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Hey there, it's Destana back again. I've been having quite the adventure in the Alik'r Desert. Last time I got through all the trials to get here, I traveled the desert for a while, killed some Dunerippers. I ended at the Forgotten City, and when Nahtil and I walked in, a dozen ghosts came out of the buildings. Even though I was trying to be stealthy, they noticed me immediately. I laid into them with arrows, blasted them with Unrelenting Force, and then even more came out. One of them even summoned a Clannfear. Nahtil went down. "Dammit!" I shouted. I ran out of the city, thinking a chokepoint would do the trick. The Clannfear proceeded to knock me off my feet twice, paralyzing me for a second each time. I ran up onto a dune to get some distance, but it seemed the Alik'r ghosts weren't in control of the Clannfear, which turned on them. This bought me some time to come up with a new plan. Since they were in a huge group, I figured I would blast them with one of my strongest area of effect spells. I gathered energy, rearing back, frost surrounding me, and let loose a Black Winter. The Clannfear died immediately. Seconds later, several of the Alik'r walked slowly through the blasting wind. "What the heck? How did they resist?" I let go of the spell. I engaged the two next to me in melee, the rest of the horde slowly closing in on me and targetting me with spells and arrows. I destroyed one, then two. I dodged a rogue fireball and retreated, then finding I was being overwhelmed I sprinted back into the city. I found Nahtil's lifeless body and charged up a Resurrection spell, "I need you to get up. I need you to fight for your life!" I hit him with a Blind Guardian so he'd have a phantom to guard him. Then I supported with Elemental Blasts and Bolts, but the ones still in the city were numerous. Nahtil fell again, and I retreated further into the city when I found they'd summoned a new Clannfear. I knew it was time for my trump card. "Alright, the big guns. Fuck this!" I yelled, gathering power in my blood. The Clannfear reached me and threw me off my feet again, but it was enough. When I got up, I was in my Vampire Lord form. I proceeded to melt them with Blood Storm. The Clannfear got a good swing on me, but I was draining their lives faster than they could damage me. After a few minutes, it was done. I reverted to my normal form. I found Nahtil's body. Good, still intact. I charged up another Resurrection and blasted him with light, bringing him back to his feet. "Alright bud, it's time for you to go home." "Until next time," he said, walking towards the exit of the city. "Safe travels, my friend," I said back. That's why you don't just invite random people to come with you. Of course, he'd probably have been fine in a normal fight. I walked around the city for a little while, but not finding any way into the main structure, I decided I would come back later. I checked my map and found Duneripper's Nest. Then I flew there. This time, I approached stealthily and it worked. Knowing they were weak to frost, I powered up another Black Winter and blasted down the channel that was their nest. It didn't kill all of them, but it did make a huge dent in their ecosystem. I mopped up the rest with my bow and smaller frost spells. I ransacked the treasure in their lair and got enough blood to satisfy the request from the message board I'd picked up. Next I decided I would check out Cyrodillic Collections in Hammerfell. On the way, I found a tiny oasis that was surrounded by wolves. I shot a couple with arrows, then landed and finished the rest with my frost spells. I figure it's not a bad idea to practice my destruction skills. I looted the chest by the waterside, then saw myself in the waters. "Huh I'm really dirty," I said. Looking around and seeing noone, I took a huge drink, filled my waterskins, then I stripped and washed myself. I continued on to Cyrodillic Collections, but the Argonian woman there seemed not to want to talk to me at all unless I talked with her boss first - the corresponding shop that'd also just opened just outside Markarth. I figured this was a strange business practice, but a lot of the locals knew about the teleport. I figured I'd come back here later too. Being systematic in my approach, I used Celerity and ran south, finding the Ben Erai watchtower. The first guard who saw me said, "Well, aren't you a pretty thing?" I smiled big, "Thank you! That's so nice! I'm used to Skyrim guards, who are all jerks." "Want to join us for a drink? We're about to sit down to dinner," he replied. And I did. We shared stories and a few drinks. And after drinks they became even nicer. Let's just say I returned the favor. Destana At Guard Post.mp4 Since it was almost nighttime and I was so close to Ben Erai, I returned to the city. I walked in the Inn and returned the medallion I found at the Forgotten City to the man. "Found your medallion, it was on a dead body," I said. "You're not tiresome like the rest of the people I have the displeasure of dealing with on a regular basis. Here," he said, handing me something called 'The Withdrawal.' I didn't pay as much attention to it as I probably should've, because I caught somebody saying something to him. "What did that woman say your name was?" I asked. "Metilius Aretino," he replied. I pursed my lips, saying nothing about it for now, "Thanks." As I walked out, I resolved to tell Aventus about this. Maybe a distant relative? Distant geographically, I mean. The fact that he waved off his assistant being dead was also concerning. But I'm pretty callous myself sometimes. Not having to sleep and only about a day from a blood snack, I kept going. But also, I guess absorbing ghost blood in VL form counts? I imagine it's like drinking mist. Well, the Clannfear gave me some vamp juice, though it was a bit spicy. I flew to Al Shedim, one of the places I needed to go to progress towards the Grey Cowl. I got the drop on the wolves guarding the entrance and continued inside. In Al Shedim I found some weak-ass skeletons, tons of burial urns with lots of treasure, and traps that were all triggered off pressure plates. So, a walk in the park for me. Also, all the skeletons seemed to want to make a ton of noise and give their positions away. At some point, I heard the sound of