The sun rose over the fields of Cyrodiil and its golden rays fell gloriously against a sea of green and crimson. Had it been a few weeks earlier this beautiful region would have been a landmark of remarkable beauty. And yet now it was sullied with the blood of the fallen. Carrion vultures and crows blotted the sky with their dark silhouettes as they looked eagerly to the earth for a bountiful feast. In summer this place would have smelt of wildflowers and grass and other scents of the earth, yet now only blood and rot was in the air. To the North stood the tall giants of the Great Forest. And in the east could be seen the shimmering lake of Rumare set ablaze by the sun that glowed divinely upon it. The field was filled with dead elves and breton alike, and the battle itself did not bode well for either side.
"I don't know if I can truly say I'm happy you're still among us, sell-sword. Never liked your kind." Said a long haired knight atop his horse to a man among the fields. They were among what remained of the Breton forces that survived the battle. "You didn't run though when the battle turned against us. That earns some merit I suppose."
The sell-sword was a man of about thirty still blessed with beauty and youth despite the scars that contradicted such concepts. He had a golden mane that was wavy and fell to his shoulders, and a shadow of a beard speckled gold upon his face. He had been cleaning out a wound of his own with wine from a skin, ripping away a makeshift band of linen from his shirt to cover the wound until a proper healer could see to it. He looked up to the plate armored knight and grinned. "If I aimed to please every man... I would live a long life of broken dreams and empty promises.'
The Knight cackled at the sell-sword's words and nodded in agreement. "Aye, I suppose you would." He looked at the belt and empty scabbard at his side. "I remember you carried quite a nice sword at your side..." He said pausing as if the question that was coming behind it needn't be asked.
"Lost in the battle." He looked around the field of dead and squinted when the sun shown in his eyes the color of cerulean. "Its already been snatched up by now... I could look for days and will have nothing to show for it." He said very casually and yet there was no hiding the slight glimpse of disappointment in his eyes. That sword was as much apart of him as his hands or hair.
"A shame. But you likely have the right of it." The knight pulled a wine-skin of his own and lifted it to his lips. The deep red liquid poured down the sides of his cheek and into his black beard which he did not bother to wipe away with bloodied chain mail covered arms. "Our forces will be falling back to the Black Road. With the Nords pushing the other side of the Great Forest we have no choice but to rally our troops and reinforce our ranks... we can't afford to fight a two-fronted war." He paused for a moment looking over the lake before looking towards the sell-sword once more. "You called yourself Haydyn, aye?"
The sell-sword nodded.
"You and your band stayed when we took the shit of it..." For perhaps the very first time, he had respect in his eyes towards the sell sword. "You've fulfilled your contract... I reckon you'll sign another for the next campaign or you'll go do what ever it is your sort do. Its concerns me little." The man seemed to size Haydyn up as he awaited a response.
"Its been two years since I've seen High Rock... I'm sure I'll find my way South again given enough time." He rubbed his hands together and dug his thumbs against the dry blood that was caked upon them. "... for now, my mission is home."
The Knight nodded to him, and though he would not be joining the next campaign southward he could not fault a man for desiring to return home. In some way, it was his very own mission. There was something that the knight admired about this particular sell sword. Enough that the man of noble rank would go so far to question him:
"And what awaits you there?"
The sell sword smiled flashing the knight pearly whites that showed a genuine lighthearted nature. Perhaps the thought of home was enough to wash away the trials he had endured over the past few nights. "All the things the heart desires."
At Haydyn' response the knight grinned in turn and he nodded his head to him as a show of respect. "Then until we meet again, sell sword... may the eight keep you forever in their light."
Haydyn nodded to the Knight in turn as the man donned on his helm and turn to return to the battle camp. "And you as well."
When Haydyn was alone he looked over the field of fallen foes and comrades once more and stayed there silently whispering a quiet prayer, closing his eyes for a moment as he did so. And like that, he had sealed all business there. His hand went to rest upon the hilt of his sword out of habbit and he scowled a bit at nothing in particular when he remembered it was not there. Perhaps it was a sign. With the coin he would earn from this battle perhaps it was all he would need to return to Daggerfall and find a plot of land and a peaceful enough place to settle down in. Perhaps, if fate would favor it, he would put the war entirely behind him and his days would be spent tending his hands to the fields and not the sword.
He turned towards the camp after saying his farewells to the fallen. Most of the band of mercenaries he had fought with over the past two years were dead or deserted by now. Only a few remained to finish the contract, and now only he remained. The life of a sell sword was a flip of a coin. You were as likely to lose everything as you were to gain fortune. And the odds of the coin landing in his favor were now to slim to his liking. He knew better than to test his luck one final time. He was almost certain it would be his last. He walked off into the distance to gather his belongings from the camp and make preparations for the long journey to Daggerfall.
-TO BE CONTINUED-