(( I Haven't really written anything in about a solid year, but ever since hearing about TESO and this lovely site, I thought I'd get working on a character to RP. So here is my Redguard, Raziel N'Jara.
Any critiques or comments are more than welcome! ))
The sun was beginning to set, its scorching rays of unforgiving light that engulfed the Alik’r desert now allowed for the darkness to begin and with it the equally unforgiving cold, which would snatch the life of the unsuspecting as quickly as the heat of the day.
The man peered into that sky, head lolling to the side as his breath came in a low rasp. His desert garb lay ravaged upon his body as blood streamed from untold number of wounds, the largest being a diagonal gash along his left cheek which ended just barely above the corner of his mouth. It was not the cloudless sky with its colors of a beautiful sunset, or the stars that began to peek from behind the veil that held them prisoner during the day that kept his one eyed gaze, no, it was the graceful flight of his one and only true friend that circled above him.
The small falcon circled, wings tilting as her body rose and fell on the cooling winds, before turning abruptly and gracefully diving, her wings extended to their fullest potential as she gained speed. Finally with the smooth flick of her small but powerful wings, she drew herself upright and landed softly upon the man’s chest, her head turned as the sharpness of her eyes focused on his bloodied and grimy face.
“..To fly free like you, Aislin, that is the only thing I ever wished in all my days upon these blessed lands.” The dark skinned Redguard spoke, his voice barely above a whisper as he gazed upon his companion’s white and brown feathers, hardly noticing the graze of her sharp talons as she shifted upon his chest. “..Now I lay..My deed done..And my soul..laid..Bare before..The Gods… to… take..” Slowly closing his eyes he allowed his head to turn and laid his uninjured cheek against the cooling sands, his breathing slowing.
“Your bird will lead us to the prize today, boy.” The older man spoke, looking over to the younger man and his falcon. “..And with it our fortune along with yours shall be praised!” Leaning down to pat the side of his horse’s neck and ruffle its mane, he frowned at the lack of response. “..What was your name again, boy?”
The younger man sat atop his own darker and smaller horse, turning his one-eyed gaze to the older man, leader of the four others who quietly waited around them. Their steady eye,s peering above crimson veils that snaked from their turbans ,stared across the harsh dunes surrounding their cliff top perch. “..Raziel..N’jara, Sir Al-Hasum.” The young man finally spoke from behind his own dark grey veil. With a bow of his head he turned his single amber colored eye to the hooded falcon resting upon his leather clad forearm. “..I only hope that Aislin will be able to find the caravan of goods you seek, quickly.”
A few of the other men focused on him, their hidden grins growing before returning to their whispered conversation as Al-Hasum barked out a short laugh and nodded. “Of course, boy! Of course! I have faith in the time and promises we gave you..You are a man of your own honor, yes?” His eyes narrowed as his exposed smile grew, never quite touching his hard and cynical eyes. Al-Hasum’s clothing matched his men’s own crimson garb except for the notable markings of a man who saw himself as noble, no matter how much his blood may lack. In place of the dull, marked chainmail that the band wore over their light crimson clothing, Al-Husam’s wore a shirt of gold plated links, which shone brightly in the blistering sun. His neck was overlaid with gold chains, and jewel studded bracers burdened his arms.
Raziel looked away from his falcon, Aislin, to peer into the crude eyes of his employer. Despite the desert heat, a chill began to run down his spine, as he nodded slowly and replied “..I am.” Al-Husam nodded, with his cold smile transforming into an even colder smirk, and began speaking to the man on his other side. Raziel allowed himself to look over the dunes, as he reached up with his free hand to tighten the tattered cloth that covered half his face. With a deep frown, he noted the uneasy feeling in his gut tighten even more than it had when this band had plucked him up from the side of the road months prior. They had fed him, clothed him in the worn but sturdy grey garb he wore today, and promised him a share of fortune, all in exchange for his falcon’s watchful gaze and his own tracking ability.
For the past many moons and suns, the young Redguard had ridden among the band of what he could only deem bandits, tracking and scouting the harsh dunes of the Alik’r, but still they told him nothing more than Al-Husam deemed necessary . Following previous attacks upon caravans he had found for them, he had always found himself pulled aside for a quiet conversation with Al-Husam. It was for the aid of their people, Al-Husam always told him, they took only from those that could fight and no innocents were ever truly harmed. After reassuring Raziel, the old man would remind him that he was bound by his own honor to remain, and quickly pay off the young Redguard with a small bag of coin.
Today, however, was different. Raziel had scouted out the caravan that Al-Husam and his men wished to conquer. With his own eyes, he had seen cages full of the lost and captured people, slaves for the black-market. Silently the young man sat atop his horse and thought, his frown only deepening as he tried to place what fortune a man of honor, like Al-Husam claimed to be, could hope receive in this attack. “..Perhaps the old man only wishes to set them free and claim whatever coin the slavers hold?” He mumbled to Aislin, in a voice too low to be caught by the men surrounding him.
He focused his steady gaze on the desert below in silence until the heavy hand of Al-Husam stirred him from his thoughts. “It is time, boy! Show us the way to our glory and fortune for we shall save many this day!” Raziel grinned at that and nodded, though hearing the sudden uncontrolled laughter of the other members of the band caused his brows to furrow. Ignoring the even tighter knot in his stomach, he bent his head to murmur to Aislin as he loosened her hood. “..Guide me with your sight, friend..” Moving his free hand to his horse’s reins and hefting Aislin into the air he called. “..Take me there!”
