Lord Drad is ship Captain and Heir to the merchant company sharing his name. Follow him on his adventures throughout Cyrodill, Skyrim, Morrowind, and more.
When the ship pulled into the harbor, Lord Drad came out of the cabin, and made his way to the deck. His first command was to lower sails, and make ready to dock. All of the crew began carrying out his orders with a haste.
Lord Drad was a Nord, from Skyrim, and he had all the fine qualities of such a person. His hair was long, and flowing, with blond and black streaks. His eyes pierced with a gray gaze. His body was firm, and stalky, yet tall and fair. His face was strong, with a built cheek line, and stern jaw.
His ship was called 'Winterwriter'. It was a large frigate vessel, which was used in his business of transporting goods to and from Solstheim Isle. It was a massive ship, compared to most Nord vessels, with five stories, and over a hundred feet long. It had three sails, and a row of oars. Its bottom most deck was the storage hold, and the second to the bottom was the rowing deck. The third deck down was the crew's quarters, and the fourth was the galley, and interactive area. The top deck was open, with a large cabin atop it, as the Captain's quarters.
Lord Drad spent most of his time in his cabin writing of his adventures and travels. He kept an avid Captain's Log, marking all his locations and trades precisely. He also took interest in Magic, which he practiced with awe. He kept most spell manuals that he could find in his personal library on board the ship, studying them with fervor
Lord Drad came from a family of well off merchants from Trasklin, on Solstheim. He was born to Lady Arial Trile, and Lord Hrothmund Drad, as Lord Nikolai Drad. He was seventeen when he began to sail with his father, to and from Skyrim and Solstheim, and he was twenty-two when he gained Command of the 'Winterwriter'.
The family's Lordship came from Emperor Julyan Seros of Tamriel, when Neven Drad served as His personal guard. His line was then granted lands in Solstheim, Skyrim, and Cyrodiil. In Cyrodiil, the Lords were granted lands near Anvil, where Lord Nikolai's cousin, Drotho, made his base; in Skyrim, they were granted lands in Winterhold, where Lord Nikolai Drad was based out of; and on the island of Solstheim, they were granted lands in Transklin, to the very north, where his father was now based out of, maintaining the Drad Merchant Co. from a distance, doing only the paperwork and invoices needed. Forevermore, were the Drad's to be Lords of those lands.
Lord Nikolai Drad now had full control of the Skyrim fleet, working under his father. He was Captain of the 'Winterwriter', and was Champion of the Drad Merchant company. Now at age twenty-four, he had achieved the highest standard he possibly could within the Drad Merchant Co. until he took over his father's position
Lord Drad told the crew to begin unloading their cargo, once docked at the port of New Rock. They were delivering much needed equipment and food to the workers of the settlement there, which were mostly miners and Soldiers in the Imperial Legion. He stayed aboard the ship, cataloging all that passed from his ship's hold. His hand scribbled about the parchment as his crew unloaded everything.
The Captain of the Fort made his way to the ship, after an hour or so of the ordeal, and stood at the docks. 'Captain Drad....' He said in a strong Imperial accent. 'I have word from Lord Hrothmund Drad, that is urgent. It was sent here last night by way of long ship'
'Hail!' Lord Drad said. 'Come aboard, and we shall discuss it.'
The Captain made his way to the deck, from the plank. He was accepted into the offices of Lord Drad's cabin. He had a seat at the comfortable chair in front of Lord Drad's desk.
'Please...you have news from my father?'
'I was told of an urgent delivery that you were to make. I know not the details, for they are concealed in this envelope.' The Captain set a leather envelope down on the Lord's desk. 'The messenger whom brought this to us said that your father was in need of assistance, and you were the only one whom could help in this matter. We were told not to look upon it, so as you can see by the unbroken seal, we have kept our part in this.'
Lord Drad looked to the envelope, and sure enough, his fathers seal was unbroken. 'Thank you, Commander.'
The Captain looked taken aback at this title. But before he could say anything to it, Lord Drad spoke. 'Commander......when a Captain is aboard the ship of another Captain, in order not to confuse rank, the title Commander is used for the guest.' Explaining it to him.
'I see.' He got out of the chair, and made his way to the door. 'If there is anything I can do for you, let me know. You and your crew have delivered our goods here more times than we can count, and we have always been satisfied with your service....never one broken jar of wine, nor one damaged crate of foods.'
'Then the pleasure of thine name, Commander, if you will?'
'Doshin, Hugo Doshin of Bruma, Cyrodiil.' He replied, then pounded his chest in salute to the Captain. 'Lord Drad'
He left the cabin, and Lord Drad began to open the letter. He broke the seal, and found that his father's script was written upon the customary bright blue parchment of the Drad Merchant Co.
I have an urgent delivery you must make for the Company. There is a shipment of armor waiting at the Imperial Legion Base in Ebonhart, in the South of Morrowind. It needs to be taken to Solitude, Skyrim as quickly as you can muster your ship to go. I would have another ship to do the job, but currently, they are all to the West, transporting the damned Blackwood Company Prisoners for the Emperor. The fee for this service, since it is so urgent, will be 6'000 septims. Make sure you get the money before you make the trip, for I think last time we dealt with those people, we were shorted by 2´000 septims.
Lord Hrothmund Drad.
He sat the letter down upon his desk and walked to the cabin door. His crew was almost done with the unloading, but he knew that time was needed now. He took off his vest and hat, then went to work beside his crew members, unloading the crates from the hold. He was not afraid of labor at all, when it was called for.
They were paid 1'000 septims for the delivery. Lord Drad counted the coins by weighing them, then ordered his crew to restock what they could of food and supplies in an hours time. Lord Drad then went to the Captain's of the Fort Quarters.
'Captain Doshin, I have been sent to Ebonhart. Though I cannot give details of this, I can maybe be of some more use to you. We will be coming back this way in a weeks time....is there anything that you need from that region?' Lord Drad asked.
'Not right off hand, no.' Captain Doshin said, setting down the delivery invoice. 'But I do wish to ask about this new wine you brought. We ordered Cyrodiil 755 vintage, but the wine you have here on the invoice says 900 vintage.'
'It is 755 vintage that you are getting, be not fooled. But when my father saw you were making such a large order, he marked it as 900, so as to make the fee for you here more bearable..it is one of our ways of keeping our prices as low as we can.' Lord Drad explained. 'I assure you, the wine is just as you ordered, just packaged under a different year, to avoid the extra fees that the company would have to pay.'
'You mean avoiding taxes?' The Captain asked, with a small smirk upon his face.
'Avoiding extra fees, Captain.' Lord Drad corrected, making sure the Captain knew to keep quiet.
'Hell, I don't care, so long as the wine is good.' He said. 'Hell, if your taxes are going to my salary, and I am still getting five septims a week, then they can go plug themselves....I have no love for them, so do as you please, Lord Drad.'
Lord Drad nodded his head in salute, then walked back to his ship, which was now full of food and water supplies. He walked up the plank and manned the Captains nest, which was just at the wheel. Drad gave the order to pull out from the dock, and make whey
The ship's crew began to untie the ship and row out of port, and Lord Drad went into the Captain's cabin, to log the next journey they were to embark on. He began with the details of why, then the routs they were to be taking. His script filled the log's parchment quickly with a pretty cursive writing.
They were half way to Ebonhart, when Lord Drad decided that they could make an extra septim by stopping off in Gnaar Mok, and loading the ship with supplies to be taken to Ebonhart. He knew of the order, but had at first denied it, seeing as how far out of the way it was. But now, since he was going there anyway, he decided to make the extra stop, and pick up a shipment of kuama eggs, and deliver them to Ebonhart.
They pulled into port, and docked the ship. Lord Drad disembarked 'Winterwriter' and made his way to the town center. He walked into the House Hlaalu center, and spoke with the Lord of the town. He knew that the shipment was still needed, for he was the only ship that could make the order, and he declined at first.
'Lord Andilo, I am Lord Drad, of the Drad Merchant Co.' Began Lord Drad. 'I can now make that order of kuama eggs to Ebonhart, for our routs have changed.'
Lord Andilo smiled, and bowed his head. 'Ah, great.' He said. 'House Hlaalu indeed needs the trade, and could well use this opportunity. The crates are still at the docks, in the warehouse. Feel free to take them when you see fit. We don't have many services here, and our resources are dried up at the moment, but you may make use of our local goods shop if you need it.'
'I thank you.' Lord Drad said. 'However, we have a policy that we get paid before the shipment goes out, so we will need the Drakes upfront. I am sure you have done business with us before, so you know it is not going to be a defaulted order.'
'Yes, yes of course.' Lord Andilo said. 'What is the price of this?'
'I am figuring that the crates are around 100 pounds each, and that each one will take up around 5 cubic feet of space, so I will say 50 Drakes per crate, plus the transportation fee of 500 Drakes.' Lord Drad said. 'Also, if there are more than 50 crates, we will lower the crate prices to 40 Drakes per crate.'
'Is this a set price?'
'I am the Champion of Drad Merchant Co., and I have the power to negotiate on the spot, being the head of the Skyrim sector. Since the Solstheim sector right now is so overworked, they have sent me in the stead of it, so I retain all negotiation powers as I see fit.' Lord Drad explained. 'However, the prices I have set are well beyond fair, and there is not another company, including the Imperial Trade Co. that can get this for you for a lower price.'
Lord Andilo looked taken aback at this. He was of House Hlaalu, the negotiators, and this was by far some of the best business work he had yet to see. 'We could use you on OUR staff, Lord Drad.' He said, chuckling. 'Very well, we have 100 crates, and they are, yes, around a hundred pounds per crate. So that should come out to...' He did some math on his fingers. '4'500 Drakes for the whole shipment.' Lord Andilo then pulled out a piece of parchment and wrote on it. It was a check, for 4´500 Drakes. 'Cash it at Ebonhart, and you will receive it in gold there.'
'That is indeed what it would seem.' Lord Drad said. 'But now I must get to loading the cargo, for we are on a short time scale. I thank you for your business, Lord Andilo, and have a pleasant evening.'
Lord Drad walked out of the House Hlaalu center, and made his way to the docks, where his crew then began to load the crates into the cargo hold. The ship's bottom deck had a retractable ramp, which was on the side of the ship, used to take cargo directly to and from the bottom deck, making it easier to load and unload. So the process took only around 30 min, with all the crew, plus even Lord Drad, loading it up.
The ship left port at a little after sunset, making their way now to Ebonhart with a cargo of kuama eggs. Lord Drad made his way into his cabin, then his bunk, where he rested for a while. He had had a long day, and needed the rest. His crew would take shifts manning the sails, so they could rotate their rests, and still make it to Ebonhart within a decent amount of time.
As the ship sailed smoothly in the calm waters, Lord Drad dreamed. The swift motions of the ship cutting through the waters, and the rocking and swaying kept him in his peaceful sleep. He loved the sway of his ship.
His dream was of the waves of the Topal Sea, just between Elsweyr and Black Marsh. He had not yet sailed those seas, though wished to now greatly, hearing that the trade there was well. He imagined the sea to be smooth and the weather to be fair, with merchant vessels going to and from Cyrodiil and Valenwood. Yes, wondrous places indeed.
He awoke with a knock on his door. 'Captain Drad, we have spotted a pirate vessel, just a few miles behind us. They are gaining in on us fast.' The voice shouted.
Lord Drad got out of his bed quickly and put on his armor and sword. He was always prepared for pirates, whether he was a Lord or not. He went out on deck, and took a look through the spyglass. 'We have 50 men on this ship, and all are armed with sabers and dirks. Get them all prepared, Lieutenant.' He told his First Officer. 'Keep sailing fast as we can while they take shifts getting armed.'
'Yes, Captain.' Said the Lieutenant. 'First and second crew, gear up for battle! Third crew, sail fast, maintain speed!' He shouted.
Lord Drad spotted that they were around ten miles from the Hla Oad coast, and some twenty miles south of it. He knew that this battle would be a sea battle, indeed. They had not the time to pull into land, and could not afford to send a long ship out for help. No, they had to stay fast with their weapons.
Lord Drad went back into his cabin, and pulled out his bow, which was a heavy model made of Ebony, straight from High Rock. He put on his quiver of glass arrows, and then made his way out to the deck once more. The crew was now prepared to battle.
'Lieutenant, pull down the sails now, let them close in, and let them think we are surrendering. Do not let the men show their arms until I give the signal.' He commanded. 'We may yet get out of this.'
The Lieutenant gave the orders, and the sails were taken down. A white flag was raised above the mast, and the ship slowed to a halt Lord Drad made himself ready, by mustering his memory for useful spells.
The pirate ship approached quickly now. Soon, it was just next to them. A voice sounded from the ship. 'Captain of the 'Winterwriter', tell your crew to get on the deck, and keep their heads down, and their bodies flat against the deck!' It yelled. 'I am Captain Bravvard, of the vessel 'Brist'. I am taking your cargo, and your gold. You will remain on the deck until we are through with your vessel!'
'Do it.' Lord Drad said. 'But be prepared to get up and fight quickly.'
The crew, including Lord Drad, got to their bellies, and put their heads to the deck. The pirates came aboard the ship and began to go into the belly of it. Lord Drad waited patiently before he made his move. He knew it would take timing in order to pull this off just right.
When Captain Bravvard got aboard the ship, Lord Drad cast a spell of Wind, and the whole ship began to rock. Captain Bravvard was knocked off his feet, and Lord Drad made his move. He got up, and the crew all came up with him. Lord Drad went right for the Captain, and pulled out his saber.
'Stand down, you fool!' Captain Bravvard said hastily.
Lord Drad went straight for his neck, but was foiled when the Captain rolled over, pulling his sword. It was a huge claymore, and he jumped to his feet, swinging it broadly. The swing landed upon Lord Drad's saber, striking it from his hand. The next swing Captain Bravvard took just missed his head. But Lord Drad struck with a fireball, sending Captain Bravvard back ten feet, and knocking him back to his knees.
The crew was immersed in battle, as their Captains fought. They all swung their weapons, clashing the iron and steel with great power. All were in battle, even the runts of each ship.
Lord Drad retook his weapon and came at Captain Bravvard quickly, swinging it downwards with power. It hit him square in his chest, slicing him badly. He then swung again, this time slicing his arm with which he wielded his weapon. The next strike was a jab, piercing into the Captain heart, killing him instantly!
The crews stopped their battle momentarily as Captain Bravvard was struck down. Lord Drad took his hands and ripped into the wound in the Captains chest, then pulled out his stabbed heart. The crew of the pirate vessel was aghast with this, and many ran in fear of the Lord.
They tried to make way back to their ship, but Lord Drad command his men to kill them all. He began in a murderous fury. He struck down member after member of the pirate crew, and ripped at them with his hands as well, blood spraying about the deck of the ship, his armor, and over the sides, tainting the calm waters with red.
Every last member of the pirate crew was dead, when Lord Drad was finished. He took a look about his deck, and then said. 'Men, gather up all the armor and weapons of the fallen, both sides. Kick the scum off the edge, and then loot the ship. When all of value is taken, burn it into the sea, and make sure it sinks!'
They took all of value from the pirate vessel, including a chest of Sheogorath Statuettes, and a sack of skooma (an illegal drug, which enhances strength, and endurance, however, makes the taker hallucinate). The ship was then burnt. Lord Drad then told his crew to man their positions, and make weigh.
They arrived in Ebonhart early the next morning, with a full payload of kuama eggs, pirate weapons, and stolen goods. Lord Drad, before they unloaded their cargo, asked the Lieutenant to step into his office.
'Lieutenant Ply, as you know, we have on this ship many stolen goods.'
'And we have skooma as well.'
'Here is what we are to do....we are going to tell the Imperial Legion here of what happened, but we are going to leave out the skooma. What was in that sack is around 600 bottles of it, and that will fetch a very very fair price on the black market, especially with the local thieves guild here in Vvardenfel.' He said to his First Mate. 'We will make our way back to Solitude, and deliver the weapons, of course, but on the way, we are going to stop off in Seyda Neen, where I know there is a den of thieves to be located. We will trade with them all the skooma, minus a bit for the crew, and then make haste to our destination.'
'Aye, Captain.' The Lieutenant nodded his head.
'Now, I am making a log about this attack, and a report to send back to my father in Solstheim. I will include ALL of the actions taken place, and I will make sure you are granted a ship of your own to command. You have earned this new position, and while I shall miss your abilities as a First Mate, I cannot let this action go unpaid. You fought bravely, and we lost only 4 men.'
'But Captai....' He was cut off.
'That is all, Lieutenant, your dismissed to go about loading.' Lord Drad said.
Skooma and Kindnesses
The 'Winterwriter' made its way to Solitude quickly, now with only weapons from the Ebonhart Imperial Fort, and a sack of skooma. It was a fair day, however, and the sailing was smooth still. Lord Drad made sure that he was well in detail to his father, when he was writing out the report. He included the actions of Lieutenant Ply, and the skooma as well. But, when writing in the Captain's log, he excluded the skooma, for legal purposes. He also included in the Log that he was recommending Lieutenant Ply for an advancement in the Drad Merchant Co.
The ship pulled into Seyda Neen at around six O'Clock that evening, under the false pretense of resupplying. They bought around 300 septims of food, just to make it look good. But while they crew were buying they supplies, Lord Drad made his way to an Inn, and searched out the thieves.
He walked in, and ordered a drink of vintage Skyrim Mead, which was his favorite drink while he was relaxing. This was no time to relax, but if he were to find the element that he sought, he needed to let himself back a bit. So, as he sipped his mead, he watched closely the other patrons of the inn. He waited patiently for the right moment, the right signs.
Then, as he took the last sip from his mug, he saw it. The handshake of one of the patrons carried more than a grip. It was a slip of the hand, and there was something to it. Something hidden, as they shook.
Lord Drad ordered two more meads from the bar, and then made his way to the patron whom he had seen take the slip. 'Would you like a drink, friend?' He asked the man, whom was of Nord blood.
The patron looked at him with a curious eye, and decided he should at least make a bit of an investigation into this, but took the drink. 'Sure, friend. And mead as well, so good to have a kinsmen offer a grand gift. But why me, friend?' He asked, as he took the mug of mead.
'I am looking for a fence.' Replied Lord Drad with an upturned eyebrow. 'Know of a place I can find one?'
The Nord looked at Lord Drad with curiosity. His green eyes flickered at the mention of this. Lord Drad wondered if he would play along. 'Down the street, you will find that there is a shop, they sell many things, including fence posts.' He said to Lord Drad with sarcasm in his voice, obviously playing a game to test the waters.
'But I am not looking to buy a fence, I am looking to make one.' Lord Drad replied, playing along. 'And I am afraid that the shopkeeper would not be happy if I asked to make one in his shop, with the items I am to make it with.'
The Nord smiled. 'Fences are fences, are they not?'
'Truly, they are not.' Lord Drad said, then continued. 'The type I wish to make is rather.....liquidy.'
'What is your name, friend?' Asked the Nord, now very interested, but still playing.
'My name you shall know as Pylon, for now.' Lord Drad said. 'And what is yours?'
'My name is no secret around here....I'm Raflod, the Braggart.' The Nord replied with comfort. 'But how can you make a fence from liquid?'
Lord Drad was loosing his patience now, however, and decided that the game needed to be ended, and business begun. 'I am looking to sell dreams, that come in a bottle. My dreams are worth much more than the casual fence.'
Raflod looked to Drad and smiled. 'Ale? Mead? We have that already!' He said loudly, sucking down another gulp.
'Enough, I am wanting to sell some skooma. Am I in the right place, or not?' Lord Drad said, loosing his composure with the drunken Nord. 'If I am not, I shall take my business somewhere else.'
Raflod shook his head now. 'No, no, you're in the right place....come, let us talk more upstairs, where there is a comfortable common room we may speak more freely.' He then began to walk up the stairs of the inn.
Lord Drad followed him up the stairs, and found himself to be in a comfortable room, with a couch, and a fire as well. There were many chairs, and a table with a deck of cards upon it. Raflod sat at the table, and beckoned that Lord Drad sit as well.
'So, you have come to sell skooma, eh. You look like the type of Nord who would be prancing around in Cyrodiil, not the kind that would be in a seedy town as this, selling drugs to the local Thieves Guild.' Raflod said, drinking a bit more of his mead.
