This is fanfiction written by Vulpa. If you are reading this and find something you think I should change (such as something that does not work with provided lore) or want to give feedback on it, go to the talk page associated with this article. Thanks! P.S. I try not to have any spoilers, and most all of the characters are made up by me. And finally, if you think of a better title (or pictures to add), please let me know. The story sorta changed from what it was going to be along the way.
And if you like this one, I now have another fanfiction: The Lost Years.
This is Ahjisi the Khajiit from Skyrim. Not actually Rhaja'Harr. But the picture fit, so....
- 1 The Longest Night
- 1.1 The Characters
- 1.2 The Story
The Longest Night
The tale of a master archer, a Khajiit Dragonborn, who held the fate of all Skyrim in her paws and used her powers to outsmart an army of bandits.
In order of appearance:
Silva Gerethi, a Bosmer and Rhaja'Harr's employer
Rhaja'Harr, a Khajiit and the protagonist
Vulnasah, a dragon, name translating to Dark-Fury-Phantom
Shadowmere, Rhaja'Harr's horse
Varen, Dark Elf leader of multiple bandit clans
Brehn, a Nord bandit leader
"No, there's not many. None of them are very skilled. Certainly enough for an apt archer like you to handle. Now, go and earn this gold, my little Nightingale! You'll get the rest when you return with proof of the bandit clan's end. And don't forget the dark elf, Varen. He's their leader, and I want especial proof of his death." Rhaja'Harr bowed her head, muttering, "As you will, Silva," her white tailtip swishing behind her. Lifting the hood gently from her shoulders, she draped it over her ears and backed out of the room, placing the gold in a hidden pocket. This would be a long night, but the profit to be gained at its end would be well worth the trouble.
"Vul... Na SAH!" shouted Rhaja'Harr, her silver furred tail quivering with the force of her shout. In response, a great dragon circling in the distance opened its maw and bellowed, "Dovahkiin!" The dragon, Vulnasah, or Dark-Fury-Phantom, circled his eyrie once more before flying toward Whiterun's gates from the distant mountaintop. A horse whinnied softly by Rhaja'Harr's ear, and she turned slightly to stroke the nose of the recently resurrected Shadowmere. "Shh, girl, it's okay now," she soothed. The two had only just escaped from certain demise at the hands of a bandit clan, but with the help of a dragon, Rhaja'Harr knew that they could be easily defeated. Not that they should have been in the first place. Her employer was either very misinformed, or-- no. Best not to think like that.
Rhaja'Harr watched eagerly as the dragon grew nearer, then flared its wings and windmilled, raising a minor dust storm as it slowly lowered itself to the ground. Rhaja'Harr raised her voice over the sudden wind and the creak of dragon wings, yelling, "Aid me, Vulnasah, I need to exact revenge on some bandit fools." The great son of Akatosh jerked his snout once in the approximation of a nod, then lifted off to follow as Rhaja'Harr mounted up Shadowmere. The horse shook her head as well, her bright red eyes glowing fiercely in the growing darkness. With a touch of her heels, Rhaja'Harr spurred her mount onward towards the bandits' camp.
An hour passed and the sun lowered wearily below the horizon, its last glow bathing the land in red-golden radiance and silhouetting horse, rider, and dragon. Rhaja'Harr, who hadn't slept for days, began nodding in the saddle. The rhythmic pounding of the horse's hooves had a tranquil effect, as did the distant beat of Vulnasah's wings. Rhaja'Harr looked up sleepily; the dragon was lit by the sun's glow, shining red and silver in the dying light. She could see his teeth from the ground, and the scars of past battles on his membranous wings. He had once been the thrall of Alduin, the legendary World-Eater, until released by the Thu'um of the Dragonborn. He now assisted his savior when called upon. The glow of the sun finally vanished utterly, and suddenly the world was plunged into darkness. Vulnasah was just a red-tinged shadow, and Shadowmere a dark blur of legs beneath her. Rhaja'Harr could hold on no longer and slept.
It was fully dark when she woke, and Shadowmere was no longer galloping but slowly turning circles and glancing around warily. Vulnasah was nowhere to be seen. Snow glinted in the moonlight around her, a landscape of silver and black, in sharp contrast to the grassy plains she had last seen. Rhaja'Harr shook the sleep away and dismounted quietly, pulling her bow from her back and an arrow from her quiver. Both were carved from the blackest ebony and laid with the finest silver. The arrow's tip glistened with a deadly poison, and the bow glowed silver-blue with enchantment. Rhaja'Harr slid into a crouch and nocked the arrow. Stepping quietly, she slipped from boulder to boulder, carefully peeping out from each one before moving on. The bandits were near, she knew. Vulnasah was obviously hiding in waiting for her signal, while Shadowmere's nervousness showed that more than skeevers were around. And besides, Rhaja'Harr thought she could hear the distant sound of male boasting around a campfire. Peering from behind the umpteenth rock, she caught sight of four bandits, their voices raised in laughter as one spoke, lit by the fire, a tankard in hand. She sighted down the arrow and breathed out slowly, ready to release; when suddenly, the bandit's words hit her. She breathed in sharply and relaxed the tensed bowstring, leaning back against the rock.
"So," continued the drunken bandit, gesturing wildly to his laughing friends, "so I just waved my hand, like this," he demonstrated and nearly fell over into their campfire, "like this, and an entire ARMY of cutthroats went after this one little cat and her horse. A whole army, just for one kitty-cat. But we couldn't take chances, oh no," here he had a coughing fit, then swigged a drink from his tankard and continued, "not after she killed at least thirty of my men in our own hideout. Deadly with a bow, that one is. But not deadly enough for me and a hundred others. Ran like the scaredy-cat she is." The men laughed raucously and applauded, then the speaker sat down clumsily, nearly falling, and another took his place, talking loudly about a noble he had recently ransomed for ten slaves and fifteen thousand septims.
Rhaja'Harr growled softly and flattened her tufted ears against her skull, although they were hidden by the peaked cowl she wore. Here they were, the bandits, talking about her like she was some kitten they had scared away with a dull knife. They must be at some meeting of bandit leaders, because all four were dressed in piles of furs adorned with the bones of both animals and fallen foes. Each also carried either a greatsword or battleaxe, as well as the unmistakable posture of those used to having authority. Behind them was the entrance to a dark cave, warning signs painted obtrusively on its outside in blood. Rhaja'Harr felt again the sharp pang of betrayal. The one who had sent her to kill these bandits had either not known how extensive their network, or had and simply not cared for her safety, or even wanted her dead. She had accepted the job, imagining a quick, one-night job of clearing a cave of petty thieves. But 10 men had become fifty, then an army roaring for her blood. No lone archer could stand against that. And now there was not only one large bandit clan, but four, with their leaders exchanging stories outside of the cave that they were likely housed within. Something big was going on here. Something very big.
