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Rubi slowly awoke. She was lying on an uncomfortable stone surface. The room was dark, although where she lay was illuminated by a couple of candles, it only made the rest of the room darker. She pushed herself up so that she was sitting, and noticed she was wearing a thin white gown. It would have been nice but for the blood that was all over her hands and chest. By her side lay an unfamiliar blade similarly soaked in blood. She left the blade where it was and stood up. The floor was cold, but she wasn't bothered. Although she did notice that she had bare feet. She walked out of the room into a dark corridor. She turned left and walked along the dark corridor. She could hear whispering, snatches of conversation from unfamiliar voices as she walked along. At various points there were engravings dug deep into the wall, pictures of people she didn't recognise. The first was a dunmer man. He was scarred and had a fierce expression on his face. Underneath was inscribed 'Anasou Morvayn'. The second was an argonian. He looked young and he had an expression of wide eyed optimism. Underneath was inscribed 'Seewulz'. The next was a dunmer woman. She was beautiful but sad. Underneath was inscribed 'Sedene Morvayn'. The fourth picture was a dunmer girl. In the picture she was crying a single tear and had bags beneath her eyes. Underneath was inscribed 'Aralin Veloth'.

Rubi just kept walking down the dark corridor until she came across a picture which looked familiar. It was a dunmer girl with a look of indecision, she had long black hair and plain features. Underneath it said 'Rubikon Morvayn'. Rubi stared at the engraving, as though trying to get some sense from it. A figure dressed in a white gown that was covered in scorch marks stepped from an adjacent room. Rubi turned and looked at her.

"I saw a picture of you." Rubi said eventually, and turned back to the picture of herself. "Why do I know this picture?"
"It's you." said Aralin.
"Where am I?" asked Rubi.
"You're dead." said Aralin.
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Is ANYONE participating anymore, or not?

I purposely took Nyx out for a while to give the rest of you a shot at it. All right. Looks like it's up to me, then.

Though the sun had set not long before, the town of Kvatch shone with an eerie red light.

No one noticed it at first. The guards were busy with changing shifts. This required the usual rounds of exchanging information about the the previous shift and more often, just swapping stories. The businesses had closed shop for the evening, and everyone who didn't have business being outside after dark was inside their homes. Most of them were already settling in for the night.

Nyxalinth, however, was not.

She shifted edgily in her seat at the inn, staring into the fire. Her companion, a rather grim looking 'Dunmer' man, regarded her with no small concern.

"I feel it too," Dhevez told her at last.

She shook her head. "These people are going to die. I can't do a thing about it. Even if I could, who would believe me? "You are about to be slaughtered by hordes of Daedra. Have a nice day.""

Dhevez shook his head. Weeks before, the Dremora mage would have had some sarcastic rejoinder to make. He had gone through his own trials, however, and had passed. Nyx was Kyn, and he loved her. Yet there was nothing to be done for it.

"All we can do," he hissed from inside the depths of his hood, "is to make sure we do our best to help once it starts. I know it is your mortal blood speaking. I do not share most of your concern for these creatures: I am here at Prince Daeinde's and Imago Storm's request, nothing more." His usual irritation failed to hide his concern.

"I know better than that," she told him, smiling a little now. Dhevez made a grumpy sound.

"What's happening out there?" one of the barmaids said. She gazed out the window; the red glow had just begun to seep inside, painting the inn's common room with blood red shadows.

The two friends exchanged a look. "So. It begins." Dhevez stood, reaching for the amulet he wore. So long as it hung about his neck, he would appear to these mortals as merely one of their own.

Nyx likewise stood. "Let's have a look, shall we?"
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Slowly Gideon began to sink into a stupor of boredom. The folk that came through here were mostly just sailors. He was relieved to be interupted by the innkeeper telling him that his bath was ready. The water was scalding hot and it took a moment for him to adjust but after a while he was stepping back out into the common room refreshed and no longer covered in salt. He glanced out of the window and noticed that the sun had fully set and the harbor was now dark save for the beam of the lighthouse at it's mouth. "Well, can't travel tired." he thought to himself as he headed up to his room. He was still quite ways from the Imperial City.

