Bus Ride Fantasy

Skyrim FanFiction, Skyrim Erotica, and More

Hunting Garland the Green: Part III



I lower the sword.

A voice in my head is screaming: Just kill him. Cut off his head and be done with it. You can be drunk off your ass in Dawnstar by nightfall.

But my hands don’t listen, and the blade drops down by my hip.

Festus told me never to hesitate. Never show mercy. Just pull the life out of ‘em before they even have time to scream.

I’ve botched this job right up. That’s a fact. But screaming all up and down the walls of my head doesn’t get me any closer to cutting Garland the Green’s head off.

After a few moments and no killing stroke, he opens those freaky blue eyes of his. They’re impossibly bright—glowing in the morning fog that still hasn’t burned away yet.

I’m starting to think it never will.

“You’re not afraid?” I ask.

He smiles. Mud-caked face wrinkling up into a mess of flaky creases.

“Death is nothing to fear, after the places I have been.”

I shake my head. “Death is always something to fear. Anyone who says different is selling something.”

He spreads his arms out wide. Moss and twigs and branches prickling up everywhere, casting a spiky shadow in the slanted light.

“Nothing to sell here.”

I tighten my grip around his blade. Trying to snap myself out of it. Bastard damn near killed me twice over in this marsh. I’ve been soaking wet for the better part of week, and there’s got to be ten kinds of fungus growing on my feet by now.

But still, I hesitate. Those eyes, those eyes. They are not human eyes.

“What are you?” I ask.

“Just an old man, full of old sins. A clean death is probably more than I deserve, truth be told.”

“No,” I say, finally starting to put it together: All that moss and dirt around his body. The way he moved—faster than a bolt of lightning sawing through the sky in a storm. The faint smell of Dwarven oil filling the air around us.

And that soft, almost delicate ticking coming from his chest.

“You’re not a man. Not all the way.” I raise the sword and level it at his heart. “Show me.”

His smile fades. “You’re sure? A simple decapitation will be…cleaner.”

“It usually is. Do it.”

He hooks both hands into the top of his muddy garb, looks up sadly one last time, and then pulls the muck and mire away.

The flesh below is dirty and pale—probably hasn’t seen the sun in years. But even through the stringy bits of root and mud I can see it:

The beat of a mechanical heart—thumping in the center of his chest.

It glows the same unnatural blue as his eyes. There are tiny metal tubes and springs wound into a tight ball. Flexing and loosening with each pump of the heart.

“The fuck?”

I back away a step. Don’t have any trouble raising the sword above my head now.

“Amazing what can be done with a bit of Dwemer metal and some magic,” Garland says.

“Who did this to you?”

“The same person that brought you to my doorstep, I expect. And sent your master, Festus Krex, to the jaws of the Necromancers.”

“That was revenge for the people in Tel Mithryn,” I say. “Their families performed the sacrament.”

Garland shakes his head sadly. “No, Lady Narova. They did not. You are all just pieces on a board, being moved by two very old hands. And I,” he looks down at his body, “am a loose end that neither one much cares for.”

“Enough riddles! Give me a straight answer.”

“Why? So you can be better informed before you kill me?”

I weigh that.

“A straight answer might give me a reason to let you live.”

I don’t know why I say that, but I feel in my spine that it’s true–as undeniable as the prick of a needle, or the snapping of a bone.

Garland blinks his blue eyes once. “I volunteered for it—the heart. We came to Divayth Fyr for salvation. Asked him for the power to restore our broken order. The Dunmer bastard didn’t give two shits for The Blades. Or for our mission. But him and that fat Dwarf he keeps around were happy for a new test subject. Told me there was no substitution for a strong will. And I assure you, my will was stronger than dragonbone. Once, anyway.”

He pauses. Swallows.

“But I grew weary. All those years of killing. You can put a lot of names around it—pack it up like the mud on my skin. Honor. Duty. Loyalty. But it’s all murder, in the end.”

Garland looks around. Watches a hawk land on a dead tree off to the east.

“The marsh is a good place to forget the past. But it seems the past isn’t so keen on forgetting me.”

He scoops up some mud and cakes it onto this chest. Pulls the moss and branches back over the pale blue glow of his heart.

“Forgive me, this thing gets hot out in the open.”

I don’t like a single fucking thing about this. I don’t like his eyes, his fucked up chest, or that he knows who Festus Krex is and where he’s been sent.

But I don’t like the idea of putting this old man in the ground much, either. Because one day, might be I get tired of all the blood and death, too. If that ever happened, I’d probably go hunting for a place of my own to forget it all.

Although I wouldn’t pick a fucking marsh.

“You can’t go back to that hut.” I say. “You best stay forgotten in the deep parts of this marsh, or I will come back and kill you slowly.”

I take a step forward and hold the sword out to him. He shakes his head.

“Keep it. Show it to the shadowy hands when they ask after my demise.”

I nod, sniff the air. I figure there’s nothing left to say, so I turn to the north. Fastest way out of this shithole.

“Lady Narova,” Garland calls after me. I turn around.

“If you’re ever lost, come back to this spot. This exact spot. Might be I can help you find your way again.”

6 comments on “Hunting Garland the Green: Part III

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  3. Elspeth Aurilie
    February 18, 2013

    Iron Man! Okay, I didn’t want that to be my first thought but there you have it. Still, that could have been really cheesy but you made it work. This story is coming together so nicely and the attention to lore is unmatched in anything else I’ve read.

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction, Tales of Narova Black Hair and tagged , .
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