'What I am, and my origins are of no importance to you. I am here to make business, not share stories.' Lord Drad responded sternly.
'Alright alright. Well, I am the local steward of the Thieves Guild in this town, and I am the one to talk to indeed.'
'That is well. Let us now commence with business.'
'How much are you looking to sell?'
'Five hundred and fifty bottles, each six ounces, and all are unopened.' Lord Drad said, having already counted them beforehand.
Ralflod whistled. 'You may be able to sell that much for a decent fence in say.....Gnaar Mok, but here, in Seyda Neen, you wont find anyone able to cover such an amount.' He said.
'What is a decent amount, to you?' Lord Drad asked.
'Well, where we are most prominent, in places like Gnaar Mok, and Suran, decent would be eighty septims per bottle. But here, there are very few whom can cover that. We would only be able to pay out....thirty septims per bottle. It is a robbery, but we cannot afford to spend so much.'
'And what if I were to say that I was willing to negotiate a little, to find a suitable price for both of us, be it gold, or otherwise....or both?'
'I would be willing to receive thirty septims per bottle, along with a guarantee, that whenever I am in this town, the Thieves Guild will be accommodating to my needs, whatever they may be. I will be a regular customer here, if the hospitality is correct. I am very influential, and can make this town's Thieves Guild flourish with my business. Accept this offer, and I will come back here every time I have such types of goods in need of selling.' Lord Drad explained to Ralflod. 'When you get your economy up, then prices will get better, for the both of us. It will help us both in the long run.'
Ralflod thought about this for a while, and drank more of his almost empty mug of mead. 'Alright, I can do that. We have a small sanctuary here in Seyda Neen, just outside of town. Take the road past the silt strider, and when you find a cavern, enter it. I will be waiting there at midnight tonight. Bring the skooma with you, and you shall get paid when we have it. But even with the price so low, we will only be able to afford to take say....three hundred bottles.'
'You can make up the difference in the future.' Lord Drad said. 'I will come there with three men, and we will have the skooma with us.'
Ralflod smiled. 'Then we shall meet again soon, friend.'
Lord Drad had his crew pull out the sack of skooma from the cargo hold, which was quite heavy. They put it on a cart, and began moving it to the caverns Ralflod spoke of. The three men that Lord Drad chose to accompany him were Lieutenant Ply; Privet Uls, a High Elf; and Privet Doil, an Imperial whom had joined the crew earlier that year.
When at the cavern entrance, Lord Drad opened the gate. He was greeted by Ralflod, along with a few other people, all of them Dark Elves. 'Pylon. Good to see you made it.'
'Well met, Ralflod.'
'Just have 'em set the load down right there.' He pointed to a small area of the cavern. 'We have the gold waiting for you, but will count and weigh the load first. Elis, Arthis, take the load down to the chambers, and count it....I'll take care of the funds.'
Lord Drad waited as the Elves took the payload down the cavern halls. He then leaned against the cavern walls, and made himself comfortable. His crew waited about him, uneasy at the element they were in. Lord Drad knew what he was doing, but his crew was still on edge, for thieves were not to be trusted.
'Alright, now, the gold will be in bars, for that is what we trade in here. It is much easier to trace septims, and we don't need that trouble, especially with the Imperial Offices right here in town. So, if it is fine with you, we will begin.' Ralflod said.
'It is fine with me.'
'My name, Ralflod, is Lord Nikolai Drad, of the Drad Merchant Co. I am the Champion of the Co. and the head official of the Skyrim faction. This loot was taken from an attacking pirate ship, along with a few other items. Now you know whom I am.' Lord Drad said. 'I feel that a business relationship should have a certain amount of trust, especially this type.'
'I see.' Ralflod replied. 'Well, you know my name already, and now you know our hideout....so I think the trust on our part is complete. But call me Flod, please.'
One of the Dark Elves came up the hall, and spoke in low voices with Flod. Flod nodded, and sent him back down the halls. 'Alright, it all checks out, and now here is your gold.' He walked over to a small crevice, and pulled back a tarp. Under it were six gold bars. 'They are, you should know as a merchant, worth the agreed upon amount of gold.'
'I agree.' Lord Drad said, nodding his head. 'Lieutenant Ply, take them, and make your way back to the ship. I will finish this deal here. Make sure the ship is ready when I get back, we need to sail before first light, in order to make it to Solitude on time.'
'Aye, Captain.' He then picked up the gold, and handed a few pieces to the other members of the crew, walking out of the cavern.
'Now, we have done a good amount of business, Flod.' Lord Drad began. 'With what I have sold you, and have given as well, your economy here should be rather good. I am taking it it will take you around a month or so to fence off this much skooma. I will return in two months or so, and with more items that need fenced. I will be expecting a better economy from this section of the esteemed Thieves Guild then, for this is a plenty good start for your lot.'
'Yes, yes, this will boost us quite nicely, and you are sure to see more gold come from us in the future....and we will not forget this kindness, Lord Drad.' Flod said with honor. 'If ever you require our services...any of them, we will be happy to help. I consider you to be a sleeper agent for us. I know of you, and I will make sure you have all benefits of being in our guild, without, of course, actually being in it.'
'But now I must make haste, lest my cargo be late.' Lord Drad said, turning to return to his ship.
'Wait!' Flod said.
Lord Drad turned to face him, and raised an eyebrow. 'Yes.'
'Would you be interested in a pet?'
'A pet?' Lord Drad inquired. 'Is there significance to this, Flod?'
'The humanoid kind.'
'Hahaha, a slave?' Laughed Lord Drad, shaking his head.
'Yes, a little Nord girl.' Replied Flod with a smile. 'She was sold to us legally, but she is of no use to a bunch of thieves. She is only twenty years, and her hair is red as fire. She is from Dawnstar, Skyrim, and is very petite for a Nord woman. She is well fed, but her build is small naturally, I guess. We are not cruel here, and have treated her well. She just is small.'
'A small Nord? Hahahaha!' Lord Drad chuckled. 'I've never heard such a thing.'
'Elis!' Called Flod. 'Bring up the Nord, Arla!'
Elis could be heard from down in the caverns, and chains being unlocked. They came up the halls, and stopped at Lord Drad and Flod's presence.
'Here you are, Lord Drad.' He said. 'As you can see, she is well nourished....just small, as I said.'
Arla was just as Flod had described. Her hair was long, and fiery red. Her eyes were of a bright blue, and big as stars. She was petite in build, standing only five foot seven, and having small shoulders. Her breasts were average sized, compared with her build, and her face was as a graven image upon rock, pretty and stern.
'I see you are right.' Lord Drad commented. 'And what is this going to cost me if I said I were interested?'
'You gave us a very large amount of skooma, and you were kind enough to give us credit...consider this a gift, from one Nord to another.' Flod said in a booming voice.
Lord Drad stood with his hands at his sides. He thought about this, and the implications of such a thing. He knew that slavery was banned in the rest of Tamriel, but not here in Vvardenfel. But once across the boarders, she would be free.
'And don't worry about her going free. She is under a special contract, which makes her a legal slave, in all provinces of Tamriel.' Flod explained before Lord Drad could even ask the question. 'Here are the papers.' He handed a set of documents to Lord Drad.
He took the papers, and then read them. Sure enough, it was legitimate. 'Alright, this is acceptable. Does she have her chains, or are you to keep those, and I find my own?'
'Ah, she came with no chains...we have been using just a set of shackles that we stole from an Imperial Guard a few months back.' Flod said. 'We just got her a week ago. She is rather shy, as you can see, but from what I have seen, she is built like a slave, and is willing to serve.'
'I am sure you have seen....and felt.' Lord Drad commented.
'Ah....as I said, we are not cruel.' Flod said. 'We did not touch her, and she is pure. A slave is not to be used like that here. We were going to sell her in Sadrith Mora, to the local slave market there, but had not gotten around to it yet. But since you have offered us a kindness, we shall offer you this kindness in return.'
'And I thank you, Flod.' Lord Drad said. 'I however, am not so kind as your lot, and will use her as a slave. If I am to have her, she is to be property to me, and I shall do as I please to her, or with her.'
'Hey, that's your business, Lord Drad.' Flod said. 'We also have a book here, down in the cavern. It's on how to train a slave, the exact methods. She is already built like a slave, so it should be rather easy for you.'
'Alright, then I shall accept, and take her.' Lord Drad said. 'I will still be back here in two months, however, and with more loot.'
'That is well, Lord Drad.' Flod said. 'Elis, go and get that book, it's on the chest in my chambers. Give it to Lord Drad, so he can leave for his urgent journey.'
Elis ran down the halls, and returned quickly, with a leather bound book in his hand. He handed it to Lord Drad.
'Then now I must get going, Flod. Thank you for all you have done.' Lord Drad said, now turning to leave. 'Come, Arla, we have to go quickly. I have an appointment to make in Solitude.'
Arla followed closely by him all the way to the ship, and always a step behind him, in respect. He boarded the ship, and made his way into his cabin....Arla stayed just outside the door.
'Yes, Sire.' She entered.
'I have but one bed.' Lord Drad said, sitting at his desk and placing the slave documents and book upon it. 'I do have an extra blanket, for the harsh winters of Solstheim, that you may use to sleep on the floor if you wish. But when we get up to the North, you will freeze if you do not use both, as will I. So I am afraid you will have to bunk with me during those times.'
'Yes, Sire.' She replied, bowing her head.
'I prefer either Lord, or Master.' Lord Drad corrected her. 'Now, go into my chambers, and rest...the blanket is in my closet, next to my chest.'
She walked behind him, and opened the door to his chambers. She walked in, shutting the door, and rummaging through the closet for the blanket. Lord Drad then opened his Log, and begin to write, telling of his new found pet. He left out the thieves as best he could, substituting them for traveling slave traders. He also kept out the gold bars.
Lord Drad walked out of his cabin, and told his Lieutenant to man the port, and set sail straight for Solitude. He said to make it quickly, and have all men man their positions, for they were behind schedule by a day and a half now. All he could hope for to get to Solitude on time was that the weather sent him a wind and no storms.
'Winterwriter' sailed quickly through the choppy waters of the Vvardenfel coast. It was two days later that they arrived in the Sea of Ghosts, where the mouth of the channel opened up and let them into the high Seas. Lord Drad was glad that they had made good headway here.
The wind was kind to them so far, and Lord Drad was glad for that. He decided to not go out to sea too far, and stick to the coasts of Morrowind and Skyrim, in order to avoid storms and pirates. It would slow them down only a bit, and the benefits greatly outweighed the risks of such a move.
Arla was turning out to be a well trained slave, once Lord Drad used the tactics that he found in the book Flod gave him. The book was titled Pets and Masters: a skilled guide to training any race as a slave. He found it most useful, and within days, Arla was already getting to know his will better than he thought possible.
As he made his way about the deck, she followed one step behind him, and always with her hands behind her back, showing her servitude to him. When she noticed that he wished to pick something up, she quickly did it for him, and held it out for him to take with a bow. Her every action served Lord Drad perfectly. But she was not quite fully trained yet, and Lord Drad knew it would take time, so he was patient.
The crew of the ship knew that she was his slave, but not how he had acquired her. They had an idea, but no exact details. They all kept quiet about it around Lord Drad as well, minding their own business. They had been with him long enough to know his methods were his own, and he was under no man's watch but his own.
'Lieutenant, how much supplies do we have?' Lord Drad asked, as he met his Fist Officer on the deck.
'Enough to last for another three days of sailing, but the crew, I have heard, is getting tired of eating simple bread and fish....they want meat.' Lieutenant Ply said. 'That is just what I have heard, Captain Drad.'
'I see.' He remarked. He thought for a second. He searched his memory for where the nearest port was from where they were. 'Okay, we shall make a stop in one days time. At that time, send out a hunting party, and have them bring back enough meat for another three days. Send ten men, and have them return within the day, regardless of how much they have caught.'
'Yes Captain' Replied Lieutenant Ply.
'Also, you have yet again served me well, Lieutenant Ply, so I am promoting you to Admiral of the ship, and of the Drad Merchant Co.' Lord Drad said. 'You may make a log of this promotion, but make no remarks as to why. I don't wish to have any written evidence of our activities as of late. We may be doing this on a regular basis, and I don't need some snoopy Imperial Guard to find any evidence. As of right now, we are carrying only legal goods, and we are going to keep it that way.' Lord Drad said, knowing they still had 50 bottles of skooma in their cargo hold, in a secret area.
'I understand, Captain.' The Admiral said, understanding that as far as he was concerned, they did not exist.
Lord Drad then made his way to the Galley, and sat at a table. Arla sat next to him, a foot away. She sat with her hands upwards upon her knees, awaiting for any indication as to what her Master would want.
'Arla, go to the kitchen, and get a meal. All meals are the same here for now, so just ask a cook to make two plates, one for you, and their captain.' Lord Drad said.
While she went to fetch food, Lord Drad pulled out his parchment and charcoal pencil, and began writing.
My dear Father,
We have made our way to Solitude, and should be there within the next few days. By the time you receive this, we will have made our delivery and will be empty of cargo. I request that Lieutenant Ply, whom is now and Admiral of this ship, to be given his own ship to command.
He was well skilled when the pirates attacked, as I have recorded in the accompanying letter to you. He has served me well in all things, and deserves to have his hand tried at commanding a ship. I would suggest that he start with a simply merchant class cruiser, and make the simple rounds between Northpoint and Farrun, in High Rock. It is an easy rout, and has no need of complicated orders.
I have come across a slave, as well, father, and have been training her well. She is under a special contract, which I have studied with care, that allows her to be a slave in any province. It turns out she was taken prisoner from Dawnstar, Skyrim, and the Imperial Legion there had her as a slave.
Her crimes were that of killing a Noble, whom was her brother. She was charged with the crime, and hence, is now a slave. She can never be released, only sold and traded to new owners. I have taken her as my own, and she is turning out to be a well deserved treat.
I hope you and mother are doing well, and all is well with the house. How is the new ship coming along? I heard that it was to soon be finished, and added to the Skyrim fleet. If that is so, I would like to know where it will be docked, so I may make routs for it as soon as I can.
I will be making my way back to Solstheim, even as you read this. I am going to make my usual port at New Rock, where I will await your orders. I do hope that I will be having a more regular trade route, for being on random deliveries is getting taxing on the crew.
I have one more request: May I make my way to the Topal Sea. I wish to try my hand at those waters. There are many trade routes there, and of course Anvil and Bravil have good trade.
With love, your son,
Lord Nikolai Drad
As Arla came back to the table, she sat the plates of food down, one before her Master. Lord Drad folded the letter up and put it into his vest pocket. Arla waited silently, as Lord Drad ate his food.
He then realized that she was waiting for him to let her eat. She was a good slave, and followed protocol exactly. 'You may eat, Arla.' He said kindly.
She picked up her fork, and began cutting the baked fish. Her hands shook as she put the food to her lips and ate it. The fish was tasteless, for it was not seasoned, being freshly caught, there was no need to waste salt on curing it. But she ate it without complaint, for it was food, and she was grateful for that.
Lord Drad finished his meal of bread and fish, then got up. Arla stood when he got up. 'You may finish eating. I will be on the bottom deck, checking the cargo hold. Come find me when you have finished your food.'
'Yes, Master.' She said, then returned to her meal.
Lord Drad pulled out his parchment once more, and made his rounds, checking the condition of the crates, the quantity, and the amount of space they took up. He also took notes on how much weight that they had, and how low the ship sank into the water, while carrying them. He was very professional about cargo, for he had never once lost a shipment, or had a broken crate of goods; he wanted to keep it that way.
He was almost finished calculating the space for the crates, when Arla came down the steps to the cargo hold. She came up to Lord Drad, and got to her knees, bowing her head in presentation. 'We will be stopping ashore for around twelve hours tomorrow. At that time, you are to stay aboard the ship as the men hunt. I will be going to collect herbs and other such things, so you shall occupy your time by studying the texts I have set for you.' Lord Drad gave his orders.
'Are there any orders I have as of now, Master?' She asked.
'This is the invoice, for the delivery of the weapons from Ebonhart to Solitude, Skyrim.' He handed her the invoice, keeping the calculations for himself. 'Take them to Admiral Ply, and tell him to sign his name to them. Return when you are done. I may not be here, but find me.' He ordered. 'Dismissed.'
She quickly went about performing her tasks, and Lord Drad went about finishing his calculations of the crates. There were forty crates of weapons, each taking up around seven cubic feet of the cargo hold. They were already paid for their services, so it only mattered for documentation's sake that he calculated the space and weight of the items.
The Drad Merchant Co. was paid 6'000 septims for their delivery, as a service fee, and 100 septims per crate as the delivery fee of each crate. This was one of the best deals in all of Tamriel, and the Drad's knew it. They made it so cheap for shipping, because they had ways around the taxation laws, letting them lower their prices. This was why when even the Imperial Legions needed weapons shipped, they came to the Drad Merchant Co..
Lord Drad went to the holding room, where the gold for completed deliveries and other such actions were kept. He counted all the septims that he had acquired, and added them up. It came out to 24200 septims, including the gold bars...but he left them out, making it 15200 septims that he put on record for his fathers bookkeeper to manage. He logged all transactions, and then opened a secret trap door to a small area just below the last deck. He put the bars of gold in the hidden area, where the skooma was also, to keep them safe. He then placed the rug back over it, keeping it out of sight.
Lord Drad walked up the stairs to the fourth deck, where the huge oars were all tucked away neatly. He went up the stairs there, and made his way to the crew's quarters. He was greeted by Privet Uls.
'Privet Uls.' Lord Drad replied. 'Continue as you were.'
'Yes captain.' Privet Uls commented, now going about what he was doing.
Arla met Lord Drad on the top deck, at the Captain's nest, and presented herself to him. 'Follow.' He said, having no other duties for her to perform at that time. He then made his was to his office, where he put the calculations and orders in his desk. They would be given to his father, when they returned to Solstheim next.
Arla stood behind Lord Drad as he wrote in his log, marking that the calculations would be in his desk, and the actions that he performed. Lord Drad, though he acted as though he did not care to notice her, was well aware of her presence. He rather enjoyed her silent company, and thought heavily about her as of late.
What was her story? When did she murder her brother, a Noble? For what reasons? All these things ran through Lord Drad's head.
'Arla, go fetch my cloak from my chambers, I am getting rather cold.' Lord Drad ordered her. She went immediately and got his cloak for him, and wrapped it around his shoulders for him. 'Thank you.'
She didn't make any action to provoke thoughts about this, but she was much taken aback that her Master had said 'thank you' to her. It was simply her duty to obey him in any way that he wished. She thought about this, though kept her focus upon her Master always.
Lord Drad pulled out a pipe from his desk, and set it down, then pulled out a leaf of fine tobacco from his vest pocket. 'Arla, sit please, and learn.' He said. He began to explain how to tear the leaves, and pack the pipe, so she was able to do so.
He picked up the leaf, and tore it into three strips, then again, ripping them, essentially shredding them up to a fine hash. 'You see, you make sure that the leaf is clean of stems, and that the shreds are small, so the tobacco burns well in the pipe, otherwise, it will go out too easily' He said, commenting on his methods. He then took the tobacco and placed it in his pipe, packing it firmly, but not too tightly. 'You want it to be firm, but not tight, so that the airflow is just right, letting it last longer, but not burn out.'
His pipe was made of boar tusk, and was around five inches long, with a very subtle curve. It had a lid in the bowl, for snubbing the coal for later use, as well, and the tip, which was put to the lips, was fitted with a comfortable rose leaf wrapping, which could be replaced as need for freshness.
Lord Drad picked up the pipe, and lit a match, puffing the pipe with ease, now leaning back in his chair. He thought to himself as he puffed. What is she thinking right now? Did she actually learn how to fill and pack this thing?
He sat upright again after a few more puffs, and closed the lid, snuffing the coal. 'Now, from now on, you are to carry this, and all other tobacco equipment that I wish you to, so that you may shred and pack on the spot as I desire.'
'Yes, Master.' She said, nodding her head. 'May I use the loo, Master?' She asked, now squirming in her chair all of a sudden.
