Protected, no longer: Chapter 17


    Chapter 17


    His parents were away for a day and it left an opportunity for Ciel’nn to try new health potions. They were higher quality potions and they needed more time. Poisons would have to wait until he got time to travel to Vvardenfell.


    Step by step he tried to mix the plants for a powerful health potion. Of course it failed at first, but Ciel’nn was determined and he tried again.



    Skawulf’s training was unforgiving and draining. Rangalen did his best to learn all that the old Nord showed and taught him. Even as he was getting tired, he pushed himself on. He watched Skawulf’s pose and listened to him carefully when he wasn’t rambling.


    They had short breaks, and in the evening Skawulf told Rangalen and Ciel’nn about his younger days – full of fighting and vigor that these days warriors seem to lack of the most. Even the old Gods had been forgotten.


    Ciel’nn tried to ask about Shor, and how that was connected with the young warrior, but the old Nord fell quiet. It was like he didn’t want to tell anything about it. “You will see when it’s time” was the only thing Skawulf said. It made Ciel’nn ponder even more. He ate his bread and drank his water while thinking about it all until his head began to hurt. The Dunmer looked at Rangalen. “So, have you grown in prowess? Any fancy moves?”


    The young warrior smiled after he had taken a sip of his mead bottle. “I think I have learned something. You haven’t been watching then?” Rangalen teased – he knew the Dunmer indeed had been watching the training, but sometimes it seemed Ciel’nn was elsewhere. He’d ask about it later. “I have a few new moves to try out later.”


    Nodding, Ciel’nn smiled back. “That’s good. Have you thought about your father’s letter? Visiting him?” he asked in a casual tone. He observed the Nord and he saw the change of expression on Rangalen’s face – thoughtful. Ciel’nn knew it wasn’t an easy decision, especially if the relationship to the elder wasn’t good. For him, it never was so. He took a sip of his water bottle while he waited for the young warrior’s reply – he seemed to be thinking deeply. Ciel’nn’s eyes shifted to the old Nord, who was asleep for a change.


    “I guess it won’t hurt, but he’ll be pissed off anyway. He doesn’t like elves at all.” Rangalen rubbed his chin. “I don’t want to go, but he might send someone after me, or so. I don’t know.” His tone was low and there was a shadow on his face, a brooding shadow. “I don’t know.”


    “Don’t brood. It doesn’t suit you.” Ciel’nn whispered. “You should leave that to me. In all seriousness, I’ll say let him send them – we can deal with them, right? You don’t have to decide now. If he really wants you to come over then he’ll send someone for you.” He brought his hand up to Rangalen’s shoulder. “That way we’ll see if he really wants to you come.” He said this a slight smile.


    “I guess you’re right. I just shouldn’t run back home after all this time when he did not care before. Thanks, Ciel’nn.” Rangalen smiled back. “He probably wants me to join the army anyway.”


    After a few days of intense training, Skawulf deemed Rangalen was ready move on. He wished them both a good luck and said they should be watchful for any signs, but the old Nord didn’t say what exactly. Rangalen suggested they’d go and head towards Stormcloak camp near Riften for supplies and food, then they would head to Eastmarch.


    The sounds of swords clashing echoed faintly when they approached the Stormcloak camp. Ciel’nn frowned as he drew his daggers out and as he glanced at the Nord. “I wonder who it is this time?” he said in a tone. “Who would have the gall, hm?” He saw the young warrior making his sword ready.


    “Let’s find out. You never know if they need our help.” Rangalen breathed as he readied himself and he didn’t miss the look on his friend’s face. “For supplies if nothing else.” He took the lead and marched towards the camp. A racing heart was a sign of being excited – the young warrior couldn’t wait to see who was causing so much ruckus in the camp.


    The camp was in disarray and a few dead soldiers were lying on the ground. From the looks of it the Stormcloaks were fighting against some assassins. The men were wounded and tried desperately fend off the attackers.


    I can’t believe this. These are assassins? Ciel’nn took a deep breath before he slid into the midst of the scene. He sneaked behind a rather careless assassin and his blade flashed in the afternoon sun. The assassin gasped before he fell on the ground dead. This would be over soon. His eyes counted four assassins left and the Nord was dealing with two of then – Ciel’nn wouldn’t leave him alone with those two.


    Ciel’nn dodged a Stormcloak soldier who was stumbling and almost fell over. He snarled at the assassin and parried the coming slash. His opponent wasn’t the brighter sort and made a miscalculated move against him. Swiftly his dagger cut the air and struck at the assassin’s open side causing him to gasp as he backed away.


    “You’ve done it now!” he shouted. His shouting turned into a groan and he clutched his side as he fell on the ground.


    The Dunmer watched his dying opponent for a brief moment before he took a stride to the Nord and the two assassins.


    The young warrior seemed to be keeping the remaining assassins at bay, but they were constantly at it. Rangalen saw one of them coming at him and he prepared his shield for an encounter. He countered the assault with his shield, making the assassin stumble backwards straight onto the Dunmer who had his dagger ready.


    Staring at the assassin’s eyes, Ciel’nn twisted his dagger before he pulled it out from his opponent’s stomach. He looked at the Nord who had just finished the last assassin. “Check their pockets. Might be a clue who sent them.” Ciel’nn prompted while he began to clean his blades as he his eyes swept across the camp – three fallen Stormcloak.


    “By Gods! It was a stroke of luck you showed up, Mistgaze.” Grim-born the Quartermaster sighed deeply as he recognized the young warrior. “How is your father these days?”


