Protected, no longer; Chapter 28

  • Chapter 28

     

    Ciel’nn viewed the small room with a minor interest —  this room belonged to a Dunmer mage. Why was he there, he had not slightest clue, but he continued to observe. A dark, expensive robe was neatly folded on the bed and a pair of enchanted shoes was put next to the bed. He found several scrolls on the study table and a silver locket with a small gem on the cover. The bookshelf had various books of magic and Daedra. Ciel’nn frowned slightly at this.

    Who was this mage? And why he was there?

    He let his eyes wander until he had to turn around and he came face to face with the mage. Ciel’nn’s heart jumped to his throat at the second he saw her. What would she do to him? Did she even see him?

    She was a Dunmer with black hair tied in a ponytail and wore casual robes. Her face wore  extreme frown and her eyes reflected high concern as if she was thinking of some life changing decisions. Their eyes met, but she looked past him as she walked through him and over to her table.

    For a brief moment, Ciel’nn felt a distant echo of a feeling of sorrow. He couldn’t explain why he felt so before he collapsed on the floor…





    Ciel’nn frowned at the hooded cloak that Rangalen was holding out for him. It didn’t look good but should cover him properly — maybe he’d go for a beggar or a monk. He preferred some other clothing with a hood, but that cloak was the only piece of cloth they found at Robber’s Gorge. The mer put on a miserable face when the Nord offered the cloak to him.

    “It’s the best of what we have,” Rangalen said, still holding the cloak. Why were the Dunmer so picky? Maybe he didn’t know enough of their living style. Ciel’nn was certainly picky with what he drinks and wears. The mer used a hood when it was cold or had to hide his face. The young warrior frowned — his friend wasn’t so cheery anymore as he used to be — he was quiet and often in his own thoughts. The current events had affected the mer and it made Rangalen grim.

    “It stinks!” Ciel’nn scoffed and crossed his arms on his chest. “And, it’s dirty!” he protested and let out a scoff. And, now you’re acting like a Telvanni even if you’re a relative to House Hlaalu? A Dunmer doesn’t present himself in such rags. He shook his head slightly and tilted his head. Certainly he didn’t learn it from his parents.

    The Nord sighed as if he was giving up, “We can’t risk you getting caught by the Imperials.” He looked to the mer, “Put it on, Ciel’nn.” Rangalen handed the cloak to his friend. “Please.” The Dunmer scowled at him a bit , but took the cloak. “You can clean up later if you like to.” He dared to smile and hoped to lighten up the mood. “Come on, we’ll say you’re a pilgrim to see the Temple of the Divines.”

    Dragon Bridge was quiet when they walked over the bridge. From under his hood, Ciel’nn saw a man cutting some wood and up on the path a group of Imperial soldiers came towards them. This was a bad idea, a very bad one. He bit his lip in anxiety as the soldiers closed in, nearly to clinging on the Nord. The imperials didn’t seem to be avoiding them and Ciel’nn had to hurry away from them. The nerve! They march like they own the land!

    The young warrior watched the soldiers marching by and over the bridge. He couldn’t help, but feel his chest tightening. Had the Civil War begun already? He felt Ciel’nn close to him — hopefully the officer, who had chased the Dunmer, had gone out of the city. That, Rangalen was hoping for. A lot. “Come, Ciel’nn, let’s see if they can help you.” He nudged the mer to move along. The civilians were wary about the soldiers coming and going through Dragon Bridge when the young warrior gazed around.

    “It is starting. I can feel it.”A woman said when she came from the Inn with a fearful look on her face. “I should have moved to Falkreath!” She looked to Rangalen, who gave a sympathetic nod. “Are you going to the city? It’s buzzing with the soldiers about.” The woman asked.

    “Yes, I’m taking this pilgrim to see the Temple of Divines.” The young warrior replied.

