- The Real Barenziah
 
- The Real Barenziah, Part 2 - Anonymous

The child Barenziah stood on the upper balcony of the palace, staring down into the courtyard where soldiers milled, splendid in their armor. Presently they formed into ordered ranks and cheered as her parents, the lord and lady emerged from the palace, clad head to toe in ebony armor, long purple-dyed fur cloaks flowing behind. Splendidly caparisoned shining black horses were brought for them and they mounted and rode to the courtyard gates, then turned to salute her.

"Barenziah!" they cried. "Barenziah, farewell!"

The little girl blinked back tears and waved bravely with one hand, her favorite stuffed toy animal, a gray wolf cub she called Wuffen, clutched to her breast with the other. She had never been parted from her parents before and had no idea what it meant, save that there was war in the west and the names Tiber Septim and Symmachus were on everyone's lips, spoken with hate and dread.

"Barenziah!" The soldiers cried, lifting their lances and swords and bows. Then her dear parents turned and rode away, soldiers trailing in their wake until the palace was near emptied.

Some time after came a day when Barenziah was shaken awake by her nurse, dressed hurriedly and carried from the palace. All she remembered of that dreadful time was seeing a huge shadow with burning eyes that filled the sky.

She was passed from hand to hand. Foreign soldiers appeared. Her nurse vanished and was replaced by strangers, some more strange than others. There were days, or was it weeks?, of travel. One morning she woke to step from the coach into a cold place with a large gray stone house set amid endless empty gray-green and hills patchily covered with gray-white snow. She clutched Wuffen to her breast with both hands and stood blinking and shivering in the gray dawn, feeling very small and very black in all this endless space gray-white space.

A large gray-white woman was staring at her with dreadful bright blue eyes. "She's very -- black, isn't she?" the woman remarked to her companion, a brown skinned, black-haired woman named Hana who had been travelling with Barenziah for several days. "I've never seen a dark elf before."

"I don't know much about them myself," Hana said. "This one's got red hair and a temper to match, I can tell you that. Take care. She bites. And worse."

"I'll soon train her out of that," the other woman sniffed, "And what's that filthy thing she's got? Ugh!" The woman snatched Wuffen away and cast him into the fire blazing in the hearth. Barenziah shrieked and would have flung herself into the fire after him, but was forcibly restrained, despite her attempts to bite and claw her oppressors while poor Wuffen was reduced to a little heap of charred ash.

Back to book index

©2002 All rights Reserved.