33 Recent Deviations
Featured: Hail Companion
Acius Part One - FourQuem'ura and I spent our session doing more dynamic and realistic scenarios in which I'd have to defend myself. He insisted that I do twice the amount of push ups I was already assigned to do every night since we started, making my arms feel like jelly by the time we were even together again. The more we practiced, the more comfortable I got with a blade, and the more confident I felt in not hurting him. After seeing what he was capable of, I thought it impossible for me to ever hurt him. "Good job today," he praised. "You're getting better by the day. I think you know your way around a sword pretty well now, so we'll start on hand-to-hand next time. That's what would most likely come in handy around here, but using a sword is a skill that everyone should have, no matter their morals," he explained. It was clear from the start that he was aware of my strong-standing opinion about hurting things. He didn't share his opinion on the matter, but I was left wondering whether he opposed that opinion or not. "Right," I replied flatly. "I'll see you tomorrow then." He followed me out as usual, going right while I hung a left to grab a snack from the kitchen before heading back to the nursery for a bit. It was the time of day when everyone was resting; about an hour after noon. My father took a short break at about this time from the work that he strove to catch up with, so there was no one on the balcony but myself. I sighed and looked down as I shoved my hands into my back pockets, wondering about what Izidia said last night. Maybe I really should just suck it up... But then, I was stopped. Something black dripped onto the balcony into a large puddle that was seeping through the holes in the metal. It was thick and slimy, reminding me of the sea of ink that one saw wherever they looked in Apocrypha. I looked up, struck with fear as I saw one of my sister's large Lurkers staring down at me, its bug eyes widening upon eye contact. When it realized that I wasn't who it was looking for, it roared viciously, shaking me down to the core. But I couldn't move. No part of me found the strength to run away, let alone fight back. I just stood there, frozen. I heard yelling in the distance as its long arm prepared to close in on me, killing me in one blow. But before it came into contact with me, I was pushed to the side, sending me flying a few feet across the balcony and out of the line of danger. When I came to my senses, I saw a familiar figure a very short distance away, fighting the creature with his signature war hammer. It was Quem. He was the one who pushed me out of the way. But as much as I wanted to help and prevent him from getting hurt, I still couldn't move. No matter what command I gave my body, I was still frozen in place. I could only watch in horror as the Dremora fought this creature that almost killed me. Every one of Quem's swings held immense power, but it was no use, as the Lurker grabbed the thing from his hands and threw it off the side of the balcony into the sea of ink. I nearly cried out as I thought he was going to die, but I was surprised. A greatsword appeared in his hands, reminding me that a Dremora could summon an almost infinite supply of weapons if needed. As he drove the Lurker farther and farther back toward the edge, managing to slash a few deep cuts into its torso, even the greatsword was ripped from his hands. Just before Quem'ura could summon his next weapon, the beast slashed into his side with its long, terrifying claws, causing a cry of pain to sound throughout the palace. But he still stood, now with two smaller swords in his hand, finally driving it back far enough to be able to kick it off the balcony. As soon as it had started, it was over. Frantic pairs of footsteps approached, but I couldn't take my eyes off of my mentor as he collapsed to his knees on the balcony, my father at his side. Just then, I felt a pair of hands on my arms. My mother blocked my vision now. "Acius! Acius, are you okay? Are you hurt?" she worriedly asked, shaking me a bit to snap me out of my trance. It was like sound had left my ears during that moment I was frozen in time, watching the Head Dremora fight off that Lurker. I could suddenly hear the blood rushing through my ears, and more distinct yelling in the distance. Looking at my red and bloody palms from catching myself when I fell, I said, "Yeah, but... Quem... Is he okay?" My mother took my hands in hers, using a small amount of restoration magic to heal my cuts. "He'll be fine. He's toughed out worse wounds, I can assure you. Come on, dear. Let's get you to your room so you can rest. I'll call Izidia too. She can keep you company until dinner." "Okay..." I breathed out in a whisper, trying my best to not cry in front of everyone. Mom wrapped her arm underneath my armpits to support me as I walked weakly, still trembling from the fearful and intense moment I'd just encountered. Izidia joined us along the way, supporting my other side and helping me to sit down