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Rumors and Whispers - Collective Stories of Korva Indoril Verethi

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( A note to readers: These stories serve as introduction events that lead up to the release of TESO. If you'd like to leave me a message about Korva or her stories, please do so on my page or by Enjin mail. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy. )


Lo and Behold


It was a beautiful night for a social gathering at Lord Milryn’s Manor, and Korva was always on the guest list. Korva made her way through the sea of overdressed guests that were all standing near the open veranda. She stepped out into the open air and a soft breeze played with the braziers’ light, sending incense smoke billowing into a starry sky.

Standing at the banister that over looked the city, she released a sigh. The large silver and sapphire ring on her middle finger tapped the side of her wine glass and her lips puckered. Where was he? Her crimson gaze moved over the empty cobbled street below.

It wasn’t the first time she had seen him, dressed in silk and all the finery to match, but something stood out about Rythe Drelas, the not so common Hlaalu tradesmen and socialite. She found herself captivated when he spoke, his stories of faraway places becoming as vivid as dreams in her mind. He made her smile; he made her laugh; and most of all he made her yearn to be near him. Tonight, she decided she would fulfill her yearning once and for all. That was her plan at least. Unfortunately, it seemed he did not decide to show himself, as he had the last two times Lord Milryn threw a social gathering.

She brought the wine glass up to her painted lower lip, her breath fogging the interior. Closing her eyes, she drowned her disappointment in the overly sweet and indulgent alcohol. That was when she felt a presence behind her, and then she heard the voice that she longed for.

“Looking for me?” he asked against her neck, his voice rich and deep enough to send shivers down her spine.

Her eyes opened and she smiled, taking her time to answer. “Why would I be looking for you, Rythe?”

“How long are we going to play this game?” he answered, his long fingers taking her by the waist and gently turning her to face him. She held her smile as she faced him, admiring how his blue-hued skin had a perfect sheen that almost glowed in the light of the full moon, a stark contrast from his dark smooth hair that reached down below the collar of his silk shirt.

She tilted her chin up and the corner of her lips fought a smile. “Whatever are you talking about?”

“You know damn well what I am talking about," he said, letting one finger move to brush a few strands of her ebon hair from her cheek, "I know you think fondly of me and I feel the same for you.”

She let out a soft laugh and reached out, brushing her fingertips over the first two buttons on his fitted vest. “So what if I do? Do you think I am just going to let you come onto me, then immediately invite you into my bed?”

His crimson eyes narrowed and his hand came up to cover hers that held the wine glass.

“No, that is not what I was assuming at all,” he said, curling his fingers over hers and lifting their hands up to drink from the glass before continuing, “I thought you’d let me have a dance or two with you first, then let me walk you home…and perhaps then, you’d invite me into your bed.” He ended his sentence with a devious grin, his eyes burning into hers, bright with mischief.

She felt her heart beating wildly against her ribs. No man had ever spoken to her so directly before. She was always the one calling the shots. For once, Korva Indoril’s tongue had been stilled. Aware his hand was still clasped over hers, and that she was now trapped against the banister, her means of escaping his invitation seemed null. She doubted she would have said no, regardless.

She swallowed, her gaze unwavering from his own. “I would.”

His dark brow arched ever so slightly. With a tilt of his head he leaned his face closer to hers. “That’s exactly the answer I was looking for,” he whispered against her full lips before capturing them in a warm sultry kiss. A kiss, that made her question all reason. Suddenly, reason had no place in her life. There was only Rythe and the anticipation of the evening to come.

That night, something she assumed would be inconceivable happened. Korva Indoril, fell in love with a lowly Hlaalu tradesmen.
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Posted Apr 29, 13 · OP · Last edited Feb 24, 14
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Matters of the Heart


Korva’s cheek pressed firmly against Rythe’s bare chest as they lay tangled in her bedsheets. His fingers massaged at the back of her scalp, rubbing her as if she were a pet kitten. She lifted her head and looked into his eyes, still drowsy with lust from their recent evening together. His chin met his chest as he stared back into her eyes, deep pools of crimson still stirring with desire for her.

“I’ve never met anyone like you before,” she said, tracing her nails lightly from his neck to his abdomen.

“And you never will again,” he said, with a cocky smirk that made her smile. She like a man with confidence. “What do you think your father will say about us?”

Her gaze drifted from his face to the open window nearby, where a gentle breeze played with the sheer curtains. “I don’t plan on telling him.”

A soft laugh escaped him and he took her chin in his hand, drawing her gaze back to his. “We left the party together, he will surely find out about us sooner or later.”

She let out a short breath and rolled her eyes. “I am not a child, Rythe. If I want to be with you, I will be. He will just have to accept my decision.”

“You make it sound so damn easy, I am almost convinced.”

She offered him the slightest of smiles. “Perhaps I will just need more time to convince you then.”

“I’ll continue to be in-convinced, if it means I can spend more time with you,” he said, cradling the back of her head in his palm and drawing her in for a kiss.
***

Korva’s night with Rythe had certainly changed her and it was apparent. As she walked about her manse the next morning, a feeling of pure contentment flowed through her, even enough to make her feel as if she was levitating a foot of the ground, her head filled with visions of the next time they would meet, what would be said, what they would do, what he would do to her…

The sound of a loud banging on her front doors stirred her from her bliss. She glared over her shoulder, looking to her servant who was mopping the floor nearby. The girl froze, holding the mop in her hand like a staff.

“Why are you standing there with that stupid look on your face? Go answer the door, Iliade!”

The girl dropped the mop and hurried to the door. Korva stood in the background, suspicious of who would be calling so early in the morning. She could make out the Indoril family crest on the Dunmer messenger’s chest. He passed a letter to Iliade, bowed, and left.

The moment the door closed, Korva was already beside Iliade, snatching the letter from her hand. “What now?”

Her heart began to pound as she peeled the wax seal away. Iliade, stood at Korva’s side, her eyes curious as if she had any reason to read the letter too. Korva pressed the letter against her breast and glared over at Iliade. “Get back to your duties. This is not one of your business.”

“Yes, of course, forgive me Mistress,” Iliade bowed her head and left her.

Korva waited until she was far enough away before she unfolded the parchment.

Korva,
I suspect you know why I am writing you this letter. I expect you to arrive promptly at my manor for dinner this evening with a good explanation.

Signed,
Your Father



She rolled her eyes and crushed the letter in her fist, feeling the happiness within her turn disquiet. Damn him. She should have known better than to leave the party with Rythe, but there was something about him that made her want to defy all odds of their pairing. Just the thought of him stirred excitement deep within her. She could not wait to see him again. Explaining that to her father was going to be a tremendous feat all in itself…and likely it would be detrimental for her. She would need to think of a strong argument for why her actions were warranted. Warranted or not, what was done was done, and there was no going back as far as she was concerned. Rythe was everything she wanted and the happiness he caused her was unparalleled to anything she ever felt. No one would take that away from her. No one…
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Posted May 2, 13 · OP · Last edited May 2, 13
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( Just a heads up, this story is sprinkled with a few mild curses. thanks for reading. :) )

Dinner Dilemma


Korva arrived at her father’s manor early. Glancing down at her chosen dress, she regretted wearing one that exposed any cleavage, as little as it was, her father would mention it she knew. Her hair was pinned back in an elaborate braid, knowing he did not allow free-falling hair at the table, for it could wander into a soup bowl, or worse, onto his plate.

