Chapter 1Mature

I've been wanting to write a Skyrim Fan ficition for a while and was finally inspired enough to write.
this story is about an Argonian with a troubled past and how it comes back to haunt him.
As a note this is not a story about the Dragonborn, however they will make a few appearances throughout the story, and I'm being careful not to say race or gender, so that readers may picture their own in its place.

All non OC characters are property of myself and my friends, all other characters, loca

It was a cold winter’s day in Skyrim, the ancient pines were covered in white snow and the ground was laden in it. Small animals scurried around in the peaceful silence as snow began to fall. A rabbit stood on its hind legs and raised its ears as the ‘clopping’ sound of hooves hitting the ground and the creaking of caravans as they drew near.

There was a sharp bump as the caravan hit a rock jolting Arrgos awake. He looked up and looked around tiredly at his fellow captives, a Dark Elf and sitting next to him a Khajit. The Dark Elf was tall and thin with short black hair, red eyes and a long clean face; his skin the colour of fresh ash. The Khajit was shorter than Arrgos but only by a little, he had light grey fur with black stripes and small white wisps at the ends of his feline like ears, his left ear had three gold rings running up its length and his cat like face was giving him a warm smile. Arrgos was a black scaled, young Argonian with a frill of red feathers sprouting from the back of his reptilian head, lances of red covering his face with two yellow piercing eyes and three parallel scares under the left.

“Hey you’re awake!” said the Khajjit in a silky voice and with a welcoming grin.

“What’s to be so happy about?” snarled the Elf “We’re still going to Helgen.”

The Khajit laughed “Yes, well unlike you, Arrgos might give me some conversation.” He winked at Arrgos.

Arrgos, awake now, just grinned “Yes, well, Harsten my conversation skills may be fairly limited while my hands are bound.” He said in his hissing, reptilian voice and held up his bound hands.

The Khajit leaned in towards Arrgos and whispered “We’ll be at Helgen in an hour or so” he paused “any ideas?” he asked in a lower voice.

Arrgos gave their two guards at the front of the caravan a sidelong glance and thought for a moment. “Can you still use your claws?” he whispered back to Harsten and leaned back so that the Elf wouldn’t think anything was happening. Harsten hunched his shoulders and hid his hands between his legs. The down pour of snow was starting to thicken and Arrgos could hear the guards complaining.

“Why the hell do we have to take these prisoners to Helgen?” he heard one of them say, he could also hear the guards in the caravan in front of theirs complaining about the cold and other misfortunes.

Arrgos and Harsten had been captured attempting to steal horses from a farmer in Aivarstead and had been cornered when trying to escape through the mountains. They had taken a wrong turn and found themselves with a sheer cliff in front of them and about eight guards behind them. They had surrendered and been taken prisoners, and now a day later they were on their way to Helgen.

Arrgos cupped his hands together and peered at Harsten to see if he was able to use his claws to cut through the ropes binding him and saw, to his relief that he was almost half way through. He waited until he was all the way and Harsten held the rope so that it looked like it was still bound and Arrgos conjured a small flame in his cupped hands. He was no mage but he had a gift with fiery destruction magic. He barley felt the drain on his magicka as the flame burned.

When he was little and had moved with his family to Skyrim to settle in Rorikstead, he had accidently lit his father’s shoulder on fire. After a few weeks and a few more accidents his parents had taken him to a mage to test him for magic. The mage had said that it was rare for children to discover how to use magic at such a young age and that he had a surprisingly large magicka capacity for someone of his age and knowledge. His father, who was a dark green Argonian and a near mirror image of Arrgos, wasn’t surprised that he had a large magicka capacity, but when the mage told him the size in the relative terms of magic, his father had been taken aback. The mage had also said that he had a much higher body heat compared to normal Argonians and seemed to be Farley resistant to fire. His mother, a Dark Elf, had questioned if this was related to her kinds partial resistance to heat and fire. And while the mage had said that it was possible, he also said that it was unlikely. After departing from the mage he and his family had gone home and from then on he had been treated slightly differently from before his problem had started. Over the years he had reined in control of his powers and almost never used them, and defiantly never when someone other than his parents were around.

When he had turned twelve a new family had moved into Rorikstead. It had been another family of three. They had an eleven year old son who was Khajit, like his mother and hadn’t been bothered by the cold in a long time like his Nord father. Over the years they had become close friends, mostly because the other Nord children never really included them because of their different in race, but this never bothered them. They would spare with sticks and explore the nearby mountains of The Reach when they could escape their parents. Harsten was a natural sneak and had taught Arrgos everything he knew, and in return Arrgos had taught Harsten how to fight with a sword. Arrgos’s father had been a Battle Mage back in his youth and had been known for his ability to keep a spell going for far longer than most other mages, hence why he hadn’t been surprised when the mage had told him that Arrgos had a large magicka capacity. But he had also been very handy with a sword, which for most mages was rare and almost unheard of.

Both of his parents had grown a large garden of vegetables that they traded with the local Inn and the odd caravan that passed through and then sent the rest to Whiterun to be sold at the markets. His father had also been asked to help teach some of the Holds guard’s how to handle a sword, but his father had refused simply because he wanted to leave his past as a battle mage behind him. But after much deliberation, and a few years, his father had agreed to train new recruits when they turned up but only if his son and Harsten could train with them, as he knew he couldn’t separate the two even if he had wanted too, so he, Arrgos and Harsten would trek out to Whiterun ever few months to train with the sword.