on the couch outside on my small veranda, where she quickly lit a fire in the pit. Mom had left us, presumably to go check on Quem, leaving the two of us alone. "Are you okay Acius?" she asked after a few minutes of silence and rubbing my arms to stop my shaking. "Y-yeah... I think so. I just..." I paused, trying to articulate my thoughts. My twin held my hands, patiently awaiting for me to continue. I squeezed them in return. "I felt helpless. I still feel helpless. I couldn't do anything and someone got hurt... Because of me... It's my fault," I finished, finally able to let tears fall from my eyes as I spoke. I let go of my sister's hands to cover my eyes with my palms in an effort to make them stop, wiping them away as they came. She embraced me now. "It's okay, Acius. Quem is okay. I know him well enough to know that he's strong. He's the strongest Dremora I know, in fact. If he got killed during that fight, we'd all be doomed," she whispered against my ear. I pulled my sleeve over my hands to dry my cheeks as I tried my best to stop crying. "I know I said I didn't want to learn how to use defensive techniques for battle, but... I want to now. I want to know how so I can keep others from getting hurt. I want to help people, not hurt them. If only I'd been able to help Quem, he might not have gotten so hurt..." I sniffled. "I think that's a very noble thing, Ace. Quem would be delighted to hear that, you know. He's a good person," she expressed, making me realize that maybe my previous thoughts about him were wrong. Very wrong. My twin trusted him, so that meant I should too. If she, who can sense auras and has good intuition of a person's character, says that he's a good person, he's certainly a good person. I wasn't exactly sure why I hadn't asked her about him before. "I think you should go visit him before dinner, if mom says he's okay enough to accept visitors. But knowing him, he will be. The only thing is that dad won't be able to heal him because he's so busy these days. Having your company will be nice." Taking a deep breath, I sat up. "You're right. I should at least do my best to make him comfortable if he's going to be bedridden. I have to thank him for saving my life too, and... And apologize for him getting hurt because of me." She rubbed my back, handing me a handkerchief. I laughed as I took it to wipe my face, realizing how pathetic I probably looked in the moment. After another deep breath I stood up, accepting a hug from Izidia. "Thank you." "Anything for my little bro!" she grinned. Her smile always brought me such joy. Just then, the both of us heard frantic footsteps approaching the door to my room, followed by the door opening without a knock first. It was Opiah. "Acius! By the Sixteen, I'm so sorry!" she cried, kneeling down in front of me as she took my hands in hers. "It's all my fault! If only I had more control over the Lurkers, then this never would've happened!" I was surprised, to say the least. Opiah rarely ever cried, at least in my presence, so to see her do so pulled at my heartstrings. Taking her face in my hands and wiping away her tears with my thumbs, I tilted her head upwards so we were staring into each other's eyes. "Opiah..." I began in a soft, tender voice, "Don't be sorry. It's not your fault. I'm okay." "But Quem isn't! Mom told me he's going to be bedridden for at least a few days! Now dad is going to get mad because his work will get done even slower..." I couldn't think of anything else to do but to pull her head into my chest as I sat forward on the couch. "Dad isn't going to be mad at you for that, I can assure you. Because it's not your fault. It never was." All she did was cry into my chest for a while longer before she was finally able to get herself together enough to be able to stop crying and apologize for rudely barging in. She promised to make it up to me one day, whatever that meant.- After checking the mirror to make sure I looked decent, I cautiously made my way down to the balcony, managing to slip past my father, who was busying himself in a book. He didn't seem concerned about anything, relieving me. This meant that Quem was okay. My mom was nowhere in sight as I approached the door to the Head's quarters, swallowing hard before knocking twice. It was a moment before a strained voice sounded, "Come in!" I took one last deep breath before turning the handle and pushing the door open partway, wrapping my free hand around it and poking my head in. There he was, laying across his bed, silver eyes staring back at me. He smiled so big to the point where his eyes closed, giving me clearance to come all the way in and close the door behind me. "Hey," I started, the words that I'd thought out on my way here slipping my mind. "Hey," he answered. "Are you alright? Siv- Er... Your mother, said you were okay, but I wanted to hear it from you myself." Is he serious? He's forced to stay in bed and he's worried about me?! "Um... Yeah. I'm fine, thanks to you. I only got scrapes on my hands, but that was when you pushed me," I replied, holding