The Elder Scrolls: Fate of Tamriel

Prelude: Martine - The Family Business

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

Second Seed, 4E 164

He found her on the short run of steps leading down from the door of the alchemist’s shop, foiling her escape with the gentle insistence of a hand on the girl’s stomach. “Good day, Martine,” he said with mock friendliness. “Been awhile, hasn’t it? I do hope you’re well.”

“I am, Theo; thank you,” Martine replied. She hadn’t seen him since just before her thirteenth birthday, three months ago. Longer than I expected to avoid him, she thought, but still not long enough. She stopped herself from swatting his hand away. “Did you have business with Marie-Helene?” she asked, easing to the side and aiming a thumb at the alchemist’s door, though she already knew what he’d say.

Theo shook his head. “No. I was looking for you.”

“Well, here I am.” She managed some false friendliness of her own. “What can I do for you?”

“You can put my mind at ease,” Theo said. Barely three years older than Martine, Theo acted like he’d never been a child. She’d never found anything to like about him. “How are you getting by, without your father?”

“Well enough. Marie-Helene pays for exotic ingredients, and I bring her nirnroot from up the coast now and then. It’s not much, but it’s bread on the table.” Martine’s father had taught her that a partial truth was easier to swallow than a whole lie…

View
Prologue

30th of Frostfall, 4E 171

Everyone in the courtyard stared in stunned silence at the grisly offering that had tumbled from the upended cart brought in by the Thalmor ambassador. His Imperial Majesty, Titus Mede II, schooled his features from shock to stern anger. The Blades, he thought, recognizing the Akiviri helmets encasing the severed heads that spilled callously on the stone walkway in front of the White-Gold Tower at the heart of the Imperial City. All of them? he wondered, but something told him that he knew the answer, and his face grew tighter still. He forced himself to look up at the Altmer emissary.

“So,” he said softly, “It has come to this.”

The high elf sneered. “Too long has mankind misruled Tamriel, and its glory has diminished with each passing moment. The Aldmeri Dominion will allow no further degradation under your stewardship. We lay claim to the lands we have demanded, and we shall seize them by conquest since we must. War is the only language you humans seem to understand.”

Now furious, the emperor roared, “Come and take them!”

View
Session 1
Bars

5th of Sun’s Dusk, 4E 171

They were standing outside of the entrance to the City Watch entrance, having just been escorted out of the Imperial City dungeon by Astius. “Well, nice to see daylight again,” said Adrielle.

The Imperial Legionnaire nodded. “You have a few days in the city while we get a few things in order. Feel free to bunk at the barracks. Present your Conscription Paperwork to the sergeant there. Do you have any questions?”

“Well, do you have a preferred lodging?” asked the Nord. “I enjoy my lodgings at the Temple of the Nine. But if you prefer to keep an eye on us it’s understandable.” The Imperial shrugged and shook his head.

“I also have a home here,” said Kang.

“I … think that was seized by the crown when you were arrested,” said Astius. Martine half-stifled a snort.

“Oh no! That’s unfortunate, Kang. Can we help you retrieve it?” said Adrielle.

“Hmph … legal theft,” said the Orsimer. “The law is where the weak make everyone think that being controlled is for their own good. I’ll deal with that later.” Martine nodded in agreement then saw Astius doing the same and frowned.

“Okay, let me know and I’ll be glad to help,” said the Dibellan.

“The barracks it is then,” said Kang.

“As for me, I’ve got what I need,” said Martine. “Except a bed and a door I can close. And, Divines willing, lock.”

“Will we actually be outfitted now that I am a Legion man, or will I need to spend the next few days dealing with that?” asked Kang.

Astius nodded again. “You will be outfitted, yes. The quartermaster will get you set up.”

“I’m good then. Come get me when we need to start getting bloody.”

“Be at the SpecGold office an hour after daybreak on Middas. We’ll have your orders by then.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “Of course, if you change your minds and decide to go AWOL. Well. May the Divines have mercy upon you, because the Legion will not.” He smiled pleasantly.

“Oh, Dibella forgive me if something like that were to happen!” said Adrielle. “But no, I’ll be glad to help out, see you then!” Martine nodded, fastidiously avoiding eye contact with Astius.

“Don’t worry. I’ll honor the agreement. Until I don’t.” He smiled, just as pleasantly.

Astius chuckled. “Until then.” He saluted and turned to leave.

