About the story.

This is a background story set in The Elder Scrolls universe. All the events take place in the 2nd era during the time of the Interregnum. (Elder Scrolls Online)
It details a friendship between the main character Delte and her two friends one Nord who is called Volk Shatter Shield and a Argonian that goes by the name of Left-Paw-Alight.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Chapter one- Battle at Jerral Pass.

After a cold starry night the grass plains of Cyrodiil glistened heavy with dew in the morning sun. Starlings danced in the sky with amazing precision and agility. Left-Paw-Alight watched in wonderment and pondered if their differing patterns meant anything. His long reptilian tail twitched unconsciously as his eyes followed their morning dance in the clear blue sky.
"So can they tell us how this battle will end?" Volk said in his usual booming voice breaking Paws' train of thought.
"Just that it will be a sunny day, filled with screams and blood." he said as he pointed across the grass plain at the approaching Aldmeri army.
Volk's eyes followed the direction Paws was pointing  and smiled. "So the scout's story was true, I was doubting whether we would see the cowardly fetchers this side of winter. Let them come my ax thirsts for their blood."
"There will be plenty of that before this day ends Volk my old friend. I just hope we all live to see our release from the oaths we swore 3 years ago." Paws picked up Volk's heavy oak and iron shield and started to strap it to his forearm in preparation of the battle ahead.
"You seen Delte? " Volk asked Paws.
"I think she was ordered to go see the general before the battle lines were drawn up. You do know what this incursion means to the Ebonheart Pact?" Paws said as he began to strap the shield to his friend's arm.
"Aye we are officially at war with the Dominion for control of Cyrodiil. Three years running silent missions against their supply caravans and on our last day in the army to this Dunmer general we get to have a real fight."
"You sound almost disappointed." Paws said as he finished off the last strap and tied the loose end in so it wouldn't catch.
"I am. By the eight I am disappointed, where is the glory in fighting from the shadows?" Volk responded. " When you can stand toe to toe with a foe in a fight, snarling and spitting at each other as you try to plant your ax into their gizzards."
Paws stepped back from Volk as he tested the weight of his shield upon his arm. "Do not be so eager to jump into harms way Volk, you still have a wife and two children back home. One of which you have never seen."
Volk nodded with a grunt and headed off toward his unit which would hold the centre of the field and set the challenge to the enemy. Paws picked up his staff and set off to his own position near the archers where he could command a better view of the battle and cast his spells easier.

From her vantage point Delte watched the Ebonheart army muster up into its units and form neat lines down in the valley below. Her thoughts running through the previous night's events with general Veldam Telvani and the conversation they both had about today's battle. She closed her eyes as the memory flooded in of Veldam standing in the dim light of her lantern light tent handing her the orders to kill the Khajit general and burn his standard. Delte had argued with him that she was just a sapper, then pleaded with him as a lover not to send her on this mission. Veldam then revealed that he knew she was a Morag Tong assassin and she was duty bound to honour the contract. With a heavy sigh she opened her eyes and gave a series of hand signals to her small unit of skirmishers. As one they moved silently through the shadow line of the trees to their objective.

Volk placed himself on the front rank of the shield wall a place of honour at its centre was reserved for him as a veteran of many battles. He looked to his left and right to make sure his shield brothers were ready for the fight. To his left was an old friend and veteran his name was Karl. He wasn't as big of frame as Volk, but he could move far quicker. Karl's speed and agility often caught his enemies by surprise. Down the right side of his face ran a ugly scar which was given to him by a Redguard scimitar the previous year in a small skirmish on the outskirts of Kvatch. On Volk's right was a young boy who had just recently been conscripted to his unit, Volk frowned and said. "Boy, you been in a shield wall before today ?"
Startled by Volk's question the his eyes went wide at first then he regained his composure and set his jaw. "O'course I have." came the reply.
With a chuckle Volk said. "Yeh right, listen to me boy."
"Name is Sven, not boy."
"Okay Sven, listen to me all the same. Keep your footing, make sure our shields are locked together and guard the man on your right."
"Who will guard my left?"
"I will that’s why we are shield brothers."  Volk responded with an encouraging smile. "Just don't piss your britches when we meet the enemy. It's embarrassing."
"Don't worry Sven. Volk will piss enough for all of us during this battle." A shout erupted from behind them both quickly followed by a raucous laugh and cheer, Volk threw his head back in laughter.
"Skald sing us a battle song that will steel our resolve and put fear in our foes hearts." Karl shouted above the laughter with a grin.
"Or one of whores servicing the men after a fight." another shouted.
From the midst of the unit a drum sounded with a steady rhythm accompanied by a deep resonating voice as the skald started to sing, and along with him all the warriors in the unit.

