Innocent Indulgences and Violent Delights

  • Innocent Indulgences and Violent Delights


    Ivarstead was bathed in an orange-gold hue as the sun had started to set.  Quickly, as if some non-existent bell had chimed, the once lazy town started to bustle as the predominantly Nord population quickened their pace to race the falling orb.  A group of small children ran up the street as a short, paunchy woman yelled their names from just outside her doorway.  The blacksmith’s hammer had picked up its cadence, while street vendors shouted their lowered prices overtop of one another.  In all of the commotion, no one paid any attention to the dirty Imperial that had started up the street.  His trousers were dirty, ragged, and too short, falling a few inches short of his ankles.  The linen tunic he wore had seen better days as patches and poorly stitched rips covered its entirety.  No one noticed as he steadily plodded forward while his eyes shifted nervously around the landscape.


    As a general rule, Levis Conic didn’t stay in one place for very long, especially cities.  He hated the noise; wagon wheels squeaking, dogs barking, people yelling, children laughing, among all of the other natural sounds of a settlement producing a cacophony so loud that it sounded as if the blacksmith had moved his anvil inside of Levis’s head.  The smells were just as bad.  Horses, chickens, dogs, and people all producing their own distinct smell that muddled together in a way that made him nauseas.  But neither of those things compared to what he hated most...people.  It wasn’t that they scared him, they were just so alien to him.  He tried to stay to himself, but eventually someone would start asking him questions and he couldn’t stay long after that.  Unanswered questions and half truths led to pitchforks and torches, Nords had a natural distrust towards mysterious outsiders.  He actually prefered to stay in the woods and to never need to set foot in another town again, and had sworn that exact thing to himself countless times before... but it always called him back.  The dark, rich, earthy, liquid that flowed down his throat so smoothly that it seemed to touch spots he didn't know that he had.  The way that his body seemed to accept it like it was welcoming home a long lost loved one.  His head would stop pounding, his hands would stop shaking, the knots in his stomach would start to unravel.  There was no denying, Levis was completely and utterly addicted to alcohol.


    Levis nervously wrung his hands together as he stopped and stared into a dark alley between buildings.  “I’ll only have one, and then I’ll leave…  maybe two…”  The last part he muttered.


    “I know, I know.  I don’t like it either, but no one will begrudge someone a mead or two.”  He whispered to the darkness.  “I’ll be out in no time...  Oh it’s not like I haven’t done this countless times before… Of course I remember what happened last time…  It was hardly my fault…  That’s why I’ll only have one or two this time…  Fine.”  


    With a final stare at the alleyway, he started walking again, his eyes going back to the continuous scanning that they had been doing before.  In their hurry to wrap up the day, no one seemed to take notice of him as he trudged along, which was all the better for him.  The less attention he attracted the better.  Levis flinched and his hands shot to his ears as the loud, sharp, shrill of the sawmill screamed across the rippling river at him.  Everyone else was nonplussed by the intrusion.  With a quick, scornful look at the offending mill, he turned back to his original heading and set his sights on his goal, the Vilemyr Inn.  As if on cue the faint scent of mead slowly filled his nostrils, and called to him like the perfume of a woman.  His feet found new purpose and his early trepidation was forgotten as he quickly crossed the remaining distance to the building.  His legs, no longer shy, worked powerfully up the steps and to the door.  Without another look, he entered.




    Meron Mjaensen breathed in deep the sharp, cool air coming down the mountainside.  Looking up at its majestic beauty, he felt alive.  Of course he always felt alive so soon after a mission was completed and another foul beast lay in ruin before him.  He stood proudly on the old stone bridge and let the sun's dying rays shine on his immaculate robes.  A small smile curled at the corners of his mouth as he flecked an errant speck of dust from his chest.  The Vigilant of Stendarr were easily marked by their robes in varying shades of tan and brown, and there was no greater image of a vigilant than Meron.  His robes were spotless and the folds were crisp and neat.  His tall, broad-shouldered, Nord body filled the outfit to perfection and painted a heroic and intimidating picture.  He adjusted his splendid silver mace that reflected the sunlight like a mirror.  An ugly look of loathing quickly replaced the smile.  There, just on the edge of one the mace’s razor sharp blades, was a small ugly brown speck.


