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Ash Covered Hearts

ProphetZX
ProphetZX
Soul Shriven
Hey, so I'm completely new to Elder Scrolls Online and the forums. Within hours on playing on my Imperial Templar, I had the strongest urge to write a story that had just appeared on the top of my head. Its not the best, nor lore accurate, but I really enjoyed writing it. I want to know what you guys think. Enjoy!

Ash Covered Hearts
By ProphetZX
A volcano thunders in anger loudly to the west as a figure clad in iron and leather of silver and crimson limps weakly through the devastated battle field, these are his last moments and all he can think about is a foreign maiden and a promise he had made. Holding his side where an arrow has planted itself there, while favoring his left leg as he had taken a strong blow to his right by an iron maul. The ash filled winds blows his hood from his head revealing the harsh burn scars on the left side of his head. His last steps bring him outside the death ridden fields. At one time this battle hardened Templar had been a simple farm boy, until the day dark forces had taken everything precious from him. With all he could regret not setting right, saving the people who needed him most, defeating that Gods damned necromancer, or trying to prevent an invasion from Oblivion itself.

The one thing he sheds many tears for is failing to keep his promise to her as he collapses with his amulet of Mara he had been clutching in his hand falling from his grip in front of him. “A--Ashes…please, forgive me…” he mutters weakly as his sight fades and he falls into the arms of unconsciousness. Desperately clinging to what little life force he has remaining, within this void he sees images of the one he longs to see the most.


XXXXX


“See, this is why I don’t have anything to do with the Gods. Who can appreciate their ‘benevolence’ when a person can’t even get something edible to eat?!’ A young Imperial man whines as he sits next to a fiery lava river while devouring stale bread and chasing it with ruined Sujamma with his small tent nearby blanketed by the darkness of night. “I don’t know what is worse, that I’m going to camp near an active volcano or that I could have a freshly sharpened blade slipped into my ribs by a nearby Dagger while I sleep. Isn’t this just swell? BAH!” he exclaims as he finishes the last bits of food he has in his bag. “Well, guess I need to get back to Davon’s Watch tomorrow. Which means an early rise. Feh” He brings his hood down, the severe burn scars on the left side of his face being illuminated by the lavas sweltering glow. He begins to rise from his sitting position, stretching his limbs outward with a very audible yawn. “Man, I hope that ghost I put to rest today doesn’t haunt my dreams tonight.” Remembering his recent battle with a Chimer general’s ghost from earlier in the day. He crawls onto his sleeping mat within the tent happy to finally be able to get some rest.

There is no indication on how much time has passed as his capable ears pick up slow footsteps nearby, rousing him from his long awaited slumber. “Of. Course.” He quietly mumbles picking up his bow, plaining to ambush his stalker with an enchanted fire arrow. He silently counts to three as he bounds from his enclosure with arrow nocked aiming at his intended target. Though the ash storm clouds his vision he is able to make out a wounded figure, of a feminine nature. “Stop right there if you don’t want an arrowhead sticking out the back of your skull!” he yells out, the figure stopping in its tracks. “Plea…ease don’t! I need…medical…attention! Please!!” a raspy voice belonging to an Argonian woman calls back as the figure staggers forward and unto the ground.

Not one to trust strangers the man steadily moves forward, planning to put this pathetic fem lizard out of her misery. Coming up to her collapsed form, he uses his foot to push her onto her back, aiming at the center of her forehead. As he is about to launch the arrow to its destination, he feels a weak dainty hand clutch his ankle. “Please, don’t. I have had everything taken from me, my parents, my friends, anything I have ever cared about is gone. Please Imperial, don’t take my life from me as well. Don’t take the only thing I have left, please.” She pleads in between wet sobs.

The man remembers everything that led up to this moment, and relieves the stress from his bow. Placing the arrow back into its quiver and the bow on his back, he crouches next to his person similar to him and lifts her up into his arms with her arm clutching his back and her spiny head nestling into his neck. He does not notice the thankful features on her face as she drifts into sleep, thanking the Gods for her salvation by this man.

He gently places her onto his sleeping mat going over her blood stained form, noticing she had neither stab wounds nor any visible wounds at all. “She must have been running for a long time without rest or nourishment to be in this state. Well, I guess I am going to need to fetch some food and water for when she wakes. Might as well grab me some too.” He grabs a spear along with his most favored sword and heads east to a river he had spotted earlier in the hopes of catching some fish and obtaining drinking water. Looking back towards his tent sincerely worried about the sleeping form inside, he says a prayer to Mara “Please Goddess of love, give her heart what it needs the most…” before heading to acquire the sustenance they need.

