person I have ever met in my life.”
“Lord Nevarl is going to throw me away,” Vyyx said. It came out a mumble. “Like garbage.”
“I’m his successor. I won’t let that happen.”
Vyyx didn’t see the logic in that, but he tried to smile anyway. Rioin smiled back.
They sat on the rock silently for a bit. Then Rioin spoke. “It’s not you who is flawed. It’s this system.” His expression was hard. “This whole ‘government’ we have so broken. According to us, the Dunmer are the only ones who have worth in all of Nirn. It’s so… so stupid.”
Vyyx was silent for a moment. Then, slowly, he asked, “Are you an Ashlander?”
Rioin shook his head. “I don’t worship Daedra. But I think I agree with what they do. I don’t know what I am.”
“A patriot?”
He smiled a bit. “A patriot.”
Eventually, they went back inside. The guests had left, and slaves were cleaning up the mess. Vyyx kept looking for his parents among the Argonian slaves, but didn’t see them. But when Lady Niara saw him, she actually hugged him, the kindest thing Vyyx had ever seen her do. Her usual demeanor returned the next day.
Despite Lady Niara’s statement that Vyyx had done a phenomenal job, he was never invited to another of Lord Nevarl’s parties ever again.





2e 573

The young man named Vyyx had lost all of his friends.
He only knew if one was truly dead, and that was Lord Carbel. During one of Vyyx’s final lessons, the mage had had a lapse in memory in the midst of spell and disintegrated himself. Many blamed Vyyx, due to him being the only witness, but he was absolved of guilt after a short trial.
Jorvec and Rioin had disappeared. Rioin had talked extensively of the crimes of the Tribunal for the past couple of years and had even brought it up during a dinner with representatives of Redoran and Telvanni. He had not been in his bed the next morning, and his window was open.
The Family was in a state of decay, and they needed to release some of the staff. Unfortunately, Lord Nevarl had put a rule in place many years ago (one of his few acts of generosity) that stated he needed to pay any employees leaving the house a wage relative to the amount of money they possessed; more money for the poorer, less for the richer. Most of his least valuable staff, however, was poor as dirt, and keeping them would cost less than sending them away.
Jorvec, however, had become bothersome around that time, refusing to obey orders and shouting at his superiors. So, instead of letting Jorvec go and paying the price, Lord Nevarl invited a member of House Redoran over (alone), murdered him (right in front of Vyyx), and framed the Nord. Jorvec resisted arrest, escaping his prison in the middle of the night and killing seventeen people before fleeing the city.
The Famiy had taken up the job of deploying guardsmen outside the city to catch bandits for a small wage. It helped a bit. Vyyx himself went on most of these, and was a prominent member of the guard despite being only fifteen. He had just returned from one of these patrols, and was heading to Lord Nevarl’s small manor, to which he had been summoned. He still wore leather, and bore his swords. To his right, he saw Jorvec’s old training yard, which had been closed permanently. He reached the manor and pushed the doors open. The guards nodded to him as he entered.
Lord Nevarl and Lady Niara were alone in the hall. The entry hall wasn’t particularly long, and had a desk at the end. On the desk were maps of some sort. These lord Nevarl leaned over, silent. Lady Niara stood nearby, and shot Vyyx a small glare as he entered.
“Lord Nevarl,” He said, taking a knee.
“Stand,” His lord said, without turning. “How go the patrols?”
He stood. “Well. No bandits today, my lord.”
“Good. I hear your style of combat is… peculiar.”
It was. He bore dual blades and could summon spears of light, a magic even Jorvec had grudgingly approved of. He would often discard the swords for the spears and vice versa, and sometimes used neither at all. “You could say that.”
Lord Nevarl grunted, then was silent for a moment. “I’ve failed, Vyyx.”
Vyyx was silent.
“The result of the war last year has rendered my attempts with you useless,” he said. He finally looked up and met Vyyx’s eyes. “Your species and mine are allies now, and slavery is dead. None of this matters anymore.”
“That sounds like a blessing, my lord.”
“It would be. But House Telvanni has joined House Dres in their efforts to force me to get rid of you. Many of my servants have been ‘mysteriously’ disappearing. I cannot continue on like this, Vyyx. I cannot.”
One day he will admit that he was wrong, that the honorable House Dres was right, and he will cast you away to be forgotten forever, Lord Yevis’ voice echoed in Vyyx’s head. That mer who had scared the boy named Vyyx so much had been right about everything.
