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Elder Scrolls: The Great Heist (Closed)

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Cheye
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Elder Scrolls: The Great Heist (Closed)

Postby Cheye » Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:50 pm

Elder Scrolls: The Great Heist

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In the foothills of the Valus Mountains, a conspiracy stirs. A group of thieves plot a heist that could shake the foundations of Tamriel itself.

Not since the days of the Grey Fox has anyone successfully broken into the Imperial Palace, but now as the Empire stands on the verge of collapse, facing rebellions and civil war in the provinces and an invigorated Aldmeri Dominion to the south, a slither of an opportunity presents itself for those who are bold or perhaps mad enough to strike at its heart.

At the ruins of Kemen, these opportunists put the final touches on a plan they have spent months devising. A plan that will see them rob from the Imperial Treasury, home to the Empire’s gold reserves, secured in the belly of the White-Gold Tower. More than this though, the conspirators hope to stir up tension with the Thalmor and steal something even more precious to the Empire than gold. But for what purpose remains to be seen…


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is a closed Elder Scrolls RP for the nations of Latica, the characters and plot of which have been agreed collaboratively. This thread will NOT be used for OOC posts.

As an aside this RP may contain some themes that could be considered adult in nature, including mild sexual references, violence and gore in keeping with the Elder Scrolls universe. We do understand the wider NationStates forum rules and will ensure that any posts containing such themes are not in breach them. Also, in case there was any doubt, we do not own the Elder Scrolls franchise, Bethesda do. If you have any questions about the content of this RP please TG myself or Sarrin.

Map of the Imperial City:
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Cheye
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Postby Cheye » Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:12 pm

Talos - Outside Kemen - Day -1: 05:30

As the sun rose over the Valus Mountains, Severus Vardan let out a weary sigh. All the planning, the long nights spent studying schematics, maps and protocols had all led to this point. The point of no return.

He rose from the comfy bedroll, and pulled back the tent flap. He hated sleeping in a tent like some common bandit, he much preferred the sanctuary of his chambers in the Ayleid ruin below. But not last night, last night was special. The night before things would become irreversible.

His eyes drifted to the cool azure mountain pool nearby, a waterfall gently poured fresh water from the heights of Valus down into it. The dunmer bathing naked in the pool also caught his eye. She was beautiful, Severus thought.

In an ideal world they would have met under different circumstances. Him the up-and-coming imperial politician, her the charming and seductive heiress of one of the foremost Great Houses of Morrowind. It was the sort of union the bards might write about. But as it were, if anyone were to write about this union, it wouldn’t be a romance story…

The dunmer must have felt his eyes lingering on her body. She turned away from the waterfall and looked up towards the tent. Droplets of mountain water shimmering across her bare chest. After a few moments, she blew him a kiss, before turning away again and climbing out of the pool. He watched her body flex and contort as she did so.

She was beautiful. But so was what was behind her.

The colossal spire of the White-Gold Tower was visible even from up here on the border of Cyrodiil. Within its structure, the offices of state for the entire Empire were housed. The Elder Council Chamber, the Emperor’s Quarters, barracks for both the Imperial Legion and Penitus Oculatus, suites of rooms for imperial dignitaries and their staff, the Imperial Battlemage, the old Elder Scroll Library and of course, the newly-renovated Imperial Treasury. The ultimate prize.

As the dunmer beauty finished donning her armour, she shot him another long look before disappearing down through the hills below the pool. And that meant the time was here. Things had become truly irreversible.

Severus felt a flutter of nerves rise up inside him. His Dibella was taking her place in the pantheon.

After a long moment, in which he just stood there staring at the place where she had been and slowly calming himself, he dressed quickly. Despite his seat on the Elder Council, he was a man of humble Colovian stock, and he liked his dress to reflect that, only his council amulet, that he had had embossed onto a heavy gold chain marked him out as someone of any significance.

He took a small dirt path down the hillside and disappeared into the entrance of the Ayleid ruin below, clicking his fingers intermittently as he went to light the torches that adorned the walls with magical white fire.

Eventually Severus reached his inner sanctum. A large wall filled with those very same schematics, maps and protocols he had spent so much time studying dominated the space. An incredibly detailed map of the Imperial City carved into the wall at its center. He splayed both hands before the wall, holding back but a single finger. Nine balls of light, each a slightly different colour, shot from his fingertips.

“Objective One.” He stated clearly, his voice echoing around the chamber.

The balls of light fluttered and then danced into various positions around the carving. Two darted to the center of the map, to the circle that represented the White-Gold Tower, hovering atop it. A third joined them hovering nearby, but not quite atop the tower itself. Four more flew to the westernmost quadrant of the Imperial City, the Septim District, two lights hovering at its center, while the other two pressed its outer edge. Another light, this one bright red, hovered around the outer section of the city’s carving, unable to find its place. With a fingertip, Severus guided it towards the top right corner, just outside the edge of the city itself.

It would not be long before his pantheon would be arrayed in those very positions, ready to complete their first objectives.

Of course there was a final light. The dimmest light of them all hovered far from the map of the Imperial City. The light that represented him. For he was Talos, Man amongst gods. Not quite one of them, but not quite separate from the pantheon either.

It was in that moment, reflecting upon everything he had planned that an uncontrollable grin spread across his face. He realised; despite all their differences, come success or failure, his fate would be the same as theirs. And that thought exhilarated him...
Last edited by Cheye on Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sarrin
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Postby Sarrin » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:06 am

Kynareth - Septim District - Day 0: 09:55

“This used to be the Talos Plaza! A place dedicated to OUR god, OUR achievements, OUR pride. Where did that pride go? HIS kind took it from us!” Kynareth shouted at the Thalmor opposite her. The plinth between them now devoid of its once great Talos statue leaving in place an emptiness that spoke louder than the god that once held its place. This wasn’t the first time she’d turned heads against the Aldmeri, be it at the besieged walls of Hammerfell or the common towns of Skyrim she had made a name for herself in the right circles. It was little surprise that she had been chosen, even less so when she had found out who else was recruited.

“Silence! Say that again, and I’ll haul you off to the dungeons myself.” The Thalmor guard outside the embassy drew his elven mace and took a step towards her. His shimmering gold armour resplendent in the morning light.

“Talos the mighty! Talos the unerring! Talos the unassailable! To you we give praise! To you we turn in our hour of need.” She called to the skies stepping onto the plinth as she spoke rallying more and more commers around her. She lowered her gaze towards the people her amber eyes sparkling with a zealous further “The cowards of the council turned their back on Talos, but we do not!” She pointed her eyes at the guard “Tell me Altmer, who granted you the right to defy a god? Dagon!? Molag!? Another of your daedric masters?”

“She’s right!” One of a trio of nords called from among the growing ensemble. There were murmurs, some of fear, some of quiet agreement.

“I’m not going to tell you again.” The guard sneered, taking another step closer. “You say another word at your peril, Breton.”

“Or what?” She sneered at the guard before turning back to the crowd “Watch as the Thalmor use their age-old tool of fear against us. Tell me Altmer, what do you say of Hammerfell, of those who repelled attack after attack into their deserts, or the brave nords in Skyrim who cast down their puppet king with the power of the thu’um! You ask me to fear you? You’re people are already crumbling beneath their high towers!” As she finished she released her clench fist towards the guard revealing wrapped around her finger a necklace bearing Talos’ sigil.

The crowd gasped as it hung in the air shining by the magic she etched into it. “Talos is with us!” A voice cried out turning the heads of the few who as of yet had sought to keep their heads down amidst the chaos.

“She speaks the truth!” Another followed, this time closer to the Altmer himself.

The guard moved to step forward again, then thought better of it. He turned, calling back towards the embassy. “HERETICS!” He shouted, though this was an instruction, not an insult.

After a few seconds, the gates to the Thalmor Embassy swung open, and four equally armed and armored justiciars emerged, a robed officer at their centre.

“I am only going to say this once…” The robed Thalmor Justiciar hissed as the five arranged themselves in a line beside the guard. As he spoke, arrogance dripped from his voice with every syllable; “...Stand down, cease this incessant racket and you, Breton; come with us. Or we will be forced to use violence. You have been warned.”

“There once more, force is used where the Altmer has no skill of speech! They fear challenge as they know they are wrong, that their gods abandoned them long ago! To think they would be forced to use violence! Just as they were forced to enslave the Khajiit and break the Bosmer!” her voice exploded with a fire as she spoke locking eyes with an old bosmer in the audience whose eyes carried a heavy weight. She could always count on a refugee from the Dominion’s wars, just as one could expect a dunmer fleeing the eruption.

“Very well.” The Justiciar scoffed, and lightning shot from his fingertips, a precise blast into the amulet of Talos that shattered it instantly, reducing it to dust in her hands.

There were gasps from the crowd, then one of the Nords audibly growled, his two kinsmen reaching for their weapons.

“As per the White-Gold Concordat, you have committed heresy, the sentence for which is death. Any who try to defend you are guilty of the same crime, and will meet the same fate.” In unison, the line of Thalmor soldiers drew their weapons, the sound of metal-on-metal, as their blades uniformly cleared their sheaths leaving a pleasing ring in the air as they stepped forwards. “Bring her to me!” The robed Justiciar yelled, and they made their way towards the gathering mob that grouped around her.

A line of radiant gold fire struck between the mob and the Altmer, stopping them in their tracks by the sweep of the Breton's hand. “Mer make the moral code and they expect men to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for mer to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for men to fight for theirs.” She gestured to the plinth below her “The only heresy I see is the emptiness of the plinth upon which I stand, and if these ‘High Elves’ wish to use their tired force against us?” A scimitar aparated into her rising hand, it’s point appearing as she levelled it towards the justicar; “They will have to choose between giving us our freedom or giving us their deaths!”

As the last word left her lips the fire cleared between them, revealing the altmer just in time for the old bosmer to launch himself towards a guard thrusting an old Elven dagger into his breastplate with a righteous fury.

The trio of Nords gave a hearty battlecry and rushed forward to defend the Bosmer as another justiciar swung his sword down with a blow that would have decapitated the diminutive wood elf were it not for their intervention. After using the pommel of his nordic axe to deflect the blow, the foremost nord headbutted the justiciar, staggering him backwards, as the other two nords pressed their weapons up to defend the crowd. “You want her, you have to go through us!” He cried.

“Gladly.” Came a retort from one of the other armoured justiciars, swinging his blade wildly as his stabbed comrade staggered backwards behind the line, before collapsing from the blood-loss.

The hooded justiciar stayed silent. He kept his eyes on the Breton. Another demonstrator, an imperial, threw a rock that bounced off his shoulder. Then another, larger rock hit the elf in front of him on the torso, clanging against his armour.

“This is turning into a riot.” One of the justiciars muttered. Sure enough, more and more passers-by were joining the crowd.

“We don’t have enough men in the embassy to contain this.” The hooded justiciar nodded. “Hold the line. I’m going to the legion.”

“But sir…”

“Do not let them breach the embassy soldier, that is an order.”

“Look how they flee at the sign of trouble, to arms brothers! You have nothing to lose but your White-Gold chains!” Kynareth cried as she descended from the plinth into the mobilising horde, her eyes fixed on the hooded Justicar as he swiftly skirted the edge of the crowd and made his departure.

The crowd buzzed in fury at her words, their elan reinforced by the subtle incantations she made under her breath as she allowed the crowd to take control of their activity. This was her favourite part, the first spark that ignited the fire of revolution, but Cyrodil wasn’t ready to repel the Dominion yet. As the crowd descended onto the Altmer line striking makeshift weapons and tools against their wards she channeled her magica into a new spell. And as quick as she had appeared. She had gone.
Last edited by Sarrin on Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Cheye
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Postby Cheye » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:09 pm

Dibella - Outside the Imperial City - Day 0: 09:58

“Seriously?” The watchman, an imperial who had given his name as Volo, grinned.

“Absolutely, sir.” The dunmer replied, brushing her lips close to his face as her fingertips ran across the steel of his helmet. “It's been a while since anyone took the time to train me in one handed fighting… I think I’m getting rusty.”

“I… Well… We, we can’t have that.” Volo exhaled.

“So how about it? Will you give me a one handed lesson?” The elf audibly stifled her giggle.

