CoTD, Book 1 - Chapter I: Judge, Jury, and Executioner

  • Aelina Sibellius

    All she felt was pain.

     

    Twisting and convoluting and maiming her. Pummeling and beating and thrashing her. Thump. Thump. Thump. With each harsh bounce, it washed over her body like wildfire, scalding her very flesh. Colors merged in her vision as she peeled her eyes open. Reality came into focus as the blurred lines sharpened and formed shapes. She was groggy, dizzy, confused.

     

    Memories from her capture snapped together like pieces of a puzzle, and suddenly it all made sense. The clashing of metal steel swords collided with chain mail armor. A sharp whizzing sound as an arrow flew past her ear and thwacked into a nearby tree. Her head exploding in agony as the butt of a sword smashed into her temple.

     

    But as her eyes fluttered open, only one thing baffled her.

     

    Aelina Sibellius did not understand why she was on a wagon with three other prisoners.

     

    Thick, coarse rope bound her hands together at the wrist. Though Aelina was trained to escape out of any knot, this one was impossible for her to wriggle out of. She clenched her jaw in vexation. Aelina writhed to ease the pain as best as she could, but to no avail. It only caused the rough edges of the bight to nip her skin even more.

     

    The Nord sitting across from her raised his head upon her awakening, his scruffy face lined with worry. A thick curtain of blond grazed his broad shoulders, as grimy as his scraggly beard. He wore blue and gray chainmail armor, with thick fur lining the collar. Although Aelina recognized his garb, her abused mind could not process it at the moment. His ice blue eyes studied her slumped figure, quivering with aches.

     

    “Hey, you. You’re finally awake.”

     

    His words caused her head to pound like thunder, and the Imperial winced at the sharp jolt of pain. This agonizing sensation was all too familiar to her; a concussion, and a mighty strong one at that. The bumping of the carriage certainly didn’t help, either.

     

    Aelina glanced up at him through tresses of her jet black hair. She tried blowing them away with puffs of air, but they fell gracelessly into her eyes again.

     

    When she didn’t respond, he continued.

     

    “You were that girl, right? The one we found at Darkwater Crossing?”

     

    “Yes,” Aelina answered curtly.

     

    “Tried crossing the border?”

     

    “Emphasis on ‘tried’, of course. For a job.” That I will unfortunately never complete.

     

    Sighing, he gave her an apologetic look. “Sorry for dragging you into this. Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us and that thief over there.” He jerked his head to his left, where a brunet man with wild, fearful eyes glared at him.

     

    “Damn you Stormcloaks,” the brunet spat bitterly. “Skyrim was fine until you came along. Empire was nice and lazy. If they hadn’t been looking for you, I could’ve stolen that horse and been halfway to Hammerfell.” He addressed Aelina. “You there. You and me—we shouldn’t be here. It’s these Stormcloaks the Empire wants.” He spat the title out with contempt.

     

    Damn right, I shouldn’t be here!

     

    The blond Nord snorted. “We’re all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief.”

     

    “Shut up back there!” the Imperial steering the wagon snarled.

     

    Ignoring him, the horse thief turned to the man sitting next to Aelina. “And what’s wrong with him, huh?”

     

    Said man had dirty blonde hair that was swept out of his face. A single braid was tucked behind his ear, slicked back with sweat. Even though his regal fur-trimmed cloak was different from the other Stormcloaks, Aelina could tell that he was probably the leader of them all. Thick boots donned his feet while bracers protected his wrists. He couldn’t reply, for he was gagged tightly with a white cloth that was tied around his head. His armor was scratched and battered, weathered down by the trials of war.

     

    “Watch your tongue,” the other man snapped indignantly. “You’re speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King.”

     

    Aelina widened her eyes. This was the great, mighty Ulfric Stormcloak? But he was bound, detained! Had she truly come to Skyrim for no reason? He was her purpose, but it turned out that the Empire didn’t need her after all. Looks like she had wasted her time, and she was in a wagon on her way to prison by the very people who had hired her. Her upper lip curled in a scowl as she glared at the back of the Imperial soldier’s head.

     

    “Ulfric? The Jarl of Windhelm?” the second man asked in disbelief. “You’re the leader of the rebellion. But if they’ve captured you…” Dismay filled his wide eyes. “Oh gods, where are they taking us?”

