Agents of the Queen Part 27: An Elder Scrolls Online tale

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    Dangerous Haven

     

     

     

    Ian S. McClure

     

     

     

    The sounds of battle rang, fresh in my ears over the sounds of the sea, as Captain Jimila spat on a corpse. “Damn pirates! Thinking they can put holes in my ship!? We just repaired the last ones!” she cried, furious. “Namiira take them all!”

     

     

     

    I sheathed my blade, taking a breath. “Was anyone hurt?” I asked those present.

     

     

     

    “Nellin-Tei, Theodal, Onglorn and Edhelas.” Mastengwe said, abnormally grim. I sighed; though the first two were unfamiliar names, the rest I knew from my time on Khenarthi's Roost. Silently, I hoped for their recovery.

     

     

     

    “Gods damn it.” Elereth sighed. “We arrived at Haven just in time for a pirate attack?”

     

     

     

    “Seems so.” Jimila replied gruffly.

     

     

     

    “There are some soldiers nearby, it looks like.” Lilinastre said, pointing to the shore. “Maybe we can ask them for help? The Prowler is technically a Dominion ship, after all.”

     

     

     

    “A good plan.” Suhr said. He looked at me. “Ardolan, this one knows he isn't a crew member anymore, but Suhr wishes to help guard the ship. He fears he will not accompany you, this time.”

     

     

     

    “By all means. We'll manage.” I said. “Trinimac guide your blades, Suhr.”

     

     

     

    “Those soldiers...” Mastengwe said thoughtfully, looking. “They're not Dominion. They're Khajiiti royal guard!”

     

     

     

    “Royal guard? The Mane is here!?” Suhr cried, sounding as shocked as I was.

     

     

     

    “No idea, but look at their banners.” Masten added. Sure enough, a banner was flying in their camp, bearing an insignia of three crescents. “Auri-El knows what's going on here, but they are officials of the Dominion. Ought to be able to help us figure out what happened.”

     

     

     

    I nodded. “Jimila, can you get us to the shore?”

     

     

     

    “Take one of our lifeboats. That'll get you there safely enough.” she replied.

     

     

     

     

    The trip there was quick. On arriving, we noticed various refugees in the camp as well. Had these pirates actually taken the city of Haven? As I mused about this, a Khajiit soldier approached us. She was young, very young, but her yellow eyes burned with contained ferocity. Nonetheless, she was polite as she said: “This one—I, sorry, am Lieutenant Kazargi, of the Mane's Honor Guard, Fifth Legion. Who are you?”

     

     

     

    “Ardolan, Eye of the Queen, and my companions Elereth and Lilinastre. We came aboard the Prowler.” I said, shaking Kazargi's hand.

     

     

     

    She grinned suddenly. “The Prowler? I've heard of it! In happier times, I'd gladly share a drink with you.” She sighed then, the grin fading. “Alas, these are not happy times. The Fifth Legion is very new; mostly recruits and novices. We are still recovering from the Knahaten Flu, and precious few soldiers remain. Lord Gharesh-ri, Speaker of the Mane, he brought us here to complete our training.”

     

     

     

    “I take it that hasn't gone well?” Elereth asked.

     

     

     

    “It has not. We were to meet with General Endare, a famous High Elf hero. But neither she nor her soldiers were here—that is how these pirates took the city.” she explained. “The Speaker is with my companions in the Legion, trying to take it back. Go through the swamp; Haven is nearby. This one—I, will join shortly.”

     

     

     

    “What about the refugees?” Lili asked.

     

     

     

    “The town guard will watch over them.” Kazargi replied.

     

     

     

    “We should get going, then.” I said. “Take care.”

     

     

     

    And so, off we went. The swamps were noisy and humid, but thankfully devoid of Valenwood's infamous wildlife. Elereth was in her element, eyes prowling for ambushers, while Lilinastre and I were more focused on not getting lost in the mire. Eventually, we reached the main gates, a solid wall of stone. “I thought the Bosmer grew their cities?” Lili asked.

     

     

     

    “Haven is an Altmer port, if I'm remembering straight.” I replied. “Come on, let's get inside. Watch for pirates.”

     

     

     

     

    “Without numbers, we cannot take Haven, not by direct attack.” Gharesh-ri explained to his forces, pacing the abandoned home where they were hunkered. He was an imposing Khajiit, clothed in regal lightweight armor. “We need the fort.”

     

     

     

    I cleared my throat. He looked at us, and grinned. “Ah! You must be that Eye, yes? From Auridon? I'd hoped we'd cross paths, though certainly not like this. I take it Kazargi sent you?”

