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Dark Brotherhood: Ancient Blood 063 (Remastered)Chapter 63:"Cicero's Journal, Volume 7"12th of Morning Star, 4E 202 The new year is off to a great start! Since the Night Mother's return to the flesh several months ago, the Dark Brotherhood has taken a fresh breath of life itself. The souls of the five children of Sithis have been placed into mortal bodies to lead the future Uprising. Each will become a Speaker for one of the old Sanctuaries around Tamriel. Mother has tasked me to instruct them in both combat training and the knowledge of the elders. No longer a mere Keeper, I've been honored with the new role of Knower. Being the last of the original Dark Brotherhood following, it is my obligation to make sure that this knowledge is carried forth. Never again can we allow another occurrence like what happened in Falkreath. Faith in the words of the Night Mother and the rule of the Dread Father must be instilled into future generations of the Brotherhood. The former Listener and Dragonborn has abruptly resigned from the Family and I only have myself to blame. Due to the personal nature of that situation, it does not need to be documented here. However, her absence is noticed. At least, by me. Mother has instructed me to move on and focus on the future of the Uprising. The Listener's role is no longer required so my commitments to her are severed. I am sworn to obey. For reasons unknown, the Wrath is still present in the Sanctuary. I was led to believe he was merely a flesh vessel to bring the direct word of Sithis and to perform the ritual to resurrect the souls of the Ancient Blood. While interactions are few and far between, I'm quite surprised to find that the Daedra himself has his own separate personality; one resembling that of an angry adolescent. Ironically, he lives up to his moniker in way of threatening attitude. With his stature being well over seven feet and his mass close to that of two grown men, it's best to just let him throw his weight around and simply stay out of the way. When inquiring to Mother about his purpose, she seems to deflect. I suppose it's none of my business anyway. The Uprising could use all the help it can get. The Children of the Ancient Blood have been divided into two groups for more targeted training. Wrath announced that he would be taking Meegs the multi-skilled Argonian, Quen the destruction mage High Elf, and Tripp-... I'm still not sure what that Khajiit is skilled in besides smoking ungodly amounts of skooma while downing tankard after tankard of mead all without moving an inch for hours at a time. He wears mage robes, but I feel it's merely for comfort to compliment his lazy lifestyle. Wrath has given me the "honor" of training the melee students. Krow the Redguard and Rage the Orsimer. Krow is small and very agile, but after my foiled attempt to retrieve his body for soul transfer which resulted in his death... his cognitive skills appear limited and sporadic. He has been quite a handful. Keeping his attention is almost impossible and he seems to be confused by the memories of his own murder. He has tried to assail me many times. I've unfortunately sustained a few injuries from the blade-like talons he wears on his fingers. Though they are very useful for him in hand-to-hand combat and even aid in his uncanny ability to scale porous surfaces, I am unfamiliar with the skill involved when utilizing such a weapon. Hence, I am unable to train him with it any further than his vessel's previous knowledge. As for the Orc, she's also taken to making my job more difficult than necessary. She may be physically the strongest of the five, but her head is also in the clouds. Focus is not her strong suit and having Krow also constantly doing his own thing, I've found it challenging to get anything done. Rage's disturbing flirtatious nature has also made things... awkward. I understand that these vessels carry the souls of the Night Mother and Dread Father's children who were sacrificed as infants. But therein lies the problem. I've been basically trying to give advanced stealth and combat training to a couple of kids with the bodies of mentally disturbed adults. The potential is there, I know it is. I just can't seem to tap into it. Their former identities remain intact within their brains, which was the point of their acquisition. We want those pre-existing skills, but there seem to be a lot of factors disrupting the souls' ability to properly utilize them-... Well, Krow gets a pass on that one. My blade penetrating the back of his skull would be the disrupting factor in his case... I suppose I deserve this. I've sabotaged myself. 14th of Morning Star, 4E 202 I've decided today that I'm going to take my students out for their first real assassinations. Mother has permitted me to choose the targets myself based on local and personal knowledge of their societal standing. In other words, these marks may not have been officially contracted, but objectively, they have it coming. I've made sure to set the date for the assassinations for the 15th of Morning Star. Tomorrow. It is the day of the South Wind's Prayer and the masses should be too distracted by the event to notice even if there's a slight error. The first target is for Krow. This one is quite personal to me and I feel he would learn a lot from it. He is to take out a farmer who resides just outside of Whiterun. We will arrive early in the morning just before sunrise. To test his stealth, Krow will be instructed to not alert the wife and vacate the residence after the kill without being detected. It would be a simple job for me, but with Krow's inability to stay focused, it might prove to be a useful learning experience for him. No matter what happens, I'll be there as a backup to clean up any mishaps... and I assume there will be plenty. And of course, the other target goes to Rage. Her mark will be in the city limits of Whiterun; a wealthy and well-despised Redguard who also owns a farm near the city. There's been gossip that his wife has been considering ordering a hit, so this one's on the house, so to speak. He spends very little time at his farm and is almost always spotted near the marketplace toting political and condescending banter, often riling up locals with his toxic rhetoric. His sudden absence will be quickly noticed, but also easily forgiven by the residents. With the South Wind's Prayer event calling the masses to the temple of Kynareth at the center of town, the target should be pretty easy to take out amongst the chaos. I feel Rage has a bit more potential to pull this off cleanly than her brother does with his task. But, as stated, if things go south, I will pull them out and clean up the mess myself. On a personal note: I've grown quite confident with my physical capabilities in the last few months. Not only have I been training the Ancient Blood, but I've been retraining myself. I've regained much of my muscle mass from before I went into hiding in Cheydinhal many years ago. In other words, I'm back to being as physically fit as I was in my early twenties. I'm pleased to no longer be slipping into the life of a frail old malnourished man. ̷I̷ ̷d̷o̷n̷'̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷i̷n̷k̷ ̷J̷a̷d̷e̷ ̷w̷o̷u̷l̷d̷ ̷e̷v̷e̷n̷ ̷r̷e̷c̷o̷g̷n̷i̷z̷e̷ ̷m̷e̷.̷ ̷S̷h̷e̷ ̷a̷l̷w̷a̷y̷s̷ ̷h̷a̷d̷ ̷a̷ ̷t̷h̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷f̷o̷r̷ ̷m̷e̷n̷ ̷w̷i̷t̷h̷ ̷m̷u̷s̷c̷l̷e̷.̷.̷.̷ ̷m̷a̷y̷b̷e̷ ̷s̷h̷e̷'̷d̷ ̷ ̷a̷c̷, As for my mental state, I've been able to think clearer as the weeks go on. Not having that Daedric weapon influencing my judgment has definitely helped. However, my dreams have been haunting my subconscious lately. Occasionally I recall something emotional that I can't quite put my finger on. A lingering anxiety as if I'm supposed to be doing something or be somewhere... but I just can't remember. I think the stress of my current assignments is messing with my sleep. I wake up sore and restless... not that it matters. I've got more important matters to worry about than stress-induced nightmares.