     

    “My guess is that we’ll be executed,” Aelina muttered, seething with rage at her current predicament. “Since they finally have some Stormcloaks, the Empire will be able to make an example out of them--and us.” The blond man ducked his head, almost in acceptance at his fate, but the horse thief was not as composed with his emotions.

     

    “Sovngarde awaits,” the blond murmured, more to himself than anything, then lifted his head. “Imperial. Where do you go when you die?”

     

    To be frank, Aelina had no idea where her soul would travel once it was no longer trapped in her body. Both Imperials and Altmer went to the Dreamsleeve, but Aelina wasn’t sure if her involvement with the Morag Tong would send her to the plane of Mephala. Either way, Aelina was not looking forward to finding out.

     

    “It doesn’t matter,” she whispered solemnly.

     

    The brunet breathed frantically, “No, this can’t be happening. This isn’t happening.”

     

    “Hey, what village are you from, horse thief?” the blond man asked, disregarding the last comment.

     

    The second man scowled. “Why do you care?”

     

    “A Nord’s last thoughts should be of home.”

     

    The brunet looked down shamefully, hearing the forlorn tone in the blonde man’s voice. “Rorikstead. I’m…I’m from Rorikstead.”

     

    “What about you?” Aelina looked up as the blond addressed her, curiosity etched into his tired eyes.

     

    “Morrowind,” she answered in a soft voice. Aelina’s throat was incredibly dry, caused by the dust that clung to the back of her throat. She tried swallowing some saliva to moisten it, but her tongue, swollen from dehydration, blocked its passage.

     

    “Morrowind? That’s quite a strange place for an Imperial such as yourself to be from.”

     

    She was spared from explaining due to the loud bellow of a garrison archer.

     

    “General Tullius, sir, the headsman is waiting!”

     

    From atop his chestnut mare, said general replied, “Good. Let’s get this over with.”

     

    Aelina studied the Imperial man, his lined features marking the years of his stern leadership. His tanned skin implied that he had spent many of his years in southern provinces, perhaps Cyrodiil or Elsweyr, and contrasted with his balding grey head. A crimson cape adorned his shoulders, matching well with his suit of leather armor embroidered with gold. His austere countenance completed his appearance.

     

    Settled in white sheets of snow, Helgen was their final destination. To the north-east, an enormous alp scraped against the wispy clouds that swirled around its top. Known as the tallest peak in all of Tamriel, the Throat of the World loomed over the town, making it appear pitiful in comparison to the summit’s colossal size. Along the southern border of the village, a line of mountains shielded the cobblestone stronghold. Even with the man-made fortifications, Helgen was well-protected by nature itself.

     

    Thatched wooden shelters housed Helgen’s inhabitants, the majority—if not all—being Nords. People emerged from their homes to meet the chilly air, watching with judgmental eyes as tumbrils containing captives paraded through town. Young children reluctantly retreated inside, their protests ignored by the good intention of their parents. The spectacle would surely be too brutal for their innocent eyes to witness.

     

    As Aelina’s eyes trailed along the town’s setting, she allowed her gaze to venture out to the mountains protecting the secure village.

     

    Jagged mountains clawed up the sky, flecks of white painting their sides. Their sharp tops marked the sky with uneven lines that stretched as far as the eye could see. Pockets of lush green pines clustered at their bases, concealing the majestic fauna sequestered within. A combination of shrill cacophonies and chirrups shimmered in Aelina’s ears. Birds soared elegantly overhead, oblivious to the ordeal taking place below them. A light breeze blew Aelina’s locks out of her face.

     

    Skyrim was beautiful, if one looked past the cold winds and harsh natives. Aelina only wished she could appreciate such alluring nature under different circumstances.

     

    A Redguard woman—most likely a high ranking officer, if her steel armor was any indication—ordered the unloading of the captives as the carriages slowed down, approaching the wall of a parapet. When the wagon lurched to a stop, the prisoner in a sackcloth let out a cry of terror.

     

    “Why are we stopping?” he cried out.

     

    “Why do you think?” the other man said sarcastically. “End of the line.”

     

    Aelina felt the color drain from her face. Although she had blatantly announced it to the horse thief before, now that they had arrived at their destination, it just seemed so much more imminent. Like a menacing threat looming over their heads. Examining the swathe of land designated for the prisoners, Aelina spotted a concrete block in the middle of the dusty ground. A masked man stepped out from the spire towering over the Imperial guards and prisoners alike. Aelina shuddered when she observed him grinning evilly as he cleaned his executioners’ axe with a dirty rag.

