The Protectors of the Night - Part 3

  • “My balls are so cold, I can’t feel anything,” Raccan griped loudly.

    “Why don’t you take a damn torch and slap them with it?” Borug griped back. “Then you’d feel something.”

    Daris looked over and briefly charged a bit of flame in his palm, saying with a smile, “Or, hey, you know what they say about roasting chestnuts. . . .”

    “Yeah, yeah, shutup, both of you,” Raccan said. “A guy can’t even complain around here without somebody threatening him.”

    Brandr smiled, listening to the others but not saying anything. It was cold up here in the Pale. They had passed through the plains of Whiterun on their way there, so they had at least gotten some warmish weather there. Then they had followed the roads north, passing Forts Fellhammer and Dunstad, and could see Dawnstar from where they were, maybe ten minutes away. It was a pretty long trip, but at least they were nearing their quarry. Brandr could hear Raccan kicking the stones in the road underneath their feet, acting sad. His leather boots didn’t make as much noise walking as the boots of Brandr and Borug did, as Brandr’s were of Dawnguard make, and Borug’s made of steel plate. Daris’s soft shoes made even less sound than Raccan’s boots, and he walked along, nearly silent, carrying their fur tent. They had traded around the supplies since they started out, and Daris had ended up with the tent, Raccan lugging half of the food, and Borug with the torches, a relatively light load since he had carried the tent last. Brandr had the other half of the food. They had gotten up not too long ago, and it was the morning of their fourth day, at about 11 O’Clock in the morning.They had taken their time getting to their destination, still a bit tired from the last journey. Now they were thoroughly rested, and almost to their goal.  Five minutes later, they reached Dawnstar.


    - - - - - - - -


    Gusts of extremely strong wind blew up from the sea as the four walking into Dawnstar, observing the snowy, almost sad-looking buildings of the port city. Few locals were out, even at this time of day, most having taken shelter inside from the gusts. Only the guards remained, on their perpetual patrol.

    “Now to talk to the locals,” Brandr mused. “Let’s all go into the tavern first, and warm up a bit. If we get lucky somebody in there will know about the werewolf. Maybe we can find that worker that got hurt, too.”

    They all walked into the Windpeak Inn, stomping to knock off the snow caked onto their boots. The heat from inside hit them like a wave. It needed to be that warm, though, thought Brandr. Travelers in bad shape have undoubtedly passed through here over the years. There were few people there at this time of day, just a female bard, the innkeeper, and one woman wearing a green dress and green hood. She was sitting down in a chair, and looked a bit worn out. Her dress looked a tad ripped, similar to how Daris’s old robes had looked. The four noticed this, and walked over to ask her about it. She had looked up when they had come in, and seemed surprised when they approached her. “Can I help you?” she asked, her voice nervous, seemingly after a very frightening experience.

    “Hello Miss,” Borug said in a soothing voice. “Are you the one who got attacked by a werewolf a few days ago?”

    “Yes,” she said, her eyes wide. “How did you know about it?”

    “We’re from the Dawnguard, my friends and I,” Borug said. “One of our runners reported that a werewolf scratched you. We’re glad to see that you survived.”

    “And are still healthy,” Daris interjected. “Same thing happened to me.”

    “Thank you,” she said quietly. “I didn’t think I would survive, at first. Are you here to kill the werewolf?”

    “Yes, indeed we are,” said Raccan. “Do you know, or know of anyone who knows, where it went?”

    “I’m sorry, but I remember little,” the woman said. “But Thoring, the innkeeper, ran out when he heard me scream. He could have seen where it went, although it was quite dark. Then the rest of the crowd ran out, which is the only reason I can think of that it ran away. It probably knew that it would die trying to kill all of those people.” She shuddered. “I know that I’m lucky to be alive. Thank you for doing this. I know it will be dangerous, so you have my blessings, and may the blessings of Talos go with you as well. And if any of you get hurt, there is a priest of Mara, Erandur, who lives up on the hill in the old fort. He saved me, and I’m sure he would be more than happy to help any of you,” she said with a grateful smile.

