Rillian knocked an arrow into her maple bow, crouching down silently. The sleight and small bosmer--even for her race's standard--had slipped between a moss-covered stone and a large Oak. Using one foot to pin her body against the stone by the tree, she was lifted two feet off the ground. Orcs were passing, she was outside Orsinium. A group of Orcs were in combat with a "local pest" as they called it in their rough voices as they passed.
With a small smile, she was pleased to see that, for once, she was not the one being hunted. She was a few leagues into the Reach, a place that had been her hunting grounds for awhile. What the orcs were doing? She had no idea, until now. The "local pest" must be the undead issue cropping up; something that had been happening remarkably often in the Reach.
She suspected that these orcs and Rillian had a great deal of similar motives, although she wouldn't much enjoy having company. So, she preferred to follow them.
Rillian glanced up, the oak loomed over the edge of the boulder, which was a platform-like boulder with a wide edge that acted as a barrier to the road in the mountain-hill regions of the Reach. It was only about eight feet tall, but that was very high to a Bosmer on the ground. On a tree? Not a problem. She simply pressed both knees into the side of the tree, placing both palms against the tree, and crawling up. The eighty pound elf moved easily along the Oak, and sat on the side of the boulder, watching the orcs carefully.
There was six of them, walking in a pack. There was no formation, but they were all armed and three carried torches. The other three carried shields. She stood up silently and quietly walked along the ledge of the boulder, which stuck out about another thirty feet, before falling off again into an open field and the side of a fork in the road that she followed from the distance--and upon which the orcs were walking.
They spoke of the local pest, one said to that which appeared to be the leader, "Why don't we just go to the Hollow and beat them down?"
"We need to better know our enemy," replied the one that the others seemed to look towards for leadership, a suspicion that was confirmed as he gestured to the right fork, "We go this way, today. We need to make an extra loop before heading back." He was big, but seemed compiled and intelligent.
Unfortunately, her boulder didn't much help that way, she had to go down next to the brush along the side of the road, and follow from a greater distance--or she could come out in the open. Not like she had much to hide. But, as skilled as she may be in talking out of situations, she thought these orcs seemed a bit paranoid, and an elf would not be a welcome sight--or probably wouldn't. Orcs and elves didn't get along well.
She stopped short of sliding off the edge of the mossy stone, but the orcs made their move. One turned and shot an arrow at her, which missed by a few centimeters. She returned the shot quicker then they thought she would--clearly. Perhaps they didn't realize they were dealing with a Bosmer. Her arrow met its target, right into the orc's upper leg, missing the artery, but bringing him down.
One shouted, throwing an axe at her, which she sidestepped, and she shot another arrow a centimeter from his foot, calling down, "Whoa, orsimer. It is not you that I have a fight with."
The orcs managed to get into formation properly in the half-second exchange, the two shielded ones still up guarding the injured and the shieldless. It would be harder to bring them down. The leader called up, "Why does an elf stalk us in our own lands?"
"You seek the enemy of whom I strike against."
"What, exactly, does a Bosmer have to do with necromancers in the Reach?"
"It is not my association with my heritage that binds me to this, but conscious choice."
"What, you some Stendarr follower?"
She smiled, shaking her head, "No, not really. You and I have more in common then you think."
"Well, you probably weigh about as much as my axe, so I'm not sure that counts."
"Right, but I was about to leave--honestly--and neither of us need any more injuries then we have to, if we're to avoid losing ourselves to our dead friends."
"So, you lower your bow, and we both back away slowly. Then we'll never see you again, Bosmer?"
"Yeah, next time, I'll be more careful." She said, coyly, as she walked backwards, her knocked bow pointed down. They backed along the road carefully, dragging their injured comrade.
She took three steps back, until the boulder obscured her vision, and then span around and ran along the boulder. Upon reaching the end, she didn't slow, but lept across a ten-foot gap and clinging to the side of a faraway oak. She swing from the closer branches to a distant one, which swung over her weight, which allowed her to grab a neighboring trees one. It bowed under her weight, bringing her closer to the base of the other tree, not fifteen feet away. She safely landed on the side of the road, seventy feet from where she was eight seconds ago--and several obstacles between her and the orcs.
The orc clan in the region wasn't that interested in trusting her--not a surprise--but one of them was a particularly good tracker. She was impressed. Not quite as good at archery, though.
She sat along the side of the oak, nursing her shins that had taken quite the beating during her flight along the trees. She was actually observing the goings on in the area, her sharp ears twitching back as she listened. And then, she caught it. It was a noise she thought she had heard earlier. A quiet groan of some sort, well off the track. She guessed it was four-hundred feet away, deep into the woods and hills to her South.
She knocked her bow again, and approached the noise. It got much louder as she got closer, and then the firelight flickered along the failing daylight. She felt safer when Mundus shown, but she could handle the darkness--indeed, she used it quite well. The firelight that flickered was that of a camp, and the groaning was that of a man... Or what used to be a man.
