A/N: More frequent updates, as promised.
Old Men on Mountains
Cato smiled lightly as the Thalmor guard blocked his path, "Why, of course," he said politely as he handed the High Elf the invitation scroll. Cato knew that the invitation was a forgery, but he was confident in his associate's skills. He wouldn't have been here if he'd thought otherwise.
The Imperial watched calmly as the Thalmor guard read the scroll. The Altmer nodded, "Welcome to the Embassy, Thane. It is an honor to have you here." Cato smiled. He was indeed a Thane - that part was true, but he was positive that the Thane of Riften, a rebel city, wasn't on the guest list for this party. The guard stepped aside, and Cato nodded to him politely as he passed.
The party room was of a good size, but packed with dignitaries; rich merchants, Thanes, Jarls, and stewards all. Immediately, Cato counted the number of exits. He had entered the party easily enough, but he knew that it would be in escaping that the real challenge would begin. He had dressed to impress, dressed in a black doublet with red trim, and his short black hair was neatly combed. He scanned the crowd, looking for his 'partner in crime', a wood elf by the name of Malborn. He spotted him behind the bar, tending to thirsty patrons.
Cato began to walk to the bar when he was blocked by a well dressed High Elf woman. She smiled politely at him, and he returned the smile, "Welcome!" she said, a little too enthusiastically. Ambassador Elenwen, and she's suspicious, Cato realized.
"It is an honor to be here, my lady Ambassador!" he said taking a bow. I've got her now, she didn't expect me to recognize her.
"Thank you, forgive me, I seem to have forgotten your name," she said politely, with a hint of malice beneath.
Now for the hook, "Of course, my lady, I am, after all, new to the court. We met during the funeral in Solitude recently? You may not remember me, we spoke only briefly, and I never told you my name. And I'm sure the funeral of the Emperor's cousin took precedence over meeting a minor Thane." Now she either 'remembers' me or doesn't. It'd be rude to forget someone, after all.
"Ah, of course, forgive an old woman."
Cato smiled sweetly, "No forgiveness needed, Lady Ambassador. I am enjoying your party; it is quite the get together."
She nodded, "That it is," she paused as someone called her name; some lord Cato assumed. "Forgive me, but let us speak again later?"
Cato nodded, "Indeed, I think I shall converse with the other guests." He watched as she left to speak with a very grumpy looking Nord. That, he thought, was close.
He made his way to the bar. The Bosmer greeted him, "Good evening, my lord, would you like refreshment?"
Of course everything was scripted before the party. Smiling, Cato gave his next line, "Do you have any Colovian wines?" Now he knows I am me, and not an imposter. One of the drawbacks of the Guild, everyone wore hoods. Last time he and Malborn met he had been wearing his hood.
"Of course, my lord," Malborn said, reaching under the bar and pulling out a red wine, "Cyrodillic red, as sweet as summer wine." Everything's ready.
"A taste then, my friend," he watched as Malborn poured a small amount of the wine into a glass. Cato took the glass gently in his hands, swirling the wine, and tasted it. It was sweet, and free of a bitter aftertaste. He would have enjoyed the bottle, if it hadn't been for the circumstances. He finished the rest of the glass, "A fine wine, bar keep." The guards are watching us, I need a distraction.
Malborn nodded, "I have never tried it. It is much too sweet for my tastes, my lord." I don't know.
Damn it, Cato thought as he handed Malborn the empty wine glass. Just then he heard a shuffling out on the main floor, followed by the sound of someone clearing their throat loudly. He turned and saw a very drunk Nord stumbling to the middle of the room. He had the attention of all the dignitaries, including the Thalmor guards. Raising his already empty bottle the Nord smiled, "Attention everyone!" he said, slurring each word, "Could I have your attention please! I propose a toast, to Elenwen!" He teetered forward dangerously before continuing, "Our Mistress! I speak figuratively of course. Nothing could be more unlikely than that someone would want her in their bed," he laughed a little too loudly. "Although... most of you are already in bed with her!"
At that point the guards swept in, grabbing the drunk by the arms. But the drunk paid no attention, and he continued his speech. Cato did not bother to listen to the rest, even as amusing as it was. He slipped into the shadows and behind the bar. Malborn joined him, shutting the door and whispering urgently, "What luck! That will keep the guards busy for a few minutes."
Cato nodded, "Where is the equipment I gave you?" he asked.
"In the back," the Bosmer whispered, "but we must keep quiet." Cato nodded again and followed as Malborn led him to a back room.
The kitchen was empty save for the Khajiit cook. She scowled when she saw Cato, "What is this Malborn?" she growled, "Guests ain't suppose to be in the kitchens. You'll get us all fired."
Malborn turned, "This guest is feeling ill. Probably because of your foul cooking."
She growled again, "He still ain't suppose to be here."
Cato smiled and stepped toward her, placing two Septims on the table with an audible clink, "I hope this helps for your trouble."
The greedy Khajiit took the coins, "I didn't see nothin'," she said, and continued her work.
Malborn hurried Cato into the next room and shut and locked the door, "You shouldn't have bothered," he said curtly, "she'll just spend it on skooma."
"If it buys her silence," Cato muttered, "my conscience is clear."
Malborn pointed to a chest in the corner, "Your things are there." Without hesitation Cato removed his gear from the chest. Quickly, he buckled his black sword to his belt, put on his black leather bracers, and strung his black bow and put it and the quiver on his back. Lastly, he donned his black Nightingale hood and mask, obscuring his identity in case he was found. He was a Nightingale of course; he would never work without it. "Good luck, Guild Master," Malborn said respectfully.
"I don't need luck," Cato laughed, his smirk hidden by his mask, "I have skill."
