Protected, no longer; Chapter 13


    Chapter 13


    Maltrys had always that grim look, even when he was a toddler. Always with that dark grim face that judged him. Ciel’nn was often was hiding from him. How tall in his robes he looked when the elder Dunmer walked through the corridors and mumbled.



    Something poor Ciel’nn couldn’t understand. He just crept to his mother whimpering. He’d not sleep that night, or the following night.



    The smoke of burnt wood made the Dunmer and the young warrior almost cough. The grim view of wounded village men and of several dead guards was what greeted them when they approached the village. A man was blaming the Gods for this terrible event nearby.


    Ciel’nn gazed at the main street in disbelief before he glanced at the Nord. Horror was the only word Ciel’nn could use to describe it. They would have to find out what had occurred. The bandits over at Snapleg Cave wouldn’t have time for this over one night. He would have heard them if they’d passed their camp. Who would it be then?


    The shock and the horror had struck the young warrior when he saw devastated Shor’s stone in front of him. Rangalen felt like he had been plunged into something he didn’t like. It felt unreal. He wanted to say something, but he stood there with his mouth half open.


    A woman approached them. “I… can you help us?” she asked. “I’m Hildemor, a wandering healer. Bandits came in the early hours and started to butcher the animals first, killed those guards… even the Shor-wind family’s only child.” she continued, hoping the rather strange pair of friends would help them in this dire situation. “Most of the wounded are inside that house.” The healer pointed at the house behind her.


    Ciel’nn listened sharply as he eyed again the village. They would need all the help, but what would he and Rangalen be able to do? He could only make a few potions and maybe some more if he had enough ingredients. His head turned to the Nord who was still in state of shock. Who could blame him though? Ciel’nn looked back at Hildemor. “I can mix a few potions, but that’s all I can do. We don’t have much with us.” It was the truth.


    “Thank you! Even a little is good.” the wandering healer replied with clear hope in her tone.


    “Rangalen! Can you go and ask the survivors and remaining guards about the attackers. I need to make potions.” Ciel’nn said in a snap to attention tone, and then he walked around to find an alchemy table.


    Rangalen was staring at the village, but the Dunmer’s voice drew him back from the trance. “Ask the guard, I can do that.” he mumbled as he tried to look for the guards. The sight of mourning fellow Nords made his chest ache. It was a truly sorrowful sight to see. His put a sympathetic face as he passed the family of Shor-wind. Who would do such things? Forsworns were the only group that came to his mind, but they weren’t in the Reach now. Bandits kill children now, too? That was a new thing, and the young warrior couldn’t believe it. Finally he came to the house where the wounded were treated. With a heavy heart he opened the door.


    Basic potions were easy to make, but he didn’t have enough ingredients to help everyone. Ciel’nn tried to do his best though. He gave away the ones he already had. Usually he wouldn’t give his only ones away, but this was an exception. He hoped it wouldn’t backfire later. He also wondered if Sarade knew what had happened and… if this had to do anything with the “dark times” the Reach woman had warned them about. Suddenly there were a lot of things happening.


    “Thank you, dark elf.” said a wounded man to whom the Dunmer gave the last freshly made potion. “What can I do to return the favor?” he asked before he drank the potion.


    Ciel’nn was surprised by this question, and he pondered a moment before replying. “Yes, what can you tell me about Skawulf?” he inquired. His eyes scanned the room where the wounded had begun to heal. It would take time, the Dunmer guessed, as he wasn’t a healer of any sort.


    The man was silent at first as he seemed to weigh his answer. “I used to know him, but why would you want to do anything with him?” he asked with a frown. “I haven’t seen him for ages.”


    “Do you know where we can find him?” Ciel’nn asked as his eyes locked on the man. “My Nord friend seeks combat training, and we heard –“


    “I can tell you where, but I’m afraid he can’t help. You see, we heard he went mad after he fought the Thalmor on his own.” the man replied as he rubbed his chin. “He was last seen around Forelhost. You know, the big place where the Dragon Cult people were a long time ago.”


    Great! That’s just marvelous… He felt his skin prickle slowly.