Once both Arrgos and Harsten had reached their early manhood Arrgos had told Harsten about his gift with fire. Harsten, being a loyal friend, had promised never to tell anyone including his parents. After that Harsten had wanted to give magic a try, and with the help of Arrgos, began reading up on magic and had found that he could easily relate to Illusion based magic. The only problem was that he couldn’t unlock his power of magic. They did all they could to figure out how to unlock his power of magic for a solid two years, they had even managed to break into Solitudes, the capital of Skyrim, head Mages personal book collection, during a trip with Arrgos’s father, who was being given a proposal to become a sergeant of the Imperial Legion. They had almost been caught if Arrgos hadn’t lit the mages robes on fire. After that they practically gave up on the idea, but still kept their ears open.

Half a year went by and an old mage came to stay at the local Inn. As soon as they heard about it they had made their excuses and rushed off to find him. When they found the mage he was eating lunch at the Inn near the fire pit. They had approached him carefully until he had spun around and surprised them. He was short for a High Elf and wore blue robes. He didn’t seem to mind them coming over to talk, even when the Inn keeper had come over to chase them away saying “Let the man eat in peace, he doesn’t need two kids pestering him!” but the old Elf had just laughed and said “I don’t mind the company, and they seem to know more about magic than the mage at Dragons Bridge.” When they had asked about how someone was to unlock their power of magic, he had said that it was a thing that happened over time or when the user reached a certain age, at this point he had reached inside his robe and produced a small book. He had flipped through the pages and found that he had forgotten another way, and cursing his old mind, he told them that when both mental and spiritual connections of the mind and soul were made the magic would flow. The connection could be made by finding balance in oneself or sometimes by accident. Someone might find that they could freeze water or levitate objects with their minds. He also told them that it was possible, but still even rarer than suddenly finding that you have powers, for there to be a blockage in the connection between soul and mind even if they were both attuned. The mage had commented dryly saying it reminded him of his days back in the College of Winterhold and that Arrgos and Harsten were more knowledgeable than most of his students.

He said that it was quite possible if not easy for another trained mage to unblock the ‘stream’ as he called it. Harsten had asked tentatively if the mage could see if he had the blockage. The mage had just smiled and said “Why not.” He had put both his hands flat on the table and closed his eyes. He stayed there motionless for a few minutes and when he opened his eyes he had said sadly “Unfortunately for you, you do have a blockage.”

Harsten almost deflated, but he picked himself back up and asked “Could you please unblock it for me?”

The mage’s eyebrows had crinkled at this point “Can I assume that you both know the dangers of magic as well as the benefits?”

They had both nodded and Arrgos had said “It was actually one of the first things we read up on, mostly because the only book we had at the time that told us anything about magic was a book on the dangers and abuse of it.”

The mage had burst out laughing and after he regained control of himself and had finished wiping away the tears he said “Well I’ll do this for you, but only because you made me laugh and I haven’t laughed in decades.” He had resumed his original position and closed his eyes.

Arrgos saw what looked like a gold stream of light pass between the mage and Harsten. He blinked but the stream didn’t go away he had looked around to see if anyone else had seen the light but everyone seemed not to notice. The light vanished and Harsten looked around with a smile tracing his lips, he wiggled his nose and whiskers saying quietly “I can feel it.”

They had both thanked the mage and promised to try and make it up to him one day, but he had shaken his head and waved them away “The only way you can thank me is to not get up to too much mischief and to be careful.” They had both left the Inn and gone out to test Harsten’s new powers.

From then on he and Harsten had trained with their powers and practiced with the sword. Harsten had preferred daggers, but Arrgos’s father had said quiet definitely that once you know how to use a sword properly you could adapt any other blade to your technique.

And now here they were years later trying to escape from the Imperials for stealing a couple of horses. Arrgos focused his small flame into a concentrated burst that he used to cut his own ropes. He and Harsten were wearing little more than rags since the Imperials had taken away their leather armour, their swords and other belongings. But neither of them were worried about that, they would just escape and then break into Helgen, where they knew they were going, and steal back their belongings.

Arrgos leaned over to the Dark Elf “Hey what would you do to escape right now?” he whispered.

The Dark Elf looked up at him “What are you talking about?” he said sharply. Arrgos nodded his head towards a forest at the foot of a mountain that they were about to pass next too. The Elf turned his head and looked at the Forest “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He said under his breath, then he looked down at his hands “We wouldn’t last long in there like this.” he whispered and he strained at his bonds slightly.

Arrgos gave him a toothy smile, showing his sharp, white teeth. “Don’t you worry about that.” he said and turned his head to look at the guard wagon “Just worry about running as fast as you can without tripping.”

One of the guards looked around when he heard the prisoners behind him talking “Be quiet you pieces of filth!” he barked over his shoulder.

Arrgos laughed “And you kiss your mother with those lips?” he asked. The guard turned around with the intent on punching him but Arrgos got there first. He hit the guard straight between the eyes as Harsten pulled his piece of rope tight around the others throat. The guard that Arrgos had hit was bent over clutching his nose, blood dripping through his fingers, while the other guards face had turned purple and was just losing consciousness as the wagon in front of them came to a stop from the commotion. Arrgos, Harsten and the Elf were already on their feet and running towards the forest as the guards started pulling out their swords and notching arrows into their bows.

