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Hildegard

06 Aug

Your name is Hildegard, although sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

You’ve spent so long in this forest, so long it’s hard to keep track of the days. One just blurs into the next as you scavenge for food and water. Most days you just work on auto pilot, letting the wolf decide what you do. You’re feral, though the word doesn’t come to mind.

Then, come the days when you’re forced to remember. When the transformation ends and you’re left just a girl in the forest, unarmed, unarmored, unclothed. Those are the days you spend hidden away in your cave, curled up under the few animal hides you’ve managed to carve off of one of your hunts. Those are the days you try to regain some control over your throat, to remember how to write, how to be human. That comes with the regret. The pain that you caused your family- your pack- from your lack of control.

You scratch out stories in the walls- tales of a silver wolf who could do good in the world with her transformation. How she had an amulet that would let her talk no matter the form she had, so that she would always be understood. It is all a wish, a fable, a tale, yes, but they’re what you wish to be one day. What you wish to be versus what you are.

A child who cannot control what power she has.

And then you’re the wolf again, without provocation, and you’re wild and free once more. You forget.

You forget, and you hunt.

You come across a man one day, a man who is not scared of you. He sees you, prowling, and instead of trying to kill you he sees something worth saving.

When you’re the wolf, you’re never sure of what you’re doing. When you come to as a human once more, you’re small in his arms, and he’s bleeding from the face- where you must have clawed him. But he doesn’t mind, he’s smiling and he’s simply THERE, telling you that everything will be alright.

Kor is your brother, you soon decide. He is your protector, your guardian. When you lose control, he’s there to pull you back from the brink- from the edge of losing who you are inside yourself to the pull of the wolf. It’s all still there, and it’s hard to keep control when you don’t have an outlet for those animal urges and instincts anymore.

But that, Somehow, is solved when you’re both recruited into the Dark Brotherhood, and your hunter’s instincts are allowed to flourish on the hunt. When you’re allowed to hunt down those marked for death, and take them to the void without regret.

You trade one cage for another, however. The days when you lose control and turn into the wolf, you lock yourself away into a room in the sanctuary. You cower in a corner and wait for the transformation to wear of so you’re not in danger of hurting anyone. Kor tries his best during those times, but like when you were wild, and you had to protect your human self from others, you hide away and force your mind to keep itself stable.

Somedays, you’re able to force a transformation back. Others, you’re stuck with stories running through your head. Stories that you eagerly write down once you’ve turned back to ‘normal.’

Normal? Is that really the word for a werewolf that can’t control her changes? Is that the word for an assassin of the Dark Brotherhood?

The other members of the Family try to make you feel welcome, but you always feel a sense of… tension? Wariness?? What is the word? You’re not sure. Regardless, you’re never quite sure that you belong. That they’re not just tolerating you for your skills, or Kor’s for that matter.

New people come, and new people go. Assassins have started dying recently. You’re afraid, cautious. Concerned. It’s enough to loose your control, and you lock yourself away. Kor tries to get you to come to the cage door, to meet one of your new brothers or sisters in the family. You don’t, though. You don’t want to meet someone new.

As they start to come into scent range, you retreat to the other end of the cage. You don’t want to learn their scent…. But you catch a whiff anyways, and you smell… something familiar. Something wolfish. You eye the newcomer, a woman, tall, muscular- but wired in a way that’s familiar. You see something in her eyes. The wolf can’t identify it. You aren’t sure if she’s a werewolf or not, either.

Every time she comes by the cage, you hide away. You don’t want to  make friends with her. But she comes by anyways, tries to talk with you some times, says nothing others, just waiting for you to make the first move. She’s a werewolf too, she says. You don’t want to forge a connection because of that.

Kor tells you about the new blade as she completes contracts- she’s making a name for herself, this girl. Then comes the moment when you finally met her face to face as a human. You and Kor are talking with the Matron, and the girl approaches from the side. She stands there, silent, listening as Kor and the Matron talk. You stay silent as well, for the most part. You and the new blade observe each other.

She’s definitely a Lycanthrope. You can smell the blood and the wolf on her. You can SEE the control. Unlike you who holds your arms close and tries to make yourself small, she stands confident, power coiled within her muscles, ready to strike at any moment. She’s more of an assassin than you are, you think. You recognize her face, she’s some champion of the Aldmeri Dominion who lead an assault against Coldharbour. You saw the newspaper in a thieves den once. She’s a trained killer through and through. She belongs here, not you. But the look in her eyes as she regards you is… Pity? Remorse? It’s definitely one of the sadder emotions but you just aren’t sure what it is.