'Yes, you may.' He replied. She walked into his chambers, and then he heard a door close, indicating she was in the bathroom. He sat to himself, and thought of what needed to be done in the next few days. His duties were lax, as of late, for the sailing took care of itself mostly, and the crew handled most of the loading and unloading. He did know, however, that he should be studying flora, for his harvesting of herbs when they made a stop the next day. He pulled out a book titled The Special Alchemy: plants and other substances for alchemical and food purposes..
He flipped through the pages of the book, studying the text carefully, and looked to the section of Skyrim, where it listed the common plants of Skyrim, and what they looked like, their properties, all about them. Arla returned, and knelt at his side, awaiting orders, as he read through the book. He didn't take his eyes from the pages, when he told her. 'Have a seat, be at ease for a while. I have no orders for you at this time, Arla.'
She sat in the seat opposite of the desk, and placed her hands upright upon her knees. She sat straight, with good posture, and kept her gaze solely upon her Master, focusing all her attention to him. Lord Drad kept his eyes upon his book, but knew she was watching him, and that did make a certain dent in his mind; like a distant thought to the back of his brain, that someone was at his full attention.
'Master, may I speak?' Arla asked.
'If I may make a suggestion.' She began. 'I have noticed you are reading about flora, and I know that you told me to stay on the ship when we make land, but it is my duty to inform you of my usefulness in such an area.' She paused.
'Go on, Arla.'
She gulped, making her first initiative really as a useful slave, taking a step for herself, getting to know her duties to him, rather than being a simple robot. 'I was a botanist, back in Dawnstar, and I am very skilled with flora, especially in Skyrim. The cold keeps many plants from growing, but also, many have adapted to the weather.' She continued, now more comfortable, seeing that Lord Drad was not showing negative emotions to her statements. 'I think I may be of use to you, if you wish to collect herbs. If I may inquire what purposes the herbs you are looking for shall serve as.'
Lord Drad kept an eye to her, but showed no emotion in his face. He thought for a second, then said. 'I am looking for herbs that will spice food up a bit. Meat is well and good, but I want to find something that is going to make it a treat to eat. Something that will light up any man's tongue.'
'Yes, Master' She said.
'What exactly are you asking of me, Arla?'
'May I go with you, when we land?' She replied, a hopeful look in her eyes. She was eager to learn, and to please now, and Lord Drad saw that. 'I would like to help as best I can.'
'You may go with me, Arla.' Lord Drad decided. 'But when we return, you are to come back to this very room, and study these texts.' Lord Drad pulled out a stack of three parchment papers from his desk, and laid them on the top.
'I shall, Master.' She said, then was silent.
Lord Drad then continued reading the book with a comforted mind. He knew he COULD search for the plants, but with difficulty. Now he had someone skilled in the craft with him, and he could make use of that.
After a while, he set down the book upon his desk, and looked to Arla. 'Tell me about yourself, all about yourself, Arla.' He said with a curious voice.
'What would you like to know, Master?' She asked with a pretty voice, eager to please.
'Well, let us start with the not so happy subject of your imprisonment.' Lord Drad said. 'I don't wish to make you sad, or angry, but I need to know of your past, in order for you to serve me correctly'
'It matters not my disposition, Master. Only if you are pleased with me, is my duty done.'
'Then tell me about it, Arla.' He said, calmly.
'Well, when I was fifteen, I had begun to learn of spells and magic, from a local mage in Dawnstar. I was avid in my studies, and I did well to learn the ways of magic, and all schools of such learning I did well in. The mage's name was Ilina, one of my brother's many interests.' Arla said. 'She found him to be....unwantable, however, and refused to let him advance on her further. He did not take kindly to that, and began to pursue her even more. He was a drunkard, though he was a Noble in the courts. She kept teaching me, however, and even taught me all about flora and alchemy; that is where my knowledge of such things come from.
One day, my brother got very drunk, and came to her home, where me and her were practicing magic: the school of destruction. He came at her, and tried to force himself upon her, but she cast a paralyze spell upon him. She then issued his stiff body from her house, and closed the door. An hour later, him, and three others came to her house, and barged in. I was in the next room when I heard the commotion, and decided to investigate.
They had her down, and were stripping her of her clothes. Since she was wearing only her mages' robe, they were able to get it off easily. I cast a spell at them, with an area affect, from the school of Illusion, making them disoriented But they were resistant to it, and turned their eyes upon me. My brother kept going at Ilina, but she tried to fight him off of her. His comrades came at me, and I knew not what to do!
I had a dagger tucked inside my robes, which I used to cut flora when studying plants and such. I pulled it out, and held it at them. The laughed at me, and came quickly across the room!
I empowered it with a spell, and sliced the first one deeply through his chest! His scream pierced the house shrilly. I then spun, and caught the other on his throat, blood spraying about me and the floor. My brother saw the blood, and ran over to me, catching my arm with the dagger in it. He turned it upon me, and I had no other choice but to attack him, lest he kill me! I cast a destruction spell, catching him square in his chest, sending him flying across the room into his comrade. He was dead when he hit the the ground.' She paused, now with a face that was intrinsic to a bad memory such as that. 'His other partner ran to the door, and quickly made his escape. I went right to Ilina, and helped her up. She quickly put her robe back on, and took notice of the situation.
'What did you do?' She asked with a voice of gravity as I had never heard her before. 'He was a Noble....we'll be hanged for this! We must go, NOW!'
I took my dagger from my brother's hand, and cleaned it off, putting it back in my robes. His friend with the chest wound was still alive, although barely breathing. Ilina restored him as best she could with a healing spell, and some herbs we had collected earlier that day. She then gave him instructions on how to sustain himself until help arrived for him.
After she gathered a few things, which consisted of a bag of septims, and a pack, she took my hand and yanked me out of the house with her. We were fleeing, knowing that there was no chance of getting let off, even with the attack on her. My brother was a Noble.
She got her horses ready, and we mounted them, riding off as quickly as they could carry us. Her home was to the West of town, so we knew we had a chance to make it to the nearest port and escape Skyrim, if we took the back roads, and kept to ourselves.
On the way, she talked with me. 'We are going to go to my teacher's home, in Solstheim. He has a place in New Rock, and we can hide there until we can find passage to Vvardenfel, where there is no expedition of criminals to any other Imperial Province.' She explained.
We made our way to the coastal regions, and took a sea path to the nearest port. We let the horses free when we were but a mile away from the port, so as not to draw attention by being rid of them in the town. When we got there, however, news had already spread of the attack!
The guards noticed us from the description given, undoubtedly by my brother's comrade. They pursued us, and we ran once more, but could not escape, for they were on horseback. They quickly caught us. Ilina cast invisibility upon me, and told me to run, as the guards overtook her. She faught them as best she could with non-lethal spells, and that is the last I ever saw of her.
I ran until I could run no more, and then the spell wore off of me. I was left to my own. All I had was the knowledge of the plants, and the mind of a mage. Ilina was a part of the Mages' Guild, but had not yet initiated me, wanting me to learn for one more year before I became a member. But now all I could do was to sustain myself.
I found a small cave, and hid myself there, thinking what I could do next to escape my situation. But there was nothing I could think of. I knew nothing of her teacher in Solstheim, and I knew not of any way to get to Vvardenfel without taking a sea port, which I was sure all the guards had been alerted of.
So, after two days of staying hidden in the cave, and eating only the small amount of edible flora there, I came out, and made my way to the East. I knew I would run into a small settlement somewhere, and hopefully, it would be a place secluded enough to not have any Imperial Guards of the Skyrim Legion there.
I sustained myself on the many plants along the way, and drank of melted snow. I was cold, having only the mages' robes, but I made due with a spell from Illusion, with added warmth to my body. I knew I could make it, if only I could find a safe place for a few days.
I found a small village after a few days, and made my way slowly into the town center, seeing no sign of Imperial Guards. I went to the inn, and asked for the name of the settlement. They told me the town was called Krushlef, and that it was just South of the port of Prothhilt, which was where Ilina and I were caught by the guards.
I begged them to let me stay the night, but they would not let me without the gold. So I had to be on my way again. I made my way North, going closer to Prothhilt. I found a small stream, just barely trickling with water, for spring was coming in, and it was not frozen completely.
I cleared a circle in the snow, and made a small fire there. I knew it was risky, with guards searching, but I needed warmth and the fire would keep the predators away. So I slept until the morning.
As were my fears, the guards had spotted me, and were surrounding me when I awoke. They grabbed me, and pushed a cloth sack over my head. I felt a harsh hit to the back of my head, and all was lost, until I woke up the next morning in a cell of iron.
At my trial, I was constrained with a magical barrier, and was testified against by my brother's comrade. I was sentenced to serve a life of slavery, in any province that I was in, never to be released, only to be passed from one owner to the next, until I die. But that was not my concern.
I had learned, at the trial, that the guards had brought Ilina to Dawnstar once more, where she was tried and executed for her actions against a Noble. She defended herself, but my brother's comrade had testified there as well, sealing her fate. My parents, whom were dead, were Nobles, and that made me a Noble, though of lesser worth than my brother. That is the only thing that saved me from the same fate as Ilina.
As I was shipped to the slave market, I cried to myself over grief of Ilina, and I could not stop. I was so torn by her fate, and by the actions of my brother, that I could not control myself. My mind shut down, and I was alone, I knew.
My first master was a Nord by the name of Hekleif, whom lived in Solitude. He and his wife, Neira, used me as a servant to their house, and treated me very well. They were both kind to me, and fed me well. I grew to love them, as I served them well.
When I was nineteen, they moved to Vvardenfel, Morrowind, to the city of Vivec. It was grand and beautiful then, where the Man-God lived. Every building stood with great glory, and all the people were high and noble, even the High Elves, whom hated the Nords, as far as I was always told. Hekleif liked the city, and he and Neira were both stable living in the Foreign Quarter.
When I was almost twenty years of age, they went bankrupt, for Hekleif and Neira both lost their jobs. They were forced to sell me in the slave market in Vivec, and also their home there as well. They had to move to the city of Caldera, near the Ash Mountains. I never saw nor heard from them again.
I was kept in the slave market until I was twenty, being trained properly as the market saw fit, as a slave. They taught me what I now know to this day, of serving, and of being owned. They were professional about it, and they taught me well.
The documents that you hold, you will notice, state my magic abilities, and they kept that in careful consideration. They put an enchantment on me that limited my magic, to only let me perform healing magic upon myself, and others. Only one person I know of now, has the ability to lift that enchantment.
I was sold soon after I turned twenty, to a Dark Elf named Tarjain. She lived alone in Pelagaid, and needed a servant to tend to the crops she had growing there. She quickly recognized my skills, and was much satisfied with me...until one day she came to me, and told me she was selling me to a few traveling slave traders. She gave me no reason, and only one day notice.
The slave traders were cruel to me, and fed me not but once per day. They traveled all the way to Seyda Neen with me, in a caravan. There, they stopped at an inn, and I was sold to the men you received me from.
They were kind, and fed me well. They kept me in a cave, for which I was not the gladdest person, but I served them as best as I could. They only made me perform chores such as cleaning and washing, and other such things. Ralflod was kind to me as well, and told me of his business even.
After three months, you came along, and here I now sit, Master.' She ended her tale. Her cheeks were red as her hair now, and her eyes low to the floor.
Lord Drad walked to her, and picked her chin up with his finger. 'Thank you for sharing with me your tale. Some was sad to hear, and other parts well to hear. But I tell you, I am glad to have heard it all, for I now know a little bit about you. One day, I shall tell you my full tale, though not so interesting as your own is.' He said.
She nodded. Her hands remained on her knees, palms upwards. 'I would love to hear it, Master.' She replied quickly.
'Now, however, is the time for you to tell me of the person whom can reverse the enchantment upon you.' Lord Drad went into a voice of levelness and reason now. 'I want a mage, not a simply a lowly slave. You are trained in the ways of magic, so you shall now be getting that back. Whom is this person?'
'His name is Navan, Navan Drasil.' She said calmly, but with a slight happiness in her voice.
'And where can I find him?' Asked Drad.
'He was one of the slave masters back in Vivec. The last I heard of him, he was still there, when I left.'
'Then once we are finished with this expedition, you and I are going to make a trip to Vivec, and gain your powers back, Arla.' Lord Drad said with a smile, and a cheery voice.
'Thank you, Master.' She said with true gratefulness
Masters and Lords
The ship made anchor near the coastline the next day, and a raft was sent to the shore, with ten men, plus Lord Drad and Arla. The raft was large, enough to carry twice as many people as it was. They came ashore, and made their way inland in the snow a bit.
'Okay, lads, go and catch what you can, and return within twelve hours. I will be here when you get back. Make sure to kill only animals that you can carry back here, and only ones that you know to be edible.' Lord Drad said aloud to his crew.
They dispersed, on with their hunt. Lord Drad and Arla then began to make their way to find herbs. They knew what to look for, because of Arla's experience in such fields.
After a few hours, Lord Drad and Arla had collected a number of herbs for culinary uses, and many with healing properties. They sat them all down in a sack next to the raft, then went out again, to search for more.
It was nearing sundown when they were finished collecting herbs. Lord Drad and Arla sat next to the raft with a fire burning brightly, waiting for the crew to return from their hunt. But they still had another two hours, before they had to return to the ship.
Lord Drad knew that this stop would set them back even more, but he knew morale of his crew was important. He knew that without a crew to man the ship, NO items would arrive at all, so he made a sacrifice, to gather meat for the crew. They would then be happy with their lot, and would make the sailing a lot smoother.
As they sat in the firelight, Lord Drad practiced a few moves with his sword, as Arla watched him. She wondered, as she saw his swift movements, what her Master's background was. Had he always been a merchant? Had he learned his ways from his family, or from somewhere else, and started the company on his own? Did he own Drad Merchant Co.? Where was he from, originally? All these things soared through her mind as she saw his flashes of steel.
The night was growing on, when they heard a commotion about the area. They heard distant noises, and distinctly head voices for sure. Then they saw a torch, and knew that the hunting party was back finally. Arla waited for her Master, but stood when he did, and stayed a step behind him as he walked towards the party.
They had made a makeshift tote wagon, with skis made of wood, to slide over the snow. On it, there were a number of animals, not all of them to be made out in this light. As they came closer, Lord Drad went to them.
He found that there was not just one, but three totes, each with a number of animals on them. Obviously, the hunt went well for the crew. As they pulled, each had a smile upon their faces. Lord Drad as well had a huge grin, knowing his crew was happy.
As they pulled, Lord Drad sent up a spell of pure light into the air, as if someone had taken the Sun, and made it into the size of a human head, and cast it a hundred yards above the land. It lit the way for them to see to the raft, still being quite a ways away. After the spell was cast, Lord Drad got behind the last tote, and helped tug it to the raft.
As they sat it down, Lord Drad said to his crew. 'Okay, we are going to pack what we can onto the raft, and have half of us man it, the other half staying here, and keeping predators from getting to the meat. We will return with another raft, to get us out of here in only one more trip. When on the ship, you will take it all to the galley, and into the cold room, putting it where you can. After that, go directly to your bunks, and rest...the ship will be manned by the rest of the crew, since you all made the hunt.' He then started packing the animals into the raft.
Arla noticed all sorts of them: a boar, two deer, and a mountain lion, along with two pair of rabbit. It didn't take long for the whole crew to get the animals into the raft, and then afloat. Arla and Drad stayed with the hunters, while the rest of them rowed back to the ship.
The men sat around the fire, warming themselves with it, as Arla and Lord Drad sat back from them, and watched the raft make it to the ship safely, then begin unloading the catch into the ship. Then, after twenty minutes or so, they saw another raft being lowered down from the side of the ship, and the other rowing back to shore.
Arla now felt the cold upon her. She was garbed in a cloak of fur, which Lord Drad had let her use, but she was still now chilled to her very bones. But her Master was by the shore, not next to the fire, so there, just behind him, she remained.
Lord Drad greeted the raft with a smile, then immediately began to load it with the carcasses of the animals, along with the rest of the hunters, while the men in the raft stayed in, so they could just pull back out. The second raft arrived just as that one was pulling off of shore.
The raft was quickly loaded up, and then the totes were left, the fire snuffed with snow. Arla grabbed the sack of herbs, and then followed her Master. Lord Drad, and the rest of the crew got in the raft, and went back to the ship. When they boarded the ship, Lord Drad and Arla went right to the Captain's nest, where he issued the order to set sail to his men. Admiral Ply was asleep now, so there was no need to bother him, when Lord Drad had a voice just as well.
As the ship was beginning to move, Arla all of a sudden came closer to Lord Drad and grabbed onto his arm. She held him closely to herself. Lord Drad looked at her with a curious eye, but not harshly. At first, he thought the movement of the ship had knocked her off her balance, but then noticed she kept a hold of him.
'Arla?' He questioned.
She pulled away from him, and put her hands behind her back, her head facing the deck now. 'I am sorry, Master, I had no right to touch you without your warrant.' She said in offering of apology
Lord Drad nodded his head, then looked to the masts, which were now at full sail. He turned, and walked his way to his cabin, Arla behind him. But before he reached the door, he took her in his arms quickly, and held her tightly. He remained his hold for some time, before patting her back, and returning his walk to the cabin.
Arla followed him into the cabin, and waited as he took off his heavy cloak. She then took it, and placed it on the rack, near the door. She took off her own cloak, and put it there as well. The cabin was warm, being heated by the fires of the galley being filtered of smoke, and the head leading to the room by pipes.
'Arla, tonight, you need sleep in my bed. The blankets will be needed to be combined, and together, we shall stay warmer.' Lord Drad said, now sitting at his desk. 'Now, come, and sit next to me.' He said.
She went to his side, and sat with her legs below her bottom, next to him on the floor. She was perfect height for Lord Drad to pet her hair, as his pet. 'They told me they were giving me a pet, and now, I have one for sure.' He said, as he stroked her hair softly. She giggled quite a bunch at that, being pleased with her lot for now.
Lord Drad soon stopped petting his little pet, and pulled out the Captain's Log of the ship. He began to write down the actions of the night, and the hours that it took. He kept account of their time, and their food supply. He wrote also, about the herbs that were collected, and of his slave's expertise on the subject.
Lord Drad leaned over in his bed and felt next to him the soft, warm body of Arla. Her tender flesh was plush to the touch, but firm as well, with the softness of silk, and warm as a globe of fire. Her hair smelled of the herbs they were collecting, and her breathing rolled about like a melodic wind.
He wrapped his arms about her, and closed his eyes once more, returning to his sleep. Arla, however, was not asleep. She felt his arms come about her, and felt his breathing quicken, knowing that for an instant, he was thinking about her. She knew he felt for her, at least somewhat. She was lucky, to have a Master that cared for her.
She turned in his arms, facing him now, and putting her arms about him. She felt his thick body, yet not harsh. It was comfortable to hold, to feel. She closed her eyes, and fell into a peaceful dream, as she held her Master, and he held her as well.
The Sun was up when Lord Drad awoke. He sat up, gently removing Arla's arm from his chest, then dressed in his usual attire. He slipped quietly into his office, and pulled out his book on slave training. As he sifted through the pages, he noticed that the papers he had ordered that Arla read were now out of order...he knew he did not touch them, so she must have actually read them, spacing her time on her own.
The papers were her training orders, her speech patterns, her proper actions in certain situations, and other such things as she needed to know. Lord Drad was pleased to see that she had read them. He then looked into the book more, to find other useful hints on the training. This was the first time he had ever taken a slave, and he was not used to certain things. Sometimes he felt the book was teaching him how to be a Master, rather than train her how to be a slave.
As he sifted through the pages, Arla awoke. She got up, and went into the office immediately, not even getting dressed first. She knew that her first duties upon waking were to find her master, and present for orders. Upon opening the door, Lord Drad turned in his chair to see her.
Her hair was a mess, being unbrushed yet, and her face had a line, from where she had laid her head on the line of a blanket. Her body, her face, everything, however, was perfect. She was the example every woman should follow, to being a beautiful woman.
She knelt beside her Master, and bowed her head. Lord Drad looked to her, peering down her sweet back, with smooth skin, and a few freckles here and there. 'Get up, Arla.' He told her. 'Go get dressed, and ready for the day.'
She walked back into the chambers. As she turned, Lord Drad noticed her bottom: round and plump, and firm as could be as she walked. She was well formed, indeed, and the way she walked, she knew it as well.