“I… could… Later of course, after my shift finishes.”

“Later?” Burgundy eyes flashed her disappointment. “But what if I get into trouble in the meantime?…”

“I’m afraid I have to guard the bridge, miss.” He nodded hesitantly.

“Really?” She pouted, removing her roaming fingers from his helm and resting her palm against the city wall behind him, her netch leather corset pushing her chest upwards in front of him as she stretched out.

Volo spent a long time looking at it, before he cleared his throat and tried to explain; “There are only four entrances to the Imperial City.” She shifted again. “And ughh... this entrance connects the city to the prison district and the Bastion Fort… Or errr… ‘Fort Legion’ as some people call it, on account that its the main base of the Imperial Legion in the capital.” He exhaled, looking back into her red eyes for a moment before pointing to the bridge behind her. “Now you see, if we were to come under attack, that bridge there linking the fort to the city is the most important strategic link for getting legionnaires into the city… And I am the one who has been assigned to guard it.”

“That’s very impressive.” The dunmer smiled innocently.

He nodded, pleased with himself.

“So I can meet you for a… lesson… after my shift finishes.”

She rolled her eyes and gently waved the hand that rested on the wall over his shoulder. A green aura pulsed from it, washing over his helmeted head.

“Please sir, can I have my lesson now?” She muttered into his ear.

He breathed in her scent as she leaned close, the green aura pulsating around his nose and mouth, enhancing his senses, making him just that little bit more pliable. “Of course… Where do you want it?”

“I’m staying at the All Saints Tavern.” She smiled. “How about you head over there and… get things set up? I’ll be along shortly.”

“Absolutely… I can’t wait.” He grinned, casting a single nervous look around to see if anyone would notice him abandon his post before setting off at a jog through the gate to their left and making for the Temple District on the far side of the city.

A subtle flick of her wrist caused the gate to shut behind him, as if blown by the wind, and she stepped away from the wall, walking confidently out onto the long bridge.

Volo was right about it connecting the city and the fort. And Talos was right about the fact that the legionnaires who guarded the fort’s entrance at the other end would currently be otherwise distracted. Sure enough, a wagon was being loaded full of prisoners just beyond the fort’s gates, and both the legionnaires guarding them were looking the other way, making sure the convicts didn’t dare to run for the gates, and the bridge beyond, in a last ditch attempt at freedom. According to Talos, such escape attempts were common.

“Objective one...” She muttered under her breath, as she continued advancing across the bridge. Beneath her a vast ditch had opened up, and she tried not to look over the edge. “It felt a lot less high up when we were practicing in the ruin. Funny that.” She continued muttering, before coming to a halt at the centre of the bridge.

The dunmer raised her arms. Checked to make sure the guards still weren’t watching, and then, as they began to crackle with burning magical energy, brought her arms down and splayed her fingertips in the direction of the bridge in a single fluid motion.

Frost poured from her hands, coating the stone beneath her. She closed her eyes, focusing her breathing as she enlarged the spell. Frost became ice, hardening around the centre of the bridge as the cold tendrils of her spell pierced around the sides and the underneath of the stone structure. Without ceasing the spray of cold magical energy, she pointed one hand out in front of her, towards the other end of the bridge, and stretched the other out behind, towards the side she had come from.

Her breathing grew heavier, but her concentration remained unaffected as the frost snaked its way from where she stood at the centre of the bridge to each end, hardening into thicker and thicker ice as she continued her intense magical feat.

When Talos had suggested freezing the bridge, she had doubts, but as he had said, this was the only way it could be done quietly and efficiently. Her preference, which would have been to use atronachs to smash the bridge to pieces, would have placed her at risk. Mara’s fireball idea would have been fun to try, but there would have been too many questions; the legionnaires would know they were under attack before the heist had even begun. But this way, Talos’s way, was subtle and effective, just like him really.

The legion would never know exactly how their bridge into the city had suddenly just crumbled away.

She forced an eye open as the ice continued to harden, and sure enough the two legionnaires up ahead still kept their backs to her, concentrating on the prisoners climbing into the wagon in the Bastion Courtyard. They remained unaware of her silent work. She closed her eye once more and bit back a groan as the magic began to take its toll on her.

The bridge was completely coated in ice now, not just all around it, but within the very cracks of the stone that held it together. The dunmer exhaled as she let her right hand go limp, maintaining but a small fraction of the spell with her left hand, which she blindly twisted before her to fashion a small ice sculpture that rose up from the centre of the bridge.

She cut the spell.

Opening her eyes, she panted and wiped sweat from her brow. Then she took a quick look around at her handiwork. It was perfect, the bridge was frozen to its core. Then her burgundy eyes locked on the small sculpture; an arm that ended in a fist, the icy fingers of which were curled around an almost glass-like snake. Her favourite symbol.

She was quite impressed with how the symbol had turned out, given she hadn’t been able to physically see it as she had willed it into existence. It was just a shame no one else would ever see it. It was a signature for her and her alone.

She sighed, collecting herself. Before checking the guards were still distracted…

“Molag’s balls.” She spat, as she realised the prison wagon had been fully loaded, and the driver was preparing to set off. The two guards at the fort’s gates were about to turn back towards the frozen bridge and to her.

She channelled her magic again and slammed her palm down on top of the icy fist.

Nothing happened. She could see the guards begin to turn. She closed her eyes knowing that in two or three seconds they would spot her. Then she felt it. The rupture from within. The ice exploded from the ends inwards, sending chunks of ice and stone flying in all directions as the bridge hastily collapsed.

Her cloaking spell went up a fraction before her ward did, and as the icy stone shattered beneath her feet, she allowed herself to fall backwards, invisibly gliding down into the vast empty space below that now rained with chunks of rock and ice.

“By the Emperor!” One of the legionnaires at the fort’s gate called out.

It was the last thing Dibella heard before hitting the ground.

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Sarrin
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Postby Sarrin » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:14 am

Julianos - Imperial City Gatehouse - Day 0 - 10:08

The guardhouse had been scrubbed up nicely within the hour’s notice that the legionnaires within had been given. The tables had been swept clean and surplus arms and shields had been stored away, while the guards had polished and donned their full suits of armour. A dunmer legionnaire stood by the levers that operated the portcullis and the large metal weights that opened and closed the gates to the Imperial City itself. He wore an expression of relief that his demonstration had gone smoothly and that they had not met any issues. Another Argonian legionnaire stood by the ladder to the barracks upstairs ready to knock the wooden posts that held it together as a warning in case their guest of honour sought to view the rest of the gatehouse.

At their core Captain Rosard stood in his shimmering armour, greeting the Alik'r general and his orsimer bodyguard as they stepped into the building. They were a strange duo, the General’s iconic attire matching well with the white of his hair and right eye. The Captain had made a note not to comment on it as per his brief, though he and all his soldiers now had each glanced at the deep scar that surrounded the blind eye when they thought the Redguard wasn’t looking. Whether he was aware of their actions was unclear, but the ruby tipped pommel of his scimitar hanging from his waist had not left his hand as he walked, even after the spear-turned-walking-stick had been set down against a wall.

Beside him, the towering orc was an intimidating sight, even for these fully trained legionnaires. He wore a leather imperial uniform that didn’t quite fit, though it was hard to imagine that the legion had ever made uniforms that big, the orc’s incredible green muscles poked out of the leather at every available opportunity. The tribal white face paint and the pair of human skulls strapped to the orc’s belt told of some uncivilised proclivities the legion didn’t normally tolerate, but if this orc was a bodyguard in service to this foreign general, who knew what manner of liberties he had gotten used to getting away with? Captain Rosard certainly had no desire to challenge the brute on it.

“So you see sir, our defences are up the latest technological standards and as you saw from the drill this morning we are not cutting any corners on the quality of our melee.” Captain Rosard was cautious as he spoke, when he had been told he was showing a foreign dignitary around for the Captain of the Watch he thought it might have been a chance at a long-overdue promotion, but neither the General nor his menacing bodyguard had shown any signs of pleasure since their arrival.

“The rest of your guards are upstairs resting?” the Alik'r asked with a dry tone, giving no further hint as to his thoughts.

“Four sleeping and two in the square, each of the stations operates the same ensuring at any time of day we have well rested soldiers.” The Captain gestured to a set of chairs around a table with a jug of water on it, giving a nod of approval to the dunmer as he did that seemed to relax the younger guard.

“You only have one control for each gate?” the Alik’r asked, ignoring the Captain’s gesture as he walked towards the dunmer, finally removing his hand from his scimitar’s pommel to gesture to the levers. His orcish companion remained in place behind the Captain who watched the General nervously, giving another gentle nod to show he could answer.

“Yes sir, controls are based on ancient designs and not easy to modify. Not that we don’t understand how they work, we do it’s just -” The dunmer stopped speaking as he realised he was rambling, squinting away from the Alik’r general for a moment to compose himself.

As Captain Rosard took a breath, a sound echoed from beyond the wall like that of collapsing stone. The Captain looked to the Argonian as if something had been forgotten, eliciting only an equal expression of confusion.

“If you’ll excuse me.” The Captain remarked turning towards the door, before hitting the wall of orcish muscle behind him. He hesitated for a moment before stepping back and walking around the unshifting orc.

“You.” The orc grunted in the direction of the argonian, taking two strides that would have been large for any normal sized creature, but for this brute seemed average, and coming face to face with the argonian at a disconcertingly close distance, he added; “It sounds like you should wake up your friends.”

The Argonian gulped. turning fearfully to his Captain who opened the door just in time for an Imperial Watchman to barge through; “RIOT!” He shouted, taking a moment to catch his breath, before fast footsteps denoted someone else approaching the gatehouse. The winded Watchman turned, just in time to smash a commoner back with his shield.

Rosard’s eyes widened, all his concern about the foreigner’s visit vanishing in the face of a real threat; “TO ARMS!” he shouted, prompting the argonian to smack a signal into the ladder behind him. As if by magic, the trapdoor swung open and four legionnaires in fully-polished plate armour descended.

“Sleeping in armour? How prepared you soldiers are for the unexpected.” The Alik’r muttered dryly to the dunmer who squeezed awkwardly past him to join the soldiers lining up by the wall.

“You two stay here, you’ll be safe behind the door. When it’s safe to evacuate we’ll escort you to the Bastion. Now men we corral and push, whatever happens DO NOT LET THEM HARM THE THALMOR.” The Captain’s voice was firm and as he finished he gestured to the door before the legionnaires marched out taking swords and shields from neatly arranged weapon racks beside them as they moved.

As the last legionnaire left, the Alik’r and his orcish guard glanced at each other “That was easy.” The Redguard remarked.

“They’re worse than the nords.” The orc replied drawing his vicious looking orcish mace as he approached the gatehouse levers.

The Alik’r moved to the side taking a handful of alchemical ingredients from his pocket as he moved to the base of the ladder. “The nords are born warriors, these imperials prefer talking their problems through.”

The orc smashed down on the first lever dropping the bar along the outer gate to seal it shut. “Talking didn’t get me out of Cidhna Mine. Smashing things though...” He quipped as he struck again, dropping another bar down on the inner gate which sealed it shut; “...Smashing things worked fine!” The orc yelled excitedly as he brought the mace down a third time, this time at the base of the levers, ensuring the devices were unable to be reused without repair work, which meant that nobody would be reopening those gates for some time.

The Alik’r chuckled as he assembled the ingredients at the base of the ladder, lighting the end of a long weed that began to slowly burn. “Zenithar. He assigned you Zenithar?” he remarked under his breath as the banging continued.

The orc turned to look at him, an almost pained expression on his face; “Yeah… because I work hard.” He grunted in response, before letting out a roar as he swung the mace back down on the final lever with all his strength, both dropping the large portcullis in between the gates and breaking off the lever itself so that no one could raise it.

With the portcullis jammed down and both gates pinned shut, nothing would be getting into the Septim District from outside the city. Not without a siege.

Zenithar looked back at the Alik’r with a proud smile on his face, before shooting a confused look to his makeshift firestarter beneath the ladder. “What’s that?” He asked, scratching the row of horns on the left side of his forehead.