    “Thank you. We’ll consider your words.” Forelhost, of course he had heard of and it damn well freaked him out and made him go pale. Any dark place really did that to him. He hoped they didn’t need to go in there. Perhaps Skawulf was somewhere outside. Hopefully the Nord had good luck with the guards.


    The young warrior had been talking with a guard who had been lucky to avoid a deathblow. He had bruises and cuts from the encounter. “There are new bandit groups on the move. These were some new ones. They didn’t want to bargain at all. The butchery started over at our cows first.” the guard said as he winced in pain. His bandages were well placed but it didn’t stop the pain. “First the bloody civil war at our doors, then this! Be very careful, boy if you travel around a lot.”


    “Was there anything about them that stood out?” Rangalen asked as he was sitting next to the guard. He felt bad for these people as he couldn’t help much. “I hear your warning, friend.”


    “There was only one thing about them. They all wore bear helms.” the guard replied. “It’s like they are well armed and one minded. Not the common rabble, you know?”


    “That’s worrisome indeed.” the young warrior said with a frown. “Maybe it’s for the best if we head to Riften and let the Jarl know about this. How does that sound?” he asked but he wasn’t certain if Ciel’nn would like it.


    “That’d be a really generous thing to do. Our scout died, so we don’t have anyone else to send.” the guard nodded. “Thank you.”


    “I need to talk with my friend. He doesn’t like Riften.” the young warrior said quickly.


    “Riften, what?” came a sharp question all of sudden. Ciel’nn walked towards them. Somehow he had come in quietly and neither of the men hadn’t noticed him. The Dunmer looked at the guard and then at the Nord. Ciel’nn wasn’t sure what they were talking about but he could guess.


    “He wishes that we could deliver a message to the Jarl of Riften. That way they would get more help.” Rangalen said with a neutral tone. “It’s the least that we can do.”


    To go back to Riften where he didn’t want to go… it was annoying, but these people needed the help. With a sigh, Ciel’nn gave a short nod. “We need to get moving then.” the Dunmer replied and he turned to leave. Sometimes he wondered how he’d got involved with helping people. Ciel’nn valued his freedom. The thing was they needed to find a person who could train the Nord. It would go slowly if they kept on helping everyone that needed help…


    They were quiet while they walked down the path. Ciel’nn was in his own thoughts and following the young warrior who kept an eye on their surroundings. They saw the corpse of a traveler that was mauled near to an unrecognizable shape. It made their stomach turn as Rangalen tried to inspect it, but he could only tell it had been a human at least.


    Ciel’nn eyed the corpse before they continued on their way. Of course he had seen dead people before, even assassinated at least several people in his life and killed more bandits than he could count, but this… This made his refined stomach turn in disgust. If he was to felt horror or something else he couldn’t yet say.


    “Come on, Ciel’nn. We need to find a safer place to camp tonight, and I rather want it not anywhere near this corpse.” Rangalen whispered as he placed his hand on the Dunmer’s shoulder and gently guided him away from this grisly sight.


    “This Skawulf person is somewhere around Forelhost.” Ciel’nn spoke out when they were having a food break. He tried to push the image of the mauled corpse away from his mind but it wasn’t easy. He found it hard to eat, too – he had been staring at his apple for some time now. The Dunmer had lost his appetite. “He’s also mad.” he added a bit later as he glanced at his friend.


    Rangalen munched his cooked rabbit’s leg as he was listening to the Dunmer. The rabbit’s leg tasted bad after he had seen that gruesome sight. “Forelhost? Isn’t that… and mad? I wonder why?” he replied in a thoughtful tone. If they had to go into the big barrow, then he’d feel sorry for Ciel’nn. His gaze was warm when he looked at the Dunmer. “To be honest, Ciel’nn, Forelhost is the last place I’d want to go. I’ve heard stories that gave me chills.” He saw a warm smile blooming on Ciel’nn’s face – that smile told Rangalen there was a growing trust between them.


