Story Summary: Talos as the Main Villain of Skyrim.
Link to Previous Chapter: https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/d/p/4400000000003289938
Links to chapter 1 and more in bio!
A/N: Welcome back, we pick up where we left off with Stesh the meth chef.
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There'll be another day, for now I have to keep my demons at bay. It'll destroy me from the inside if I let it.
Maybe you should let it.
Probably I will.
You should let them kill you.
I'm too much of a coward for that.
I hate you.
I hate me too.
"Where did he go?!" Numerous voices sounded around the courtroom, resonating off his ears.
"Bastard's cast an invisibility spell!" Ancano growled. "Find him, he's still here. Lock all the doors and windows! NOW!" He yelled when the knights didn't do anything.
"Is this really necessary, your elfliness?" Prodded a knight. "We're going through all this trouble for a dumb kid who likes to smoke and sell refined moon-sugar? You sure this doesn't have anything to do with political blackmail?"
Stesha didn't hear the rest of the conversation, he had cast a muffle spell and silently sprinted back to the castle entrance and descended the steps. His surroundings blurred past him as he raced downward.
Why am I even running? I should've just...
A hare hopped past him, leading the way ahead.
Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? He improvised rapidly, well first things first I need to get out of Wayrest before they lock down the gates.
They won't kill me, they'll just throw me in jail.
Stesha ran as fast as his legs could carry him, springing up a bit when he saw the main gate was cracked open slightly. Alauna Gardner was pushing a cart full of papers and a printing press ahead of him, as guards trailed behind.
"There! That outline!" Shouted one.
Stesha rammed into Alauna with everything he had, sending her to the floor, swinging his fist and flinging a stack of papers into the air to fly back and blind the guards.
"Evasive manoeuvres, gentlemen!" Yelled the commander.
"Ooh, there's a sale on dolls!" Mentioned another. "For uhm, my daughter of course! Hehe."
"You don't have a daughter..." replied a third knight as Stesha left them in his dust.
Bloody idiots should've closed up everything before trying to arrest me.
He jostled out of the entrance, tiptoeing around a few knights stationed there and recast his spells quickly before jogging off into the eastern wilderness. As he passed by the outlying farms and grazing pastures, he saw the gleam of light over the Iliac Bay in Hammerfell, way off over the gulf. The yellow and green trees that guarded Stormhaven increased in density as he passed into the woodlands of them. His breathing increased in tempo and frequency as he accelerated faster and faster through the bushes. Running and wit were two of few things he'd been talented at.
"Can ya believe it, man?! My sister is pregnant, I'm gonna be a father!" A hunter was saying to his associate deep in the forest before Stesha front-hand back-handed him as he ran past them, still invisible, sending the pair of them into a frenzy. "What in tarnation?! It's them damn redguards! No good ruffians! Grand-mommy always told me to be careful of em'!"
I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear any of that.
Stesha stopped when he felt he was far enough in that no one would notice him. His heart rate calmed and his breaths steadied, dropping his spells. He sat down on a stump, scrunching into himself by bringing his knees to his face and drawing his cloak over himself. -- The holt was thickly wooded now, green moss and magical plants surrounded him. He checked his belongings in his small shoulder-slung satchel; a notebook and coin-purse were all he had.
I don't know what to think. Maybe I should've just let Ancano run me through with a sword, save me the trouble. If I go to Hammerfell, the desert will kill me if the corsairs don't. If I head to Skyrim, I'll freeze to death or the monsters will rip me to shreds. Either way I'm not staying here.
"They'll be looking for me now. The whole country will know. Juicy politics like this are bound to make the front page," Stesha sighed, giving up any hope of return. "Gods, I wish I had a mother. She'd know what to do."
Stesha picked himself up and kept progressing through the lemon-lime forested uplands whilst continuing his talk with himself, "truth is, no one cares. That court is full of selfish rabble; each with their own agenda, none of them were my friends. Only the gods know what'll happen to them now." Stesha pushed a few low branches out of the way and dragged himself along. "Maybe it would've been better if I was just never born." He put a finger on his chin. "I guess I'll go to Skyrim, hopefully a monster can just kill me there. Gods know I'm too cowardly to try and kill myself."
