Morning, Sundas, 17th of Last Seed, 4E 201 – Imperial Camp near Dawnstar
Morgan wakes to a pounding headache.
He groans as he tries to raise his head and decides not to try that again for a few minutes. Be opens his eyes only to have the light cause even more pain, so he shuts them tight again.
DAMNIT. WHAT ELSE IS BROKEN?
He moves his left arm and that seems not to cause him any pain. Slowly he moves his left hand to his head and tries to find the source of his headache. It doesn’t take him long to find it. A knot the size of an egg has risen on the lower part of the right side of his head. A few more seconds of probing and he discovers the scab that has formed across the knot. It’s running right to left and is large enough that Morgan is surprised that he woke at all.
Moving his hand to cover his eyes, he tries to open them again. This time he enjoys more success and at least sees grey blobs of varying levels of light. He gives himself a few seconds to become accustomed to that and blinks several times in an attempt to clear the cobwebs. Slowly his eyes remember how to focus and he’s able to move his hand away from them. Through squinted slots his eyelids have formed as a protective measure, he can see that he is lying on his right side in a bedroll in a tent. He can hear activity outside the tent, a fire crackling, a horse stamping and whinnying, men and at least one woman talking.
He tries again to move his head. While the pain is there, he can cope with it so he tries to turn over in an attempt to stand up. Using his left hand for support, he maneuvers himself onto his hands and knees. When he tries to stand, he’s overwhelmed with dizziness and nearly falls, but he’s able to grab one of the supports of the tent’s frame to steady himself. Now facing the back of the tent in a mostly straight up position, he turns around to face the front of the tent and takes stock of his condition.
He’s dressed in rags. Almost like someone took a potato sack and cut three holes in it then shoved his head and arms through them. His trousers are made of the same rough-burlap material, but he’s mostly covered. He doesn’t have any shoes. Looking around the tent he cannot find his armor, his weapons nor his traveling gear. Not knowing what kind of situation he’s in he tries to conjure a dagger. When that fails, he tries to evoke a mage light, which also fails.
WHAT IN OBLIVION IS GOING ON HERE?
Spell after spell. Failure after failure. Until he gets to the most basic healing spell, which works. A yellow glow envelopes his body and fades very quickly as he drops his concentration.
Well, that’s something at least. No armor. No weapons. No shoes. But I can heal my toe if I scratch it.
It’s obvious he’s not going to find answers in the tent, so he shields his eyes with his right hand, continues to hold onto the tent supports with the left and begins to walk toward the front of the tent. Folding the tent flap causes him to squint his eyes and pull his head back into the tent’s darkness. A few seconds of relief and he adjusts well enough to continue his exodus from the tent’s protection.
After leaving the tent, he looks around at the camp. It’s full of Imperial soldiers and it’s cold, very frakking cold. He makes his way as quickly as possible to the fire. Its warmth is welcomed; He only wished it were four times its size and he and it were set in the middle of an inn somewhere besides here. Knowing he can’t stay outside for long in his…attire, he turns to the closest soldier and yells “Soldier!” which stops the young man from chopping wood and turn to face Morgan. “How did I get here? Where are my weapons, armor and traveling gear?”
“Dunno ser.” Answered the soldier. “You’ll need to speak to the Legate.” He finished by pointing toward a large tent on the eastern side of the camp with a table in it. Hunched over that table was a large Dunmer dressed in heavy Imperial armor.
Morgan immediately headed for the tent, coming to a full stop near the table that occupied the majority of the tent’s interior space. Luckily for Morgan, the tent was warm and had a floor that wasn’t covered in snow. Morgan wasted no time and asked the Legate in a semi-agitated tone, “Sir, will you please tell me what in Oblivion is going on? How did I get here? Where are my effects?”
“Ah, you’re awake, good. I’m Legate Sevan Telendas, the commander of this camp. As to how you got here, well, my men found you just below Frostflow Lighthouse off there to the east, near a dead horse. You were passed out, naked and bleeding from your head. They brought you here. My healer patched you up and we provided the, um, ah, attire you now wear. It’s the best that I can do. I do apologize for that.”
“Naked? At a lighthouse?” Morgan was more puzzled than the look on his face portrayed. He found it odd that he couldn’t remember wanting to go to a lighthouse, or to be naked. In fact, he was having a hard time remembering anything at the moment. So instead of thinking about the events leading him to the lighthouse, he turned the questions to what had transpired since. “How long have I been out?”
