Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 39

  • The gray clouds and the dark horizon towards the North made the anxiety swirl around him. Ciel’nn coughed and licked his dry lips as he sat on a rock and checked his bow with a scowl on his face. The nightly roar had kept him awake the rest of the night. No good rest nightly rest meant he was in a foul mood. His heart didn’t know if to be scared or courageous. For his blood had ran cold during the roar. He shook his head involuntary. “N’chow.”

    Frowning, Teldryn observed the direction where from the roar might have come from. It was difficult to say for sure. He turned to his partner, who was checking his bow. “Why the bow?” He asked in a calm tone. It wouldn’t do any good to demand anything since Ciel’nn had that scowl on.

    “I don’t know.” The young mer replied as he glanced at Teldryn. “I can’t explain it. I just feel we might need it.” He added in a mix of a fearful and uncertain tone. Ciel’nn looked back to his bow and finished checking it. The chitin bow was in good condition even after the netch hunt. He stood up. “I don’t know what in n’wahs name is out there, and  yet I feel I need my bow.”

    “Do you still want to go and find some ruins?” The older mer asked.

    “Yes, I just hope we don’t run into… whatever it is.” Ciel’nn pulled his backpack on his back and tucked his bow onto his shoulder. “

    Teldryn stepped closer and put his hand on the mer’s shoulder. He gazed into Ciel’nn eyes. He’s afraid and wants to escape, but he’s eager to go the ruins. “Alright, do you want me to lead for a change?” There was a small nod from his partner.

    They began to set out, when Talvas walked out of the Tower. “Wait! Where are you going? Didn’t you hear the roar last night?” He asked as he strode to them. He cursed inwardly. He hadn’t slept much, and Master Neloth had been acting as if he hadn’t heard the roar. No, he kept mumbling on about the researches he had been doing. I shouldn’t be scared, damn it! I’m a Telvanni!

    Ciel’nn glanced at the mage, but said nothing. Instead, his hand traced the hilt of his sword.

    “We’re going to find some ruins, like it’s interesting to you.” Teldryn replied. “But why should you worry, mage? You’re safe and sound in that Tower over there.” He threw a sharp look at Talvas. “A Telvanni. Go back your tower.” A low tone as the older mer said it.

    “Can’t I care for my friend?” Talvas frowned. A friend? He called the young mer his friend? How weird it sounded, but he had gotten used to the mer now, even he couldn’t get his mentoring.

    “A friend?” Ciel’nn hissed as he stepped towards him and he looking at him with a cold gaze. “I don’t know, mage. You didn’t finish what you started. A single spell and you didn’t have enough patience.”

    Talvas nearly stepped back, but  he managed hold his stance. “I still can finish it.” He wanted to look away from the cold gaze as he shivered under it. What happened to him? He wasn’t like that before.

    “Too late, mage!” Ciel’nn snapped as he still had locked Talvas with his gaze. “I’ll find my own way. Teldryn showed me how to begin.”

    “I see.” Talvas struggled to speak. “But, if you’re going to go out there, please take this scroll.” He pulled a scroll from his robes and offered it to Ciel’nn.

    Ciel’nn frowned, but he grabbed the scroll. He turned to his partner. “Come, Teldryn. We have something to track.” He began to walk away.

    Talvas watched the two mer leaving after the older mer had given him a sneer. “Be safe! I want you to come back. Alive.” He whispered the words, swallowing hard. What is this dread I feel? Has something really nasty awoken on this island? He gazed into the horizon once before he hurried back into the tower.

    The two mer strolled toward the North-East, and passed the people at a strange stone. It seemed they weren’t affected by the last night’s roar at all. They kept building, chanting some words.  Ciel’nn sighed at them. “They just keep building as if they have no concerns.”  He eyed the structure and noticed no visible progress was evident. Yet they carried stones and tools around, he noted.

    Teldryn frowned as they were climbing the hill where Thirsk Mead Hall stood. His nose wrinkled as he grunted. “There’s something foul ahead. Be prepared.” He said in a cautious and low tone. He drew his sword, his eyes narrowing.