One loud knock later, a mer servant appeared at the door and welcomed her inside. Memories of her childhood faded in and out as she made her way through the darkened halls to the lavish dining room where she had learned most of her training in proper etiquette. Her father was waiting at the head of the table, surrounded by silver lidded platters of food. He was as still as a statue as she approached the table. Pulling the high back chair beside him out, she seated herself. He did not even look up as he read over some document in his hand.

“Good evening, Father,” she said.

“You’re late.”

“I’m sorry. I received your letter.”

“Apparently.”

She pressed her lips together as a hand servant filled her crystal drinking glass with a sujamma.

“Is that a matter of importance?” she asked, her crimson gaze moving to the letter in his hand.

He folded it up without answering her question. “I didn’t invite you to dinner so we could talk of drivel.”

She leaned back as a plate of roasted meat in blood sauce with steamed vegetables was un-lidded and placed before her by the servant. She slipped her napkin into her lap and picked up her utensils. “Smells good.”

“It’s boar, fresh from the hunt.”

Korva slowly cut the meat into thin slivers, buying her time.

“You know why I brought you here, do you not?” her father asked, forking a small bite of meat into his mouth.

“I have a premise of why, but I am not completely certain.” She lifted a sliver of the tender boar meat into her mouth. It practically melted on her tongue it was so tender and delectable.

“Don’t play a game of words with me, Korva. You and I both know that you bedded a Hlaalu lowborn last night.”

The meat that once melted in her mouth, felt like a thistle going down her throat. She quickly reached for her glass before she choked and took a long swallow. Taking a moment to regain her composure, she turned her crimson gaze on her father.
“I’ll have you know, he’s not as sordid as most of the Hlaalu.”

“Horse shit. All Hlaalu are sordid miscreants.”

She drew a deep breath and stared down at her plate, steeling herself. “Father, my personal affairs are no longer your concern, especially when it comes to who I choose to bed, I am not a chi—“

She ducked as an empty glass bowl careened past her head and smashed into the wall behind her.

She looked up to see her father standing over the table, his stern eyes set on her, his jaw was tight and the veins in his neck pulsed. “Don’t you dare tell me your affairs are no longer my concern. All I have done for you, and this is how you repay me. Bringing a Hlaalu to your god-damn bed! You have made poor decisions in the past, but this is despicable!” he spat with a spurt of spittle from his lower lip.

She remained perfectly still. She knew her father’s temper, and she knew to fear it. She held his gaze, knowing he would only mock her if she looked away now.

“He’s a trader, he has wealth.”

“Enough.”

She swallowed the rest of her words.

“You have one goal in this life, Korva. One. That is to bring glory to our household. Make sure we uphold the Indoril name. I forbid you to be seen with that n’wah, ever again. Do you understand me?”

Korva felt her throat burn with emotion, but she did her best not to show it to her father. She kept her face placid.

“I do uphold the Indoril name. I am the only one who cares about keeping our status. Your son just runs off and plays war, sending men to die and claiming he is so great. I have made sure that every affluent family in Mournhold doesn’t forget us!”

“Yes, Korva. You have done that, with your wanton ways no doubt. I am so pleased that every available male in Mournhold knows what my daughter has to offer them!”

“How dare you insult me!” she shouted, losing her temper suddenly, rising from her seat and slapping her hands down on either side of her plate, sending her silverware clattering to the floor. “I have discretion with men. I do not throw myself around like some whore! How dare you assume such things!”

“Is that so? That’s not what I’ve heard.”

“You listen to lies, father.”

“Sit down, Korva, there is no need to raise your voice.”

“No! I will not. I will not stand for this.”

“Sit DOWN, Korva.” He said, his voice severe.

She continued to stand, her angry crimson eyes burning into his. “How could you believe those things about your own daughter?”

“When there is enough proof, I have no choice but to believe it.” He snapped.

She shook her head and gathered her dress in her hands, turning away from the table. “Well if you choose to believe the lies of simpletons, then I have nothing more to say to you. Good night, Father.”

“Korva Indoril, if you leave this dining room, I will make you regret it. I’ll take you from socialite to squanderer in a day.”

She froze with her back to him, her dress still clenched tight in her fists.

“I will only tell you once more. You will not see that Hlaalu scum again. If I hear of it, I will make sure you and he regret it. I will take your compensation away, I will squelch every dream you hold in that foolish heart of yours. Do you understand me?”

Her lower lip trembled and she was thankful her back was still facing him. “Yes.”

“Good. And for the love of Azura, cover your damn breasts next time you seat yourself at my table. Your not doing much in your defense by dressing like a courtesan.”

Korva glanced down at the modest of cleavage shown and moved her palm cover it. Tears of anger burned in her eyes. “May I be excused now, father?”

“Yes, go, get out of my sight.”

She refused to look at him again as she held her head high and left the manor. Her blood boiled with hatred, anger, and scornfulness for her father. His insults about her moral standing cut deep. Vyrthros Indoril might have been in charge of her holdings, but she was still in charge of her heart. Her heart wanted what it wanted, and she wasn’t about to let him get the best of her. She’d find a way to have it all and more, and nothing would come between her and her happiness, that was for damn sure.
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Posted May 5, 13 · OP · Last edited Mar 7, 14
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All That Matters

“Will you tell me where we are going?” She snapped, her arms wrapped tightly around her lover Rythe’s chest as they rode somewhere unknown, outside of the safety of Mournhold's walls.

“Will you bide by that ounce of patience you promised me before we left?” He answered, his mouth close to her ear.

She sighed against his shoulder, blinded by the black silk blindfold bound tightly over her eyes as she sat miserable in his lap. “That was before you blindfolded and stole me from my home.”

He chuckled. “Shall I gag you as well?”

She pinched him. “I hate surprises. You know that.”

“I think you’ll enjoy this one very much.”

She assumed the surprise was something foolish, some Imperial custom of wooing that she would pretend to enjoy. She had never been so grateful as when the horse finally came to a halt. She felt Rythe’s grasp as he guided her down to the ground to her feet. She grasped the side of the saddle, steadying herself as she heard the sound of his boots meeting a rocky ground.

“Are you ready for your surprise?”

“I suppose,” she said plainly, even if her heart was beating with anticipation. She felt his fingers unbind the blindfold and suddenly her vision was restored.

Blinking rapidly as her eyes adjusted to the sudden light, she felt her lips part on awe as she stared at the most beautiful view she had ever seen. They were high on a mountain; she could see the whole city of Mournhold below her and the glistening waters of Azura’s Bay beyond, back dropped by the silty sky of Molag Amur.

“It’s breathtaking.” She whispered, grasping the amulet around her neck.

“I told you I could give you the world,” he said and stepped behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Both of our homes, in one view.”

“There is much more of the world than Morrowind, Rythe.”

“Well, I figured this was the only part you cared to see,” he said, moving her hair aside and pressing a kiss to the side of her neck.

She laughed some. “Why do you say that?”

“You’re a close minded woman. You don’t care about the outsiders, the N’wah…as you like to call them. Their cultures, their beliefs, all nonsense,” he said in sarcasm, resting his head on her shoulder.

She rested her arms over his and leaned back against him. “I’ve never said such things. You assume too much.”

“Maybe there is a little Hlaalu in you afterall.”

“There has been, quite a few times…” she said, a small smirk forming on her lips.