The Alik’r returned the orc’s smile as he crossed the gatehouse, making for the door; “That... that means it's time to go.”

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Cheye
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Cheye » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:52 pm

Mara - White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 05:11

The nords of Skyrim were a hardy people, Mara thought as she dug the stalhrim spikes on her boot into the smooth stonework for what must have been the eight thousandth time. She pulled herself upwards, placing her weight onto the boot and gripping the straps that held her gauntlet-mounted stalhrim climbing spikes in place. Still, even the toughest nord would have struggled in these circumstances. Wind lashed against her back as the intense altitude continued to bother her.

The stalhrim spikes on her boots and gauntlets were designed to help a nord scale a mountain rock face, not one of the great towers of Tamriel, and there were a few key differences between a mountain rock face and an ancient aleid tower.

Difference number one - mountain rock faces tend not to go on for very long, being a couple hundred metres at their tallest. This tower just kept on going.

Difference number two - mountain rock faces were usually protected from the elements by the bulging rock formations and natural sloping of the mountainsides around them. This tower stood completely out in the open.

Difference number three - Guards don’t tend to patrol around the base of mountain rock faces. Sure, this hadn’t been a problem since they had started climbing the night before, but given how flat the sides of the tower were, for the first few hours of their ascent, all it would have taken was a keen eyed sentry to look up and spot them. That meant they had to do everything really carefully, and carefully meant slowly.

There was a fourth difference, Mara realised, as she continued her climb - mountain rock faces weren’t home to an Empire’s treasure trove. This tower was. And that thought alone would keep her climbing.

She glanced up to where her argonian companion had come to a stop above. An alcove of stone stuck out above them, the uppermost lip of the tower. Finally, she thought, steadily clambering up to draw level with her companion beneath the alcove.

“How are you doing, Arkay?” She asked as the soaring winds threatened to dislodge her perfectly-pinned ponytail.

The dark-scaled argonian turned his head towards her briefly, widening his red eyes as he removed a claw from the alcove ledge to withdraw a vial from his belt and carefully sip it before returning it. “My scales are dry but our trial is near its end. Sithis wills we succeed but the true danger lies beyond.” He turned to look back up before pausing and turning back to her “Is your skin also dry?”

“Drier than it’s been in a long time.” She wasn’t lying, the pre-dawn winds had cracked her lips hours ago. The argonian turned to look back up not understanding the double-entendre or perhaps simply ignoring it.

Mara said nothing further, better to conserve her energy as she dug her spiked gauntlet into the stone alcove above their heads and shook it to ensure it was firmly in place. Then she did the same with the other hand, before pulling her feet clear of the tower below, dangling solely from the thin spikes of stalhrim between her knuckles. Beside her, Mara watched as Arkay did the same, the first light of the morning sun bathing them as they dangled there precariously above the world.

They had already performed this maneuver once, though that had been much lower down. The designers of the White-Gold Tower really hadn’t had acrobatically-inclined thieves in mind when they had built the bulging lips with their alcoves and battlements into it.

Arkay kicked his left leg up and brought his spiked-boots into the stone above, then was able to do the same with his right. Now he was perpendicular to the body of the tower, he was able to draw his spiked gauntlets from the alcove and edge around its lip.

Mara attempted to do the same, but as she swung her first leg up, she felt the stalhrim spikes on her left gauntlet wobble and begin to dislodge, which in turn made her boot-spikes miss the stone above and caused her to momentarily lose her balance, dislodging her left hand’s grip on the stone completely.

She gasped loudly and was about to swear as her right climbing gauntlet began to wobble and shake. She could feel it loosening. She desperately raised her left hand to plant her spikes back into the stone above, but somehow missed, the stalhrim barely scratching the stone surface.

Her right gauntlet buckled, the spikes beginning to slide loose.

A shadow passed over her, coating her in momentary darkness. And then as if by magic, her spikes stabilised.

She quickly threw her left hand back up and found a firmer hold, before swinging her legs up as Arkay had, this time without incident. She exhaled in relief as the spikes held and carried her out away from the tower, rounding its final lip, before bringing her up vertical again next to Arkay.

The two of them were now just mere metres from the tower’s summit. They were the fastest metres of the entire climb. The pair crossed over the battlements atop the tower simultaneously, both collapsing onto their backs as soon as they were over.

Mara panted as they lay there, she could feel the fatigue of their climb in every muscle and bone, and she knew the Argonian lying beside her felt the same as he pulled off his climbing spikes.

Her panted breaths turned to laughter as they lay there; “You know, there have been a couple of times in the last few hours where I really wondered if we were going to make it...” She chuckled, looking over to him.

The argonian followed with a raspy chuckle of his own; “When I drank of the Hist yesterday morning I foresaw a death at the top, I knew it to be myself, you or some unknown other. Apparently my communion was mistaken.” He staggered to his feet, taking a moment to look at the view; “Seeing the gift before us like few others, I am glad.”

Mara bit back a knowing smile at his first comment and allowed herself to continue to laugh for a moment, before pulling herself up with the aid of the battlement and drinking in the astonishing view that surrounded her, the light of dawn now shining down on them.

Looking out over the battlements, she tried to get her bearings. If that was the Throat of the World, she mused, eyeing the largest mountain on the horizon, then beneath it must be Bruma, she tried to spot the town, though the dawn haze made it difficult. Still, she figured she could take a good enough guess as to where it was. Which meant, she could draw her eyes right in a straight line to Cheydinhal, and beyond that Kemen. Sure enough, she recognised some of those Valus Mountain peaks. That meant she was literally looking down on the place they had spent much of the last six months, where they had planned this heist in full. Where Talos was no doubt preparing to put his own first objective into action…

Mara turned, removing her climbing spikes and placing them into her pack, before drawing a small thin object from it that she gripped tightly.

A single door that bore ornate carvings of the Empire’s dragon emblem stood between the battlements. She knew from Talos’s schematics that the doorway led to the Imperial Penthouse, the Emperor’s private suite. A suite that would, of course, be empty. Now they just had to get through the door.

As Arkay continued basking in the view, Mara approached the door, sliding her concealed object into the lock, which unfastened quickly, before she pulled the door open.

“Arkay.” She gestured with a grin towards the doorway, and the narrow staircase behind it. “Would you like the honour of being the first of our little pantheon to enter the White-Gold Tower?”

“You honour me, Mara.” Arkay said, lowering his head in respect before dropping inside the tower without so much as a creak. His dark skin and armour disappeared into the darkness leaving little sign of his safety until the light of a torch appeared from the corner of the stairwell. “We are alone but watch your step, I still fear the death the hist may have sought to forewarn me of.”

“As you say.” Mara nodded respectfully, leaning down to remove her boot spikes and stowing them in her pack with the object she had used to open the door. She dipped into a low crouch as she followed him inside. Carefully shutting the door to the tower’s summit without making a sound.

Together the two pressed on down the spiralling stairwell, down what felt like about four floors worth of stairs before they emerged onto a landing. Together they moved forwards, silently rounding a doorway to the large room beyond. The Imperial Penthouse.

The place was in complete darkness, save for Arkay’s torch. Talos had planned the heist to coincide with when the Emperor was away for many reasons, but for her and Arkay, this was the main one. They would use this suite now to rest. To sleep off their climb and ready themselves for what was to come. It being empty and situated right at the top of the Palace meant that staff wouldn’t even come up to check on it while the Emperor was away. It was a perfect sanctuary for them, for the time being.

Arkay moved quickly to light the various braziers around the suite.

As the place began to light up, Mara caught a glimmer of its splendour. Display cases containing all manner of books, weapons and jewels lined the walls, while ornate imperial banners hung between them. A great and luxurious bed sat against the far wall, dwarfed only by the extensive wardrobes and bookcases that surrounded it, the soft bed sheets themselves bore the imperial insignia. Eyeing the bed and still feeling the aching tiredness from the climb, Mara felt a burning desire to just fall into it.

And why shouldn’t she? The plan relied on them resting now, until the others were ready to cause chaos in the city below. Mara shot Arkay an impish smile as she strode over to the Emperor’s bed.

"Emperor Titus Mede II, I hereby anoint your bed in the name of Lady Mara!" Mara declared, her tone filled with mock piety and sobriety as she kicked off her boots.

The argonian chuckled in response and then watched as she dramatically dived into the bed. His scaly smile was the last thing she saw as her head fell into the cloud-like pillows, her own laughter muffling and coming to a stop before her eyes fluttered shut. Within seconds she was asleep, dreaming of the Evergloam.

Mara - White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 09:32

Her eyes snapped open suddenly. Arkay lay on a bedroll of his own nearby, though the argonian was already awake.

“It’s time, isn’t it?” Mara, wiped her eyes and shook loose her raven hair from its now-dishevelled ponytail.

“It is.” Arkay replied calmly, rising to his feet. “If Talos was correct our prey will be in her private quarters for the next 30 minutes.”

“Let's get moving then.” Mara grinned, her boots already back on her feet as Arkay crossed the room.

Mara left the Emperor’s bed unmade behind her, as both of them disappeared into the shadowy hallway that led further into the palace beyond...
Last edited by Cheye on Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sarrin » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:58 am

Arkay - White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 9:40

The endless flights of stairs climbing the White-Gold Tower were a means of defence in themselves, tiring any would be assailant while the enchanted walls echoed any footsteps and spells rippling against them all the way up the seemingly unending staircase. Fortunately for Arkay and Mara, no one had given a reason for the tower's numerous guards to listen out for anyone descending those same stairs, which allowed their whisper-like steps to pass like wind. When at last they had reached the doorway to the private offices and function rooms of the Emperor the pair had paused to take a breather.

They had studied the schematics of the tower several times. No one should stand between them and the battlemage, but why would the Hist lie? Arkay glanced at Mara again, there was something unclear about his companion. It had been mentioned by his affiliates in the Skyrim Thieves Guild and confirmed during their training for the heist. He squinted his eyes eliciting only a flirtatious smile in response. He closed his eyes and focussed, now was not the time to be distracted by superstition.

As he opened his red eyes, the imperial was already picking the lock on a thick oak door and stepping through into an impressive chamber. Along the walls were a wealth of books on every topic from theology to strategy and complete biographies of every Emperor to sit in the Ruby Throne. At the center of the room was a wide table upon which a heavily detailed map of Tamriel sat marked with figurines for every general, army and cause of concern.

“Champions of Boethiah? Perhaps the rumours are true…” Mara remarked as she lifted a book from the table opening it to a page marked by an ornate bookmark.

“There is much to be learned from the Daedra, not least from the Prince of Treachery.” Arkay replied as he took in his surroundings.

The imperial chuckled, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear as she gestured for the argonian to come fully into the room. He eyed up the walls, this was not what he saw, the Hist showed him outside, there was falling, there was death. He had spent all night reflecting on the scene. It was not here.

He stepped further inside, releasing the bookshelf that concealed the door as it slowly grinded back into place, concealing their entrance and entombing them in the vault of knowledge. He skimmed the walls, pausing at several tomes in recognition of names: A History of Shadowscale Tactics, The Argonian Betrayal. He paused onto the opposite wall where a bust of Uriel Septim VII sat.

“There.” He pointed, distracting Mara from her book as she glanced at the poorly disguised switch.

“Secret passageways hidden behind bookcases!” Mara chuckled, returning the book. “You really would think that after three sieges and an Oblivion Crisis, the Empire might have upgraded their security…” She scoffed. “But no. I guess there’s just no beating a good old secret passage. Just as Talos said.” She rolled her eyes.

“I once met an assassin who spent three months looking for a switch hidden underneath a stone that sat just outside the ruins entrance.” Arkay said dryly as he approached the switch, activating it to allow the shelf to open slowly. He took a deep breath taking a potion from a belt pouch before turning to Mara.

“Three months…” Mara smirked, her voice quieting as the shelf opened revealing the passageway. “I’m guessing the target got away?”

Arkay drank the potion before replying, his voice a melodious whisper as his form slowly disappeared into the world around him and he stepped into the passage. “A scaled wind from the Marsh comes, reaping revenge on slaves' sons, Morag Tong and Dres beware, the sins of your past are laid bare.”

