Drahff backed up quickly.
Probably better to be quiet then... He thought to himself.
The Nord lent against the side of the wagon and closed his eyes.
This is going to be a long ride..
Jarek got out of the barmaid's soft bed with little time to spare, still he managed to sneak out without waking her, he put all of his armor on, threw his cloak on, put his belt on that had a knife and his heavy sword in it's sheath hanging from it. He tightened his bracers and put on his boots, all without waking the apparently exhausted Nord woman, I shoulda been a thief! He headed down to the bar area and put drinks, food and various sundries into his pack, he removed more than enough gold to cover the provisions and placed it on the bar, figuring the barmaid would see it first since the place now appeared empty other than him.
Jarek walked out the door and into the cold morning chill. He noticed two wagons with most of the adventurers from the other night already aboard them, some wrapped in conversation, he spotted the drunk Nord with the big orc...Faulgor was his name if Jarek remembered correctly. Faulgor was in the Nord's face with a knife, poor Nord, I actually feel bad for him, all this over a stupid drinking contest and a friends mistake. Jarek climbed into the wagon with the Nord and Faulgor, actually hoping to somewhat help the Nord out or at the very least make sure Faulgor didn't rip him in two. Jarek sat down next to the Nord and found a perfect way to settle things, he reached into his pack and removed the rarest drink he had ever encountered, one sip was potent enough to keep you drunk for hours and more than a few sips would likely paralyze you and make you feel on fire, it was known as daedric lava whiskey, Jarek once had a full swallow and he swore a Dremora Lord began to whisper to him until he sobered up much later. It had been payment for a quest he had gone on months earlier, at first he was angry about the payment but it had been more than worth it for the interesting experiences he had with it alone. He held the half-filled bottle out towards the Nord.
"You've got the stomach of a dragon, guarentee you've never had this though. One sip will keep you good for a decent part of this trip. You can take one on me if you want." Jarek offered the Nord the bottle which glowed a faint red.
The Nord turned as white as wisp wrappings, why would a Nord not want to drink?!
"Here'ss a picture of her," Swims'Faster reached inside the pouch underneath his armor and pulled out both the Bee and Barb flier as well as one of the two charcoal and plant dye pictures he had in his possession, he threw out the flier and held out the picture, though he pulled it back as Raksada reached for it. "I'm not going to lie to you, sshee is easily one of the most dangerous marks you'll follow, born under the Shadow and trained in the Arts. Sshe will know when sshe'ss being followed and iss not above killing them. Whoever you have find her, make sure they can either defend themselves or dissappear without a trace, becausse sshe will become the predator. And sshee will track down hiss employer." Swims'Faster then handed the picture to Raksada and leaned back in his seat.
"I know that anyone that practices Conjuration long enough will come into contact with that magic Zsavier, but I sstill find it a reprehenssible act when it'ss used against non-combatantss, that'ss only one of the two ways I've ever had to use it, and I refuse to use it unless I have to ever again."
Jareks voice was one of the few things Drahff remembered from the night before and his presence in the Wagon thankfully helped to lift the atmosphere. As he turned to face Jarek the Nord in a still very timid voice mutterd "Ah my favorite drinking buddy"
However as he did so he was confronted with a pale red and from the sound of the explanation given alcoholic drink.
"Thanks, but i.. i had enough last night. I'm sure you of all people know that."
Swims-Faster seemed to be upset about necromancy. That was hardly surprising, most of the people Zavier had known had some grievances about necromancers. It was a dangerous discipline of magic, some said that it corrupted men's souls. Zavier was uncertain as to how true that claim was, though he would more than admit that focus and restraint were critical in conjuration and doubly so for anyone who practiced necromancy. "It's still a valid school of magic that should be studied. Carefully, I don't disagree, but studied nonetheless. How are we to find ways to circumvent the problems posed by the school and it's practitioners if we fail to understand it." He said to Swims-Faster. "You claim to have many friends, Raksada." Zavier continued, turning to address the khajiit next to him, "Exactly what do they keep you aware of?" Information was one of the most important resources that one could trade in, and it was good to know as much as one could.
A conversation arises between the two 'Whips':
"Looks like we have everybody here"
"Are we taking the normal route or the one that Sten suggested"
"I've dealt with that Redgaurd before.. he is a strange one, i'm used to the normal route. But Sten does have is ways.. and they do work"
"So Stens route it is?"
"Yeah" The driver cocks his head over his shoulder as he flicks his wrist, you hear his voice "Away we go" faintly over the harsh crack of the whip.