Rhaja'Harr suddenly left off ruminating and tuned in to the boasting again, sensing a change in tone. The leaders, suddenly mostly sober, were discussing quietly. Perking her ears, she inched closer, then reached in the pocket inside of her left boot for an Invisibility potion. Swallowing the bitter draught, she moved forward swiftly and silently, until she was only twenty yards or so away from the bandits. Her tail swished in shock to hear what they said. "But Varen, you know we can't take on all of Skyrim at once," said one, a huge Nord, his face crumpling in consternation. He was the one who had spoken about her earlier. "Thanks Brehn, I realize that," sneered another, a dark elf warrior wearing the armor of a Nightingale. Varen! Her contract! At least part of it. But why would he wear such armor? He must have stolen it, though Rhaja'Harr. "Perhaps if you had been listening," continued Varen, "you would have realized that I don't mean to lead a battle everywhere at once. But if we go city by city... the guards are focusing on the Stormcloak Rebellion. None of them will fight back until it's too late. We'll start from Whiterun, then move on to the rest. Each of us will control two of the major cities, and we will share Whiterun among us. What say you, Brehn? Are you ready to earn glory and gold in the name of taking over Skyrim?" Brehn paused, took another swig from his near-empty tankard, then nodded and called, "Aye!" He was quickly echoed by the other two leaders, and they stood to shake hands, then began moving toward the cave entrance, with Varen saying, "Now, each of you go tell your men. We'll have a night of feasting, then in the morning, we attack!"
Rhaja'Harr started. She couldn't allow them to get into the safety of their cave! She would never be able to get past their massed troops, and she had to stop them before they began their attack. Standing quickly, she screamed, "Vulnasah!" and loosed an arrow, straight at Varen's unprotected head. He ducked just in time, and the arrow instead speared Brehn's heart, who fell gasping to the ground as lightning played over him and frost spread across his limbs. His sword clattered against his dropped tankard. Varen and the other two were now fully alert, and pulled out their weapons, advancing menacingly. Rhaja'Harr fitted another poisoned arrow to the bowstring, and as she loosed it towards one of the remaining bandit leaders Vulnasah swooped down out of the darkened sky, roaring and breathing flames. Newly aflame and with the light of the campfire mingling with their own, the three bandits stopped, weapons still readied, looking nervously at the dragon above and trying to pat out the flames at the same time. One in particular was also trying to remove an arrow from his leather gauntlet. Rhaja'Harr aimed again, and as she sighted down the arrow Vulnasah roared and swooped by again, this time opening his jaw to snatch the bandit with an arrow stuck in his gauntlet. As he flew away, leaving no trace of the bandit, Rhaja'Harr let go of the tensed bowstring and skewered the third bandit through the neck, sending hundreds of volts of electricity straight to his brain. Only Varen was left, and he was looking decidedly nervous, glancing repeatedly at his fallen friends and the cave entrance. The fire was gone from his hair, but suddenly a new one lit in his eyes.
Roaring a battlecry, he rushed forward, greatsword held at the ready. Rhaja'Harr never faltered, and sent yet another barbed and poisoned arrow straight at him, driving it into his breastplate. Varen let out a rather different cry, staggered, and fell to one knee, one hand flat against the ground, the other curling, light gathering in the palm. Rhaja'Harr raised her bow to finish him off, looking carefully down the shaft at him. She pulled it back-- and was suddenly blinded! Varen had lobbed a fireball at her! Her armor was resistant and it quickly went out, but her whiskers were singed and her night vision temporarily ruined. Backing away, she shook her head to clear it, but by the time she recovered Varen was gone. He had undoubtedly fled into the cave to seek cover behind the four bandit clans within. If Rhaja'Harr wanted to complete this job, she would likely have to fight them all before getting to him.
Rhaja'Harr was going into this completely alone. Neither Shadowmere nor Vulnasah would fit through the cave entrance, not that Shadowmere would have been able to help much. And Rhaja'Harr was a solitary Khajiit, claiming both kills and gold as her own, so that the glory would always be hers alone as well. So it was just her and her bow. That had always been enough to pull her through, along with her wits and an array of potions, poisons, and magical remedies.
Stepping along the narrow path, Rhaja'Harr looked up to find herself at the top of a large cavern. The path she was on trailed along the edge to about a third of the way down, then widened into a large platform that didn't full cross the cavern. On the platform was a large number of makeshift tents, a few hides tied together and a bedroll underneath. There were also cooking spits, and even a simple smithy. All around, bandits lounged and talked with one another, telling tales and drinking ale. Some cleaned their weapons while others readied their bedrolls. A few also seemed to be on guard, like-- there! Two bandits were helping a tall dark elf lean on them through the tents, with some of the guards watching. Is it Varen? Too far to tell. But he was holding one hand pressed to his chest, and the other seemed to be glowing with a healing spell. His greatsword was slung across his back.
Rhaja'Harr nocked another arrow to her bowstring, twisting the flight a little for optimum accuracy. Sighting down the shaft, she waited for the right shot to come. But it never did. The bandits that Varen leaned against blocked him effectively, and Varen was soon out of range and staggering down a side tunnel. It seemed to lead down from the platform, to another below it... Craning her neck, Rhaja'Harr looked over the edge of the path on which she stood to see that there was another level... and another below that! The third seemed to be the ground floor, though, where the largest tents were erected. Presumably that was where Varen was headed, to heal in comfort.
"Hey, you! Cat! What are you doing here?" Rhaja'Harr jerked backwards, a paw nearly slipping off the narrow path. A guard was hurrying up the path towards her, pulling out his own bow, with a friend nearby ready to sound the alarm. That couldn't happen. Rhaja'Harr crouched, then leapt high into the air, scrambling to land on top of a boulder that jutted out to the side of the path. From her new vantage point shrouded in shadow, she lay flat and propped her elbows against the rock. From there, she sent a rapid arrow shooting toward the throat of the bandit alarm boy. His shout was quickly cut off, but loud enough to hear on the platform below. Voices were raised, the shiiink of blades being drawn clearly audible. Meanwhile, the bandit who had called to her earlier shouted a threat at her. With a hiss from both Rhaja'Harr and the bowstring, another arrow found its mark, pinning him against the cave wall while electricity shot through him and frost froze the blood in his veins.
