Friends Fan fiction story

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Friends Fan fiction story

Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:53 pm

Happy birthday to me.

I peeled myself off the cell floor, which was somewhat sticky with gods-know-what. The sun struggled to penetrate the pathetic excuse of a window. I sat up and scooted over to where the sunbeam touched the floor, hoping it would provide some warmth, but alas, it didn't help much. I sighed. Exactly 3 years ago today, my sorry arse was tossed into this cell. How, you ask? Short and simple.

Thieves Guild, huge heist, screw-up, prison.

Why did I think that a 17-year-old thief could take on breaking into the Imperial palace? It was my birthday, and my fellow guildmates were showering me with praises, and mead. So I guess it's only natural I got cocky. I breezed through the Old Way, and screwed up when I didn't calculate the guards' shifts properly. To add insult to injury, I stumbled into the bloody guard quarters, to find over 15 men in the process of changing out of their clothes.

Had the circumstances been different, I would have laughed at the looks on their faces.

The icing on the cake though was being "apprehended" by two guards. They offered to take me to the Imperial prison.

They didn't.

Instead, they complimented how "physically matured for my age" I was, and how my "silky black hair and sky blue eyes were a nice contrast". Red flags went up right then and there. They took me into a storeroom, and tried to force themselves on me. In the struggle, I managed to kick over a weapons rack, and luckily one of the other guards heard it.

Problem is, it was Hieronymus Lex.

Lex and my parents were really close. They loved him as a son, and pretty much took care of him when he first came out to the Imperial City. I've known him ever since the day I was born. So picture if you will, the expression on his face when he saw me, the top part of my armor removed, and two men holding my arms down.

Needless to say, he was pissed.

Now imagine the hurt and look of betrayal, when I had to tell him that I was the thief that broke into the palace.

Even to this day, that look on his face still haunts me.

A wonderful birthday gift. Failure to carry out the greatest heist, almost being raped by two corrupt guards, removal from the guild you were with for so long, and…

When someone who was practically part of your family wouldn't even look you in the eye when he threw you in here.

That night, I cried my hardest. Fear, shame, disappointment, and distrust all made a nest in my chest that night.

I swore I would never drink mead again.

I wrapped my arms around my legs and shivered at the somewhat sudden cold air that always seemed to be present. The Dunmer man who was in the cell across from mine, took notice. "What's wrong, Imperial maiden? Are you cold? If you want, I could ask one of the guards to put you in my cell. Then I could warm you up."

My face burned with anger, but I refused to engage him. The Dunmer, named Valen Dreth was unbearable to be around. He was drunk off of fantasies that he'd become some big-shot noble after he gets out of prison. When the guards came around he'd assault them countless times with his plans.

I'd bet my life other prisoners would choose the death penalty than be stuck with this guy.

My heart sank as I looked at Dreth from the corner of my eye. Would that be my fate? Stuck rotting in a cell until my sanity would all but desert me, and I'd only be running on impossible fantasies? I buried my face in my arms.

So is the fate of the thieves and murderers, huh.

My waterfall of thoughts ran dry as I heard voices coming down the upper hallway.

Dreth grabbed the bars of his cell and cackled. "Well, I guess they're coming for you!"

I stood up in a heartbeat. "Wh-What do you mean?!" I demanded, unable to hide the scared squeak in my voice. He gave an evil smile and silently turned away. My legs started shaking. What if they decided the death penalty for me? I didn't steal anything that night! Sure, I picked a few locks and trespassed, but that's hardly worth a person's life! The armored footsteps grew louder and louder. I sucked in a breath and tried to hold my head up high. The most honorable thing to do at this point would be to accept my fate.

Azure, the Imperial woman whom at the tender age of 17 got overconfident and had herself thrown in prison. Such a shame, executed at only 20 years of age. She had barely begun to live…

I frowned disdainfully.

Don't you love it when your mind writes your obituary for you?
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part 2

Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:54 pm

"Prisoner! Get over by the window, now!" an Imperial man barked at me.

I blinked, both relieved, confused, and somewhat taken aback. It took me a few seconds to gather my wits. "You're….not here to kill me?" I asked shakily.

"No, but I will if you don't get over by the window." He growled and gave me his nastiest glare. I slowly backed up to the window and pressed myself against the back wall. My cell door opened and the guard entered the cell. "Stay where you stand, prisoner." He ordered.

Three other people entered the cell, a man and a woman with the same attire as the Imperial man, and…

My eyes widened when I saw the third man enter the cell, in robes of the finest fabrics, in dyes of purple, red, and gold. He had an air about him, one that was both comforting, yet firm. I hung my head down, averting my gaze. Whoever this man was, he was important, and I'm pretty sure that cranky guard would cut me down if I made eye contact. I looked up, but I didn't move my head. My heart nearly stopped when I found the well-robed man looking at me intently. Crap, I thought, did I do something wrong? I felt a weathered hand touch my jaw and lift my head up slowly. Using the other hand, the well-robed man brushed my overgrown bangs out of my eyes. I tensed up for a second, but something in his eyes made me relax. He had a comforting, sort of fatherly atmosphere. After a few seconds, he spoke to me, in a voice that could only be described as royal. "I've seen you before," he began, examining my features carefully.

What? Where could he have seen me? My parents were vineyard owners, not nobles!

"in my dreams." He finished.

Okay.

Moment over.

In his dreams?! This poor man must be senile!

"I'm sorry, but…Who are you?" I questioned. He smiled and released me.

"I am Emperor Uriel Septim. For 65 years, I have served Tamriel as her ruler."

Holy Mudcrabs.

The emperor! The bloody emperor! I suddenly feel extremely self-conscious. My hair is mussed up, I have dirt on me, and I look like a skeleton due to the pathetic prison "meals" that were given to us.

"I-Well-Uh- Y-your Majesty…"I pathetically try to greet him, but to no avail. How could the Emperor of Tamriel know about my existence? People like him are supposed to see me as the scum of the earth! I'm a damned thief for Stendarr's sake! I can't hold myself back. "F-Forgive me for asking, your Excellency, but, why are you in the Imperial prison, of all places?" Immediately I regret asking that question.

"That is none of your business, prisoner!" The armored Breton woman to my right snaps at me.

The Emperor looks at the woman. "Please, Captain Renault."

The woman bows her head. "Apologies, Sire." She says sheepishly.

"As we speak, assassins are hunting for me. They've already taken my three sons, and there's no telling when or where they might show up. My Blades are leading me through an escape route that leads through your cell. Now, why are you in the Imperial prison of all places?"

My heart rate elevates and my face turns deep red. I hang my head down, and let my bangs cover my face like a curtain of shame. "I...was caught trying to break into the Imperial Palace." As soon as the sentence left my lips, I can feel the Blades' scorn tear through me. I look up through my bangs to see the emperor smiling at me. Suddenly, the Blades' judgmental looks don't matter. I feel relieved that he's not judging me, even though I am just a thief.

"I do not know if you believe in Fate, my child. But I believe that your Fate and mine are closely linked."

"Please Sire, we must keep moving." Captain Renault urged. She went over to the wall and pushed a block in, causing a secret door to reveal itself.

Damn. 3 years in prison and I didn't notice that?

The Blades and the emperor slipped into the darkness behind the door. "Looks like this is your lucky day," The Redguard man said back to me. "Just stay out of our way."

I stood there, still trying to wrap my head around what just occurred. I stepped toward the door and looked down into the darkness. I swear I felt a small gust of wind pulling me into the tunnel. What should I do? I pondered furiously. Should I follow them? Would that be jailbreak? I'd be with the emperor, so he could bail me out…he said so himself, that our Fates were intertwined. I tapped my fingers on my lips.

Do you really want to be stuck in here any longer with Valen Dreth?

I practically threw myself down the tunnel after that thought.

The area beneath the prison was hell.

Wielding nothing but Renault's katana, and a rusty iron shield, I had to face rats, goblins, and the occasional mudcrab. My sword skills were rusty, so I decided to go with a bow. Lucky for me, my archery skills were not easily hindered. I pushed through a door and found myself staring at stone walls similar to the ones I saw when I first came down here. I heard footsteps approaching my position. I hunkered down in the shadows, trying to hide from the remaining Blades. Moments later, I heard iron and steel clashing against each other, and shouts and groans from down below. About 10 minutes later, I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard their voices sounding off, still alive.

"I think that was all of them, I'm going to take a look around, Glenroy." The Redguard man said.

"Baurus," came the emperor's voice, "Have you seen the prisoner?"

"Do you think she could have followed us? How could she?"

"I know she did."

Well damn. My cover's blown. How does he do that? I stood up from my hiding place and jumped down onto the floor. I should have remembered Glenroy was the short-fused, on-edge one.

"You again?! Kill her! She might be working with the assassins!" Glenroy spat, advancing toward me with his sword drawn. "Wait! I'm not!" I said backing away. "I don't know who they are!"

"Glenroy." The emperor's voice came from behind, and Glenroy stopped advancing.

I swear, you could put this man in the middle of a raging battlefield and his voice could pacify everyone.

"She is not one of them. She can help us. She must help us."

Stepping closer, the emperor explained to me how the Nine guide our fate, and how our stars mark our path. He then bade me to assist them in helping the Emperor escape. It was not an easy task. I was sore and bleeding from the spells and weapons. But the emperor comforted me to the fact that we were almost there. I held my head up high and kept my back straight. I wanted the emperor know that he could put his trust in me as I did him.

"Dammit!" Glenroy swore. "The gate is barred from the other side!"

"What about the side passage back there?" Baurus offered.

"Worth a try. Let's go!"

We slowly reached the back room, only to find no outlets. I panicked a bit when I heard voices coming from the larger room that we had just emerged from.

"Stay here with the emperor." Baurus said sternly. "Guard him with your life."

With a shout, Baurus and Glenroy rushed in to engage the unwelcome pursuers. For a while I stood in front of the emperor, with my sworn drawn and muscles tense. I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder, I looked back to see the emperor with the amulet he was sporting earlier in his other outstretched hand.

"What's this?" I said looking down at the red jewel.

The emperor smiled sadly. "Take the Amulet. Give it to Jauffre. He alone knows where to find my last son." I searched his face. Why was he talking like that? It honestly scared me.

"Find him. And close shut the Jaws of Oblivion."

It all happened too fast.

The wall opened.

An assassin stepped out.

His dagger found the emperor's heart.

The life left the emperor's eyes.

Anger consumed me in a heartbeat. I felt like it was my own father who had just gotten killed. I mercilessly jumped at the assassin, sword swinging wildly, and tears prickling in my eyes. In one swift movement, my sword found the assailant's throat, and I twisted it around, making sure he hurt as much as I did in those few seconds. The assassin fell to the ground with a thud. I still shook.

Not enough. It's not enough.

I raised my sword to plunge it into the assassin's chest, but a pair of gauntlets grabbed my hands. "Prisoner! Stop! It's…over…" Baurus said from behind me.

I dropped the sword with a clatter, and knelt down to the emperor's body. I put my hand over his eyes and closed them.

"I'm sorry. I failed you…" I whispered to the emperor's body.

Baurus put a hand on my shoulder and gave a dry laugh. "If anyone should be the epitome of failure, it's me, prisoner. I failed to protect the emperor, and now he and his heirs are dead." I still looked down at the emperor's body. "You mind telling me what that was all about? That meltdown you just had?" Baurus asked curiously.

"Parents were murdered, by someone trying to get into the Dark Brotherhood…." I mumbled. Baurus was silent for a few moments.

I reached into my pocket and showed him the amulet. "He…gave me this. Said I needed to take it to Jauffre to find his last heir."

Baurus looked down at the glimmering jewel. "Sounds like something Jaffure might know. He's the grandmaster of my order, he lives as a monk in Weynon Priory, just south of Chorrol."

I chuckled a little.

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"It's kind of hard to imagine a monk wielding a sword." I said, smiling a little. He smiled back at me.

"That's what I said when I first joined the Blades, but he can swing a mean Dai-katana." Baurus then pressed the key to the sewers into my palm, and bid me farewell as I made my way through the sewers and out into the sunlight. I let the sun shine down on my face and smiled at the warmth. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the amulet and gripped it tight in my hand. I will not fail you, sire. I swore. I looked up at the sky and feel my heart grow unusually light. I raised an eyebrow at the sensation.

"My dear, Azure. You want to know something? They say when you look up at the sky and your heart becomes like a feather, the Nine are tying you and your future love's strings of Fate together." For some reason, my mother's words popped into my mind.

I shrugged and continued on my way.

Fate, huh?
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part 3

Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:55 pm

By the blessing, of His Late Majesty, Uriel Septim VII, I bring you the Amulet of Kings!

I nod as I decide that this is the way I'll greet Jauffre. Since he seems to be the head of the Blades, I think that a more regal approach would be in order. Standing up straight, I open the door to Weynon Priory, and am immediately greeted by an Imperial monk.

"May I help you?" he asks.

"I need to speak with Jauffre." I say, secretly priding myself on the strength of my voice.

The monk waves toward the stairs. "Go up those stairs, he'll be reading in the library."

I thank him and tromp up the stairs with confidence. I approach an older Breton man who seems to be enraptured in his book. I hold my head up and walk towards him.

"I'm brother Jauffre. What do you want?" he says looking up, uninterested.

"Uh….The Emperor sent me to find you." I squeak out. The hell, Azure?! What happened to "By the blessing of his late blah, blah, blah"!? Jaffure seems to be slightly interested, having closed his book, and leaning forward on his desk. "Emperor Uriel? You know something about his death?"

"Yes. I was there when he died." DAMN! Shut up Azure! Are you even thinking before you speak?!

Jauffre tenses up and stares at me hard. "Explain yourself." He orders harshly. "Now."

I figured I did enough talking so I pull the Amulet of Kings out of my pocket, and hand it to him.

"I….he….gave this to me….told me to take it to you." Jauffre cocks an eyebrow, and gives me the once-over. I'm still in my prison clothes, and I haven't exactly had time to powder my nose, so it's understandable if he has his doubts. He looks at the Amulet and sighs. "Have a seat. We have much to talk about."

I sit there, mouth agape as Jaffure tells me how dangerous the absence of an Emperor of Septim blood is to Tamriel, and how Mehrunes Dagon seems to be the ringleader in this twisted plot to break through the barrier of Tamriel and pour the realm of Oblivion over it.

"But all hope is not lost, Jauffre," I say optimistically, "Before the Emperor died he told me to find his last son."

"Ah, yes." He says closing his eyes. "Martin is his name."

My heart starts pounding excitedly. "Martin? What's he like?" If he's the son of Uriel Septim, he must be fearless, wise, and powerful! An Emperor fit to take his father's shoes!

He opened his eyes again. "Azure, calm down. He is unknowing of his bloodlines, and who's to say that the Elder Council won't reject his claim to the throne?"

I look at Jaffure quizzically. "Why wouldn't the Elder Council accept? They should be begging him to be emperor!"

Jauffre sighed. "He's an illegitimate heir, and I am the only one who knows of his existence."

I felt my heart tense. "I understand…no one could have fathomed this to occur….But," I say standing up quickly, "If the Elder Council won't accept him willingly, I'll beat them into accepting him!"

Jauffre gives me a strange look, then pinches the bridge of his nose. He starts laughing softly. "With such tenacity on our side, I cannot imagine failure… Martin is a priest at the Chapel of Akatosh in Kvatch." He stood up and pulled a map out. He pointed to the city. "About North-Northwest of Skingrad."

I nodded. "Right! I'm on my way then."

He grabbed my shoulder firmly. "Azure, you should rest. It's a long way out, and you don't exactly look in the best shape. You'll need all the energy you can. We can't have you dying of starvation on your way out." I was hit by a wave of self-consciousness. I did look terrible, what with the sticks and dirt in my hair…"Rest here for tonight, we will draw you a bath and make dinner."

"Uh, that's very kind of you, but I…" I lower my voice. "I wouldn't feel comfortable taking a bath in a house full of men."

Jaffure smiled. "We are monks, Azure. We are above such worldly desires."

That's comforting. I think dryly.

The next morning I set out to begin my quest. Before I set out on the road, Eronor, the shepherd, stopped me. "Excuse me, before you depart, Prior Maborel has offered you his horse. It's already saddled."

A horse would cut down the travel time….I nodded. "Thank you kindly. I'll take you up on that offer." I cautiously approached the horse; I've never really dealt with animals this big. "Easy…easy…" I say softly. The horse nickered in response. I slowly reach for the reins, but the horse whips around and takes a mouthful of my hair into its mouth. "Damn it! Don't do that! I just had a bath!" The horse releases my hair and nudges my side. I put one foot in the stirrup, and the horse tenses up. "Calm down, and trust me." I say, stroking its mane. The horse stands still as I settle myself in the saddle. "See? I trust you. Do you trust me?"

The horse answers by blowing gas out its back-end.

"Ugh…I'll take that as a 'yes'." I say pinching my nose and fanning the fumes. "I think I'll name you Trust. How's that for a name, horse?"

Trust shivers a little bit and blows out more gas…I think it's gas….what's that I hear hitting the groun-

"Oh GODS! TRUST!" I screech.

Trust whinnies in glee, and I kick his sides, heading on the road to Kvatch.

About 8 hours later, I'm on the Gold Road, well on my way to Kvatch. A black pillar from the corner of my eye catches my attention. I look up at it. Smoke? It looks like it's coming from Kva- My heart seized in my chest. The heir! "Trust! Let's go as fast as we can!" I kick his side, and he rears a little bit, then takes off, hooves pounding against the road.

I turn up a slight slope and see tents set up all around. An Altmer runs to me in a frenzied state. "Run!" he yells, "It's only a matter of time before the guard is overwhelmed!"

"What do you mean 'overwhelmed'?"

"The daedra! They overran Kvatch last night! Some horrid engine came and….I don't know! There was fire and death! I'm getting out of here, and you should heed my words and do the same!" He began to turn away.

"Wait!" I stop him, "Do you know where I can find a priest named Martin?"

"He was in the chapel…but I don't think he made it out. Very few of us did…"

I clenched my jaw tight. "Trust, let's go!" I speed up the winding hill. Damn! I swear repeatedly to myself. I've got to get in there! But what if the Altmer man was right? What if Martin really….Damn it all! My heart is pounding hard with fear, worry, and anger. The sky begins to paint itself a deep red, and that only accents my mood.

"Stand back, civilian!"

An Imperial man clothed in a cuirass bearing the crest of Kvatch prevented me from advancing. "This is no place for you. Get back to the encampment at once!"

