This is who I really am
“Shit…” Talyah says turning to face Torben.
“Talyah?” the Imperial calls out, wondering what was going on.
“Yeah…He is…he’s standing right here…” She states moving back away from the door as Torben steps closer holding his hand out.
“Look, I’m not going to hurt anyone. Please let me explain.” Torben replies softly.
Backing away from Torben, Talyah presses her back to the wall, “Sure you won’t. You just had me hanging by my hands in a freezing shack, surrounded by the flayed bodies of Altmer, like some kind of bloody animal. I am sure you mean no harm to anyone! You psychotic cannibal asshole!”
Bear looks at the Imperial, then turning his attention to the door narrowing his eyes, he moves the Imperial out of the way with his hand, “Move!” Bear ordered angrily, backing up and running at the door full force, knocking it off the hinges. Looking up at Talyah with a smirk, “That’s an interesting look you got there.” He jests standing up in front of her.
Talyah rolls her eyes at Bear, “Really not the time for that. We kind of have a…” pointing to and motioning her hands up and down at Torben, “Larger issue. Don’t you think?”
Bear looks back over his shoulder at Talyah; “Right.” he says assessing the situation and sizing Torben up.
“So, you’re a cannibal huh?” the Imperial steps forward towards Torben.
Torben sighs heavily, throwing his hands in the air in frustration, “I am not a cannibal!”
Talyah steps forward, looking over Bear’s shoulder, “Yeah, sure, because you have some sort of misguided, idiotic thoughts on what is considered cannibalism. Eating ANYONE is cannibalism, you moron!” she scoffs.
“For the last time, I am not, nor have I ever been a cannibal. All I did was use Mer logic to…” Torben pauses, looking at Talyah shaking his head knowing he will never change her mind. “Never mind.” Stepping closer to them cautiously, “Look I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“You could have fooled me.” Talyah and the Imperial all say simultaneously.
“Don’t worry you won’t.” Bear growls, glaring at Torben.
“I know how it looks but, I had no choice, the Volkihar will be here soon to pick up their order, and if I do not deliver…” Torben sighs, “Bad things will happen to Skyrim.”
“You were spouting this same nonsense earlier. I don’t buy it. This is Skyrim. Bad things happening are a daily occurrence.” Talyah quips.
“I can’t argue with…” Torben stops mid-sentence noticing Bears hand glowing red, “What the…” Torben says being cut off as he felt something sharp piercing his shoulder. Staggering back from the impact from what had pierced his shoulder. He glances up seeing Bear hurling towards him through the air, knocking him back, off his feet, causing them to tumble down the stairs together.
Talyah and the Imperial watch as Bear and Torben fall down the stairs. “What the bloody hell was that?” Talyah asks.
Shaking his head trying to make sense of what they just saw, “I…I don’t know.” Pausing a moment, “Did it look like he shot a chain at Torben?” the Imperial asks.
“That looked like a chain. That was definitely a chain…I think…” Talyah says baffled as she hears Bear shouting from the bottom of the stairs.
Rushing down the stairs, stopping midway down the stairs as they see Bear sitting on Torben’s chest, pinning his arms down with his knees, glaring down at him as Bear proceeds to savagely punch Torben repeatedly. “You inflict pain on my friends and expect me to believe you mean no harm!?” Bear shouts continuing to batter Torben.
Lying there, taking the beating, “You’re right…I deserve this.” Torben says in-between punches connecting with his face.
Watching Bear land a few solid hits, “You can stop now. He has had enough.” The Imperial says pulling Bear off of Torben.
A look of confusion masks Talyah’s face, “Don’t stop! That bastard wanted to eat me or sell me to gods knows who!” Talyah shrieks.
Turning back looking at Talyah, “Look at him.” Pointing to Torben, “Any more and he will be dead.” The Imperial says imploring sympathy from Talyah.
“Fine, have it your way, but it would serve him right.” Talyah turns away from them folding her arms and sulking.
Sitting up against the wall, coughing, “She is right, lad. You would be justified in killing me.” Torben says spitting out some blood.
Turning around quickly, stepping close to Torben, pointing her finger in his face, “If I were you I would keep my big fat mouth shut. I don’t need validation from the likes of you!” Talyah says, glaring at Torben.
Walking over to Talyah and slowly removing her finger from Torben’s face, “Personally I think an explanation is in order.” The Imperial says guiding Talyah away from Torben.
“An explanation? What is there to explain? The way he treated Talyah, he is lucky I didn’t cave in his damn skull.” Bear states still furious.
“Really? An explanation? What is there to explain? I was hung like a damn cow to be slaughtered!” Talyah screams at the Imperial.
