Protected, no longer; Chapter 7



    Chapter 7


    He watched through the crack in horror at how his guar was being raised from the dead. It rose in to the air, and then collapsed back on the ground. The curses of Maltrys came from the barn. His heart raced in fear, and the pain he felt for his poor guar was overwhelming – Ciel’nn was having trouble breathing.


    Tears streaming from his eyes, Ciel’nn ran away from the barn. Running around the yard, he ran into a person who stopped him, knelt down, and spoke to him soothing words. He looked up – it was his cousin, Ce’vale.


    “What’s wrong, Ciel’nn? Where’s your guar?” his cousin asked in a gentle tone.


    Ciel’nn looked into his cousin’s calm eyes, but he couldn’t say anything. His lower lip twitched before he burst out crying as he hugged Ce’vale.



    “Stay away from him!”


    What happened?


    Ciel’nn groaned while he opened his eyes. He tried to move his hands but bound were behind him. His head hurt like someone had hit him real hard – like he’d had a hard head. Certainly not! He heardthe Nord shouting whist his eyes adjusted to the dark. How long had he been unconscious? It was already past the evening!


    “Ciel’nn! Wake up!”


    I’m awake…


    He moved his eyes to see around the camp. There were fires around the large camp. The fog was thick in the lower part of the camp – something about it bothered him. The witches were preparing for an event, but Ciel’nn didn’t want to know what kind of event it was. From where he was lying it sounded like the Nord was tied too, or was he in a cage? He couldn’t be sure, but Rangalen seemed to be on the other side of the camp.


    “What is happening?” He coughed, and winced in pain.


    A witch approached him. She had yellow eyes, and a malicious smile on her lips as she spoke. “Soon she comes, and welcomes us in her great embrace!” She reached out with her hand to touch the Dunmer’s black hair, and cheek. “You and your brutish friend shall be a great welcome gift” she continued in a dark tone.


    “Leave him alone!” Rangalen shouted, as he tried to get free, but alas he was tied firmly. The whole place and the increasing fog around the Reach made him feel sick in his stomach. He knew little of the witches, but he certainly recognized the sacrificial tools, and materials – though he couldn’t remember why. The young warrior only he knew he’d had to get free, and help Ciel’nn. “Let us go!”


    “Someone shut up the Nord! He’s interfering with the preparations!”


    A pale witch with deep green eyes strolled in front of the Nord, and smiled seductively. “Young one,” she spoke in a quiet tone which made the young warrior’s skin prickle, “your eyes will be a marvelous gift for her – for she will arrive tonight!” she gagged Rangalen’s mouth with a dirty cloth. “Be good boy now, and be quiet.” She smiled as she touched his chin line briefly before walking away.


    Rangalen felt he would throw up, but he still tried to struggle with his tied hands. Tonight, she said. He cast his eyes on the partly cloudy sky – almost midnight. He turned his head towards the Dunmer, who had been quiet this whole time. Was he conscious at all? Though Rangalen thought he’d heard Ciel’nn’s question not so a long ago. Was there anything he could do? There were too many witches, and several hagravens. He pondered if the Forsworn were working with them. Time was running out. Damn it!


    The witches started to gather in front of the main rise, and the High Witch approached the monument that was meant for the rituals. “Prepare the sacrificial tools, and bring the ceremonial bowl.” she ordered in a stern tone.


    Ciel’nn watched with increasing terror the witches preparing for the ceremony. It dawned on him that both of them were tied to a stone pillar, as far as he could trace the surface of it by his fingers. He wondered how the witches were going to kill them – not that he wanted it, but their chances to escape were grim at best. Ciel’nn cursed under his breath. This would be the last time he ever set his foot on Reach ground! He couldn’t stop the tears coming.


    Rangalen… I’m sorry.


    Once the sacrificial tools, and ceremonial bowl were brought in front of the High Witch everyone fell quiet. It was midnight, and the High Witch raised her hands towards the sky as the fog in the Reach seemed to thicken, and expand.


