T.B.C. Chapter 28 - Something Personal

  • *~Xian-Krie~*                                                                      Frost Fall 27, 4E 203


    “Again. Increase the intensity again.”


    “Like you’ve asked five times already?” I grumbled.


    “Did I ask for sass, Xian?” Faralda asked with a stern look. She may have been able to shake her students but the Altmer was hardly intimidating.


    “No, you just asked for my obedience.”


    “And still I ask for your compliance. Thankfully I’m no Thalmo. Not Ancano.” Stupid bitch. It was unfortunate that our oral agreement was binding. I had no leeway. No leverage to get anything my way. I fucked myself into a lose-lose situation. The only one who was not bound was Serana.


    “YOL… TOR SHUL!”


    The fire burned out again, brighter and more dangerous than the last. Faralda lifted her ward to block the blast, covering her whole body as the flames wrapped around the elf. The Hall of Elements got warmer as the fire burned with rage before dying away.


    “No matter the strength it appears the Thu’um can’t pierce wards,” she thought aloud. A plethora of students watched and took notes, as did several of the faculty. “But the heat isn’t negated nor absorbed. An interesting find.”


    “I could have told you that but no, my word didn’t cut it.”


    “For all I’d know it could have been faulty information.”


    “You have nothing to gain in giving shitty knowledge,” I scolded, arm crossed. Knowledge was power. The more one knew the better in the long run. I took another drink from the nearby mug. “Which one now?”


    If yesterday was a pain in my ass for note taking than today seemed to outdo it. Poked and prodded, the mages learned that emotion helped give Shouts their power and destructive force. The opposite was also true as a calmer and gentler disposition the more subtle the Shout.


    Emotions were a powerful thing, able to make anyone overcome nearly anything.


    Nothing but a theory to the wizards unless tested for themselves.


    Faralda smiled, “That should suffice for now. Excellent yet again Xian.”


    “About time!” I huffed topping off the water.


    “Anymore water and you’ll be pissing a river in no time.”


    Not like I haven’t done that before. “That’s the price I pay for using the Voice for nearly two hours.” Did that concept escape her thoughts? Exercise of any kind tires a body out.


    “Better than three.”


    “Sure. If you’re done fucking me….”


    “For the time being,” the Altmer said playing into the quip. “You’re going to be here nearly a month. There’s no need to drain your stamina, or the information, immediately from you. We’re not monsters.”


    “How kind of you.” The sarcasm was palpable and as thick as morning fog. Yeah not going to drain me then what was yesterday? Had me Shout nearly five hours identifying the ones I knew. Factors I presumed.


    One of the students stepped forward. “May this one ask something, Argonian?”




    “J’Zargo was wondering what it feels like when you utilize the Thu’um. It has been eating at his mind since you arrived those years ago.”


    I scoffed inwardly at the stupid inquiry before nodding to myself. I remember being told by my parents that there was no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people. Shaking my head I pushed the personal thought away knowing that that was false. There were stupid people and stupid questions.


    “It is akin to a lump,” I explained. “I feel it in the pit of my gut before it travels upward and is vomited out.”


    “That is a… particularly unique description Dragonborn.”


    The icy stare cast the Khajiit’s way made he realize his mistake too late, backing away as I took an intimidating step forward. “Allow me to set one boundary between everyone: Do not call me by that title!” I growled angrily, my tail curling like a snake. “You know my name. Use it.”


    All adepts and apprentices gave a nod of understanding. I knew, however, some would forget or use the title for a ‘proper’ greeting. So what was the fucking point?


    Faralda was approached. “I think you are done for the night Xian. Go do whatever it is you do.”


    “Thank the Hist.” Now just what to do? Leaving the grounds was strictly prohibited. Bunch of bitches. Only interesting area was the Arcanium. But many whispers had been spied on were stating about a hidden area, the Midden, comprised a powerful magical being. Maybe later.


    As I made my way into the large library I glanced out a window. It was later than I anticipated. No shred of unlight left in the sky, not a speck. Only the light of Masser and Secunda. Staring longingly at them I couldn’t help but feel transported back into a memory. One that had similar attributes of today.




    “You know my answer young man,” mother scowled.


    “And yet I keep asking because it’s better than taking off in the middle of the night!” I snapped back. “What kind of son would that make me?”


    “The worst of them all,” Xai said sticking out his dark tongue.


    I had been arguing with mother trying to get her to understand that, despite my age, I was a capable man, capable of making it in Cyrodiil. Sure hunters were abundant but each one had their own method.


    “Stop it Xian! I don’t even want you entertaining that crazed idea let alone speak it!” Mom’s eyes narrowed promising more earfuls should I have continued.


