CoTD, Book 1 - Chapter II: Left for Dead



    Faelireth awoke with a gasp that echoed throughout the room, resonating the same fear and anguish occupied in her breath. The light from above seared her eyes. Pain palpitated in her head steadily with her toiling heart. The past tangled with the present as she struggled to extricate her head of swirling thoughts, the intense memories abusing her fragile mind.


    "Easy, duhnadag. You must not push yourself in this condition."


    The voice cleaved through the darkness of Faelireth’s mind, slicing the thick puddle of her bewilderment in half. Her broken mind was barely able to fathom the words or their meaning. All she could do was extend her hand, groping with searching fingers for something to cement her reality.


    A large, calloused hand closed around her own and slowly lowered it back to the rough mattress that she laid on. Unable to do anything else, Faelireth allowed her head to slouch aslant onto the solid pillow which did little to soothe the pulsating of her head. For a moment, she forgot what happened or where she was, her mind warped into an unclear fog. The next, it all returned in a rush.


    Screams mingled with the mechanical sounds of Dwemer technology assaulting her party. Pounding footsteps as people clambered for the nearest exit. A powerful explosion that hurled Faelireth backwards, forcing her head to collide with the concrete ground. Her surroundings had become fuzzy and deformed, no matter how many times she tried blinking the white haze out of her vision.


    The Dwemer ruins. The pandemonium. The betrayal.


    The vision shattered, fracturing into a million pieces before her eyes. She grunted in pain and stilled her aching body, but it continued to shudder, either from the stinging cold or the sharp pain. Faelireth attempted to sit up, but the world spun and she swallowed the sudden urge to vomit. She flopped back down, making the nausea worse, but subsiding the sensation for now. Her heart hammered in her chest, thumping so loudly against her ribcage that she was sure it left bruising. Her panting was loud and grating in the quiet.


    The pain punished Faelireth mercilessly, beating her until she felt dead, and instantly all the dominance of her fear and horror utterly deserted her. Her limbs felt stagnant. She felt defunct. The sedatives in her veins ebbed away, the effects fading as she became more conscious, and lucidity replaced the former grogginess of her disoriented state. Her environment manifested and was distinct to her, particularly the tall form looming over her motionless figure.


    Time elapsed slowly. Seconds felt like minutes. Minutes felt like hours. Soon, Faelireth drifted with it.


    "Duhnadag, are you conscious?" Even with her mangled mind, Faelireth could discern the pronounced Dunmer accent. If the accent coincided with the use of Dunmeri did not imply their heritage, Faelireth didn’t know what did. Either way, she could not find the strength to speak. “Dravin, I think we’re losing her. Do we have any other healing potions?”


    “Not that we can spare, Synda.”


    "Nchow! Dravin, she's going to die if we don't administer more medicine—"


    "I'm not going to use the last of our healing potions on some n'wah! We need them for winter. You remember what happened last year!"


    “K—Keep your healing potions,” Faelireth choked out, ceasing the argument instantly. The Dunmer woman—Synda—leaned closer to observe Faelireth closely, her red hair creating a curtain around her angular face. Wrinkled lines were pressed into her forehead and beside her mouth, but whether they were lines of worry or age, Faelireth was uncertain.


    “You’re finally awake,” Synda breathed in relief. “I was beginning to think you were dead. Do you remember anything? Can you tell us your name? What happened to you?”


    “F…” Faelireth struggled to enunciate her name. She was beginning to lose focus again. Everything was remote, contorted and blanketed in the murkiness of her mind. She felt shredded and maimed from the events prior to her current predicament. Her head throbbed, her brain erupting into a flurry of agony and dizziness. Once again, she whispered, “Faelireth.” Her voice was barely audible, but it was enough for Synda to hear her.


    “Faelireth,” repeated Synda. “Faelireth, I believe you have a concussion. Do not fear; you are safe in our home. No harm will come to you.”


    Her words were little comfort to Faelireth, who was positive her head would explode at any given moment, but there was nothing she could do to protest. Synda’s hand left hers for a moment, her lanky figure retreating further and further until Faelireth could no longer see her. She desperately stretched her fingers for the last semblance of reality she had, but her hand fell uselessly onto the thin sheets that veiled her shivering body. A biting gust of wind entered the cabin through a gaping window, and Faelireth gulped down the chilly night air. It was a pleasant relief to the burning sensation of the back of her throat.