I jump down from Trust's back. "Please! I need to get into the city!"

"Have you not noticed the gods-damn Oblivion Gate blocking the way?! If it wasn't there, we'd be in the city hours ago!"

"I must get in there!"

"Then you are at an impasse! With that gate still there, no one is coming out or going in!"

"Let me help!" I blurt out. "Please. There's someone very important in that city. I need to see if he still lives!"

He looks at me with bewilderment. "You are but a child. You will be no use to us."

"I am not a child! I am 20 years old, and ever since I was 5, I've been trained in archery extensively. I can wield a sword, but I am more confident in my marksmanship. Please. Please. Let me help!" I say all in one breath.

The man sighs. "Well I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. We will need all the help we can get. What is your name, civilian?"

"Azure."

"I am Captain Savlian Matius. Please, don't fail us Azure."

"I swear to you. I won't."

Hot. Burning.

Cold. Freezing.

My mind struggles to cling to consciousness, as I enter the large tower. A moment ago, on the planes of Oblivion, I was drenched in sweat by the searing heat. I shivered violently as my sweat threatened to freeze against my skin.

"Take the key, get to the Sigil tower, and remove the Sigil Stone. The stone is what anchors this realm!"

I waste no time getting into the Sigillum Sanguis to put an end to this hellish realm. A humanoid daedra advances on me. "Bow to me!" he shrieks, wielding his sword. I mirror him and take a deep breath and I think of Kvatch.

What these bastards did to all those poor people…

Men…

Women…

Children…

Maybe even Martin…

The rage billows up through my stomach and throughout my limbs. "GODS DAMN YOU ALL!" I yell with all the hate, anger and rage I can muster. The daedra lunges forward, and manages to leave a deep cut on my left arm. I howl and thrust my sword towards his stomach. He dodges swiftly, but clumsily, and earns a slice on his side. His hand goes toward the wound, and I see my chance. My sword pierced his heart, and he went wide eyed and his hand gripped my blade.

"You…dare to defy us, mortal?" he gargles.

"With every ounce of my being, with every breath until my last one…" My face is now inches from his, and I whisper venomously. "…I will defy you all." The life leaves his eyes and I pull my sword from his chest. I run up the oddly-shaped ramp and up to the Sigil Stone. Flames surround it, but it does not seem to be engulfed. I stuck my hands into the inferno quickly, to avoid being burned. But it's not hot. It's cooler than ice…. I hear an explosion, and everything quickly whites out.

"…Stand your ground until she…There she is!" I hear the captain's voice fade in. "Azure! You did it! You closed that hell gate!"

"Yes, it is done. What's our next move, captain?" I urged. I had to get in that city and see if the heir is safe! I can't waste any more precious time!

"We can finally enter the city. Once we're in there, clearing out the main plaza is our first priority. I've been told that there are still civilians being held in the chapel. Once we secure the plaza, the civilians will be escorted down to the camp, where they'll be safe."

My eyes light up. Civilians in the chapel? Maybe Martin did survive! "Let us waste no time! I'm right behind you captain!"

"For Kvatch!" he yells, sword raised high.

I let my rage fuel my combat as we went into the plaza to engage the daedra. About half an hour later, we were catching our breath and sporting cuts and bruises. "The area is secured, captain!" The Altmer archer, Merandil, calls out.

Captain Matius sheathes his sword. "Alright, let's get to the chapel and pull those people out!" he then turns to me. "Once you've found the person you're looking for, what will you do next?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, you've helped us so much so far, and we may need your combat skills for just a little while longer." He says while we head to the chapel. "The gate may be gone, but with all the daedra looming about the city…."

"They may try to rally up and attack again?" I finish for him.

"Yes. There's no telling what they'll do if they succeed. The citizens may be put at risk yet again, and who knows where the daedra may head once they are outside the city…Countless other cities may be at risk."

"I…" I begin, still debating just finding the heir and getting him out of Kvatch.

"He will be safe, I swear to you. Once he's out of Kvatch and down at the camp, he'll be out of harm's way for the time being."

I can't leave now…Not when so many lives are at risk, now… "I will aid you to the best of my abilities, captain."

He grabs my shoulder and shakes it quickly. "You truly have a strong soul. A soul of a true hero."

"I am not looking for praise, captain. Nor titles. I just can't stand by and leave these people to this fate." I smile at him.

He chuckles softly, as if disregarding my statement.

We enter the chapel, and I can hear the relief of the civilians when they look over at us with audible sighs of relief, and soft sobs of hope.

Damn. I definitely can't leave now. I think to myself. The daedra cannot be allowed to attempt a counter-attack.

"Report solider!" Captain Matius orders a Redguard woman.

"Sir, we're all that's left. Berich Inian, myself, and a few of these civilians…" The woman's voice fades out as my eyes drift over to the crowd of civilians. I imagine what Martin might look like. He might look like his father…but who's to say? Maybe…

"Civilians! Time to move out! Let's go!" the Redguard woman barked.

The civilians filed out the door, and from the corner of my eye, I can see a man staring at me. I turn to meet his gaze, but he looks away hastily and joins the other civilians. That was odd…I think while I return my gaze to the captain.

"Azure," Captain Matius came up to me. "If we're going to counter-attack, we have to move quickly, have you found whom you're looking for yet?"

"No," I report. "But if it's as you say, then let us go, promptly. I'll try to meet up with him at the civilian camp…if he still lives…" I add with an uncharacteristic note of darkness in my voice.

"Do you have any details of him? Maybe I can help you in some way." Captain Matius offers.

"Well, his name is Martin…I was told he was a priest at this chapel."

"Martin, you say? He's alive, alright. He just left with the other civilians. He'll be alright at the encampment."

The worried weight on my heart dissolves, and I sigh loudly with relief. "Thank the Gods…."I mumble and put my hand over my face.

"Is he your lover or something?" the captain asks.

I look up at him and laugh. "What?! No! What gave you that notion?"

"I just assumed…since you seemed so bent on ensuring his safety."

"Let's just say he is important, but not in the way you think. He's been entrusted to me, in a way."

The captain smiled. "Whoever did so had a Gods-given sense of character. Their trust was well-placed."

I smile and unsheathe my sword. "Let's go get the bastards!"

The other soldiers draw their weapons, and we rush out into the stormy night, intent of saving the city.

If I am fueled by trust, I know I can succeed.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:55 pm

Why did this happen?

How could this happen?

Martin sat hunched over in an old chair, with his head in his hands. He looked around at the other civilians aimlessly wandering about the chapel. It had been about 3 days since the fire and daedra consumed the city of Kvatch, and the attacks showed no sign of letting up. He was tired; tired from saving the people and rushing them into the chapel, tired from expending all his magicka to heal the wounds of the injured…

Tired of praying.

Why did Akatosh ignore his cries for help? Why did Akatosh fall silent while he cried out to spare the life of a child who had been horribly injured? Why didn't Akatosh answer? He balled his fists and wrenched his face into an angry grimace. All those years of pious devotion…and you refuse my cries for help. They needed you. I needed you! Martin had to grip the sides of his chair to prevent himself from standing up and desecrating the Altar of the Nine.

"Martin?" a small voice called out from his left.

Martin looked over to see a young redheaded Breton girl, no older than 10 standing there with a loaf of bread and an apple, looking quite scared.

"Emilee, what's wrong? Why do you look so scared?" he asked. Only then did he notice the tightness in his voice.

She shuffled awkwardly on her feet, and looked down slightly. "You look really angry…you're glaring at me…I was told to bring you some food and…are you mad at me?"

Martin relaxed his face and smiled softly. "No, I'm not angry with you. I was just lost in thought."

Emilee handed him the bread loaf and the apple. "It's kind of scary to see you so angry, Martin. I've never seen you get angry once at Chapel, or anywhere. Like when Ri'Teji and I accidentally broke one of the chapel windows, you didn't get mad once."

He smiled gently at the child. For the first time in hours his heart wasn't so heavy. "I'm sorry for frightening you with my anger, Emilee."

"No, don't be sorry! My grandmother says it's best to always let out your anger. If you don't it'll build up and explode one of these days."

"Wise words indeed." He chuckled softly.

"Who are you mad at, Martin?"

He leaned back in his chair, and folded his hands in his lap. "The Nine, mostly." He said curtly.

"Why?" she asked big green eyes wide. Martin looked down at the girl sitting next to his leg. Ever since she was old enough to crawl, she was brought to the chapel with her parents. Her parents would report that when she learned to talk her first words were; "Go chapel." Emilee would listen to every word Martin spoke in the sermons, and take it to heart. But now here he was, having to tell this devout little girl that he had stopped believing and expecting things from The Nine.

"Are you mad at them for Kvatch?"

Martin looked down at the girl in surprise. How could a child…

"Yes. For Kvatch."

Emilee put a hand on his leg, and patted it. "I was kinda mad too at first. Ri'Teji was killed that night, and I was super mad at The Nine for letting him die… But just yesterday, I just felt a sense of hope all of a sudden. I dreamed about a dragon, and he told me help is coming."

Martin's brow furrowed and he was left speechless. "And you believe it?"

Emilee's face lit up. "I do." She said simply.

As if on cue, a murmur started rising through the chapel. Martin looked over to see more soldiers than before, but they were bashed up quite a bit. Did they just come from the plaza? He wondered.

Emilee's mother came over to Martin, picked up Emilee and put her on her hip. "Martin! Help has arrived! The main plaza has been cleared!" Emilee's mother cried, misty-eyed with tears of joy. "One of the soldiers is going to take us down to the encampment!"

Martin's mouth went agape as he looked at Emilee who was smiling broadly. "The Nine are always with you, Martin. They won't leave you! They have your Fate in their hands." Emilee's mother kissed her cheek. "That's right my love. The Nine seem to have woven our strings of Fate in an intricate pattern."

Strings of Fate? Martin silently scoffed at the idea. If The Nine had his "strings of Fate" it must be done up in a bloody ball of yarn.

"Civilians! Time to move out!" Tierra, the Redguard soldier yelled out to them.

One by one the civilians exited the chapel. Just as Martin was leaving, a young woman caught his eye. She had pure azure eyes and long jet-black hair. She also was covered in cuts and bruises similar to the other soldiers. She doesn't look familiar…did she assist the guard in helping clear the plaza? He wondered, cocking an eyebrow slightly. The woman suddenly turned her head to look at him. He quickly averted his eyes and left the chapel.

He tried his hardest to sleep that night. But every time he tried to close his eyes, he was bombarded with scenes of daedra, fire, and death. It was warm at the encampment, but for some reason he felt so cold. He lay on his back with his hands over his stomach. He sighed and closed his eyes, willing himself to focus his mind on something else.

It was well into the night when I trudged back down the hill towards Kvatch's encampment. Kvatch was saved, the daedra were driven back, and the remaining civilians were safe. I held my left arm close to my chest and winced at the pain. I examined the wound given to me by the daedric Sigil Keeper back in the Oblivion gate. It cut deep into my arm and left a wide wound. I tried to heal it as best I could.

Keyword: try.

The skin only shut itself, but it was a very thin layer. Even a sneeze would probably blow this sucker open. I reached the encampment and looked around. An Orc woman and a Nord woman sat by the fire. "By the Gods!" The Orc cried. "The Hero of Kvatch herself!" The Nord woman stood up to greet me. "My friend, if there's anything ya require, anything at all, just say it!" she said, glowing.

"Now that you mention it, I am looking for Martin, the priest. Do you know where I can find him?"

The Orc extended her arm and pointed to an unusually large tent. "That's the one he's in. Probably sleeping."

My heart leaps in my chest and I can feel myself smiling broadly. The Nord woman looks at me with a smug grin on her face. "Well, what could ya possibly want with Martin?" she asks with a teasing note in her voice.

"What do you mean?" I ask, sporting a confused look.

"Well, why else would you be asking to find a man's tent so late at night? I don't blame you though…a lot of women in Kvatch think Martin is a nice catch." She winks and nudges my arm.

I can feel my face grow hot. "It's not what you think. I was sent here to look for him, nothing more, nothing less." I try to say firmly, but my voice shakes from embarrassment.

The Nord's smile only expands. "Good cover!" She laughs heartily, throwing an arm around my shoulder. "But I think you may have a good chance with him. He's rejected all other women because he's a priest, but once he sees your figure…I'm pretty sure that he'll renounce his priesthood right then and there! Tell me Imperial, what do I have ta do ta get breasts your size?"

I scowl at her, my face flushed a deep red. "Which have you been taking? Skooma or mead?"

The Nord only laughs in response. "Leave her alone, Sigrid." The Orc reprimands. "She said she had a job to do. Just let her through."

Sigrid takes her arm off my shoulder and shrugs. "Lighten up, Batul. I was only messing around."

The Orc rolls her eyes. "That's the problem with you Nords….Can never tell if you're drunk or sober."

Sigrid and Batul then get into a heated argument. I find my chance to slip away from the feud. I find Martin's tent, and I silently slip in. The tent looks a lot larger than it did on the outside, somehow there's a desk and a small cupboard in here. My eyes slowly wander around the tent until my vision rests on a sleeping man. I feel both nervous and anticipated.

Martin. It's really Martin.

Noiselessly, I kneel down next to him. I feel the overwhelming need to study his features, for some strange reason. I bring my face down until I'm mere inches from his. In the candlelight, I can make out medium-length brown hair, and a strong jawline. His laughter lines are relaxed and he looks young. Not too young, maybe in his mid-thirties… A Slow movement from the corner of my eye distracts me. With a shock I realize it's my right hand reaching for his face.

The hell am I DOING?!

I just want to touch his hair…

Why? WHY do you need to touch his hair?!

I'm just curious! I want to see what a man's hair is like! His hair does look soft.

WHY THE HELL NOW?!

Just really quick! I'll pull back before he…

Panicked blue eyes snap open and stare into mine for less than a second.

Oh sh-

He sits up fast, his head meeting mine on the way up. I'm pretty sure I heard a "crack" when we hit heads.

"Mother fetcher!" I hiss, tears misting my vision. I cradle my head in my hands, and with a grimace and a whimper I notice that the wound on my left arm has opened up again. I crack one eye open to look back at Martin, who has two palms pressed against his forehead. My heart seized a little bit in my chest. Damn it, I'm supposed to be protecting him, and yet I manage to head-butt him right in the face.

I release my head and tentatively reach toward his shoulder. "I-I'm sorry…I didn't mean to…Are you alright?" I ask sheepishly. Martin also releases his head and whips around and gives me a glare.

"Who in Oblivion are you?" he asks, a note of pain still prevalent in his voice.

"I'm…" I'm immediately blinded by a sudden burst of light that's so bright that it dims the candles. Martin casted a light spell to brighten the tent. My eyes widen as I can see his face as clear as day. He really does look like Emperor Uriel. They definitely have the same ice-blue eyes.

"I've seen you before. I heard you were the one that helped the guard drive the daedra back." he says in surprise.

I find myself leaning in towards him again, still enraptured by the resemblance of him and Emperor Uriel.

"Back off, stranger. Or I will head-butt you again." He warns, leaning backward. I snap out of my stupor. "I-I'm sorry." I manage to get out with a somewhat sheepish expression. "I was just taken by surprise on how much you look like him…."

"Like whom?"

"The Emperor."

Martin's brow furrowed in surprise. The Emperor? How could I possibly bear resemblance to the Emperor? Yet, he couldn't help but have a curiosity as to what she meant. "What exactly do you mean?" he asked the woman.

"You have the exact same eyes and strong jawline." She then pointed to the space between her eyebrows. "And when you focus on something, a little vertical line appears right here." Martin shuddered a bit; how could she recognize his features in such a detailed manner?

"You….um…" he began.

"Azure."

Azure? Martin thought. Seeing her eyes, I can see how she was named that but…It's like naming a person Blue or Green or Brown just for their eye color. He cleared his throat and sat up straight to face Azure. She was sitting on her heels with her fists clenched on her thighs. She looked like she had something important to say. "Let us start from the beginning. Who are you, and why are you here?" he said, searching her face.

"The emperor sent me to find you." She said, lips pressed together in a firm line.

"How could he? He's dead." He said rather harshly. Martin pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed, immediately regretting this decision to interrogate her. He gave her the once-over. She didn't smell of alcohol, and she didn't seem to have ingested any skooma…He felt his eyes get drawn to hers. There was something in her eyes that shone…it was as if she was told a secret and she would swear to keep it until her dying breath. He saw loyalty. He saw trust.

"Yes, he is, but he told me to find you, and I was told to find the priest in Kvatch, which is you, correct?"

"Yes. I am a priest. But I will not be much help to you. I'm having trouble understanding the Gods right now."

Azure sighed loudly. "You and me both." She said with a quirk of her lips. "But Gods or no Gods, we need your help."

"If you came to me for help, you're even more of a fool than you look."

Azure's face settled into a irritated glare. "Choose your next words carefully." She said with a sharp edge in her voice.

"Why are you getting mad?" Martin demanded. "Look, if there's anyone who should be mad, it's me! Everything was taken from me in a matter of hours! And I cried out to Akatosh, whom I served for many a year, but he didn't answer! He didn't even turn an ear! Just sat back and watched as more daedra came…and more lives were lost…." His voice trailed off. With a jolt, he realized he was shaking violently. He hung his head down and clenched his jaw. "If anyone…" he continued in a strangled whisper, "I'm probably the angriest at myself…I…just don't understand anymore…" He heard Azure sigh softly.

"I…don't know what it's like to have someone you trust betray you…but I know all too well what it's like to betray someone who trusted you. It's a gods-awful feeling, I assure you." Martin's eyes widened a bit as he met her eyes. "I'm not exactly a religious person myself, but lately I can't help but notice that there may be a higher power at work here. When the Emperor first met me, he told me he saw something greater within me when we first met in the Imperial prison. He had a very strong heart and a strong will. You have a strong heart, but your doubts only give you a weak will. When the emperor met me in the prison, escaping through my cell, and me being the one that he said he saw in his dreams, I refuse to believe that was mere coincidence."

"What do you think it was, Azure?"

Biting her lip, she hung her head down a bit and her bangs covered her face. "If I tell you, will you swear not to laugh?" she mumbled.

Martin nodded. "I give you my word."

She then looked up at him through her bangs. "I don't know if you believe in Fate…I didn't for a while….but…" she paused when she saw Martin with a gentle smile on his face. "I thought you said you wouldn't laugh!" she said, withdrawing herself.

"I'm not laughing, I just…feel really hopeful all of a sudden. Thanks to you."

