Dalamus tilted his head a bit as she spoke, feeling as though he should be somewhat offended that she thought he had not passed the test. But as she explained and he remained quiet, he could see how her explanation made sense.
"I understand," he said, his mouth quirked a bit. He did not like that he had failed in this rather simple task, but he could admit it. "An enemy is obviously not going to give me multiple attempts to take them down. That would be far too convenient, gods forbid." He smirked a bit, but it quickly died down. "I will remember to be patient and wait until I have a plan before executing it. If I am not going to kill the enemy, then stealth becomes a much higher priority. Do you have other tips, E’hla?"
She offered him a smile before she nodded in response to his question. “You’re right, stealth becomes a much higher priority once you decide to let the mark live, and I am glad you brought it up. You see, stealth alone will not get you anywhere near your target, you need to be prepared and have made up your mind already before you start; to let them live or to kill them. If you make that decision while standing over them, you’re not entirely committed to what you are doing,” E’hla shifted her weight again and cleared her throat.
"Now, that does not mean you should kill every possible target. In fact, it is often better to let them live if you can, unless the goal is to kill them. Often a dead body will speak louder than the words and accusations from a single person," she added just as calmly as before.
After listening to her explanation, he nodded slightly. It made sense to him, and he could understand why she would want him to be more patient. Looking back, he realized that the longer he waited, the more focused he had been, and more careful.
When she implied that he might not have passed the test, he wished to argue. But, instead, he stated himself honestly and without the intent to turn it into an argument. “I would not agree, but I am willing to hear your reasoning and change my answer if it makes sense. I thought I was rather patient, but what is patient to me is perhaps not patient to you.”
"Very well," she said with a nod before she whetted her lips, shifted her weight and placed a hand on her hip.
"I would say you did not pass because you used a method of trial and error to complete the task I had given you. If this had been a real contract and I a real target, you would have been either caught by the guards or dead. There are no room for mistakes or second chances in real life, Dalamus," she explained calmly while looking at him.
There are plenty things you could say about E’hla Veran. For one, she always moved impeccably, making an art out of even the strangest thing, like a walk or brushing some specks of dust away. An acute awareness seemed lodged into each muscle and knuckle. For another, she had this strange habit of staring right at you even without looking your way. Maybe each pore of her skin contained microscopic eyes, or maybe it’s just the way her ears flicker each time you swallow your spit.Well, one thing was absolutely certain. It just wouldn’t do. There was something strange about all of her, spiderlike almost, and you were not about to fall into her web. No, this very instant you are going to get up and march right out. But then she smiles, and asks if you want a cup of tea. You accept it. And her, by extension. Just this once.
Gift art for whisperofashadow/Ninett, who tricked me into joining TESverse long ago.
Few have the patience, she said, and he tilted his head a bit. “So, then, the test was about patience?”
Even Dalamus knew that patience was not his strong suit. He wanted things when he wanted them, and if he did not get them at that moment, then that was irritating. This waiting had been irritating, but it had also paid off in the end. Still, he had to wonder. “So, did I pass? If I had known the test was to be patient, then I would have waited all day. But I suppose that was the point, to have me wait without knowing.”
She merely nodded, because it had been a test about patience. “When you are patient, you are less likely to make mistakes and you are less likely to get caught,” she declared and placed a hand on her hip before she tilted her head a little, obviously judging his performance.
"Would you agree with me if I said you did not pass?” she asked and peered up at him with slightly raised eyebrows.
"I pass through," he admitted with a small nod. "I travel around often, and eventually one gets well-acquainted with the paths they take." He fell silent as the two walked through the brush.
"Are you a stranger to this area?" he asked, glancing over at her. The womer was attempting smalltalk, and though he decided to follow suit. Not that either of them seemed particularly talented in the art of chatter.
His way of life sounded very familiar to her own, so she could relate. “I have been here before, for the very same reason I am here now, but I know very little about this area in general,” she replied before she brushed some hair behind her ear.
