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Grand Master (14/14)

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  1. I sincerely appreciate the kind sentiments. ❤️
  2. The big problem with choosing the military route for her vengeance was that it involved being in the military. There was no freedom of movement, no… “Lint!” …way to do things in an efficient… “Lint! Pay attention!” …way, and… “LINT!” Trendil blinked out of her thoughts to find Whip’s face an inch away from hers. He didn’t look happy. “Wha…” was as far as she got. “Dammit, Lint, have you gone deaf or something?!” Ah, right – her Stormcloak name. Trendil…or, now, Lint, blinked. “Erm. Sorry, Whip. I…guess I’m just not used to hearing…” “Well bloody get used to it because this is the last time I’m going to repeat your name! Next time I’ll remind you with my sword!” “Ah…yes.” She could hear the snickers of her squad-mates but kept herself still. No need to further her shame by reacting. For once, she was glad of the helmet that hid her flush and kept her from seeing Bent (née the insufferable Koren)’s presumed sneer. Why did he have to be in her squad in the first place? There had only been a one-in-four chance when they split the company, so of course it ended up this way. It was as if she was being punished. Although, to be fair to Kor…Bent, he had not spoken a single word or even acknowledged her presence since they had parted ways upon their return from the north, so he had not really been an ass for weeks. The other men in the company were, on the whole, just as misogynistic as he had been, and Tre…Lint had been forced to restrain herself from chopping off more than one groping hand. Still, it was hard to forget the memory of Bent shoving his dick into her, her fault or not. “You’re on point. Rest of you, fan out. And watch your step – it’s pretty rough terrain here.” Lint nodded, hiked up her pack, and moved forward down the road. There wasn’t much to see. Or, rather, there was a lot to see because the salt flats were just that – flat. They went on for miles but, with the exception of a large hill/small mountain in the distance, near the center of the plains, nothing impeded her sight. There was a lot of see, all right – a whole lot of nothing save for some bird near that distant mountain, probably a vulture or some other carrion type, that flew lazy circles for a while before gliding on some invisible wind stream in their general direction. Lint shook her head – she had joined the Stormcloaks to fight Imperials but it appeared the most dangerous thing they were going to face was a vulture. There was exactly one settlement on the flats, a recent build of mostly stone. It consisted of a single building, though there were clear signs of larger plans, with areas staked out with rope. It took about five minutes to reach it but, as Lint approached, it was not the building that caught her attention. It was the… “Dragon!” She yelled the word even as she ducked to the side, rolling as a blast of scorching fire turned the ground upon which she had just been standing into a smoldering blackened streak. She yanked out her swords as she searched the sky, wondering how something that large could move with so little effort (and not much noise, given its size) and how she had not seen it until it was already upon her. Unless…was that her bird? If so, it moved with a speed she could never have imagined – the small mountain was miles away. She spotted the monster high in the sky, circling, then diving. As it got closer, arrows sprang from her left – the squad had caught up. Lint shouted and waved, trying to keep the dragon’s attention on herself. It seemed the best way to help, keeping its flank to the archers, giving them a larger target, and putting only one person in jeopardy. Too bad that one person can’t be Bent instead of me, she thought as the dragon screamed down at her. She dove to the side as another blast of fire rained down. “Dammit.” Lint climbed back to her feet and