Azure rubbed the back of her head, bashfully. "You're welcome…I think. But, please trust me when I say this: You are the only remaining heir to the Septim bloodline, and you must be protected at all costs. Without an emperor to light the Dragonfires, the whole of Tamriel is in danger. I would not lie to you about something so serious." She stared into Martin's eyes, and yet again, he could see trust burning in them.

"I understand. What exactly do you require of me?"

"First things first, I'll need you to come to Weynon Priory. A man named Jauffre has been entrusted with the secret of your existence. I was told to bring you to him once I find you."

"Yes. I will come to you to Weynon Priory and hear what Jaffure has to say….by The Nine! Your arm!"

Azure had only just now noticed that her arm was drenched in blood from the neglected wound that had opened earlier. Martin reached forward and grabbed her hand gently. "I can heal this for you, but it will take some time."

Azure pulled her hand away. "No, it's fine, your majesty. You really need to rest, after all, you've been through so much." Martin grabbed her hand again and began healing despite her protests.

"Your majesty….you really don't need to…" She began, but Martin put a finger to her lips.

"Don't call me that," he said cringing slightly. "It makes me uncomfortable, and I am not an emperor yet. My name is Martin. Call me Martin."

"Well, that's refreshing to see nobility so humble." Azure said with a smirk.

Martin smiled to himself, and continued healing.

"The Nine seem to have woven our strings of Fate in an intricate pattern."

Martin wasn't entirely sure, but if it was true, he had a feeling that his string of Fate and Azure's were now knotted together.
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Sovngarde
Ice-Veins
Ice-Veins

Posts : 180
Join date : 2013-03-24
Age : 21
Location : San Francisco

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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:56 pm

Martin and I both agreed to leave in the morning around 10 am or so. While I finish loading the rest of my things into my pack, Martin is swarmed by the townspeople who were in the chapel with him showering him with gratitude and goodbyes. I lean against a rock, observing from a distance.

Either I'm really charismatic, or he's just an easily trusting person. To go with a complete stranger and leave behind everything you've ever known...Martin and I have that in common, I suppose.

I'm snapped out of my thoughts when I see Martin waving me over to where he is, among the townsfolk. "These people would like to express their gratitude." He says as I near him. Almost instantly my ears are bombarded with "Thank you Hero!" "Our Savior" and "Come back anytime!" I'm not exactly used to receiving so much praise, so I try to put on my best smile and manage to get out a few sheepish "Thank yous."

A little redheaded Breton girl maneuvers her way through the small group of people, and stops to look up at me with the cutest green eyes. She then beckons me to crouch down, and she whispers in my ear. "Are you taking Martin away?"

I pull my head back and nod. "He has something very important to do. But I'll keep him safe, I promise you."

The little girl sticks out a hand and holds her pinky out. "I really like Martin, and I don't want anything bad to happen to him," she says pursing her lips while tears form in her eyes. "Promise? Please keep him safe."

I smile gently and hook my pinky around hers. "You have my word, as the Hero of Kvatch."

She scrubs at her eyes with her free hand and tries to imitate my smile. "You kinda remind me of Martin in a way. You're both strong, like, on the inside."

I furrow my brow at her in surprise. "You also remind me of someone. Someone I met some time ago. He was very kind and wise in his words. Just like you."

The little girl then throws her arms around my neck and squeezes it in a hug. "I really like you! I want to be just like you when I'm a woman!" I give her a squeeze back, then stand up. "Thank you." I say softly. "Thank all of you."

The townspeople wave us off as Martin and I head over to Trust.

"Nice horse," he remarks while examining the animal.

I secure my pack over Trust's rump. "Please," I scoff, rolling my eyes. "He's a demon!"

"What's his name?"

"Trust."

Gently, Martin reaches out and pats Trust's muscular chest. "I-I'd watch out if I were you. Trust is more on the jumpy side." I warn nervously, half expecting Trust to lunge forward and bite Martin's fingers off.

To my surprise Trust doesn't even flinch; his eyes glaze over as Martin continues to pat his chest.

"That is such bull-" I step forward and try to pat Trust's chest as well. But sure enough, Trust whips his head around and takes a mouthful of my hair into his mouth.

"See?" I turn to Martin, "He is a demon!" I huff angrily. Trust only whinnies tauntingly. "Why are you so calm with other people and not with me?"

Trusts answers me with a gift of gas from the ass.

"Yeah, we'll see who's laughing when I sell you to a bunch of Orcs! I hope they make you into a stew..." I retort. I look over at Martin who's covering his face and shaking. Gradually, I can hear soft wheezes and stifled laughter.

"F-forgive me…" he says, tears gathered in the corners of his eyes. "Let us continue…"

I feel my heart grow light when I see him laughing for some reason, and I can feel myself smiling.

"What is it?" he asks when his laughing fit dies down.

"Nothing," I say. I then turn my attention to Trust, whom is pawing the ground with his hoof. "Listen Trust, Martin is very important, okay? We have to make sure we get him where he needs to go."

Trust looks at me and pricks his ears in my direction.

"No funny business. And if you're good, I may even get you lots of apples, okay?" I say in my sweetest voice.

Trust bobs his head up and down and nickers contentedly.

"Alright," I turn to Martin. "He seems calm now, so you can hop on up."

"What about you?"

"I'll lead Trust to where we need to go." I grab Trust's reins.

"I think it'd be a lot faster if we were both on the horse," Martin offers. "Your pace is no match for Trust's and even if you were to run at top speed, you'd still be outmatched…"

Trust whinnies in a smug way, and I nudge him, sharply.

"Very well, if you think it'll be faster," I hoist myself into the saddle, and reach my hand down to help Martin up. He puts one foot in the stirrup, and tries to sling his leg over, but he loses his balance. I manage to grab both his arms and manage to pull him towards me before he fell. Only then am I aware of the closeness of our faces. Out of nowhere, my stomach flutters, for some strange reason. "Pfft. Nice once, clumsy." I jest as he regains his balance and settles himself behind me in the saddle.

"Alright Trust. Show me how you got your name!" I grin and kick his sides, and he takes off at a gallop.

As they traveled further from Kvatch, Martin can't help but admire the landscape. The trees were painted in greens, oranges, and reds, the grass was the most pure green, and even the rocks seemed to pop out of the landscape.

Such a stark contrast from Kvatch… he thought bitterly. He shook his head and frowned, trying to focus on something else. His eyes fell on Azure. His gaze softened as he wondered about her.

She's trustworthy, but can be very stubborn at times. She seems like the type who gets in over her head…I wonder….she said she met the Emperor in the Imperial prison….what was she doing there?

Without warning, two large Nord men sprung out from behind the rocks and jumped in front of Trust. Trust spooked and reared back, neighing in alarm. Azure tried to reach back to keep Martin from falling off, but the angle of Trust's rearing made her fall off, too. Martin fell hard on his back, and Azure on her side. Azure leapt up and twisted her face into an angry scowl. "Martin! Are you alright?" she drew her sword and stood in front of him.

"I'm fine," he managed to groan.

"Well now…What's this?" the blonde Nord said, stepping closer to the duo. "Where are you heading, Imperials?"

"None of your business. Let us pass." Azure gave him her nastiest glower.

The other Nord, this one with brown hair and a little taller than the blonde one stepped forward and nudged the blonde's arm. "See, that's what I like in a woman! Tenacity!"

"And a great figure, to boot!" the blonde said, eyeing Azure.

"Let. Us. Pass." Azure said again through gritted teeth. Martin looked up at Azure to see that she was shaking and gripping her sword tight.

"Oh come on, don't be like that!" the blonde Nord nodded to the brown-haired Nord. In a split-second, the two of them lunged forward. The brown-haired Nord used one big hand to grab Martin's collar and lift him off the ground. The blonde Nord grabbed Azure's sword, and twisted her wrist to such an angle that she had to relinquish the weapon. He then held Azure against him while she kicked, struggled, and clawed.

"Damn you!" Azure spat at them, "Let him go!"

Martin's eyes went wide with panic. "Let him go"? She can't be serious!

The brown-haired Nord looked at Azure with a cocked eyebrow and gave an impish grin. "Oh-ho! So he's important to you, eh?"

Azure looked at the Nord if as to say He's important to the whole empire, you bastard.

"We'll make a trade, okay?" The blonde Nord smirked and brought his mouth down to Azure's ear. "You, give us what we want, and we'll let him go. Fair trade?"

Azure bit her lip hard and hung her head down. "Do what you want. Just….don't hurt him." She said above a whisper.

"Azure, don't do this." Martin said, voice thick with worry and anger.

"Oi, shut up!" The brown-haired Nord said, shaking Martin. "We got what we want, so you better clear on out of here before we change our minds." He dropped Martin on his bottom.

The blonde Nord slung Azure over his shoulder and began to walk away. Azure looked back at Martin, her eyes apologetic.

Damn it, Martin clenched his fists, Azure, how can you be so…..Martin summoned all the magicka he could muster, and lighting flew from his hand and sliced through the air, hitting the brown-hair Nord square in the back. The huge man fell to the ground, convulsing violently then stopping only moments later. The blonde Nord was surprised enough to drop Azure and rush over to his fallen companion. While he was hunched over the brown-haired Nord's body, Azure put her fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. Trust burst through the brush where he had retreated to and bucked the blonde right in the chest. The huge man fell back and his neck made a "crack" as it hit the stone. Azure sighed with relief and placed a hand on her chest. Martin rushed over to her, and pulled her to her feet, his eyes blazing.

"Azure, what were you thinking?!" he grabbed her arms firmly, and looked at her angrily.

"What are you so pissed about?" she asked, searching his face.

"You knew very well what those men intended to do to you, and you were just going to let them do it? Who's to say they wouldn't have killed you afterwards?!"

"Look, I'm expendable, alright? It was either a former thief's life, or the life of the Emperor, whom the world needs!"

Martin's face shifted into a pained expression. "Is that what you think of yourself? That you're some sort of sacrificial pawn for me?" He sighed and loosened his grip on her arms. "Azure, look. I understand your reasoning to an extent, but what you did wasn't heroic. It was just plain reckless. Say you had been killed. Where would that leave me? I wouldn't know the way to Weynon Priory. I'd be hopelessly lost."

Azure's eyes widened, and she looked away, a heavy blush burned across her face. "I…guess I wasn't really thinking…." She said, embarrassed. "I just wanted to protect you."

"Azure, listen to me. You are not expendable. There are so many people out there who need you."

Azure looked at him, her blue eyes swimming with doubt and sadness. "You don't believe me, do you?" he asked. The look on her face made his chest ache.

"Honestly, I don't." she mumbled under her breath and averting her gaze yet again. "How many people could need a thief, Martin? Name one. Just one."

"Me."

Her eyes snapped back to his and burned into them. "Why would you need me?" she scoffed harshly. "What could I possibly do for you besides getting you to Weynon Priory?" She gently took his hands off her shoulders, and again came the saddened expression.

"You give me hope."

Azure was surprised. "Hope?" she echoed.

Martin smiled gently. "When I was doubting the Gods….when I was doubting myself….you gave me hope. I felt like I could truly trust you, and we only met last night. Isn't that saying something?"

Azure smiled, her eyes sparkling with happiness. She put a hand over her face and sniggered quietly. "I suppose it does, huh?" She then looked up at the sky and headed over to Trust.

"We've wasted enough time as is," She said grabbing the reins, "We should probably keep going."

"Before we go, promise me something." Martin walked up behind her.

"Yes?"

"Don't ever put yourself in harm's way for my sake. Ever."

Azure smirked widely and pressed a fist against Martin's chest. "You have my word, Majesty." She said jestingly. Martin couldn't help but smile back at her. As they took off, Martin couldn't help but feel a strange sensation of curiosity towards the woman. He wanted to know more about her. He wanted to sit down and hear her views so he could get an idea of how she thought. She, for lack of a better word, kind of interested him. Not in a romantic manner, but more of a curious one.

Who is Azure?

We arrived at Weynon Priory around 9 at night. I jumped off Trust and Martin followed suit. "It's awfully late…but hopefully Jauffre is awake at this-"

"Help! You must help!" Eronor's cries pierced the night. "They're killing everyone at Weynon Priory!"

Immediately I was on guard, tense and ready. "Calm down; who's attacking the Priory?"

"I don't know, but they killed Prior Maborel! I'm getting out of-"

"Wait!" I interject, "Where's Jauffre?"

"I don't know, in the chapel praying, I think!" He sprints up the road to Chorrol without as much as a backwards glance.

"I think we'd better find your friend Jaffure."

I toss him my sword. "Can you use one of these?"

He looks a little unsure but he nods. "I'll manage. I'm right behind you." He casts a light spell and falls in behind me as I nock my arrows and aim for a figure rushing towards me with a mace in hand. As the figure steps into the light, my mouth goes agape.

These are the bastards behind the emperor's murderer!

My lips curl into an evil grin. "Oh, HELL yes." I snarl, and send my arrow through his throat. Quickly, I nock another arrow, and hit another assassin. That was for the Emperor! At this point, I'm pretty riled up. I want to take out as many of these bastards as I can. My arrows fly and assassins fall. I see another movement from the corner of my eye, and I spin around and aim my arrow.

"Azure, don't you dare." Martin says, batting my bow out of his face. With a jolt, I notice an open cut on his cheek.

"What happened? How'd you get that cut on your face?" I ask straining my eyes to see the cut.

"You went into a frenzy back there." He said, wiping the blood off his cheek. "Your arrow nicked me while I was fighting off one of those assassins."

Damn it! I look away, my face burning. "I'm sorry…"

"Thank The Nine!" A voice calls out from the darkness, I spin around to find Brother Piner there with his sword drawn and eyes wild. "They just came out of nowhere and started attacking….Do you know where Jauffre is?"

"Eronor said he was in the chapel, praying." I ready my bow yet again and follow Brother Piner into the small chapel, with Martin in tow. As soon as the chapel doors are open, we are immediately bombarded with assassins left and right.

"Your timing is most excellent!" Jaffure seems to appear from nowhere wielding a sword twice the length of the one Martin is holding. With deadly accuracy, he removes the nearest assassin's head with one clean cut.

Baurus was right. This man can really handle a sword.

The dust settles, and we manage to get away with a few cuts and bruises.

Jauffre rushes over to me and looks at me intensely. "The Amulet! Is it safe? I fear the enemy has come here for it!"

My heart threatens to burst, and I quickly turn on my heel and run towards the chapel doors. "I'll go check on the amulet!" I call over my shoulder. Ignoring Jaffure's protests to wait, I run at top speed towards the priory.

I enter the priory and nearly leap up the stairs. The door to Jaffure's room is knocked off its hinges. My mouth forms an "o" of surprise.

No. Gods…no.

I enter the room to find furniture overturned and books strewn about the place. I fold my trembling hands together and hold them against my chest. I slowly look over to Jauffre's trunk. The lock is broken off. Even though I know all too well, I look anyway.

The Amulet of Kings is gone.

I walk out of the priory, my heart heavier than a millstone.

"The Amulet?" Jauffre prods me. "Is it safe?"

"The Amulet is gone." I say disheartened. I hang my head down and my bangs cover my eyes.

Jauffre sighs loudly and lowers his brow. "It's just as we feared then." Jaffure seems to just now notice Martin.

"Um…I did find Martin though." I say lifting my head.

"Well, at least not all is lost, then." He gives a somewhat relieved sigh. "But I fear that now the enemy knows of his existence, they will not rest until they find him."

I frown discontentedly. "Is there anywhere he will be safe?"

"There is a fortress, just north of Bruma. Cloud Ruler Temple. It is the main headquarters of the Blades. Time is all but for us, so we must depart hastily. I need to gather some supplies though. It will take a few moments." Jauffre retreats into the priory with Brother Piner, leaving me and Martin outside in the night.

Martin touches my shoulder and I turn toward him. "Is this goodbye, Azure?" I barely notice a tinge of sadness in his voice.

"What do you mean?"

"Your task was to bring me here so I could speak to Jauffre…and…well…now that you've done so…will you leave?"

He does have a point. I was only told to bring Martin here...and I did…

"I can't just leave you." I suddenly blurt out. The words even surprise me as they slip out of my mouth. "We've been through so much together, and you think I'd just up and leave you? Besides, it'll be awkward to just leave you alone with a bunch of strangers, don't you think?" I smile at him, but my expression is wasted in the night.

"I suppose you're right." He sounds relieved. "It'll be nice to have a friend there."

Friend? I can feel myself blush. I just scored a friend! I smiled broadly, feeling really pleased with myself.

Jauffre emerges from the priory with a pack slung over his shoulder. "Azure, I know you've been through so much already, but will you do me the honor of escorting Martin to Cloud Ruler Temple?"

"It would be my honor Jauffre."

We all jump on our horses and head to the safe haven of Cloud Ruler.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:56 pm

I crane my neck back to take in the sight of the awesome structure that is Cloud Ruler temple.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Martin says. He can't help but admire the view as well. "I've never seen such architecture before."

Me neither. The only architecture I really remember are stone walls and steel bars. I think with a dry look on my face. I dismount Trust and fall in behind Jaffure as the two massive doors to Cloud Ruler Temple swing open. A Redguard man in Blade attire greets Jauffre.

"Grandmaster," he breathes, "Is this...?"

"Yes Cyrus," Jauffre answers, "This is Martin Septim, true heir to the throne."

I bite back a grin as Martin goes rigid when Cyrus kneels before him. "My Lord, allow me to welcome you to Cloud Ruler Temple. We have not had the honor of an emperor's visit for many years."

Martin wrenches his face into a somewhat awkward smile. "Ah, well thank you...The honor is mine."

"Come." Jauffre beckons to Martin. "Your Blades await." Jaffure and Cyrus turn to head up the stairs. Martin hesitates, and shoots me a questioning look.

I step closer to him. "What is it? What's keeping you?" I lower my voice so Jaffure and Cyrus can't hear.

"I'm a bit nervous..." he admits sheepishly. The worried look on his face makes me chuckle. I put my hand on his shoulder and gently prod him forward.

"Put on your man smalls, Martin." I smirk at him. "Go on."

He remains put, and his eyes still look unsure.

"Don't worry." I whisper to him. " I'm here for you."

Only then does he unfreeze. He smiles softly at me over his shoulder as I pat his arm and let go as he heads up the stairs.

The night air around the temple explodes with cries of "Hail Martin Septim! Hail Dragonborn! Hail!" as Martin approaches. He still looks a bit unsure, but his shoulders are no longer tensed up.

He clears his throat as he turns to address the Blades.