By the way the Sun is positioned in the sky, it is early noon and the Templar is making way back towards his camp site hoping to find a still breathing Argonian maiden, trying to ignore the worry in his heart out of pride. ‘I can’t believe that I did not stay with her for at least an hour to make sure she would be fine, what kind of a man am I to leave an injured woman alone for this long on her own AND unconscious!’ he shakes the thought from his head snorting his nose in the process. “If she survived she would only weigh me down, if she is asleep still I could just so easily slip a blade between he….” He cuts himself off as he finally nears his tent, hearing womanly sobbing coming from within. He places his catches down along with the jugs of magically purified river water, and slowly nears the tent.

“Miss it is me, the uh-- Imperial that saved you last n—“. He is cut off by a raspy shriek “Stay away from me!! Just go away!” taking note of her dehydration he grabs a jug of the water he gathered and approaches the tent, sitting it at the entrance before heading back to the fish to cook it over the lava. “Is that water?!” before he can reply to her, he hears the distinct sound of water being spilled as he hears her violently snatch up the jug. While he listens to the ravenous sounds of gulping from behind him, he decides to make an offer “How do you like your fish? If you want it seasoned, then tough luck. I made sure to get the bare essentials to get you back on your feet.

Also, good to know that the rest you got restored your strength to snatch that jug up the way you did.” The loud gulping finally ceases with the sound of an empty container smacking against the rock beneath them. “Raw, I like my fish raw.” Grabbing a bag filled with 5 fish, he hurls it backwards to the tent. “Then eat up, after that you can rest another three hours. Then you’re going to get on your way and out of my life.” The Imperial letting venom drip from the last words.

“You’re going to allow me to wander by myself? But, I’m not warrior! I can’t fight, what if I run into a really nasty critter or the Covenant?!” the maiden protests in fear. “Not my problem, Davon’s Watch is near enough to get there on your own. I’ll give you some gold, you’ll be fine.” He was once again met with the sound of sobbing, rolling his eyes he takes a bite of the fish he just burnt to a crisp in the lava chasing his ‘savory’ meal with a much appreciated gulp of water. “It isn’t Sujamma, but at least it’s cold. Those mild frost enchantments aren’t too bad.”

Still hearing the sound of sobbing coming from behind, he turns to look into the dimly lit tent “So what’s your name anyw—“ his words stop in their tracks as his green eyes make contact with the bluest eyes he has even been graced by. “I-I’m Covered-In-Ashes” the Argonian stammers out, “A dip in the river will fix that right up miss.” He stupidly responds. “No! I am Covered-In-Ashes.” She repeats with her sobbing being replaced by sudden annoyance in her words, “Uh…yeah, I got that. As I said there is a river near…OH, if you need privacy for that I understand. I forgot that in order to bathe, you’re required to be naked. Whoops.”

With anger visible in her tone the Maiden lets out “No, you fool! My name is Covered-In-Ashes! By the Hist, how does everybody misunderstand that!?” Blushing brightly the man introduces himself “I-uh, I’m Hunter Pride. Err, my name is Hunter Pride. I also have an odd name you see. Heh heh” they make eye contact once more, before he hears her burst into laughter. “Shut up….” Hunter annoyingly mouths with his eyes clenched shut, his own temper on the rise.

After that initial meeting, Hunter and Ashes as she came to be known as between the two reached Davon’s Watch. The former planning to leave the latter hoping to be on his own once again. The first being most comfortable on their own, the second having nothing left to go home to, begged the Templar to allow her to accompany him so she need not be alone. This taking place in his room at the local Inn while he is preparing to leave.

“The Answer is no! What I do is too dangerous to keep a ranch girl with me. You’ll get yourself killed if I allowed that.” He stated bluntly as he was marking his next location on his map. “My home was burned to the ground, my family executed, I barely managed to escape. After saving me, how can you just leave me in this town with no one who knows me?! Where am I supposed to live?!” she protested in anger and disbelief at his words. Turning to look at her, her shapely form catching his attention.

He had never met an Argonian woman with such perfect…assets, along with the wide curve of her hips going up to meet the slimness of her waist with such large and per—He shakes those thoughts out of his head cursing those perversions to the hells of Oblivion, ‘What is the matter with me? I have far superior self-control than this…’ he was brought back to reality with an angry remark “Hey! My face is up here!” with that he instantly locked eyes with her own “My apologies Covered-er, I mean Miss Ashes. I have no idea what has come over me!”
However, even with that his eyes began to loom back toward her breasts. Being filled with anger from his unwanted gaze the Argonian firmly slaps him across the face knocking his hood down, and being presented with a full view of his face for the first time. What she saw made her instantly regret what she had just done. “Those--those scars! Hunter, who did this to you!?” bringing both hands up to hold his face tears forming in her eyes once again, seeing what years of war and combat had done to her friend. The anger filled scowl of Hunter being softened to a saddened gaze “You’re not the only child of two farmers to watch their home burn to the ground and their parents murdered before their very one eyes. I didn’t get these burns from fighting…the Covenant did this to me as they killed my father, and *** my mother. There is a reason I don’t travel with anyone, and it is because I can’t watch them do that to someone I care about again Ash. The very same reason why I fight them, so no one has to go through what happened to me.”

