by AJ Marks
Zoe made her way out of the city thinking she might do some fishing. If nothing else she might get something to eat for the next couple of days. It might not solve her money problem but she could at least eat.
Looking down the road she noticed a man talking with the guard, wearing an impressive looking set of leather armor and sword. She slightly flinched when the guard pointed in her direction and the man started towards her. She wondered if running was an option, but she really had no problems with anyone at the moment. No debt fortunately so no collectors.
“Are you Zoe Scatlite?” he asked walking up to her.
“Yeah, and you are?” she asked, ready for just about anything, including running if this suddenly turned bad.
“Just a messenger, are you Zoe Scatlite?” he asked again.
Zoe weight the pros and cons figuring she really had no problem with a message.
“Yeah, I am,” she finally said.
“Good, I have a scroll for you then,” he stated, pulling out a scroll.
“For me?” she repeated surprised. She didn’t know anyone, all her family had died and anyone else wouldn’t be looking for her. Any friends already knew where to find her as she tried to think of someone who might have sent her a message. However no one stood out. “I don’t know anyone who would be sending a message though.”
She took the scroll from him as he offered no explanation taking a better look at him but he still didn’t seem familiar to her. She probably didn’t know him at all.
“Well, that’s it,” he said to her, turning and walking off back to the stables leaving her even more confused. He acted as if he didn’t care, then again if he was only paid for a message then he wouldn’t care what happened once it was delivered.
She shoved the note in her pocket thinking it was probably a joke from a friend, but such an elaborate joke made her wonder. Something seemed strange for her to get a note. Thinking about which friend might pull off this type of joke she came up empty. However she noticed Valis walking out of the city as well and decided it was time to leave.
She made her way back to her shack, not that it was much but it was home. It kept the elements out and her dry and warm in the winter. It would need some repairs but nothing she couldn’t manage.
She sat down pouring herself some water and pulled out the note she received. What type of joke had she received now from her friends? However this seemed almost too elaborate for them. Opening the note she looked on at eh elegant writing, nothing like any of her friends.
I am aware that we haven’t met, but its of the utmost importance for you to come north to Skyrim.
Come to the Bathing Beauties Luxury Suite near Whiterun.
I understand the journey will be long for you, but I will make it worth it.
Zoe frowned reading through the note. There wasn’t much there other than to come north for something. Who was this OMB character and why would he make worth it for her to go up there?
Skyrim, a place she only heard rumors of by passing adventures in the bars and taverns. It was also cold and harsh according to some. Nothing as civilized as what they had here, though the rumor that the Thalmor were not as involved in the politics as they were here.
And what was this bathing house, reading the name it sounded strange. What type of luxury suite was a bathing house, and what was beautiful about it? Going over it in her mind it didn’t fit something her friends would do. Nothing about it made any sense.
Perhaps Valis was behind this. He could easily kidnap her on the way up and no one would ever know.
The reasons not to go were mounting in her mind. Head up to a cold unknown all because of a note? It sounded dumb when she actually thought of it. In the end she placed it back into her pocket and looked around her shack before grabbing an apple for something to eat. They were in season so she at least had something to eat for the moment.
Now she needed a plan for the future. She had nothing she could sell, except maybe the shack itself, but it wasn’t really something she could sell.
Even as she sat there noises drifted up through the open windows of someone approaching. Moving quickly out of the shack she went to one of her hiding spots where she could observe who came or went. Something she learned early on when living alone out here when she was ‘visited’ by two men who thought they could intimidate her being a lone woman. She was fortunate they were drunk and stupid but learned an important lesson.
Since that day she devised way to know if people were coming and hiding spots around the shack. It had paid off a few times, especially when Valis would randomly show up. She had no idea what he wanted, but didn’t stay to find out. Nothing he came up with was anything she wanted to be a part of.
Crouching she waited before finally seeing a few figures make their way towards her shack. She didn’t recognize any of them making her wonder why they were there. Were they travelers who got lost, or hunters from another city? She would wait a bit to see even as she now made out three men. They headed straight to her shack and looked around. They were obviously looking for her and knew where the shack was.
“Are you sure this is the place?” the shortest man asked as they finished looking around and gathered again by the front door.
Zoe could see one of the three was an elf, the other two human, either Imperial or Nords by their height.
“You doubt me?” the elf replied in a tone a Thalmore would use making her wonder what they were doing here.