    Borug, Raccan, Brandr and Daris all said thanks to her before walking over to Thoring. He must have heard or guessed at some of what they had said, for he was waiting for them. “So, you’re here to kill that werewolf?” he asked.

    “Aye,” Brandr said. “Did you see which way it ran off?”

    Thoring grunted. “It looked like it ran towards the swamps, straight west of here. Nobody exactly wanted to chase after it, although the guards sure as hell got ready in case it came back. It hasn’t, yet. I think one guard may have trailed it a bit, but I could be wrong. I hope that helped, and good luck with your hunt.”

    The four once again said their thanks, and waved goodbye to both Thoring and the woman, Abelone, before they left. Once outside, it was decided that they would split up to question all of the guards. Daris would ask some of those patrolling the shore, and Raccan would get those patrolling the top of the road, while Brandr would ask up at the Jarl’s Longhouse, and Borug would check in the Barracks.

    Upon reaching the shore and talking to the few guards there, Daris realized that they knew little. One of them pointed him to the Barracks, where he said the man who saw the werewolf might be. Daris figured that Borug would find him, and so made his way over to The Mortar and Pestle. He had managed to save a few coins while at the College, and while he had spent most of them on his new robes, he still had enough for a Potion of Minor Healing, which quickly bought and shoved into his satchel. A potion had saved his life once, and although he thought he could do a fair job patching himself up with his new skills at Restoration, it never hurt to have a backup. He had sure learned that quickly.

    Borug, meanwhile, was interrogating the guards up in the Barracks. It had been fruitless so far, with half of them incoherently drunk, and the rest complaining about chronic knee pain. “Alright, you bunch of useless bastards,” growled Borug. “If any of you know where that fuckin’ werewolf is, then you better tell me now. Or I’m gonna get MAD. And you don’t want that.”

    All of the drunken guards sat up a little straighter and blinked, suddenly feeling a bit more sober. The chronic knee pain seemed to stop as well. Everybody listens to an angry Orc.

    “That guy over there might know,” one of the guards managed to say. Borug looked over to where he pointed, and saw a man lying in his bunk, apparently sleeping. Borug stomped over to him and kicked one of the legs of his bunk until he woke up.

    “What do you need, Orc?” the guard asked sleepily, though not very angrily, Borug noticed. I must still look pissed, he thought.

    “Do you know where that werewolf went?” Borug asked, attempting to contain his impatience.

    “Oh. . . it’s about that. . . well . . . .” the guard struggled to shake off his sleepiness. “I tracked him out a bit, but not very far. It looked to me like the bastard went straight west, and then curved back around. I tracked him past the old fort up on the hill before I lost him. That’s when I grabbed Erandur to help Abelone. My best guess is that he turned back to the north after that, and maybe headed up to an ice cave. He could have even stayed west until he got by the lighthouse, but I’m not sure. Hope that helps.”

    “It does,” Borug said with a smile. “You have my thanks. We’ll find it and kill it.”

    And with that, he turned and walked out the door, closing it quietly as he left. The rest of the guards let out sighs that they had been holding. Nothing like an Orc to shake up your day.

    Borug gathered the others and told them what he had learned, and they all started out towards the remains of the fort on the cliff overlooking Dawnstar. The winds were particularly vicious up this high, and it was especially bad for Raccan and Daris in their thin clothing, which clearly wasn’t meant for cold climates. After they had been going for perhaps an hour it became clear that they would have to stop, even though it was only about 5 O’Clock in the afternoon.  While Daris gratefully dropped the tent from his shoulders and, with the help of Brandr, started to unroll it, Borug and Raccan went out to gather branches and any deadwood they could find for the fire. They decided to sort out who would get what type of wood, so Raccan asked, “Do you want to get the branches or the deadwood?”