    “A pilgrim? It’s dangerous times with these soldiers and rumors of the robbing Stormcloaks on the road. Better stay at the Winking Skeever, then! Safe travels!” she replied before she strode away, leaving the young warrior to shake his head.

    The closer they get to the gates, the more of the Imperials they saw. Ciel’nn glanced at them carefully as they passed by. So far, he didn’t recognize any of them. As soon as they’d get into the temple — it would be safe. He could only hope as they approached the gate which felt like an eternity.

    Inside Solitude, the civilians were trying to do business while the constant movement of soldiers was present. Ciel’nn breathed heavily and feared the worst would happen while he followed the Nord through the mass of people. The Temple of Divines seemed to be far away and the Dunmer found it hard to breathe — too many soldiers. They were approaching the stairs now.

    “Hold there!” A Imperial officer asked the young warrior, and Rangalen looked to the man. He felt the Dunmer clinging close to him. Could this be… No. The officer had a different set of armor; it was darker and had red clothing. Rangalen stared at the officer. “What’s this now? This area is off-limits—  Imperial army only,” he heard the man saying. “We were only visiting the Temple of Divines. I’m escorting a pilgrim.” Rangalen replied in his most convincing tone.

    “What? A pilgrim at this time of the year?” The officer frowned. “No one who isn’t in the army, is not allowed in. I want to see their face. You can’t be too careful these days — might be an assassin around!” He stared at the cloaked Dunmer. “Show me your face, pilgrim.”

    N’chow! He’s a Penitus Oculatus officer! Ciel’nn found himself horror struck. He hadn’t known back in the day when he had stolen the ring. Escaping was in his mind, but then the officer would alert others on him. The Nord shifted in front of him — debating what to do, probably. Ciel’nn bit his lip as his hand moved upwards to shift the hood, but only slightly. He’d be ready to run if he needed to.

    Rangalen took a deep breath as he watched the officer peering down at the Dunmer. If things go awry… He watched the officer’s every move and the young warrior’s shield arm tensed up. If things go awry… “Hmm,” he heard the officer pondering which felt like a long minute.

    “You… You stole my ring!” he shouted, his hand reaching for his decorated sword. “I’ll ge— “

    “Run, Ciel’nn. I’ll hold him as long as I can.” Rangalen said calmly, but quick after he had shield bashed the officer in the side of the face. There was a shadow of doubt on the Dunmer’s face, but the young warrior just nodded. Get out of the city, I’ll follow when I can. His eyes followed the Dunmer, who turned and dashed away as fast as he could. Stay safe, friend. He prepared to face the officer of the Penitus Oculatus.

    Hating to leave his friend behind, Ciel’nn cursed the day he had taken the sapphire ring. He had known the officer would remember his face? In the worst case scenario, they’d lock the Nord in a cell for a night or longer. With those thoughts, he ran to the closest sewer hatch he had used in his previous escape. With the civilians and soldiers about, they would not see him disappearing into the sewer system. He landed in the water, splashing droplets everywhere. He removed the cloak and hid it in the nearby barrel. This place stinks even worse than last time! I will need some lavenders for clean up later. Ciel’nn pulled up his own hood and looked around.

    If the marks are still on the wall, I should find the way out of here.

    Following the old marks was an easy job, but when Ciel’nn found two similar markings on the wall, where were the tunnel joined in two, he stopped. He narrowed his eyes in disbelief. He was certain he hadn’t drawn the other mark. All the while, these two marks made him confused. Who had done it and why? N’wah… The Dunmer had no choice but to pick one route and follow that. He only needed to move on with more stealth.

    Ciel’nn shuddered when he passed the small skeever nest in all quietness and stealth. He hadn’t seen any markings on the wall and when he decided to back track to the joint, he heard someone talking in a low tone. Judging by the voices, the speaker was a Thalmor. There was another person, too and they spoke in their own language so Ciel’nn couldn’t understand a word of it. He’d guessed it was something sinister if it were tones to believe on. Shaking his head slightly, Ciel’nn turned back and left as quietly as he had came.