shouted, “Get down here and face me on the ground, you coward!” “I don’t think it can hear you.” Lint jumped at the unexpected voice and turned, swords raised, then blinked. A woman with short-cropped red hair peered into the sky. She wore only a simple dress and carried no weapons. Lint cleared her throat. “Um. Ma’am. You should probably get inside.” “Hm?” The woman looked at her and laughed. “Oh, I think we’ll be fine. Right, dear?” “This one is certain of it.” A grey Khajiit, also wearing simple clothes, leaned against the wall of the house. “Your concern should be for that poor dragon.” Lint shook her head. “I…” “Here it comes. Be ready. I’m going to try to freeze its wings to ground it.” “I…” “Aaannnd…now!” The woman lifted her hands and twin icy blasts shot toward the dragon, joining the resumed arrows. The dragon let out a cry as it was hit but didn’t slow; it rushed past so close to the ground that the earth shook. Lint tried to take advantage of the closeness by jabbing upward with one of her swords. In her mind, she pictured a giant rend in the monster’s hide as it effectively cut itself on her held-still blade. What actually happened was that she felt a sharp pain in her wrist as the sword went flying. She thought she cried out but whatever sound she made was masked by the dragon’s passage. How had she thought it quiet? Once it had banked back upward, Lint rubbed her wrist as she retrieved her sword. She didn’t think her wrist was broken but it hurt like the Deadlands. Maybe… “That was stupid.” For a second time, she jumped at an expected voice. Where was her situational awareness? She should not be so easy to sneak up on. Her mother would be… “You’re not nearly strong enough to cut it like that,” Bent – because, of course it was Bent – continued. “Oblivion, no one is. Wait until it’s grounded.” “Listen, I don’t need…” “Here it comes again. Try to get it to veer a little to the right. I’m going to try to hit one of its wings as it goes by.” “What? I…” “Now.” With no time to think, Lint rushed into the path of the oncoming lizard as another round of ice and arrows shot forward. The dragon angled toward her and opened its mouth, and this time Lint had less room to maneuver. Pain shot up her right leg and arm as she dove. She hit the ground with a grunt and wanted to just lay there for a moment, but a massive BOOM filled the air and she blinked through a sudden upswell of dirt to see the dragon sliding along the ground. She let out a whoop and was running before she realized she had regained her feet, her pain momentarily forgotten. She reached the dragon’s tail just as it began to heave itself back to its feet, wings unfurling. “Oh no you don’t!” Trendil sprang upward, onto the dragon’s back, only dimly cognizant of Bent’s hammer slamming down on one of the dragon’s knees while the woman’s magic battered the creature from the other side. She scampered forward as the body began to rise until she reached its neck. A moment’s hesitation as the head rose ten feet above her, but then it lowered to snap at Bent, giving Lint a path along the neck. She jumped along it until she reached the head then straddled it with her legs just behind its jaws and lifted her swords as the head began to rise again. She tried to think of something pithy to say, some sort of fitting quip, but all brain and mouth could think to say was, “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” as she plunged the swords into the dragon’s eyes. Its roar was deafening and it bucked, throwing her up and away as her swords were once again ripped from her grasp. It was an oddly peaceful moment, that second and a half or so, as she cast a bemused glance at her empty hands. Disarmed twice in the span of two minutes. Her mother would be livid. And the tragedy was that this would never have happened had she managed to manifest her gift. Her mother’s imagined disappointment was far more painful than the ground that met her a heartbeat later, but the loss of consciousness eased both pains.