    “I prefer the big wood, myself,” Borug said seriously. “Why don’t you gather up a bunch of little sticks? They’re easier for you to carry than a bunch of robust logs,” he said with a mischievous smile.

    “Hmm, yes, I agree,” said Raccan, returning the smile. “If we get lucky and find some pine or aspen, I’m sure they’ll be bursting with sap. All the better for feeding our fires.”

    Perhaps an hour later they returned with enough of each to keep the fire going all night. Daris once again quickly started a fire with the aid of his fire magic, although keeping a small flame going in such high wind was difficult for anybody. They positioned the fire on the downwind side, in front of the tent opening. It was far enough away to not burn the tent down, but close enough so that they could definitely feel the heat. For added warmth, they threw up a quick reflector on the opposite side of the fire.

    It was quiet around the fire that night. They all knew that they would face a terrible foe in the morning, and they knew they needed to be ready. Past the reflector was a beautiful view, with ice and small glaciers stretching down all the way to the sea to their north, and the sun setting casting shadows farther and farther down the ice, until night finally fell.


    - - - - - - - -


    Raccan had trouble sleeping, and his dreams were haunted with visions of werewolves, slaughtering him and his comrades. Finally he awoke in the middle of his worst dream yet, sweating all over and feeling generally terrible. As soon as he stopped panting he sat up, with his arms crossed on his knees, which were up to his chest. He looked over at Brandr and Borug, who seemed to be sleeping fairly peacefully. Daris, though, was awake, and looking at him. “Bad dreams?” he asked quietly. “I bet those will go away, eventually.”

    Raccan swore softly. “I hope so. If they don’t, I’ll never get any sleep,” he said with a quiet chuckle.

    At that point, Raccan’s ears, which had been half-listening to the sounds outside, picked up something abnormal. Something alien to the normal night sounds.

    It sounded to him like hooves drumming against the hard-packed snow and ice, and as he listened, it got a bit louder. Daris heard it too, and he looked over at Raccan in confusion. “What the hell is that, a deer?” he asked.

    “I think so,” Raccan whispered. “Deer don’t usually run at night, though. Maybe it’s mating season,” he said doubtfully.

    The pounding of hooves got increasingly louder until they passed the tent, only about 20 feet away, and on the side opposite of the tent door.

    Raccan strained his ears for a pursuer, but heard nothing. Still uneasy, he looked over at Daris, who was listening as well. Then they heard another sound, again that of something at high speed, and something on four legs. But this was, without a doubt, not something with hooves. Daris and Raccan looked back at each other, and at that point they knew: the Hunters had become the Hunted.

    Raccan yelled, to wake up the others, as he knew that stealth was useless at this point. The werewolf could probably smell them from Dawnstar. “WEREWOLF! WAKE THE HELL UP! GET OUT OF THE TENT!”

    As soon as he said that, Daris charged his fire magic and incinerated part of the tent so he could get out, which he quickly jumped to his feet and did. They had fifteen seconds at the most before the werewolf hit them, and they had no time to be tangled up in a tent. Fortunately for him, he had slept in his robes, although just for extra warmth.

    Raccan took up his new crossbow and as many bolts as he could grab, and ran out the main tent entrance. He took up a position behind the fire, facing towards where the beast was coming, and quickly started the unfamiliar task of loading his crossbow. He was, however, in nothing but his underclothes, although he barely noticed now.

    Borug and Brandr, meanwhile, had been rudely awakened, but had immediately grasped the threat. Years of fighting vampires made it possible for them to understand when they were being attacked unexpectedly. Unfortunately, neither of them had slept with their armor on, and they had no time to put it on now. Borug grabbed his half-battleaxe and rolled out the entrance (avoiding the fire) while Brandr grasped his new sword and shield and jumped out of the entrance Daris had burned. Raccan shouted and pointed towards where the werewolf was coming from, although they could all hear it plainly now. Daris quickly cast a flesh spell to prepare him, and prepared his frost spells.