    Sitting on the bedroll, Ciel’nn kept an eye on the road while he tended the small camp fire. He could see the road, but no one one would see him from the road. He still cursed the officer and hoped the Nord would show up soon… Unless they had put him behind bars for the night. Ciel’nn didn’t know much of the Imperial laws. Rangalen was just a nobody and they would release him by the morning. He put a another twig in the fire as it dawned on him — The Thalmor! They might be in there, too. “S’wit!” Ciel’nn cursed quietly and glanced at the road, nothing yet.

    When dawn came, Ciel’nn had fallen asleep and didn’t hear the footsteps that encroached on his little camp. He felt the rough shake on his shoulder and mumbled something in dunmeric. In his sleepy state, he still tried to reach his blade. “Shh, it’s me.” He heard someone whispering close to him. Ciel’nn blinked his eyes open and looked the man in front of him. “I’m glad…” The Dunmer frowned, “What did they do to you, Rang?” By instinct, he reached up to touch a purplish spot on the Nord’s face. “They beat you?” A low hiss escaped from his lips.

    Regardless of his wounds, Rangalen managed to smile as he saw Ciel’nn was unharmed. “It will pass.” He said as he sat down on the grass. “They beat me, and even brought the Thalmor to get something out of me.” The Nord continued while the Dunmer kept frowning and reached for his backpack. “They gave up after a few hours as I said to them I don’t know Ulfric’s plans and that I’m just a commoner.” He took the healing potion from the Dunmer. “A night in their cells. Can’t say I’m thankful of their hospitality. Anyway, where did you disappeared to? I saw you disappearing in the crowd.” Rangalen opened the health potion and drank it.

    “I used the sewers, and guess what? I found Altmers down there. Might be Thalmor, but who knows.” Ciel’nn replied as he began to make something to eat. “They were speaking in their own language, but if I have to guess — something is going on there.” He was quiet for a brief moment and glanced at the Nord, “I was worried about you. Almost made an assault plan in case if you didn’t show up today.” The Nord smiled at him.

    “I’ll manage. Unless they throw a real nasty Thalmor at me.” Rangalen said thoughtfully as he watched Ciel’nn cooking chicken breasts. His stomach growled. The Imperials didn’t even bring him any food to eat while he was behind the bars. “Altmers in the sewers? That’s an odd place for them. Are you going to get cleaned up?” In truth, Rangalen didn’t mind if his friend hadn’t cleaned himself. The look would go for a rough traveler.

    “I’d need some lavender and nightshade first.” The Dunmer replied as he spiced the chicken breasts. “They are located in the Tundra mostly. The water here is too cold.” He picked a cloth from his backpack and wrapped the first chicken breast before he handed it to the Nord. “So, that’s that from the Temple of Divines.” Ciel’nn sighed.

    The young warrior pondered their options. So far he saw two, “There’s Markath and Dawnstar that are relatively in close range. I heard there’s a temple of Dibella at Markath.” Rangalen suggested. “We need to get moving before the Civil War gets its wings.”

    “Alright, but what if the priest dies again? Like… Runil did.” Ciel’nn wasn’t sure if he wanted to go that far. Priests would die only because he had the Daedric taint on him. So far, the taint only existed but he didn’t know how it was affecting or why it was there in the first place.

    And what about the mark he had seen in his nightmare?

     

Comments

3 Comments   |   GailOlm and 2 others like this.
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  September 20
    I'm glad that Rangalen's time in the jail wasn't too long. Those Thalmor can be nasty when they want to question you... :(
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  September 18
    So that's that for Temple of Divines. And Thalmor in sewers hmm. What an odd place for them to be at.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  September 16
    Whew! That was a close call for Ciel'nn. I'm glad that Rangalen was able to distract the officer so that Ciel'nn could get away.