Protected, no longer; Chapter 18

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    Chapter 18

     

    All that what he felt was terror as he was sitting inside the dark and small room, surrounded by giant soul gems. Ciel’nn knew it would be only a matter of time when Maltrys would appear, and he was chained on a floor hook. It didn’t budge a bit despite how hard he tried. He never felt himself being so small and helpless.

     

    “Ce’vale…help me.”

     

     

     

    The trek across the sulfur flats was troublesome due to the wolf packs and an occasional saber cat. Ciel’nn had gotten a few cuts on his calf, but it wasn’t a serious injury. Despite this, they had to stop for a moment when the young warrior insisted to check on the cuts after Ciel’nn couldn’t walk at the same speed as him.

     

    Ciel’nn sat on a mossy rock with a grumble. “You’ve got a cut on your arm, too.” He pointed at a fresh cut the Nord had gotten from a vicious saber cat. “Shouldn’t you tend that first?” he asked when Rangalen bandaged his calf. The red eyes shifted at the early evening sky to see puffy clouds lazily moving. He still had the feeling from last night and he was restless. How comforting it had been before when he was alone, but… this feeling was something more. It was immense and almost overwhelming even when nothing was threatening him at the moment. A soft sigh escaped from him.

     

    “There. It should hold until we get to the city, and” Rangalen said as he reached into his backpack to take a health potion. “Drink this. How are you holding up?” He looked at the Dunmer who seemed to be even more restless. Nothing seemed to calm him down. Only if Sarade was here. His restlessness is getting into me, too. “Ciel’nn, we don’t need to stay in the city for long. Once I’ve spoken with him and bought supplies then we’ll leave right after that.” He paused for a moment. “I don’t want to stay there for long either.” He turned his head to survey the area, but there was nothing that would cause harm to them. Hopefully the rest of the trek would be without trouble.

     

    “I’d appreciate it if we don’t need to stay for long, but I don’t know where this feeling comes from.” Ciel’nn said in a neutral tone. “Better get going and get it done, eh?” He stood up and tested his leg by giving it standing pressure. His calf was sore and the walking speed would be slow. “We need to go slower.” Damn! I’m still not used to the wild life of Skyrim.

     

    “That’s alright. I’ll help” the young warrior replied and began to support the Dunmer while they started to walk towards Windhelm.

     

    They passed Kynesgrove and the guards only looked at them, and nodded to the young warrior. They didn’t seem hostile like the other Nords they’d met.

     

    Rangalen felt he would leave the Dunmer to rest here and heal due to the friendly atmosphere, but he didn’t want to leave him alone. He hoped that there would be no trouble in the city – somehow he wasn’t sure of anything. He knew half of Ulfric’s men were hostile to elves and the other half were more tolerant.

     

    The young warrior kept his eyes on the guards as they came onto the bridge. The tension raised in his muscles as they passed a few guards. He glanced at Ciel’nn who had fallen quiet. A thought of visiting the Gnisis Corner Club came to his mind as it wasn’t far off from the Palace, but the guards in that area were rude. There isn’t really a safe place for Ciel’nn in this damned city. Rangalen cursed in his mind. I should have left him at Kynesgrove.

     

    The cold stung on Ciel’nn’s face as they entered the city. For the moment he didn’t see anyone else than a few civilians going about their business. He looked at the young warrior who gave him a health potion. “Where would you like to wait?” he heard the question and he shrugged in return. “I don’t know. I might wait over there.” He pointed to a large flaming brazier. He felt anxious, but it was better than waiting indoors.

     

    “Alright, I won’t be long.” Rangalen nodded and helped his friend near the flaming brazier. He put his fur cloak on Ciel’nn’s shoulders. “Don’t freeze out here then. I’d be sad if I find you frozen when I return.” He said with a smile as he briefly stroke briefly Ciel’nn’s back hair.

     

    “Get going already!” Ciel’nn half hissed, but he smiled afterwards as he pushed Rangalen away. He watched the young warrior marching towards the Palace, and guessed the barracks were somewhere nearby. Be back soon. Ciel’nn tried to wrap himself inside the fur cape and eyed the area – still calm.

