Dreadfall Contract: Delfine (Skyrim Fanfic)

  • Drunken Huntsman

    "Well," Jenassa stood, "What a sight for sore eyes you paint." We embraced as old friends, and I saw she had switched back to her old Leather Armor without the helmet. "Want me for some more of your adventures?" She grinned, "Free of Charge."

    I laughed, "That's okay," I didn't want to say I don't need her any more. "Would'ja lookat this?"

    I pulled out a bundle, and handed it to her.

    "Well!" her eyes went wide, "Where did you come across this?"

    I pulled up a chair, "It's a long story." She ordered Mead. "Huh! Well, I took care of our friend overlooking Solitude," she nodded understanding, "But when I got out, I was unarmed, and just had some golden armor for protection. So, I snuct into a crypt, found an old axe stuck in the floor, and started back. I didn't dare return to the Stables, and even skirted Morthal."

    "Is that where," she couldn't keep her eyes off the bow, and arrows lying on the table, and the guy behind the counter seemed to take notice as well.

    "I'm getting to that," I rolled my eyes, "Anyway, I found these stairs up to this pass. It was real wide, but an old ruin stretched all the way across it. I ran into a Frost Troll, and I can usually handle them now, but then came another, and another. I finished the first one quick, but I had to fall back. I ran east, up some stairs to see if I could take them one at a time, but wouldn't you know it, aNother one ran out from behind me!"

    "And then?" She sat foreward, fingers together in front of her like those triangular arches.

    "I had to run, down these stairs to a door, and thank Hircine they didn't follow." I took a breath to steady my fingers. "Now, you know I'm not usually creeped out by those places, but some of them Draugr, they were real tough. It seemed almost all of them could throw Frost, if not icecicles, or Atronachs. I got a really good old sword off one, like my other one, but much sharper, and that helped. 

    Anyway, it was near the end when I got to this dark room, and a horned one with," I waved at the table, "Well, that. He saw me, and shot me once, and I thought I was gonna die. So I retreated to heal," look around to see if anybody was listening, "howled out, and that wasn't even enough to more than wear him down. I don't know how many times he almost killed me, but when I was myself again, I threw some dust, and rolled away to behind a pillar."

    I remembered, "Oh, there was some Vampire lair in there, Movarth, I think his name was. So anyway," I got back on track, "I used it all, rolling in invisible, then out until he calmed down, then back to tackle him again." I didn't add that Draugr don't heal.  Who do you think taught me that?  "Then, I had to drop down, where there was another one, with this."  I had to put away Red Eagle's Honed Anchient Draugr Greatsword of Embers.  I grinned, and pulled out my new treasure. "He was tough too, but I got real good at blocking, and bashing, so he barely even hurt me." I just kind of trailed off, got lost in the beautiful swirls, and black glass of my new knife. Sighing, I put it back, and got up. "So, I want you to have that, nobody I know could get better use from it, and as you can see, I got my own Ebony now." 


    "We need to talk," Astrid met me at the door, with what's his nuts, the new Kajit.

    "Both of you?" I looked down on him, "I thought he just Listened."

    "Yes," he looked nervous, "But this one must speak for our Mother to be heard." Like Dovakiin, he seemed to have swallowed the whole Chosen One spiel, and only answered to The Listener now.

    I sighed, "Let me change," and stripped off the Elven Light Armor before pulling on my Beloved's hide, Fine Armguards, and some boots I got off a Stormcloak officer. I petted the fur, and felt better immediately. "So," I met them in the Night Mother's chamber, "What's up, a new Contract?"

    "The Mother was with you," Astrid leaned back, crossed her arms, and let him do the talking, "She knows what you saw, sees what you know."

    "Ah," I pulled up a chair, "And?"

    "She says there was a Black Sacrament in the basement of Elenwen's Solar." I remembered, "And a chest full of Gold."

    I sighed, "Yeah, well the contractor's dead," she had one of her Wizards do the ritual for her, he was delicious.