  3. RIP to my mom. He can't hurt you anymore, for which I am grateful.
  4. Her reverie was broken by sudden noise, and she looked up as alarm coursed the length of her nerves and she shouted silent curses at herself. She hadn’t been paying attention, hadn’t been watching her new Master, hadn’t… Her self-berating stopped with as abrupt a transition as the panic had inspired. Aithne had lived most of her life at sea and, when outdoors, could tell the time of day or night in an instant, even when clouds obscured the sky. But there were no windows in this room, at least that she could see from her vantage, so there was no way to know how much time had passed. Yet somehow everyone in the room had, as one, come to the conclusion that it was time to leave. People were standing, stretching, closing books and scrolls. Some talked, though even here at the apparent end of the library day, the voices never rose above a murmur. Not a few looked in her direction and, while most eyes moved on after curiosity was satisfied, some remained for several seconds. She pretended not to notice, but her skin crawled until those eyes turned away. Her new Master seemed oblivious to her discomfort (as well he should). The orc waited until the room was empty, placed a scroll in a cubby of his desk, then grunted as he stood and stretched before turning and walking to his right. He didn’t acknowledge Aithne’s presence, but if there was anything she knew, it was how to follow the instructions of an impassive orc – she followed as he moved down the bookshelf-lined hallway and through a doorway into what looked like a bedroom. He didn’t seem to realize she was there until he tried to close the door just as she was stepping through it. “Oh! Pardon, I…wait. What are you doing?” Aithne stopped where she was and went back to her waiting pose - she knew better than to respond verbally. Her Master seemed taken aback by her response, however. He stared at her for a time while she waited, then he grunted, shook his head, turned, and entered the room with Aithne behind. It was, indeed, a bedroom, although that only encompassed a portion of the suite – a doorway to the right led to other rooms beyond. Had she been asked to describe the décor, the words “sparse,” “simple,” or “plain” might have come to mind. Directly ahead, a large but simple desk with a single chair sat under a window that showed glimpses of distant stars, and a well-made but simple bureau stood against the wall to her right. The wall to the left was dominated by the only extravagance in the room – an enormous four-poster bed with thick, quilted bedding and what looked to be silk sheets. Her opposed selves shivered in unison at the thought of sharing it with her Master; one out of fear and revulsion, one out of lust and longing. The combination made her feel vaguely ill. Or maybe that was the baby. You were supposed to feel sick when you were pregnant, weren’t… Her Master grunted, pulling her attention back to him as he looked around in what Aithne could only describe as aggravation, then grabbed a thick blanket and a pillow off the massive bed and tossed them on the floor next to the table. “You can sleep there. I guess. I’ll…get something for us to eat.” He turned back toward the door but when Aithne moved to follow, he held up a hand. “No. Stay here. This is going to be difficult enough as it is. I’ll be right back.” Aithne didn’t nod or acknowledge the command – no response was necessary, of course, because it was assumed she would obey – and he studied her for a brief second before turning back to the door, looking back once as if to make sure she hadn’t followed. Having had no other direction, Aithne waited in place. She wished she had been facing toward the window when her Master left but resigned herself to looking at the wall and the door. It had been nice to stand instead of kneel, but after however many hours on her feet, kneeling would have been a relief. This was not going how she had envisioned it. Borkul wouldn’t have left her here alone. Or given her a blanket and pillow. Or, she realized with growing confusion, gone to get food himself. What in Tamriel was... The door banged open, eliciting an inadvertent jump and yelp from Aithne, as her Master walked in bearing a tray of food. He frowned at her. “Why are you…” He stopped and shook his head. “Never mind. I brought food. We’ll eat then figure out what to do with you.” Aithne reached for the food – it was her place to serve him, after all - but her Master had already started walking again, carrying the tray around her and through the doorway into the next room, leaving Aithne standing with arms akimbo. She blinked as she lowered them, then followed. The side room held a small table with three wooden chairs. Her master set the food on the table and sat, motioning toward one of the other chairs. Aithne paused, uncertain, until he said in an impatient tone, “Sit down. Eat something.” Seeing no choice against a direct command from her Master, Aithne sat, then reached for the food and began to set it on her Master’s plate. He grunted, again sounding impatient, as he blocked her hands. She swiftly set the food back on the tray and retracted her hands to her lap. “I can get my own food. You eat yours.” It was