Dark Brotherhood: Ancient Blood 062 (Remastered)Chapter 62:"The Mating Ritual of the Dovahkiin" "Lydia!" Jade yelled as she burst in the front door of her small abode, "Make yourself scarce. I've got company!" Lydia was sitting in a wooden chair by the fire pit at the center of the room. She lowered her book and glanced up. "Oh," Urf paused in the doorway, "I'm not staying, I was just-" Jade suddenly fell back against him in an overdramatic fashion, "Oh, my! A fainting spell! Please, Mr. Cock... if you would be so kind as to carry me in your strong manly arms upstairs to my safe warm bed..." Urf's natural look of confusion became more apparent as he processed the situation. He hesitated a moment before stooping slightly to pick her up. Jade threw her arm across her forehead and sighed to play up the damsel in distress facade. , Lydia didn't move an inch as she stared at the handsome young Nord carrying her thane like something right out of a romance novel. It was no surprise that Jade was able to convince such a dashing specimen of a man to follow her home. As jealous as she was, Lydia was still impressed by the catch. "First door on the right," Jade instructed as Urf reached the top of the steps. "There are no other doors on the right..." he said confused. "Well... exactly." Entering the bedroom, Urf laid her down on the bed where she quickly flipped onto her side in a seductive position, propping her head up with her hand. Urf seemed to be busy looking at the various artifact weapons she had on the wall beside the bed. Jade shifted a little trying to get his attention again, adjusting her gown insecurely. "You sure have a lot of Daedric weapons," Urf murmured as he paced around the room inspecting the hoard. "You like Daerdic artifacts, Urf?" "Oh, yes," he glanced back at her, "I've got one, myself." "I see that," Jade winked at him. "You might recognize it," Urf unsheathed the blade and held it up with one hand, "Your little Imperial friend was using it." "Let's not talk about him," She ran her hand down her hip, "Let's talk about you." "I'm Urf of the Grey-Cock family." "Yes, you are..." A strange beat of silence passed between them. Jade stared at him waiting for him to say more, but nothing came. "Okay, then," she popped her lips, "Soo... how many dragons have you slain with that sexy weapon of yours?" Urf's face seemed to light up, "At least six! Two within the last week!" "Really?" Jade raised her brow. She couldn't remember the last time she had taken down a dragon. Was it the night they brought Ruby back to the Sanctuary? How long ago was that!? Urf rotated the blade around in his hand and examined it, "It's very light for a two-handed sword... and it's not even enchanted. You'd think a weapon with Daedric writing on it would have some sort of special power." "What do you mean, 'it's not enchanted'," she asked skeptically. Jade had seen what that blade could do to a man's mind. She knew the legend of Mephala's Ebony Blade quite well. It was a bedtime story for Nordic children. Great men who had used it were driven mad by its enchantment. It caused such a lust for blood that the effects could linger indefinitely. "It's just an ordinary weapon," Urf sighed, "It still looks pretty cool when I swing it though!" "Have you killed anyone with it?" "A few bandits. I prefer dragons." "You didn't feel anything at all when you killed those people?" Jade squinted. "I don't feel for anyone who breaks the law," Urf said in a confident tone, "Laws are there for a reason." "No- I mean-" she paused. It suddenly occurred to her that perhaps the enchantment had a sort of trigger, or maybe only became active under specific conditions. It was Mephala's blade after all, so she could easily choose when and who the power would affect. Well, that or Urf was too much of a meathead to be driven mad. Not enough brain to work with. Jade bit her lip and leaned back onto the bed again, "You still think you're the next Dragonborn, Mr. Grey-Cock?" "I could be," he said resheathing the weapon, "I've been training a lot just in case." "What kind of training?" she patted the bed with her fingertips trying to coax him to sit down. "I've been studying the thu'um and visiting word walls. I've already learned one word-" "Wait- what!?" Jade sat up again, "Why?" "I just said. I've been training. The great Ulfric Stormcloak has proven how powerful the Voice can be. If I'm the next Dragonborn, I need to-" "What about me?" Jade huffed. "...I don't understand what you are asking." "I'm the ACTUAL Dragonborn. Don't I prove the power of the Voice?" "That's yet to be seen." "WHAT!?" Jade gasped. Not only was this man a simpleton, but he was annoyingly ignorant as well. "I've never seen you use the thu'um. You promised to summon an undead dragon," Urf crossed his arms giving off an air of cockiness, "I'm still waiting." Jade glared. How dare he question her? If it wasn't for the fact that she'd mysteriously not even been able to access her abilities over the last few months, she'd show him a thing or two. "You saw me absorb that dragon's soul in Riften!" she countered. "That could have been faked." "Faked!?" "Yeah. Maybe some illusion spell. Who knows?" Jade's face turned red. No one had ever questioned her abilities before... and lived. This guy was a bigger fool than Cicero. "Alright then," she huffed, "If you're really the next Dragonborn, YOU prove it," she smiled wickedly. "Here?" he looked around, "There are no dragons." "No, I mean... you think you're so powerful because you can take down a dragon, but can you take down the woman who defeated the World Eater?" Urf blinked his bright blue eyes in thought, "I'm not sure. I haven't met her." Jade clenched her teeth. From his tone of voice, he was being sincere. "Me. I'm talking about me. I'm the woman who slew Alduin." "Oh, because you're the Dragonborn, right?" Jade could feel her heart pounding in the veins in her head. It was all she could do to keep from screaming. At least when she'd argue with Cicero, she knew he was just messing with her. This man was actually serious. She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled through her nose, "Yes. I'm the legendary Dragonborn. Nice to meet you." "We met a few months ago outside of Riften, don't you remember?" he cocked his head to the side, "Is your illness affecting your memory too?" "Oh, my gods!" she groaned, "Just shut up and get naked already. I haven't got all day." Urf's eyes widened. Jade glared at him as if trying to mentally strangle him. There was a long moment of silence as the oaf slowly pieced the situation together. "Oh, why didn't you just ask?" he said and began removing his armor as if it was part of his civic duty. Jade opened her mouth to reply but was too surprised at his instant submission to think of what to say. Sure, she'd had plenty of men fall to her feet at the mere fluttering of her eyelashes, but this just seemed too easy given the denseness of this man. Urf leaned the Ebony Blade against the nightstand as he continued to undress with much haste. Jade stared at the weapon. It was only a few feet away. She could just reach out and grab it and it would be hers. The longer she stared at it, the more it seemed to subtly glow an ominous red. She licked the corner of her mouth and lifted her hand as she leaned closer- but the half-naked body of the handsome blond Nord distracted her. Her eyes poured over his muscular and toned body as he turned to her and climbed onto the bed like an obedient dog. Oh, it had been so long since Jade had been properly bedded by a man... in fact, the last time was-... well, the reason she'd not been properly bedded by a man since.