She put on her robes, and then a pair of woolen socks, and then a pair of leather boots, tightly lacing up her shin. As she brushed her hair and teeth, she thought about the night she had just had. How wonderful it had been.
Lord Drad kept reading, learning what he could from it. He went about his duties charting a course from Solitude to New Rock, Solstheim. He looked to his map, plotting the routes, and marking on a travels index, in the back half of the Captain's Log. He marked it Return Journey, 3E208, forth month 26 day. He then put his pencil aside, and pulled out a sheet of new parchment from a desk drawer. Arla came back then, as he began to write.
She knelt next to him as he sit in his chair. She waited for her Master to respond to her, as he wrote on the parchment. He wrote out the delivery items, and logged it, then put it in his Log, for documentation's purposes.
He looked down at Arla, and spoke to her. 'Get our cloaks, and a helm as well, they are in the closet.' She got up, and went into the room, then returned with two helms of fur. She then got the cloaks off of the rack, and put one upon her Master. They were made from a heavy fur as well.
They went down to the galley, and got a breakfast of boar meat and heavy bread. Arla brung the plates to a table, then awaited Lord Drad's order for her to sit. She ate, after he had taken a bit of his food, as was the regular custom now. As they ate, Lord Drad pulled out a map.
'We are going to be leaving Solstheim just as soon as I get word from my father. I will be accepting any deliveries that bring us in, or near Vivec. There, we will make a detour, and find this Navan Drasil, and see if we cannot make you a working mage again.' He spoke, as he looked upon the page. He traced his finger down a trade rout, which brought them from New Rock to Khuul, then from Khuul to Hlo Oad, and on to Ebonhart. That was three stops, and his father was sure to have deliveries to and from each of the coastal cities. 'I will be using half a crew, to cut back on costs for the journey. Since we will not be making a large voyage, the seas can be navigated by twenty-five men, always with half resting, to keep them rotated and unwary When we make it to Ebonhart, we will delay our journey by ship, and go to Vivec, to find our little Magician.'
Arla silently listened to him, taking bites from her food now and then. She took in all of what he said, and could not wait until they got her magics back. 'Thank you, my Master!' She told him, with the look of a grateful woman in her eyes.
They were on the top deck, when the shore of Solitude was spotted, and in another hour, they were pulling into the harbor. The crew unloaded the ship, putting it in wagons owned by the Imperial Legion to bring them to the fort. Lord Drad gathered the proper signatures from the officer, then went back aboard the ship as the crew closed the holding deck's door.
He marked in his Log that he received the signature from the officer, and they were returning to New Rock, Solstheim soon after. He went to the Captain's nest, on deck, and gave the routs to Admiral Ply, sending the ship in its course to Solstheim. Arla stood next to him as he looked from his nest, peering into the icy sea.
'When in New Rock, I shall go to the clothing goods store, and we shall get you new garb, to withstand the cold winters in Solstheim. It is colder there than it is, even in Skyrim.' Lord Drad told Arla as she watched the ocean waves.
The journey to Solstheim was rather uneventful, and they were there within another few days. The ship was hauling through the waves now quickly, with a gust of wind from the south, pushing them along. New Rock was achieved within the week, and they made port there.
Lord Drad had sent the letter to his father three days ago, so he should have word of their coming. It was midday when they were docked. They had no load, and they needed to get their profits back to the Drad Merchant Co. Offices, in Trasklin. But, there was a weekly rider, coming back and forth with news between here and there. They would simply send and await word by way of messenger
In the mean time, Lord Drad took Arla out, and through the cold town. As they walked down the path, to reach New Rock, the wind caught hold of their cloaks, and even with them on, they were rather cold. They made their way to the clothing store. Arla tried on a few cloaks, and a few robes, all made for the winter. She also tried on a few pairs of pants, lined with satin. Lord Drad looked through the blankets, in which he found a high quality fur blanket, with a soft cotton lining in it, for an extra layer for Arla and Lord Drad to sleep with.
Paying for the blanket, and a numbers of robes and pants for Arla, the bill came out to sixty septims. Lord Drad took out a small bag of coins, and handed the lady at the counter a few gold pieces. They walked back to the ship, and put the stuff away, the blanket upon the bed, and Arla's clothes in the closet.
'Next, we are going to find you a real weapon.' Lord Drad said. 'We will find a sword smith, and have him custom forge you a weapon that you can properly wield'
Arla nodded her head. 'Yes, Master.'
Arla followed her Master to the local smithy, and entered the shop. 'We would like to have a sword hand forged, to fit her height, weight, and style. I care not the cost.' Lord Drad said to the man, explaining what they were looking for.
They were shown what could be done. The Smithy had them choose between a number of different metals: Silver, Steel, Iron, or Adamantium. 'I would like it to be Steel, with traces of silver in the mixture, if it can be done.' Arla told him.
'It can be.' He then put ten bricks of steel out of a vault, and one of silver. Putting it in his cart, he lead them to the smelting pot. 'Now, this sword can either be curved, as a saber, or rapier, or it can be in the style of the Elsweyr Katana, with only a gentle curve. If it is to fit her height and weight, I would not suggest a large sword, such as a bastard, or a claymore. Just stick with the lighter styles.'
Arla saw a number of handles for each styles of swords, and many that she felt were very comfortable in her grip. 'I'll take the Katana Style, and with this type of pummel and handle.' She said, holding up a black cloth, wrapped around bamboo, which was wrapped and stuck tightly to the lower tang of the sword.
'Very well.' He chose the mold for her sword, for its basic design. He then began adding the bricks of metal to the smelting pot, liquefying them slowly. While he did that, he got his hammer and anvil ready to begin curving her sword to a perfect angle. 'Come back and see me in a few hours, and I might be ready to start taking her exact size, and where she is comfortable swinging it.'
Lord Drad and Arla went to the foods goods store. Drad Merchant Co. takes care of all galley meals, and all meals that come from the ship. But each individual crew could buy his own extra items, freely, with their own earnings. Drad Merchant Co. would not pay for it, but would allow them to do it.
Arla suggested that the buy bristleback meat, being a more tasty pork than pig. Lord Drad saw her point, and bought six pounds of it. He was not getting much, only stuff for his own privet meals. His cabin had an icebox, and it also had a wood burning stove. He could cook in his cabin just fine, and did quite often.
Lord Drad got a few pounds of potatoes, and a few bags of herbs. There was not much in the way of vegetables, being a harsh winter. The best they got were a selection from a small bag of blackberries for ten septims, or a single tomato for eight gold. Lord Drad got the bristleback meat, the potatoes, and the herbs, all for twenty septims
But Lord Drad had that 180 septims, his share of the gold bars, and he was also paid a sum of money as a bonus, for every full delivery he makes. For every complete delivery, Lord Drad got an extra hundred septims, as a fee for his services, not to mention a monthly salary of 4'000 septims, which Drad Merchant Co. pays him every time he is in to port at his hometown harbor of Winterhold. He always saved most of it, but keeping a quarter of it in gold in his room, for his own expenses while he was on a journey.
He had 800 septims left from that as well, from last month's payment of salary. With buying the goods and food, they now had 900 septims to last them for two weeks. It was the 17th of April, and he would gain 4'000 septims to his name on the 1st of May, waiting for him to pick up at the Drad Merchant Co. halls, on a dock in Winterhold.
Lord Drad and Arla put away all the goods in the cabin, back at the boat, and the crew made their trips into town at their pleasure. They were simply waiting for the weekly messenger. Besides, it was good for the crew to take a day or two to rest.
The messenger came a day later, around mid day, and delivered a letter to Lord Drad. It was an official Drad Merchant Co. envelope. Something to do with business of the company was inside, indicating transfer orders, or new shipment invoices. Lord Drad opened it to discover his father's reply to his earlier letter.
Lord Nikolai Drad, Captain of the frigate Winterwriter,
I have heard your request, and have thought it through about it. I have seen that there are many routs in the Topal Sea open for trade. You will receive invoices in Winterhold by the 1st of May, and will from then on be in charge of the two areas, both Southern Tamriel, and Northern. I will take care of the small coastal trades here on Solstheim.
Until the 1st of May, you are free to do as you wish. I have no more special orders for you, so you are fine to go back to your regular duties as Champion of the Skyrim sector of this company.
Admiral Ply may indeed be promoted, and given his own ship to command. We are putting the new ship, the Weatherstride, into the water sometime next week and sending it to Winterhold, with a ghost crew on it. There, Admiral Ply may be named Captain of that ship, and given any set of routs that you feel him capable of.
On to the matter of your slave. Do not let her interfere with business. She may help as much as you desire, but when it is more a problem than a help, I warn you, it will soon turn bad for you.
For these next two weeks, go wherever you wish, on freelance work. You are the Champion of the Skyrim fleet, so you may trade as you wish. On the 1st, and view the invoices, and you decide which ones you will take, and which to decline.
We are doing well here, and all is well. We hope you are doing well, son. Have a beautiful journey, son.
Lord Hrothmund Drad.
Lord Drad took the letter, and brought it to his desk. He marked on his log his next actions, and what had taken place. Arla and he then went back to the smithy, once the paperwork was taken care of.
The smithy was just finishing pounding out the blade.
Lord Drad had Arla instruct the smithy on how long, thick, wide, and heavy her katana should be. After she gave her measurements, the smithy once again took out a hammer and anvil and got them ready. He placed the unfinished katana into a kiln to heat the steel and silver enough to let it bend to the hammers manipulation.
It took five or six minutes of being in the kiln before it was ready, but Lord Drad and Arla stuck around and watched the smithy work in his shop. They watched him pound the katana at first free hand, then with a pair of tongs, and once more in a cast, to keep the hits from spreading metal that was not meant to move. The smithy was finished after another hours worth of work, with the blade and pummel. He then set to work fitting it with a handle, using the same style as Arla had earlier picked out.
They watched as the bare metal became the shape of a katana, custom built for Arla's style and size. It came out to be three and half feet long, and had a razor sharp blade on. Arla's eyes lit up when he said that all that was left was the sheath.
'Well, do you want the classic sheath, or would you like a back sheath?' The smithy said, setting the finished sword on a counter, while sheaths were sought
'A classic design, please.' She said.
'And what color should you like the wrapping, and the clasp?' He asked.
'The clasp should be black, and the wrapping shall be red, with small portions of black.' Arla directed the smithy.
'Okay, so, give me another few hours, to perfect the sheath to the sword, get minor nicks out of the blade, and overall perfect it. If there is anything you would like written upon the sword, now is the time to tell me where and what you want.' The smithy informed Lord Drad and Arla.
Lord Drad stepped in and spoke before Arla was permitted to do so. 'Engrave this at the very bottom of the blade, and very small.' He handed the Smithy a piece of parchment containing Lord Drad's seal design. 'And upon the blade, it shall have designs of fire and wind, all about it. Make sure it is deep enough so that nicks don't affect it as much.'
The Smithy nodded, and went about making the sheath. Around three hours later, it was finished, and Arla had a complete sword to call her own. Lord Drad spoke with the smithy, and asked how much the service would cost him.
'Well, each bar of steel was 20 septims, and each of silver was 40 septims The service fee will be 200 septims, and the completed sword will come out to around, four hundred and forty septims' The Smithy tallied up the bill. 'Also, if your working in the Imperial Legion Fort, you have a special discount, making the first bars of steel free.'
'No, I am Champion of Drad Merchant Co., but I am not directly associated with the Imperial Legions.' Lord Drad told the Smithy.
'Then four hundred forty it is.' He said. As he was paid, he handed Arla her sword with a slight bow of his head. Lord Drad and Arla walked back to the ship, and decided to start looking up plans for deliveries.
Lord Drad looked to the maps in his cabin that closed in on the Vvardenfel Island, and sought trade routs that came near Vivec. He saw one, which lead him from New Rock, to Dagon Fel, Vvardenfel, then on to Tel Mora, Morrowind, and finally, stopping right in the city of Vivec, Foreign Quarter. Lord Drad marked a new rout for the ship, on its rout maps, and Captains Log. He wrote out his intentions in a few details.
Arla held her new katana in both her hands, and swung it broadly. The cabin chambers were quite large, and she had enough room to swing loosely. Lord Drad continued to document the activities. He then wrote off a letter to his father, giving his specific directions of his ship, and where the stops would be.
The Northern Miner, a small tavern, needed a check sent away, to the amount of their spendings in goods. Their cargo to Dagon Fel consisted of a simple piece of paper with red ink upon it. But they were also guaranteed to gain another load, on the way back, directed to New Rock, being able to make more deliveries, even on the way back.
Admiral Ply gave the orders to shove off from port, and head the way to Dagon Fel. They made good time, only a day and a half, and were loading up crates in Dagon Fel, for ten septims a piece. They made an easy 500 septims, by taking them to Tel Mora.
In Tel Mora, they were paid 6'000 septims to take 30 crates of potions to the Foreign Quarter of Vivec. The journey was well balanced, for they now had just enough cargo to make it worth the trip down to Foreign Quarter anyways. But Lord Drad was glad they were able to make some gold on the way, paying for the trip in gold.
In the Foreign Quarter, they unloaded the crates of potions and had them hauled up to the city medical university. Lord Drad then had no more deliveries, so he had time to search for Navan Drasil. He also had time to look for a delivery, for the return home, as not to waste a trip.
To begin his search, he looked in the canton used for selling slaves the most, which was the Arena Canton. Lord Drad began to look for the established trade market there. Arla began pulling at his cloak, when she spotted her old owners.
'And there is Navan.' She pointed out, showing Lord Drad a man in an elegant robe, and a fine silk cloak. He was a sharp trader, and businessman, Lord Drad could see. 'He is the one whom put the enchantment upon me, Master.'
'Very well, we have your documents, and all we need to do is pay the fee, and sign up certain official papers, and they should reverse the enchantment upon you.' They walked up to the kiosk, and mentioned whom they were, and their purpose. 'And I am her current owner, and wish to have her enchantment taken off, for I am capable of handling a Magician Slave. She is not worth as much to me, as a simple wench.' Lord Drad finished.
'Very well, just let me get the proper papers, and you can have her a working Mage by Sundown.' Drasil said happily. 'It is always a good sight, seeing more owners skilled enough to control Magic Users as slaves. Only Wizards now days can do it normally, but it pleases me to see a Master that is not a Magician, controlling a Magician Slave.' The man said as he flipped through a massive amount of parchment papers.
'Oh, I am a Magic User, Sir.' Lord Drad said. 'I am a Wizard, of the bloodline Drad. I was trained at the Nord Academy of Solstheim, then in the Imperial City at the Arcane University. My knowledge of magic is acceptable,'
'I see, that certainly does qualify as a Magic User, and also, whatever rank you are in the Mages Guild will count for you when reversing this. Mages' Guild members get half off of the fee.' Navan said, pulling out a quill now. Lord Drad pulled out his own: a perfect nibbed Clifracer feather, with a cap that was silver. 'Just sign at the bottom of every page.' Navan said.
'I am a 3rd degree Warlock, a 2nd degree Wizard, and a 1st degree mage. My rank is Agent, and I am a Spellwrite of the Guild as well.' Lord Drad dipped his quill in the pot of red ink on the table, and began signing his distinct signature. It went quickly, the papers being signed and documented. After all the papers were done, Lord Drad got a copy of each sheet, by way of Magic Duplication.
'Now, we will go to the store room right away, and I shall find the spell to remove this enchantment. I have it put in a scroll, in case I have need of a quick reversal.' He was very cheery about his work. He was too cheery, in fact. 'The fee is three hundred septims I will require the gold upfront, I am afraid. Other than that, we are almost ready.'
They walked into the small room, and looked around a bit for his scrolls. He spied them up on top of one of the drawers, and pulled the bundle of old, brown, spell scrolls. He searched through them a while, reading the small text of each one, in order to find the one he was looking for.
Lord Drad saw the old spell, and knew they were in luck, as Navan pulled it out of the bundle. They walked out into the small area before the kiosk, and Navan had Arla stand in the center of a circle drawn in the floor. He read off the incantation and the energy wrapped around him, and down his arm, into the circle, dispersing as it was nearing Arla. A pretty purple and green color the energy took shape of! Arla stood amazed at the gravity of Magic that was being held on her, not letting her cast her own spells. The Magician whom created this was a Master of his craft indeed.
'Thank you!' Arla said to Navan. She looked to her Master, and said. 'Master, it is my duty to show you the magnitude of my powers, in a demonstration. You shall then know the capabilities of your Slave.'
Lord Drad thought about it. He looked to Navan, and spoke. 'Yes, it is. Is there a place around here that she is aloud to perform a demonstration of Magic here?'
Navan looked over his shoulder. 'Our main offices are in the St. Olms Canton. Come with us this night, when we close. We will let you use our practice room, for a show. We will also supply a small demonstration, if you wish.' Navan replied, smiling with a sharp bite.
'That will suit me fine.' Lord Drad said. 'When do you close?'
'We will be closing in little under three hours.' Navan said. He tucked the gold Lord Drad gave him into a small chest, for funds. 'You may return here, or I can mark our office's location on your map, and you can come there with your slave in three hours; we will set you up a practice room. We will also show you around our shop, so you may see all the tools to aid you with your slave. I take it this is the first time buying; we specialize in helping new Owners.' Navan said.
Lord Drad was a simple Nord Merchant. He didn't know anything about the mainstream Slave culture. But he did know a sales pitch when he heard one. He knew the man's style: Draw them in, make them comfortable, then make a sale based off of emotional and impulse buying.
Even in Morrowind, Lord Drad thought, there are still swindlers, just as there were back in Cyrodiil. 'Alright, mark it on my map, and we will use your area for a demonstration. I will bring a few pieces of gold, but not much. I will buy a few things, but I have little gold to due with, so you'll have to bare with my little needs.' He explained, rather pushy, what was going to happen. But Navan took the bait, and put Lord Drad in control of the conversation.
Back on the ship, the men were doing their daily port duties. Whenever they were at port, they were to wash the deck, check the sails, check all lines and rudders, and do general maintenance. The crew was also to refill on water, where it could be gotten for free. Lord Drad took a clip board and walked into the store room of the ship, where they kept their food supplies.
He took count of their supplies, doing a complete inventory check. Arla stood next to him with an ink pot, as he held the quill and paperboard. He looked up and down the shelves from front to back, opening up cabinets, checking every door. Arla helped by moving whatever her Master pointed to, and helping take counts of all the individual goods.
When they were finished, Lord Drad was able to calculate all the supplies, in a complete food index. He then sat down in his office, and decided what needed to be ordered and bought for supplies, on their way back to Winterhold.
They had on board the ship right then these things:
Potato bag 6
boar meat 160 lbs.
Venison meat 50 lbs.
Rice 70 lbs.
Sugar 30 lbs.
Tea 30 lbs.
Salt 60 lbs.
Herbs 37 lbs.
Eggs 12 crates
wine (cooking) 17 bottles
wine (drink) 8 bottles
flour 25 lbs
garlic 40 bulbs
cheese 6 wheels
Lord Drad looked at the list, and then documented it in his Captain's Log. It became more like a scrapbook of the ship, documenting everything in it. It was as if the walls in the Captain's cabin could talk, and were writing their story.
He then wrote out a list of goods they would need to make it to Winterhold, Skyrim. He wanted to make no food stops, and no breaks needed. He wanted to be in Winterhold by the 1st of May, which was just 5 days away. They were still in the city of Vivec, which was all the way on the Southern end of Vvardenfel.
When the list was made, it was labeled very simply, so that the crew could be easily charged with the task of gathering food and supplies from the traders of the city. Admiral Ply took 90 septims, and a few of his staff officers took 50 septims each. They went out with the list Lord Drad gave to them, as Lord Drad went to the St. Olms Canton, and to the main offices of the Slave Traders'.
Lord Drad walked in, and was greeted by a young Breton, with a small form, and a pretty smile. 'Welcome to the Vivec St. Olms faction of Vvardenfel Slavers Co.' She said in a cute Western voice. She sounded as if she was from High Rock. 'What is your business here, Sire, Lady?'
'We were sent here by Navan Drasil, for a demonstration, and a bit of looking through your inventory.' Lord Drad said. He had a bag of gold with him, with around 50 septims in it, which was all he was willing to spend in this place, no matter how good the stuff looked.