     

    As an Imperial soldier called out names, clipboard and quill in hand, the prisoners exited their respective carts.

     

    “No, wait! I’m not a rebel!” the brunet man protested, jumping down as his name was called: Lokir, of Rorikstead.

     

    “Face your death with some courage, thief,” the Nord grumbled from behind Aelina as she landed deftly on her feet. He was called Ralof, from Riverwood. Somehow, despite staring straight into death’s beady eyes, Ralof was able to maintain a calm demeanor, quite different from Lokir’s despairing conduct.

     

    “You’ve got to tell them! We weren’t with you, this is a mistake!”

     

    Ulfric Stormcloak was summoned last. His fellow captives, still in their battered uniforms, looked reverently at their leader. Ulfric’s expression was difficult to perceive, due to the gag that restricted his mouth. His slumped posture and weary eyes conveyed what words could not, though. Even Ulfric, a renowned and respected commander, appeared defeated.

     

    The Imperial soldier reading off the names glanced up at Aelina briefly, but then had a double-take as he observed her more closely. He flipped through the papers attached to his clipboard. “You there. Step forward.”

     

    Aelina obeyed him, and waited as he dragged his finger down the clipboard, evidently searching for something on the list.

     

    “Who are you?” he inquired.

     

    “Aelina Sibellius. Imperial,” Aelina answered, raising her head proudly. “I was caught crossing the border for a job.”

     

    She hoped that her subtle statement would be enough for him to press the matter, but he didn’t. He scribbled away on his clipboard, the feather scratching roughly against the paper.

     

    “You’re a long way from the Imperial City. What’re you doing in Skyrim?”

     

    “You should know,” Aelina snapped, annoyed at his ignorance. If she had had her Writ of Execution, none of this would be happening. Unfortunately, they had confiscated her possessions, and judging by her position, they hadn’t even looked at any of her belongings.

     

    “Captain, what should we do? She’s not on the list.”

     

    The captain pointed towards the rest of the prisoners. “Forget the list. She goes to the block.”

     

    The faint spark of hope that had ignited within Aelina fizzled out. Glaring at the Redguard, she begrudgingly allowed the man to escort her to the rest of the marshaled prisoners, assembled around the headsman with the general and his officers standing by. The brown-haired man looked at her somberly, sympathy etched into his warm hazel eyes. But even Aelina knew that there was a fine line between sympathy and pity. She didn’t want anyone’s pity.

     

    “I’m sorry. We’ll make sure your remains are returned to Cyrodiil.”

     

    Aelina couldn’t help but release a snort at his assumption. “Ha! Cyrodiil’s not my home.” Her escort raised his eyebrows in astonishment at her statement, but did not reply. Aelina supposed he thought there was no point in speaking with a dead woman walking.

     

    Aelina tensed her body as she felt numerous pairs of eyes burn into her back, whispering feverishly to each other. From the porches of their wooden homes, the villagers of Helgen surveyed the scene playing out before them. Her wandering eyes were met with resentful glares, and she returned her gaze to the square.

     

    Tullius strolled up to Ulfric, arms crossed and a dour expression upon his face.

     

    “Ulfric Stormcloak. Some here in Helgen call you a hero. But a hero doesn’t use a power like the Voice to murder his king and usurp his throne.”

     

    Muffled mutters emitted from Ulfric’s gagged mouth, most likely in protest. Tullius continued with his speech.

     

    You started this war, plunged Skyrim into chaos, and now the Empire is going to put you down and restore the peace.”

     

    A loud roar echoed throughout the sky, startling everyone. Just like the others at the gathering, Aelina turned her startled head skyward. Though it had long since faded, the shout had been disturbing, carrying an almost metallic ring to its depths. She wasn’t sure that any creature could generate such a bellow. It must’ve been some sort of animal native only to Skyrim.

     

    “What was that?” a soldier asked, concern laced into his voice.

     

    “It’s nothing,” the general dismissed, retaining his composure. “Carry on.”

     

    The same Redguard who had sent Aelina to her fate moved forward and saluted Tullius. Then, she turned with a nod towards a priestess, wearing a full orange robe. She modestly bowed her head to the prisoners, prepared with the last rites, before extending her hands to the sky.