     

     

     

    I blinked, surprised at being recognized. I had grown unused to it. “Yes, she did.”

     

     

     

    “Sharp-clawed, that one...” he muttered, before saying: “Right. If you are willing, I could use you and your friends. These pirates, they have orders—orders I'd like retrieved. We must know what they plan for Haven!”

     

     

     

    “Where can I find them?” I asked.

     

     

     

    “Check the Mages Guild, I saw quite a few of them there.” Gharesh replied. “Ware, though, they have spellcasters with them. Unusual for pirates, but dangerous all the same.”

     

     

     

    We set off, then. The pirates, though somewhat skilled fighters, were unorganized on the way there, and so we could overpower them with relative ease. I kept a careful eye on Lilinastre during the fighting, but she seemed fully recovered from her injury at Torinaan. And yet she seemed… Distressed, for some reason. Still, we pressed onwards through the city, taking out as many of the pirates as we dared—we could not afford to have them all attack us at once, of course.

     

     

     

    Just outside the Guildhall, we saw a mage—judging by her robes, she was a high-ranking pirate. Or a very successful one. She was hunched over a desk, reading something. “Elereth.” I whispered. “Take her out, quiet as you can.”

     

     

     

    Elereth nodded grimly, aimed, and fired an arrow, which pierced the mage's skull. As she collapsed, staining the desk with her blood, Lili suddenly heaved. “Lili?” I asked, concerned. “Are you alright?”

     

     

     

    She looked at me; I noticed she was crying, then. “Y-yeah. It's just...” She sighed, running a hand through her hair. “We've killed—I've killed—so many people. People with lives, and desires and—“ She took a breath. “I'm sorry. It's stupid.”

     

     

     

    “It's not stupid, Lili.” I said, trying to be calm and reassuring. “After we're done here, we'll talk about it, alright?”

     

     

     

    She nodded wordlessly. Elereth went to the desk, and grabbed the slightly-stained parchment. She read it, and quickly ran back. “Ardolan!” she said. “They're doing some kind of ritual. Necromancy.”

     

     

     

    “Damn it. No wonder there's no prisoners.” I replied. “Still, pirate necromancers are hardly normal… Anything else?”

     

     

     

    “Yeah. Something about a 'wamasu'. Whatever in Oblivion that is.” Elereth added. “Supposedly, it's guarding the fort entrance in some nearby sewers.”

     

     

     

    Lili wiped her face. “Giant thunder-breathing lizards from Argonia.” she explained. “Wamasu are very deadly.”

     

     

     

    “We'll need to get past it, somehow.” I mused.

     

     

     

    “The sewer entrance isn't far.” Elereth said. “I'll take the orders to Gharesh-ri, and you two can infiltrate the fort.”

     

     

     

    “No, I'll do it. Go with Ardolan.” Lilinastre piped in. “I just… Want some time to think.”

     

     

     

    Elereth handed her the orders, and she set off. With a look between ourselves, we went to the sewers as well, vigilant for pirates. But instead, we found the unexpected sight of Kazargi, and a small group of Khajiit warriors! “What are you doing here?” I asked.

     

     

     

    “This—I, was looking for you with my Legion comrades, that we may enter the fort through the sewers.” she explained. “Do you know what the pirates plan for Haven?”

     

     

     

    “Some form of ritual to raise the dead. What for, I don't know, but it's bad all the same. And they've got a creature called a wamasu guarding the fort.” Elereth explained.

     

     

     

    Kazargi nodded. “I see. Knowing pirates, they wish to overwhelm the city, take it over. Though resorting to necromancy is surprising... I am confident we can take the pirate forces, but the tales of wamasu are chilling. We may suffer some losses.”

     

     

     

    I hummed, weighing my options. “Elereth, go with them. I'll distract it while you all slip by.”

     

     

     

    “But that's suicide!” Elereth cried.

     

     

     

    “So was getting into the Veiled Keep.” I replied, steeling myself.

     

     

     

    “Well, I'm coming with you, at least.” she said, equal parts determined and angry.

     

     

     

    I sighed, weighing my options. “Fine, fine, you can come.” I finally said. “Just be careful. We don't know much about this thing.”

     

     

     

    “Then we shall be off soon.” Kazargi said. “Best of luck, you two.” She then turned to her forces, and began giving a speech in Ta'agra, the Khajiiti tongue. Though I did not understand the words, it was inspiring nonetheless; clearly, Kazargi was a charismatic leader. When she was done, the soldiers all cheered.

     

     

     

    “Right. Let's go, Elereth.” I said, entering the sewers with her.