"Jauffre. All of you. I'll try my best...but this is all new to me. I'm...not used to giving speeches, but...I wanted you to know that I hope I can prove myself worthy of your loyalty in the coming days. That's it. Thank you."

Jaffure then smiles at Martin. "Well then, thank you Martin. We all best be getting back to our duties, eh, Captain?" Jaffure dismisses the Blades. Martin steps towards me. "Not much of a speech was it?" He sighs and smiles a small smile. "But it didn't seem to bother them though."

" I liked it. It was short and to the point. Besides, I wouldn't expect too much either. Only two days ago a total stranger tells you you're the emperor." I start to laugh. What, did you expect to instantly know how to give a speech?"

"The Emperor..." he sighs disbelieving. "That's an idea that will take some getting used to." He then stares at me, his eyes burning into mine as if he wants to say more, but I am called away by Jauffre.

" Sorry. I guess I'll see you later, then." I call back as I head towards Jauffre.

Martin sighed as he silently scolded himself for not being able to thank Azure for her help. She's put her life on the line multiple times, and you can't even muster a "thank you"? He looked over at her. She was deep in conversation with Jauffre, and it seemed very important, judging by the way he was looking at her, with his brow low.

I'll find her later when she's not busy. He grimaced as a stinging gust of cold wind pounded against him. He hastily retreated inside, and to his delight, there was a huge roaring fire that warmed the main hall. He took a moment to admire the size and design of the hall's interior.

"Excuse me, My Lord." Cyrus spoke from behind Martin, "The Grandmaster has asked me to show you to your quarters."

Martin tried his hardest not to cringe at the words "My Lord". It made him think that they saw him as a title, and not Martin. "Very well, Cyrus. Lead on."

The quarters were nice. Not fancy, just the way Martin liked it. "Do the Blades have similar quarters?" he asked Cyrus.

"No Sire, we sleep below you in one big room. We have bedrolls to sleep on. They're a little uncomfortable, but we get accustomed to it over time."

Martin frowned disapprovingly. That didn't seem fair to him at all. They already seem to be working around the clock, and when they finally retire, they have to lay on a hard bedroll? They work so hard and put themselves last...

Just like Azure.

"If that's all you need Sire, then I will leave you to rest." Cyrus tilted his head in a slight bow, and left the room.

Martin let out the breath he had been holding, and slumped down on his bed and put a hand over his face. Such formalities...it's kind of overwhelming...At least Azure isn't so stiff when it comes to the fact that I'm the emperor. He smiled.

"What are you smiling about? The fact that your quarters kicks the Blades' quarters in the ass?"

Martin jumped to find Azure leaning against his door frame. He couldn't help but laugh. "I didn't choose the quarter assignments." he said innocently. "If you ask me, I think they are unfair."

"I'll say." She wandered about his room and stared in awe. "A bookshelf, a desk, a cupboard, a chest, a bedside table, a chair and...a queen sized bed?! What the hell, Martin!" she doubled over laughing.

Martin couldn't help but smile. He loved hearing her laugh. It kept him feeling...normal, somehow.

Once she stopped laughing, she unsheathed a sword that Martin just noticed was on her hip. "Anyway, check this sword out!" she said with an excited grin that could be compared to a child's on their birthday. "Jauffre made me a Blade, and he gave me one of these! He called it an Akaviri Katana, and he said that every official Blade has one!" She made an excited noise as she sheathed her sword.

"So what do you do now, as a Blade?" he asked.

"Well Jaffure told me we need to focus on getting the Amulet of Kings back."

"That's right," he said, nearly forgetting all about it. "The Amulet..." Strange. Being around Azure made him forget that there is a crisis happening.

Either that was really good, or really dangerous.

"I'm going to have to leave soon for the Imperial City. Another Blade named Baurus has information on the bastards behind the emperor's murderer."

Martin's face fell and his heart sank. He was saddened that his friend had to leave so suddenly...He then shook out that thought. She is doing what is necessary for Tamriel. She has to go. "When will you be back?" he asked, regaining his composure.

"Well with Trust's speed, I should be able to reach the Imperial City in about four days, and it'll be about the same time to get back. That is, if Trust can cooperate with me for a second." she said frowning disdainfully. "I should probably leave you to rest, huh? You haven't slept once in two days." She said turning to leave. But before she could go, Martin gently grabbed her wrist.

"I...wanted to thank you, now that we have a moment. For saving my life. I'd have been dead if it weren't for you, Azure. So thank you."

He notices Azure hang her head to let her bangs cover her face. Martin took notice that she would do that if she was shy or embarrassed. It was just one of her many little quirks that he noticed.

"You're welcome." She lifts her head up again and gave him a sweet smile.

Martin still stared into her eyes, not relinquishing his grip on her wrist.

"Alright..." Azure sat herself down next to Martin on his bed. "What is it?"

"What do you mean?" he asked, slightly taken aback.

"You've been looking at me with that same expression frequently."

"What expression?"

"Like you're gonna ask something, but you don't. What is it you want to ask me?"

Martin looked at her in surprise. "Am I so easy to read, or are you just really charismatic?"

She crossed one leg over the other and clasped her hands around her knees. "Maybe both." she giggled.

"Well now that you mention it...Azure, you know so much about me, but I know so little about you."

Her mouth went agape. "You want to know about me?"

"Yes."

Again her bangs covered her face. "I...can't tell you."

"Why not?"

"My past isn't exactly the most clean...and...I..."

He put a hand on her shoulder. "Azure. I will not judge you. Nor forsake you. Friends don't do those things.

She looked up at him with eyes misty with tears of relief. Martin's heart fluttered for a split-second when he saw her expression.

She took a deep breath and began to tell him how her parents were killed when she was 16, and she tried to make a life for herself by joining the Thieves Guild. She told him that she had messed up an assignment, and all in one night her guildmates whom she embraced as family abandoned her, she betrayed the guard captain that knew her for so long, and how she wound up alone to rot in the Imperial prison.

Martin could only stare at her. What could he say? "Azure...so much has happened to you..."

She leaned back on his bed a little and sighed. "Well, it wasn't all bad. I got to meet the Emperor, I was recognized as a hero in Kvatch and," she glanced at him sideways. " I did get to meet you."

"Is that so?" he smiled at her.

"Yeah, you're an interesting person. I like that about you." she put a hand over his and smiled sweetly.

Martin's heartbeat increased when he felt her skin touch his. Why was this reaction happening? "W-well..." he began, trying to regain his voice. "I think you're really... interesting as well."

She smirked. "Really? Color me intrigued. Do continue."

"Well, you're honest, and...very trustworthy...and you can be really funny at times..."

Azure smiled and took her hand off his, and Martin's heartbeat slowed to normal. "They say it takes others to recognize each other's quirks." She then stood up and walked over to the door. "If I don't see you tomorrow, then goodbye, for now."

"Goodbye, Azure."

She shut the door behind her and headed down to the Blades' sleeping quarters.

After she left, Martin couldn't help but wonder why his heart beat so fast all of a sudden when Azure touched his hand. It was probably just too sudden...or maybe it's because I've never been touched willingly by a woman before...or... He snapped out of it and shook his head, scolding himself for over thinking something so silly. As he lay his head down, he still found himself thinking about it.

She really is interesting...isn't she?
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:57 pm

Martin awoke to the sound of soft footsteps and occasional bumps and thumps coming from the Blades' quarters below him. He sat up in bed and looked out the window. The sky was still dark, and the sun had yet to even think about coming up. He then heard a door open then close. He then got out of bed and went into the Great Hall, to find Azure sitting at a table looking over her bow. She was dressed in a brown shirt and blacksmith pants with her hair in a very loose ponytail.

"Azure?" Martin called, his voice somewhat muffled by sleepiness.

Azure jumped and spun around. "Oh, gods...don't sneak up on me like that!" she hissed. "Why are you up anyway, Martin? You should be sleeping."

Martin sat across from her at the table. "I could say the same to you." he said with a teasing grin.

Azure smirked and looked back down at her bow. "I couldn't sleep," she admitted, "So I decided it would be best to leave for the Imperial City now."

Martin couldn't help but notice that Azure's voice sounded a little thick, and her eyes were red and puffy. He got up from his spot and sat in the chair next to her. He gently turned her face towards him.

Azure cocked an eyebrow at him, slightly taken aback. "What are you doing?" she questioned.

He was silent as he looked over her face, examining it. "Azure," he said finally, "Have you been crying?"

Her face grew red, and she batted Martin's hand away from her face.

"No." she turned away. Martin rolled his eyes. She must be such a terrible liar...he thought to himself.

"Azure..." he began, "You have been crying."

She glared back at him. "I was not!"

"You have."

"I. was. not."

Martin then grabbed her arm and led her down into the bathing area. He then grabbed a mirror and stood her in front of it. "Then what do you call this face?" he said, jerking a thumb at the mirror.

Azure's eyes widened and her hands flew up over her face. Martin had to bite his cheek to keep from laughing at her flabbergasted expression. "Damn...dammit!" she mumbled under her breath. She peeked at him through her fingers. "How could you know what a..."

"Crying face looks like?" he finished for her. "You forget that I was a priest. I've seen countless crying faces at funerals, services, and confessions. It's pretty obvious to spot a person who has been crying." He softened his expression and gently pried her hands from over her face. "Why were you crying, Azure?"

Azure looked away for a second, and then looked back at him. "I cry in my sleep," she sighed as if she was disgusted. "It's a bad habit I developed after my parents were murdered...I cry every time I'd have a nightmare."

Martin was silent for a moment as he eyed her intently. "Was...the nightmare about your parents?"

She covered her face with her bangs. "Yes." she mumbled. "About their death...and I also dreamed about Oblivion."

Martin could feel his heart ache for the girl. She's been through so much hell already...she's been through hell itself... and she had only just begun to live.

He reached for her and drew her into a tight embrace. He half expected Azure to shove him away and tell him off for not respecting her personal space, but to his surprise, she didn't. Instead, he could feel one of her hands reach up and grip the back of his robe tightly. Her voice came shakily, and she spoke as if she was ready to burst into tears.

"I...hate...crying." she said into his shoulder. "Crying is... for children and weak people...I don't want to be weak...I don't want to cry..."

Martin held her back at arm's length and looked at her. She had the back of her fist pressed against her eyes, trying to dam the tears back, but they slipped from under her fist and trickled down her cheeks. He reached for the back of her head and stroked it.

"Azure...people who can cry are not weak, as a matter of fact, they are some of the strongest people. They aren't afraid to show others how they are feeling, they aren't afraid to let their sorrows out in tears. The only weak ones are the ones who are too frightened to show their tears, because they think they will be seen as weak."

Azure looked up at him, with a sad smile. "So I guess that makes me weak, huh?"

Martin smiled and shook his head. "You admitted to crying, and you showed your tears, but you are becoming stronger." He took his sleeve and wiped her tears away.

Azure placed a hand over her face and sniggered softly. "You just tell me what I want to hear, don't you, Martin?"

"Would I lie to you?"

"Apparently not." she smiled at him. "Thank you."

"Azure, you know I'm here for you."

"And I, you, Martin." She returned to the Great Hall and Martin followed her. "Hopefully I'll be back in about eight days tops, if everything goes as planned." she said, securing her pack.

"What do you mean 'if everything goes as planned'?" Martin couldn't help but sound worried.

"Who knows what type of obstacles I'll face? This is the first time I've shown my face in the Imperial City since I escaped from prison..." Her eyes brightened and she looked at Martin mischievously. "Maybe I should tell them I'm good friends with the Emperor?"

Martin laughed. "Even if you did tell them so, they'd probably doubt I was the emperor if they were to see me. Do I look like emperor material?"

Azure studied him. How his light eyelashes accented his eyes, how his brown hair fell neatly into place, how his piercing blue eyes sparkled when he smiled...she could feel her stomach fill with butterflies. He really was...handsome. "Well...not yet." she said after a while. "Maybe you could use the Voice of the Emperor on them." she smirked, nudging him with her elbow.

He smiled and shook his head. "I don't think using manipulation to get what you want is responsible in the slightest way."

Azure snickered. "If only there were more politicians like you, Martin." she then stepped forward and tentatively slid her arms around his neck and hugged him softly. "Goodbye Martin. Take care of yourself."

Martin slid his hands around her back and squeezed gently. "You too, Azure."

She pulled away with a confident smile, and then left the Great Hall.

Martin then did something that was a surprise even to him. For the first time since Kvatch, he prayed. He folded his hands and bowed his head. Divines, he prayed, Please watch over her and protect her. This is my prayer.

Trust really wasn't too happy with the idea of me waking him up so early that morning.

I've got the bite mark on my calf to prove it.

Lucky for me though, leaving early had it's advantages. I made it to Imperial City in only a day and a half instead of the expected four, by cutting through the forests and taking the Red Ring Road instead of taking the Orange Road, which would have taken me all the way around to Chorrol. I stabled Trust at the local stable and entered the city. I sighed when I was greeted with those familiar cobblestone streets and stone arches.

So many memories here... I reached in my pocket and pulled out a piece of parchment, which contained a note from Jauffre. It read:

Azure:

You are to meet up with Baurus at Luther Broad's Boarding house in the Talos Plaza District in the Imperial City. He has valuable information on the assassins who are behind the Emperor's murderer. Find him, and learn what you can.

Jauffre

I returned the note to my pocket and smiled wryly. Well, won't Baurus be surprised to see me? The Imperial prisoner returns! I entered Luther Broad's and saw Baurus sitting at the bar, drinking while carefully glancing over his left shoulder occasionally. "Hey Baurus!" I called out to him. "Remember me? Long time no -" He shot me a look and put a finger to his lips. I cocked an eyebrow at him. Again he glanced over his left shoulder. He then beckoned me towards him.

"Sit down. Don't say anything." he said, his voice above a whisper. The look in his eyes told me that something serious was about to go down, so I did as he said. I looked at Baurus from the corner of my eye. He took another swig from his mug, and glanced over his left shoulder yet again. "Listen," he finally said, "I'm going to get up in a minute and walk out of here. The guy in the corner behind me, will follow me...don't look at him! You'll draw his attention over here!" he snapped quietly when I tried to look over at the man.

"Sorry. What do you want me to do?" I whisper as quietly as I can so only Baurus can hear me.

"You follow him. But wait for him to follow me. I want to see what he does first."

"Gotcha. Ready anytime."

"Good. Remember what I told you. Wait for him to follow me." He set down his mug and went over to the cellar door. Not soon after Baurus left, I could hear a chair creak behind me. A Breton man walked by me, shooting me a suspicious glare as he headed toward the door. I pretended not to notice, and pulled the note from Jauffre out to pretend I was reading something. The Breton man then disappeared into the cellar. I waited a few moments and headed towards the door myself. I drew my bow upon entering the cellar, not knowing what to expect. No less than a second later, I can hear the Breton man shouting at Baurus. A sword is unsheathed, and I burst through my hiding place to see the Breton man in attire resembling the assassins. I nock an arrow while he's engaging Baurus, and it finds the assassin's head.

"Good work." he congratulates after the dust settles. "I am happy to see you, by the way, but you just caught me at a bad time." he looks down at the assassin's body. "See if there's anything of interest on him. It may give us a lead." I search the assassin and find a book in purple binding. I crack it open and skim over it.

….Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes...

…..Mankar Camoran...

….Mehrunes Dagon...

…..Mythic Dawn...

I slam the book shut as a smirk spreads over my face.

"We got the bastards." I mumble to myself in satisfaction

Four days had passed since Azure left Cloud Ruler, and Martin sat in the Great Hall reading, trying to get his mind of the growing worry within him. The words on the book he held was blurred by his agitation.

"Your Highness?" a voice came from behind. Martin startled a bit, and turned around to find a young Redguard man standing there. "My name is Baurus." he said, kneeling. "It is an honor to be able to serve you."

Martin's eyes brightened a bit. "Baurus, you say?" Martin remembered that this was the man Azure was sent to retrieve. "Has Azure returned with you? Where is she?"

"She has not returned yet, Your Majesty. Last I saw her, she said she was going to locate a Mythic Dawn lair and try to retrieve a book from them."

"By The Nine..." Martin swore under his breath. "And you let her go alone?"

"She insisted that I come back to Cloud Ruler Temple to protect you. I offered to go with her, but she ran off."

Martin rubbed his temples and sighed irritably. "That woman is stubborn. Taking unnecessary risks yet again!"

"She also told me to tell you that she is fine, and not to worry about her."

Martin put his book down on the desk and raked a hand through his hair. He then looked up at Baurus. "She didn't give you any trouble, did she?"

Baurus smiled. "Surprisingly, no. She can really fire a bow, but her sword skills leave room for improvement. She must be really passionate about finding the Mythic Dawn. When we engaged a few agents in the sewers, she went nuts. She almost shot me with a stray arrow."

Martin was struck with curiosity. "Why, I wonder? She nicked me with an arrow when we fought a few agents at Weynon Priory almost a week ago."

Baurus nodded. "Can you blame her though? The Emperor was cut down by them right in front of her eyes. Even after she killed the agent, she was ready to hack him into pieces. I don't know what would cause her to react in such a way though. She only knew the Emperor for only an hour and a half."

Martin's face fell and he could feel his heart drop. It probably brought back memories of her parents' murderer...

"Well it's safe to say that the Mythic Dawn are getting what they deserve." Baurus said with a touch of satisfaction. "Azure is a strong woman, and has ferocity when it comes to protecting things she cares about."

Martin smiled to himself. "Yes, she is strong."

"And she's beautiful, too." Baurus smirked at Martin. "Wouldn't you say so?"

Martin looked up in surprise. "Well I...I wouldn't know...I spent most of my life as a priest...So I..."

Baurus knew where he was going. "Say you weren't a priest. Would you think so?"

Martin turned a light red. "I suppose so..."

I lost it.

I lost the Amulet to Mankar Camoran.

The Amulet of Kings is gone again. Emperor Uriel himself entrusted it to me and I let the enemy take it again. Now Tamriel is in danger because of my incompetence! Without the Amulet the Dragonfires still remain dark! I failed the Emperor. I failed the Blades. I failed all of Tamriel.

I failed Martin.

A bitter lump formed in my throat as I slumped down in the grass outside Lake Arrius Caverns with Mythic Dawn apparel. Covered in cuts, bruises and blood that was both mine, and someone else's.

How can I face Martin without the Amulet? All I have is this Gods-damned useless book? What good is that?! I thought bitterly. I shouldn't go back. How'd I face the shame? I have to...leave...go far away. I got up and started running as fast as I could. I didn't have a destination, but I had to get away. My heart and feet were pounding, and tears burned my eyes.