The falcon took flight, circling the band of men slowly, before diverting her path with grace. She flew into the clear sky of the early morning, followed by clouds of sand and dust. Al-Husam and his charging men, lifted their battle shouts to the sky and their gleamed against the burning sun.
“No! You will not!” Raziel splayed his arms wide as he stood in front of the fully occupied cage wagon, his one-eyed gaze as hard as his tone. “..You told me you only wished to harm those that could fight! That you left the innocents alone!” Lifting his hand to rip away the tattered cloth that covered his face, Raziel starred unyielding into the face of the laughing Al-Husam.
“..This.” The bandit lord gestured to the filled cages of half-starved and frightened slaves. “Is our fortune, boy!” Glancing to the pair of men on either side of him, he continued with that false smile of his. “With these slavers dead, we can claim this route as our own! This is only the beginning and –you- will be there to share in the mass of wealth we will receive!”
“NO!” The younger Redguard shouted as he placed a hand atop the dagger at his belt, his grip tightening along the handle. “..I will not allow you to claim the lives of those who are meant to be free! I will not allow you to sell them into a nightmare that will never end!” Drawing his dagger, Raziel charged Al-Husam only to feel his cheek parting, as one of the bandits slashed a curved blade across his blindside. The sand felt like fire as he fell. Clutching the side of his face, he looked up and focused on the leering grin of Al-Husam.
“A pity, really.” The old man spoke, drawing his own overly ornate blade. His men moved to surround Raziel, the one that had cut him stomping down on his weapon held hand and twisting. “..I did think you had the makings of a great warrior of the sands within you..If only—“ Al-Husam squinted as he cut himself short and knelt in front of Raziel, who’s left hand, still gripping the dagger, slowly began to crack beneath the heavy foot of the bandit pinning it. Slowly, Al-Husam reached out to rip the young Redguard’s collar away. Letting out a cynical laugh, he shook his head and gestured to the Dunmer symbol branded along young man’s chest below his right collar bone. “..So I see! You were a slave yourself, boy!” As he moved to stand, he tilted his head back continuing to laugh long and hard as the other members of the band joined in.
Hot tears streamed down the young man’s face, as he stubbornly continued to hold onto the dagger. The pain of his face and the crushing of his hand mixed with the hurt pride of his past caused the knot in his stomach to explode, and rage to flood his mind. Trembling and gritting his teeth, he dropped his free hand to the hidden dagger along his belt and drew it on the bandit that held down his hand. The blade lashed out beneath the leather guard of the bandit’s lower leg, slicing into the tendons along the back of the man’s foot, ruining his leg, and dropping him onto the ground, just as Raziel rolled and used his injured hand to thrust the first dagger into the same downed bandit’s neck.
Al-Husam and his three remaining men starred at the young Redguard in disbelief. Their laughter cut off sharply as they watched Raziel climb unsteadily to his feet, blood streaming down the blindside of his face. The dripping dagger held awkwardly in his crippled left hand, was pointed towards Al-Husam, and his good eye flickered to the other men as he spoke. “..I will free these people this day or die..But not before I kill each one of you, Honor-less Scum!”
He did not accept their praise or allow them to help him as he hoisted his broken and bleeding body atop Al-Husam’s bright colored and agile horse. The bodies of the late employers stretched out dead upon the burning sands. He offered them a lopsided smile and a slight bow of his head as he gripped the reins of horse’s bridal and nudged it forward, towards the desert horizon. Their ragged cheers and calls for him to remain echoed in his ears, as he spurred the horse faster barely keeping his seat atop the speeding animal, until finally he fell atop the burning sand and remained still.
Starring into the sky with a rasp of breath, eyes barely focusing until the sun began to descend and the familiar sight of his falcon could be seen circling him high in the sky. A small smile formed as he continued to watch her pivot and turn, rise and fall. Only when the sunset gave way to twilight and the stars began to shine, did the falcon descend to land upon his blood soaked chest, listening to him as he spoke.
“..To fly free like you, Aislin, that is the only thing I ever wished in all my days upon these blessed lands.”Raziel’s was voice barely above a whisper as he gazed upon his companion’s white and brown feathers, hardly noticing the graze of her sharp talons as she shifted upon his chest. “..Now I lay..My deed done..And my soul..laid..Bare before..The Gods… to… take.” Slowly closing his eyes he allowed his head to turn and rest his uninjured cheek against the cooling sands, his breathing slowing.
He did not notice Aislin take flight, as the approach of voices and torchlight divided the darkness. Nor did he hear the cries of alarm as the small group of slaves, those he just saved, stumbled upon him once more. He did not feel the strongest of them hoist him up and place him atop a wagon with their sick and injured and still he did not see the morning sun give sight to the village that would save his life.
A few days would pass before Raziel N’jara opened his eyes to see an elder woman soak a small rag in water and place it over his forehead. Her smile was full of kindness as she lifted her aged and trembling hand, where the scars of recent captivity could be plainly seen. Leaning forward she whispered in a shaky mumble of a voice. “The Gods praise you, young one. Rest and be safe.”