[The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

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[The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:38 pm

For over a month or so since that endeavor in Krazincharuan to find Arla, Asren and Amelin had found themselves all across Skyrim's southern territories. Over time, they'd found themselves in the Reach of all places tracking a lead on a job they'd taken the other week; a nobleman's brother had gone missing out in the Reach, just when reports of strange tribal activity had been reported as 'on the rise'. Neither elf nor nord liked what they knew, but a job was a job and they'd been offered generous sums of coinage in return for the brother's safe return to Markarth.

The previous night, Asren and Amelin had been camping out near where said brother was 'last seen'. Sitting near them was a redoubt by the name of 'Broken Leg' for the number of fatalities and injuries suffered by climbers and adventurers. Asren had opted that they wait til morning before they ascended towards the fort up high, setting up camp until then. Amelin had returned from hunting rabbits for stew, and after dinner they'd shared a glass of wine of an unusual origin.

Then things got unusual. The two fell asleep almost immediately after sharing a glass of 'wine', as Amelin called it. It certainly wasn't Alto Wine, or some sort of poison judging by how it tasted...but it immediately knocked out a nord who could easily knock back three mugs of Black-Briar, touch her bosom and nose in that order, and still tell the difference. Asren fought hard to keep from falling asleep then and there, while Amelin had been knocked out in seconds.

After dragging the wood-elf to the bedrolls they'd set up, Asren barely had enough time to avoid crushing her companion as she fell upon that same roll right next to Amelin. Sleep took its hold on Asren with that, knocking the nord out like a light.

--------six hours later--------

"...nnnnnngh, what the hell..." The towering nord groaned, finding herself in an overcast sky early in the morning and still in her armor. All things considered, she could've woken up to worse things at the very least. Asren glanced to her left to find Amelin snuggled up beside her while still asleep, the nord chuckled at the image and resisted the urge to stroke Amelin's hair.

Despite Amelin's usual intensity, the bosmer looked relatively peaceful asleep...when she was asleep that is. Asren fought with herself to pry her arm free from Amelin's grip and sat up, looking around and checking to see if she had her effects on her person still. Out of sheer, dumb luck nothing was stolen upon further examination. Asren was completely confused; either they'd been slipped some kind of sleeping potion by mistake, or they'd avoided being scammed and later killed or possibly worse by bandits...or Forsworn.

Asren had heard rumors of the Forsworn being either wiped out or driven out of the Reach by the Empire, but she believed neither story. The Forsworn had survived worse in the past, and they'd adapt from their leader being felled under mysterious circumstances. The whole way down the Reach however, Amelin and Asren had found themselves feeling like they'd been watched the entire time. Such things worried her immensely...

The nord knelt down beside Amelin and gently nudged her. "Amelin...Amelin...wake up, damn it. C'mon, wake up..." The nudging grew much more firm, and eventually Asren hissed "Wake UP." quietly, but loud enough to get the elf's attention...hopefully at least. Amelin had been rather deprived of sleep for the last few days, and if chances were this was her idea of 'revenge' Asren was far from amused.

"First job we get together, and we end up getting drugged the night before. Wonderful bloody start." She mused dryly to herself as she sat back down and waited for the elf to wake the hell up.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:45 pm

"Mgghhhh" The bosmer groaned as she struggled to regain her senses, the headache wasn't helping either.

With a hand on her forehead, she slowly rose from her slumber. "Huh...what?"
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:09 am

"Thank the Nine..."
Asren sighed in relief, giving the bosmer a firm pat on the back before helping her to her feet.
"Seems like we drank something we shouldn't have, how much do you know about sleeping droughts?"
She asked, retrieving her sword and shield before tossing over the elf's bow to her. Moving her head side to side with a loud crack, Asren looked around as though scanning for threats, her hand hovering over the hilt of her blade.

"Are you fit for work, Amelin?"
Asren asked carefully, not wanting to press on should the Bosmer have been affected gravely by that drought. Even if their so-called hostage was still alive, if they were dealing with what Asren thought that they were that man was probably dead where he stood.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:42 pm

"Not much, really" The elf replied, the headache was starting to wane, and her vision was becoming less blurry.

"I'll be fine once we start walking, how far are we to the fort?"
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:03 pm

Asren gave a shrug, beginning to pack up the camp around them. They'd only need to store it all and hide the campsite equipment someplace out of the way until they returned with or without their mark. The extra weight that came with carrying it all, even with a pack mule, was unnecessary for what the Nord and Bosmer were planning on.