The next morning arived without incident and he was worried that this trip might indeed prove to be completely uneventful. As he stepped from the gate however his eyes fell upon something quite unusual. A Redguard man was running towards him, stark naked.

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Rubi was out of the city as fast as possible. She grabbed a horse from the stables just outside of town and charged across the long bridge. The fact that she knew exactly where she was headed only panicked her more. She'd never been to the temple that was in her dreams before yet she knew exactly where it was now. Reaching the edge of the bridge she headed south desperately trying not to think about what she'd seen, but it would be a long journey, the legnth of which she could, alarmingly enough, estimate precisely.

Rubi tried to distract herself, thinking of her childhood in Kvatch serving behind the bar of her parents inn. She remembered her father, he was a Myrmidon in the Kvatchian Arena before he bought the inn. He'd been arrogant, stubborn and selfish. Rubi even remembered the night he died, just to try and fend away the dream. She remembered how they'd been talking, Rubi once more wanting to leave and see the world with Aralin and him once more forbidding it. She remembered how rage seemed to fill her to her very brim and suddenly he was dead. Rubi had blacked out on the actual event. The next thing she remembers is being stood holding the hilt of the bloodsoaked Ribbonblade and him lying dead on the floor. Her mother had sent her out that night. She made it very clear that she never wanted to see Rubi again.

Even those memories were not enough to keep out the dream and the sense of sheer terror that went with it. Rubi pictured the abandoned temple, empty for years except in one room. And there surrounded by freshly lit candles is the cause of all the panic. A sleeping dunmer girl. It took a minute or two before Rubi had recognised her. It was Rubi herself.
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If no one posts, it's going down.

Simple as that. Don't worry about the posting order: just DO something.

Meanwhile, here's something from Skudge:

After his meeting with his beloved Mistress, Skudge promptly returned to Daeinde's palace.

It had taken him a while to convince Nocturnal's Umbrals that he had a serious message for her. This had not sat well with the little Scamp. He was used to most other Daedra not taking him seriously, but it still grated on him.

"And what business have you with the Night Mistress, little one?" the shadowy Daedra asked him. Skudge could not see the Umbral's face behind his hood, but he heard the amusement all the same.

"Me have big important message for Nocturnal!" Skudge announced, puffing out his small chest. "From Prince Daeinde!"

"Really, now? Well, I'll just take that, then." The Umbral reached out with a smoky gray hand, but Skudge snatched the parchment away.

"Nuh uh! Prince Daeinde say me deliver to Nocturnal, not no big nosy-body!"

The Umbral's black feathered wings twitched as his shoulders shook. "Well, it must be very important, then." The scamp eyed him back with beady, red eyes. "All right, then. I'll let you see her. Far be it from me to stop such an important message from getting through."

The Umbral waved his hand, and the doors to the throne room swung silently open. His shoulders shook harder as the Scamp swept past him with an almost regal air of importance. It wasn't until the doors had shut firmly behind him that the Daedra gave full vent to his mirth, muffling his laughter in the sleeve of his robe.

Skudge mustered all the gravity that he could as he approached Nocturnal. The Night Mistress regarded the little Scamp with serious gray eyes, saying, "Greetings, little one. It is good to see you again."

The Scamp bowed low to his Mistress. She was always kind, always took him seriously, unlike her guard outside her throne room.

"Me happy to see Oathmother, too. Me bring important message from Prince Daeinde." He handed her the scroll.

Nocturnal thanked him, then broke the seal and opened it. Her night-dark brows burrowed against her pale face as she read it. "Very grim news indeed. I thank you for bringing this to me, Skudge." The Scamp beamed under her praise.

"Would you mind bringing a reply back to him? It will be but a moment." She thought a moment, then waved her hand lightly over the parchment. The Daedric characters glowed a moment before rearranging themselves into her reply.

"Ooh," Skudge said admiringly. Nocturnal chuckled. "Nothing amazing about being lazy, I'm afraid. Still, it is a suitable reply, I think." Her mouth turned in a grim smile.

Handing the parchment back to Skudge she said, "Give my kind regards to Nyxalinth, as well. We have not forgotten the help she rendered us."

