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Begger Thief Warrior King

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Begger Thief Warrior King
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  begger Eslaf Erol was the last of the litter of five born to the Queen of the prosperous  Nordic  kingdom of Erolgard, Lahpyrcopa, and her husband, the King of Erolgard, Ytluaf. During pregnancy, the Queen had been more than twice as wide as she was tall, and the act of delivery took three months and six days after it had begun. It is perhaps understandable that the Lahpyrcopa elected, upon expelling Eslaf to frown, say, 'Good riddance,' and die. Like many Nords, Ytluaf did not care very much for his wife and less for his  children . His subjects were puzzled, therefore, when he announced that he would follow the ancient tradition of his people of   Atmora  of following his beloved spouse to the grave. They had not thought they were particularly in love, nor were they aware that such a tradition existed. Still, the simple people were grateful, for the little royal drama alleviated their boredom, which was and is a common problem in the more obscure parts of northern  Skyrim , particularly in wintertide. He gathered his household staff and his five fat, bawling little heirs in front of him, and divided his estate. To his son Ynohp, he gave his title; to his son Laernu, he gave his land; to his son Suoibud, he gave his fortune; to his daughter Laicifitra, he gave his army. Ytluaf's advisors had suggested he keep the inheritance together for the good of the kingdom, but Ytluaf did not particularly care for his advisors, or the kingdom, for that matter. Upon making his announcement, he drew his dagger across his throat. One of the nurses, who was rather shy, finally decided to speak as the King's life ebbed away. 'Your highness, you forgot your fifth child, little Eslaf.' Good Ytluaf groaned. It is somewhat hard to concentrate with blood gushing from one's throat, after all. The King tried in vain to think of something to bequeath, but there was nothing left. Finally he sputtered, irritably, 'Eslaf should have taken something then' and died. That a babe but a few days old was expected to demand his rightful inheritance was arguably unfair. But so Eslaf Erol was given his birthright with his father's dying breath. He would have nothing, but what he had taken. Since no one else would have him, the shy nurse, whose name was Drusba, took the baby home. It was a decrepit little shack, and over the years that followed, it became more and more decrepit. Unable to find work, Drusba sold all of her furnishings to buy food for little Eslaf. By the time he was old enough to walk and talk, she had sold the walls and the roof as well, so they had nothing but a floor to call home. And if you've ever been to Skyrim, you can appreciate that that is scarcely sufficient. Drusba did not tell Eslaf the story of his birth, or that his brothers and sister were leading quite nice lives with their inheritances, for, as we have said, she was rather shy, and found it difficult to broach the subject. She was so painfully shy, in fact, that whenever he asked any questions about where he came from, Drusba would run away. That was more or less her answer to everything, to flee.  In order to communicate with her at all, Eslaf learned how to run almost as soon as he could walk. He couldn't keep up with his adopted mother at first, but in time he learned to go toe-heel toe-heel if he anticipated a short but fast sprint, and heel-toe heel-toe if it seemed Drusba was headed for a long distance marathon flight. He never did get all the answers he needed from her, but Eslaf did learn how to run. The kingdom of Erolgard had, in the years that Eslaf was growing, become quite a grim place. King Ynohp did not have a treasury, for Suoibud had been given that; he did not have any property for income, for Laernu had been given that; he did not have an army to protect the people, for Laicifitra had been given that. Furthermore, as he was but a child, all decisions in the kingdom went through Ynohp's rather corrupt council. It had become a bureaucratic exploitative land of high taxes, rampant crime, and regular incursions from neighboring kingdoms. Not a particular unusual situation for a kingdom of   Tamriel , but an unpleasant one nonetheless. The time finally came when the taxcollector arrived to Drusba's hovel, such as it was, to collect the only thing he could - the floor. Rather than protest, the poor shy maid ran away, and Eslaf never saw her again. Without a home or a mother, Eslaf did not know what to do. He had grown accustomed to the cold open air in Drusba's shack, but he was hungry. 'May I have a piece of   meat ?' he asked the butcher down the street. 'I'm very hungry.' The man had known the boy for years, often spoke to his wife about how sorry he felt for him, growing up in a home with no ceilings or walls. He smiled at Eslaf and said, 'Go away, or I'll hit you.' Eslaf hurriedly left the butcher and went to a nearby tavern. The tavernkeeper had been a former valet in the king's court and knew that the boy was by right a prince. Many times, he had seen the poor ragged lad in the streets, and sighed at the way fate had treated him. 'May I have something to eat?' Eslaf asked this tavernkeeper. 'I'm very hungry.' 'You're lucky I don't cook you up and eat you,' replied the tavernkeeper. Eslaf hurriedly left the tavern. For the rest of the day, the boy approached the good citizens of Erolgard, begging for food. One person had thrown something at him, but it turned out to be an inedible rock. As night fell, a raggedy man came up to Eslaf and, without saying a word, handed him a piece of fruit and a piece of dried meat. The lad took it, wide-eyed, and as he devoured it, he thanked the man very sweetly. 'If I see you begging on the streets tomorrow,' the man growled. 'I'll kill you myself. There are only so many beggars we of the guild allow in any one town, and you make it one too many. You're ruining business.' It was a good thing Eslaf Erol knew how to run. He ran all night.  