     

    Rangalen took a deep breath as he stepped inside the barracks. It felt unpleasant to be back after a couple of years. He had sworn to himself not to return ever again – no matter what, and yet he was back for whatever reason his father had to see him. He’d hear what the man had to say and then leave to buy supplies – simple as that. He stood at the door of his father’s, Ralan Mistgaze’s office, and prepared himself for the meeting before he knocked on the door.

     

    The Captain of the Windhelm guard was looking out the window to the sea view, as so cold and harsh as he was. There was a tense silence in the room since his son had stepped inside his room. He had read reports that his own flesh and blood traveled with a dark elf – how Ralan disliked them as much as he hated the Thalmor and Imperials. Ralan hadn’t shifted for a while and neither of them spoke.

     

    “You’re such a disappointment. Traveling with one of those wretched elves! What are you thinking? Huh?” Ralan turned around and slammed his hands on his desk. “He might be a spy for the Thalmor, and you’re staining my reputation as a captain!” he nearly shouted in rising anger.

     

    Of course, Rangalen had some expectation for this kind of talk from his father, but he stayed firm. “To Oblivion with your reputation! You’re wasting soldiers to look for me even when you should focus on the Imperials.” He paused to a take breath. “This dark elf is my friend and he hasn’t shown any sign of betrayal. Besides, it’s not your damn business with who I travel with!” His heart raced as he tried to defend his friend – he’d do anything for Ciel’nn.

     

    The Captain growled. “To think my own son turns against his own blood. I’m assigning you to the army. It’s now long overdue and perhaps it’ll keep you away from the elves.” He began to look for the papers that were somewhere on his desk.

     

    “I’m not joining the damn army! I thought you would have something more to say than this old song. I’m leaving.” Rangalen turned to leave, but his father called a soldier from the corridor. Rangalen recognized the soldier as the man walked in and their eyes met. “Grimalf Helmbog.” he said under his breath. What does he do here?

     

    Grimalf grinned briefly at the young warrior with a certain look, we meet again, elf lover. He turned his face to the Captain. ”You called, Sir?”

     

    “Yes, Helmbog. You saw this dark elf who travels with him?” Ralan asked.

     

    “Yes, Sir.”

     

    Rangalen had a sickening feeling in his guts. He thought to say something, but he couldn’t.

     

    “Good, I need you to gather your men to find the dark elf and kill him in the name of our safety.” Ralan commanded Grimalf.

     

    “Understood, Sir. On my way.” Grimalf saluted and shot a pleased grin at Rangalen before he left the room.

     

    “You can’t do this!” Rangalen protested. “It’s against –“ This isn’t happening!

     

    “The damn I can! And, you’re coming with me to see Jarl Ulfric. You’ll never see your elf again!” Ralan shouted in return.

     

    Ciel’nn was rubbing his hands as the weather was getting colder as nightfall was around the corner. He had not seen any sight of the Nord yet and he was getting worried that something might have gone wrong. He turned his head and saw a group of soldiers coming from the Palace yard. Ciel’nn noticed one of them being familiar. Isn’t that the man who wanted me dead some weeks ago? It seems they are looking for someone.

     

    “There he is! Seize him! I want to end his life myself.” Grimalf commanded his men and he watched them rushing towards the Dunmer.

     

    Hearing the command, Ciel’nn dropped the cloak from his shoulders and started dashing towards the gate. Thankfully someone was coming in, so he could slip through at the same time. On the bridge he felt the cold stinging him, but he tried to press on even as his calf started to hurt again. Where’s Rangalen? He had no intentions to get killed by the Stormcloaks, even he felt a growing fear for his life in his chest.

     

    He stumbled at the end of the bridge, and rolled on the snowy street. Ciel’nn winced in searing pain and knew he couldn’t get on his feet again. The sound of the chasing soldiers came closer. His breathing hurt his throat, but he focused to take his sword out and defend himself.

     

    Grimalf’s men came running towards the Dunmer with their weapons drawn and prepared to surround their target. Grimalf himself had his blade ready in his hand. “It ends now, dark elf. The foolish boy can’t –“ his speech was interrupted by a horse rider who rode fast towards them – making the men back away from the Dunmer.

     

    “It’s the Falkreath Huntress!” one of the men gasped.

     

    “Isn’t she in the Stormcloaks as well? The Jarl’s best scout?” another asked in uncertainty.

     

    Grimalf growled as he stared at the rider who still sat on the saddle, looking grimly at them.

