SotF: A Flash of Green

  • VIII

    Wake up.


                Falrielle gasped, opening her eyes. She had felt someone touching her, tracing their cold fingers down her face… No, not fingers but raindrops.


                She turned her head and saw grass. She was lying down on a bed of grass. Alone. She picked herself up, so far so good for; she felt no pain and-


                The world spun so fast that she collapsed on her hands and retched.


                Water, she thought, clutching at her throat, coughing. I need… She crawled to the pool, plunged her head in and slurping it like a goat on a trough.


                Falrielle pulled herself out and gagged. She had almost drowned herself but her throat still felt dry. She prostrated and took in three deep breathes, collecting her thoughts.


                Where was she? Who was she? Why was she here? She wondered. Yes, she remembered that she was a Vigilant of Stendarr, an order of Daedra hunters. She had served for a little over a decade and she was… here for a mission. She was looking for someone… A boy… Yes, she was looking for a boy and she was with someone.


                It clicked in her and Falrielle spun around.


                ‘Mentor!’ she shouted.


                No reply.


                She shouted again and three more times yet no one answered.


                She looked at the sky –dark with tinges of orange shone through the clouds. Dawn was here.


                The elf gritted her teeth and stood up if barely. She took a single step and her knees wobbled out of control, sending her stumbling around and as she fell, she closed her eyes bracing for the pain.


                But there was no pain, just the ground. The fall didn’t hurt but that was the problem: she didn’t feel pain.


                She opened her eyes and saw a strange looking object next to her. She lifted it, revealing it to be a string of beads… Mentor’s rosaries.


                She picked herself up again, shouting his name. She kept shouting to no answer and then stopped herself when she noticed something strange – she didn’t hear herself speak.


                It can’t be. She slowly raised a hand to her ear, shaking while it did.


                She snapped her fingers… and heard nothing.


                Mara please no, she snapped her fingers again and again.


                And then she smelt it. Burnt leather. It was faint, difficult to pick out in the cacophony of scents that is the forest but she did. That was odd, she noted. She didn’t see any fire and-


                She saw smoke rising from her ruined boots. One had a hole that looked like something ripped out from the inside. The other had melted into her foot.


                Her heart raced for in truth she smelt more than leather. She smelt something else burning, the smell of beef and pork. This smell she was very acquainted with in her youth. She made that smell plenty of times.


                Mara please, her thoughts ran as she slowly turned to look at her hands. Please.


                Her hands weren’t any better, they were largely a formless wet mass of red and on her left, her fingers were blackened and bleached white – her bones were exposed.


                Her mind lurched.


                ‘Mentor!’ she said through quivering lips. ‘Someone, help!’, she continued as a warm stream flowed down her cold cheeks. The elf spat and swore.


                Don’t you dare, Falrielle! She told herself, wiping away the tears. Don’t you fucking dare-


                Her sleeves were smeared in red, redder that she had ever seen in her life. In fact, all she could see was red.


                Red, red, red….


                And then darkness.


                Mara please, the thought kept repeating. Falrielle looked up, Carcette, I-I-


                IT’S YOUR FAULT, a voice screamed.


                Her heart skipped a beat. The voice sounded foreign yet familiar, almost like her own but something was off. She wasn’t quite sure and wondered if she went mad.




                Falrielle looked down and saw a blue shadow, erupting from her chest. She threw herself on the ground and in a breath, she felt a surge of heat burning carving through the air on where she was before.


                She turned and saw a shadow of a man, throwing his arms back in preparation of a spell. His shadow was different, his was red.




                Falrielle drew her knife and frowned. Not a sword but she figured that Shor wasn’t too picky on what she held when she died.


                Then, she heard another voice. This one was warm and wise – the voice of a friend. And it told her one thing:




                Falrielle threw her own hands in front of her just as the shadow did. The Vigilant felt a gale billowing against her and the very ground shook. She saw arcs of green light emanating from the shadow’s fingertips and her instincts told her to run but she refused. She had found something strange brewing inside her.


                Faith. She never had faith and she always found herself laughing at the faith of others but this time was different. This time it was her faith.


                The beam wailed as it struck her – no, not her but a barrier. Her barrier.


                Falrielle’s heart fluttered at the rush of Magicka. She never could cast even the simplest of spells and now, Falrielle’s body seemed to pulse with everlasting power. She stood up, the pain and the fatigue giving way to an awakened determination. Falrielle pushed forward, forcing Cadroc backwards.