    “Akatosh’s Ass, fine!” I sighed. “I’ll drop it. For now. And Xai this doesn’t concern you.”


    “I know,” the green scaled bastard grinned.


    Looking out the cabin’s window the sun was just on the horizon turning the sky shades of pink, orange and red. Frost Fall gave some of the greatest scenery of the year, what with the sun setting early. It marked the approach of winter.


    “Xian, honey, I just don’t believe you’re ready for the world. Especially so close to Argonia.”


    A rare crack in her armor.


    “Why? Because of my age? We both know that’s a farce as I’m incredibly capable. Who does the majority of the hunting for us?” My first time hunting alone was an exhilarating one. Living on the border between Cyrodiil and Black Marsh the area gave us a variety of animals to hunt so it would not get boring going after the same thing over and over. I had wandered into Cyrodiil looking for deer; bow, arrows and hunting knife at my side, when I heard a low, raspy growl ahead of me.


    Blending in with the brown grasses had rendered the beast camouflaged from any would-be interlopers; it was a lion. Specifically a lioness. I still had no idea how but I was able to best the mighty feline without forfeiting my life in the process, gaining some new scars on the side of my head, arms and chest. It had nearly gotten my eye.


    My body had reacted on its own somehow as I focused on the beast. Anything distracting could have been deadly but surprisingly I survived, coming out on top as the superior killer that day. My family may have been more surprised and frantic when they saw me more than the dead lion, immediately dressing my wounds with herbal remedies. They scarred but I didn’t mind. One thing kept going through my mind that blocked out the stinging pain of the claw marks.


    I felt alive. Exhilarated.


    “Do you think this is about your skill?!” she shrieked making the chair slide as she stood up. Xai jumped in fright and I stepped back in fear. “It is not about that at all. It is about what the Argonian government would do if they caught you.”


    I was on the ropes. Thin ice. One wrong move and mom could have strangled me. But that never came to mind. All I could recite from her words were, “What they’d do to me?”


    Mom heavily sighed and slouched looking like she was being weighed down by something terribly cumbersome. “Xian do you know your birth sign?”


    What was she getting at? Where the His did that question come from. “I was born in Frost Fall. I have the Tower.”


    She bit her lip hard enough to draw blood. She looked ashamed suddenly unable to look at me.


    “What are you hiding from big brother?” Xai asked, his eyes wide with concern.


    “Xian, sweetheart, your sign isn’t the Tower. It’s the Serpent.”


    “What?” I rasped. The Serpent? It was my sign?


    “How?” went my little brother.


    “It’s just how fate fell, my little boy. My little Lord.” Her sorrow filled gaze was cast my way and she saw how hurt I was. “Son before you start you need to know-”


    “Know what, mom?” I spat on the verge of being consumed by anger and tears. “That I’m an anomaly? An enigma? Was lied to my whole life about it?!”


    “Xian the truth is much more strenuous and cloudy than you realize. I left our society in Thorn so you wouldn’t become a pawn to the government.”


    I scowled at her words like they were poison, trying to see if she was lying again. “How would I have been a pawn? I wouldn’t let them control me!”


    Mom shook her head at my bravado, her feather-lace necklace jingling at the motions. “Argonian politics are far more manipulative than you know. The Shadowscales, our kingdom’s malitia, our law enforcement agents. They’re trained by the Dark Brotherhood themselves in the art of stealth and assassination. I didn’t want you following that path.”


    “That math doesn’t come out,” I said after a silent moment. “The Shadow is during Second Seed. Or is that my real birth month too?”


    “That’s enough Xian-Krie!” she yelled, her brown scales molding to her anger. “I have never lied to you. I only hid the truth because I was scared for you! I did not wish to lose my first child nor have your light be replaced by an unwavering darkness! I left home so I wouldn’t be forced to take that terrible potion!”


    “What potion?” What the fuck was she talking about?


    “Our king and his lobby of alchemists concocted a vile brew that alters female Argonian’s chemistry. It makes it so the child is hatched under the Shadow.”


    I didn’t know what to do or how to react. For years I had a Tower, a tall and proud structure to store and keep things, or people, safe. And in an instant of Divine mockery it was stolen. Stolen, broken down and replaced like a common trinket.


    “So I’m a pawn in some grand scheme of things? Being a pariah or a shady murderer?”


    The conception of the Serpent was old. Far older than what people believed. Many cultures understand the Serpent as one that has no set month. And those that are born beneath it’s stars are considered the most blessed and most cursed. Seemed I fit that part perfectly.