A cry echoed through the cavern. A dark elf's voice, filled with authority. "Stop now, Khajiit! Turn back, or die! You have no idea what you are getting into. This is your last chance!" The voice then broke off in a coughing fit, but it was enough. Rhaja'Harr had pinpointed the voice to be on the bottom floor, some one hundred feet below. Hidden behind a group of bandits all pointing bows at her. She laughed. They could no more hit her from there than she could kill them. But now she knew where Varen was, even if the entire camp of roughly 200 bandits was now alert to her. She could see them now, abandoning their ale and goat legs, standing and raising their weapons. They were ready, but so was she.
Sliding off the outcropping of rock, Rhaja'Harr slunk forward in a crouch, keeping to the shadows on the path. At the bottom of the path, a line of bandits stood waiting, waiting for the slightest sign of a Khajiit tail. But there was also a path, before the line of bandits, that wound upward to a small ledge near the cavern's roof. There were crates and barrels stacked up there-- a storage area. A torch shone on the wall behind them. A plan began forming in Rhaja'Harr's mind.
A few well-placed arrows and quick furtive movements later, Rhaja'Harr was at the storage area, hidden behind a large mead barrel. She shoved it experimentally. It was full. Slipping a small dagger from her pocket, she stabbed a hole in the wood, leaving the dagger in as a stopper. Quickly snatching the torch from the wall, she held it ready. Then she stood up and shouted, "Hey! All of you! I'm willing to negotiate my exit from this place! Gather round, and don't shoot, I have an offer!" The bandits below looked up in surprise, then grumbled among themselves. The consensus was clear however, and they lowered their weapons slightly and gathered in a large knot below the storage area. Rhaja'Harr grinned. Perfect. "Okay, here's my offer. I want you-- to all die!" And with that, she yanked the dagger from the barrel, kicked it over the ledge, and threw the torch after it. One bandit didn't move quickly enough, and looked up to see the mead barrel falling straight towards him. He barely had time to gulp before the explosion. As the barrel hit the ground, its wooden casing shattered, leaving only the metal skeleton. Even that didn't last long as the torch struck the splattered mead, causing instant flames that rose nearly to where Rhaja'Harr stood and a wave of energy that shook the entire platform and threatened it to fall. Shielding her eyes, she watched as nearly one hundred bandits tried to escape the flames, only to find that the circle of fire reached nearly across the entire rock platform, and that there was no where to go. Tents went up in the blaze, as did bedrolls. The smithy reached a temperature that its creators never imagined. By the time the flames died, there was no one left alive on the top level of the cave, and the rest of the bandits seemed content to stay where they were on the lower levels.
That gave Rhaja'Harr another idea.
For the next hour, she worked at stabbing holes in barrels, hauling them to the edge of the storage platform, and pushing them off. Soon, the entire platform was swimming in mead. All that was left then was to light it. Using all her strength, as she was no mage, Rhaja'Harr summoned up a weak fireball, which she threw down to the center of the platform. For a second, there was nothing. Then-- BOOM! Flames licked the top of the cavern, threatening to catch fire to the crates that Rhaja'Harr crouched behind. Time to go. She sprinted toward the entrance of the cave as the top platform collapsed, crumbling into chunks that fell quickly toward the shouting bandits below. Not many were fast enough to make it to the tunnel leading to the ground floor. The rest found a quick and dusty demise. Varen's army was depleting quickly. He had at most fifty men left, which could easily be picked off one at a time until only he was left. Rhaja'Harr's lips curled into a ferocious grin. She was looking forward to finishing this one.
Picking her way through the rubble, Rhaja'Harr stooped every now and again to pick up trinkets or gold from the bodies of bandits strewn about. A lovingly polished ruby here, a coinpurse there, even once a diary found on the body of a surprisingly hefty Nord man. Rather unsurprisingly, the grammar was terrible and the spelling nearly illegible. But from what she could tell, it looked like this bandit had a propensity for sneaking around (despite his size), and had been the first besides his leaders to find out about the attack on Skyrim. His glee was obvious. In disgust, Rhaja'Harr turned away, straining to shift a boulder from the passageway to the ground floor.
The rock fell away with a loud crack. If the bandits below had hoped that she would leave them alone, the answer was an obvious 'no' at this point. Rhaja'Harr sighed. It would take some serious sneaking to be able to surprise them now. Nevertheless, she stole quietly through the passageway, removing a blazing torch from its sconce as she went, snuffing it out and throwing it to the ground. The tunnel was veiled in darkness, with soft moonlight entering from a hole in the roof above. It shone on a line of bear traps placed along the hallway, with no room to step around them. In front of the line was a pressure plate, and Rhaja'Harr looked up to see a heavy log suspended over her head by a few measly ropes, coiled tightly above it. No prized for guessing what would happen from activating that plate.
Rhaja'Harr was a master at disabling traps and passing locked doors, but this was different. The only way not blocked by tons of rock to the ground floor of the cavern was past these traps. That covered the ground for nearly fifteen feet, with not an inch inbetween. The ceiling was blocked with a large tree trunk, as if she could get that high anyway... and no matter her skills, Rhaja'Harr couldn't walk along the smooth cave walls. The only way forward was forward. Forward. That gave Rhaja'Harr an idea, one that would be named as one of the most brilliant in breaking-and-entering history. Stepping forward lightly, she placed a small but heavy coinpurse gently on the pressure plate. As soon as it touched the cold metal surface and the log dropped down, she leapt backward, executing a perfect backward flip that landed her at where she had dropped the torch. Grabbing it, she concentrated, lighting the tip of one finger with another fireball spell. Touching her finger to the pitch at the torch's head, it immediately caught and burst into flame. With this in hand, she rolled forward, using the momentum at the end of the roll to leap high into the air and swipe the ropes holding the log with the torch as she fell. They were old and dry, and quickly the flame burned through, causing the log to fall and activate the bear traps, which snapped at its edges and left large bite-marks in the wood. Dropping the torch once more and snuffing it under her heel, Rhaja'Harr stepped gently onto the log and walked along it, bypassing the bear traps and entering the room at the end of the tunnel.
