SotF: Just a Formality II

  • I

    Falrielle opened her eyes.


                The Watchmen’s bell was ringing the Vigil awake and the sun was shining through the shutters and on her face. She shaded her eyes with her hand and then slipped on her boots. Thus begins another day in the life of a Vigilant.


                Breakfast was simple as always. Barley porridge as always. Tasteless as always.


                Falrielle wiped her mouth and placed a dark, unlabelled vial on the table. She looked at her comrades having their daily conversations with one another, no doubt talking of the day ahead or the morning prayers. She looked at the dusty podium, wood so old she could smell the rot through the juniper incense. She closed her eyes and took three deep breathes.


                She pulled open the cork and drank the dark vial. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists; a burning pain echoing through her body. Falrielle counted her breathes – Harsh. Forced. The air moved in and out, it was the only thing that mattered to her.


                ‘How much of that stuff have you been drinking?’ said a familiar voice, the voice of an old soldier.


                ‘Not enough, Graucchus. Not enough,’ said Falrielle. She opened her eyes and looked at the balding man with a face marked scars.


                ‘That stuff is dangerous Fal.’ The old soldier took a seat next to her. ‘Don’t take more than you have to.’


                ‘And I won’t.’ Falrielle took a sip of her tea, the bitterness a refreshing contrast to what she drank earlier. ‘The kick is getting weaker nowadays but I’m pretty sure a vampire or a Clannfear or hell, the flux will do me in first before this thing will.’ She shook the empty vial and smiled at the old soldier.


                ‘Didn’t intend to pry.’ He broke a piece of a loaf of bread and offered one to Falrielle. She shook her head. ‘But with everything that has happened lately… can you blame me for worry?’


                Falrielle chuckled. ‘If I said yes would you buy me a drink to atone? Haven’t had a good taste of ale in a while.’ She shuddered. ‘So how’s the family?’


                ‘Thank the Nine they’re safe!’ Graucchus dipped a crumb of bread into his porridge, an old habit from his Legion days, a habit she never picked up. ‘Attrebus swore his oath a month ago. Now he’s stationed at Solitude.’


                ‘Swore his oath? You mean to the Legion? That skinny little thing?’


                ‘Not so skinny anymore,’ said Graucchus. ‘He’s a man grown now, half as large as I am with the brains of his mother, thank the gods for that.’


                ‘A man now?’ Falrielle drummed her fingers on the table. ‘When was the last time I saw that runt?’


                ‘Five years now.’


                Five years? Falrielle thought. Damn, I’m feeling old now.


                ‘What about that other one?’ said Falrielle. ‘The other small one.’


                ‘Aventus? The lad is home helping Livia on the harvests.’ Graucchus looked at Falrielle. ‘They’re not doing so well down there. There’s a nip in the air – too cold even in this summer. I’ve given them whatever help I can and Mara be willing that is enough.’


                Falrielle placed down her cup. ‘Do you need money or favours, Graucchus? I know a few people-‘


                Graucchus waved a hand. ‘Thanks Fal but there is no need for that.’ He smiled. ‘You and the Vigil had done more than enough for me and I don’t need my debt to go higher.’


                ‘Shame,’ said Falrielle. ‘I kind of like having you owe me something.’ She winked.


                ‘You are a horrible, horrible person,’ he said grinning.


                ‘And I say: Hear, hear!’ The two clanked their cups and drank.


                ‘It’s not just all bad news though.’


                ‘Oh?’ Falrielle raised an eyebrow.


                ‘Livia… She’s carrying.’


                Falrielle choked and just barely stopped herself from spitting her tea. She swallowed and glared at the old soldier. ‘Who? Where? When?’


                ‘Who? You mean whose child? It’s my child. Who else?’ Graucchus laughed. ‘Livia hopes it’s a girl this time. Too many sons, she says. Too many soldiers.’


                ‘Wait.’ Falrielle paused and rubbed her chin. ‘When did you get the news? How long has she been carrying?’


                Graucchus shrugged. ‘I received a letter yesterday and how long she be carrying? I’ll say four months.’


                ‘Four months… Didn’t you just have a week off? You went to Haafingar to see your family and back in a week?’ Falrielle paused as revelations hit her. ‘Looks like old dogs are up to their old tricks, eh? Does anyone else know?’


                ‘As a matter of fact, no. Well, no one else but the Keeper.’


                The Keeper; Carcette. Falrielle had to see her later.


                ‘Say, Fal,’ said Graucchus. ‘Had you spoken with her yet?’   




                ‘The Keeper.’


                ‘No, not yet.’ Falrielle shook her head. ‘I still have time and until then, I’m going to take a walk.’


                ‘Going up the mountain again?’


                She nodded. ‘I need some time away from it all.’


                ‘Don’t be late, Fal.



    Falrielle pulled her hood up and left the Hall to a cooling breeze blowing on her face. Pleasant to be sure but she did have to admit it chilled a bit too much for a wind of summer.


                Out in the courtyard was Gideon barking orders at the Initiates: still training since dawn if she were to guess and only would they eat after their training was complete. As it should be. ‘They’ included Gideon himself for if they did not eat, he would not eat. Never makes your underling go through a hell if you weren’t willing to go through it yourself; a philosophy she taught Gideon well.


                Some greeted her with a nod and others with a salute – Falrielle however didn’t recognise any of their faces but she did note that they were young, so very young. Barely after their coming of age perhaps and all old enough to be one of her own children; that is if she had one. She was one to judge, she told herself. She was their age when she turned to a life of a sellsword. She also noted that they were few, barely enough to form a platoon. An outcry of the old days where recruits swarmed in numbers of a company and then some.


                The trail was narrow and well-hidden within overgrowths of weeds and shrubs. A tricky path for many but not to Falrielle, to her it was a familiar road.


                Near the peak of the mountain lies a clearing with a stone monument. The monument was old, much older than the Hall. Much older than the Vigil itself. The monument bore intricate carvings of the Lord Constellation and legend goes that this, one of thirteen stones that dot the land of Skyrim granted strange powers to the heroes of old; the powers to change their fate as it were.


                Falrielle of course didn’t care too much for the old legends. This was just a quiet spot for her to do her thinking, away from anyone else for travellers have little reason to visit this spot.


                She sat down, leaning on the supposedly mythical stone and sighed. Falrielle pulled the knife from her boot and balanced the weapon by the blade on the tip of her finger. Not the best of balance she knew but it was an old friend. A very old friend of hers.


                A friend from before the Vigil.


    Previous Chapter: The Vigilants of Stendarr (VII)                                                                                                             Next Chapter: Blood & Silver


2 Comments   |   ilanisilver and 1 other like this.
  • ilanisilver
    ilanisilver   ·  October 30, 2018
    Good chapter, quite immersive. Looking forward to the next. 
    • Delta
      Good chapter, quite immersive. Looking forward to the next. 
        ·  October 31, 2018
      Pretty interesting how the tone changes when you chop a few paragraphs off.