    “No!” my mother barked with an expression hard enough to break bricks. “You’re my son! The one of three people I love more than life. You’re not a murderer and never will be!” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “You wouldn’t be an outcast in Black Marsh for bearing the Serpent. They’d use you, train you in diplomacy. Xian the An-Xileel and Royal Court would utilize those skills and work you until your luck ran out.”


    “So I am just a pawn.” my voice was shaky but I refused to break.


    “I left Thorn, my family and friends, so you could choose your own fate, my son. You are Talz’s and I’s first child. We wanted to give you the world like any good parents should.”


    “What about me?” Xai asked. “Do I get the world too?”


    “Your father and I tried to give you both the world. Free to make your own decisions without a higher power’s say so.”


    “You did that for us?” Xai pressed. He was probably wanted to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, silently I thanked him for it.


    “I did. By the Hist I did!” She extended a hand towards me as she gave my brother a hug. “And I’d do it again without hesitation.”


    Her arm hung motionless for a seconds as I contemplated. I was still mad. Mad at the situation that was dealt to me. A Sperent child, ostracized by many due to their strange uniqueness. No matter what others thought of me before they’d think me as some kind of hazardous thing.


    With reluctance I joined the warm embrace. It was not mom’s fault, I knew that. It was fate’s doing. The Tower was mine! As it had been for seventeen years. Stolen!


    “My Xian-Krie I am so sorry for keeping this from you,” mom whispered. “I didn’t wish for you to feel different from everyone else. For you to think yourself less than others.”


    Sound reasoning if only we lived closer to civilization than that could have been a factor. But we lived in the hills, a lone house for several miles in either direction.


    “I know mom,” I lied. I had deserved to know.


    It was disgusting. If I had been told from the gods damned start I wouldn't have felt like an outcast. Her brilliant plan fucking backfired.


    There was the sound of the doorknob twisting before the door opened. “Guess what I bagged tonight?” he asked with a stupid, triumphant grin, dropping a large hoofed leg to the floor. As soon as he saw us I had a feeling he knew what transpired but played it off. “Group hug? Room for a loving father?”


    “Talz, you daft idiot,” mom chucked only to grow somber again. “I told Xian the truth.”


    “How’d you take it?”


    I had to thank him for giving me a shit thanks. But some things needed to be said.


    “How else was I suppose to feel? Pleased? No, I was pissed. Still am dad.”


    He set his bow and arrows down and walked forward. “I can understand why. Having the Snake suddenly be your real sign is something someone should know.”


    “Then why?”


    “Because believe it or not, the An-Xileel are still looking for your mother.”


    “Talz-Ei!” she exclaimed slapping him upside the head.


    Dad rubbed the smarting area, straightening his brown feathers. “They’re old enough to know.”


    “Will the An-Xileel come for us?” Xai asked, worry written all over him.


    “That we’ve no concrete answer, son.” Dad rubbed his green-scaled cheek and went on. “Technically we are Imperial citizens thus protecting us from Argonia’s more shady governmental reach. That hasn’t stopped them in the past but if they haven’t come by now then they won’t.”


    I was dumbfounded by his lackadaisical outlook on the whole thing. I could be kidnapped at any time and he finds that not a big deal?


    “How can you even say that?”


    “Xian… worrying about something that is out of your control is pointless. It isn’t like you can alter a Divine’s movement on a chessboard of life. We take the necessary steps to remain hidden. Fretting over that kind of action will only get you a heart attack or make your feathers fall out.”


    “So you’re happy-go-lucky because… just because?”


    “That or be a pain in the ass.” Dad gave a cheeky grin. “You boys are that enough so I have to be the bright, sunny one in this shack.”


    I turned to my brother who was trying to suppress his laughter. I guess dad was trying to get me to think on the bigger picture. Life was too short to worry about shit out of your control. Whether it was a Tower or Serpent I was still me. It didn’t change me from being a loving son.


    But I still deserved to know from the fucking beginning.


    “Thanks dad,” I replied sheepishly.


    “You’re welcome boy.” He hugged me in his big, strong arms. “I know we didn’t tell you the truth but we had to be sure the King hadn’t sent agents. No son of mine is going to be used for political gain!”


    I smiled at last, believed my father. He and mother taught me a lot over the years and it was put to good use. “I believe you.”


    It had been a trying few days after learning the truth of what my sign was. Deep down I still harbored resentment towards mom and dad but knew in my heart that it was for protection. Maybe things could have been different.


    Regardless of how anyone in the family felt, my choice was made. Winter was on the way and I needed to move. Needed to get things ready. The grass and trees had been losing their luster and vibrant colors for weeks now and now very few leaves and green grass remained.