    When the werewolf was perhaps 20 feet from their tent, just on the edge of where the fire was illuminating, it let out a terrifying howl. Not to be intimidated, Raccan shouted back, “Come on, you bastard! Come and get us!”

    Borug and Brandr quickly took up positions in front of the tent, with Daris and Raccan behind them. Borug lifted his axe and stomped the ground and shouted, taunting the beast.

    Then it leaped straight at Brandr. He had barely enough time to roll out of the way, trying to keep his shield between him and the enemy. A claw or two of the beast’s left hand grazed his shield, but did nothing more. With its other paw it had swiped at Borug, but it was distracted with trying to hit two targets at once, the wolf wasn’t able to bring all of his force to bear with his right hand, and it was easily blocked.

    Raccan then shot it, and the bolt slammed into the lower part of its chest, pushing it back as it released a howl of pain. Enraged, it sprung at Raccan, who at the time was trying to reload, and had no time to get out of the way, so he threw his crossbow at the beast with all of his strength. It smashed into the werewolf's face, nicking his eye and confusing him just long enough for Daris to hit it with two ice spikes: one in the stomach, and the other in his right shoulder.

    It then tried to focus its attention on Daris, but Brandr and Borug both swung at it from behind, yelling as they did. The werewolf turned with incredible speed and once again swung with both hands, so that both men had to stop their attacks to dodge them, with Borug ducking under his paw and Brandr blocking his once again. He swore as the werewolf recoiled. Blocking without gauntlets on hurt his left hand, and it was already bleeding from having the shield smashed against it twice. He quickly returned the attack, slashing sideways at the werewolf, but it left only a thin cut across its chest.

    Borug, meanwhile, realized that since he had very few defences, he had to get distance between himself and the beast, so he started slowly retreating, his axe held at the ready. He noticed that the werewolf was leaking quite a bit of blood from the bolt Raccan had shot him with, and the ice spikes embedded in him were definitely slowing him down.

    The beast now focused all of his attention on Brandr, realizing that it would be easier to take down one target than all four at once. It swung its paw incredibly hard, and although Brandr managed to block it, it smashed part of his shield in, making it able to defend only about half as much area. He now had a buckler, although he didn’t want one.

    It swung once more at Brandr with its other paw, and Brandr swung back at its paw with his sword. The werewolf howled once again, and three of its fingers fell to the ground.

    It crouched, with one leg stretched out behind him, preparing to swing forward. At that point Borug ran up and slammed his battleaxe down into the wolf's Achilles tendon, nearly severing the foot. It howled viciously and, turning, swung at him with both hands, but he jumped back and easily avoided the swings since the beast’s mobility was now limited.

    Raccan had by then retrieved and reloaded his crossbow, and Daris had readied another spell, this time a dual-cast firebolt, to end the fight. The both let loose as one, and a bolt buried itself deep into the heart of the beast, while the firebolt hit it in the throat. A few seconds later it collapsed, dead and smouldering.

    “Shit,” said Daris, gasping for breath. “I never thought I’d see three half-naked guys fighting a werewolf,” he said, and started laughing hysterically, now that the action was over. Soon, all of them were laughing so hard they were crying, and pointing out each other’s nakedness.

    Brandr sat down, setting down his sword and shield next to him, and wiped the tears from his eyes. “Hey, look,” he said with a laugh. “Good morning everybody!” He pointed to where the sun was just starting to show itself. “What a night.”

    They all sat quietly for a few minutes, watching the sun slowly rise up. Daris and Raccan then went over to the fire, which was still going strong, and began to cook some salted elk steaks they had brought with them, as well as some potatoes and leeks.

    Borug and Bradr, meanwhile, discussed how they were going to dispose of the werewolf. In the end, after they had eaten breakfast, it was decided that they would incinerate it as best as they could. They dragged the body over to the fire and heaved it in, and then Daris blasted it with fire spells until there was enough left for the fire to finish off. It stunk, but they knew that soon nothing would be left except for a pile of ashes. The tent, they decided, was salvageable, and before they had burned the werewolf they took a piece of its hide to patch up their tent.

