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An Argonian Blood Debt

Kreeves

Kreeves restrained the male Forsworn in the basement and then went outside to vomit.

Obtaining the prisoner had not been easy. His master, Sujava, frequently overlooked the effort that was required to satisfy his inclinations. Kreeves spent two days out in the wilderness searching for a camp that was small enough for him to murder everyone inside and take one prisoner.

A male, magically inclined prisoner at that.

He’d finally found a camp of eleven people. Risky—even for him—to attack that many. But Kreeves had been tired and cold, and often found that risks to his own life did not move him as much as they once did.

He killed three of them silently—a dagger across the throat. And when a loudmouth Forsworn looter raised the alarm Kreeves butchered the other ten with his spear.

And took one Briarheart prisoner. Drug his struggling ass ten miles back to Markarth under cover of darkness.

When he returned to Sujava’s villa, he was chastised for not finding the Forsworn within a day as his master had asked.

Kreeves spit out one final glob of vomit—disgusted with himself—and then went back inside to tell his master that the basement was prepared.

How did it come to this? Kreeves wondered as he walked down the long, marble hallway. He had once been a proud Saxhleel—a feared defender of Blackmarsh. Kreeves had once singlehandedly taken sixty Imperial scalps in one night. Stacked them up in a pile and danced around them, laughing.

It was a legendary feat, still told by firelight in Black Marsh.

“Okan-Shei-Kreeves,” they had called him. “The Spear of Quiet Fury.”

Now he was just “Fury.” Simplified for the sake of his master’s slow tongue.

But he was regret and disgust, too. Even if they weren’t in his name, those were the things he carried.

Kreeves turned up a spiral staircase and sniffed the air, felt the temperature change as he rose. The butt of his spear tapped out each stone step. The villa smelled empty, but he was always alert.

Always waiting for the next dagger in the dark.

Sujava produced enemies almost as quickly as he produced money. Merchants he had ripped off. Owners of wrecked ships that Sujava had insured, but refused to reimburse. Skooma dealers he had betrayed. The vengeful relatives of people he had tortured and killed in his basement.

Plus that one black-haired elf that had escaped.

The list went on. It gave Kreeves a headache to consider the legions of people who wanted Sujava dead. He was the only thing standing between them. And so, for the seventh time that day, as Kreeves approached the massive Dwarven door leading to his master’s chambers, he asked himself:

Why do I do this?

Once, there was a good reason. Sujava had rescued Kreeves from an Imperial prison deep beneath Gideon—ending months of torture and starvation.

The Praefect in charge of the fort had cut off his feet and hands every morning and then laughed as Kreeves writhed on the ground, drowning in the agony of regeneration.

Every day. Two feet. Two hands. Then laughter.

“I asked for their most dangerous prisoner,” Sujava had said as the fort faded in the distance. Kreeves was hunched over in the back of the cart, still suffering from the morning’s final amputations. “They said it took fifteen men to capture you. That true?”

“It took thirty,” Kreeves said, wincing. “Fifteen is all that survived.”

Sujava had pursed his fat lips together. “Well, it cost me fifty thousand Septims to get you out of that shithole, so you better be the most vicious reptilian bastard there is. I’ve bought entire ships for less.” He snorted and spat off the side of the cart. “What is it your people call it when someone saves your life?”

Uskejej-a-rakai.”

“I don’t speak your lizard language.”

“A blood debt.”

“That’s right. And how long do those last?”

“Until one of us is dead.”

Sujava smiled. “You’re mine now, Kreeves. And we’re going to have a lot of fun together.”

For a long time, that had been enough. A blood debt was sacred to his people. Breaking one meant that he would never return to the Hist. Never be born again. The permanent death of an outcast Saxhleel.

But his dark deeds were piled high now. Far higher than the scalps of those sixty Imperials. Kreeves wondered sometimes if the Hist Tree would understand his betrayal. Perhaps, in its infinite wisdom, even forgive him.

Today is not the day that I take that leap. Kreeves thought as he opened the door.

Inside, Sujava was sprawled out on a velvet cushion in the center of the vast room. A warm fire crackled in the corner and there were two Altmer prostitutes massaging him. One was behind him rubbing his shoulders and the other was working on his feet. Both of them were naked—their golden skin shimmered in the firelight.

Sujava insisted on only being massaged by Altmer females. “They have the best fingers,” he said.

The merchant’s eyes opened lazily as Kreeves entered. “Nothing like a lizard to ruin my relaxation,” he complained. “I was just about to have them start on my cock.”

“Your….guest has arrived,” Kreeves said.

Sujava smiled. “Good.”

He sprang up, kicking one Altmer in the face as he crossed the room.

“Pay them and remove them,” Sujava said as he passed.

“Yes, Master.”

READ THE NEXT STORY IN THIS SERIES

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8 comments on “An Argonian Blood Debt

  1. Elspeth Aurilie
    December 28, 2012

    Excellent! The regeneration bit is inspired. I may have to give a nod to that somewhere.

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This entry was posted on December 27, 2012 by in Skyrim Fiction and tagged , .
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