"It'll be nice to have a friend there." Martin's voice pops into my mind.

I'm sorry, Martin.

"I think you're really...interesting as well."

I can't come back...not when I've failed you.

"When will you be back?"

I won't...I...I can't

"Azure...people who can cry are not weak. As a matter of fact, they are some of the strongest people."

I then throw myself down in the dirt and cry like a newborn. I cry because I lost the Amulet. I cry because I hurt all over. I cry because I actually thought of just leaving Martin. I cried long and hard. I waited until I calmed down, my wailing now soft sobs. I walk over to Trust and climb into the saddle. Trust looks back at me and nickers in concern. I try to smile as I pat his neck.

"I'm sorry, Trust. I just...lost myself for a moment there." I take a deep breath and sit up straight. "Let's go back to Cloud Ruler Temple."

Divines...I don't know if you take a thief's prayer but...give me strength to face my failures.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:57 pm

I felt my heart grow heavier as I neared Cloud Ruler. I was honestly scared to face Martin with the fact that I lost the Amulet, and the fact that I nearly decided to run away.

Such cowardice will not be forgiven easily... I tell myself. Jauffre is the first to greet me when I return. Perfect. Now I have to tell the grandmaster of my new order that I failed to bring back a relic that was necessary for Tamriel's 's the Thieves Guild all over again...I'm going to be abandoned again, aren't I?

"You're back! Thank Talos!" he says with a relieved look. "Do you have the Amulet?"

I hang my head down. "No, Mankar Camoran escaped with it."

"Please tell me you have some good news."

I pull out the book from my pack. "Maybe...I found this book, the Mysterium Xarxes."

"Ah, good. You should take it to Martin right away. He'll be in the Great Hall, reading." He then smiles at me. "He's hardly taken time to sleep since you left." And with that, he leaves.

He just leaves.

I'm stunned by his reaction. I then look down at the book in my hands. Is this book important? I tuck it under my arm and enter into the Great Hall.

Martin looks up from his book and he smiles at me. Immediately all my feelings of guilt, sadness, and failure dissolve. Martin gets up from the table and walks over to greet me. "You're back! I told Jauffre not to worry." He searches my face, but I don't look him in the eye. His expression darkens slightly. "I can see you have bad news...You didn't recover the Amulet did you?"

My heart starts pounding with nervousness. "N..no. But I do have this..." I pull the book out from under my arm. "The Mysterium Xarxes."

"By The Nine! Such a thing is dangerous even to handle!" Martin shouts, making me jump and reflexively shove the book at him. He fumbles it in his hands, but he manages to catch it. I bring my hands to my chest and lean back a little. He looks at me, eyes wide.

"W-Wh-What?" I say, still in shock.

Martin stifles a loud laugh. "I'm sorry...your reaction was just so sudden..."

I can feel my face burn with embarrassment. "You just startled me! Of course my reaction would be sudden!"

Martin regains seriousness now. "Yes, forgive me. But I should hold on to it. I know many ways to protect myself from it's evil magic."

"Will this book be able to lead us to Camoran?"

"I don't know. Maybe. In the meantime, you should speak to Jauffre. Trouble with spies down in Bruma, I think."

"Yes. Right. As you command, Sire." I turn on my heel and leave to find Jauffre.

Sire? What's with all the formalities all of a sudden? Martin wondered. He placed the Xarxes on the table. He was honestly a little confused...why wouldn't Azure look him in the eye? Again she consumed his thoughts. Now he had no choice but to wait for her to return to question her. He then began to start translating the Mysterium Xarxes to pass the time.

About 4 hours later, she returned to Cloud Ruler. Martin got up to confront her, but she immediately rushed down to the barracks. Martin sighed. Something was off about her, and he had to know. He quietly entered the barracks and found her over at the shooting range. He watched her for a while as she went down the range, shooting arrows into the bull's-eyes of all 15 targets. He then approached her as she began to retrieve her arrows.

"You're very skilled, Azure. I'm impressed." he came up behind her.

She jumped and broke the arrow in the target she was trying to retrieve. "Mart-Majesty" She stammered nervously. "Thank you for saying so, Sire."

Martin saw her face turn red as she directed her attention back to retrieving her arrows. Martin folded his arms and tapped a finger on his sleeve. He was determined to find out what was wrong with Azure.

"Where did you learn?" he asked, falling in behind her.

"My neighbor was a Bosmer. She taught me how to shoot when I was a child, My Lord."

"Ah, yes, Bosmers are the finest archers in all of Tamriel."

"Yes, your Majesty."

Martin couldn't take it anymore. He was sick of all the formalities she was spouting. He grabbed her shoulders firmly and spun her around. "Azure. What is wrong? Why won't you look me in the eye? Why are you avoiding me? Why won't you call me Martin?" he demanded. "Why?"

"No reaso-"

"Azure, when you do stuff like this...when you shut yourself down and hide within yourself...when you suffer alone...when you lie and say you're not...it hurts me."

Azure went to hang her head down, but Martin tilted her chin up with his hand. He stared at her long and hard. "Why?" he asked again, softly.

"Because I failed you." came the whisper. "Martin, I lost the Amulet...and I was going to never come back because I was scared... You were counting on me and I..." she swallowed hard. "I failed you, and I would have just abandoned you!"

"Azure, you thought I would be furious over that?" He sighed and shook his head , smiling. "You underestimate me. Azure, we are friends. Do you think that would get in the way of our friendship?"

Azure nodded shyly. "I did fail you..."

"And? Did you want me to get mad at you? Friends help each other with their failures. They don't blame each other for them."

Azure gave a shy smile at Martin. She then took his hand and squeezed it. "Thank you. Thank you, Martin."

Martin could feel his heart rate elevate when she took his hand. "You're welcome, Azure." he said quickly, to distract himself from the sensation. "So...you think I could learn?" he asked, nodding towards her bow.

"Archery?" she said, rather amused. "I don't see why not. But I'll have to teach you the proper stance so you don't injure yourself while firing."

"Injure?"

"Yes. The string of the bow can slap against your arm, causing welts and cuts, occasionally. That's why archers typically use arm guards."

"I don't see you wearing them."

"That's because I've trained for so long. But I do get the occasional arm slap." She handed him her bow. "Now, stand how I'm standing." Martin looked at her stance and mirrored her. She handed him an arrow. "Now set the cock feather on the string."

"The what?" Martin looked at her to see if she was joking.

"The cock feather. The feathered part opposite the arrowhead."

Martin tried to do so, but he found that it was much more difficult than it looked. He felt Azure's body press up against his back. He stiffened slightly at the foreign warmth on his body. "Don't fumble it, It's one quick, steady movement." she said, her hands guiding his hands.

"Now aim your bow to the point where the arrow is parallel to the ground." He did as she instructed.

"Now pull the string back to your cheek...right where the corner of your mouth is"

Martin drew the string back and aimed.

"Now just open your hand."

He released the bow, and gave a flabbergasted expression as the arrow remained in his hands and the bow hit edge of the target. "Not bad for your first time! But you're still a novice." she teased him.

Martin sat down on the ground and massaged his arm. "That really takes a lot out of you!" he sighed.

"Maybe for a novice. You'll get used to it when you get better." she giggled with a playful smirk on her face. "Thank you for forgiving me, Martin Thank you for understanding." she smiled.

Martin smiled back and placed a hand on her arm. "Anytime Azure. Like I said, I'm always here for you."

"So, Jauffre told me you translated part of the Xarxes?"

I left that afternoon to retrieve a daedric artifact for Martin. My mind was filled with him from the moment I left Cloud Ruler. My heart quickened at the mere thought of him. I thought about how kind he was, how forgiving he was, how caring he was, how lovely he was. I was then struck with a sudden realization. At first, I just delivered the Amulet because I was trusted by the emperor. I didn't have to stay with Martin. I was given the choice to come and I did.

But why stay with him after all this time?

My heart grew light. I know why. I probably knew why for a while now. I smiled to myself.

"I saw some worshippers of Sanguine just north of Skingrad." A traveler said to his companion as they passed by. "They're always throwing parties around that daedric shrine."

Parties? Sounds like a good time! I think to myself excitedly. I then head on over to the Shrine of Sanguine.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:58 pm

Martin was able to sleep easily that afternoon, after spending all of yesterday night and this morning translating the Xarxes. He dreamt about Azure returning safely. He could see her kneeling next to his bed, smiling softly at him. He felt his heart grow warm. This dream feels so...vivid. he thought. He reached for her and stroked her cheek gently. "I was so worried about you..." he told her. He saw her face turn red and her shoulders stiffen.

"Um, Martin? Are you in the right mind?" she looked at him, a bit taken aback by his gesture.

Martin sat up in a heartbeat and pulled his hand away. Oh Gods, it wasn't a dream. "Azure! Y-you've returned?" he tried to regain his voice. He felt his face grow hot.

"Yes, I got back about an hour ago." She pulled her pack from over her shoulder.

"You could have woken me up."

"No, I couldn't do that. You need to rest, Martin."

"You as well, Azure."

"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine." She said rather wryly. "Anyway, I have a daedric artifact for you. A whole lot of fuss over nothing if you ask me." She pulled out a short staff from her pack and handed it to Martin. His eyes went wide as he took it from her.

"Azure," he breathed, "Do you know what this is?"

"A stick?" she asked, curiously.

"The Sanguine Rose..." he fell silent as he looked over it. "I possessed it briefly a long time ago...a lifetime ago, it seems."

"You were a follower of Sanguine?"

"Yes. I was young and foolish. Before I became a priest, I was a mage, and a lot of us grew impatient with the guild's restrictions. So we dabbled in daedric magic...and people were killed..." he cleared his throat. "My friends were killed."

Azure was silent for a while. Martin looked over at her. "Azure, are you sure you want to use this for the ritual? Its physical form will be consumed, and it will not appear on Tamriel for many years to come..."

She looked into his eyes and nodded firmly. "Martin, if it caused you that much pain, then I want to be rid of it. Use this for the ritual."

Martin smiled at her. "Thank you. To obtain it and give it up, I honor your sacrifice for our cause."

She flushed little and smiled at him. Martin's heart fluttered. She tries so hard...for me of all people...why, I wonder...

"Azure?!" Jauffre's voice called from below. "Azure, where are you?"

Azure immediately sprang up and ran down the stairs with Martin following. "Grandmaster, what is it?"

"An Oblivion Gate has just opened outside of Bruma. The enemy may be starting their plan to open a Great Gate."

Azure's eyes burned with intensity. "What are my orders?"

"I want you to go into that gate with the Bruma guard. Show them how to destroy it so they can close any other gates that threaten to appear outside of Bruma."

"Yes, Grandmaster. I will leave at-"

Martin grabbed her arm. "Jauffre, why her? You have almost a dozen other blades here! Why not send one of them?"

"Sire, she must go." Jauffre said sternly.

"She is but a child! Why send her into these hell-gates? It's just too much for her!"

Azure put a hand on Martin's shoulder. Martin spun around and grabbed her hand in his. "Azure...you don't have to do this..."

"Martin...I do. I understand where you are coming from, but I am the only one here who knows how to close an Oblivion gate." She reached up and put her hand on his cheek. "I am not a child, Martin." she whispered to him, smiling softly.

He pressed his hand over hers and nodded. "I understand. Do what is necessary for Tamriel."

Jauffre nodded. "Azure, you will need to leave as soon as possible. Time is of the essence." he then left.

"Azure..." Martin began softly. "Please return to us..." Please return to me. He added silently.

"I swear to you, I will." with that, she burst through the doors and headed down to Bruma.

Martin waited for what seemed like centuries for Azure's return. He took the Xarxes and tried to translate it in the meantime. Even if I do translate it that means I'll have to send her out again to retrieve it for me. He frowned in disgust and closed the book. I keep sending her out on these missions, and she comes back battered and bruised most of the time. Why? Why does she agree and do it with a smile? Just once, I want her to say no. Why is she so willing to put her life on the line?

He got up from his desk, sat on his bed. and rested his head in his hands. Why do I...care so much?

His door suddenly slid open, and he looked over his shoulder to see Azure standing there, her eyes somewhat misty.

Why do I feel so relieved when she returns?

He got up and went over to her.

Why does my heart ache when she leaves?

She wrapped her arms around him in an embrace, and he held her close.

Why does she consume my thoughts?

Why does my heart beat so hard when we touch?

Why does her smile suddenly make me forget all my worries?

He had so many questions to ask, but for the time being, he decided to remain silent as he hugged the woman in his arms tightly.

For now, he didn't need answers.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 pm

I felt so safe in Martin's embrace. All the hellish visions of Oblivion dissolved when he touched me. I felt so at peace around him. No one else made me feel this way. Martin pulled me away and held me at arm's length.

"Welcome back." He said with a relieved smile.

I could feel my heart grow light. "Thank you."

"Are you alright? Any injuries I can heal for you?"

"No, I took a few healing potions before I left, thank the Gods. It was madness in there!" I held up my palm to just below my chest. "There were scamps this tall, and they were really nasty." I grimaced, thinking back to the gate. I then hooked a thumb on the top of my pants and lifted my shirt up to reveal the huge scar on my side. "This was made by one scamp. Just one! It bled like crazy and it stung like hell."

Martin didn't say anything, he just stared.

Wait...Is he...blushing?

"Azure...forgive me but...uh...I think you're... showing a bit too much skin to me..."

I'm stricken with self consciousness and I immediately drop my shirt down. "S..sorry." I manage to mumble in embarrassment. I just felt so comfortable around him...I guess I wasn't thinking. I smirk at him. "I forgot you were a priest. You're not used to seeing a woman's skin."

He cocks an eyebrow at me and gives me a sly look. " You forget that I was also a daedric worshipper when I was younger. I worshipped Sanguine...prince of debauchery."

My mouth went agape and I can only stare at him.

"You do the math." He teases as he leaves the room. I follow him into the hallway.

"Wait a minute...You're kidding, right?" I ask as I catch up to him.

"Maybe. Maybe not." He looks at me sideways and smiles. "Either way, why would you care?"

I could feel my face burn. "I don't! I was just-" My foot catches on a floorboard and I fall down the stairs face-first. "Gods-damn it!" I swear as a peel my face from the floor. I then look up to see Baurus looking down at me, with the widest grin on his face. He then looks at Martin, who has a hand over his mouth and tears streaming down his face. They both burst out into rapturous laughter.

"Oh no, go on and laugh!" I spat, sitting up on my heels. "Don't help a lady when she takes a nasty fall!" They both laugh even harder. "You two are such bastards!"

Martin stopped laughing. "Yes. Yes I am." he tried to keep a straight face, but failed.

This time, I burst out laughing as well. I laugh so hard that my sides begin to hurt. "Oh...oh...Gods...stop...I can't breath!" I wheeze breathlessly.

Our laughing fit calms into giggles and snickers.

"Have you two got some time?" Baurus asks, "You want to have a few drinks together?"

I pick myself up and brush myself off. "Sure. I'm up for it. What about you, Martin?"

"Well, I was going to work on translating the next part of the Xarxes...I managed to translate another part of it a while ago..."

"Well then, you're done for today!" I then grin evilly and decide to take a stab at his pride. "Can't hold a drink well, you stiff?"

He then walks down the stairs and stands next to me. "I can hold a drink just fine, Milady." he smirks down at me.

I rub my hands together. "Alright Baurus. Lead us to the wine cellar!"

I bring each bottle of wine close to my face to try to make out the labels in the dim candlelight of the wine cellar. I try to avoid the mead as best I can, to avoid bringing back bad memories. I grab a couple of bottles of Tamika's Vintage. I really don't know much about wine and how to select it, but my parents used to say that Tamika is the best winemaker in Cyrodill.

"I got what I needed." I reported. "What about you two?"

"I'm done here." Baurus called out from the darkness.

"Same here." Martin stepped out of the darkness towards me. He also had wine bottles in his hand.

I figured he'd be a wine sort of man. I thought wryly.

Baurus joined us. "Where do you want to have these?"

"How about my room?" Martin offered. "There's more than enough chairs in there to spare."

"Sounds good to me." I agreed.

"But if any of you two vomit in my room, I swear to Akatosh there will be consequences to pay." he warned us with a stern look.

I shoot a look at Baurus and he laughed out loud. "Not to worry Your Majesty. I swear to you I will not vomit in your room."

On our way up to Martin's room, Baurus grabs a wheel of cheese and some bread. We then pull up the chairs in Martin's room in a little circle so we're all facing each other. Baurus takes a few bites of a bread loaf, then he pops open his ale and pours it into his tankard and practically chugs it.

"Damn, Baurus. You can really knock them back, can't you?" I say in awe.

"Damn straight." He winked at me. Martin nudged my arm and handed me a goblet. I pour a small amount of wine into the cup and bring it to my mouth. I can see Martin looking at me from the corner of my eye, smiling slightly.

"What are you grinning about?" I say as I turn my head towards him.

"You have no idea what you're doing now, are you?" he said rather smugly.

"I'm drinking."

"Without any food in your stomach? You're going to feel like hell if you don't eat before you drink." With that, he handed me a half loaf of bread. I snatched it out of his hand and huffed at him.

"Yeah, one mistake. Execute me." I polish off the bread and take a sip of wine. "Gods, this tastes awful!" I grimace as I look down into the cup.

"And you say Martin couldn't hold his drink." Baurus jests.

I give him my middle finger and I go for another sip. Maybe it's an acquired taste...I wonder to myself. As I finish my cup, a strange feeling washes over me. It felt...good. The feeling quickly faded a few moments later. I reach for the wine bottle again and filled up my cup. I wanted to get that feeling back and if it took a few more cups then so be it.

Martin was surprised that Azure was drinking as much as she was. She had already went through three cups and was filling up her fourth, and all the while, she was chatting gaily with him and Baurus, her face painted a deep red.

"Sh...Shee? I toldja I could hold...m...my drink." She slurred heavily.

"Right. I didn't doubt you for a second." Baurus looked over at Martin and rolled his eyes.

"Wh-where you shurprished?" she tottered in her chair a bit.

Baurus decided to humor her. "Yes. Very." He couldn't help but smile. She was so entertaining in this state.

"I like...shurprishes." she hiccuped and then looked over at Martin, lazily. "Martin...shurprised me today..."

Martin looked over at her, confused as to what she meant.

"I told him...he told me that..." She shook her head and sat up a little straighter. "I told him...that he weren't ushed to sheeing a womansh shkin...and he shays that he...ushed to dabble in de-bauch-er- shomethin'."