“Ooh… spooky.” Mara quipped as she flashed his disappearing form a grin before gently repositioning the switch and stepping after him through the closing passage. As he turned back to look at her she was already a shadow herself, all traces of her physical form gone in an instant, as the shadows in the passageway seemed to intensify. They pressed on.

There were few steps down to the headquarters below, and the open archway did little to hide the chatter of Penitus Oculatus agents discussing the latest threats. Arkay paused at the entrance, the invisibility potion tingling his scales as he counted his prey. 12 agents. He glanced behind him seeing still no sign of his companion.

“Did you finish that report? I want details on everything the Thalmor did in Anvil, no exceptions.” A nord exclaimed from behind a desk glancing towards where the argonian stood before adjusting his eyesight to a slender breton.

“Waiting on details extracted from our bosmer friend, Inspector.” The breton replied, straightening his posture as he addressed the superior.

Arkay focussed his view on the Inspector. He was a nord, but his distinctive appearance evidently suggested some redgard heritage. His sword handle was modified, slightly curved, and his armour straps had been altered to allow greater maneuverability at the cost of protection. Well built and with a few scars on his face... This man could cause issues.

The argonian gently began moving, his steps timed to those of the soldiers around him as he moved through the command room, wasting no time on the dossiers and documents that surrounded him as he crept forwards. As he descended to the lower levels he passed several doors, the crack of one revealing a handful of sleeping soldiers beginning to awaken. The guards were preparing for the second shift change of the morning, they were on time.

He continued down reaching a mess hall where a cauldron bubbled in the center with flavours of beef, tarragon and potatoes releasing a delicious combination of smells. He hesitated, remembering when such smells would have attracted him, he remembered the sanctuary, his first contract. As if by automation his hand pulled a new capsule from his pocket and poured it into the mixture stepping back towards the door as a large imperial approached the cauldron to add new carrots to the mixture.

As he reached the final staircase, he felt a cool wind against his back.

“I won the race.” The shadow whispered as the argonian felt his own invisibility decay. Perfect timing, he thought.

He replied to the shadow, who he knew to be his youthful colleague; “The fast shellback never learns to endure the snake bites.” He glanced behind him, watching as his companion seemed to aparate from the shadows, he added; “I have altered the formula Talos wished to give our target.”

“Oh?” Mara asked, raising a curious eyebrow towards him.

“Extracts of Hist will ensure her comatose is full of heavy dreams during the initial stages. I believe I may find a book on Namiran sleep drafts within the library to apply later. Between them our prey should be immobilised and uncertain of reality until we are ready to release her.” He took two vials from his waist pocket offering one to her.

“I have prepared two should the situation prevent you from administering the potion. It will require direct consumption either through drink or the vial itself.” He stressed as he studied the features of the young imperial.

“Easy.” Mara replied with her usual tone of casual indifference.

The hist dream flashed to him; was this the death? Would she kill the battlemage? He shut his eyes.

She was gone before he opened them.
Last edited by Sarrin on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Cheye » Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:04 pm

Talos - The Vardan Estate, Cheydinhal - Day 0 - 10:01

Talos glided through the hall, stopping only once as he went in order to correct the placement of a vase of fresh lilies on the table that had been taken from the town’s water gardens earlier that morning. All things had to be perfectly in order for a visit from the High Chancellor of the Elder Council after all, regardless of whether or not one was also presently engaged in stealing from him.

He passed through a doorway into the lobby, where a line of servants had gathered alongside the household guards. Without breaking his stride, Talos swept past them, emerging into the front courtyard, and descending the stone steps that led up to the front of the manor.

At the base of the steps, a group of six horsemen had just come to a halt in the courtyard, and were already in the process of dismounting. The High Chancellor and his entourage had arrived.

“High Chancellor.” Talos nodded respectfully as the larger man, who was ten years his senior gracefully descended to the ground. “Punctual as ever!” He added with a friendly smile.

“Severus!” The High Chancellor exclaimed with a wide smile as he placed his hands either side of his fellow imperial’s shoulders in a respectful embrace; “You have known me long enough to call me Arterius, we’re not in the capital and it always feels like arse-licking when you councilmen use my proper title.”

“Indeed my friend, and you have known me long enough to know that you will have to tell me a few more times before I get the message.” They both chuckled and Talos raised a hand to pat the High Chancellor gently on the back and subtly guide him up the stairs towards the door he had just appeared from.

As they climbed the steps, the High Chancellor’s bodyguards, one a member of the Penitus Oculatus, the rest legionaries fell into step behind them. “Any word from the Emperor? The last I had heard was that the Katariah had stopped over in Leyawiin and the old man wanted to put off sailing north for a few days. I hope all is well?” Talos spoke quickly as they went.

Arterius sighed, pausing to turn to his guard before speaking “Marius, take the guards to the Bridge Inn to get some breakfast and rest, I trust Severus is perfectly capable of protecting me against anything that should threaten us.”

The Penitus Oculatus agent moved to protest before stopping, after all these years he knew better than to try. “Of course, High Chancellor, we shall return in an hour to take you to the Fighters Guild for your meeting with Master Skystrung.”

The High Chancellor smiled at the remark before looking back at his friend, giving time for the guards to get out of earshot before he spoke; “Truthfully Severus I question the wisdom of the journey, as much as our Emperor likes to think himself a warrior; his age is getting to him and word is abound of discontent in the council.” He stroked his forehead glancing up at his companion who nodded understandingly. As they entered the manor Arterius cleared his throat and changed the subject; “But my manners, you hardly wish to hear of the tires of governance, how fare your expeditions into the local ruins?”

“Oh, they keep me busy. County Cheydinhal is rife with the blighted things after all. Though...” He smirked, as they passed the line of servants and guards and proceeded into the hall; “You’ll never guess what I found up at the excavation in Kemen?”

The High Chancellor’s eyes widened as he looked to his companion; “Don’t leave me in suspense my old friend.”

“Nothing less than a perfectly preserved Ayleid Longsword. And we’ve managed to date it to the Late Merethic Era.” Talos flashed the High Chancellor a genuine smile, his passion for history shining through; “The weapon is in remarkably good condition. Still embossed with a varla stone pommel. I know as a man of culture you will appreciate such a find, my friend, so I have had it brought to my study should you wish to examine it during your stay.” As the pair strode through the hall, Talos gestured to a doorway at the side of the room that led to his personal office and study area.

“I would be delighted. I can always rely on you to bring me something other than bad news. You know that snake Nunziata brought me a list of potential Talos worshipers last week, pre-checked with the Thalmor of course, just to further weaken my position in the eyes of the public.” He caught himself as he spoke, taking a breath and stroking his forehead again; “I do apologise my friend, perhaps some wine first to remove the taste of governance from my mouth.”

“Indeed.” Talos gave a solemn nod. “We can take it in the study, or we can sit outside and you can examine the blade later if you prefer? It is quite a nice day after all.”

The High Chancellor paused for a second considering the options before letting out a light chuckle “You can hardly mention an artifact from the Merethic Era only to have me sit outside and wait to see it like some damnable courtier. Take me to the prize!”

“Of course.” Talos smiled, stepping forward to open the doors at the edge of the hall and lead the High Chancellor through to his office and study area. The room was large, partitioned into two halves by a row of bookcases and a wooden screen with maps and notes pinned to it that ran perpendicular to the door.

To the right was the office, where a large throne-like chair sat at a wooden desk, atop which official looking papers and books were neatly arranged as befit his station as a member of the Elder Council. A metal safe sat adjacent to the desk, and the walls around it were barely visible but for the long array of wooden bookcases that enveloped them. On the left was the study which housed an enchantment table, a set of display cases, a fireplace, more bookcases and some slightly comfier looking cushioned chairs. A bottle of Surilie Brothers finest wine sat on the mantelpiece above the fire beside two clean glasses.

But it was what was above the mantelpiece that seemed to immediately catch the Chancellor’s eye however. Severus Vardan had long had an eclectic taste in art, and the piece he had displayed above the mantelpiece was an old dunmer painting, incredibly rare, a caption carved into the frame named it; The House of Troubles According to Lord Sheogorath.

The actual painting itself was like a children’s drawing, full of garish colouring and harsh brushwork that would make a contemporary artist gasp in horror. It seemed to depict a literal manor house, much like the one they were in, with representations of the various daedric princes and their servants performing crude depictions of housework. Mehrunes Dagon, immediately recognisable from his four arms, wore an apron and was cutting up vegetables that were shaped to look like Velothi-style buildings in the kitchen, while scamps and flame atronachs tended to a nearby oven. The crudely drawn orsimer Malacath, hammered nails that looked a bit like elves into an outer wall assisted by dremora, while Molag Bal with his horns, stood just beyond the house using his mace to sow seeds into a polkadot field of rapeseed that dutiful Clannfear then raked and shovelled. Above it all, the Madgod watched over, perched on the edge of a bed on an upper floor that seemed to be compiled of a writhing mass of whales, dragons, chickens, cheese and shimmering gemstones. The whole image revolved around Sheogorath, his gaze seeming to leap from the painting to fall upon any who viewed it. It was quite the decoration.

“An old acquisition.” Talos stated, as the High Chancellor continued to examine the piece; “From my wife’s time…”

“Ah.” Arterius exhaled, he knew the fate of Isadora Vardan was a matter that pained the younger widower greatly and he knew better than to say more on the subject for fear of hurting his friend. He quickly unlocked his gaze from Sheogorath’s and glanced around the rest of the study.

There were items, Talos knew, that might make a less educated man cry heresy. A small statue of Azura sat on the mantelpiece near the wine, while in one of the display cases a crude piece of gold-like metal let off an ethereal glow that denoted Meridian origins. Each of the items sported a caption attached to it though, just like the painting, as though they were pieces in a museum, being preserved for study rather than venerated for worship. It was a difference that was easily lost on the small-minded, especially in these times.

Fortunately for him, he knew that High Chancellor Arterius Lokerian was not among the small-minded.

“You have amassed quite the collection.” Arterius mused. It wasn’t all Daedric either, there were plenty of Ayleid, Nedic and Dwemer artifacts dotted about the various display cases and bookshelves. A small carving of Ysgramor and the Five Hundred Companions rested on the floor beside the fire, a large dwemer sphere sat beside it, while in a space next to that, a small ring of discoloured wooden floor indicated that another long-standing item had been removed.

“I placed my bust of Tiber Septim into storage.” Talos replied, following the High Chancellor’s gaze. “I thought it might be prudent to try and avoid ending up on one of those lists of suspected Talos Worshippers you were talking about earlier.” He gave a raspy chuckle, as if the thought itself was a preposterous notion.

The High Chancellor nodded; “Gods, I doubt it even has much to do with heresy anymore. In truth most people I deport are guilty of making the wrong political rivalry, a poor marriage or even just over-achievement.”

Finally he spotted the ayleid blade in one of the display cases in the corner of the room, and he glanced at Talos, who nodded his approval, having already unlocked the case earlier. Arterius stepped towards it and opened the case, running his fingers along the pristine blade as he continued his ramblings; “The bureaucrats want to seize the chancellorship and take control of the Elder Council while the Emperor is distracted with Skyrim, and it seems they’re quite happy to send the rest of us to the Dominion in order to do it.” His tone increased in anger as he spoke, falling silent as he reached the pommel of the blade and frowning. He gripped the handle firmly as he raised the weapon, appreciating the perfectly balanced weight of the ancient artifact in his hand. As he turned back to his friend, his voice changed to a lighter tone; “Do you remember our trip to Sancre Tor when Count Orso had us make camp on top of that damn bandit king’s lair?”

“How could I forget?” Talos smirked, reaching to pour the wine on the mantelpiece for them both; “They crept up on us in the night, slaughtered half the guards, and poor Isadora ended up having to run out in her night clothes and summon a veritable army of atronachs to drive the brigands off....” Talos trailed off, his smirk morphed into a pained expression for just a moment as he finished pouring the wine, before turning back to Arterius with a grin and offering him the glass; “...We could have used some swords like this that night.”

The High Chancellor smiled before resting the blade back on the table. “Quite right you are my friend, now how about we see this garden of yours and carry on reminiscing about better times. Anything other than politics, I accepted your most generous invitation in order to get out of the capital and clear my head after all!”

