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Old June 2nd, 2012 (07:00 PM). Edited December 8th, 2012 by Phantom.
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Phantom
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Minnesota
Age: 24
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With Friends Like These
-7-

"I will hurt you for this. I don't know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you'll know the debt is paid."
― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

Lydia

She watched sadly as the procession ended. So many dead, and that was one dragon, and one that they killed before it could reach the city. How much damage could a dragon do when it reached the city? It was a thought she didn't want to let linger. And what had happened with Revak? Was he really Dragonborn? Could such a thing even be possible? She heard the sound that rumbled down the mountains, the voices, calling Revak to the monastary above. If the Greybeards thought him Dragonborn... but there was something off about that. There was something about the way he fought that dragon, the way he stood there while he took in that strange energy. She thought back, to all the fights they had in the Barrow. Was it possible that he knew something already? It was infuriating that he would keep anything from her, especially something as important as being Dragonborn.

"Their sacrifice will not be forgotten," said a voice behind her. She turned and saw the Jarl's personal housecarl, Irileth, standing there.

"Good," Lydia murmured. When Irileth didn't say anything more Lydia looked at her. "What's going on?"

"I just spoke with the Jarl," she said in an official tone. "He has decided to make Revak the Thane of Whiterun." Lydia nodded, she'd figured as much. The Jarl's housecarl continued, "He will need a housecarl, someone to guard his property and his life it it comes down to it."

"So?"

Irileth scowled. "So, I am offering you the position."

Lydia stared. "What?" Housecarl? Her?

"It is an great honor to be offered such a chance to serve your hold," Irileth said proudly. But there was something in her eyes. Something that told Lydia that she didn't really have a choice in the matter.

"Yes."

Revak

So, he thought as he turned and searched for the great mountain, the tallest mountain in Skyrim and, atop it, High Hrothgar, the Greybeards finally have called me? Revak remembered an era ago when he was first called to High Hrothgar. Revak rolled his shoulders and sighed. Everything seemed to be falling into place. The attack on Helgen, the dragon at the watchtower, and now the Greybeards were aware of his presence. It was like a Dwarven machine that had been thrown into motion, and there was no stopping it.

He shook his head and turned from the town was coming to life. The citizens had already begun their day. He rubbed the back of his neck, his head pounding from lack of sleep and over exertion. He nearly jumped when he heard his name from behind him. He turned to see a guard. Revak remembered him as Hadvir, the one Irileth had sent back to the city earlier. "Dragonborn?"

Revak gave a soft smile. "I guess that'd be me then?"

"The Jarl has requested your presence," Hadvir said shortly.

Revak's smile disappeared from his face. "Very well then." He followed the guard to the palace. When he arrived he found the Jarl, Irileth, and a man in heavy armor in a heated discussion with the steward. The steward held up his hand and approached Revak. "Good, you're finally here. The Jarl has been waiting for you."

The Jarl continued speaking with the armored man. "You heard the summons. What else could it mean?" He shook his head in reverence. "The Greybeards..." he stopped when he noticed Revak standing there.

The man in armor stepped forward, his eyes on Revak. "We were just talking about you. My name's Hrongar. My brother needs a word with you."

Silence, then the Jarl sat down. "So," he began, never taking his eyes off Revak, "what happened at the watch tower, was the dragon there?"

"I think you already know, my Jarl," Revak said stiffly. "When we arrived at the watchtower we found it already had been attacked by the dragon. The beast returned a few moments later. It was destroyed and the watchtower was saved."

Bulgraaf nodded in awe. "I knew I could count on Irileth, but there must be more than that."

Revak hesitated as he formed the words, "I'm Dragonborn."

The Jarl's eyes grew wide. "Dragonborn? What do you know about the Dragonborn?"

"Enough it seems," Revak said steadily.

"So it's true," the Jarl said as he shook his head. "I can't believe it. Can you shout?" Revak nodded.

"By the gods," Hrongar said, shaken, "a Dragonborn!"

The steward stepped forward, shaking his head. "Hrongar, calm yourself: What does any of this Nord nonsense have to do with our friend here?"

"Excuse me?" Revak almost growled. "As a Nord I think this 'Nord nonsense' has quite a lot to do with me, Imperial." Shocked the steward closed his mouth and said no more. Good, Revak thought, I've had enough of this sorry man for a lifetime.

