SotF: The Vigilants of Stendarr

  • VII

    Falrielle leaned heavily on Gideon, call of bells still ringing in her ears. Her legs wobbled from time to time and her body ached all over although from what she could tell by their slumps, she was not alone in her suffering. Gideon had a slash across his tunic and Sven walked with a limp and that’s not counting the mosquito and gnat bites that plagued their bodies with itches. They were to a man, battered, bloodied, and bruised but victorious.

     

                ‘Hail, Idgrod Ravencrone, Jarl of Hjaalmarch. We, the Vigilants of Stendarr present you the culprits of the attacks.’

     

                Falrielle nodded and Sven waddled forward with a bloody sack in hand. The Initiate loosened the bonds and nine heads rolled on the floor. The court was silent. Not a cough nor a whisper. Only the hearth crackled.

     

                Falion who has been by the Jarl’s side came closer. He ignored the gaunt heads of the Bloodfiends and immediately went to the Bann.

     

                ‘A Bann?’ Falion lifted the head by her long luscious hair, staring deep into her ruined visage. ‘Why I never expected to see one up close. Most intriguing...’

     

                The Jarl paid no heed to the mage, waving for her steward. ‘Aslfur, if you please.’

     

                ‘By order of Idgrod Ravencrone, Jarl of Hjaalmarch,’ said the steward in a booming voice. ‘For services rendered for the Morthal and the people of Hjaalmarch, you shall receive a reward five thousand Septims, the manner of payment as follows: credit note, coins, gemstone, or any other materials of equal cost. In addition to cash, the Vigilants of Stendarr shall also receive a boon.’

     

                Falrielle turned to her companions; caked in mud and blood.

     

                ‘Food, bath, and a warm bed would be nice.’

     

                The Jarl chuckled. ‘That is no boon, Vigilant of Stendarr. That is common courtesy that we, the people of Hjaalmarch shall ensure that our gests shall never find wanting. Aslfur, see to this that the sanctity of hospitality is taken care off. Now, is there something you want? More money or land?’

     

                Falrielle staggered forward, dropped to a knee and flattened her palm over her chest.

     

                ‘My Jarl,’ said Falrielle her tone sombre. ‘We the Vigilants of Stendarr. But as righteous as our cause is in the eyes of the Gods – an ancient, deeper truth binds us: nothing is free and everything has a price. We, the Vigilants of Stendarr need food, weapons, medicine and we need the coin to pay for all those essential supplies. They are those who call us sellswords and Stendarr be willing, they are half-right. We accept payment in coin, that is true but we cannot and do not make any demands for we true to our order rely on the charity of Stendarr in all righteous men. Traditionally, our Chapter has enjoyed the patronage of the Jarl of the Pale but times changed. Jarl Skald the Elder could not continue to support us in our endeavour for… ideological reasons.’

     

                ‘Hjaalmarch is in your debt but for such a request,’ said the Jarl. ‘But for such a request to be accepted, I ask that you repeat yourself.’

     

                ‘So I shall repeat myself once more and simply this time: the Vigil is in need of a new patron. We need a steady supply of food, weapons, medicine – anything that can help us continue our fight. That is what we ask for our boon.’

     

                For a moment Jarl said nothing, she just looked at the Vigilants from her throne. Then she rose and walked towards Falrielle.

     

               The air suddenly grew thick, like a charge before a thunderstorm. Falrielle gulped as cold beads of sweat dripped down her throbbing head. The bells rung louder and louder until Falrielle felt like she was underwater, holding her breath.

     

                With a gesture, the Jarl bid Falrielle to rise and she rose.

     

                The Jarl extended her hand.

     

               Falrielle's vision began to blur. For a moment, she stood there slack jawed perhaps looking at the Jarl. She found something eerie about the woman but what she did not know. Every fibre of her being pulled in the other direction, telling her to run but her better senses came to.

     

                Falrielle clasped the Jarl’s forearm and the Jarl returned the favour with a reassuring squeeze.

