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7 First Seed 4E 200

   For over 200 years, the Oak and Crosier has been Chorrol’s finest tavern. Legend has it the Champion of Cyrodiil often stayed there during his adventures. Since the end of the Third Era, the same family of Khajiit have owned and operated the tavern, passed on from parent to child for generations. Right now, one of those Khajiit was sitting at his favorite spot, the back-corner table by the fireplace.

J’Khasha, a black furred Khajiit, is the nephew of the tavern’s current owner, Alayna. He was waiting for his best friend and fellow Adventurer for Hire, the Argonian, Gazes-At-Stars. Gazes claimed he had a job lined up for them, and was bringing over 2 clients to discuss the details. J’Khasha was enjoying a small lunch as he waited. When he looked up from his plate, J’Khasha found Gazes had suddenly appeared in the seat across from him. This genuinely startled J’Khasha, as he was quite skilled at sneaking, and Gazes shouldn’t be able to get the drop on him as often as he did.

“Hello there!” Gazes said, his voice betraying his amusement at seeing J’Khasha jump. “The clients are meeting us here. Looks to be an escort job. They want us to take them to Winterhold.”

J’Khasha already didn’t like the sound of this. He had never heard of this Winterhold, but any place that had ‘winter’ in its name couldn’t possibly be pleasant for a Khajiit! “And just where is this Winterhold?” he asked.

Gazes hesitated to answer, sending up even more red flags for J’Khasha. “It’s a small town, with a magic school of some kind.” Gazes said, “In Skyrim. Northern Skyrim. As far north as north goes in Tamriel.”

“SKYRIM!!” J’Khasha shouted, puffing out his fur, and drawing glances from the other patrons. “I know you wanted to leave Cyrodiil for a while, but I thought you’d want to go someplace pleasant, like High Rock, or Pelletine! Gods, even Black Marsh would be better than Skyrim!”

“They’re offering a good deal of Drakes for this.” Gazes said, “And Skyrim has many opportunities for adventurers like us.”

J’Khasha’s fur settled. “Ignoring the fact that even in Sun’s Height, parts of Skyrim remain below freezing, and the fact that Nords aren’t exactly fans of non-Nords, there are rumors of a civil war brewing up there. Do you really want to get caught up in the middle of that?”

Gazes shrugged nonchalantly. “They say war is good for business.”

J’Khasha hissed. “They also say war is bad for business! And war never changes!”

Gazes was about to say something when his attention was drawn to the door. “That’s them.” He said, pointing to two figures in hooded robes, one blue, the other black. Gazes walked over to them, and began speaking with Blue, while Black’s attention seemed completely focused on J’Khasha.

They came over to J’Khasha’s table. Blue had a masculine build, while Black was clearly female. Most intriguingly, Black had a furry tail like J’Khasha’s, revealing that she too was a Khajiit. Blue lowered his hood, revealing an Imperial man in his early 20’s, with short, black hair, and a trimmed goatee. “My name is Gaius Vesuvio.” He said, reaching out his hand.

J’Khasha stood up and politely shook his hand. “I am J’Khasha.” He said.

Black lowered her hood, showing that indeed she was a Khajiit, a Suthay-Raht like J’Khasha. She had amber, almost golden fur with black stripes, a white muzzle, and piercing, icy blue eyes. “Greetings! This one is called Tsaravi.” She spoke in the manner and accent of a native of Annequina.

J’Khasha was absolutely stunned by the beauty of this young woman. Although she had scars across her face from what looked like some kind of animal attack, J’Khasha felt they enhanced her beauty rather than detracted from it. “It is a great pleasure to meet you Tsaravi.” He said shaking her hand vigorously. “Please, have a seat.”

The mages sat down across from J’Khasha, while Gazes sat next to him. “Thank you for meeting with us.” Gaius said, “I understand you’re aware of our offer?”

“Yes, he is.” Gazes said, “And I’m afraid my associate is completely unwilling to- GRFF!”

J’Khasha held Gazes’ jaw shut. “Completely unwilling to let such fine people go to Skyrim unescorted!” He finished for Gazes. “We accept!”

Both mages were quite pleased. “Thank you so much!” Gaius said, “The Fighters Guild has no presence in Skyrim, so they would only take us to Pale Pass, and even then, they wanted to charge us almost twice what you are, and you’re taking us the whole way!”

Tsaravi bowed her head and made a Khajiit gesture of gratitude with her hands. “Azurah’s blessing upon you, clan-mate!” She said to J’Khasha, then raised her head. “When can we leave?”

Gazes made J’Khasha release his face. “If it’s alright with you two,” Gazes said, “We’ll need a week to get our affairs in order, and prepare for such a long journey.”

“Very well.” Gaius said, “We’ll meet back here in a week’s time. Until then, farewell.” They got up to leave.

“If you need a place to stay,” J’Khasha said, “We have rooms available here! My Aunt owns the tavern, and since you are clients of mine, she’ll give you a 25% discount!”

“That’s not a bad idea!” Gaius said, “It’s been ages since I slept in a real bed!”

“Thank you for your generous offer J’Khasha!” Tsaravi said, “May you walk on warm sands!” She and Gaius walked over to J’Khasha’s Aunt Alayna to make the arrangements.

When they were alone, Gazes gave J’Khasha a surprised look. “Well, that happened!” Gazes said, “What happened to all that talk about ‘War never changes! Nords hate non-Nords!’ and so forth?”

J’Khasha rested his head in his hand and purred as he watched Tsaravi. “Did you see her eyes Gazes?” J’Khasha asked, ignoring Gazes’ question. “It’s like they were looking into my soul!”

“What?!” Gazes said, dumbfounded.

“And her voice!” J’Khasha said, tail swaying idly from side to side. “Such a beautiful accent!”

Gazes laughed. “Now I see! At least this way we both get something we want! I get to leave Cyrodiil for a while, and you get to spend time with a woman that’s turned an assassin into a giggling schoolgirl!” Gazes became serious. “So, what are you going to tell your family about this? Skyrim is a long way from here. It could take almost a month just to get there.”

That snapped J’Khasha back to reality. “They’ve known this trip was coming for a while now. They just didn’t know where or when. Tomorrow, I’ll gather them all together, and tell them.”

Gazes stood up to leave. “If you need any help with that, I’m here for you.” Gazes said, “I should tell my parents, so I’ll head home now.” He turned to leave, then turned back and hugged J’Khasha. “Thank you, Marsh-Friend! For all the help you’ve given me. Especially after the… unpleasantness.” He released his friend, and left the Oak and Crosier.

J’Khasha felt sad for his friend. Gazes had been a wreck since that day. Perhaps this trip would do him some good. J’Khasha saw Tsaravi carrying her bag upstairs. She smiled and waved to him, and he smiled and waved back. ‘Perhaps this trip will be good for me as well!’ J’Khasha thought as he pondered what lay ahead of him.

To be continued…
DISCLAIMER: This work of fan fiction is for my enjoyment. I do not seek any financial gain for this.

The world of Elder Scrolls belongs to Bethesda.

J'Khasha, Gazes-At-Stars, Tsaravi, Gaius, and any other OC I neglected to mention belongs to me.

The first of a series of fan fics I'm writing featuring my OCs, The Adventurers for Hire.

Part 2: stabbykeith1985.deviantart.com…
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December 18, 2016
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