out my hands and staring at the faint marks that lingered. "Ah... Sorry about that. I tried yelling at you to watch out, but you didn't hear me so I had no choice. I'm just glad it was a few scrapes instead of something worse," he expressed, bringing my eyes back to his. "Thank you. I would've been dead if it weren't for you," I gulped. This time, I got a smaller smile from him, causing an odd feeling in my chest to occur. "You're welcome." I took a deep breath, looking down as I began to fiddle with my fingers. "Uh... Listen. I-" "I know what you're going to say," Quem'ura interrupted. We once more made eye contact. "Don't apologize for my being like this. It's my job to make sure your family is alright, but it's more than just my job, too. Your parents are the best friends I could ever ask for, not to mention that you're my friend as well. I'd rather lose an arm than a friend. B-but I'm totally okay with a few gashes in my side!" he grinned again, amazing me. He considers me a friend? Really? Truly? Considering how we only meet for training sessions and don't even talk all that much during those times? Does he... Not have a lot of friends? I gulped. "I-is it bad?" Quem looked down at his left side, where there were many bandages covering a large area. Parts had a visible amount of blood soaked through. "Not terrible. I've been worse," he admitted. "Do you need help with anything? I-I... I still feel bad." I stared at the ground again, too embarrassed to meet his gaze. "I don't really need any help, but... I could use a friend." This got the most reaction out of me since I'd been here. "A friend?" "Yeah. It gets pretty lonely when it's just me." "Oh... Alright. I'll stay for longer," I offered. He gave me what looked to be a painful smile before telling me to have a seat in the chair that rested right beside his bed. When I did, I took notice of the different things in his room, which was small compared to mine, but still comfortably large. There was a tall dresser next to me and one along the other side of the wall with a small round table and chair next to it. The most intriguing thing was the large set of armor that stood on display at the foot of his bed, although it didn't look like it fit him. I was left wondering why it was there. Then, my eyes fell on the Dremora himself. I was less than three feet away from him, meaning that I could see every detail of his body up close. The wavy markings that stretched up his face and past his eyes trailed down onto his neck, chest, and arms, all the way to his fingertips. I presumed that those same red markings ventured to places still covered by the loose pants he was wearing. Then, I observed the incredible-looking physical strength showing across his body. Yes, there were scars, but what caught my eye was the size of his muscles. Are all Dremora like this? Incredibly muscular and strong? I forced myself to avert my gaze, awaiting his words....
Acius Part One - Three"Good! You've already gotten so much better at your techniques since we started, and it's only been two weeks!" Quem praised as he fake-attacked me with a sword. "Once you get these techniques mastered, we'll start on hand-to-hand combat. I just wanted to make sure that you knew your way around a sword before getting into that territory," he smiled. My friendship with Quem wasn't really much of a friendship, although he was always so cheery when we had our sessions together. It was more like... Friendly acquaintances. We never met outside of these mandatory meetings together, so I didn't consider it anything more than instructor and student. I was still cautious with him because the thought of his behavior with my mother still lingered in the back of my mind. But even though I still wasn't very trusting of Quem yet, I was still appreciative. Either way, the fact that he saw progress in my efforts to "defend" myself made me feel a little better about the situation with my father and Thoskr. Luckily my brother hadn't had the chance to get me alone to terrorize me since I'd started my training, so I was in the clear for now. In the back of my mind, I still wondered how I would ever be able to get free from his grasp and get him to leave me alone. My father on the other hand, would be pleased to hear of my progress from his most trusted servant. I wasn't sure which thought was better; Thoskr leaving me alone or my father ceasing his pestering. "Yo, Acius!" called a friendly voice after my practice was over. I looked to see Inavus and Opiah, peacefully walking side-by-side. "It's a miracle," I joked, "You two aren't arguing about anything?" Just like Izidia and I were so close, Inavus and Opiah were. They weren't exactly twins, but they were born so close after one another that they practically could be. Opiah laughed. "I'm sure there'll be something to bicker about later. How's your training going? I know this isn't really your style, so I was curious." I shrugged. "It's okay, I guess. Anything to get dad off my back about getting beat up by Thoskr all the time." "Well, he beats