groans in the distance. An echoing voice (sounded like a ghost) panting as if fighting, and a mummy (which sounded like draugr but without the annoying Voice). "Is that ghost getting sexually assaulted right now?" I asked out loud. I spent the next few minutes looking for the ghost. I would ask how you assault a ghost, but I've done... things with ghosts. The forsworn are into some weird stuff. When I finally found him, he was a blue-glowing figure, laying on the ground with his pants off. And the mummy assaulter was nowhere to be found. "Sorry, ghost. I feel your pain. I give you the sweet release of double-death," I said, slashing him and killing him. All the mummies I met I made sure to terminate with extreme prejudice. As I ventured further, I found several symbols on the reliefs that I made a note of. "How could you do that to your bud? He was just an innocent ghost," I said as I killed two. I eventually found two pull chains, then found spooky dark set of stairs, leading down to a row of sarcophaguses. After I killed the many mummies, I turned the pullbars to match the symbols I'd seen earlier. In random combinations until I got it right. In actuality, there were several tiers of pullchains and mummy battles. But this was no Forgotten City. This wasn't a very large challenge. Even the final boss of the dungeon got one-shot by me. As Ben Sala was rising form his tomb, I shot him in the head, and he clumsily fell out onto the stone floor, dead. "That's both hilarious and pitiful at the same time," I said to myself. Then I looted the treasure, including the Key to Mora Sul. Then I realized this place didn't have a back way. Skyrim has really spoiled me. So I backtracked out, and returned to Ben Erai, transporting to Falkreath, then using my own teleport to Markarth to find this new shop. I found Bol, standing outside the gate in the rain. Once again standing his vigil in exchange for food and friends. "Hey Bol, how the hell are ya?" I smiled. He stroked his chin, grunting approval, but saying nothing. I flew over toward Cyrodillic Collections, and found a large group of wenches and beautiful servers standing out in the rain. None of them wanted to talk to me, however, and I had no idea what they were doing here. I continued on a little bit, and a huge pack of Welwas attacked me (just around the corner) maybe that was enough to scare off the ladies. I decided I would just call, "KAKE!" It only worked on about half of them, however. But they started killing each other. I rolled my eyes, waiting for the war to resolve. "This is taking too long," I said. I decided I'd be doing the locals a favor, and blasted them all with Black Winter. Unfortunately, a random passerby decided he was going to jump into the fight and help just as I was finishing my cast and got killed by it. I sighed, "That was a stupid move. But I guess I'll fix it." I Resurrected him, thinking this would've been a useful power to have when Vex died. Then again, I got captured at the time. The guy walked away like nothing had happened. "Dude? Not even a thank you?!" I growled. I shook my head and flew the rest of the way to the shop. When I walked inside, I explained the situation and Neezari, the Argonian man said this shop was meant to be an Argonian heritage collection, like a museum. "Another museum?" I asked, "Going to have a lot of trouble competing with the Dragonborn Gallery in Solitude." I returned to the desert when I realized his first mission was sending me to Solstheim. Haven't been there, not intending on going anytime soon. Next, Ancestral Cheetahs. I entered the canyon and threw on Invisibility and Celerity so I could trip over rocks at breakneck speed (can't see where my feet are, har har). At the first fork, I found a cheetah on the right, so I took the left path. There was a gate at the top of that path, but due to my amazing jumping skills I just hopped over it, onto the roof of the shrine, and snuck in the back way. I threw on the Amulet of Ancestral Cheetahs and popped out of the shrine to pet some big kitties. I have no idea why they're called Ancestral Cheetahs. "Are you the ancestor of somebody? We're friends now, you have to tell me," I chuckled. Then I left the area. I was ready to get the Cowl if I wanted, but I figured I'd have more fun first. I flew toward Khanzedum, an old fashioned dwarven ruin, to get four Centurion cores. For the most part, this place was somewhere in the middle challenge category. Most the stuff got iced immediately by me, but some of the medium and large bots were more of a challenge, especially when they ganged up on me. I tried out Umbra finally, and despite having a huge amount of power, it was SLOW. That's how you know I'm a dagger girl for life. Everything feels slow now. One of the random chests made me laugh when I opened it. "Grey Cowl of Nocturnal, huh?" I chuckled aloud, filing it next to my other copy of the Grey Cowl, "These replicas are all over the place. But I know it's not the real one." I got the first Praetorian shortly after, and noted it was attached to a form of apparatus. I crouched and shot an arrow, pegging the thing, then yelled, "TIID!" Slowing time, and I continued firing. It went down in about four shots, and at no time did it actually find me. I realized the apparatus was recharging the thing, but I'd dealt enough damage to take it out of commission before it got a chance. It was just like the bot I fought with the Nerevarine a while back, though that one was invulnerable when it was being charged. These just regenerated insanely fast. I knew there were three more to kill, and I continued on. I found a hallway with three bronze heads. Using my detective skills, I deduced I would need to kill the other three at once. When I stepped into the next room through a rough cave, I indeed found three, attached to each their own arch that kept them powered. The gate behind me shut, but they hadn't activated yet. "Need to be strategic about this. I don't want to get pounded," I said. I drew an arrow and shot it at the center one's head. Then I shot again, shouting, "TIID!" As it flew through the air. It had been nearly dead, but regenerated about half. I drew another arrow, and another, firing them in rapid succession. I blinked. My Slow Time seemed to not ending. And I seemed not to be affected by it, as I normally was. I