Part One- Busted
I’ve spent the last few years making my way through Cyrodiil from my home in Valenwood. I’m what you’d call a mercenary, I guess. I go from town to town, collecting bounties and playing good little errand girl for different villagers. It isn’t as terrible as I make it sound, honestly. Plus, most of it pays nice money. I’m doing it for my family. Our farm was wrecked by skeevers a while back, our house and plants pretty much completely destroyed.
In a way, it was a blessing in disguise. I’d never tell my parents this, but I hate farm life. Adventure is way better for me. I’ve always craved danger and excitement, not harvesting potatoes. When the farm was destroyed, we had no income influx. My brother, Myriil, was only ten at the time, so it was left to me. Papa was too old, plus the farm is mainly his responsibility. Mama and Papa were besides themselves, having me go, but they knew there was no other choice.
At the time, Cyrodiil looked to present more opportunities than local Valenwood, so that’s where I headed. The people were definitely different than I was used to, but they weren’t as terrible to me as I expected. I am an elf after all, but everyone in Tamriel has different views on elves. Of course, being a wood elf, everyone assumed that I was a thief at first. After time, the people grew to trust me, and I made a bit of a name for myself. First in Anvil, then in Kvatch, then Skingrad, and so on. Need something done? “Ask Dala.” That’s what people would say. I’ve even helped out at the Imperial City a few times.
As I earned money, I’d set some aside for myself to survive, then I’d courier a good portion home to Mama, Papa, and Myriil. In some ways, it was tough being away, but I was happy. I wrote them letters, which I sent along with the money, and they wrote back on occasion. Of course I planned to go home eventually, but the constant adventures and duties kept me away.
The past few months, I’ve been staying at the inn in Bruma, taking bounties for giants and bandits. I’ll admit, the people had a right to be weary. If I wanted to steal all of their stuff, I could. I didn’t survive countless giants and bandits by being loud, clumsy, and stupid. Stealth is my number one strength. I’m stronger with a bow then I am with a sword, but that’s usually the case with wood elves. I don’t steal, though. At least not from the townspeople. But from dead bandits? Sure.
I wake up and sort through my bounties, organizing them in the order I plan to complete them. I don my leather armor and sling my hunting bow across the quiver on my back, my steel sword dangling from its sheath on my hip. I’ve always dreamed of having an ebony bow and sword, but they’re just that- a dream. I leave some of my less important things in the chest of my room and set out for the day, sweetroll in hand for breakfast.
It’s a long, dangerous day filled mostly with bounties for giants, and one for a bear. I won’t lie- I’m beaten and bloodied by nightfall, and stupidly enough, I have no idea where I am. The bears location was further out than I had thought, and after nearly being knocked out by a swipe to the head (I managed to drive my blade into it’s chest a moment later, otherwise I’d be very dead right now) I’m not exactly sure which direction Bruma is.
I drink two minor health potions and sit in a tree to gather my bearings (ha-ha bearings, I know). My pockets are filled with giant toes, bear claws, and some really nasty smelling mammoth cheese, I just have to get back to Bruma and deliver them to the alchemist for the bounty money. I could camp out overnight in the tree, but I don’t trust that another bear, or maybe a sabre cat will come along, so I climb carefully down and head- to what I assume- is south.
An hour later, I know I’ve messed up. I look up, stunned at what I’m seeing. The sky is more blue and green than I’ve ever seen it, and the moon looks enormous, peeking out from behind the tall trees. It’s the most breathtaking sight I’ve ever seen… Definitely nothing like I’ve seen in Cyrodiil, so I know I messed up somewhere.
I don’t panic, because it really isn’t that big of deal, I just took a wrong turn somewhere… Or so I think. Moments later, there are three men in red and brown uniforms rushing at me with their swords drawn. I raise my own out of instinct and hear “Citizen, this is official Imperial business! Step away!” But they keep rushing at me, so I swing a few times. A blow comes to the back of my skull and everything goes black.
I wake to the feeling of being jostled back and forth. I try to rub my eyes open, but I find my hands are restricted. I work my eyes open slowly, squinting against the daylight.
“Hey you,” I hear. “You’re finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there.” I look across to the blond man who is speaking, his hands tied similarly in front of him, dressed in blue and gray. After glancing around me a bit more, I see two other men are in the carriage with us. We’re all bound, and the man to my right has a gag over his mouth.
I’d tuned out most of their conversation thus far, but I hear “Ulfric” and a growl, so it seems important and I try to pay attention, even though my head is throbbing. Doesn’t Ulfric have something to do with the Skyrim Civil War? I’d heard something about it before, but honestly, you don’t get much for current events news in Cyrodiil. I consider saying something, but the men on the other side of the carriage are busy bitching back and forth, so I stay quiet, observing my surroundings.
There are carriages ahead and behind us, and it seems like we’re heading for a town. This is all so strange, what’s going on? Trying to cross the border? I wasn’t trying to cross any border, I was just trying to get back to Bruma. And what border? Having been lost in my own thoughts, I barely realized we’ve come to a stop. I hear the villagers telling their children to go inside.
I see a lot of other bound men dressed in blue and gray, along with men like the ones who attacked me- wearing red and brown. I hear “Imperial bastards” being mumbled from all around.
“Why are we stopping?” I hear the whiny man from my carriage say in a stressed out voice. Lokir, I think his name is…
“Why do you think? End of the line.” The blond man replies. That’s when I look through the crowd of people and see the headman’s block, with the headman standing next to it, huge axe in hand. My heart rate doubles… Surely, they can’t execute me, right? I was only hear by chance, dumb luck! This is the first time I realize that I don’t have any of my things, I’m only clad in a roughspun tunic and footwraps. I guess you don’t need worldly possessions when you’re about to lose your head…
Moments later, Lokir is dead, having tried to run for his life. Ralof walks off to the crowd of bound men, and that leaves me next. I step forward in front of a woman in thick, shiny armor and a red headed man, whose face scrunches as he looks down at his list.
Read the next part!: Amidala Sunsmuggler: Part Two- Keeping My Head