TES V: Skyrim - THE DIVINE CHAMPION
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February 10th, 2012 (7:20 PM). Edited March 12th, 2012 by Phantom.
Uh, I didn't do it
Escape from Helgen
"Captain, what should we do? This one's not on the list."
"To the block," she said curtly, "all of them."
The reader mumbled something Revak couldn't hear, "Yes Captain," he said, avoiding eye contact with Revak, "You heard the Captain, prisoner, to the block."
With a soft nod Revak followed the others to the block. He strained against the binds around his wrists, managing to loosen them a little, but still not enough to free his hands. Dismayed, he took his place in between two Stormcloak soldiers. He felt the eyes of the citizens of the small town bearing on him. He watched as a middle aged Imperial dressed in fine armor and a red generals cloak was led to the execuation area accompanied by two High elves dressed in intricate black robes. Hate grew in Revak's stomach,
Damn the Thalmor to Oblivion!
, Revak cursed,
My Empire has become nothing but their puppets!
The general approached Ulfric, who was still gagged, and stared into the Nord's eyes before beginning.
"Ulfric Stormcloak," he said, his voice condemning, "some here in Helgen call you a hero, but a hero doesn't use a power like the Voice to murder the king and usurp his throne."
Revak thought. He didn't remember Helgen; meaning that it must be a newer village. And the Voice? Ulfric could use the Thu'um? That was interesting. The general was still droning on, "You started this war! Plunged Skyrim into chaos! And now the Empire is going to put you down and restore peace."
This is wrong! No trial?
Revak thought. Certainly for something this important the Empire should go through all the proper procedures before just simply killing a man!
This is insanity.
Tullius turned and rejoined to the Thalmor. The Captain saluted the general as he passed her, "Give them their last rites!" she commanded the priest next to her.
The young priest stepped forward. You could tell she was nervous, she walked softly, like her legs shook beneath her. She raised her hands, "As we commend your souls to Ather-"
"Oh, for the love of Talos, shut up already," Revak jumped a little at the sound of his name.
I'm a curse now
? he thoughtas the Stormcloak to his right stepped forward.
The priestess seemed just as surprised. Revak could almost make out her scowl from where he stood. "Very well then," she said as the Stormcloak passed her as he made his way to the block. The Captain lowered him to his knees and pressed his head against the stone.
He was smiling as the headsman raised his axe, "My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials! Can you say the same?" he said as the axe hung in the air before swiftly cutting through his neck; the man died with a smile still etched on his face. His body slumped to the ground as there was a sickening thud as the head landed in the basket. Blood pooled around the bare neck as two Imperials cleared the headless body away from the block so that the next prisoner could approach.
"Next prisoner!" called the Captain, her eyes searching through the crowd. "You!" she pointed at Revak, "the renegade Nord from Cyrodiil!" Revak sighed as he stepped forward. That's when he heard it, a roar. It was dulled, like whatever made it was some distance away. Revak paused as the creature roared again, the others looked just as nervous, muttering under their breaths and searching the sky as they tried to find the source of the strange call.
The Captain wasn't about to let a strange creature interupt her, "I said,
," she said with a hint of venom.
Revakaal's mind was a buzz as he approached the block. He'd already thought of a plan. His bonds were loose enough so that they granted some movement, but not much. As he approached he saw that the headsman had been favoring one leg, meaning that his other had been injured previously. He could knee the headsman and use the axe to sever the bonds. Revak said a small prayer to Akatosh for luck.
As he approached he heard that call again, but much louder and closer this time. Revak approached the block, his heart afire in his chest. That's when he saw it. Just above the tower he could see a huge black dragon; almost as large as Akatosh's avatar. It swooped and turned, it's maw open and raw with black and red flames. Everyone was frozen in fear as the dragon gathered it's flame. Revak ducked to the ground, narrowly avoiding the stream of flames, as it released the flames. Revak rolled and landed on his knees, and watched as the dragon landed on the tower.
Even in his time as Talos he'd never seen a dragon that size.
It can't be
, he thought as he watched the dragon gather flame once more. Revak saw the Captain issuing orders to frantic soldiers. The dragon drew back it's head and let free a blast of flame. Revak charged the Captain, knocking her off her feet and preventing her from being toasted in her armor.
Flames surged over their heads as Revak looked and saw that the Captain's helm had fallen off. Her brown eyes were wide in fear and surprise, "Sorry M'am, I'm afraid that you've got a bit of a dragon problem," Revak said as he pushed himself to his feet and ran in the direction of the keep, following a group of Stormcloaks.