    “I am Rúka, the High Witch of the Reach, and I will begin the ceremony!” Her voice echoed amongst the ruins and hills nearby. Her tone was deep and sonorous. “We greet you, Vorhire the Fog-singer!”


    The witches chanted in unison. “We greet you, Vorhire the Fog-singer!”


    “We offer you the sacrifices!” Rúka went on with her powerful chanting, while she took the sacrificial knife, and she turned to the goat that was tied to small tree close to the monument. “We offer you blood of the goat to enrich your ascendance!” she went on, grabbing the goat by its horns, and slitting its throat. The blood fell into the bowl.


    “Blood for your ascendance!” The witches echoed.


    “Vorhire!” Rúka chanted in strong tone.




    Rúka turned to the other side of the monument, with the sacrificial knife still in her hand. “We send you this man’s soul for your hunger!” She walked over to a man who appeared to be an Imperial in his twenties, and she took a grand soul gem from a small wooden table. With a swift movement, the man’s body collapsed, and his soul captured inside the soul gem.


    Rúka walked back to the monument, and placed the soul gem in the center of it. The High Witch took a hammer from the sacrificial tools, and smashed the fragile soul gem into a dozen pieces. “A soul sent!”


    Ciel’nn was thankful he didn’t see it so well, but he felt his stomach turning and twisting. He couldn’t control the shaking that was visible. He couldn’t stand the soul gems – let alone capturing one’s soul in it. Azura… make it stop… make it stop…


    “For your hunger!” The witches echoed. “A soul sent!”


    Rúka kept chanting strong ancient words which neither Ciel’nn, or Rangalen could understand. She crushed juniper berries in her hands, and she put them in the ceremonial bowl. The High Witch added a small amount of ground deer antler dust into the mix, and she kept chanting.


    “Vorhire! Accept our offering, and embrace us with your presence!” Rúka turned to the others, holding the ceremonial bowl in the air, and then she took a sip from the bowl.


    The witches chanted a praise for Vorhire the Fog-singer, when The High Witch lowered the bowl, and threw the liquid at the monument. The fog in the Reach increased, and the wind started howling.


    A thick fog formation was taking a place at the higher rise, and there was feminine whispering in the air.


    Rúka nodded mostly to herself and her coven. “It is time! Bring forth the great gifts!” she beckoned with her hand.


    Damn Troll’s blood! The young warrior hadn’t had any luck to get free from his tight bonds. From the corner of his eye he could see a witch approaching the Dunmer and another was coming towards him. This is it. Damn it. Talos, Shor…accept my apology. Seems Sovngarde awaits for me.


    The witch approached Ciel’nn with a sinister smile, and she raised her hands. A sharp pain made her twitch and gasp before she collapsed on the ground, lifeless, as her heart was pierced by an arrow.


    “Tiid. Klo. Ul!”


    Through the fog ran the Huntress of Falkreath when time was slowed down. She wore a mask, and carried a nord bow. As she ran, the Huntress notched an arrow while she turned to the side, and saw the young warrior tied to the pillar. She narrowed her pale grey eyes, and aimed at the pillar – the arrow flew through the air and struck on the bonds of the young warrior.


    “Sarade?” Rangalen gasped, but the Huntress was already going for the High Witch. He started to rush towards the pillar where Ciel’nn was tied up. Hang on!


    When the time had returned to normal, chaos had consumed the camp, and the witches weren’t sure if they should attack the intruder or not. Some of them felt a strange peace, and others were confused and afraid. They backed away from the Huntress as soon as she approached the monument.


    “Rúka!” Sarade called out in a cold, stern tone.


    The High Witch turned around, and stared straight into the Huntress’ eyes. The stare and the sight of the Huntress made her stagger, and she leaned against the monument. “Ky- Kyne? No, it’s not…You’ve ruined everything!” Rúka cried out.


    “You will stop this ritual.” Sarade spoke, still in a cold tone.


    “No! Witches, help me!” But none of the witches seemed to hear her plea. She tried to leave the monument and staggered towards the high rise. The High Witch fell on her knees, “Vorhire! I beg of you, take my body, and claim what is yours!”