    “I thought you wouldn’t mind going into any barrow or old places like that.” Ciel’nn mused before taking a bite from his green apple. It was good to hear the Nord wanted to avoid damned Forelhost. Who knows what might lurk in there? “Skawulf became mad after he fought the Thalmor, I heard.” he said thoughtfully.


    “Not this one. Besides I know you don’t like any of them, and Forelhost has a sinister fame. I assume it’ll give more nightmares for you.” the young warrior replied. “The Thalmor? I hope we don’t encounter them while we stay at the Rift. It’s more likely we’ll run into the Imperials.” Hopefully not, he’d avoid them too. “Maybe Skawulf isn’t that mad and he would tell us something.”


    Fort Greenwall seemed to be occupied by bandits who lazily patrolled around its walls. They really weren’t paying attention to anything in particular from what Ciel’nn had observed. He motioned the Nord to wait until he’d killed the ones on the ground at least. The Dunmer sneaked through the grass while stepping ever so lightly.


    The young warrior watched how Ciel’nn crept closer to each bandit and assassinated them with precision and silence. It was a comfort to know the Dunmer was on his side but at the same time Rangalen felt a chill going down his spine as he watched his friend going for the last bandit at the tower. Rangalen found himself holding his breath due to sheer excitement – the blade raised, but the bandit turned around suddenly. He considered going help as the struggle at the tower began, but Ciel’nn had told him to wait.


    The struggle had awoken a few other bandits from inside and they spilled out of the door. “Where’s the trouble?” one shouted angrily. They spread out in the yard to look for the troublemaker who had awoken them from their slumber.


    “Check the tower!” the battle axe wielding bandit growled, but when he tried to turn to look elsewhere his face was bashed into a shield.


    The young warrior slashed his sword at the bandit who wielded a battle axe. “Ciel’nn?” he called after his opponent had died on the ground. He hoped the Dunmer wasn’t injured. A light reply came from the top of the tower, and the young warrior hurried as fast as he could.


    “That N’wah!” Ciel’nn winced as he was sitting on the floor, holding his shoulder. The struggle had been something he hadn’t expected and the bandit had had his luck and hit his shoulder with a razor edged blade. It wasn’t poisoned or he’d feel it already. He heard some quick steps as the Nord reached the top of the tower.


    “Are you…?” Rangalen eyed the Dunmer and noticed his hand. “You’re bleeding!” He gasped, then stepped closer and gently looked at the wound once Ciel’nn moved his hand away. It was a deep cut, and a nasty one due to the razor edges of the blade. “We need to get you to a healer.” he said as he wrapped a temporary bandage on the Dunmer’s arm while Ciel’nn hissed at the pain. “Hold on. I’ll get you to Riften as soon as I can.” Rangalen frowned. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help you.”


    “It’s not your fault.” Ciel’nn whispered as the young warrior helped him on his feet. He had no idea how he was going to stand the pain until they reached Riften. Nightfall wasn’t far way either.



    Back to ToC


6 Comments   |   Tenebrous and 4 others like this.
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  November 17, 2017
    An assassin who fears the dark? Interesting character trait, but still unfortunate. Ciel'nn could be much better at his work than he already is.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  July 20, 2017
    I have to say I do like the prospect of bandits being actually more of a threat than an annoyance. But doesn't attacking a village make them raiders in this case? :D But yeah, I quite like that.
    • Caladran
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      I have to say I do like the prospect of bandits being actually more of a threat than an annoyance. But doesn't attacking a village make them raiders in this case? :D But yeah, I quite like that.
        ·  July 23, 2017
      Glad you like it! :) They'll have a name later on.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  May 16, 2017
    Such tragic happenings at the village, especially with the child. It's good that Ciel'nn and Rangalen were able to offer a small measure of help. Poor Ciel'nn. I hope that he won't be in too much pain on the way to Riften.
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  May 16, 2017
    Worrying times for the villages here. If the bandits are beginning to group together to cause such devastation, with the civil war causing the guards to concentrate their forces on the bigger towns, Ciel'nn and Rangalen will be hard pressed to offer assis...  more
  • Tenebrous
    Tenebrous   ·  May 16, 2017
    Oh noes! Ciel'nn got nicked!