Neither of you directly speak a word. You hide yourself away somewhere high up, and watch as the new blade tries her best to try and find you before she heads out on contract.

A contract where she and Kor save one of your brothers from certain death.

You’re frightened, scared, and you run away after listening to someone you shouldn’t have. You hide in the forests where you once roamed wild and free, and you can’t find your cave. Is it gone now?  Are you even in the right place? You roam as the wolf, but you don’t find anything at all…

Then you hear a wolf howling and the sounds of battle. You RUN… And then Kor finds YOU, gets you to calm down and turn back. The new blade isn’t too far behind, readjusting her clothes as if having just turned back.

She did, of course.  As she and Kor convince you to come back to the Gold Coast via cart, you and her talk. She tells you of how they tracked you down,  how she killed the hunters that had been sent after you- how she went wolf on their leader for a finishing touch of irony. The ride back gives you time to think, time to realize that even someone you avoided, and wanted nothing to do with, still risked her life to help save you.

You are wanted.

The days go on, contracts are filled, and while you still feel like you might lapse in control eventually, you start to think that you might maybe now have a Sister along with your Brother- different from your brothers and sisters in the sanctuary. You are Hildegarde. You have a family. And for the first time, you feel as if you’re getting a firm grasp of control in your life.

And then Mirabelle is killed by the Black Dragon and, and— everything falls apart.

And yet, she is there to pick up the pieces.

Somehow, it is this new blade this new girl this werewolf who saved you, this one person who keeps everything from falling apart.

In the final fight against the enemy who spawned this accursed chain of revenge and death- you’re stopped in time so often that it seems like the girl and the priest are teleporting across the room… She fights as a wolf- and when the damned priest finally goes down… she returns to human form to finish him.

Control.

She has had so much control… and yet as she accepts the title of Silencer, you can see her hesitate for the first time.

A resigned look, a sigh, you could particularly equate it with “This, again?” Exasperation- how many ceremonies had she been through to become this desensitized to this kind of thing?

Several Weeks Later, the Silencer announces her departure for Orsinium… And…You want to go with her. You do. You want to see how she operates, how she works. You try to convince the Matron, you try to convince Kor, you try to convince the Silencer…

In the end, you stay at the Sanctuary.

It was probably for the best, given that no less than a month later, you all recieve word of the Silencer slaying King Kurog, thus stopping his insane attempt at killing all of Orsinium’s Clan Chiefs.

The Speaker is annoyed in that subtle way even he cannot quite hide behind his cool demeanor. Such a messy and public execution… He and the Matron speak with the Silencer upon her return, and you can’t help but to sneak up the hallway and listen into their conversation.

“Slaying the KING of Orsinium in full attire??” The Matron asks, enraged. “Have you gone mad!?”

“No, he was the mad one,” The Silencer counters. “Besides that, he and his mother tried to puppet me into killing my allies. Sithis’ will prevented that, however… and I showed them the error of their ways.” She is calm, collected, even despite everything.

She has Control over the situation.

“And you chose to wear the robes of the Silencer, rather than those of a normal assassin?” The Speaker asks.

“To show how grave of a mistake they had made.” The Silencer answers. “And to… normalize our presence, in the eyes of the Orcs.” Silence falls between the three of them, so she explains. “When Trinimac’s worshipers went insane and prepared to slaughter everyone who was not one of them, who saved them? Not Malacath, but Sithis. The Dread Father sent his Child to send the Mad King back to the void where he belongs. Those who faced my blade, and lived? They will forever remember that they live because I let them escape… and will forever be looking behind their backs at the shadows chasing them, fearing that one day, it will be my blade that digs itself into their backside.” She shifts, and places something onto the table in two large chunks. You peer out around the door frame and see the bloodied remains of a sword, broken in twain. “They will forever know that Sithis and the Night Mother repay all of their karmic debts.”

You have no idea what the sword is meant to represent, but you see it, and you see the looks on the Matron and the Speaker’s faces. Shock, awe… fear, and also respect.

“And speaking of debts,” The Speaker coughs. “The Listener has requested that you speak to them in person. The information you seek has been found.”

“Where, and when?” The Silencer asks.

“They said you would understand this riddle,” The Speaker shakes his head, “‘Meet at the Place where Scrolls Fell, and Dragons Ascend to meet the next full moons.”

“I see…. Skuldafn,” The Silencer laughs, just a little. “Of course it would be there.”

And so she turns to leave, and you hide in the shadows as quickly as you can.

