Bus Ride Fantasy

Skyrim FanFiction, Skyrim Erotica, and More

Hunting Garland the Green

Marshes

The entire place smells like a crapper—rank and warm in my nostrils. It takes me three days of wandering hip-deep in green, putrid water before I find my mark’s sorry excuse for a hut. By then, I’m out of food and just about out of water.

Completely out of patience.

Screw Astrid, screw this old man and his decaying order. Screw Sithis, while I’m at it.

I don’t even bother to cast invisibility. I just draw my dagger and shove my shoulder into the door. It’s locked, but I only have to kick it once before the whole thing comes crashing down, pulling a big chunk of wood-siding with it.

Empty.

And I don’t mean there’s nobody inside, although there isn’t. I mean there’s nothing inside. No bed, no stove, no chests. It’s just a square room.

“You’re not very sneaky. For an assassin, that is.” A man’s voice calls from behind me.

I whirl around, channeling a bolt of paralysis in my free hand. He’s standing fifty or sixty paces away, balanced on a small tussock of grass in the middle of the water.

Too far away to throw the spell at him.

“I was trying something new,” I call out to him, trying to figure if I can get my bow out and an arrow shot before he’d have a chance to dive under the water. Doesn’t seem likely.

He’s wearing clothes that look like they were stitched together from crap he found in the swamp: mudcrab skins, braids of grass, there’s even some sticks and twigs in there. His face is covered with mud, too. Dark and cracked and riddled with deep seams.

But his eyes glow bright—two haunting blue orbs swimming in a sea of brown shit.

“How’s it working out so far?” he calls back. His voice is high and light. His shoulders straight and strong. Not quite the crippled old man I was expecting.

I shrug. “Too soon to tell just yet.”

He laughs at that. “What’s your name, killer?”

I’m not a big fan of chit-chat—especially with people I need to kill—but I don’t have a great idea for how to proceed. Cast invisibility and try to get an arrow into him, maybe. But something tells me he’s on that tussock for a reason. And that I’ve made a big mistake marching up all blood and glory. I decide to buy some time.

“Narova.”

“I’m Garland.”

“Garland, of The Blades?” I ask. “Just want to make sure I’m at the right crap-heap shack.”

He laughs again. A real sense of humor, this one.

“Garland the Green, they call me. On account of the armor I used to wear.” He looks down at himself. “My wardrobe has changed somewhat these past years, though. But yes, I’m the one you’re after.”

I figure he’s out there because he wants me to try the arrows. Get me all tied up with a bow in my hands and then bum rush me before I can get one nocked. Pretty clever, but I’m not falling for it.

“Well, Garland the Green,” I say. “I’m here to kill you.”

He nods slowly, looks almost said. “Aye. Well, Lady Narova, you’re welcome to my head, if you can get it off my shoulders.”

He shifts his weight a little, and for the first time I notice the sword on his hip. It’s a strange thing—thin and curved slightly. Not like an Aliki’r scimitar, but not like anything else I’ve seen, either.

“I must warn you, though,” Garland continues. “It won’t be easy.”

I narrow my eyes at him, but don’t say anything. I’m too focused on pulling a new spell together in my chest.

A water spell.

I let it fill my fist and then slam my hand into the ground, releasing an animal yell. The water in front of me sizzles for a moment and then explodes in every direction, leaving a path of exposed, soft ground that leads right up to the old man’s tussock.

I’m off and running before the first drops of water start to land, but he’s got his sword drawn before I’ve taken a handful of steps.

Fast old fucker.

You never really know how it’s going to turn out when you go head-on with someone. All your life boils down to an instant—and the slightest angle of a blade can bring the end of it. Usually, I wait for the thing I’m charging to make their move and then adjust, but this motherfucker drew his sword faster than anything I’d ever seen, so I tried something else.

When I’m two strides away I throw my dagger at him—a ten-thousand-Septim-beauty just hurled into his chest—and then I duck and slide past him.

It’s a smart thing. He’d have killed me, otherwise.

Garland deflects the dagger with a graceful parry—although I get lucky and the edge of my blade catches his shoulder as it flies off into the swamp—and then he unleashes a lighting-fast attack across the place my body was a moment earlier.

I feel the rush of wind passing over my face as the arc of death sweeps above —like a warm gust on a clear day.

I pull a second dagger from my boot and jam it into his thigh. It feels like I stuck it into a puddle of mud—soft and squishy—and I can’t figure if I got into his flesh or not.

I don’t have time to think it over long, because the quick bastard vaults into the air, does a graceful somersault, and lands back near his hut.

Never seen a man move like that.

The bastard’s smiling. “You’re quick,” he says.

“Fuck you,” I hiss. I don’t like being made fun of.

I stand up and brush a bit of mud off my knees. Draw another dagger from a leather scabbard at the small of my back. The water is all back in place, and now it’s me standing on the island tussock.

“And well-armed,” he observes. “But let’s see what else you can do. I love a good hunt, especially in the marsh.”

And then he takes off running—disappearing into the foggy marsh.

“Crap,” I mutter, casting a water-walking spell and moving cautiously back to the shore.

I close my eyes and sniff the air—letting my old hunter’s senses take over. The marsh may smell like one giant latrine, but Garland the Green has a scent all his own. Sour and salty and something else I can’t quite place.

He may be wearing the swamp for clothes, but he’s still a man underneath.

At least I think he is.

There’s a small trickle of blood, too, scattered amongst the reeds.

No food, no water, and only one dagger left.

I smile, and I head after him.

READ PART TWO

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15 comments on “Hunting Garland the Green

  1. Lulzy
    February 1, 2013

    Love the use of scent here, even if poor Narova doesn’t. 😉

    • Fargoth
      February 2, 2013

      Ha! Yes Narova’s not a “stop and appreciate the smells” kind of person.

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  5. Elspeth Aurilie
    February 18, 2013

    Excellent imagery. The details on the fight were so exciting; I could picture it but I also want someone to animate it so I can actually watch it.

    “He’s wearing clothes that look like they were stitched together from crap he found in the swamp: mudcrab skins, braids of grass, there’s even some sticks and twigs in there. His face is covered with mud, too. Dark and cracked and riddled with deep seams.”

    For some reason, I just love this description.

  6. Elspeth Aurilie
    February 18, 2013

    The part between the water spell and when he takes off; I’d animate that if I could.

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction, Tales of Narova Black Hair and tagged , .
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