Adrielle saluted back. “Thank you!” she called after him.

Martine started to salute but dropped it once she realized that Astius wasn’t looking. “I may never get used to that,” she muttered to herself.

Adrielle’s turned to her two companions. “So, have any of you been in the Imperial City before? I’ve been here a couple of times in my pilgrimages for Dibella. We’re free, let’s go and see what there is to see!”

“This is my first time here,” Martine lied. “Please, let the way.”

Kang made a sour face. “What are the damn odds that it would be the two of you that I’d get stuck with? If I believed in higher powers I’d think this happened for a reason.”

“The Nine never act randomly,” said Adrielle. “The Daedra maybe. But I see it as a gift from Dibella that we all found each other again.” She started walking toward the market district, and the others trailed behind her.

“A gift! Right. Exactly,” said Martine.

“Well might as well make the best of it,” said Kang, bringing up the rear.

They passed a number of shops with a variety of offerings, and Adrielle took on a lecturing tone. “Down there is the Three Brothers Trade Goods and Jensine’s ‘good as new’ merchandise,” she said, gesturing to the left. Then, she drew her companions’ attention the other direction. “And here is Divine Elegance, Mystic Emporium, Slash N Smash…”

“This would be the best city to have some money in,” Martine groused.

“That’s what I was thinking,” said Kang. “Not too big on window shopping.”

“Someday,” she said, lingering a bit at Divine Elegance’s window.

“Oh, well do we want to try visiting the Elven Gardens District?” asked Adrielle, putting her hand beside her mouth. “Lots of rich people there. Or the Arena, Talos Plaza District? The city is a circle, so if we just keep going we’ll cover it all.”

“How about we head over to the Arena district,” suggested Kang. “I know a tavern keeper there that will set us up. He was a big fan. It’s been too long since I got my hands on good beer and better meat.”

“Okay! Drink is always a good go to,” said Adrielle. As Martine followed, she truly smiled for the first time in days.

It was early in the afternoon, so there was a good lunch crowd when they walked in. A brotherly cheer went up when the other patrons saw Kang walk in. The former Arena Champion bellowed out his signature roar, and the crowd cheered. “Weren’t you tossed in the clink for murder or summat?” someone asked jovially.

“Nah, it were for knockin’ boots with the Emperor’s Mother!” said another.

Your Mother!” retorted a third. A fight broke out. To Kang, it felt just like old times.

A table was cleared for the trio, before the Orsimer saw a familiar face sitting at the bar. “I’ll be back,” he told the ladies. See an old friend I need to catch up with.” He headed over.

“I-” Martine watched Kang depart then turned to Adrielle. “Do you know why he was imprisoned?”

Adrielle shrugged. “Actually no. But maybe we were put in his way to help him out with his reasons or consequences.”

A waiter arrived, forestalling the conversation and said, “What can I get you ladies to drink?”

“Oh, what a boisterous place!” said Adrielle. “Have you any mead?” A moment later, three varietals were brought for her inspection. She ordered a tankard of Honningbrew, and Martine chose a fine Alto Wine.

The Breton wrinkled her nose. “More of that pickle juice, Adrielle?”

“Pickle juice? You mean that sweet taste of honey and nectar down your throat with just enough of the good stuff to loosen up. I’ll never understand how you can enjoy Alto Wine over fine Nord mead. But I would never judge you for it. Most sacraments at the temple use wines so it’s good for that.”

Adrielle took a large couple of gulps from the tankard, which was almost small in her gargantuan hand. “Ahhhhhh. Taste of home,” said the Nord.

Martine’s eyes widened at the sight. She moved a little closer to Adrielle. “Truth is, mead is so sweet it’s easy for me to drink too much, too quickly. No telling what I might do in such a state.”

“Heh. Well, as long as you do not regret what you do in that state, it is no problem.” Adrielle took another large pull at the tankard then put a hand over her Dibellan holy symbol. “Bless this night and these friends.” Then she drained the last of her tankard.

Over at the bar, Owydon gave Kang a solemn look. “Glad to see you out, son. Thought I’d seen the last of you when I heard about your arrest.”

“I’m not really out,” said Kang. “Just traded imprisonment for enslavement really. You are looking at a bona fide soldier now. Can you believe they were stupid enough to do that?” he laughed loudly.

The Redguard snorted. “Soldier, eh? Strange times.” He seemed to have something on his mind, like he wanted to say more.