    Rangalen took a deep breath. He’d rather not talk about the man. “I don’t know. We aren’t on good terms actually” he said in a neutral tone. “Do you know who might be behind this assault?” he asked and hoped the older Nord wouldn’t mind it.


    Ciel’nn checked the bodies since the Nord was busy talking with his kinsman. He didn’t find any direct clues, but one of the assassins had a letter in his clothing. Raising his dark brow, Ciel’nn opened the letter and read it. Although it was poorly written, he was able to make sense of it. “Looks like the bear-heads are at this.” He walked towards the Nords.


    “What’s this? You’re traveling with this dark elf, Mistgaze?” Grim-born frowned and by instinct his hand moved to the hilt of his sword.


    “He’s with me. If you hurt him, I have to hurt you, understand?” Rangalen’s voice dropped a few degrees colder. ”I’m not having it. Be at ease – he’s under my watch.” He caught the Dunmer tilting his head at him and gave back a smile. His eyes turned back to the older Nord.


    Under your watch, eh?


    “Alright, if you say so. It’s just that these boys hated the Thalmor.” Grim-born said replied.


    “I’m not a Thalmor. I’m a damned Dunmer!” Ciel’nn chided in. He stared at the older Nord. “Here, take this and deal with it. I’m leaving!” he hissed and slammed the letter into the Nord’s hand. “I’ll wait over there, Rangalen.”


    The young warrior sighed and he shook his head. This is why we should avoid Stormcloaks. Maybe I should not call myself a Stormcloak anymore? “I’ll buy some food and potions, then we’ll be off then. Hopefully you can tell someone about these bear-heads that are causing a lot of harm.” Rangalen said and walked over to the table with potions and bread. Just visiting these camps made him upset…


    Ciel’nn took the lead towards the north and Shor’s stone. He wasn’t sure if they would reach Shor’s watchtower before nightfall. The Dunmer glanced at the Nord, and it seemed that he was in his own thoughts, too. The Nord had expressed his wish to go Windhelm despite of his father being there – Ciel’nn didn’t know what to think of it, but he hoped the visit would go well.


    When the evening fell they arrived at the Shor’s Stone, and people seemed to be recovering well. Only they couldn’t rebuild some buildings without the help of Jarl of Riften even if she had promised to send aid. Also, they didn’t have any space for the traveling friends, but it was fine for the Dunmer.


    “That’s alright. We’ll be camping nearby.” Ciel’nn said as he took the offered food parcel from Sylgia. “Thank you, sera.”


    “I hope the Riften Jarl sends the aid soon.” Rangalen said as he glanced around the settlement.


    “I hope so, too. You can camp near the fire. There are wild animals wandering at nighttime, so it be much safer for you to stay.” Sylgia offered with a warm smile. “I’m sure our men won’t mind.”


    From inside their tent, Ciel’nn stared the flames and he wondered about the coming days. How would the meeting with the Nord’s father go? What about the bear-headed bandits? Are they bandits or something more?


    “Something’s bothering you?” Rangalen asked in a low tone. His gaze was warm, but there was a hint of worry. He had noticed Ciel’nn being quiet for some time now. Hopefully he wasn’t mad at him – he shouldn’t have a reason to be angry though.


    Ciel’nn gave a thoughtful look at the Nord. He had a feeling, but he couldn’t say what it was. It made him restless. Not much sleep tonight. How would I tell it then? “Yes, I have a bad feeling, but I can’t tell about what yet.” he sighed. “This has happened before. It’s like a shadow that follows until something bad happens.” Ciel’nn reached into his backpack and he took out the small lava stone. “I doubt I can sleep tonight either.” He’d had many nights without much sleep because of this feeling in the past. It was a byproduct of the encounter with the Dremora Lord – after it had happened for the first time.


    At this Rangalen frowned. It was one of Ciel’nn’s attributes that he couldn’t really understand. It made him worried – his friend was aware of a threat that wasn’t yet happening. This feeling would probably last until it has passed them and only then Ciel’nn might be able to calm again. How Rangalen wished Sarade was with them now – she if anyone could calm this restless Dunmer. “I’m here, if you need me.” he finally whispered and offered his arm for a hug. The Nord took the Dunmer into his embrace and stroked his black hair. “We’ll overcome whatever happens to us.”


    How much he wanted to believe in what he just had said. Would he have the strength for both of them to face the dangers of dark times?



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7 Comments   |   DeltaFox and 5 others like this.
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  November 17
    *sneers alongside Ciel'nn at the assassins' corpses*

    Poorly trained bunglers.

    Well, they were sent to attack the common soldiery. No reason to waste good men on that, I guess.
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 20
    That's exactly what's completely stupid about Storncloaks. They see a Dunmer and think he's with Thalmor. Bunglers...
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 8
    Nice fight scene.... A sense of foreboding at the end. Hope they are ready for what is coming.
  • William McNee
    William McNee   ·  July 3
    I would hope that a Dark Elf helping the Stormcloaks will have a good influence on coming events. Especially if they're going to be in Stormcloak territory for a time
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  June 30
    Nicely written battle scene with the Stormcloaks and the assassins. A bit of mystery here with Ciel'nn's feeling something bad might happen. Looking forward to the next chapter. :)
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  June 30
    Damn those Stormcloaks. Always giving the Dunmer trouble. :)
    Anyway, a great new entry in a amazing story.
    • Caladran
      Damn those Stormcloaks. Always giving the Dunmer trouble. :)
      Anyway, a great new entry in a amazing story.
        ·  July 2
      Thank you! ^^ Yes, they are a trouble for Ciel'nn.