    Synda returned with a cold rag clasped firmly in her hands. She positioned it on Faelireth’s forehead, patting it down so that it fastened like glue. Then, the female Dunmer slipped her arm under Faelireth’s shoulders, lifting her slightly. Faelireth moaned weakly. The world oscillated wildly, nausea coursing through her as she held down the contents of her empty stomach. Synda’s rough voice cut through the mayhem.


    "I apologize, duhnadag," Synda apologized as she set down the Bosmer gently. Faelireth noticed the pillow she had been laying on, and noticed the dark red stains contrasting against the pale fabric. “It was bloodied.” Synda turned quickly, but whirled around just as quickly. Held in her hands was a cup of what Faelireth assumed was water. “Drink this.”


    Unable to grab it on her own, Synda directed it to Faelireth’s lips, carefully tipping it back. It was not water, but judging by the taste, Faelireth concluded that it was some sort of healing solution. A warm sensation washed throughout Faelireth’s body, causing her wounds to scald before gradually cooling down.


    “Who are you…?” Faelireth mumbled through chapped lips, eyelids already growing heavy. She briefly wondered if there was some sort of sleeping effect in that concoction.


    "Shh. That does not matter, muhrjul," shushed Synda, almost with a motherly tone in her voice. “Rest. In the morn, we will talk.”


    Faelireth nodded, but a sharp pang in her head faltered her actions. She took deep breaths, trying to ignore the aching barb in her chest and the pickaxe driving into her skull. She closed her eyes, encasing her world in an inky blackness that she could not escape.

    It was a long time before Faelireth woke up again. When she did, the pain had subsided from before, and her caretakers were no longer present.


    It was an even longer time before Faelireth forced herself to sit up and swing her legs over the bed. Her body still ached with pain from the assault, but it was not as prominent as it had been before. Instead, it was a lingering pain that throbbed every so often, a constant reminder of her loss of a few days prior.


    Was it even a few days ago? Faelireth had no idea how long she had been unconscious. For all she knew, it could have been a few weeks.


    Desperate for some answers, Faelireth landed her feet on the ground and pushed herself up off of the bed. The room distorted and gyrated around her, everything seeming out of place. Her hands groped for the table, scrambling for a stability, but no matter where she fumbled she couldn’t seem to locate it. Eventually, her figure stumbled into the end table beside the bed, knocking over a burnt candle stand. It fell to the floor with a loud crash, slamming thunder inside of Faelireth’s concussive head.


    Faelireth leaned over to retrieve it, but that was a grievous mistake. She keeled over from the effort and found herself unable to stand back up. Within moments, the door to her room flung open, and a Dunmer woman stood under the threshold with eyes wide in shock.


    Her name swam in Faelireth’s mind, but it was too cluttered for her to grasp it.


    “You’re awake!” she exclaimed, hurrying over to assist Faelireth. The stranger aided her in returning to the bed, before fixing the candle that Faelireth had knocked over. “How do you feel, duhnadag? You were on the brink of death when my husband found you.”


    “I could be better,” admitted Faelireth softly, raising a hand to gently touch her tender head. “Where am I? How long have I been out?”


    “You are at my husband’s farm, Merryfair Farm. We run this right outside Riften,” she answered. “And for your second have been drifting in and out of consciousness for four days.”


    “Four days…?!” Panic arose in Faelireth, and she felt the sudden urge to leave. Her mind was barely recalling what had happened before all this, but she knew that something demanded her presence. No, not something. Someone. “I—I do not belong here. There is somewhere I must be.”


    “Not right now, there is not,” the Dunmer said in a stern voice, pressing down on Faelireth’s shoulders as she attempted to stand. “Your first priority is recovering. Whatever attacked you did a number on you, and you do not want to reopen those wounds. Some of them are already scarring.”




    There were no visible scars that Faelireth could see on her bare legs or arms—as she was undressed aside from her undergarments—so she instead lifted a hand to her face. Faelireth gasped when her fingers stroked three thick jagged lines that extended from her cheekbone to her chin. Instinctively, her hand trembled, and she cradled it to her chest as if that would still it.