“How have you been?” Kang asked. “Still spending your time working around the arena, I see.”

Owydon shrugged. “Well enough. Someone’s gotta run the place. Buncha young bloods coming up, full of piss and vinegar and not much sense.”

“Sounds familiar. Why don’t you come join us at the table and tell us about it? I’ll introduce you to my ‘unit’. Whatever that means.”

The older man hesitated. “I don’t know. Gotta get back to work soon…”

“Oh come on. It’s not every day your favorite monster gets out of prison. Just have one drink with us.”

“One drink,” Owydon agreed.

“Great! You’re buying.”

After getting their ale from the barkeep, the two men walked back over to the table where the ladies were drinking. “Adrielle, Martine, meet Owydon. He’s the man who taught me how to ‘pretend’ to be civilized when I first came to town.”

“I will drink to that,” said Martine. “Well met, Owydon! That must have been quite a challenge.”

“I’ve had more difficult tasks, but that was in the top five easily,” he replied. She laughed a bit too brightly at that and looked down into her cup. The old Redguard, with his warrior’s build, reminded her of Tralen.

“Hello Owydon! Glad to make your acquaintance!” Adrielle stood and reached out to shake his hand.

He looked up (and up) at Adrielle then took the Nord’s hand, shaking it firmly. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“I actually met these two at different times before I arrived in the Empire. Adrielle is one of the few people I can say who have ever knocked me on my ass. Martine and I met under less appealing circumstances. Still trying to figure her out.” Martine attempted an enigmatic smile.

“Knocking on your ass was only out of necessity,” said Adrielle. “It wasn’t an easy feat.”

“I see,” said Owydon. “Kang mentioned you’re part of a Legion unit?”

“Oh, we are,” said Adrielle.

“They mentioned the name of the group we are with, but I wasn’t really paying much attention,” said Kang.

“Oh! It’s the Friends of the Empire Guild,” the Nord said brightly.

“I wonder if they’d entertain a change,” said Martine. “What’s Cyrodiil for ‘We Who Are About to Die’?”

“Arena Chum,” Owydon deadpanned.

“Ha! Arena Chum. Always got caught between my teeth,” said Kang.

Owydon nodded at the ex-gladiator then addressed the women. “Were you volunteers? You don’t look like typical Legionnaires.”

“I’ve chosen to think of it as community service,” said Martine.

“Yes, community service is about right,” said Adrielle. “But they could have just asked, I’d have been glad to help either way!”

“So, you were conscripted, too,” said the Redguard. Adrielle noticed him glancing surreptitiously at Kang, His expression looked a little guilty.

Martine snapped her fingers. “That’s the word! Right. Conscripted.”

The Nord grinned. “So how do you know each other Mister Owydon?”

“Well, when he came to the Imperial City, all he had was rage and raw talent. I helped him become a gladiator. Then he helped himself become Champion.”

“Shame he ended up in prison, I mean if he was Champion.”

“That makes it a real rags-to-rags story,” said Martine.

“Aye.” Owydon looked down at his drink.

“I was getting bored anyhow. Not much left after you kill the reigning champ. And besides, the riches were nice but even the prison was a step up from where I lived most of my life. Didn’t bother me. I knew I wouldn’t be there long.” Owydon looked up at the Orsimer, expression thoughtful.

“By the Nine such a shame,” said Adrielle. “Surely you both invested so much time and effort. We’ll have to get all of ourselves back up on top.” Martine spit-took into her cup and excused herself to get a refill from the bar. Adrielle snerked at the outburst.

“SpecGold!” Kang cried out suddenly. “That’s what it was. What a dumb name.”

“Yes!” Adrielle exclaimed. “Not Friends of the Empire Guild. However, we are friends of the Empire. Just not a guild as such.” When she returned, Martine set another tankard of mead in front of the Nord. “Dibella bless you, Martine.” She smiled and took a large gulp.

Kang looked over at Owydon again. “What’s the Arena action these days? Anything interesting?”

“Well, there’s a new ‘Champion’, for whatever that’s worth.”

“Anyone I know?”

“I doubt it. New guy outta the highlands. Fergus.” The distaste on his face was evident.

“Fergus the Champion!” said Adrielle. “Well, not quite the ring as Kang.”

“Sounds like a pussy,” said Kang.

Adrielle blushed. “Language.”