Arrgos felt the ‘whizz’ of passing arrows as he ran through the trees. He saw arrows stick into trees in front of him and heard them impact behind him as he weaved his way through the trees. Harsten being a Khajit was a natural sprinter and was far ahead of him and the Elf. But where Harsten was fast Arrgos was strong and had endurance.

The Elf who was in front of Arrgos took an arrow to the back of the shoulder and fell with a cry hitting his head on a rock. Arrgos leaped over him, skidded to a stop and went back as another arrow embedded itself in a tree next to him. He picked up the Elf and slung him over his shoulder, the Elf was surprisingly light for a creature of its size, and he turned back around and began running again, only slightly slowed from the extra weight. He could hear the guards were still following and the foot of the mountain was getting closer as he leapt over a fallen tree. Before he landed an arrow found its mark as it stabbed into his upper arm. He fell to the ground with a grunt of pain and dropped the Elf. He looked at his injured arm and snapped off half the arrow. There was a great gust of wind as something huge flew over the trees, letting the collected snow on the tree branches fall into clumps on the ground and sending the white flakes into a flurry. He winced at the pain in his arm and, seizing the moment, he brought both of his hands up in front of him, a ball of flame in each. He threw them towards the guards and then sprayed the surrounding area creating a wall of fire.

Using his good arm he shouldered the now unconscious Elf and began running again. When he got to the foot of the mountain Harsten was waiting for him, perched on a ledge his cat tail drifting and flicking from side to side. “You took your time.” he said and jumped down, landing in a crouch and then standing up. Arrgos lay the Elf down and pulled out the arrow in his shoulder. Then he felt around until he found the half an arrow sticking out of his arm, the bleeding had stopped and the wound was already starting to scab and heal. The Elf on the other hand, not having the quick healing Argonian blood, was still bleeding. “Harsten can you try and find me some blue mountain flowers, butterflies and frost mirriam while I carry the Elf?” Harsten nodded and hurried away with a parting comment of “So how am I meant to catch the butterflies without a net?” Arrgos just grunted and used his foot rags to stop the bleeding, then hoisted the Elf onto his shoulder and started to climb the mountain.

It took them awhile but they finally got high enough to see their surroundings and even found a flat spot where they could work on the Elf. Arrgos used his fire to warm an area of flat rock where they lay the Elf. “You know it only just occurred to me that we don’t know the Elf’s name.” he said conversationally as he tore up some of the flowers Harsten had collected, he put some of the pieces in his mouth and chewed them into a blue green mush, he then packed the mush into the Elves wound and covered it with frost mirrian. “That should speed up the healing process a bit.” He said, as Harsten looked out over the valley they had been taking to Helgen. “Yes well we still need to find a place to stay the night.” There was a silence that was only broken when the wind blew, rattling some nearby trees and forcing snow into their faces.

They had travelled around the side of the mountain for what felt like hours with the snow thickening around them by the minute. But they found a cave that sheltered them from the wind and snow. As Arrgos stepped into the cave he caught the scent of rotting wood coming from further down. Having a quick look around the entrance he found some glowing mushrooms and added them to the Elf’s mix of healing herbs, while Harsten gathered whatever he could find to start a fire.

When there was a decent amount of wood piled up in the centre of the cave Arrgos lit the wood with a wave of his hand. They left the Elf next to the fire and began to warm their own hands and feet. After a few minutes Harsten was contempt to just lean against the wall of the cave and dose. Between his fur and natural resistance to the cold he was fine and Arrgos although he was warmer he had to keep his temperature up so that he wouldn’t freeze seeming his belly was empty, so he sat closer to the fire. “Any idea what that thing was?” Arrgos asked shivering; he sparked a small flame in either hand and rubbed his skin with them, “I don’t know,” Harsten took a breath “but,” he shifted a little “It did look a little like the dragons from my dad’s old stories.” Arrgos looked at him with curiosity “I never heard those stories.” He said.

There was a skittering from deeper in the cave. Arrgos and Harsten both spun their heads towards the noise. There was nothing. Harsten leant back against the wall and let out a long breath “We really need to stop getting ourselves into these positions.” Arrgos laughed “Well unless you want to go and start a family and settle down?” he said, the sides of his scaly mouth turning upwards in a grin. A moment or two passed before he spoke again “We’ll go down to Helgen tomorrow and grab our gear” he said quietly “we’ll head out to another town and find work, we’ll blend in and figure out what to do from there.” He looked up at the ceiling “I was thinking we might go to Falkreath for awhile.” When he looked back down at Harsten, he was asleep. Arrgos repositioned himself near the fire and threw another handful of twigs into it, to be consumed by the flames.

He was only just starting to nod off when he heard the scuffling again. He propped himself up on his elbows and looked down the cave. There was still nothing but darkness and the dank smell of rotting wood. A thought struck him. Rotting wood, and not of natural sticks and logs that had probably made their way into the cave, and it would only be rotten if there was water. Arrgos got to his feet and walked into the darker areas of the cave. He walked along until he felt his feet touch water; he saw a corpse covered in a thick netting of white web lying next to a rotting wooden table and chair. He took a step back and caught his breath as, out of the corner of his eye, he saw two small Frostbite Spiders crawling along a wall towards him, making that scuffling sound.