And you are now on the road
"Necromancy possess no problemss to me, Zsavier, only the black ssoul gemss.I undersstand it very well, it'ss that ssingle facset I have grievancess againsst."
Raksada accepted the likeness, saying "I'll let them know to be cautious." He folded up the paper, and put it the inner pocket of his cloak. I will tell my contact to not withold my name. Better she leave them alive and come for me than kill them and come for me anyway. He knew of several thieves guild contacts in whiterun that had webs of contacts even greater than Raksada's own.
He wrapped his cloak more tightly around himself, both to ward off the wind and to hide his identity from any possible onlookers. The wagons started rolling, and they were on their way...
The Orc sat back as the Imperial from the previous night entered and sheathed his dagger. He looked at him scornfully as he offered Drahff the liquor, though he didn't speak up. Faulgor only turned at the Nord with the same piercing glare, daring him to take a drink. Nodding in approval as the Nord declined the offer, the Orc was assured that he got the message and waited to the journey to begin. He jostled in his seat a bit as the horses began pulling the carriage and looked out the window, watching the trees go by.
The caravan set off toward Whiterun at a fairly quick pace. It almost seemed too slow for Zavier's liking. Bandits were a common problem along every major roadway, but with the civil war raging they had multiplied rapidly across Skyrim.
It would be good to be back in Whiterun, Zavier thought as they passed by the various woods that dotted the Rift. He had a few business contacts in Whiterun who kept him up-to-date on the latest developments that could make a man quite wealthy. Thus far, Zavier had money invested in a smithy in Markarth, an inn around Solitude, and his associates were trying to raise money to start an overland trading company to capitalize on shortages the war had brought on. It would be good to check in and see what new developments they had prepared next.
Faulgor whilst staring through the trees nearly slipped into a daydream. However something caught his eye..
This Orc may be a brute but he has one hell of a keen eye.
Upon being hit the noise caused the Horses to panic and they galloped out of harms way.
Bandits successfully avoided.
Faulgor looked through the trees, breathing deep the crisp air and relishing every fresh breath. Suddenly, there was movement, and something in the Orc's mind clicked - he sprung forward and grabbed Drahff by his collar, then pulled him forward and onto the opposite seat. An arrow flew through the carriages window and lodged itself into the wall, right where the Nord's head had been resting just a split second before.
"Archer!!" The Orc shouted, his voice bellowing from the carriage, and the horses began galloping at full speed. Luckily, for the Nord, he'd been looking out that particular window. Otherwise, the shaft of an arrow would be occupying the pocket in which Drahff's left eye resided.
Jarek reached over and removed the arrow from the wagon wall, he looked it over, a simple iron arrow, the bandits were lucky ones, they wouldn't have stood a chance if this was all they could muster for an opening volley. He made eye contact with Faulgor.
"Nice job, I'm glad you're on our side." Jarek said simply. He got the feeling that this Nord wasn't going to make it very far.
Raksada was a bit confused as to why the bandits would attack a 2 wagon convoy. Even if they had been merchants, there would still have been enough guards to make it too much trouble to be worth it. "It appears the bandits in this area are as incompetant as ever." He said with a smirk.
"Let's hope we don't encounter the more competent ones." Zavier said. It was an exceptionally useless gesture on the part of the bandits. He had gone across the length and breadth of most of Skyrim at this point, there had been bandits and thieves everywhere. Some held outposts near roads, some held forts that weren't entirely ruins. Some were large enough that they had their own insignia and seemed like a minor army. That though, might have been the poorest showing he had seen since his arrival. And that was suspicious. "Perhaps we should stay on our guard," He recommended, "Just to be safe. No one is that thoroughly incompetent."
"Oh, I don't know about that Zsavier, I've run acrosss a few incompetantss ssincse my arrival here. Mosstly they're just dessperate. Not worth the fun of a fight. Or worthy enough to be hunted." Swims'Faster said this almost nostalgically, and drifted off for a moment before he remembered who his company at the moment was, a Khajiit willing to sell information, and well connected, but he was unsure of whether or not to trust him just yet.
"I am going to ssleep now, pleasse wake me when we get to Whiterun or we have another hindrance on the road." And with that Swims'Faster readjusted his seating and set his weapons against the carriage walls, and closed his eyes, and fell into a meditative state he had learned in his earliest years, where he could still here his companions, but to the untrained eye, appeared asleep.
Raksada was somewhat suspicious about Swims'Faster going back to sleep while it was still early morning, but not enough to confront him about it just yet. He studied the argonian for a moment, then turned to Zavier.