grinned. Like a machine I drew arrows and fired them, filling the air with my assault. "I AM SPEED!" I yelled, "Who needs Fenrir's automatic crossbow?" When Slow Time finally ended, I'd felled two of the three and the third was slowly walking towards me. When it reached me on the stairs, I drew my weapons. I guess it was too far away from its arch, because I dealt the final blow and that was all. After the fact, it occurred to me that was some kind of time distortion. Maybe Akatosh was involved? All I could say was, "Thanks, daddy dragon." I swiped the goods, and went back to town. I walked around and turned in all the crap to the people who wanted it, and they paid me handsomely. Going down my list of things I'd heard were here... I'd heard the Dark Brotherhood (unrelated to the current DB in the rest of Tamriel) were trying to get a foothold here and reestablish communication with the home branch. I knew this because last time I'd visited the Dawnstar Sanctuary (a couple months ago), there was a recruit there with a message for Runa, but nobody wanted to travel out to the Alik'r desert in the middle of nowhere. Well, it turned out, now I had an easy way to get to Alik'r and was a fairly prominent member of the DB myself. I snuck into the Penitus Oculatus HQ in town and swiped their dossier on the DB. Using my tracking skills, I found their sanctuary, hidden in a rock wall outside of Ben Erai. "You're the one who killed the Emperor, aren't you?" He asked. "How do you know me?" "I am Tenerio. We've had correspondence with the Dawnguard Sanctuary. I've been waiting for you," he replied, "This is an old brotherhood sanctuary that's been vacant since the Great War." "What can I do for you?" "I seek simply to reestablish our sanctuary in Hammerfell. Alik'r's perfect because not a lot of people come here," he said, "We have a few contracts on people right here. Think you could help me out?" I shrugged. It'd been a while since I'd killed anyone just for money, "Sure." "Perfect," he said. I decided I would use some subtlety and utilize my vampire drain skills. The way I'd theorized I could use them while in the Estrus prison, then I'd used them against the bandit party I fought a few days ago, during sex. I had been saving it as a last-last ditch ability, even after my bow, melee, magic, and vampire abilities gave out. But I figured this was a good opportunity to hone these skills and not alert any authorities at the same time. It was just after nightfall. I flew to my first target. First was a woman at an oasis. I had a few kind words with her and lured her away from her cohorts to the opposite side of the pond. I used my fingers and an apparatus to get her off, draining her energy as I did. I was lucky the man at the other end of the pond didn't notice us. She dropped dead when I was done, falling peacefully into the grass. The next target was an Argonian who'd been proclaiming himself a hero and had been fleecing people to get payment upfront for quests. This one was a little personal. I found him at one of the lantern shrines. "Hey random traveler, want a blowjob?" I asked right off the bat. He stood up, shrugged and started taking his clothes off. He gave my throat the thrusting of a lifetime. Men sure do like to do that to me. Despite the struggle to keep concentration, I drained him and left him there. My third target was a monk. Tenerio didn't have a reason he'd been targeted. Maybe I should feel bad about killing some of these people. I have long since considered not doing any more jobs for the Brotherhood. I found the guy at another lantern shrine and I said, "I bet the nights get lonely. How about an open ticket to use my body however you want?" He blinked, said nothing, then started taking his clothes off. I thought he was supposed to have been a holy man. First he thrust into my mouth, because of course he did. Then he picked me up and drilled me from behind. Then he put me down and did the same. This guy actually lasted a long time. I drained him in the end, but I had fun while it lasted. Next was a soldier. I approached him in the street near the central gazebo (it was the middle of that same night now) in Ben Erai. He was the lone patrolling soldier for the center of town. "Hey soldier boy do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?" I asked. "No. But I wouldn't mind if you shook that sexy ass of yours," he replied. "Want to get acquainted?" I asked, "There's nobody around." "What did you have in mind?" He smiled. "Whatever it is, I'm game. We're all alone here in public," I replied. And let me tell you, he was big. Not Tsun big, but it'd been a while. He pretty much just took me from behind immediately, going slowly, then at some point going extremely fast. I stepped off, got on all fours in an attempt to escape the monumental sensations this man was giving me. He just pulled me onto him again and finished what he'd been doing. When he fell to the ground, I said to myself, "Too bad. He was a good one." This time, rather than finding him in the middle of the town, I loaded him up in a sack and flew to a distant location and dumped him in the desert. My next target was a guard at Ben Erai Fortress. I found her standing watch outside Commander Syloria's room. She smiled at me, knowing who I was, I guess. "Hi, you're Laurentina, right?" I asked. She nodded. "Come onto the balcony, I want to show you something," I said. She shrugged. We walked past the sleeping Syloria and went around the corner. I felt a little bad about this one. I wondered where this guy was getting these contracts. When had I become so callous? Anyway, I gave her heaven before sending her to oblivion. When I turned the corner... "Oh, Commander Syloria.. what are you doing out here? It's still pretty early," I said. "Sun's coming up. Gotta get ready for the day. What are you doing out here, Dragonborn?" I instantly felt extremely guilty. She was going to ask about Laurentina, who was supposed to be guarding her while he slept. Oh why did I give into my baser instincts to murder? "Oh, I... wasn't doing anything. Just waiting for you. I'm ready to get the Cowl. I just wanted to thank you. Here let me distract... I mean, help you out..." "Help me...how?" I reached out for her, my thoughts almost entirely on the dead body around the corner like a telltale heart. I needed to distract