Running was awkward still in binds, but he made it into the keep. Two Stormcloaks closed the door behind him. Revak sank to the floor, sweat crawling down his brow. Once the world stopped spinning he took account of what was around him. It was a simple keep tower. A few Stormcloaks already were there a few of them injured. The others were either aiding the injured or grouped togther speaking in hurried hushed voices.
He recognized Ralof as he approached. The young Nord's blond hair was caked with soot and ash. He motioned to Revak to come closer, holding a dagger in his hands. "Here," he said, "let's see if we can get those bindings off." Revak nodded and let Ralof cut his bonds. Once free Revak rubbed his wrists to return circulation. Revak nodded in thanks, and rose to his feet. The sounds of fighting and fire still coming from outside.
Ralof looked at him, "What was that thing? You don't think," he paused, choosing his words, "you don't think the legends can be true?"
Revak scowled, "Legends don't burn down villages."
"True," Ralof nodded. "C'mon, let's get out of here," he said eyeing the stairs. "This place is nothing but a tomb." Revak agreed, this shoddy tower wouldn't stand up to any dragon... especially that one.
"Good idea," Revak said as he started up the steps. Ralof followed, as they made their way up the entire tower shook. Both of them had to go down to their knees to prevent falling down the stairs from the force of the shaking.
"What in Oblivion is that?" Ralof cursed as he took the lead, "C'mon kinsman!"
Just then the wall gave way as fire streamed inside, nearly cooking them on the spot. The stood, frozen, as the dragon passed on. Slowly, Revak looked out through the gap. The dragon was on the other side of the village attacking a group of Imperial archers.
Ralof stood beside him, "You go ahead," he said, his blue eyes fierce as he watcehd the dragon killing the Imperials and citzens alike.
Revak nodded as he approached the gap in the wall. Below he saw the inn. Part of the roof had been blown apart, leaving the second floor open. It would be a tricky jump, but it would be possible. He was about to jump, but then he stopped and looked at Ralof, "What about you?"
Ralof shook his head, "I've got to see if I can help the other Stormcloaks."
"Then I'm staying with you," Revak said, stepping away from the gap, "We probably have a better chance together."
Ralof smiled, "Good!"
Together they ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time, only to find that the others had already left. "Damn it!" Ralof said once he noticed the others had left.
"They probably thought we'd died when the dragon broke through the wall."
"Probably," he said, kicking a sack with a satisfying thud.
Revak frowned and started searching for another way out, any way out avoiding outside. He noticed a door that must lead below the keep, "Hey, look," he said, pointing to the door, "a way out, don't you think?"
"Ha, looks like our luck isn't completely spent," he said as he picked up an axe from a dead Stormcloak. Revak watched him, "Gundar won't be needing these anymore," he said as he handed Revak a iron sword.
Revak drew the sword from it's scabbard, it wasn't the greatest of quality and it was heavily used, but it was sharp; that would be all that he'd need. He gave it a twirl as he checked the balance. Once convinced that it wouldn't shatter he sheathed it and wrapped it and it's belt around his waist and followed Ralof further into the keep.
The door did lead underneath the keep. The air was moist and dank. There little light except for the occasional torch leading the way down the dark hall. "I think this leads to the dungeons," Ralof said softly.
At the end they reached a door. It was wooden and barely on it's hinges. They heard voices inside. Smoothly as he could, Revak drew his sword. Ralof did the same with his axe. Revak raised his finger to his lips,
. Ralof nodded as Revak slowly grasped the door handle and pushed.
The smell inside was strong with carrion. Slowly, gently, Revak stepped forward, the door was on the opposite side of a wall. On the other side he heard a soft voice, "Shhh shhh shhhh little ones! You're safe here. Old Lex will take care of you. Safe in your cages. You'll sing for Lex! Oh such beautiful songs!" the voice was soft and sinister, with a crack of insanity.
Revak looked back at Ralof, who urged him forward, his eyes full of disgust. As Revak turned the corner he saw what almost made him gag. Cages hung from the ceiling. Some held bodies, but others only bits and pieces. Inside one of the cages sat a Nord, who seemed barely alive. On the other wall lay a table full of sinister tools. Revak didn't even know what some of them were. At the table stood an elderly Imperial soldier, who was using a towel to remove the blood from his arms. On the other side of the room there was another door.
Revak pointed at the Nord in the cage,
, Revak mouthed. Ralof nodded.Then he held up his fingers,
One, two, three
, and just as they were about to charge the old man there was a crash at the other door.