“You should leave.”
The hall was silent for a minute. Then Vyyx, numb, found his voice. “Where is Rioin?”
“He fled. You know this.”
“Where are my parents?”
“I freed all of my slaves. I did not know any of their names, but I know they all went their separate ways.”
“No, you didn’t.”
Nevarl frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Vyyx’s eyes were on the floor, and he spoke slowly, each word delibrate. “That day, the day you were to free your slaves. They all went into Jorvec’s yard. I watched them lock the gate. I heard shouts. Tell me, Nevarl,, why were all of the usual guards absent that day? Why were the washrooms so packed that evening? Why did nobody come out except for the guards? Why could some of them not serve for two whole weeks? Why is the yard still closed?” Nevarl was silent.
“I’ll tell you why,” Vyyx hissed, his eyes meeting Nevarl’s with burning fury. “It’s because you can’t wash the blood out of the ground.”
Nevarl seemed calm. Barely. “I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are trying to accuse me of something--”
Where are my parents?” Vyyx screamed. “Where is my brother?
He was not your brother!” Nevarl snapped. When the echo died, the hall was eerily silent. Vyyx stared at him in disbelief. He began to walk towards the taller Dunmer, very slowly.
“Was,” Vyyx said, “Such a powerful word. So… sure. You would think a parent would cling to some frail hope of their son’s survival, however false. Unless, of course,” he said, stopping right in front of his former lord, “they did the deed themselves.”
Get out of my house,” Nevarl hissed.
Vyyx stood there for a moment, looking up into the Dunmer’s eyes. “You murder one son and exile another?”
“You,” Nevarl said, more breathing than speaking, “are not my son. You were never my son.”
Vyyx was silent for a minute. The minute felt like eternity. He stepped back, then looked at Niara. “And you are not my mother?”
Niara had been staring at the ground, which was very Vyyx-like of her. She raised her head slowly and shook it. At least she looked like she cared.
Vyyx nodded slowly. “Right then.” He turned, and walked to the door. He looked back before he reached it and nodded at the stern Dunmer couple that had cared for him for fifteen years. Or perhaps they hadn't cared at all. “Goodbye,” he said simply, and went to pack his things.
And that was the last thing he ever said as a member of Family.





2e 578

The Argonian named Vyyx had not been to Mournhold in five years.
Grey and green still dominated the city, and the walls were just as tall as he remembered. Guards in white in blue were at the entrance, and hardly gave the armed Argonian a glance as he walked through the entrance. That sort of thing still amused him. He even had a few Dunmer friends now. How Nevarl and those dinner guests would have squirmed if they saw such a thing.
The layout of the city seemed essentially the same, circular with a raised area in the center. The Mages’ Guild seemed livelier than it had been before, though the Fighters’ Guild looked about the same. He gave a small sigh, feeling a surprising lack of melancholy. He strode through town, tapping on the hilts of his swords.
He went into the large building in the center of town and walked up to a pretty Dunmeri woman who looked important. She was one of many seated behind desks in the room, and seemed to be a record keeper of sorts.
“Do you know,” Vyyx asked, “Where I might find Lord Nevarl and Lady Niara?”
The woman didn’t know who they were, but she checked the files she had and asked her subordinates about them. Vyyx had to wait about ten minutes before he got his result.
“I’m afraid Lord Nevarl and his wife are dead, at least to the best of our knowledge,” the Dunmer said, sounding regretful.
Vyyx’s face was blank. “How did they die?”
“Well, there was a scandal regarding the slaughter of former slaves and the murder of a representative of House Redoran. It’s unclear from our files whether they were executed or exiled, then killed in the wild.” She gave a shrug. “They were not well known at the end of their reign.”
Reign over what? Vyyx almost asked, but instead he thanked her for her time and gave her a bit of gold. He had a strange feeling as he exited the building.
He bought an unknown fruit from a vendor, then toured around the city, looking at the sights and contemplating the irony that he was the only known survivor of the Family. The buildings were still in that round style, and the temple of the Tribunal still loomed in the distance with its twisting spires. He considered visiting, but thought the better of it. Vyyx noted that, yet again, Yevis had been right; nobody seemed to know who he was, and when he asked an important-looking man whether he remembered the Argonian of Lord Nevarl, he said he didn’t. He walked for an hour or two more, then stopped in front of a small manor.