"Bandits around here have always been kinda below standards." he said. "They usually end up with fairly high bounties if they get too successful." He glanced at the argonian before continuing. "You mentioned that you were looking to start a business in Rifton last night. Any kind in particular?"
"I was thinking," Zavier said, turning toward Raksada, "That a specialty goods trader could make quite a bit of money in and around Riften. There's rather a lot of wealth to be made, and Riften has just the right client base I was looking for. I had thought that someone as well connected as you might have a few friends who would be willing to help me set up shop in the city." It wasn't terribly subtle, Zavier had to admit, but it got the point across. He might have need of a fence and he was looking for someone with a contact in the Thieves' Guild to set things up. Now, let's see if Raksada picked up on it.
"Riften has the client base you are looking for?" Raksada asked, surprise plain on his face. "OK, a specialty goods trader could make money there, depending on what the "specialty goods" are. I do have a few "friends", as you put it, who could help you get started, but I would recommend having guards to watch your shop as well. Not everyone around town is as trustworthy as myself."
This imperial may be trying to play me... he thought to himself. Perhaps Syndus will be able to help him get his shop started. I'll have to ask him when I get back to Riften.
"I may have just the man for you to talk to." Raksada said, after thinking a moment. "I'll take you to meet him when we get back to Riften."
"I'm very grateful for your help." Zavier said, smiling as Raksada started to regain his composure. Keep everyone off balance, especially in negotiation. That was one of Galtrin Drake's first rules. "We can discuss how the business will operate and work out the details when we return to Riften. You can be certain that you'll be well paid for your work in opening this new venture of mine." And Zavier would make a handsome profit helping the Guild regain some of its power and prestige by selling them very valuable items from Jarls too distracted with the war to notice. It was a win-win-win scenario.
"Out of curiosity, what kind of goods will you be selling in town?" Raksada asked Zavier. "I may be able to find stock for you from time to time, depending on what you deal in." May as well see if I can't make a little on the side with this guy. he thought Provided he is, in fact, serious.
Anoke sat back in the second carriage, eyes checking the borders of the road. He had heard the whistles of arrows, but no commotion from the first carriage indicated his associate had taken care of it. As he was alone, he stretched his legs over to the opposite seat, and began a few preliminary stretches. The leather beneath his robe was flexible, allowing him his full circle of motion. It would hardly stop an arrow though, and he constantly peered out and into the forest, hoping to catch an off-guard bandit. Sadly, his knives would find no target just as yet.
Or would they?
Distant voices could be heard over the hill, but he couldn't be sure. Perhaps it was just the second wagon. Anoke turned to the driver and asked.
"How far ahead is the first carriage?"
He took out two knives and planted them in the wood next to him. If there was trouble ahead, he would be prepared.
Zavier had anticipated that he would need to prove his serious intentions to whoever he needed to deal with, and prepared accordingly. He reached under the seat and grabbed his pack. After rummaging through it for a few moments he came upon the item he wanted, and held it out for Raksada to see. It was a bejeweled and enchanted dwarven dagger, from the Jarl's palace in Markarth.
The Jarl seemed more concerned with putting down the Forsworn that seemed to crop up everywhere along the Reach than protect his own city, much less his own home. Considering the size of the ruins that made up the palace the man likely forgot about the thing, just another trinket from someone trying to curry the favor of the Jarl. The enchantment itself was fairly weak, a minor lightning effect, but that didn't diminish its value in the eyes of a proper trader.
Wordlessly Zavier handed the dagger to Raksada. The thing had to be worth at least 800 septims, but that single gesture immensely increased its value. "You may keep it," Zavier said as Raksada inspected it, "I can acquire many other such trinkets, and other things, should the clients of mine have wish of them."
"There is more to you than meets the eye, Zavier." Raksada guessed, inspecting the dagger. "Weapons such as this are in demand all across Skyrim."
This dagger is worth a great deal of money. If he can afford to give it to someone, he is either rich, or anticipates high profits when he gets his shop going. he thought to himself.
Raksada studied the imperial a moment before continuing. "I'll have to find a way to repay your generosity. I've not seen this weapons like in some time"
Faulgor smiled a bit at Jarek's remark, "Yeah, for your sake, you had best hope it remains that way." He looked at the Nord who he'd just saved, almost questioning himself why he did so. The man was a worthless drunkard, but he was a person nonetheless. Faulgor could've done nothing and he wouldn't have cared much that the Nord died, though that meant he would've cared to a degree. The Orc could be harsh and callous, but he was no monster. He valued life, his own as well as those of others, and perhaps it was this value that may not have triggered his instinctual action, though it may have greatly influenced it. Whatever the cause of his action may be, the Orc decided it best to not dwell on such matters and simply set the thought aside. He spoke up to Drahff, "Keep your head up with your eyes and ears open. Next time, you may not be so lucky to have someone looking after you."