Baurus cocked an eyebrow at Martin. Martin's eyes widened in horror at Azure, but she just kept on rambling.

"Kinda makesh me upshet though..knowin' that he did that with another woman..." she then took a long drink of wine.

"Azure, what are you talking about? I never said I..."

"Ohhh...but you did!" She pointed weakly at him. "You shaid..."

"I never had sex, Azure! I was kidding earlier! I just..." Martin's face grew red. "...Happened to be there when my friends were doing it, right in the open."

Baurus couldn't help but laugh. This is ridiculous! Going to such an extent to keep her from being upset! He thought, chuckling to himself.

Azure's eyes widened. "Re-really? I never had shex either...I'm sthill a mai...maiden.." She then grabbed Martin's wrist and waved it around in the air above her head. "From now...from now on...Martin and I are offishial members of the Vir...hic!...Virghinsh Guild!"

"The Virgins Guild?!" Baurus doubled over laughing, slapping his hand on his thigh. "By the Nine! This is too much!"

"You...can be a part of it too, Baurush..." She said, lowering Martin's hand. "The only way you...you can graduate out of it ish to...have shex."

"I'm going to have to decline, Azure. I've already done it." He said, snickering.

"R-really? Hot damn..." She then leaned on Martin. "Hey, how...'bout we...graduate? Shince we're the only...hic!...membersh left in the guild."

Martin's face turned the deepest red you could imagine, and he gently but firmly pushed Azure away. "Uh..Baurus?" he stammered nervously. "I-I think we're done drinking for the night. I think we're done drinking forever."

"Yes, my lord." Baurus then stood up and bowed his head a bit. "Thank you for letting me get you know you a little more, sire. And I'm sorry about...this." he nodded towards Azure, whose eyes were glazed over in a drunken stupor.

"It's not your fault, Baurus. We couldn't have predicted this outcome." Martin then scooped her up in his arms. "I think I'll let her sleep in my bed tonight."

Baurus looked at Martin intently. "Are you seriously planning to graduate from the Virgin's Guild?"

Martin shot a dirty look at Baurus. "No." he said, deadpan, "I don't think Jauffre would be too happy to find one of his Blades drunk silly." He looked down at Azure. "Especially the one who goes on all the missions."

"I understand. Goodnight, Your Majesty." Baurus shut the door behind him and retired for the night.

Martin took Azure over to his bed and placed her under the blankets. She cracked one eye open and smiled at him weakly. "Martin?" she

whispered softly.

"Yes, Azure?"

"I'm shorry for gettin' sho drunk tonight..."

"It's all right."

"Martin?"

"Yes?"

"I love you. A lot." she smiled at him and then drifted off to sleep.

Martin smiled as he shook his head.

It was probably the alcohol talking...

"So, you three mind telling me what seems to be wrong this morning?" Jauffre said while looking down at Martin, Baurus and Azure, whom had their heads down on the breakfast table.

"Not so loud, Grandmaster!" Baurus and Azure groaned simultaneously.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 pm

I rubbed my head and took in a deep breath of the cold mountain air, hoping it would bring relief to my headache, and give me a break from Baurus still laughing at me for creating the "Virgins Guild". Jauffre gave me the day off to rest, to recover from my massive hangover. I walked over to the watchtower and looked out over the city of Bruma. "It's so beautiful." I sighed.

"It is, isn't it?" Martin's voice comes from behind me, making me jump.

"Gods! Can you not do that, please?!" I snap at him, but he only smiles at me and chuckles

quietly. "Oh, and by the way, I'm sorry for falling asleep in your bed last night...You didn't have to sleep on your chair..."

Martin just smiled at me. "It's alright, Azure. You were a bit too intoxicated to try to even go down the stairs to your quarters." He then looked out into the clear afternoon view. "I love coming out here on clear days." He says, joining me. "It's almost as if you can see to the ends of the earth."

"Yes, and you can even see the White Gold Tower from here." I hold my thumb out next to the small pillar protruding over the horizon. "It's so tiny from up here...no bigger than your thumb."

He mimics me and laughs. "True. But to be able to see it from up here, it must be massive."

My eyes wander over to his outstretched thumb and I chuckle. "Just to think," I say to him, "After this is all over, you'll have that tower pretty much under your thumb."

His gaze softens as he drops his arm. "Even after all this time, It's still so hard to believe that I'm going to be emperor." he sighs quietly, "To think I was a priest in Kvatch only a half month ago, and now I'm going to rule over Tamriel."

I look at him from the corner of my eye. I had totally forgotten the fact that he was a heir to the throne. But after he takes his crown, where will that leave me? Yes, it was a selfish thought, but I just had to know.

"So... after you're Emperor...will you..." I begin, but I can't finish. I don't want Martin to leave...I don't want him to leave me. I clench my jaw and ball my fists while hanging my head down. His duties will be overwhelming, and I...I'm just...me. What do I have to do? Nothing.

I can feel Martin staring at me. He gently turned me toward him, and he brushed my bangs out of my face. "Azure...be honest with me...do you really think that once I'm the emperor, that I will completely forget about you?"

I pressed my lips together and barely nodded. "You're going to be overwhelmed with politics and such and I.." I swallow hard. "I'd only be a hindrance to your duties."

"My duties, maybe. But to me, you're not."

Only then do I look up at him. "Azure, you're probably the only one person in this world that doesn't treat me as a title. You treat me as a person. You treat me as Martin." he smiled that heart-stopping smile of his, "Azure, you are very important to me. Nothing could make me cast you aside."

I give him a relieved sigh. "You have no idea how happy I am to hear that." I grab his hands in mine and I give them a squeeze. "You're also important to me, Martin. In more ways than one."

"How do you mean?"

I smile at him mischievously and nudge his arm. "So, Jauffre said you needed me to retrieve the blood of a god?"

Martin looks a little flabbergasted at the sudden change of subject. "Well, yes...I did say that, but what did you mean by 'more ways than one', Azure?"

"You do the math." I smile wryly at him and leave to pack my things, and all the while, he's still oblivious.

No one else makes me feel like you do.

Being around you, thinking about you, is enough to make my heart burst.

I want to see all of your expressions.

I want to hear your laugh.

I want to see you smiling, always.

I want to love you.

But I keep silent and smile to myself as Martin leans over my shoulder, demanding to know what I meant.

Men are so dense at times, aren't they?

4 Days Later...

A Great Welkynd Stone? Martin thought, rubbing his chin. I've heard rumors of one in an Ayleid settlement near Kvatch... He shut the Xarxes and looked over at his map. It'll be quite a trek from Cloud Ruler...and if I remember correctly, the King of Miscarcand still guards that place to this day... He frowned. Was this what Azure meant? That he was important because he's sending her out to retrieve the items needed for the Paradise ritual? He was just a quest-giver? He sighed rather loudly and dragged a hand through his hair.

"Something the matter, Sire?" Baurus asked from behind Martin's chair.

"No. It's nothing. I was just...thinking."

About Azure, no doubt. Baurus thought to himself.

Just then, Azure entered the Great Hall carrying a bundle in her arms, using the utmost caution. Martin and Baurus got up to greet her, but her attention was focussed on the bundle.

"Martin." She whispered in awe. "I have Tiber Septim's armor...it's beautiful..."

Reverently, Martin peeled the edge of the blanket off, and was immediately blinded by the brightest golds and silvers.

"Talos' s armor itself..." Baurus had also lowered his voice to a whisper.

"This is exactly what we need for the Ritual to paradise." Martin said while reaching for the armor.

Azure held it a little closer to her chest. "But, it seems like such a waste..." she sadly glanced down at the armor.

"I just need the blood, Azure. The armor will be just fine, I promise you."

Azure then relinquished the armor to Martin, whom gently set it next to the Xarxes.

"So what else do we need for the ritual?"

Martin sighed and then smiled at her. "You're always so eager to help...I can always count on you it seems." He beckoned her to sit down at the table with him. "The next item we need is a Great Welkynd Stone, which can only be found in the Ayleid ruin of Miscarcand." He pointed to it on her map. "Between Kvatch and Skingrad." Azure pulled out her map and marked Miscarcand on it. As she did so, Martin stared at her intensely. Again, there she goes...never questioning...just doing...Why? Azure looked over at Martin.

"Is something wrong? You look like you want to ask me something."

Martin quickly looked away. "No, it's nothing."

At that point, Jauffre entered the hall and stood next to their table. "Azure, may I have a moment?"

"Yes, of course, Grandmaster." She stood up and followed Jauffre to the west wing.

Jauffre? Is he going to give her yet another quest? Martin snuck into the west wing and hid on the stairs. He could hear Jauffre's and Azure's voices coming from Jauffre's room.

"...Bruma has been closing gates outside their city for at least half a month now." Jauffre said. "The guard cannot hold the daedra indefinitely. That is why I'll need you to travel to all the cities in Cyrodiil to gain allies for Bruma."

Martin's heart seized. All the cities in Cyrodiil?!

"Yes, Grandmaster. I understand."

Martin couldn't stand it anymore. He stood up and ran outside into the night, his mind racing. Again! Again she just agrees! Does she not understand that she may be putting her life in danger when she goes on these treks? He went out to the watchtower and gripped the edge. Why?

"Martin?" Azure walked up behind him. "You weren't in the Great Hall when I came back, so I-"

"Azure. Why do you do this?" Martin interrupted her with his voice tight. "Why do you willingly volunteer for these sorts of things? It's not heroic! It's dangerous and reckless!"

"Martin, I-"

"Why are you going to such an extent? You couldn't possibly want to go on these missions! You come back battered, bruised, and your mind filled with horrid sights!" He gripped the edge of the watch tower so tight that his knuckles turned white. "Azure, it's okay to say what you want and don't want...You can say you don't want to go on a mission, just once..."

Azure was silent for a moment. She then gently turned Martin's face towards her.

"If I tell you what I truly want, will you listen?" she said quietly.

He nodded and turned towards her. "Azure...what do you want?"

"You." She said, simply. She grabbed his collar in both of her hands and pulled him into her, making their lips meet.

Martin could feel his face burn, and his heart threatened to burst. At that moment, when his lips met hers, he then had all his answers. He knew why she consumed his thoughts. He knew why his heart beat so hard when they touched. He knew why he was so relieved when she returned. He knew why he wanted this. He knew why he wanted her.

He loved her. He loved her with every ounce of his being.

Martin slid his hands around Azure's waist and pulled her closer, deepening their kiss. Azure disengaged her hands from Martin's collar and placed them on his chest. After a few moments, they parted from each other and were warm despite the cold mountain air.

"Martin..." Azure said after a while. "I do all this because I want you to be happy. I want you to smile, and to laugh..."

Martin put a finger to her lips and smiled. "You don't have to do all this to make me smile. You're quite enough to make me happy."

Martin then kissed her again with a newfound passion. Soon, she'd have to depart to all the provinces in Cyrodiil. Gods know how long that may take, but for the time being, Martin didn't want the Blades, or Tamriel, or anyone else to want her for now.

For now, he wanted her all to himself.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 pm

I honestly wasn't expecting this.

I didn't expect Martin to hold me closer and kiss me back. At first, I was so certain that he was going to push me away, and tell me that he didn't feel the same way...but...

Here he is. His mouth over my mouth, and his body pressed against mine.

Gods, it felt so wonderful.

When I pulled away from the kiss, I felt overwhelmed with so many feelings; shyness being the most prevalent for some odd reason. I reflexively look down at the ground, and I can hear Martin chuckle.

"Having second thoughts?" he jested.

I look up at him. "N-no." I stammer. "I'm just...really happy...that you feel the same way." I cover my face with my hand. "Gods, would you listen to me? I sound like a lovestruck teenager." I giggle self-consciously.

He pulls my hand from over my face and kisses my palm. "I won't see you for quite some time, will I?" he says rather sadly. "You're going to go all over Cyrodiil..."

I nod at him and look down at Bruma. "I don't want Kvatch to happen again." That's all I have to say for Martin to understand. "We need all the help we can get."

"When will you be leaving?"

"Early tomorrow morning. I'll head for the Imperial City first. But if I'm going to leave early, I best be going to bed now."

"Azure, you're going to need a good night's sleep if you're going to leave on such a long journey. You can sleep in my bed; those bedrolls can't be good for you."

I smile at him. "Thanks, but I don't want to make you sleep in your chair again."

"Then I won't sleep in my chair." he then leans down and kisses my forehead, while I look at him, confused.

Jauffre won't be too happy with him sleeping in the Blades' quarters...where could Martin possibly slee-

At that moment, my face turned bright red. "Good gods..." I mumble with my hand over my mouth. "A bit forward, aren't we? I mean, what about buying me dinner, first?"

Martin bursts out laughing. "We're not going to do that, Azure. I just offered for you to sleep in my bed." He then smirked at me. "It's far too soon for that anyway. What? Do you not trust me?"

"Yes...I trust you." I sheepishly mumble. "But if your hands slip under the blanket, then we're going to have a problem."

Martin chuckles and then leans down to whisper in my ear. "I have some things to attend to before I go to bed. Feel free to wait for me in my room." He then pulls away smiling and goes back into the Great Hall.

Bloody hell...this guy was a priest?!

I quietly enter the Blades' quarters and slip into my nightclothes. Lucky for me, Baurus wasn't on duty that night. I wouldn't hear the end of it if he saw what I was doing. I tiptoe past the sleeping Blades and enter Martin's room. Only then do I realize what I am about to do.

This is quite a large jump, isn't it? It's not that I don't want to but...

I then shake my head. "Get over yourself Azure. It's just sharing a bed for one night. He promised that nothing would happen." I scold myself quietly. "Besides, it'd be rude to just pass this up when he so kindly offered." I then go over to the left side of the bed and get under the covers. The bed is so soft compared to the bedrolls, and it's a lot warmer and it smells like Martin...

Smells like Martin? That's not creepy in the slightest way, Azure...

My mind is then consumed in sleep, and for the first time since gods-know-when, I don't dream about the hellish realm of Oblivion or my parents' murderer.

Instead, I dream about Martin.

The sunlight had just begun to spill over the horizon and It begun to illuminate the top part of Martin's room.

I best be on my way now. I'll need to get Trust up...which will be a difficult task...Maybe I can take a few apples for him. I then go to stretch my legs, only to have them slide against something warm. I then realize the arm lazily draped around my waist. My heart pounds and I slowly turn over to see Martin's sleeping face inches from mine.

Oh yeah. I forgot about this...when did he come in last night?

He sighs and shifts a little in his sleep, and I can't help but smile at his relaxed demeanor. As much as I hate to do this, I decide to wake him up. I think it'd be better than just leaving without a goodbye just so he could sleep longer. I reach out and tuck his soft brown hair behind his ear. He gives a soft grimace as he goes up to scratch behind his ear. I wait a few seconds, and I gently stroke his cheek until his gorgeous blue eyes slowly flutter open and stare at me.

"You seemed to have slept well," I smile gently at him as I continue to stroke his cheek.

"I did. I found it so much easier to sleep with a person by my side. It was very comforting."

"If that's the case, while I'm gone, you should ask Baurus to share a bed with you."

"Don't be a fool." he growls in mock disgust. I laugh quietly.

"I'm sorry I woke you up so early, but I thought it was better than just leaving you without a goodbye..."

Martin then rolls on top of me and begins to kiss me deeply. "You made the right choice." he whispered in my ear.

"Martin..." I manage to get out in between his kisses. "Don't... you think it's a...Oh Gods...a bit too early in the morning for this?"

"No." he says firmly, and he began to kiss my neck.

"Do you have morning wood or something?" I say, trying to look down.

Only then does he stop and stares at me, his eyes wide. He then falls over on his side and begins to laugh silently, holding his sides.

"What?" I ask him, sitting up and looking down at him. "I was serious!"

He then wipes the tears out of his eyes. "I know. That's what made it so funny!"

I then feel my chest ache as I realize I won't be able to see his smile or hear his laughter for a while. A long while. "I-I'm really going to miss you, Martin." I say looking down at him.

He then sat up and pulled my head toward him. "I'm going to miss you too." He gently kissed my forehead. He then followed me out of his room and into the kitchen where I got about 5 apples and took them out to the stable.

"For Trust?" he asked.

"Yeah. Last time I woke him up early, he bit me." I held up an apple. "Hopefully this will pacify him a bit. We'll have to work together on the long road ahead." We entered the stable, and sure enough, Trust was still sleeping.

"Hey, boy!" I whispered gently, nudging his huge face.

Trust's eyes snapped open and gave me a death glare.

"I brought you something." I held an apple in front of his mouth, and he softened his gaze as he ate it in one bite. Trust then saw Martin and nudged him lovingly with his muzzle.

"Well, I think he's less agitated with being up so early now that he's gotten some apples, and got to see you." I say smiling.

"I'm going to miss you as well, Trust." Martin patted Trust's chest, just the way he liked it. "Promise me you won't bite Azure while you're out there."

Trust nickered softly and then nudged me with his muzzle. My mouth can only go agape in surprise. I patted his chest, and not once did he bite me. I handed Trust another apple. "Thanks." I said to Martin. He then came up behind me and slipped his arms around my waist.

"Anything for you."

Trust gave a sharp neigh, and nudged us apart and stood in front of Martin. "Looks like someone's jealous. He wants you for himself." I teased Martin.

Martin laughed and patted Trust's chest again.

"Do be careful, Azure." Jauffre firmly patted the young woman's shoulder. "And good luck."

"I will, Grandmaster. And thank you." Azure slung her pack over Trust's rump and secured it.

"Also, Thank you." Jauffre added.

"What for?"

"Going out of your way to do all this. You truly are a selfless person."

She smiled. "Thank you, Grandmaster"

Baurus handed Azure a bag. "Here's some more apples for your horse, just in case." Azure took the bag and smiled.

"Thank the Gods. This is probably the only thing that'll keep Trust's bad attitude at bay."

She then went to mount Trust, but was stopped as Martin came out of the Great Hall.

"Azure, wait!" he called. He then handed her a few small bottles. "Take these healing potions. They have a strong potency, so use them sparingly."

She smiled as she placed them in her pack. "Thank y-"

Before she could finish, Martin pulled her towards him and kissed her passionately for almost a minute. He then pulled away, smiling. "Goodbye. And be safe."

She smiled back at him proudly. "I will. Goodbye, Martin." With that, she jumped on Trust and sped down the stairs of the temple.

Martin turned back to Jauffre and Baurus whom had their mouths wide open.

"What?" he asked them, although he already knew what they were so surprised about.

