Protected, no longer; Chapter 6

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    Chapter 6

     

    He scratched his head, looking over at Mirane’s ingredients. She had taught him what properties each ingredient had, but she hadn’t taught him any potions that could be lethal. He decided to try them out by himself when Maltrys and Mirane weren’t at home.

     

    Ciel’nn eyed the list of ingredients, and he grabbed the small pieces of Luminous Russola, and Violet Coprinus. “I wonder what these will do?” he mused, and started mixing the mushrooms. At first the experiment failed, and he started over. He had one person in mind whom he would use as a target – it was enough to make the potion again, and again.

     

    He scribbled the notes down in his dark brown journal, while he drank some tea.

     

     

    His sleep was calm, renewing, and protected. He had no concerns – it was like he was reassured everything would be fine. Although, somewhere in the back of his mind he was still concerned for the Dunmer. The young warrior had never had such a deep before. It was a bewildering experience.

     

    Rangalen slowly opened his eyes, and breathed slowly. In the background he heard quiet talk, and crackling fire. It was dark, too – night time. He understood he was in a bed, lying on the fur blankets. Turning his head to see Ciel’nn’s raven black hair – he was sleeping with his back to him. You’re so fragile… The young warrior smiled, but he didn’t move. They were becoming good friends. He’d do his best to keep the Dunmer safe.

     

    Ciel’nn’s restless twitching against his side, broke the young warrior’s pondering. The shifting continued a little while before it stopped. Rangalen frowned slightly - one of those recurring nightmares, he assumed. It worried the young warrior. He doubted the Dunmer would share it, but Rangalen still wanted to comfort him somehow.

     

    When the Dunmer shifted his side in his sleep, Rangalen wrapped his arm around Ciel’nn with protective instinct. He breathed slowly, and stayed still. You’re safe, sleep well.

     

    Perhaps the rest of the night would go better. He would only hope so.

     

    -

     

    Ciel’nn tried to eat his steamed mudcrab legs while he observed the Nord who sat next to him. He had a nightmare again last night, but it had faded away – how strange. He had woken under the Nord’s arm which was surprising at most, but he hadn’t said anything about it yet. What worried him was the Forsworn woman’s magic on Rangalen. Ciel’nn pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear, and asked. “You’re sure you are alright? No weird urges of turning into a mad Reachman?”

     

    The young warrior looked up from his meal to the Dunmer. “I’m fine, Ciel’nn.” he paused. “You never can make me a Reachman. Even less a mad man.” Rangalen chuckled. Him? A madman? Not in a hundred years! “Did something happen while I was out cold?”

     

    Ciel’nn drank a bit of water before he answered the question. “Nothing special, except Thalmor stormed in, and barked for Talos worshippers to surrender.”

     

    Rangalen’s eyes widened. “Thalmor? But, how we aren’t…? I mean… hmm.” This was odd, really odd. From the looks only a few people visited even this place – why would Thalmor come over here? The young warrior was puzzled – not that he didn’t know the region but the Thalmor had picked strange a place to visit.

     

    “I don’t know. It was like we were never here at all. They didn’t see us.” Ciel’nn replied, and he munched his steamed mudcrab leg, making a loud crispy sound. “Do you remember the warning?” The Dunmer did remember it clearly, but he still hadn’t figured out what it would meant.

     

    “I remember some of it. Something about failing, and legends in gilded robes?” Rangalen shrugged. He watched how Ciel’nn started laughing while he tried to hold his mug. The young warrior didn’t mind – it was good to see his friend laughing for a change, so he waited, with a smile.

     

    Ciel’nn had a hard time to stop laughing, and it was hurting his throat at the same time. “Oh, Rang! If it was that short, and simple – we would have solved the puzzling warning already!” He looked at the Nord, then placed his hand on his throat. The Dunmer told Rangalen the warning from word to word.

     

    Frowning, Rangalen pondered. “The latter part is easy. ‘Gilded robes’, only one thing comes to mind.” He said, and waited for the Dunmer’s comment.

     

    “Thalmor have black robes with gilded things.” Ciel’nn nodded. “I don’t know if the mages of Winterhold College have those kind of robes. Maybe we can go there, and ask about the puzzle, too?” It wouldn’t be a bad idea. “And, you need a new shield too.”

     

    The young warrior smiled warmly, “You hate the cold, Ciel’nn. I never thought you’d ask to go there. It’s a long way.” Rangalen had never been to the place of mages, so it would be interesting. He was worried about how Ciel’nn would take the trip though, having heard the region was the coldest in Skyrim, and the route was probably hazardous.

     

    The Dunmer noticed the frown that appeared on the Nord’s forehead. “We don’t need to go right now. We have to get you a new shield, and some training.” Ciel’nn changed the subject to urgent matters. “What do you say? I heard there’s an orc fortress in this region and, perhaps they can teach you something? And, if we come across any Thalmor – we can sneak past them, or – “He slid his finger across his neck with a smirk on his lips.

     

    “You’d like that? Cutting their throats open?” the Nord asked. He certainly had noticed Ciel’nn taking delight in cutting throats, or using the poisons sometimes – it was a sinister trait to have, but Rangalen had decided he’d not interfere with the Dunmer’s methods. “An orc fortress? I guess it’s worth to look for, and ask. Ready when you are.”

     

    They crossed the bridge, and headed to west along the road. Ciel’nn walked beside of the Nord while he observed their surroundings. He hoped the Thalmor had gone away, otherwise it would mean fighting to the bitter end. On the other hand he worried about the Forsworn tribes – something about them made the Dunmer’s skin crawl. It would be better if they’d stay at their camps.

