Tes3Mod:Tamriel Data/The Uprising

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The Uprising
by Cunius Maximus
A story about runaway slaves

Contents

Part I

Publicus Larconius looked out over the fields of tall saltrice stalks, bending and swaying in the wind. He always grew melancholy when he saw the saltrice in the breeze. It reminded him too much of the sea, of the freedom of the open waves, of his former life as a sailor in the Imperial Navy. Five years it had been since that stormy night in First Seed, the night his ship got wrecked of the coast of Morrowind, when he was picked up by a Dunmer raiding party and sold into slavery.

Publicus went back to his work, bending low over the saltrice stalks and slicing them with his sickle, bundling the harvested stalks as he worked. A Redguard slave, by the name of Lakene, took Publicus' saltrice sheafs and placed them in a basket, but not before slipping him a piece of hound meat. Just a little something to get you through the day, he said.

As dusk descended, the slaves marched slowly back to their pens for the night. There the guards doled out their evening meal - a slimy saltrice porridge that smelt even worse then it looked - and it looked pretty bad. After the slaves had finished, it was back to the shacks for the night.

Publicus opened the door to his shack and went in. He shared the shack with two other slaves, Lakene, the Redguard who had slipped him the meat in the field, and a Breton named Jeroird, who had been press-ganged in the streets of Tear and sold to the plantation. Although he never talked much about his past Jeroird had told them that he used to be an apprentice to a great mage before he ran away in search of adventure. Now Jeroird, one of the younger slaves, worked as a cargo loader on the dock by the river, loading boxes of saltrice onto the ships bound for the cities on the coast. After a few hours talking to his companions, Publicus fell asleep.

In his dreams he had returned to that stormy night on the choppy sea. The ship lurched as wave after mighty wave crashed against its sides. The rain fell in huge bucketloads, as the thunder crashed and lightning arced across the dark, cloudy sky. The captain tried to shout orders over the wind, but it was no use. Publicus turned in horror as he heard that horrible sound that had plagued his dreams ever since that night, the terrible crash of the mast snapping and tearing the ship in two.

Publicus woke with a start. It was still dark outside but he decided to get up to calm himself down a bit. Reaching out, he felt something on the wall. Cautiously he ran his hand over it, feeling its shape. It was a knife! He woke the others quickly. Lakene took out a flint he had stolen from the guards and a short candle snub. Soon they were able to examine the knife in the flickering light of the candle.

The knife was stuck into the wall and, hanging on the hilt, was a small leather pouch. Jeroird opened it. Inside was a folded piece of paper and a key. Taking the paper from Jeroird, Lakene unfolded it and read the message written on it:
A gift from the Twin Lamps, was all it said.

With shaking hands Publicus took the key. Taking a deep breath he inserted the key into his bracer and turned. There was a sharp click as the bracer fell from his wrist and hit the floor. They were free!

After they had freed themselves the three friends set to work liberating the rest of the slaves. When most of the slaves were free they marched towards the manor house, grabbing whatever weapons came to hand: scythes, sickles, axes, even bare claws in the case of the Khajiit. Bitter fighting broke out between the well trained and equipped plantation guards and the furious slaves, drunk on the ecstasy of freedom and the thought of revenge.

One of the guards reached Publicus, and he was suddenly fighting for his life. While Publicus was one of the Imperial navy's best swordsmen, with his poor weapon he was no match for the well-armoured guard. Slowly he was pushed backwards, just barely keeping the enemies sword at bay. Suddenly the guard swung low. Publicus jumped back, the keen blade almost slicing his shins. Unfortunately he landed off balance and crashed to the earth.

The Dunmer guard smiled and raised his sword for the killing blow. Publicus raised his knife in a futile attempt to block his looming death. But the guard's smile had turned into an expression of surprise, as Lakene smashed his skull with a mighty blow from a wood-chopping axe. As Lakene pulled Publicus to his feet he was met with an extraordinary sight.

There was a huge explosion and the slave pens burst into flames. Jeroird was standing at the centre of the field. The guards watched as he slowly raised his arms and chanted in a strange, arcane language. Seeing what was about to happen, some of the guards ran forward to break the spell. They stopped, screaming, as two fireballs shot from the Breton's hands, erupting in a huge burst flame. The guards wavered as they saw their comrades writhing in agony on the ground, while the slaves, cheering in triumph and raising their makeshift weapons, pushed forward. The guards that fought were cut down were they stood, hopelessly outnumbered by the slaves. The ones that ran were caught by one of Jeroird fireballs.