Talos smiled, indeed, he had invited the High Chancellor here to keep him away from the capital, but his motives for doing so were far less generous than Arterius could know. As the pair took their wine and turned to leave the study, Talos turned to check a small magically lit dial on his desk that denoted the time. Right now he knew that a lot would be going on in the capital, and that meant the most audacious objectives of the plan still lay ahead...
Last edited by Cheye on Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sarrin » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:29 am

Kynareth - Day 0 - Septim District - 10:23

Chaos. Fire. Shattering Glass. Laughter. Fury. Passion.

Kynareth passed through the riot like a gentle wind sidestepping the Imperial peasants who were dragging an Altmer merchant before the heavily sealed embassy. She knew he was innocent, likely faced persecution every day for his race, perhaps even a refugee from the Dominion hunted by the Thalmor themselves. She’d met his type but a revolution required sacrifices and today it was his turn. She muttered an incantation placing a passing hand on his foot as calming energy poured through him turning his screams into acceptance. It was the least she could do.

“Get back!” She heard one of the Thalmor Justiciars screech as he waved his blade around, the telltale armour shimmering in the morning light. He had been cut off from the others guarding the embassy by the mob. Around him a group of peasants cornered him, keeping a wary distance. They were armed with every kind of makeshift tool or weapon and waiting for an opportunity to strike. She climbed atop a corner plinth and watched as a large Khajiit stepped forward brandishing a substantial club likely ripped from a market stall.

“Answer for your crimes!” He boomed, threatening the club forward only for the Thalmor to strike is aside with his blade charging a fireball in his left hand to deter any opportunistic strikes.

The High Elf tensed. His fear was evident. He wasn’t haggard or scarred. Likely his first job outside the dominion. He certainly wasn’t used to people ignoring his orders. He would take at least one of his attackers down with him, likely two or three. She may not have enough magicka to save them all. The Khajiit pulled back, ready to strike.

The crowd split apart suddenly, as a towering orc in a poorly fitting imperial uniform charged forward, grabbing the shocked Justiciar by his throat and raising him into the air. This new arrival ceased his long strides only for a moment as he gripped the surprised elf’s plate armour with his other hand and easily raised him over his head, tossing him into the well some twenty meters back before sprinting off again.

“Zenithar.” Kynareth muttered under her breath as he passed by, paving a way through the riot that quickly filled with new citizens renewed with fear and anger. She turned back towards the embassy watching as the now calmed altmer merchant was bound to the wall further down from the gate, and the crowd threw more bottles and stones towards him making little mark on the now warded structure but battering the poor civilian.

She turned to look up the long street that led towards the inner gatehouse, behind which sat Green Emperor Way and the White-Gold Tower. The Orc was clear even at this distance, passing the line of guards that had begun to kettle in the swelling crowds and crossing the decorative moat behind them as he ran on towards the gates. She knew the imperials believed him to be one of their own from his armour, but after his display just then outside the embassy, the commoners might think otherwise.

“Watch my brothers as one of our greatest breaks the chains of the Imperial Legion. Follow his lead, show them our will, show them we will not bow to a cowardly Emperor and his sycophant council!” Her voice echoed through the crowd as if from the throat of a giant, stirring a fury among them as they charged the guards line, who each glanced to one another uncertain of whether to attack the commoners or merely hold them back as ordered.

“HOLD YOUR GROUND!” A watch captain shouted as the line swelled against the rioters, leaving exposed an alleyway beside the house Kynareth had perched on. She knew this would take her behind their line and she moved with ease down the passage pouring a new incantation out of her lips as her form disappeared.

As she reached the rear of the offensive, the line had come closer, resembling a bell that struggled against the tide of change that had smacked into it. She muttered a few words of valour into the air to strengthen their resolve, they needed to hold until the next phase of the plan. Then their shattering ring would herald perfection.

“Idiot.” She heard from inside as she crossed the stone bridge over the moat and approached the gatehouse.

The name crossed her lips as she opened the door; “Zenithar?”

“This whelp broke the portcullis lever.” The orc groaned, gesturing to an unconscious imperial watchman beside a partially broken lever.

Kynareth frowned. She wasn’t surprised, not happy, but not surprised.

Zenithar pushed down on the lever which partially began raising the Portcullis, but then when he let go, the lever simply swung up again and the Portcullis slammed back shut.

“Did Julianos get out alright?” She asked, walking towards the situation concealing her displeasure in dealing with the creature.

“Didn’t stop to check.” Zenithar shrugged, pulling at the lever again in vane.

“You’re just going to have to hold it in place.” Kynareth scoffed, barely muffling her disdain before checking the pulse of the guard. He was a Breton. Young. Likely a fresh recruit. He would survive. She looked up to see the orc scowling at her actions, or maybe the knowledge he would have to stand and hold a lever down for the next part of the plan. They both knew that he was the one responsible for breaking it when he knocked out the soldier. They both knew he wouldn’t admit it. The orc broke first, grunting something inaudible before turning to the lever and pushing it with his full strength, gradually raising the portcullis to its full height and holding it there.

Kynareth took the helmet from the breton’s head, casting a minor restoration incantation on the bleeding wound on his head to coalesce the bleeding but not awaken him. She then placed it on her head, strapping it in place before looking out the archer slit into the passageway. The portcullis wasn’t quite right. It clearly wanted to fall. She glanced over to the orc who grunted not so much from the effort but from the mundanity. Zenithar wouldn’t be able to hold it up like that forever.

“Divines bless us....” She muttered watching the passage; “...Divines bless us all.”

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Postby Cheye » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:55 pm

Akatosh - Chamber of the Elder Council, White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 10:19

To stride with uncompromising confidence into the beating heart of the Empire and commandeer a regiment of battle hardened Imperial Legionnaires was one thing, but to do it as part of the greatest robbery of all time was really something else entirely. Once upon a time the sheer audacity of what he was about to do might have given Akatosh pause for thought, but now he was actually here doing it, the madness of the plan only served to spur him on...

“This is most irregular.” The stuffy imperial bureaucrat who had greeted him inside the palace’s impressive wooden doors continued to protest.

“This is a full blown riot.” Akatosh snapped, allowing a substantial quantity of tell-tale elven arrogance to slip through in his voice. “If you insist on sitting here, failing to mobilise the guard then the whole Septim District will be ablaze within the hour.”

“...Oh dear…” The bureaucrat continued to hesitate.

“Well… what are you waiting for?” Akatosh snapped his fingers together repeatedly.

“I am merely an Attendant to the Elder Council sir, a civil servant if you will. I do not have the authority to mobilise the Imperial Legion.”

Akatosh bit back his smile. He knew the old man in front of him was just a flunkey. After all, he knew everyone who worked or stayed in the Imperial Palace, learning and memorising that information had been his first job after joining the heist. Managing all those people, those unpredictable people was what he had been recruited to do, after all. Still, that didn’t mean it wasn’t fun to play with them now he was actually here.

“Well, if you can’t help me I’m going to find someone who will.” Akatosh barked, turning on his heel and marching off in the direction of the next set of large wooden doors across the incredibly ornate hallway. The doors that led to the Elder Council Chamber itself.

The increasingly disgruntled civil servant followed after him; “The Emperor and High Chancellor are both away on business. The Imperial Battlemage is therefore the highest ranking official in the tower who can assist. I have already sent for her, but I can send another runner up to her room, I’m sure she will know what to do?”

“Please do so at once.” Akatosh replied without slowing his stride towards the Council Chamber.

“Where do you think you are going?” The flunkie cried. “The Imperial Committee for Bridges and Highways is presently in session, I can direct you to the viewing gallery should you wish to wait for the Battlemage up there?...”

“Rioters have set upon the Thalmor Embassy! The City Watch has failed to stop them. Worse still, another group of the Talos-worshipping rabble rousers have blown up the bridge to Fort Bastion, rendering the Imperial Legion effectively neutered.” Akatosh growled, advancing on the Chamber; “I, my little civil servant friend, am going to go in there and remind the Councillors what it will mean should they fail to take control of the situation. What it will mean not just for your city, but for the very thin line of diplomatic grace that stands between your Empire and total annihilation.”

As he finished his tirade, he raised both his hands, adding just a touch of magical force to blow open the doors to the Elder Council Chamber with a resounding boom. The two legionnaires posted on either side looked perplexed, one clutched his sword tightly, but Akatosh had made sure that both had overheard his explanation of what was going on outside, and he knew that the thought of the city burning around them while they guarded a handful of politicians would not rest easily on their shoulders.

There were only a handful of councillors in the chamber, thirteen to be exact. They sat intermittently at their designated places around the massive stone dias that served as a giant table in the centre of the chamber.

As the doors slammed, there was an audible gasp from a woman who sat in the viewing gallery on the floor above, where three or maybe four civilians also sat around watching the proceedings.

“What is the meaning of this?” Came a cry from one of the councillors.

Sure enough, it was quite the entrance. Akatosh did not respond. He just stood there, pulling back the hood of his distinctive Thalmor robe to reveal his face, his bright elven eyes locked fiercely on the Councillor who spoke, his distinctive scars shifted as he scowled and ran an arrogant combing hand through his long dark hair.

“I am Justiciar Neredoquis Darelith of the Thalmor. There is a riot raging out there on the streets of your Imperial City and so far nobody has stepped up to deal with it. The bridge to Fort Bastion has been sabotaged so I’m not sure if your Imperial Legion are even aware of what’s going on. Given that chaos presently reigns, I thought it might be prudent to remind you that should a single member of the Thalmor Embassy wind up injured… or worse, the consequences for your Empire will be severe!”

“This is the Imperial Committee for Bridges and Highways! What do you want us to do?” A portly looking colovian councillor asked, waving her hands in confusion.

“How about… oh I don’t know? Anything!” Akatosh shot back with all the glibness he could muster.

“Has someone sent for Jacinda?” Another councillor, this one a senior looking redguard clad in the most ostentatious nibenean finery, directed at the attendant who had followed Akatosh into the chamber.

“Yes, yes.” The attendant replied, fidgeting nervously; “But nobody has seen her since she took her morning tea. That was at 10:00.”

“Nobody has seen her?” The redguard’s tone turned incredulous.

“We think she’s in her chambers, studying or meditating or something. She’s not responding to the servants knocking on her door!”

“This day just keeps getting worse.” The redguard sighed, scratching his head thoughtfully. “How about Commander Maro? Is he here?”

“The Commander is accompanying the Emperor on his visit to Skyrim.” The colovian councillor tutted and pulled a face, as though such a fact should have been obvious to her colleague. “I believe Inspector Red-Shoal is in charge of the Penitus Oculatus forces here in the tower. He can’t give orders directly to the Legion though. That wouldn’t be proper protocol!”

“You will forgive me for being finished with your Imperial protocols.” Akatosh sneered. “Get the Inspector down here, and bring down the highest ranking Legion Officers in the building alongside him. When they get here, you councillors can be the ones to give the order to reinforce the city watch and secure our embassy. I am sure the Battlemage will be woken from whatever meditative trance she has gone into by the boots of the Imperial Legion marching on the cobbles outside!”

“At once, sir.” The old attendant let out instinctively.

And that was all it took, just the slightest air of actual authority and the imperial flunkies were sent running. None of them aware that they had all just inadvertently made themselves pawns in a much larger game...

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Sarrin
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Postby Sarrin » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:08 pm

Julianos - Chamber of the Elder Council, White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 10:26

The council chamber echoed with the angry footsteps of the supposed Thalmor Justiciar as the tower came to assemble itself. The Elder Councillors, a baker's dozen of them, stood cautiously making awkward conversation on the politically sensitive matter of building a new highway to Morrowind to aid the dunmer refugees who still poured out of the province as a result of the continued eruption of the Red Mountain. They were met with the piercing gaze of Akatosh who stared them down at every word, seemingly full of incredulity and disbelief.

“Inspector Red-Shoal, your lordships.” The attendant announced as a well armoured man rounded the corner into the chamber alongside a dozen Penitus Oculatus agents and a handful of Legion officers.