“You’ve been in this camp nearly two days. I can’t speak to how long you were at the lighthouse. We assumed you were attacked by bandits or Stormcloaks since your possessions were, uh, removed.”, reported the Legate. “My healer said if you had remained in the snow for a few more hours, you would have most certainly died. In fact he’s quite surprised that you didn’t suffer frostbite from the exposure.”
“Well sir, that makes two of us.” It seemed as though the lighthouse would hold more answers than the Legate was providing. Morgan quickly ran through the outcome of trying to make it back to the lighthouse dressed the way he was. Without shoes, at least, he didn’t see how he could make it there. Looking at the Legate he began, “Sir, as much as I appreciate all you have done for me, it seems as though the only hope I have for any kind of answers to my questions is to return to the lighthouse. My chances of making it there would be much better if I had some shoes. Are you certain you don’t have even a single pair of shoes?”
“No sir, I’m afraid I don’t have any to spare. The modest amount of supplies I do have are keeping my soldiers alive and their gear in order. The rest were stolen in a Stormcloak raid a few days before we found you. I was expecting a patrol with some supplies today, but they’re late. At this point I suspect the Stormcloaks have found them too.”
“I see.” Again Morgan weighed his options. “How long is this camp going to be here?”
“Until we run out of supplies or are given orders to move.” Came the reply.
“Well then, I’ll ask one more thing of you. I’m going to try to make it back to the lighthouse. If I’m not back before nightfall, will you send someone to find me?”
“I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises. If the Stormcloaks decide to attack this camp or Dawnstar, I’m duty-bound to protect them first. But if I can, I will come for you, if you don’t return.”
“Thank you. I can’t ask for more.”
Leaving the Legate’s tent, Morgan quickly made his way back to his tent. The holes in his memory worried him. He kept trying to determine what would bring him to a lighthouse. No matter how he tried, he simply couldn’t remember.
Think Morgan, what’s the last thing you can remember? I remember getting on a ship on Wayrest. I remember making it to Solitude. I remember buying a horse at the stables in Solitude. I remember my armor, thick padded leathers, very warm. Focus Morgan Focus. What else?
Try as he might, nothing would else came.
OK, back to the matter at hand. I need to find something to protect my feet. Then I need to find something eat. After that, I just need to get my arse to the lighthouse. Like it or not, I have to do two things, find some frakking clothes and find out what happened to me. I think I can do one of those at the lighthouse. I just hope that the Legate keeps his promise to come find me again.
When Morgan left the tent again, a light snow had begun to fall. He looked over his right shoulder and saw a makeshift infirmary. Making his way there he discovered a couple of things. A knife for cutting bandages, some unused bandages and three barrels. Two of the barrels were “ripe” with soiled clothes and bandages, which Morgan regretted even opening. The third however contained five green apples. Morgan took the knife, bandages and apples and returned to his tent.
The first order of business was stashing the apples. He found the darkest corner of his tent and placed three of them in a small pile and covered them with the corner of his bedroll. The remaining two he ate and then settled down for the second task. Using the knife he cut the bandages into usable pieces and wrapped them around his feet, making certain to cover the toes completely and securely. While it wasn’t perfect, it was better than running around barefoot in the snow.
With a light snack and warmer feet, Morgan stepped out of the tent and looked to the east. The lighthouse could be seen from the camp with ease. It stood on the face of cliff that fell several hundred feet into the Sea of Ghosts. There was a path that was mostly clear of snow running up the hill toward the lighthouse.. Standing in front of the tent it looked almost peaceful against the backdrop of the light snow and overcast afternoon light.
Time to get moving Old Man. It’s only getting colder.
Early Afternoon, Sundas, 17th of Last Seed, 4E 201 – Frostflow Lighthouse near Dawnstar
KEEP IT TOGETHER MORGAN, KEEP IT TOGETHER…
Morgan stands breathless with his back against the lighthouse door He’s bracing it to keep three wolves out. They spotted him as he made his way up the hill leading to the lighthouse. Luckily for him he had enough of a lead on them that he made it to the lighthouse in time to get through the door and slam it shut. Even so, one of the wolves lept at him as the door slammed home. Its weight and the power of the jump had nearly knocked Morgan down which would have left the door open. After the impact, Morgan turned himself around and pushed the door shut again while at the same he felt for the locking bar. He didn’t stop pushing on the door until that bar slid securely into place.
It was several minutes before the sniffing, scratching, barking, growling and howling stopped outside. Morgan couldn’t tell if the wolves had left or were just sitting guard outside the door. That’s when he heard the other sounds. These were closer, inside the lighthouse but below him. They were sounds like snapping of fingers, but longer and louder. Accompanying the snaps were clicks or scratches. It was hard to process. All he knew is that he didn’t want to find out what was making them.