Very few Dunmer escaped that night. Once the guards had died or fled the slaves entered the manor, the three friends in the lead. Cowering under his bed was the manor's lord. He was dragged outside by the slaves and put in the stalls used for the punishment of slaves. The old Dunmer begged for his life, promising the slaves their freedom. Lakene got a whip from the plantation's storeroom and started thrashing the manor lord. 400 times the wipe cracked across the bloodied back of the Dunmer, ten lashes for every slave present. Once the horrible task had been finished the mutilated corpse was hung from the top of the plantations walls, to serve as a message to any slaver: we will have our revenge.

Part II

Glavinis Leranu took off his helmet and washed his face in a small stream that ran through the forest. The weather was very humid in the South of Morrowind, and it was even less comfortable while you were wearing full armour. He had been trekking through the forest for about a week now, tracking a slave that had escaped the plantation he was employed at. It was his duty as Head of the Guard, and Glavinis enjoyed this work. While many Dunmer enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, few could boast that they had caught something as cunning and agile as an Argonian. He smiled. Argonians might be clever, and they might be fast, but they were also very predictable.

"This way," he called to the three other Dunmer that made up the search team.

They followed the stream as it ran its way through the forest. The youngest of the searchers whispered to another: "How does he know which way to go?"

"Don't you know? Argonians always follow water," replied the more experienced guard, "You should trust the captain. You know, he's been captain for fifteen years and not once has a slave escaped his clutches."

Glavinis held up a hand. The search party became instantly quiet. He bent down and examined a leaf. Fresh blood. He signalled with his finger the direction that the trail indicated and unslung his bow. They were close now. Silently the troop made their way through the forest. As they continued on, they noticed that the trail was becoming more and more defined. All but the very worst tracker would be able to find the slave now. It must have been badly injured. The trail ended in a clearing and a surprising sight. It wasn't an Argonian the searchers met but a bloody and badly wounded Dunmer, dressed in the bonemold armour of a plantation guard. One of the guards brought out a potion and forced a drop between the pale lips of the dieing guard.

"He might live," the Dunmer said, "but only if we can get him to a healer."

Glavinis thought for a moment. He had never let a slave go in his life, but the life of a Dunmer was worth thousands of slaves.

"Alright then. We make for the plantation."

Little did they know that if they had only looked around them they would have found a slave as well. For up in a tree was the very Argonian they were looking for.

---

Publicus sat under a tree in the field for a well-deserved brake, a luxury he wouldn't normally have had. In the week since the uprising the slaves had continued to bring in the harvest. After that bloody night when the slaves bought their freedom with tooth and nail, they had decided to go on living at the plantation, which they thought of as compensation for the years of hardship they'd endured. Lakene strolled up and handed Publicus a bottle of Mazte.

"Beautiful day isn't it," he said, stretching out beside Publicus, "It's funny, but I don't think we've ever harvested the fields in such quick time."

"It's amazing what a full belly and a high heart can do," Publicus replied, just as a Khajiit slave by the name Ra'Joshur ran up.

"Jeroird tell Ra'Joshur to get Publicus," the Khajiit said, "Something about strange Argonian."

As Publicus got up, he shot a glance at Lakene. The Redguard shrugged, he knew less about this then Publicus did. He followed the Khajiit through the fields to the manor. Inside the manor, which along with the former guard's barracks had been converted into a living area for the slaves, Jeroird sat with an Argonian slave, who stood as Publicus entered.

"I am Okaw-Geis, which is Quick Claw in your language. I have an important message for you, Sera."

"Call me Publicus. We have no lords here."

"Thank you Sera Publicus," the Argonian continued, "I was a slave at the plantation across the forest. I escaped from there a week ago and was hunted by a group of guards from the plantation. They came close to catching me, but I managed to get away. However, while they were searching for me they came across a wounded Dunmer guard. He looked pretty bad; cuts and wounds everywhere. I thought he was dead, but one of those Dunmer gave him a potion. He got better after that. He started talking to those Dunmer, talking about this place, talking about the uprising, Sera. The sick elf told them everything, including a very good description of Jeroird and of you, friend. He said that you were the leaders of the rebellion. Anyway the search party's leader was really interested by his story, and he said he would tell his master about it."

Publicus looked at Jeroird. He looked concerned.

"What does this mean?" he asked.

"It means that you and your comrades are in great danger, Sera."