“Doesn’t look like she’s home,” the taller human said as she had continued to look around even poking inside.
The way they were casually looking made her nervous. These three were not some group of hunters who were lost, they were here for her. Now the only question remained why were they there?
“No matter,” the elf replied. “We are here for a mission.”
“Yeah, speak for yourself, but she was quite the looker, tall, blonde, my type,” the taller man said making Zoe wrinkle her nose in disgust. As if he was her type.
“You were not hired for that, stupid Nords, can’t you do a simple duty or not?” the elf stated, obvious disgust for his two ‘partners’.
“Yeah, yeah, we’ll do this for you and look the other way, we got it,” the shorter man stated back. His tone indicating he didn’t like the elf either. “Though why you have to be here, I don’t know we could have done it ourselves.”
“We have our reasons,” the elf replied back to him. “Besides, this is a favor for a friend.”
That bit got Zoe’s attention. If the elf was a Thalmor then she could bet that whatever was supposed to happen Valis was behind it. Even as she watched they went back inside her shack.
She realized how powerless she was, they all wore armor, and much better weapons. She had peasant clothes and a dagger which wouldn’t be much in a real fight. Nothing would be in her favor at all if she decided to fight.
Crashing noises were heard from inside the shack making her wonder how much damage they were doing. Would she even be able to repair the damage done? A part of her wanted to rush in and kill them for what they were doing.
Watching they re-emerged looking disappointed.
“She’s not in there at all,” the shorter man said. “And nothing worth taking. You sure you saw her coming back here?”
“Yes, and do not question me again Nord,” the elf replied back.
“Still, now what?” the taller Nord asked. “You hired us to capture her.”
“Calm yourself, you’ll still get paid. Still, she should have been here,” the elf said trailing off.
Zoe watched as he paced around a bit thinking and mumbling to himself about something. Zoe felt sure Valis was behind this but had yet no proof. If she went to the authorities they would do nothing, because Valis was a Thalmor, and these two Nords probably were not from around here at all. They would disappear and never be seen again. And the elf with them she couldn’t identify, and even if she could he was probably connected with the Thalmor.
Everything came back to the Thalmor and the iron grip they used to keep control of the city and its people. She really did have no power at all to stop anything which was going on.
“We didn’t meet her at the lake either, which means she’s probably out hunting,” the elf now stated stopping his pacing and now looking at the other two. “its is only a minor setback, but one which I can adjust to.”
“Yeah, well we don’t care,” the shorter Nord said.
“Burn it down,” the elf said suddenly.
The words almost had Zoe up and standing but managed to stay in place. This couldn’t be happening to her! They were going to burn down someone’s house, everything they owned. The two Nords didn’t even flinch at the order.
“Whatever, as long as we’re paid,” the shorter one said.
“You will be,” the elf said.
“Yeah, don’t double-cross us, we don’t care if your Thalmor or not,” the taller one said, looking right at the elf and not backing down.
Zoe looked on as they stared at each other for a few seconds before turning their attention back to her shack, and lighting it on fire. All she could do was watch seeing her home burn.
Everything she had she had on her, a few coins, her clothes and almost nothing else. Valis had gone all out this time, and one she would make sur she paid for.
He probably figured if she had nothing left she’d come crawling to him begging for his help. He didn’t know her at all. She would find a way to overcome this setback. He wouldn’t win, that much she was certain of. He had pushed her too far now.
Making up her mind she waited as the three finished their task and went walking off back to the city taking her time as she had no idea if they were waiting for her or not. The last thing she wanted to do was run into them again all alone. Once in the city it would be a bit different as there were guards and they just couldn’t grab her.
She went over everything which had happened today as she walked to the city. First off she had lost a large bet, one which didn’t seem right. Others had accused the arena owners of knowing one of the fighters wasn’t right and allowed him to fight anyways. And even to her inexperienced eye it looked rigged in some way.
Now she had three visitors who were looking for her and burned down her shack!
It all seemed to point towards Valis, he had something to do with it all. She had a hard time believing he had done it all juts to get her. Why did he have such an obsession with her?
She needed to think first. She had to have a plan before confronting Valis and for that she also needed some information. With that thought she decided to head to a bar first and see if she could get any information on what happened today.
Walking through the gates she didn’t even acknowledge the guards. This evening she was focused on one thing. She wanted to get back at Valis.
End part 2