Inspector Red-Shoal was a nord who possessed a darker skin tone and the dreadlocked hair of a redguard, indicating a mixed heritage. His imperial sword was modified with a slight curve, giving it the look of a scimitar and his distinctive Penitus Oculatus armour had a few modifications to it, allowing him greater mobility than the agents around him.

“What in Shor’s name is going on down here? We’ve had four runners come upstairs and I saw three more banging on the door of Battlemage Suva. Has something happened to the Emperor? The High Chancellor?... Is the Dominion attacking?” He asked impatiently, before spotting the Justiciar; “Holy Akatosh, that was quick.” He added sarcastically.

“Hardly.” The high elf spat. “I came to get help because your city is rioting and the bridge to Fort Bastion has been destroyed. The men in this tower are the only ones who can reinforce the Imperial Watch and save the Embassy!”

“Is this true?” Red-Shoal shot a look at the councillors who all shrugged and murmured their discomfort. “If it is, we need to make sure we act carefully in case the rioters descend on the palace.”

“I move to grant emergency power to the Penitus Oculatus to resolve this crisis.” A scrawny bosmer announced from his otherwise invisible position at the edge of the dias leaping on the opportunity to prove anything of himself.

“SECONDED!” Shouted the redguard, followed by more calls of support. “And passed. Inspector Red-Shoal, in the absence of the Imperial Battlemage, you are now the temporary commander of the garrison in the White-Gold Tower under the precedent set by the Defence of the Realm Act of the 6th year of the 3rd era. Should this be considered treasonous Councilmen Revalia will take full responsibility as the author of the motion.” He followed, banging his fist down onto the stone table to signify his edict as the bosmer councilman’s eyes shot wide open.

“Oh my, the Elder Council is actually capable of making decisions when the need arises. There might be hope for your Empire yet.” Akatosh scoffed. “Now; the Embassy, if you will, Inspector?”

“In these extraordinary circumstances it would be politically prescient to ensure no harm comes to the Thalmor!” The large colovian councilwoman nodded firmly, gesturing with a flippant hand towards the Justiciar.

“No. If the riot is spreading through the Septim District, the inner gates will contain it there.” Inspector Red-Shoal spoke calmly, his inner strategist coming to the fore. “What worries me is that the bridge between the Market and Prison Districts has also been targeted, suggesting a wider incursion. That means other parts of the city could be compromised and makes the Palace our last line of defence. We ought not to move out from here until we know Green Emperor Way and the inner gatehouses have been secured.”

“Divines show us mercy!” The Bosmer shrieked as a figure dressed in the distinctive attire of an Alik’r general entered through the outer doors, he was completely coated in blood and using a thick spear as a walking stick to support a limp that added only further to the perception of serious injury.

“Inspector that’s th-” One of the Legionnaires began speaking, before the figure wiped the blood from his face and spoke, tossing a splash onto the floor beside him.

Julianos let his voice boom out through the hall; “There is a riot raging out there on the streets of your Imperial City and I see not a competent soldier in the fray. Your bridge to Fort Bastion is in pieces and as best as I can see not a soldier in this tower knows what is going on.” He approached the inspector as he spoke, poking his finger into the Inspector’s armour as he continued “Given you requested me here to assess your defences I have no shame in telling you they are disgraceful. If a single hair on the Prince’s head is so much as wounded your Empire will be cut off from Hammerfell till the moon’s next vanish!”

“There was no talk of a prince!” Shouted the redguard council member quickly checking his attire and straightening his posture as he almost visibly worked out that the crisis could become his time to shine.

The Alik’r turned to him scowling with his finger still pressed into the inspectors chest. “Prince Ahman was to begin negotiations of a highly sensitive nature but if your Empire’s finest are content to hide behind closed door I see no purpose in any kind of alliance. We’d be better set throwing our swords in with the Stormcloaks!”

The Inspector sighed, stroking his chin thoughtfully. Strategy was a wholly different battlefield to politics. As a member of the Penitus Oculatus he had to be proficient in both, but his heritage was one forged in battle, not debate. And he fought against the instinct to rush into combat often. It was clear from his face that that instinct was rising inside him now. It would not take much more to push it to the fore…

“This Alik’r heretic has exposed you, councillors.” Akatosh smiled with a flippant gesture to Julianos. “If the Empire plots an alliance with Hammerfell, and at the same time does NOTHING to stop our embassy from being ravaged by wild commoners then I can assure you that peace between the Empire and the Dominion will be no more!”

“We cannot have a war Inspector, and if we do, we cannot stand alone… You must deploy the garrison.” A heartlander councillor who had until now been silent pleaded, stepping towards the Inspector as she did.

“It would be politically prescient.” The colovian repeated, nodding her head repeatedly in a way that wobbled her numerous chins.

Inspector Red-Shoal remained silent, sweat forming on his brow as he contemplated his options.

“Onsi guide my blade. You stay in your tower coward, I shall save the Prince myself.” The Alik’r finally said turning towards the door as he loudly muttered “To think Ysgramor fought for such weakness, better the nords die from Knahaten Flu then be left to this cowards leadership!”

Something snapped inside the Inspector. Something primal, that came from his proud nord roots. “If the Green Emperor Way is secured then by Shor, I will personally lead our reinforcements down upon the head of this riot and we will shut it down. If that is the will of the council?”

The councillors all nodded in unison.

“Now, I will need to split my forces to ensure success. The Penitus Oculatus will make sure Green Emperor Way is secured and then send men to attempt to link up with the Legion garrisoned at Fort Bastion. Meanwhile, the Tower’s Legionnaires will need to reinforce the Watch in the Septim District.” He sighed, still contemplating his strategy; “The tower will need to be evacuated because I can’t spare guards to man every floor without severely depleting my pool of manpower, and I’m not willing to risk a single rioter getting in. Let’s set up a temporary HQ outside for essential personnel under the supervision of the Penitus Oculatus.”

“I’ll keep an eye on this one lest he try to exploit the situation for his cause.” The Alik’r said, gesturing to Akatosh as he began to make his way to the exit.

“Very good.” Akatosh clapped sarcastically as he crossed the room. “Just leave me with the heretic, what could go wrong?”

“With respect Justiciar, you aren’t in charge here. I am.” Red-Shoal barked, finding his authority. “You will wait with the Elder Councillors and the other essential palace staff outside until your precious embassy has been secured.”

“As you wish, Inspector.” Akatosh gave a bow that dripped with elven sarcasm.

“Juhani.” Red-Shoal turned to one of the Penitus Oculatus agents; “Secure Green Emperor Way at once and make sure no rioters have broken through, then begin setting up the field HQ outside the tower.... Kodorius.” Red-Shoal barked to one of the Legion Captains; “Take all your men, get everyone out of the tower and then amass along Green Emperor Way once it is secure. Get ready to reinforce the Watch... In the name of the Emperor, we will restore order to the city this day.”

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Cheye
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Postby Cheye » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:57 pm

Mara - Quarters of the Imperial Battlemage, White-Gold Tower - Day 0 - 10:39

Bang. Bang. Bang.

They were still knocking on the door, Mara noticed. Although now their banging was more frantic. That could only mean one thing…

“Battlemage Suva, we are evacuating the tower. You need to let us in so we can escort you from the palace!”

A louder bang.

One of the men was attempting to kick in the door.

Mara strengthened the magical barrier she had applied to it. She wasn’t a natural mage like Dibella, but having lived a life on the run she had learned a thing or two from some of the sorcerers she had crossed paths with, and she could easily afix a basic barrier to the door to stop the men outside from breaking in.

“Impressive.” Her argonian counterpart muttered from across the chamber. He sat in a chair beside the bed, atop which Jacinda Suva, the Imperial Battlemage, lay in a deep sleep. Arkay kept a close eye on her as she slumbered, regularly checking to ensure her breathing stayed regular.

Cloaked as she had been, it hadn’t been at all difficult for Mara to get the vial of sleep potion mixed with Hist extract into her morning tea. Within two minutes she had fallen into a deep coma, and Arkay had helped her move her from her desk chair onto the bed.

Mara smirked, she wasn’t sure if the argonian was talking about her barrier or the strength of the draught that had incapacitated the battlemage; “I am.” She answered glibly, boosting the barrier’s strength again as a series of harder, louder bangs hit the door; “And you know, the last time I did something like this it was during a bandit raid.” She grunted. “I held off the Windhelm Guard for about half an hour while the rest of the gang got away. Good times.”

Suddenly the banging stopped, after a few moments, Mara lowered the barrier slightly, just so they could hear what was going on outside.

“Look, she might not even be in there.” A slightly more senior voice was saying. “Just because nobody saw her leave earlier doesn’t mean she didn’t. You know what those damn mages can be like, opening portals and going invisible and all the rest. Has it not occurred to any of you that if the Imperial Battlemage locked the door, it might be because she was planning on going out?”

“But Captain Kodorius, sir. We tried the steward’s key and its not working. It’s as if the room has been locked from the inside…”

“I don’t care.” The officer responded. “The Septim District could be burning to the ground right now, and the damn Thalmor are right in the middle of it; if we don’t show them that the legion means business, then its bad news for all of us. Besides, Suva knows how to take care of herself, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s already gone to deal with the riot. But we can worry about that later. Lets clear out, soldiers!”

“Sir, yes sir.”

Footsteps indicated that the men were leaving. A few more people ran past outside as well, undoubtedly palace staff and servants who were all hurrying to leave the tower. Things had gone as planned for Akatosh and Julianos then…

Mara nodded to Arkay, beginning a mental count as the last set of footsteps died away. When she reached one hundred, she shut the barrier down completely and unlocked the door. “Shout if there’s trouble.” She winked back at him, before slipping into shadow once again as she exited into the corridor, ready to sweep through every room in the upper section of the palace to ensure the evacuation had finished and that they were now alone in the tower, exactly according to plan…

Dibella - Imperial City Sewers - Day 0 - 10:39

Bang. Bang. Bang.

The round metal lever couldn’t have been louder as Dibella pulled it down, each spoke clanging against the stone as the nearby gate clattered open.

She knew that not far behind her, soldiers from Fort Bastion would be searching for the person who had blown up the bridge that connected their little fortress prison to the Imperial City itself. Just because they couldn’t get into the city easily, didn’t mean they couldn’t get down into the ditch beneath their fort and search for any signs of sabotage, and eventually they too would find the hidden entrance to the sewers.

Regardless, she had to move forward with the plan. She pressed on through the now-opened gateway, heading further into the maze of winding sewers and passageways that ran beneath the Imperial City.

Dibella could smell that something wasn’t right before she saw it. Specifically, it was the smell of burning flesh that filled her nostrils. It was a smell she was uncomfortably familiar with, one that brought uncomfortable memories back to the surface, memories she had long ago suppressed.

Red Mountain... Gnisis... Gavryn.

Suddenly she wasn’t in the Imperial City anymore, but in the ashlands of Vvardenfell. Her home reduced to cinders as she cradled her dying husband. A thin magical bubble the only thing protecting them from the lava that surrounded them.

She couldn’t see more than a metre in any direction, for that was as far as the bubble extended and everything beyond it was hot burning magma that threatened to burst that bubble and disintegrate her. She couldn’t even see the sky. The lava was on top of the bubble, it had been for hours now. They were stuck there, beneath an ocean of orange, and for as long as she held that magical bubble in place, there was little she could do for her Gavryn.

“Asara… I’ve loved you from the moment we first met.” He wheazed.

She looked down at him. The left half of his face had been badly burnt, the bright red splotches contrasting vibrantly with his grey dunmer skin.

She couldn’t reply. She couldn’t bring herself to do anything but cry as she continued pouring magicka into the bubble to keep it intact. Her teardrops falling into his burnt face.

It was all her fault. Her stupid magical experiments. Her quest for greater power. Perhaps it was the Telvanni in her, or maybe it was the Tribunal’s will to betray her like this. Though in her own way the Goddess of Destruction had tried to warn her…

Back in the present, Dibella cursed herself for allowing the memories to overpower her. She stepped forward quickly, impatiently, heading forward into a large sewer chamber, ready to find the source of that foul smell and deal with it.

Only in her distracted state, she set off a little too quickly, and heard a tripwire snap beneath her feet.

“B’vek!” She yelled out as an iron grate flew shut behind her, sealing her in the chamber.

