SotF: The Little Things - Part Five

  • Matthias strolled down the street, bouncing with each step and whistling jaunty tune. Riften wasn’t too bad after all or rather not any worse than the other cities he’s been. Still, one loose end to tie. One more stone to even the scales; that girl.


                   Urchins tend to die young – the lucky ones do, some would even argue. Those that didn’t would grow up and join a gang preying on the weak thinking they’re predators. If only they could see what they truly were: not predators but bottom-feeders, fighting over scraps of others. But for urchins like her, for the girls; there were far worst things that could happen.


                   Money was nice but there was another way Matthias knew he could do to help: a way out. Makram owed him no, Makram owed the girl a favour and surely the Temple of Mara has room for another acolyte.


                   As he neared that particular alleyway, Matthias could hear a scuffle. Boys will be boys as they say but a feeling in his gut told him otherwise. It told him something was wrong.


                   In that alley the urchin children were not there – not them but the thugs from the day before and the centre of it all: Hoggvir, the pony-tailed Nord man grasping the girl by the arm.


                   ‘Let. Her. Go.’


                   This caught the thugs’ attention and they looked at their leader for instruction. He did as he was bid and released her.


                   ‘Are you men or rabid hounds that you would dare strike a child? Have you no shame?’ Matthias said as the girl behind him.


                   ‘She’s a rat, old man not a child,’ Hoggvir said, his voice coarse as he approached. ‘And no one likes a rat.’


                   Matthias ignored him, the girl needed his attention more. ‘Are you okay? Did they hurt you bad?’ he said, brushing her hair aside. The Vigilant felt a fury burning in his chest. A fury and a sense of guilt; he involved her in this mess, one she had nothing to do with. Just take her and leave, don’t go looking for trouble.


                   ‘You got me last time but now,’ Hoggvir said. ‘You’re outnumbered.’ He spat.


                   Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.


                   Matthias caught a glimpse of a bruise on her face in the moonlight.




                   The Vigilant spun round and decked the man in the face, smashing his nose bloody. Hoggvir clutched his face as he stumbled back and fell to the ground.


                   ‘You bastard!’ The thug closest, a Nord man with red hair unsheathed his sword and slashed at him. Matthias dodged the first, then the second and when the thug raised his weapon for the third, the Vigilant smiled. Matthias closed his hands into a fist, feeling the energy tingle on the tips of his fingers and when the thug began to swing his weapon down, the Vigilant opened his hand, firing an orb of blinding light at his face.


                   The thug swung wildly but his blade only found air. Matthias ducked low and swept the thug off his feet. As he fell, the Vigilant wrapped his legs around the man’s and grabbed him by the foot. He held tight and jerked his body right and pop.


                   The man screamed bloody murder, clutching his heel as Matthias rose. Even in the dark the Vigilant knew the expression on their faces: revelation. Matthias was not a dog nor was he a rat. He was something more, something more dangerous…


                   He was a wolf.


                   ‘Don’t just stand there!’ Hoggvir said. ‘Get him!’




                   The remaining five drew their weapons and charged at him. Approach from three sides; two bearing steel and the remaining clubs against a man who was unarmed – but he knew the body was more of a weapon than any metal or wood.


                   Matthias did not wait for Victory favours the bold. The Vigilant flung himself right and parried a whistling club aside and answered with a hard shot to the liver. The thug dropped her weapon and soon followed.


                   The next in line was the watchman, pocked-marked and skinny as a beanpole yelling obscenities as he advanced. Matthias raised his guard and… ignored him – weaving under his axe and eyed the next person; a Redguard man with braided hair. Matthias swiftly grabbed the watchman by his collar and shoved him at the Redguard, sending both out of balance. The Vigilant put a boot to the back and helped them complete their fall.


                   The last two, a Nord woman and a fellow Breton man, grew wise – they halted their charge at the hungry wolf and circled him. Matthias smiled; it was something he himself would do for one shield cannot block two directions. Now it was a question for who was the braver… there.


                   The fellow Breton made the first move, hacking away with both hands of his sword. Matthias danced left and after the fourth strike, he danced in and grabbed the man’s hands squeezing hard like a vice. At that moment, the Nord attacked, announcing herself with a mighty roar as all Nords do but if this was her attempt at sneaking up on him, the Vigilant was mightily disappointed.


                   Shifting his weight with a sudden jerk, the sword was no longer an active threat and Matthias struck the Nord on the chest with his heel. For true, she did the work for him – she ran into the kick. Confidence gave way to annoyance when the fellow Breton wrenched his sword free and slashed hard at the Vigilant’s chest.


    The blade founds its mark… and chainmail rattled.


                   I walk around without a weapon at night. Matthias spat. While the attack did not cut, it still stung. Do they think me fool enough to not at least have armour on?


                   ‘Bloody oaf.’ Matthias jabbed the Breton in the throat.


                   That was six. Now where is-


                   His attention was divided for a second but in the field, a moment was all death needed and Matthias had underestimated Hoggvir. The young man was different from his posse, he for one knew how to keep his mouth shut and bide his time. When the Vigilant met the thug eye to eye, the knife in his hand was already a blur so sure to find its mark at Matthias’ neck.


                   Dead to rights as he would believe… and Hoggvir collapsed to the ground, the girl has ran herself against his knee.