When Morgan turned his attention to the room beyond the lighthouse entrance, he noticed light reflecting from the floor. The light was from the fire in the fireplace, the reflection was from a thin pool of what looked like blood.
KEEP IT TOGETHER MORGAN, KEEP IT TOGETHER…
Standing up and making very cautious steps toward the room he beheld a sight that made him wish he hadn’t eaten those apples. He was able to fend of the urge to wretch and regain his composure.
GODS! WHY DID I COME BACK HERE?
Some kind of struggle took place in that room. The place was a wreck. Pots, dishes, mugs, food all thrown about. A broken table and up-ended chairs. By the looks of it, the struggle took place just as the table was being prepared for a meal. As Morgan gazed at the destruction his eyes kept bouncing between two things.
The first was near the fireplace. A huge black insect looking creature with large plate-like scales. Near it, on the fireplace’s hearth, was a woodcutter’s axe covered in a greenish-grey goo that Morgan assumed was the creature’s blood. This blood had exited the creature’s body from a huge gaping wound in its back. The second was a woman, lying on her back stripped naked with a grotesque hook shaped axe protruding from her abdomen. Near the woman was a chair, sitting upright surrounded by a dozen or more empty wine or mead bottles.
What bothered Morgan more than anything was that axe in the woman. The creature near the fireplace couldn’t have used it. And from the looks of it, the axe was embedded into her AFTER she had been killed and stripped, because there was no blood coming from the wound caused by the axe. Someone wanted to leave a gruesome message here. All that Morgan could think about was that maybe that “someone” was still around.
KEEP IT TOGETHER MORGAN, KEEP IT TOGETHER…WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
It took a few moments for him to process everything he saw, he could still hear the clicking and snapping from below, but nothing on this floor moved. His mind, and his cold feet, forced him to return to the matter at hand, he needed to find some clothes. He crept into the main room of the lighthouse. As he passed the woman, he removed the axe from her body, then moved to the creature at the fireplace. With the hook-axe at the ready, he tentatively reached out with his left hand and grabbed the woodcutter’s axe. He was half-expecting the thing to rise up and attack him. Now at least, he had something to defend himself with.
Continuing his slow movement through the main room, he came to the first of two smaller rooms on the wall opposite the main entrance. By its layout and appointments, this room appeared to be a bedroom for children. It was partitioned off by two large bookshelves which serve as a makeshift wall to split the room in half. The left side was configured for a girl and the right side for a boy. A brief but thorough search of both sides yields some clothes that barely fit Morgan which he changed into quickly and quietly. The room also contained some alchemy ingredients, a modest amount of jewelry, and a small coin purse with 35 septims in it. On a table in the middle of the room, there was a journal written by Sudi, the daughter, lamenting of her unhappiness with life at the lighthouse. It also described how her brother, Mani, was planning on running away and a copy of the cellar door key she found in his knapsack that she hid in her mother’s “favorite keepsake”. On the boy’s side Morgan found a knapsack filled with items Mani had collected in preparation for leaving and a note from to Sudi explaining his decision to leave without his parent’s blessing and what she should tell their parents after he left. Near more of the boy’s clothes was a iron war axe. Morgan put all the useful items in the knapsack. He tied the woodcutters axe to the bottom of the knapsack and slung it over his left shoulder.
Continuing into the second room, he finds that it is the parent’s bedroom. Several books are in this room including a helpful book on the school of restoration magic. He makes a mental note to study it in greater detail when he makes it back to the camp. There is a journal written by Ramati, the wife, presumably the woman back in the main room. She talks about how happy her husband, Habd has made her by purchasing the lighthouse. Another entry explains that everyone in the lighthouse has been hearing the clicks and scratches, without a doubt the same ones that Morgan has been hearing, and how they think the sounds are being made by skeevers. Morgan dismisses that idea immediately, skeevers could never make noises loud enough to be heard through a stone floor. The last part of the journal reports of Ramati’s fear of skeevers and how, as a precaution, she has put her “favorite urn” on the mantle to keep them from disturbing it.
Before leaving the room, Morgan adds a small collection of potions to the knapsack.
Returning to the main room he searches through everything, taking all the clean food, cooked or not and packing it in his knapsack. He discovers Ramati’s urn and the key contained inside which is also added to the knapsack. On the mantle he finds a steel dagger. The sideboard opposite the fireplace had a few loose septims and a basket full of potatoes. As much as Morgan would love to take the potatoes, he simply has no room. The money however, that he takes.