Revak held his breath as he entered the citadel that was High Hrothgar. The place was dark and lit only by a few dim candles. His eyes struggled to make sense of the shadows that crept around him and along the walls. Old ghosts, he thought. His footsteps echoed as the sound of his heavy footfalls bounced against the ancient stone walls. It was all familiar, yet still so strange. He found himself stopping in the center of the room, feeling unseen eyes gazing upon him.
"We feared you would not come," said a calm voice in front of him, so close that Revak started at the sound of it. A figure stepped forward, and an old man dressed in grey robes appeared, then another, and another, and soon Revak found himself by a circle of Greybeards.
Revak dipped his head, "My name is Revakkaal. I have come to answer your summons, and to speak with you," he said respectfully.
"And speak we shall we have much to discuss," said the first Greybeard. "I am Master Arngeir, and I speak for the Greybeards. You have an interesting name, Revakkaal. "
"It is an honor to speak with you then, Master. And thank you."
Arngeir smiled, "We summoned you because we heard your Voice. We have not heard a new Voice in so long, not since Tiber Septim himself! It is true then, that you possess the gift?"
"Yes, Master, I am Dragonborn," Revak said, standing tall.
"We shall see. If you can survive against the Unbridled Voice of the Greybeards, you shall be named Dovahkiin."
"Dovahkiin!" the other Greybeards whispered, causing the floor to shake slightly, and, somewhere high above them, a bell rang out once.
"I am ready."
Arngeir nodded, "Then let us begin my Brothers!" he said to the other four monks. They closed around Revak.
It began as a whisper, but slowly the chant became louder and louder. The world shook around Revak, but he stood tall, resisting the urge to cover his hears. They were so loud that he couldn't understand the words they were saying. The Greybeards spoke faster and the noise became louder. Revak stumbled, fearing his head would explode from the pain and sheer volume of the chant that surrounded him like an unrelenting force. He fell to one knee, panting.
The chant continued to rise in volume, and by this point his whole body was shaking. But then, it was silence. Revak stood slowly, expecting the Greybeards were done with their chant, but when he looked at the monks they were still speaking. Their eyes grew wide when he saw he was no longer affected.
This hadn't happened before. Last time he had visited he'd been forced to hear the entire chant. As Tiber Septim he'd survived, but only barely. He didn't feel weakened now, though. In fact he felt a familiar power. He gazed at his hands and found familiar warmth; a golden light surrounded him, blocking the combined Voice of the Greybeards. He knew it well, for it was his Divine Aura, the same he had as he walked Sovngarde as one of the Nine. The very same that had shown itself in his fight against Sahloknir. His skin felt feverish and hot with power. Sparks of electricity cracked as his strength rose.
The Greybeards finished their chant, their eyes flickering nervously toward Arngeir, who only stared in awe. Revak could swear that tears forming in his eyes. Their faces were lit from his golden glow, four of the monks knelt before him, murmuring "Dovahkiin". Arngeir remained standing, "What is your name, Dragonborn?"
Revak was silent for a moment. He felt the sheer power within him; the power of a god made flesh, "Revakkaal," he said, surprised to find that his voice was much lower, but different, as if he were not one person, but two.
Arngeir was shaking where he stood, "Your true name, Dragonborn."
Revak smiled, "Talos Stormcrown."
Immediately, Arngeir fell to his knees, tears flowing down his face freely, "Hail Tiber Septim!" he said, taking in the sight of the god of men, "Hail Talos!" he cried. The others joined him, the world shaking as they spoke.
"Werid kos Talos revak kendov, drog se jul
Lydia sighed as she stared at the flames of the hearth. How in Oblivion had she landed herself here? she wondered. Here she was, guarding an empty house for a mad Thane who was off chasing dragons and rumors of dragons. Does he really think himself sent by the gods? Or is it just the size of his ego?
Then again, she'd seen him fight that dragon at the Western Watchtower. She'd watched as he killed the dragon, and Shouted in victory. After that everyone claimed that he was Dragonborn. It seemed to be the only word on people's lips nowadays. Dragonborn this, Dragonborn that. The man had been gone for over a month and a half, and so far they had heard no more news of their precious 'Dragonborn'.
It was once thing to call the man Dragonborn, but it was something else when he claimed he was sent by the gods. She had a hard time swallowing that. Dragons were beasts to be slain, she didn't believe any of this nonsense about some evil dragon lord returning to rule the world, and that Revak was the solution and their only savior.
She was adding another log to the fire when she thought she heard a noise. She turned to the front door, and found a tall man in black and gold robes standing behind her. She drew her sword, cursing herself for not wearing her armor, "This home belongs to the Thane of Whiterun," she said strongly, "what business do you have here?"
The man lowered his hood, his appearance was Altmer, "In the name of the Dominion, in accordance with White Gold Concordat, you, Lydia of Whiterun, and Housecarl to the Thane of Whiterun, also known as 'Dragonborn', are hereby under arrest until further notice or until your hearing is concluded." The Elf stepped aside as two more appeared, these in golden heavy armor, and blades drawn.
Lydia scowled, "What is the meaning of this, Thalmor?"
The Altmer warriors stepped forward, "Will you come quietly?" one said beneath his helm.
"Never!" Lydia cried as she charged him. He blocked her attack easily with his sword. Lydia spun striking him in the leg and knocking him off balance just long enough so that she could bury her sword in his neck. He fell to the ground, gurgling on the floor as he choked on his own blood.
Blood streaming down her blade she attacked the second, but was frozen. She couldn't move. The first Thalmor stepped in front of her, blue magic gathered in his hands, a hold spell, she realized. The other Thalmor warrior struck her with his shield. She felt blood creeping down her face as the world became black.
Attn: So, I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please be sure to review and tell me what you think about the new perspectives, and what you think of the new original character, Cato! On to chapter fifteen, "A Blade in the Dark"!