Part 1: [link] Part 2: [link] Part 3: [link] Part 4:
You Are Here
Fadali brought her horse to a stop, looking back over her shoulder. It was too dark and too rainy to see well, but she thought she might have lost her pursuers.
She stayed where she was for a moment, her horse stamping and snorting nervously. She really shouldn't be on the road, she knew--it made her easier to catch--but she was too afraid of what could happen to leave it. Leaving the roads during the day was risky at best, doing it at night was almost suicidal
. And that was leaving out that she might do something incredibly stupid like bolt off a cliff or run into a dragon or some other awful thing.
Just when she'd almost decided she was safe, she saw torchlight in the distance. She sucked in a short breath, ears twitching; after a moment, she could make out their voices.
They were looking for an assassin.
The Dunmer turned her horse away and spurred him into a gallop.
She left them behind quickly, but she was certain they must have heard--if they were close enough that she could hear them, they could probably hear her taking off at a gallop, and who would be galloping around at night except their assassin? The horse didn't get far before he ran straight into a patch of thick fog; Fadali bit her lip, but didn't let him slow. She could just barely make out enough of the road to avoid any major obstacles, and they were still too close to risk slowing. The fog would help.
Any other thoughts she had were abruptly cut off when her horse skidded to a halt suddenly, rearing with a whinny. She was dimly aware of a shape throwing itself off the road, then the yowling scream only Khajiit made. Damn!
She thought the Khajiit had moved in time, but...
She turned the horse, peering into the darkness where she thought the Khajiit had fallen. "Gods, I'm sorry! Are you alright?" There was movement, and a glint of light like you saw from animal eyes. The Khajiit went still, and Fadali was about to dismount to check on him or her when she heard the last thing she expected.
The Dunmer blinked rapidly at the darkness, ears twitching. She didn't know many Khajiit, and even fewer knew her name. And...and she'd thought she recognized that voice, but that was impossible
" Fadali was swinging her leg over the horse's back and slipping out of his saddle almost before she realized it. She ran to the Khajiit as she got to her feet, taking hold of her shoulders. She wore a hood--of course she did, it was raining--and it obscured her face too much, so Fadali brushed it off.
Her heart leapt up into her throat as the moonslight illuminated the Khajiit's face. It was Mrrsizha, unmistakably--she knew those markings, that face, like the back of her hand, and even if there was another Khajiit with her exact markings there couldn't possibly be one with her markings and
her scars. Fadali just stared for a moment at the face of her best friend, waiting for the world to hand her an explanation; and then, an instant later, she pulled the other woman to her in a crushing hug.
Mrrsizha squeaked softly in protest but Fadali just gasped, "You're alive!
I knew you were alive, I knew you couldn't just have died on me, I knew
"Fadali. Fadali!" Mrrsizha wriggled away, sighing softly. She smiled, sheepish and apologetic, and pulled her hood back up. "Calm down. Look, I'll explain, but I have to get to Riften. It's really important. So..."
Fadali stepped back, looking her over and only just now realizing how ragged she looked. Her leathers looked worn, like she'd been running all over Skyrim in them and hadn't bothered repairing them, and her stance wasn't right. She looked...tired. Very tired. How long had she been traveling?
Fadali nodded. "Okay. Get on the horse." Mrrsizha looked unhappily at her horse and Fadali added, "Look, Mrr, I know you don't like them, but you're exhausted
Mrrsizha sighed, but nodded. She scrambled up in the horse's saddle clumsily, and when Fadali got on in front of her the Khajiit clung to her unhappily. The Dunmer was secretly glad for it, though; Mrrsizha clasping her tightly around the waist served as a reminder that she was alive. Alive!
Speaking of which... "What happened? Where have you been?
I thought you were dead!
Mrrsizha growled, her chest rumbling against Fadali's back, and rested her chin on the Elf's shoulder. "Is that what he
Fadali hesitated before answering, nudging the horse into a walk. He who? Brynjolf?
Before she could come up with a reply, Mrrsizha continued.
"I told you Mercer wanted me to help him with something, right?"
"He needed your help hunting down some Guild criminal, or something. Right?"
Mrrsizha growled again, softer. "Yes. I didn't tell you everything then...I didn't think I was supposed to, or that it mattered. But damn that, now." She let out a breath. "Twenty-five years ago, the Guild's leader was someone else. Gallus. Karliah, his lover, killed him and ran off. We were going to track Karliah down before she could kill Mercer too, because that's what she was trying to do: take us all down so he would be weaker. That's what Mercer told me, anyway. I didn't ask why he wanted me to come along. Just as well, he probably wouldn't have told me anyway." She paused for a moment, sighing. "We found Karliah. She shot me with a paralyzing arrow and ran off before Mercer could stop her...but not before I heard everything."