A Nord woman wearing Stormcloak mail burst through the door with her bow drawn followed by another Stormcloak. With a throaty cry she released her arrow, missing the old Imperial by inches. He turned and fired a stream of electricity. She ducked and the electricity was absorbed by the wall behind her. Revak and Ralof charged in as well, surrounding the Imperial.
The old man cackled, "Oh look! Enough for a choir!" fire started gathering in his fists, the old mage smiled wickedly, "Oh the songs! The beautiful cries! A symphony!" He threw a wall of flame, knocking them all back. Revak saw stars as his head hit the stone floor. Shaking away the pain in his head he charged the old mage, who now held a dagger in his hand.
With the ease of a veteran Revak disarmed the mage, and before the mad old Imperial even knew what had happened Revak's blade pressed against throat. "Arkay guide you," Revak mumbled as he drove his sword through the man's throat. A crazed smile was imprinted on the old mage's face, and with one last gurgle he fell to the floor and moved no more.
With a sigh Revak used the mage's robe to clear his blade of the gore. Then sheathed it as he heard the others getting to their feet. Revak turned and offered his arm to Ralof who grudingly accepted it, rubbing the back of his head. The Stormcloak woman was getting up as well, though her companion moved no more. Blood pooled around his head, Revak knew instantly that he'd landed in a bad way. With a silent curse and a prayer Revak approached the fallen Stormcloak and closed his eyes.
"He was a good man," said the woman, "and a good soldier."
Revak nodded, "Sadly he'll have to stay here," she nodded solemly. "Are you all right? Name's Revak, my friend is Ralof. What's your name?"
"My name is Sigrid. I got a couple bruises from landing and a burn from the flames, but nothing serious," she said as she removed her helm, revealing her brown hair and light eyes. She picked up her former companion's axe and placed it on his chest, folding his hands over it, "Dagar, I'll see you in Sovengarde, brother." Sigrid turned to Revak, "We'd come to get any prisoners out of this wretched place," she looked at the Nord in the cage, "are we too late?"
Ralof walked to the cage, and shook his head.
"Do you know a way out of Helgen? What's going on on the surface?"
She shuddered, "The whole village is lost, that monster is picking off soldiers one by one and destroying the entire keep. The only way out is the way we came, but I think it's been blocked."
"I think I may know a way," Ralof said, "I told you I used to be sweet on a girl from here? She and I would meet in some caverns below the keep. I could get in without her parent's even knowing I was here. There might be a way to get in from here."
Revak shrugged, "Might as well try." He looked at the Sigrid, "You ready to go?"
She scoffed, "Me? Ready to kill some Imperials? Next Imperial I see is dead."
"Good," he laughed quietly as they left the torture chamber behind them. Revakaal took the lead, the other two in tow. They found themselves in a winding hallway, and Revak guessed by the smell of dirt and water they were pretty deep underground, "Which way did you come?" he asked Sigrid as he kept moving down the tunnel.
"A little ways down there's another path, we came from there. It connects to the main hall, " Revak nodded as they continued. "Your accent, it's strange," Sigrid said as she caught up with Revak, "You're not from Skyrim?"
"No," Revak said shaking his head, "I was raised in Skyrim, but I spent much of my time in Cyrodiil."
"Wait," she put her good hand on his shoulder and stopped him, "Cyrodiil? You didn't fight for the Empire? Did you?"
Revak knew he needed to step lightly here, "No," he said, gesturing that they should continue forward, "I didn't, but my, uh, father did. He was something of a hero in the Legion. A sort of legend." Revak hated lying, but he didn't think the world was ready for Talos quite yet.
Sigrid stiffened, "I knew it! I saw how you disarmed that mage, that wasn't something that the Stormcloaks teach; that was an Imperial move."
"My father taught me how to fight," Revak shrugged, "Look, I hold no love for how the Empire has acted in all this - like how they removed Talos from the Divines,"
, "but I'm no Stormcloak either."
"You are going to have to choose sometime," said Ralof from behind them, "Maybe not now, but you've seen the true face of the Empire today."
Revak scowled, "I've seen the actions of a few members of the Empire. I'm not going to place judgement on the entire Empire for the actions of a few Legionaires."
They were silent for a time, as they continued, until they reached and intersection of the tunnels. "There," Sigrid said, pointing, "that's the way we came." They turned left only to find the entire tunnel shaking, and next thing they knew they were on their backs again and the tunnel in front of them blocked by rocks.
"Damned dragon doesn't give up easy does it?" Ralof said, picking himself up.