“A pussy isn’t weak,” Martine said into her cup. “She’ll push a whole baby out.”

“How does Fergus having female genitals make him weak anyway…?” wondered Adrielle. She drank down her mead and thunked the tankard onto the table. “Another please?”

“Already? What are you doing with it?” asked Martine.

Adrielle giggled. “Drinking it!”

Kang laughed loudly. “You two are definitely not the kind of women I’ve usually brought into this place.”

Owydon shook his head, bemused. “Will you be sticking around the city?”

“For the next couple days,” said Kang. “After that I don’t know.”

“Until they shuttle us off on our first task,” said Adrielle. “Which will probably be tomorrow.”

Owydon nodded and emptied his glass. Then he stood. “Ladies, a pleasure. Kang.” He leaned down near the Orc and said something in a tone not meant to carry. Martine cocked her head to the side and managed to overhear.

“Pretty sure Fergus is on the take. I know you’re no innocent, but you didn’t kill the man they say you did. I think you might have been framed because you wouldn’t take a fall. You didn’t hear it from me, but you might ask around about a merchant named Tristane.”

Kang’s eyes flared up for a moment. “Thanks for the info. If any of it were true, heads will roll. Literally.”

Owydon nodded. “Take care of yourself, son.” He clapped Kang on the shoulder and walked away.

View
Session 2
Gladiators

“Do you know this Tristane?” Martine asked, ignoring the fact that she’d been eavesdropping.

“Not off hand,” Kang replied. “But I never really pay much attention to people unless they are a threat or prey. I’ll know him soon though.”

Adrielle downed the rest of her mead and put down her tankard, looking incredulously between her companions. “What? Who? I’m obviously missing something here.”

Owydon told me he thinks Tristane was to blame for my arrest. I think we should go have a talk with the man.”

“I suppose, if you can find his gladiator, he’d know where to find Tristane,” said Martine.

Kang snorted. ”Fergus? Sounds like fun.”

“This sounds like a wrong that needs be righted,” said the Nord. Then her eyes widened in excitement. “Oh, if we prove your innocence does that mean the SpecGold will have to free you from your contract? Or … is the goal more revenge?”

“I don’t mind being Legion now,” said Kang. “And really I don’t care enough about what happened to want revenge. But I don’t appreciate being controlled. And Tristane will find that out.”

“I would hate to be him right about now,” said Adrielle.

Martine opened her mouth to say something, but closed it as Kang stood up and bellowed to the room, “Hey! Where would I go to find this … Fergus!”

After a babble of conflicting answers, someone meekly suggested, “The Arena?” At that the Orsimer looked at his companions and headed out of the tavern.

Adrielle put her hand to her mouth and muttered to Martine, “Well that’s one way to do it.” Martine gathered her effects and followed Kang out the door. Adrielle got up swiftly, dropping a couple septims on the table, before trailing her companions outside.

A number of gladiator regulars were in the training yard running drills, sparring, and exercising. Martine looked them over like she was at the window of a butcher’s shop. Kang sized up the yard to see who the alpha was. Adrielle leaned sideways toward him and whispered out of the side of her mouth, “So which one is it?”

Kang pointed to a man in flashy imperial armor, replete with crested helm. “That one … the one that smells awful.” The indicated gladiator looked pretty smug, lounging and barking criticism masked as suggestions to some others as they train.

“Thankfully I can’t smell him,” said the Nord.

Martine nodded. “Neither can- Oh, no. Yes, I can.”

Kang crossed the yard and strode up to Fergus. Adrielle bowed up to her full height, pushed her chest out, and marched behind her friend. Martine brought up the rear, trying to focus.

“Fergus. I hear you rule the Arena now. I’m happy for you. I had my way with her and was done with her anyhow.” Adrielle glanced down at the Orsimer, surprised at his words.

Fergus looked up at Kang dubiously, with one eyebrow cocked. “And you are?”

“The person you were lucky enough not to have to face to sit in that cushy seat.”

“Uh-huh.” Some of the other gladiators nearby seemed to recognize Kang and either tensed up or started paying very close attention. The shift in the wind did not escape Martine’s attention.

“I’m looking for a man named Tristane,” continued Kang. “How about you tell me how to locate him. Let’s call it cooperation between warriors.”

“How about you piss off,” said Fergus.

“Ooh,” said Martine. Adrielle frowned.