They were about the size of a dog and had a dark green, brown carapace. Arrgos stayed stock still, waiting for the spiders to make a move towards him. They seemed to ignore him as they skittered towards the corpse and dragged it away, back deeper into the cave. He took a step back and caught some web on the back of his foot. He quickly looked down as he drew his foot up to try and dislodge the web and just as quickly looked back at the two spiders, they had stopped and were looking around the cave for a hint of the disturbance. One of them found a piece of web and tugged at it. Arrgos felt the web attached to his foot tug with the spiders. “Damn.” He said under his breath he took another few steps back before turning and running back the way he had come. The spiders were starting to ‘chitter’ loudly as he ran.

“Frostbites!” Arrgos shouted as he came running back up the cave. Harsten opened his eyes as Arrgos charged into the small cave throwing fire behind him. He heard a screech from further down the cave and two of the spiders came skittering out. Arrgos ran and tripped over their wood pile, as Harsten leapt to his feet, and sprayed the way he had come with a wall of fire. Arrgos felt the drain on his power as he kept the spiders at bay. He could keep the spell going for a long while but he still had his limits. Arrgos felt his power starting to run low, his mind was starting to work up a familiar fuzzy feeling and he felt tired, not in his body, in his soul. He ceased his flow of magic and the flames died.

Harsten saw one of the spiders make a move towards the Dark Elf and he dove on top of it, trying to catch a few of its legs. He managed to grab hold of four of them, but the creature struggled. Although he was not physically a strong man, he still managed to rip off three of the things legs and a few eyes out before it lay still. Another leapt onto him as he rolled over and he caught one of its legs in his hand, while using the other to keep its snapping fang filled maw away from his face. He turned and saw Arrgos fending off two more with a flaming log and bursts of fire from his hands. Harsten dug his claws into the hard lower abdomen of the spider and forced its leg up into its own mouth. Mucus, and what he suspected was poison, dripped onto his face and rags making his fur stick together in clumps. “Nah! Stupid insect.” He hissed before digging his claws further into the spider and ripping out a section of its abdomen and pushing back into its soft inner organs. The spider shook and convulsed as it died. He pushed the spider off of himself and looked to see how Arrgos was going and saw that one of the spiders had had its face smashed in and the other was a burning pile. Arrgos was sitting in a corner clutching his arm and muttering under his breath.

Harsten quickly moved to his friends side “You alright?” he asked, worry evident in his voice. “The damn thing bit me!” he growled as he removed his hand from his bleeding arm “You’d think I’d hurt a different arm once in a while.” He laughed through gritted teeth as Harsten took more glowing mushrooms and squeezed some of its juices onto his wound. He smiled “You would think so wouldn’t you.” He offered the squished mushroom to Arrgos who took it and held it up in front of him, muttering “I hate these things.” But put it in his mouth chewed slightly and swallowed, shivering afterwards.

Arrgos picked himself up and shouldered the still unconscious Elf. “We should leave before more show up.” He said with a hiss of pain, he looked at his arm and felt a cold sensation run its length up and down. He blew on it and put a hint of magic through his breath and a small rush of flame ran along his arm. But it did nothing to fend off the cold that was spreading through his arm and into the rest of his body.

They left the cave and started to make their way towards Helgen. They had to stop and hide from a couple troupes of Imperial soldiers, which for Harsten was easy he just had to turn invisible, but for Arrgos and the Elf it wasn’t as easy. They were almost spotted once but from a mixture luck and skill they avoided all the soldiers and made it to the side of a hill with a good view of Helgen, and what they saw was nothing short of amazing. Helgen was a smoking ruin, burning wooden structures and charred corpses littered the ground along with collapsed walls and the odd blackened patches of earth. “What could do this?” asked Harsten, he looked up at Arrgos and back down as a caravan of soldiers moved through the broken gate. They both took cover behind bushes and trees as the soldiers started looking around. “We’ll have to leave the Elf here. We’ll go down grab our stuff if it survived and anything else that’s useful.” said Harsten. Arrgos peered through the bush he was hiding behind “Ok, sounds like a plan.” He dropped the Elf and untied his hands, and then retied them behind a tree. “Let’s go then.” He said with a toothy grin.

They began their decent, and under the cover of trees and snow they made their way down to the ruins of the Fort. Arrgos was first to the wall but Harsten was the first to start climbing. He kicked off the rags that covered his feet, got a hand hold on the wall and started to climb. He got to the edge of the wall and took a peek over checking if there were any guards. There were none. He flipped himself over the wall and crawled towards the other side looking down on the soldiers that he saw now scurried around for whatever purpose their commanders needed of them

 Arrgos and Harsten made their way around packs of soldiers and through the inside of the Keep. They found clothes and a few bags that they filled with supplies and weapons. Harsten found a bow and arrows along with a few daggers along with a small supply of potions, Arrgos found himself a steel sword and a slightly charred box, which contained his and Harsten’s gear. The lock had been broken letting a small amount of the gear inside get blackened with soot and ash. He took out and changed into his brown leather armour, boots, greaves and a black, red laced hood. Harsten had a similar getup, except he had a cream coloured hood. They left most of the other gear they had collected except a few things for the Dark Elf and their packs. More guards had turned up while they had been getting into their gear, and so getting back out had been a little more difficult but still not by much.

When they arrived back to where they had left the Elf, they found him awake and alert and once he saw them he relaxed a little. “I thought you guys had left me to die!” he said his voice sounding panicked.

Arrgos rolled his eyes under his hood “We didn’t leave you and we don’t plan too. Yet.” They stood in front of him for awhile.

The Elf shuffled impatiently “So are you guys going let me go or not?” he asked.

