Fadali just stared into the sunken Nordic ruin, waiting for something to reveal itself to her. Her horse snorted softly where she'd made camp nearby.
She had looked everywhere.
The Dunmer assassin was certain she knew this burial ground better than its own designers had; she'd been here for a week now, feverishly searching the tomb and countryside for any sign of her best friend. The only thing she'd found out of place was a grave near the ruin...not incredibly fresh, but new enough to spark her suspicion. It had only contained a bare human skeleton, however, and Fadali had covered it back up and let the unknown person rest undisturbed.
This is impossible! Mrrsizha had been here--Fadali had made certain this was the right place, asking everyone who lived at all nearby to make sure this was Snow Veil Sanctum. It was, and Fadali knew she'd heard right when Mrrsizha told her where she was going; she was good at remembering things like that.
She'd been here. But she wasn't anymore, and there were no tracks or signs Fadali could follow. She was a hunter of men and mer in their cities, not in the wild, and they were vastly easier to track then...she didn't know anything about finding one Khajiit in Skyrim's wilderness.
But if Mrrsizha was alive, she would have found a way to contact her. Fadali was her best friend; if she would contact anyone, it would be Fadali, or her Guild. And Fadali had heard nothing from them, or from Mrrsizha.
It was like the Khajiit had vanished.
Fadali felt her knees give out and dropped to them before she could even decide to react. She only realized she was crying when the wind chilled her tears on her cheeks.
The Dunmer made an angry noise, swiping at her cheeks. "You can't do this to me, Mrrsizha!" She swallowed, looking up. It was evening, and the stars were just now coming out. "Y-you...c-can't...you're too s-smart to be dead, d-dammit!" And there was no body, no remains of one...that meant she had to be alive, right? Right?
Somewhere, wolves howled, and Fadali suddenly had a sick idea: of course there was no body. It had been out here, probably unburied, for weeks. Animals wouldn't pass up an easy meal.
Fadali felt ill the moment she even thought it, and, briefly, she hated that she had had the thought at all. It was just such a sick, callous thing to think about her best friend. But she couldn't help it; it made too much sense. Mrrsizha wasn't here, and she had no reason to be anywhere else without Fadali knowing. Something must have found her before Fadali did. An animal, or...
The Dunmer almost physically recoiled at the thought of her best friend's body being desecrated, defiled like that, like she was just another chunk of bone and flesh. She shook her head, swallowing. No. Animals. It had to be animals. Sithis help her, if it was otherwise she would personally execute every necromancer that lived for the crime.
She just stare at the tomb for a few minutes, unable to talk herself into leaving. What if?
One more time. Maybe I overlooked something. The Dunmer woman got to her feet and walked over to the lip of the tomb, dropping down into the open entrance. She took a breath, popping her neck. It was a large tomb, and going through it again was going to take a bit.
Before she could start towards the door, though, something caught her eye, nestled among the burial urns: a small nightshade plant, just barely able to take root between the broken stones. She stared at it, feeling sick and unhappy.
Fadali didn't put much stock in omens and other silliness, but this seemed...too much, to be a coincidence. Nightshade was most well-known for being poisonous and growing near graveyards and other places of death; it was heavily associated with her own Brotherhood, serving as a calling card, poison, and necessary part of the Black Sacrament. Not a comforting bloom to find, but not really unusual here, except that the rest of the land here was wind-blown and snow-scoured.
It also had one meaning Fadali knew of: silence.
And it was Mrrsizha's favorite flower.
Fadali swallowed, walking over to it and kneeling, cupping her fingers around one of the small purple flowers. Despite being in such an unforgiving part of Skyrim, it seemed healthy and vibrant.
And even though Fadali didn't put much stock in omens, she couldn't help but wonder if finding the nightshade--a flower associated with death and silence and Mrrsizha--was some kind of sign.
She expected the thought to hurt, but she just felt numb. She stood, plucking the nightshade flower she'd been holding. She just looked at it for a moment, then reached up, tucking it behind her ear like she'd often seen Mrrsizha wear them.