an unprecedented statement, one that she dared not take at face value. Surely he could not mean what she had thought she had heard? But he grabbed some bread and a piece of cheese, cut them into slices, and began to eat them, and she was left with no choice but to believe her own ears. She reached out once again, though this time with a hesitant hand, ready to snatch it back at the slightest indication she was doing something wrong, but he opened a small book and read as he chewed, ignoring her fingers as they curled around an apple and eased it to herself. She took a bite, all the time watching him as confusion joined the already-crowded bevy of emotions her new master brought up in her. He seemed not to notice her discomfort. Or her at all, for that matter. After some time of eating and reading, during which Aithne managed to sneak a small bit of cheese (it felt like sneaking, at any rate), he closed the book and stood. Aithne immediately stood with him. He gave her a frown then shook his head and went back into the bedroom. The familiar twin pangs of lust and hatred rose as she followed. Dinner had been a little strange, but she was certain she knew what he wanted from her now. He pulled off his robe as he neared the bed, hanging it with a haphazard toss on a hook near the door. He wore silk underthings below, which was a bit of surprise, but certainly not something she couldn’t deal with. She reached out to tug at his drawers. “Hey!” Her Master wheeled around as his hands clamped down on his shorts. His cock had begun to rise and he quickly yanked a blanket around his hips. “What are you doing?” Aithne frowned as tears of frustration sprang to her eyes. She had been certain she knew what he would want this time! Borkul would have beat her if she hadn’t had his cock in her mouth by this point after a meal. She knelt, shaking, waiting for her beating, wailing in her own head at her own incompetence. She wanted to serve her new Master but she just didn’t know how. He let out an aggravated sounding sigh. “Colette, I’m going to kill you for this. Just…go over there and sleep. Will you?” Aithne glanced up just enough to see that he was pointing at the blanket and pillow he had tossed onto the floor earlier. She hesitated as long as she dared, once again certain that what she was hearing could not be what was meant, but when he said nothing else, she turned and crawled to the indicated spot. She glanced back as she reached it in time to see him climb into the bed. Having, once again, no option but to obey, even though every instinct screamed that it wasn’t what she was supposed to be doing, she wrapped herself in the softest, warmest blanket she had every touched and laid her head on the pluffiest pillow her head had ever known, and spent a miserable night utterly failing to sleep.
  5. Lol. I mean, in the previous version, it was Sloan who joined the Stormcloaks. But now I have Trendil for that story.
  6. This tale is going to diverge wildly from the previous version pretty soon. Just so you know.
  7. The contents of Sloan’s purse had dwindled considerably – enough so she could no longer afford the ride back to Riften - and she knew of only one way to make money. She went back to Candlehearth, but this time went up the stairs to the common room, where she relaxed and bided her time until evening fell and people began to enter. Once a fair-sized crowd had gathered, she meandered about the room, keeping an eye out for anyone who seemed to take an interest in her. An older man caught her eye, so she sashayed over and leaned down in front of him, hands on his table. His eyes, as intended, turned immediately to her dangling breasts. "Good evening, sir," she purred. "You look a little lonely tonight." "Aye, that I am, miss.” His eyes did not leave her breasts as he talked and she shifted a little to make them sway a bit. "Well, maybe I can give you a little company." "Aye, that you can, miss." He stood up, and she unbent to stand with him. They went down a back flight of stairs where she found a row of bedrooms. She picked the first empty one and, once he entered, closed the door. "How about we do our negotiations now? I promise I'm worth your coin." She smiled and trailed her fingers across his face. He caught his breath. "That sounds fine t'me. What are ye askin'?" "That depends on what you're looking for, honey." She trailed her fingers along his chest, unbuttoning his shirt as she did. His breathing deepened. "I haven't laid with a woman for three years, and that's th' truth," he said. "Oh, you poor dear. For only a hundred septims, we'll change your fortune." Her fingers slinked down to his waistline and she scraped his erection through his pants with one fingernail. He hissed. "Uh...aye, miss, that sounds...fine." He fumbled in his purse, pulled out an eagle, placed it on the bedstand. "Lovely. Come, I'll take good care of you." She lifted his hands and pressed them to her breasts and he gasped, fingers immediately beginning to knead like a cat. She stroked at his erection harder, then placed a hand on the drawstring of his trousers and pulled. The door slammed open just as his trousers fell. A livid Elda stormed in. "You! You can't do that here!" Sloan quickly slid the eagle off the table