Balgruuf could hardly hold back his smile. "It's all right, Avenicci, but I think we Nords hold our own traditions and history a little more important than an Imperial would. I think its best you return to your quarters." The steward nodded and backed away. Inside, Revak smiled, he could almost see the Imperial's tail hanging between his legs in defeat.

The three Nords were silent, it was Revak who spoke first, "The Greybeards have called me to their mountain. I cannot refuse their summons."

The Jarl stared at Revak. "I know, Dragonborn, I know. I envy you, you know. To climb the seven thousand steps again," he paused, lost in thought. "I made the pilgrimage once, did you know that?"

"No, my lord, I didn't."

The Jarl smiled. "Go to High Hrothgar, Dragonborn, and see the Greybeards. But first..." He stood, and drew the silver sword at his belt. "Kneel."

Revak knelt before the Jarl and bowed his head as the Jarl stood before him with his blade at his side. "You've done a great service for my city, Dragonborn." He then laid his sword on Revak's shoulder. "By my right, as Jarl of Whiterun, I name you, Revak," he said moved the blade to Revak's other shoulder, "Thane of Whiterun. You may stand, my Thane."

Revak nodded. "Thank you, my Jarl."

Balgruuf smiled. "It is the greatest honor I can give you. Also," he then reached into his robes, and offered a small silver key to Revak. Revak took it and studied it. It was obviously a house key. "There is a home available here in the city. I'd like you to have it. It's called Breezehome. You'll find it furnished and ready for you."

"Thank you, my Jarl," Revak said as he pocketed the key and smiled. "It is a generous gift, truly, thank you."

"I have also taken the liberty to appoint you a housecarl."

"Housecarl, my lord?"

"Yes." Balgruuf nodded. "I've appointed Lydia as your personal housecarl. She will guard your home and yourself if the need arise."

"Again thank you, my Jarl," Revak bowed. Lydia? He wondered how she ended up his housecarl.

The Jarl smiled. "Go, rest and prepare for your journey to the Greybeards. May the Divines guard you, Dragonborn." Revak smiled. If you only knew.

Hrongar bowed to Revak. "It was an honor meeting you, Dragonborn."

With another bow Revak made his exit. He made his way to his new home, though he was not eager to arrive. It was most likely that Lydia was there already. He did not want to approach her so soon after she'd questioned him. Part of him wished that he could have chosen his own housecarl. Instead he turned and made his way to his new house.

Breezehome was in sight. He never made it there. Instead a gauntleted fist collided with his skull. He was knocked back. His eyes searched for the source of the blow, and he saw Lydia in front of him. She was still in her armor. Her fist still hanging in the air. Revak straightened himself. He felt a new cut on his face from her gauntlet. He wiped the fresh blood from his cut on his nose and stared at her. "Nice hit," he said as he inspected his blood on his hand. "I never saw it coming. Although I don't think you should treat your Thane in such a way."

With two long strides she closed the gap between them. Her face was inches away from his and her eyes were brown and fierce. Lydia poked Revak hard in the chest with her index finger. "You knew," she said, accenting both words with sharp pokes to Revak's chest. A crowd had gathered around them, silent witnesses to Lydia's rage.

Revak gently pushed her away, only to, once again, be stuck in the nose. Revak gingerly touched his nose, confirming it wasn't broken. "I'm sorry," he said softly to her so that only she could hear, "but once again this isn't the time, or place."

"When will it be," she scoffed, "my Thane?" she said, adding venom to the last word.

Revak shook his head. "Follow, then," he said as he turned toward the door. The heavy footfalls behind him told him that she was, indeed, following.

In silence they made their way to Breezehome. Along the way Revak was trying to think of a way to explain himself to Lydia without giving away too much information. At the same time, though, he wished for someone to confide in. Someone who knew who he was and what his mission was. He gave a mental sigh as they turned the corner, with Lydia now leading the way. Revak followed while still deep in thought, I can't do this alone, but can I trust her? Would she even believe me? he thought as they neared a large house just off the street. She is sworn to my service, and she is honorable. She would keep any secret, whether it be that I'm a god, or that I'm a madman. In that moment, he decided to confide in her. If she believed him then she would most likely follow him into Oblivion itself. If she didn't believe him she would most likely think her Thane is a madman.

Hmm, he thought, but what if I don't have to tell her the whole truth? He could simply say he was sent by the gods, not that he was one. What if he was sent by Talos? And not that he was Talos. It might just work. "Thane?" he heard her say as she opened the door.