     

     

     

     

    The clashing of blades and the cries of combat echoed through the sewers. I blocked the Nord's axe, before an arrow from Elereth took him out. Turning on my heels, I bashed an Orc before running him through with my blade. The Khajiit pirate tried to rush me, but another arrow stopped him literally dead in his tracks. I approached the last pirate, who rather than fight, tried to flee. A quick sword strike pierced her clothes and felled her.

     

     

     

    Elereth sighed. “I think that wamasu thing is nearby.” Sure enough, there was an occasional roar, followed by what sounded like crackling lightning. “Are you ready, Ardolan?”

     

     

     

    “Yes, I am.” I replied. “Remember, if it uses lightning, stay out of the water. I'll try and keep it focused on me.”

     

     

     

    Elereth opened her mouth to answer, but then an Argonian pirate appeared, off in the distance! She cried something in Jel, and the monster emerged. It resembled a lizard, but impossibly large, it's body and fanged mouth coursing with thunder! We both dove for cover as it shot a bolt to us—we barely managed to avoid it.

     

     

     

    “Damn it! I can't get to it!” I cried.

     

     

     

    Elereth gritted her teeth, firing off arrow after arrow. But they barely slowed the beast down. It roared, charging another blast!

     

     

     

    “Get clear!” Elereth shouted—before the beast's lightning sputtered and faded. I looked back, and saw Lilinastre, her hands aglow with magicka.

     

     

     

    “I silenced it!” she said. “Aim for the eyes!”

     

     

     

    Elereth nodded, and fired yet another arrow, piercing the creature's eye socket. It let out a final roar, before collapsing! The Argonian pirate—clearly the wamasu's handler, tried to run, but even in plate armor, I had quicker reflexes. I stomped her on her tail, making her collapse, then I roughly flipped her over and placed my boot on her neck.

     

     

     

    “Wait!” she sputtered. “You want to get to the fort, right? Let me live! I'll open it for you.”

     

     

     

    I looked at my companions. Lili said: “We can take her pretty easily if she doesn't open the gate.”

     

     

     

    “Agreed.” I said. I removed my boot, but kept my sword at the ready. “Take us to the gate mechanism. Now.”

     

     

     

     

    As the mechanism turned, the gate opened, allowing the Khajiiti soldiers to rush in and take the pirates by surprise. The wamasu handler gritted her teeth. “So, that's that? I'm free to get out?”

     

     

     

    “I gave my word. Go.” I said coldly.

     

     


    Elereth looked on as the Argonian ran away, saying nothing—but I could tell she wasn't pleased, letting the pirate live. Neither was I, actually, but I am a mer of my word.

     

     

     

    The three of us stepped outside wordlessly. I was shocked to see the pirates fleeing already! Gharesh-ri approached me, grinning. “Real five-clawed stuff, eh? We have the fort, and Kazargi stopped the ritual! She's a fighter, she is. Damn proud of her.”

     

     

     

    “Where is she?” Elereth asked, but we were interrupted. A healer—a young Khajiit that looked more like a mer—ran over. “Sir! Lieutenant Kazargi is injured. She wants to see you, all of you.”

     

     

     

    As we walked with the healer, Gharesh asked, suddenly grim: “Tell me, how bad is it? Will she pull through?”

     

     

     

    “She'll definitely lose an eye.” the healer said sorrowfully.

     

     

     

    When we arrived, we saw the armored Khajiit sprawled on the floor, surrounded by corpses. She looked up—the left side of her face was bloody and bandaged. “Ah! You came.” she said weakly.

     

     

     

    I stayed back with my companions as Gharesh-ri ran over, offering reassurances in Ta'agra. She smiled, and replied in kind.

     

     

     

    I was startled by a cleared throat behind me. Turning, I saw Quartermaster Oblan. “Hail there. Everyone make it alright on the Prowler?” I asked.

     

     

     

    Oblan sighed. “Theodal died from his wounds, Onglorn is pretty bad. But that's not why I'm here.” He ran a hand through his bloodied mane. “Suhr took a sword through the chest. He'll live, but he… He won't be adventuring with you lot anymore, I'm afraid.”

     

     

     

    “Damn it.” Lili swore, her eyes welling up with tears.

     

     

     

    I took a breath. I myself was devastated. “Can we see him?” I asked sadly, removing my helm.

     

     

     

    “He's out cold now. He'll wake up soon… You should be there, come on.” Oblan replied.

     

     

     

    And so, I'm with Elereth, Lilinastre, and Suhr's other friends on the Prowler, waiting for him to wake up. I'll write again… Later, I suppose. Until then…

     

     

     

    -Ardolan Larethbinder

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Comments

1 Comment   |   Sotek likes this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 11
    Timing is everything. What a time to turn up.....