The Deserter: Ch 3
Probably my favorite chapter yet. Last time we left off a mysterious man was about to capture Nazra as Dazog slept soundly. Will she escape the kidnapper? Well read on, you lazy oaf.
The Deserter: Ch 4
Nazra stood frozen as the strange man stood over her, calmly uncoiling the rope in his hands. Nazra pressed against the locked door, willing it to open. But her attention was drawn across the room, and her eyes left the stranger. The stranger, curious, turned his head.
Dazog's metal boot planted into the man's back. Nazra came back to her senses just in time to duck to the side, narrowly dodging the airborne Breton. The intruder slammed into the wooden door with enough force to splinter a hole, sprawling him halfway through it. He rolled back into the hallway, recovering effortlessly. Dazog stormed over to the door and ripped it from its hinges. Nazra cowered by the bed.
Stepping into the hallway, Dazog realized he didn't have his sword. Or his shield. Or any armor. They were still laying on the floor next to the bed. Nevertheless, he grabbed for the Breton, who nimbly sidestepped the Orc's grasp. With the rope in hand, the man in black leather quickly looped one end around Dazog's outreached left hand.
Dazog made another grab with his right, but again the rogue ducked out of the way, running partway up the wall of the hallway where he threw the free end of the rope over the rafter to the ceiling. Dazog finally spotted what the Breton was doing and reached up to pull the rope down. Holding on tightly, the intruder dropped from the ceiling, yanking the rope tight. Dazog's arm was yanked upwards and suspended in the air, trapped.
With a smirk, the man paced over to the open doorway across the hall and fastened his end of the rope around the doorknob, just out of Dazog's reach. He then moved a dresser from inside the room in front of the door, barring it open. He chuckled joyfully as he strode back over to Dazog, dancing out of the way of another grab by the Orc. He twirled on his heels in front of Dazog, his grin gleaming from the light of the lantern over his head.
"Oh dear, it seems things quickly got out of hand, hmm?" he snickered, struggling to contain his amusement. "But it seems you made me use my fine piece of rope I brought. I was going to use that to subdue the girl, but now she'll be completely unrestrained. That makes things rather difficult for me, don't you understand?"
Dazog scowled at him. "Why do you want her?" he demanded.
The man ignored him, pondering his options. "Of course, the obvious thing to do would be to kill you, untie the rope from your corpse, and then tie up the girl. Haha! Of course of course! I don't even know why I bothered with you in the first place. Maybe you just looked like fun."
He slowly drew a knife from his belt and took a step towards the Orc. Dazog looked back into his room to the left. Nazra still stood next to the bed, one hand tightly clutching the Orc's sword. Dazog shook his head and he saw the girl relax ever so slightly, but her hand never left the blade.
"Sadly, I've already won the game, so there is really no reason to keep playing."
Dazog frantically reached down and began pulling off one his boots. The killer stopped, watching him. "What is it you are doing? Are your feet hot? That hardly seems the thing to do in this situation, but if you want to get comfortable, I won't stop you," he said with a laugh.
Freeing his boot, Dazog launched it at the Breton. The man dodged it with ease, laughing. "Really? You threw it at me? Other than being quite rude, did you think that was going to make me change my mind? That I was going to say 'Oh no! He hit me with a shoe! I guess I should leave!'"
Dazog paid his taunting no attention and worked on his other boot, hastily tugging at the heel.
"Oh, the other one? Fine, fine. Go ahead. Throw another boot at me. I bet you that you can't even touch me with it. I just want you to know you are only going to inconvenience me at best."
Dazog yanked it free and paused, staring at the rogue. The man waited expectantly. Dazog glared at him, boot poised ready in his hand.
"Well," Dazog growled, "I'm sorry to be an inconvenience."
With that Dazog hurled the boot up towards the ceiling, where it struck the oil lantern that hung from the rafter by a hook. The man jumped back out of the way as the lantern toppled to the ground, scattering glass and spilling oil all over the ground. The oil immediately ignited, exploding brightly upwards in a wall of fire.
The man laughed and clapped his hands slowly, the flames illuminating his face brightly, the only part of him visible from across the rising blaze.
"Well done! I certainly did not expect that. Perhaps you have more surprises, hmm?"
Dazog just glared back at him, his arm still suspended high above his head. He was getting sick of the Breton's playful attitude. He had been hoping the fire would be enough to drive him off, however it seemed that was too much to hope for.
"I suppose I'll answer your question then, since it seems I'm not done playing with you just yet."
Dazog bared his teeth. "What the hell do you want from her?" he repeated. "Yes, yes, I heard you the first time," the man said. He seemed unconcerned about the fire raging between him and his captive.
"Now, the girl is important to my..." he thought for a moment, "...organization. You see, our Father Sithis gives us power over the shadows. We are his children, we do Father's will, we kill who Father tells us to kill. But the girl," the man paused, "the girl is favored by our father's greatest enemy. His oldest enemy, since the beginning of time. That girl," he nodded to the doorway, "That girl is the embodiment of the sun."
The fire flared up, tongues of flame licking the bottoms of the rafters overhead. The intruder's face disappeared behind the inferno. Dazog thought he heard footsteps, but then his voice called back to him.
"By the way, new friend, my name is Mordryn. You would do well to remember it."
A few moments passed and the flames grew higher. Smoke began to fill the air, and Nazra screamed in fear. Dazog's head swiveled to see her in the doorway staring wide-eyed at the thickening smoke.
Dazog pointed at his sword with his free hand, unable to tell her to bring it to him because he was preoccupied with coughing through the smoke. Nazra still understood, and returned with the heavy blade, dragging it behind her. She handed the hilt to the Orc, who motioned for her to step back. She did so, and Dazog swung mightily to his right, severing the rope that had bound him.
