Ok, so this is the first chapter of I hope many in my Epic Tales series The Deserter. It's a bit of a long read, and that's after I split the chapters up further. So if you like a good story and have some time on your hands, have a read here. And I know this one isn't the most action-packed chapter, but I have to set up the story. Also, I will be making a new post for each chapter, so feel free to comment to your heart's content below. I THRIVE on feedback. Please enjoy
The Deserter – Chapter One
Dazog sighed as he pulled his large sword out of the chest of the last goblin, letting it fall lifelessly to the ground. Dazog scanned the area around him; four more fiendish goblin corpses littered the crop field of the small farm he had been sent to liberate from these foul creatures. With a grunt he returned his greatsword to its sheath on his back, and hung his shield on his left hip.
And so finishes another job… The damn client better pay my wage this time, or I might consider leaving him among these bodies…
Dazog considered disposing of the remains, but remembering what was exactly entailed in his Fighter’s Guild contract, he dismissed the thoughts, opting to let the dead fertilize the already goblin-harvested field. He made his way back up the hill into town. Evermore was a city on the border with Skyrim, well, to be more accurate, on the border with The Reach, the mountain range that separated the two regions. Here is where Dazog worked in the local chapter of the Fighter’s Guild, making his measly pay. As an aging orc with a not-too-friendly attitude, clients often tended to short him his earnings, citing errors in his method of fulfilling his contracts. As a result, Dazog became both quite nit-picky in his manner of execution of these contracts, following them to the letter, and ever grumpier towards anyone looking to hire him.
As Dazog stumbled through the door of the Fighter’s Guild, the guild’s porter, a Breton named Reynald, gave him a subtle nod. Reynald was engaged in conversation with a flustered older gentleman who was speaking a mile a minute.
“Argonian! An Argonian I say! The biggest one I’ve ever seen! Eight feet tall and teeth as big as mammoth’s tusks! We can’t have those reptilian folk slithering around here! Not with what’s happening in Cyrodiil! And what’s more, I swear on Akatosh’s name that he was carrying a spellbook! And it looked rightfully evil! We can’t just let him sneak around he-“
“Alright, alright, calm down. Dazog can handle it.” Reynald interrupted. “Dazog has fought Argonians before when he was in Morrowind. There’s no need to worry about it.”
“Right, well, has he ever fought giant ones?! With glowing red eyes?!” the man demanded, spraying spit all over the porter’s iron breastplate.
“No Argonian is that big,” Dazog chimed in. The old man turned, just now taking notice of him. Dazog was a hulking figure, bulging with muscle that seemed to be too much for his Orichalcum armor. His face was grizzled and aged, and his right eye was stricken cloudy and blind after an Akaviri sword slashed it years ago. His deep brown hair was styled into a Mohawk, which was dirty and grimed with sweat. A single stripe of war paint stretched from his working left eye down his cheek. The old man froze.
Dazog, seeing the old man was frightened (as many were of the orc), decided to coax him along as gently as he could. “Listen dustbag, how about you tell me where this Argonian is so I can go kick his ass and you can be on your merry way.”
“Um, right” the man said, pulling himself together. “The thing is, I-I don’t know exactly where he is. I saw him hanging around the t-tavern last night, looking reeeeallly suspicious. I watched him head off to the hills to the east, b-but that’s all I know. I-I’m sorry.” The man was practically begging Dazog not to hurt him. The orc sighed. “There’s caves all over those hills. My bet is he’s hiding out up there. It’ll probably be the one that smells like swamp. Damn lizards reek of it. Don’t worry, geezer. I’ll take care of your Argonian problem.”
“You will? Excellent!” the old man exclaimed. He stood there for a moment until Dazog gave him a queer look. “Uh, um, you’re not going now?" the old man stuttered. Dazog snorted. “Hah, hell no. I just got back from a job. Which, by the way, was successful,” he gestured to Reynald, who pulled out a handful of coins and began to count them. “I’ll go look for your mage when I’m good and ready. Go home.” Dazog instructed the elder. The man stared at Dazog for a moment, hesitating, then stalked off out the door.
“There you go, 200 gold,” the porter said at last. Dazog scooped his earnings into a pouch on his belt. “Do you believe this guy’s a mage?” Dazog grunted. “Wouldn’t be the first,” Reynald replied. “Though as I understand they prefer more of a sneaky style. Cowards, I say.” Dazog nodded in agreement, closing up his purse. He had no love for magic-users, you couldn’t trust them as far as you could throw them.
He walked across the room where a table and some chairs were set up. It was used as a dining area for the guild members, but they also liked to sit at it and talk. Two fighters were there now, and by the looks of it, it was talk of politics.