The Silencer pauses as she steps out of the room, eyes glancing over at where you’re hiding… She sniffs, and of course she could smell you. She says nothing, then heads down the hallways towards the dining room and kitchen… You follow.

It is once you’re in the room, and you find Kor standing over a cooking pot, sniffing at the stew that Remains-Silent is cooking up, that the Silencer speaks.

“Kor, look who I found sneaking around outside my meeting with the Speaker and Matron.”

“Oh?” He turns, looks and, confused. “Hilde?? What were you doing over there??”

“I…” You admit that you were curious. “I just wanted to find out what happened in Orsinium.”

“Ah…” Kor nodded slightly, glancing at the Silencer. “So what did happen out there, Argo?”

“I’d rather not retell it again right now,” She answers.

“Ah… well… that’s understandable,” Kor then motions to the pot of stew. “Remains-Silent’s making dinner!” A wonderful change of subject, Brother.

“It smells delicious!” you say, smiling.

“Agreed,” The Silencer nods. “It smells wonderful.” She says to the Argonian, who, true to her name, remains silent. “I think I’ll stay, then. It’s been a while since I’ve had a home cooked meal.”

Soon enough, the Argonian woman pours out the stew into four bowls, and you all dig in. You intentionally eat slower than the others, observing them as they eat. Kor is fast, but messy. Remains-Silent is slow, careful, and yet somehow eats more in refills in the same time the rest of you are on your first bowl. The Silencer eats fast- but seems to be forcing herself to slow down.

“So what’s at Skuldafn?” You finally work up the nerve to ask once you’re half-way through your bowl.

If death could be delivered by a sentence, you’re sure you would have almost caused the Silencer to choke on her stew with those words.

“Skuldafn?!” Kor asks, surprised. “You mean that big huge Ancient Nordic Temple up in Eastmarch?”

“That’d… that’d be the one,” The Silencer nods. “The Listener has agreed to meet me there during the rise of the full moons, next week.”

“Wow, that’s…” Kor trails off, looking astonished. Even Remains-Silent seems surprised by that declaration. “The Listener? Really?? That’s quite the accomplishment! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her stepping out of the Nightmother’s Crypt in the last few years!”

“Why Skuldafn, though?” You ask, and the Silencer gets an uncomfortable look on her face as she sets her spoon down into the last dregs of her stew.

“A dear friend of mine disappeared from there in a mysterious accident. I’ve been hoping that maybe Sithis could tell me somehow that they’re alive or dead.” The Silencer answers.

“That’s a lot to ask of the Dread Father,” Kor muses. “Must be some friend.”

“Like a sister to me, really,” she laughs, bitterly, and you can hear the irony in that statement even as she stands up, and gives a bow to Remains-Silent. “Thanks for the stew. It was wonderful.” Remains-Silent, true to her name, remains silent, but nods just the same.

Kor doesn’t go to stop her as she leaves, nor does he try to stop you as  you follow the Silencer one more.

“What was she like?” You ask.

“Too eager to prove herself grown up,” The Silencer answers, tiredly. “Fast with a blade, though. Put two in her hands and she’d cut through her enemies like they were nothing.”

“What was her name?”

“Glass.” It comes quick, and smells like a lie.

“Glass?? Who names their kid ‘glass’?”

“A Khajiit.” You’re fairly certain she’s making this up now just to get you to back off.

“Can I come with you to Skuldafn?”

“No!” She turns around sharply then- stopping in her stubborn march forwards towards the Sanctuary’s entrance. You look into her eyes, and you see… fear. Loss, pain, but mostly fear.

There is no sign of control on her face at all.

“Don’t…” She says. “Don’t. Just…. Don’t. It’s not safe there.”

“Why?” You ask.

“Because–” Because why? You remind her too much of the friend she lost? “Because I’m not your guardian. Kor is.” And with that, she turned to leave.
You had one trump card, though.

“It’s because I remind you of her, isn’t it?”

She stopped.

“You’re a werewolf too… so was she? Is that why…?” You trail off as she turns around and looks at you, sadness in her eyes, tears brimming and…

“…Ask me again when I find out if she’s alive or not, okay?”

And then she disappears into a cloud of shadow and is gone before you can even formulate a response. After a few moments, you nod, then turn back towards the kitchen, thinking.

She had no control when her friend… her sister?… was lost. You’ll let her have it on this. She may be the Silencer now, but… Argo was someone you considered a sister first and foremost.

You decide for certain now… Regardless of what fate befell Argo’s friend/sibling, you’ll… you’ll try to be the best sister you can be.

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Posted by on August 6, 2016 in Argo The Rat, ESO

 

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