He groaned against her shoulder. “There’s going to be, many more times.”

She slowly turned in his arms and looked into his crimson eyes. Her fingers reached up to brush the newly grown stubble on his jaw line. “Did you only bring me here to show me the view or was there something else?”

He swallowed and rested his hands on her hips. “Our feelings for one another, they are genuine, yes?”

“Yes, I believe so,” she answered, truthfully.

He nodded and released her. Stepping beside her, he took her hand and looked down at her bejeweled fingers. Smiling, he played with the fourth finger of her left hand that was adorned with a large emerald ring. “Gods, if I were to propose to you, I wouldn’t be able to find a finger to use that is not bejeweled.”

She smirked. “I like my rings.”

“Hlaalu wear a lot of jewels. I once knew a man who wore five rings on each finger and had ten earrings in each ear. His nose his lips, his brows…all pierced.”

“Isn’t that a bit much?”

“Coming from you?” he teased, turning the emerald ring on her fourth finger.

She rolled her eyes and looked out at the view. “I know there is more to life than jewels and luxuries.”
“Prove it.”

She looked to him then, her brows coming together. “Prove it. How should I prove it?”

“Marry me and move to Vivec with me. Give me a child.”

“You’re mad.”Laughing she shook her head and turned away and tried to move away, but he held tight to her hand. “Korva, I am not playing with words.”

She stared at him, speechless. The mountain breeze caught her long black hair and tossed a few strands against her cheek, dragging across her lips. His hand moved up, slowly to tame her hair, his fingertips touching her lips as he did so. “Marry me, Korva.”

Her eyes held his, desperation pulling at her features. “I cannot, you know that.”

“You can.”

“My father would—“

“Would have to accept it.” He finished. “You are not a child, as you’ve said.”

“He’d disown me.”

“So be it. He is nearly dead now, isn’t he? You’ve told me many times over the seasons we’ve spent together that I am all you need to be happy. Prove it.”

She shook her head, swallowing as she vied for a winning word. “I’d lose everything. My comforts, my home, my clothing…I’d have…”

“Me.”

She paused and looked out at the view again.

“Perhaps your words were farce. Maybe I am not all you need to be happy afterall.” She felt his grasp on her hand loosen.
She caught his fingers in hers before they fell away. “No. You are.”

The light came back to his crimson eyes and he smiled. “Then you will…?”

She heard her heart beating in her ears, adrenaline raced through her veins. “Yes.”

He smiled fully and lifted her into his arms, kissing her mouth rough with need. Even with her head spinning, her heart pounding, and her fate unknown….shenever felt more alive. She decided then and there she would accept her soon-to-be fate with House Indoril, but for now…she would enjoy the moment, with the only thing…the only man, the only choice, that she felt she had left.
After spending most of the afternoon in a lovemaking revelry high in the mountains, Rythe rode her back to her home under the stars. Only when she stepped through the threshold of her doorstep did her heart stop racing. A folded letter was placed in her hand by her servant. It bared the House Indoril wax seal pressed into it.

Opening it, she read the simple script, not her father’s as she assumed…but her brothers.


Korva,

We must speak on important matters. I believe we are on the eve of father’s passing. Meet me at the manor at once.

Your brother,

Verrik


She closed her eyes and refolded the letter. Whatever he had to tell her, she knew, it would not be for the better.
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Posted May 13, 13 · OP · Last edited May 13, 13
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This story is a edited/written collaboration between Verrik and myself from a chat RP we did. It is sprinkled with a few curses and such, but nothing too vulgar. Enjoy.

Finality


Korva made her way through the Indoril family manse, where her brother Verrik was sitting in his father’s office, idly scribbling various notes and sorting paper work while enjoying some Sujamma to lighten the task of getting their finances in order, since clearly, their father’s ending day was nearing.

She knocked softly upon the door of his office and bowed her head waiting in the dim hall way. She wore a maroon Maidens dress with an elaborate golden belt, her hair pinned back in a braided bun. She closed her eyes and prepared herself for what she was about to learn.

"Come in, sister," her brother's voice called.

She turned the doorknob and slowly stepped into the room, immediately closing the door behind her, letting her gaze fall upon her brother, feeling as if it had been ages since she saw him last. "I expect something important has happened with father's heath, having you summon me to your home on such short notice. Has he passed?"

"He's knocking on Almalexia's door," Verrik said evenly, setting the quill down and laying the will out on the table, "He has a few things you no doubt will want to 'discuss' with him regarding your future." He finally settled his red eyes on her, pulling his red hair back behind his head to tie off in a ponytail and poured her a drink.

She stepped toward the desk, looking down at the scripted will. "Is this his last requests?"

"Yes. Would you like me to hit the highlights for you or let you read it and watch your expressions as you get to the 'good parts.'" Verrik's tone was as haughty as she remembered it.

Curious, Korva blinked once, her gaze contemplative at his suggestion. Her hand suddenly came out and snatched up the will in her long fingers.

He managed a smile, watching her take the paper. It had been a while since he had seen her last. "You have aged well," the tone carried with it some sincerity.

Distracted, she offers him a soft smile. "Thank you, Brother. It's good to see the war hasn't left you scarred and crippled like mother always assumed."

"I'm hard to kill," he answered, quick but not brusque, "Have a seat."

She glanced down at the chair beside her and slowly lowered herself into it. Bowing her head, the will in her hands, she began to read it over. Her face went from calm to concerned almost immediately. Her brother will be inheriting all of the finances. Making a breathless sound, her hand moved to her neck, clasping the amulet there that was once her mother’s as she read that she is also expected to marry Lord Ravos, a man she knew of, but clearly was below her standards. Her knuckles turned white as she squeezed the amulet in a death grip. The corners of her lips dipped low in a frown and she looked to Verrik with a sneer. "Is this some sort of jest, brother? This is not...this cannot be his dying wish for me!"

Verrik almost looked amused. "I assure you, it's very real. Welcome to the 'real world' sister. I have already drafted letters to my future brother in law, so he is aware of the arrangement."

Korva threw the letter back onto his desk and stood up, enraged. "I will not marry that cretan! How could you even agree to such terms for me! I deserve better than this! I am worthy of only the best!"

Verrik folded his arms and furrowed his brows, a pose their father had taken many times in their lives, answering, "Which is why this branch of the family sits on the council and I have my battles fought on my behalf with Hlaalu bedwetters, right?"

Korva closed her eyes and touched her temples. "This is madness."

"You will do as father bids, Korva. Just as I am made to do,” Verrik paused, “At least I have had the good sense to choose better lovers in the past. I wager he would've done the same to me if I hadn't."

When she opened her eyes they were brimming with tears. "I deserve half of his earnings! I don't give a damn what you do in your godsdamned bed at night or who you do it with, so don't concern yourself with my personal endeavors. It's neither of yours business. I want half. Do you understand me? I won't settle for this. I will not marry that whore mongering Lord Ravos, nor will I accept to live under your thumb like some servant of war. You take this will back to him and you tell him so."

"I shall do nothing of the kind, sister. Your dowery was your inheritance, which will go to your husband's family.” Verrik paused, adding, "But..."

Korva shook her head, her fists glowing, her face knarled in pure rage as she waited for him to continue.

Verrik stood and made his way about the desk to put his hands on his sister's shoulders, "I will make for certain arrangements that will be within my power when father passes."