"It's a short walk down the road, we'll find Broken-Leg quickly enough. How much experience do you have in climbing?"
The nord said, cautiously scanning to the mountains they'd hidden in a peak from. All the while, she could still feel like they were being tracked somehow even if such worry didn't show. Asren looked up at the sky and frowned, noting that the weather was changing for the worse with overcast and imminent rainfall.

Settling for her trusty sword and shield, as well as two daggers of Nordic make and a spyglass, the nord affixed her chosen weapons to her metallic armor of fine Nord steel. She took out a spyglass and aimed it eastward, peering up and out until she found what appeared to be one ancient fortresses constructed over a period of centuries worth of ingenious masonry work for just one fort alone.

At first; Asren expected a long climb ahead of them, which worried her enough considering her choice in armor for the day, only to spot what looked like a cave entrance on ground level. Hidden doors and gates were nothing Asren had never seen before, and over time she had trained her eyes to spot such things.

Glancing to Amelin, Asren handed the spyglass to her and motioned to the entrance in question.
"Think we just found our way in." The Nord said, allowing herself a slight smile.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:10 pm

Why of course, it has to be cave.

"I don't like this" said Amelin. "There's no guards outside the entrance, you'd think the Forsworn would keep that under watch. And who's to guarantee that doesn't lead to some kind of trap."
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:12 pm

"I have to agree. Bu-" The nord's musings were cut off when she noticed something decidedly off about that cavern entrance, nevertheless she was hardly suicidal enough to try and get a closer look so soon. "Wait a minute. Check the left side of the entrance and tell me what you see." she said to Amelin, her own eyes training on the area she picked out.

Far away from the pair, blood could indeed be spotted along the side of the cavern hole. What they could not see on first glance were what had been used to force the entrance open...but they could indeed smell it now even from where they stood. Over time, as they grew closer, the pair were hit by an overpowering stench of what could only be described as burnt flesh.
"Seems we're not the only ones who wanted into that fort." Asren mused dryly before grimacing at the stench itself.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:20 pm

"Really?" a sardonic Amelin replied, her senses overwhelmed by the stench, which made it somewhat inconvenient in trying to inspect the entrance.

"Probably someone also interested in the bounty." She said, "The fact that there's decaying flesh in here is far from comforting. Then again, the other choice is to break into the front door, and I doubt the Forsworn would be pleased to hear that."
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:28 pm

Asren nodded. "Or perhaps the bounty is irrelevant to them, either way this doesn't at all look good." she noted, then glanced upwards. Strangely there was no sign of watchers up above, indicating a lack of manpower of inefficiency in the fort's current owners.

"We haven't the time or equipment for an intensive climb, we might as well slip in by caverns while we've still a chance." The nord decided at last, wrapping a damp cloth around her face before taking off in a brisk jog and motioning for Amelin to follow.

The stench proved much worse up close, and even Asren gagged a bit as she tried to figure out what was used to keep the entrance open.

They found a mass of bodies, with all crunched together as they were used along with heavy stones to prop open the door leading into the caverns. Some corpses were burnt, others where either frozen or rent asunder by either hands or weapons. The bodies were apparently scalped, blinded, gagged, and stripped of all other possible identifying marks along with clothing. The cave entrance itself was a tight fit, only worsened by the boulder used to keep the rotting bodies in place and propping the door open.

"Grace of the Divines, what in Oblivion could've done this?" Asren breathed in horror, coughing as she glanced back to Amelin slowly. Gods only knew how the elf took this.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:42 pm

Amelin was no stranger to death, to the sight of corpses, blood, or worse. After all, she had adhered to the creed of kill or be killed for much of her life.

Nothing prepared the bosmer for this scene, she had heard all the stories of course. Of the atrocities committed by the Forsworn upon the citizens of the Reach. Now she was seeing it with her own eyes.

"Only monsters"
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:05 pm

Silence passed over the two as they observed the scene, Asren muttering a prayer for the souls of the dead before she looked back at Amelin at last. "Alright, the hole looks wide enough that you'll have an easy time of getting in. See if there's a way to open this thing up from in there." Asren said at last, taking a deep breath before offering the bosmer a wet rag for herself to shield off the stench. All the while, she kept a look out with her sword unsheathed and at the ready.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:16 pm

Amelin nodded as she accepted the rag with thanks, placing it over her face to ward off the smell much as possible. Carefully, she searched the place, taking care not to make too much noise so as to attract their presence to the rest of the Forsworn. They would have to be quick though, lest the residents decide to use this entrance.