"Stop where you are!" The commanding voice of a dark elf shattered the otherwise silence of the room. "You've done well to come this far, to kill so many of us... but you won't survive this." Before the elf had finished speaking, before Rhaja'Harr had even pinpointed where the voice came from, a volley of arrows shot towards her. She dove to the floor, then curled into a tight, armored ball. A second passed as the bandits reloaded, and she coiled her energy. As she heard the hiss of arrows flitting around her head and the ping of a few striking her in the back, Rhaja'Harr released and exploded out of the position into a tremendous leap that carried her onto the same level as the bandits. She had had a split second to see the room as she entered, and noting that the floor itself was empty and the bandits (the rest of them, around fifty at least) were arrayed on a ledge at head level, she had dove into a position placing her at one of the natural ledge's lowest points. So now, her leap carried her up to the ledge and onto a surprised bandit, whose leather armor was not enough for a swipe of sharp Khajiit claws.
Whipping out her bow and drawing an arrow, she shot instinctively and struck a bandit in front of her in the chest. The arrow extended through his back, nearly pinning the man behind him to the wall. The ledge was just narrow enough that they could only come at her one at a time. Hope flooded through Rhaja'Harr, to be dispelled as an arrow stuck in the wall above her, quivering. She had nearly forgotten: the cave was basically circular, so there where still a good number of bandits who could get at her with bows. Rhaja'Harr grinned, a fearsome sight. Not for long. Before the next bandit could clamber over the bodies of his two colleagues, Rhaja'Harr aimed her bow straight up, at a stalactite. Aiming carefully, she struck its base, ducking to avoid the arrow that came bouncing back and the ten that flew toward her head from across the cavern. A web of cracks raced across the base of the deadly rock spear, and it fell swiftly, slicing through the pathway, taking out a bandit on the way and carving out a gap that only a Khajiit could jump.
Yanking another arrow from her quiver, Rhaja'Harr noted with a twinge of unease that the remainder rattled loosely. There were nearly fifty bandits here, most all aiming bows at her heart, and she was running out of arrows?! Quickly loosing the one she held, a small Bosmer dropped with a shriek. Pulling out another, she skewered another, this time an Imperial, through the small gap between his helmet and breastplate. He fell, gurgling, as yet another arrow, then another, found its mark. Rhaja'Harr whirled and leaped, in a deadly dance, only just cheating death each time an arrow flew a path of death towards her. In return, a stream of arrows flowed from her bow. The enchantment was long depleted, as was her supply of poisons, but still she fought. Arrow after arrow thudded into the chinks between armor, or met their mark in unguarded skulls. Finally, after nearly twenty bandits had dropped to the floor below, Rhaja'Harr reached for an arrow to find that her quiver was empty, and she hadn't seen Varen since she heard his voice. Performing an acrobatic flip, she leapt to the floor.
From there, she challenged the remaining bandits: "Enough of these games! I am a master archer, and you'll never defeat me that way." She said nothing about being out of arrows. "So why not give me a real challenge? Meet me here, in single combat." She knew that the bandits would never have the morals to fight fairly, or even one-on-one. But her challenge still had the desired effect-- bows were dropped or sheathed, and blades were pulled out with heavy snicks. There was a large number of maces and axes as well. All-in-all, a deadly array. But not enough to stop the great Rhaja'Harr, one of the few to learn the way of the blade from a Shadowscale friend.
Dodging and ducking high and low, Rhaja'Harr whirled like a dancer. Every blow she struck with her katana caved in helmets, sliced through armor and flesh, and tore out hearts. Her blade was an invisible flurry, noticeable only by a hum and minor disturbance in the air it passed through. But still, the crushing crowd was too thick. Another fifteen lay heaped around her, but others pushed through the pile. And Rhaja'Harr was tiring. A glancing blow slit through the soft leather on her wrist. A mace strike bent the Armor of the Nightingale that protected her back. A dagger lodged itself in her left leg, crippling her and making her much less agile. She tried to pull out a healing potion or summon a spell to her hand, but she was too weak, too slow... All she could do was keep... fighting.... The last thing she saw was a blunted mace whistling toward her head.
Rhaja'Harr blinked the grit from her eyes. She tried to raise her head, but dropped it back when pain shot through her skull. She tried to lift her paws, but her fingers didn't seem to bend and her wrists seemed stiff. She tried to move her legs, but they seemed sluggish and reluctant to bend. Rhaja'Harr groaned, and fought against sleep. The pain in her head was astounding. Finally, she gave in, and fell into the void.
When next she woke, Rhaja'Harr felt as though she'd slept for days. Every bone ached, and when she tried to sit up her stomach cramped and a lightning bolt of agony blazed through her head. She winced, then opened her eyes to a blinding shaft of light. Suddenly, the light was cut off, and silhouetted in front of her was the shape of a Dunmer, dressed in Nightingale Armor without a hood. Varen. "Rise and shine, cat." Rhaja'Harr snarled, and reached for her bow. It was gone. So was her empty quiver, and her sword. She still had all of her armor though. That was comforting. Varen strolled from the light, and as Rhaja'Harr's eyes tracked him, she noted that they were in a small cave room, presumably leading from the floor where she had been overwhelmed. To her right was a passageway, but no other exit. Except perhaps up. Glancing upward, she noticed that the room was only a couple dozen meters underground, open to the sky, which was bright with midday sun directly overhead.
"So, cat. Let's start simple. What's your name?"
"You'll get nothing from me, bandit scum," hissed Rhaja'Harr. This man had tried to have her killed too many times to have any pleasantries from her. Slipping her hand into her boot, she grabbed a dagger and thrust upward, towards Varen's bared throat. He leaped back, grabbing for his blade. Then a strong hand gripped her arm in a vice, deadening the fingers so that the dagger fell to the floor with a clatter. Subsiding, Rhaja'Harr sighed. That had been her last ace.
"Fair enough," Varen smiled, "I expected nothing more. So then, now that that's over, let's get down to bare facts. Your choices are simple. Either you listen to me and walk out of here alive, or you don't cooperate, and I kill you. Don't start with the posturing: I still have a few of my men left, and although it is no longer enough to take over Skyrim, it is easily enough for one to put a dagger in you before you move an inch." Rhaja'Harr suddenly became aware of a sharp something poking into her back, at a tiny chink between armor pieces. A chuckle sounded behind her head, and the dagger pressed a little harder.
