Children of Skyrim Fan Series: Tales of a Cat Burglar
Prologue - The Cats Arrival
The Sun was setting as the caravan crested the hill. They had been traveling for weeks and it seemed as if they would never make it to Skyrim after that storm hit. The others were foot sore and tired, but Nisha was always excited to see new places. Her uncle Ri'Saad had told her in his last letter that the Khajiit Caravans were always looking for good bodyguards and that her skills as an archer would be of great use.
Her fur was mottled grey and brown and in her opinion silky smooth. Her hair while short, reached her shoulders and she wore it in one of the nordic styles with a short ponytail in the back. Her face while fair in a Khajiit sense, bore three long scars across her muzzle. She would have appeared quite normal if not for the fur armor and the hunting bow strapped to her back.
As she peered down the hill she saw that they had entered a long stretch of forestland bordering a large lake. To her left was the mountain range known by the Nords as the Throat of the World, a mountain so high it pierced the clouds. On the border of the lake sprawled what appeared to be a large fishing town.
"It's quite a sight isn't it" said a voice behind her. She turned to find her childhood friend J'Zargo staring down at the lake with her. He had always been a strange one, always experimenting with different types of magic and what not. He had come with her to Skyrim after he had heard the stories about the college there. Encouraged by their village shaman, he jumped at the chance to become stronger.
"I see your whiskers have grown back" she laughed at him. He merely shrugged, "J'Zargo has learned that fire and ice spells don't negate each other as he thought" he stated with a grin. His Elsweyr accent making it obvious he learned Common tongue recently. They had always been like that, teasing each other for their mistakes. The only subject he avoided was her scar, of which he felt mostly responsible. She didn't mind though, she felt it made her appear more fearsome anyway.
"We won't reach town today, it's to dangerous to continue at night in the Rift" announced their guide. He was a Nord who knew the region between southern Skyrim and northern Cyrodiil fairly well. But, while paid for his services, he didn't appear to like the Khajiit very much, always referring to them as "Cat" or "Fur Face" when he thought they weren't listening.
By the time they reached the bottom of the hill, the sun had gone down completely. They hadn't gone much farther when the guide called a halt next to a small stream emptying into a pool of water. "We'll camp here tonight and continue on in the morning" he said. Without another word he began setting up camp.
The other two people in the caravan were quiet and kept to themselves. One was an old Imperial man, He wore a loose black robe that made it hard to tell whether he was buff or skinny. He wore his hood at all times so his face was hard to make out other than a neatly trimmed gray beard. The other was a Wood Elf woman named Ellenroh. She seemed young to be traveling alone, but claimed she did it often. Her hair was blondish-red and she had a easy smile.
The old man didn't talk much, but when he did, his voice seemed to be layered with authority. He never gave his name, saying it wasn't important. No one wanted to argue that point. Ellenroh was quiet and mouse like, not used to the strange company of the caravan. she admitted that she had never met a Khajiit, and had only heard the stories of how they were all skooma addicts and thieves.
Nisha and J'Zargo did their best to convince her otherwise, but only succeeded in frightening the poor girl more. The old man seemed more alive in the night strangely. Whenever the sun went down he always became more active, offering to prepare meals or take first watch. He was definitely more than he appeared, but no one was willing to ask about it.
The moon and stars where bright in the sky by the time camp was fully set. The old man was speaking quietly with the guide on the other side of camp, and Ellenroh had just gotten the fire started. J'Zargo was sitting off to one side reading one of the spell books he bought in Bruma. Nisha exited her tent with bow and pack in hand. "I'm going to hunt something for dinner" she announced.
"Be safe" J'Zargo called after her, and she was off. She trekked north of the camp a ways until she found what she was looking for. She knelt down next to a fallen pine tree and peered at her targets. Off to her right was a large Elk, grazing in a clearing, to her right was pair of mountain goats wandering around a mound. She choose the goats and took aim.
She crawled around the tree, and slowly made her way towards the mound, hoping to get a clearer shot at the goats. She stopped when she heard the growling. Barely five feet from her was a large white wolf, although large was a understatement, it was gigantic. It was covered in scars and had a shaggy appearance, it could easily broadside a cow. It's eyes were a burning yellow and bore into her with ravenous hunger.