Ashes, not wanting to believe his story breaks down pulling him close and crying loudly into his chest. “Th—they did the same to my mother, and I was too much of a co—coward to try and save her before they slit her throat!” with that his arms slowly crept around her body one going to the small of her back the other placing itself on the back her violet finned head. “I’m so sorry my friend…” he stood there and held her as she let the God’s hear her cries of despair.

Several months had passed after that night, against what Hunter had previously said he still allowed Covered-In-Ashes to accompany him. He stood strong in what he had stated but he still allowed her to come, after he given basic lessons on how to hand a blade and simple fire ball and restoration spells. Like when they first met, it was night and they were setting up camp next to their fire out in the frozen wastes of Bleak Rock. Ashes being of cold blooded nature was having a hard time adjusting to this frigid weather, even next to an open fire. “By my father’s bones, why did you choose to come HERE of all places?!” she complained. “Don’t worry, once you get out of the wind and into a Horker skin sleeping bag: you’ll warm right up.” He reassures the cold Reptilian woman, however he still fills her begin to hug up to him for warmth.

He obliges by wrapping one leather covered arm around her. “This is much better, I don’t see why we just don’t bunk up. It would make staying warm much easier than being separated in this frozen Hell.” She half begged-half offered, feeling her tail wrap around his waist Hunter began to feel a little hot under the collar. Never being this close to a woman before, well it was a female humanoid reptile whose race were supposedly created from trees, but still: he was more than a little nervous.

“Come on, it’s too cold for me to rely on my own body heat in these frigid conditions.” She continued while tightening her grip on him, ‘Man she is getting a little too intimate with this huddle.’ He looked down at her face seeing her eyes closed shut trying her best to focus on warm thoughts, he noticed her jaw shaking uncontrollably as well as the fullness her lips. ‘Damn it! I’m having those thoughts again! Come on, get it together. Neither one of us need that right now, if there isn’t love in it. Then it is pointless, you know that. So stop having perverted thoughts about her! By Kynareth’s beard man, she is an Argonian! Could she even bear you a child? Would it be scaly, like me? BOTH!?’ He went to look back at her this time being met with the amazing sapphire’s that were her eyes looking longingly back into his emeralds. Without hesitation nor thought he let his feelings out “You’re so beautiful Ashes…”

This caught the young Argonian off guard, disbelief and shock riddled her face “Wha—what did you just say?” sounding astonished as she felt his arms adjust bringing them into a far more intimate embrace than before. Her chest tightly pressed against his, the pounding of their hearts beating against one another. One more soulful look into the others eyes was all it took for their lips to meet, starting out slow and building into a ravenous show of emotion. By the time leather, cloth, and iron began being stripped from bodies they had retreated into a closed tent. A sudden blizzard that just ‘happened’ to pick up, the roaring winds concealing their howls of pleasure from a nearby group of Daggers.
This is the night Mara would allow two war exhausted individuals to find the love and peace they had so desperately yearned for. Even if it only would last for one night full of love making.

Several weeks have passed since that cold night in Bleak Rock, and this is where we get to the beginning of the day our story started, by the end of it one story will end, and a new one will begin. All because of the death of one man.

“Please Hunter, don’t go into this battle! This isn’t a fight with one or two Daggers, this is a large scale attack from the Covenant! Thousands of the Pact will fall today! You have already given this Faction’s leaders everything!” she desperately pleads with her love “Not everything, not yet…” he coldly states. Hunter slowly turns to look at her, she has gained a noticeable amount of weight. He doesn’t mention it, assuming she had been coping with the arrival of this all-out assault on Davon’s Watch by eating. “I’m sorry Ash, I love you so much. However, I have to do this for me, you, and everyone effected by the Covenant’s actions. I can’t let them take Davon’s Watch!” He pulls her in for a passionate kiss before turning towards the door. He opens it “Hunter, the love of my life. Please promise you’ll come back to us alive.” He turns to question her before hearing the Horn of War, he simply looks to her and boldly states “I’ll come back to you, I promise!” before heading out to greet the battle. As he walked towards the sounds of battle her last words ring through his head ‘”Us”, could she be? No, that must be impossible…shouldn’t it?’