He cringed at the painful machinations. Maybe I ought to just find a quiet place and just... die alone there. It's not like I'll matter to anyone. There'll be no record of me in a hundred years, and I don't deserve to go to Aetherius. The gods would probably be disgusted by the sight of me if they ever saw me. And why would I even care about mattering to people. Chasing fame is a pointless and shameful pursuit.
A white flower petal fell onto his head as if the tree above him had shed a tear, he disappeared into the glossy greenery and overgrown nature. His mind plunging into darkness...
A day had passed and Stesha had finally made it to the city of Evermore, mostly unscathed. Having trudged through the turbulent flood plains, black wastes, vampire infested ruins of Wind Keep, all of which was contained in the Fiefdom of Gavaudon. Crossing into Bangkorai from the Bjoulsae Bridge.The invisibility spell, thank the gods I learned it. One of the only useful things I learnt at that stupid university. He didn't dare go into the city, instead dumping himself into a hay pile tucked away in an old farmhouse just outside. When he was sure no one would bother him, he drew his dark cloak over himself and passed out...
He saw a woman, no -- goddess, dressed in a white floral gown with blonde-hair and eyes as clear and full of life as geysers. She was nothing short of an angel. Stesha squirmed in his sleep at the sight of her, reaching out with one hand like the hopeless fool he was. She laughed at something and strolled away into a bedroom, a shadow with gleaming violet eyes followed her in. There she laid down on her stomach, de-robing herself and engaging in a consummate sexual embrace with what looked like a demonic man. The weird thing about this man was that... he had horns and a snake for a tail. Stesha felt his spine shiver and tingle at the hungry look on his face as he plunged into her backside. She had bliss on her features, biting her lip and gripping the demon's palms so tightly they turned red.
You deserve better than him. Stesha choked in his slumber, tossing for a place to hide from this terrifying, bad man.
Then the scene changed and Stesha saw the same blonde woman crying because she walked in on the Bad Man who was now in a similar embrace with a different woman. The blonde woman ran away, tears shining down her face. She ran into the arms of a man and woman who looked very kind, like they were her parents or something.
"Are you okay?" Stesha asked her but she couldn't hear him.
I hope she's alright.
"Dibella, dear, what's wrong?" The kind man asked. He appeared to be a golden king.
"Akatosh, it's Lorkhan! He never told me he was also married to Kynareth," Dibella cried. "This whole time he's been married to us both without either of us knowing."
"Shor the whore," Akatosh made light of the situation.
"He's taken advantage of me as well, when I was his prisoner. Those foolish nords of his actually believe me to be his wife too," the motherly elven woman said.
Maybe I should start praying to Dibella? I've just never had much of a reason too before.
The scenery shifted and Stesha sensed a great deal of time had passed since the first scene. He saw the goddess, Dibella, sitting on a bed by herself. She looked older now, about thirty in mortal terms. Her hair was much shorter, though it suited her defined face. She also had many artistic tattoos inked across her arms and legs, probably more but she was clothed everywhere else.
Stesha blushed, his knees quivering and arms tinkling like noodles.
Akatosh, who now had grown a beard to match his hair, came in with Mara. They sat down on either side of Dibella.
"Is everything alright?" Mara hugged Dibella tenderly.
Dibella didn't say anything, she just closed her eyes.
"The others don't understand your importance," Akatosh consoled her. "They might bastardise what you are, but we will not."
"We've come to tell you something," Mara said. "We wanted you to find out for yourself and didn't want to make you feel confined so we never said but..."
"What?" Dibella rose a prominent brow.
"We wanted to ask, what are your preferences?" Akatosh pried.
"Don't pity me, I don't need you to make a man for me!" Dibella glared daggers at them. "I can get by on my own."
"Of course, we don't doubt that. But, would it be so bad? We all know there is no such thing as soulmates, but we've never tried out the idea. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out," Akatosh stated, glimpsing at Mara.
Dibella flexed and stretched her bicep.
"An expendable experiment is all he will be. Though if he wounds me like the others, I'll destroy him." Dibella tightened her hands. "Why not just hand me any mortal then?"