    She had no idea why she was reacting this way. These consequences were to be expected in her field of work. Perhaps it was because she would now have a permanent reminder of everything she had lost. It crippled her emotionally, and Faelireth fought the tears that stung her eyes.


    “Thank you,” murmured Faelireth. “ quite thirsty. Could you fetch me some water, please?”


    The woman nodded. “Of course, muhrjul. Wait just a moment."


    Once Faelireth was alone, she buried her face in her calloused hands and urged herself to remember what had transpired at the Dwemer ruins. It was just a few weeks ago that her expedition had set out from Cyrodiil to the Dwemer city of Avanchnzel. It was southwest of Riften, but they had no intention of stopping in the city. They had all the supplies that they needed, and they wanted to be in Skyrim for as least time as possible. Everything was going smoothly. Weeks before, one of Faelireth’s contacts had assured her that the place was clear, that the technology was not active. So then...why did it go wrong?


    Faelireth couldn’t remember anything past that. Her memory turned hazy once they entered the ruins. After that, the clearest memory she had was being attacked by the Dwemer technology; the gory battlefield, the chaos surrounding her, and the wicked smile that glittered right before she was blasted out of the rock wall. The explosion had been so intense that it was able to create a giant hole that opened up to the world of Skyrim. Faelireth had no idea how it had happened; all she knew was that it had.


    Tears pricked at her eyes as she remembered that awful, heinous grin. From the person she had trusted most, confided all her concerns to--hell, she had even loved him. She was certain he had loved her back; now, she couldn’t be sure. Either he manipulated her from the start or…


    Faelireth stopped the thought in its tracks. It was too painful for her to think about. She wiped away the tears furiously, refusing to allow herself to give him the satisfaction of knowing how he hurt her. Even though he probably had no idea she was still alive, at least Faelireth maintained a smidgen of dignity.


    “I brought some clothes for you to change into,” Synda said once she returned. Sure enough, along with the ceramic glass of water, a pile of clothes was gathered in her arms. She set everything down on the dresser positioned at the foot of the bed. “When you feel ready, I prepared some food for you.”


    I won't get anything done mopin around, Faelireth scolded herself after a time had passed. I ought to get changed and eat. Then, I can decide what I'll do from there.


    Faelireth nodded firmly to herself, as if confirming her plan, and stood up from the bed with her shoulders set back and her head held high.



    I apologize for the lack of updating in the past month. Hurricane Harvey hit pretty hard, which meant all of my teachers decided to pile on homework to catch up, and I've recently been recovering from an illness. Thankfully, I had already had most of this done, it was just a matter of finishing it and looking it over for mistakes! It's much shorter than chapter one, mostly because chapter one was the tutorial which is dialogue ridden. Unfortunately, some of Aelina's chapters will be like that, but I'll do my best to limit it as much as possible. Thank you for your patience, and I hope you enjoyed Faelireth's perspective!


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6 Comments   |   Golden Fool and 2 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 26
    Awwwooo Nao
    Might I suggest a change for the text coloring? As it is it's a struggle to read so this will automaticly put readers off which would be a shame.
    Sotek Loyal Hound of Hircine
  • FlamezSword
    FlamezSword   ·  September 29, 2017
    Hello Nao! I'm new to your page, and I'll have to get acquainted with the whole story being that I enjoyed this excerpt so much. The simile and metaphor descriptions, as Paws stated, is a fantastic way to convey story... 

    Also I...  more
    • Nao
      Hello Nao! I'm new to your page, and I'll have to get acquainted with the whole story being that I enjoyed this excerpt so much. The simile and metaphor descriptions, as Paws stated, is a fantastic way to convey story... 

      Also I'm a grammar Nazi ...  more
        ·  September 30, 2017
      Thank you so much for the comment and the correction. I don't mind at all; it just means it'll look better for future readers :P Glad you're enjoying it!
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  September 29, 2017
    As before, I appreciate the way you describe things using simile and metaphor. It's too early to tell, but I wonder if the thematic pattern will hold - so far both chapters have started with pain, and in terms of narrative I thinks that's quite clever whe...  more
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  September 29, 2017
    And you return with an epic chapter once again. Great work, Nao! :)
  • Golden Fool
    Golden Fool   ·  September 28, 2017
    Yay! for more of this :D