     

    The priestess cried out, “As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessings of the Eight Divines—“

     

    “For the love of Talos, shut up and let’s get this over with!”

     

    The brazen prisoner to Aelina's left had stepped forward, interrupting the priestess completely.

     

    The priestess twisted her mouth to one side and lowered her arms, obviously displeased by the interruption. “As you wish,” she conceded scornfully.

     

    He spat insults and jeers to the Imperials who forced him down to the block. The headsman heaved his axe over his shoulder, waiting for the red headed Nord to utter his final words.

     

    “My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials. Can you say the same?” he challenged, baring his teeth at the executioner.

     

    A loud thwack rang across the clearing as the axe lodged squarely between his neck and shoulders. The head rolled into the wooden box set next to the block. Blood spurted out of the gaping plateau of his stumped neck. With a scoff, the Redguard officer kicked his mutilated corpse aside. Shouts of support mingled with cries of outrage.

     

    “You Imperial bastards!”

     

    “Justice!”

     

    “Death to the Stormcloaks!”

     

    Ralof murmured mournfully, “As fearless in death as he was in life.”

     

    “Next, the renegade from Cyrodiil!” the captain barked, jabbing her finger at Aelina.

     

    I’m not a renegade! I shouldn’t even be here! Aelina wanted to object, but before she could protest, that same, thunderous roar cleaved through the air. Once again, everyone glanced up at the azure world, still cloudless and vacant. All the birds had fled after the axe fell once; they weren’t going to stick around for the second victim.

     

    “There it is again,” the brown-haired Imperial stated. “Did you hear that?”

     

    The captain growled, “I said next prisoner.”

     

    The same brunet addressed Aelina sadly. “To the block, prisoner. Nice and easy.”

     

    Aelina shuffled obstinately towards the block, her body feeling heavier with each step she took. Sighing, she situated herself before the block, staring straight ahead.

     

    “Get down,” the captain hissed, forcing Aelina down with her foot. Aelina shivered at the cold metal bearing down on her back.

     

    Her head was turned at an angle perfect for viewing her executioner. Aelina had to resist the urge to roll her eyes at the gods’ irony. Great.

     

    She would not close her eyes. She would not succumb to the fear that clutched her heart. That’s what they wanted to see; the terror flickering in her eyes. But if she showed her trepidation, they would win. If she was going to die, she was going to die with dignity. Aelina would be victorious, in her own strange, triumphant way.

     

    “What in Oblivion is that?” Tullius demanded.

     

    “Sentries! What do you see?” the captain called.

     

    Aelina saw it too. Behind the executioner, who was raising his axe, a black…thing...was gliding through the air on large wings. As it neared the tower behind the executioner, its figure became more distinct. Broad shoulders revealed rippling muscles under its serrated, obsidian scales, pushing its capable wings in order to maneuver its massive build. A horned head attached to a long, slender neck helped guide its course. Aelina widened her eyes as she chalked up its appearance to one possible explanation.

     

    It was a dragon.

     

    But that was impossible! Dragons didn’t exist—they couldn’t exist! They were legends, myths, stories told to children to keep them in line!

     

    “Hey, look behind you!” Aelina yelled at the executioner, but he ignored her, and brought his axe down.

     

    Before the razor-sharp edge could behead her, the winged leviathan swooped down and perched itself atop the tower, shaking the earth with a great tremor. The executioner keeled forward, hitting the ground face-first. As uproar swelled around her, the dragon glowered directly at her with its piercing red eyes. It opened its mouth and let out a screech that caused the clouds in the sky to swirl and showered fiery meteors onto the earth. Still, it did not tear its malicious gaze away from Aelina, even as civilians scrambled to get to safety. The evil intent in its vindictive eyes frightened Aelina.

     

    In a haze of panic, Aelina hastily pulled herself up from the ground, one thought pacing through her mind.

     

    Run!

     

    The dragon opened its jaw, let out some terrible sound, and then a bright blue projectile launched towards the ground, throwing the world into anarchy. Aelina spun into a twister of nothingness, hitting the cobblestone with a sickening crack. Throbbing agony exploded across her head, digging into her skull with a pickaxe. Ringing shimmered in her ears as she struggled to fight the unconsciousness that threatened to overtake her. Her muddled mind could hardly process her dire situation as the edges of her vision darkened. Through her disorientation, Aelina could barely discern the pandemonium rampaging around her.