Satisfied that he is as equipped as he can be, he decides that it’s time to kill some wolves and afterwards to find a place to bury Ramati. He simply can not leave her like this, where she could become food for wolves or worse – he glances at the dead insect creature as he thinks that. He leaves the knapsack near the door, pulls the locking bolt to its open position and readies his two newfound axes for the wolves.
He doesn’t have to wait long as they have been camped out near the path running up the hill in front of the front door. As he exits from the lighthouse he pulls the door securely shut behind himself. The places his back to the lighthouse and puts just enough room between himself and the lighthouse walls to make a strong swing with the axes. He prepares himself for their attack.
Which comes very quickly. The largest and strongest of the beasts takes the first lunge at him. He is met with an axe handle being shoved into his jowls as the other axe is brought up under its right flank. Morgan hears a satisfying crunch as the left-side axe breaks several of the wolf’s ribs. With a wimper, it falls to the ground and lays there while blood spurts from the massive wound in its right flank. One final blow to the head puts that wolf down. The other wolves are circling near the road trying to find a way to attack Morgan. He remains facing them with his back to the lighthouse, his weapons at the ready.
The one on his right is the first to attack. Morgan attempts the same maneuver as before but this wolf isn’t as fast nor as powerful as the first and he misjudges the timing. The wolf makes it past the axe handle and in close enough to try a bite on Morgan’s right leg. Before it can sink its teeth in, the left-hand axe comes down and its head is buried into the beast’s back. This blow kills the wolf which slumps and falls at Morgan’s feet. Stepping to the right, Morgan clears a path to the last wolf who has remained near the road. Without the additional strength of its pack, this wolf becomes skittish and backs away as Morgan approaches.
The dead horse that Morgan was found near separates the two. Morgan has no choice but to wait. As they circle each other, the wolf looses patience and attacks. It leaps onto the dead horse, takes one additional giant running step and leaps into the air toward Morgan. Morgan steps into the jump and shortens the distance, which has the wolf flying over Morgan’s head. As the wolf passes over Morgan’s head, he swings up from his right side with both axes. The both dig deep into the left flank of the wolf as it passes overhead, The energy carried by the wolf’s leap is transmitted to the axes and drags Morgan off balance causing him to fall and loose his grip on both axes.
Luckily for him, the wolf is dead and smashes into the ground a few feet behind Morgan.
“Well, that was interesting.” Morgan says quietly as he rises to his knees and looks at the situation. Three dead wolves, one dead horse and a fat middle-aged Breton all on the ground in front a lighthouse. “Yep, this is the stuff tales of heroes are made from.” Morgan says as he slaps his thighs with his hands and stands up. “It’s funny how they never mention the sweat, the blood, the smell and the burying of the dead in those tales.” Shaking his head he retrieves the two axes from the last wolf. “Nor do they tell of dumb luck either.”
Morgan looks around the exterior of the lighthouse for a shovel. He finds one near a cart in front of the lighthouse. He spends the next several hours digging a shallow grave on the eastern side of the lighthouse. He returns to the interior of the light house and finds an outfit for Ramati, then goes to the main room to collect her body. He does what he can to clean her body of the blood and then slides the dress he found over her. When that is finished, he takes her outside to the grave and covers her.
“Ramati. I don’t know what gods you worship, but I hope they welcome you into their presence.”
After that he returns to the wolfs, which he skins and ties their pelts together so that he can pull the basket full of potatoes and a few other things he couldn’t carry earlier back to the Imperial camp. He dumps the carcasses over the cliff and into the sea. The he grabs his litter and heads toward the camp.
Sundown, Sundas, 17th of Last Seed, 4E 201 – Imperial Camp near Dawnstar
After making it back to the camp, Morgan replays his “hero tale” to the soldiers gathered around the campfire. They are all impressed that this man, who had been on death’s door just the day before, could pull of the miracle of killing three wolves alone.
“Well boys, it’s all in the timing.” he boasted, mimicking the double axe swing into the wolf’s underbelly.
After that, he settled into the chore of cooking all the raw food he had collected. One thing was for certain, the stew he cooked would taste better than anything these Imperial slobs could create.
The cooking took him well into the night. He spent the time talking with the soldiers around the camp. Hearing all manner of “hero tales”. He enjoyed the company but he knew he had more work to do in the morning, so he excused himself and gathered enough of the food to last him several weeks on the road. The rest he left for the camp to enjoy. Crawling into his tent, he retrieves the three apples he had stolen earlier and added them to his knapsack.
Tomorrow he had traveling to do. He needed money and this camp wasn’t going to give him any. He would head to Dawnstar and see what he could get into there.
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