and slipped it into her purse before raising her hands. "I'm sorry! I didn't know!" "Didn't know?" Elda laughed as the blushing man yanked up his pants and fled from the room. "You didn't know you couldn't use someone else's property without their consent?" She spat a curse. "Get out of here! If I catch you doing this again, I'll call the guard. You won't make any money servicing them, I promise you that!" Sloan nodded, hands still up, as she edged around the enraged Nord woman, then fled the building. Once outside (where the cold actually felt nice for once), she smiled. An eagle, for nothing! Not bad. Only two hundred more septims to go and she could afford the passage back to... "Hey!" Sloan frowned and looked around. She winced when she recognized her recent client. "That was a dirty trick. I thought you was one of Elda's girls. Give me my money back." Sloan blinked. "I'm sorry, sir, I...I didn't think to pick it up. It's still..." The man was old, but he could still move, and he had a grip like iron. She found this out because he had her pinned to the wall before she could even blink. "Don't play games with me, miss. I saw you pick it up. Now hand it over or I'll hand you over to the guard." "Fine, fine." She nodded as she fumbled in her purse. "Here, take it. Let me go." He snatched the coin from her hand then said, "If I was a different kind of man, I'd take a lot more than that. Consider yourself lucky." Again, before she could react, he yanked out a dagger. She yelped and covered her face but he used it to cut the strings of her purse, which he took. He glanced in it, holding the dagger loosely but still closer to her face than she liked. "I see why you did it. Gettin' desperate, aye? Here." He pulled out a single septim and threw it to the ground at her feet. "Good luck, bitch." He stowed the knife and walked away with her money, and she watched him go with fear and anger and hopelessness raging through her all at once. Only after he was back in the inn, out of eyesight, did she stoop to pick up the septim. It winked at her in the fading sunlight. "Dammit." She looked around. The rocky streets of the city held few citizens and even fewer torches. She moved away from the inn. With no other place to go, she angled in the direction of Aventus' house, but the thought of going back in there and listening to his crazed droning mantra all night stopped her. She sighed and leaned against a wall. "How much?" She blinked and looked around. A thin, bald man stood nearby, watching the streets as he spoke. "How much?" "How much for a blow job? Real quick one?" "Erm...fifty septims?" The man laughed. "You must think something of yourself, missy! Fifty! Ha!" "Well, how much are you offering?" "Offering, is it? You are some sort of high and mighty whore, ain't ya? Used to clean sheets and fancy places, are ye? Well, here on the streets, the goin' rate's one septim for a bj, five for a fuck, ten for your arse. You too proud for those prices?" "What? Those are ridiculous prices! Maybe twenty, if I have to, but..." "Yer not gettin' it, missy. So's I'm gonna teach you the lesson of th' street. We'll be willin' to pay the prices I jest said, or somethin' close to 'em - if'n you're good, you ken charge more. We're fair out here, an' that's th' truth. But if you try to go all high and mighty on us, we'll just take what we want and you'll get nothin'." He reached out, grabbed her throat with one hand, her breast with the other, and squeezed both, lifting her off her feet. She grappled with the hand at her throat with both of hers, breaking two of her manicured nails, but couldn't find the air to breathe, let alone fight. "D'you understand the rules of the street now, missy?" She nodded as spots began to appear. He dropped her, and she stumbled to the ground gasping for air. "Now then. How much for a blow job, missy?" Sloan sucked in air for a moment longer before she could gasp, "T...two septims." The man laughed. "I like your moxie, missy! Two it is, if'n you're good with your mouth. When you're done with me, I've got some friends who might also be willin’ to part with a little coin." He grabbed her by the hair and yanked her to her feet, then dragged her along the back alleys until they came to a small courtyard. He tossed her, and she landed on her knees still coughing. He yanked open his trousers and gestured. "C'mon, missy. I haven't got all night. And my friends are hungry too." Even as he spoke, several more men appeared out of the shadows. It was a long night, the longest she had known. The work was very different than what she had grown accustomed to at the Vixen - there was none of the decorum, none of the niceties. It was freeing, in a way (a very very small way, and not worth the trade off) - she didn't have to fake enjoyment, didn't have to pretend to care for them. She just had to fuck and suck, then do it again. When dawn's light grazed the rooftops of the courtyard, she was left alone with a sprinkling of coins at her feet. She had never felt so exhausted or alone. She considered the irony as she raked up the night's earnings (a total of eleven septims, barely enough for a decent meal) - for the first time, she had not faked who she was, and for the first time she actually felt like a whore.