"Because he's also going to be our child," Akatosh confessed. "Figuratively speaking. He is not actually our son, but he has the blood of dragons, so he is still considered a child of mine."
"He's a dragon?" Dibella's eye twitched.
"Only in blood and spirit. Though will be a mortal in appearance," Mara explained. "We were going to offer him as a bride to you. Untouched by any other."
Dibella rubbed her teeth together in thought. "Well, I suppose you don't have much control over who he'll become. He should have free will. Physically, I prefer someone feminine, submissive to my will. Bretons are mostly ickle, that could work."
"Really?" Akatosh stroked his beard. "I wouldn't have guessed that. Your previous partners have been mostly different types."
"Variety is the spice of life." She cracked a smile. "But, you said this boy will be untouched by any other? How?"
She's clearly been emotionally abused.
"If he takes interest in anyone growing up, I'll admonish him mentally or circumstantiate things so he can never be with her," Mara shrugged.
"Not to mention dragons have no need to reproduce, so he's not likely to find anyone attractive in the first place," Akatosh chortled lightly.
"Snakes have a high inclination to reproduce." Dibella blew out a stream of air through her nose. Stesha got the sense she was thinking of Lorkhan. "They have a very high sense."
Who is this last dragon person? I pity the fool who has to keep her happy. Good luck with that, mister dragon, whoever you are.
He woke up with a jolt, clenching his throat and sliding back against the barn wood. A lamb and a fluffy white bunny were sniffing him. He sat upright, rubbing his head and thus dishevelling some of his locks by accident. What the hell was I dreaming about? He shook his face and leaned back, moaning painfully a bit. The rabbit next to him put its head against his leg as though his thigh were a pillow.
"You need something?" Stesha's head throbbed, his quadriceps dead, but the sight of the innocent little creature made him smile. The lamb however licked his face. "I don't suppose you could get me a cup of coffee, could you?"
The lamb baa'd in response and set off, turning around and marching out of the small farmhouse.
Well, I didn't expect it to understand me. A cursory inspection of the barn showed nothing of note other than empty stables and piles of hay, a family of chickens nesting in one corner.
The bunny however was now crawling up Stesha's chest and he looked down to see why: a few pallid flower petals had fallen onto his shoulders and the rabbit was trying to eat them. Stesha handed them carelessly to the furry creature.
How did those even get there? There's no flowers in here.
The hare chewed the petals up toothily, its nose twitching and sniffing. Its front teeth didn't look too different from Stesha's enlarged pair.
Maybe we are related, he smirked.
"You shall henceforth be known as Sir Fufinius von Hare!" Stesha proclaimed. "Fufi for short." The rabbit just watched him like he wasn't right in the head, still chewing.
He yawned loudly as the lamb came back. To his surprise it had a steaming cup of coffee in its mouth. Stesha took it and patted the baby sheep on its fluffy crown.
"Did you steal this from your owners?" Stesha curved an eyebrow.
The lamb looked at the floor with a guilty expression etched on its maw before baaing in a low tone.
"I appreciate it but don't get yourself in trouble because of me." Stesha sipped the coffee, feeling the bitter taste followed by warmth wake up his insides as it poured down his oesophagus. "Wow, this is really good. Thank you."
He sat there for a while, drinking his caffeine and petting the animals, contemplating his next move, if I can find a caravan or carriage to Jehanna, I may have a chance of sneaking out of High Rock into the Dragontail Mountains. He drew his tongue over his teeth, wiping away the stains of dark coffee. His teeth felt warm against his tongue, the scent of java-beans tickling his nostrils.
"I'll have to make my way through the city," he whispered. Stesha replaced the bunny off himself much to its surprise as it began hopping up and down. "Sorry friends, I've got to go. I appreciate your help though."
He set down the empty mug and pulled his hood far over himself, lurking out of the dilapidated outbuilding in the direction of Evermore. -- A beautiful girl with bleached-blonde pigtails pushed him out of the way as she heaved a group of buckets over the cabbage patches.
"Out of my way, stupid boy!" She wailed.
Stesha hopped the fence, his feet sinking into the wet due of the grass. Why is everyone so mean to me?