    I hope the Rieklings are fine. Ciel’nn nodded and took his sword as quietly as possible. After a moment the smell of blood assailed his nostrils, making his stomach knotted. The young mer wished he could smell a dozen lavenders instead. He drew a deep breath as they reached the clearing.

    “What in Oblivion happened here?” The older mer rasped as he looked at the bloody foot prints in the snow. The prints were large and small sized. “There was a bloody battle here. Blood everywhere.” He put his free hand on his hips as he pondered.

    Ciel’nn stepped next to Teldryn and crouched to study the prints. As he knew about tracking animals or people, he touched the smaller print first, letting his fingers trace it. “The smaller ones belong to a boar, probably.” He said glancing at his partner.

    “There are rieklings that ride them.” Teldryn explained. “I wonder if it’s dead with the boar.”

    “Hmm.” Ciel’nn turned to the large print and his eyes widened. “This one doesn’t belong to mer or man, but I don’t know to what or who it belongs to.” He stood up to explore the area before them. “By Azura…”

    The frozen lake behind the Hall and the snowy ground close to it was partly covered with fallen riekling riders and four boars. The ground was bloodied. The ice on the lake was cracked as if something some heavy creature had been there. A few  torn apart and drowned rieklings floated in the lake.

    A hiss escaped from the older mer’s lips when saw Ciel’nn sprinting towards the Hall, but hesitating at the door. He hadn’t had time time to  grab the young mer’s arm —  Ciel’nn was quick with sudden sprints. He followed briskly after and his partner looked to him. “Do you think they’re…?” He heard Ciel’nn asking him. Teldryn frowned. “It’s a possibility.”

    Ciel’nn gave a slight nod and opened the door with a heavy heart. “Riekling?” He asked a bit louder. He hoped there would even be a few left alive, but it was too quiet in the hall. He walked further with caution and eyed the hall. “Riekling?” He repeated. He heard Teldryn closing the door after him.

    The hall seemed to be untouched by the massacre outside. All the barrels were still intact as well as the small furniture. The food on the fire pit was left alone, he noted. Ciel’nn looked around the walls and  back to the floor. The furs were tattered as if they were left alone in a hurry. Ciel’nn sat down on the wooden beam.“It’s… abandoned.” He whispered in a melancholic tone.

    “Let’s hope that even a few of them escaped the horror.” Teldryn walked to him and surveyed the hall by himself as he put his hand on the mer’s shoulder. “The nearest settlement is Skaal. Maybe they know something about this.” It was a suggestion for the young mer. “Or, do you want to go back to Tel Mithryn?”

    “I think visiting the Skaal is a good idea.” Ciel’nn replied in a quiet tone. “I hope we get to eat there. I’m getting hungry.” He stood up and tried to smile. His smile faded as soon as he put it. “I really hope some managed to escape.” He sighed.

    They continued their way, passing the lake with their swords in their hands. More blood prints led out of the area of the Hall. The prints showed a speedy pace as if the murderer of the rieklings had been in a hurry. Teldryn had his suspicious, but he didn’t want to alert his companion. He knew Ciel’nn was still afraid from the nightly roar. I hope it’s not what I think it is. He glanced over his shoulder to see how his partner was doing. The young mer looked at him with a question in his eyes. Those eyes were wary. “Just checking on you, Ciel’nn.”

    “I’m managing.”  Ciel’nn replied as he tilted his head slightly. The older mer’s look shifted slightly and he figured out he couldn’t hide his fear from his partner. It feels like I’m an open book to him. Yet, the older mer didn’t say anything, but nodded to him. “It’ll be alright once we reach the village.” He heard the mer saying in a soothing tone. In truth, Ciel’nn was far away from calm. His heart whimpered in fear and his mouth felt dry as they followed the blood prints towards the path that led to Skaal.