  8. What happened next was completely my fault. I should have known he would be in a bad mood because he always was when he met with one of the commanders. I waited until he had had a few drinks - my second mistake - before I told him. He went apoplectic and gave me the worst beating I have ever had. I tried to cower, but he yanked on my chain to drag me up to meet his fists over and over. I spent the night huddled in my own blood and had difficulty even standing the next morning. But I had to stand, of course. My master needed his breakfast. It was my own fault that I had been beat. He didn't say a word as he ate and I limped through the task of tearing down our camp. Once I was done and had the pack balanced on my shoulders - the cuts and bruises screamed with every jostle, but I said nothing and showed no signs of pain - we moved out. I redoubled my efforts to please him in the following weeks, but the pregnancy added a strain that made everything I did turn into a flare of anger from him. He beat me nearly every night, and started to take me at random times, before I could prepare. The pain of those days is some of the worst I have ever gone through. I was certain I would die from the constant beating, but I knew it was his right, and it was all my fault, so I accepted my fate. Finally, one day, the beatings stopped. He sat by the remains of the fire one morning after I had finished packing the camp. He had not eaten his breakfast, which made me nervous. Something about it hadn't pleased him. I lowered myself to my knees in front of him, prepared for my beating. I had done something else wrong. He surprised me - instead of hitting me, he spoke to me, for the first time since the first day of my enslavement. "We will go to Riften when the baby's time comes. Once it is born it will go to the orphanage. I will send money there every month to make sure it is well taken care of. I do not have time to raise a child, but as it is mine, my honor holds me to provide for it." I had never felt so happy in my life. I would be allowed to bear his child! I wept and thanked him, and only a moment later flinched because I had spoken. But he did not beat me for it. He just rose and, to my wonder, picked up the pack and shouldered it himself. He forestalled my attempt to take the pack with a curt wave of a fist. I stood still to allow it to connect, but he stopped before it reached me. Instead, he shrugged the pack more comfortably on his shoulders and started walking. After a moment's hesitation, I followed, feeling lighter than I had since I couldn't remember. And that was the moment, when the life I had lived for all of twelve-ish months (but the only life I could clearly remember) was at its highest, happiest peak, that all hell broke loose in the form of a giant, fire-breathing, winged lizard that descended on us from out the blue. My master, encumbered as he was by the bulky pack, had difficulty moving, and the dragon's first fire blast caught him full force. He screamed in pain, and I screamed in anguish as I rushed toward him. My scream seemed to affect the dragon somehow - it heaved back as if pushed, and its head swiveled sharply toward me. With a cry I almost seemed to recognize, it shoved itself back into the air. I rushed to my master and laid my hands on the burst skin of his face. "Ow," he said. Then he fumbled at his belt, took out his keys with shaking hands, and handed them to me. "Run," he commanded. "Save my child." "Maaaassstterrrr!" I screamed, but he pushed me away with his last strength and his eyes glazed over. I heard a rushing sound above, and a shadow briefly blotted out the sun - the dragon was returning. With shaking hands I fumbled at the locks, but I could not get the key in any of the holes. Finally, as the dragon descended once more, I just picked up the now-slack end of my chain and ran into a nearby copse of trees. I felt the heat of the dragon's breath as it followed me, watched the foliage around me wither into ash. I ducked and weaved through thick, thorny underbrush, ignoring the scratches on my bare legs. The sound of the dragon had lessened, but I kept running until everything around me was quiet. Then I collapsed in a heap and just panted for what felt like days. I shook and wept with emotions so mixed they would have made a nice omelet. Well, maybe not a nice one. An omelet of despair. And hope. And loss. But joy in the loss, except I didn't feel joy. How was that possible? I didn't love my master, I loathed him. Didn't I? Shouldn't I? I didn't know, and the blood flowing from my groin wasn't helping any... The bright red gush cleared my head of all thought. I just watched in horrid fascination, legs akimbo, as blood pooled in the grass. Meandering rivulets found paths and snaked away like tiny rivers of bright lava. Moments later I felt painful contractions well up in my gut, and I screamed as my diaphragm pushed down, hard. A slimy lump flowed out of me like a surfer riding a red wave and plopped onto the ground. A length of cording clung to it, keeping it connected to me. I felt tears stream down my face and somehow mustered the strength to gather my baby to my chest. I held him and kissed him and whispered his name. My little Oron. Don't feed the bastards - they'll just want more