    The fog formation shifted, and a hiss was heard as if Vorhire would have answered. To Rúka’s horror the fog dispersed. “No, I will not give up all my life’s work!” she shouted, standing up to strike the Huntress with her sacrificial knife.


    The young warrior cut the Dunmer’s bonds free, and Ciel’nn fell into his arms. “Ciel’nn! What did they do to you?” He frowned – his friend wasn’t able to answer, maybe he was in shock. Rangalen brushed a stray hair from Ciel’nn’s face. “We need to get out of here, once Sarade deems it’s safe – I don’t have a clue where we are.” He hugged the Dunmer brotherly for comfort.


    The huntress kept Rúka in her cold stare during the time she had stabbed at her. “Then leave in Kyne’s peace, witch.” Her hunting knife, she called ‘Kyne’s Claw’, had punctured through the vital organ. She watched as Rúka tried to speak, but only a gasp came out. Sarade held the witch’s arm till she was on the ground, and dead. Her gaze shifted back to a warm and cautious look while she cleaned the knife and put it back on her belt.


    The witches scattered when she walked towards the young warrior, and the Dunmer. “How is he? We need to leave before the Forsworn come to claim this place.” Sarade knelt down, and took a closer look at Ciel’nn.


    “What is it?” Rangalen asked in panic as the Huntress frowned.


    “They made him breathe a mix of fumes – he’ll be out for some time.” Sarade replied as she stood up. “A mix of frost spider venom, and Gods know what they brewed. Can you carry him?”


    “Yes, I can carry him, but how do you know –“The young warrior stopped before finishing his question. It was better not to. He trusted the Huntress, and didn’t question her. She was older than him, too.


    “Come, let’s leave.” Sarade spoke in a softer tone, and strolled towards the midsection of the ruins. She didn’t smile, but wasn’t angry either. The tiredness she felt was from riding through the valley. Perhaps they could rest somewhere once they got out of the ruins.


    The Dunmer wasn’t heavy at all Rangalen noticed as he carefully raised into Ciel’nn on his arms. He decided he’d get the training from elsewhere – the recent adventures in the Reach were enough for a month or two! He heard a light groan from the Dunmer as his head rolled against his shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ll soon be out.” the young warrior promised.


    Arriving in the yard, Sarade stopped walking, narrowing her eyes as she drew her blade out of its scabbard. She glanced at Rangalen who came a bit behind her. Ciel’nn let out a small sound in his daze, like he was trying to wake up. Rangalen gritted his teeth together.


    “I’ve been waiting for you a while now.” A crude, sinister full of malice voice greeted them.



    Back to ToC


7 Comments   |   William McNee and 7 others like this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  January 15
    Very atmospheric with witchy goodness going on. I especially enjoyed the moment when Ruka thinks she's facing Kyne. That was awesome touch, things got meta for a brief moment, reminiscent of the ghost of Old Hroldan seeing Talos or Sir Amiel seeing Pelinal :) 
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  November 17, 2017
    Ah, and now we get a bit of insight into how Ciel'nn developed his hate of necromancy, which is intense even by Dunmer standards. I'm sure there's more to it than just having his guar killed and resurrected, though.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  July 19, 2017
    Now this was tense. What got me completely enthralled the Fog-Singer. Who is that? Some kind of Reachmen witch? Spirit? God? 
    • Caladran
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Now this was tense. What got me completely enthralled the Fog-Singer. Who is that? Some kind of Reachmen witch? Spirit? God? 
        ·  July 19, 2017
      The Fog-singer was a spirit of a powerful long-gone Reach Witch. Thank you for reading!  There might be more of the Reachmen coming in the future. ^^
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  April 29, 2017
    I can only agree with GailOlm, the way you incorporated everything in the ritual was seamless.  
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  March 26, 2017
    I really like the way you incorporated alchemy ingredients and Sarade's shout into the story. Little details like that make the story seem real.

    I was on the edge of my seat when the ritual was going on, wondering, "How are they going to get ...  more
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  March 26, 2017
    Ooh cliffhanger! Who does the voice belong to? Nice to see Sarade in the story... :D