The Traveler from the Marsh - Chapter 5

  • 2nd of Second Seed 4E203, Riften


    It took just over an hour to walk to the abandoned mine known as 'old echo mine' which was to the south of Riften down an overgrown forgotten path off the main road. They met no resistance except for the local bears which became inquisitive upon the sight of the two travellers. One became aggressive but soon changed it's mind when it saw the weapons, perhaps from previous encounters with a sword and remembered that those shiny objects sting.


    As they rounded the bend Iona suddenly held up her hand indicating that they should stop and be silent. Han-Ei's brisk walk slowed then stopped as he looked where she was pointing.


    “Look, I don't think they are miners” she whispered.


    Han-Ei could see two armed men around a campfire outside the mine entrance. Slowly Iona and Han-Ei crept closer keeping to the bushes to avoid detection to see if they could overhear their conversation.


    “It's been a while since we heard from them” one of the men said to the other who glanced back towards the mine entrance. His companion shrugged and turned back to the fire. “I'm not going in there to find out. I know what happened to the miners after they had broke through into that chamber and what happened to the looters that attempted to see what's inside.”


    “Nah, me neither. Well I'm not entering the chamber anyway. Rumour has it that some sort of dewemer artefact rests upon a pedestal at the far end of that chamber. Gotta be worth a fortune – if we can get it. I don't think our men were so lucky and I don't think we will be either.”


    “I'm going to take a quick look but I'm only glancing through the hole then I'm out of here. If our men are dead then there's nothing we can do. We will have to find another way of getting that artefact.”


    “Or not bother at all” the other man grumbled. “But if you want to see what happened to the others try be careful” he advised as his companion disappeared into the darkness. He poked the fire and then got to his feet and walked into the cover of some trees to relieve himself.


    This was the moment Han-Ei decided to make his move. With a wave of his hand he indicated that they should move to the entrance and enter before the bandit returned. He didn't want to draw attention to himself; he already knew there may be more inside and he didn't want to raise the alarm.


    He had magically enhanced his boots to muffle sounds of footsteps and he managed to enter the mine with little sound. Iona however had not and her footsteps scraped on the dry soil cracking a twig underfoot. “Be quiet” Han-Ei snapped angrily as he turned round to face her, his face drawn into a scowl. He breathed a sigh of relief when they were out of sight of the entrance and the long dim tunnel faced them.


    Torches lit the inside of the mine; the main tunnel angled downwards with pitch dark side tunnels following the several ore seams, abandoned carts and equipment left as if they were expecting the miners to return for their next shift. There was no sound at all aside from the faint breeze blowing through and no sight of anyone until they reached the end of the tunnel where the first bandit was stood examining a parchment. Quickly Han-Ei and Iona hid behind a mine cart before they were noticed.


    They observed him walking down the left hand side tunnel walking slowly with his weapon drawn expecting combat at any moment. Silently Han-Ei followed waving Iona to catch up when the bandit was out of earshot. The tunnel unlike the other side tunnels was lit by torchlight and they could see on the right hand side of the tunnel an open void upon which on the ledge the lone bandit crouched peering inside. He crouched there for a long moment and then leapt from the ledge into the chamber. Han-Ei and Iona looked at each other briefly but neither needed to speak as they knew what each other were thinking. They quickly darted to the opening and looked inside.


    Dead and mutilated bodies were strewn everywhere seemingly torn apart. Many still had their swords in their sheaths attacked unexpectedly and with sudden and deadly force. Only one or two appeared to have tried to fight. A round stone circle stood upright at the end of the chamber and a shielded barrier hummed with a low hum in the centre emitting a dim blue light that illuminated the chamber with an eerie light.

    “A portal. Just as I had thought” Han-Ei mumbled.


    The bandit who seemed to have had a change of confidence was observing his prize – some sort of lexicon upon a stone pedestal. He carefully looked all around it with his hands behind his back not wanting to touch the object. Finally he withdrew his sword and poked the artefact and jumped back. Nothing happened. Again he prodded it but this time it fell to the floor. Alarmed he leapt backwards falling on his backside. Again nothing happened.