He handed the sword to the Redguard girl, who looked at him in alarm. "What are we going to do, there's no way out!" she cried. Dazog paced over to his armor, putting it on as fast as he could.
"Don't worry, we'll make a way out," he assured her as he buckled his breastplate on. He attached his shield to his waist and made his way back into the hallway. He grabbed the dresser that was blocking the other door and turned it on its side then pushed it on top of the flames. Though it wasn't as wide as he had hoped, the furniture had produced a break in the wall of fire.
He knew it wouldn't take long for the dresser to ignite, so he grabbed his sword from Nazra and sent her over first. Tears streaked down her face amidst sweat as she crossed the pond of fire. A few steps later she was safely on the other side, though the room was quickly filling with smoke, causing her to cough.
Dazog wasted no time in escaping the doomed hallway, and bounded over the drawers in two steps. He caught up with Nazra and hurried her up the stairs, the fire spreading quickly behind them.
The scene upstairs was bad. The first thing Dazog noticed was the elderly Redguard hostess slumped over the bar, her throat slit. Another body sat at a table, slumped back in his chair with stab wounds in his chest. A third laid crumpled on the stairs to the upper floor, a puddle of blood dripping down the steps. By now smoke was seeping up through the floorboards, and the room was filling with its noxious gases.
Just then the front door burst open, and two heavily armored Redguard warriors entered, each wearing a tabard bearing the crest of Dragonstar. City guards. They had heard screams and had come to investigate, entering the inn to find a room full of murdered people, a growing fire, and a monstrous Orc grabbing the hand of a Redguard child.
Dazog knew it looked bad, it was clear it had been Mordryn's doing in an attempt to slow him down, or eliminate him all together. The guards did a quick survey of the room then stared slack-jawed at the Orc, stunned by the scene in front of them. For a long moment Dazog and Nazra stared back, the roar of the fire downstairs growing louder and louder.
Then the floor gave out. The wooden planks over where the fire had started below crumbled, sending a geyser of flame soaring out of the hole into the room. Snapping out of it, Dazog whisked Nazra up in one arm and made a dash for the window. He covered the girl up in his arms and leapt head first, landing on the ground outside hard. He groaned and opened his arms, allowing Nazra to scramble out.
With her help, Dazog got back on his feet, hacking up smoke from his lungs. He glanced back at the window where the room was glowing fiercely within, lighting up the night outside. He heard footsteps as the guards ran towards his exit of choice, prompting the Orc to again scoop up his companion and take off staggering down the street.
He ducked into an alley, dropping the Redguard girl. He buckled onto his knees, gasping for breath. He didn't have anywhere near as much stamina as he used to in his prime. Chest heaving, he peeked back around the corner. Four guards were gathered at a street intersection back the way they came, talking in rushed, excited voices. It was obvious they were looking for him.
The way Dazog saw it, he was probably wanted for three counts of murder, arson, and the kidnapping of a Redguard girl. Being a strange orc in a Redguard city, he knew it would be near impossible to convince them that he was innocent. He watched the guards down the street finish their conversation and split up in different directions. One of them was headed straight for them.
Dazog swore under his breath and turned his attention to finding an escape route. The alley he had selected, however, was a dead end. High walls from the buildings on either side made taking to the rooftops impossible, a task that would be hard for Dazog in his armor anyways. There was nowhere to hide either, the alley was empty save for a few tools such as shovels, a hammer and a few planks of lumber. At the end of the alley was what looked like a cellar door, but it was fixed shut with a heavy lock, and the orc had no idea how to pick it open. Trying to break it open would make too much noise.
Dazog peeked around the corner again. The approaching guard was just a few meters away. He didn't dare fight him in the streets of a foreign city. The orc realized he had no options. If he was caught now, he would be separated from Nazra, and she would be an easy target for the Dark Brotherhood. Even worse, they would probably have him killed in a most dishonorable way, like a criminal.
His worry must have shown on his face, as Nazra began to get uncomfortable and restless as the footsteps grew nearer.
Dazog was still watching the street when he got a tug on his arm. He looked over. Nazra was pulling him into the alley, pointing at something. He turned his gaze over to the cellar door, where there stood a skinny Redguard male, adorned in brown leather armor with a shemagh wrapped around his head. The Redguard was holding the door to the underground open, the sturdy lock located nowhere near where the hole actually opened. A fake lock.
Dazog didn't hesitate. He stood up and pushed Nazra along, who gladly took off down the rickety stairs into the underground. Dazog gave a nod and grunted in appreciation as he passed the mysterious doorman. The Redguard followed closely behind the two, shutting the hatch quietly overhead.
What the orc and the girl saw inside was not what they had expected. It was a giant open cavern carved out of the rock, designed into a large room. The rotting wooden steps they had entered with dropped onto a stone landing, where aged stone stairs continued down into the main chamber. A wooden bar was constructed in one end of the cave stocked with pint glasses and flasks, and behind it were barrels of mead, ale, and beer on tap. Tables were set up in the area around it. Nearby, was a square pit sunken into the ground, where two Redguards in leather armor were sparring with wooden swords and daggers. Across from that were round archery targets constructed from hay, where a lone bowman was calmly practicing his aim. In another corner several beds, cots, and sleeping rolls were set up, and a few people were sleeping there. But the most striking feature of the underground sanctuary was in the center of the room, where there stood a large fountain with a statue of a robed woman.
"Where are we?" Nazra spoke first.
The Redguard that led them through the door smiled.
"Welcome to the Thieves Guild."