The moments before the start of this story…

He fought well to get this far, using his abilities and aid from fallen comrades to allow him and a single Dragon Knight to get to the General leading the storm. Behind them was thousands of dying or already dead warriors, Ebon Heart Pact and Daggerfall Covenant alike. There was still sounds of battle in the distance, but this is where Hunter planned to end the bloodshed. He was going to end this sadistic Red Guard’s life, and bring peace to Davon’s Watch. He just had to take out the archer and bodyguard that protected the wretched weakling.
“So very valiant of you to fight this far into my nest, but you see. You have already failed, you signed your certificate of death the moment you stepped on my battle field.” The General mocked. Hunter stared him down as if he was burning holes through his soul, he was going to mock the rotten *** had he not noticed the archer nock an arrow, her aim set upon the Dragon Knight. Reacting without thought Hunter knocks his comrade out of the way taking the arrow into his side. Sending devastating pain through his body as he hurls an Aedra javelin through her skull, dropping her to the ground. Staining it with her life blood. As he checks to make sure his shield brother was unharmed he witnesses the brutish body guard finishing the process of crushing his comrade’s skull with an iron maul.

Furious, Hunter tried to use magic to set the Dagger scum on fire, only to be charged and have his right leg bludgeoned. Screaming out in agony, he drew his sword and thrust it into his opponent’s throat and out the top of his head. Coming to face the General once more, coming close to death twice before that. “Your dogs are dead, you coward. So guess who is next on the list?!” Hunter exclaimed, blood spilling from his mouth. The wind picking up, blowing the hood from his head. Revealing a familiar face to the Covenant General.

“You…I remember you. Yes, you’re were the young man whose left side we set aflame while I took your mother on the hot earth of your burning home. Haven’t you become the capable Templar? Too bad it has to end with me killing you!” with this the general shot out a lightning bolt that hit the Imperial directly in the chest. Being knocked to his knees screaming out in the worse pain he had ever experienced, he was on the brink of death.

“Which is kind of funny, I heard you shacked up with an Argonian *** whose mother experienced my loving embrace the same. That was interesting to hear. I think when I am done with you. I’m going to pay your reptilian *** a visit!”

As those words ring through Hunter’s head, he didn’t flinch, didn’t consider his next move should this fail, all he could do was act. He erupted to his feet and immediately casted a spell the fallen Dragon Knight had taught him which Hunter modified with an ironic twist. A flaming chain launched its self from the Templar’s left hand piercing the General through his chest, with a robust yank and the swing of a sword. The connection that attached the Covenant leaders head to his body was severed, his visage rolling down the hill into a pool of fresh magma. His lifeless body crumpling to the ground with spurts of blood from his neck, the modified dragon chain setting the corpse aflame.

With this, his and Ashes families were avenged. Along with countless others.

But how does this story end? Well, with a happy ending of course. Although, I personally hate happy endings…feh!

After he had collapsed, Hunter was quickly rushed to the mages guild. With their best in restoration magic at his bedside, He awoke on the eighth day after the battle. To a once again sobbing Argonian woman by his side. Thanking pretty much every God she could muster from her lips for his survival. The one Hunter thanked however, was Mara. For he remembered the prayer he sent to the Goddess of Love before this whole journey had started. Mara had given the Argonian the thing she needed most, and in return she gave the Templar a reason to live.

“I…love…you…Ash” The Imperial hero worded his undying affections before picking up his Amulet of Mara from his bedside table and weakly stumbling to his knees on the ground in front of his love presenting her the amulet. The reptilian woman’s hand going to cover her mouth in shock “Covered-In-Ashes, you’re the only reason I have fought so hard to stay alive. Will you please be my wife? My soul mate?” she cried damn near a thousand yes’s before she regained her focus on what it was she wanted to show him.

She presented him a flask with a solution contained inside of it, a potion. “Darling, please drink this. I…need to show you something wonderful. A testament to our union, to our love.” Hunter grasping the flask in his hand, pops the cork. Smelling the concoction he notices is a detect life remedy. Taking a swig, he feels his head begin to swim as his sight and hearing strengthen to super human levels. Looking into his wife’s face he sees the pulsating glow coming off of her, it being in rhythm with her heart. Smiling, he suddenly picks up on a second heart beat. Looking into her belly, he sees it. The tiniest most precious of heartbeats, beating from within her womb. Not an egg, but a living child early on in the stages of production.

“We’re going to have a family!” the maiden cries out in happiness

7 years later…

Hunter and Covered-In-Ashes have settled down on their own farmland. Their first born daughter tending the crops and agitating the livestock. Fully Argonian in appearance but not hatched from an egg, their second born suckling from her mother. They just watch her appreciating all it took to bring this beautiful miracle of Mara into this majestic world. Their sweet Ash-Covered-Hearts.

The End









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