“Yes pretty dunmer! Shout and scream! Shout and scream! it pleases the Mistress of Decay.” The high-pitched voice that echoed through the sewers came from outside the chamber, cackling loudly as Dibella’s heart raced.

“Caught a live one eh? And not before time. The last one’s meat was just going bad.” Another voice called excitedly.

“I am so very hungry…” A third voice muttered from the shadows beyond the chamber. “I thought the Mistress had abandoned us, but now she brings us such a gift!”

Dibella looked around quickly, the large chamber seemed to have no other exit, but she knew that wasn’t true. They’d gone over the schematics of the plan, she’d memorised her exact route to the drainage tunnel on Green Emperor Way. And this was the first of two large sewage chambers along the way, and it had three other exits, at least on paper. Where were they?

“She is pretty though…” The first voice scoffed. “...Well for a dunmer. I bet her meat is so tender and... supple.”

“You don’t want to eat me!” Dibella called, trying to reason with her captors as she continued looking around the chamber for the exits she knew had to exist somewhere.

“Oh no… We really do.” One of the voices called back, it seemed to come from somewhere above...

“About half an hour ago I blew up the bridge to the Imperial Legion Fortress and half the damn guard are out there hunting for me… I’d bet good money that they’ve already discovered the sewer entrance and could be right behind me. Do you really want them to find you down here committing an act of cannibalism?!”

“The way must be sealed then.” Another voice responded cryptically.

“Yes… boil her, and then the way will be sealed.”

“Boiled dunmer… how gauche!” The first voice protested. “‘tis a waste of good meat! I want to fry her bit by bit. Use her natural resistances to keep her alive and… fresh… for as long as possible.”

“No! Too risky if the guards are coming. Boil her now. The way will be sealed… And we can use her to feed the hatchlings. ‘tis what the Mistress would say.”

“Such a shame…” The first voice sighed, and somewhere someone pulled a lever. “Oh well, bye bye pretty dunmer!”

A cacophony of noise emanated from above as Dibella looked up, her red eyes widening as a colossal surge of water, boiling hot with steam rising from it, poured through three adjoining sluice passages close to the top of the chamber.

“B’vek!” Dibella yelled again, throwing up her hands to raise a magical bubble around her like the one that had protected her from the lava all those years ago…

Zenithar - Day 0 - Septim District Inner Gatehouse - 10:49

“Bang. Bang. Bang… Zen does all the smashing.” The orc growled. “Moan. Moan. Moan. Kynareth does all the whining.”

“Ooh, ‘you’re just gonna have to hold it in place’.” Zenithar snarked, still grumbling to himself; “Oh, please mighty orc; you’re just gonna have to hold this gate lever in place because my cute little breton hands are too soft. Oh please, sir… please just hold it in place.”

“Do we have a problem?” Kynareth called from the next floor up, from where she was keeping a lookout on both the line of watchmen slowly being pushed back in their direction by the mob in the Septim District and the lines of imperial legionnaires pouring out of the White Gold Tower and amassing along the Green Emperor Way. Or at least that was what Zenithar assumed she was doing, whatever she was up to it seemed she had the easier job.

“No!” Zenithar growled out, still struggling under the weight of the portcullis lever. They had to leave it open until the legionnaires were through, so as not to arouse suspicion. Then they had to jam it shut, just like they’d done to the main gate into the city on the other side of the district.

“Of all the orcs in orsinium...” Kynareth replied just loud enough for the orc to hear.

Zenithar ignored her. The woman could be insufferable sometimes.

Zenithar wondered if it was because she secretly liked him. One of his old reachmen friends from Cidhna Mine had explained to him that sometimes ‘teasing’ was how human women, especially bretons, indicated their interest in courting. Apparently, the greater the number of ‘conflicting signals’ a woman gave off, the greater her level of interest. To Zenithar, this all meant that Kynareth must have been pretty interested in him.

Still, Zenithar wasn’t entirely sure that his friend in Cidhna Mine had been an expert. They had been having that conversation during their incarceration after all, and there were no women in that prison. Well, not until Mara came.

Ah Mara. Zenithar smiled, shifting his weight slightly as he continued holding the portcullis open. Unlike Kynareth, Mara knew exactly how to treat an orc right. Right from the start, she had communicated only in the base signals he, as an orsimer, would recognise. And it had worked well.

Still, Zenithar thought, if Kynareth’s attitude came from wanting to be bedded by him, he ought not to disappoint her. Mara would understand once he explained about the ‘conflicting signals’.

Zenithar couldn’t decide what he needed more distraction from; the numbness of holding the portcullis open for the last sixteen minutes, or the thought of bedding Kynareth while Mara looked on, pretending to be okay with it. That mental image tickled him.

“Tower guard on the move!” Kynareth called.

Sure enough, it took only a minute or so before Zenithar’s ears were met with the sound of metal boots striking paved stone as the column of Legionnaires began to march around the Green Emperor Way, heading right towards them.

“Okay… play it cool. Play it cool.” Zenithar muttered to himself as the marching bootsteps grew louder, they were right on top of them now, it would only take one legionaire to stop and check the gatehouse and they might be in trouble.

The legion column began to pass through, pouring into the Septim District on its way to reinforce the guard.

“Excuse me soldier, what happened here?” An imperial’s voice called, snobbish and full of that heartlander arrogance that Mara did well not to possess. The imperial legion officer stepped into the gatehouse as the column went by, gesturing to the body of the unconscious watchman near where Zenithar stood holding the lever. Then he remembered he was wearing the imperial uniform.

“He.. err, he was injured... in the riot. We carried him back here, but the rest of the men had to go fill the line... I… errrr…. I volunteered... to erm.. stay here and make sure the gate was held open… for... erm... for our reinforcements!... Ma’am.”

He was improvising. He knew he was improvising, and Talos had told him never to improvise.

“Very good soldier.” The officer replied. “You sound pretty shaken up, so close the gate behind us once we’re all through so that none of these damn peasants threaten the command centre and then get yourself some rest. You’ve earned it.”

“Err… okay… ma’am.” Zenithar nodded, then thought he better add a salute, so released one hand from the lever, dropping the portcullis outside by about three foot and sending a flurry of concerned murmurs through the line of soldiers beneath it as he tried to give a vaguely passable salute and then regripped it.

For her part, the officer didn’t seem to notice that the gate wasn’t functioning correctly, as she turned and headed back out of the gatehouse, before rejoining the column as the Imperial Palace’s garrison of Legionnaires made their way into the now smoking Septim District, where very soon they would be trapped…

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Sarrin
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Founded: Dec 21, 2016
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Postby Sarrin » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:58 pm

Stendarr - Ri’Vassa Warehouse, Imperial City Waterfront - Day -2 08:15

The Khajiit was a glamorous sight, dressed in elegant garb befitting the most dashing redguard pirate even amidst the drab poverty of the Imperial City Waterfront. His right-hand man stood beside him, a muscular imperial with short hair and signs of veterancy, wearing the cheap garb of a peasant that only added to his own splendour.

Despite this, no eyes rested on the pair. Stendarr had become a known figure amongst the common folk as his mercantile empire had grown to be a major investor in the waterfront, naming several new buildings in his family's honour. The warehouse, which was by far the largest in the port, was just one of these buildings.

“I’m still not sure this is a good idea boss, don’t you at least think it would be good to fake a late delivery? Excess supplies? Something more… complicated?” His right-hand man spoke with a reluctant desperation. This wasn’t the first time he had needed to talk Stendarr out of a plan and he wasn’t hopeful that this would be one of the rare successes.

“That. That is its genius, my hairless companion.” The Khajiit proudly retorted lifting a wheel of cheese and a loaf of bread from the box before tossing the bread aside, paying no heed to his second who checked to see his hirsute body hadn’t suddenly started shedding.

“But… it’s a box.” He said, as if the simplicity might finally resonate.

“Yes. A fine box. 6 wooden faces. Not a special hole to watch through or any distinguishing mark. This box would go completely unnoticed even if we left it at a Dunmer orgy.” He paused lifting another two loaves of bread from the box and tossing them aside “What is this obsession with bread? Do you mistake me for some kind of mouse creature?” He threw a befuddled glance at his right-hand.

“You’re planning on being there for two days, boss. You need to eat.” His voice now filled with the accepting defeat as he began to ponder his job security upon this plan's failure.

“Wine and Cheese. This one is a khajiit of class and sophistication. During my solitude I intend to write the next section of my erotic memoires and to do so I will require only Wine. And. Cheese.” As he spoke he started over to a table beside two barrels picking two bottles of alto wine and placing them inside the box raising the supplies total to a wheel of cheese, three olives and the two bottles.

The imperial sighed. “Perhaps some crackers at least?”

Stendarr sighed walking over to his erstwhile companion and placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder “I am sorry my friend. I have been selfish. All these adventures and journeys. I have not made time to think of you.”
There was a pause as they looked to each other before Stendarr spoke again. “I have let you remain a philistine. For this I apologise and I promise, no I swear upon the gods, I will teach you to enjoy the finer things upon my return.”

The Imperial sighed, running a hand along his head as he chuckled slightly. “You're so kind.” He said with a heavy tone of sarcasm watching as the Khajiit climbed into the crate, sliding its lid over the top.

“Want me to nail it?” He called over as the lid became fixed on by its wooden rivets.

“My dear friend, if it is nailed how will I get out?”

White-Gold Tower - Day -2 9:00

“You manage to get everything?” A voice called from outside. Stendarr could not see who was speaking, indeed since his journey began he could see nothing but the confines of his box even with the natural night vision of his species.

“Even those strange mushrooms the Imperial Battlemage asked for, be careful with the transport though we had a rocky journey over and the waves rattled the crates a tad. Might be a little more delicate than normal.” Another voice called out, he recognised this one, it was his padawan, his right-hand, his hairless man.

“That shouldn’t be an issue. If you want to take a breather I’ll have the guards take these to the pantry.”

White-Gold Tower - Day -2 23:55

“One Khajiit, Two Khajiit, Three Khajiit, PAW. Four Khajiit, Five Khajiit, Six Khajiit, Claw.” The Khajiit muttered to himself as he devoured the wheel of cheese alongside the first bottle of wine the quill in his hand mindlessly jotting his erotic memoires.

Stendarr could hardly believe the pay he would receive for the small role he needed to play, this Talos was a true fool. And the dossier he had gathered on him? Insulting, he was glad he had taken the time to correct the old man’s knowledge, even if it had set him back in his own writing. He read the title again “The Madame di Constanza” a fine woman she was too, he thought, a fine woman indeed.

White-Gold Tower - Day -1 10:32

“What’s in this one?” The voice remarked, it was an argonian, elderly, likely servile.

“Cabbage? It’s unmarked so it’s got to be darned cabbage.” Another voice called, it was a Breton, softer, kind.

“They can’t expect us to serve him cabbage again. After the talks with those generals? Cabbage soup is too much to ask.” The argonian said with a surprising amount of contempt.

“I’ll send out one of the soldiers to get some veal to make him a proper meal. Poor man deserves it. More than bloody cabbage.” The breton remarked.

These women do not like cabbage. Stendarr noted on a spare page upon which he had drafted his notes. Most were rhymes and rude ditties. One, a particularly well-endowed drawing of Mara, another of Zenithar. Stendarr remembered when he walked in on that night. Such fire in that room, shame he had just fed the tiger.

White-Gold Tower - Day -1 12:17

‘no food. no Food. NO FOOD.’ Stendarr wrote on his page as he nibbled at the last crumbs of cheese along the bottom of the crate. He had finished it all within the first day. If a day had passed. How long had he been here?

He thought of his imperial friend. He was a fool to not have packed more food. He should have known changes would be made and planned for it. Not a smuggler's hold of bread and sensible nourishment. He would have to be punished. ‘Shave my imperial’ he noted down. That would show him for not preparing for the White Lion of Tamriel.

White-Gold Tower - Day 0 10:52

The clatter of imperial footsteps was evident. No longer was Stendarr due for the Shivering Isles, starved by the selfish actions of a man he thought was his right hand. He had held his mind steady, sharp as a nail, as an old tailors needle. Stendarr took a deep breath and lightly pushed against the lid of his crate. There was no resistance. It was the perfect execution.