~ Lydia licked her fingertip and flipped the page of her book, lamenting that her thane didn't have a very good selection of reading material. Jade just wasn't much of a reader. So volume three of the Lusty Argonian Maid would have to suffice to kill time. Being the housecarl of a hormonal pregnant narcissist who was in perpetual denial of her own limitations was exhausting. Lydia's job was to serve the Thane of Whiterun, not put up with daily emotional outbursts, and be damage control. What did this woman do before she had Lydia to be her voice of reason? Was she just running around Tamriel with her tits to the wind? Jade didn't like talking about her past, so anything before her residence in Whiterun was vague. She used to come and go for months at a time and apparently joined the Dark Brotherhood for a while. Then she showed up again a few months ago acting like she owned the place (she technically does) and started barking orders at her. Lydia was used to carrying the burdens of her superiors, it was in her job description, but this was a LOT of emotional baggage to sort through. And if Jade thought she was going to make her into some sort of nanny when that bastard child was born, she's got another thing coming! Lydia would quit. For real this time. No more talking about it. The moment that baby is born and she is ordered to change ONE nappy- A loud thump from above startled Lydia. She jumped and accidentally ripped the corner of the page she was on. Dust began to float down from the ceiling followed by a lot of shifting and grunting. She sighed and slouched down in her chair. The thumping got louder and the grunting turned into groaning., "For the love of Talos," she mumbled and tried to find where she left off on the page. The sounds became so jarring that Lydia couldn't focus. She ended up reading the same sentence over again three times before closing the book and giving up. Just as she was about to stand to leave the house, the walls shook with a powerful male voice belting out a word from the language of the Dovah. "FUUUSSS!!" Lydia staggered from the jolting effect and dropped the novel on the floor. Several artifacts and weapons fell from the shelves. She looked up at the ceiling as everything fell quiet again. After a short hesitation, she began picking up the fallen items and returning them to their places. After a few minutes, Urf came down the stairs adjusting the collar of his armor. Lydia placed the last item on its display and glanced over. "Where are you going!?" Jade called as she staggered out of her room and attempted to chase him down the steps. "Dragons aren't going to fight themselves," he chuckled without looking back at her. "Wait!" Jade stumbled off of the bottom stair and grabbed onto his arm. Her hair was a mess and her gown twisted around her body haphazardly, "Please stay!" "I'm sorry, citizen. My job here is done," he reached for the handle of the front door. "Please stay! That was... the best sex I've had in years!" "I wish I could say the same," Urf finally glanced down at her, "You talk big talk for a woman with such a gut." Jade dramatically slid to her knees still clinging to his arm. She stared up at him as if she were groveling. "She's not fat," Lydia chimed in, crossing her arms, "She's just expectant." Urf pulled his arm away suddenly, a look of surprise on his face, "You are!? I-... is it mine!?" Lydia's arms came unfolded and dropped to her sides limply. Her face held a bland judgmental stare, but her posture suggested something else entirely. Jade pulled herself to her feet and adjusted her gown trying to cover herself, "...maybe?" she lied, wondering if she could use his ignorance against him. Urf glanced over at Lydia, then back at Jade trying to make sense of the situation. The gears in his brain were turning, but nothing lined up. He suddenly shook his head, "No thanks." Jade reached for him once more but he was quicker in his hasty retreat from the house. Lydia held her forehead in disbelief as to what she was witnessing. "I lied!" Jade called to him from the doorway, "It's not yours! Just ignore that! When can I see you again!?" Urf quickly tried to disappear into the pedestrians on the street. Several onlookers began to mummer about the scene. Jade frowned and crossed her arms. As she turned to go back in and lash Lydia for spilling the beans, something rather startling caught her eye. What looked to be a very tall dark-skinned man with long crimson hair stood in the shade near the guard house by the front gate. A chill went up her spine as they stared at one another. He wasn't dressed like any faction or warrior she'd ever seen. He almost seemed Daedric in nature as his deep red eyes sparkled ominously. , After a moment, the hulking man seemed to fade into the shadows along the side of the building. She blinked a few times wondering if she had merely imagined it. Maybe she was becoming ill after all. Jade slowly turned to head back inside but suddenly cringed as she realized she'd forgotten to grab the Ebony Blade.
Dark Brotherhood: Ancient Blood 060 (Remastered)Chapter 60:"School of Hard Knocks" Leaving Sage to deal with the situation outside, Cicero made his way into the Sanctuary. Ruby followed, holding tightly to his arm. She could feel his aura swell with pride and optimism. This new positive vibe excited her. His new messy haircut, however... not so much. As they reached landing above the main hall, Ruby suddenly released from his arm. Cicero began down the steps before he realized something was wrong and turned to look back up at her. "What's wrong?" he asked seeing the nervous look on her face. She was staring down at the dining table below. Cicero glanced back to look as well. Someone was sitting there. A petite man with long dark hair. Cicero lifted his hand signaling to Ruby to wait. He then cautiously continued down the steps. The unknown person, dressed in what appeared to be ancient Brotherhood light armor, was seated at the table with his back to the room. As Cicero approached, he was startled by a flash of red in the corner of his eye and before he could even react, a large crimson-colored hawk swooped down and perched upon the man's shoulder. The stranger didn't seem alarmed, suggesting that the bird was his pet. It shifted and locked its bright yellow eyes on Cicero as if sending a warning. A chill ran up his spine. Cicero was not a fan of birds, even less so the kind with sharp talons ready to claw your eyes out. Animals were unpredictable, especially when trained by violence-prone humans... and this hawk was undoubtedly protective of its owner. With his new promotion to Knower, Cicero had the responsibility to be more aware of the other members of the