The region of Mournoth where the city resided was thickly forested by the Viridian Woods, with flowing rivers and dangerous crags. Halcyon Lake lie in the center as the jewel of it all far off upland. Contrasting horribly with the ugly town of Evermore which lay within a crudely oval-circular wall, the head-monarch's castle at the middle, elevated above the rest, peering over the town and nearby graze-lands and narrow river-port. A cove Stesha knew thanks to geography books called Jackdaw was at the other side of lake, near some Ayleid ruins. Even from here he could see the congregation of pirates, orcs, nereids, and reachmen. A few jackals snapped past him, returning his attention to the foreboding city above. Aquatic fauna dotted the gravelly coastline and air smelled pungent here.
Gods, this place has fallen from grace.
The Armure Gate was open across a short bridge that covered a mote, wooden, old, and clearly rotting. The one silver-armored steward on post barely spared him a glance as he strode past into the city greater. Evermore was comprised mainly of dirt roads, shabby, stilted hovels and piles of hay here and there where the beggars and lowlifes congregated, outside The Stalls and Evermore Cemetery.
Stesha then saw the burned down Chapel of St. Pelin. Thank the gods I don't live here.
He noticed a sign hanging above one of the buildings that had a carriage logo imprinted on it. He stepped in, pushing aside the door. A grungy woman with brown hair up in a bun resided at the counter, examining her appearance in a hand-held mirror. -- The carriage office reminded him of the buildings of Bravil that he'd seen in paintings. Treen everywhere, a rug, and that was about the most curious thing he could find.
"I'm Mildred Demelza, how can I be of service?" She asked mechanically in her bretic accent, still studying herself in the small reflective-glass.
"I need passage to Jehanna." Stesha approached her, making sure not to get too close.
"Wayshrine or carriage?" She replied, still not sparing him so much as a glance.
"What's cheaper?" Stesha questioned, startled a bit.
"Carriage, though it takes much longer as you should know," said Mildred.
"Alright, carriage then." Stesha pulled out his coin-purse from his small cross-shouldered satchel. "How much?"
The nasally-sounding breton pulled out a book from beneath the counter and ran her fingers over her tongue to help her turn the page. She scrolled through, filing a few folios before saying, "thirty septims."
Stesha handed over the exact amount, thankful that he left Wayrest Chateau with some gold. She opened a different book that was already on the counter and dipped a quill-pen in some ink. "Your name and age please?"
"Uhh," Stesha murmured, thinking quick, "Matthew Motre, and seventeen."
Dang, I didn't lie about my age. Why do they even need age?
"Motre, eh?" Drawled the woman, penning down the name. "Of the nomadic Motre clan up north?" She reconnoitered up at him for the first time since his arrival.
"Err... sure?" He lied.
"You know, they say the Motre clan has links to nobility in Northpoint and ties to the Motierre family," Mildred went on.
"Oh, that's cool," Stesha yawned, covering his mouth with his left hand. "What's a Motierre?"
"Don't tell me you haven't heard of the Motierre's! Very prestigious breton family down in Cyrodill." She closed her book, hazel eyes bouncing animatedly.
"So, when is the carriage coming?" Stesha pried, wanting to go.
"Should be along shortly, just outside the gate." She reached under her desk once again and pulled out a ticket, handing it to him. "Show them this and make sure it's the carriage for Farrun and Jehanna."
Stesha grabbed it. "Thanks," he offered urgently, making a hastened getaway before the annoying lady could pester him further. As he was getting out, he kicked something over and a box broke open, several things falling out including a stuffed-doll of a nord woman, conservatively dressed with a flower in her short, blonde hair.
Stesha didn't know why but he couldn't keep himself from looking away. He bent down to grab it, turning around with a question on his face.
"It's my niece's stuffed Dibella doll. Course she doesn't play with it anymore." She flicked her hands. "What, do you want it?"
Stesha nodded. An attached tag on the toy's arm read; I love you. He hugged the doll against his neck like it was his own mother.
"Fucking weirdo." Mildred shook her head.
Stesha, gripping the doll in one hand, rushed back up to the gate but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw who was pacing up the dirt road.