     

                ‘Skyrim, hear me!’ said the Jarl. ‘I, Idgrod Ravencrone, Jarl of Hjaalmarch pledge my support to the Vigil of Stendarr. They shall not be in wanting in provisions. They shall not be in wanting in allies. They shall find no fair weather friends here in Hjaalmarch and for as long as the Vigil remains true to their mission, the throne of Morthal shall stand at their side to the ends of the world.’

     

                The guards let out a throaty cheer as befitting for a Nord.

     

               ‘Farewell, Falrielle, Senior-Vigilant of Stendarr.’ The Jarl smiled. ‘I hope - I hope…’

     

                The Jarl’s finger brushed against Falrielle’s skin.

     

                Steel. No - Blackened Steel and the grave of our forefathers. They came from the night, a stalking shadow in the winter. Flesh shall tear and the faithful will be undone. A sacrifice. The sacrifice. Blood. Rage. Tears. Vengeance. Blood. Blood. Blood and a Shout. It is inevitable.

     

                Lightning struck and the humming throb in her head now felt like a hammer’s blow. The bells now rung so loud that her knees gave out. Her heart pounded so hard it was on the verge of exploding. Falrielle reached for her belt but her shaking hands slipped. Gideon caught the vial, opened it and poured its contents down Falrielle’s throat. The elf gripped her fists so tight that she drew some blood as her body spasmed from the pain of her nerves burning.

     

                ‘Idgrod!’

     

                Aslfur dropped his tome with a heavy thud and charged in with the speed of a rampaging bull. The steward held the Jarl by the shoulders, still convulsing as Sven held her by the legs. Falrielle trained the boy well. The Jarl’s eyes rolled back and her mouth foamed.

     

                ‘I am here, my love,’ said Aslfur, his voice shaking. The steward slipped a strip of leather between the Jarl’s teeth. ‘I’m here. Endure. You are strong. Endure.’

     

                Falrielle breathed heavily. She pulled the air in her nose and pushed it our with her belly. In and out. In and out.

     

                ‘By the Eye of Magnus,’ said Falion approaching carefully. ‘You’re a Conduit, aren’t you?’

     

                Falrielle silenced the mage before he said too much with a cold glare of her pale blue eyes.

     

                The Jarl stilled and spat out the strip. The steward summoned her attendants but the Jarl halted them with a wave of her hand.

     

                ‘You too?’ said the Jarl.

     

                Falrielle didn’t answer.

     

                ‘I see. Not like me but something else. Something else but what?’

     

                ‘You should get some rest, my Jarl.’ Falrielle spoke no more but her silence had told the Jarl everything.

     

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    The Vigil of Stendarr are an order of Daedra hunters formed after the end of the Oblivion Crisis at 3E 433. While not officially sanctioned by the Empire, the Vigil has opened Chapters all across Tamriel and are recognised by regional governments as a paramilitary entity. In comparison to their contemporaries, the Vigil of Stendarr is known for two thing: their militant interpretation of the Scrolls of Stendarr and their survival – few other Daedra hunting orders have survived as long as the Vigil. For decades, academics and analysts have tried to identify the secret to their success but no concrete proof has been found. Among the many explanations include a ritual where Initiates would drink the blood of Daedra to give them supernatural powers, strange potions and dark spells, Dwarven technology, and divine favour from Stendarr.

    - Excerpt from Cults and Religions of Tamriel: Stendarr: The Vigil of Stendarr by Auctor Auditorious

     

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    Author's Note(s): Hope the 'lessons learned' stuck.

    Previous Chapter: The Vigilants of Stendarr (V - VI)                                                                          Next Chapter: Just a Formality II

Comments

2 Comments   |   Karver the Lorc and 2 others like this.
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  February 6
    Heck of a way to finish out the chapter! I liked Aslfur's dialogue a lot. It's nice to see some tenderness between two NPCs who are supposed to be husband and wife. Did you write the book blurb at the bottom, too? Love the authenticity it provides the story. :)
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  May 5, 2018
    Interesting. I'm sure Morthal has plenty of supplies and weapons to spare for the Vigilants. And Conduit, eh? So the visions Idgrod is having comes from someone... Or something. Interesting.