    I was a busy man over those few days, fletching a new bow from a large chunk of maple wood. It took nearly two weeks but it was worth it.


    Wouldn’t need to take the family one with me.


    On the day everyone could tell I was acting strangely. Far quieter than previous days. Mom had asked if there was something wrong and I lied, blaming my reclusiveness on an upset stomach. Her caring in that moment hurt, tore my heart in two.


    I needed to be strong. To not crack.


    When night had fallen time was on my side. We all fell asleep roughly the same time so planning my departure was easy. I knew where my new bow was, the arrows and quiver, everything I needed. Trepidation and nerves gnawed at my thoughts, yelling that my plan was flawed. That I was flawed. Was stupid.


    Stop listening to that damn voice Xian! I thought. That didn’t help. Maybe it was the fear of the unknown that gave me cold feet. I also knew the alternative, staying with everyone until I was told I could leave. Quietly getting out of bed and gathering a pair of fresh clothes I peered to Xai. His chest rose softly and undisturbed. There was a goofy grin on his assured face as drool cropt down his cheek. He looked so peaceful, so happy.


    “Goodbye little brother,” I said softly. I swallowed the lump in my throat, unwilling to break now, and slowly exhaled to calm my quivering nerves and voice. “Take care of mom and dad.”


    Closing my… his door I made way for the den. My bow was leaning against an entable along with my quiver and arrows. There was no doubt I’d be despised and disowned for my actions. Yet I continued. Continued to leave it all behind me.


    The floorboards creaked and I froze.


    Like a burglar caught in the act I slowly turned my head to face the dark hallway. The path to mom and dad’s room. Already the hall of darkness felt like my chances- a shroud to blanket and smother.


    Their door squeaked open which made my heart race. Dressed in fresh and unwrinkled clothes my excuses would not save me, no matter how sleepy either were!


    Weak feet dragged across the floor and a yawn came out. Fuck it’s mother! I panicked. She’s the person who taught me to stay hidden when it mattered but ma didn’t teach me everything! That’s how a good teacher operates, to lead you to the answer they’re looking for and still lording information over you.


    My heart thundered in my chest threatening to crawl up and out of my mouth. In a frantic manner I picked the darkest spot I could and pressed myself between the wall and cabinet. I was just an idiotic young adult hiding from his mother.


    Mom stepped into the den and nearly tripped over herself. She silently gazed around, certain the noise came from here.


    I traced her every move as she walked around. My nerves were about to rat me out, squash my dreams like a boulder chokes out like at the end of the tunnel. A lesson suddenly sparked in my mind, one of mom teaching me on how to avoid detection.


    Breath through your mouth to regulate and control air flow. It is far softer than your nose when under duress.


    It stung that I was user her knowledge against her.


    Seconds drew on and it felt like minutes of agony. Despite my controlled breathing my heart still thundered away causing my body to want to twitch and jolt. Mom wearily came to the cabinet I was beside, letting her fingers traipse dangerously close to mine. It took every ounce of willpower to fight the urge to retreat.


    Finally mom subsided her hand and returned to the dark hallway. Though I heard her bedroom door close caution clung to me like sand. I stayed put, plastered to the corner for His knew how long before my body relaxed. I let out a low sigh thinking that I managed to stay hidden from a live person.


    And it was the woman who taught me how.


    Gathering my things I opened the nearby window and climbed out. Closing it and just when I wished to vacate the area I was suddenly petrified.


    Staring through the window memories flooded back. Happy times of playing games with Xai and father, cooking with mother… Of all the times to become sentimental…!


    Forcing the lump down my throat once again and holding the tears at bay my fingers dragged down the glass.


    “I love you, mom.”




    The moon became wavy before it was shrouded by the clouds.


    My past…. My family…


    Over eight years of emotions bottled up inside me threatened to break free. More joyous flashbacks came and before long it was all too much.


    Tears streamed down my cheeks and fell to the floor. I refused to make a sound, face contorting painfully to keep my sadness silent. My claws scraped against the glass and I closed my eyes, unable to look at my reflection.


    “I’m sorry, mom.”


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3 Comments   |   Ebonslayer and 3 others like this.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  August 13, 2018
    That has to suck.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 11, 2018
    Yeah, poor Xi. :( Memories of the past are always rough. 
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  August 10, 2018
    Thankfully I’m no [Thalmor].

    The icy stare cast the Khajiit’s way made [him] realize his mistake too late,

    No shred of [sunlight] left in the sky,

    [Frostfall] gave some of the greatest scen...  more