Korva narrowed her eyes, sneering back at him. "Oh is that so? What ‘arrangements’ will those be?" she asked, her tone cold and sarcastic.

"Well if you're going to be a snotty twat about it, I'll let them slip through my fingers," Verrik said flatly, "I have need of another officer within a group the Pact wishes to bestow upon me, I had thought that might be you. Sure, you suck at reality now, if you'll excuse the pun, but you can be taught the things you need to know. Additionally, if this," he paused, as if considering some other title to give the mer set to marry her, "man is not good to you, I will help you end him. Provisionally."

"Verrik," Korva said, her eyes going from angry to pleading. "Please, I'll do anything. Don't force me to marry a man not of my choosing. Especially not that man."

"You must try," Verrik said, eyes focused on Korva's, "An honest effort, one that satisfies me, and our family's honor. If after all that he is still lacking, then we will end him together and that will be that. I will cover for you, bury this, and we won't discuss it further. But, you must try, Korva. Fail to satisfy me and I won't speak out against you directly, as you are family and all we have is each other, but if I am asked about things I know directly rest assured I will answer."

"I won't be faithful to him," Korva answered with defiance in her eyes, "I won't touch him and I sure as hell will not be kind to him. He will be miserable. I will be miserable. It's not fair to either of us."

"You make it sound like you're going to run off to that tradesman," Verrik answered, a small tilt to his head, as if he expected her answer. "If you do," he added, "You'll need to head in the direction of the Hlaalu Burial Vaults."

She shook her head and looked away. "Don't tell me you've fallen into his line of close minded thoughts."

“I have never held any of that family in high regard," the knight answered with a sigh, "They are worthless cowards who would love to sell the entire country to the n'wah who live in Cyrodiil. However I am not responsible for that. Father may be dying but his reach is like a death grip." He returned to his seat and drained his glass of sujamma, then refilled it again.

"He will be dead soon. That paper could be re-written," Korva offered as a suggestion.

"Don't be so naïve," Verrik countered, "He wouldn't have kept it in this house unless he had another dozen stashed away all over Almalexia and with the House proper."

Korva sighed and dropped back into the chair, putting her head into her hands. "This is a nightmare. This is not how it was supposed to be! I was supposed to inherit everything! You don't give a damn about status and our standing. You just want to kill n'wah and make a name for yourself. Why didn't he make you marry some ugly crooked nosed whore if I must marry such a despicable man!"

"Probably because I have better sense. I've not been draining the family coffers since I became an adult." Verrik made no effort to hide his disdain over the things he heard about his sister doing.

“You have sense," Korva answered, jabbing a finger pointedly at him as she continued, "The sense to stay the hell away from home. Draining the family coffers is a stretch. It is mine as much as it is anyones," She stood up, smoothing her dress and took a deep breath. "I will accept your offer for employment in your ranks only if you provide me with a comfortable salary."

Verrik frowned to her latest demand, "You will be paid the same wage I pay the rest of my officer staff. Less, if I find your service unsatisfactory in a month's time." He sipped his sujamma and sighed, "Father taught me how to manage money, people, politics, as well as how to fight, kill, and maim, Korva. Life is not a party where you can suck off your partner in a cloakroom."

Korva's eyes again flared in anger, "Don't you dare accuse me of using men to get where I have in this world. I have chosen men and women of standing to befriend, use their trust and made friends in the right places. I am not some whore who kneels to a man and I will not kneel now, or ever."

"Do you know what they call you in the streets, sister?" Verrik said as he folded his hands neatly in front of himself, reclining in the chair.

Korva’s jaw tightened. "Rumors are poisonous, brother."

"And yet I've found there is a small kernel of truth in every one." Again Verrik answered with the same knowing arrogance.

"You know nothing of the truth," Korva spat back at him, "You and I both know you don't give a damn about me or my well-being."

"That's where you're wrong, I care a great deal for it. More now than I had in the last half century," Verrik tried to keep edge out of his tone, this he was quite sincere with watching her unravel.

"If that is true, then you better start caring about the rumors. The blasphemous lies that the jealous and angry lower houses spread with their forked tongues can bring an end to us both." Korva's voice was shaking under the continued pressure of hearing her world crash about her.

"Personally," Verrik said, amused, "I find the one where you and I bed each other stupid is rather amusing and funny to screw the common folk with."

"You'd be so lucky to find yourself doing so," Korva said as she narrowed her eyes a moment then looked away. "Regardless of what they say, I've chosen my partners with much consideration, and yes, a few have been merely for sport and to get me higher on the food chain, but I have been loyal and in love for many years now and if they wish to speak foul of my relations to him, then so be it.” She sighed, resigned. “What does it matter now anyway, I have nothing as of tonight."

"You have an arranged betrothal...and your brother's oversight," Verrik offered evenly.

"Your oversight?" Korva arched a brow, as if the notion of his 'protection' was as rediculous as it sounded.

Verrik leaned forward, the chair creaking as he took the bite completely out of his voice. "Korva, I do try and look out for you. I want what is best for you and the House. I never had to think much about it until now. This betrothal is outside of your control and mine."

"If you want what is best for me, you will split the inheritance with me, forego the betrothal plans, and we can live our lives as we planned before that piece of paper ruined everything. Isn't it time we stop living under his thumb, Verrik? He cannot control us from the grave." Korva was barely holding onto her precious control and she could feel it slipping from her grasp.

Verrik pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration, "Korva, what would happen if we were to go back on our word? Where would everything we own default to?"

Korva closed her eyes. "I don't know, Verrik, all I know is that this is completely inconceivable to think I would marry a man who I feel is not worthy of me, or to even be acknowledged of by us. Father's brain must be clouded with Skooma."

Verrik let out a long sigh. "Don't you think I know that? I'm not some brain-addled retard who took too many mace hits to the head, Korva. The man is lucid and knows his shit. Better than we do."

"He's not dead yet. I will force him to rethink his decision." Korva held her head high with renewed defiance.

"Good luck with that," Verrik replied with another sip of his glass.

Interrupting their exchange, the room next to the office which housed their dying father, the two could hear his voice muffled by the door: "Three's sake who do I have to fuck to get a goddamn glass of water?!"

Korva stood up and smoothed her dress. "I'll tell him if he does not, then I will marry my Hlaalu lover tonight."

Answering their father's request, Verrik quickly poured the glass of cool water and handed it to Korva.

She took the water, and stared down at it contemplating what she might say. Turning her glare at the wall where she hears the raucous coughing, she suddenly smirks and then spits into the water glass. "Coming Father." she calls out, giving Verrik a pleased smile before she leaves.

Verrik thought for several moments about the things he should add before she simply charged into the room. Things she might want to scream about. Things she would be pushed further to the ledge about. Instead, he opened his mouth, catching himself before he was about to speak, and decided in that instant it was better he did nothing and let her learn for herself. Shrugging simply, he returned to his writing. "Three's blessings, Sister."

Korva took her time making her way to her father even if it was only the next room down. The room reeked of old blood and sickness. She walked to the bedside and set the water down for him.

"Oh, good, you're finally here,” her father said bitterly, turning his cold red eyes on her. “Took the same sweet time as your brother." He coughed twice, drinking from his glass on the table next to him. "Tell me did you fuck and suck every Hlaalu, Dres, and Telvanni male on your way over and that's what delayed you or were you giving that worthless fool a long lingering farewell kiss first?"