The building he had known so well, the building that had been so full of life, was empty now. Abandoned. No light was in its windows, and he could hear nothing from inside. Nobody seemed to be guarding it, so he walked right up. With effort, he managed to shove the door open. When one of the doors was fully open and dust flowed out the door, he backed up. He looked to his left and saw a boulder just big enough to sit two nine-year-olds. He looked back at the doors, remember when two guards had nodded to him as he entered. Vyyx nodded back to ghosts only he could see.
The inside of the manor was cleared out; all the furniture was gone, all of the paintings and tables and chairs. He walked around the first floor, looking for any signs of life, but the kitchen was empty and ashes were all that remained of the hearth. Eventually, he decided to go upstairs, moving one foot in front of the other very slowly. He reached the top and looked to his right. There was a door there. Behind it would be a child’s bedroom that had not been touched in ages.
This was not Vyyx’s room, of course; Vyyx had moved to the Family’s barracks when he started going out on patrols. This room had belonged to Rioin, the boy who had not been Vyyx’s brother. Vyyx tried the door, but it was locked. It had been locked since the day Rioin disappeared. Vyyx stretched his hand out, summoning a spear of pure sunlight. It lit up the forgotten manor, sending a couple of rats scurrying away. Vyyx made a quick jab, burning through the door’s handle and lock, and then banished the spear. He entered Rioin’s room.
The first thing he noticed was the smell; somebody had left food in here-- probably on the night of the party, before the disappearance-- and it had rotted over the years. a servant had closed the window prior to Nevarl locking the door, as to not let the cold in, and thus the smell could not escape. Vyyx tried not to breathe as he ran to the window and opened it (after fumbling with the old lock a bit) and pushed the window open. The hinges gave a great scream of protest as he did. He grabbed the bowl of food and threw it forcefully out the window. Only then did he allow himself to breathe, though the odor was still slightly present. He had to rub his eyes, however, as a breeze entered the room and blew the dust about.
Vyyx looked around the room, blinking. The room looked exactly the same as it had been when he looked inside the morning after Rioin’s departure. The sheets were thrown about, there was a small, circular rug on the floor, an end table sat next to the bed, and there was a desk by the door. There was also a small bookshelf, though there were no books.
Vyyx had a hunch. He walked to the bed, lifted up the small mattress-- hadn’t it been bigger?-- and flipped it over. Sure enough, there was a slit in the bottom of it. He reached in and felt metal. Vyyx’s hand came out slowly, and he withdrew a dagger with a leather sheath. The hilt was gold. He knew that if he drew it, the blade would be silver. He closed his eyes and sighed. He remembered. He remembered games of tag and lessons in history and plans of rebellion. He remembered fowl and swords and a massive figure with a tiny helmet. He remembered slaps on the back and slaps on the face and an old mer showing him snow. He remembered a warm bed and a cool pond and food that he had never grown a taste for.
He felt a lump in his throat. No, Vyyx thought, Don’t let yourself become sentimental. He remembered glares and shouts and cries of monster, monster from the children. He remembered dinner guests looking for flaws in his domesticity. He remembered a mer with skin as black as night and hair and eyes like clouds. He remembered a yellow smile.
Vyyx remembered an Argonian woman who almost gave him a wave. He remembered watching his lord drive a knife through the gut of the Redoran. He remembered watching freedmen march into the yard. He remembered cold eyes as he was sent away.
You exist to be our servants, to bend to our every will. You shouldn’t be supping with me, you should be serving me, asking me if I want more wine, washing my clothes.
Vyyx opened his eyes.
And the court shall be moved by his awesome feat, and finally recognize him as important. And on that day, he’ll toss you aside like the garbage you are, and everybody will forget you.
Vyyx took a shaky breath.
Get out of my house.
The voices faded from his mind. In their place came a final memory, one that made him smile grimly. He remembered sneaking up to Redoran’s door. He remembered placing a note there, on the doorstep. A note that detailed the murder Nevarl had committed. A note that advised them to take a look in Jorvec’s yard. A note that, as he learned today, had paid off.
Vyyx pocketed Rioin’s knife, walking out of the room and down the steps briskly. He passed empty walls that, despite their bareness, still held memory for him. He passed the spot where he and Lady Niara had eaten faux dinners. He passed the door to the room where a lord had been hit with a bottle. He passed the spot where a desk with maps once sat.
He found that closing the front door was much easier than opening it.
This post was last modified: July 30th 2015, 02:05 PM by JaketheDank
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