The Breton nodded her head. 'Ah, yes, you will find Navan just through these doors.' She pointed behind her. 'Our inventory and shop is that way.' She pointed up the stairs, where there was a small gate, and then an unseen area.
'Navan said to come soon, so we shall go to this demonstration first.' Lord Drad spoke.
They walked into the back, and discovered a full sized training room, with a fighting pit, a bow range, and a Magic Practice section as well. There were also cages, and cells, and chests of stuff around. This was where the slaves were trained properly.
Navan was sitting next to a male Argonian slave, whom was taking a break from bow shooting. 'Ah, Lord Drad, good to see you here. We have the presentation all set up. It is a bit of an obstical course, but she will make it through just fine, I am sure. There is nothing dangerous, so don't worry for her safety.' He spoke to Lord Drad only.
'Of course.' Lord Drad said. 'Arla, are you ready to do this?' He asked her.
'She is, of course.' Navan said. 'She would not have asked to perform this task without being ready. She was trained like that.' He answered for her. 'We trained her here, and we have never once had a faulty slave. Ask her even.'
'Arla?' Lord Drad asked.
'He speaks the truth.' She said.
'Alright, well, continue then.' Lord Drad said.
She walked up to the practice area, and looked to the back of the bow range. There was a sack of watermellons at the end of the range. Arla cast an open hand to the ground, pulling up the energy, and wrapping it around her whole arm. She then threw it quickly at the watermellons, splattering them and bursting them open, in a red rain. Her eyes remained at the range the whole time.
Navan looked to her cast the spell, and made commentaries on her. 'She just cast an energy spell at it. It took them, and sent enough energy into them to burst open.' Arla saw the small chest in the center of the room, and knew she was to open it. She pushed her finger to the floor, and picked up a pinch of dust, then poured it into the lock. She stepped back a bit, and pulled her hand out about her, as she was grabbing at the air. She collected the energy from the air, and sent it into the lock hole. It froze up well, freezing the dust in place, she then knelt down, and used the magnificent power of the earth, to gather her energy. She drew up a red energy, with a black tint to it. She cast it directly into the lock hole, breaking the ice into shatters, and snapping the lock off of it.
Navan explained to Lord Drad that she was using elemental energy, which was a style of Wizardry that Worlocks used. He said that Magic that was pulled out of specific elements, and not out of objects, or your own store, then it was elemental Magic. He said that normal Magic was generated by a store of Energy we have already in our bodies...which are the simple, almost second hand like spells, that we master in. Then, you have the spells that you have to learn, which you may or may not have enough energy to do out of your own supply. You may then learn an addition to place upon your spells, making them all more powerful. A way of directly collecting energy right when you perform your spell. Now, the most difficult spells are Ritual Magic, which most times, you will find Shamans specializing in. They draw their high amounts of required energy right from their ritual. In fact, most of the operational parts of a ritual are not the creating of the spell, but the collecting of energy.
By the time Navan had explained the different types of Magic, Lord Drad had seen his Slave destroy a small crate with a tiny bolt of energy the size of his quill. 'I am a seasoned Wizard, I know the styles and types.' Lord Drad told Navan.
'Oh, of course you are. I was just mentioning them out of habit, thinking outloud I guess.' He replied. He was deffinately sort of strange: just a bit too happy about his job. But, he was also a Manic little fellow, whom had spent time beyond the gates, into the relm of Sheogorath, which was named properly, the Shivering Isles. He was comfortably insane.
Arla went to the last object. She saw a ghost at the end of the range, and knew it to be harmful, by its aura. She threw a ball of fire down at it, and immediately sent another energy bolt after it. She started flinging out bolts of energy from her arm, hitting the ghost one by one, weakening its aura. She then gathered energy from the air about her, and flung a charged energy bolt after the ghost, which was now advancing on her. It hit the ghost in its upper region, and the spectre disappeared.
'She is a very skilled Magician in destruction, and illusion I can tell. I wonder what else she can do in other fields.' Navan kept remarking with things like this every few minutes.
Arla then finished her demonstration and walked back to her Master, getting on her knees in full presentation. She kept her head down, and eyes lowered in respect to her Master, and awaited for his orders. Lord Drad petted her head, as one would do a small kitten. 'You may stand, and follow me, Arla.'
She got to her feet, and stood a step behind Lord Drad with her hands behind her back, locked there in a firm grip. She was silent, and ready to serve Lord Drad, just as she was perfectly trained to do. Navan, knowing it was his skills that shaped Arla like that, glowed in pride at his work being so well used.
'Ah, if you are all done, you will find our store up here, complete with everything a slave owner should have, for a very affordable price.' Navan said, leading them up some stairs. They were then in a room full of shackles, traps, collars, leashes, ropes, masks, specialized clothes, and other assorted gear, all for maintaining a slave. 'Most of it is under ten gold per item.' Navan stated, as Lord Drad walked up one of the aisles.
Arla was a foot away from him, as though she were leashed. She kept her head up, but her eyes down and on Lord Drad. She did look about the equipment some though. Lord Drad saw what looked like a length of ship chain. But it was a leash. 'It's for Orc slaves.' Navan said, seeing the look Lord Drad gave. 'Only stuff that'll hold 'em.'
Lord Drad found two items that interested him. He found a collar, which had a special loop, for attaching leashes, ropes, and other things such as that. He saw that the price was only 5 Septims for it, he grabbed it. He also liked the mask that was hanging up on a shelf. It was a Masquerade Masque, and it had a female face, with black scratches all over it, as if her pale white flesh was being ripped to reveal the bloody red bones. And the masque portreyed very well.
Lord Drad looked at some leashes, and got one, just as an impulse item. He also got her a small blanket, in which she could wrap up in durring the day. Since she was small, she could curl up in a chair, and she could use that blanket now to keep warm.
Navan gave them a discount on both the reversial of enchantments, and for the goods he bought. 'As one Mage to a Wizard, you are a rare sight. Even for one whom studies Magic, you are a rare sight to see. One that can keep that one as a slave, with her Magic untamed. That is why I had to sap it, she was a feisty one.' Navan said. 'I congratulate you on your skills, Master Wizard!'
Lord Drad and Arla walked back to the ship little after dark, and went to their cabin. Lord Drad put down the collar and masque, and then had Arla set down the leash and her blanket. She set them down on the chair right next to her.
'I am going to give the order to Admiral Ply to make way to Seyda Neen first thing in the morning.' Her master told her, just before walking out the door. She was left to do with what she could.
She picked up the collar, and leash, and put it gently on the table. She picked up her masque and also set it on the table. Her blanket, she put on her usual chair, which was large, and very soft. She could see herself curled up in that on cold days.
She sat in her chair with her blanket, curled up, and reading her parchments that Lord Drad had written out for her. She wanted to learn as best she could, and to study his will, and become adamant in her duties would be the best thing for her she knew. She was curled up as a kitten when her Master returned from the deck, his cloak a bit wet.
'It's about to start raining tonight.' He commented to her. 'We will be in for rough weather tomorrow, and the next day as well, most likely. The Inner Sea, here on the West side of Vvardenfel, gets many spring storms, and it will be a devilish ride back up to Solstheim. I made a rout back up the coast, but did not count on storms.' Lord Drad looked to the table, then noticed Arla at his knees, awaiting orders. He picked up the collar, and wrapped it gently around Arla's neck, tightening it properly. He took the leash, and clasped it to the collar, holding the handled side.
Arla awaited her Master's move, for her to move, or otherwise. She remained on her knees, at attention, for any signs from her Owner. Her Master finally yanked the leash, pulling her to her feet. She walked to her Master's flank, and stood behind him, her hands locked behind her back in obedience to him.
'Walk with me, as we always do. I am going to get used to this leash, so we will have to try it out like this.' Her Master's voice, she could tell, was set on this, wanting to learn a new art. She gladly smiled, and nodded her head, happy to see her Owner's grin. 'The leash, we will not be using so very much, but the collar you are to keep on, being a symbol.'
Her Master walked about the Foreign Quarter of the city of Vivec with her, behind him and leashed. She kept her distance to a step back from her Master, being the most practical of places to be at post. She followed her Master's every move with great attention to her Master's needs.
Lord Drad went down into the Canton's many covered areas, where they were surrounded by shops and stores, along with a number of people moving about the area, in an indoors market. Lord Drad took this opportunity to look for cheap goods, to decorate his cabin a bit more. He had never really made it as a home, but now he knew he was going to make that ship his permanent residence. He picked up a number of things, from a globe with a stand, and a wall map of the many oceans and Seas. He also got an hour glass, along with a nice calendar, made with the guided hands of Mages' Guild Astronomers. It all cost him around 100 Septims.
By ten at night, Arla and her Master were just putting all his new decorations into the office, and setting them up. It was eleven at night when there were finally done with that, and onto the other projects. 'What am I going to do about a trade, to make the trip up North worth while. It's not like me to go from one major city without leaving with cargo to be taken to another city.' Lord Drad said to himself, as he smoked his pipe, aloft in his chair comfortably.
The night wore on with Lord Drad in his chair, smoking his pipe, and drinking a small amount of skooma in a cup of tea. It would be just enough to send him into a peaceful dream state. Arla was curled up in her chair, now right next to Lord Drad's, that way she could tend his pipe, and help him fix his drinks as he needed.
When the hour glass emptied once more, they knew the hour to be one in the morning. Lord Drad gulped the last of his tea, and then took off his cloak. Arla took it, and hung it up on the rack, then came back to help her Master to his bedroom.
To Dream of the Mist
Lord Drad laid in his bed, with Arla next to him, her warm body next to his. He saw into the sky, stars all about him, the mist incedibly thick, but soft as pillows to touch. He reached out, and grabbed a small handful of the stars, the dust all over his fingertips now.
Arla saw him reach up and grab at the air in the cabin, but knew not what her Master was doing, or what he wanted to grab. She watched as he looked at his fingers, as if they had something in them. She knew her Master was drinking skooma, but had never seen the drug in effect before. She only knew that hallucinations were one of the many effects of it though.
Lord Drad went off into his person dreams, only he felt them, he was in them. The mist about him turned to ash, and he was pulled into it. There, he saw the eyes of Dagoth Ur, the Devil of the Mountain. He felt the ash then turn to a sprey from the sea, and hit him in the face harshly. The area about him became the deck of his ship, and he was sailing hard into the North, trying to keep themselves at a fast pace. They couldn't be running from the storm, for it was just a spring storm, and they were already in it. They must have been trying to outsail something else.
By the time Lord Drad had turned, another sprey hit him in the face, and the scene changed to a small podium in the Arcane University, in the Imperial City, with a row of stone benches curved about it. It was where his classes for Summoning were usually taught. He sat at the podium, and he had a small stone at his hands. He picked it up, and an ethereal serpant appeared near him, coiling up, and hissing at the croud. Lord Drad wispered to it, and it slithered away a few feet, then proceded to eat itself, tail first. This was a distant memory Lord Drad had, from when he showed the power one could have over an animal's will, when you use the power of illusion, conjuration, and summoning. He was promoted in the Mages' Guild the day he made that presentation.
But the serpent then burst into another mist, this time bright red, with streaks of black and yellow bolting through them. Lord Drad searched, but all around him, the colors flashed in and out of huis head.
Arla watched from the side of the bed, as her Master turned gently from side to side in his bed. His body, she noticed, was now covered in sweat, and his breath was getting shorter. She watched him mouth out some words, and then cast his hand about the night air, but nothing after that.
Lord Drad started to once again see through the mist once more, to find that he was now in the Imperial City, Waterfront District. He was behind the last house of the street, and the fence was lit up by a torch...the torch came from a man leaning against the clay house. He was of a slender build, lankey, and had a quick hand. For an Imperial, he was rather tall as well.
'Alright, I am Christophe, and I am the Auger of the Thieves' Guild for the Waterfront, here in the Imperial City.' The man said. Lord drad noticed the four other people standing there as well, all nodding their heads. 'You are all members of this guild, and can all get the same benefeits from it. Your freelance theives, so go and steal things.' Christophe walked to the center of the group. 'You may all work in this city together, without disputes. All you need to do, is come here, to our local Guild Halls, where you will see maps, and you will also see bullitin boards. Use them. Mark out what you are planning to steal...just marking the house will claim it as your own, and if someone else from this guild hits it before you, you take it up with one of the Guild Augers. That is how it works for major jobs. For pickpocketing and petty crimes, you guys have fun....hell, if it doesn't interfere with major hits, you can even pickpocket each other. But no robberies on any other members. Pickpocketing keeps a man on his toes, but it's no longer useful if it is getting in the way of making some Septims.' He explained, the torch illuminating his face brightly.
The torch then went out from the wind of the night, leaving Lord Drad in the dark. He could tell he was moving, as if he were in a ship, and that it was making way faster than many could hope. The ship rode into the night, the mist taking it from all around.
Lord Drad was at the ship's Captain's nest, giving out orders to steady the ship, keeping the wind from getting a hold of the sails and dragging them under the waves. He got another spray of misty seawater in his face, and he awoke. It was seven in the morning, by the light coming from the curtains.
Lord Drad awoke with Arla at his side, laying next to him with her arms wrapped about him. The ship's crew could be heard outside hustling to get the ship out of harbor, Admiral Ply's voice ringing out orders to the men. His shouts rang in his head, and Lord Drad knew that he was about to have a very rough day, because the skooma the night before was a strong batch enough to make him pass into a Black Sleep.
Arla awoke as her Master got out of bed. He quickly got dressed, and had his vest on. Arla got out of bed, and ready for the day, as her Master had told her she may do every morning, with routine. She waited outside the bathroom as her Master occupied it, as she tapped her foot holding in her wimpers. She truly was like a little pet, as the Slave Trainers had trained her. They made her a loyal pet to be sure.
Her Master came out of the bathroom, and she walked in, doing her business quickly, and washing her face. The ship had an interesting pump system, being fused with magic to keep it going. When she came out of the bathroom, her Master was pulling on his sword belt, along with a quiver of arrows, and a bow, which was unstrung, but with the string attached to it.
Arla started putting her clothes on. She pulled over a shirt, made from cotton, and then a long sleeved shirt of fur, to keep warm. She put on a pair of pants made of fur as well, to keep warm. She put her scarf of silk on, and came next to her Master, kneeling next to him.
His lips spoke softly to her, as she heard him, she paid attention well. 'You need to tell Admiral Ply to come to my office, which I will be in for the next few hours. He and I need to speak, and while we do, you are to remain silent, in the courner over here. You may curl up in your blanket if you wish, but keep to your chair.' She nodded her head in aknowledgement of his orders.
She left her Master in his room, and she walked into the office of the cabin. Taking the cloak hung up, she swung it on and headed out the door to the deck. She walked about the deck quickly, having an agenda, and showing it in her movements. Admiral Ply was on the forth deck, in the galley eating a quick early breakfast when Arla approached him.
'Admiral Ply.' She said, standing before him.
'Yes, Lady Arla.' He said, looking up from a meal of boar ham and eggs.
'I was sent to tell you to meet my Master in his office.' Arla said with a calm accent. 'He said he would be there for a few hours or so, so I assume he would let the time be up to you.'
'I understand, Lady Arla.' He said, then taking another bite from his food.
Arla walked back up the stairs to the deck, and into her Master's cabin. He was sitting at his desk, with a stack of parchments in front of him. He was adding up all the shipments, and all of the gold spendings. He put it all into a folder, and placed it in his desk. She knew he was busy, but not so busy as to not want her to interrupt him with an update.
'Master, I have given the summons to Admiral Ply. Do you have any other orders for me, Master?' She said, kneeling at his side. Her head remained bowed as her Master pat her gently, making her feel all the enjoyment she could ever imagine.
'Go into the chambers, and bring out a small pot of tea, for me and the Admiral to drink while we begin our discussion.' He said, still petting her head. 'Bring out all the settings as well, and put it on a trey, we will take it there, and fix it ourselves.'
Arla glowed with a deep satisfaction, having her Master use her properly. She went into the chambers, and began a pot to boil, and set up a tea pot with leaf tea, and prepared the cups and spoons, setting them all on a trey, and putting a small dish of milk and a small dish of sugar on the trey as well, then setting it up in the office. She waited while the tea began to boil, as her Master continued to go about his duties.
It was about noon when Admiral Ply knocked at Lord Drad's office door. 'Enter, Admiral!' Lord Drad barked. The Admiral walked into the cabin, where Lord Drad's office was located. Arla heard him enter, so she came into the office from the chambers.
Admiral Ply was sitting in the chair opposite of Lord Drad's, and Arla's chair was just next to her Master's. She came in, and curled up in her blanket, her ears perked, listening to her Master and the Admiral speak, as a little kitten would do.
They spoke of their next moves, as Captains. Her Master told Admiral Ply that he would be operating a small ship built for coastal deliveries, and take a short route at first, to get him used to commanding a ship of his own.
Admiral Ply thanked Lord Drad when he heard the news. But her Master finished the subject by saying to him. 'But, this is of little importance, for we will not be there for another week, at least. What is important is finding a proper delivery from Seyda Neen to either New Rock, or Winterhold. Even just to somewhere along the way from there.'
Admiral Ply snapped back to attention. 'Well, Captain, there is always a chance that someone in Ebonhart will now need some goods shipped, and you definitely want to take the West route.'
'Yes, and I heard that the markets there were doing well, raising their prices, meaning they are also gaining in goods.' Her Master added. 'We should be able to find something very quickly. Tell the crew to make way to Ebonhart, when we see it. Also, while there, get the crew to all take stocks of their weapons, the conditions, and the usefulness of them....if there is enough need, we will resupply the whole crew with new weapons, and new equipment, all on the Drad Merchant Co.'
'Yes, Captain.' Admiral Ply said. 'And what about the stores, shall they be filled with even more goods?'
'No, we have enough to last us another week and a half, without any stops. We will make it with what we have, Admiral Ply.' Her Master said. 'I have just checked the inventory, and all is well. We will also throw some fish nets into the water when we make it up North a little bit. I heard Matshire run in schools in the Inner Sea. We'll have our hands at them for sure.'
Admiral Ply nodded. Arla watched as her Master got more comfortable in his chair while speaking with the Admiral. She as well got more comfortable, now wrapping into a small ball in her blanket, and snuggling herself. She was so cute, and she was sure her Master thought so as well. He looked over to her with a soft smile every now and again, which made Arla's little heart race when he did.
The conversation between them ended with a rather interesting note. Her Master looked up to Admiral Ply, as he was getting up, and said to him. 'And where would you like to have a skooma night at, Admiral Ply?'
Admiral Ply looked with astonishment at his Captain, whom was never heard of taking breaks for a night, even to let the crew rest, he always split them in two shifts, to still save time. With no answer from the rather shocked Admiral Ply, Lord Drad snapped his fingers, so Admiral Ply would snap out of it. 'Or perhaps there need be any skooma for you, if you are already dreaming.' Her Master said jokingly to Admiral Ply with a laughing voice. Arla giggled as she watched.
'Um, well, if you want to do it on land, I suggest not next to any major cities, cause you know the crew is bound to have some rough ones.' Admiral Ply began, blushing now. 'And if you do it at sea, I would at least keep to the Inner Sea, seeing as how you can survive a dunk in this water, if you have the ability to swim; in the Sea of Ghosts, the temperature will turn you blue within two minutes. I would suggest going up to the West Gash region, and making a small stop in Gnar Mok, which is not so big of a city. There, we will have just the right area, with just enough trouble around for the crew to get into.'
Arla couldn't help but to giggle at his answer. Her Master turned to her, and his eyes told her to stay quiet. She bowed her head, then tucked her mouth under the blankets, keeping snug and quiet.
Her Master spoke to Admiral Ply next with a slight different tone, indicating that he was in a mood for a break. 'Admiral, we have fifty bottles of skooma, each bottle with enough in it for two fixes.' His manner was relaxed, sitting in his comfortable chair, his feet propped on his desk. As Admiral Ply looked down at him, he listend well the words his Captain spoke. 'It is time that I start taking more lax deliveries. I am the Champion after all, and I have the right to take more lax jobs if I wish. I happen to take the urgent contracts, because I am good at them, and I needed that extra bonus. But right now, I think we are going to just take a slump month, where we just enjoy ourselves. Consider it a working vacation.'