    He put on some thick gloves and decided to pick up the artefact. At that same moment a cold wind suddenly came from nowhere making him drop it with alarm. Blue swirling mists appeared, apparitions could be made out amongst them their faces twisted and frightening. The man got to his feet with alarm and tried to defend himself as the mists wound round and round him getting faster then without warning he was simply torn limb from limb. The mists and winds disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.


    Iona was speechless and a grave look of horror and alarm crossed her face.


    “What in all of oblivion and Nirn was that?” he asked quietly not really knowing Iona to know the answer but he had to say something.


    Iona answered shakily. “It isn't Dwemer that's for certain.”


    Han-Ei looked at the carnage below them. “Whatever it is it's as the letter said. Not of this world.”


    “Deadra?” Iona questioned.


    “No, doubt it. Whatever it is I don't intend to find out. Come on let's go” he suggested. “No artefact is worth the risk.”


    “What about the chosen one the letter mentions? Maybe it won't affect you? The letter did say only ones with a noble heart could enter to what we now know is a portal.”


    “You mean me?” Han-Ei asked. “I'm not exactly what you would call of a noble heart. You however may be the one the letter is talking about. We have no idea what is on the other side of that portal and indeed if we can return.”


    “The letter was addressed to and specifically mentioned you my lord” Iona objected dismissing his suggestion.


    Han-Ei thought for a moment. He did have a wicked past but deep down he thought he had always fought for the better good. He was now the thane of Riften due to his good deeds so maybe Iona was right. He was not like Teekus who liked adventure, wealth, status and a comfortable existence – a simple life would suit him. Large amounts of wealth did not interest him in the slightest. As long as he had enough to get by he was satisfied. He did however like fame and there was something in the back of his mind that niggled at him; maybe Iona was right?


    “Wait here” he commanded as he slipped from the ledge and into the chamber. The walls were made of smooth marble like stone and formed a dome high above his head. It was completely empty apart from the portal and the pedestal. No wonder the bandits who's remains scattered around thought they were safe. No obvious threats could be identified anywhere within.


    Han-Ei was not a mage however he could use some magical scrolls. He rummaged through his pack looking for the scroll of protection he had bought several weeks back. He knew it would not last long but would last long enough for him to escape back through the hole and into the mine. His rapid health regeneration skill which all argonians posses would also come in handy.


    “No! What are you doing!” Iona exclaimed as she leapt into the chamber as Han-Ei picked up the artefact. The swirling mists and winds appeared surrounding both of them - the apparitions taking shape within. She closed her eyes and waited for death but it never came. She fearfully opened her eyes and through the swirling blue mist she could observe Han-Ei moving the lexicon's stone symbols around the cube like face. She could not make out what the symbols were from that distance but she did notice the portal had some runes around it's circumference. Suddenly he stepped through the portal without even a glance in her direction and disappeared with the portal shutting down behind him. The apparitions in the mist stared at her then began to fade away leaving her alone in the darkened chamber. Only the light from the tunnel behind could be seen.


    She stumbled around in the dark falling over the lexicon which had tumbled to the floor broken and now useless. She scooped it up and carried it out of the mine meeting the other bandit on the way. He took one look at her and knew what had happened.


    “Here.”She sighed tossing the lexicon towards him. “It's over” she added and began to head back to Riften. The bandit didn't bother to attack instead standing dumbfounded by the fire.


    Iona had decided to find this Jalamar and tell him what had happened and where Han-Ei was. She wanted to know why she was not killed like the other men were and how she could rescue Han-Ei if he could be rescued. Returning to the house she picked up the letter that was still on the table. One sentence seemed to stand out. 'I will be watching.' She wondered where he was watching from and decided to wait and see. There was seemingly nothing else she could do to help her argonian master now. 


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  • Teekus
    Teekus   ·  June 4, 2016
    Thanks I won't leave you hanging. I have a rough idea of the plot but it keeps changing in my head. Got next chapter planned so this will be written next week.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 4, 2016
    Whoa where he go?
    Teekus I hope you don't leave us all hanging for long. A great read and it's definitely worth finishing.
  • Teekus
    Teekus   ·  June 4, 2016
    Nope it's not Kragensel it's something new 
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  June 4, 2016
    Okay, this was pretty damn cool, Teekus. Kragenzel is awesome. Is that this place?
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 4, 2016
    Nice to see this up Teekus. I'll have a read of it in a few hours.