The Wagon rolled over the peak of the hill revealing a glorious view of Whiterun in the distance, the Tundra after the harsh winter was slowly starting to recover covering areas in cotton. The landscape revealed itself beautifully but then...
"Crack!" The First wagon rolled over an oddly shaped rock, unfortunately the wheel that took the impact was the one beneath the towering Orc, lifting him only slightly from his seat.. It was when he returned with a THUD that the damage was done.
The wheel buckled under the sudden shift of great weight.
"Aww Shit" grunted the driver trough his gritted teeth.
Almost too...Conveniently the wagon came to a halt just outside of a cavern door on which a Breton and Kahjiit were leaning.
Kahjiit"Ohh that looks nasty."
Breton"Yeah you can't be travelling on a wheel like that"
"What a coincidence, we might just be able to help you.."
"Don't you worry were good like that, sure we got a spare around here somewhere"
The Kahjiit took a walk around to the back of the Wagon "Lets see what we got in here then.." upon noticing the Travelers some of them being heavily armoured his face soon changed from his smug grin.
He turned to notice Raksada "Ahh a freind from Elsweyr.."
He trusted a fellow Kahjiit and decided not to direct his questions his way.
Then turning to Zavier "You.. what are your intentions here?"
This Khajiit didn't look like a bandit, no he dealt in another form of robbery, he'd use our desperation against us if given the chance, Khajiit's were shrewd by nature and Jarek could tell this one was already salivating over the prospect of getting some of the groups gold. He chose to address Zavier, Jarek wasn't exactly sure why this was his choice, perhaps the simple outfit made him the least intimidating of the group. This would be fine though, Zavier seemed a capable individual, Jarek sat back and waited for the conversation to play out.
"My intentions are...uh." Zavier said, it wasn't like him to be at a loss for words. "Well, I have business that I must attend to, and I need the wagon in working order to do so. What would it cost to have it repaired?"
The Kahjiit's grin returned to his face he had a feeling that he might just make some money after all.
"I'll tell you what Imperial... 500 gold for the new wheel and you go in with the wolves first."
The Breton heard what the Kahjiit had to say and then added "Unarmed, we can make more money that way"
It was an obvious scam, but what could you do?
The wheel needs to be fixed and they are the only ones who can do it, plus you have a schedule to keep to.
The two Nord drivers keep with the Wagons as you go inside.
As you enter the cavern the smell of blood, sweat and ale hits you. After a short walk down a tunnel you come to a large open room filled with the worst scum Skyrim has to offer. If you were alone its not a place you would be comfortable.. however in such a large group you can see that no individual can pose a real threat.. they were thieves and drug-dealers not warriors.
At the center of the room lye a pit.
In there a dark-elf dual-wielding swords, at his side a large Nord wielding a war-hammer. They seemed experienced enough and every wolf that came out of the cages were soon crushed or sliced. People stood around the edge cheering and placing bets on who could kill the more wolves before being bitten. What a rotten sport.
With a glare and snort at the Dunmer down in the pit Swims'Faster turned to the Imperial Mage,"Zsavier, perhaps is ass good a time ass any to begin your training with the sspear, over here, if you pleasse, lookss ass if we will be here for a while." Swims'Faster gestured to one of the few open areas in the cavern, a place filled with sandbags hanging from weirdly hanging stalactites and strawmen propped against the walls.
"The firsst thing you musst remember is that the sspear is nothing more than an extenssion of your arm. When you point, the sspear sticks in ssomeone, a punch iss the sswing of the spear as it crackss againsst their skull, and a stretch of your armss is the zsone where people die."
I'm just trying to get him to know the basics of spear fighting, if he doesn't have enough time, then I just said everything and showed him some basic moves without dragging him into the corner
"Thank you for the instruction," Zavier said, stepping toward the pit, "But I don't think it will be necessary.
The walls of the cavern seem to shake from the huge roar of the blood-thirsty crowd as the dark-elf if bitten by a wolf and then swiftly dealt with by a skull-crushing blow with the Nords hammer.
The Kahjiit appears on a stage just behind the arena.
"And there we have it, the Nord is the winner! Please collect any winnings at the bar and for those of you that lost.. better luck next time."