"Me do!" Skudge assured her. He bowed low. With a gesture, the Night Mistress sent the Scamp back to Daeinde's palace.
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Would anyone mind if I moved the time in the game forward a bit? I think it's time that the invasion itself gets underway. Not yet...but soon.
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Kharssht had been more than delighted to see him. So much so that her first orders to him were of a rather more...carnal nature.

After, as he had hoped she would, she talked of the latest goings-on and her place in them. Kharssht did not indulge in idle gossip: Dremora disdained such rubbish. However, much of what she said carried weight insofar as his mission was concerned, and he listened closely.

"Karzak is beginning to suspect that there is a spy amongst the Markynaz," she told Rathine. Her rusty orange hair spread over his chest like a flow of lava; her fingers idly traced his chest tattoos as she spoke.

"Oh? What has led him to this conclusion?" He idly stroked her hair and neck. They had been lovers once, and they still enjoyed each other's company now and again, but neither of them pretended that the relationship was anything more than 'friends with benefits' as the mortals would say. "Karzak is a most sensible sort. He is not one to indulge in fits of paranoia."

Kharssht nodded. "Certainly not, and so his words carry great weight." She raised herself up on one elbow and looked down at him. "You are familiar with the Markynaz known as Marakh?"

Rathine nodded. Inwardly, however, he groaned. Marakh was Nyxalinth's grandfather. From what he knew, she had not seen him since she was but a mere youngling, but she spoke of him fondly. As for the Markynaz, he himself had stated that he was quite proud of what his granddaughter had become. 'If Karzak has begun to suspect Marakh, he must be warned immediately, as must Daeinde and Imago Storm. Yet, here I am. Should I depart so soon, it will arouse suspicion.' he forced himself to focus once more on her words.

Kharssht continued. "It is he whom Karzak suspects, though he would not say why. I am not at all certain, myself. Given Karzak's fair and honorable nature, it is reasonable that he wishes to be certain of this."

"Not to mention that they are lovers," Rathine murmurred. "What would you have me do, then, my lady?" He knew that she mentioned this because she had a task in mind for him.

"I require that you keep a watchful eye upon him, Kymarcher Rathine. I am certain that you best know how, so I will not presume to tell you how to go about it." She leaned in close and bit the hard flesh of his chest. "For now, however, there are other, more...pressing matters." She reached down between them to touch the most pressing one of the moment.

Rathine grinned at her. "Indeed." But even as they mated once more, his mind was a million miles away.
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Ali'ksandr threw back the temple doors. Light flooded into the ruins, illuminating the room beautifully. The temple was still in relatively good shape. Only one of the columns had rotted away and fell down, leaving a gaping hole in the ceiling. The room was almost empty barring the rubble and a table, which appeared to have fallen through from the floor above. A stained glass window dominated the far end of the room. It depicted Azura creating the Khajitti. Ali'ksandr looked at the floor. Rubblestrewn though it was, it was relatively dusty. It was unlikely that there was anything still in here; although he'd been in far too many close scrapes to let his guard down. As he strode into the temple he was for a moment perfectly framed in the doorway.

He's slightly taller than average Khajiit, with a long black mane and a peircing gaze. He's wearing a thin brown jacket and a similar pair of pants. Tucked into his belt is a pair of short glass daggers, and hooked on the other side of his belt is a long twist of rope, and a flask of water. Across his back he has a long wooden pole. His jacket appears to made primarily out of pockets, with a small amount of stitching to keep it together.

Ali'ksandr walks down a couple of steps into the temple and checking the corners of the vast room he walks to a door in the wall to his left. He tries it to find that it's stuck tight. With only the slightest of a pause he turns and looks to the ceiling, and walks to a clear spot underneath a gaping hole. He pulls the pole from his back and plants it on the ground, runs quickly up the wall and somersaults, bringing the pole with him, into the floor above. This room is much darker than the room downstairs and is full of upturned furniture, the only way out barring the hole was a door that had been torn from it's hinges. This temple had been abandoned in a hurry. Ali'ksandr scans the room for any signs of life, but still finds none. Cautiously he sheathes the pole and walks towards the doorway and enters a corridor. A glimmer of light is pouring from an open door slightly down the corridor. Ali'ksander reaches for his daggers now, visibly concerned. He creeps down the corridor silently and turns the corner looking into the room.
Immediately it's clear where the light is coming from, a podium is the main feature of the room and on this podium is an arrangement of candelabra, complete with candles that look as though they were only just lit. This room is derelict of any toppled furniture, but the dust that covers everything is undisturbed. On the podium, in the dead centre of the candelabra is a sleeping figure. A dunmer with black hair wearing dark leather armour. She's laughing in her sleep.
"I'm sorry." She says...

