Frozen Tears: Chapter 1

  • Arlya’s POV

     

    Today is a day for reflection. For the past. I was planning on researching a bit more into Restoration magicks, planning on getting the proper salts needed to help with the Destruction magicks. But the memories are relentless, and all I can do is wait for Urag to finish strengthening the book (using some sort of mixture… it doesn’t matter now, nothing matters but the memories).

    I can see the Isles. Yes, the Summerset Isles. Not Alinor, damn it, never. Those cursed Thalmor drove me out, and killed what had been my living. I was a healer, I saved lives. And because I didn’t hate the other races, because I spoke out against their tyranny, they tried to kill me. For the first time, I was able to use more than the Novice Destruction magics. I melted those petty assassins, and fled to the farthest reaches of Tamriel. But they took my healing magicks from me. My hate, which oh so easily ignites fires and freezes my foes, stop anything higher than a healing aura. Anything more than a few scrapes is out of the question, assuming I don’t want to wait a week. And even my wards falter and fall half the time, the wards I used to defend so many wounded on the battlefield, they’ve left me.

     

    Oh, how the times have changed. My anger is all that drives me, but sometimes, at night, all I feel is a hollow emptiness…

     

    Tolfdir shakes my shoulder gently. I didn’t even realize I had wandered out of the Arcanium.

     

    “You look troubled, my friend. Here, come sit by the focal point. Don’t go falling in now.”

     

    A choked laugh escapes my lips. Here’s Tolfdir, a Nord half my age, trying to cheer me up, a High Elf in her 2nd century.

     

    “Here, drink this.” He guides the flask up to my lips, and I snatch it from his hands. Or try to, at least. It ends up being more of a pathetic grab. “I can drink myself, you know.” Tolfdir is unfazed and just smiles at me. He has been a great friend, and sometimes even my teacher, ever since I join the College. We were both fascinated with the Alteration school, and frequently traded knowledge over the magicks. It is strange to have a true friend after so long on the move, but when we talk of the latest books we read or even just smile and nod to each other in passing, I feel for a moment that I’m back in the Summerset Isles, before my life went so far off track.

     

    Tolfdir offers up an apple, and begins to idly chatter. “You know, I was rereading ‘Breathing Water’ when something caught my eye…”

     

    An half hour later, when I’m walking back to my room, I’m so lost in thought, I almost run straight into that Thalmor “advisor”. He just glares at me and continues on, too arrogant to even bother with the likes of me. I watch where I’m going after that.

     

    Returning to my quarters, I see J’zargo and smile. “Ah!” J’zargo pads towards me. “There you are. I was searching for you. I, may have had some, ah…” As he looks around the hall, I can’t hide back a smirk, already knowing what this is about. “Need some help with a spell?”

     

    The Khajiit deflates slightly, and ducks his head. “Yes.” That cat, I swear. It took him until the night before one of Drevis’s infamous “competitions” to seek me out for help, and even then, getting to the point of why he needed my help was like pulling teeth. Too competitive.

     

    “Well?” Even now, he drags his feet. It’s enduring, until it becomes annoying.

     

    “I have, noticed some difficulty in mastering the Detect Life spell…” My eyes light up. Alteration is my favorite school, this shouldn’t take too long at all.

     

    Some time later, I peek my head out of the door only to find that it’s gone dark. Helping my fellow student took longer than I had anticipated. He was always looking for an easy ‘cheat’, a way that didn’t require you to fail 50 times, and then keep practicing because you have no other choice. I sympathised, but sometimes you just had to put in the effort.

     

    Yawning, I shut the door and stumble towards my room. Conveniently, it’s right next to the door, so I don’t have to go far. I barely have time to put my research materials away before crawling into bed, and falling fast asleep.

     

    ~-~-~-~-~-~

     

    Soars-Above-Clouds’ POV

     

    I was such a fool. I let myself be seen. Me! Damn it all. I have no idea who spotted me either, the first clue that my theft hadn’t gone as planned were the angry Nords charging out of the gates. I had climbed out of the city on the north side, and I had went around the city to get to the carriage. When the doors opened and a ragtag crowd of drunken idiots poured out, I was half sure it was about me. When they pointed and shouted “There he is! Kill the lizard!” I was pretty certain. So, I did the only thing my honor would allow. I ran.