    A group of three warriors and one hunter kept guard on the path. They were all Skaal veterans. They easily spotted the two mer coming up from the side path and hailed at them. “Not another step reavers!” The hunter with a bow aimed to them shouted. The warriors began to approach them.

    “Hold on, now!” Teldryn hailed back at them as they stopped in their tracks. “We’re mere travelers. We mean to harm to you!” He motioned at Ciel’nn sheath to his sword.

    “You expect us to believe that? After what happened to our hunting party? You shred them into pieces!” The hunter shouted in anger. “Pieces! Selgaard was cut to death. His neck, too.”

    “We don’t know what you mean. We’re simple travelers from Raven Rock.” Teldryn tried. The warriors weren’t far off now. He could sense his partner settling behind his back. “We’ve fought reavers, too. They almost killed my partner.”

    “Really?” The hunter questioned as she lowered her bow. She stepped out from her cover and walked to them. The warriors stood nearby, facing the two mer. “We’ve been hit by reavers almost every second dawn. So far we’ve drove them away.”

    “They’re planning something, no doubt.” Teldryn said as he looked to the hunter. “The Thirsk Mead Hall had been hit by something bigger. There’s blood everywhere.”

    The hunter frowned at the news of the hall and glanced at the warriors behind her. They had grim looks about them. The hunter looked back to the mer. “There’s something else out than the reavers.” Her voice was gravely serious.

    “Don’t say it’s about last night’s roar?” Teldryn grumbled.

    “You two had better come to the village.” One of the warriors said in a deep voice.

    Teldryn looked to Ciel’nn, who bit his lower lip. Shit. He looks like a scared rabbit. The older mer took his partner’s hand into his own. “I’m with you. I think we’ll be safe in the village. Come.”

    “We hope so, too.” One of the warriors frowned as they began to follow the hunter into the village of Skaal.

    Ciel’nn couldn’t help but glance around the village. There were also blood splatters on the edges of the village. Some of the people were repairing damaged property and what not.  At the far end of the village seemed to be some grave mounds. The mer’s heart skipped another beat. Even they aren’t safe here. This was a mistake.

    They were brought in front of Frea, who currently was in charge of the defense of the village. She sighed as the hunter explained that they them found on the road, coming toward the Skaal. “Why are you here? There’s a beast out there and reavers about. We don’t have time to shelter visitors.”

    “The beast seems to  be blood thirsty and ravaging everything and everyone on its path. There’s a massacre in front of Thirsk Mead Hall.” Teldryn said in a low tone.

    “They’re just small rieklings.” Frea shot back and was about to say more, but the young mer cut it short.

    “Just rieklings?” Ciel’nn finally barked as he couldn’t take it anymore. “They’re living beings as we are. They’re no lesser beings. They have a culture out here, maybe entire clans! They even might know of magic!” He felt his partner’s hand on his shoulder, but went on. “This beast… seems you know something of it. Better tell us too, and I’ll share what we know about the reavers.” His eyes hardened as he stared at Frea, with his heart beating wildly.

    Azura strike me down if they don’t listen.





4 Comments   |   The Long-Chapper and 3 others like this.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  November 8, 2019
    I'm wondering what made the roar and  killed the Rieklings. It's understandable that Ciel'nn and Teldryn as well as the Skaal would be so uneasy. I love how Ciel'nn came to the defense of the Rieklings when Frea belittled them.  (L)
  • The Sunflower Manual
    The Sunflower Manual   ·  October 30, 2018
    Hmm, depending on what made the roar, I wonder if any of the Rieklings got eaten.

    I wonder how Riekling tastes...

    ...I wonder how you'd go about cooking them...

  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  August 25, 2018
    Well, damn. At least the little buggers put up a fight. The build up of tension is well done here, makes you really wonder what it is, and I personally would put my money on a werebear. I think. The roar might fit. There aren´t that many creatures that ca...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 23, 2018
    I wanna know what that thing is! Nice to catch up to some stories. I'll finish up tomorrow with others.