About the Skyrim Permadeath Chronicles
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The ruckus drew Lindia Vertumi from the warm comfort of the inn’s bed. The screams and shouts led her to grab her bow as she stepped into the chill night. Yet, as she ran toward the source of the commotion, Lindia paused ever so slightly to wonder why. Why did she care if the unwashed rabble fought among themselves? What was it to her if they should bleed and die here, this night?
The sound of combat echoed through the fog-thickened trees. Steel rang sharply. Cries rent the night. She imagined a legion of Imperials engaged in melee with the rebellious Stormcloaks. They were all as to insects scrambling around a crumb – insignificant and hardly worth her notice. And yet, did she not enjoy the satisfying crunch under her boot?
Lanterns flared to life around her as Riverwood came awake. She plunged heedlessly on, following the trail out of town. The combatants – dark, shadowy figures – battled beside the sheer face of a mountain. They were but three or four, not the great confrontation she had hoped for. Lindia stopped at the edge of the treeline, just inside the shadows. A lone Khajiit stood against two others – the shop owner and a single town guard. It was not going well for the locals – the shop owner’s sister lay in a pool of her own blood, and the shop owner himself had fallen to hands and knees before the Khajiit. He weakly lifted a hand to ward off what would be the killing blow.
It never fell. In one smooth motion, Lindia snatched an arrow, drew back the string, and fired. Her aim was true, as ever, catching the Khajiit in the back. He spun in a slow circle, looking puzzled. Her second arrow dropped him to the ground.
Footfalls crashed heavily in the underbrush as townspeople rushed toward the noise. Lindia slipped quietly away. It was bad enough that she’d saved one of the dirty Nords. It would be worse if someone saw her at the doing. She retired to her bed.
Eight Months Earlier
Lindia is shackled to the wall, hand and foot. Clothes are a distant memory. The Chief Thalmor Disciplinarian paces while he talks. He says the blame for her predicament falls to the Empire of Tamriel. That the years Lindia spent in the capital has corrupted her. He feeds her lies, but if she accepts them the torments cease for a while. Sometimes she prefers the pain.
When they let her sleep, she dreams of her sweet Reguto.
Four Months Earlier
She spends hours walking the mile-long circuit around the windowless building. Her limbs are thinner and she tires easily. She speaks softly, saying the words of the devotional aloud, over and over again. Even though she seems to be alone. She does not want to give them cause to send her back in there.
The wind feels cool on her bald head. It’s a nice sensation; sometimes it sends a pleasant chill down her spine. They took her hair so that she would remember her sin every time she looked in the mirror. For an agent of the Aldmeri Dominion, there is no room for self, only service. Any ambition to further oneself must ultimately serve the Dominion, otherwise it is as unto blasphemy.
She misses her hair. Reguto loved to twist his forefinger around her curls and pull her in for a kiss. Lost to memory, she falters over the words of devotion. Lindia panics and looks around. The dark building looms large, seeming to watch her. She forces memories of Reguto aside and concentrates on the devotional.
One Month Earlier
They bring Reguto into the room where Lindia waits. He smiles uncertainly when he sees her and starts to speak.
She lunges. The dagger slices neatly through his throat, a brief tug and then out the other side. His blood splashes her hands and face. It feels warm.
Reguto opens and closes his mouth stupidly, making gurgling noises. His eyes are huge and his hands are red with blood. He takes a long time to die.
Sometimes, when she lets her mind wander, Lindia wonders what he was going to say.
Two Weeks Earlier
Agents of the Aldmeri Dominion are massing in Skyrim to weaken the crumbling Tamriel Empire. If the Thalmor are not yet ready to openly oppose the Tamriel Empire, then they will do so by subterfuge and sabotage. They will fuel the Stormcloak rebellion threatening to boil over and consume Skyrim whole.
Lindia boards a ship bound for the frozen north. Her heart burns with hatred for the Imperials, they who sullied her honor. She will redeem herself or die at the attempt.
She runs a hand over her stubbly head. She has grown accustomed to the look and no longer thinks about when her hair was long.
One Week Earlier
Elenwen, the Thalmor Emissary to Skyrim, receives Lindia with chill courtesy. Over the course of several days, Lindia is briefed on the political climate in Skyrim and prepped for her a mission. She is to infiltrate the Stormcloaks and ensure they are victorious in the coming rebellion. And then, as Ulfric Stormcloak assumes the mantle as leader of Skyrim, she will assassinate him.
Lindia will be an individual cell, one of many operating independently in Skyrim. She can’t look to Elenwn or the Thalmor Embassy for help should things go sour – Elenwen will deny knowing her. Lindia is on her own.
She is given supplies to see her as far as Riverwood and sent on her way.
One Day Earlier
Lindia arrives in Riverwood low on supplies. Night is nigh, so she decides to check into the inn before searching out her contact, a Nord named Ralof who can place her close to Ulfric.
As she lays down to sleep, she imagines all the Imperial Legionnaires she will kill.