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Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Assassination of Oengul War-Anvil by the Coward Justine of the Dawnguard

[I've got a busy day ahead of me, so I'm pulling something out of the archives. Wrote this while playing the Dawnguard expansion of Skyrim, during a particularly enjoyable questline. For the record, the timeline in which Dragonborn Justine remained a vampire was aborted, and in canon, she helped rebuild the Dawngaurd to battle back the Vampire Menace]

The stink of sulfur was carried out into the Stone Quarter by the heat of the blacksmith's pit, and carried further by the heat of the day. Windhelm was normally a bracing place, being as far North as it was, but this was an unseasonably warm month of Last Seed, the cold fronts simply unable to batter down the stubborn climate.

Justine chafed uncomfortably in the heavy Dawnguard armor, shifting the shoulder plates back into place. It was ill-fitting and hot, and she didn't like heavy armor to begin with. Her beloved assassin's gear was stowed in a hollow log a kilometer from the city gates, and she had approached in the Dawnguard armor, ostensibly on official business. The organization had been dormant for a good, long while, but people remembered what they stood for, and they remembered the menace that Vampires could bring.

Restlessly re-adjusting the bulky helmet, she had strode past the city guards confidently, and into the Stone Quarter, where she was met by the pungent sulfur of the blacksmith's forge. She glanced to her left, to the shadows formed against the wall by the afternoon's sun. Her companion, who had shadowed her progress, nodded back.

Justine surveyed the crowd in the market area. She had a target, but she wasn't sure which one the target would be. It was a high profile target, to be sure, but her source wasn't specific. Her eyes scanned slowly, past the woman at the grindstone and the man leaving the apothecary, past the market stall selling cheese wheels and the child playing with a tame baby skeever. Too many possibilities..

"Watch yourself, milk-drinker," the man shouldered his way past Justine, in a blacksmith's apron with a massive two-handed axe on his back. Bald and bearded like, let's face it, many of Skyrim's eligible bachelors, Oengul War-Anvil headed in the direction of the forge.

Justine glanced back in the shadows, nodded, and broke towards him, sending a fierce snap kick into the side of his knee. The man buckled, falling forward, as Justine caught him by the back of his apron, drawing a silver knife from the folds of the heavy armor and resting it under his throat. She called out to the denizens of the market.

"People of Windhelm! By the order of the Dawnguard, this man is a spy for the Vampires of Castle Volkihar! He must be put down for your safety!"

She drew the blade swiftly across his throat, and Oengul War-Anvil made a gurgling, choking sound as he fell, bleeding out on the cobbled stones of the market grounds.

"By the Order of the Jarl, stop there!" The hold guards had been fazed by the display, but no longer. They approached Justine, their blades drawn, when there was a flash, and a loud bang, as her companion Sarana stepped quietly from the shadow and tossed a smoke bomb at their feet. She and Justine took off, shouldering and elbowing their way through the gathering crowd. The two women jumped onto a nearby cart, then pulled themselves over the hold's walls.

"Back to Volkihar, then," Justine said, "Your father should be pleased."

"My father," said Sarana, "is a very hard man to please."

The sun was just setting, and Justine cast off the Dawnguard helmet. Her amber eyes glowed in the evening dusk that brought relief from the afternoon heat. The two vampires set off Northwest, towards Castle Volkihar, to report that the Dawnguard had been successfully framed for the murder of a prominent citizen of Windhelm.

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