SotF: Something to Prove

  • XI

    The following weeks was a return to the old days for Falrielle albeit less bloody. She drifted from settlement to settlement, seeking odd jobs and other low skill work: no one was paying for a killing and she couldn’t read enough for something more. Like the old days, Falrielle once again slept in ditches, under the stars and trees and where a full pouch of coin is an impossible dream: it had a tendency to empty when near ale kegs and dices. Also like the old days, Falrielle had to endure the mockery of ‘Knife-ears’, ‘Rabbit’, and ‘Falmer’ but she had long learned not to pay much attention to these words as long as they paid her Septims first.


                Spoonful after spoonful of tasteless gruel in her mouth had left her mind wandering to Foreman Verner’s mine and that night of mutton and salmon. Her stomach grumbled. She had also miss their hospitality and it left her wondering: were they only so kind because she had help them, was it because she had a human as her companion or… or were they just good people? She scoffed at the last thought.


                During one particularly hot afternoon in another camp whose name she had forgotten, a familiar party of hunters approached with their iron spears, pelts and boiled leathers. The leader of the party was a short man, probably a Wood Elf from his small frame and demeanour and from where she sat she could hear a familiar chortle and the words ‘Salutations, salutations, and salutations’. He spoke to a guard, then the captain and then the foreman of the mine. She wanted to walk over and give her greetings but something held her back; not her gut but her ears told her that something was off.


                The party left shortly after lunch and gossip and whispers began to spread like wildfire. Questions and speculations on who those heavily armed men were and what they were after but Falrielle knew better. She had more important questions to ask. The surrounding forest were quiet, nary but the occasional deer and hare: she made sure herself on walks during sleepless nights of doubt… and that night she was sleepless again.


                The path she walked was familiar, by a boulder and through the stream, up a fallen log and under a mighty oak tree. She had walked this path enough times that the darkness did not bother her. This night however was different. This night the sounds of a terrible howl and a raging battle echo through the forest. She walked the trail as usual until dead silence.


                The next day during lunch, the hunters returned with a familiar wagon in tow. The wind shifted and her nose caught the scent of blood and wet dog. A werewolf as promised but she found something amiss. It stunk to high hells but had a familiar stink. This werewolf was the very same that she killed all those weeks ago but how could it she wondered. She was sure she killed it. She had twisted the iron spear in its wretched heart, she heard it yelp, she had saw its life slipping away from its eyes, she had seen it go limp but yet it was here.


                The hunters underwent the familiar routine of ‘Salutations, salutations, and salutations’ and then the payment. After lunch, they left. Murmurs ignited again but this time it was of the monstrosity in the wagon. Truth be told she was curious but Falrielle had told herself that it wasn’t her problem. She had told herself that she was done and done and that she had washed it off her hands. She told herself many things. However as the popular saying went, ‘The Bosmer have a nose for trouble’.


                ‘Mara’s tits,’ she cursed as she took her things and left the camp.



    Dark clouds glowered over the Rift, periodically pouring rain down below. On one moment, the rain would fall softly like the touch of a maiden’s gentle hands and in another, a torrent so fierce that each raindrop felt like thrown stones. The familiar roads and pathways have turned to mud, making travel dirty and difficult. A double edged sword but a silver lining nonetheless.


                Falrielle kept to their trail for days. Stopping when they did, eating when they did, sleeping when they did, and eating when they did. By day when the sun did shone, Falrielle hid in the grass, sweltering and baking in her cloak and mail. By night, she shivered in the dark, munching on bitter radishes, and hard salted beef, looking over at the faint flickers of firelight amongst the trees.


                By the fourth day, her feet had begun to bleed again, cleans rags or no. By the fifth, Falrielle had caught her fever and her nose had begun to run but she relented. By the sixth, the trail was at its end: the hunters had stopped. From morning to noon, she laid low, her mind assaulted with doubt and fear. Still no movement. By the eve of sundown, Falrielle trusted her nose and went for the kill.


                Crawling over a ridge overlooking a small waterfall-fed pond by the mountain and by a mouth of a cave. She counted no guards but the path was well beaten and used and the wheel tracks told her all she needed to know. An hour she waited before she cursed and removed her cloak, her bag, her mail, and her mace, leaving her with just her knife. Her face contorted a grim smile.


                ‘A nose for trouble. Hmph.’




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