    "Yes, but you took the Gold," he nodded, "And therefore accepted the Contract."

    "What?" I looked over at Astrid.

    "He's right," she nodded soberly, "We can, of course get someone else to perform it, but by turning away from the Brotherhood, we cannot let you leave, alive."

    I caught my breath. I was so used to the homey safe atmosphere that I'd even left my sword by my bed. I looked back, at the closed door behind me. Even if I escaped them, and fought my way to the Black Door, they would find me. "Huhaha!" I pretended to laugh, "That won't be neccessary. I'm glad to help, but I was just unaware of that rule."

    "You read the tenents," She smiled coldly, "While we may have, strayed from them before." you mean You did, "But with the return of the Night Mother comes a return to Traditions. Even without her, we couldn't let such an infraction go."

    "Of course not," I swallowed, "It was just a misunderstanding."

    "You brought the note?" the Listener crept foreward.

    "No?" I shook my head, "But I read it."

    "Who's the target?" I turned back to Astrid.

    "Delfine," I sighed, "The leader of the Blades."

    "Truly we are blessed!" Astrid spread her arms to the coffin, "By the Night Mother. First Elenwen, then the Emperor, and now this!"

    "The Emperor," I boggled, "THE EMPEROR!? Of the Empire?"

    "Yes," she laughed, "and with this, the Dark Brotherhood will Rize Again!"

    It almost didn't even sound like her. 

    I asked her why he keeps saying "This one," but she shrugged and said that it was probably to make fun of the lizard men.


    Wow, we must have really cleaned there clocks, because the camp was still deserted, and nobody even cleaned up all the bodies. Not many places bandits don't move right into soon after they're deserted, but I guess the obvious massacre scared them off. 

    And the draw bridges were still down, so I didn't have to dig out the old journal to remember how they opened. I snuck up to the big room where I last saw Her, but it was so bright, the guard saw me right away.

    "Who goes there?" I stood up, and stretched.

    "Dread Fall," I announced proudly, "Where's Lydia?"

    "Off with the Dragonborn," his hand went to his sword as I got closer.

    "I'm here to see Delfine."

    "You mean Delphine?" He blinked, and shook his head. At least he was a Nord, so I could understand his thick accent.

    "Yeah," I shrugged, "Her."

    "She says you are not to step past the seal," he pointed, "I'll see if she's willing to come down."

    While he was gone, I checked the big old chest in the middle of the room. Lots of Dragon Bones, and Scales, even some armor that looked like it was made from it. Sure, I could have followed him, maybe even cut him down, but I had no idea what kind of resistance to expect inside. Besides, I'm an Assassin, not a Bandit.

    "Thank you, Goldir." I was sitting on the chest when she showed up, and he waited back by the door again. "I heard about the Embassy," she nodded. She'd changed into the same weird armor as Goldir, blue steel with one of those swords tucked in her belt. Upside down, her hand rested calmly on the long braided hilt.

    "So you know Elenwen is dead," I grinned, "And I killed her?"

    She sighed, "I guess I should thank you for that." I waited, "So, you're hanging out with the Dark Brotherhood now?" I nodded, it wasn't really a secret any longer. "Did you just come to brag, or do you expect some sort of payment?"

    "I got payed, handsomely for it," my face heated up. This wasn't how I planned it, but now, I knew I couldn't just challenge her, prove once, and for all who the better warrior was. She stood back, sheild hanging from her arm, and by the time we really got going at it, either Golldir, would join in, or run up the stairs again to fetch Esburn. I don't know him, his capabilities, or how he would react.

    "If that's all," I stared longingly at her back, "I have a lot to do." But he watched me, I knew enough he would warn her before I got a hit in.

    "So," I tried to make nice, "Golldir, is it? Where'd Dovakiin, and Lydia go?"

    "High Hrothgar," he said, "Overlooking my home village of Ivarsted."

    "Oh," I headed back out, "Good." Maybe I could get him to trust me, enough to let me in. 