“Okay, okay. Look, I understand, really I do. I just think we should hear him out.” The Imperial replies trying to de-escalate the situation.
Bewilderment covers Talyah’s face, her mouth slightly agape as she looks at the Imperial, “Hear him out? This man was either going to EAT me or SELL me! And you want to hear him out? Are you completely daft?” she yells, dumbfounded by the Imperial’s words. Glancing at Torben briefly, then looking into the Imperials eyes and narrowing hers, “Damned, bloody idiot.” She mumbles walking away from the Imperial and Torben.
“Hear him out?! What makes you think we can trust anything he says?” Bear questions, glaring at Torben.
Sighing heavily, looking at Talyah and Bear, “Look, I am not saying what he did was anything less than horrible. But my gut is telling me there is more going on here than we know. More violence will not yield us any more information.” The Imperial turns, kneeling in front of Torben looking back at Talyah and Bear, “Besides, we spent years staring at the face of pure evil. Does he seem remotely the same as those two bastards to you?”
Rolling her eyes after looking at Torben for a moment, “Tch! I can’t believe I am going to say this but, fine… Let’s hear him out…I guess…” Talyah says turning her back to Torben and the Imperial, dissatisfied and frustrated with the thought that the Imperial might be right.
Bear growls leaning against the wall glaring at Torben. “Fine…”
The Imperial looks at Torben, “Well, what do you have to say?”
Clearing his throat and glancing over at Talyah, “Thank you little elf… I make no excuses for what I did to you. It was…horrible, to say the least, and I am completely ashamed. I am sorry.” Lowering his eyes from Talyah, “When I realized how low I had sunk I attempted to release you. That is when you choked me out.” Torben said looking down remorsefully.
Looking over her shoulder at Torben, “A likely story….and don’t call me that.” Talyah scoffs.
“I don’t expect you to believe me, but it is true, and I am sorry for my actions.” Torben looks up to the Imperial, “I…I just couldn’t think of what else to do. I panicked.”
The Imperial’s brow furrows, “What do you mean you panicked?”
“I have lived here, alone, for a very…very long time. I was originally sent here by The Vigil of Stendarr, to keep a close eye on the Volkihar. For a time, the Vigil would check in on me. Then about a year after being stationed here they stopped. It wasn’t long before I received a missive.” Torben reaches into his coat pulling out an old piece of paper, handing it to the Imperial. “Basically they told me I was on my own and it was my job to be the first line of defense against the Volkihar. I had to prevent them from invading Skyrim.”
“Invading Skyrim? You make it sound like an army is just going to appear from nowhere. You expect us to believe there is some invisible threat that only you are going to prevent? Please, that is absurd.” Talyah mocks.
The Imperial stands in front of Torben reading the letter, “No, it’s not, it’s all right here.” He holds the letter out to Talyah. “The Vigil of Stendarr gave him orders to prevent the Volkihar from invading.” The Imperial looks at Torben handing the letter to Talyah.
Struggling to sit up a bit more, “They are not an invisible threat I assure you.” Torben says rubbing his jaw.
Reading the letter than looking at Torben, “This still doesn’t explain who these Volkihar are or why you had me strung up like a damn cow.” Talyah states.
Lowering his head, “The Volkihar are an ancient clan of vampires, some say the first vampires. The Vigil didn’t exactly tell me how to stop the invasion.” Looking up at the Imperial, “Not long after I received that missive, I was met by a Volkihar emissary. Upon one glance of that monster I knew I was no match for him, I thought I was dead on the spot. I was expecting death, what I received was an offer.” Torben looks at Talyah, “The Emissary spared my life and in return, I would provide food for the Volkihar. He claimed he made the same bargain with other Vigils of Stendarr and the last meeting they had they referred him to me, claiming I would be the one to fulfill their deal.” Sighing Torben lowers his eyes from Talyah, “Every month he would come and pick up one live body, 2 barrels of blood and a bag full of…parts.”
Talyah’s eyes widen, “You were going to feed me to VAMPIRES!?” she exclaims in disbelief. “Well, isn’t that just bloody magnificent. I am so very glad we let him explain things.” she looks at the Imperial slamming the letter into his chest, “Did you hear that? I was supposed to be VAMPIRE food!” Looking at Torben clearly agitated, “And tell us, this is supposed to what? Make things all better? Make us forgive you?”
“Have you heard enough yet? He has explained and nothing he said justifies his actions.” Bear grumbles looking at the Imperial.
“Calm down, I am sure there is more.” Turning to look at Torben, “Continue, but for your sake, I would make it quick.” The Imperial says calmly.
Looking up at Talyah, “No, little elf, I expect no forgiveness for what I did to you. I know better than that.” Slowly making it to his feet Torben looks at the Imperial, “I am telling you this because I think I have a plan to stop them, I hope.”
