‘The sun beams on my face, the sound of the birds morning song, a contract needs fulfilling, a horse and carriage in the distance, laughter on the air, a contract needs fulfilling, a quickening of the heart, my blade unsheathes ready and true, a contract needs fulfilling….. hesitation …..my target, a child ?’
7 Years Earlier
“You come highly recommended Natasha from Master Zao, prey tell how do you know of him ?” Speaks Lord Byron, his words echoing in the large throne room
“My lord…” she says with slight apprehension “sadly he is no longer with us”
Shocked by this revelation he asks the obvious question much to Natasha’s annoyance, “My master died at my hand after my commendation was sent to you my lord, he sees that as a final test to prove I’m to be his successor”. The Lord sits back in his oak throne in astonishment at what was said but quickly bellows with laughter behind his words, “well olde Zao was a strange one wasn’t he”
“That he was my lord” speaking with a faint smile while remembering his teachings in fast forward in her mind. Seems only yesterday that she successfully pickpocketed him in R’walka market, he only caught her because she dropped his coin bag in excitement and he noticed her potential, “that he was” she repeats.
“Back to the matter at hand my dear, we have heard reports of strange figures sighted at a mine encampment about 6 hours west, the matter requires stealth hence your being summoned. However my guard captain has attempted to get close but with no luck……ahh, here he is now”
Natasha turns to see an armour clad breton man walk into the throne room with authority, she scans him intently trying to read him ‘hmm, brown hair tossing as he walks, eyes blue as sapphires, mouth with pursed lips, a scar ? One hand on his sword hilt, he’s cautious about something maybe ? Hmmm, attractive…..wait ?’
Her concentration falters slightly, she quickly regains her composure before he stands besides her and bows to the Lord, the height difference was noticeable as she didn’t quite clear his shoulders, he turns to greet her “Good day my lady I am Owain Ruaavel head of the legion it is a pleasure to meet you finally”. She nods in acknowledgement yet slightly nervously, she felt odd around men at the best of times but this Owain seemed pleasent enough as she continues to stare at him.
A puzzled look goes across Owain’s face and he asks if she’s ok. She comes to her senses instantly, “yes I ….I am sorry” now frantically searching in her head for an appropriate response, “I must be tired it was a long journey from Ebonheart”
“Indeed my dear, please you must rest here tonight and you and Owain will travel at first light tomorrow, but join us in the feast hall before you retire to rest, plenty of food and mead to go around, hahaha” the Lord announces.
This was the first she heard that someone will accompany her, slightly angry but she didn’t want upset a lord summoning request and just responds while bowing , “thank you my lord, I shall make myself presentable to your guests and join you shortly”
“Of course my dear, Pascal please take Lady Natasha’s belongings to the archer suite” the Lord orders.
A high elf picks up her belongings, “my lady will follow me”. Not 100% sure on formal etiquette she nods and starts to follow the man.
“Err… my lady ?” Natasha stops and turns to Owain who spoke.
“Yes Sir Owain ?” she responds politely.
“Please just Owain is fine” he says with a smile, “would you allow me to escort you to the feast ? I can come to your suite in say 30 minutes if that is suitable ?”
Surprised by this she agrees, “Owain I would be delighted to accompany you to the feast”.
With a smile he walks over to her and whispers in her ear, “and by the way you can drop the formal act around me it really doesn’t suit you okay” and winks at her.
“Thank you this is slow torture trying to keep up appearances like this” she says with a sigh of relief.
“I understand” Owain says “the Lord is a stuck up prick, but we must be nice to him I guess” Natasha laughs at his words “just be you okay” he says as he holds her hand to his lips and kisses the back in a suave manner.
Feeling her cheeks go red she walks quickly in Pascal’s direction to the suite, “Err… thank you Owain ” she says desperate not to giggle like a teenager and hearing her inner voice telling her not to look back at him, but she does and he hasn’t moved still watching her with his hands behind his back and just gives her a small nod.
Natasha follows the high elf servant to her suite, upon entry she sees the grandeur of the room, this wasn’t a shabby hut or servants quarters this was elitist horseshit right here and she loved it. Out of kindness she gives Pascal some gold for his trouble, which he appreciates with a nod to her and leaves her.
She stands in the room taking in the size of the bed alone, it looked big enough for twenty wood elves to sleep comfortably in, the bathing pool already full of water and scented flowers, she kneels down to touch the the water which was warm….perfect.
Without hesitation she disrobes looking to take advantage of the amazing pool, however she catches her reflection in the full mirror, arms around her chest she looks at herself and sees the scars that she has accumulated over her life. Running her fingers over the scar tissue vivid memories of the events run over in her head. Two scars in particular trouble her still as they were the most recent from a redguard scimitar which had a fire enchantment bound to it, the indentation of the blade’s slashes across her stomach and the slight burning sensation still, “that bastard will pay one day” she says to herself angerly.
As she gets into the bathing pool she picks up a familiar scent from the water, columbine. A flower used in healing potions it also helps relax tired muscles, she takes the opportunity to reach to her herbalist pouch and adds two mountains flowers to the water and sinks into water putting her head under briefly and back up so the the water sits around her neck, leaning back and running the water up and down her arms allowing the combination of flowers ease the niggle of the scars, for that moment she was in heaven.
However she could overhear commotion in the courtyard that her balcony over-looked, she begrudgingly pulls herself out of the pool and puts on a robe and walks to the the balcony.
The sight she saw was unbelievable as she saw people panicking and pointing to the sky above her wing of the castle. She looks up and sees an oblivion portal shimmering like water but in the sky, much like a dark anchor site which she had only seen one activate once when she was young, but this had no anchor it was pure magic as well as being terrifyingly beautiful.