    High Hrothgar

    "Uh!" 7000 steps, eh? Okay, there was some good fights on the way up, sabercats, an ice troll, and some of those weird floating ghostly frost snake thingies. There was a castle, but it was locked, and there wasn't really any way around. The cliff dropped off dangerously on one side, and sloped up steeply with loose slippery snow my feet wouldn't stick to. So, I waited a while, until I heard Shouting up there. 

    I couldn't make out the words, but it sounded like a thunderclap. Goldir said I just missed Him, and with a few shortcuts, I maybe even made up some time. I saw some rocks around the other side I can maybe climb, and I've rested up enough, so maybe I'll try that?

    Okay, wow. Just wow. I can't really write about it, I swore to Dovak, and I can kind of understand the secret. He looked better in the blue steel armor, and smelled even better than I remember Goldir. It's weird, at the time, I didn't think he was all that good looking, but ever morning, while I was lying there trying to sleep, I kept remembering the smell.

    Anyway, the rocks worked, but I got to this ice storm that was so cold, even for me. It sapped my strength, and I was about to give in when I heard that thunderclap of a shout, and it cleared away like magic. And there He was, Dovak, walking proudly up with the sun behind him. I guess I just wasn't used to being up this late.

    He asked me what I was doing there, and I had to lie to Him. I figured out on the road that the best way in was to join the Blades, and He liked me more than Delphine. Lydia stood between us, she had her shield out, but kept her hand away from her Blade. Now, I could see her face, the helmet looks kind of not unlike the Wolf helmet, without the jaws Pretty enough, I guess.

    So anyway, He told me He had to go to the top, and I could Follow Him if I wanted to. We came to more of the cold wind, but He set himself, arms back, and blew it away with his Thu'um. I staggared a bit, it was so powerful. Then we were at the top, and all I can say is there was one of those weird word walls. He learned a lot from it, how to breathe Fire, like a Dragon, and from the conversation, something else.

    I finally found out what this was all about. The Dragons were returning, of course, but the reason is, the Great Black Dragon, Alduin is bringing them back to life. Dovak told me all about it on the way down. The Blades used to guard the Emperor, like the Penitus Occulatus does now, and served the Dragonborn as the ultimate Slayer. Like Esbern told me, only he can absorb their souls, like a big walking soul gem, and chanel that power into shouts.

    So anyway, He sent Lydia back to the temple to report in, and carry back some more Dragon Bones, and Scales. "I am sworn to carry your burdens," she sighed, and rolled her eyes. Why the attitude? Doncha know He's the Dragonborn, bitch? Some people have no idea what it means to serve. So, anyway, He told me He's not returning yet, so I could go with her to wait for Him, or He might need some help getting the Kell. That's what he called it.

    We got back to the castle, and he talked to this monk guy way up in a tower. I recognized their robes, the Greybeards, ancient voice masters that have to take a vow of silence so they don't kill you with a whisper. Ok, so I was impressed. Maybe all this destiny and stuff is getting to me, but for the first time I realized how great everything going on around me was getting.

    Frosen Hearth Inn: Winterhold

    While we were on the road, to Windhelm, Dovak told me more about the Thu'um. I heard about the Ancient Nords using it, but I didn't know it could be learned without killing Dragons, and Weird Walls. Even Ulfric, the Stormcloak was going to be a Greybeard once, after he quit the Legion, and before he started the war against the evil Empire. That's where he learned what Dovak calls Unrelenting Force.

    He doesn't mind me calling him that, for short. I think he's grown up a lot, gotten over His importance, and even started being embarrassed by it. Now, he seemed almost humble. He said maybe it was better not to be called by his title all the time, and it was even getting annoying. "That's something I like about you," my face warmed, "You're not just some mindless follower, with your eyes all starstruck by the prophecy, and Legends."

    He taught me a new Battle Cry, since I get so much practice with mine, and howling when Hercine overtakes me. He saw me do that one too, when we got attacked by 2 Dragons at once! As soon as one was on the ground, I braved it's icy breath, and charged in to finish it while Dovak fought the other. He understood. I didn't tell him how it happened, but just that I had to, for some of my friends. Anyway, I practiced, and practiced, every fight, and by the time we got here, I was getting pretty good at it.