  9. Funky. Probably just a broken save. Try from a brand new game (not an early save) and see if it still happens
  10. The room around them was giant and magnificent, filled to the brim with bizarre apparatuses. The very air buzzed with energy. Bright light shone from fire-less sconces along the wall and glowing runes covered the floor. High above Aithne’s head, large spheres rotated and spun, each at different speeds, in some strange pattern she could not grasp. She gaped at her surroundings, trying to take in the entirety of the giant room, but everywhere she looked, she saw something new, and each new thing seemed more incomprehensible than the last. Her Mistress laughed. “It’s quite something, isn’t it? I’ve lived here for decades and it still takes me a little aback a little whenever I return.” She waved her arms in a grand gesture. “Welcome to the College of Winterhold! Come on.” Her Mistress moved forward with a sense of purpose. “This is going to be hilarious. I can’t wait to see the look on his face.” They wound their way through hallways and chambers and the further they went, the more unease Aithne felt – every eye turned, every voice stopped, when she entered a room. She had become used to being without clothes in public but the public had likewise become used to clothes-less slaves. The net effect was a zero-sum – neither the slaves nor the public thought it an unusual sight. Aithne had been unclothed but she not felt naked, a heretofore unrecognized and altogether unwelcome distinction that bore down on her like a fresh wound. She felt an unlikely blush blossom and cover her body and had to force herself not to cover herself as she walked. Their path led to tower steps and then into a giant room filled floor to ceiling with books. Of all the wonders of this college, this one most took her breath away. Books were a rarity – Aithne had seen three in her entire lifetime. She had not known so many books existed in the world, let alone in one single (albeit very large) room. She had not realized she had stopped walking until her Mistress prodded her. “Come on. He’s right over there.” Aithne complied with a start, silently berating herself for her lapse while simultaneously preparing herself for her well-deserved punishment -- though her Mistress showed no signs of meting out judgement, it was hard to believe it was not forthcoming. But her Mistress strode across the stone-tiled floors to a large desk on the opposite wall as if she hadn’t even noticed her slave’s momentary lapse. Her Mistress circumvented a large floating circular staircase placed in the dead center of the room and called out, “Ury!” I have a surprise for you!” “I told you not to call me that.” A deep and gravelly voice, but the staircase blocked Aithne’s view of the speaker. She followed her Mistress around it and… “Yes, yes. Are you ready for your surprise?” The question was not directed at Aithne, but it may as well have been. For the second time, her legs forgot to move and she stood rooted as she saw…Him. Here. How could… The orc tossed a dismissive glance at Aithne then turned back to her Mistress. “Does it have anything to do with the naked girl behind you?” His lack of recognition snapped through Aithne’s haze. Of course, this was not Borkul. It was a different orc. Smaller, older, with paler green skin and a bushy white beard. He didn’t look remotely like her former Master. And yet she felt… “Yes! Surprise! I brought you a slave!” It had been weeks since she had last seen Him but all her conflicting emotions came crashing back as her brain grasped that she was being handed over to another orc. She was unable to bite back a short “yip” as fear and hatred and lust and some twisted form of hope deluged her. Her new Master seemed less thrilled. “Why?” “Why? What do you mean, why? You’ve been bitching and whining about needing more help for years!” “I’ve been asking for real help. Someone who actually knows what they’re doing and treats my books with the respect they deserve.” The orc snorted and waved a hand at the room. “If just anyone would do, I would have been using these useless students all this time.” “Well, I’m sure you can find some use for her. At the very least, maybe getting laid will take that stick out of your ass.” Aithne flushed again as another spike of lust and loathing twisted a twin