Arrgos shrugged, went over and cut the Elf’s hands free, then threw him clothes and armour.“Put them on or you’ll freeze.” He said without looking at the Elf, he turned to Harsten “We need to get out of here and find some place to rest and resupply.”

Harsten nodded “I was thinking Falkreath.” Arrgos gave him a look “What? Its close, there’s an Inn and the last time we were there was a year ago and we helped stop a bandit raid.”

Arrgos shrugged and put his hands out to either side “Why not. Falkreath it is.”

The Dark Elf had just finished putting on his armour and one of his boots when he stopped “Falkreath?”

Arrgos sighed “Yes we are going to Falkreath, is there a problem?”

The Dark Elf stood up and rubbed the back of his neck “Well ya. You see I was caught stealing supplies down there once and the people there never quiet liked me either after that. Should still have wanted posters around even”

Arrgos crossed his arms and put a hand to his forehead, he seemed to deflate “Off all the bloody Elves…” he muttered under his breath. “So where does that leave us?” he said down into his crossed arms.

Harsten took a few seconds and then said quietly “We… we could go to Rorikstead.”

Arrgos looked up quickly and the Elf shrugged, saying “Sure, haven’t been there in a while.”

Arrgos seemed to shrink as he said “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” He glanced at Harsten “Bad memories and someone may recognise us.” and at that thought a face came to mind, but he stuffed it to the back of head, ‘The one person who I could stand knowing who I was’.

Harsten shrugged and scratched at his armour “Ya, didn’t think it was going to be a good idea.” He put a hand to the back of his neck and turned, looking out over the land and down at Helgen. “The only problem is there’s nowhere else for us to go that’s safe, and the snow is only getting thicker.”

The Elf shivered “Don’t have to remind me.”

Harsten’s head drooped, “We don’t have much of a choice at the moment Arrgos, and the memories aren’t only painful for you.” He put both hands on his hips and pulled at his armour “So Rorikstead it is.”

Arrgos, Harsten and the Elf, who had introduced himself as Orean Lockdancer, made their way through the mountains to avoid guard patrols, and the increasing amount of soldiers that were moving around these days with the war and all. When they were a few hours away from Rorikstead they stopped for a small breather, and to plan how to enter the place without raising to much suspicion or letting anyone recognise them.

Eventually they settled on Arrgos and Harsten going around the village and then coming in from the other direction while the Orean was going to go straight there and get them a room at the Inn. When Arrgos and Harsten arrive they would do their best to blend in and find work until they could move on and get over to Markarth so that they could try and get jobs that would last longer than their usual mercenary work, Orean had even offered to join them.

Orean packed up his things and left when Arrgos and Harsten were sparring. A few hours passed and they also packed up, heading up north before turning west towards the road that led to Rorikstead. They unpacked thick black cloaks as the weather took a turn for the worst, although the cold wasn’t as bad for them as it was for the odd traveller they passed, it still bit deep. Arrgos busied himself as they walked, by conjuring small flames in his hands and trying to shape them into patterns, runes, words and other designs. Harsten just kept quiet and walked.

It was dark and the snow was falling thicker than ever when they arrived at the Inn. They stepped through door, into the fire lit little Inn, and attracted many stares. The people were obviously not used to hooded strangers. The place was fuller than it should have been, ‘maybe a group of travellers had arrived’, Arrgos thought. As they sat at an empty table, a young Nord with a familiar face looked over at them with a hopeful expression and went to get up, but at a look from the Inn keeper, he sat back down, looking a little disappointed. Eventually they both ordered mead and meat, as they sat back down at their table a High Elf in a mages robes sat at the opposite side of their table. “Well if it isn’t little Arrgos and Harsten.” He said quietly, they both looked up with surprise “Yes, I almost missed you two, you’ve both gotten older and wiser, but your magic’s have remained unchanged.” said the Elf with a grin.

Arrgos and Harsten both looked at each other and put their hands on their weapons. “Now, now,” said the Elf with a smile, he waved a hand lazily and as Arrgos started to unsheathe his sword it slid back in of its own accord, and it wouldn’t budge. He looked over at Harsten who seemed to be having the same problem with his daggers, “is that really how you treat an old friend?” the Elf put his hands together and gave them a warm smile.

“Do we know you?” Arrgos hissed, sounding annoyed.

Harsten was quiet, taking in the Elf’s features and trying to figure out who he was. Not a Thalmor, he thought, otherwise he’d be wearing their gold trimmed robes, mages guild possibly.

The Elf shook his head as if he pitied their intelligence, “I’m the one whom you met seven years ago in this very Inn, and unlocked Harsten’s gifts.”

The two looked at each other under their hoods and then back to the Elf. “What do want from us?” asked Harsten. “I just saw you two in here and thought I’d say hello, and that your Dark Elf friend is drunk.” Arrgos put a hand to his head and moaned slightly, Harsten just growled and looked around towards the front of the Inn where there was indeed a Dark Elf, head down and on a stool, at the front counter with a mug in his hand. “Has he said anything about us or who he’s travelling with?”

The High Elf just laughed “Not to my knowledge,” and in quieter voice added “but that’s only to say what he has done so far. What he could do from now on is cause for concern.”

Their food arrived and the Argonian and Khajit both tucked in. the High Elf just leaned back and watched. After a few minutes Harsten asked “Y’know after all that’s happened, we still don’t know your name.”