                The Vigilant’s shoulders buckled as Cadroc’s assault intensified; pouring more and more power like a hammer smashing against a door. Falrielle roared, letting it all flow from her toes to her gnarled hands but she knew it wasn’t enough. Battles ended by the sword not the shield and even then, she felt her strength, her very life burning away the longer she held.


                Let go.


                Falrielle looked down and clenched her teeth. She dropped her hands, surprising the mage long enough for her to begin her charge.


                Green shadows sprayed from Cadroc and engulfed Falrielle in a pillar of light. In that moment, Falrielle leapt, knife bearing down on her target. She made peace that if she were too slow, at least she could take him with her.


                Cadroc fired a bolt. It hit.


                She screamed. Blood poured from her mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. Her very being was torn apart into nothingness. Soon there would be nothing in the world for anyone to remember Vigilant Falrielle of the Pale, a pile of ash drifting in the wind… but she didn’t care. Anger, desperation, agony held her together and-


                The bolt tore through her back and carved through the trees behind her leaving an inferno.


                And the knife itself founds its mark.


                ‘Impossible!’ Cadroc said as the Vigilant fell on him, sending both to the ground.


                ‘You, a Conduit?’ he said before she wrenched the knife off his shoulder and gripped it hard.


                She struck the man across the face and as she did, memories flashed across her mind. Memories of a warm sun, of cold rocks, of faces she did not recognise but felt familiar.


                You killed Beinar!


                She struck again and more memories flooded. This one was of red and gold uniforms. A sense of pride and fear… Sadness and a great hunger.


                YOU KILLED MENTOR!


                She wrapped her hands around Cadroc’s and squeezed with all her might. Her head throbbing so hard that she was convinced it’d split in two. She gritted her teeth as she buried these memories but it was to no avail for the memories are no more flashes.


                …She saw a mine filled with people with the familiar faces. They were gaunt and sallow, hope lost in their eyes. Their overseers towered above them. Elves in black suits of armour. Garlas Silvanorn. She felt hungry, so very hungry like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. She felt a bruise on her face – a guard had given it to her when she begged for crumbs. She found herself looking at Titus, her friend in boot, dead, beaten to death for working too slow. She chewed on his bones, so tasty but shameful. Disgusting. She prayed to the gods for reprieve but only one answered and promised more: survival.


                Falrielle released and Cadroc gasped for air. The elf raised her knife, savouring the rage and aiming the tip at his throat. Just rip his throat and it’ll be over, she told herself. The dead would’ve been avenged – she would’ve been avenged and vengeance was one of the sweetest waters she had ever tasted.


                Yet… as she savoured it, her hands quivered and her resolved dimmed. Tears flowed down her cheeks.


                This… was who she was not who she is, in a life before the Vigil. She had it all: coin, wine, glory, someone to warm her bed every night but she was never happy. The venison and wine tasted of ash, the glory felt hollow, and her lover's touch was of ice.




                Now she had tasteless porridge. Wake up calls every morning. Boring sermons every day and a lonesome bed every night. She had nothing but she had everything. She was content, she was proud. She was a Vigilant of Stendarr.


                ‘Compassion is our foundation,’ Matthias had once told her. ‘The love of our fellow man, the love drives us to end the pain we have suffered from befalling to others, the love that lets us understand what it’s like to feel weak and what gives us strength to protect those who are weaker than us.’


                She looked down at Cadroc and felt pity. Not pity – empathy. She knew what is was like to be afraid. She knew starvation and desperation – the need to do what she needed to survive.


                Falrielle tossed her knife aside and drew her horn.


                Justice, not vengeance.


               A mournful wail echoed in the forests of Falkreath. Mournful and alone. The wolves howled in response and the dogs barked until… the horn went silent.




    Always brave in life,

    Braver in the face of death,

    Stendarr honour him,


    Always wise in life,

    A wisdom everlasting,

    Always remembered,


    Matthias Ferro,

    Faithful husband, loyal friend,

    And loving father.


    - Father by 'The Little Lion' in Death Poems of Skyrim. Compiled by The Bard's College of Solitude.



    Previous Chapter: A Flash of Green (VI - VII)                                                                          Next Chapter: Just a Formality EPILOGUE