Sanctuary and make sure they knew who he was as well. He cleared his throat and straightened his posture hoping to appear larger than he actually was. "Um, initiate?" he asked quietly, never losing eye contact with the foul. The man still didn't reply or even move. Awkwardly, Cicero glanced back toward the landing at the top of the stairs. Ruby was gone. He was beginning to understand what had her so bothered. Something didn't feel right about this unresponsive rookie. "So... Nazir recruited you?" Cicero asked calmly, keeping his distance as he paced by the table toward the cooking station. Again he was met with silence. Sage's typical meat stew was simmering on the fire. He lifted the lid and inhaled the pleasant aroma; the spices helping to clear his sinus. Cicero helped himself to a serving while watching the man in the corner of his eye. That damn bird was still staring at him. He hesitated as he reconsidered sitting at the table. Maybe he could just come back later and introduce himself after he got something in his stomach... give the man time to settle in as well... Cicero timidly walked back across the room keeping his eyes on the bird. As he passed behind the man, the hawk suddenly screeched, snapping its sharp beak and flapping its wings wildly. Cicero shrieked in panic as he stumbled away, dropping his bowl of stew in the process. "Red..." the small man finally spoke in a scratchy, tired tone. Cicero panted in frustration, staring down at the hot stew splattered across the floor. He glanced back up at the bird with intense eyes. It almost looked as if it was amused. He squinted and made a threatening gesture toward the unruly fowl. "I don't think she likes you," the man mumbled, turning his head stiffly to look back at him. , Cicero felt a chill run up his spine as he found himself staring into the face of Krow, the little Redguard thief he had brutally murdered over a week before. He barely recognized him in the light. He subconsciously reached down and rubbed his thigh where Krow had stabbed him. "Ah, g-... good to see you?" Cicero wasn't sure how to greet someone who had basically just been born. The body was Krow, but the soul was the Ancient Blood. This wasn't the same man Cicero had murdered... well, not consciously, right? The Ancient Blood was just borrowing the vessel and memories, but it knew the difference... right? "Why do I hate your face?" Krow asked dryly. His eyes were dim and he seemed to be twitching a bit. The blade to the back of his head and being dead for several hours may have caused a bit of brain damage. "Uh... I'm... not sure," Cicero forced a smile, "Though, I've been told a lot of people hate my face." "I have this overwhelming urge to claw your eyes out and feed them to you." Krow tapped the tips of his metal talons on the table rhythmically. "Yeah... I get that a lot too," Cicero realized that the soul was accessing Krow's personal memories as their own and was seemingly confused. That might make things rather difficult in the future. "Red doesn't seem to like you, either." "The bird..." Cicero flinched as he made eye contact with the judgmental hawk again. "My head hurts..." the small Redguard grunted and stiffly turned back to the table. His body was clearly still recovering from being resurrected. Cicero slowly backed away while keeping his eyes on the hawk. He sidestepped around his spilled stew before turning and quickly making his way back upstairs. Sage could clean that up. ~ After a much-needed nap in the initiates' quarters, Cicero decided that he should write up some lesson plans for his new students to get his mind in order. Mother had ordered him to begin training the five Ancient Blood 'children' in the basic arts of assassination and contract fulfillment. The Dark Brotherhood had a lot of unspoken etiquette and unlabeled layers of hierarchy that needed to be addressed with the students before taking on actual clients. Cicero was originally chosen to be Keeper because he was tenacious, trustworthy, and by-the-book. His promotion to Knower was literally the embodiment of these qualities. Back in his early twenties, Speaker Ronan had noticed his focus and skill and assigned him to train several fellow Brotherhood initiates, including Zukira. It was no fluke, though. Cicero had poured his blood, sweat, and tears into his own training. He wanted to be the best. He wanted to be respected and acknowledged by his superiors. His sacrifices paid off with his promotion to Keeper... even though it meant staying his blade, it was an honorable role. Oh, how he did miss the joy of a good planned-out kill. Heck, the joy of a random kill as well. Ironically, through his years of madness, Cicero remained mentally organized when it came to strategy. The fall of the Falkreath Sanctuary may not have happened as he had envisioned it to after months of planning, but it still worked out in the end. The traitor Astrid was removed from power and the faction was successfully restructured in Dawnstar. Meeting Jade dramatically changed Cicero's outlook on his role as Keeper... But that was in the past. Jade was gone and he was back on track. He was now the Knower. The man with the plan. The teacher with decades of assassination proficiency under his belt. He was probably one of the few people left with such knowledge of the history of the Dark Brotherhood and its techniques. Mother was wise in her decision to give him this title. Mother was always so wise. Cicero entered the master bedroom and took a seat at the table in the corner. It had been a while since he'd been in there. This was Mother's quarters now. Before, Jade would never allow him to enter even though it was where much of the Sanctuary's logs and business planning were handled. Not that she even knew what to do with it all and simply left the paperwork to Nazir. Such a lazy woman... Whatever. He flipped open a blank journal before reaching for a quill and vial of ink. The Ancient Blood each had their own sets of skills as acquired from the previous 'owners' of the vessels. The skills were there but needed to be honed and properly utilized for the Brotherhood's needs. So that should be first on the agenda for building his curriculum; Find out what each student's talents are and go from there. He dipped the quill in the ink and began to write out a plan to outline his thoughts. "Why are you in here?" a deep voice growled from behind him. Cicero flinched sending a spatter of ink across the page. He glanced over his shoulder into the crotch of a very very large man. Wrath was towering above him uncomfortably close., Cicero gasped and leaned away in his chair, "Nothing! I mean! I'm writing! I didn't do anything!" Wrath huffed through his broad nose like an agitated bull. "M-Mother has assigned me to begin training the Ancient Blood," Cicero stuttered, "I've been promoted to-" "Knower. I'm aware," Wrath crossed his massive arms, "You are not qualified for this." "...What?" "You will not be training the magic users," he continued, "Quen, Tripp, and Meegs will be under my instruction." "W-... Mother said-" "You will work with the two you are most familiar with. Rage and Krow." Cicero frowned. Rage was the stocky orc who wanted to eat him... and Krow... well, Krow was already starting to seem like a problem, "At the risk of sounding conceited... Cicero is pretty confident in his own abilities to-" "And stop talking like that," Wrath took a step back from him, "It's not cute and it's obviously not helping you make