Arrgos had just finished his meat and was crunching down on the bone with his powerful jaws, Harsten and the Elf winced slightly as the bone was crushed between his teeth. Arrgos saw them looking at him “What?” he asked and his tongue licked a piece of marrow from the side of his mouth.

The other two gave him slightly bemused looks, “Even after all this time, I’ll never get used to how easy it is for you to do that.” said Harsten.

“Well back to your question Harsten,” the Elf said “my name is Yngir.”

Arrgos dipped his head towards the elf “Well then, it’s good to see you again Yngir.”

They all stayed and talked for awhile, and as they talked the young Nord walked by them, he froze for a second when Harsten said Arrgos’s name but continued out of the Inn. Eventually they had to go and move Orean to his room, then they hired themselves a room before retiring for the night.

 

In the morning Arrgos woke up early, put on his cloak and armour, and left the Inn to have a walk around the small village. His hood securely over his head so as not let people see his face, although he doubted any one would remember him. ‘Maybe Rorrick would’ he thought dimly.

The village was covered in a white blanket of snow, with furrows traced through it from where the guards had patrolled the previous night. Arrgos followed one of these trails down back the way he and Harsten had come when they had entered the village; he took a left and created his own furrow down a hill and past a clump of jagged stones, until he got to a flat bit of land. He knelt down and cleared away some snow revealing a small line of stones. Memories flooded his mind’s eye,

He was sitting on his balcony watching a set of caravans go past and wondering why they were there, he remembered sparing with Harsten and his father in and around the garden patch, helping his mother tend to her garden and he and Harsten watching as the other Nord children played there games with only the odd glances up at them. All ways different, always with no one but each other, them against the world.

He sat there for what felt like hours, but was probably only a few minutes, letting memory after memory run through him. He felt his eyes start to burn and a tear streaked down his cheek, quickly followed by more. The face pushed its way back into his mind, pale skin and soft features, a pair of kind blue eyes and a river of flowing deep red hair. The only one who had ever shown he or Harsten any kindness, and his one regret.

He took a steadying breath, his arms and legs were cold and stiff, as a hand touched his shoulder. He reacted instantly, grabbing the hand and pulling it down while standing up and twisting the fallen Nord’s arm and putting his foot on their shoulder.  “What the!” was all they managed to say before Arrgos twisted their arm a little more and received a small whimper of pain. The Nord looked familiar, then Arrgos remembered the boy who had stood when they had entered the Inn.

“Who are you?” he hissed, pressing his boot into the boy’s shoulder.

The boy started to panic “I… I’m…” he stuttered “I’m Erik Son of Mralki” he stammered, the name sounded familiar “I just came outside and saw you kneeling here and thought something might be wrong, so I came to see if I could help.” Arrgos let him go and shook his head, there was a gust of wind that sent snowflakes zipping into the air, and Arrgos’s hood was blown down revealing his face. Erik looked up at him and stood “So it is you” he said, Arrgos quickly pulled his hood back over his head as his feathers began to stand on end.

“What do you mean? I’ve never met you before.” He said in a snarl.

Erik looked Arrgos in the eye and held the stare, “Your Arrgos Blood-Scale.” Arrgos showed his teeth and hissed. “You’re an adventurer aren’t you?” Erik demanded.

Arrgos hissed again “No, I’m not an adventurer. I’m an assassin, a sword for hire.”

Erik took a step forwards “And your everything I wish I was!” he said.

Arrgos chuckled at that “You don’t want to be like me. People like me are made through loss, and you have everything to lose.” He said darkly. There was silence for a few moments “Get yourself some armour and a sword walk to solitude and if you make it there alive you’ll see that adventuring is nothing like it is in the stories.” He walked away, leaving the stunned Erik deep in thought.

Arrgos made his way through the small village to its graveyard and knelt by a set of two grave stones; he picked two blue Death Bell flowers from a nearby patch and laid them at the foot of each grave. He traced the names that had been carved into the cold, grey stone, Ram-Ku and Midave. He felt fresh tears begin to brim in his eyes, it had been years since he had seen his parents graves, and the sight of them took him back to the day they died.

He had only just turned nineteen; Harsten and he had finished their chores and were making their way to the Reach to practice their magic. They had gotten up to the foot of one of their usual mountains when there was a cry from the village. They had hurried back and found that bandits were raiding the village, the guards were doing their best but there had been too many. Arrgos and Harsten had both seen their houses catch on fire from torches that had been thrown onto the hay bale roofs, so they had rushed of in different directions to their houses. Both their fathers were helping the guards fend off the bandits and when Arrgos had gotten to his house he heard his mothers scream. He burst through the door and a horrible sight had met his eyes. The table and chairs of their modest home were upturned, windows were smashed and two Nord’s had his mother pinned to the wall, while a Dark Elf traced a dagger over her throat. “You’re a traitor to your own people, marrying filth like that!” he spat in her face. She had seen him and shouted for him to run. “Ah, the son of the traitor!” said the Elf as he turned around and fixed on Arrgos. The Elf had started to walk towards him, Arrgos quickly looked around and found his sword, it was lying next to his bed on the other side of the room. He had to get past the Elf before he could get his sword, he took a breath and ran at the Elf. The Elf tried to grab him, but after having been taught the arts of avoidance by Harsten, he dropped and slid through the Elf’s legs, sprung back up and dove for his sword. Arrgos’s hand tightened around the sheathe of the blade and had started to pull it close so he could get a grasp on the hilt, when he was tugged backwards by his ankle. The Dark Elf pulled him back and his sword with him. Arrgos grabbed the hilt and struck out at the Dark Elf, sheathe and all, in the head with enough force to draw blood and make him let go. He clumsily unsheathed the blade and made another swing at the Elf, slicing into his arm and shearing it off. The Elf cried out in pain and clutched at his stump of an arm, red blood seeping through his fingers to splatter on the wooden floor.