Still in awe at this sight, the screams got louder and spilled into the courtyard and she saw …..beings she’d never seen before, were they daedra? Urgency took over as she ran to her armour and weapons, but the door was burst open before she could arm herself and three daedra stood at the doorway, “what do we have here ? a little wood elf female”.
The stories were true these creatures from oblivion with glowing red eyes, easily twice her height, heavily armoured, laughing and drooling as they begin to separate in an attempt to flank her, “never judge people from their appearance daedra, not everything is predictable”
“You are small female but you have fire, my master will enjoy eating your tongue” cackles one of the daedra
With small smile Natasha replies “obviously you’ve never met a Zao clan nightblade” and as quick as a flash she pulls the pins from her hair and throws them in the daedra’s direction, catching one in the eye causing him to collapse instantly, the other two daedra had pins in their arms and looked in shock at their fallen comrade. With them distracted she manages to grab her favourite dagger ‘serenity’ which glowed green to her touch due to it being imbued with poison.
One of the daedra moved within striking distance with his two handed sword, as he swung and due to her size she ducked easily underneath it while sliding forward on the tiled floor slashing the him across the belly and continuing momentum past him and planting her blade in his back. The second roars and charges with two swords straight at her, keeping her cool she whips the blade out of the first daedra’s back and flicks blood into the eyes of the second, impairing his vision for her to kick the side of his right knee with a snap causing him to collapse in pain, he bearly makes a sound as she quickly slices his throat effortlessly and wiping the blood off of her blade.
At that moment Owain bursts in shouting her name and then seeing the three daedra and her in a deshelfled & bloodied robe, “ahem Natasha you may want to get armoured” trying to avert his eyes. She nods and starts getting dressed and sharpens her blades.
Owain stood his ground at the door fending off any enemies allowing Natasha time to get ready, “you know Natasha this really wasn’t what I had in mind for this evening”. She walks over to him curious to what he has to say, so he continued, “I expected some fine food, drink…..and…..and maybe the hand of a fine lady in a dance ?”
She says nothing at first, she looks at him with a corner smile and uses two fingers to place a kiss on his lips and holding them there while saying, “thank you for checking on me and I’ll hold you to that dance, first let’s get the hell out of here” Owain wide eyed in surprise with her fingers still on his lips just nods enthusiastically.
The smell of burnt flesh and the sound of screaming was everywhere as they both creep down the stairs to the throne room, then Owain sees the lord upon a pile of dead bodies in what look like a ritual of some sort, he walks over to seemingly pay respect to his lord and a daedra attempts to ambush Natasha, forcing her to the floor with a mighty thud, luckily she catches his blade in between her crossed daggers inches from her neck.
“Owain !” she shouts as the blade edges closer to her face and the daedra’s drool dribbling on her cheek. He seemed confused, coming to terms with losing a friend I guess …… “fuck this” she shouts tapping her heel on the ground reveling a hidden blade in the sole of her boot and rising it up into the enemy’s stomach. The daedra clutches his stomach as Natasha gets up and she roundhouse kicks him with the bladed foot sending him reeling to his death.
“Owain, we must get back to Wayrest and inform High King Emeric about the incursion” she says walking towards him, suddenly and flash of green appears in Natasha’s perforal vision as she instinctively raises her arm to shelter a defenseless Owain. It hits her hard sending her 15 feet across the the room landing with a scream of ear piercing pain.
Owain runs over to aid his saviour and seeing a bandaari poison arrow as long as his arm and as thick as a sword’s hilt half way through her arm was a horrid sight, “I’m sorry, I …” with no more words he picks her up over his shoulder and fights his way few some straggling daedra that weren’t at the ritual sites to finally getting to the stables. Wayrest was a day away he prayed he could get Natasha there for treatment and sets off to warn the king.
“OWAIN !” Natasha shouts as she wakes, in a room unknown to her, what was this place ? Another lavish room ? Was she actually awake ? Her wounds quickly reminded her with a sharp sting sending pins and needles to her fingers.
A knock at the door startles her, “who…who is it ?” She asks feeling a little wobbly
“It’s Owain, are you ok ? Can I come in ? Your bandages need changing”. She unlocks the door pleased to see he’s ok and falls into Owain’s arms, he reacts quickly catching her and carrying her back to the bed.
“Damn I was hoping the poison would of subsided by now ” as he opens the dressing and seeing the green poison still seeping from the laceration. “I got you this far and you certainly aren’t going to die on me now” he says as a yellow glow from Owain’s hand covers the wound and the bed, creating a circle of light. Owain was a templar with some limited knowledge of healing as he attempts to cleanse the poison, however not being fully trained means he has stemmed the tide. “Please, Lady Amelia from the king’s garrison has sent word to Wayrest and they will be back any moment, I pray to the divines for you to stay with me”.
A tear rolls down his cheek, Natasha sees him and weakly puts her hand on his face to consolidate him, “if it’s my time, then please let me go” she says slowly, breathing laboured
“That’s just it Natasha it’s not your time not by a long shot, you risked your life for me and I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit now” the tears begin to crest over her hand as the pulses from the circle of magic intensify around them.
She brings his face closer to hers, seemingly to whisper something, however Owain didn’t expect what happened, she kissed his cheek and brushes his hair from his eyes so she could make eye contact and as they do she kisses him on the lips, an unbroken, locked, passionate kiss with neither of them pulled away from, it was perfect, outside the faint sound of horses arriving as Natasha slips out of consiousness.
To Be Continued………..