     

    Aelina forced herself to fight the darkness that threatened to overtake her. If she surrendered to the pain now, she would be lost forever. Gritting her teeth, Aelina hauled herself to her feet. A wave of nausea swept over her, but Aelina snuffed it out.

     

    She snatched a glimpse of the chaotic environment. The stone towers were torn down from the weight of the dragon’s shouts, homes were ripped asunder, the snow was melted from the intense heat. Shattered rocks of bolides littered the ground, forcing many fleeing civilians to vault over or dart around them. Frantic and disorganized, legionnaires desperately attacked the beast, listening to the hollered orders of General Tullius. The last thing she saw was the dragon exhaling a spout of fire towards a regiment of Imperial soldiers.

     

    Aelina scurried behind one of the few remaining stone towers right as a fireball crashed into the spot that she had been just a moment before. She wouldn’t be able to stay here for long, however, because the tower would surely fall victim to the dragon’s plight. Taking a deep breath, Aelina calmed her mind and body. If she wanted to get out of this alive, her entire being needed to be in complete tranquility. No disturbances whatsoever.

     

    Her first order of business was freeing herself from these binds. With them restraining her, her prospect of survival were slim. Although a slim possibility was still a chance, Aelina did not want to stretch her luck. There was only so much that she could do while in this state, and even that was a limited amount.

     

    The wreckage of a nearby home prompted an idea in Aelina’s mind. Some of the wooden boards were splintered into sharp spikes; she could use them to slice her bonds.

     

    Squatting down, Aelina made herself as small as possible to minimize the chances of being targeted. Aelina pushed off with one foot and propelled herself out from her cover. She sprinted as fast as one could while crouching low. Right as she reached her destination, the dragon landed on the mountainside, sending tremors through the earth, and stuck its head through an aperture in the tower Aelina had previously been at. The dragon released a burst of combustion, igniting the tower on fire. Without hesitation, it returned to the skies with a powerful beat of its wings, leaving her in complete and utter shock.

     

    Focus, Aelina, focus! instructed Aelina. Though panic buzzed behind her ears and jumbled her mind, the desperate desire to live managed to snap her back into reality. Her instincts were finally kicking in, it seemed, and she took action straightaway.

     

    Bringing her hands down swiftly, Aelina cut her bonds using one of the stakes to slice it in half. A relieved sigh passed through her lips as she rubbed her red wrists, which had scarlet welts circling them.

     

    Dashing into the destroyed building, Aelina weaved swiftly throughout the messy interior, dodging the furniture that was strewn across the space. The floorboards creaked unsteadily below her feet with each step she took. She bolted through a space in the wall where the door had been, and she was suddenly blinded by the red clouds swirling in the sky. She had to blink a few times to allow her eyes to adjust to the light.

     

    Chunks of towers were scattered on the ground while the survivors were barely holding on. Anything wooden was either already on fire or burnt to a crisp. Arrows and spells flew through the air, aimed at the diving dragon, but none hit their intended target. It was almost elegant, how the wyvern swooped through the skies with little to no resistance. Had it not been besieging the town, Aelina would have found herself entranced by its movements.

     

    As Aelina hurried down one of the paths, she glanced towards the bodies that cluttered the streets. There were all sorts of people: civilians, soldiers, prisoners. Aelina felt her stomach drop as she recognized one of the corpses as a child. The small body was charred, crusted in black, but the petite form was enough to inform her of what age it was.

     

    Even though she was a contracted assassin, Aelina would never imagine killing a child. That was just morbid.

     

    One of the carcasses of an Imperial soldier, however, retained his or her steel sword. It was slightly charred, yes, but it was better than having no weapon whatsoever. Aelina skidded to a stop by the body, checking the skies for the soaring danger, then knelt down by the blackened figure. Aelina tugged at the sword, but she could not free it at all; he or she still had a tight grip on the hilt. Gritting her teeth, Aelina leveraged all of her strength into yanking the weapon from the clutches of the deceased soldier, wincing at the cracking of broken fingers. Then, Aelina seized the holster and undid the clasp around the waist.

     

    Not willing to risk anymore time, she quickly wrapped it around herself and sheathed the sword. Running with a weapon would only slow her down, and speed was what she needed right now.