up all of us. Well, except for Ellina of course," she answered. "You just get the blunt of it for some reason." Rolling my eyes, I began to walk with them. Since everyone had different schedules every day of the week, Quem and I had done our training in the evening after dinner, so it was pretty dark out. "Yeah, well I just wish I knew why. If I did something wrong to initiate all of this, it'd be nice to know." "Thoskr is just a bitch. Don't pay attention to him," Inavus told. "And if you need me to come and call him short for you, just holler. I'd be glad to stir up a bit of trouble with that bastard," he smirked. Inavus was the free and easy-going type, like me in a way. He loved to pull pranks on others, Opiah especially, but he was more interested in the fine arts. His favorite passion was cooking, and he had even completely taken over the kitchen a number of years ago. Most nights, our meals are made by him. He'd also taken up learning how to play the lute, much to dad's dismay and frustration. He couldn't stand the sound of his horrible playing when he first started, which typically got a laugh from all of us during Inavus' first few "concerts." "Yeah! And don't leave me out either! I'll gladly strangle him for you Ace! Just say the word!" Opiah exclaimed. "Then you'd best believe you'll never be strangling him," I replied flatly. She laughed. "Alright, alright. I'll just send one of the Seekers after him when you're not looking," she joked. After Opiah was born, she quickly took a liking to being alone with the Seekers and Lurkers. She was the only person they didn't lash out at, and she'd even gained a position of authority over them. Opiah always reports that the Seekers are easy to "train," but the Lurkers are a bit harder. They all liked following her around, so it was always a bit of a challenge for her to get them off her back when she was done spending time with them for the day. "Thanks, guys," I expressed, appreciative of their support. Besides Izidia, these two were the most helpful. Ellina would stand up for me every once in a while, but that was whenever she wasn't secluding herself in the library or her room reading books or whatever other boring things she could find. "No problem little Mer!" Inavus exclaimed playfully, grabbing me and ruffling up my hair. "I'm older than both of you!" I huffed. "Ooooh, so scary!" Opiah laughed. This kind of teasing was what Thoskr used to do when we were kids, but then it got progressively worse. As much as I hated to say it considering he was my brother, I wanted nothing to do with him. I just wanted him to disappear and never come back. But again, he was my brother. If we were the only two left in the universe, I wouldn't just turn my back on him like that. I sighed, looking at my feet as the three of us walked up the stairs together. Inavus' room was on the second floor, and Opiah's on the third, so the group slowly dwindled to two, and then it was just me. "Are you sure you don't want me to walk you to your room, Ace?" Opiah offered. "I'm sure. I'm gonna stop to see Izidia anyway. I'll be fine," I reassured, receiving her hesitant nod of approval before the door clicked shut, leaving me alone in the dark hallway. I was used to spending so much time alone in the corridors at night, mainly because of my frequent trips down to the kitchen to steal chocolate. It was something that didn't faze me. Even before I knocked on Izidia's door, it opened and I was pulled inside before I could protest. I was worried that something was wrong, but I quickly realized that this wasn't the case. "Okay, so dad made me a new dress today. I'm gonna try it on for you and you're gonna tell me what you think, okay?" I shrugged, sitting down on the edge of her bed. "Alright," I answered, watching as she brought more than just one dress into the washroom, giggling. When we were younger, Iz and I would play dress-up at night when we finally had some peace and quiet. We would do all kinds of things to distract ourselves from Thoskr's harsh comments. I'd even had my share of trying on her dresses, too... "Okay, first one!" she called before opening the door. She wore a long, flowing grey dress that hugged her top half perfectly, extending down to her ankles. "What do you think? Does it make me look fat?" I glared at her. "No." "Are you sure? Because I-" "Yes I'm sure, because you're not fat, Izidia. For the last time," I interrupted sternly. Sure, she was much curvier than our siblings, but she was far from overweight. That was just her body type. She became insecure about herself after Thoskr continuously called her ugly. I hated him for that. When she looked down at me with glistening eyes, I stood up to hug her. "You're beautiful, Iz. Don't let others' comments tell you otherwise." She hugged me back. "Thanks. I love you, Ace." "I love you too," I smiled. She was the only person able to get one out of me these days. "Sleep with me tonight?" she begged, pulling away and grabbing my hands to squeeze them. I nodded, sending her into a wave of happiness as she