"Thousand warriors roaming through the northern lands
And only related with Ysgramor still.
One thought drives them along to fight
And die for their northern land
War, misery, fear and death to spread
It is a commandment no respect for life
Only here to kill you just the warriors pray to Orkey
Blood and honour - for life and death
Blood and honour - is the warriors highest law
Blood and honour - Ysgramor"

Slowly Delte's unit of skirmishers moved closer to their target. The opposing general and his retinue of bodyguards were now within bow range. Her skirmishers spread out amongst the bushes in silence, with her back to a tree Delte peeked around it to spot the Khajit general. He was tall and dressed in golden plate armour which shone in the morning light. His fur jet black shot through with white, green feline eyes watched his troops move in formation toward the Ebonheart lines. A large paw rested on the pommel of a longsword, while the other stroked his chin deep in thought. The bodyguards stood at the ready to respond to any threat, they were a mixture of Khajit and Altmer all dressed in plate armour of similar design.
Delte gave the hand signal to poison arrows and use the bodkin points, at this range the pointed tips made from a inch and half of steel would pierce through the plate mail, chain mail and hardened leather layers and bury themselves into their targets. If the arrows didn't bring a swift death then the poison would. All she and her unit had to do now was wait till the battle was joined, so she wrapped her cloak tight and huddled down out of sight. Delte and her skirmishers  would take turns to keep watch on the targets and give the signal if they moved positions.

Paws watched the enemy mage canter his horse away from his general toward their cavalry. This caused some concern to Paws' as it could mean the Altmer cavalry would lead the charge at the shieldwall. Their lances would smash the wall apart and run riot through the archers and ballista crews, Paws made the decision he had to be in the front line of the shield wall if they were to win the day, he could stop or slow the charge and avert disaster. With as much speed as he could muster he made haste to Volk's unit.
"Move!" Paws' hissed as he pushed his way to Volk's side. "Out of the way or all will be lost."
Paws clamped a taloned hand on Volk's shoulder. "They hope to break the wall with cavalry. I need to be here to stop them." Paws explained as Volk turned to look at him with a puzzled look.
"Stay by me old friend I'll be your shield brother." Volk shouted above the singing.
The comment did not go unnoticed by Paws, and he felt a surge of pride for him to be considered a shield brother by a Nord was a great honour. With a nod and a smile Paws drew his sword and tighten his grip on his staff.
The whole of the Ebonheart force went quiet awaiting the signals to advance. All eyes were on their enemy as a rider with a red flag went past the front ranks, all the warriors with Paws knew this meant a charge from their cavalry was going to take place.
"SHIELDS!." A shout went up making Paws jump, not being in a shield wall before all this was new and scary for the Argonian. With a loud clank of oak and iron the shield wall merged together to create a impenetrable wall bristling with weapons from spears, swords and axes. Paws looked out over the top of Volk's shield at the approaching cavalry now wheeling into centre position to challenge Volk's unit. If the enemy could break them the fight would be over and the Pass would be lost to the Altmer as would the small garrison town of Bruma.
"I hope you've got some tricks up those sleeves of yours Paws." Volk said in a growl
"Just tell me when they are in full charge and halfway to us. I have an idea that may work, if not then I will be rejoining the Hist sooner than thought."
"And what about me?" Volk said.
"We all know you heathens don't go anywhere when you die." Paws retorted with a laugh.