Varen paused to let that sink in, then continued. "Do you plan on cooperating?" Rhaja'Harr snarled viciously, then bowed her head. "I don't see that I have a choice. But tell me, Varen," she nearly choked on his name, "why not kill me now? I'm no use to you, and if you let me free I will hunt you down and every one of your followers."
Varen walked slowly in front of her. He appeared relaxed, but he was fingering her dagger and the hilt of his greatsword was always within reach of his hand. "Well, cat, I think you're wrong there. I have a job for you. A message to send. If you comply, I will let you walk out of this cave with all of your weapons. You may take your horse as well, and I don't suppose I could do much about the dragon anyway." Rhaja'Harr snorted quietly. She supposed not too. Varen gave her a withering look, then resumed. "So I'm willing to let you free, and hope that you will deliver the message. Either way, we will watch you with our bows ready until we see you ride out of sight, and if you return, we will be long gone. So will you consent to being a messenger-cat?" He laughed quietly. Rhaja'Harr opened her mouth to reply scathingly, then remembered the stabbing in her back. She would hear this message, then leave. Whether it deserved delivering would be up to her at that point, and with less than twenty bandits left, she could hunt down Varen's clan at her leisure. She smiled.
"Certainly, Varen. I am most interested to hear this message you are so keen on delivering." Varen laughed again. "Oh, little cat, I wouldn't entrust something this important to your puny brain. Suppose you forgot some of it?" He laughed again, while Rhaja'Harr flattened her ears and bared her teeth. "No, I have it here," he flourished a rolled piece of parchment. It was sealed with unprinted wax. "Know you Silva Garethi?" Rhaja'Harr started, her eyes widening. No, it couldn't be... What could this bandit have to say to her? How did he know of her?
"I see you've indeed heard of her, as I thought from your armor," continued Varen smoothly, eying her from the edge of his vision. What?! This elf knew of Silva, and the Nightingales? His armor wasn't just stolen, then. "In which case you no doubt know where to find her. Bring this to her. And don't bother returning. We will be far away from here." Rhaja'Harr was still deep in thought as she agreed, taking the parchment and her dagger that he tossed lightly at her as the stabbing sensation in her back lessened, then disappeared. She was escorted bodily to a small tunnel, and was soon shoved out into the bright light of day. She heard behind her the creak of bowstrings being drawn, but was too shocked to be insulted. Shadowmere had obviously been caught by the bandits and was tied to a post. Rubbing her neck absently, Rhaja'Harr mounted up and rode away, towards Whiterun.
Making a brief stop at Breezehome, Rhaja'Harr's house in Whiterun, she dumped off all her unwanted jewels and other pickings gleaned from the bandit cave. Shadowmere was busily eating hay in the stables by the main gate. As for Vulnasah, Rhaja'Harr assumed that the dragon had left, disappointed that there was no army of bandits to devour. Rhaja'Harr looked around her long-time home. Was this the last she'd see of it? This message that she had decided to deliver was obviously no simple message. Something important was contained in that innocent looking parchment. Perhaps something momentous, such as learning of the attack on all of Skyrim. She could stand it no longer. Leaning against a perilously full bookcase, Rhaja'Harr fished the letter out of her pocket and broke the seal. It was plain, with no indication of being stamped (as it generally was) with the sender's insignia. As such, it would be easy to replace.
Carefully unrolling the parchment, Rhaja'Harr's eyes scanned the long-winded paragraphs. One in particular caught her eye:
- And so, dear Silva, I wondered if you would shake off the cloak of anonymity and come to visit us in the Ratway. You know where. We would greatly value your counsel. You would be welcome to stay with us as we plan our comeback. That emissary whom you sent to destroy us was a little too effective-- while we are of course extremely upset to have lost so many men to her, we will be willing to accept you once more into our ever-growing ranks. None would be better suited to further our cause, given your expertise, and I am sure that we could supply the gold you would no doubt require for your assistance. In fact, if you have others like that (here a sentence was written, then crossed out with wide lines of ink) Khajiit working for you, you ought to bring them as well if you accept our offer. We would be glad to fund their work with us. Soon we will again have enough men to overtake this snowy wasteland, and then... once we rule Skyrim, we will take the entire Empire, and beyond! This world will be redone in our honor, and you could rule it with us, dear Silva.
Rhaja'Harr leaned back, allowing the scroll to furl up. Well, well, well. It was true. Her contractor, employer, master... a traitor to Skyrim, and an associate of bandits to boot. Looking up in despair, she wondered how she could ever have fought bandits in her name. It was only a cover, a ploy. Her long-time master and friend had loosed her on the country's rabble while she no doubt worked with them behind her trainee's back, plotting to destroy Skyrim and eventually all of Tamriel! Rhaja'Harr bowed her head, composing herself. Well then, she would be dealt with like every other bandit out there. Unmercifully. Now looking up with a hard glint in her eyes, she checked to make sure her armor was properly in place and her weapons were all easily accessible. She began to stride forward, pausing when she heard a strange hiss. Then the world went black.
Rhaja'Harr opened her eyes blearily. Her mouth felt fuzzier than her tail, and when she tried to lift her head it fell back of its own accord. A light laugh sounded. "Ah, you're awake. Good. Are you feeling alright?" Rhaja'Harr tried to hiss, but her mouth was too dry. The voice belonged to Silva Garethi, her mentor and traitor to Skyrim. "I'm sorry I shot you, but I didn't think that you'd listen to me. Oh, Rhaja, surely you didn't believe what was in that little scroll? We've been friends too long." Rhaja'Harr finally succeeded in rasping out, "Yeah, that's what I thought." Silva sighed as she walked into view. She sat beside Rhaja'Harr, causing her to realize that she was on a comfortable couch, the same that she sat on every time she visited. She was tempted to ask for water, but no longer trusted her friend enough to think that she wouldn't poison it.
Silva continued. "Surely you don't think I would reply to such a letter? There it is, in the grate." Rhaja'Harr turned her head painfully, and sure enough she could see the delicate parchment crumbling into ash in the fire, the seal melting and smoking gently. "I can see you still don't believe me, Rhaja. Then let me explain myself. I will tell you everything."