Now the Admiral was surely dumbfounded. Lord Drad would never have said that when the Admiral had first met him. But he kept his amazement to himself, and said. 'Yes, Captain, and we thank you, Sir.' With a very formal voice.
As she saw Admiral Ply leave the room, Arla came and knelt next to her Master. He looked to her and was about to speak, but he kept shutting his mouth. He could not find the words. Eventually, after a few minutes of thought, he simply leaned back in his desk and said. 'Pull out my pipe, Arla, and pack it with that sweet cherry leaf.'
Arla got up from her chair, yawning, then walked to the desk, where she put the leaf. She pulled out her Master's pipe from her pouch, and then grabbed a pinch of cherry leaf from the bag. She sifted it, and ground it, then packed it firmly into his pipe for him. She set it to his lips, where he took it, then lit a match, and let her Master puff it a while, before waving the match out, and discarding it in the ashtray upon her Master's desk.
Her Master shut his eyes, and drifted off into a dream. The effects of skooma; it stays in your system, and continues to give you dreams and hallucinations until it is all filtered out of your stream. He held his pipe to the side, and Arla picked it up before he dropped it. She worried for her Master now, seeing that he was addicted to the substance. He had only had a single dose of it, and he was already coming down from the drug's nasty side effects.
Arla barred the door to the cabin, leaving them locked in privacy, so her Master could recuperate from his condition. She saw her Master go through the waves of powerful sleep. It was mighty powerful stuff, Arla knew, and her Master had taken quite a bit....is this how the whole crew going to be when they all drank it?
Lord Drad's mind became demented, and he saw the world through the eyes of a beast, an animal, ready to strike. He stared at the door, and saw the lock. He looked to Arla, his slave, and he knew that they were safe for the moment. He then became neutral. His mindset let him relax.
'Master, let me help you get into bed.' She asked him.
Lord Drad knew that this was not natural skooma. It was infected with Moon Sugar for sure. It could not be given to the crew, and could not be allowed to be spread. He was in a calm state of mind, at the moment, void of visions and delusions. He simply could think straight.
'Arla, listen to me. I am poisoned with Moon Sugar. The skooma was laced with it. It was not normal skooma, and it will sicken the crew. You must find me the potions box I carry in my room. I have to procure the medication used for recovering addicts. Fortunately, it is easy to prepare, needing only a few pinches of Ashsalts, a bit of the skooma itself, and some of my blood. It will show me how much I am in need to take by the color it turns when I add the ashsalts to it.'
Arla saw her Master was in his right mind now, and needed her help. She ran into his chambers, and searched for his potions box, where he kept all of his needed tools. She looked next to his bed, and next to the bathroom. She almost gave up when she spotted it sitting next to the weapons racks. She grabbed it, and ran back into the office.
'Master, I have the potions box for you, and the rest of the skooma.' Lord Drad heard his slave say, from behind his chair. He had her set up the alembic, and then the mortar and pestle, along with the other equipment. Lord Drad put the small vial under very hot, clean flame coming from the burner of the potions set. He added ashsalts to the vial, then a bit of skooma from the bottle that he drank it from. He cut his little finger, and let the blood drip into the vial. It boiled quickly, and turned a bright pink, and then murky red color, telling Lord Drad that he had more Moon Sugar in his system than he had skooma. He had to ingest a concentrated amount of medication to balance the effects of the Moon Sugar.
Arla saw her Master's pain, and could see she could do nothing to help him. He was in his own privet hell, and she had to keep it to herself, lest the crew see their Captain in such a state. When he was better, he would be able to pull out of this.
Lord Drad mixed the chemicals, along with the ashes of taproot leaves. It would add in enough chemicals to throw off a hangover. Lord Drad was good at potion making, and knowing what effects balanced what. It was rather easy, he thought, if only his body was more capable while he was like this.
After fifteen minutes, the potion was done, sitting in a cooling vial. Arla saw her Master down the vial in one drink. He then got up, and walked to his chambers. He knew he had another five hours before they arrived in Seyda Neen. Arla knew her Master would be better then, but that he would need to have things ready to go then. She set to work cleaning up the potions box, putting it back where it was found, then setting her Master's office back into order.
She saw her Master laying on his bed, with his arms stretched out wide, and his legs straight out. She could not help but to go over to him, and get atop him, sitting on the back of his legs. She leaned down and put her hands to his neck, rubbing it gently, and firmly. She rubbed him all the way down his back, and over his ribs, completely relaxing her Master. She purred as she felt her Master's contented gasps of air. She continued to rub him until she felt him fall to sleep.
She went into the office, and pulled the tea trey back into the bedroom, where she began to heat more water. She knew her Master would want tea by this time, so she got to it before he woke up. He would also want something to eat. She pulled out a bit of the bristleback meat, and placed it over the fire on a small grated grill. She pulled out a loaf of the unsliced bread, and cut off a few slices of it. She put them over the flames, near some coals, to make them toast.
When Lord Drad awoke, he had tea next to him, still hot, and a plate of bristleback meat, eggs, toast with butter, and a small clove of cooked garlic, to mix with his eggs. His slave had prepared his meal for him while he slept. He was more grateful than he could yet express to her.
Arla watched her Master scarf down all of the eggs within a few bites, using the toast and fork as a small scoop. She saw her meal, once a large plate full of food, become nothing in a matter of minutes, her Master's hunger consuming it completely.
Her Master looked to her, and thanked her for making such a meal. 'Arla, I see you have been taking care of your Master, even whilst he sleeps.' He said to her. 'If you will aid me in finding my maps, and sliding a table in here. I will plot our course properly.'
Arla grabbed a few maps from her Master's office, and pulled a table into the chambers, next to Lord Drad's bed. She watched as her Master wrote down specific directions for his Admiral to issue the crew. He gave exact coordinates, and he marked on the map each guiding landmarks. She noticed that his pencil never stopped moving, always writing notes and speaking, silently.
Her Master, after a while, got up and put on his jacket, then walked to the office, and pulled his cloak on. He went outside, and went to find Admiral Ply. He quickly located him at the bow of the ship, looking off into the distance.
'Admiral Ply!' Lord Drad said, patting him on his shoulder.
He turned. 'Yes, Captain.'
'We have a problem, and we need to get to Seyda Neen as quickly as possible.' Lord Drad said. Arla stood behind him, and kept silent. She knew he was in control of himself, and off of the drug's influence.
'Yes, Captain, but what is the matter?' Admiral Ply asked, worried now. 'You seem very shaken about this.'
'Come to my cabin, and we shall talk there.' Arla heard her Master say. 'It has to do with out extra crates, so come alone.' He whispered to Admiral Ply.
They then walked back to the cabin, where Arla sat straight up in her chair as her Master sat in his own chair. He took out a bag of mint leaf, and began to break it up, then pack it into his pipe. He snapped his fingers, and Arla knew to come to him with a match, and light his pipe. She zipped it across her belt, and held the burning match to light Lord Drad's pipe, as he puffed on it hastily.
'Last night, I was brave enough to try a dose of that skooma that we got, in my tea. I put half of the bottle in a whole tea pot, so I got a little bit per dose. It was enough to make me pass into a Black Sleep, Ply.' Her Master explained. 'I did a trace check on it today, and found it to be laced with Moon Sugar. I had to take an anti-venom, because my body was rejecting it so badly. This crate of skooma we carry is not to be used. It is dirty, and more powerful than any on this ship can handle. The only ones I would feel good about selling this to is a Mage at the Imperial University looking for study exams.'
'But sir, who would be able to set up a contact like that?' Admiral Ply asked. 'I feel that the theives' Guild here is rather low on business. And surely, the Theives' Guild in the Imperial City would have such contacts, but when would we be able to get down there to trade it off?'
'We will keep it on board ship, but we will not touch it. We are going to be in the main Skyrim Docks in a week or so now, and we will be there for quite a while. There, we will sell off the gold bars, and we will split it up.' Lord Drad told Admiral Ply. 'But there is also where you will be leaving my company. You will be in charge of the merchant class ship Weatherstride, and you will there choose your crew of 12 sailors from the main Skyrim offices.'
Admiral Ply shook his head, and thanked his Captain for the promotion. 'It means a lot to me, Captain Drad. I have wanted my own ship for quite some time now, and I thank that you have seen me as worthy of having one.' He praised.
'Just make sure you keep it in good condition. It is a new ship, and will maneuver like one. Break it in a bit to get it in order. Find its kinks, and make use of them.' Lord Drad instructed. 'Also, you are getting the route from Anvil, Cyrodiil, to Bravil, Cyrodiil. I will find out what your deliveries will consist of, but you will get them there quickly, and be a regular merchant ship.'
'I understand Captain Drad.'
'Now, make sure to keep the skooma a secret. Dismissed.' Lord Drad said. Admiral Ply left the cabin, and went about his duties. Arla then walked to her Master, and knelt besides him. 'I have no orders for you right now, Arla.' Her Master told her, rubbing her chin gently.
'May I study a few magic books, Master?' She asked, her head bowed.
Her Master looked at her, and she peeked up at him with soft pleading eyes. She knew he would fall, and he did. 'Yes, and make sure you start with the lower levels. I want you to learn a descent amount of restoration magics, before you go into destruction, or mysticism magics.'
She got up, and went to her Master's library of arcane books. She saw them to be filled with all sorts of keys to magical theories. She took as many notes as she could fathom, and could comprehend, and looked up everything she could have dreamed. She knew her Master had half of the Arcane University's stalked books, by the fullness of the library.
Her Master sat alone in his office, drawing out plans to get to the Topal Sea, in Southern Cyrodiil She noticed about him now, that he did not use other peoples' writing tools: he kept his own set, with a pencil, pen, and brush.
Arla knew after a few hours that they were pulling into the small docks of Seyda Neen. Her Master was going here maybe to tell the people that he had sold the skooma to not to sell it to anyone. She would follow him anywhere, so it hardly mattered, at this point.
Her Master walked into the chambers, and sat in his bed for a few seconds as Arla jotted down one last point, from her studies before coming up to him and kneeling before him. 'Master, I am at your service.'
Her Master stood tall above her, and she could feel his gaze upon her. 'You are going to be helping me tonight, Arla. I am going to need you to hold a few things for me, while I handle some business. I am going to sell off the rest of this skooma tonight, and I do not wish to let the whole crew know we are going to be selling it all off. I just need you to be my extra hands tonight, alright, Arla.' He told her.
She nodded her head, and smiled, waiting her task. 'What may I do for now, Master?' She asked.
'Go to the secret grate in the floor, on the first deck, and you will notice the bag of skooma, fetch it. Once it is here, go and get me the bars of gold. We are going to have them melted down and made into actual septims, so we are not carrying around unmarked gold.' Her Master ordered. 'Then return, and we will get started on our business.'
Arla ran down to the first deck, and into the gold cabinet, then under the rug. She pulled up the loose floor board, and grabbed the bag of skooma bottles, along with the six bars of gold. She then replaced the floor board and rug, making her way back up to her Master. The skooma was rather heavy, for as light of a liquid it was. She brung the skooma and gold up to her Master's office, and told him she was finished.
'Now, we are just about docked in Seyda Neen. We will be here until Sunrise tomorrow. We are stopping here to maybe pick up a delivery on the way to Winterhold.' Her Master told her. 'While here, we are going to sell the rest of this skooma to the local thieves, but at a higher price, considering what it is.'
Arla listened well to her Master's voice. 'I understand master; just tell me what to do to serve you.' She assured him.
'When we are docked, I am going to be searching for deliveries. I want you to follow me, and be ready to hustle back to the ship somewhere around one and two in the morning to get the skooma and gold.' Her Master told her. She nodded her head. 'And you will be needed of course, for random other little details.'
Her Master then went into his cabinet and pulled out a manual of trades. This one had only two transactions in it, and was only on the first page. It had the deal between himself and Ralflod, marking the amount of skooma and amount of gold traded. It also had the gift of Arla, to Lord Drad. This book was obviously the black market book that Lord Drad kept, marking all of the illegal transactions he had done.
'I started this log when I first sold the skooma, knowing I would need records of my doings, even if they were illegal. So, from now on, all off the record transactions we do, that is not done under contract from Drad Merchant Co., will be recorded in this book from now on.' Her Master told her. The book he held was four inches thick, and had a black leather cover on it, not yet marked. 'I am making it the alternate Captain's Log, so we may have a complete record of what is happening on this ship. When I branch off a bit, in Cyrodiil, I will be doing more and more freelancing, and maybe even a bit of marauder work, on a few coastal islands. I will get a contact in the Thieves' Guild in Cyrodiil, and will then be able to fence off the items for a fair amount of profit.'
Arla nodded once more. She knew her Master was excited about this, and she was glad he was so. But she knew if he were to rant on, he would forget to let her at ease. 'Master, would it please you if I were at ease for the time being?' She asked him, while he was puffing his pipe.
'Yes, of course, Arla.' He said. Lord Drad walked around the desk, and pulled the maps back, and folded them up, clearing a small portion of his desk. He then went about sorting out all of his papers, and cleaning up his desk. When it was finally clean of all excess parchments, he sat down in his chair, and puffed his pipe more comfortably. 'Arla, go fetch a wine glass out of my chambers, please. And under my bed is a bottle of Imperial City's Aged Iliac. It's the best wine this side of Summerset Isles. Bring two glasses in fact.' He told her.
Arla got out of her chair, and went into her Master's chambers, gathering the two glasses, and the bottle of red wine. She sat them on her Master's desk, and awaited further instructions. 'Master, what is my next objective?' She asked.
'Bring your chair over here, and sit with me.' He said. She did as told, getting her chair as close to his as she could. Lord Drad poured her a glass of the sweet red wine, then some into his own glass. He opened the alternate Captain's Log, and began to write in it his unique cursive script.
We have gathered the last fifty bottles of skooma, minus the one I drank from. I found, upon drinking a dose of the drug, that it was heavily laced with the powdered drug called 'Moon Sugar'. We are in Seyda Neen now, and are going to sell it at 30 septims a bottle at the local Thieves' Guild. We will mark the transaction properly in this book to show record of it.
Arla waited for her Master to take the first sip of his wine, before she would even touch her glass. He set the black book aside, and took a sip from his glass. It was tasty, with just enough sweetness to balance out the intrinsic fermented flavor of alcohol. Arla then took a sip of hers after her Master had sat down his glass.
'Look out the door there, and tell me how close to being docked we are, Arla.' Lord Drad ordered her. She went to the door, and opened it. She peeked her head outside, then back in.
'Master, we are just now pulled up to the dock, and the crew is tying us off.' She reported to her Master dutifully. 'I think it would be safe to unboard the ship now.'
Lord Drad walked to the door, and threw on his cloak. He then made his way off the deck of the ship and on the dock, where Arla took his arm and walked him down the street of Seyda Neen. They went all about the town, looking for random shops, and inns. They found the bulletin board in the town center had all the stores deliveries written on it. It turned out that the Imperial Scouts had three crates of equipment they needed sent to their scouts in Dagon Fel, where they were being trained. Lord Drad made his way to the offices, and spoke with the leading officer.
By the time all the details of the journey were worked out, it was well past ten at night. They were loading the ship with the cargo, as Lord Drad and Arla walked into the local inn, and ordered a drink, keeping a lookout for Ralflod. He was usually in this inn, Lord Drad was sure.
The shipment of the crates would come out to 50 septims per crate, a 300 Septim shipping charge, and from the Drad Merchant Co. Lord Drad made another 100 septims, for his bonus. That made the trip worth 450 septims, plus an extra 100 for Lord Drad.
Lord Drad spotted Ralflod, and ordered an extra mead. 'Ralflod, I can't seem to remember where to buy those fence posts at, can you direct me?' Lord Drad said to him, handing him the drink. 'I have some more to work with now.'
Ralflod looked amazed at Lord Drad, along with his slave, Arla, on a leash and collar. 'I...I do. I can help ya.' He said, shaking off the thoughts. 'Make your way to the usual spot at around one tonight, and we will do business.' He then walked off in the tavern.
Lord Drad walked out of the inn, him holding the leash connected to Arla. He walked them back to the docks, and sat as his crew pulled the last of the three crates in the ship. They were huge, the size as a human is tall, and as wide as a wagon. They were filled with bows, arrows, cloaks, and small daggers. All were stacked compactly, making them even heavier. Lord Drad noticed the ship sink in the water another foot, indicating how much weight the ship had taken in because of the crates.
He walked back into the ship, and went to his office, where he marked in the Captain's Log the delivery, pickup, and amount for the transaction. He made sure everything was just right in calculations, then placed it in the invoices.
At one in the morning, Arla and her Master walked quietly off of the ship, and made their way to the thieves' cave, with the skooma. They came to it, and knocked, as always. They were answered by Ralflod.
Lord Drad entered first, and then had Arla set the sack down on the floor. 'Well, what is it, Lord Drad?' Ralflod asked.
´49 bottles of skooma, laced with Moon Sugar.' Lord Drad replied. 'It's far too strong for the crew of my ship to handle, and I am not going to keep it around. If you can find Mages willing to take it, that would be preferable.'
Ralflod looked at the sack, and said. 'We have only a bit more revenue, so what are you thinking per bottle?'
'30 septims per bottle, and if you don't have enough to cover that, give me what you have in gold, and give me a contact that I may join the Cyrodiil's Thieves' Guild. I want a guaranteed spot in the organization.' Arla heard her Master deal with the petty thief.
'I can do that. I can give you 500 septims for the skooma, and the rest can only be paid with information.' Ralflod said, keeping his eyes locked on the skooma.
'Then the skooma is yours, Ralflod, but under one more condition only. I want you to promise me that you wont sell it to those you know can't handle it. This is for powerful Magic users only, and even that needs to be taken at a small dose, as I found out. I want you to sell it to Mages in the Mages' Guild, getting it into the proper hands, in doing so. It's simple ethics, as I am sure you can agree.' Lord Drad told him. 'Now, where can I get the gold bars melted down into septims? I no longer want golden bars.'
'We can do that here, if you wish.' Ralflod said. 'We have the press here.'
'Good. And what of your contacts with the Cyrodiil Thieves' Guild?'
'His name is Armond Christophe, and he lives in the Waterfront District of the Imperial City. He is the doyen of the Imperial City sector of the Guild. Most of us refer to it simply as 'the Guild'.' Ralflod said.
'Now, the skooma you will notice, after testing, has a very high amount of Moon Sugar in it, not found in normal doses of skooma. That is why it is so potent.' Lord Drad explained. 'If you would be so kind, however, as to please melt the gold bars, and whatever other gold bars you are giving us in exchange for the skooma.'
'Of course.' Ralflod had his lackeys set to work on the kiln, getting the press ready to create septims for Lord Drad. The process took around 30 minutes, and they put all the coins into a pouch. Lord Drad walked out of the cave with 1'100 septims, all in coins. They went back to the ship, and divvied up all of the gold.
Lord Drad sat in his office, and divided up all the gold into pouches, and setting them on his desk. He then barred his door, and walked into his chambers. Arla followed her Master, and helped him get his shoes and cloak off, then she pulled him into his bed, once he undressed.
Arla then pulled off her top, and got under the two comfortable blankets, getting close to her Master as she could letting his heat flood her body. She threw her arm around him, and held him as they slept, the night wearing on peacefully. Lord Drad knew his slave felt for him, and it was an unspoken agreement, for she knew as well, that he cared about her.
Lord Drad awoke early, at around six in the morning, when the crew was just getting up. He walked out to the deck, to see the misty harbor before they pulled out. He drank a bit of tea as he stared out at the dark waters. Arla lay asleep as her Master prowled the decks.
Lord Drad stood in the Captain's nest as his crew began getting the ship ready to sail. Men about him started moving, pulling the sails down, untying the lines, pulling up the anchor, and manning the oars. The ship pulled out of harbor at seven thirty that morning, the crew rowing to get them out to deeper seas. Lord Drad felt the ship begin to move, and walked back into his office, where Arla was now putting on her cloak.
'Arla, we will be going to be in Winterhold within the next week. You should prepare for a while in the city, for we will be leaving from there for the Topal Sea, in the South of Cyrodiil.' Her Master told her. 'When in Cyrodiil, I will most likely set up a new faction of Drad Merchant Co., so I can control it from Cyrodiil. I will buy a manor or something in either Bravil or Anvil.'