Arrgos had gotten to his feet, still pointing the sword at the Elf, and stepped past him. He lit a small flame in the hand that wasn’t holding the sword and let it leap up, before bringing it back down so that it covered his hand in fire. Both the bandits seemed to lose heart, but they regained their composure quickly and pressed another dagger to his mother’s throat. They all stood stock still, none wanting to make a move before the other. There had been a bang from behind Arrgos as the door had been blasted off its hinges in a fiery explosion, the Bandits and Arrgos backed away as Arrgos’s father walked in eyeing the Bandits with absolute hate. He stepped over the still whimpering form of the Dark Elf and advanced on the two Nord’s holding his wife. They had trembled as fire had coated him from head to foot. Arrgos watched in awe as his father butchered the Nord’s, and once he was finished with his gruesome task he had let the flames disappear and had held his wife in his arms. Arrgos had started to make his way over to them when an arrow had shot through the window and buried itself in the back of his mothers neck, his father had cried out as he held her limp form in his arms  just saying over and over “No, no, no, no!” as he had cradled her.

The house was starting to come down around them and unnoticed by anyone the Dark Elf had picked himself and his dagger up, and was moving towards Arrgos’s father. Before Arrgos could react the dagger had descended and stabbed into his father’s back. His father had cried out in pain and joined his wife in the infinite void as the Elf stabbed him again and again. Arrgos had slumped down to his knees at this, his mind blank from shock, as a piece of the houses frame work fell, flaming, to the floor next to him. The Elf left the dagger in his father’s back and leapt past Arrgos. Once outside the Elf had run. Arrgos had just sat there as the house had burnt down around him, until Harsten had grabbed him and dragged him out just as the building had started to collapsed.

Arrgos stood, and wiping the tears from his eyes, he bowed slightly saying “Rest well.” He left the grave yard without a backwards glance and trudged back to the Inn. By the time he got back he was starting to feel better. When he got back to their room Arrgos found Harsten, Orean and Yngir deep in conversation, he found a chair and joined them.

“So what is your first stop before you all get to Markarth?” asked Yngir.

Harsten took a draught from his mug and set it down on the table, “We’re going through to Carthnvasten, staying a night, and then on to Markarth.”

Yngir took a moment “So what do you plan to do when you get there?” he asked.

Arrgos leaned forward “I was going to fulfil a contract, while Harsten was going to make a small transaction with the bank.”

Harsten let out a grating chuckle from the back of his throat, “Maybe not so little, but defiantly not noticeable.” He lay back in his chair “Hey Orean, what are your plans?”

Orean had just taken a small swig from his own mug and started to choke, Harsten slapped him on the back until he stopped coughing. “Well I’d thought that I’d just stick with you guys.” They all looked at him “What?” he looked at them all, a little sheepishly “I don’t have anywhere else to go, and the life of a guy who can only pick locks isn’t very eventful and it doesn’t pay well either.”

Arrgos shrugged “Ok then, you can help Harsten with his job.”

Harsten gave a small laugh “Ya sure, as long as you can be quiet and quick.”

Orean leaned forwards and hunched his shoulders, a grin tweaking his lips “You have no idea.”

Harsten leant back in his chair again “So Arrgos did you see Ysolda?” he said with an innocent smile.

Arrgos who had also been leaning back in his chair, and balancing on two legs, almost fell over. Harsten laughed at his friend before Yngir added “Who?” his eyes flicked around for a second as if he were figuring out a puzzle, “Oh the little red headed girl?” Arrgos gave him a look and Yngir said, “Don’t worry she’s still in Whiterun, but she does visit every once in a while.”

“Hear that Arrgos!” Harsten said cheerfully “We’ll have to make a stop there some time so the two of you can get ‘re-acquainted’.”

 

Arrgos just sat there pensively, not looking at anyone. Everyone knew that if Argonians could blush, he would be.

“Yes, well about that,” said Yngir “I was actually going to make my way there myself to go and see a friend, so maybe on our way back from Markhearth then?”

“I don’t see why not.” chuckled Harsten.

They convened their meeting and went to pack there things for the road ahead. As Arrgos slid his knives into they’re sheathes, his thoughts strayed to their conversation, and to Ysolda. The last time he had seen her was when they were young.

It had been a sunny day, and the previous night there had been a rather large dump of snow. It had been Ysolda’s birthday and he had spent the last day collecting a bundle of flowers for her, his nerve had gotten the better of him and he had woken up early and left them on her door step. He had waited with Harsten at the edge of the Reach and watched her find them, later in the day they had seen her going to everyone in town to, from what Arrgos could tell, ask them who had given her the flowers.

‘Little does she know’ he thought. He finished sheathing his knives and sheathed a steel dagger, pulled at his armour to loosen it and then tightened some straps. He picked up his bag, a satchel with plenty of spare pockets and walked out of the room to wait for Harsten and Orean with Yngir who had a large staff that crackled with sparks of lightning around a crystal at its tip, in one hand and a collection of small pouches around his waist.