And so, Silva told her long, sad tale:
"It is true, I once was a bandit. When I was very young. Varen-- yes, the same-- was my one and only friend then. We joined a bandit clan together. I did some petty thievery, and few muggings-- nothing too violent. We made a lot of gold, and were happy. But then we were ordered to murder a noble for the gold in his pocket. Most of the bandits leapt at the chance, practically salivating at the easy gold. But I held back with Varen. Neither of us wanted to go that far for some spending money. The leader of the clan (a big Nord, Brehn I think), noticed us hanging back, and told us that we were to be separated. I went to another clan, far away from my one friend. Varen stayed behind. Oh, we kept in touch. But eventually, his letters telling grand tales of what he planned to do once he had enough money petered out. There was no more looking to the future. Only the gold. Right then. It seemed like he began to actually enjoy hurting people for their gold. Even killing them, or their family as blackmail. I severed contact. I continued with the petty thievery with my new, and considerably weaker clan. Then, when I was too disgusted with myself to even crawl from my bedroll in the mornings, I left. I don't think they even noticed; I had made no friends there. It was just business. So once I was gone with my meager share of the gold, I spent weeks wandering around, here in Whiterun, as a beggar. Eventually I began thieving again, this time out of necessity. A small gem here, a necklace there. But the guards finally caught me one day. So I sat, in jail, with nothing to do but practice magic-- something I've always found time for and enjoyed. It was first a hobby, but in the long hours I began experimenting, working on the spells I made. Soon enough, I could do an Invisibility quite well. I cast it just before mealtime, when a guard came with soup. He was kind to me, and made sure that my bread was never too stale. Well, on that day he came to a seemingly empty cell. Bemused, he opened the door and looked for tunnels. But by then I was already gone. I hid here, in these forgotten tunnels under the Whiterun Hall of the Dead, for many years. Then, once again needing money, I traveled to Riften to join the Thieves Guild. They welcomed me with open arms, lauding my skills at magical deception (which I had perfected during my stay here) and my ability to quickly escape after thefts with some properly timed magic. I made friends there, and for the first time in a long time, I was happy. Then, a newcomer entered our ranks. He arrived one day, soaked from rain, with a proposal. He was there to reinstate the Nightingale Trinity, a Thieves Guild practice long forgotten. However, he had to be part of it. His name was Varen. I was overjoyed to see him, and against better judgement gave him the benefit of the doubt that he had left behind his murderous bandit ways. And so, the Trinity was refounded, with him, the guild leader, and myself as partners. For years Varen and I enjoyed our reinstated friendship. Then, it once again changed. He was contacted from his old clan. They were recruiting members for what they called 'the greatest of quests' and that it would bring fabulous wealth. Varen eagerly left the next day, inviting me along. I declined. I was happy as a Nightingale. A week later, the Guild was nearly destroyed during a bandit attack, our position having been betrayed. Only Varen had the information necessary as a Nightingale to provide such information to fuel an attack so vicious. Only a few escaped. Our guild leader was not one of them. I only just escaped with my life. That day, I swore that I would never stop until my treacherous once-friend was dead, and his 'greatest of quests' uncompleted. So I started recruiting myself. I found you, Rhaja, and others like you. You now wear the armor of our late guild leader, the armor of a Nightingale, the armor of a friend. Are you ready to save Skyrim, to stop this 'greatest quest', to finish Varen once and for all?"
"No. First, tell me why you never told me." Silva groaned theatrically. "I know, Rhaja. I should have. But I didn't tell anyone because I never knew who was working for Varen. There have been spies." Noting Rhaja'Harr's flattened ears, she added quickly, "Of course I trusted you, Rhaja. But I didn't want it slipping out by accident. You never know. And I thought if you faced such an army confidently, you would have much more of a chance. You're special, Rhaja. I knew that you could do it, and I didn't want to mess up that confidence."
Rhaja'Harr sighed. Silva always had had a flair for the dramatic. But her story had come from the heart. She was no traitor. The traitor was that sly dark elf. Varen would die for his crimes. Standing shakily, she extended her hand. Silva jumped up, grinning, and shook. "The Nightingales are now only two, yet they are at their strongest. Now let's get you ready to ride."
Once Rhaja'Harr had recovered and the two had relaxed and swapped stories for nearly a day, Rhaja'Harr was ready once more for combat. The two left Whiterun once more under the cover of night, and headed for Riften.
"That special place Varen mentioned in the letter to meet him at was in the Ratway, in a hidden room that he once found. He only told me about it, not even the guild leader. It was our little hideaway, to escape from everyday troubles. It should be... here." Rhaja'Harr watched as Silva walked lightly down the damp tunnel, Nightingale Armor shining with a light purple glow. She stopped, placed her hand on a seemingly ordinary section of wall, and searched. She finally found what she was looking for, and pulled triumphantly on a small string. The wall shuddered, then a door-sized section slid silently into the ground. The room beyond was darker than Rhaja'Harr had ever imagined. No light shone at all, and the silence was deafening. The Ratway seemed deserted (the Guild had relocated after their location had been compromised), and there were no signs of life.
Silva was compelled to whisper, even though nobody was around. "Rhaja, it looks like Varen's not here yet. We'll wait for him on the inside, with the door closed. He'll have no idea we're here, until he steps in and onto our blades." Misgiving chilled Rhaja'Harr and caused her tail to twitch erratically. "But Silva, what if he did the same thing, and he's--" Silva hadn't heard, she was still talking. "But it's so dark in here. I'll just light it up for a minute so we can get ready to attack from the back of the room." "Silva, no!" hissed Rhaja'Harr. But it was too late. Her friend's hand glowed with a magical light, brightening the room in its warm glow and shining on the faces of-- "Get down!" screamed Rhaja'Harr, shoving Silva to the side and throwing herself after her. The hiss of arrows shooting above them sliced through the air as bandits inside cursed.
Silva was livid. "Varen!" she shrieked. "You set me up! Again! I was your friend, you traitor! I thought you had changed, back then in the Guild, but I was wrong. You don't deserve the Armor! The Guild was nearly finished because of you! And now you're playing for much higher stakes-- not just the Guild, or even Skyrim, but all Tamriel. These have been the longest years of my life, searching for you. Now that I've finally found you, you trick me again, and try to kill me in this room that we were once friends and colleagues in. And not only me but a warrior far greater than you ever were, or ever would be if you continued to live after today! You should be in a pool of your own blood right now. But that can be remedied. Prepare to die!" Varen had been silent through this, but his bandits were not. They had been busy training their bows on Silva, and now that they had heard enough to report to Varen with, they released. Rhaja'Harr once again tried to knock her friend out of the way, but this time wasn't fast enough.