She made her way back up the stairs that led to the rest of Skyrim and turned to her small camp. The Dunmer woman set her attention to packing her belongings back up, keeping her mind blank and empty of anything but the task before her even as she realized she'd come here for nothing.
Mrrsizha wasn't here. Not anymore.
Once she had loaded everything onto her horse, she hoisted herself up onto his back.
She didn't look back at the ruin as she turned to begin the long journey back to Falkreath.
Welp. Finally decided to do a follow-up of [link] since it's so very popular. o.o I actually wrote a handful of ficlets in this "mini-series" of Fadali Being Emo About Mrr. It gets happy 'ventually.
I feel so very clever about all my heavy-handed symbolism here, and those of you well-versed in flower meanings (IE: none of you*, probably! 8D) will know why. Entirely a coincidence, but it worked out nicely. I love it when a plan works out.
Dark Brotherhood armor confuses me. >> And, uh, Fadali I kind of forgot her war paint in the first picture. The title for this one comes from the quest that started all this emo BS: Speaking With Silence.
*Spoiler for people who don't wanna do some googling themselves (not that I blame you): Deadly nightshade, IRL, has several meanings that I found. Silence, death, and most commonly: lies.
It's not often that pieces of literature make me cry, because of the emotion in them. The only two to succeed so far, are the Inheritance Cycle. And this. The emotion that she shows is just a mix of depression, nervous hope, and stark acceptance. I really loved the way you described it, as well. I've always been able to picture things in my head. But this felt like a movie, as if I could actually SEE Fidali cupping the Nightshade. Loved it.
If she needs help looking, just have her find my Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim OC, Valerie. A Dunmer archaeologist/scientist, she has spent more years delving in such places than many people spend alive. Plus, she and Beauchamp family are the worlds foremost experts on Dwemer techno-sorcery, she has ancient equipment that could be of some use.
That and she is no stranger to the seedier side of the world, despite her ties to the Empire. She would have no qualms working alongside thieves and assassins.
All told, a very well written piece, and a well done image as well. ^_^ I look forward to seeing more!
Love it, LOVE IT!! Another wonderful piece full of emotion and *dramatic pause* symbolism. I applaud you for that, as I'm a huge fan of symbolism in writing. I found your inclusion of nightshade to be interesting. Oddly, while nightshade symbolizes everything you listed, I found it kind of strange that nightshade is also known as belladonna (beautiful woman in Italian) and was once use to dilate the eyes because larger pupils were considered more beautiful. The strange part (and it's not a bad strange, by the way) is that Mrr. wears the flowers in her hair, as does Fadali in this piece and in the picture. In a sense belladonna also symbolizes "deadly beauty" (i.e. Fadali and Mrr.)
Very well written piece, I eagerly look forward to more!
Sorry this took so long to reply. I didn't want to say anything to such an awesome comment until I could think of an equally awesome reply.
That's really interesting how you interpreted it, since I never really thought of that interpretation myself. But I like it! :3 Considering I don't really think of myself a using symbolism often, I'm pretty proud of how well it turned out here, according to you. (And hey, my readers probably know better than me in any case. XD)
This is definitely one of the best in this series, I think. I'm glad you like it. :3 I don't know when I'll be able to scribble up something for the last part, but I'll try to do it soon. It's rude to leave people hanging after all. XD
Your reply was equally awesome (although I didn't think that my initial comment was that awesome, but thank you anyhow).
Of course, symbolism is a double-edged sword. A writer can write "she walked into the room and found the rose wilted" and someone might think that the writer was using symbolism to represent some sort of dead or dying beauty or love (roses are typically associated with beauty and love). However, said writer could simply mean that a girl walked into a room and found a wilted rose, no symbol intended.
Anyhow, since you said something about using the nightshade as being symbolic, I took it as an invitation to interpret the symbolism. And the symbolism was portrayed very nicely.
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More