"Apparently not," Sigrid said with a sigh, "I guess we go the other way. I hope it opens up into that cavern you were talking about."
They turned and made their way down the other path. It opened up into a doorway, leading down some small stairs and into small underground stream.
"Is this it?" Revak turned to Ralof.
"Must be," he shrugged, "I never knew how she got down into the caverns, just that they were there"
They followed the stream to a dead end, the only path being a small tunnel, "Guess we have to go that way," Revak said softly, "let's go."
The tunnel was too small for them to walk through normally. Instead they had to walk sideways, almost crawling along the wall. Luckily, that little tunnel was short and opened up into a large cavern; but something felt off. There was some weird sticky material along the walls and floor, and large sacks of something Revak didn't recognize were littered about, as well as the leftovers of animals. The three stood there silent for a moment. Revak drew his sword, as did the others draw their weapons. Just as they did three shapes fell from the cavern's ceiling.
Three frostbite spiders landed in front of them. They were arge green and red beasts that were the size of a large dog, "Watch out for poison!" Revak cried as he dodged a spider that had charged him. He sidestepped the eight legged monstrosity and slashed at one of it's legs as it past; severing the leg from the body. The creature cried out in pain and lunged at Revak again, this time it jumped in the air. With a cry he slashed at it mid-air and the spider fell to the ground in front of him, cut nicely in half. The others dispatched their spiders, and the three stood catching their breath.
"I hate those things," Ralof grunted between breaths, "too many eyes you know?" Revak laughed as he wiped his blade clean and sheathed it. He was careful to avoid the webs they continued down the cavern, and into a large open area where they met the stream again.
"At least we're heading in the right direction," Sigrid said pointing at the water, "That should lead to an exit sooner or later."
They followed the water, until Ralof stopped Revak in his tracks by blocking him with his arm, "Hold up!" he whispered as he crouched low, "There's a bear up ahead! See her?"
Revak saw her now, a large black cave bear was resting in the open area just ahead, "We could sneak by or take our chances, " Revak said softly.
"Or we can take it out from here," Sigrid laughed. She picked an arrow from her quiver and drew her bow smoothly. She aimed carefully then let loose the arrow. The bear cried in pain, and tried to get up, but it was too injured to move. The arrow was stuck firmly in it's neck and within seconds it ceased moving.
"Nice shot," Revak laughed as they passed the bear and Sigrid collected her arrow, "you hunt a lot?"
Sigrid nodded, "My father used to hunt out in Eastmarch before he died."
"What happened if you don't mind me asking?" Revak said.
"He was executed by the Empire. He was a devout worshiper of Talos, and he preached all over Skyrim once they removed him from the Divines," she said softly. "They executed him publicly in Solitude to make an example of him and to show that the damn Empire meant it when they banned Talos worship."
Then he reached under her chainmail and pulled out an amulet, a golden symbol all too familiar to Revak, "This was my father's Amulet of Talos," she said holding it gently, "it's all that's left of him now."
Revak raised an eyebrow, "May I?" he said holding out his hand. Reluctantly, she removed the amulet and placed it gently in his hand.
Here is one of my people
, he thought,
forced to worship her father's god in secret. To worship me in secret.
He wasn't sure if he had any power, but he blessed it as best he could.
Protect the wearer of this amulet from all foes, and if the worst passes, grant her a good death and a place in Sovngarde.
"It's a beautiful piece," he said returning it to her, "treasure it. You never know; it might be lucky."
She smiled weakly as she put the amulet back on and tucked it under her armor. They walked for a few moments before they saw daylight. Their eyes squinting in the sun they left the cave. Their noses were assaulted by the thick smell of pine and crisp snow.
They stood there, soaking in their freedom, "Thank the Nine we made it," Ralof said, as he turned to the others, "I wonder if Ulfric made it out."
"He's Ulfric! He shouted the high king to death. I'm sure he can survive a dragon attack," Sigrid said with a smile, "I mean we did."
Revak smiled, but then heard that the similar roar of the dragon once again, "Everyone DOWN!" he cried as he pushed the others to the ground just as a large black figure soared overhead. Revak checked and saw that the dragon was flying North and away.
"By the gods," Ralof whispered. They watched in silence as the dragon flew over the mountains and out of sight. A shiver went down Revakaal's spine, that had to have been Alduin. The only other dragon he'd seen that size was Akatosh himself. It was unnerving that he'd run into Alduin already. He wondered if worm had noticed him. If he could sense him at all. It was an unsettling thought that he didn't know for sure.
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