An ugly looking Orc walks up behind Javier and grasps both of his arms tightly whispering in his ear whilst doing so "I'm going to enjoy this... hope you die in there."
The Kahjiit proceeds with his speech, "Please place your bets! We have a very special round coming up for you next, a very brave new-comer thinks he has what it takes to challenge THE GAUNTLET!"
Instantly followed by a huge cheer and laughter, seems throwing innocent people into pits and making them fight for their lives is a favorite in a place like this...
"For those who don't know the gauntlet consists of a very brave individual proving his worth in the pitt against our top bread pit wolves. There he will be unarmed and he must kill as many wolves as he can before he gets bitten. There is nobody else in there to help him if he were to be in any sort of life threatening trouble so we may just see Plenty of blood!"
The Orc carries Javier to the side of the Pitt and carelessly throws him down onto the hard blood-stained floor.
They throw people who need help to the wolves around here? Raksada thought Not a nice group of people then... With that, he made a plan to make off with as much gold as humanly possible in the time that their wagon was being repaired.
Implementing the first part of his plan, he stumbled into the khajiit as he exited the wagon. Faster than an untrained eye could follow, Raksada cut the khajiit's purse and pocketed it before heading into the cavern. "My apologies" he said to the other's irate "Watch it!"
Suppressing a grin, he made his way over to the betting tables. "What are the odds on the unarmed Imperial?" Raksada asked the bookie. "10 to 1" The bookie replied.
"Alright, 100 gold he kills at least 6." Raksada said, placing the coin on the table, before turning to watch the fight.
There was a brief calm in the few moments before the fight started. The din of spectators and betters talking, gossiping, guessing the outcome. The noise was loud, but a calming, reassuring sort of loud. Then, the gates opened. "Let's see who will walk out this time!" Someone yelled, "Will it be the imperial mage, or the wolf pack?" That was followed by loud, somewhat drunken cheering. Zavier stepped forward, the battle had begun.
Zavier summoned a frost atronach as soon as he entered the pit. The first wolves to dart toward him immediately jumped back, smelling the magic in the air and seeing the 7-foot ice monster materialize behind him. After circling the ring for a moment one of the wolves made a dash for Zavier, only to be struck down by the atronach.
Several more started to move, but a Rout spell kept them back. Two, however, were missed by the spell and struck at the atronach, the immediate threat. One bit into the daedra's right arm as another struck at its chest. Though the atronach's skin was below freezing the wolves kept on it. A firebolt from Zavier blasted off the one on the atronach's arm, while the other was crushed under the atronach's foot.
The illusion spell began wearing off as three more broke from the pack. One dashed for the daedra, while the other two moved around it and made their way to Zavier. Another firebolt took one out, but the other bit deeply into Zavier's left arm before he could loose a pacify spell. The wolf immediately let up on its bite, even began to go back to the rest of the pack with peaceful, contented look to it, at least until Zavier stabbed it with his dagger. The other one was taken down by the frost atronach, though it got in a few strikes before the atronach crushed it.
Zavier took a step back. He was bleeding, not too badly, yet, but the wound was distracting, and would make fighting with his left hand difficult. The atronach was still strong, but it wouldn't last long if the entire pack struck at once. He could summon another daedra to hold off the pack once the frost atronach went down. A storm atronach would be ideal. Between that and the frost the pack wouldn't stand long. But summoning that would use of most of his remaining reserves of power and leave him defenseless should the wolves strike. A flame atronach would cost less to summon, but might not have the power to face the pack, though he could have enough power to deal with whatever might be left. Could.
There was an eerie pause in the battle. The wolves were shaking off the last of the rout spell, and they were waiting. The only thing staying them was the knowledge that rushing the daedra would result in deaths among them, but they also knew that if Zavier had time to recover they would all die. It was an uneasy pause. Which would move first, the pack, or the mage?
The announcers voice can be heard over the roar of the crowd.
"Well that is it folks, 6 wolves killed before being bitten.. please collect your winnings if you were so lucky... if not there is always next time!"
He looks down to see the stand-off between the Mage and wolves.. it brings a smile to his face.
"Why stop the fight now? It's just getting interesting. Lets leave them to it, no more wolves will be released from this point.. but its a battle to the death for those in there."
Laughing "That bite sure is nasty!!"
Drahff using the distraction of the fight went to the bar... knowing the Orc would cut off his lips were he to drink so he thought of a different idea.
After a sly exchange he took 2 bottles of skooma from the bar, the first bottle tasted sweet to his lips.. the second he decided to save for later.