Protected, no longer; Chapter 12

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    Chapter 12

     

    The darkness seemed to thicken when he tried to move. He wasn’t able to see anything in this… whatever it was. A smell of rotten flesh invaded into his senses that make him feel sick. He didn’t recognize the ever changing whispers.

     

    There was the constant presence of Maltrys surrounding Ciel’nn. And it made him shiver nearly uncontrollably. He wasn’t sure if the elder Dunmer was around, or if it was something else. Ciel’nn wanted to escape.

     

    “It’s your turn, whelp!” Maltrys’ sinister voice came from the darkness, reaching out for him.

     

    Ciel’nn felt dry fingers around his neck, choking him…

     

     

     

    Ciel’nn woke up abruptly, thrashing in his bed. His eyes opened wide and scared. His heart raced like he had been running away from something with all his vitality. He glanced around in high alert as he tried to remember where he was. It slowly came to him – Darkwater Crossing. He was there with the Nord. “S’wit!” he hissed. “Just a damn nightmare.” Ciel’nn tried to calm down and he really didn’t want to see those kind of nightmares.

     

    “Ciel’nn? Are you alright?” Rangalen asked. He had stood up from his bed. “You screamed.” he said in a calming tone as he sat on the Dunmer’s bed. At the look he got from his friend, he could only guess the nightmares were getting worse. The young warrior took Ciel’nn into a gentle embrace. He didn’t know what he would say to comfort Ciel’nn. He felt the Dunmer leaning into him, and his hand moved on its own as he stroked Ciel’nn’s back hair. They didn’t move for a while.

     

    The Nord’s embrace calmed Ciel’nn in ways he hadn’t felt before. He let Rangalen hug him as he waited for his heart to calm down and his mind to clear off. The stroking on his hair was relaxing. Ciel’nn focused on the feeling the Nord was giving him. He started to feel warm until he shifted to look at the young warrior with a slight smile. “Where would I be if you weren’t with me?” His voice was rough, but soft in the end.

     

    Rangalen looked back at his friend. The Dunmer seemed to be calm now, and that was a good thing. He smiled back, but he didn’t say anything. He studied his friend closely before he deemed Ciel’nn was alright. “I dare not to think about it, Ciel’nn. I’m glad you’re feeling better.” The young warrior brushed a stray hair aside from the Dunmer’s face. You’re so fragile… “Shall we go and eat something?”

     

    The food sounded good, and Ciel’nn nodded as he waited for the Nord to let go of him. “Sounds good, I’m hungry.” he replied and hopped down from the bed. He felt good, even the nightmare and the threat of Tellik was locked away in the back of his mind. They still needed to find someone to tell them about Skawulf. The day would be interesting once we leave.

     

    They left the small settlement behind and headed towards the Rift. The young warrior had taken the lead as they had heard the area was buzzing with all sort of dangers. They had chosen the southern approach for the Rift, and Rangalen wanted to visit the Rift watchtower to ask if there had been any troubles lately.

     

    The Dunmer eyed their surroundings before he said, “You know, if we go to Riften we should be careful because of the Black-Briar family.” Ciel’nn’s tone was moderately low as if he was afraid Maven Black-Briar would hear him.

     

    “Oh? Have you been at Riften often then?” Rangalen asked glancing at the Dunmer. He had heard rumors about Riften and that of the Thieves Guild. He also tasted that Black-Briar mead. “Their mead is foul and dark.” he complained and he would never taste that again! “Luckily there’s Honningbrew mead.” he added with clear relief in his tone.

     

    A sigh escaped from Ciel’nn. “I’ve been there just a few times and had enough of the city. They tried to get me into their damn Thieves Guild, too.” he nearly snarled. “They have eyes almost everywhere, and yes, I wouldn’t touch, eat or drink anything that’s from the Black-Briars. I’d rather eat a Nirnroot.” He heard the Nord chuckling. Well, not really, but I’d not go near anything that screamed Black-Briar on it.