She tried to back away but as soon as she moved the wolf growled louder. This monstrous beast was obviously a lone hunter, a veteran of many hunts. There would be no running, the wolf wouldn't allow her to get away, she had entered its territory, tried to hunt its prey, now she would be its prey. Slowly her hand reached for the steel hunting knife she carried, determined that if this was the going to be the end, she'd die fighting.
Nisha raised the knife before, prepared to make her stand as the wolf slowly advanced toward her. Before it had gone a foot, a shadow detached itself from the surrounding darkness and crept up behind the wolf. Nisha tracked it as it moved closer, preparing to face this new threat if necessary. The wolf noticed her distraction and pounced, its large teeth sinking into her leg.
Her scream echoed through the trees. She lashed out with the knife, gouging into the wolfs snout.The wolf yelped and backed away, leaving Nishas leg bleeding heavily. Just as she went down, the shadow pounced on the great wolf, landing on its back and gripping tightly. The wolf shook, trying to dislodge the shadow, but it held on. It drew from its recesses what appeared to a wicked looking black dagger and began stabbing the wolf repeatedly in the side.
The wolf gave one more shake, trying bring its head far enough around to latch hold on to the shadow. But the shadow had placed itself in the great wolfs blind spot, safe from its attempts to grab it. The wolf glanced once more at the fallen Khajiit, hatred and malice burning in its eyes, it lunged at her. But she had grabbed her bow from where it had fallen, she pulled back the string and loosed an arrow.
Time seemed to slow as the arrow soared towards the wolf. Recognition flashing briefly in its eyes as both the shadows dagger plunged once more into its side and the arrow pierced its neck. As the wolf fell dead, the shadow hopped away, its form fully visible in the moonlight. Nisha stared in awe as her rescuer turned out to be the old Imperial man.
His hood had come loose in the struggle and she now was able to get a good look. His hair was long and dark gray, combed back and tied in a ponytail. The skin on his face had a drawn hungry look and his eyes appeared even more dangerous than the wolfs. His Dagger, still in hand, was double edged. It was black with a silver edge, and something about the look of it made her stomach turn with fear.
The man was staring at her now, his eyes burning into hers with a strength that seemed inhuman. It was the look of man who hungered for more than food, lust, or power. It was the cold stare of a man of which life meant nothing. They were a pale burning red and the sclera were and almost marble white. It was then that Nisha knew what was standing before her, a Cyrodilic Vampire.
The vampire shook the strange blade of blood and placed it back within his robe. He pulled his hood back over his head and began to move towards her. She screamed for help and tried to crawl away, but her leg seared with pain. Faster than she could blink the vampire was next to her, placing his clean hand over her mouth. She knew it was over then, she could hear J'Zargo calling her name in the distance, to far away to help.
She looked up into the vampires eyes, waiting for the end to come, but it never came. "If you promise not to scream again, I'll treat your wounds" He said in his strange, powerful voice. She shook her head knowing that even if she did scream, it wouldn't help. He removed his hand and began chanting something under his breath as he placed both hands on her wound.
Instantly the pain began to fade, but was still present. When he finished, the wound had stopped bleeding but was still open and fresh. He began tearing strips of cloth from the dry side of his robe. "Sorry it isn't better, healing magic isn't exactly my specialty, you'll want your mage friend to look at it" he said sadly.
"Why are you helping me" she asked shakily. He simply stared at her and turned northward. He then walked off into trees and didn't come back. It was then that J'Zargo burst into the clearing, magelight hovering close by head, hands crackling with energy. His face was mixture of rage, fear, and worry.
He called out to the others nearby and knelt down next to her and hugged her close. "Nisha!!", "By Hircine, what happened, you had J'Zargo worried he had lost you" he cried. She smiled painfully, glad to see her friend and hugged him back. "He almost did" she laughed gently.
(WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR)
This is part ongoing fan-fiction project. Criticism is appreciated. I'm fairly new at this and any feedback can help me improve my writing. Thank you for reading.