    He gave me an old Amulet, of Talos. Even though my spirit belongs to Hercine, I prayed on it, and HE said it wouldn't conflict with HIS Ring. Anyway, Dovah said it would help with the Battle Cry, and there wasn't much else to do on the way. Now, he's up at the college, trying to find that Kell, but I just can't bring myself to go in there.

    Just the Elf at the door put me off. She said I had to cast a spell to go in, and she'd even sell me one if I wanted. She didn't have Bound Battleaxe, and I couldn't do a Flame Atronach no matter how I tried. Oh well, Magic just isn't for me, and I didn't really want to go up there with all those wizards anyway. She sold me a scroll, though!

    Uh, why can't I sleep? I guess it's all the noise out in the tavern, the bard singing the Age of Agression, maybe I'll go get some mead. 


    Imagine all I was missing out on all this time. I just followed Dovak a couple days, and now finally get a chance to write while He works on this big Dwarven ball thingy. So, he got back from the college, and we took off right away. He told me about this crazy old guy, who gave him a box, and a ball, then we went to the ruin.

    It's huge, the Dwarves must have been something else, because here we are, centuries later, and almost everthing still works. Those spider thingies seem to be fixing it up, where walls are crumbling, but their weird machines are outlasting even the stones they cut their halls out of. Then, we ran into these ball thingies that rolled up, and folded out to tall skinny golden warriors. 

    And they were tough, even my Ebony knife wouldn't cut them, but my hammer sure smashed them up good. I tried shouting at them, but they didn't even notice. Dovak's voice pushed them back real good, so I snuck ahead, since He clanks too much to catch them by surprise. Imagine that, Him following me? I chuckled quietly to myself, and brought the head down to smash another one.

    Then, the biggest one of all. Gods, it was a giant, and even Dovak had more trouble with it than any Dragon. I rolled up the stairs, and around some pipes to drop quietly behind it, then bashed it real good in the waist so it fell down. Then there was some Imperials fighting upstairs, so I killed them, and Dovak figured out how to make the stairs down open. He took the girl's Gauntlets, and weird spikey shield, I guess he just can't stand for all his armor to match. Oh yeah, he found some Ebony boots in a chest somewhere. I was kind of jealous, cause all that stuff looks fantastic, but there's no way I could ever sneak in them.

    Then, we went down. Way down on this platform with gears in the corners, and saw teeth they hooked into. I don't know how long it decended, too slow to figure out the depth, but when we came out, I was speechless. I can't even call it a cave, it was so huge, a Dragon could probably fly around in it. It had a city, and took forever to search it. And it wasn't empty, not at all.

    Oh, I forgot the creepy little eyeless Mers back there. They didn't look like much, but they took a lot of pounding, and could shoot with uncanny accurecy if you made any sound at all. At least Dovak took most of their attention, and arrows while I got around to backstab them. We made a great team, really, his piece mail soaked up their strikes like a bar towel, and he dished it out in great portions.

    But that was back in the tunnels, and walkways. Then we came to a city, in the middle of the huge cavern, and they were everwhere. Even Dovak had to blast them away to run, and I got backed into a corner with arrows coming in from all over. "FAAS!" they ran, but that just made more room for the others to run in. And gave me a moment.

    I was saving this, but what did I have to lose? Even howling out would probably get me killed, so I slit the seal with my thumbnail, and opened the scroll. It went away in a puff of frost, and the chill crept up my arms as they straightened out to my sides as if parylized. WHOOMPH! I threw it down, and the blizzard exploded out, whirling in a cloud that swept the courtyard of even the bodies.

    Wow, this magic is powerful stuff! Thank the Daedric Princes Dovakiin survived. He'd fled into one of the buildings. He appologized for leaving me there, but I forgave him immediately. It was a rout, but he was extremely impressed that I dealt with all of them, even if I didn't say how. 

