User:MadMax06/Honor Thy Brothers
This story is a work in progress. Currently Chapter 1 is available
Honor Thy Brothers
Chapter 1: Signed In Blood
Something didn't seem right to him. He had been sound asleep in bed at the Tiber Septim Hotel in the Imperial City, but now, as he came to, something was amiss...
A figure in a black robe and hood stood over the Dark Elf with unblinking eyes. Half-awake but still fully aware, he was about to call for help when the figure covered his mouth with a gloved hand.
"Shhh..." he whispered. "Settle down, child, be calm. I'm not going to hurt you." The sinister tone suggested otherwise.
"Who are you?" the Dark Elf said. He sat up in bed, rubbing at his eyes. "And what do you want with me?"
The figure smiled in the dim candlelight. "You sleep rather soundly for a murderer, Maximus." He leaned forward. "That's good. You'll need a clear conscience for what I'm about to propose."
"Silence." The man held up a hand to emphasize his word. "I am Lucien Lachance, a Speaker for the Dark Brotherhood. And you...you are a killer. A taker of life. A harvester of souls.
"Your work, you deathcraft...pleases the Night Mother. And so, we come to you with an offering. An opportunity...to join our rather unique family."
"I'm listening..." Maximus said, now concerned but somewhat intrigued.
"Then heed my words, for I will not repeat them. On the Green Road to the north of Bravil lies the Inn of Ill Omen," Lucien spoke slowly. "There you will find a man named Rufio. Kill him, and your initiation into the Dark Brotherhood will be complete. Do this, and the next time you sleep in a place I deem secure, I will reveal myself once more, bearing the love of your new family."
"But I'm no murderer..."
"No?" Lucien's face turned puzzled. "The Night Mother seems to think otherwise. Allow me to grant you a gift, in case you reconsider."
Lachance grinned as he reached into his robe pocket to retrieve a gold and black Ebony dagger, the metal glinting in the candle light. Maximus took the weapon in his hands.
"That is the Blade of Woe," Lucien continued. "It is a virgin blade, and thirsts for blood." He stood from the chair. "Now, I bid you farewell. I do hope we'll meet again soon."
"Wait, wait." Maximus held his hands up. "Who is Rufio?"
"Know that Rufio is an old, weak man who sleeps his days away. You could kill him in his sleep, if you so choose." He turned invisible, and then said, "Your path is clear. Send Rufio to his death, and the Dark Brotherhood will embrace you as family." He closed the door, as his near-silent footsteps walked down the corridor.
Maximus sat in bed, utterly shocked and still wondering what had brought this about, and then he remembered getting into a fight at the local tavern with an Argonian named Wumeek, then murdering him in his sleep later that night. The son of a b**** got what he deserved, but Max wasn't expecting all this to unravel.
He stood to put on his set of Mithril armor, and then started to roll up his map when he noticed that the inn had been marked on it. He folded it up and put it in his rucksack, flung it on his back, then proceeded to put on the sheath for his Dwarven longsword. He stopped, dropped the sheath on the floor, and put the new one for the Blade of Woe around his waist.
"What have I gotten myself into...?" he whispered.
When he finally arrived at the Inn of Ill Omen, Maximus still wondered if he wanted to go through with this. He was putting a lot on the line by going through with this, but he had heard many interesting things about the Dark Brotherhood over the years, and he figured this would be his opportunity to check it out.
The Dark Brotherhood is a guild of thieves and assassins shrouded by shadow and mystery. The guild originated from the Morag Tong, a religious order during the Second Era, worshipers of the Daedra god Mephala. The guild has been lead by the Night Mother (either male or female) since their early, more disorganized, days. The brotherhood remained mostly ignored until 2E 324 when they murdered the Potentate Versidue-Shaie in the Elsweyr kingdom of Senchal, painting the words 'MORAG TONG' on the walls with his blood. The brotherhood was outlawed across Tamriel and no more was heard from them for 100 years, when they first emerged as the Dark Brotherhood. The brotherhood was first mentioned by from the journals of the Blood Queen Arlimahera of Hegathe which dates the guild at around 2E 360. The Brotherhood was different than the Morag Tong as they viewed themselves more as a business than a cult. In 2E 430 they involved in the murder of the Potentate Savirien-Chorak and all of his heirs, thrusting Tiber Septim into reign. Today the Brotherhood can be found all over Tamriel and, although their business is certainly not legal, they are universally tolerated.
Maximus dismounted from his horse and walked through the front door. No one was inside save for one guest and the proprietor, whose desk was directly in front of him. Assortments of tables were to his right and stairs leading to the other rooms were in the northwest corner of the inn.
The proprietor--his nametag read Manheim Maulhand--smiled warmly. "Well I'll be a spotted Snow Bear--a customer!"
"Hi, Mr. Maulhand. Got any rooms?" Max asked.