Stesha pulled his hood further down his likeness and spun on his heels to walk a few steps down an alleyway with a water well towards the end of it. Thankfully Ancano zoomed right past him. Stesha took a shufti round and recast an invisibility charm over himself, hastily trailing the six-feet tall altmer. The Thalmor had marched right up to the argonian bailiff of Evermore, who was loitering near the Anchor's Point Pub, entertaining a few fellow guardsmen.
"Kantora," Ancano began, "I'm looking for Stesha Jade, son of Evarié Jade. As well as a dark elf named Idrasa Relas. You seen them?"
"Oh, well hello, handsome, how are you?" The bailiff flirted, rotating on the balls of her feet to regard the blond son of Summerset.
"I'm in no mood for pleasantries, Quick-Scales. Just tell me if you've seen them or not." Ancano squared his deltoids.
"Why don't you," she hiccuped, "describe them and maybe I'll tell you if I've seen them," the Saxhleel coughed again, "or not."
Ancano rolled his gold. "Stesha is fine-nine in height, physically frail minus the shoulders." He dusted off his broad armor-pads. "Idrasa is the same height, russet-red hair and eyes, nineteen, rather thin," he added when the Black Marsh sheriff stared at him with vacant pupils.
"Hmm." Kantora played with one of the ringed horns on her head.
"Bloody breton, not like that's going to narrow the search," Ancano muttered incoherently, then his eyes widened. "Oh yeah, one more thing; Stesha's got slight points to his ears."
"I don't know if you've noticed, elfie boy," said the lizard, taking a swig of her tankard. "But plenty of bretons have slightly pointy ears. Not exactly what I'd call a distinguishing trait."
Ancano is silly.
"Do you have any idea where they might've gone? Is it possible either of them have been here?" Ancano was sighing so loudly a flock of birds flew off from the pub's roof.
Stesha cast another sneak around the settlement. Mud puddles, small stalks of grass, and ruined buildings with no sewage or drainage since people were bathing in the streets inside of big wooden buckets. A few War Knights were jousting on one end of town while two scantily clad women sashayed up the incline towards Castle Evermore, a fat lord with an ugly mustache in between them, smoking a pipe, his hands dangerously close to the women's derrières.
This is what happens when you kick the gods out of your town. Fucking pedophiles and depravity left and right.
"Maybe they're pretending to be courtesans in the Duke's brothel," suggested Kantora Quick-Scales, waggling her scaly brows at the passing prostitutes. "Sound like quite the catches from your description of them."
Stesha and Ancano simultaneously gagged.
"You're no help," grunted the high elf, facing away from the drunken southerner.
"Alright, alright, I'll tell you where I think they went," she fessed up, clearing her throat. Stesha listened in interestedly. "It just so happens I've been informed about this little boy and girl of yours."
Stupid drunk bitch, quit drinking on the job. Even I'm beginning to get irritated and I'm not even supposed to be siding with Ancano. Stesha crept a little nearer, ducking behind a barrage of barrels. The musty smell of alcohol gave him the urge to retch. Definitely sticking to skooma.
"They're not my! They're wanted for selling skooma!" Yelled Ancano, attracting the attention of nearby passerby.
"Whatever, there's a skooma operation going on beneath Northpoint, in the sewers. Don't tell anyone I told you, but maybe they're there if it's true that they're junkies," exclaimed the Argonia native.
"Finally, a lead." Ancano peered up at the sky in supposed triumph. "Thanks, Kantora. Take care." Then the aldmeri advisor left, heading out of the city.
Stesha trailed behind him a ways, giving Evermore another pitied glance. A few chickens ran amuck, squawking. A little kid was sitting in a mud puddle, his father drunk from booze and passed out next to him. A creep was chasing a woman, shouting something inane.
Thanks the gods Ancano's been misled at least.
Stesha exited the rundown hellhole of a town shortly afterwards and hopped onto his designated carriage with a few other travellers, happy to see Ancano in a different one than he, going in the opposite direction.
Now, to Jehanna, and then Skyrim.
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A/N: Please leave your thoughts!
Chapter 6: Weeping Petals