                   A Little Lion.


                   Matthias stomped the knife free and pressed his knee on the man’s rib. Hoggvir let out a sudden wheeze of air and that was all the Vigilant would let him. He pushed harder even as the other thugs rose and flee the alleyway from this one man. Eventually, it was just him, Hoggvir, and the urchin.


                   ‘You know,’ Matthias began, his voice cold. ‘If I were to gut the whole lot of you – right here, right now and hung you by the entrails; by all the laws of Gods and Men, it would have been considered to be in the right and my actions just.’


                   ‘But that’s not something I’m going to do and do you know why?’ The Vigilant lifted his knee and the thug gasped for air. ‘It’s because there is enough pain and suffering and death in this world and I need not add to that.’


                   Matthias stood up and pulled Hoggvir to his feet. The Vigilant glowered over him but the younger man did not look back.


                   ‘I left a little present for you and your friends yesterday night – 200 Septims, good money. More than enough for you, for all of you to begin anew. What I told you last night. I meant every word I said: that you are far too good for this life. Get out, while you can.’


                   ‘Go forth and sin no more.’


                   Hoggvir, still averting his eyes shuffled away. The young man stopped at the mouth of the alleyway and looked at the Vigilant with his blue eyes… and said nothing as he left.


                   To watch them leave. To watch them go, just like that – a part of him, the logical part screamed at him. He knew that it was only a slim chance that they would change, that they would turn their lives around but the other part, the part that made him human had to believe.


                   Matthias sighed and slouched as their footsteps faded. ‘We sure gave them the what for, didn’t we?’ he said, smiling.


                   The girl nodded her head and smiled.


                   ‘Keep that chin up – you were very brave back there, far braver than even some of the greatest of kings!’


                   The girl held her hands behind her back and dug her feet in the ground, moving the dirt.


                   ‘I almost forgot,’ Matthias said. ‘I was actually looking for you.’


                   The girl tilted her head as she pointed at herself.


                   ‘For true, I am. I wanted to thank you proper, for your help!’


                   The Vigilant could see a glint in her eyes.


                   ‘Money can only get you so far, believe me, I of all people should know,’ he continued. ‘I-uh. Do you like staying here? Living in this place?’ Matthias felt his stomach churn upon asking that, there never was a more foolish question that he’s ever heard of.


                   The girl shook her head.


                   ‘Listen.’ Matthias dropped to his knee and saw her, eye to eye. ‘If you’d like, I’ll get you out of here. Follow me-‘


                   The girl threw herself on the Vigilant, nearly sending him over. She pressed her face hard on his tunic and nodded her head vigorously. The Vigilant, no – Matthias slowly put his arms around her in embrace.


                   ‘So, I guess that’s settled then,’ Matthias rose, his hand holding the girl’s oh so tiny hands. ‘Just remember to give Brother Makram my-‘


                   The girl snatched her hand away from his and shook her head, stomping her feet. Matthias could see tears streaming down her cheeks.


                   ‘Why, what’s wrong?’ he said but the girl did not answer. She could not answer. Matthias placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘It’s okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of at the Temple of Mara.’


                   ‘Y-you,’ the girl muttered.


                   Matthias flinched. So, she can talk.


                   ‘You,’ she repeated. She pointed at herself then at Matthias. ‘You.’


                   ‘You want me to take you with me?’


                   She nodded.


                   ‘But I’m not from here. I’m from the south, Cyrodiil.’


                   She shook her head. ‘You. P-p-please. You.’


                   Matthias sat down, his head reeling. For a moment, he caught himself smiling before he stopped himself. He always wanted a child and even better, Junia wanted a daughter. If she had followed him back, mayhap things could work out and then his dream… but Rohn was his dream. Rohn was his son. Was. If Rohn had lived, he would’ve been her age. If Rohn had lived, he would’ve had a sister. Mayhap they may play together in a picnic under the olive shaded trees of Cyrodiil. A dream if he would have it.


                   Bu that… that just wasn’t fair for the girl. Deep down he knew he would treat her like a replacement. Wasn’t fair… not to her and not to Rohn.


                   He cupped her hands. ‘I cannot take you with me to Cyrodiil. It just would not be right.’ She shivered. ‘But I can take you to my brothers and sisters of Skyrim: The Skyrim Chapter of the Vigil. Good people they are, they’ll take care of you. They’ll teach you how to write and read and they will never mistreat you.’


                   He looked her in the eyes and smiled. ‘And if you’re with them, it means that I have more reasons to visit Skyrim and visit often I will. How does that sound?’


                   She wiped her tears away and nodded, her hazel eyes seemed to blaze with the warmth of the sun.


                   ‘Then we have a deal.’ He rose. ‘Another thing, what’s your name?’


                   She frowned and looked away.




                   ‘No,’ Matthias said, his voice firm. ‘That’s not your name. Never call yourself that again, never let anyone else call you that. How about we try this again?’ He smiled and gestured at himself. ‘Hail my lady, I am Matthias, Vigilant of Stendarr. And what is your name, my fair lady?’


                   She looked at him with her hazel eyes, smiling. ‘Carcette. M-my n-n-name. Carcette.’


                   ‘Carcette?’ Matthias said. ‘A good name, one that I will remember.’



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