Delte heard the thunderous clank of the shieldwall forming and knew that soon the two sides would meet in bloody combat. She risked a quick glance at the Khajit general, he was still in place sending out his order using different coloured flags and riders. From her vantage point she saw the enemy Altmer mage ride down to join the cavalry unit. Her heart sank when she spied each one of the cavalry had a heavy lance, the tops adorned with coloured ribbons marking past glories and valour. She knew a full charge from these heavy lancers against any shield wall would smash it apart, and break through into the rear ranks. Doubt crossed her mind about whether to stay and carry out the contract, or to flee now to safety, Delte closed her eyes and breathed deep. He sense of honour and duty kept her in place to wait for the time to spring the trap. Drifting on the wind came the sound of pounding norse drums, each beat meant one step forwards to keep the shieldwall together and one more step to death or glory.

With each step forwards Paws' confidence shrank and he flinched each time the men who made up the wall give a roar of defiance at the enemy. He took a swig from a potion bottle that would help calm his nerves. The warm liquid trickled down his throat and the warmth from it was soon spreading throughout his body.
"You are in the right place at the wrong time." Volk said to him in-between the beats of the drum. "Stay close to me old friend."
Paws gave him a weak smile and a nod, and with a look over the top of Volk's shield he watched the cavalry enter a trot and then pick up speed to a full gallop.
"Hold fast." A shouted order came and the drums stopped. "Brace the wall."
With this order men behind Paws and Volk put their weight into their backs to add strength and stability to the front ranks. A rhythmic thundering started to sound as the cavalry picked up speed.
"Halfway now Paws." Volk said.

Volk watched as the enemy mage cast a spell over the cavalry unit, their lances erupted in magical fire and they were levelled at the shieldwall. Paws started to gather his will as the cavalry picked up speed and momentum to punch through the shieldwall. He closed his eyes to help with his concentration to imagine the spell he was working on. A cold air blew in around his feet as the energies swirled unseen by all other than Paws. The breath from the warriors around him could be seen as the temperature dropped sharply in the spring air. His lips moved saying silent words, in his mind he sensed the cavalry approaching within range and released the spell.
"DEIGH BIOR" Paws voice boomed with power as the ground between the cavalry and the shieldwall erupted  with huge glass like spikes of ice, each one pointing out toward the on-coming charge of mounted knights. Too late to halt the charge the horses and riders crashed like a wave against the ice wall impaling rider and horse alike. The morning sun glinted off the ice and blood that quickly covered the area. Paws watched as the enemy mage wheeled his horse just in time to avoid being killed himself, as he did Paws watched him cut his cheek open on one of the ice spikes. The mage spat a curse then rode back to his allies, Paws eyes were fixed on the blood from the enemy mage and with a smile extended his will to grab hold of the ice that it rested on. The telekinetic power of his magic snapped the ice off and slowly brought it back to his hands.
Looking at Volk Paws said "Leave me here, the enemy mage will not be a problem any more."
Not quite understanding Volk nodded as the order to advance was given. Paws quickly put the melting ice and blood into a jar and walked back to the archers on the hill.

 Delte watched the cavalry charge from her vantage point, and consequently also its complete annihilation from the spell. From behind her a moan of disappointment and curses from the Khajit general and his bodyguards. She slowly took two arrows out from her quiver, both poisoned with her own mixture of nightshade and white thistle mixed into a paste using bone meal. If arrows didn't kill her target then the pain and poison would. She nocked the first arrow to the bow and gave the signal to her team. In one fluid motion from her hiding place onto one knee to face the Khajit and sighted down the arrow and released. Before the first arrow hit its mark she already had the second one in flight, then she was up and running in toward the group of knights swords drawn.
The Khajit general sank to his knees eyes wide in disbelief as he held the arrows trying to pull them out. Green foam started to appear on his lips as the poison coursed through his body. A gurgling moan escaped his lips as he tried to call out a warning to his guards, time seemed to slow down for the Dunmer female who had materialised from the shadows. She moved with speed and ferocity of a desert mongoose. Her two swords flashed in the morning sun as they sliced apart the remaining guards, other guards fell about him with arrows and then more shadows materialised and formed into deadly warriors.
Delte knelt down by the side of the dying Khajit, violet eyes looked on to jade green eyes and then she spoke. "Mephala take you." With a quick draw of her sword across his throat she ended his life. Delte looked around at her skirmishers and noted they had lost three of their number during the small conflict. With their part in the battle done she gave the order to loot and fire the generals pavilion tent and standard.