This was quite a revelation for her Master to tell her, Arla thought. She knew that he was making large steps, on procuring his estate even more. She knew this was a major contribution to the Drad Merchant Co.
'So, you will need some decent clothes; something a Lady would wear. I am a Lord of the Imperium, and if you are my slave, you should be seen as one worth serving a Lord.' Arla listened closely to what her Master was telling her. 'You will buy a new wardrobe, in Skyrim. We are Nord, and will dress in our fashion, but our Noble fashion.'
Lord Drad sat in his office, May 1st, on the docks of Winterhold. He had a shipyard there, with a full time crew handling the warehouse, and a whole fleet at his command there. He wrote off orders and sent in invoices, searching his desk for a stack of parchments that he needed to find.
Arla sat next to him, and helped him by gathering things here and there, being his extra set of hands. She knew her Master had to finish here quickly, because they were starting a new faction in Cyrodiil. She gave her service wherever it could be used, trying her best to help her Master finish his task.
When Lord Drad finished with his paperwork, he called in one of his administrators from the warehouse. 'Mr. Argel, I have a task for you.'
'Yes, Captain Drad.' The man asked.
'I need you to find me an administrator with the abilities of taking over my district duties here.' He said. 'Mr. Argel, I need this done within a week.'
'I can talk to Harse Elohein about taking up the job. He was whom was in charge of your duties, while you were away at sea, Lord.' Mr. Argel said.
'Thank you, Mr. Argel, and don't forget to give the workers a raise in salary, everyone in the warehouse gets another Septim per day, and the crew of all ships get another two. Make sure the Captains of the fleet all receive a bonus of 20 septims per delivery. This will keep our crew and workers happy, while I am away for a while.'
'Is there anything else I can help you with, Lord Drad?' Mr. Argel asked his employer.
'I am going to be setting up another faction of Drad Merchant Co. in the South of Cyrodiil. I will need names of lawyers and the locations of suitable manors. I have a budget of 200'000 septims to work with, for a manor and lands, and the Drad Merchant Co. will be able to pay for 45% of whatever is bought to extend its bounds.' Lord Drad said in a stern voice. 'Bring me lands pricing for the areas of Anvil, and Bravil, and anywhere on the coast in between. I will even accept something in the Imperial City. Also, bring me the names of lawyers, and I will be happy with your service.'
'Yes, Sire.' Mr. Argel said, then excused himself from the office.
Arla went to the small stove, and poured her Master a cup of hot tea from the pot, then poured in a slight bit of milk, along with two spoons of sugar, just as he liked it. She brought it to him, and he took it with want. 'Thank you, dear pet.' He said.
It was around 1:45 in the afternoon when Lord Drad left his office on the docks, and made his way back to his ship. He there pulled out a fine selection of clothes. Black pants, a black shirt, with a very dark purple vest, along with a cloak of fur that was majestic.
He had Arla help pull off his clothes, and redress him in the clothes he had picked out. He was a true Lord, just by his stature, and his actions reflected that. Arla saw the power her Master held now, with his full Lordly attire upon him.
'Master, what is your desire?' Arla asked him.
'Get ready, we are going to take you shopping. We will go to my manor here, and commandeer one of the lady servants there to help you with shopping.' Her Master told her. Arla went to the closet, and pulled out a few clothes that could be passed as presentable in front of Noble company. She quickly got dressed under her Master's watchful eye.
Arla held her Master's arm as they made their way down the streets of Winterhold, which were now just coming out of their frost. Lord Drad had Arla follow him down to the last street in the city, where he had his manor. They entered the cozy two story house, and made their way up to the room which Lord Drad had as his bedroom. He picked up a few things, then walked into the kitchen, where Jestra, a maidservant, was dusting off a counter.
'Jestra, we are going to need you to come shopping with us today.' Lord Drad said. 'My dear pet here,' He jerked Arla's leash just enough to show it. 'Is in need of a new wardrobe, and I am not the exact person that is fit with handling that sort of thing. So, I am asking you to give us your company, and skills at that.'
Arla had a complete wardrobe by nightfall that night, with parasol and new cloak of silk. She was set now to look like a Lady of the courts. When they returned to the ship, Arla was instructed to put all her clothes in the closet, in a designated section.
Her Master began to look at maps, as she put away her clothes. He charted out a course from Winterhold to Anvil, to begin with. He figured that they would be there within a week and a half, so he pulled out a clean sheet of parchment, and began to write out a list of supplies that would be needed for the journey. He wanted to just get there, and begin setting up his business.
Back in his office, on the 2nd May, Mr. Argel brought him a folder of the papers he requested the day before, listing lawyers and manors around the Anvil and Bravil areas. Lord Drad looked through them, and made courses for each area, looking for an area perfect for his business.
Arla was there beside her Master once again. She was there as his extra set of hands, and she was also there to keep him company within his work. 'Arla.' He said to her, after a while of searching through the papers. 'Go fetch me Admiral Ply, and tell him to meet me here.'
Arla disappeared into the warehouse, and onto the docks to find Admiral Ply. Lord Drad continued to sign all the papers that he needed to, in order to keep the Skyrim faction running in his absence. Arla returned soon enough with Admiral Ply.
She knelt at his feet when she returned. 'Arla you may go and prepare our cabin in the ship for leaving. We will make way soon after Sunset tonight.' Her Master told her. She got up and walked out of the office.
'Admiral Ply, I present to you the ship Weatherstride for you to command. You will be the Captain of that ship, and instead of the one which I mentioned to you before, your rout will be the one from New Rock, Solstheim, to Dagon Fel, Vvardenfel.' Lord Drad said, his eyes looking into the depths of Admiral Ply's. 'You will find that you have a cabin already set up for your use, and an unused Captain's Log. You are to sail for New Rock in a days time, bringing with you twelve crew members of your own choice from the new members.'
Admiral Ply looked to his Captain, and spoke. 'Thank you, Captain Drad. This means a great deal to me.'
'I know it does, Captain Ply.'He picked up a piece of parchment. 'Your salary will become 2'000 septims per month, which you will receive at New Rock on the first of every month. You will receive a bonus of 50 septims per completed delivery. Also, you will have a budget of 1'000 septims per week, to spend on your crew and the ship, and an additional 500 septims per week for supplies and food.' He handed the parchment to Captain Ply. 'Here is your delivery orders. Dismissed, Captain Ply.'
Lord Drad spent the rest of his night walking about the seaside of the city, Arla a step behind him. He watched the Sun go down over the mountains, and the waves of the sea crash into the snow covered cliffs. Lord Drad's cloak flapped in the wind as they made their way back to the ship from the skirts of town.
Arla was in the shipyard office, when she and her Master waited, as he called in another member of the dock team. 'Mr. Shadd, are you at all familiar with large frigates, and how to command one?' He asked right away.
Mr. Shadd thought a while, then spoke to his employer. 'Well, I have commanded a freighter from Vivec to Anvil before, so I think I could manage a frigate, Sir.'
'Well! Welcome aboard the Winterwriter, you are now promoted to Admiral, and will be sailing in my vessel as my First Mate and Officer. You shall be taking the Admiral's place for my ship.' Lord Drad explained. 'Your salary will be little less than a Captain's, and you will receive a cut of all deliveries, of course.'
'Thank you, Lord Drad.' Mr. Shadd said, with excitement in his voice.
'We leave for Anvil this very night, and the crew is already prepared to make weigh.' Arla heard, as they walked out of the office, shutting all lamps down. 'So get your stuff, and be on board the ship in an hour.'
Mr. Shadd ran to his small bunkhouse, and gathered his equipment, while Lord Drad and Arla walked to the ship, and made ready to leave port. 'I think he will work out just fine with this crew, Arla.' Lord Drad commented, as she put away her cloak.
'Indeed, he seems surely enough, my Lord.' She replied. He Master brought her out on deck with her leash, and saw that the ship was ready to make its way out of port. All they were waiting on was Commander Shadd.
He quickly came running up the ship ramp, and the men loaded it up, untying the last lines. 'Give the command to make way.' Lord Drad told his Commander.
Banquet at Sea
'Drop sails! Make way out of port!' Commander Shadd shouted, and the men hustled to get the sails down. Quickly, the ship was out to sea, and the sails filled with wind. 'Disband oars, and start getting tight on those sail lines!' He shouted after they were out to sea, knowing they needed to snap the wind into the sails, in order to get the ship sailing at full speed.
Arla was lead by her Master into the cabin, and they took off their cloaks there. She had her leash taken off, and hung up by the cabin door. Her Master then commanded her to come into the bed chambers.
She saw him waiting inside, with his shoes off, and stripping off his shirt. The fire was already crackling, so the room was very warm. Her Master then stripped off his pants, leaving him in his shorts, made of cotton.
'Come, strip.' He ordered.
Arla made her way to the bed, and knelt before her Master. She then began unbuttoning her shirt, until her bare chest was showing. She pulled off her shirt, leaving the thin wrap of cloth around her firm breasts, which were still quite unfilled out. She unwrapped her cloth, and bared her breasts, showing her to have plump nipples, with pink tips, her breasts just about a handful each. She got up, her head down, and unlaced her pants, stripping them off quickly. Her silk underwear covered her small patch of red hair at her crotch.
'Master, are you going to take me tonight?' She asked, an inquisitive look on her face, but not a fear.
'Continue, and we shall find out.' He replied. She pulled off her underwear, and placed them in the pile of clothes at her feet. 'Now, go and bolt the cabin door, then this one, and come to bed.'
She walked out the chamber, and into the office. Bolting the door to the cabin, she came to the chamber door, and bolted that shut as well. Lord Drad was pleased to see her hips swaying as they did, waving her red hair about as she moved into the bed.
She got outside of the covers, and knelt to her forehead at her Master's feet. 'I await your orders, Master.' She said.
'Get into the covers, and sleep as you can.' Her Master ordered her. She did as she was told, getting into the bed next to where her Master would sleep. He pulled his feet into the bed, and pulled up the covers. 'I have a small stack of kindling wood, next to the fire place to build the fire up, and throw in a log, keep it going tonight. Winterhold's too cold to let it burn down'
'I understand, Master.' She said, her arm wrapping about her Master's side. He breathed out contently, and placed his hand over hers keeping it there.
Arla got up before her Master, on the 3rd of May, and got tea boiling. He was still sleeping in his bed, when it was done. Arla's nude figure was fit, and she was beautiful as she worked. Her Master awoke to her setting the tea kettle on his desk, along with a slice of toast to go with it.
She came to him, and knelt on his bed, presenting herself. 'I await orders, Lord.'
'Continue with what you were doing, Arla, and warn me when the tea is ready.' Lord Drad said, swinging his leg over the bed, and getting his pants on. 'Also, throw a pan on the fire, and I shall fry up an early breakfast for us.'
She went about her duties, as her Master got dressed, and ready for the day out to sea. She set a pan on the fire, and poured the hot cups of tea, when the water began to boil. Lord Drad came over, when the pan was hot, and pulled out two slices of boar meat from the icebox, and put it into the pan, along with the best eggs he could find.
Arla watched as her Master flipped the eggs. She got two plates from a cabinet, and held it as her Master put the eggs and meat on them. Lord Drad sat the pan down in the basin sink, then sat the two plates of eggs and boar meat on the table.
He grabbed the boar meat between his fingers and gulped a few shreds down. He then looked to Arla's plate, and motioned for her to eat as well. She picked up the eggs with the meat, and ate it like a small sandwich. Her and her Master ate side by side, a meal that was cooked by him.
Lord Drad and Arla put their cloaks on, then she was fitted with her leash, before they walked out the cabin door. They saw that Commander Shadd, the Orc First Mate, had the crew on deck, all manning the sails, getting a great gust of wind in them. He had the ship under grand control, and he only needed directions and coordinates from Lord Drad, and he was all set.
'Good morning, Captain Drad.' He said, cheerily.
'Good morning, Commander.' Lord Drad replied, equally in good spirits. 'How is the wind going to carry us today?'
'It'll do us fine, Sir.' Shadd said with a smile. 'It's been a while since I was in charge of a ship like this, but I'm getting the hang of it again. After thirty years of sailing, I guess it will come back to me after a while.'
Lord Drad was amazed at the Orc's experience. 'Well, keep us heading for Anvil, and we will fair just fine, Commander. It will get colder, of course, until we get through the Polar Sea, and into the Topal Ocean.'
'Oh yes, I expected as much.' The Commander replied. 'I have already accounted for that, in my report. I'll keep it on your desk, in the office. You'll receive one daily from me.'
'Well, thank you, Commander.' Lord Drad said, glad of his efficiency. 'And make sure to include orders, and commands you give to the crew, and for what purposes. I wish it to all be full detailed.'
'As you command, Captain Drad.' He said happily. He then returned to commanding the crew. Lord Drad and Arla walked around the deck, checking the lines, and making their rounds about the area, for a short walk together, always with Arla the leash length behind her Master.
'We will be in Anvil in a week and a half, or so.' Her Master said, as they went below deck. 'There, we are buying a manor near the sea, and will be setting up a warehouse soon. We will also be claiming a plot of Land as Drad Land, making me a Lord of these parts as well, and giving me good enough bargaining power. You will be comfortable enough in our little setup.'
'I thank you, Master.' Arla replied, making her way down the steps along her Master.
'You will have to learn how to address the Courts, for a lot of our life in the next few months is going to be spent there.' He continued. 'We will be getting land grants, and lawyers to set up the faction of the Drad Merchant Co. not to mention I have to hire a full staff of Courtiers, for my Court, and manor. I will have to set up a complete county, if I am to have the way I wish it to be.'
Arla knew her Master had big plans for the new lands, and that he meant to go through with what he was saying. But she also knew he would have to talk to the Emperor himself about that, and not to same Noble of a county. They needed Royalty for this contract.
'After buying a small manor in Anvil, I will make my way East, and find some land that is unclaimed. I heard much of the Grove is, for the fact that the Unicorns there attack many of the people whom travel there.' Lord Drad Plotted. 'All I will have to do is prove to Emperor Septim that I can make the Unicorns tamed, or have them relocated in a safer place, and the county can be made into a separate section, along with new small towns just at the edge of the city, increasing trade and economy.'
They were at the bottom deck when Lord Drad ended his plotting aloud. He then pulled out some parchment, and counted all the crates, which came up to five, all of them equipment crates, for the building of the warehouse. He made a list of them all, their weights, just as he always did, then went back up to his office, Arla at his heels.
He sat in his chair, and noticed the Commander's report atop his desk, just as promised. He looked through it, and noticed great details he cared much about. He hated to say it, but Commander Shadd was much better than Admiral Ply ever was, and the Commander said he was still a bit rusty at his job as well. Arla as well, saw the difference in style between the two Officers.
Lord Drad saw in the report that the cold weather would slow them up a day and a half, so he was making preparations for it by sailing the crew through the nights, while in calm waters, and having them row when the wind is down. He also marked that the fish were jumping all along their rout, and now would be the proper place to throw nets in, if they were not in such a hurry to make it to Anvil.
Lord Drad set the report down, and calculated the different choices. He had enough food to last a week and a half, until they got to Anvil, where they would be docked for quite a long time. But, if they stopped of a few hours out of each day, they could catch enough fish in the nets, to make up for the time in food for the crew, and still have enough to sell a good 200 lbs when they got to the Anvil fish market. In the end, Lord Drad pushed a stamp on a parchment, and put it in his Captain's Log, stating that he was indeed making fishing stops.
'Arla, go tell Commander Shadd to come here, please.' Arla got out of her chair, and walked to the door, putting her cloak on and leaving. Lord Drad continued to write in his Captain's Log, when Arla returned.
She came over to her Master, and knelt before him. 'I present to you, Commander Shadd, Master.' She said. 'What orders do you have for me, Master?'
Addressing his slave first, he motioned her to get on her chair. He then looked to Commander Shadd. 'Alright, we will make a few hours stop every day, and cast nets in. If we catch more than 30 lbs in that first day, we will continue that trend. We will make up for in food and trade what we loose in time. So, start now, and have the crew throw as many nets in as you can.' He looked to his maps then, and marked a small path. 'Have them take this rout.' He showed the Commander the mark, and where the fish were supposed to be running.
The Commander nodded, and spoke happily to his Captain. 'Aye, it shall be done, Captain. Is there any other orders you have for me, Sire?'
Lord Drad got up from his desk. 'Once the nets are down, go to the galley, and have them prepare for a fish banquet tonight, which the whole crew shall partake in on deck.'
'I'll get right on it, Master.' The Commander said, then left the cabin.
Arla stayed curled up in her chair, awaiting for her Master's orders. He came up to her, and told her to take off her cloak, the only thing she had on. He walked over, and barred the door to the cabin, then made his way back.
'When I am the only one in these rooms, and that door is barred, you are to be nude.' He said, standing over her. 'I am a lecherous man, and will see your flesh, Arla.'
She blushed, and her cheeks turned red as her hair. 'I understand, Master.' She spread her legs a bit, to give him an enticing view of her red hair.
'Now, in my room, go and fetch me my cane. And my pipe as well.' He said, sitting back in his chair. She returned with the items he asked for. 'Pack it.' He said, as he took his cane, and rested it against the desk.
The cane was a casing of metal, and a sword blade forged into a twist off handle. It was made for short jabs and slices, and was not very heavy at all. Self defense in close quarters was what it was mainly used for. Lord Drad loved his cane.
Arla finished packing her Master's pipe, and then placed it to his lips, lighting a match for him. As he puffed at it, she held it for him, until he nodded that he was done with it. She held it in her hands, snuffing the bowl of it with the lid.
'Now, on this journey, I am going to train you. Commander Shadd has the crew and sailing under control, and I am in need to train you to custom fit my will.' Her Master said, as she knelt before him with his pipe. 'I will have time to show you my picky routines, and enough time to correct you all the time. You will see me get stricter on you, but for the better in the long run.'
'Master, I understand. It is what needs to be done, Sire.' She said, with nothing but obedience in her voice.
'Good.' He pulled out a stack of papers, all filled with land plots, and lawyers addresses. He sorted through them, and put them into proper files, so he could legibly understand what he was doing. Eventually, when he went through them, he found a lawyer perfect for his job. Erik Privell, a Breton from the Imperial City, who specializes in business and real estate. He also found a suitable manor in Anvil for sale.
'Master, may I go to the bathroom?' He heard Arla say, after around ten minutes of silence.
'Yes, make you way back soon.' He said, still searching through all the parchments. He began scratching off names and lists with his pen, sorting through them all with care, looking for the best deal out of them. He made up his mind on the manor, and marked it with a check on it.
'Arla, you are going to need a horse, as am I, when we get to Anvil.' Lord Drad said, almost to himself, as Arla returned from the chambers. 'I should have had that looked up as well, when we were back in Winterhold.'
As Lord Drad spoke, they could feel the ship slowing down, the Commander now taking the few hours to fish. But Lord Drad continued at his work, as the waves now made the ship rock back and forth. He began searching through his book, which kept his bank balances and inquiries in it.
'Okay.' He said, flipping the pages. 'I have 200'000 septims to work with in my bank. I have that to spend on gaining a county here in Cyrodiil, and maintaining it. I have another 4'000 septims coming in the first of next month, along with the 4'900 septims from this month. I wont be getting any more delivery bonuses any time soon, so 4'000 septims per month is all we will have to build the warehouse off of. Which, if we use money we already have saved, it can be built within a month, and then the county lands can be taken care of with gained income.' He thought to himself out loud.
Arla sat in her chair, intently watching her Master work. Lord Drad felt her eyes upon him, so he looked to her and said. 'In my room, in the left dresser, is an ocarina, and a song book. Go and bring it out, Arla.'
He put his face back into his book then, until she returned at his feet, knelt with the ocarina and book in her hand. 'Now, sit, and play a melody to me. It is the easiest thing in the world to play.'
Arla sat, and put the book in her lap, putting the flute to her lips, and blowing into it, creating a naturalistic sound, and fiddling with the keys. Eventually, she learned the holes, and played many songs from out of the book, as her Master worked. She entertained him quite nicely.
After the books were straight, Lord Drad put on his cloak, and told Arla to go and put on her clothes. She did so quickly, and returned to put on her own cloak and leash. Her and her Master walked outside on deck.