Jauffre put his hands on Martin's shoulders and sighed. "Forgive me, Your Majesty. But if you give me another illegitimate heir to look after, I swear to Talos I will castrate you with my blade."
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:00 pm

Even though Lex's shift ended over an hour ago, he still remained ever vigilant of the Imperial City. What the thieves weren't doing, they were plotting. He didn't care what the circumstances were; thievery is thievery. "Noble thievery" didn't exist; it didn't change the fact that something was stolen. He stood under a streetlamp in the Arboretum, scanning the dark for any suspicious characters. He whipped his head around when he heard two voices coming from the dark.

"Come onnn...A figure like yours comes aroun' only once in a lifetime! C'mon over to my house!"

Lex could tell it was a man, who sounded pretty intoxicated. He waited to see if anything else happened. A few seconds later, he heard an all-too familiar voice answer back to the drunken man.

"Piss off, you bastard, or I'll break your neck over my knee. Oi! Touch me again,and I'll cut your head off!"

Lex winced. This woman wasn't very ladylike in her language. He decided to intervene; he wouldn't have this scuffle marring the peaceful ambiance of his city.

"Take it off the street citizens, or I'll haul you off for disturbing the peace." He warned, approaching the two.

"Me?! Disturb the peace?" The woman snapped at Lex. "Tell it to this bastard! He's the one stumbling around piss drunk!"

Lex swore he knew the woman's voice.

"Sh..Sorry officher..." The man slurred. He then grabbed the woman's arm. "I'll jus' be takin' my lady an' going home..."

The woman pulled her arm back and punched the drunk man square in the face and he whimpered as he crumpled to the ground. "I am not your lady, and I will go with you nowhere! Now get the hell away from me!"

Lex quickly grabbed the woman's arm and spun her around. "Ma'am, there is a fine of 40 septims for assault. I'm afraid you're going to have to either pay the court a fine, or be jailed."

"Assault? Fine?!" she groaned, exasperated. "Alright...I'll pay the fine. I don't want to go to prison again, anyway. I have a job to do."

Again?! Lex thought to himself. "I-If you could follow me to the prison so we could do some paperwork."

The woman agreed and followed Lex to the prison, quietly cursing at herself for being so stupid. When they got inside, Lex turned to face her to ask her some basic questions. But when he saw her in the candlelight of the prison , his eyes went wide and his mouth, agape.

He couldn't deny who it was.

That jet black hair.

Those eyes the color of a clear summer sky.

"L-Lex?" Azure's eyes went wide as well. Now that she could see him in the light. Lex grabbed her arm and took her into an empty interrogation room. In there, he crushed her in a tight embrace.

"Azure...It-It's really you!" He held her tighter still. "What are you-How did-Azure!" so many things he wanted to ask her, but they just wouldn't come out.

Azure smiled and patted his back. "It's good to see you again, Lex."

He pulled away and cleared his throat. "I apologize..." he mumbled, regaining himself.

But she only smirked her trademark smirk that Lex could recognize from a mile away. "No need to. It has been three years since we've last seen each other." she then sat down at the interrogation table. "So, where do I pay the fine?"

Lex was so caught up with seeing Azure again, that he had almost forgotten the fine. "Yes. Right." He tried to sound as official as possible. He grabbed a book and a quill and set it in front of her. "I'll just need you to put down the date, the offense, your name, the location, and the amount of gold owed."

She grimaced. "Whole lot of fuss over nothing if you ask me." she mumbled under her breath.

"It's not nothing, Azure." He reprimanded rather harshly. "You punched a man in the face."

Azure looked up at Lex's intense face and stifled a laugh.

"I fail to see what is so amusing." He scolded her.

"I'm sorry. I was just reminiscing on how dedicated you were when it came to justice."

Lex looked quickly looked away, out of embarrassment. Azure then began to write in the record book.

"Second of Frostfall... 3rd Era 433...Imperial City Arboretum..." she mumbled quietly to herself while recording. Lex studied her intently as she wrote. After a few moments, she looked up at him. "What are you looking at?"

"Nothing. I just... can't believe how much you've grown in only 3 years."

She snickered at him. "I am a woman now. Did you expect me to stay a child forever?"

He couldn't argue with the fact she was a woman. Judging by astounding growth in certain...places...anyone could tell that she was a woman.

No wonder that man was coming on to her...He thought for a split-second, and then scolding himself for thinking that way. Azure shut the book and handed him 40 septims.

"So am I free to go now?" She asked him. "I'm kind of on a trek across Cyrodiil, and I can't waste anymore precious time."

"What kind of trek, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Hopefully one that will benefit for the good of the Empire."

Lex couldn't help but smile. He couldn't think of a more noble response. Azure then reached across the table and covered his hands with hers.

"Lex...I'm so sorry for that night...when I tried to break in the Imperial Palace...when I betrayed your trust..."

Lex stood up and pulled Azure to her feet. "I was more hurt that night... that you didn't come to me after your parents were killed. I was hurt that you'd choose a life of crime instead of coming to me..."

Azure nodded and hung her head down. "I realize that now...And I'm sorry...if you can ever forgive me..."

Lex tilted her head up and smiled. "I do forgive you, Azure. If there's anything you need, just tell me. I'll do what I can."

Azure sighed. "How about trying to convince High Chancellor Ocato to send aid to Bruma? I tried, but he says that he can't spare any troops for fear of weak defenses in the Imperial City."

"I'm sorry, Azure. But such a thing is beyond my control."

She shrugged and shook her head. "Well, there are 7 other cities that will be willing to send aid...I hope. I best be going. Time is of the essence." She then hugged Lex. "Thank you."

He hugged her back. "Come back anytime, Azure. My house is always open for you."

"Thanks, but I think I've found where I truly belong." She then seemed to drift off into a daydream. "Protecting the person I care most about."

"'The person you care most about'?" Lex echoed. "You have a lover?"

Azure blushed and rubbed the back of her neck. "I...guess you could call him that...the feeling is mutual between us."

Lex waved her off as she left the prison.

A lover...huh? he thought as he resumed his patrol.

She is a woman now...it's not uncommon. But why do I feel so...upset?

He shook his head and walked out into the night, hoping the local riff raff could take his mind off of the unpleasant feeling.

A/N: This is more of a filler chapter. I felt like Azure should have a chance to reconcile with Lex.

Goodness, I hope Azure doesn't turn towards the "doe-eyed love-drunk" fool. (Laughs)
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:01 pm

Martin sat back at his desk and sighed. He couldn't believe the next item the Xarxes was asking for.

A Great Sigil Stone.

He raked a hand through his hair and looked back down at the book. The only way to obtain one would be to...open a Great Gate. He lowered his brow and sighed again.

"Jauffre isn't going to be too pleased when I tell him this..." he muttered half-heartedly. "But it's the only way to get to Camoran's Paradise." He heard a knock at his door, and he turned around in his chair. "Come in." he bade.

"I should have known you'd still be poring over that damned book." Azure said wryly as she stepped into his room.

"By The Nine..." Martin said in astonishment. He got up immediately and went over to Azure, his heart swelled with over joyment. He cradled her face in his hands and covered her mouth with his. Azure's hands wrapped around his back and pulled him closer to her. It had been nearly three months since he last saw her, and now here she was in his arms.

"Azure..." He said when they had parted, "I've missed you so much."

Azure smiled at him. "I missed you as well."

He placed a hand on her cheek. "What of your trek to gain allies for Bruma?"

"Well, the Elder Council couldn't spare any Legion Troops, but luckily I was able to convince the leaders of all the other cities to send aid. All I had to do was close Oblivion Gates outside their respective cities."

Martin's face fell, and he took his hand off her cheek. "Azure, I'm so sorry that you had to go through all that again..."

"Don't make that face." She frowned at him. "You're starting to make me regret even going on this trip." She looked into his eyes intently. "Don't blame yourself, Martin."

He smiled at her and nodded.

"Oh, and before I forget; here." She reached into her pack and pulled out a bundle with a strange glow emanating from under it. She peeled back the dressing to reveal the Great Welkynd Stone.

Martin was rendered speechless. He ran his fingers over it as if it were made of glass.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Azure said quietly.

Martin nodded. "But it's beauty is a mask for its deadly power..."

"Like me, right?" Azure sniggered.

Martin looked at her and laughed. He missed being able to see her smile, hear her laugh, being able to touch her. She set the stone on Martin's desk and turned to face him. He noticed that she had gotten taller; when she left, she only came up to his chin, but now the top of her head was at the bridge of his nose.

"Azure, could you come with me, please?" Martin said, touching her cheek. "There's something important we need to discuss."

Azure looked at him questioningly. "Alright, I guess." She followed him into the Great Hall, where Martin called Jauffre over to them.

"Jauffre, we need to talk." Martin said, in all seriousness.

"Of course your Majesty, what is it?"

Martin cleared his throat. "So far, my translation in the Mysterium Xarxes has revealed a pattern. The first item and the second item were counterparts to one another; the blood of a daedra lord and the blood of a god. Now that we have a Great Welkynd Stone; a concentrated power of Mundus..."

"The opposite of Mundus is Oblivion." Azure interrupted above a whisper.

Jauffre stared at Azure for a second, and then at Martin. "My Lord, you couldn't possibly mean..."

Martin nodded and clenched his fists. "We are going to need to obtain a Great Sigil Stone. And to obtain one would mean the opening of a Great Gate outside Bruma."

All three of them were silent for a long while. Azure took this time to slip out of the Great Hall while Martin was distracted.

Jauffre finally spoke after a few minutes, but he couldn't hide the worry in his voice. "Forgive me, Sire. But the risk is too great, and the Countess will never agree to it."

"Believe me, Jauffre. I know the risk. I was at Kvatch. But there is no other way. We have no choice. As for the Countess, she will agree. She must agree."

Jauffre could see that Martin was dead serious, so he withdrew with a sigh. "As you wish, Sire. The Blades are, as always, at your disposal."

Martin then turned to face Azure, only to find that she was gone.

"Azure slipped outside a while ago, your Majesty." Jauffre informed him. "She might have been a bit stunned at your proposal."

"It's understandable. Thank you, Jauffre." Martin then left the Great Hall to look for Azure.

He found Azure at the watchtower, looking over Bruma. He sighed; he knew it was a big risk, but he wouldn't suggest it otherwise. He didn't like the idea too much himself...having to send Azure to get the Great Sigil Stone while he could only wait.

"Azure?" He called out to her in a soft voice as he approached her.

She kept her vision down on Bruma, which was now illuminated by Masser and Secunda, both in their full phases. "I'm sorry for leaving so suddenly." She said, sighing. "I was just...surprised."

Martin remained silent and listened to her as she continued.

"I never thought that someone like me would be entrusted with such a large task. So many lives and Fates will be in my hands. If I fail..." She swallowed hard and couldn't continue.

For a few moments, they stayed silent, just looking down at Bruma in the moons light.

Azure finally broke the silence with a sigh.

"I'm going to need to distract myself so I don't exhaust myself thinking about the negative outcome, I suppose."

She then turned to face Martin. "Please. Distract me." she said, kissing him on the lips. Martin obliged and deepened their kiss.

"Again." She said when they parted to take a breath. And Martin kissed her yet again.

"Again. Please." she begged, her eyes pleading. Instead, Martin grabbed her hand and led her through the West Wing and into his bedroom. There, he began to unbutton her shirt.

"This is the biggest distraction I can offer at the moment..." He whispered to her.

She nodded and whispered back to him. "This is more than enough."

He then peeled off her shirt and laid her down on the bed. She reached out and laced her fingers in his hair.

"Distract me as hard as you can." Her breathy voice came from underneath him.

Martin obeyed, taking time to kiss, touch, and caress every inch of her bare skin, while she did the same. It was so wonderful to be able to hold the woman he loved in his arms in such an intimate way. He could feel her heart pound against his chest as he readied to take her maidenhood.

"Azure, are you..."

"Yes." She said simply. "Take it."

He was gentle and he took his time; for this was a moment that could never be experienced again. As the night went on, the most secret places on their bodies were brought to light by one another, and Azure's maidenhood ceased to exist.

As the climax of their lovemaking finally died down, Martin lay in bed, facing Azure, whose jet black hair was spilling over her soft caramel-colored skin. He slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her towards him. "Are you alright?" he asked, kissing her forehead.

"I'm fine." she whispered in a dreamy tone. "I feel...really good." she smiled at him in the moons light spilling through his window.

"I didn't hurt you during, did I?"

"No. It hurt a little at first, but I've been told that it's natural." She then kissed his bare chest. "It was wonderful. I've heard people make such a fuss over it so many times before but..." She sighed and looked up at him, glowing. "I can see why now."

Martin smiled and he took one of her hands and laced his fingers into hers. "Sleep well, Azure." He gently kissed her on the lips.

She smiled and closed her eyes, resting her head against his chest. He repeatedly and softly pressed his lips to her forehead.

Looks like I was able to distract her after all.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:02 pm

The morning sun was now pouring over the mountains and into Martin's room. Martin cracked one eye open and jumped when he found Baurus standing next to his bed, smiling the widest he had ever smiled.

"Baurus?!" He exclaimed in a still sleepy voice, "What are you doing in here?"

"I was told to get you up, Sire. But I couldn't help but notice the...change of scenery... in here."

Martin's mind was immediately flooded with the occurrences that had happened last night. He whipped his head around to find Azure still sleeping with her bare shoulders facing them.

"So, the little girl is now a woman." Baurus said, bursting out laughing.

"By The Gods, man! Have you no shame?" Martin scolded rather loudly.

"Mhm...Wha- Wha's it?" Azure mumbled sleepily, turning over. Her eyes went wide when she saw that Baurus was in the room. She then retreated under the blankets. "What the he- Who let you in here?!" she demanded.

"Yeah, why don't you pleasure him more while you're down there?" Baurus laughed.

"Baurus." Martin ordered, his voice tight. "I think you should leave."

Baurus nodded and headed toward the door. Before he left, he looked at Martin from over his shoulder. "Congratulations on graduating from the Virgins Guild, you two." He laughed as Azure grabbed a goblet from Martin's bedside table and flung it at him as he closed the door.

"Bastard." She spat, her face a deep red. She then turned to Martin. "I'm sorry...this was all my fault..."

Martin cupped his hand on her jaw and leaned in towards her. "Don't be sorry. I don't regret a single minute of it." He then whispered against her mouth, "Honestly, If I could, I'd repeat last night all over again."

She seemed to swoon for a split second, but then her gaze sharpened as she whipped her head towards the door.

"Baurus, get the bloody hell out of here before I throw the damn desk at you." She warned. A few seconds later, they could hear his footsteps retreating and stifled laughter all the way. She then turned back to Martin. "I guess...today's the day, huh?" she said, looking at him intently.

"Indeed it is." He said, dressing himself. "But the top priority on our list at the moment is obtaining a Great Sigil Stone." He lowered his brow and sharpened his gaze. "First things first, the Countess of Bruma must agree to this plan."

Azure got up out of bed and put a hand on Martin's shoulder. "Don't worry. She will." she said, simply.

Martin covered Azure's hand on his shoulder with his own. "How are you so sure?"

"I'll talk to her."

Martin looked at Azure in surprise. "What makes you think she-"

"If I can convince a complete stranger that he's heir to the Empire and have him believe me, I'm sure I can convince a Countess to open a Great Gate outside of her city."

Martin softened his gaze and shook his head. "You are impossible." He laughed softly.

Azure smiled and kissed him quickly on the lips. "I am a woman." she joked.

I was now ready for battle.

Sporting my cuirass from Kvatch, iron gauntlets, my blacksmith pants, and and iron boots; I placed my quiver of arrows on my back and my bow. I then tied my hair into a loose ponytail. I then placed my Akaviri Katana on my hip. I hoped I didn't have to use it, because my sword skills were quite poor.

But then again...You never know.

I went up to the Great hall to find Jauffre and Baurus already ready in their Blades Attire.

"Azure, are you ready?" Martin's voice came from behind me, and I whirled around to find him donning the armor of Tiber Septim.

"Why are you-" I begin, but he holds up a hand.

"I'll lead the defense of Bruma myself. I am the emperor. It's time I started acting like one."

"But your safety is of the utmost importance, Martin. You should stay here at Cloud Ruler."

He put his hands over my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye.

"Azure. I trusted you since the first day we met in Kvatch. I know I've asked so much of you already, but now I ask of your trust."

I looked deep into his blue eyes and I could see trust burning in them. "As you command." I said, firmly.

"Please. I need your judgement. Not your obedience." he said, smiling gently at me. "Have the Countess meet me at the Chapel of Talos for a war council. That seems like a fitting place to do it."

"I'll leave right away." I then made my way down to Bruma, and I headed towards the castle.

"What's a Kvatch soldier doing here?" I heard a young boy ask his mother as I passed by.

"I don't know, my love, maybe she's-" She then dropped a basket she was holding. "By The Nine Divines! It's the Hero of Kvatch!" She then took the boy's hand and ran into the tavern. Even outside, I could hear her yelling. "The Hero of Kvatch herself is in Bruma!"

I grimaced. I was hoping not to draw too much attention. Just think of the uproar when Martin gets here. I snickered to myself. I can't wait to see his expression when all the townspeople start hailing him.

I finally made it to the castle. I took a deep breath and entered.

Talos, if you're listening; please give me a hero's spirit. Please give all of a hero's spirit.

Countess Narina Carvain perked up when she heard a murmur rising up from the entrance hall. Soon she heard multiple footstep running and doors opening and closing at fast intervals.

"What in Oblivion?" she was a bit taken aback by the sudden clamoring. She stood up to see what was going on. She then saw a woman approaching her with some guardsmen in tow.

"It's the Hero of Kvatch!" The Countess heard one of the men whisper. The Countess studied the woman approaching her. The Hero of Kvatch? Is this what all that fuss was about? But she couldn't help but notice that this woman had an air around her that she found rather interesting. The woman kneeled in front of the Countess with a closed fist over her heart.

"My Lady. I am Azure; servant of the Dragon Throne and champion to His Majesty, Martin Septim."

"Martin Septim, you say?"

"Yes, Milady. I have come on his behalf to discuss something rather important to you."

"Very well. Proceed."

The Countess flopped down on her throne. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "A...Desperate plan indeed." she breathed. "Martin would risk my city to obtain a Great Sigil Stone?"

"It is an extreme plan, Milady, but we need that Stone to retrieve the Amulet of Kings. Once the Amulet is back in our possesion; Martin will be able to light the Dragonfires and seal the Gates of Oblivion forever."

The Countess rubbed her temples and looked at Azure. "I must admit, you are the first person whom has spoken of victory against the daedra."