Korva clasped her hands over her belt, watching him drink from the glass and absorbing the blow of his words before speaking. "I was discussing the details of the will with Verrik, father. Mother would be disappointed in your decision to marry me off to such a undeserving family. I beg you to reconsider, there are many other well off families in this city, could you not find a better one?"

"One that you desire," he answered coldly, sternly, "or what that you deserve?"

Korva pursed her lips tightly, her father's voice kicking her to submission moreso than her brother's, "I know what I desire means nothing to you or you would have never made such decisions about my future."

"The first smart thing you've said in the last week," Vythos said with satisfaction and gestured to the space on the bed, "Sit."

Korva settled into the seat at the bed side, her hands smoothing her dress.

Vythos coughed, a painful, rattled kind of sound escaping him, before he settled his eyes on her again, his tone again stern and cold, "Is that your only grievance with the words I have written?"

"Well," Korva began, finding her words, "It is the decision that changes my fate. With it, goes my inheritance, my future, my happiness. Everything I have worked for, lived for."

"Worked?!" Vythos sat up slightly, fire returning to his eyes at the notion that his daughter did something more in life than spend his hard-earned coin. "Girl, the only thing that 'works' on you is what's between your legs. You will marry who I tell you to, that is your duty. To marry and produce Indoril offspring, carry the name forward. The name is what matters. Not happiness. The name. With it goes the Inheritance and our future."

Korva lifted her chin some. "That is untrue. I would never shame this family with such actions. You of all mer should know, father: did you raise a whore or a socialite who knows how to bend other's will with words and persuasion?"

"The two titles are interchangeable." Cold and efficent, even as weakened as he was.

"If that is my duty, by the three give me a man worthy of that!" Korva pleaded.

"He is honest and forthright with exactly who and what he is," Vythos said simply, folding his hands in his lap over the sheets, "That's more than you can say for your disgusting Hallalu lover."

Korva stood up, her hands clenched. Something within her snapped, and she would hear no more of it. The insults to her lover, the insults to her person, the insults to her place within this family. "His name is Rythe, and you can say what you like about him father for in less than a day you'll be gone and you can watch me fuck him with your cold ethereal eyes while I wear the ring of another man!" She leaned over, ripped the pillow out from beneath his head and pressed it over his face, feeling his frail body struggle. "Your time in this world is over. The Gods need you more than we do."

Vythos laughed under the pillow, spitting a muffled, "Even now I outlive that mer," coldly and prophetically to his daughter.

Korva pressed harder. "Shh. Close your eyes father," her eyes filled with hot tears as she feels his body struggle under her, still laughing. "Give my love to mother."

Vythos Indoril put up a struggle for longer than expected, before his body went limp and he gave up the fight. Korva pulled the pillow back after a moment and stared down at his face wearing a contorted smile, his red eyes dim and lifeless. The pillow dropped from her hands and she brought her hands to her face. Korva began to weep, unsure if she was crying out of joy or pain.

"Gods that's damned creepy," her brother intoned at the sight of their father's twisted smile. He had watched the struggle from the doorway, both proud of his sister and at the same time saddened that this had to be the manner of his father's passing.

Nearly leaping out of her skin at the sound of her brothers voice, Korva spun to face him, her eyes wide with surprised fear. "Verrik. I didn't hear you come in." She brought her trembling hands to clasp her mother's amulet before looking back down at her father's lifeless body, "He's passed," she managed to say.

Verrik pursed his lips a moment before clearing the few steps between the door and the bed and hugged his sister, adding, "With help."

Korva half-laughed and sobbed, wrapping her arms around Verrik and embraced him for what felt like the first time, truly appriciating her brother's presance. "He always was quite a helpless being, wasn't he?"

"He was a soggy old bastard who should've died when mother passed," he said flatly, "Though at least he said he loved Mother."

Verrik took on a contemplative look, and as if to make sure Vythos was dead, Verrik plucked a knife out of his boot and drove it into the old corpse's chest, satisfied when he didn't get up and move from the blow.

Korva watched her brother plunge the knife into their father's chest, emotionless, bowing her head afterwards. Silence fell upon the room as they both stared down at the man who brought them into this world, raised them with the standards they knew, and now left them to fend for themselves.

"Korva?" Verrik said quietly, still staring down at the corpse.

Korva did not raise her eyes. "Yes?"

"Father knew about Rythe, for a long time," Verrik spoke slowly, trying to let it sink in.

Korva sighed. “I figured he did. I wonder what Rythe will think of my betrothal."

"Earlier this morning, Father told me in confidence that he had arranged to see him assassinated," Verrik said.

Korva's eyes lifted then to look upon her brother’s face. Shock trickled over her, rendering her still.

"Father knew there was a chance I would not follow his instructions, so he handled it himself," Verrik added.

Korva laughed in denial and shook her head. "Father couldn't have assassinated him. He wouldn't be able to kill him. Rythe is a capable man."

Verrik let out another sigh, knowing this would be yet another lesson she would have to learn the hard way, "Then go to him, if you won't take my words as the truth. See for yourself. Father already sent his assassin. He asked me to send word to Rythe’s family, notifying them of his passing, he wanted me to let you know as well."

Korva swallowed and stepped back from his hold, her hand reaching out to the chair beside the bed. "His family? He had no family. He was a tradesman. He had no home, his home was with me, Verrik."

Verrik sat, "Apparently that was a charade, sister. He fathered four children. Two born in the last two years, and he had a wife."

“No,” Korva shook her head indignantly, "You have the wrong man, Verrik."

Verrik looked to their father’s corpse. "Apparently, father knew him better than you, Korva."

Korva shook her head again, her voice cracking. "It's not true. He wore no ring, he said he wanted to marry me, have children with me!" Even as she spoke the words she could feel her heart doubting everything she said.

Verrik shrugged, "Father knew the second I was with a Redoran girl. He knew her past, her family, her life. He knew about your escapade with this Hlaalu long before I did. I have no doubts at all to his ability to gather appropriate and exceedingly accurate intelligence."

Korva stared down at her father’s withered face, his eyes staring lifeless at the ceiling. "I will require proof. I expect Rythe home tonight, and if he comes, I will ask him what the truth is."

"Meanwhile," Verrik said, "I'll prepare his body for the pyre. When you come back here in a few hours, I'll have your room ready."

"I won't be coming back tonight," she said with renewed confidence.

"Suit yourself but it is your home as much as it is mine, Korva," Verrik spoke evenly again.

Korva closed her eyes, as he reminded her it was his home now. Verrik was the heir to the family, not her. It left a burning resentment in the pit of her stomach. "Yes, well, thank you for your hospitality but I have spent enough miserable years here."

"How will you pay rent without the family coffers?" Verrik asked, putting the body into a death pose and drawing the sheets up around the corpse.

Korva drew a deep breath, pressing against her eye lids, hating the destitution in her voice. "I was hoping you'd give me an advance."

Verrik moved past her, back into the office, and returned with a small pouch that jingled. He pressed it into her palm with a kiss on her cheek.

She felt the weight of it in her hand and offers him the best smile she could muster, regardless of her resigned feelings. "Thank you…”

Verrik nodded silently and pat Korva's shoulder. "Five hundred. Count it if you wish.”

“Has it truly come to this?” Korva asked, her voice heavy with emotion. “I have nothing left, Verrik."

“Korva, I would appreciate it if you remained near," Verrik asked of her, "I've arranged a few months' leave before accepting my new assignment; I'd rather spend that time getting into more arguments with you."