her. I unclasped her armor buckles on her shoulders. "W-what are you doing, Dragonborn?" "I'm paying you back. Just sit back and enjoy it," I replied. She was shy, but she let me do what I was intending on. I spread her legs and licked her to completion. When she got up and had her armor back on, blushing, she said, "Well, that was... nice." Maybe sensing something was amiss, she smiled a little bit and said, "That's how you pay people back, huh? And you really enjoy doing things like that? Seem so, you're very good." I shrugged, "Yeah." "Maybe you could help out the guards of Ben Erai." I pursed my lips, "Yeah, sure, I guess I could do the same for the soldiers." "All the soldiers," she corrected. I bit my lip, "Yeah, all of them." "Now where is that girl?" She asked, walking back into her room. I made haste with disposing of the body. It was early in the morning, just after sunrise. And I walked into the barracks. Most of the daytime watches were still getting ready, some were still in bed. My conscience was getting the better of me after having done what I just did. I spoke up, "Hey, guys." "Hey Dragonborn!" Some of them said. "So I promised Syloria I'd give youall thanks. You know, for holding the line for your whole lives just so I could come here and get the Grey Cowl," I said. "Well, thank you," one of them said. "No, I mean, I'm going to do something for all of you," I said. "What's~" One of them said, then I popped my boobs out of the blue cloth. What ensued was something like a feeding frenzy, but for sex. First I warmed things up with the female guard in the room. Then the boys, being ready, took me two at a time. This took about four hours. And then at the end when I was completely spent and used up, I felt a little better about killing all those people wantonly. It was all the work I had to do to make it right that made me feel even worse. Honestly, in all my time I spent at Ben Erai after that, nobody seemed to mention Laurentina. I wondered if the other guards hated her and had contracted out to get her gone. Or maybe it was even Syloria. She seemed to know when to press me to do sexual favors for everybody in the fortress. I took a nap in one of the guards' beds. When I got up, I washed the gallons of dried cum off my body and settled up with Tenerio. The DB was functioning and they had new recruits. I was done with it. Next I'd heard an old man was searching for the lost Blades Temple in Hammerfell. I found him in a southern town in Alik'r. "What's up, old guy?" I asked, "I heard you need some help." "Hey there! I heard you were in the area. The Dragonborn, right?" He had a very thick accent. Looked like a Redguard, but didn't really sound like one. "Yep," I replied. "Name's Duraelm. Been searching all my life for Wind Scour Temple. I'm so close to finding it. My grandfather used to tell me stories about the Blades and the Dragonguard. I promised myself I would find the Hammerfell Temple and I think I did. Only problem is I can't fight off the Dunerippers." "Well, you're in luck, I can find Wind School Temple," I said, saying it like he had. "Scour," he corrected. "Scoop?" "Scour" "Just give me the location old guy!" I chuckled. He marked three places on my map and I shrugged, "Be right back." He raised an eyebrow, but I took off in flight. I was back in under twenty minutes, "Found it." His eyes went wide, "Could you... could you take me there?" "Yeah. My wife showed me how to tether other people in flight. I honestly don't feel like carrying you, so you'll just float after me," I said. I blasted him with the spell, then took off. Boom. Easy. He unlocked the hatch and we climbed down. "Is this it? It looks better than Delphine's temple," I said. "This is it! This place... it's filled with History. I think I can make it functional again. Maybe send a message to the grandmaster... what did you say her name was?" "Delphine," I replied. "Yes, anyway, come back later. I'm going to read the archives," Duraelm said. So I left. I traveled to Salas Kazas, a town on the northeastern corner of the region just south of an ancient Alik'r Temple. It was now nighttime again (I had a long nap after my escapades). I only found a couple guards and a woman named Sharza hanging out on her rooftop patio. I waved to her. "Hi," she said, "Do you like poetry?" I walked up the stairs, then said, "Excuse me?" "I love poetry," she said, "Weltan is my favorite writer." "Uhh..." "I heard he's written a lot of poetry. You look like an adventurer. If you find his writings in your travels, could you bring them to me?" She asked. I raised an eyebrow. Not the strangest request I'd had, "Sure. But where do you find books in the desert?" "Some say it may be in the mausoleum but I also heard some say it is in a library here," she said, "I didn't think we had a library here..." I threw up my hands, "I've heard of the buried lost library. But, I haven't been able to find it yet. Nobody seems to have any clues!" From there, I decided I'd get a room at the Inn. Salas Kazas actually had inn rooms, though the lobby was so small you couldn't even open the doors to the rooms fully. That was fine though, it beat sleeping in the desert and getting sand in my buns. After a few hours of sleep, I walked around town, still night, and found a few trinkets to steal. I happened into a dwemer enthusiast's house, and after I woke him up he asked if I would gather a bunch of dwemer parts for him. I sighed. It'd already been to the dwemer ruin here. I sat outside at the Inn's tables for a while, looking over my map and quest log, trying to figure out what I had left before I went for the final area. Forgotten City. I flew there, making it by about 5 am, and this time, after some more digging I found the key to the gate in the city. Ready for another dungeon crawl (and being through with all these cerebral tasks and feeeeeelings) I walked in to what was labeled, the 'Tomb of the Forgotten Draugr.'