    Raccan chuckled, looking at their handywork. “Maybe after we kill enough, we can make a whole tent out of them. Might be a good halfway point between leather and fur, and keep out both rain and the cold.”

    “That’s not a bad idea,” Daris said. “Hey, do you guys think that it had a cave, like the first one? We may want to see if there’s anything interesting in it.”

    “Yeah, we should look,” said Brandr. “He shouldn’t be hard to track now. Plus, I told Gunmar I’d bring him back something interesting, if we found anything.” Brandr rolled up the tent and slung it over his shoulder, while Borug and Raccan each grabbed half the food, and Daris carried the torches. Raccan took point, even though most of the tracks were very visible. Eventually they came to a cave not far from the lighthouse, to the north and a bit east of it. The guard had guessed correctly: it was indeed an ice cave from which the werewolf tracks lead. It was even more obvious from the animal skeletons scattered around the front.

    As usual, Brandr and Borug led the way, this time with all of their armor on. However, all of them were relaxed. They had already slain the beast, and now it was time to find the loot!

    It was warmer inside the cave than outside, probably because it was shielded from the wind, as well as from the body heat of its previous inhabitant, Daris thought. The occasional drop of water fell from the ceiling and landed around them.

    As with the other werewolf cave they had cleared, the stench of rotting meat was terrible. If anything, this cave was even more full of skeletons and meat than the other.

    “That bastard must have had a big appetite,” Borug said.

    “Yeah,” said Brandr in agreement. “Either that, or he’d lived here for a long time. I dunno though. It didn’t seem as strong as the first, which makes me think it was a female, maybe.”

    “It did look a bit smaller than the first,” Raccan said.

    “No less mean, though,” Daris said with a grin. While the beast had ambushed them, he was almost happier that it did. He had more room to move around and aim carefully since they were outside, and it was easier to stay away from the enemy.

    They all kept walking forward, as there were no off-branching paths, just one winding central path. More and more corpses were lying around the farther in they got, some just a few bones, others barely chewed on.

    “No human-sized skeletons,” Brandr observed. “Maybe that’s why it was so confused. . . it could be that it’d been feral so long it had forgotten that it once was a man or mer.”

    “Yes. . .” said Daris. “It could have just, sort of, subconsciously avoided them? That could explain it.”

    A few minutes later they neared a large open room at the end of the tunnel, which seemingly every cave in Skyrim has. Right before they could set foot in it, Raccan noticed that there was a rim running around the room perhaps 3 feet off the ground, and about ten feet wide, which gave the cave a mushroom shape. As he was taking up the back, he turned around to look back at where they had come, and although the tunnel was empty, he thought he sensed something. The upper part of the cave, or the cap of the mushroom, was too dark to see if there was anything on it, however. Suddenly, he had a frightening thought. One that would explain the extra carcasses, and the smaller size of the first werewolf. “Hey,” he whispered to the others, while slowly bringing his crossbow up to his chest. “You all need to turn around very slowly, right now. . . and I really hope they don’t, but. . . does anybody know. . . if werewolves. . . have mates?”

    By then, they were all directly in the center of the cave, and even though Daris, Barug, and Brandr all started to turn around, they were right where the werewolf wanted them. Raccan looked back to where the tunnel met the cave, and directly above it he saw two fiery orange eyes blaze open, staring at him.

    At that, he yelled and pulled the trigger of his crossbow. But the werewolf howled, even louder than its mate had, and leaped off of the entrance, dodging the bolt. Brandr and Borug cried their battle-cries and lunged forward, to get between Raccan and the wolf.

    The werewolf went right past Raccan, slamming him to the floor as he ran past, but leaving him otherwise unscathed. It wanted the bigger prey first.

