SotF: Just a Formality IV

  • The elf sat up straight as a spear, nodding her head every now and then as the Keeper continued to shift and elaborate her files.


                ‘Senior-Vigilant Falrielle,’ said the Keeper. Falrielle stiffened even more as the Keeper looked her in the eye. ‘There is no need to feel uneasy now – our meeting is just a formality: one for the archives.’


                For moment it was silence before the elf raised an eyebrow and the Vigilants began to giggle like novices in a nunnery.


                ‘A formality indeed,’ said Falrielle, chuckling. ‘What a load of horse-‘


                ‘Hey, watch the language,’ said Carcette.


                ‘I didn’t make any blood oaths to do so, no I will not.’ Falrielle leaned forward. ‘Come on, Carcy. Say it with me. Just this once. It’s not that hard! Say the word: F-’


                Carcette threw her arms up and rolled her eyes. ‘Oh Stendarr save us.’


                ‘May he save us all.’ Falrielle slouched on her chair and shrugged. She looked at the files and reports that cluttered Carcette’s table and shuddered. ‘If nothing else may he save me at the very least. I can’t even begin to understand how you survive all the paperwork. No fresh air, no blood boiling – just words, so many words.’


                Carcette was beginning to sort out her papers, neatly arranging them in stacks of what categories Falrielle did not know. ‘You complain too much. It is not that bad – you should know, Sister Senior-Vigilant.’ Carcette stopped, shot a look at Falrielle and smiled. ‘Or has Brother-Vigilant Gideon or young Sven been writing your reports again?’


                Falrielle blushed and glanced aside. ‘They scribed my reports, not write them. Reading is hard enough for me let alone write. So I just tell the lads what to wr-scribe, sign the report and hand it over to the Keeper.’


                ‘Stendarr willing – you did agree to take the post of Master of Combat and all that entails: the titles, the duties…’ The Keeper stopped and took a sip of her goblet. ‘Whatever the case may be, great praises to Brother-Vigilant Gideon for his penmanship is masterful.’


                ‘Master of Combat.’ Falrielle pounds her fist in her hand. ‘Thought they just wanted me to punch things or teach people how to punch things, not write reports that no one reads-‘


                ‘I read the reports.’


                ‘That no one important reads and do sermons every now and then. Time spent talking is time not spent training and the lads need more training if they don’t want to die.’


                Carcette shrugged. ‘If it bothers you so, why not change your line of work? I have heard that the city guards always have an opening for at trainer. You need not write and the pay is generous too.’


                ‘Because I like it here but I will not be a priest. The robes itch like no one’s business and the solitude will drive me insane.’ Falrielle remained silent for a moment and then said, ‘Are you going to eat that?’


                ‘Please, do help yourself.’


                Falrielle reached over and grabbed the wooden plate. ‘And when was the last time you’ve eaten, Carcy?’ She said as she cut herself a slice, chewed, and swallowed - Cold but deer was still deer and the meat still tasted of game and berries. ‘This here be last night’s dinner and it be a da-darn good cut of meat. The lads were gobbling it up.’


                ‘I am just not hungry for venison. That is all that is.’


                ‘Then how about I get you a bowl of gruel? I’m sure Kharbub made extra for luncheon but we both know that it’s pointless.’ The butter had dried and the potatoes hardened but it tasted better than rat on a stick. The butter began to sour. ‘And it doesn’t take an eagle to notice the rings under your eyes. Do you even sleep anymore? For all I know, the Keeper is really a vampire.’


                Carcette deigned not to answer, returning to her work.


                Falrielle slammed the knife on the table. ‘To Oblivion with it! Carcy, you have to get out. Take a holiday, just a few days will do. I know of a good spring in the mountains and don’t worry about all of this. We have other people that-‘


                ‘No.’ Carcette paused and looked at Falrielle. ‘You know me better than that to think I would if I could.’


    ‘And you could,’ Falrielle said coldly.


                Carcette sighed. ‘Must we always play this game when we meet?’


                ‘It’s what I do.’ Falrielle broke a stale loaf of bread and offered a half to the Keeper. Carcette shook her head and Falrielle took a bite with a crunch. The elf took another bite and pulled, tearing a piece like a vulture would tear flesh. Eventually she wolfed down her share and begun to choke.


                The Keeper saw to this and gave the elf a goblet of water. Falrielle nodded in thanks and Carcette began to laugh.


                ‘What’s so funny?’ Falrielle wiped her chin with her sleeve. ‘Can’t wait for me to die? Mara hear me: Let me outlive this Breton b-’


                The Keeper raised a disapproving finger and then laughed dryly. ‘To think: a sellsword of the Pale and a choir girl from the Rift be best of friends,’ Carcette said. ‘What was the saying? Opposites attract?’


                Falrielle smirked. ‘I wouldn’t say “sellsword” but fine, sellsword will do.’ She continued her meal.


                ‘Are you still thirsty?’ Falrielle raised an eyebrow as Carcette went under her desk, shuffling more documents and writing utensils before she pulled two vessels; one a demijohn in a wicker basket – spiced wine from what Falrielle could see and a smaller bottle wrapped in cloth. ‘I had almost forgotten it was your birthday. Happy Birthday.’


                ‘Is it?’ Falrielle’s smirk grew into an ear to ear grin. ‘Truth be told I didn’t even know but if the Keeper wills it.’


                Carcette poured some wine into her goblet and raised it in the air. ‘How did that toast go again? That old one.’


                Falrielle pulled the cork open and let the aroma of butterscotch fill her lungs. She raised her bottle in reply.


                ‘May we get what we want,’


                ‘May we get what we need,’


                ‘May we never damn--‘


                ‘Darn-well get what we deserve! Vur!’


                Falrielle’s body filled with warmth as the tasteless bread, the soured butter, and the cold meat suddenly became flavourful and alive. She was content on taking a long pull but stopped herself – she had only so much to drink.


                Carcette giggled.


                ‘What?’ said Falrielle. ‘What’s so funny this time?’ She belched.


                ‘You know,’ said Carcette as she ran her fingers on the rim of her goblet. ‘This reminds me of our first patrol together at Riften. Remember?’


                ‘How could I not? You almost jumped out of your trousers, jumping with joy to take me with you back home – To see the trees, the farms, the rivers, and the sun,’ said Falrielle, taking a bite at her meal. ‘Bah. All it was mosquitoes biting, millets stuck in my teeth, and cowberries jam with every meal. Sure the wolves are less ferocious down south but there’s so many of them. Every night it was howling an acre away and ugh, night. The rain cuts worse than a blizzard.’


                Carcette drummed her fingers, stopped and said, ‘How about the taste of Argonian Bloodwine?’


                Falrielle daintily placed her knife on the table and frowned, massaging her temples. ‘That’s never going away isn’t it?’


                Carcette leant over and looked at Falrielle with a smile on her lips. ‘By the Scrolls: Never.’



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3 Comments   |   Sotek likes this.
  • ilanisilver
    ilanisilver   ·  June 24, 2018
    Love the back and forth here. their characters really shine through. great chapter. 
    • Delta
      Love the back and forth here. their characters really shine through. great chapter. 
        ·  June 24, 2018
      Carcette's dialogue is really hard to write.
      • ilanisilver
        Carcette's dialogue is really hard to write.
          ·  June 24, 2018
        I get that. writing someone who is in a shell and is constantly under conflict about coming out or staying in that shell has to be difficult. to get the tension just right and not seem cliched or stilted. but good job.