     

    Aelina had no idea where she was going. She was new to Skyrim, and that included Helgen. The dragon had been clever enough to target the gates, setting them ablaze and forcing any soldiers on the parapet to flee. That ensured that flight through that way was nigh impossible.

     

    It seemed that most of the Imperial soldiers were making their way towards what Aelina heard was the Keep, but Aelina had no intention of going anywhere near her former captors. After all, what if they decided to capture her again, despite their current situation? Aelina knew that the Thalmor were obstinate when it came to executing criminals; they would waste no opportunity to make a point for the rest of the country. Hell, possibly even the rest of Tamriel. Aelina would rather not gamble with that path.

     

    The rock face, however, had plenty of spots where Aelina could nestle her hand or sword, allowing her to travel across the wall. Conveniently enough, it passed the fiery gates; that would enable her to escape and find a nearby haven. Unfortunately, her positioning would leave her vulnerable to any attack from the dragon. She would have to be swift.

     

    Aelina didn’t have time to decide. It was now or never. This was her only chance at survival.

     

    Unsheathing her sword, the black-haired female jostled her way through the throngs of fleeing people. A woeful coil gnawed at her gut as she realized that the majority of these individuals were soldiers; almost none of the civilians had lasted through the attack. It was ironic for an assassin such as herself to feel such distress witnessing the devastation. However, even Aelina had a code of morals that she followed, and needless slaughter was against them. She never killed for fun; only for personal gain, specifically money. Citizens who had nothing to do with her target had no reason to fear her. After all, she kept her assassinations as clean and swift as possible.

     

    Once Aelina reached the side of the mountain wall, she stabbed the sword into a tiny chink among the rocks. She then nestled her foot into some purchase, and pushed herself up. Her hand groped for anchorage. Slowly but surely, Aelina made her way up the rock wall using her sword to gain hold, catapulting herself upwards with her foot, and grabbing a jutting rock with her hand. In just a few minutes, Aelina had scaled half of the height of the gates; it wouldn’t be long before she could jump across and escape with her life.

     

    Another holler from the dragon reverberated through the skies, alerting Aelina of its location. The black monster was nearing her current position, which was extremely susceptible. Whether it was aiming for her or not, Aelina wasn’t certain, and she did not want to wait and find out.

     

    Aelina sped up as much as she could, now moving horizontally rather than vertically. With each tremble of the mountain as the dragon glided, Aelina could feel her grasp slackening. Haste was imperative. It was harder to shift sideways than to go up, and it was only a matter of time before the dragon decided to fix on her.

     

    The gates were so close. In just a few seconds, she would be able to leap across and run to freedom—

     

    “Yol…”

     

    She whipped her head around to peer over her shoulder. The dragon had finally noticed her. A combination of red and orange lashed behind its sharp teeth, signaling the preparation of another fireball. And its target was Aelina.

     

    “TOOR SHUL!!”

     

    Aelina could already feel the heat shooting out towards her as a jet of fire protruded from its gaping maw. Without thinking, Aelina wrenched the sword from its puncture in the wall, and hurled herself as far as she could to the side. The wind was knocked out of her as her abdomen collided with the side of the battlements. Her hands scrambled for some sort of hold as she gradually slid down, but she managed to pull herself up at the last second. Aelina clambered over the edge and launched herself off of the rampart hastily.

     

    Unfortunately, her landing was inept and agonizing. Aelina had rolled on her shoulder, but she hadn’t executed it properly, causing a trail of pain to traipse up her arm. Swearing under her breath, Aelina scrabbled to her feet and hurtled into the nearby woods that had been spared from the dragon’s assault.

     

    She looked back one last time at Helgen. The dragon appeared to have lost interest in her and was instead hovering above the massacred town, bombarding any remaining survivors. Screams resonated from inside the walls. The horrified sounds seared into her mind until Aelina was sure she would hear them throughout the night.

