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Long Traveled Roads Part 1 (NSFW)

Author's note: I originally started this as a character sketch to get a better feel for Viatryx, and it became a full blown short story.  I did my best to stay as close to the lore as I know how while still being true to my own writing style and character.  As always all things Elder Scrolls are the property of Bethesda.  Also tagged NSFW for language, violence and some slight suggestive theming.     

 

      The night was dark, lit by the occasional wayside brazier along the dusty, rocky path that most called a road.  It was no good for carts or carriages, if indeed those things had been available, but a horse could manage the path and several did so now.  The men and women were rough, tired, and the smell of unwashed bodies and horse sweat preceded them.  At first, in her rush she thought these people travelling on the road were something other than what they appeared.  In her memories, the roads were traveled by small clans of horse traders, sometimes called thieves, and they had their own stories—haunts of the long roads.  The pale-faced young woman who darted out into the path of the riders’ lead horse might have fit one of those tales, but the wolves rushing in behind her belied her distress. 

 

        Viatryx Silas clutched a battered walking staff in her hand, and when she turned to face her pursuers the words that streamed from her lips were an ancient dialect of Colovian not much used except by other traders.   Magicka the color of amethyst fire crystalized above the sorceress’s left shoulder—arcing like shards of glass into the nearest of her four-legged attackers.  That wolf fell twitching his death throes while his three mates closed in on the petite sorceress.  The robes she wore seemed too big for her, tangling under her feet for a moment as she used her staff to redirect another of the beasts—forgetting, or not noticing the group of snorting, stomping horses behind her.

 

            An iron short sword cut through that wolf, biting deep into its chest as the lead rider took leave of his mount.  Several others joined the fray with daggers and hunting knives; making short work of the remaining two wolves.  Shoulders trembling, the sorceress stumbled away from them all, dropping to her knees on the dusty road.  Amber-gold eyes took in the scene with distant horror as she panted for breath; dark hair falling to partially obscure her vision.  She kept her head down as a pair of booted feet stopped in front of her.

 

            “You wounded?”  Blunt, callused hands reached down to pick her up under the arms and the young woman yelped.  A quick glance up showed dark hair and a dark beard, and sharp green eyes exhausted with hours of hard riding.

 

            “Ah!  No.  I-I mean not over much at least.  One of the beasties got a nick on my leg—oh…that’s worse than I thought,” the woman chattered as she swept aside the heavy robe she wore to see the damage done to her calf.  In the heavy night, bereft of moonlight her blood welled thick and dark in the mangled flesh of her lower right calf.  Her rescuer set her back down on the road, speaking to his companions as he did so.

 

            “Mediea, bring me bandages and one of your tinctures.  Be quick about it,” the man ordered gruffly.  A woman close in age to the sorceress bustled up, her leathers dusty and scuffed with blonde hair straggling from inside her hood.  She pressed a wad of tan linen into the man’s hands and a small vial of some reddish solution.  He held them out to the sorceress.  “We can give you these.  If you are safe now, we will leave you.”

           

“Darius! Out here, on the road and wounded, are you mad?” Mediea’s voice raised in consternation.

 

            “I am not, but we are late to my wife and our contract.  She is a traveler.  Her clan will no doubt find her.  She—no.  Mediea, she cannot come with us.”  Darius protested as Mediea glared at him.  She snatched her bandages back and knelt down to begin cleaning and binding the sorceress’s leg.

 

            “I’m Mediea and that oaf behind me is Darius.  You’ll have to forgive him.  He’s worried about his wife.  We’re pledged to one of the roving clans out here as guards.  Something evil roams the roads these last few weeks—though I’m sure that isn’t news to a traveler.  You weren’t set upon by a monster, were you?”  She blinked at the sorceress in the gloom, watching as the wounded woman shook her head tiredly.

 

            “We are—I am Silanus.  I was set upon by nothing more monstrous than hungry wolves.  I’ve been traveling since Hew’s Bane.  Perhaps—I might be of assistance to you?  It would seem the Divines have put us on the road at this juncture for a reason.”  The sorceress offered as Mediea helped her to her feet.  Viatryx carefully avoided using her real name; giving instead her family name which was no longer remembered or used along the Gold Coast.

 

            “Silanus is an old name.  She can ride with me, Darius.  The camp isn’t far.  Perhaps she knows some charms to help us that Atticus doesn’t.” Mediea hustled her back into the group of riders and boosted her onto the saddle, scrambling up behind Silanus to hold the reins.  Silanus met the eyes of Darius as she adjusted herself on the unfamiliar horse.

 

            “Perhaps she does.”  He said finally as if in agreement.  He swung up onto his own horse and waved for them to continue.  “At the very least.  Perhaps she can help us determine how the devil the traveler families are being taken from under our noses—even with guards posted!”

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