The crew all had a net per pair, and were launching them out, and pulling them in constantly, trying for a fair catch. The bounty wasn't exceptional, but the few fish pulled in every toss was better than nothing at all in their nets. Commander Shadd even had a net to himself, pitching it off of the bow of the ship. 'How is the fishing, Commander?' Asked Lord Drad, with a smile.
The Commander smiled back, and in his deep Orc voice, roared over the crashing waves. 'Oh Captain, its going just fine. We have caught already 50 pounds of blue opals, and some sea crab as well!'
Lord Drad stood impressed. 'Yes, every day, at around this time, for three hours, set anchor, and cast in the nets. Continue that trend until you fetch below 30 pounds. With that equation, we are looking at about 350 pounds of fish. We will eat a good 100 of that on the way, saving the salted meats for a later date. That will leave us with 250 pounds to sell, which we will get Anvil market prices on that.' He explained to himself.
The Orc looked at his grinning, loving the open seas. 'Yes, Captain Drad, we shall fair that well, I feel.' He barked. 'But where are we going to store it; fish needs to be kept fresh.'
Lord Drad thought about that. 'We're going to seal off a portion of the lower deck, and put them in makeshift cold rooms. There is plenty of ice we will be hitting to keep them cold until we reach Anvil to sell them.' Lord Drad said. 'In fact, have ten men get to that right now, Commander.'
As they made their way down to the fourth deck up, they heard the Orc's loud booming voice bellowing out orders to a few crewmen. Arla and her Master sat down in a comfortable chair in the commons room, having a cup of hot tea together.
'When the crew have gotten used to the new style of the Commander, I feel this ship will be better ran than even my father's old merchant ship, back when Drad Merchant Co. was first founded.' Her Master commented. 'Commander Shadd was the best move I have made for this ship, so far.'
'Master, when we arrive in Anvil, and begin our official duties, what is to become of the ship?' Arla asked, after a sip from her mug of tea.
Lord Drad motioned for his pipe, and while Arla pulled it out, he said. 'We are going to dock it for a month or more, and the crew will be commissioned as workers, for the new shipyard. I will issue Commander Shadd special orders, when I am made Lord and Count, over the new county of Dresden, making him a Knight of the territory as well.'
Arla nodded, lighting her Master's pipe for him. 'And will he be happy on the land?'
'He was on the land as an office administrator for a good two years, before he landed this job.' Lord Drad replied, after finishing his puffs. 'He will make it another couple of months, I am sure. He will be back out on the sea as soon as the first ship comes in for a trade. I will commission him as a back up Captain, to injured ships, and he can also be used as a fishing Captain, on small trolley ships.'
'I see, Master.' Arla said, now letting her Master puff his pipe once more. She pulled it away when he was finished, and was given the order to snuff it.
'The only thing is, getting up to the Imperial City to work things out with Emperor Septim.' Her Master continued. 'We will have to buy the manor in Anvil the first day we arrive, make our place there, then the next day go to the Imperial City, to commission the lawyer, and begin the plot of our lands.'
There was a commotion at the top of the steps, and Lord Drad went to investigate. 'What's going on?' He shouted to the top.
He heard Commander Shadd's voice. 'We got ourselves a Pyr Shark, and its a big one too. We need to get it below deck quickly, Captain!' There was another thump, and then a yell from a crew member. 'He is slithering all around, Sir.'
Pyr sharks are no match in the water, at home in even the coldest waters in Tamriel. They produce an energy attack through the sting on their heads, which sends a concentrated shock wave through the water and can kill even a bulky human from 6 ft. away. They were found to be nearing extinction, and since they keep the levels of slaughter fish down, which eat most other edible fish, they are much needed in Tamriel's waters.
'Commander!' Lord Drad yelled at Shadd. 'That is illegal to have aboard this ship, and if were were caught by the Imperial Navy, we would be fined a hefty little fee. So get it off the deck, NOW!'
Commander Shadd wasted no time. 'You heard him, lads. Toss it!' Lord Drad heard the splash, and then the men cheering. 'Alright boys, man sails, and I need the other half of ya to get these fish down into the cargo hold, in the specified container!' Came the commander's voice again.
Lord Drad finished his tea, then he and Arla went to the top deck, where the last of the fish were being carried off to the cargo hold. He lead Arla along the deck again, to see all the nets, with her leash. She enjoyed being taken on these walks, being able to show she was owned by a Lord.
They went then to the Captain's nest, which was now covered, due to Commander Shadd's orders, making it a proper bridge of the ship. It was covered in a wooden cabin, with clear glass windows on each side, and the steering wheel in the middle. There were also desks and drawers.
The Commander made his way to the bridge, and smiled. 'I had the boys fix this up last night. We figured that it would get colder in the Polar Sea, and we can't have our Captain freeze on us at the wheel, Sire.' He roared. 'Hope you are not disappointed in my thinking, Captain.'
'No, No!' Said Lord Drad to the Commander with a grin. 'I am thankful. I am glad of your thinking, Commander Shadd.'
The Orc smiled wide. He was certainly at home on the ship, being large enough for him to enjoy commanding. Even his movements were that of a young Elf, compared to a lot of Orcs, showing he was gaining fatigue on the trip.
'Commander, the shark you pulled up.' Lord Drad began. 'Next time you catch one, what you need to do is slay it on deck, below the rails, and gut it. Get the skin, eyes, and all useful and valuable pieces you can, then shove it off deck. Take all the evidence, and toss it in chests, which we have plenty of in our holds. Throw it in the cargo hold, and I will decide what to do with it from there.'
'Aye, Captain.' He barked. 'It'll be done.'
Lord Drad then manned the wheel, as Arla stood behind him. She noticed that the drawers were all nicely finished. They were perfectly in order. This was, she noticed, the hand craftsmanship of an Orc. She then realized that all the cabinets and such were done by Commander Shadd himself, not a crew member.
'Arla, go into my cabin, and fetch me the maps of the Sea of Ghosts.' Her Master ordered. She ran to get it, returning within minutes. 'Now, go to the chambers, and await me there.' She again took off.
Lord Drad plotted a course on the maps, marking them with string, so the Commander knew which routs to follow for the night. He then set the wheel right where it was, and made his way back to his cabin, where he barred the door, and took off his cloak. It was toasty warm in there, considering Arla must be keeping the fire going.
That was another thing he had not thought of. Wood, for the fires of the ship. He had not checked supplies for over a month, seeing as how the Admiral had always taken care of that aspect. But whether Commander Shadd knew of it, Drad could not guess..
When he entered his chambers, Lord Drad looked to his fireplace, and the amount of wood next to it. He saw that it had another week of wood, then it would be depleted. His mind was soon turned to Arla, whom was naked upon his bed, her legs crossed and her face blushed.
'Arla, come.' Lord Drad told her. She got off of the bed, and crawled to her Master, as a little kitten. He put his hand out, and she licked it gently for its salt. She then licked it again. Lord Drad put a small treat in his hand, and let her lick it up. 'Get into the bed, my precious pet.' He said.
Arla did as her Master told her to, crawling into the covers, and wrapping up tightly in them. Lord Drad unlaced his pants, and undid his belt, taking them off, then his shirt as well. He climbed into the bed with his slave, and held onto her with firmness. He put his full body on hers, sucking to her very tightly.
Arla turned in his grip, and held onto him as well, then kissing his lips tenderly. He returned her kiss softly, gentle as he could be with her. She then rubbed from his chest down, slowly caressing him, slowly teasing him.
She got on her back for him, and spread her legs, waiting her Master to mount her, and take her as he had all rights to. He was her Master, and she was to be used as he saw fit. Her was on top of her before she knew it, and his hands groping at her breasts harshly, squeezing them firm and tight in his fingers. She giggled, and he began to suck on one, then the other.
She purred as he began to lick at her stomach, and down further, to her soft mound. She moaned as her Master pleased her. She softly cried aloud, and tightened her legs up around him, keeping him there.
Her Master broke free from her legs, and crawled up her stomach, until he was lined up with her. He then penetrated her slowly, feeling himself go into her: the soft walls of her tight to the touch, and wet as a rainfall. She moaned lightly at first, then it turned to a slight cry as her Master pushed more, through her hymen, breaking her open. He then slowly made love to her, as the ship rocked back and forth.
Lord Drad lay in bed smoking his pipe, and watching the Sun go way down in the windows. He puffed at the sweet leaf that was from Black Marsh. He felt Arla's hands warmly on his lap, where she lay asleep.
It was Sunset when he got out of bed, and got dressed. Arla got up with the commotion, and began to get dressed as well, following her Master to be of service. They both remained silent, as they quickly dressed themselves.
'Commander Shadd!' Lord Drad yelled out. The Orc could be seen in the distance coming up the deck.
'Yes, Captain!' He boomed his voice, still loud from ten feet away.
'Get the deck cleared off, Commander. We are going to set up our banquet.' Lord Drad said to him, now within a few feet of him. 'Have the barrels on deck set up in a line, and then place some boards on them, a makeshift table. Have the kitchen crew set up wine pitchers, and goblets, and all the banquet settings. I will return in an hour to check the progress, then begin with helping the cooks.'
'I'll get on it, Captain.' Shadd said happily as always.
Arla made her way out of the cabin, and to her Master, who was now on the bow of the ship. She noticed the crew moving barrels and such in a line in the center of the deck, setting up chairs. She knelt down before her Master, at his side. 'I await your orders, Master.' She said calmly.
'Just follow, Arla.' He said. 'I am going into the kitchen in a little bit, to help prepare the banquet tonight. You will be my extra hands in there.'
'I understand, Master.' She replied, looking out into the great sea. Her cloak was warm, and cold air cruised by her cloak, chilling her cheeks, making them cherry red.
Her Master looked at her figure, up and down, searching as he may. He studied her intently, for every line, color, and wave in her skin and figure. He saw his slave was beautiful, and that she was a prize beyond his wants, beyond his needs. She was a gift, he thought.
'Arla, as you may know, I am a Lord, and soon to be not only the Count of Winterhold, but of Dresden as well, which will be a new county, between Bravil and Anvil, and just North of Bravil as well, taking the Grove and some of the Heartland of Cyrodiil. This will make you the slave to a Lord, a Count, and a Merchant. You will learn how to address each of my titles, and how to properly act with each title, when it is in place.' Her Master told her as he now leaned over the bow of the ship, looking at the waves being sliced through by the belly of it.
'Yes, Master, I shall do my best to learn.' She told him, holding on to him by his cloak, to make sure he did not fall.
'Arla, I have been at sea since I was thirteen; I am not going to fall.' He commented. She released his cloak. 'But thank you...it shows that you care.' He added, as he turned and began his walk to the kitchen deck.
She walked right behind her Master as they went into the kitchen, where all the cook crew were moving about this way and that, preparing and cooking for the night's meal. Her Master walked down the row, and they all moved from his path. He walked to the very back of the deck, and took his cloak off in the small room for the cooks. Arla took hers off as well.
'I am going to take your leash off, because once we get to cooking, we will not have room for it, and you will need to be quick as you can on your feet in there.' Her Master told her. 'Just do as I say, and you should do just fine.' He then stepped into the busy kitchen, and made his way to where two men were preparing fish.
He leaned over them, and nodded. 'Make sure to season them, but not too much.' He suggested. 'The freshness of them will make them perfect as is, really, only needing to add a few spices.' He made a round of the kitchen, correcting little things here and there, and cooking a few minor dishes. He showed them a few things as well, like how to cook the fish without it burning before it is done. 'You bake it first, to cook the middle, then you fry it, browning the outside perfectly.'
Arla stayed right behind her Master, for she knew that to be the place she was least in the way. He made his way to the sauces, where he replaced a small crewman on that duty. 'I love sauces.' He told Arla. 'When it comes to fish, only a few are just right, and more than many are just not compatible. These sauces are to go on the potatoes and rice, not the fish. Only one thing will go on the fish, and that is maybe some wine, or some ale, just for measure.' He added a bit of basil to the sauce, then went about doing other various things. He got all the sauces to a boil, and kept them broiling for a few minutes, before he pointed to a stack of pans. 'Go get three of them, Arla.' He said quickly.
It was as if she had bounced as he gave his command, for she weaved to the stack, and elegantly pulled out three, then made her swift return, without bumping one crewman. She handed them to her Master with a bow of her head. He took them, and filled each with a different sauce. He then put the used pots into the dish trey.
'The sauces are ready, just keep them cold for another hour, then serve them with the potatoes and rice when they go out. But heat it back up, of course.' He shouted to the chef. 'I am going to bake the fish, you get on slicing potatoes and preparing them for being fried.'
They were in the kitchen for a good two hours, before Lord Drad finally went above deck, and got some fresh air. 'Arla, it is a wonderful, but cold night. We are going to be drinking, and the crew may get rowdy.' He said, as he leaned over the railing. 'If you are in any way bothered by one of the crew, then you come find me, and stick with me. I do not want anything going wrong this night. We have a nice meal about to be brought up, and we have fifty-three people that are going to be sharing a table, along with their ale.'
'I understand, Master.' She said. 'May I have my leash back on, Master?' She asked suddenly, and brightly. She smiled as he linked it onto her. 'Thank you, my Lord.' She said happily.
Lord Drad made his way back to the cabin, and put his cloak up. He put on a heavier cloak, that was printed with the Nobility Seal of Winterhold, Skyrim. He then set upon his head the war helmet, with the antlers of a deer in it as horns. His sword was then strapped to his side; not his usual saber, but a huge claymore, fit for the hands of a hardened Knight.
Arla helped her Master put the sword on, and toss his cloak over himself. She then pulled out his pipe and packed it then, so after diner, she could already have it ready for him to smoke, knowing her Master would want it. He was rather predictable when it came to that.
'Keep this on you all night.' He gave her a short sword, which militia used as side arms. 'Strap it to your side, under your cloak, and keep it tight. The crew will have tossed back a few ales before the night is old.'
Arla strapped the sword to a belt, and laced it under her cloak, as her Master told her to do. She then pulled her vest closer to her, for warmth. Her Master took hold of the leash, when she got it on, and tugged her, leading them to the deck once more.
They came up, and Lord Drad sat at the head of the table, with Arla at his left. Commander Shadd was granted the opposite head of the table. When most of the crew had taken their seats, the kitchen crew came up and placed the platters of food down upon the table, covered with lids.
They sat down in their places, then awaited in silence for their Captain to take the first bite, and signal the rest to eat. Arla saw her Master, as he cut into the first bite of fish; crispy and easy to cut. He put the tasty meat to his lips, and ate of it. He closed his eyes, and tasted all the flavors of it, before swallowing.
The crew then began to feast, grabbing this and that, adding it to their plates. Arla fixed herself a plate, then waited for her Master's signal, which came as soon as she had filled her goblet with wine. She began eating, letting the taste of the food carry her away.
Lord Drad spoke with the new Admiral of the ship, whom was to his right, and got acquainted with him. His name was Cleaver Villies, from the Imperial City. Lord Drad also found that he was a veteran at the seas, and that was why he worked so well with Commander Shadd. 'Him and I are two alike, so we work well together, having the same logic set.' Admiral Villies explained to his Captain.
The night was clear, as the crew all dined on the deck of the ship, the cool weather upon them, as they dove into the food with fervor. When all was finished, the kitchen crew cleaned up the table, and brung out a dessert of fresh fried Nord squid, which where a few caught in the nets.
The crew liked them, popping the fried delights into their mouths quickly, one after another, until they were completely finished. The salty treats satisfied their stomachs, and their minds were now in need of entertainment. 'A violin and flute is needed.' Said one member of the sailing crew. 'And a lute as well would do nicely.'
Lord Drad could tell it was going to be a long night from there, hearing another member down the table say. 'I have a lute in my bench chest!' He heard another speak. 'I know how to play the violin, but alas I have not one here.'
The table erupted into chatter about what instruments were needed, and what they could use. Lord Drad decided to have a bit of fun now. 'I have an ocarina, which is close enough to a flute, lads!' He spoke aloud. 'Now someone get that man a violin, there is one on this ship SOMEwhere.'
The crew scurried to get their instruments, and find the violin. Arla sat in her chair, having not been yet told to get up. Her Master stepped away from the table, and made his way into the cabin, where he remained a few minutes. He then came out carrying a blue ocarina in his hand, small and pretty.
He sat at the bow of the ship and awaited the other people. Soon, the man returned with his lute, sitting on the railing and tuning the guitar like instrument. A few members of the crew returned, just sitting on the table and chairs. At last, one member came up with a violin in his hands. 'Found it in the old closet, on the third deck, Captain.' He said, a smile on his face.
'My name is Sask Andril, and I am the man for the violin.' Said a chubby member of the crew. 'I have been playing since I was a wee one back in New Rock.' He said, taking the instrument, and pulling the bow across the strings in a hiss of sounds.
Lord Drad began with a low, long note, and the rest joined him, creating a rhythm and beat. They went on for seemingly a few hours, occasionally stopping for breath and ale. Arla sat in her chair and listened to her Master play, and the notes he used for each song. She was talented for picking out melodies.
When the music stopped, Lord Drad put up his ocarina, and sat at his seat once more, the crew dispersing below deck one by one. He was amazed that they got off the deck without a fight or an argument one. He was pleased how they handled their Alcohol.
'Arla, we are going to take a small walk about the ship, then go to bed, alright.' Lord Drad told his slave, whom was now curled up in her chair, her cloak about her as fur. She got up, and went right into her Master's arms, holding him for that warmth, and comfort. She only let go when he started moving forward. 'When you get in bed tonight, make sure to put wood on the fire first...We will need it for tonight. We are getting closer to the Pole, so the weather will now begin to get colder than you have ever felt before.'
Arla was lead to the stern of the ship, where the waves ejected by the ship could be seen in the Moonlight. She was amazed to see a wave line about the back of the ship half the size of the ships own height. She loved how the ship moved about the seas, and the way it sailed gently, yet rocking all the same.
'We will be in Anvil within this week, Arla.' Her Master told her as they walked now to the front of the ship, seeing the rapid movement of the ship through the water. 'Are you ready to become a Lady of the courts?' He asked.
Arla looked to her Master, and said with confidence. 'Master, I shall do as I can to please you. If it pleases you, I am ready, my Lord.'
Lord Drad stopped walking after they were at the table once more. He looked up, to the Moons, and then to his slave. 'You're special, Arla, I promise.'
The fire was lit wand hot soon after they returned to Lord Drad's chambers. He quickly got out of his cloak, and put on something thicker under it, then slipped it back on until the fire heated the room more. Arla stayed in her cloak, until the fire was at a steady roar, with wood stacked to its top.
It took a few minutes, but eventually, the chill in the air was gone, and Arla could take off her cloak. Her Master took his off, and she grabbed it, to hang them both on the rack in the office. She then came back, and stoked the fire, opening up air in it, and more flames. It was soon toasty warm in the cabin, enough for Lord Drad to strip and get into his bed.
Arla was not supposed to be in her clothes anyways, and quickly got out of them, before her Master caught her with it. She then came to the bed and knelt before it. 'Master, may I come into your bed?' She asked obediently.
He looked to her naked form, slightly shivering still from the bone chilling cold. 'Come, Arla, and join me in my bed.' He said softly.
Once in bed, she looked to her Master's face, and spoke. 'Master, I am required to tell you of my disobedience.' She said. 'I was not nude, when I came into your room, and I apologize, Master. I ask that you be merciful with me, it being my first time?' Her eyes were big and blue, her hair in her face as a doll.
But Lord Drad took no pity on dolls either. 'Yes, I know this. I noticed, but said nothing.' He spoke calmly. 'I am going to let it go this once, to be fair, but soon, I will be punishing for offenses like that.' His voice was sweet, somehow.
Arla nodded, then nuzzled into Lord Drad's neck and shoulders. Her nose was cold, but her lips soft, moist, and warm. Her hair smelled of flowers, as they laid in bed, she made the sheets feel like satin, covering him smoothly. He felt her arms go about him, and her lips kiss his neck. He leaned, putting her arm about her, and returning her kiss.
'Sleep, Master?' She asked, innocently.
'Ahhh, yes, sleep, Arla' He said, turning, but still holding her, and closing his eyes. She did the same, sleeping as her head hit the pillow.