     

    Watching the road ahead, Rangalen had his hand on the hilt of his sword. He missed his shield – it was given to him by his father when he turned fifteen. It was gone now, shattered into dozen pieces of wood and shards. To be honest with himself, the shield was just a piece of protection – maybe he could find an even better one. The young warrior was curious about these orcs, and he’d like to hear the legends of the tribes.

     

    At the hillside the road was quiet apart from a pack of wolves stalking in the nearby bushes. They killed the vicious animals quickly as they approached Dushnikh Yal. The guard stopped Ciel’nn and Rangalen before they came too close to the gate.

     

    “I don’t recognize you as friend or Blood-kin. Leave us alone.”

     

    “How does one become your friend, then?” Ciel’nn inquired, and the guard sighed.

     

    “How persistent! You will have to find a certain pair of gauntlets for the Chief as a gift before he can even consider welcoming you. Go now.”

     

    Ciel’nn grunted turning around. “Figures. Come, Rangalen. Let’s find those gauntlets.” He turned around. He should have known for he once visited at another stronghold, and had had same treatment. Now they would have to really find the item.

     

    “How do we find those? They could be anywhere.” The young warrior frowned. “They could be in some old barrow.” Rangalen hadn’t been in the old Nord barrows much, but only in two so far. Going into a barrow wasn’t a problem, but he wondered how Ciel’nn would take it.

     

    “When we go into a barrow, it’s like treasure hunting – most old relics are inside the barrows – or so I have read. I’m not scared at all.” He grinned nervously at the Nord. “You should see the tombs in Morrowind.” Just the memories of being inside one tomb made him shiver.

     

    Rangalen settled into a smile. “We should be careful while I don’t have a shield, but don’t worry – a few draugr won’t stop me. You just stay behind me.” the young warrior promised. He only had a slight concern. They both would probably get injured, but Rangalen knew how to heal by magic. Hopefully there wouldn’t be that many draugr. “You can decide which barrow we’ll go to.”

     

    Ciel’nn thought about it, even the idea of going into one barrow in particular – there wasn’t much of a choice in the Reach. He had heard rumors, but he guessed it was better than going to the hills to face the madmen. At least he wouldn’t have to go alone there. “Valthume isn’t far from here, but it’s a big damn place. There aren’t any other barrows in the area. Do you know anything about dragon priests?”

     

    “I have read a few books, but never saw one. Sarade would know more of them – only if I knew where she is now.” Rangalen replied. “Do you want to rest more before we go to knock on the doors?” It would be good to rest, or at least eat lightly. The young warrior felt a little knot in his stomach – going to a big barrow was exciting, and he might be able to learn something, too.

     

    “Sure, I want to rest a bit before we go in there.” Ciel’nn said in an anxious tone, and his finger traced the hilt of his dagger. He felt the chill going through his frame, but he was ready to go and find the damned gauntlets so the Nord could get some training. The dunmer didn’t want to let Rangalen to go alone either – that was out of the question.

     

    The Entrance of Valthume raised before them as they approached it. Ciel’nn had an urge to turn around, and run, but he couldn’t leave the Nord alone – who knows what horrors awaited inside the ruins. He never had an interest to explore ruins. Especially the ones that had the draugr in them. Ciel’nn looked at Rangalen.

     

    “Well then, let’s rest a bit. I’ll set up a camp.” The young warrior said as he eyed the entrance before he started to prepare the fire. He had noticed how restless the Dunmer was. “Look, if things go bad, we can turn back.”

     

    Ciel’nn glanced at the Nord, and sighed. He sat down on the bedroll, and took out a small lava stone, and handled it with care for a while before he looked at Rangalen. “Barrows reminds me of a basement we had at home, back in Morrowind. I was…” The Dunmer averted his gaze slightly, “locked in the dark…” His voice faded.

     

    Back to ToC

Comments

8 Comments   |   D3LTAFOX and 4 others like this.
  • Tenebrous
    Tenebrous   ·  March 26
    Nicely done! Ciel'nn facing his fears is a cool (and classic) way to develop the character.
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Nicely done! Ciel'nn facing his fears is a cool (and classic) way to develop the character.
        ·  March 26
      Thanks! Yeah, he'll never step inside a barrow if he was alone. xD
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  March 24
    The short prologues to each chapter which reveal bits of Ciel'nn's backstory are intriguing and make me want to read more but I like the way you slip them in to each chapter intro so we can gradually get to know more about Ciel'nn's past as the main story...  more
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      GailOlm
      GailOlm
      GailOlm
      The short prologues to each chapter which reveal bits of Ciel'nn's backstory are intriguing and make me want to read more but I like the way you slip them in to each chapter intro so we can gradually get to know more about Ciel'nn's past as the main story...  more
        ·  March 24
      Yes,  their friendship is growing. :) I try so hard not to spoil everything on Ciel'nn's past.
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  March 24
    Now I wonder who's going to be protecting who in Valthume. Ciel'nn doesn't like dark places and Rangalen has no shield but is trying to learn from Ciel'nn. Interesting for the next chapter...;)
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      William McNee
      William McNee
      William McNee
      Now I wonder who's going to be protecting who in Valthume. Ciel'nn doesn't like dark places and Rangalen has no shield but is trying to learn from Ciel'nn. Interesting for the next chapter...;)
        ·  March 24
      Thanks!  Yeah, it's going to be interesting to figure out. Thee hee. :)
  • D3LTAFOX
    D3LTAFOX   ·  March 24
    Man, I love this story! :)
    Great job, Caladran!
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      D3LTAFOX
      D3LTAFOX
      D3LTAFOX
      Man, I love this story! :)
      Great job, Caladran!
        ·  March 24
      Thank you so much! You just made me super happy! ^_^ I'm happy you enjoy the story as much as I enjoy writing it! <3