"Aargh!" Rhaja'Harr fell to the stone floor, her tail splashing into a puddle. The arrow in her chest was restricting her breathing. The armor had crunched with the force of the blow, further closing her airway and pushing out her lifeblood. The pain was unbearable, and Rhaja'Harr could feel herself slipping away, into an unconsciousness that she would never awake from. Silva screamed, this time in fear. "Rhaja!" A healing spell light both of her hands, and she bowed her head, concentrating. When she raised her head, even her eyes glowed with the healing light. Leveling her gaze and her hands at Rhaja'Harr, she released the crackling energy, which entered the already limp Khajiit's body with a jolt. Light poured from every inch of her fur, and as it faded, she felt herself returning. The pain was quickly leaving, her energy rejuvenating, even her armor repairing. With a soft thud, Silva crumpled to the floor, exhausted.
Shiiink! Rhaja'Harr snapped her head around, drawing her bow at the same time. The bandits were advancing with their blades out and eyes hungry. They could smell the wealth in Rhaja'Harr's unique armor, and Silva's expensive magical robes. And who knew what was hidden in their pockets. Rapidly drawing an arrow from her replenished quiver, Rhaja'Harr loosed it in a flurry of movements, downing a bandit with a single shot between his now-crossed eyes. By quick count, there were eleven of them, the remainder of Varen's force. But where was Varen? No time to think. Standing over her friend's body, Rhaja'Harr poured her arrows into the bandits. They were so hungry for gold they didn't seem to notice their friends falling around them. Or perhaps they were thinking, Oh, there goes so-in-so. Oh well. More gold for me! Either way, they didn't put up much of a fight, and by the time they had rushed out of the completely darkened room, nearly half of their number had been downed by Rhaja'Harr's lightning reflexes and impeccable aim.
But there were still six left. Silva was stirring by her feet, but not with much commitment. It was up to Rhaja'Harr. Having no time to properly sheathe her bow, she dropped it at her feet and drew her katana with the same motion. Swinging it around full force, she caved in a bandit's helmet and completely removed the head of another. Attacking ferociously, she dove into the melee that ensued. But she was quickly tiring. The healing spell had certainly done wonders, but having just cheated death yet again was a lot for it to fix up in less than a minute. The effects were wearing off, and while the wound stayed healed, crippling fatigue was beginning to cramp her legs and make her arms weary enough to barely hold the blade. By the time she fell to her knees in utter exhaustion, there were still three bandits, and another attempting to remove his badly dented helmet in futility. One bandit laughed. "There's only a few of us left, but that means that we get more of the reward. Bye-bye, kitty-cat." Chuckling, he raised his axe above his head--
--and lost his grip on it as he choked. Blood ran down his lips as he coughed, clawing at his chest where a sword-tip had suddenly materialized. His eyes clouded, and he tipped forward to fall face-first on the end of his own axe. Rhaja'Harr grimaced, then looked up gratefully at her savior. Silva smiled weakly, motioning at the two bandits heaped behind her. "You're losing your touch, Rhaja. Imagine, me having to save you." A loud clang sounded as the man with the caved in helmet sat against the wall and finally managed to remove it and it fell to the stone floor. He looked up, with fear in his eyes, at the two blades suddenly leveled at his neck. He paled. "Wait! I can take you to Varen!"
The sun had been above the horizon for hours before the bandit finally sank to his knees, out of breath. Rhaja'Harr and Silva (both riding lent horses-- Shadowmere had sprained an ankle) dismounted and walked over to him. "Tired?" queried Silva, knowing full well the answer. The bandit nodded weakly. After a moment, he had recovered. Standing shakily he added pointedly, "Yes, I am. But that's not all. We're here. Varen is in there." Raising his hand, he pointed to a nearby cave entrance that was covered by hanging moss. "Now, please, may I go?" Before Rhaja'Harr or Silva could answer, an arrow streaked from the cave. The bandit fell silently, his hand still curled into a pointing position.
Rhaja'Harr hurried Silva behind a large rock, pulling out her own bow as she did so. Hiiiiiss... thunk. One of the horses gave a loud squeal and pitched forward. The other reared, kicking its front legs, and bolted, eyes rolling with the whites showing. A laugh echoed out of the cave, fading as its owner rushed into its depths. Silva jumped to her feet (she had been making sure her dagger in her boot was accessible) and rushed toward the cave, leaving Rhaja'Harr with no choice but to follow.
Brushing past the strands of moss, they ran lightly down a long tunnel that sloped gently downward. Reaching a dogleg left, Rhaja'Harr acted on a hunch. Grabbing a large rock by her left foot, she hefted it, then whirled it around the corner as hard as she could. A loud, vibrating clang echoed down the hallway and a muffled curse followed it, then the sound of running feet. Tearing around the corner, the two pursuers raced after their prey. They could always hear Varen just a little ways ahead of them, but no matter how fast they ran he was always faster.
Then the footsteps stopped.
Rhaja'Harr looked around. They were in a small, circular room, and had passed no other passageways. The entire cave had simply been a single tunnel that led to this room. Varen should have been trapped. And yet, he was not there. "Be ready," she whispered to Silva. There was no reply. "Silva?" She glanced behind her. There was no sign of Silva. "If you're doing an Invisibility, tell me please. ...Silva?" Rhaja'Harr suddenly had a horrible feeling that she had walked into a trap. "Silva?" she called softly, stepping slowly backward. "Siiilva...." There was still no answer. Rhaja'Harr took another step backward, and stepped on her tail. "Ouch!" Shooting a quick glance behind her, she saw that the tunnel which she had entered the room in was gone. In its place was solid wall. She was trapped. There were no other exits.
A piercing wail cut through the stillness. It cut off sharply, then came again, louder and full of fear. "Silva!" cried Rhaja'Harr. She looked for a way out, but there was none. The walls were steep, nearly completely vertical. The ceiling was far above, and the floor itself was stone. The wail sounded again. Rhaja'Harr sheathed the sword she had drawn and threw herself at the wall, scrabbling for purchase. Finding a small handhold, she clung to the wall like a spider, then reached higher for something to hold onto. Nothing. Dropping, she tried another place, then another. But no matter where she tried, she could go no higher than a few feet. And still the cries continued. Then, horrifyingly, they stopped.