"I will not genuflect any lower than I am now, brother," she said with as much pride as she could manage, "Besides, I don't need any more rumors about us. I live a short walk from here, you're welcome to visit me if you need my company."

"Because that won't look suspicious," he said while rolling his eyes, "Suit yourself. I'll visit."

Korva sighed and turned away from him, heading for the door. "Call for me when you deem it time to turn him to ash."

"A day or two," Verrik answered.

"Poor Mother, being stuck with him again," Korva sighed, "If anything, that is enough reason for me to continue living. Sleep well, Verrik," She slipped out the door, closing it quietly behind her.
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Posted May 14, 13 · OP
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Unexpected Gifts


Korva walked alone, with her gaze down as she made her way through the streets of Mournhold, her heart pounding as hard as her footsteps. A sense of urgency electrified her to the very core. Her brother, someone she never considered useful to her was now the keeper of her future. Beyond that concern, his comment about Ryth being dead was gnawing at her every nerve. The news of his questionable past with another woman and even being the father of more than one child had shaken her to the very core. Was this the same man who just proposed to her and she in return vowed to give up her comfortable life to in return?

By the time she reached her manor, she was nearly at a run. Her hands shook as she fumbled with the key ring in her hands, and to her fortune, her youngest mer servant, opened the door for her. With only a thankful glance, she pushed past her.

“Is Rythe here?”

“No, my lady. He was earlier, but he left after a short time. Said he had a matter to take care of.”

Korva closed her eyes and drew a breath, trying to calm her heart drumming in her ears. “Did he say what it was about?”

“No..my lady,” the young Dunmer girl replied, casting her gaze to the ground.

Korva pressed her fingertips into her temples.

“Are you well, my lady? Shall I fetch you something to drink?”

“No. Did Rythe mention where he was going?”

The girl shook her head again.

Korva released a deep sigh and marched down the hall toward her bedroom. The closer she got to the room, the more trepidation she felt. Throwing open the door, she peered into the candle lit room. It was dim as always, the window was open, her sheer curtains billowing against the stone wall like an apparition. She stepped in and looked around for any sign of struggle, any clue of where he might have gone, any sign of Rythe at all.

What she found was a folded letter and a small gold and black embroidered box waiting for her on her pillow. She snatched the box up in one trembling hand and the letter in the other. There was no seal, and upon unfolding it she recognized Rythe’s handwriting immediately.

My dearest Korva,

I never made a promise I didn’t keep, and when I said today that I wanted you for my wife and I would care for you until my dying breath, I intend to keep that promise. Now that we are to be wed, there are some things I need to share with you that I have not been honest about. I intend to tell you tonight upon my return in hopes that you will be understanding. Some of the things I must tell you, may cause you to scorn me, but I pray you will forgive me, for you are what I wake for every morning and fall asleep dreaming of every night.

Inside the box is a gift that is one of a kind, as rare as you, my love, my life. I hope it rightfully extends my devotion to you and only you, Korva Indoril Drelas.

All my love,
Rythe


She stared down at the box in her palm, knowing very well what was inside. Upon opening it she found a platinum ring with Azuras star pattern etched around the band. At its center rested flawless diamond that sparkled like purest ice in Skyrim.

Her lips trembled and her vision blurred as she pulled the ring from the box and held it up to the light to admire it. She had no idea how he had acquired such a beautiful ring, but Rythe was resourceful. Which was what made her hope that her brother’s premonition was all a lie.

The sound of someone knocking on her bedroom door startled her. She dropped the ring, sending it tumbling under her bed. She turned to the door, hiding the letter and the box behind her back.

“Come in?”

Her mer servant stepped inside, the young girls eyes were sympathetic and full of trepidation. “There are two of your father’s men at the door that claim they were sent to speak with you.”

Korva released a deep sigh, knowing it was most likely her brother sending her some regard about her father’s funeral arrangements.

“Tell them I will be there in a moment.”

The girl nodded, bowed, and stepped out, closing the door behind her. Korva walked to her hearth and looked down at the letter and empty box once more before tossing them into the flames.

Afterward, she checked her appearance in the mirror and only then, did she return to the door to find two armored men she did not recognize, wearing the insignia of house Indoril on their chest plates.

She approached them with caution.

“Lady Korva,” One said with a bow of his head.

“Lady Indoril,” The other coincided.

It was then she saw the elaborate black box in the second guards hands, hands that were covered in flecks of something black. Blood.

Her crimson eyes narrowed. “Can I help you?”

“Your father asked us to deliver this gift to you, with his regards.”

Her breath caught as the lid was lifted by the guard and Rythes severed head stared back at her, his lifeless familiar crimson eyes filled with empty dread, his mouth twisted in horror.

Releasing a blood curdling scream, she tried to flee and backed into her servant, who was taken off her feet.

Korva spun away, trying to erase the vision of complete and utter horror on the now severed head of her lover.

“No! NO!” she screamed, her hands coming up, her nails digging into her scalp as she tried to comprehend the unthinkable. Rythe was dead.

“There is a letter as well…” the guard said in a calm tone.

Korva spun, suddenly filled with rage as she stared at the murderers at her doorstep.

The guard held the letter out to her between two fingers. In one quick strike, she slapped the letter from his hand and shoved him back a step.

“I don’t give a damn what he had to say! He is dead!”

The guard faltered a step, looking surprised. Rythe’s head topped to the side in the box, some of his dark hair caked in blood dangled from the side. Korva’s stomach lurched.

“Get out! You get of my home before I give you the same death you gave him!” She screeched, raising her fist and charging them. The lid slammed closed on her ‘gift’ as she pushed both men backwards with all of her might, sending them stumbling out into the street. She slammed the heavy double doors behind and fell against them, her cheek pressed painfully against dark wood. Pain and loss flowed through her like poison. She released a loud sob and pounded her fists against the heavy doors, hot tears flowing from her eyes.

“I hate you! Do you hear me father!” She screamed, tears spilling from her eyes as she stared up at the vaulted ceiling above where an iron chandelier twinkled. Her pained eyes searched the shadows as if she would find him hiding there. “Are you happy now? Are you! I hate you more than any being in this world! If you were here before me I would stick a dagger in your heart! Do you hear me? You self-servant piece of shit! I have spited you my whole life! Do you hear me! I am glad you are dead and I hope the gods curse you for eternity!”

Overcome with grief once more, she covered her face with her hands and sunk to her knees. She sobbed harder than she ever had, trying to purge the pain, loss, and anger from inside of her. Never could she have imagined such misfortune becoming her. Her perfect life, her plans, her future had suddenly been obliterated. And the one person, who took her life, was the same one who created it. Her father was dead; and there would be no vengeance for her, only bitter resentment that she would carry with her for the rest of her life. That night, she knew, she may have taken her father’s last breath from him, but he took hers as well…Lady Korva Indoril, the wealthy socialite was all but resigned and what was left of her, only time would tell that tale.
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Posted Jun 16, 13 · OP · Last edited Jun 16, 13
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This segment of the story is written by Korva's brother Verrik. It follows the last post, Unexpected Gift that I wrote, so I thought I'd add it because I loved it so much and you get to see another view beyond Korva. :)

Enjoy.