The camp was occupied by one person, a small ritual circle of runestones and regular stones, and a corpse in the center--a recently dead orc. Rillian pulled the arrow back, frowning as she watched the hill barbarian do his ritual, cutting open the stomach of the corpse, and sticking a soulstone in the dead intestines. He took out a sacrificial dagger, and brought it down on the throat of the corpse. The runestones glowed as the necromancer began to chant cursed rituals.
An arrow from Rillian's bow was in his throat, tearing his vocal cord from his skin, letting it flap in freedom as blood poured over the long wooden object in the necromancer's throat. Another shot landed in the side of his head, tearing at his jaw and up, behind his jaw. He fell back, she had struck his frontal lobe. He wasn't dead yet, but he would die soon. She closed the ten-foot distance into the camp quickly.
She crouched next to the dying necromancer. She drew a dagger, tearing the robes off of his chest, he was a handsome man, in his own way. Although, he repulsed her. She could literally smell the death on him. The dagger plunged into his chest, a nonlethal blow. In a series of cuts and other blows, she cut a crude emblem into his chest--Mundus, with rays around it.
She seemed, however, to have miscalculated how quickly the ritual could be done--or simply the soulstone that was in the corpse's stomach finally found a soul to steal, either way, cold, dead hands were on her throat. She thrust her knife backwards, it jabbed into his gut, and the thing reeled back. Incredible pain burned through the undead, throwing it off course. But, the surprisingly strong undead recovered.
It countered with a body blow so heavy she was lifted from the ground and threw a few feet. She attempted to draw her bow, but the beast was on her again, attempting to rip at her neck. She was forced to hold him off at the neck with both hands to hold him off. She hadn't wanted to, but she was forced to close her eyes.
She was lost in memories as the undead was disintegrated.
It was strange, she grew up in her ancestral home, but never fit in. For no real reason, she always had a burning association with the Light, that affinity for it she couldn't avoid. She was attracted to it, physically, mentally, spiritually. She never found recompense in the most mainstream of faiths. As a very young elf, she was nihilistic, and a little self-loathing. She was alone in Cyrodiil, before the total collapse of all law and order there.
It was there that she found the obscure Daedric Prince of Life, the Lady of Infinite Energies and the Living Light. In a lonely Ayleid Ruin, surrounded by nothing but her own loneliness and nihilism, she found the first hint of purpose.
And she followed it all the way to a relatively small statue on a small platform, covered in moss, cracks, and vines. She was in High Rock, and it was the only true shrine of Meridia she could access or find--a tiny, modest Daedric Shrine. It was abandoned, and forgotten for what looked like centuries. She had no doubt it was. And it was there that she found that old tome.
In that old tome, she had discovered all she desired to know of Meridia, the Lady of Lights. She realized that all of her life, she was looking for something actually quite simple: life. Meridia was the key to that life. And, on a secluded shrine, miles from the nearest living sentient, and with a head of an slain undead--her first--she first swore her allegiance to the Living Light. The Daedric Prince of Life was the only patron she ever desired or needed. She gave her life purpose, and for that, she would forever follow that purpose.
She was not the Champion of Meridia, but she would spend her life proving that she was worthy of Meridia's Light and Infinite Energies. There were many Seekers of Light, secretly worshiping their obscure Prince around Nirn. Rillian Nighthollow was one of them.
Rillian was on her back, covered in the ashen remains of her opponent. She hadn't wanted to reveal that energy so early, wanting to scare the necromancers with the unknown, but perhaps it would work to her advantage. The ashes of a depleted undead, and the sacrifical killing of a Necromancer might do the trick. But, to use such bursts of energy took much out of Rillian. To totally disintegrate a beast of that size, and to completely consume a soul gem, was not easy.
She sat up, and instantly heard that there was something wrong. Adrenaline pumped through her aching body, as the dust fell from her. She pulled her bow up and knocked a bow. As she did so, she was already out of the clearing, her nimble form carrying her quickly and quietly through the forest.
She was being followed, and then she felt the cold hand touch the back of her head. She was thrown by that one hand into the air, and against a tree. The thing that had attacked her was incredibly strong, and Rillian was weak and nearing unconsciousness. It descended upon her, but she had excellent eyesight at night, she saw a humanoid form, moving with surprising grace in the dead of night. The cold hand, the incredible strength?
It came to her as she launched a burst of gold flame at the beast. It recoiled in pain, an unearthly loud shriek raising the hairs on the back of her neck. And she was up again, this time fleeing up a tree, throwing herself from tree to tree and branch from branch. She was a wood elf, and if a vampire who hadn't fed in awhile could follow her, she was in trouble for other reasons.
She wasn't powerful enough to defeat a powerful vampire when the vampire had the surprise attack--even a reduced one. She had to flee, to regain her composure, and return with a plan.
There was a great deal more going on then she had originally thought.