“I only ask nicely once,” said Kang. “What’ll it be.”

Fergus considered the Orsimer with a bored expression. “I’m thinking Cyrodiilic may not be your first language, so I’ll speak more slowly. Piss. Off.”

Kang pounced. A little surprised, Fergus tried to roll out of the way and trip the Orsimer up in the same move, but only managed to wind up Off Balance.

“Crap,” said Adrielle, turning toward Martine. “Run interference,” she said, nodding toward the crowd of gladiators.

Martine turned to face the other gladiators. “This is between them,” she said. “Let them have their … their tussle.” All of the gathered warriors seemed content to watch the fight play out.

Kang turned and threw a punch at Fergus. The man’s eyes widened in rage as he got his feet beneath him, pulling a nearby practice sword and striking for Kang’s head. The Orsimer stepped inside his opponent’s reach and caught Fergus’ sword arm in one hand. Kang snapped his head forward, but the Imperial pulled back and retreated a few steps away. Then he lunged forward, feinting high before sweeping his sword at Kang’s legs.

Kang fell On His Ass hard and his expression showed his surprise. “Stay down, Orc,” hissed Fergus.

“Crap,” Adrielle said again. Both she and Martine had stopped watching the other gladiators, eyes fixed on the conflict.

Kang roared with rage and lunged from the ground with a clawed hand. Fergus’ eyes widened at the ferocity and speed of Kang’s attack, before the Orsimer’s claws raked across his forehead. Blinded By Blood, the Imperial held one hand over his eyes and lashed out wildly with the practice sword.

Kang rushed forward in a powerful shoulder tackle, slamming into Fergus and knocking him to the ground. In his frustration at being Sprawled Out, the Imperial threw his sword at Kang, but the Orsimer sidestepped the projectile with ease.

“Daaaamn!” said Martine.

Kang advanced, applying fist to torso. Fergus winced at his Bruised Ribs and put a hand up. “Enough!” he shouted, conceding. “I don’t have time for this. If you have a problem with Tristane, take it up with him. He owns the Copious Coinpurse.” A few of the other gladiators exchanged looks. Some shuffled off toward the Arena proper, and others went back to whatever they were doing before the fight.

Kang nodded. “I’ll be seeing you, Champion.” He turned and walked over to his companions.

“Nice work,” said Martine.

“Thanks for watching my back there,” he said.

“I was afraid we were going to have to pull you off of him,” said Adrielle. “Murder wouldn’t go over very well probably, but well done otherwise.”

“I wanted to kill him,” said Kang. “Owydon taught be how to hold back, because it’s frowned upon to kill in the Arena without the approval of the crowd.”

“I did not know that,” said Martine.

“So where is the Copious Coinpurse?”

“Oh, this way!” said Adrielle, leading her companions away from the Arena and back toward the Market District.

“May as well get on with it, sure,” said Martine, trailing the Nord.

As they neared their destination, Kang talked strategy. “So normally I would do to Tristane what I just did to that pussy. I was right about that, by the way. But I don’t think that will actually prove anything. Any ideas?”

Martine looked over the building, scowling. “I don’t know that a confession would do much good; it’d still be his word against yours.”

“I’m not trying to settle this with any authority other than myself. I just want to know for sure that he did it.”

The Breton looked skeptical. “And if he says that he did? You’d be satisfied with that?”

“Are we expecting anything other than a ‘yeah that was me, please don’t kill me’?” asked Adrielle. “If we get that, then what?”

“I’m sure I could scare him enough to admit to every murder in the last 2 years,” said Kang. “But I can’t stand people pulling my strings. And if he didn’t do it, then my stings are being pulled by someone else.” “Would people keep any kind of evidence of something like what happened to me?”

“A man like this probably writes down every septim he makes, so yeah, maybe,” said Martine, continuing to case the joint.

“That’s good, Martine. We could look for something like that.”

“But what do we do with that new information?” Adrielle persisted.

“My instinct is always to remove the threat from reality,” said Kang. “But there are other options.”

“At the very least we should probably turn him in, once again, murder wouldn’t serve us very well,” said the Nord.

“Turning him in wouldn’t serve us very well either.”

“It may not serve us, but it would server society and the greater good.”

“I bet I can get in after dark,” said Martine. “Or, if somebody wants to run interference, I could poke around right now.”

Kang grinned. “I knew you were a good person to have around.”

Martine smiled.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.