Unspoken Compassion by Verrik Indoril
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Posted Jun 19, 13 · OP
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Letting go

Throughout the night Korva’s wails and sobs echoed throughout the halls, like a tormented spirit. Her handmaids stood by and watched as their mistress thrashed her home, breaking vases, statues, tossing various belongings into the hearths before she finally collapsed on her bed, where she stayed to mourn the loss of her lover, and the imminent wealth that was suddenly stolen from her.

By the time the first rays of sunlight pierced through the morning fog, Korva had wept herself into slumber and it was unfortunate for any servant that had to step inside her room to check if she made it through the night.

Indarys, one of the younger and more patient of her mer slaves was the one to brave the mistress’s ire. The door opened without a sound, which she was grateful for, but the room was in complete disarray. The heavy drapes hung sideways and the armoire in the corner was left open, dresses, and robes littering the floor along with priceless jewelry, scarves, and shoes. She traversed the mess, all with a silver platter of tea which she soundlessly placed on the nightstand next to the nearly empty bottle of sujamma.

Compassion crept over Indarys’s brow as she stared at her mistress lying twisted in her silk sheets. Even in slumber, she looked miserable. She had to feel sorry for her too, she knew what it was like to have everything you loved taken from you. She had watched Korva and Rythe many times, and she knew their affections meant more to Korva than she liked to admit. With the loss of her father and then her lover, she worried for her mistress’s health. She carefully poured a cup of tea and set it aside while she began picking up the various items around her feet and placing them away.

“What are you doing in my room?” Korva’s voice cut through the silence. “I ordered no one to come into my room.”

Indarys, held her composure as best she could as she slowly turned to face her mistress, who was now sitting up in bed like a cobra waiting to strike.

“I thought you might like some tea.”

“I don’t want your tea. I want nothing to do with you. Now get out!” Indarys swallowed a shriek as the tray of tea was suddenly overturned and came crashing down at her feet. Even with hot tea scalding her toes, she calmly knelt and began cleaning up, yet another mess.

The sobbing began again and Indarys peeked over the side of the bed to see Korva wrapped in her bedding in the fetal position. Frowning, she collected the rest of the broken shards of teacup and saucer and quietly exited the room.

It was less than an hour later that another upheaval began. Indarys was in the rear yard washing linens when one of the human slaves named Bosena came rushing out.

“She’s calling us all to the foyer. She said she has an important announcement.”

“Azura have mercy on us.” Indarys whispered as she rose to her feet and dried her hands before she followed Bosena into the house.

Her ten slaves, the two cooks, and the stable hand all lined up as instructed. Korva stood before them in a silken red robe, her usually long lustrous hair looking dull after her rough night. The dark circles beneath her blood red eyes and sneer made her look all the more sadistic.

“Now that I have all of you here, I want to clear up any misconstrued information,” her gaze moved from one face to the next as she spoke. “My father, Lord Indoril, is indeed dead. With his death, came certain circumstances…” she glanced down and swallowed. “Circumstances that are unfortunately out of my control. As you all saw…Rythe Drelas is also dead. We will not be speaking of his death after this moment. Am I perfectly clear on that?”

“Yes, Muthsera. Yes Mistress.” Came the servants mixed replies.

“Now,” Korva drew a breath of composure, “It was also written in my father’s will, that I am to marry a man named Ravos Verethi. Do any of you know him personally?”

Silence fell over the room as one head turned toward another, but no answers came.

“Apparently,” Korva continued, “he is worthy of my hand according to my father. I will be the judge of that. Nonetheless, my earnings and income have also been extracted and given to my brother to hold until my future husband and I are married, which means in a lesser sense, I haven’t a gold left in my name…” her chin trembled as the words left her lips. “I can no longer afford to keep you here, so you are all free to go, on your own accord. Collect your belongings and get out as soon as possible... that is all.”
Without another word, she jutted her chin and turned away from them with her head held high, walking back toward her bed chamber where the doors slamming echoed a few moments later.

At first, none of the slaves moved. Too shocked to speak, Indarys turned to Bosena who had tears coming down her face.

“I can go home.” Bosena whispered and hurried out of the room. “Praise the nine!”

“How will I feed my family now…?” the stable hand muttered, raking his withered hand through his hair as he too, passed infront of Indarys.

A few of the other slaves embraced and sauntered off toward the slave quarters to gather their belongings, but Indarys didn’t follow. She realized that she may not be so different than Korva after all, for they suffered the same fate. Without her mistress, her home and her life had also come to an end.
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Posted Feb 24, 14 · OP · Last edited Feb 24, 14
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Last Resort

Heavy drapes were pulled over the windows, cloaking Korva’s room in darkness. She didn’t care what time of day or what hour had come and gone. She had nothing left to live for, so she slept. She slept to ward off entertaining thoughts of ending her own life, a life that no longer mattered. The only thing stopping her from a quick death was the fact that she would have to see her father on the other side. A face she wanted nothing to do with even in ethereal form.

When she finally opened her eyes, she felt as if a year had come and gone, yet a fire was still lit in the hearth, and a tray of tea sat at her bedside. At first, she assumed she might have been dreaming, she clearly recalled bidding her slaves their freedom. Who was taking care of her? Immediately she assumed it was her brother or one of his servants he sent to make sure she didn’t perish.

Shoving the coverlet aside, she reached out and touched her fingertips to the tea kettle at her bedside, finding it still warm.
Annoyance shot through her and she kicked her feet over the side of the bed, intending to murder or remove the intruder in her home.

It was then, the door creaked open and her Dunmer slave peered in. “Oh, you’ve awoken Mistress Korva. I was beginning to worry. You have been abed for three days now. Your brother sent—”

“Why are you still here?” Korva snapped, “I thought I made it clear that every slave was free of service.”

“The other slaves have gone, Mistress. I am the only one who elected to stay.”

Korva eyed the slave with more annoyance than curiosity. “Why in the name of Almalexia would you stay here?”

“You cannot possibly live alone, this manor is—”

Korva moved around the bed in a swift motion, her maroon eyes burrowing into the surprised slave. “Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?! You are nothing but a filthy n’wah slave! You don’t know anything about living!” she yelled in her face.

The slave knew better than to meet her gaze, so she stared downward in silence. “I meant no offense, Mistress. I just meant that one person alone cannot possibly tend this whole manor.”

“Did I bid you to speak?” Korva snarled in her face.

“N-no, Mistress.”

“No. No I did not. You are disobedient and half-brained. I should have your tongue cut out.” Korva spun around and pressed her fingers to her temples. “Just get the hell out.”

“I have nowhere to go.”

Korva paused and then laughed. “That makes two of us, slave.”

“Then we should stay here, together. I will do whatever you wish.”

Korva turned around and narrowed her eyes. “Why? What have I done for you that you want to stay indentured to me?”

“You’ve given me shelter, food, a life…that would not have out there.” she glanced toward the draped windows.

“You do not have a family to return to?”

“No.”

“What do you mean, no. Everyone has a family. Are they dead?”

“My family would not want me. I…made a terrible mistake I cannot take back.”

Korva sat down on the edge of the bed and stared into the fire, smirking. “Haven’t we all.”

“Your mistake wasn’t your fault. Mine was.”

Korva glanced over at her servant again. “Bold of you to speak a lie to my face.”

“It isn’t a lie.”

“What do you know of mistakes, you’re just a slave.”

“I wasn’t always a slave, and I know some mistakes are permanent,” she said, passing a full cup of sujamma into Korva’s hands.
Korva looked down into the silver cup before taking a drink. “What is your name, slave?”