Hi! This is Runa! I'm the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, and we're trying to recruit. A job I'm super-excited to do my best at! My mom asked me to talk about what has been going on for the past few weeks with the Dark Brotherhood while she gathered the moot and looked for Elder Scrolls. While Nazir worked on gathering new recruits, I spoke with the Night Mother. She spoke a little while about the Dark Brotherhood being as strong as it ever was, to which I listened intently. Then she said, "Another child prays to their mother. Speak with the Laborer at the Frostfruit Inn in Rorikstead and slay the target." Figured I would go do that job and come back. As I exited... "Listener!" Cicero said, "You were a fool to spare me. Now I shall take my revenge....." She giggled, "Just kidding. If it's okay with you, I'd like to return to my duties as keeper." "See, I had a good feeling about letting you live. My mom didn't want me to." "Thanks, Listener," she beamed, going inside the Dawnstar Sanctuary. Strangely, Shadowmere was waiting for me. He looked a little lost, but had figured out where I was. I later found out this was when my mom traveled to the Soul Cairn. I rode and talked to the Laborer and he pointed me toward a Fishwife (whatever that means) in Riften. I emptied out the mailbox at Honeyside (the stuff that was ours). I took care of her stealthily, swam over to Aringlow Estate (or wait... is the owner named Aringlow?) Goldenglow Estate, then traveled back to Dawnstar, stopping at Windstad Manor to get the mail there too (and kill some pests that'd taken up residence). Let me tell you, it's hard to kill bugs with a greatsword. I looked over the mail. Most of it was for my mom and I tossed it on the table. But a couple letters were addressed for me specifically, and I guess some of those meant for my mom were brotherhood related. One from a man named Kodrir, that thanked me for killing Ennodius Papius and inviting me for something. That's a trap, I believe. Another asking me to come to the Inn of Lost Souls because they 'knew what we'd done'. OooooOOoooOOoo spooky. I figured I could spare a few hours. I rode Shadowmere to the inn, and found a large group of skeletons and a couple witches fighting with Vigilants of Stendarr. Thinking the Vigilants died out, I helped kill the skeletons (of course, Shadowmere helped because he likes killing). They were steely, so I continued to the Inn. Inside it was dark and not very homey. Everybody inside looked like they wanted to kill me. Penitus Oculatus agents were standing in several places (including blocking the stairs to the cellar). So I walked up to the Innkeeper. I was starting to think this was a setup to 'take care' of me after having a hand in killing the Emperor. "Is someone here expecting me?" "Yes, it's all here in this note," he said. I took the note, but it didn't seem to be readable. Playing along, I handed it to the agent in front of the stairs like a pass. He seemed to be able to read it, and said, "This note doesn't prove anything. Step aside citizen. I raised an eyebrow. Worst setup ever. I took a step to the side, and the agent didn't stop me. When I stepped into the cellar, there was an Imperial noble standing across the room, looking at a large document. As I approached, he turned around. "Did you send the note?" I asked. "Are you going to kill me now?" I waited for him to continue. "Figures. That nord fool starts a Civil War and one of your members kills my cousin. And now you could finish the Mede line. I am Allian Mede," he explained, "The Empire has been thrown into chaos and it probably won't last long. But do you want to know what's really funny? Your lot won't survive much longer either. The Dark Brotherhood is a thing of the past. I heard there's only one sanctuary in all Tamriel and it was burned to the ground. Betrayed by one of your own! How many of you are left anyway? Three? Four? How formidable. You killed my cousin for a few septims?" He raised his fists at me. "Oh, honey. That's funny. You didn't even bring a weapon to fight an assassin who specializes in the unsubtle art of greatweapons? And no guards?" I pulled out my greatsword. Two Oculatus agents stepped through the door with swords drawn, to which I said, "Ah. So better setup than I thought." I swung at Mede, but the first guard interposed his shield between us. I did an elaborate dance, slashing and backing away. And even though I was wielding a greatsword my armor was far lighter than that of the agents, and they got in each other's way. "This is your best?" I yelled as I cut down the first and left the second with a mortal wound. I stepped forward and stabbed the second in the chest. Allian was now cowering in the corner of the adjoining room, with no way out. "Guards? Where are you?" He shouted. "When a fifteen year old girl can kill your guards and kill you, maybe your empire deserves a fresh coat of paint. Why shouldn't I kill you now?" I asked as I approached, not keen on killing for no reason. He just sat there, cowering so I made it quick and chopped him over the head, cleaving his skull. I walked out and said to the Innkeeper, "Sorry for the mess." He smirked, "Don't worry. Happens all the time. I'll take the cost out of their loot." I walked out, sighing as this was a deadend. I headed to Angi's Mill to follow up on Kodrir's note. Astonishingly, this was not a setup and he gave me a little gold. So I headed back to Windstad Manor to sleep. It was conveniently located near the Dawnstar Sanctuary, but I wanted to have a little privacy today. I bathed, had some sleep, and went back to the sanctuary. When I arrived, the Night Mother called to me. "Good work, Listener. Every day, more and more children are praying to their mother. The death of the Emperor has made our named feared throughout the lands. But we are too few to answer so many prayers," she said in her whispering, foreboding tones. She continued, "Our Dread Father has reached out for you, to help these children in their time of need. We must cure our family of its ills. Tell Babette, 'dreamstride.' She'll know. In the meantime, we must rebuild our numbers. This is the job for a speaker. But for now, we must be more flexible." I decided I would saddle Nazir with the official job of recruiting, since he'd expressed an interest in it already. "We need initiates," I said to Nazir, "The couple you got are great, but they don't have... you know, staying power." "What do you propose we do, Listener?" He asked. "A little kidnapping, just like you guys did with me?" I asked. "I can have some recruits at the shack, given a little time, just like the old days," Nazir said. "Got any people in mind?" I asked. "J'Zakar and M'Jirra. Ruthless. They'll be