path up her spine. The woman’s hands began to move and her new Master’s eyes widened. He held up a forestalling hand and said, “Wait!” but too late, apparently – the woman disappeared in an instant, leaving Aithne standing face to face with the orc as tendrils of rapidly dissipating energy emanating from where the woman had just been standing stroked her skin. The sensation was gone before Aithne could focus on it, brief enough that she felt she might have imagined it, except her could still feel the warm glow from where the tendrils had… “What am I supposed to do with you?” The orc’s voice broke through her reverie, but she felt she already knew the answer – if there was one thing she knew, it was how to serve an orc Master. She bowed her head and clasped her hands in front of her, taking the waiting position that had been ingrained over those long weeks or months. Her Master studied her for a moment, then let out a harried grunt and motioned toward the wall behind his desk. “I don’t have time for this right now. Just…stand over there and stay out of the way.” Aithne moved with alacrity to the place he had indicated, settling herself between two bookcases that towered over her head before resuming her pose. The orc grunted again and sat down at his desk and began flipping through papers. Aithne was well practiced at waiting and, as a bonus, she was being allowed to remain standing, for which her knees cried silent praise. The constant pain they had carried for so long had disappeared along with her other aches (and she took another moment to revel in the feeling of wholeness) and she was not looking forward to the inevitable resumption of their most requested use. She kept her head down, though she cast a furtive eye at all within sight. This amounted to her Master at his desk, the open spiral staircase that…well, floated, or seemed to - there were no handrails or supporting structure that she could see, just elegantly carved wooden steps floating in air, arranged in a large spiral twisting upward – in the center of a perfect circle of stone tile lined with bookshelves, with more bookshelves extending beyond. People as well, mostly humans, though she thought she saw a khajiit, all dressed in similar robes of muted greys, greens, and blues. But nothing she saw dominated the room as much as what she could hear. Or, rather, what she couldn’t hear – other than the faintest hum, so quiet it hovered at the back of her head, an occasional whisper, or the sound of paper crinkling and pages turning, the room was a vast well of silence. It was a little unnerving, at first. Aithne had thought she knew how silence sounded – all those days walking behind Borkul had been mostly empty of conversation, of anything but the sounds of their feet, the wind, and the wildlife. An unfettered cacophony compared to the omnipresent stillness of this library. It was…nice. The longer she stood in the silence, the more it eased her. It felt almost physical, like a warm shroud. She let her eye drop, removing the incomprehensible room of books from vision, replaced by a small section of stone tiles, each with a light pattern of gracefully twisting carved lines. No two of the tiles in her view had the same pattern, yet they somehow interlocked, so where a line reached the edge of one tile, it was received by the next. She traced the lines with her eye, freeing her mind of all other thoughts, letting all her worries fade to the background. One by one, with each breath, she let them go, released them from her conscious mind. Slavery. Pain. Humiliation and torture. Loss and sorrow. The news that she was pregnant was not hard to release – it didn’t feel real, or even possible. Surely she would have known, been able to tell. She brushed it aside and stepped past. HE and, for that matter, the new orc, however, took several deep breaths and nearly broke her reverie, mostly because of the way her body began to heat up, but she managed, at last, to let them go, at least for this moment, for this breath and then the next and on to the next. Her world was reduced to a half-dozen intricately carved tiles and a deep stillness that felt like a balm on her soul. It was a rare fraction of time when she felt completely at peace, and she drank from its waters as deeply as she could while it lasted.
  11. doesn't look like it: Follower and NPC Support (optional) you follower will also be arrested and shackled in your cell. (optional) This mod Features a Detention and Bailout Mechanic for NPC´s (mainly followers). If you leave you follower behind during an escape, he will stay in Jail until you Bail them out.
  12. That was either incredibly rude and unnecessary or incredibly funny. I can't quite figure out what you were saying, so hard to tell.
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