    So, anyway, it wasn't there, so we fought some more spiders, and Falmers, and a giant, and finally found the M'zark Tower. More Falmers, the last one was real nasty. Well, there was 3 of them, but we took out the first two real easy, and this guy with an even dorkier helmet than the Iron one fought like a spell sword with a bound one, and shooting Icicles at us. Dovak burned him with Jol, he wasn't frightened by FAAS, and he chased me around a while as Dovak got his voice back. Then He blew him down so I could finish him off.

    Oh wait, I think something's happening..? 

    High Hrothgar:

    Dovak gave me a choice, I could go with him, back to the Throat of the World, or meet him back at the temple. I knew they wouldn't let me in, and didn't want to sit on the chest for days, so I followed him. But the Greybeards stopped me, one said that he must face the World Eater alone, it is His destiny, and sacred ground.

    I didn't tell them I already been up there, knew their not-so little secret, but while I was there. Arngier wouldn't stop talking, I guess he got lonely up there too, cause the other 3 couldn't speak. I learned a lot, about the history of the Dragon Wars. He told me about Ulfric, described him as "Always Impetuos, he never had the calmness of spirit to meditate."

    Then, I asked him about Faas, and he seemed surprized. "Another student, in the way of the voice?" He laughed, "Let me see what you have learned." He let his hands out of his sleeves, and stood back to crouch in front of me.

    "FAAS!" I yealled as loud as I could, then ran with the words "Ru Maar" echoing in my ears. I'd never felt such terror, even with a dragon chasing me, or in my worst nightmares, but then I blushed when it weared off. "What did you do?"

    "Your pronunciation was imperfect," he nodded, "So by completing the words, I was able to turn it back on you." I caught my breath, "However, you have started the first steps on the path, should you chose to pursue it."

    "I don't know," I rubbed my chin, "I can't really grow a beard."

    "That is unnecessary," he chuckled, and the room shook, "One of our founders, Gormlaith Goldenhilt was a woman, and it is said that her voice carried for miles." He shook his head. "The 'Greybeards' is merely that which they call us, the Superstitious, without the knowlege to better describe us. In the days of the Blades, they called us the Black Robes, and there have been other names they called the Order of Thu'um."

    The walls shook again, and dust pattered down to the floor. "Now," he looked up, "If you will excuse us," the other three were moving to the door, "It is time for us to pray for the Dragonborn as he fulfills his destiny."

    Outside, I had to hide under the doorway, as the mountain seemed to be coming down from the battle raging above. They stood in a square, arms raised to each other in the center of the courtyard, and I swear I could see the waves of their Thu'um rippeling out in a dome which shattered the falling rocks as they struck it...

    There was also a spear gate up to a room that looked like it could be used as a torture chamber. Thank goodness noone was in it. Ever since I saw the basement of Elenwen's Solar, I never really cared for the idea of torture. I mean, killing is one thing, and sometimes it has to be done from behind, so it can be quiet. Hurting defenseless people, just for fun, or even to get information is the lowest of cowardace.

    Anyway, I checked that chest, but only found some bloody clothes that looked like they were for a jester. Like Cicero used to wear, poor Cicecro. I really felt for him after reading his journal. Outside, and to the left, a long hall led to the Sanctuary proper. 

    "Who goes there?" I turned to see someone behind me, chrouched as I was, with her dagger poised to strike. "Dread?"

    "Jen!?" I recognized her eyes through the mask, "How did you?" we hugged real quick.

    "Well," she straightened, "Someone came looking for you in Whiterun, and he told me about what happened back at the sanctuary. A Redguard, he said he knew you, and you told him about me. Since we had lost so many in the Penitis Occulatis raid, he said we could use some new Initiates, and you'd told him I was one of the best Assassins you knew."

    "Oh," I nodded, remembering, "Well, I'm happy for you."

    "Only Nazir, and Babette survived," she reported, "And the Listener came back just in time to save the Night Mother."