friends." "...?" "You are barely qualified to train the bitch and the brain-damaged one. Look at you," Wrath scoffed, "You smell like you crawled out of a skeever's nest. Your jester schtick is obnoxious and distracting, and over the last few weeks your muscle mass has dwindled to the point that one could mistake you for a homely housewife who cries a lot." "Wha-?" Cicero couldn't believe his ears. This was the Wrath of Sithis!? How did he go from being a huge ominous beast of a man to this snarky, disrespectful jackass? Cicero had to remind himself that this wasn't actually Sithis incarnate. The Wrath was merely an avatar of flesh who was summoned to speak for the Dread Father. Now that the message of the Ancient Blood was delivered and the Uprising was underway, Sithis had nothing more to say. Sooo... "What exactly is your purpose, again?" Cicero squinted feeling cautiously rebellious. Wrath's eyes widened with intensity and he lifted his chin to look down his broad nose at him. "Why are you still here?" Cicero continued boldly, "You delivered the instructions and performed the rituals... now what?" "I am here to protect the Ancient Blood." "That seems unnecessary. That's why I'm here." "You are mistaken, mortal," Wrath growled, "You are here because I allow you to be here." "Ha," Cicero slid back in his chair feeling a lot less threatened, "I'm sure Mother would disagree." "The Night Mother has nothing to do with this. When you are killed, she will continue on with her endeavors without hesitation or grief." "Mother loves Cicero," Cicero muttered under his breath as he leaned back over his journal. "You are as disposable as her own children were." "Oh, yes. You are referring to the children of the Ancient Blood? The very ones we are arguing over? The future leaders of the Dark Brotherhood Uprising?" "You really are a fool, aren't you?" Wrath scowled. "I'm not afraid of you," Cicero ripped the ink-spattered page out of the journal and crumpled it up. "Exactly my point," the avatar turned to leave, "Take a bath, you swine." "Go sit on a sword..." Wrath stopped and looked back, "Care to repeat that, you insolent little shit?" "I said, 'Yes sir, my lord'." Wrath dramatically extended his arm and pointed at him, "You talk to me like that again, and I'll have you gutted, stuffed with horse manure, lit on fire, and hung from a post in the center of town." "MOTHER!" Cicero called in a childish tattletale tone. Wrath squinted his glowing red eyes and snarled before leaving the room. Cicero smirked and returned to his writing.~ The next morning, Cicero stood waiting impatiently in the training hall of the Sanctuary. His students were supposedly informed of the meeting and should have been there by now. What else did they have to do? They were quite literally reborn the other day! Rage was the first to arrive, "Oooh, I remember you..." she smirked and flipped her long bundle of braids over her shoulder, "You're that tasty little thing with the nasally voice and the cute butt. What'd you do to your hair?" Cicero crossed his arms defensively. He looked uncomfortable. "So you remember me..." "Well, it's whatever this vessel remembers, but damn, son... your ass looks TIGHT in those pants..." Rage tongued the corner of her mouth. Cicero cringed. Mother had mentioned having access to the memories and mannerisms of the former owner of the body... and clearly their personality as well. Mother was still Mother, though. Zukira's entire identity was gone. The Ancient Blood, on the other hand, died long before they were old enough to develop memories or even personalities. So it made sense that the vessels were specifically chosen for what the Uprising needed. They were like a blueprint, the Ancient Blood souls were the building materials, and the training was the actual construction. In other words, these 'kids' were a work in progress. "Please don't disrespect me like that," Cicero shifted around awkwardly. There was just something about Rage that made him feel particularly vulnerable. "You should eat something, babe," she mumbled as she examined his body like livestock, "You've got the ass of a god, but you sure could use some meat on them bones." That sentence had an entirely different meaning coming from her. "Where's your brother?" Cicero pushed to change the subject, "I'd like to get this orientation over with..." "Brother? Which one?" "Krow. The Redguard." "I don't know which one that is..." "What do you mean you don't-" Cicero paused. He didn't think about that. The five children were siblings, sure, but they probably had no idea who was who. Their former identities had been replaced. Not that they had former identities seeing as they died as infants. "Teacha, teacha, nice to meetcha!" Krow's voice echoed off the walls as he strutted into the training hall. That damn hawk was perched on his shoulder. "You're late," Cicero grunted. "I got lost and I don't know how to tell time," Krow smiled and winked at Rage. "Being punctual and aware of your surroundings is essential for an assassin," Cicero explained. "I'm sorry, man." "Knower." "A what?" Krow cocked his head to the side. "Knower Cicero. You will address me as Knower Cicero." "Knower of what?" "Your future," Cicero was already losing patience. "Oh, well, that's good to know cuz I have no idea what's going on," Krow laughed but was obviously serious. The hawk screeched. "Ah, that's right! Red wanted me to give you a gift." He lifted his hand and held out an apple while taking a slight bow, "An apple for teacher." Cicero's frown lingered. It was clearly dipped in poison. Heck, the damn thing was glowing. Rage smiled and held her hands up to accentuate the offering as if she had something to do with it as well., "Poison apples are on the agenda for next week," Cicero sighed and smacked it out of Krow's hand. Red flapped her wings angrily. "What a waste. I was gonna eat that," Krow mumbled as he watched it roll away. This was going to be a long few months.
Dark Brotherhood: Ancient Blood 059 (Remastered)Chapter 59:"Field Study"Live Falmer report: Entry 07 Date: Loredas, 16th of Frostfall, 4E 201 Time: Late afternoon, around 16:00 Location: Dawnstar, Northern Skyrim Weather: Fair The female Falmer has exited the mysterious dwelling with the male Bosmer. It has been several days since I've seen her. I'm not sure what's inside, how many people reside there, or what its purpose even is. While attempting to gain access, I quickly found that an unnatural dark force was keeping it locked up tight. Without some sort of passphrase, I don't think I'll be able to make much progress in my investigation regarding that mystery. Note to self: Look into hiring a scout to track down the passphrase... or coerce a goon to simply bust the door in. Perhaps there's another entrance. I'll keep scoping after dark., They (the occupants of the bizarre dwelling) refer to the Falmer as Ruby. That is most likely an epithet or a pet name since in all of my research, I've never seen that word used within the Falmeri language. I'm assuming that it's in reference to the gemstone and the unique coloring of the girl's right eye. The subject appears to be learning the Tamrielic language remarkably fast. When I removed the collar, it seemed as if she didn't know or understand much and relied heavily on expression and body language to communicate. Was the race more intelligent than originally thought? Could the Dwemer masterminds have altered her physically or through selective breeding to cause