by AJ Marks
Zoe relaxed a bit by the pool. As it felt nice to just sit and do nothing for a change. Several others were in the pool having fun and the day was surprising warm though she could see some clouds on the horizon which meant a storm later on in the day.
The past couple of days had been a bit tense with everyone expecting something. Zoe wasn’t sure what might happen if anything. She frowned upon seeing her sun blocked and looked up to see Leah standing there.
“Just going to do nothing today?” she asked.
“Well, thought about it, or at least this morning,” Zoe replied, then looking at the distance. “Besides, looks like a storm is approaching.”
“Means work beforehand,” Leah replied, as Zoe looked up at the short dress Leah wore, showing off a vast amount of leg and from her vantage point, under the dress. If Leah moved a bit she could tell what she was wearing underneath, if anything.
Zoe continued to look up hoping for a peek before the view shifted slightly and Leah crouched down a bit and looking into her eyes they both knew what she was doing.
“Insatiable,” Leah said shaking her head.
“With you, why not,” Zoe replied, and would have said more if it wasn’t for the sudden commotion coming from the front of the Suite.
“By Talos, what is going on out there,” Leah said, moving off and heading to the front.
Zoe took a second before moving around to the front as well unsure what she might find in front waiting for her. Walking around the building she heard raised voices, but couldn’t make what was said. Finally turning the corner she noticed Elise standing in front with Farquar and now Leah against a group of Thalmor. Zoe sighed seeing Valis leading a group of Thalmor.
“And we have the right to look inside,” Valis said.
“We have the right to refuse service to whoever we see fit to refuse, and that includes you,” Elise said.
She watched as Elise and Valis stood off and noticed a few Whiterun guards approaching along with several others, including Farkas and Vilkas from the companions. While not the brightest they were more than capable in a fight and loyal.
“What’s going on here?” a guard asked, walking up to the group.
“None of your concern guard,” Valis said dismissively spotting Zoe. “I have found what I was after.”
“Valis,” Zoe said, walking towards the elf allowing her disgust at him show no longer having to play nice. She noticed he had with him a dozen or so guards as she evaluated their postures. They were warriors, but now outnumbered as a few more came out from the Suite. “Why are you here, we have nothing left to discuss.”
“Oh, but I’m afraid that there is,” Valis said with a smile. “You see, when you left you assaulted me, so I’m arresting you.”
“Before or after I have you arrested for burning down my shack,” Zoe replied walking right up to him and looking him in the eye. She noticed the slight hesitation. “And not to mention adding in an attempted attack as I left Solitude.”
“Are you insinuating I had something to do with it?” Valis asked.
“Yes we are,” Leah said speaking up. “We were attacked by several thugs upon leaving, and you gave them the information to attack us.”
“Those are serious crimes,” the guard said, looking at Valis. “I don’t care if you’re Thalmor or not, we don’t look kindly to such things around here.”
Valis looked stunned, as if his carefully constructed plan hadn’t quite gone his way.
“Yes, well, assaulting a Thalmor is a great crime,” Valis said finally as if regaining his courage. She noticed a few guards seemed to hesitate with new information. They had probably been told how easy this would be, and Valis probably believed that as well as he refused to accept the truth of the situation.
Zoe turned her back on Valis and took a few steps away, more to keep from slugging him than anything else. After calming herself a bit she turned back to him. She wanted any move made done by him so she could claim self-defense this time.
“And you are accusing a Thane of Skyrim, Harbinger of the Companions, Arch-mage of the College of Winterhold, and Dragonborn of such an action,” Zoe said before looking back at him, waiting for him.
“Ah, yes, but still, my accusations carry great weight,” Valis said, but was met not from Zoe, but Elise as she spat at him.
“The great Thalmor, more like over-bloated egos,” she said to him. “You disgust me.”
Zoe saw it happen. Valis’ rage crashed over him as he drew his sword and moved forward to attack Elise. He was immediately challenged by a half dozen others and in seconds almost everyone had their swords drawn. She realized bloodshed would happen if nothing changed.
Zun Haal Viik
The shout had the desired effect as she watched the weapons fly from the Thalmor’s hands. She felt slightly relieved, hoping the situation had de-escalated a bit. Those thoughts vanished rather quickly watching Valis reach into his robes. She understood what he was going for before he even pulled the knife out. The differences in their experience now was evident as even unarmed she was more dangerous.
“Don’t be stupid Valis,” Zoe said to him. But she already knew from his actions he had no intention of stopping as he charged her.
“If I can’t have you no one can,” he yelled in rage.
Even as Zoe prepared herself another voice shouted at him to stop. Zoe didn’t break concentration knowing she didn’t have any armor on. In a strange way she knew it would come down to this from the moment she spotted him in Solitude.
He attacked showing his lack of training and experience that she now had. Easily dodging the blow as he seemed to stumble a bit. Zoe could tell he wouldn’t give up this time, his eyes wild and crazy as if he finally snapped.
“You will be mine!” he shouted at her, even as two Thalmor rushed in to restrain him. He managed to escape and rushed her one more time.