thief If the reader has not yet had the pleasure of reading the first volume in these series on the life of Eslaf Erol, Beggar, he should close this book immediately, for I shan't recap. I will tell you this much, gentle reader. When we last saw Eslaf, he was a boy, an orphan, a failed beggar, running through the wildy winter woods of Skyrim, away from his home of Erolgard. He continued running, stopping here and there, for many more years, until he was a young man. Eslaf discovered that among the ways of getting food, asking for it was the most troublesome. Far easier was finding it in the wilderness, or taking it from unguarded market stalls. The only thing worse than begging to get food was begging for the opportunity to work for the money to buy it. That seemed needlessly complicated. No, as far as Eslaf was concerned, he was best off being a scavenger, a beggar, and a thief. He commited  [sic]   his first act of thievery shortly after leaving Erolgard, while in the southern woods of Tamburkar in the rugged land near Mount Jensen just east of the village of Hoarbeld. Eslaf was starving, having not eaten anything but a rather scrawny raw squirrel in four days, and he smelled meat cooking and then found the smoke. A band of minstrel bards was making camp. He watched them from the bushes as they cooked, and joked, and flirted, and sang. He could've asked them for some food, but so many others had refused him before. Instead, he rushed out, grabbed a piece of meat from the fire, and wincing from the burns, scrambled up the nearest tree to devour it while the bards stood under him and laughed. 'What is your next move, thief?' giggled a fair, red-headed woman who was covered with tattoos. 'How do you intend to disappear without us catching and punishing you?' As the hunger subsided, Eslaf realized she was right. The only way to get out of the tree without falling in their midst was to take the branch down to where it hung over a creek. It was a drop off a cliff of about fifty feet. That seemed like the wisest strategy, so Eslaf began crawling in that direction. 'You do know how to fall, boy?' called out a young Khajiiti, but a few years older than Eslaf, thin but muscular, graceful in his slightest movements. 'If you don't, you should just climb down here and take what's coming to you. It's idiotic to break your neck, when we'd just give you some bruises and send you on your way.' 'Of course I know how to fall,' Eslaf called back, but he didn't. He just thought the trick of falling was to have nothing underneath you, and let nature take its course. But fifty feet up, when you're looking down, is enough to give anyone pause. 'I'm sorry to doubt your abilities, Master Thief,' said the Khajiiti, grinning. 'Obviously you know to fall feet first with your body straight but loose to avoid cracking like an egg. It seems you are destined to escape us.'  Eslaf wisely followed the Khajiiti's hints, and leapt into the river, falling without much grace but without hurting himself. In the years that followed, he had to make several more drops from even greater heights, usually after a theft, sometimes without water beneath him, and he improved the basic technique. When he arrived in the western town of Jallenheim on the morning of his twenty-first birthday, it didn't take him long to find out who was the richest person, most deserving of being burgled. An impregnable palace in a park near the center of town was owned by a mysterious young man named Suoibud. Eslaf wasted no time in finding the palace and watching it. A fortified palace he had come to learn was like a person, with quirks and habits beneath its hard shell. It was not an old place, evidently whatever money this Suoibud had come into was fairly recent. It was regularly patrolled by guards, implying that the rich man was fearful of been burgled, with good reason. The most distinctive feature of the palace was its tower, rising a hundred feet above the stone walls, doubtless giving the occupant a good defensive view. Eslaf guessed that that if Suoibud was as paranoid as he guessed him to be, the tower would also provide a view of the palace storehouse. The rich man would want to keep an eye on his fortune. That meant that the loot couldn't be directly beneath the tower, but somewhere in the courtyard within the walls. The light in the tower shone all night long, so Eslaf boldly decided that the best time to burgle was by the light of day, when Suoibud must sleep. That would be the time the guards would least expect a thief to pounce. And so, when the noon sun was shining over the palace, Eslaf quickly scaled the wall near the front gate and waited, hidden in the crenelations. The interior courtyard was plain and desolate, with few places to hide, but he saw that there were two wells. One the guards used from time to time to draw up water and slake their thirst, but Eslaf noticed that guards would pass by the other well, never using it. He waited until the guards were distracted, just for a second, by the arrival of a merchant in a wagon, bearing goods for the palace. While they were searching his wagon, Eslaf leapt, elegantly, feet first, from the wall into the well. It was not a particularly soft landing for, as Eslaf had guessed, the well was not full of water, but gold. Still, he knew how to roll after a fall, and he didn't hurt himself. In the dank subterranean storehouse, he stuffed his pockets with gold and was about to go to the door which he assumed would lead to the tower when he noticed a gem the size of an apple, worth more than all the gold that was left. Eslaf found room for it down his pants. The door did indeed lead to the tower, and Eslaf followed its curving stairwell up, walking quietly but quickly. At the top, he found the master of the palace's private quarters, ornate and cold, with invaluable artwork and decorative swords and shields on the walls. Eslaf assumed the snoring lump under the sheets was Suoibud, but he didn't investigate too closely. He crept to the windows and looked out.

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Nov 29, 2018

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Nov 29, 2018
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