    That disgusting little Bosmer!  The image of her face shot quickly into his mind.  How dare her blood mar my weapon!  And then the image of her frail, broken, body replaced the one of her face, and the look of loathing returned to a small smile.  He’d taken his time with her.  The initial capture had been over in seconds.  She was newly turned, the vampire had only bitten her days before.  She had sworn that she was on her way to getting a cure and that it was not too late for her.  But Meron had seen right through it.  Animals only thought of surviving and reproducing, beasts like vampires were no different.  Of course she had lied.  She had even admitted it after he had tortured her for a few hours.  No one escapes the might of Stendarr!  His brothers and sisters of the order would have no doubt tried to save her.  But if a sheep had caught a disease you wouldn’t keep it, you’d destroy it to save the flock.  But no one else was able to make the sacrifices that he was.  While most Vigilants worked in pairs, others of the order refused to travel with Meron.  They said he was brutal, sadistic, even cruel.  Fools, every one of them!  I alone have the resolve that Stendarr so deserves!  It didn’t matter anyway, he preferred to be alone.  This way he could take his time while purifying the beasts that he caught.  As it should be, these wretches should be punished for turning away from the light of Stendarr.


    “Are you gonna stand there all day or what?”  The course growl broke through Meron’s thoughts and he jumped in surprise.  The growl had come from an old woman carrying a large basket full of rags.


    “Err… yes…. apologies.”  He stammered as he backed to the side of the bridge, letting the old woman by.


    He watched the woman with curiosity as she shuffled by into the town itself.  Having been reveling in his last conquest for the past day, he had not particularly been aware of where he had been traveling.  It was the first time that he actually took notice of the dwelling before him.  Ivarstead.  It wasn’t hard to know his location with the obvious landmark of The Throat of The World so close at hand.  


    Having never actually been there, Meron left the bridge and walked into the town proper.  Small town, not many people, only one inn. The thoughts came and went quickly as he scanned his surroundings without a care. That must be the start of the Seven Thousand Steps, what a waste of time.  Is that a burrow over there? Strange to see one so close to a town.  Townfolk seem to be mostly Nord. They all…  His thoughts and feet stopped simultaneously when his eyes fell on the lone Imperial on the other side of the town. And who might you be? He was dirty, ragged, and visibly nervous. Years of training and experience stopped his eyes from the lackadaisical scanning they had been doing and narrowed in on the stranger. No one else seemed to take notice of the man, but Meron was a Vigilant.


    Not taking his eyes off of the stranger, Meron quickly left the center of the road and stalked into the shadow of the nearest building. The man hadn’t taken notice of Meron which was good.  As proud as Meron was to wear the splendid robes of the Vigilant, they did nothing to hide his identity. The man had stopped and was muttering to himself as he nervously looked from person to person.  The muttering wasn’t too suspicious, and he wasn’t wincing or squinting as the sun's golden rays shined all around. This and the noticeable anxiety of being around people was a tell-tale sign that Meron knew well... A werewolf! Of course he couldn’t be positive yet. But the excitement of hunting another quarry so close to last night's euphoric meeting had Meron tingling. 


    A sawmill screamed nearby and the stranger visibly recoiled from the sound.  Meron’s usually handsome face broke into an ugly smile.  Oh I have you little pup. I wonder why you’re in a town in the first place.  Looking for some little child to snatch and eat no doubt. But you’ve made a mistake, Meron Mjaensen never loses his prey!  The Imperial finally strengthened his resolve and walked single mindedly into the inn. After a minute or so, Meron followed.




    Levis’s resolve, and the promise of mead, carried him through the inn and all the way to counter. Where the barkeep was bodily lifting a small keg onto the stand behind the bar. 


    “Finally, someone new to sing for. Would you like to hear something my friend?”


    Levis jumped in surprise at the woman standing at his side. “Ummmm…. I…. well …… not……”


    The pretty, blonde, gave a placating smile, “Lynly Star-Sung. I’m the bard here at Vilemyr Inn. I’m not very good, but it’s usually the same people that I sing to every night, so someone new would be a welcome change.”


    “Now Lynly, you have a beautiful voice, it’d be a shame if you were to stop singing.”  The barkeep stood behind the bar wiping his hand on a rag and looking admiringly at the bard.  “My name is Wilhelm, what can I get you stranger?” He asked, turning his attention to Levis.


    Plainly uncomfortable, Levis looked back and forth between the two until finally settling on Wilhelm.  “Umm mead… please.”  


    Levis laid down a few coins on the bar and eyed the warm mead hungrily as it poured from the freshly tapped keg into the waiting mug. As soon as the mug was placed in front of him, Levis had grabbed it and drank deeply, taking no notice as foam covered his nose.  It was bliss, and the mead immediately calmed his jittering nerves.


    “You know I think I would like to hear a song. And another mead would be great.” He said as the empty mug hit the table.


    “Haha that’s the spirit!” Lynly exclaimed looking pleased.


    Levis smiled into his freshly filled mug as the first notes of music filled the air. His smile wilted slightly as he looked out of the grimy window that led outside where it was almost completely dark now.


    slowy and nonchalantly Levis turned to face the window.  “I said only two or three…. one or two?... no I surely would have remembered that…you know what, just leave me in peace… good... go.”  He whispered.