such a rapid absorption of knowledge? The scars on the subject's body are consistent with Dwemer-style weapons suggesting she was indeed a slave. Inspecting the collar and shackles revealed that they can be dated back to the first era. It is unclear how they came to be on this young mer, or how she could even exist in the undevolved state she's in. The subject should be one of those blind monstrosities. If she is from the first era, how could she have lived so long? Based on the physical appearance of all other known mer, she looks quite young. Snow elves have been known to live on average for two hundred/two hundred fifty years like any other mer, yet she appears to be in her early to mid-twenties, at best. It's almost like she traveled through time. , Could there be some sort of Daedric influence? The Oblivion Window in her eye leads me to believe that one of the Princes might know something of this chronological anomaly... and I have my suspicions as to which one. I need to get closer to her again. She may be just what I need. She's possibly the last of her kind and her genetics are priceless. If she is from the first era, she could tell me more about the Dwemer. A first-hand account. She may be the very piece to the puzzle I've been missing. I need to get closer to her. I need to earn her trust again. I have to find a way to get her to follow me away from this dreadful place. The other inhabitants appear to be running a shady business and are potentially dangerous. I'd likely need some hired muscle if I am to attempt to make contact again... It might just be best to lead her away. The subject seems particularly fond of two of the inhabitants. In the few times that I've seen her outside, she has been with the male Bosmer. Horns. Violet hair... He's that edgy kid who was with her at the college. He knows more about her than I do and I need that info. I dare not confront him, though. From what Quen had said, he's a wanted criminal. Speaking of Quen, I've been unable to locate her since the incident in the Midden. She seemed quite angry and seeing that the fugitive escaped her custody, she's probably even less pleasant to be around. Where is she, anyway? I know she'd love to learn of this place... The other occupant is an Imperial. I've only seen him a few times and I'm certain he has spotted me once. He appears to have a drinking problem and doesn't look very healthy. The Falmer seems especially affectionate toward him in particular. Are these men using her as some sort of concubine!? Could this bizarre dwelling be some filthy brothel for men with exotic tastes? That would explain the need for a passcode! I've seen only one other female leave this place. A Dunmer, younger, perhaps mid-thirties, dressed in the same black and red tunic as the Bosmer. However, the attire of these people doesn't suggest a sex cult or illicit retreat for lascivious deviants. More like a niche religious sect or criminal underground for hire., Note to self: Research religious cults. This could be something very new or something very old. The dwelling may in fact be some sort of private sanctuary. I see that symbol of the black handprint on some of their armor and robes. Clearly a code. I recall mention of a Padomay-adjacent worshipping assassin organization out of Wayrest that used such symbolism. Decades ago... The subject, on the other hand, dresses quite provocatively. I had first met her while she was clothed in a very rich and elegant silk gown. Low-cut top... cleavage. Recently she's been spotted wearing a strange (yet salacious) festival-type motley. I've noted that the Imperial that she fancies also wears the donkey-eared hat of a merryman. What's that about? My mind returns to the sex cult again. Perhaps they role play... Today she appears to be wearing a more conservative winter ensemble. Modest. Respectable. Odd choice for the culture of Skyrim. Dyed pink. It looks new and clean. Despite my reservations about the creepy inhabitants, they must be taking care of her. She's not their slave, at least not in the conventional sense. This could make it even more difficult to get my hands on her., ~~~~ Ruby knelt at the edge of the water and began clearing away some of the sand with her fingertips. She picked up a smooth stone and examined it. "That's a lovely one," Sage said, leaning over her to see, "How many do you need?" Ruby shrugged and placed the stone in a small coin purse with many others. She stood and walked along the shore a few more steps before kneeling again and poking through the sand. "Are these for an art project?" Sage followed and knelt as well, "Or you just like collecting pretty things?" Ruby smiled at him, "Beauty of gem," she lifted the gold and ruby necklace from around her neck, "Finding?" Sage sighed. She was always showing off that stupid necklace. There's no way Cicero even paid for that. He didn't have a single septim to his name. Sage paid, in his opinion, way too much for that blue silk dress that Ruby later cut up to make her jester outfit; A jester outfit to no doubt try to win Cicero's attention. Why did she like that fool so much? Not only was he goofy-looking and unattractive, but he was old! Easily twice her age! Was she into older men? Sage was nineteen but he had the knowledge of scholars centuries older. In his short life, he had accomplished a lot more than most would ever even dream of. Unfortunately, he was unable to share most of his story with those around him. Keeping his past private was keeping him alive and he had no intention of giving his people the satisfaction of reclaiming his soul for so-called 'cultural justice'. Sage planned on living for a very long time, even if it meant changing his name, appearance, and 'career' every few years. He wanted Ruby to come with him though. She was his ideal woman. Beautiful, voluptuous, trusting, and most importantly innocent. She'd never hurt him on purpose. She always smiled when he looked at her and followed him around the sanctuary- when Cicero wasn't around anyway. Cicero. That asshole. He makes her cry. Sage would slit his throat in his sleep if it didn't mean having to start over again. He was already enemies with international law, he didn't need the Dark Brotherhood on his ass, too. They were the only people willing to take him in, no questions asked. Ruby suddenly gasped and jumped up, running up the beach a bit more before leaning down to scoop up something green and shiny, "Beauty!" she cheered and held it up for Sage to see. He made his way over and squinted as the sun reflected off of it, "Ruby, that's a piece of glass." "Beauty," she repeated and put it in the coin purse. "It's not a treasure. It's probably from a broken bottle some wino chucked out here while on a binge." Ruby knelt down where she had found the glass and began digging more. Sage crossed his arms and lifted his gaze up the shore toward the abandoned tent, "You need to be careful," he mumbled, "I don't want you to get hurt." Ruby looked up at him and smiled brightly, "Sage is good," she giggled. "Remember, I'll always look out for you. I don't ever want to see you cry again..." Ruby found another piece of broken glass and began washing it in the tide. "Especially if it's Cicero's doing," he continued. "Cicero!" Ruby chirped, delighted to hear his name. "Yeah, Cicero," Sage knelt down beside her and placed his hand on her back, "Ruby... if Cicero ever touches or harms you... I will kill him. You know this, right?" Ruby paused and stared into