"Sorry," he said, shaking himself free from thought. He entered the home, muttering thanks as he entered. The house was nice, but it was nothing glorious. At the entrance a fire was already glowing brightly in the hearth. In the back there was a closet, kitchen and dining area. Upstairs was the living quarters with a master bedroom for him and a smaller room for Lydia.

With a sigh and a roll of his shoulders he entered the dining area. He began to remove the more limiting pieces of armor, his helmet, gauntlets, and sword belt he laid on the table. He breathed deeply once he was free of the extra weight and joined Lydia at the hearth. He motioned for her to sit, but she remained standing. He grabbed the fire iron and started adjusting the logs. They stood in silence, the only sound being the cracks of the fire.

After a time Lydia broke the silence, "Who are you?"

Revak's focused on the fire. "Would you like the short or long version?"

"I want the truth."

Grinding his teeth, Revak began, "My name is Revak, but I'm not exactly from around here." He watched her closely for any reaction. "But I am Dragonborn," he explained, "and I've known this for a very long time."

Lydia's stare was unwavering. "Who are you?"

Revak sighed. "I can't exactly tell you."

She scowled. "What?"

"What I can tell you," he said as he took a step back, "is that I'm here to save Skyrim. No," he corrected himself, "not just Skyrim... I'm here to save all of Nirn from a threat that only a Dragonborn can prevent." Lydia stood silent as stone as he continued, "I'm here to stop the end of the world."

Lydia burst out laughing.

-ooo-

Revak could see his breath in the chill of the early morning. He took one last look at Whiterun as he spurred his horse down the road. Lydia had denied his offer to travel to High Hrothgar. It saddened him that she did not wish to go, but he understood her reasons.

She thought he was a mad man.

It was disheartening that the first person he 'told' did not believe him. He laughed to himself. What if he'd told her the entire truth? And so, Lydia remained in Breezehome. True, it hurt him, but he had a mission. And Revak couldn't afford to stray from it.

He watched as the towers of Dragonsreach faded away behind him. He would head to Riverwood and then Ivaarstead. From Ivaarstead he would climb the Seven Thousand Steps. He kept his horse at a good speed and would reach Riverwood within a few hours. He enjoyed the traveling. It was a chance to clear his thoughts and to enjoy the nature of Skyrim.

He saw the walls of Riverwood as he crested over a hill. He gave a smile as he saw the small mill town. Its people already finishing their work days and enjoying a brilliant afternoon. He crossed the bridge, and led his horse into the town. He noticed that Whiterun guards patrolled the walls. They nodded as he passed. He dismounted and tied his horse to the rail at the inn.

He noticed a little girl sitting on the inn's porch. Revak thought for a moment, trying to remember her name. He smiled and gave a little wave. The girl gave a gasp and ran into the inn. Strange, Revak thought as he watched the door slam behind her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the key that Gerdur had given him, wondering if there was any news of Ralof and whether or not he'd made it to Windhelm safely.

As he walked the streets he felt watched. The villagers gave him evil looks and refused to talk to him. Revak made his way to the mill, but was shocked to find, not Hod working the mill, but a young man. Revak thought he recognized him from the last time he was there. "Hello," Revak said loudly so that he could be heard over the sound of the mill.

The young man stopped his work and looked at Revak, the blood drained from his face as he did so. The man collected himself and scowled. "What do you want?" he said curtly.

"I'm looking for Gerdur? Or Hod?" Revak said politely a smile still on his face.

"Is this some sort of sick joke?" the man shouted.

"I'm sorry," Revak said as he stepped away from the young Nord, "but I don't think I understand?"

The man stared at him. "What in Oblivion are you doing back here? Have you no respect?" He was shouting now, his hand resting on the dagger at his belt. Revak started backing away, but the man was closing the gap.

"Look," Revak said, trying to calm the man, "I have no idea what's going on here. What's your name? What's happened?"

"Sven," he said shaking his head to calm himself. "You have no idea, do you?"

"Hence why I asked what happened!"

"Follow me," Sven said, brushing roughly against Revak as he passed by.

Revak followed as Sven lead him down the main road. He turned right and down the lane that Revak remembered lead to Gerdur and Hod's home. The house was soon in sight, but something was wrong. Revak saw that the door had been boarded up and a sign nailed to it. Revak approached the door as Sven stood behind him silently.

Revak ripped the paper off the door, his scowl growing as he read:

The following citizens have been arrested and their property seized by the Empire:

Gerdur of Riverwood

Hod of Riverwood

For the crime of treason against the Empire in Skyrim.