“If you ask me, you couldn’t trust a Nord on the throne. They’re too temperamental, and all they care about is Skyrim,” Armen pointed out. Armen was a Redguard who excelled at fighting with his twin scimitars. “Hah! Who are you calling temperamental?” This from Isen, a burly Breton who used an axe and a shield. At the last comment, Armen fumed with anger, which only caused Isen to laugh heartily. “See!” he said patting Dazog’s arm as he walked up.
“What’s the talk about?” Dazog muttered. He was used to his friends talking down on the other races of Tamriel, as some of them were outright scum. But many of them were good people and great warriors, as Dazog had learned during his time wandering the various provinces. The other two fighters were a little too young and inexperienced to know a lot about others outside of High Rock, so their opinions tended to be biased.
“Ah, we were just talking about this business on who is taking over the throne ever since Emperor Varen went missing,” Isen stated. He spoke the truth, Varen (not a true emperor) had been leading Cyrodiil from the Imperial City. It had been years since the ruler disappeared, in the middle of negotiating a treaty with King Emeric, no less. A short time afterwards, it turned out Daedra had invaded the province of Cyrodiil, and some "Empress Clivia" had claimed the throne. Over time the situation in the heart of Tamriel had gotten worse, and now there was talk in High Rock of moving to invade the region. No one paid it much heed, though. They had been saying that for years, and so far, without action.
“Right,” said Armen. “And because there’s no rightful heir, it’s up for grabs. Word is the elves are making a break for it. Some crap about how they founded Tamriel. But the Aldmeri Dominion is no better than the Nords. Elves have no concern for the welfare of men.”
“Or orc,” added Isen, with a nod at Dazog. “So what’s your take, Dazog? Rumor is there’s tension in Cyrodiil. They speak of war!” Dazog chuckled. “Well, if there is war, it will be unlike anything Tamriel has seen since the First Era. As long as there’s pay for me and plenty of heads to smash,” he said with a grunt.
“There is war. And it seems we’re in it.”
The heads of the three warriors swiveled to face the base of the stairs. There stood Jora, leader of the Evermore Fighter’s Guild chapter. Jora was a strong Breton woman, whose skill with a longsword was only surpassed by her skill with a bow. She was getting old, much like the orc, and was around forty-five years old. As a result, she didn’t go out on many contracts and spent most of her time managing the guild and spending time in her top floor chambers, where she—well, no one knew really what she did up there for long hours of the day, but some had caught her reading up there. Now, her normally serious face blazed with concern.
“All of us have been drafted into the Daggerfall Covenant Army. As members of the Fighter’s Guild we will be given a special unit at the spearhead of the front lines. We’re to report in to Wayrest in five days,” said Jora. “Here are your papers of enlistment.” She handed them each an official looking piece of parchment, bearing their names and orders to proceed to the Kingdom of Wayrest.
“Wow, I had no idea things were moving so fast. But why does it have to be the Daggerfall Covenant? We’re not from Daggerfall. Plus, this covenant is supposed to encompass Redguards and Orcs too. Why not call it the High Rock Heavy Hitters?” pondered Isen.
“Redguards aren’t from High Rock, dumbass. And that’s a terrible name.” snapped Armen.
“How about the Western Warriors?” Isen tried.
“You should probably just stick to hitting things. Thinking doesn’t seem to be your strong suit.” Armen told him. Isen sunk his head, defeated. Armen turned to Dazog. “How about it friend, ready to get back to the glory of battle? I’ve never been to war myself, but if its anything like doing contracts, it could be a lot of fun.”
“Eh, this war won’t happen. There’s too many factors for one group to be able to be Emperor. Besides, what happens when one of these alliances can’t decide who to put on the throne? We can guess if the elves get it, it will be an Altmer. But I can’t imagine Nords or Dark Elves letting the other take it.”
“True. That whole Ebonheart Pact seems like a recipe for failure,” Isen said. “But you also have the Argonians. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried for it too.”
“Speaking of Argonians, I’ve got a contract to do. One seems to have snuck his way up into the hills to the east.” Dazog said standing up. He stretched, his bones popping here and there, and then grabbed a mug from the table and downed it in a single gulp. He shuffled past Jora who was standing at the bottom of the stairs, a somber look in her eyes.
“Well, I’m off. See you fools tonight.”
Dazog lumbered outside, then realized he still had his draft papers in his hands. He paused for a moment, staring at them. A feeling of unease washed over him. He had been fighting all his life, but something about this war unnerved him. He wasn’t as young and full of energy as he used to be. His knees ached from wearing his armor, his shoulders were stiff from swinging his sword and raising his shield. His one good eye was beginning to become blurred with age. The only thing that kept the old orc going was stubbornness and a determination to keep fighting until he eventually fell in battle. Fear was all but unknown to the wizened warrior. But he couldn’t help but get the sensation that this war would lead to his doom.
He shook his head. These were no thoughts for a proud orc warrior. He would fight in this war, even if it was his last. Dazog sighed.
Even if it’s my last…
He stuffed the papers into his pocket and took off towards the east.
The Deserter: Ch 2