Her eye spotted a peculiar object on the wall, near a corpse. "Asren" she said "There's some kind of switch, would you be willing to bet a Septim this will open the entrance?"
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Asren peered inside, ignoring the stench now, and nodded slowly. "Aye, sounds about right to me. Press it, see what it does." she said, then backing away and steeling herself for worse sights to come next. Considering what greeted them first, there was nothing but horrors to be found inside the cavern and fort from then onwards.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:35 pm

"Can't be any worse than what we've seen here, can it?" Said Amelin. Well, that certainly doesn't tempt fate.

She pressed the switch and readied her bow, waiting to see what happens, and what lied beyond.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:07 pm

The door only served to grind the bodies that were holding it open to a pulpy mess, all the while jarring the stone from its place as well. The nord coughed in disgust, but soldiered onwards. "A good start so far, I'd say." Asren deadpanned grimly.

Before entering inside properly, Asren tossed her shield through the gap. The nord crept inside with her sword at the ready, crouching down to grab her shield. Upon retrieving the slab of metal she'd found to save her life one time after another, the nord motioned to Amelin to stay close.

Slowly but surely, the pair made their way down the cavern path before finding a metaphorical fork in the road. Two paths lead onwards in different directions, one path was noticeably more...grisly. In confusion, Asren blinked as she saw more than just corpses of two-bit bandits. Down one of the paths, corpses dressed in both leather armor and also furs made into crude clothing were draped onto the ground either dismembered or magically torn apart. Also with them were the bodies of men and women, mostly nords and bosmer alike oddly enough, dressed in crude and minimal clothing that seemed to have fared little better against their enemies.

"Seems like a some sort of turf war, no telling who struck first though." Asren mused, scanning for those still living and hostile in the meantime. "Stay alert, no telling what we'll find down here." The nord warned carefully, then shrugged as she went towards the more grisly route. "We might as well follow the blood..." she commented, watching the ground with each step.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:19 pm

Amelin kept her bow raised, and her eyes sharp. "Don't Bretons make up the ranks of the Forsworn." She asked, curious as to the presence of the Nord and Bosmer corpses as she followed the trail of blood.

Whatever the case, she hoped to find some answers, and if the Divines were in their favor, their charge as well.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:58 pm

Asren nodded, only noting two or three Bretons among the pile as they grew closer.
"Their numbers are dwindling, seems they've been recruiting more outsiders as of late." The nord mused, creeping along slowly still.

Over time, the two found themselves in an open area with a stairwell leading upwards. Caverns turned to masonry there, and the unlikely pair exchanged glances at each other. The stairway walls were caked in blood and gore, with the corpses of a bosmer and a breton lay in the middle of the stairs. Judging by the Breton's lack of any real weaponry compared to the bosmers paired, if crude, axes he must've been a mage of some kind. Before them was a dunmer who no doubt was a raider of some kind, clad in leather similar to Amelin's own attire, and carried an iron sword. Asren looked over each detail with equal regard, her gaze falling upon the stump that normally was the dunmer's forearm. The severed body part was at the feet of the stairwell, still fizzling in magical sparks.

"Makes you wonder; who's the hunter and who's the prey here?"
The nord mused to herself, stepping over the bodies carefully.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:15 pm

"Doubt the new recruits care much for their ideals. Probably joined them just to have an excuse to pillage or raid the roads." Amelin said, eying the bodies.

"If there's a bright side to all this, it means less enemies for you and me to fight."
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:39 pm

"You wouldn't be wrong on that; the Forsworn back then were organized, they had a sort of method to their madness. These men and women are just marauders with loincloths and an urge to kill. They're no better than the bandits here." Asren nodded, the more of the Forsworn they found the less of their 'former glory'. Ever since the Imperial Legion put boot to heel three years ago Stormcloak and Forsworn forces were either destroyed, taken into custody as war criminals, or disappeared outright in Skyrim. Those who still carried the banners of either were mere imitations, thugs with an agenda.