perfect," he smirked. "Any more?" "Agnar Hollowleg. I heard he crushed a man's skull with his bare hands," Nazir continued. "Alright. Let's get to it," I said, and found where Babette was hanging out. I also noted that the improvements ordered by my mom with the Thieves' Guild were finished. "So, Listener," she said, "Cicero is back and we're friends again? I can hardly keep up." "Yep. She'll serve her purpose. I mean, I don't want to clean out the old lady's folds," I said, "Hey, how did Astrid knock people out to kidnap them?" "I have a poison I can apply to daggers for you." "Perfect. Could you do this for Nazir as well? And the Night Mother told me you'd know what 'dreamstride,' means," I said. "I do. It shall be done," she said. "Also, we're recruiting. Got any ideas?" "Well, since both our mages are dead or ... gone," Babette said, "Ever heard of Undil the Warlock? He's an Altmer and very powerful. But not exactly, 'balanced." "Sounds pretty much on brand for us. Oh, and have you seen Arnbjorn?" I asked. "Not sure where he got off to," Babette said. I waited a while and then traveled to the shack. I slipped on my Shrouded Cowl, just in case, then I headed in. Two Khajit were tied there, with three hooded people tied up in the back, just like I remembered. Nazir set this up perfectly. "Who are you? Where have you taken us?" J'Zakar asked. "Be calm. Worry about what's going to happen," I said. I thought about it for a minute and realized this might not have been the best idea. I was strong for my age, but I didn't know if I could take two recruits if things went awry. I might need to rethink this in the future. "Do with Khajit what you will. Let my sister go," he said. "Ever heard of the Dark Brotherhood?" I asked. "We're no myth. I've heard the two of you are killers. Out of the three behind you, one of them has been contracted. Figure out which one," I explained, then I cut their bonds. "If we kill them, what then?" The female khajit asked. "You will have proven your worth to the brotherhood and will have a new family," I replied. They turned and cut down all three, without even questioning them. "I guess they were all probably guilty," I said, "Okay. Go north of Dawnstar. There's a black door there. Answer, 'Innocence my brother." I looted the bodies and also headed to the sanctuary. I took a trip around the Sanctuary to make sure the pair got there and look for Arnbjorn. And... a new face greeted me! "You're the Listener, right?" He was dressed in Nightingale armor, with bright green glass boots and a chef's hat. "Yes. Who are you?" I asked. "Where the hell are my manners, I'm Stabby. I've been in Cyrodiil for a few years. Starting to get the feeling that Astrid didn't get my particular sense of humor. She sent me far away and her correspondence was through letters. I kept doing jobs this whole time. You know, until the monthly letters stopped. I heard about everything that happened. Maybe if she hadn't sent me away, she would've lived. Anyway," he trailed off, "Anyway... where was I going with this. Oh yeah, the Empire found the sanctum (and my backup in Bruma, you know, the place where the Night Mother's coffin was being kept) and I grabbed all the contracts on the way out. Here you go, Listener. These are already paid for, the targets are incredibly wealthy. We could make a lot of money for the new sanctuary." He took a breath finally, "I'm... not sure, do we still do regular contracts or are they all Night Mother approved?" "We do both. I don't limit our contracts. We're hurting right now," I said. "My thoughts exactly, Listener!" He said. "Any of the contracts in Skyrim?" "Oh yeah, for sure. You just tell me when you're ready. We can go together. I can do some of them alone (though I do need some help). Your call!" Stabby said. Stabby opened up a contract, "First one: Captain Shadowscale. Lake Illinalta. They thought when his ship sank he drowned. But they forgot he was Argonian. It's been a few months since a rival pirate captain gave me this, but I'd bet it's still valid. He has a MOUNTAIN of treasure he was trying to hide in Skyrim. And if he's as greedy as they say, he probably is carrying it out of his sunken ship, by himself, a sack at a time." "Okay. We'll leave in the morning," I said. I walked over to Babette, sitting in the common area, "Hey, is this guy legit?" "Stabby? He's a little eccentric. But yeah. And Averna. She's asleep in the hallway over there," Babette replied. I walked into the hallway to find her. A forsworn woman sitting up on a bedroll. When she stood up her full height, she was tall. "Hi. How do you know Babette and Nazir?" I asked. "I used to work with Astrid. Her and I were very close. I left when she chose that beast instead of me," Averna replied, "Truth be told I didn't have a home out there anyway." "How did a Forsworn get mixed up in an outfit like this?" I asked. "I'm powerful. That's it. I left the Forsworn when I realized I had become more powerful than a Hagraven without submitting myself to such a horrifying transformation," she explained. "Well, welcome," I replied. "Sithis came to me in a dream and told me it was finally time for me to perform 'the ritual.' I am a Void Crawler, and to reach my true potential I must draw from the void and transform. He came to me a long time ago, but never told me who would help me until now. He said you could help me, so I returned. I'm ready to do whatever needs to be done in return," she said. "I can help," I said, "What is the ritual?" "It is written in an ancient grimoire. I believe an old copy is owned by an old friend of mine who lives in a coven of Hagravens." "I'll help you," I said, and she nodded to me. "Let me know when you're ready," she said, going back to sleep. I decided in the morning that I'd go with Stabby first. First come, first served. And while I was out maybe I'd find that nord recruit. We made it to the lake without incident. I dived into the water and found an Argonian there, carrying a sack of treasure off. I got out my sword and stabbed him through the chest. Easy. I came up and got some air, then ransacked the remaining treasure. Stabby and I took turns carrying the sacks of treasure up and threw them on the shore of an island. He sifted through the items. Mostly gold and art items. I grabbed the Lady Stone while I was there. "This," he picked up