     

    They walked down the path that led near to the Snapleg Cave. Rangalen spotted a group of bandits gathering in front of the cave and signaled Ciel’nn to stop. They took cover behind a large stone as the bandits hadn’t seen them yet. “Can we sneak past them?” the young warrior asked quietly. “There’s at least five of them.”

     

    Things just got exciting. Ciel’nn frowned as he peeked at the bandits. Their chances weren’t that great, but he could manage to slip away. The Nord on the other hand would break a twig, but the space was small – they would have to fight anyway, probably. “I say, we try to sneak, but be prepared for a fight if we get caught.”

     

    The Dunmer’s low tone made Rangalen’s skin prickle. He had heard different tones, but this one was something else. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he felt slight terror and excitement. “Alright.” he replied quietly as he started to follow Ciel’nn through the bushes, as he hoped not to step on a twig.

     

    The bandits were chattering about the loot haul from the last attack. They laughed and drank mead. “The Boss would be satisfied for once. It’s not like the caravans go this way anymore.” Trilin said. He seemed to be in charge.

     

    “We could try to assault Riften or Shor’s Stone for a change.” Winheimar suggested after drinking his mead.

     

    “Are you raving mad, Winheimar? They’d alert Riften, send a group of soldiers after us and then we have to kiss The Rift goodbye forever. You want to be outlawed for the rest of your life?” Pellnar scowled.

     

    “It would be something! We’d be outlawed, feared, but known throughout Skyrim. That’s something.” Jayen said dreamily, leaning against a tree.

     

    “By the Gods! I don’t know why I tagged along with you, crackheads!” Trilin sighed and turned his head away from his crazy friends. His eye caught a slight movement in the bushes. Probably a rabbit… “Alright, boys, let’s haul these sacks and crates inside.”

     

    Ciel’nn had shifted through the bushes until he stopped dead in his spot when Trilin had turned his head, and he had hoped Rangalen would stay calm. He waited a while as he observed the bandits moving into the cave. Ciel’nn could breathe again and he still stayed low when he continued towards their cave.

     

    Rangalen had followed the Dunmer through the bushes and straightened his back once they were a good distance away from the cave. “We need to warn somebody!” he gasped while he checked his armor.

     

    Ciel’nn shook his head. “And tell what? A bunch of bandits may plan attacking this or that place? They’d need more than that.” he sighed. “We could warn the next village though, I doubt these bandits will attack anytime soon. Let’s find the watchtower. Come.”

     

    Carefully they crept through the immediate area as they searched for the tower. The area seemed to be calm, but the evening was approaching steadily and the fog started to settle in. Somewhere near a bear roared, but the young warrior couldn’t see the animal.

     

    “I think I see the tower.” Rangalen said in a calm tone. “It doesn’t look good.” he added as they approached the Rift watchtower.

     

    “These guards were killed.” Ciel’nn stated. “I’ll check the tower.” he said in a low tone as he went up the stairs. More dead men, nothing new to him, but it made the Dunmer wonder – who did the killing? Could it be Tellik or perhaps the Imperials? Whoever it was, his eyes studied the tower until they landed on the letter. “Hmm.” He stepped over a corpse and took the letter from a small table. “Imperials…” he muttered. “Rang’s not going to be happy.”

     

    “Happy about what? What did kill them? I’m betting on Tellik.” the young warrior asked, frowning behind the Dunmer as he eyed the gruesome scene.

     

    “How much would you bet?” Ciel’nn’s voice was playful as he shifted around, showing the letter to the young warrior with a smirk on the corners of his lips.

     

    “Well, twenty septims…” Rangalen started before his eyes saw the letter. “Damn! Imperials!” he cursed lightly. “Well, I guess we better find a place for the night.” he sighed.

     

    “There is a pond called Clearspring Tarn. We could camp there. The view is quite breathtaking during the sundown. It shouldn’t be far.” Ciel’nn suggested as he eyed the young warrior a moment before flashing a smile and nudged Rangalen to follow.