the tide. She could feel a strange emotion coming from him. It was a complicated mix of anxiety and vexation. "He doesn't love you," Sage tugged lightly at the tips of her curls on the back of her head, "He loves Jade. But now that she is gone, he might try to use you...", Ruby glanced at his face. She didn't understand a lot of what he was saying, but she knew something was wrong. Was he trying to warn her of something? "He could take out his aggression on you. He's not stable. Never has been. It would be best if you would just stay away from Cicero altogether." "Away from Cicero?" she asked in a startled tone. "Yeah," Sage nodded, pleased that she understood that much, "He's volatile. It's not safe for you to be alone around him. You shouldn't share his bed anymore. He might try to have his way with you." Ruby blinked. "Force himself on you," Sage clarified, "He'll try to rape you. But don't worry. You can sleep with me. I won't let him touch you-" Ruby frowned and stood up suddenly. "Love for Cicero," she said boldly. Sage stood as well, "No. It's not love. He will hurt you, Ruby. I'm the only one here who knows what kind of person he actually is. I can protect you." "Love for Cicero!" Ruby stomped her foot, "Ruby give love for Cicero!" Sage clenched his jaw. He took a deep breath through his nose and nodded slightly, "You clearly don't understand what I'm saying. But I'll help you understand-" Ruby's attention suddenly shifted back toward the sanctuary entrance as the sound of horse hooves slowed and stopped nearby. Her eyes grew large with excitement. She brushed past Sage and took off in a run. Without even turning, Sage knew who it was. He closed his eyes for a moment trying to calm himself. "CICERO!!" Ruby sprinted toward the horses, stumbling a few times in her eagerness. Cicero dismounted his horse and glanced over with a half smile on his face. He was unable to even offer a proper greeting before she launched into his arms. "Ruby love for Cicero," her voice was muffled with her face pressed into his chest. She gripped onto him as tightly as she could. "I missed you too, Miss Ruby." Mother dismounted Shadowmere, half-watching the reunion. The Falmer girl didn't appear to be a distraction for Cicero. If anything, she was a positive influence on his mentality. She took good care of him, kept him accountable, and didn't drive him up the wall with drama and irrational outbursts like the Listener had. Ruby lifted her face to look up at him when her smile suddenly faltered. Cicero's grin also faded upon seeing this. "What's wrong?" he asked. "Oh..." Curiously, Ruby reached up and tugged the ear flap of his jester cap, slowly sliding it off his head, "OH!" she ran her fingers through his newly cut hair. It was choppy and horribly disheveled. The look of devastation on her face suggested that she didn't approve. "It's okay," Cicero smiled weakly and gently took the jester cap from her, "Cicero had a fever... he wasn't thinking straight.", "Gone...?" Ruby asked in a tiny voice as she tugged gently at the tips of his messy locks. "For now," he tussled her hair in return, "Fresh start. Cicero is getting himself together." he put the cap back on his head realizing how much colder it was without hair covering the back of his neck. Sage finally lumbered over to them sporting a sour expression on his face. Mother turned to him and squinted, "Initiate. Why were you on the beach?" she asked in a stern tone, "Don't you have more important things to do?" "Of course, Mother," Sage bowed respectfully, "It's just... the Ancient B-... your children. They are awake and it's become a bit..." he twisted his mouth to the side trying to choose his words wisely, "...a bit crowded." "Oh, give me a break," Mother huffed and headed for the entrance, "They are your superiors and you will learn to deal with them." Sage grunted and jerked his head to the side to crack his neck. He was visibly very tense. Cicero waited for Mother to enter the sanctuary before clearing his throat loudly, "Speaking of superiors... I have been promoted as well." He grinned while still awkwardly balancing Ruby as she continued to cling to him. Sage squinted, "Promoted to what? King of Fools?" "Might be wise to watch your tongue, kiddo," Cicero finally reached down to lift Ruby and she locked her legs around him like an excitable child being carried by a parent, "Save for the Night Mother, I outrank everyone here. I am the Knower." "What in Oblivion is a 'Knower'?" "I guess you wouldn't know," he stuck his tongue out., Cicero proceeded to carry Ruby toward the black door. Though his awkward stride suggested some difficulty, he managed to keep a confident pace. "So this is how it's going to be, now?" Sage called angrily. "It's whatever you want it to be, initiate!" Suddenly, they were both caught off guard by a loud rustling sound followed by a series of snaps. Sage and Cicero glanced up at a large pine tree near the cliff face as it swished about. Something- no, someone had fallen out of it. Cicero set Ruby down and quickly unsheathed his dagger. Sage could not believe his eyes. It was the Breton from the college. Sebastian coughed and groaned in pain as he frantically tried to pull himself out of the pile of broken branches. He grabbed his dropped notebook and quickly stashed it in a flat metal case attached to his belt. "You again!" Cicero yelled, "Now you're mine!" Sebastian gasped in reply and, with no safe direction to run, bolted out into the icy waters of the Sea of Ghosts. The metal plates of his Dwarven armor didn't seem to thwart his adrenaline-charged swimming ability. Cicero paused at the edge of the water. There was no way he was following him in. The harbor wasn't wide so the Breton didn't have to swim far to safety. This was the second time Cicero had spotted the lanky trespasser, but there was no telling how long he'd been stalking around. Despite his frail appearance, the guy was a problem that needed to be dealt with. The ground suddenly began to shake as a gust of frigid wind blew past Cicero. He glanced back to see Sage holding his staff in the air in the midst of casting a summon. Within a burst of blue light, a massive frost atronach materialized on the shore. Sage tilted his wrist, gesturing toward Sebastian. The hulking ice creature immediately made haste, wading through the water in pursuit., Sage confidently lowered his arm and, for added sport, lifted his other hand to shoot a few ice spikes toward the fleeing target. The snide smirk on his face suggested that he didn't feel threatened by the perceived invasion and was more entertained as he showed off his magic prowess in front of Ruby. "What do you know about this?" Cicero huffed as he stormed over to the arrogant Bosmer. Sage snorted, "Know about what?" "That guy! I've seen him creeping around here before." "No idea," Sage lied and shrugged, "I figured you'd know... being 'the Knower' and all..." Cicero frowned. With his new title, he knew there'd be some resistance from the others. Sage especially. Even though he had the authority to discipline as he pleased, Cicero knew better than to abuse his boost of power. He wanted his subordinates to respect him... and maybe fear him. Just a little.
Another Random Elder Scrolls AU: Pg 1 of 2. Enjoy. by UltimateEmpress
Blood and Dragon - Page 1 by Arsyynis
Blood and Dragon - Cover by Arsyynis
The Sunder Hunt 138 by Kytic
Animations and Stamps
Love Hurts by Foolish-Hearts
raid meme by Areggo
Hail Sithis by Foolish-Hearts