Rhaja'Harr stood stock still, straining for any sound. There was none. Absolute silence. What would she do now? What could she do now? What-- whatwasthat?! Something was... skittering down the wall toward her. She looked up, then leaped back as Varen propelled himself with a kick off of the wall and jumped toward her, dagger out and ready. Rhaja'Harr pounced. Landing heavily on her attacker, she drove him to the ground with a series of punches and claw swipes that punctured his light armor in multiple places. Overcome and surprised, Varen simply stared at the ferocity of the attack for a few long seconds. Then he fought back. Struggling to his feet, he pulled out his greatsword and swung it in a single movement. Ducking under the blow, Rhaja'Harr pulled a dagger from one boot and a second from the other. Placing them in an X, she readied herself for the next swing.
Surprised that his foe was not attacking, he swung once more. This was the exact mistake that Rhaja'Harr had been waiting for. Catching the greatsword with the crossed daggers near its hilt, she stopped the swing and jarred the Dunmer's hands. As he cried out and loosened his grip on the blade, she uncrossed the daggers and drove both into his chest, then yanked them back out. The sword fell to the floor. Varen tried to speak, but blood bubbled over his lips and flowed onto his once gleaming armor. A healing spell sparked in one hand, but fizzled out. He was losing energy and blood too quickly. Rhaja'Harr stepped back. Varen keeled forward. As he landed, his eyes grew misty and his sword hand fell to his belt. It landed on a small bottle.
With his last breath, Varen snatched the potion from his belt and poured the contents into his mouth. His eyes grew clear, and he stood unsteadily, but growing stronger every second. Rhaja'Harr snarled. Why won't he die ?! Dropping the bloodied daggers, she pulled a small crumpled scroll from a pocket. Reading quickly, she allowed a trickle of purple-black power to grow in her slightly cupped palm. When it was at full power, she dropped the scroll (which winked out of existence) and opened her hand. An inky black portal appeared next to Varen as he bent to retrieve his sword, and from it stepped a being of rock and light. A Storm Atronach. Varen held his sword high and took a step towards Rhaja'Harr. Then, sensing something over his shoulder, he turned-- and barely avoided the swing of a boulder toward his head that crackled with heat and static energy.
While he was occupied with the atronach, Rhaja'Harr crouched behind him, pulling one by one the healing potions from the line of sparkling bottles on his belt. Then she took her bow out with calm slowness. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. She knew without a doubt that this nightmare was about to end. Silva was already dead, and Varen was about to be as well. With exaggerated slowness, the portal opened again and the atronach disappeared mid-swing. Varen turned, unscathed, toward his enemy. Rhaja'Harr smiled and drew the bowstring taut. From these close quarters she could see every emotion flickering through Varen's eyes with crystal clarity. First surprise, then anger. Then fear. The fear made his pupils dilate, his eyes to widen, his mouth to loosen. The grip on the hilt of his sword tightened. He knew that there was no way he could reach her before she loosed the poisoned arrow.
A drop of poison fell silently from the arrow's tip. Rhaja'Harr let go. She could almost see from the arrow's head as it flashed toward Varen. In his last moments, she knew that he was reaching for a healing potion. As he sank to the floor, the light in his eyes fading, she knew that he realized what had happened, and was utterly terrified as he went to his doom.
Over. It was over. Every last one of the bandits was dead. All who knew of the plot to conquer Skyrim and beyond had been taken care of. Varen was finally defeated. The nightmare was over. But she was still trapped in here. And Silva... Silva.... Rhaja'Harr walked unsteadily over to the corpse of the dark elf. Searching his body, she found a worn note, a key that hummed with magical power, and a very large purse of gold. Sitting back against the cave wall, she read the note.
- Varen, you and I have been friends for a long time. So I give you this key. It has been given magical properties-- but only when in a certain cave. You may find it... useful in your mission. Go to this cave (marked with a key on your map at headquarters) and make your way to its end. There, in a circular chamber, hold the key and say invisi doris to close and open the doorway. Holding the key and saying levitus will carry you up near the ceiling to a small alcove. It may be useful for hiding in, trapping pursuers, and then dropping down on them. Good luck, and do not fail. We are counting on you.
The note was signed with a flourish and the signature 'Brehn', although the writing was obviously not his. No doubt he had sent this note via courier, who had taken artistic liberty. Otherwise, the writing would no doubt be hardly legible.
Rhaja'Harr stared at the key. Holding it in her palm, she whispered, "Invisi doris." No sound was made, but as she looked behind her the door through which she had entered was suddenly open. "Levitus." Suddenly she was rising above the body of Varen and moving slightly left. When she stopped, she simply stepped forward into a little niche that opened up further in to a carved out hole large enough to accommodate perhaps three full-grown persons. On the far wall a sentence was roughly carved: You chose the wrong side, friend. Under it, her limp hand touching 'friend' lightly, was Silva. Rhaja'Harr could tell from where she was that she was dead.
Bowing her head in grief, Rhaja'Harr crawled back out of the little alcove and slid down the wall. There was no need to bury her friend or her murderer-- they were already underground. But she had to make sure that her friend's tomb was never found again and used for ill. Tearing the note into tiny pieces, she threw them in the air. They landed gently, and almost immediately cave dust began to settle on them. They would eventually be buried, then rot into nothing. The key was more difficult to dispose of.
Rhaja'Harr glanced at the door. Standing close to it, she muttered, "Invisi doris," and snapped the key in half and dropped it. As the wall slid over to cover the doorway, Rhaja'Harr rolled out and watched as Silva and Varen were sealed away forever.
Shadowmere was still recovering in the stables with a badly twisted ankle, so when Rhaja'Harr felt like freeing herself from her grief, she stood outside the gates of Whiterun and shouted, "Vul... na SAH!" Before long, a distant roar replied, and the silhouette of a dragon wheeling through the sky toward the city appeared. Rhaja'Harr smiled, waiting for him to land. When he did, she climbed onto his neck and slid down to where it connected with his back. He flapped his powerful wings once, and rose wordlessly into the clear sky. Turning about, he flapped his massive wings once more and sailed toward the distant sunset. As the sun dropped over the horizon, Rhaja'Harr saw her future in the brilliantly colored but fading rays. She had had quite an adventure, but now that it was over she was more than content to lean back and retire comfortably. She had, after all, saved all of Tamriel. With a brief sentence, she told Vulnasah where she wanted to go, and he turned again, soaring majestically through the darkening sky. As the two passed over the crypt where Silva was buried, a single tear fell to Nirn. Then, accepting fate, Rhaja'Harr moved on, flying toward the sunset on the back of a dragon. Her job was done. It was time to go home.