Protected, no longer; Chapter 21

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    Chapter 21



    The guars were strong and well grown. There were many guars in the pen, and Ciel’nn really liked them. He could watch them all day, either at the pen or in the meadows. The green one was to his liking.

    He still mourned after his baby guar that Maltrys had killed, for his own experiment. Sighing Ciel’nn gazed at the guars - he’d like to buy one, but the problem was he didn’t have enough gold to for that. Surely Maltrys wouldn’t give him any.



    Anise’s cabin was undisturbed since Ciel’nn’s last visit. It was a quiet and peaceful little place - odd for a witch cottage. He still remembered the first three nights the witch had taken care of him when he’d had no clue of the poisons of Skyrim or from where he should look for his cousin. It wasn’t home, but something like it and temporal. His eyes caught the sight of the small garden plot next to the cabin - the Nightshades and Deathbells were growing well. Anise had advised him where to find more of them before he had left to wander on his own.



    The place seemed secure for the time being as Rangalen surveyed the area. It was in middle of a natural spot and the Dunmer seemed to be comfortable with it. No doubt the cabin belonged to a person who was a hermit and wished to be left alone - maybe a witch or necromancer. It made him feel uncomfortable, but he pushed it aside as they were here for someone who Ciel’nn kept in a good status. It didn’t stop Rangalen being careful and watchful while they stood there, waiting.



    “Nightshade!” An old woman’s voice came from the cabin. Anise walked slowly outside and smiled at the Dunmer. She looked at him and eyed him for a moment. “Three years, and now you come to see old Anise? Let me see you.” She walked closer. “There’s something different about you.” Her voice was as concerned as an aunt would see what you had been through.



    “Sera. Hello, Anise.” Ciel’nn replied with a hint of a smile. Anise had given him a nickname of Nightshade because the flower was his favorite. “It’s good to see you. Yes, I’ve been through a lot, but I have a new friend. This is Rangalen.” He looked to the young warrior. “Rang, this is Anise.” Somehow it felt like introducing an important friend to your aunt who had been taking care of you. Ciel’nn watched the young warrior nodding to Anise with some reservation. Who could blame him though?



    “It’s good to have friends in these trying times, my lads. Do you need more ingredients, Nightshade?” Anise asked after she had glanced at the young warrior. “Also, you’re welcome to stay for a while if you like to.”



    “Yes, I’ve ran out of some ingredients. I was wondering if you had any nightshade and Giant Lichens.” Ciel’nn replied. “We could stay for a night, right Rangalen?” He turned his head to the Nord who gave him a small nod.



    “If that’s what you want.” Rangalen said while crossing his arms on his chest. “We need the poison if we’re to encounter more of those Bear-heads.”



    “I think I have some of them, but if you’re going to make them here,  you need to get some River Betties too.” Anise advised smiling before she strolled back to her cabin.



    Plenty River Betties swam in the river. They were small and fast. Rangalen sighed as he failed to catch one. How on Nirn did you catch these? He straightened his back with a groan and glanced at the Dunmer, who was catching the small fishes with a self-made, thin and wooden fishing harpoon. Rangalen observed the Dunmer’s moves; his focused half of the face he saw, his posture like he was ready to strike someone down with a clean strike. He watched Ciel’nn body tensing up, and with determination he shoved his wooden harpoon into the water.



    “Remember, I need them alive,” Ciel’nn noted the young warrior as he inspected his fish, before he put it into the water bowl.



    “Only if I can catch any.” Rangalen grunted. “How did you learn to fish like that?” He was never taught to fish or hunt animals, but maybe he would learn from Ciel’nn. “Someone showed me once. I guess I would use the fishing rod, but that’s not fun at all.” He heard the Dunmer saying, “Try again.” The young warrior sighed again, and turned to the river. He had his eyes on the two River Betties and he focused.



    Crack!



    “Damn it!” Rangalen groaned as his harpoon broke into two pieces.



    Ciel’nn had caught two fishes, and had put them into the bowl before he heard the cracking sound. The Nord seemed to be upset for his poor fisherman skills. He took the bowl and walked towards Rangalen. “Hey, it’s okay. I can show you if you want to?” He asked, putting the bowl down on the grass. The Dunmer looked to the Nord.



    “Alright, I don’t mind.” Rangalen nodded. He felt like he had missed something because his father was a soldier, and didn’t have time for his son - other than talking about the army. They spent some time at the river, and Ciel’nn showed him ways to fish. At dusk, Rangalen had manage to catch one fish. The trick was not to use strength at all, but to be precise with the fishing harpoon.



    On their way back to the cabin, they talked about visiting Runil the Arkay priest at Falkreath to talk about the taint on Ciel’nn. The Dunmer wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, given what happened at Whiterun. He wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to help. His nightmares had gotten worse lately and he had trouble to falling asleep. The young warrior wanted to try at least.



    Ciel’nn looked around them as if they were being spied upon. Even though he didn’t sense the imminent danger like he used to. His hands around the water bowl tightened as the nervousness grew along his spine. I don’t see anything, and yet I feel it. A hint of fear began to show itself in back of his mind. “Rangalen, do you see anything?” he whispered close to the young warrior.



    Rangalen surveyed the area, though it should be calm at dusk. He narrowed his eyes as if to focus better in the darkening evening. He was hoping it would be bandits or the usual wildlife. He wanted to tell Ciel’nn there was nothing to be afraid of. However, the Dunmer’s alertness was getting to him, too.  “Ciel’nn, I do—”, he started, but stopped as he heard footsteps.



    A tall dark figure approached them from the trees. Judging by the outlines, the figure had some kind of armor on. “Children shouldn’t be out at the night.” He snarled as his face with a malicious grin came in the last strays of the evening sun.