     

    “Leave the dark elf with me. Return to your posts.” she demanded in a neutral tone as she stopped her horse between the Dunmer and the Stormcloaks.

     

    “Why should I obey you, woman?” Grimalf barked, failing to recognize her.

     

    “Don’t you know who she is, Helmbog?” Grimalf’s second in command asked.

     

    “I don’t care and I’m certainly not afraid of a wench! The dark elf dies!” Grimalf roared and he made an attempt to move closer to the Dunmer.

     

    Ciel’nn held his breath – this was all too intense – being in the middle of people who wanted to bargain for his life. He did recognize the rider when she had spoken for the first time. Sarade… It almost made Ciel’nn smile quietly as he kept his head lower as he listened to what was going on. He heard the Falkreath Huntress stepping down from her horse in a swift motion and then she was walking towards the Captain. The men seemed to back away even more as she faced Grimalf.

     

    “Grimalf Helmbog, you will not harm the dark elf. Not in my presence. You will go back to your Captain and report failure.” Sarade said in a cold tone as her eyes stared at Grimalf with unwavering resolve.

     

    “I’m not taking orders from any wenches like you! Leave before I lose my temper, useless wench!” Grimalf shot back. A sudden pain caused by Sarade’s dragon scale gauntlet made him stagger, falling on his back and wince in agony. His men gasped at the display. ”He should’ve realized…” they whispered among themselves.

     

    “Men like you should know when to stop. You’re corrupted as is your Captain. Go back to the barracks. I will report you for violating your duties as a Stormcloak soldier. Don’t give me that face, boy. I know very well what has been going on here.” Sarade’s gaze turned icy and unyielding. She saw to it that Grimalf stood up on his own, looking beaten and skulking back to the city with his men following him, before she turned to the Dunmer. “Are you hurt, Ciel’nn?” she asked in calm tone.

     

    “Sarade! By Azura, I’m glad to see you!” Ciel’nn cried. “I’m a little shaken, but my leg hurts from an earlier fight with the wild life.” he told the Huntress. “Rangalen’s inside the Palace if you’re wondering where he is.” He couldn’t describe how relieved he was to see the Huntress, but he was worried about the young warrior now.

     

    “I’ll find him after I’ve sent you to Kynesgrove – there’s a healer who can help you.” Sarade said. “Come, I’ll help you onto my horse. I have to report to the Jarl soon though.” she added while helped the Dunmer into the saddle. “Kyneswind can you take to there. You won’t find a more trustworthy horse in all Tamriel.” Sarade smiled as she checked that Ciel’nn sat well in the saddle. “I’ll come with Rangalen once I find him.”

     

    “Alright. I’ll wait for you two there.” Ciel’nn said while he tried to withstand the pain. His calf felt like it was burning. The huntress sent the horse to go Kynesgrove.

     

    Late into the evening, Ciel’nn was lying on the bed that was prepared for him. They had given him food and the healer who tended his burning calf had said he had luck on his side – the cut had an infection coming and all the running had only made it worse. As much as Ciel’nn wanted to fall asleep, he wanted to wait for Sarade and Rangalen. He wondered what was happening back in the Palace, and if Sarade was able to find the young warrior. The more he thought the faster he fell into slumber as if Kynesgrove was a blessed place, so that nothing would harm the sleeping patrons.

     

     

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Comments

5 Comments   |   GailOlm and 1 other like this.
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 20
    What's worse than a Stormcloak? Corrupted and stupid Stormcloak apparently. Gah, buggers. I do quite enjoy the idea of these radical and corrupted morons. And timely rescue from Sarade. :)
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 3
    I will get around to reading your story I promise, may Hircine turn me into a wolf cub; however....


    We are running a NaNo camp this month and I noticed you haven't signed up for it despite writing during July. Here's a link to it. i r...  more
    • Caladran
      Caladran
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Sotek
      I will get around to reading your story I promise, may Hircine turn me into a wolf cub; however....


      We are running a NaNo camp this month and I noticed you haven't signed up for it despite writing during July. Here's a link to it. i really hope you wil...  more
        ·  July 4
      Take your time. I can't join NaNo camp this time around, sorry. Maybe later in the autumn.
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  July 3
    Hope all goes well with Rangalen and his father. Maybe Sarade can bring her influence to bear
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  July 2
    Some tense moments! Sarade showed up just in time. :)