She dodged and struck him on the back of the head watching as he fell forward knocked out. Zoe took this opportunity to look around spotting Elewen walking towards them in a hurry.
“I see I wasn’t in time,” she said walking up to them all.
“Wasn’t in time for what?” Zoe asked, confused as to why she would be there.
“To stop him,” Elewen stated as the guard turned Valis over.
To everyone’s surprise he was dead, his knife embedded in his chest as he fell.
“I see that complicates things,” Elewen said looking on.
“Not for me, he attacked me with a deadly weapon, even escaped your guards from restraining him,” Zoe said knowing if she had a blade he would have died anyways. “It seems the prophesy came true.”
“Prophesy?” Elewen asked, surprised by the statement Zoe made.
“I knew him back in the Imperial City, and before leaving a seer gave us both a prophesy. His was not to go north where he would die,” Zoe said. “I always assumed it would be a bandit party.”
“Still, the death of a high ranking Thalmor will not go unnoticed,” Elewen said.
“Thalmor or not, attacking another citizen is a crime,” the guard said speaking up.
Zoe realized the situation was complex now but it was Elise who spoke up.
“What are you doing here?” she asked Elewen who seemed taken aback by the question and hostile tone by another elf.
“I was trying to prevent him from making this complex,” Elewen said, looking at the body of Valis.
“He always was headstrong,” Zoe said. “But what do you mean complex?”
“It appears his fixation upon you was unnatural even for a Thalmor,” Elewen replied. “He was in such a hurry to leave he left some personal artifacts behind, including a diary.”
That got Zoe’s attention wondering what he had written knowing that whatever it was had sent Elewen all this way to try and stop him.
“So, what will you do?” Zoe asked, moving forward to Elewen who seemed to look down at the body as everyone waited to hear what might happen next, even the Thalmor guards.
“It will cause an uproar among the higher ups,” Elewen said, pausing a bit.
“Enough to make them do anything?” Zoe said. “He was obsessed unnaturally.”
“Yes, its why I am hesitant in any action,” Elewen said.
“Why should it be, she killed a Thalmor,” one of the guards who was escorting Valis said finally speaking up. “She killed him, it’s a clear cut case in the law and she should be punished.”
Zoe took a breath to defend herself but Elewen spoke up first.
“If that was all that was at stake here,” Elewen said. “No wonder you’re only a guard, unable to think beyond a simple matter.”
There was the Thalmor arrogance Zoe was used to coming from Elewen even as she continued.
“I will report it in, you will not do anything to discredit my testimony,” Elewen said to him. “If they wish to escalate the problem it would be highly problematic for us and could cause an all-out war in Skyrim, something neither side wishes to have.”
“She killed him, I have no problem with it,” the guard said.
“But we will,” another voice said, and they turned to see Balgruuf standing there. “The Dragonborn has been most helpful to us all, many would fight on her side, especially with the knowledge of this Thalmor’s obsession. Distrust is already high among the people of Skyrim and the Thalmor, you wish to make things worse?”
“No we don’t,” Elewen said cutting across anything the guard was about to say as they glared at each other for a few seconds. “I shall be heading to Imperial City myself to make sure things do not escalate, sorry for bothering you Dragonborn.”
With that she turned and motioned for the rest of the Thalmor guards to follow. The one guard looked back at her before motioning for a few others to collect the body and left as well.
“Well, that was interesting,” Zoe stated looking around. It was very different compared to when she was younger and dealing with the Thalmor. She was all alone, now she had many allies.
“Things always are with you,” Balgruuf replied back to her.
“I was resting by the pool,” Zoe replied back, indicating her outfit which backed up that statement.
“The fact neither he nor his guards understood you’re more dangerous in that than they were in armor shows they are not warriors,” Valkis said from where he stood.
“I never had a doubt of the outcome if they fought,” Farkas stated.
“Lots of experience,” Zoe stated before looking back at Balgruuf. “What happens next?”
“I’ll send runners to the other holds, but I doubt we’ll have any problems,” Balgruuf said, giving Zoe a nod of his head before heading back to the city along with several other guards.
“Let’s go back inside,” Leah suggested as they headed back inside the Suite.
“Well, wasn’t expecting that,” OMB said as they entered and people were busily talking about what happened. Zoe ignored them as she walked along with Leah towards a table.
“You think that’ll be it?” Leah asked, as she and Zoe sat down along with Wyla who had joined them.
“Hopefully,” Zoe replied. “If we trust Elewen it will be, but I doubt I’ll be welcome in the Imperial City anytime soon. Of course I don’t plan on leaving Skyrim anytime soon. Guess we just wait and see.”
“I really thought Elise was about to strangle that elf though,” Wyla said. “She was keeping herself in check.”
“Probably a good thing, they might have hauled her off if she had done anything,” Zoe said part of her wondering the history was between her and the Thalmor. Whatever had happened was enough for Elise to have to restrain herself from actually attacking a Thalmor.
“Think we’ll hear anything?” Leah asked.
“I have no idea,” Zoe said. “But I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather focus on instead.”
With that Zoe looked at Leah who merely shook her head.
End part 14