     

    I backtracked slightly, and then kept north, hoping that the snow would slow the mob down. But I hadn’t counted on them being raised here since birth, and it hindered me worse than it did them. After 30 seconds of chase, an older person peeled off and turned back. Slowly but surely, they all turned back. Except for these three. They’ve given up on speed, and are just following my tracks now. I can still see them, a ways back. I tried to go around a few hills and such, trying to lose them, but my tracks follow wherever I go. The only place not covered with snow is the water, and I’d probably freeze to death if I went in for even a second. By the Hist, I’m freezing to death now. Before in my travels, I always made sure to have something to combat the cold. But I lost my cloak in the frantic beginning of the chase, I don’t have time for a campfire, and I ran out of warmth potions a long time ago. Ugly things, those. When you drink one, the heat feels like an invader, like you’re trapped between hot and cold, the freezing air outside, the burning heat inside. At least they work, though. They’re made from snowberries and… something else, I forgot what. I saw a few snowberries, but they don’t work by themselves. I tried.

     

    I check behind me to make sure I have a few minutes before the Nords will start catching up to me, and once I’ve confirmed they’re far away enough, I stop for a brief respite. Pulling out my map, I start to calculate when I’ll be far enough away to make a fire and sit by it for 15 minutes. As of now, by the time I’d have made a camp they’d be on me.

     

    I’m surprisingly close to Winterhold. Perhaps I should move a bit faster and get there in time to lose them in a building. They have to have some place where I can hide, right?

     

    Stowing my map in my bag, I continue on.

     

    ~-~-~-~-~-~

    Druiston’s POV

     

    She’s gone. Laid to rest. I think I thanked the Priest who helped me. It’s a blur of tears and goodbyes. I blindly walk through Whiterun, not caring where I go.

     

    “Hail, traveler!” A voice calls out, and I turn to see a Nord, leaning against a pillar. What could he want? “What brings you to Whiterun?”

     

    I feel like I should be offended by his bluntness, but I can’t quite muster up the energy to care. What should I say? The truth? A lie?

     

    “I seek information on killing werewolves.” There. A half-truth.

     

    “Well then, friend, you should seek out the Companions! They are honored warriors, and while I cannot say if they have ever set out to kill werewolves, they fight almost everything, from bandits to vampires. That should, at least, get you started on the right path. Just up the steps, in the ship building to your right. Seek out Kodlak.”

     

    I nod, and go back the way I came. Once I’m by the dying tree, I look to my right, and there it is. An overturned ship, with doors and all. I stand there for a while, turning over my pledge of vengeance and the stranger’s words. Eventually, I decide that I have no other routes to take, so I go in.

     

    Opening the heavy doors, I see a group of people seated around a long table. The fire is roaring, and an old maid scuttles too and fro. I stand, watching for a moment more. Only a few saw me enter, but the conversion stops as I approach. An old man waves me over.


    “A stranger enters our hall. Come, closer. Why are you here?”

     

    These Nords sure do like to question me about ‘why I’m here’. I let myself get angry at it. Better than feeling this grief.

     

    “I seek a way to kill werewolves. I was told you could help me.” The old man’s face changes to something unreadable. As a merchant, it was my job to read people’s faces, to tell their emotions. Either this man was hiding something, or he alwyas hid his emotions. Sometimes people naturally had faces that were hard to read, and sometimes it was learned. My musings were interrupted when a hostile women spoke out.

     

    “We have no weapons that can kill them. Perhaps it’s better if you go elsewhere.”

     

    Before I can fully process what she said, the old man speaks again.

     

    “I bet the Vigilants can help you. Here, do you have a map?” Things are moving too quickly for me to fully process. My mind still feels clouded, slow. My anger has barely faded and now I have to feel… another emotion. Another effort.

     

    I drag out my map, and unroll it on the space the old man, Kodlak, that’s who the person outside called him, the space Kodlak cleared out.

     

    He marks a point on my map. “Here, there is the Hall of the Vigilants. They will be able to help you more than I will.” I thank him, trying to truly feel thankful. He did help me, after all.

     

    As I walk out, I pause on the edge of the threshold, in front of the door. Something is in the air… something hostile, something making it hard to breath. It smells of wet dog in here. Shaking free the demons that trail me, I open the door and walk out into the daylight.

     

    ~-~-~-~-~-~

     

    Idgrod Ravencrone, Jarl of Morthal, awakens in a sweat. Coriayon nods to his fellow agent, who steps forward and begins the memory extraction. The old hag’s eyes roll upwards, downwards, the eyelids flutter, and she collapses into the bed, unconscious, her memory wiped. The other agent (Coriayon never bothered to learn his name, as the agent is a lesser rank than him) walks outside, and Coriayon follows.