“Indarys.”

“Indarys what?”

The slave hesitated and Korva frowned.

“You can’t remember or you are afraid to tell me?”

“It’s Ashibaal. Indarys Ashibaal.”

Korva snorted. “I knew it. A n’wah. Your look is uncommon, what are you a half-breed bastard no one wanted?”

“No. I am full-blooded Ashlander." Indarys admitted, staring at her feet. "I was tricked into slavery.”

“Tricked?” Korva smirked, sipping her sujamma. “How does one get tricked into being a slave? That sounds nonsensical.”

“I was led astray by a mage who promised me everything and in the end, gave me eternal servitude.”

Korva laughed. “That sounds similar to my life.”

“I assure you, your story is much different than mine, Mistress.”

“Were both trapped in a life we don’t want. It’s full of disappointment and regret.”

Indarys looked down. “Serving you has been superior to the life I had before coming here. You are a kind mistress, compared to the mage that enslaved me.”

“Am I?” Korva pondered that comment. “I always thought I was a cold hearted bitch with a tarnished reputation. Maybe I should have whipped you more. You are quite insolent.”

“I know you are not as cold as your reputation commends.”

“Oh do you?” Korva asked, tilting her chin. “Convince me.”

Indarys set the pitcher of sujamma aside. “I know you wake before dawn, but you lay in your bed until sunrise planning your day. You prefer your tea luke-warm with two sugar cubes. Your favorite color is dark purple, you like to wear your hair down, you spend most of your time at social gatherings you claim to love, but deep down you hate them and only attend to keep your status. You are lonely, so much so you cry yourself to sleep some nights. Your faith in the Tribunal is wavering at times because you are so blessed, and praying feels like a chore. You hated your father and you don’t trust your brother. You miss your mother dearly. You wear her amulet and plan to name your first-born daughter after her. You loved Lord Rythe and would have married him if he wasn’t...”

“Enough!” Korva stood and glared at the servant, abashed by her revelations. She walked up to Indarys and stood in her face again. Indarys cast her gaze downward, knowing better than to meet her ire face to face. “You’ve convinced me. I don’t need to hear any more. If you want to stay, then do so quietly. Don’t get in my way, or put your dirty n’wah nose where it doesn’t belong. Understand?”

“Yes, Mistress.”

“Good. Now leave me. I need to think without you reading my mind.”

Indarys bowed and stepped out, leaving Korva alone with her thoughts. She wondered if she had been so obvious in her everyday life, which her servants knew her innermost thoughts, or maybe it was just Indarys that knew her better than the rest. Either way, she had better things to worry about than a lingering nosy slave. She was on the cusp of an arranged marriage to a complete stranger, a mer she knew nothing about. Lord Ravos Verethi held her status, security, and finances in the palm of his hand. It was time to meet her worst nightmare, face to face.
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Posted Mar 6, 14 · OP · Last edited Mar 6, 14
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Brushing Up

After her restless night of planning, over thinking, and calculating every possible outcome, Korva was drained. She ordered a warm bath to be drawn and breakfast to be served shortly thereafter. Indarys, being the only handmaiden left, had a full list of tasks to overcome, but she made sure Korva’s requests came before all else. She left her soaking in her steaming bathwater while she rushed to prepare a breakfast she knew Korva loved.

Shock trickled over Indarys as she stepped into the dining room with breakfast on a silver platter, to see Korva already seated at the dining room table, dressed in a robe with her hair still pinned up from her bath. She thumbed through the pages of a tome, her brow furrowed in concentration.

Heat flushed over the young servants cheeks. “Mistress, I would have assisted you with getting dressed, I—”

“There is no need. I am not in infant,” Korva said, not taking her eyes from the pages of her tome.

Indarys quietly set the tray of food before Korva that consisted of hard-boiled kwama eggs, three slices of bread soaked in syrup and powdered sugar, and a small bowl of saltrice.

Korva’s gaze flicked to the tray only once before she sniffed and went back to reading. Indarys cluched her hands at her waist. “Is this meal pleasing to you, Mistress? I could make something else that suits you if not.”

Korva waved her away. “No, leave it. However, I would like some tea.”

Indarys scurried from the room to fetch her tea. When she returned she found Korva had traded the tome for the tray and had already finished most of the toast and a few bites of saltrice. She hid her relief as she poured a steaming cup of tea and dropped two cubes of sugar in before stirring and placing it next to Korva’s nearly empty plate.

Korva’s gaze followed Indarys as she collected the empty plates from the tray and carried them around the opposite side of the table.

“Indarys?” Korva asked.

Hearing her mistress call her by her name was gratifying and horrifying all at once. “Yes, Mistress?”

Korva’s dark red gaze drifted up to meet hers. “What skills do you have?”

“Skills?”

“Yes,” Korva said, settling back in her seat and bringing her tea close to her lips. “What are you good at?”

“Well,” Indarys paused. “I can cook, I can clean, I—”

“I mean the skills that aren’t required by being a house servant. The one’s you learned when you were with your n’wah family,” she set the tea aside and sat forward. “Do you know how to use any weapons? Can you hunt? Kill?”

Indarys swallowed and looked down at the plates in her hands. It had been so long since she even thought of those skills. “I can use a bow.”

“A bow,” Korva paused. “Are you good at stalking prey?”

Indarys blinked curiously. “I am not sure, it’s been so long—”

Korva sighed and waved her off. “Of course, you’re practically useless now that you’ve been beaten into submission. I’d get more response from a hand puppet.”

“I can be useful. I remember how to use a dagger, a bow, I know with a few moments practice I’d be refreshed.”

Korva watched her a moment, steepling her fingers. “Good. What other skills do you have? I know Ashlander savages make tents out of raw leather…”

“Yurts.”

“Yes, whatever. Can you do that?”

“Yes. I can construct a yurt if needed.”

“No. I mean, can you cure leather? Make clothing?”

“Yes, I once made my own clothing by hand...my own sandals too.”

Korva smirked some. “Wonderful. What about weapons?”

“I’ve carved bone daggers…” Indarys said, slightly excited.

“Hm, that won’t do. I’ll need you to make something stronger than that. I need you to learn to smelt ore…”

Indarys’ brows shot up. “M-me?”

“Yes. If you can slave over a cooking fire all day, tan a hide…I am sure smelting and hammering ore into something useful wouldn’t be too hard for you, right?”

It was a one-sided answer and Indarys knew it. “I-yes.. I could.”

“Listen to me, and listen to me carefully,” Korva said, rising from her seat. “If I am going to take back my life, I cannot do it alone. I’ll need resources and a new means of living. That is where you come in. I need you to learn every craft you can. Smithing, sewing, fletching…because a war is at our doorstep, Indarys. A personal war. One I will battle mostly on my own, but I know I’ll need someone to depend on to keep things in order for me. That’s where you come in. Can you handle this task?”

Indarys simply nodded, even though she was entirely unsure just of what she was getting herself into. “Yes, Mistress.”

“Good,” Korva picked up the tome and tucked it under her arm. “I am going to my study to brush up on some old spell books that have been collecting dust. It’s never too late to start something new, is it?”

Indarys shook her head slowly, a feeling of dread pooling in her stomach. Korva simply smirked and turned away, leaving the dining room and Indarys in disarray.
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Posted Mar 11, 14 · OP
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