The nord then walked to the top of the stairwell where a closed door greeted them. Sheathing her sword, the nord attempted to open the door, only to find it barred by something when she tried to open it. She grunted irritably before she backed up slightly. "Of course, it had to be too easy." She growled irritably, then glanced to Amelin with a shrug of her shoulders before lashing out with a mighty kick that sent the door flying off its hinges.

Inside they found a storeroom that'd been in a wreck, bottles and food lay about. To their surprise, the two found no bodies inside though. Asren glanced to Amelin, and then to the other door.
"Classy."
Asren mused aloud before gesturing to the door.
"I got the last door, care to take this one?"
She asked Amelin dryly, her hand hovering over her sword's hilt.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:56 pm

Amelin nodded, "Right", she withheld her bow for a moment, in lieu of placing a hand on her dagger. Slowly, she reached for the door, a quick inspection of the handle indicated it was unlocked.

"Ready?" She said to her partner as she swung the door open.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:10 am

Giving Amelin a brief nod, Asren immediately charged out with her sword and shield at the ready. Her adrenaline spiked, and in the blur she saw around her she could tell that she'd smashed into someone with bone crushing force. When Asren blinked away the blur, she noticed that there were five other people in the hallway outside. All of them wore the signature trappings of the Forsworn. One was a hardened, bearded Bosmer man, two were blonde haired youths of Nordic heritage, one was an eyepatch wearing dunmer who seemed older than the rest, and finally a young and heavily tattooed Breton woman who let loose with a jet of flame from her hand. Arsen raised her shield up to protect against the flames, noticing the one she'd crashed into was an Imperial of all races. Each of the Forsworn, save for the one-eyed dunmer and Breton, appeared strange somehow. Some of them bore stitching around their necks. This had to be some sort of witchcraft, Asren was sure of it.

Putting the curious sight aside, Asren assumed a defensive stance when the flames died down. She noticed the breton reel up for another spell, hatred glaring in her eyes, and noted that as she scanned amongst the crowd.

"Intruders! DESTROY THEM!!!!" The dunmer roared out, pointing his sword at the towering nord with no small amount of hate aimed towards both Asren and Amelin. The bosmer went first, war axes in both hands raised high in an effort to crash them down upon Asren. The nord raised her shield, blocking the blow with a wince, and wasted no time in running the hostile wood-elf through with her sword. The towering nord twisted the blade with a loud snarl, damaging the elf's stomach beyond repair.

The bosmer coughed up blood, hunched over Asren's shoulder, his axes fell to the ground and his arms went limp at his sides. As Asren yanked her blade free, she noticed one of the nords charging for her and threw the bosmer towards the youth. The flying elf did little to stop the youth from getting in closer, but Asren only needed that one second. Asren swung her sword wide and sheared the man's head from his shoulders, the body falling to it's knees before slumping over and it's head landing just in front of Asren's booted foot. The surviving Forsworn looked ready to charge all at once to avenge their comrades, enraged at how easily this oversized tavern wench had slaughtered three of their ranks.

Asren noted their rage, and decided to play off it a little.
"Next, hopefully the rest of you aren't as weak as your friends were. I haven't been too pleased with them."
Asren called out to the pack of savages with a humorless smirk, gesturing to the three who lay dead before her with a flourish of her sword.
"My name is Asren Free-Spirit; daughter of the adventurer, Skiran Free-Spirit. I am alone, save for a mere wood elf, and we ought to be pushovers with the three of you so eager to fight. Come and kill us, if you can."
She grinned, steeling herself for battle once more with sword and shield at the ready. The other nord roared with bloodlust, eager to avenge his brother, and charged immediately with a sword in hand. Asren tensed up, blocking the nord's blow only to be knocked to the ground afterwards.

Asren's vision blurred, but she noticed that the Dunmer was hanging back while the Breton fired flames at both herself and Amelin.
Oh, damn...


Last edited by Asren Free-Spirit on Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:19 am

Amelin had struggled to find an opening to take the shot as Asren reaved through the Forsworn like a banshee. She had to suppress the urge to grin at her friend's prowess in the battle, though she was also hoping for the chance to get in on the fight.

That opportunity came when she noticed the Breton launching a stream of flames at the pair, quickly, she drew an arrow, aimed for the mage's throat, and released.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:20 pm

The arrow tore through the air, embedding itself into the Breton's throat. The Breton herself fell to the floor, gagging and still trying to fight. Her magic weakened in a period of seconds, fizzling into nothingness. The Breton died before she even knew it, bleeding out near-instantaneously. Sure enough, the one-eyed Dunmer charged next towards Amelin, aiming to either shear the Bosmer's head off or burn her to a crisp.