undressed in front of me, prompting me to look away out of politeness. If any other woman had done this, I'd turn away and probably vomit. But since I knew Izidia so well, I wasn't bothered by it. Once her nightgown was on and I changed into the spare set of nightclothes that she kept here for me, we climbed into bed together. I didn't mind sleeping with Izidia, because it made me feel comforted at night. It was the closest thing to being held by a lover, but I didn't know what that felt like. I wonder if Fenyroth is the romantic type... Maybe he likes flowers like I do? I really should just suck it up and talk to him more. He's so cute... I wonder if he's as strong as Quem. Yeah... I'm sure he is. No, I bet he's stronger, with all those muscles... I found myself smiling against Izidia as I thought, prompting her to say, "Thinking about your little crush again?" Groaning, I buried my head into the pillow. "Shut up..." She laughed, wrapping her arm around me and positioning me so my head was against her chest. The only pair of breasts I was okay with were her's and mom's, just because they were so comfortable to lay on. I couldn't even imagine having such a weight there. "You know what I'm going to say. Just talk to him. And then maybe if he likes you, you two could go on a date!" "I think I'd die." "Don't say that! I think you'd go great together! And who knows, maybe you'll have your first kiss?" she teased. "I think I'd die ten times if he leaned in for a kiss. Stop talking about this stuff..." I begged. Izzy laughed again. "Alright, I'll stop. Goodnight." "Goodnight."- When I awoke the next morning, I was on my stomach, and there was a weight on top of me. Sighing as I remembered falling asleep with my sister last night, I tried my best to slip out from underneath her grasp so I could return to my room. Izidia never got up early in the mornings like I did, but this was only because of the job she was in charge of around here. Like Thoskr, she trained the Dremora. But unlike him, she used a completely different set of weapons. She used lighter and one-handed weapons like daggers, swords, and bows, while Thoskr preferred heavy, two-handed weapons. They were polar opposites, which was most likely the reason we all had our arguments. The difference was too great between us. The only common ground my brother and I had was the fact that we didn't like to hurt animals. He respected my choice of not eating meat, but that was about it. Once I was fully dressed and ready to go for the day, I made my way down to the plant room where Neloth was. "Mornin', kid." That was his favorite thing to call me. Kid. Even though I was forty. But then again, I was a kid in comparison to his age, not to mention he'd known me since I was four. "So," he began, "What plants need the most tending?" This was an easy matter. Like Izidia found out that she was capable of using dad's tentacles at a young age, I discovered my own powers. It seemed that I'd always had a knack for plants, because I could see their auras. Whenever I walked into the nursery, tons of colors flooded my vision, each plant telling me something different. Neloth and I spent years finalizing what each color meant. My eyes fell on a plant that had a bright yellow surrounding it. "The grass pods... They're sick. How did they get sick?" I inquired, walking over to inspect the poor, suffering plants. I could practically hear its cries for help. "Must be something from the plants surrounding it. Let's move it to its own area so it doesn't contaminate anything else," he said as he began to work on the sick plant. Yellow wasn't a color that I encountered very often, so it was alarming when I saw it. Many were blue, but that simply meant that they needed water. Green was the best possible color, as that meant nothing was wrong. Whenever Neloth picked a flower for his potion-making, the plant would repeatedly flash red, telling me that it was angry and in pain. I didn't care much for when he did this for that specific reason. On the rare occasion that a plant had been neglected and was on the verge of death, it was grey or black. But I hadn't seen one like that in years. I always made extra sure that there wasn't a spot that wasn't green before I retired for the night. Every morning, I helped the flowers bloom. It was a simple spell that was the driving force in my eagerness to learn magic. At night, I helped their blooms close back up again, just like they would do if they lived in the wild on Nirn. Those were the highlights of my day. Before I knew it, lunchtime had rolled around and I dreaded continuing my lovely training with my father's Head Dremora. When I was finished with my sandwich made of sprouts, I dragged my feet on the way....
