With Friend Like These
Revak could see his breath in the chill of the early morning. He took one last look at Whiterun as he spurred his horse down the road. Lydia had denied his offer to travel to High Hrothgar. It saddened him that she did not wish to go, but he understood her reasons.
She thought he was a mad man.
It was disheartening that the first person he 'told' did not believe him. He laughed to himself, what if he'd told her the entire truth? And so, Lydia remained in Breezehome. True, it hurt him, but he had a mission. And Revak couldn't afford to stray from it.
He watched as the towers of Dragonsreach faded away behind him. He would head to Riverwood and then Ivaarstead. From Ivaarstead he would climb the Seven Thousand Steps. He kept his horse at a good speed and would reach Riverwood within a few hours. He enjoyed the traveling. It was a chance to clear his thoughts and to enjoy the nature of Skyrim.
He saw the walls of Riverwood as he crested over a hill. He gave a smile as he saw the small mill town, its people already finishing their work days and enjoying a brilliant afternoon. He crossed the bridge and led his horse into the town. He noticed that Whiterun guards patrolled the walls and the town. They nodded as he passed. He dismounted and tied his horse to the rail at the inn.
He noticed a little girl sitting on the inn's porch. Revak thought for a moment, trying to remember her name. He smiled and gave a little wave. The girl gave a gasp and ran into the inn. Strange
, Revak thought as he watched the door slam behind her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the key that Gerdur had given him, wondering if there was any news of Ralof and whether or not he'd made it to Windhelm safely.
As he walked the streets he felt watched
. The villagers gave him evil looks and refused to talk to him.
Revak made his way to the mill, but was shocked to find, not Hod working the mill, but a young man. "Hello," Revak said loudly so that he could be heard over the sound of the mill.
The young man stopped his work and looked at Revak, the blood drained from his face as he did so. The man collected himself and scowled, "What do you
want?" he said curtly.
"I'm looking for Gerdur? Or Hod?" Revak said politely a smile still on his face.
"Is this some sort of sick joke?" the man shouted.
"I'm sorry," Revak said as he stepped away from the young Nord, "but I don't think I understand?"
The man stared at him, "What in Oblivion are you doing back here? Have you no respect?" He was shouting now, his hand resting on the dagger at his belt. Revak started backing away, but the man was closing the gap.
"Look," Revak said, trying to calm the man, "I have no idea what's going on here. What's your name? What's happened?"
"Sven," he said shaking his head to calm himself, "you have no idea, do you?"
"Hence why I asked what happened!"
"Follow me," Sven said, brushing roughly against Revak as he passed by.
Revak followed as Sven lead him down the main road. He turned right and down the lane that Revak remembered lead to Gerdur and Hod's home.
The house was soon in sight, but something was wrong. Revak saw that the door had been boarded up and a sign nailed to it. Revak approached the door as Sven stood behind him silently.
Revak ripped the paper off the door, his scowl growing as he read:
The following citizens have been arrested and their property seized by the Empire:
Gerdur of Riverwood
Hod of Riverwood
For the crime of treason against the Empire in Skyrim.
In the name of his grace, Titus Mede II…
It continued with a further list of crimes, including conspiring against the Empire and providing shelter to known criminals. It was signed by General Tullius. Revak threw the paper down in fury. He clenched his fits at his sides in an attempt to control his anger. "When did this happen?" Revak growled.
"Two days ago," Sven said from behind him. "You didn't know?"
Revak shook his head, "Of course not, I've been in Whiterun."
"They came in the middle of the night," Sven explained. "Hod tried to fight against them, but Gerdur stopped him. They took them away."
"What about the boy?" Revak said as he turned to face Sven.
"Sent to an orphanage," he said, "in Riften, I hear."
This was not the Empire Revak knew. This was not the Empire he made
. His Empire didn't steal people away in the dark of night. His Empire didn't take children from their parents and cart them away never to been seen again. It was sickening, disgusting. To Revak, it was no wonder that the Stormcloaks were rebelling. Part of him wanted to hunt these Imperials down; he wanted to free his friends, and to get their boy back. Revak breathed deeply, No
, he thought. I can't let this slow me down. I have to stop Alduin. The war can wait.
Sven soon left him. Revak reached into his pocket and removed the iron key that Gerdur had given him. He closed his fist around the key and kneeled, "Akatosh," he prayed softly, "guide them, for me." Shaking his head he stood and started making his way back to the inn. He saw a long string of leather hanging on the fence. Revak took the leather; pulling out the key he threaded it onto the leather. He tied it around his neck, a reminder of the sacrifice his friends had made.
Emotionally and physically drained from the day he was eager for some rest.
Inside the Sleeping Giant Inn, an Argonian sipped at his mead, not really drinking it, but not really wanting to look suspicious either. He watched the tavern's patrons as they drank, sang, and all together acted like idiots. How long until he gets here?
He asks himself. The Nords paid him no attention; they were more focused with their ale. He was getting nervous that he wouldn't show, until he heard the sound of the door opening and felt a cold breeze come in.
In walked a tall, strong looking Nord in steel armor. He had very short blonde hair and deep blue eyes. He looked tired and road weary. Perfect
. He also took note of the steel sword at the Nord's hip. The Nord made his way to the inn keep, requested a room, paid the keep, and then took to his room. The Argonian sipped his drink with a smirk; everything was falling neatly into place. He liked this very much.
The Argonian retired to the room he'd rented earlier that day, leaving the villagers to their late night antics. He placed his drink on his bedside table. Then he sat down cross legged on the floor to meditate on what he was about to do.
Deep into the night, the Argonian 'woke' himself from his meditation. It's time
, he thought as he stood, stretched, and donned his leather armor. His armor was boiled black and red leather, and enchanted to ensure he would succeed. He never failed anyways, but it never hurt to be cautious.
Slowly, he made his way to the door, ever careful to avoid the squeaky boards. He opened the door slowly so that it wouldn't creak. The inn was empty, the dying embers of the hearth were the last lights left in the room. He snuck across the hall to the Nord's room. He made no sound as he moved, thanks to years of training and practice. Gently, he started picking the lock. It was simple, only three tumblers. The lock clicked
and the Argonian swung the door open.
Inside, the Nord lay in a deep sleep amongst furs and blankets. His armor lay on the dresser across the room, along with his blade. Perfect
. He drew his blade, a wicked looking piece made of ebony. He crept to the Nord's bedside, "The Dread Father comes to claim his property," the Argonian whispered as he raised his blade high in the air.
At the last second the Nord awoke, his eyes wild with fear, he attempted to dodge the Argonian's blade making it miss its mark. Instead of stabbing the heart the blade dug into the Nord's belly. The Nord gasped in pain, his mouth trying to form words, but his strength had not yet failed him. With one hand he pushed the Argonian away. Nice try
, the Argonian thought as he stalked closer to the now kneeling Nord. He drew his dagger high.
Intense, searing pain.
He looked down and saw the tip of a thin blade coming from his chest.
Revak waited for the final strike to come. Instead he heard a sickening sound. He looked up and saw the assassin, a green skinned argonian, holding his blade high in the air. The assassin had a look of terror on his face as he looked and saw a blade protruding from his chest. The blade drew away, leaving a gaping hole. The Argonian assassin fell to the floor with a solid thud
Behind the argonian, stood a woman in leathers and wielding a very familiar sword. He recognized her as Farengar's client.
She was wielding the signature weapon of the Blades.