Immediately Rubi sits bolt upright in bed, her heart racing. She could tell that there was something more to this dream than most, it was too real. Rubi could still smell the decay of the temple long since abandoned. This was obviously something more. She grabs her stuff, still packed up, and leaves immediately.
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I am writing for Quint today, at lucien_lachance's request. helvia is now an NPC, as discussed previously.


I knew it was too good to be true. When I see that little rat, Borlin, he'll wish he'd never been born.

The ebony bow is a fake. I risked getting caught by the guards for a stupid, worthless bow made of substandard steel.

I grumbled about this to Hljodhr the entire time. He seemed to listen to my every word, but then, he always did. That's one of the things that's nice about animals: they listen, and they never judge you for anything.

Up ahead in the turn of the road was the Old Goat. It was more or less time to eat, so I thought 'Why not?' and made for the inn. Maybe Rowena or Kerris had some interesting gossip. it turned out nothing much was going on, so and after eating lunch and paying for it, I continued on to Kvatch.

I arrived in Kvatch just as the sun was setting.


Helvia arrived in Kvatch just as the sun was setting. It looked much the way she'd left it long ago. She made an immediate beeline for the inn, got a room, and settled in for the night.

She still wasn't at all sure of what, exactly, she was needed for here. Of course, Dagon's armies could attack at any time. She wasn't terribly fond of the idea of facing off against Daedra again.

She sighed. Her most recent encounters with Daedra had given her food for thought. She had no desire whatsoever to satisfy whatever curiousity the Flame atronach--Atrios, had been his name--might have had about her. But he had been polite and well-mannered, and obviously very intelligent. Daeinde had likewise been a kindly sort--for a Daedra Prince, she supposed. The two Dremora, while not terribly agreeable sorts, had at least kept their weapons and spells to themselves.

She was not prepared to change her thinking on Daedra any time soon, but so long as that particular bunch made no hostile moves, it was simply none of her business what they were doing or where they were.

So thinking, she made a mental note to keep an eye out for appearances of the more hostile vairety and went to bed.
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Entering the Study, Daeinde made himself comfortable on the long, soft couch, Atrios joining him without a word. He made eye contact with Dhevez and grinned at the youngling Mage whose eyes seem to twitch before the Dremora took a seat across from he and Atrios. Nyxalinth, of course, joined the two seated Daedra on the large piece of furniture, sitting on the other side of Atrios. Nyxalinth's father seemed content enough standing and the small Scamp decided to perch himself on the arm of one of the large sitting chairs.

"So, Nyxalinth," Daeinde began, giving the woman a curious, but amused look. "I have a suspicion that your time away just now was more interesting than a simple Teleport to safety." He had to hold back himself as the urge to wink overwhelmed him. Only faint traces of whomever the lady had met were still about her, but it was enough that he could sense the lingering presence of a Daedric Prince on her person.

Nyxalinth's eyes darted to the door for a second as she heard sounds, but the noise was more cleaning-related she sensed. A small shiver of memory creeped down her spine as she turned to address the question asked. Nodding as she answered, she replied, "You could say that, my lord. I, ah, met a very unique person." She sighed lightly to herself, knowing Daeinde would pry until he had all the information he wanted. Instead, she continued, "I met Sheogorath while I was out." She neglected to mention what went on when she had met him, but she decided on her own that the circumstances probably didn't matter.

Holding a hand up, she cut off whatever her father was going to say, but she could tell he was very upset. "It's okay, father, he was quite the gentleman. I didn't do nor say anything stupid. Starting a scene didn't seem like a good idea at the time. I have no idea if he has a part in any of this or not, though." She could see--and hear--the start of a growl from Kezreth. Turning to Daeinde, she found the expression on his face unreadable.