a goblet, "This is probably the most valuable item here. I can easily fence this for ten thousand gold. We're off to a great start, Listener!" "What's the next one?" I asked, ready to earn some more coin. "A soul gem merchant named Tharsten. The notes here say we're to plant forsworn weapons on him to implicate them." "Well, that seems pretty shitty. Don't we have a Forsworn among us now?" I asked. "Meh, she has no love for those guys. I don't know why," he said, then handed me a forsworn axe. "I guess," I said. We traveled across Skyrim to near Winterhold, taking about a day. We spent until the afternoon finding him. We passed some wolves, some more Vigilants (guess they're rebuilding) a pack of ghost skeletons (which... hat on a hat)... and then we tracked him to the Winterhold Inn, which he was just leaving when we arrived. I waited on Shadowmere until he walked out of town, then snuck up on him and backstabbed, then planted the weapon. With his dying breath, he did a shout! I'm not exactly an expert in these things, but I do know seconds later it summoned a Dragon Priest. I can tell you that I'm not strong enough to kill a dragon priest. Instead, I shouted, "RUN!" We ran into Winterhold and the guards ran out to engage the lich-like creature as it followed us into town. I snuck up on the thing and gave it a few blows while the guards and Stabby took the thing down. Stabby sighed, putting his daggers away, "What kind of religion worships a giant lizard? Anyway, ask Averna if you want to know more about Dragon Cults. I think we should rest a bit before the next contract." "First I'm going to go kidnap somebody." "Do they need stabbing?" Stabby asked. "Yeah, but nonfatally, I guess," I replied. "Aww.. you're no fun," he said. We went south to Riften, spending another day, and early in the morning we spotted Agnar Hollowleg standing on a bridge by himself. Either he was expecting me, or he was expecting someone. I took out the dagger. "Wait," Stabby said, "I'm an expert on stabs. I don't think a man of that size is going to be affected my that little poison." "Hmmm," I sheathed it, "Maybe I should talk to him?" I approached, not-stealthily. "Who are you?" The man was jumpy, already putting his hand on his warhammer. I stayed silent. "If you don't tell me right now, I'll crush your skull." "I represent the Dark Brotherhood," I replied. "The Brotherhood?! Do you realize how much civil unrest your actions have caused? The Empire is falling apart!" He drew his warhammer, "There have been riots in the Imperial City! My brother died in one of those riots! I'll kill you!" At that moment, Stabby, who'd been hanging back, jumped out of the brush and rushed the man from behind. Agnar swung his warhammer and clocked me in the chin, but I recovered, taking out my greatsword. Stabby stabbed both daggers into his back, taking him down. "Hmm... well, you win some, you lose some," I said, rubbing my chin. When we showed up to Markarth, the Lost Valley Forsworn were attacking the front gates again, but it was only a couple forsworn and a Mammoth. As soon as I jumped off Shadowmere, he started tanking the Mammoth. I guess being a magical horse has its benefits. The guards were mopping up the last couple forsworn (they only suffered a single casualty) while my team fought the Mammoth. I butchered the meat and skinned the pelt when we were done. Though mom didn't really take the time to do this very often, she'd taught me HOW to do it. It took me about an hour, but yielded a ton of meat. I figured I'd take it back to the sanctuary when this was over. Then I noticed Undil the Warlock was watching me, scratching his chin. "Hey, were you sent here to kidnap me?" He asked. I froze, "What...?" "You were, weren't you? Well, I'm game. Markarth is boring, where we headed?" He asked. Well, that was easy. I told Stabby to take the meat back tot he sanctuary and took Undil to the shack. I stepped inside and figured there was no need to put on my cowl. "What we doing?" Undil asked, paying no attention to the tied-up people in the corner. "So, Undil, have you ever heard of the Dark -" I started, then he cast a Fireball, which killed all three. "Did I pass?" He asked. "Wow," I said, not sure what to think, "Travel to the north to Dawnstar -" "Silence, my brother," he said, walking out the door. I blinked. What the hell? Could he read my mind? "Oh and I'm sorry I keep interrupting you," he said, running off in the distance. Well, that was easy. Powerful he was. -- MOOT BREAK -- When I got back to the Sanctuary, I waited several days and rested, telling the others of the goings-on. That was when my mom showed up and invited me to the Moot. AND I got to meet Serana, a delight of a woman. I stayed at Sky Haven Temple for about a week in total, then returned to the Sanctuary. Mom gave me Shadowmere full time, as she now had a skeletal horse. -- END MOOT -- My mom may not have noticed, but after the moot I stopped in Whiterun and went to the Bannered Mare. I noticed... there are a LOT of foreigners here. Refugees maybe? Now I knew for sure that the Empire was breaking under the strain of our assassination, and I brought all the news back to the sanctuary. Babette had something for me as well. "Have you ever heard of Vaermina's Torpor? It allows you to go into a dreamless sleep in which you can view another person's memories," Babette said. She handed me a potion. I walked to my master bedroom and drank it, laying down in the bed as I did. I awoke in another place - a Sanctuary far from where I was. Two ghosts stood in front of me. "Arquen, you're arrived. We're confused," the one on the right looked at me. "What is your last memory?" Arquen asked, as if playing out a set of lines that had already happened. But I was living out Arquen's memory. I was Arquen! "We killed the traitor Lachance, and entered the Night Mother's crypt, then blackness." "Brother, he was no traitor. It was Mathieu Bellamont who betrayed us. We were manipulated into killing our own," Arquen said. "What? Arquen, what are you saying?" Banus (the spirit on the left) said, "If Bellamont was the traitor, then Lachance and the family at Cheydinhal were innocent. We have broken...." "DO NOT MOVE, WORMS!" A voice said. I looked up and saw a lich, two bound bodies, and the great spirit of a woman. This is the first time I'd seen the