She paused again, this time seemingly for dramatic effect. Fadali would have throttled the Khajiit, if she hadn't just
got her back or been busy steering a horse.
"Karliah didn't kill Gallus. Mercer did."
Fadali made a quiet noise, but wasn't especially surprised to find her suspicions confirmed. Mrrsizha didn't seem to care, though, continuing, "And of course, now that I knew that, he had to eliminate me. That son of a bitch stabbed me and left me for dead. Luckily, Karliah saved me. I would have come back, but I couldn't--Mercer would just kill me off for good this time, or do something horrible to me to find out where Karliah was hiding. Karliah found Gallus' old journal, but it was written in Falmer, so we've been running all over Skyrim to get the damn thing translated. We finally did, and it has what we need to convince the Guild of Mercer's treachery." She paused. "I'm sorry, Fadali. I'm really sorry. I know I should have contacted you or something, but...we've been rushing all over the place, I just never seemed to have any time. And I just...I didn't know if it was safe." She paused again, and it felt like she was cringing. "Still, I know that's not an excuse, and I'm really
"You damn well better be!" Fadali looked back at her sharply and the Khajiit winced. "But I'll forgive you, just this once. Don't do it again.
" She looked ahead again with an aggravated breath, absorbing everything Mrrsizha had told her. "So you haven't been back to Riften at all?"
"No." Mrrsizha put her chin back on Fadali's shoulder. "I mean, maybe I could have snuck in, but it was too risky. Anyway, we've been in the wilderness mostly...Mercer is still looking for Karliah, and we don't know where his contacts are. The only cities I've been in for any amount of time are Markarth and Winterhold." She lifted her head suddenly. "What about you? I mean, how has it been?"
Fadali made a nervous sound, a not-quite-laugh. "Heh. See, funny story there. Uh, I actually may or may not have only just recently been allowed back in the Flagon..."
Mrrsizha groaned. "Fadali!
What did you do?
Fadali let out a breath. Mrrsizha wasn't going to like this. "I...may have made a brief but impassioned effort to kill Brynjolf..."
" Fadali winced, hissing as the Khajiit shouted in her ear. "You tried to kill Brynjolf?
, Fadali, why?!
Fadali growled, turning around to glare at the Khajiit. "Because he was supposed to protect you! He promised
you would be safe with Mercer!"
Mrrsizha shut her mouth with a quiet snap, ears flicking back under her hood. Fadali turned back around, glaring into the night. A few awkward moments passed.
"Oh." Mrrsizha said finally, her voice soft. After a moment, she continued gently, "Fadali, it wasn't his fault. I was with the Guild Master.
They couldn't have known he's a back-stabbing traitor."
Fadali didn't answer, glaring still, but for different reasons. Couldn't they?
Brynjolf was Mercer's second-in-command...what if he'd known? What if it wasn't just Mercer? Mrrsizha was incredibly good at what she did, and who knew that better than Brynjolf, her mentor? Maybe that was why Mercer took her to the middle of nowhere to kill her, so the Guild wouldn't have anyone good enough to hunt him down.
Fadali let out a breath. Mrrsizha wouldn't like this either, but she couldn't just not
say something. By Sithis, she
didn't like it--didn't even like thinking it. She liked
Brynjolf, he seemed like a good person, but he was still a criminal
and Fadali of all people knew better than to trust criminals just because they seemed nice. Most of her Family could seem
nice, but every single one of them wouldn't hesitate to put a dagger in your back if they had a big enough prize to gain for it. Even the spider.
"What if they did know?" Fadali looked back briefly and Mrrsizha narrowed her eyes in confusion. "What if Brynjolf knew?"
"What?" Mrrsizha shook her head. "Why would Brynjolf...he can't have known!" She was frowning though, worried.
"He is Mercer's second, Mrrsizha..."
"No. Brynjolf's not like that, Fadali." The Khajiit let out a breath. "Anyway, why bother recruiting me if he's just going to betray the Guild? He's always going on about how I'm going to turn our luck around--"
Fadali looked back again. "Cover-up so nobody suspects?"
Mrrsizha pursed her lips, going quiet. "...no," She said finally. "He could just recruit any beggar off the street, if that was it. It just...no."
Fadali sighed softly, but didn't argue further. Mrrsizha liked Brynjolf...a lot more than a Khajiit should have, probably. Fadali was certain of that, anyway; she'd seen how fond of him she was, how eager to please. There was no point in trying to convince her. "Look, I'm just saying be careful. Maybe it's not just Mercer."
Mrrsizha didn't answer. After a few moments, she put her chin back on Fadali's shoulder.
"Wake me up when we stop."
Well then. The final, exceptionally wordy part of Fadali Being Emo About Mrr.
...I've basically got nothing clever to say about it, sorry. >>