Talyah glowers at Torben, narrowing her eyes, “Do not call me that.” She mumbles scowling at Torben.
Arching an eyebrow and stepping closer to Torben, “You hope? You do not sound too confident. What is your plan?” Bear begrudgingly inquires.
“Well, I have been planning something for a while now. I think now is as good a time as any to go through with my plan. I have been collecting silver for the last two years and grinding it up into a fine dust. I plan to saturate the limbs and blood barrels I am going to give them with the silver dust. My hope is that the silver will be ingested by them it will poison them to a point of death. I am hopeful this will dwindle their numbers and slow if not stop the invasion.” Torben explains.
Nodding Bear looks at Torben, “That… could work; I don’t think it will do anything but slow down the higher vampires but the lesser ones will surely perish.”
Sighing heavily, “As much as I REALLY hate to say this…That is… kind of brilliant.” Talyah says reluctantly, looking at Torben.
Torben smiles at Talyah, “Thank you…”
“Don’t let it go to your head. This doesn’t mean I forgive you.” She states. “So, I am assuming you will need something from us then?” Talyah asks crossing her arms.
“Wait, if you have had this plan for a while, why have you never gone through with it before now?” The Imperial questions.
Torben nods, “I know you don’t. And yes I will need something from you all. I have a small campsite not far from here up the mountain. It isn’t much but it is a safe place you can rest. All I am asking you to do is to wait there for me. Give me one day, if I don’t show up, I am more than likely dead, and I will need you all to deliver notice of my failure to the Vigil of Stendarr. I am sure they will know what to do after that.”
Bear looks at Talyah and the Imperial, sighing, “I think we can manage that.” Looking back at Torben, holding out his hand to him. “Sorry about…” motioning to Torben’s face with his hand, “Well, you know.”
Chuckling, “Not to worry lad, I had it coming.” A toothy smile showing through Torben’s bushy beard. “Give me some time to prepare everything I need for my plan and I will give you a map and the location of my campsite. Make yourselves comfortable while you wait, I will try to hurry. There is plenty of stew on the hearth as well, help yourselves.” Heading for the cabin door Torben turns with a smile, “I think I might have some furs, boots, and other clothes you can use in the storage closets upstairs, first door on the left. I am sure you will find something warm that will fit.” Torben says before making his way to the front door of the cabin.
“Okay… So, are we just going to ignore my question completely then?” Looking around at everyone, “Yeah? Yeah…great.” the Imperial sighs flopping down in a chair frustrated. “I thought it was a valid question. It was a valid question, good job. Thank you for noticing. Always, you have good insight and are a valuable friend. Awe, that is very kind of you.” He says holding a conversation with himself under his breath.
Talyah grumbles, “So, we are all buddy-buddy now?” looking down at the linen cloth covering her body. Her cheeks turn a slight shade of red. Discretely approaching Torben, she grabs his arm, stopping him from leaving. Talyah reaches up, pulling him down to her eye level by his beard, “Where did you put my clothes?” she asks sternly glaring into his eyes.
Wincing from having his beard pulled down forcibly, Torben looks into Talyah’s eyes, a twinge of fear overcomes him, “Oh, um…I umm…” swallowing hard, “T-they are upstairs first room on the right, in the locker at the back of the room.” Torben stutters slightly.
Talyah smiles at Torben, her demeanor changing instantly, “Good.” She lightly slaps Torben’s cheek, “Thank you.” She says dismissing him as she starts to head upstairs. Turning, narrowing her eyes at Torben, “Oh, and if any of my stuff is missing, you won’t have to worry about the Volkihar.” She threatens before smiling and rushing up the stairs trying not to draw attention to her.
Stumbling backward out of the cabin, Torben stands motionless for a moment in the snow, “And I thought that Volkihar emissary was scary.” He comments to himself before going to the shack to prepare everything to enact his plan.
Bear looks at the Imperial as they walk up the stairs to the find some clothes, “So, do you think we can trust him?” Bear asked calmly.
Looking at Bear, thinking a moment as they reached the top of the stairs, “I believe his story.” The Imperial answers.
“I do as well, but I asked if we can trust him. After what he did to Talyah, and not to mention drugging us, do you trust him?” Bear questions, stopping at the top of the steps as the Imperial walks in front of him a few feet.
Turning, looking at Bear, the Imperial nods, “Regardless of what he did, I do think we can trust him.” He says continuing down the hall to the storage closet and opening the closet rummaging through everything looking for some warm clothes to wear.
Standing at the top of the stairs, Bear sighs heavily, “I hope you’re right…If not I will have to kill him.” He says to himself quietly before making his way to the closet to look for clothes.