He peaked out. Nobody. A smile crept across his face as he pushed the roof onto the floor ensuing with it the shatter of ceramic plates across the cobblestone floor. Stendarr lept out, landing amidst them on his feline feet and dropping to an inconspicuous squat.

‘The first rule of crime. Squat to stay hidden’ Stendarr thought, remembering the seminal Volume III of his autobiography which pursued his criminal history. The myths, the legends, the passion.

He glanced at the door, pausing for a figure to come through the doorway. No one came. He exhaled raising himself for a brief moment until the door opened and he dropped again to a squat.

An imperial soldier entered, tall, orcish. Stendarr held his position as the orc shut his eyes and closed the door behind him breathing heavily as he rested his back against the wall. He seemed to be cowering from something.

The Khajiit began to move around the table, stepping only on the largest piece of ceramic and further cracking it as he moved.

The orc’s eyes expanded. “Stop! Who goes there?” He called staring at the squatting Khajiit.

Stendarr held his position, pausing for a moment before he began moving again round the table.

“I can see you.” The orc restated, bluntly folding his arms as the elaborately dressed Khajiit moved behind the table and out of view.

There was a pause. “Am I just seeing things?” The orc mused aloud as the Khajiit reappeared on the other side of the table.

He stared at the squatting figure not quite sure what to do as he processed the madness of what he foresaw. Was this some kind of robbery? Was this real? Was this some kind of daedric game?

The Khajiit continued to the door, opening it gradually as the footsteps faded outside.

“What are you?” the orc asked fearfully, backing slightly away from the strange creature that still paid him no attention.

‘This one will not be mentioned in my retelling of these events.’ Stendarr thought as he left through the door en route to the main entrance, down the small flight of stairs that separated the pantry from the Elder Council chamber below and the Legion Quarters above. His lithe form darted down the stairs dropping behind a pillar as the last councilmen and palace attendants were evacuated from the building and the grand doors were sealed behind them.

Stendarr grinned, strolling gleefully towards the entrance with a swagger to his walk.

“Hold it. You’re breaking the law here!” a voice called from the staircase as he reached the main doors. He turned. It was the same pestilent orc.

“Are you asking for an autograph?” He asked slyly, inserting the first of three replica signet rings needed to reopen the doors.

“Wha? Back away from the door!” The orc ordered, drawing his sword as he advanced.

“Do not make me arrest you!” Stendarr shouted back with an accusative gesture, pointing to the orc as he inserted the second signet ring in the parallel hole that sat beneath the handles.
“Y.. You can’t arrest me. Stop right now!” He ordered again moving closer.

Stendarr sighed, turning away from the door to look at the orc whose gladius was now at his throat.

“Do you have any idea who you are speaking to!” He exclaimed batting away the sword at the cost of a few neck hairs.

The orc hesitated, processing the events at hand.

“I am Corporol Ja’Rassa, Lord of Tides, White Flower, Swan of Skyrim. You believe you can arrest me!” He pushed a claw to the orc’s chest reaching for a weapon on his waist only to remember he had chosen to pack ‘artistically’.

“I..err...I outrank you Corporal. Why do you not march with the legion?” The orc called back.

“Why. Don’t. You? Now go back to your quarters until I write you up for cowardice.” He scoffed, turning back to the door as the orc reflected, uncertain as to what was occurring.

A moment passed before he noticed the strange rings hanging in the ports for the High Chancellor and Imperial Battlemage’s signet rings.

“What are you doing?” The orc finally asked.

Stendarr sighed reaching into his chest pocket to remove the now empty inkpot as he approached the orc.

“You made me do this.” he remarked as he swung the ink pot into the orcs head, smashing it on impact and collapsing the figure to the floor unconscious. The Khajiit turned back to the door brandishing the replica of the imperial signet ring on his claw as he did. This would be the first sign that Talos wasn’t as insane as he was impotent.

“Akari Dora Shathaa” He exclaimed as he struck the ring down upon the meeting point of the two doors. Nothing. Stendarr stepped back as he looked at the ring with a sigh. “Open up?” He asked dismissively, before a bright green light shot up through the door. He approached the right handle and pushed beginning a creak as it swung open.

“My friends, Stendarr has come to your heroic rescue! You may thank me now or later, but know that this one lays claim to the finest wares, available only when you show me your coin.”

User avatar
Cheye
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Posts: 302
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Cheye » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:00 pm

Dibella - Imperial City Sewers - Day 0 - 10:41

Dibella watched as the entire chamber quickly filled with boiling hot water around her, a thin magical bubble keeping her protected as it did so. She could no longer hear her captors, nor could she see very far beyond the bubble through the dark gloomy water.

However, as the water had been about to pour down, she had noticed the three sluices at the top of the chamber, and although she hadn’t expected them to be above her, they did just so happen to match the position of the three exits marked on the map of the sewers that she had studied in preparation for the heist…

She willed her bubble upwards, twisting her fingers slightly to ensure the ethereal barrier was able to support her as it began to magically rise through the water.

As she reached the top of the chamber and came alongside the sluice chamber, she placed her hands in front of her, almost rolling the bubble into the left-most chamber. It bobbed and bounced along through the water for a bit, before a stone floor appeared through the hazy water beneath her, which eventually turned into a gradual slope, with the water beginning to grow shallower. As her eye-line came above the waterline, she was able to see something through the darkness, a platform atop which seemed to sit a furnace of some kind, which Dibella reasoned was probably one of the devices her would-be captors had used to heat the water.

“She’s escaped!” Came a cry from one of the antechambers below.

Dibella thought for a moment, then settled on her course of action. She hoisted herself up onto the platform, dispelling the magical barrier as she did so. She then stepped as far away from the furnace as she was able too, before inhaling and exhaling steadily and raising both of her hands towards it.

“I must say Othrelos, her mastery of telekinesis goes far beyond what we would expect of one her age.”

“No. No. No.” She growled, trying to block the memories out as she unleashed a strong wave of telekinetic energy around the furnace, gripping hold of the large device and attempting to uproot it from where it had been built into the stone floor. It wasn’t easy, after the bubble it took all of her energy to try and leverage it into the air, and that all-consuming feeling of pulling it up gave rise to the voices from her past once more...

“Why thank you, Magister Neloth.” Her father’s pride grated at her, even now. He wasn’t pleased for her, he was pleased only for the prestige her magical prowess would bring to the House.

“Have you decided then what will be done with her then? I would be quite happy to take her on, should you wish for her to follow in your footsteps as one of my apprentices.”

“No, no.”

“I’d promise not to turn her into a guar for annoying me, which you know I don’t say lightly?”

“No, the Archmagister has suggested a marriage for her, to cement our closer relationship with House Redoran. If it goes ahead she will move to Blacklight or maybe somewhere on Vvardenfell that’s yet to burn to cinders.”

“A waste of magical potential if ever I heard it.”

“Neloth, please... the girl can hear us.”

“So what? She should know what she’s getting into. If it’s young Gavryn Redoran she’s marrying, he hasn’t got a drop of magical talent in him. Although I suppose that’s why they want him to marry a vassal of House Telvanni in the first place. So she can squirt out a line of magical brats for them.”

“Neloth please! She’s just twenty-three years old!”

“Which, you have to admit makes it even more foolish to marry her off for breeding, children being so rare to our people, especially while still so young.”

“Asara, your concentration is breaking! Don’t you dare even think about dropping the statues!”

She wanted to. She wanted to throw those damn statues right down on top of her father and Neloth. The way they talked about her, like she was either a walking magical experiment or just a pair of birthing hips for some Redoran s’wit.


She might not have had the confidence to throw those statues then, but she could launch this furnace now.

With a hefty push, it flew from the platform, smashing into the pool of heated water and down through the sluice chamber, the current dragging it quickly down into the chamber she had been trapped in just seconds ago.

As the furnace finally hit the floor, it's great weight crushing it in on itself, it exploded. Loudly.

The blast rang out through the sewers, echoing on as far as Dibella could hear. There were screams and shrieks from below, as her prior captors were pelted by rubble, shrapnel and boiling water.

She smirked and turned, using the last of her magicka to cast water walk on herself as she stepped on top of the now rapidly-cooling water she had emerged from. She knew where to go, the drainage pipe that led to Green Emperor Way wasn’t far from here…

She walked along the surface of the water until she reached a small alcove on the far side, where a grate, like the one that had been slammed down behind her earlier marked another passageway.

It wasn’t difficult to pry it open, and she continued onwards, still walking on water as she continued down the passage.

“This had better be the right way…” She muttered to herself as she marched on. “There should be an intersection up ahead…”

Sure enough there was. A small shrine sat on a pedestal that rose out of the water in the centre of the four way sewer intersection.

Dibella recognised it as a shrine to Namira. Undoubtedly the cannibals ‘Mistress of Decay’. She shook her head, not in judgement, but merely in frustration of having such an unforeseeable obstacle placed in her way. Who was she to judge the worship of daedra, afterall?

Then she was dragged back suddenly as a clawed hand darted from the water and pulled at her ankle.

The sudden nature of the attack caused her to lose her balance as well as her concentration, and she fell backwards into the water as her water walk spell dissipated. At least this water wasn’t boiling she thought as she submerged, trying to turn and face her attacker, who still held a firm grip on her ankle amidst the dark and murky waters of the sewer.

Trying not to flail, she drew one of her elven daggers from her belt and thrust it behind her, catching the assailant around the midriff, releasing an inky cloud of blood into the water and forcing him to release his hold on her. She kicked upwards towards the surface, breathing deeply as her head emerged.

Quickly she pulled herself out of the water and up onto the pedestal next to the daedric shrine.

“You’ve destroyed our nest!” Her attacker spat up from her as he surfaced, clutching his wound. He was an argonaian, and from his voice she could tell he was one of the would-be captors from below.

“Well…” Dibella exhaled, wiping strands of wet black hair from her face. “It would seem I’m not quite finished yet.”

With her left hand, she sent a small and simple bolt of lightning coursing from her fingertips, as much as she could muster, which then hit the surface of the sewer water.

“No!” The argonian screeched as the surface crackled with electricity, sending shockwaves through him and through any other living thing hiding below the surface.

“There we go.” She let out, stowing her dagger and pausing for a moment to catch her breath next to the shrine.

“Mortal.” A female voice rang out from somewhere nearby. It dripped with a sneering hatred and levels of arrogance that might make even a High Elf look humble. Dibella turned to look for it, but then realised it was ringing through her head like one of those damn memories; “You are pretty. And it disgusts me, mortal. Though I also sense in you a darkness that could corrupt you yet.”

“Get out of my head!” Dibella growled at the shrine, raising her hands to deploy a blast of magic to melt it.

“You serve another? I can tell.”

“I serve nobody!” Dibella retorted, feigning confidence.

“No? And yet, I can tell that you have had a special relationship with one of your so-called ‘tribunal’." The voice stopped, as if thinking for a moment. “But that is not who I meant. In this moment, you do not know whom you serve? Do you? Hahahaha.”

“Get out of my head daedra.” Dibella hissed again.

“Now I see it. As I see all rotten things. The wasted seed in your belly. The one who put it there hides the secret from you, the secret of whose will it is that you truly serve. Go now, you vile, pretty mortal and play your part. If he succeeds, there will be much darkness to come…”

Dibella straightened as the voice fell silent and failed to reemerge from the shadows of the sewer. She looked at the shrine and thought about destroying it, but she knew the power of the daedra. Instead she stepped back, recasting water walk before heading up the left hand passageway, the one that led to the drainage pipe on Green Emperor Way. She knew she was lucky if Namira was finished with her, she had heard stories of the Queen of Rot taking away the youth, beauty or fertility of those who crossed her. Dibella had no desire to tempt such a fate.

Besides, she had a heist to get back to. One that, very shortly, would require her to enact her second objective, helping to distract the Penitus Oculatus soldiers outside the White-Gold Tower so that the rest of the pantheon could get everyone essential to the heist back inside without any resistance, provided Stendarr had opened the doors of course.

Still, after this little chat with a daedric prince, she had just had an idea for making her distraction even bigger...
Last edited by Cheye on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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