    Meron had sneaked silently through the door and across to the far side of the room. The large stone fireplace in the middle of the inn did a good job of heating and lighting the great room, but it also blinded anyone from seeing into the corners of the room, which suited him perfectly. He sat and watched as the beast ordered a drink from the barkeep and tried to act human. Ha!  I see you for what you really are, you filth! While others see the mask you hide behind. My lord Stendarr has given me true sight.


    A small tremor of delight passed through his body as Meron eyed the ignorant beast before him. He could almost smell the earthy notes of the werewolf’s blood that would soon be leaking onto the ground. It was always a pleasure to smell and see the differences of blood amongst beasts. Werewolves tended to be more earthy and wild smelling, and of course a hint of dog. Vampires on the other hand gave off a coldness and just a hint of death and decay. But he was getting ahead of himself, that would have to wait. He had no intention of killing the wolf outright. No he would need to grab him, take him somewhere that his screams couldn’t be heard. Only then would he punish the abomination. Only then would he cleanse what was once human.


    “Just one more, I really should be heading out.”


    The statement snapped Meron out of his bloodlust. He’d almost given in to the urges too soon, and that could prove dangerous. As silently as he had arrived, Meron slid from the chair and exited the inn into the dark of night.


    He allowed himself a grin, not a soul was wandering the street outside. It was almost too perfect.  No witness to see him take the man. Not that anyone would argue against a Vigilant of Stendarr killing a dangerous werewolf, but his methods seemed to unnerve most people. He didn’t want prying eyes or ears to interrupt the intimate moments he had planned.




    “There…” Levis set his mug down and belched deeply.”


    Lynly was just finishing another song as Wilhelm slid over to take the empty mug.  “You sure you don’t want another?” He asked hopefully.


    “No I’ve reached my limit tonight.” Levis responded with a smile. “Lynly, you truly do have a beautiful singing voice.” He continued. It was amazing how confident he became after only a small amount of mead. That’s probably where you get yourself in trouble. A voice deep down muttered.


    “Goodnight and thank you both.”


    With a small wave, Levis shuffled slowly to the door, feeling more than a little lightheaded.


    The door closed behind him with a loud THUNK! Levis stepped into the moonlight, smiled a self-satisfied smile and took a deep refreshing breath.  He only barely noticed a shift in the shadows behind him, when a sharp blow to the back of his head made the night get even darker.




    The feeling of something warm and wet trickling into his ear finally brought Levis around.


    “Wha… hmm?” The words seemed thick in his mouth as he slowly blinked his eyes open.


    He was sitting upright on a stone floor with his back supported by a large wooden pillar.  A thin chain wound around his legs tightly and another tethered his torso to the pillar. A strange ache was coursing through his body and he was as weak as a kitten.  Thoroughly worried now, He began to take in his surroundings. The floor wasn’t the only thing made of stone. The walls and even the roof were composed solely of stone.   a small fire was a few feet in front of him. Where am I?


    “Figured it out yet?” The sharp voice cracked through the stone room like a whip. 


    Levis squinted trying to pierce the darkness.


    “The chains are silver, not only will it keep you from transforming, but it’s also the source of your aches no doubt.  Ha, that and the knock I gave you.”  The voice was full of humor… and hatred.


    Finally, a shape began to materialize out of the darkness. A large large Nord with clean blonde hair and square jaw stalked slowly and confidently forward. It was only when the light fully reached him that Levis noticed the robes… a Vigilant of Stendarr.  Totally awake now, Levis began to struggle against his bonds, looking wildly around the room.


    “I do love it when they fight.” The vigilant laughed. The smile that crossed his face only made it scarier.


    “Ok you’ve made your point. I’m sure you think this real funny.” Levis yelled as he continued to struggle and stare into the darkness.


    “Oh I haven’t made my point yet.” The man responded with hate dripping from every word. “But I intend to make several.”


    Levis looked back at the man in surprise.  “Huh? Oh… where are we anyway?”


    “In the barrow, it was close and will suit our purpose nicely don’t you think?” The man answered with a grin.


    “But where are my manners. “Meron Mjaensen, a Vigilant of Stendarr. I’m sure you noticed the last part already.” He smiled


    The man stepped quickly forward and laid a roll of leather on the ground between them.


    “Now allow me to introduce my friends.” Meron slowly, almost lovingly, unrolled the leather to show the many knives hidden within.  Some were long and curved, others were short and thin, but they were all razor sharp.


    “I plan for you to meet each and every one of them tonight.”  A sudden manic gleam crossed his eyes.