Mature Content

Whatcha Got there Gale? [AF] by Gosh-Heck
Screenshots and Mods
Neloth - Tesv 2018 05 11 21 14 03 767 by swept-wing-racer
The reach - Tesv 2018 04 24 03 38 22 773 by swept-wing-racer
Wispmother - Tesv 2020 02 04 04 30 43 257 by swept-wing-racer
Jean Bearslayer - Tesv 2019 12 26 20 05 25 665 by swept-wing-racer
Caula Voria by WorldCurrency
Ysgramor by WorldCurrency
Varen Aquilarios by WorldCurrency
Hestra by WorldCurrency
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Doctor Disappointment Doll FINAL (GIFT ART)  by The-Flying-Vee
Monstrous Energy Brew by HobbesPrime
Resemblance by KurehaSama
[TES] Mage Backpage (cosplay WIP) by SpicePrincess
Elneri (Sr.) Reference Sheet by KurehaSama
Contest Winners
Fall of the Snow Prince by HeavyMouse
Avatar Contest Entries
The Septim Empire by achaley
Drawings - Archive 1

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The Vixen and the Doe (Version 2) by ChloexBowie

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TES-Fans is a group dedicated to the Elder Scrolls series of games and fans of it. We accept anyone who has an interest in or has played any of the games before.
Founded 15 Years ago
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Hi all! I've been elected to take care of this large group and breathe some life back into it! I'm very active on DA and in TES community so I'm gonna do my best to organize things and make it easier for members to submit art/lit etc. Folder submissions are now auto-approved, but please make sure you check that you are submitting to the correct folders! If you have any questions, you can note me ( Foolish-Hearts ) and I can try to help.
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:star:Submission Rules

:bulletblue: The submission must be related to any Elder Scrolls games/universe in some way.
Fanart of Fallout or other Bethesda games is not allowed.

:bulletblue: Please make sure your submission is going in the appropriate folder, otherwise it will be removed.

:bulletblue: Updated rule: The submission must be your own work. Due to the influx of AI generated images, we will not accept such content in order to properly showcase handmade art. Please respect this rule. There are other groups who specialize in and accept AI without restriction.

:star:What do we accept?

-Drawings and paintings, both digital and traditional.
-Literature (Fan Fiction and Fan Poetry)
-Crafts, Photography, & Cosplay
-Screenshots (vanilla and modded)
-Mature content is allowed, but it MUST have the appropriate filter and have artistic merit. This means- no porn/fetish or excessive violence/gore. Stay within the DA guidelines!

:star: Folder Descriptions

:bulletblue: Featured: Admin choices only.

:bulletblue: Drawings: Digital and traditional artwork

:bulletblue: 3D Art: Art rendered using 3D programs like Blender. This folder is NOT for screenshots or mods.

:bulletblue: Literature: Short stories, chapters, poetry, guides, etc... anything written in text form.

:bulletblue: Comics: Comic pages. Ongoing and single strip.

:bulletblue: Animations and Stamps: Exactly what it sounds like. If it moves (vid/gif/ani) or is in a DA stamp format.

:bulletblue: Memes: Both internet and DA/art memes can go here.

:bulletblue: Screenshots and Mods: Screenshots of any TES game with or without mods. MUST have artistic merit. Do not submit random screenshots with no purpose. Keep it visually appealing or interesting. This folder is locked at two submissions per day to prevent spam.

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:bulletblue: Cosplay and Crafts: Physical arts and photographs of costumes and props related to TES. Crafting guides and patterns can go here as well.

:bulletblue: Misc: Not sure where to put it? Put it here and we can sort it out later (do not abuse this by dumping submissions which clearly have a folder dedicated to them.)






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K4nK4n Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2021
Is this group still active?
Foolish-Hearts Featured By Owner Edited Jan 18, 2021  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yup! I have been given control after the founder took a hiatus. I'm very active on DA, so if you have any questions, let me know ^^
K4nK4n Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2021
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