"Hey, we got plenty of rooms. Nobody ever comes through except for old Rufio," Manheim replied.
Max tried not to smile for the wrong reasons. "Ah yes, Rufio...where is he?"
"Rufio? He's an old codger. Been living here for a couple weeks now." Maulhand looked Maximus straight in the eye. "Now, if you ask me, he's hiding from something, but--" He shrugged. "--why should I care so long as he pays his tab!" They both chuckled at that.
"Where can I find him?" Max asked.
"His room is downstairs, in what I call the Private Quarters." The Nord pointed to the floor behind the Dark Elf. "Use that hatch over there. But don't expect a warm reception."
"Alright, thank you."
"Anytime, sir." Manheim went back to sipping his mead.
In the corner of the mostly empty inn, Lucien grinned. So he's going to go through with it. Excellent, he thought as Max climbed down the hatch.
Max emerged into what appeared to be a hallway, with two doors on his left. He tried the first, but it was locked. So he tried the second door and presto, it opened. And there was Rufio, sound asleep in bed. Kinda like how Maximus was when Luciean intruded upon his rest.
This is it buddy, Max thought, no turning back after this. He stood over the man, wondering how he should kill him. Then he got an idea.
"Rufio?" Max shook the old man's shoulder. "Wake up Rufio. Wake up."
The old man stirred and quickly got out of bed, confused and angry. "Who are you? What do you want? I ain't done nothin'!"
Max grinned, his red eyes glowing brightly. He was suddenly fulfilled with strange feelings of morbidity and violence. "Oh, but you have, Rufio."
Rufio's eyes widened. "No! Please! I didn't mean to do it, you understand me? She struggled. I...I told her to just stay still, but she wouldn't listen! I had no choice!" He started to run, but was stopped short by his shirt collar being grabbed. The Blade of Woe came out in Max's right hand.
"Old man, I don't know what you did wrong, but you will die for it!" With that final statement, Maximus thrusted the Blade of Woe deep into the back of Rufio's neck, slicing through his throat and destroying the vocal chords. The man's feet kicked and twitched briefly before going limp, and then Max set him on the stone floor. Blood started to blossom from the gash in the neck as Max twisted the blade free.
In that moment, he had transformed, but didn't yet know it. And so with nothing left to do, he crawled into Rufio's bed and slept.
Max woke some hours later because he felt cold, which was very unusual because he never got cold. He shrugged and went to stand--
"So, the deed is done..." Lucien became visible and nearly sent Max for the dagger; he had been startled so badly. "How do I know this? You will find that the Dark Brotherhood knows a great many things. For you are now a part of the family."
"So now what happens?" Max asked as he suited up in his armor.
"Now you embrace your fate. For the slaying of Rufio was the signing of a covenant. The manner of execution, the Blade of Woe, was the signature. Rufio's blood was the ink." Lucien paused to lick up some of Rufio's blood that he had set his hands in. "As a Speaker of the Black Hand, I directly oversee a particular group of family members. You will join that group, and fulfill any contracts given.
"You must now go to the city of Cheydinhal, to the abandoned house against the eastern wall. Enter the basement, and attempt to open the black door. You will be asked a question. Answer thusly: 'Sanguine, my brother.' You will gain entrance to the Sancutary. Once inside, speak with Ocheeva.
"We must now take leave of each other, you and I, for there is much work to be done. I'll be following...your progress. Welcome to the family."
Lucien Lachance surprised Maximus again by, instead of turning invisible and walking out of the inn, he teleported out of the room. With nothing left to do here, Maximus climbed the hatch to the upper floor, exited the Inn of Ill Omen, mounted his horse, and headed for Cheydinhal.
Lucien had left Max a little gift when he had been sleeping: lockpicks. He wondered why he'd need them. His thoughts were soon answered when he discovered that the abandoned house was locked. Thus, with no key in evidence, he proceeded to pick the lock open. Only two of the tumblers were down, which wouldn't be too difficult. Even so, he ended up breaking five of the fifteen lockpicks before finally popping the lock open.
Maximus hacked through the boards that had served to keep people out before stepping inside. No wonder it was abandoned, and for good reason. Chairs and shelves were knocked over, rats were eating the food, broken glass scattered about the floor...
And somewhere within, the Dark Brotherhood lurked.
Max proceeded through the nearest door to the basement. He walked down a set of stairs into a small room with more overturned furniture. This room emptied into another hallway that curved left. It glowed with an eerie red shimmer. Down this hall was the black door that Lachance had mentioned.
To Max's half-surprise, the door spoke.
"What...is the color...of night?" it hissed.
It took a few seconds to register to Max that yes, in fact, the door had just talked to him. "Sanguine, my brother." And the door opened.
Maximus' journey with the Dark Brotherhood had begun.