     

    “I was sure it’s Tellik doing his outlaw work.” the young warrior said in a quiet tone as they left the tower. Rangalen was watching out for any threat as they treaded carefully across the meadow. There weren’t anything else but rabbits running about. His mind wandered back to his father, but he tried to push that away as he didn’t want to think about going back to home or meeting his father.

     

    The Clearspring Tarn was ahead and it made Ciel’nn more relaxed. Getting to rest again sounded very comfortable. To rest around the campfire was a thing for the Dunmer that he’d gotten used to. It was a luxury thing because it reminded him of the lava pits at home. He could stare at them for hours.

     

    They set up the camp at the pond once Rangalen deemed it was safe to do so. The campfire was small so as not to catch any unwanted attention. Ciel’nn was sitting quietly next to Rangalen as they were watching the sundown. The Dunmer’s hand was inside his backpack pocket, his fingers tracing a special soul gem – usually he was afraid of them, but this one he kept. It brought comfort to him.

     

    “Ciel’nn,” Rangalen whispered, “do you miss your family often?” He hoped the Dunmer wouldn’t mind him asking as they had talked about his father occasionally. The young warrior glanced at Ciel’nn who kept staring into the fire.

     

    “I only miss my mother.” was all the Dunmer said in a sorrowful tone. “I don’t have a family anymore.” His voice faded in the noise of the crackling fire. He wasn’t in the mood to tell anything else.

     

    “My mother died when I was younger. She died by having the Brain Rot. They said it was too late to find a cure.” Rangalen said. “I’m sorry for your family.” he added in a soft tone.

     

    Ciel’nn was quiet, but he felt the young warrior’s hand on his shoulder. It had been many, many years ago since it all happened, and he wasn’t over it yet. He wasn’t ready…

     

    Mother…

     

     

    Back to ToC

Comments

9 Comments   |   Tenebrous and 4 others like this.
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  Fri at 3:47 AM
    You know, I'm beginning to find the opening tidbits of Ciel'nn's past just as - if not more - interesting than the main narrative. And contracting Brain Rot seems like a nasty way to go. It's funny, in the games it's just simple mathematics, reducing your...  more
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 20
    Bandits, brave and bold. Assaulting Riften? What are they going to do? Throw pebbles at the walls? :) Otherwise nice to see two friends finding comfort in each other. Wonder if there isn't something more though... ;)
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      Bandits, brave and bold. Assaulting Riften? What are they going to do? Throw pebbles at the walls? :) Otherwise nice to see two friends finding comfort in each other. Wonder if there isn't something more though... ;)
        ·  July 23
      Throwing pebbles? xD That'd be too little for them. Will see about "something more" later on, or not. :)
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 13
    There's nothing like being able to sooth away someone's troubles. I'm a bit thrown by two lines...
    “We could try to assault Riften or Shor’s Stone for a change.” Winheimar suggested after drinking his mead.
    “Are you raving mad, Winheimar? The...  more
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Sotek
      There's nothing like being able to sooth away someone's troubles. I'm a bit thrown by two lines...
      “We could try to assault Riften or Shor’s Stone for a change.” Winheimar suggested after drinking his mead.
      “Are you raving mad, Winheimar? They’d alert Ri...  more
        ·  May 14
      Thank you. You always grace my chapters with your comments. ^^

      Yes, I see it now what do you mean and will take the note for the future chapters.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  May 10
    I'm glad that Rangalen seems to be able to give Ciel'nn some comfort from his nightmares. I like your attention to detail such as giving names to the bandits.
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      GailOlm
      GailOlm
      GailOlm
      I'm glad that Rangalen seems to be able to give Ciel'nn some comfort from his nightmares. I like your attention to detail such as giving names to the bandits.
        ·  May 14
      Yes, since he can't do much about the nightmares he can hug and comfort Ciel'nn. ^^

      Giving names to minor characters gives something more into the chapter. It would be boring if I'd just write bandit one, bandit two or second bandit said this and that.
  • Tenebrous
    Tenebrous   ·  May 10
    Hooray, bonding!
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Hooray, bonding!
        ·  May 14
      It's about time, right? ^^