Acius Part One - TwoWhen I woke up, I groaned out of pure frustration at the fact that I was to start my "defensive training" today. As much as I wanted to continue laying in bed, I knew that if I wasn't up by breakfast time, my mother would come to "wake me up." And if I still refused to get out of bed after that, I would then receive the wrath of my father. One of the perks about being a sickly child was that I ultimately still got sick all the time, making it easy to fake it when I didn't want to get up. While I laid on my back with my arm covering my eyes, I decided that it was finally time, and that I probably shouldn't pretend I was sick. They would obviously know I was faking it this time. Once my feet hit the cold, black-marbled floor, I shivered. I didn't care much for the cold, so I was thankful that Apocrypha was warm and humid. At night, I tended to cover myself with blankets when I sipped a steaming cup of my favorite drink- hot chocolate. One thing that I was guilty of was having an extreme sweet tooth, but nothing beat the taste of chocolate. It's even gotten to the point where I have to sneak down to the kitchen at night and steal a bunch after I hear that there's been a restock of it. Then, I stash it away someplace safe in my room where only I can find it. My family still has yet to find out that it's me who keeps taking it all. After my black button-down shirt was fixed up and the rest of me was dressed properly, I slowly made my way down to the balcony. I wasn't exactly thrilled to be taken away from my morning routine of tending to the plants and learning magic, but I didn't have much of a choice. I ate silently at the table amongst my chattering family until my plate of fruit and yogurt was finished and pushed away. "Acius," unfortunately called my father after Thoskr rushed himself away from the table to continue whatever it was he did while he wasn't working, "You will be starting your training immediately. If you're finished eating, you can go to the training room. Your mother and I have decided that Quem'ura is the best choice for you." Oh, no... Not him. I particularly despised my father's Head Dremora for many reasons, but the biggest one was the way he always insisted on having nights of drinking with mom. The way he always looked at her and smiled; it seemed like something a pervert would do before making their move. But my mom was for some reason completely okay with this. Although he came off as "nice," I thought that this was a mask. "But I don't want hi- I... I don't... I really don't want to do this!" I exclaimed, catching myself. If I'd have let those words slip, I'd surely get an even worse scolding than what I was about to get. "Acius, we already had this discussion. No if's, and's, or but's. Now if you're done eating, get in the training room. He's waiting for you," dad sternly replied. I stared at him for a moment, clenching my fists and wishing that he would change his mind. Alas, he didn't, and his word was law around here. But, I felt a sudden gentle hand placed over one of my own. It was Izidia, who was sending me a thoughtful, encouraging gaze. That made it a little easier to leave, although I still put a pep in my step. The only reason for that was to quickly rid myself of a stressful situation that could potentially get worse, and not because I was eager to begin. My feet felt heavier with each step as I began to regret speed-walking there. Sighing, I opened the door to the training room where I always used to practice the new Shouts and spells I learned. It was a place I knew well, but it wasn't my first choice for a leisurely visit. As soon as I stepped fully inside, my eyes fell on the only person in the room. His head lifted at the sound of my entering, but there was no cheery smile on his face like what I always saw when he spoke with my mother. "So you're here for training, then?" he asked, voice gravelly and slightly accented. "Unfortunately. Let's just get this over with," I glared. The fact that it was Quem'ura teaching me made it that much worse of an experience. I dreaded every single day ahead of me. He shrugged. "As you wish. First things first," he began, conjuring up a bulky war hammer with his magic and slamming the base of it on the ground. "We need to find you a weapon. Here," he continued, holding the hammer out to me with one hand. "Take this." I gulped, fearing that it would be too heavy. However, I obeyed his command and wrapped my hands around the underside of its shaft and gripped tightly. When he let go, my hands immediately dropped to the ground and my knees buckled, causing me to fall straight to the floor. I heard a scoff, so I looked back up at my instructor. "Pathetic. You can't even hold a war hammer and your parents expect me to train you to defend yourself?" he snapped, his words cutting deeper than a knife. "You're weak. How could your mother and father have created such a spineless person?" Looking away, I closed my eyes. Even though I hated hearing those words, they were true. "You're right. I am weak. You're wasting your time with me. It's hopeless. I'm useless," I admitted, feeling a pain form in the center of my chest whenever I thought this of myself. Just then, a gauntleted hand was held out to me. I looked up at him in wonder. "Lesson number one. Don't let people get into your head. Once they do that, you're as good