"I have the utmost confidence in our victory, Milady." She smiled at the Countess, her eyes smiling.

The Countess gave a mischevious smile. "So there was an heir hidden at Cloud Ruler Temple. I wonder-" She said looking straight at Azure. "Is there a hero hidden there as well?"

Azure looked up at her and gave a smirk. "Martin awaits you at the Chapel."

The Countess gave a light laugh. "You sneaky girl, you avoid answering my question."

"Why ask questions when you already have the answers in your hand?"

The Countess laughed again. This girl reminds me so much of myself... "Very well. Don't think I doubt you. I will meet with Martin at the Chapel."

Azure then stood up and bowed, and the Countess followed her to the Chapel of Talos.

I took time to thank The Nine that the Countess was an agreeable woman.

I also took time to beg Talos for victory in this battle.

"Countess. I am ready. Let the battle begin." I tell her.

"So be it. The fate of Bruma rests in the Gods' hands...and yours." She then turned to Captain Burd. "Burd, prepare the troops! Stop closing all Oblivion Gates!"

I swallowed hard and clenched my fists. This is it.

Martin touched my shoulder reassuringly and I can feel all my tension dissolve. I smile back at him.

"Come." He says to me. "Let us go down to battle...together."
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:02 pm

"Soldiers of Cyrodiil!" Martin called out to all the soldiers who stood ready for battle in front of the Oblivion Gate. "The Empire will stand or fall by what we do here today! Will we let the daedra do to Bruma what they did to Kvatch? Will we let them burn our homes? We will let them kill our families? No! We make our stand here, today, for the whole of Cyrodiil! We must hold fast until the Hero of Kvatch can destroy their Great Gate. We must kill whatever comes out of that gate!" He then drew his sword, and all the soldiers mirrored him. "Soldiers of Cyrodiil! Do you stand with me?"

As soon as he finished, daedra started to spill out the gates like water over a broken dam.

"For the Empire!" I shouted as I drew my bow. In less than 10 seconds, steel was colliding against daedric weapons, and arrows were slicing the air with high pitched whistling. Occasionally, I would glance over my shoulder to see if Martin was alright. I looked over my shoulder once more, then I felt a searing pain in my leg. A dremora had slashed me with his sword. I drew my sword and thrusted at him, but I stumbled clumsily, and he brought the hilt of the sword down on the base of my spine. My legs buckled and I dremora readied to take my head off, but a sword exploded through his chest. Martin watched as the dremora fell down into the now red snow. He then grabbed my arms and pulled me up quickly.

"Don't be a fool! Worry about yourself!" He reprimanded.

"Damn it all!" I muttered through clenched teeth. Does he not realize that if he dies, we're all bloody screwed? But this obviously was not the time to be arguing, so I concentrated on fighting back the daedra. While I was engaging a scamp, the ground shook and some strange stone came up fast out of the ground. I jumped back in time, but the scamp was not so lucky.

It was flung up in the air like a ragdoll and landed right on its head.

"The Second Gate!" I exclaimed. "Come on...One more!"

It was obvious that the soldiers were tiring, the hellspawn of Oblivion were succeeding in landing more blows on the soliders.

"Talos, guide us!" I cried out. At that moment, a strange feeling washed over me. I felt something...powerful rise up within me.

"For the Empire!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. As soon as those words left my mouth, a strange light started to envelop everyone. They looked like they had their energy back, and they were able to defeat the daedra they were engaging. Cries of: "For the Empire!" rang out through the battlefield.

A Rallying Spell!

I smiled with newfound confidence, and energy. I was able to fight daedra after daedra until...

..It happened.

A huge rumble that even stopped the daedra in their tracks. The ground exploded, and the rocks pushed through, revealing a gate that was wider than the three lesser Gates combined.

"The Great Gate!" I managed to choke out.

"Azure!" Martin yelled as loud as he could. "Now's your chance! Go!"

I ran top speed towards the Gate, ignoring the daedra that were just starting to pour out of it.

As of now, the future of Bruma would rest in what I was about to do.

The siege engine inched forward towards the Great Gate. I wasn't fooled by its speed; it was strong enough to take out Kvatch in a single night. Wasting no time, I bolted from the gate to the nearest tower, with daedra in tow. I can't waste any time with them; they'd only waste valuable time.

I had to get to that Sigil Stone!

Sweat was pouring off of me, and my wound from earlier was still fresh. More and more daedra were starting to join the pursuit, following my blood trail. At one point, an arrow whizzed past my arm and left an open cut. I stumbled a little bit, leaving room for a scamp to rake my back with its claws. I bit back a howl and continued on, my head getting light from the pain and loss of blood. I reached into my cuirass and downed a healing potion, which was able to close the wounds. But it did not help the fact that I lost a lot of blood.

"You can do it!" I urged myself. "Come on!" I burst through the doors of the Sigil Keep and ran up the ramp. I felt rough hands grab me from behind and shove me to the ground. I looked up to see a Sigil Keeper looming over me. He kicked me in the head so hard I saw stars, and I couldn't move.

"Break. And. Fall!" He shouted, bringing down his mace to crush my skull. I rolled out of the way and jumped for the Great Sigil Stone. I wrapped myself around it, and began to fall to the platform about 30 feet beneath me.

Falling...

Falling...

Then everything went black.

The Siege engine was here! Martin could only stare in horror as the engine was coming through the Gate. The engine lurched forward and then-

-It collapsed.

It broke apart and fell, making a mighty crash as it toppled over. The rest of the daedra were finished off by the soldiers, and Martin's eyes wildly scanned the battlefield. He ran towards the fallen siege engine, pushing bits and pieces out of the way. His heart seized in his chest as he saw Azure lying face down in the snow, which was red with blood around her leg.

"Gods...No.." He jumped over a leg of the siege crawler and carefully scooped her up in his arms. "Azure?"

Her eyes were closed, and she remained silent.

"Azure?" He gently shook her, but she was limp.

His heart grew heavy and he buried his face in her neck. "Arkay preserve her..." He muttered over and over. This couldn't be true. She couldn't be- He squeezed her tightly. "Azure...Please come back to us." he swallowed the lump in his throat. "Please come back to me."

Martin felt a hand touch his face and he snapped his head up to find Azure's sky blue eyes looking into his, smiling.

"You've come back..." he said, his voice thick with tears.

She smiled wider. "You idiot." she said, lightheartedly. "I never left."

He then met her lips with his and wouldn't- couldn't let go. He kissed her intensely and ran his hand through her hair. She then pulled away and held up the stone.

"Heh. I told you I could do-" She then closed her eyes and went limp.

"Azure?" Martin said in concern. A few seconds later, he could hear her breathing slow to a steady pace. She had fallen asleep. He smiled and kissed her forehead, and emerged from under the rubble with Azure in his arms.

"Your Majesty!" Jauffre cried as he neared. "Are you two alright?"

"We're fine, Jauffre." He smiled down at Azure. "Just fine."

"Well, you best get back to the Temple. The Blades will be staying here in Bruma for the night. They'd probably fall asleep on the way back to the Temple."

"I understand. Farewell, Jauffre."

Martin had successfully healed Azure's wounds while she slept in his bed. They would leave scars for many years to come, but he didn't care, so long as she was safe.

Azure cracked her eyes open and smiled at Martin in the candlelight.

"Are you alright?" He asked, brushing her bangs out of her face.

"I'm fine." She then sat up and looked at him intensely. "I was just thinking..."

"About what?"

"How much you owe me."

"Owe?"

"Yeah. For going on all these treks for you. You're going to have to compensate."

Martin was all seriousness now. He could understand very well that she felt this way, and he didn't blame her. He was honestly expecting this for quite a while. "I understand." He said, "What type of compensation?"

Azure smiled mischievously as she grabbed his shoulders and pulled him into the bed. There, she pinned him.

"Are you willing to compensate?" she said in a rather seductive tone.

He laughed as she rubbed her nose against his neck. "Yes. I will compensate."

Their lovemaking was more intense than the last time, for both feared that they were going to lose each other on the battlefield that morning. But now they were here, pressing bare skin against each other, and kissing each other to the point of breathlessness. They spent hours on end enraptured within each other.

Unbeknownst to both of them, a new life was to begin that very night.
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Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:03 pm

I placed Mehrunes Bane- my newly enchanted bow- and my quiver of arrows on my back, and I took a deep breath as Martin readied the ritual to Mankar Camoran's Paradise. It was just us in the Great Hall; the Blades hadn't returned from Bruma yet.

"What's wrong?" I asked Martin, who had a brooding look over his face.

He looked up at me in surprise. "What do you mean 'What's wrong'?" he said with a slight scoff, "You're going into a whole nother realm, You're going up against Mehrunes Dagon's lackey, and this portal will only send you in, not out." He rubbed his forehead wearily. "And you ask me 'what's wrong'?"

I roll my eyes and shake my head. I then go over to him and press a fist to his chest. "I know you're worried-Actually 'worried' is an understatement-but I promise you;I swear to you that I will return with the Amulet of Kings."

He takes my fist from over his heart and gives it a gentle squeeze. "Swear to me that you won't get hurt, either." he said with a pleading look.

"I'll try my best." I then took a few steps back. "Alright." I said, exhaling. "Open the portal."

In a bright display of lights, the Great Welkynd Stone and Great Sigil Stone exploded and converged on one spot. In its place, a huge globular portal stood in front of me, shining in gold light.

"You don't have much time!" Martin called out to me, "Hurry up before the portal closes!"

I immersed myself within the portal, within less than a second, Cloud Ruler was replaced by-

-Lush green meadows filled with flowers? I blinked and spun around. Sure enough, I was where I needed to be. The portal sputtered and disappeared as I turned to face it.

So...The cat's paw of the Septims arrives at last.

I nearly jump out of my skin when Mankar Camoran's voice penetrates the facade of the peaceful meadow. His voice seems to be everywhere, but nowhere. It's like I can hear his voice outside and inside me. I shudder at the appalling feeling.

Who is he calling a cat's paw? I seethe silently as I make my way through the garden, Does he not think that his pious agreeing to Dagon's bidding without question does not make him a cat's paw to Dagon? Hypocrisy in the highest degree.

You didn't think you could take me unawares, here of all places? In the Paradise that I created?

I wanted to spit. The way he was hanging on his words like he was a person that deserved to be worshipped by the lesser seriously irritated me. In all truth; he was a ringleader behind murderers of the Emperor and countless other lives in this crisis.

I shook my head and clenched my jaw.

No...the real ringleader is Mehrunes Dagon.

"You!" A voice snapped at me from behind. I whirled on my heel to find myself staring at the Mythic Dawn agent that Baurus and I took out months ago in the Imperial City.

I gave him my nastiest glower. "Well. I hope causing countless innocent lives to be taken is worth it here, in your 'Paradise'." I said, putting a scoff in the word "Paradise".

He sneered at me. "You mock us mortal, but you will soon come to regret it!" He then looked up at the huge mountain rising up out of the horizon. "Yes, we may be tormented by horrid creatures in the garden until we die and are resurrected-" he then looked back at me, his eyes flaming with passion. "But when Lord Dagon returns, we will reign with him immortal!"

At that moment, I snapped. I grabbed the man's neck and shoved him to the ground, digging my knee into his chest. "Do you bastards seriously think, that a daedra lord would rule side-by-side with a bunch of humans?!" I shouted at him. "He'd more likely crush you into the earth! All these lives you've taken, all the destruction you caused; for a DELUDED dream of reigning immortal with a Daedra?!" My grip tightened around his neck.

He smiled at me sardonically. "The Master will soon deal with you."

I snarled and punched him as hard as I could. How could they do this?! Why would they do this?! All those lives...I stood up and clenched my fists.

"Camoran..." I spat, venomously.

In that moment, nothing mattered but him. I was determined to take him out, even if it meant the cost of my own life.

"P-Please wait up!" An Altmer man in Mythic Dawn apparel ran to catch up with me.

"Why the hell should I?" I growled at him disdainfully, "Far as I'm concerned, you're just another Mythic Dawn agent."

He stopped and gave a kicked-dog expression, but he then gave a brief nod. "I understand what would make you think that way, but please understand that I can help you?"

I gave in to pity and decided to hear him out. "Go on." I said, curtly.

"No one wearing the Bands of the Chosen may leave the Forbidden Grotto; I am the only one who can take them off for you."

"That's it? That's all you have to offer?"

"Well, I-" He shifted uncomfortably on his feet. "I want to take out Camoran as much as you do. I'm sick of living in this so called 'Paradise'; forced to torment others for the rest of eternity." He then looked up at me. "It's Hell. Day after Day. Living with the fact that our actions killed so many.."

I folded my arms and tapped a finger on my arm. After a few long minutes, I sighed loudly. "Very well. Lead on. But be warned, I will not wait for you if you fall behind. I must find Camoran as fast as I can, and I cannot waste any time."

"Understood. My name is Eldamil by the way."

"Mm-hm." I said, ignoring the obvious fact that he wanted my name as well. Yes, I'm being pissy, but I can't ignore the fact that his actions caused ruin on Tamriel.

I walked forward but Eldamil grabbed my shoulder. "Get behind me and follow." he muttered, barely moving his lips.

I tsked and did as he said. The faster we cooperate, the faster I can find Camoran. I nearly jumped back when I found a dremora looming in front of me giving me a horrid look.

"What's going on here?!" He demanded in that gurgly voice of a dremora. "Who's this?"

Eldamil held his back straight, but you could see the fear in his eyes. "A prisoner. Sent in by-"

"Show me some respect worm! Unless you want to end up in the cages with them!"

"Yes, Kynreeve. This prisoner was sent in by Kathutet for questioning."

"This is not one of Mankar Camoran's chattels from the garden. Who is she?" he snapped.

"Nothing escapes your vigilance, kynreeve. Kathutet wondered as well, I was just about to begin questioning."

"Well...Carry on."

Eldamil then turned to me. "Prisoner. Get in the cage, now." I quickly searched his face, unable to hide the worry in my eyes. I slowly made my way over to the cage and got in.

Gods, I hope he knows what he's doing.

He pulled the lever, and my cage-which was suspended over a pool of magma- slowly began to descend.

Lower...

Lower...

Lower...

I almost had a heart attack as the base of my cage was only inches above the lava. With a slight jerk, my cage began to ascend back to its original position.

As I got out of the cage, I looked back at Eldamil, whom had told me to go on. He said he would meet me on the other side.

I was still unsure of him, but to go this far to atone for your sins was something else.

Camoran scoffed when he saw her. Did the last Septim seriously think that he could send a child to fight on his behalf? In his Paradise, he could read her mind like an open book. He felt the rage vibrating off of her when she looked at him with a horrid glower. Once he pushed past that, he could just see a little girl whom had no family, and was just trying to find worth in the world. He saw a child who felt affection for the Septim heir.

It made him want to laugh. All the heroes in the world, and they send this? This...stupidly lovestruck child with nothing left in the world? He almost pitied her; this overconfident little brat seriously think she could stop Lord Dagon's invasion?

He could also see that...Wait. This cannot be...This was the child whom killed Ruma and Raven? His mind was racing, but he refused to show it. He stood up to greet her, and no sooner had he stood up; an arrow flew past his temple, leaving a cut that bled profusely.

"For the Dragon!" She shouted, as she nocked another arrow.

Camoran roared as he drew his staff and aimed for her. He refused! He refused to have this little girl show him up! He refused to let her interfere with Lord Dagon's plans!

He raised his staff over his head and brought it down on her shoulder. She yelled out in pain, and grabbed his staff and gave it a quick tug. Camoran stumbled forward and the woman brought a knee to his stomach. He reeled back and shot a lightning spell at her, only to see that she was gone. He then felt an excruciating pain in his back, through his heart and his chest. He looked down to see an arrow covered in blood protruding from his chest. The arrow had a faint whitish-blue glow around it. He then felt his body stiffen and grow cold. He then fell to the floor. The woman stood over him and glared at him.

"Y-you cannot defeat Lord Dagon!" he spat weakly at her.

She leant down, and snagged the Amulet of Kings from around his neck. She then pulled a dagger out from a sheathe on her hip. And wordlessly, she plunged it into his throat.

Everything started to shake and blur. The woman was enveloped in light and disappeared. Camoran could only watch in silent horror as a piece of loose stone fell from the ceiling and crushed him.

Martin's heart pounded. It had been about 5 hours since Azure had entered the portal to Paradise. He tried his hardest to think positively like Azure did often, but sadly, he did not have that gift of optimism.

"Your Majesty, please try to calm down." Jauffre said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Martin nodded. "Forgive me Jauffre." he sighed wearily, "I'm just worried something has happened to her."

Jauffre smiled. "Don't worry. She'll make it back. She always do-"

Before Jauffre could finish the Great Hall was enveloped in a blinding light and a muffled explosion. And there stood Azure, her head whipping around wildly, trying to make out what was going on. She then looked back to see Martin and Jauffre, standing there flabbergasted.

Martin was the first to move. He grabbed Azure and enveloped her in his arms, and ran a hand through her hair. "Thank The Nine..." he mumbled over and over. He felt her hands fumble at the back of his neck, and he pulled away to find the Amulet of Kings hanging from his chest.

"See?" She said with a glowing smile. "You are Uriel Septim's son."

Martin smiled back at her and gave a laugh. "I didn't need the Amulet to tell me that. I knew it was true when you first told me back in Kvatch." He then cupped a hand on her cheek. "It's almost over..." he said with a sigh of relief.

She slid her hand over his and her eyes filled with tears of happiness. "Yes. It almost is."

Martin then leaned forward but stopped when Jauffre cleared his throat loudly. "I'll ready the horses. We must depart for the Imperial City right away for your Coronation, My Lord." as he walked by Jauffre mumbled to them, "By the Gods, could you at least wait until I clear the room?" He then left through the Great Hall doors.

Martin and Azure looked at each other and laughed. Azure then tilted her head up and kissed Martin, and Martin kissed her back.

Camoran's Paradise was hell. But this was Azure's Paradise.
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Re: Friends Fan fiction story

Post  Sovngarde on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:04 pm

So this was my friends story on another forum that she wanted me to post here :3
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Re: Friends Fan fiction story

Post  The Rebel on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:28 pm

Sovngarde wrote:So this was my friends story on another forum that she wanted me to post here :3
Would've been better if she posted this here, we could use more users. :/

Anyway, I thought it was pretty good, only complaint is that it seems a little like a teenage girl wrote it, a talented teenager but still... except from that I thought it was good.

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Re: Friends Fan fiction story

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