     

    “Well?” Coriayon finally breaks the silence as they exit the Jarl’s little hut.

     

    “It’s something… smokey. Fire and ice. A thalmor trader, Arlya, as she calls herself. I’ll need time to process the rest.” It’s mind game, of course. The agent doesn’t need to process it at all, but Coriayon has played this game before, he can wait.

     

    “Any distinctive structures?” The agent hesitates, and Coriayon smirks. The lesser agent was chosen for his mastery in Illusion magicks, and his knowledge of almost all traitors and wanted criminals on sight (Which, in Coriayon’s opinion, just meant the agent had spent too much time associating with the common rabble). But Coriayon had memorized almost every map he’s ever seen. He can describe all of Tamriel and its provinces in great detail, and even obscure structures in this snow-covered wasteland are not outside his expertise.

     

    The agent finally speaks again. “A strange, pillar of land, separated from the mainland, and a huge stone building resting on top. A narrow bridge connects it to the land. A sea is on its other side.”

     

    Coriayon nods, and places it. Without telling the other agent where they’re going, he whistles to their mounts, and wait there. Jumping on, he follows the road.

     

    Unseen by Coriayon, the agent’s eyes flash with annoyance, but he follows, his emotions settling. After all, he is a master of illusion magicks, while that Coriayon is just a convenient way to save time by not looking at a map. Soon, he’ll be out of the picture entirely…

     

    The High Elves ride, and Morthal sleeps.

     

    Author's Notes: I cleaned up the TOC a little bit, and made it look better. I think this is about typical of what a chapter will take, around a week for me to write it. If you see any errors or typos, let me know. Thanks for reading!

     

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Comments

9 Comments   |   Sotek and 5 others like this.
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  September 20
    I'm liking Arlya more and more. Also I had fun with Breathing Water and Alteration while working on Practice of Magic. And I love the empathy thing because that perfectly captures the book Cantillon's Correspondence, which I used to base Restoration in Pr...  more
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  September 4
    Of the three characters, I mostly connect with Arlya.  I always liked the female characters in stories as they're more emotional and describing their scenes is fun.
    Also, the way that Soars tries and fails to lose the mob is awesome. Can't wait...  more
    • Felkros
      Felkros
      DeltaFox
      DeltaFox
      DeltaFox
      Of the three characters, I mostly connect with Arlya.  I always liked the female characters in stories as they're more emotional and describing their scenes is fun.
      Also, the way that Soars tries and fails to lose the mob is awesome. Can't wait for t...  more
        ·  September 4
      Lots of people seem to like Arlya! I like her too, but I hope I can flesh out the other two characters as time goes on. And the next one's being worked on right now, it should be out soon-ish. :D
  • Dragonborn1921
    Dragonborn1921   ·  September 3
    I was just heading over before leaving a comment (and reading) part two in the Workshop and I always love a good multi-character story, especially when you've got three very different characters. Could I just quickly recommend possibly bolding t...  more
    • Felkros
      Felkros
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      Dragonborn1921
      I was just heading over before leaving a comment (and reading) part two in the Workshop and I always love a good multi-character story, especially when you've got three very different characters. Could I just quickly recommend possibly bolding t...  more
        ·  September 3
      I tried bolding it, and what do you know, it looks better. Heh, thanks DB. You always save me when it comes to presentation. :P
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  September 3
    I like the mechanic on how the anger that allowed Arlya to cast destruction cost her the ability/empathy to heal.
    And the Irony of going to the Companions for that, lol.
    • Felkros
      Felkros
      Exuro
      Exuro
      Exuro
      I like the mechanic on how the anger that allowed Arlya to cast destruction cost her the ability/empathy to heal.
      And the Irony of going to the Companions for that, lol.
        ·  September 3
      Yeah, had a bit of fun thinking about how emotions would effect magic.


      And yeah, maybe a bit on the nose. :P
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 20
    There's so much going on here, I loved it.
    The College made a great contrast to the chase scene. it's nice where some chars are really up against it while others are almost dutifully strolling along waiting for fate to find them.
    As to the Co...  more
    • Felkros
      Felkros
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Sotek
      There's so much going on here, I loved it.
      The College made a great contrast to the chase scene. it's nice where some chars are really up against it while others are almost dutifully strolling along waiting for fate to find them.
      As to the Companion's sc...  more
        ·  August 20
      Haha, thanks Sotek!
      Yeah,  I had to actually rewrite the chase scene. I took a look at it, and realized how unrealistic I had made it, so I hope that the 2.0 version you read isn't outside the realm of possibility.
      I just finished r...  more