They started heading out, and as Arrgos passed Erik who was talking to his father. Arrgos pushed open the door to the inn and held it open as his companions stepped out. At the edge of the small village he paused and looked back on it, there was a gust of wind that picked up powdered snow and cast the sight in a dream like haze “Never was for me…” he murmured under his breath as he turned away and continued along his path.

They spent the rest of the day on the road; they passed a few caravans and other travellers, even a Khajiit merchant group. As the sun was starting to set, they made camp and all sat around the fire, “So what have you all actually been doing since I last saw you?” Yngir asked Arrgos and Harsten.

Arrgos swallowed a mouthful of meat and said “Oh you know, the odd contract here and there, a very expensive item goes missing only to end up on some dealers desk, the usual.”

Harsten let out a loud laugh at that, and when he gained control of himself he said “Ya, even won a bet between the Thieves guild in Riften once. Although,” he paused looking thoughtful, “if it hadn’t been for the clouds moving at the last second the thief would have won, bad luck on their part for that one.” He shrugged dismissively and tore another chunk of meat from his dinner.

Arrgos took first watch and the rest got some sleep, as he was sitting alone by the fire he began to think, about completing his contract, about what they would find in Markhaerth, about Ysolda. He tried to push the last one out of his mind, but it grew, he shook his head to rid it of the thought but it remained, and questions started to flood his thoughts. ‘What does she look like?, How would I recognise her?, Would she recognise me?, What am I expecting and what am I hoping for?’

He put his head in his hands as he realised that she had probably moved on, and then there was the sound of a twig breaking. His head shot up, he looked around for the source of the sound, drawing his sword slowly. He got to his feet and, crouching, made his way around the camp. There was another sound, this time the rustle of disturbed leaves. He looked around carefully and opened his mouth sticking his tongue out to taste the air. An Argonians sense of smell was fine, but their sense of taste was unmatched. He stayed crouching there for a few seconds and then spat on the ground in disgust. “Wolf.” He muttered under his breath and, as if only to prove him right, there was a howl off in the distance.

He raised his sword in one hand, conjured a small fire in the other, and started to step back towards the fire. He stepped over Harsten and gave him a sharp kick in the back. Harsten reacted immediately; there was a dagger in his hand as he was scanning the immediate area for threats, when none were found he looked up at Arrgos confused “Huh?” he grumbled tiredly. Arrgos was still searching for the wolves; Harsten saw the look on Arrgos’s face and quickly looked around while getting out of his bed roll.

“What is it?” he asked

Arrgos’s head flicked towards another sound that seemed to come from their right, “Wolf pack.”

Harsten’s ears pulled back against his head and he made an uncomfortable sound in the back of his throat, “How many?” there was the sound of twigs snapping behind them, Harsten spun around and they both started circling around the fire back to back. As they passed the others they woke them, and soon all four of them were standing backs to the fire and looking for any sign of movement.

Yngir levelled his staff and sent out a red wave of energy that clung to every surface and raced away in a fiery blast. He looked around them as the rest flinched “There are seven of them.” he said calmly.

Arrgos looked around as Yngir readied his staff, Harsten pulled a second dagger from his belt and Orean readied his sword. The first wolf came for Harsten, he dispatched it quickly, as it died the second ran at Yngir who smashed its lower jaw upwards and then covered it with fire from the head of his staff. The last five came out from hiding and started to circle the group. There were four regular sized black wolves and one much larger grey, white wolf. As they circled the group the large grey one started to eye Arrgos, who eyed it back.

The wolves struck all at once. Orean and Yngir took on three while Harsten and Arrgos were attacked by one each and the large grey one went for Arrgos. He lashed out with his sword gripping it in both hands, letting the magical flame die. He swiped the blade into the wolfs path, but the wolf was smart quick enough to evade the blow letting Arrgos’s strike ripple the hair along its back. Going with the weight of the blade, Arrgos spun around, raising it up in front of himself in a defensive posture just in time as the wolf lunged for him, battering him to the ground. His sword now useless to him as he battled the beast on his back, it bit down hard into the leather armour of his arm, Arrgos grabbed it’s paw as it tried to swipe at his face and held on. The wolf started to squeeze his arm in its mouth; Arrgos could feel the pressure starting to build in his arm. Letting go of the beasts paw he draw out a knife and swiped it across the wolfs neck. Blood poured down onto his armour and sprayed over his face as the animal started to panic, whipping itself this way and that, finally letting go of his arm. Arrgos grabbed the beasts snout and the back of its head, and with a quick jerk, snapped its neck.

He pushed the fur covered corpse off of him and started to get up; only to quickly duck down again as a charred body flew over his head. Arrgos looked up to see where it had come from and saw Yngir throw a bolt of lightning at the last of the wolves, Harsten was just finishing dispatching his own wolf and Orean was standing behind Yngir, back to back, so that the remaining wolf couldn’t flank him.

The wolf jumped away from Yngir’s lightning bolt and jumped backwards. Arrgos jumped to his feet to watch the exchange as Yngir threw another bolt of Lightning at the wolf, this time scoring a hit. The wolf jerked uncontrollably for a few seconds before staying still.

Arrgos let out a pent up breath that he hadn’t realised he’d been holding.

“First time I’ve seen a wolf pack that large.” Said Harsten, he wiped his sword on his dead wolfs fur, then pulled out his knife and began to skin the animal.

Arrgos did the same as well as Orean who asked Yngir, “You going to give us a hand?”

Yngir laughed “No, I prefer not to get my hands dirty if I can help it.”

The End

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