"Unfortunately, it’s been a while since my last visit, and the paths I used before are overgrown and impossible to find now," the Dunmer added with a sigh.
He calmed, listening to her intently. If the rest of the training was like this, he could not complain.
Her question had him thinking, and after a moment, he answered with the obvious response. “I assumed it was about stealth. You told me to sneak up on you without you realizing it, so I took off my boots and anything that made perceptible noise. I thought perhaps that heading downstairs at the exact time you told me to made it easier to detect me, so I waited longer. And longer when you still caught me. But, considering that answer is far too easy.. I suppose it was not about stealth at all, was it?”
She chuckled again, finding his way of thinking rather fascinating. “No, it was not,” she replied and shook her head.
"Most people can manage to sneak up on someone if given enough tries, but few have the patience to wait long enough to only have to try once," E’hla told him, her voice calm and even, and her posture straight but relaxed.
Dalamus smirked, as well. “I suppose I should have eliminated the threat before alerting her to my position,” he agreed, then continued, “But I thought plunging my fangs in her throat without asking her permission would be rather rude. That can be remedied, however, if you are into that sort of thing,” he said with a wag of his brows and fang-exposing grin.
The grin faded to a more relaxed smile, however, as she told him that he had done well, and asked, “Is there any other ‘training’ that I should have? I suspect that my stealth abilities is not all that you are worried about.”
"Dalamus, now is not the time for a snack," she teased and let out a short chuckle before she shook her head. "And you are right, it is not just your stealth abilities that worry me," she paused and peered up at him. "Before we go on, I need to ask you something. What do you think this test was all about?"
"Pleasure to meet you, miss E’hla," he replied, giving her a firm handshake. "My name is Warden." The vampire mirrored her smile and bowed slightly. He straightened and allowed his hand to fall to his side as he turned to walk away.
"I believe I saw a stream this way," he explained, glancing over his shoulder. "A safe bet there are a few Nirnroot there."
She had also seen a stream nearby earlier that day, but she hadn’t managed to find it yet. It would seem this man knew the way, so she followed after him.
She was terrible at this; imitating conversations with smalltalk. “You seem to know the area, do you travel here often?” she asked after a moment of silence, and glanced over at him to her left.
Warden studied the womer quietly, and once she spoke he merely nodded. He glanced around, a brief search for the glowing plants. Seeing none, he paused, uncertain. He supposed he could spare a few moments. The feral would likely hole itself up in one of only three caves nearby. In the daytime it would be weaker, and thus easier to deal with.
"I suppose I could assist for a moment," he replied with a slight bow. "Are you searching for a specific amount or size?"
E’hla awaited his answer, and when he agreed to assist her in the gathering of the glowing plants, she offered him a warm smile. “No, nothing specific. I need to restock my supply, but any amount will do,” the womer replied and shifted her weight and chewed on her lip for a brief moment.
"May I ask your name? I am E’hla," she said and extended a hand towards the Imperial.
Dalamus paused when Topaz went into the bedroom, freezing in his steps as the cat jumped onto E’hla’s lap. When she did not seem to notice, or at least did not say anything to indicate that she had, the vampire continued on slowly forwards. He paused once again in the doorway, as that was where she had caught him the first time, but still she said nothing.
Feeling confident in himself now, Dalamus inched forward until he could place his hands on the back of the chair. “Gotcha,” he said with a triumphant smirk, and peered down at her, waiting for further instructions if there were any. And praise. He did enjoy praise and thought he deserved some right about now, but he said nothing.
E’hla stopped reading even before Dal’s voice pierced the silence, but it took a few moments still before she closed the book.
"Are you sure?" she asked, a smirk finding its way to her lips, but she remained seated. "You do not know what I am capable of, and exposing your position like you just did can prove fatal," E’hla told him, and turned around to face him. Her expression was soft, however, and she smiled at him. "You did good, though. Well done."