Night Mother for real, maybe because I was in the form of a spirit. The Night Mother said, "This is Diamzel. For 2000 years, he has served our cause. I have raised him many times. He owes us many favors." Banus asked, "Mother, may I ask what you are doing with our family members?" He was referring to the bound men on the altar. "We are your family," she replied, "But that is a fair question. You murdered my children at Cheydinhal. These things a mother grieves. You must face punishment. But not in the traditional sense." Belisaurius said, "Lachance was as guilty as us for Cheydinhal." "In the eight years since he has paid his debt a thousand times," the Night Mother said, "To answer your question, your family members will be the vessels for your souls. You will be given new life. Lachance was sloppy with one of his contracts. He had a child. Within his blood boils the power of death. Speakers Arquen, Arius and Alor. You are stripped of your rank for breaking the five tenets. And you will find the child of Lucien Lachance. Only once you have the child will you know the peace of the void. Go with the dread father, children." "It is done," the lich said, having transported their souls into the bodies. Once she vanished, Banus said, "This is ... impossible. How will we three search an entire continent?" With many sighs, they all left. I felt a weight leave me, and I was in my own body, in the Winterhold Sanctuary. I approached the altar and found Arquen's journal, and first clue. I proceeded to search the Winterhold Sanctuary for anything else. I fought a few ghosts, some skeevers, and found some old books. One of them held a note that pointed out the location of a Markarth Sanctuary. So I traveled there. But it was completely covered over with hard clay. I walked into the Warrens and found a man having sex with a woman in the butt. And the woman also had a penis. Not something I really wanted to see. So I read the clue again, and it also gave information about an abandoned shack. I traveled there, and found the next clue and a hidden message in a fireplace entitled, 'Dead Drop.' Another source of assassination jobs, it pointed me to kill a nobleman in the Blue Palace that I'd never heard of, then gave me the location of another dead drop and I presume, payment. I looked up, and there was the ghost of Arquen. "It is an honor to finally meet you, Listener," she said. "Did you find the heir of Lachance?" I asked. "I was in Skyrim for seventy years. My hope dwindled. I maintained contact with Banus and Belisaurius. I eliminated the southern part of Skyrim. Bellisaurius died. Fifteen years later, I heard Banus had defected and joined the Morag Tong! Only three active sanctuaries left at this point, and my hope lost, I stopped looking for twenty years. But one day I was shopping in Solitude, and I saw familiar eyes. They were the same as his, but it was his descendant. I met with the man and explained, but he became enraged and stabbed me! I hadn't handled a blade in almost a hundred years. You will find the man's house just outside of Solitude. Name: Amatius. Go with Sithis." I figured now was a good time to do that first dead drop. I found my target sitting in a hallway with nobody around in the Blue Palace and I cleaved him in two. I guess I made a lot of noise because the guards rushed over, but I was long gone. I ran over to Amatius Manor. I knocked on the door. No answer. "Vala Amatius? My name's Runa Fair-Shield. I'm here to speak with you about something. May I come in?" I asked. I knocked harder and found, the door swung open. Immediately there was screaming coming from the basement so I drew my greatsword and charged in. I found a dark-haired woman standing between three men's corpses. "Stay back! Are you with them?" She yelled. "No. I heard screaming. What happened here?" I asked, sheathing my sword. "They broke into my house. They said they would rob me, rape me and kill me..." she said, her voice shaking. "You took on all three by yourself?" I asked, rubbing my chin. "I don't know what came over me," she replied. "Are you Vala?" I asked. "Who are you? How do you know my name?" "I'm from the Dark Brotherhood." "So you're here to kill me?" Vala asked, "I took on these three, I can fight you too!" "No," I replied. "You still haven't answered my question. Do... do you have some way of disposing of bodies?" She asked, "Do you guys have cleaners?" "You haven't thought this through have you?" I asked. "What do you mean?" "Your life in Solitude is over. Seems like you're pretty well off here," I said. "I'll just explain to the Jarl..." "Do you think it's going to make it to that point?" I asked. "What do you mean?" "I mean these guys are guards. The other guards are probably going to come looking for them. You know, their friends. And they won't bring just three. And they won't be taking prisoners." "Damn. I guess if there are guards that would rob an innocent woman's house, there are probably more. What should I do?" She asked. "You could run." "Where?" I was thinking about the fact that the holds don't share bounty data, but instead I said, "I could offer you amnesty." "You want me to join you?" She asked. "What do you know about us?" "Well, when I was a kid, my mother told me about you, but she said you were fairy tales. But then Vittoria Vici was killed at her own wedding! Nobody believed it, and the Emperor's bodyguards said they'd killed you all. But then the Emperor himself! But it couldn't have possible been true, could it?" "No myths. All true. I'm offering you a place in our family," I said. "You're not some crazy religious cult, are you?" She was starting to calm down now. "Well, kinda. But atleast I'm aware of it!" I giggled, "Come to the Sanctuary. We'll take it from there." She nodded. When we got there I opened the door for her, telling her there was a bedroll for her to sleep on. I walked over to the Night Mother. "So, you have found the Child of Lachance. You will need to train and shape her. I can see her hatred, just like her ancestor. Under your guidance, she can become powerful. Enlist your mother in this. While Lachance rests, take some of the initiates out on their first missions. They grow restless. Take Undil to Windhelm and the Twins to Morthal." I wrote down the missions in my journal. For now I still had a lot of work to do. New mods added