Volk moved in line with his shieldwall toward the enemy shieldwall. He could now see the individual faces of Altmer, Khajit and Bosmer. Expressions set in grim determination. In the distance he saw smoke rise from the enemy generals position. A smile crept across his face as his unit gave a cheer and pushed on. The opposite shieldwall started to waver as the men within started to look behind them. Panic setting in to see their generals tent and standard alight. The unit leaders of the enemy shieldwall started to shout orders to keep their unit together and to stop a full rout. To aid their resolve the enemy mage cast a spell over them to bolster their courage, this allowed them to once again start to move forwards toward the Ebonheart shieldwall.

Ten yards separated the two shieldwalls when they both came to a halt. Insults from both sides started to fly along with the usual stare downs and personal challenges. This war of words was meant to unnerve the opposition and to goad them into a charge. Volk revelled in this as he shouted all the insults he knew at the Khajit and Bosmer. Two rows back from Volk men readied spears and threw as one, they landed with devastating effect into the enemy unit. Unable to hold order any longer the Altmer shieldwall broke into a run and crashed into the solid Nord shieldwall. Battle was joined.
Volks' short sword struck the unprotected neck of a high elf, he drew it free as he dropped his shield down to catch a low blow from the Khajit to his right. With a snarl he took the Khajits hand off at the wrist by a downward swipe of his sword. Volk took a moment to look for his shield brother who should have caught the Khajits' weapon, looking down at the now muddy and bloody ground he saw him writhing trying to hold in his own bowels from a vicious wound to his midriff. Rage built  up in Volk and he gave a roar of defiance as he stepped out of the safety of the shieldwall and into the enemy ranks. Dropping his short sword and shield he drew out his long sword and started to chop down any in his path. A high elf stepped forward to challenge him Volk laughed and cut him once across the neck and at the shoulder joint, the elf fell to the ground dead. Where Volks' blade fell another victim lay on the ground dead or dying. To him the enemy troops moved slowly as though stuck in tar, his longsword sang a sweet song of death in his hands. He managed to clear a circle which broke apart the enemy ranks and shield wall. Seeing this opportunity by his own unit they pushed inwards to engulf the enemy. The fight quickly turned into a rout as the Altmer lines crumpled from the onslaught. Volk and his shield brothers gave chase hacking down any who put up resistance, bloodlust now coursing through their veins. 

Delte and her skirmishers had watched the clash of the two shieldwalls from the hilltop where the dead Khajit general lay. As the rout started Delte gave the order to move into range and shoot the now retreating archers. Slaughter ensued as the arrows fell driving home the notion of defeat to the Dominion forces as the sun started its slow decent to twilight.

The colour of the setting sun matched the colour of the grass plain, a deep blood red. Ravens and crows had started to settle on the dead to begin the feast that awaited them. Volk now reunited with Delte and Paws knelt beside his shield brother Karl. His stomach wound cleaned and dressed, the physician had done all he could now his life was in the hands of the gods. Karl's breathing was shallow and slow, Volk knew he wouldn't live to see the dawn as he had seen wounds such as this many times before.
"I shall see you again in Sovngarde honoured brother." Volk said solemnly, he leaned forward and kissed Karl's forehead.
Delte placed her hand on Volk's huge shoulder. "Let him die in peace Volk. The general still wishes to see us all."
"Aye, lets go. I just needed to say farewell to a friend and battle brother." Volk's voice was choked with anger and sorrow.
As they left the infirmary area Paws said. " Many more will die, for this conflict has only just begun and will last a lot longer than anyone has ever known. This will not end until one man will rise with the strength of the dragons and the blessings of the eight divines."
"I will gladly fight by that man's side if I am able" Volk replied. "Even if he is not a Nord."

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