    Levis stared in horror at the arrangement of weapons before him. 


    Meron stood and looked down at Levis with the look of a bored teacher.  “Now... Most Vigilant’s will kill beasts on sight. If they are incurable that is.”  The last part he punctuated with a small wave of his hand.


    “But not I... No, no, no.  Stendarr deserves so much more than that. This blight before his eyes can’t just disappear, it needs to be scourged before him!  This dark stain needs to be scrubbed from existence!”  The look in Meron's eyes only became more and more dangerous as he spoke.


    “I thought Stendarr was supposed to be merciful.” Levis responded distantly, eyes never leaving the sharp tools.


    “You DARE speak his name!”  The enraged shout echoed around the room.  


    “I would cut the tongue from your head if I didn’t know that the screams of beasts are music to his ears!  I’ll…”


    A soft shuffle in the darkness broke into the monologue and both men quickly surveyed the darkness.


    Deciding that it was nothing, Meron turned his attention back to Levis. “I’ll start with…” But Levis hadn’t turned back around. He was still staring intently into the darkness.  Meron looked quickly back but still nothing appeared. They were alone.  “Now, I’ll start with….”


    “What do you know of werewolves?” Levis had finally turned back around to face his captor and wore a small grin. 


    Meron’s face slackened with surprise at the disruption and sudden change in demeanor. But quickly recovered to a look of superiority.


    “I’ve killed more than a few of your kind to know that silver both weakens and in some cases can stop your transformations.  I know that some of your kind can change forms once a day, but a full moon will force a transformation.  We’re still a week away from the next full moon, by the way.”  He added with a smile, and then continued.   “I know that the longer a werewolf lives, the more and more he becomes wild like his brother the wolf.  Enough? Or should I keep going?” Meron answered gloatingly.


    Levis smiled. “You’re right we do share an uncommon bond with wolves.”


    Meron was starting to become a little unnerved, no one was ever this calm when he had them in his clutches.  His eyes darted quickly over the chains to make sure they were bound tightly.


    “But you’re forgetting something very important.” Levis continued.


    “Oh? And what’s that?” Meron spat.


    “Wolves are pack animals.”  Levis smiled, staring into Meron’s eyes. Slowly his eyes traveled into the darkness again.


    Meron followed his gaze and before he could move a giant wall of fur slammed into him. Dazed, he looked up at a large gray wolf that was snarling an inch from his face. The wolf’s front paws were pushing painfully into his chest. Meron’s startled scream changed to gurgle as the wolf sunk its teeth into his throat.  He hadn’t even had time to try to defend himself.


    Levis watched the gory spectacle before him with an almost disinterested look.  It didn’t take long before Meron Mjaensen’s body stopped jerking, and the wolf finally looked up with blood splayed across its face and chest.


    “Ok, you don’t have to give me that look. I know I messed up.” Levis frowned.


    The wolf responded by walking over and sitting on its haunches in front him.  It was just like the last time.  There was no audible voice, but Levis could hear the voice in his head the same as any other.


    “It is not like last time!” Levis growled.


    I had to come save you, just like before.


    “No this was a Vigilant of Stendarr, not a group of angry farmers!”  Levis shouted.


    I see no difference.


    “It is not the same thing!”  Levis cried in defense.


    The wolf’s eyes continued to stare into Levis’s own. 


    “Well where were you when I was taken in the first place?”  Levis asked defensively.


    You told me to leave you peace.


    “Leave me in peace doesn’t actually mean leave!”


    I still don’t understand your kind.  You should say what you mean.


    The wolf slowly got to its feet and began to walk slowly back into the darkness.


    “I wasn’t blaming you!... oh come on… you’re being childish…. YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME HERE!”  Levis yelled at the retreating wolf. 


    “I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!” Levis yelled into the darkness.


    Levis Conic looked at his bonds and around the room again before finally letting his head fall back onto the pillar. 


    “Well… this one won’t be the worst place I’ve slept one off.” And with that, he closed his eyes.


    Author's Note:

    Long time no see!  I know, I know, I started ORC: Eternal Darkness forever ago and then went silent.  But real life got in the way it happens.  The good news is, I've gotten back into the story and will continue it.  

    Now, this short story is a prequel of sorts.  Levis Conic is an original character that will be part of a team in ORC: Eternal Darkness.  Grogon will need to build a team in order to achieve his goals, and that is where Levis (and this story) comes in.  I thought a fun way to flesh out these characters would be to write short stories about them from before the events of the main story takes place.

    This is the first of these short stories that I have written, and if you enjoyed this one then please let me know.  I have several more characters that I would like to write about as well.

    This work was originally posted to which is a site that a friend and I use to keep our creative works together.