The Daedric Prince blinked, then shook his head. "He wouldn't, or if he did, it would not be.. anything like you would expect. Be careful around him, Nyxalinth. He may seem harmless at times, but he is far from it. For now, I'll wait and see what he does, if anything. I highly doubt he's in with Prince Dagon, though. It's not his.. style. Yet, I cannot say for sure, of course. Sometimes I wonder if even Sheogorath knows what he is doing." With that, he finally let a smirk fall across his lips.

Looking towards Kezreth, Daeinde spoke again, "Your daughter can handle herself, friend. Though, spending time with Daedric Princes usually isn't advised," he paused to grin at the irony of that statement, then continued, "at least now we know he may be a player, or at least in the vicinity."

Shrugging, Daeinde relaxed, stretching out his legs. "As far as that's concerned, we'll see. For now, however, there are other, more imminent matters to attend to. Dhevez," the Mage perked his head up at hearing his name. "I know Imago Storm has ordered you to partner up with Nyxalinth in the matters at hand, however, she must perform an extremely important.. duty before she may properly join you in your mission."

The youngling shook his head, feeling the increasing familiar tingle of warning in the back of his mind, but he felt it was proper this time. "Imago Storm has informed me-"

"No, he knows of this, or should know. If he doesn't, then he will be made aware. This is very important in letting Nyxalinth perform her task." He looked at the lady. "If you would be so kind, I wish to ask you to accompany both myself and Atrios, as we need to make leave of the Imperial City as soon as possible. I'll tell you then what I speak of, as it seems a personal matter. Of course, you may share it with whomever you wish."

"Okay..," she replied, cautiously. Things were slipping more and more out of her control and she wasn't entirely sure what she thought of the matter. "It shall be done, if you wish to leave immediately."

Nodding, Daeinde watched Atrios rise to stand. The large Flame Atronach extended a hand down to his friend and Daeinde let himself be pulled to his feet. Raising an eyebrow at Nyxalinth, he waited for her to stand as well. "If Imago Storm sends word," he said, indicating Dhevez, "You know how to contact me. However, I plan on alerting him to my plans as soon as I'm capable. I trust you will be.. fine on your own, here?" The tone he'd asked in wasn't merely interested in knowing if the youngling Mage could conduct himself without his partner.

Bowing deeply, Dhevez tried to deny eye contact as much as possible. "As my lord wishes," he replied, his tone very formal. "I shall.. conduct myself properly in the absence of the lady." He raised his head in time to meet Atrios eyes and the Flame Atronach nodded to him. The Mage swallowed and dipped his head slightly to Atrios.

"Oh, and before I forget," Daeinde said, his eyes sparkling. He turned to the small Scamp. "Skudge, I do have a mission for you, if you're still interested."

Skudge nodded enthusiastically, "Skudge do favour for Daeinde," he said, sounding as serious as he possibly could.

"I need you to take word to Nocturnal about Dagon's plans. Not everything," he spoke up just as Dhevez seemed to make move to interrupt. "Only that Dagon is planning a war with Tamriel, it would be very helpful if she was aware of what is going on. Perhaps she may even have some insight to depart. Would you do this for me?"

"Skudge tell Nocturnal for Daeinde, promise to do good job!" he replied, feeling both excited about his important mission and honoured that he was being tasked with such a valuable role. "But, Skudge have no way home.."

"I can send you to Nocturnal's realm now. I'm sure you can get word back to me when you wish to return, unless you have your own means, that is. Even Nocturnal herself could send you back here when you have completed your mission." The Scamp nodded, his big eyes sparkling with importance. Daeinde cast a spell, hitting the smaller Daedroth with a ball of red energy and he disappeared in a shower of sparks.

"If there is nothing else..?" he asked, looking around the room. As no one said a word, he turned to Atrios. "It's settled then, Atrios, if you would be so kind."

The Flame Atronach nodded, his golden earrings swinging slightly. "Atrios teleport, ssee Nyxalnith father and handssome Dremora ssoon."

Dhevez bowed, his expression unreadable, as Kezreth moved forward to embrace his daughter. "You behave yourself, or I'll hear of it!" He stepped back, joining Dhevez as the trio disappeared in a flash of light.
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