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Comments

14 Comments   |   Felkros and 6 others like this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  August 26
    I read this when I finished a long old day at work. Was a great thing to come home to, in fact. From the opening sentence which sets up your stylish use of verbs to inform the reader, to your liberal use of similies, I was swept up in the tale and saw the...  more
  • Dragonborn1921
    Dragonborn1921   ·  August 26
    Damn, I don't know how to feel about this one Nao. I mean, I have an inbuilt desire after so long to hate Helgan with a fiery passion that burns brighter than...well Helgan (that was terrible.) but you really wrote it well. The dialogue was probably a tee...  more
    • Nao
      Nao
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      Damn, I don't know how to feel about this one Nao. I mean, I have an inbuilt desire after so long to hate Helgan with a fiery passion that burns brighter than...well Helgan (that was terrible.) but you really wrote it well. The dialogue was probably a tee...  more
        ·  August 26
      You have no idea how boring it was to write that dialogue  :P That's why I tried altering or editing it as much as possible to make it less...static for people like me who have played the tutorial a MILLION times.


      Hopefully, we w...  more
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 26
    Awwwooo
    There's nothing like setting the readers along the path of 'yes, we know what's coming' to suddenly deviate and go a different route....
    Nicely done Nao..... Looking forwards to the next chapter.
    Sotek Loyal Hound of Hircine
    • Nao
      Nao
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Awwwooo
      There's nothing like setting the readers along the path of 'yes, we know what's coming' to suddenly deviate and go a different route....
      Nicely done Nao..... Looking forwards to the next chapter.
      Sotek Loyal Hound of Hircine
        ·  August 26
      Thank you, Sotek! :)
  • KaiserSoSay
    KaiserSoSay   ·  August 26
    The arrival at Helgen. I always hated writing (or even thinking) about that scene. It happened so many times that I could practical rehearse all the dialogues and event by memory. Glad you decided to take a different approach. Climbing over a wall to esca...  more
    • Nao
      Nao
      KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      The arrival at Helgen. I always hated writing (or even thinking) about that scene. It happened so many times that I could practical rehearse all the dialogues and event by memory. Glad you decided to take a different approach. Climbing over a wall to esca...  more
        ·  August 26
      Yeah, I tried altering the canon dialogue as much as possible without confusing the readers...I didn't need to go back and replay the game to remember what was said, lol.
  • Dragonborn1921
    Dragonborn1921   ·  August 25
    AH, Sweet. I can't read this at the moment Nao but I'll be back later to read what must be an awesome 'first' chapter (Though I suppose the Prologue kinda counts as a chapter most of the time...) :D
    • Nao
      Nao
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      AH, Sweet. I can't read this at the moment Nao but I'll be back later to read what must be an awesome 'first' chapter (Though I suppose the Prologue kinda counts as a chapter most of the time...) :D
        ·  August 25
      Awesome! Also, please let me know if the background is easier on your eyes this time! Someone else said that it had improved since last time, so hopefully it's the same for you :D
      • Dragonborn1921
        Dragonborn1921
        Nao
        Nao
        Nao
        Awesome! Also, please let me know if the background is easier on your eyes this time! Someone else said that it had improved since last time, so hopefully it's the same for you :D
          ·  August 26
        Sorry Nao, can't say that it is much easier for me to read :(  It isn't impossible to read but it's just difficult enough that I'd rather read it off-site by personally copying and pasting it. Luckily that only takes 10 seconds so it doesn't off-set ...  more
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  August 25
    Great to see you back with another chapter Nao. Been waiting impatiently for this. And the new way of escaping Helgen gives a nice little twist to the story. I hope to see much more of those. Anyway, have to get ready for more chapters that will hopefully...  more
    • Nao
      Nao
      DeltaFox
      DeltaFox
      DeltaFox
      Great to see you back with another chapter Nao. Been waiting impatiently for this. And the new way of escaping Helgen gives a nice little twist to the story. I hope to see much more of those. Anyway, have to get ready for more chapters that will hopefully...  more
        ·  August 25
      Thank you! Our house may be losing power this weekend due to Hurricane Harvey, but I don't think that should impede my writing too much. I'll get to work as soon as possible :)
  • Felkros
    Felkros   ·  August 25
    Well then! Great chapter, I like how she escaped in an unconviental way. Did you change something about the text? It's a lot easier for me to read now. Can't wait for more.
    • Nao
      Nao
      Felkros
      Felkros
      Felkros
      Well then! Great chapter, I like how she escaped in an unconviental way. Did you change something about the text? It's a lot easier for me to read now. Can't wait for more.
        ·  August 25
      Thank you! And actually, thanks to Paws, I edited the background to make it a little less bright. I'm so glad that helped out!