It continued with a further list of crimes, including conspiring against the Empire and providing shelter to known criminals. It was signed by General Tullius. Revak threw the paper down in fury. He clenched his fits at his sides in an attempt to control his anger. "When did this happen?" Revak growled.

"Two days ago," Sven said from behind him. "You didn't know?"

Revak shook his head. "Of course not, I've been in Whiterun."

"They came in the middle of the night," Sven explained. "Hod tried to fight against them, but Gerdur stopped him. They took them away."

"What about the boy?" Revak said as he turned to face Sven.

"Sent to an orphanage," he said, "in Riften, I hear."

This was not the Empire Revak knew. This was not the Empire he made. His Empire didn't steal people away in the dark of night. His Empire didn't take children from their parents and cart them away never to been seen again. It was sickening, disgusting. To Revak, it was no wonder that the Stormcloaks were rebelling. Part of him wanted to hunt these Imperials down. He wanted to free his friends, and to get their boy back. Revak breathed deeply. No, he thought. I can't let this slow me down. I have to stop Alduin. The war can wait.

Sven soon left him. Revak reached into his pocket and removed the iron key that Gerdur had given him. He closed his fist around the key and took to his knees. "Akatosh," he prayed softly, "guide them for me." Shaking his head he stood and started making his way back to the inn. He saw a long string of leather hanging on the fence. Revak took the leather; pulling out the key he threaded it onto the leather. He tied it around his neck, a reminder of the sacrifice his friends had made.

Emotionally and physically drained from the day he was eager for some rest.


Azra'nir

Inside the Sleeping Giant Inn, an Argonian sipped at his mead. He was not really drinking it, but he didn't want to rouse suspicion. He watched the tavern's patrons as they drank, sang, and all together acted like idiots. How long until he gets here? he asked himself. The Nords paid him no attention. They were more focused with their ale. He was getting nervous that he wouldn't show, until he heard the sound of the door opening and felt a cold breeze come in.

In walked a tall, strong looking Nord in steel armor. He had very short blonde hair and deep blue eyes. He looked tired and road weary. Perfect. He also took note of the steel sword at the Nord's hip. The Nord made his way to the inn keep, requested a room, paid the keep, and then took to his room. The Argonian sipped his drink with a smirk. Everything was falling neatly into place. He liked this very much. The Argonian retired to the room he'd rented earlier that day, leaving the villagers to their late night antics. He placed his drink on his bedside table. Then he sat down cross legged on the floor to meditate on what he was about to do.

Deep into the night, the Argonian 'woke' himself from his meditation. It's time, he thought as he stood, stretched, and donned his leather armor. His armor was boiled black and red leather and enchanted to ensure he would succeed. He never failed anyways, but it never hurt to be cautious.

He made his way to the door, ever careful to avoid the squeaky boards. He opened the door slowly so that it wouldn't creak. The inn was empty. The dying embers of the hearth were the last lights left in the room. He snuck across the hall to the Nord's room. He made no sound as he moved, thanks to years of training and practice. Gently, he started picking the lock. It was simple, only three tumblers. The lock clicked and the Argonian swung the door open.

Inside, the Nord lay in a deep sleep amongst furs and blankets. His armor lay on the dresser across the room, along with his blade. Perfect. He drew his blade, a wicked looking piece made of ebony. He crept to the Nord's bedside. "Embrace the Void," the Argonian whispered as he raised his blade high in the air.

NO!

At the last second the Nord awoke, his eyes wild with fear. He attempted to dodge the Argonian's blade making it miss its mark. Instead of stabbing the Nord's heart the blade dug into the his belly. The Nord gasped in pain, his mouth was trying to form words, but his body's strength had not yet failed him. With one hand he pushed the Argonian away. Nice try, the Argonian thought as he stalked closer to the now kneeling Nord. He drew his dagger high.

Pain.

Intense, searing pain.

He looked down and saw the tip of a thin blade coming from his chest.

Sithis... no...

Revak

Revak waited for the final strike to come. Instead he heard a sickening sound. He looked up and saw the assassin, a green skinned Argonian, holding his blade high in the air. The assassin had a look of terror on his face as he looked and saw a blade protruding from his chest. The blade drew away, leaving a gaping hole. The Argonian assassin fell to the floor with a solid thud.

Behind the Argonian, stood a woman in leathers and wielding a very familiar sword. He recognized her as Farengar's client.

She was wielding the signature weapon of the Blades; an Akaviri katana.
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