Meanwhile; Asren blocked the assault from the bloodraging youth with her shield, but her body ached with each blow she defended against. The youth was clearly on some sort of draught that'd heightened his strength and weakened his inhibitions immensely, or he was overcome with rage and grief. Either way, Asren needed a solution lest she loose her head next.

The youthful brute's blows came fast and hard, hammering against Asren's shield mercilessly only to slip up at last. The Youth's 'sword', in reality a crude mix of bone and teeth like most of the Forsworn's weapons, began to crack noticeably. With a quick grin, Asren took great advantage of that cracking sound as she knocked the Forsworn berserker's weapon away from him with a slap of her shield. The taller nord then kicked her attacker off of her, and having dropped her sword during the brawl opted for her dagger. Asren plunged the knife directly into the youth's chest, then brought her head to his face with great force that left the madman seeing stars as he bled out, only Asren wasn't finished yet.

With a snarl of vengeful rage the Dunmer brought his glowing hand to bear and unleashed a torrent of lightning towards Asren, who kicked the dazed Nord youth into the path. The berserker was left charred by the electric flurry, and died quickly enough. Asren took the amount of seconds afforded by the Dunmer's shocked reaction to retrieve her sword and by the time Eye-Patch, as she'd dubbed him, began to attack again with another cry of rage.
"I will shear the fresh from your bones, outsider!"
The dunmer roared, practically snubbing the Bosmer for now. He charged at Asren with his sword raised above him, the nord parrying with her own blade with ease before she backed off and finally dropped her shield at last. Raising her sword to the dunmer, the elf doing the same in the process, they exchanged a slow nod after a long silence. Each warrior met the other's gaze, and they circled each other slowly before the Dunmer charged and struck again.

Both parties fought furiously, and over time it was almost like a dance as their blades clashed against each other. During the fight it seemed as though they'd agreed to settle the fight only on swordplay alone, Asren having dropped the shield before the duel and the Dunmer having neglected his own magic. The Nord had strength and raw spirit powering her, while the dunmer had speed and experience on his side. Asren was fighting for her life here, only managing to inflict superficial wounds on the Forsworn warrior while her armor was the only thing keeping her from bleeding out right here and now. Letting the others go first was an attempt to wear her down, as was the show of rage when the Nord had killed each of the Dunmer's comrades.

Eventually the fighting reached a lull, and as both warriors stared each other down Asren began to stalk in a counter clockwise fashion when she noticed Amelin in the corner of her eye. She nodded to the Bosmer quickly and minutely, then glanced back at the Dunmer again. All Asren needed was to provide the huntress a window of opportunity...
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Amelin on Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:34 pm

A true hunter waits for the opportunity to present himself, not to either act too hasty or too late.

The Dunmer's back was turned to Amelin, in his desire to kill Asren, he had completely ignored the Bosmer.

Amelin did not like to be ignored in the fight.

She readied an arrow, choosing for the right position from which to strike the arrow, selecting for the back of the swordsman's neck. With grace and precision, she let the arrow fly. Either it would kill the Dunmer outright, or provide Asren the opportunity to fell him here and there.

Either way, the Dunmer was dead, he just didn't know it.
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Re: [The Reach;closed] Here Be Savages...

Post by Asren Free-Spirit on Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:02 pm

Like the Breton before him, the Dunmer died by Amelin's hand. The Forsworn had always shunned modern clothing, dressing themselves in pelts and twine as the Reach-Born of old had dressed themselves. The Dunmer was no different, and his choice in 'armor' proved to be his downfall.

The arrow plunged deep into the Dunmer's back, and in the process tore through his insides irreparably. Overcome with shock and pain, the Dunmer fell to his feet and slumped over before finally dying at last. His sword made a clatter on the ground as it dropped from his hand.

"Good shot, I'd say we're four to two now." Asren noted after a pause, promptly retrieving her shield and sheathing her sword as she produced a bottle to drink from. The bottle seemed to contain some sort of potion which gave the nord a little pick-me-up. The elixir wouldn't heal her completely, not that Asren needed that, but it'd do with keeping her up and about for now.

The Nord took off with renewed vigor, "Let's keep moving, we don't have much time assuming the lad's still alive." Asren called behind her back, her weapons drawn as before.
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