    It jumped into Brandr, slamming him back as he struggled to block with his already half-broken shield. The beast swatted with his right paw, wrenching the shield from Brandr’s grasp, and wrenching his hand sideways. Brandr grunted and slashed at the beast, cutting a bit into its left shoulder, but not wounding it much.

    By then, Daris had charged up a dual-cast ice spike, which he shot at the werewolf. As it changed targets and jumped at Borug, however, Daris missed its chest, and just hit on the very edge of its left thigh. It howled, and slowed down a bit, although it still tried to catch up to where Borug was retreating, swinging as he went. When the slowing effect quickly wore off, the wolf swung at his chest, although not very hard, or quick, as it was tired from the ice spell sapping its stamina, and merely dented his chestplate. Borug grunted, and chose that moment, as it was recovering, to swing his half-axe from the right side into the werewolf’s left side, underneath its left arm. The axe went in several inches, enraging the wolf. It began to attack him with more ferocity, and swatted him so hard his chestplate was completely smashed in, and he was knocked down and temporarily defenseless.

    Raccan, meanwhile, had finally gotten up off the floor and reloaded, and now shot another bolt. He didn’t have time to aim, however, and the bolt hit the werewolf in the ass. Raccan swore. Fortunately, that was enough to distract the beast. However, it then started towards Daris, who was starting to charge another spell. When he saw the werewolf coming, he quickly scrambled up to the top level of the cave, and cast another ice spike down on the werewolf, which hit it in the left arm and pierced through.

    By now, most of the werewolf’s left side was useless, and it snarled, realizing it couldn’t climb up to Daris, and started looking around the room, choosing who to attack next. Its eyes fell on Brandr, who was standing shieldless in the center of the room. It snarled once more, and started running towards him at near-full speed, with its head stretched out in front of it, preparing to bite. Brandr braced himself for the impact, and held his sideways, as if he was waiting to block an attack. But as soon as the werewolf was within about five feet of him, he suddenly whipped the sword back around in front of his body and braced it with both hands, and the werewolf slammed into it, letting loose a horrific howl. The momentum of its charge impaled it fully onto Brandr’s sword, and it stayed upright for a moment, arms writhing, and staring Brandr in the face as it died, although it wasn’t able to push closer to him to bite. Then, slowly, it fell to the ground, and the bloody sword came out of it as it fell.


  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 17, 2016
    Yeah, thanks Lissette! I try and make it seem like it's happening in a realistic time frame, and also let everybody get a piece of the action. I'm glad you're caught up
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  June 17, 2016
    Feels good to catch up with this story again, Tim. Yeah, Karver and I have been chatting a lot about magic, how it effects the body, and also weapons. I like your fighting scenes. Everybody gets their due without it seeming too turny, if you know what I mean. 
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 16, 2016
    Yep, that's pretty much exactly how its been going, lol. Thanks for coming back to answer that, too.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 16, 2016
    Re-reading the end of this to answer your question, I'd say it was a nice place to stop. The battle is over with the beast dying. The next chapter would start off with the aftermath of the fight, heal wounds, check equipment along with resting and healing.
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 9, 2016
    Thanks Karver! With magic, I guess I have been trying to balance it a bit more, with more realistic damage but longer casting times. Thanks for the tip though, and you're right about having ice spikes completely through somethings heart and they're still ...  more
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  June 9, 2016
    Omg! You just killed Sotek and Aela! Respect! xD

    Another great chapter, Tim. I love your approach to combat, and the fight is really good, tense. I like it.

    Also, I would put more thought into magic. Me and Lisette were talking a...  more
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 8, 2016
    Lol, I've read enough of your comments to know what you mean, Sotek . I should start reading your story. I guess the only reason I haven't, is because I thought one time I accidently saw where you had said how it would end. That could've been someone else...  more
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 8, 2016
    “You all need to turn around very slowly, right now. . . and I really hope they don’t, but. . . does anybody know. . . if werewolves. . . have mates?”

    I KNOW!!! I know the answer to this one...