as dead. And we don't want that," he smiled. I was surprised. Did he really just... Teach me a lesson by insulting me? Either way, I didn't feel pathetic anymore. In fact, I felt a bit... Empowered. Whatever he did, it worked. Maybe he isn't as bad as I thought. I took Quem's hand, observing how he could easily lift me back onto my feet with just one arm. Is he really that strong? Could he really lift me up with just one arm? This was the first time I'd become so physically close to another Dremora, so the concept was new to me. "Sorry about all that," he apologized nervously, expression soft. "I don't actually think you're weak and pathetic." "Oh... Um... Thanks, I guess." "Now we can find the right weapon for you. Judging by your height and lack of muscle mass, I knew that you wouldn't be able to hold any heavy weapons like war hammers, maces, battleaxes... Just to name a few," he explained. Did he just... Call my muscles small? "Something more like a dagger or two would suit you best because they're lighter, but daggers aren't the best defense. They're better for offense and sneak assassinations. And since we're here for defense," he continued, walking over to a wall littered with all sorts of Daedric weapons, "something like this would be best suited for your interests." He held a sword out to me, which was about the length of my arm. I took it, examining the blade and seeing that its edges were very sharp. One wrong move, and blood could be spilled. The thought made me uneasy. "In order for us to start learning about defense, I need to know what you're made of. Come on, swing at me." It took a moment to comprehend his words. "Swing at you? I don't want to do that." The Dremora relaxed himself from his defensive stance. "Why not? You won't hurt me if that's what you're worried about. I'll be able to block your attack with ease. And even if you do manage to hit me, I've got my armor on. It'll be fine." I guess I have no choice... I lifted up my sword with my right hand and closed my eyes as I swung, hearing metal clash against metal. When I opened them again, I saw him holding his war hammer way out to the side, where I'd swung. "You have to keep your eyes open. Try again," he said. I did, actually managing to watch where I was swinging my blade. I kept doing this again and again as he instructed me to, making me wonder what the purpose of this was. Finally, we stopped. "Interesting," he started, puzzling me. "You became more confident the longer we practiced. But I see that what we need to work on the most is your stance and your strength. Your hits aren't very strong, which tells me that if you tried to block a strong attack, it'd be no use. And if you don't have a good stance," he explained, pushing on my shoulder and almost making me fall over, "even the weakest attack can hurt you." "You got all that just from watching me hit you with a sword?" I asked, amazed at the fact. "Yep!" he grinned. "I've been doing this for thousands of years. I'm your father's Head for a reason. Now take a few minutes to catch your breath and drink some water," he instructed. I hadn't realized just how winded I really was. Maybe he's onto something...- My morning with Quem wasn't as painful as I'd expected, mentally at least. But I had to say, he worked me to the bone, and my entire body ached in places that I didn't even know could ache. He showed me the basic principles of blocking, along with showing me a few exercises that I should do every night to help build up my strength. As I was walking back to the plant room to continue my daily routine, I came face to face with the one Dremora I admired the most. His name was Fenyroth, and he was tall, handsome, and very muscular. I gulped upon seeing him so close up, as we had only spoken a few times before. He looked to me in question. "Oh! Sir Acius!" he smiled, making my heart beat out of my chest. "I'm so sorry. Am I in your way?" I adjusted my collar nervously. "N-no! No, you're fine. Don't worry about it," I quickly replied before walking around him at a faster pace than before. When I was finally in the safe space within my secluded room of plants, I breathed a sigh of relief for two reasons. The first was that I was no longer in a situation that made me nervous, and the second was that no one was in the nursery at the moment. Once my heart stopped beating so fast, I took a deep breath and swallowed hard. Fenyroth was a newer member of my father's band of Dremora, but he had still been here for a few years. We first met when I'd been carrying a tall stack of new pots for the plants and was about to drop them. Luckily, he was there to catch the ones that did fall and help me steady them before taking half himself. I'd been swoon over him ever since. I would ask him out on a date, but I wasn't even sure if he'd be interested in someone like me, let alone if he was interested in guys. I shrugged off the thought and continued my work as usual, hoping that Thoskr was too busy to come in and pester me....
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