    “It’s the Dremora Lord!” Rangalen shouted half afraid and  in anger. He should have seen the monster! He drew his sword  while taking a few  strides to position himself between Ciel’nn and the monster “Go to the Cabin! I’ll hold him off.” He said, hoping Ciel’nn would run to safety. He did his best to put on a brave face. Talos give me strenght to defeat this monster!



    Marquis…has found us.



    The water bowl dropped down with a splash as Ciel’nn had noticed the Dremora Lord  in front of them. He couldn’t move, but stared at him with  mouth partly open. How had this happened? He had no idea. Rangalen had told him to run, but Ciel’nn was paralyzed in place. His legs didn’t move and he found his voice was gone. Rang… Is this where we die? Only then the Dunmer felt the wave of imminent danger, but it was too late. Fear hit him hard. Ciel’nn wanted to scream, but nothing happened.



    “RUN!” Rangalen shouted without looking over his shoulder.



    Marquis tilted his head at the young warrior. Such a mortal youngling and eager to die, to protect his friend. Marquis was amused - they always put up a fight with him, even knowing they’ll perish. He took a quickened step toward the Nord, and slammed the shield from Rangalen’s hand away. His gauntlets grabbed the young man’s armor and lifted the shocked and scared mortal into the air. Marquis stared deep into the misty blue eyes of Rangalen before hissing, “Pitiful. You can’t even protect a dog. He’s mine to take.” With that, he harshly tossed the Nord like a rag-doll, against a giant tree trunk.



    “Rang!” Ciel’nn shouted in panic. Apart from the grunt he had heard, which his friend had let out on the impact with the tree, Ciel’nn didn’t see the Nord moving. His face turned to the Dremora Lord, and he drew his sword. That S’wit! He took a step back when Marquis took a step towards him, snarling. “Do you really think that works on me?” he heard the Dremora Lord growling at him. It’s a last line of defense if nothing else. I don’t know what else to do.



    “Where’s the Dragonborn? She can’t help you now either. You’re all on your own.” Marquis snarled, coming even closer. He tilted his head and took a leap towards the Dunmer, grabbing his throat and lifted into the air. “This chase ends now, Ciel’nn.” He hissed. “Struggle all you want— it’ll make no difference to me. I have been waiting for this moment since I caught you the first time.” Marquis laughed as if he was relieved and believed the hunt was over, “I have plans for you.”



    The gauntlet was holding at the same spot like the first time, and it hurt. Ciel’nn had dropped his sword and struggled to get free, but it was a futile attempt. The grip was tighter, and shifted each time the Dremora Lord spoke— Ciel’nn thought he was going to run out of air. “S’wit!” he hissed between his teeth, but Marquis smirked back. What plans has he now? I thought… If I could only get free. His eyes widened in horror when he saw  the Dremora Lord raising his other gauntlet. He’s going to kill me!



    A portal of Oblivion opened nearby, and a figure stepped out. The figure walked towards them with a steady  pace. “Marquis.” A female deadric voice called loud enough for them to hear.



    Marquis gritted his teeth together. “Enforcer Kliksaath. What brings you on the plane of mortals?” What perfect timing to interfere with my plans, and so close to get what I want. What I deserve! What do they want now? He kept his eyes on the Dunmer, though he was certain the mortal couldn’t escape on his own.



    She wants to see you. Now.” Enforcer Kliksaath hissed in a demanding tone.



    “Now? l have business with this—” Marquis declined the order.



    “You will put the mortal down. Now,” came another command from Kliksaath, “Do not make me angry, Marquis. Or, should I say “Zakseus?”



    Marquis hissed at the insult. He wanted to finish the Dunmer right here, right now, but Kliksaath was known to get violent when her orders weren’t obeyed. If he killed Ciel’nn, she’d kill him in turn. His hand trembled in anger when he slowly lowered the mer down on the grass. “I’ll find you again.” He whispered carefully, promising before he let of Ciel’nn. The Dunmer backed away from him with shaky legs. Marquis turned to Enforcer Kliksaath.



    “You’ll go in first, Marquis,” the female Daedra pointed the portal nearby.  She kept her cold eyes on the Dremora Lord, and smacked him as he passed by her. “I should kill you for what you have done.” She hissed furiously and watched Marquis entering the portal. Once he was gone, Kliksaath looked to the mer, giving him a mysterious smile.



    The portal closed and both Deadras were gone. Ciel’nn collapsed on his knees. Even though the unexpected turn in the situation should have left him relieved, he couldn’t stop tears rolling down his cheeks. His throat hurt when he tried to swallow.



    Mother…I don’t know what to do.



    I should check on Rang, but I don’t have any strenght left in me.



    …next time he finds me, he’ll end it.



    The world spun around and he was lying on the grass.

     

    Back to ToC

     

Comments

5 Comments   |   Sotek and 2 others like this.
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  August 2
    Thanks for the comments and support guys! ^_^
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  August 2
    Dremora politics eh? At least all their infighting was lucky for Ciel'nn and Rang there. Will the name 'Zakseus' be significant in the future? Hmm
    Nice use of pics in the chapter. I plan to do that in my story too.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  July 30
    I love how you integrated Anise into the story, especially since many players kill her in-game just to get her shack. Your story shows a whole other side to her.
    I felt sad that Rang hadn't learned to fish because his father was too busy with the ar...  more
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 30
    Well, dang! The dremora certainly doesn't mess around. And to say that Ciel was lucky today would be an understatement. And seeing Marquis fearing the Dremora chick...well, there's clearly some power struggle right there. Now I'm above intrigued.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 30
    One minute the world's at peace and you're quietly fishing, next second you're thrown against a tree by a Daedra Lord who has unfinished business. 
    Hope  Rangalen isn't too badly hurt although such blows could kill....
    Ciel'nn ha...  more