It was raining when Amelia arrived in Aldcroft, although in her mind, even the rain couldn’t make the town more depressing. The townspeople would tell you that it was a thriving hub of the shipping industry, but while cargo ships did indeed dock there, the village itself was a sty, a few hovels centered around an open-air market and dock area, with a handful of campsites thrown in for good measure. A dozen or so decent houses were scattered here and there, but they only served to make the rest of the town seem more desolate. It rested at the southeastern edge of the Glenumbra Moors, and with Iliac Bay directly to the east, there wasn’t a lot of dry land, only a series of small islands connected to each other by footbridges. One road led out of town and met up with a major thoroughfare that connected it to Daggerfall and Camlorn. The humidity was oppressive year round, not to mention the stench of rot and fish. She had been used to it growing up, but it was amazing how being away for a few years could make a person forget. Either that, or it had gotten worse over time.
It was a moment Kaawen would never forget, standing there on the wall, holding Betath, kissing him in the sunset. But it couldn’t last long. After only a few moments, a guard came sauntering along on his patrol and broke the mood.
Betath glared at him and took Kaawen’s hand. “Let’s go see Captain Astanya before she leaves for the night.” He led her back up the beach to the docks, and then past a small market area to a set of stone steps leading up into the city proper.
At the top of the stairs stood a fully armored Altmer woman with graying hair and eyes so dark that it was hard to tell where the iris ended and the pupil began. She stood there with her arms folded, looking officious, eying them warily. She nodded when they walked up. “Fair evening. How are you, Betath?”
Aresin and DuBois were understandably concerned about a werewolf in Daggerfall and promised to be more vigilant. They were also apologetic over their treatment of the homeless, but Amelia didn’t really expect them to change. Aresin was right: they had seen a lot in their time with the guard, and that could make a person jaded.
Over the next few weeks, Amelia saw less and less of Aresin. They were both busy with bandits and Bloodthorns, and she never really forgave him for his insensitivity toward the homeless. After a while, it got to where they rarely saw each other at all, except when discussing work. She supposed it was for the best. She liked Aresin, but there was too much going on in her life to let her feelings develop into love. Fortunately there was little tension between them, and they were civil and able to work with each other. They still woke up in bed together occasionally, usually when they had been drinking, but even that grew less often.
It was spring in Glenumbra, and with the warming weather came what Aresin liked to call “bandit season.” The Red Rook bandits had grown bolder of late and had even gone so far as to take a local resident and his family hostage in their own home. The city guard was undermanned, so Aresin sent Amelia and Kireina to help rescue the family and get rid of the bandits.
The women went to Noellaume Manor northeast of town and met with Captain Farlivere, who was set up half a mile outside the grounds.
Back at the inn, Kaawen finally lost herself and cried over the Silvenar’s death. Betath held her as she wept, stroking her hair and whispering to her soothingly. When her sobs finally subsided, he handed her a handkerchief with which to wipe her eyes. Then he bought her a tankard of mead.
She wasn’t feeling sociable, so after finishing her drink, she said goodnight and went to her room. She slept surprisingly well, exhausted after running back and forth across Mistral for two days, and the catharsis when she finally let go. Although she was still feeling the loss and probably would for some time to come, she was refreshed the next morning when Betath knocked on her door.
“Vestige, it’s time we meet. Come to the Harborage, a cave east of Daggerfall.”
The Prophet’s voice in Amelia’s head woke her from a peaceful sleep, and she groaned. “Do we have to meet now?”
“What was that?” Aresin mumbled, throwing an arm over her.
“Nothing. Go back to sleep.”
He snuggled closer and kissed her neck. “I’m awake now.”
“Don’t be.” Continue reading
“Careful, Kaawen,” Betath warned her, but she ignored him.
As he knelt next to her, she began looking over the body, trying to be as respectful as possible. She couldn’t see anything suspicious at first glance—at least on his body, anyway. A red haze with the odor of sulfur permeated the air around him. “This has gotten all out of hand, Betath.”
The door opened and the Green Lady stepped inside. “It’s time for you to leave. I—NO!” She threw herself to the floor and began shaking the Silvenar’s shoulders. “No, no! Look at me, my love; open your eyes and look at me!”